Sunday, July 31, 2011

How impatience emerges

This principle can be difficult to take on board, I know. Nevertheless, it's an important one to ponder as understanding how impatience really arises can truly contribute to our ongoing happiness:

Other people can’t cause us to be impatient unless we let them do so. In other words, others don’t make us impatient. We make ourselves impatient, through our expectations and demands, fixated attachments and stuckness.

-- Lama Surya Das

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Embracing the present moment

I think sometimes we get into this "waiting to start living" mode almost unconsciously. And so it's valuable to cultivate the sort of mindfulness that helps us recognize whether or not we're allowing ourselves to "lose the present."

Are you waiting to start living? If you develop such a mind pattern, no matter what you achieve or get, the present will never be good enough; the future will always seem better. A perfect recipe for permanent dissatisfaction and non-fulfillment, don't you agree?
Waiting is a state of mind. Basically, it means that you want the future; you don't want the present. You don't want what you've got, and you want what you haven't got. With every kind of waiting, you unconsciously create inner conflict between your here and now, where you don't want to be, and the projected future, where you want to be. This greatly reduces the quality of your life by making you lose the present.

-- Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Experience and expectation

Oh, my goodness! Do read this and give it some careful thought. It's an amazingly powerful observation:

When we look back at our experience, we can see so clearly its ephemeral, dreamlike nature. Yet when we look ahead, when we look to the future, somehow (and this is the great enchantment) we get dazzled by all the possibilities that are there waiting for us as if the next event in our lives, the next sitaution, the next project, the next reationship, the next meal, even on meditation the next breath ... we live our lives in anticipation of the next hit of experience as if the one that's coming will finally do it for us. What's so strange is that nothing up 'til now has brought that sense of real completion or fulfillment. So why are we so seduced into thinking that the next one will? This is a very strange phenomenon.

-- Joseph Goldstein

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Meditative Picture Blogging

Portrait of a monk, Japan, 16th Century

Facing our pain

I just learned today that Charlotte Joko Beck died last month at the venerable age of ninety-four. She was one of the meditation teachers I admired the most. Here's something she said that actually says a lot:
We have to face the pain we have been running from. In fact, we need to learn to rest in it and let its searing power transform us.
A few simple words, really. With a meaning that bears careful and deep pondering.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our attitudes toward ourselves

I suppose in all my years of pastoral counseling, meditation therapy and spiritual direction, I am most grieved by the tendency of people to reproach themselves - even condemn themselves - when they make mistakes:

If we fall, we don’t need self-recrimination or blame or anger – we need a reawakening of our intention and a willingness to recommit, to be whole-hearted once again.

-- Sharon Salzberg

She's right, you know.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Peace - the real thing

The craving for control gives rise to more suffering than anything else I've ever observed:

Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes.

-- Jack Kornfield

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Inside - Outside

Here's something Alan Watts said that I had not come across before today:
Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery -- the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets -- is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.
Now that's going to take some pondering. But it's very appealing, isn't it?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

That which we resist persists

It's a well documented meditative principle. If we, for example, try to stop thoughts from arising, they become much more distracting than they were before. It's never helpful to get into an adversarial relationship with ourselves.

Here's a little extremely ironic "quick fact" that illustrates this principle very effectively:


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday life form blogging

Courage and respect

Oh, isn't this both very wonderful and very true? It's by Pema Chödrön:
"The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently."
We often think we're protecting ourselves by refusing to look within. Actually, just the opposite is the case.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Online stress relief

Here's an online activity you can try for stress relief and/or focusing purposes:

Online abstract image maker

Just click on the link and you'll see what I mean.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

More about discernment

I know so many people who manage to make themselves miserable by trying to do too much:
Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Something about finding ourselves

Here's something else from the marquee belonging to the Nazarene Church down on the corner from my house:
You will never find yourself until you face the truth.
That may seem fairly obvious but I think people overlook it a lot. The meditative process, of course, is about facing the truth about how our minds work - how they really work (not how we think they ought to work.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Please pray and/or send good thoughts

Below is the picture of a wonderful cat named Cookie who is eighteen years old and now in her final illness and very close to death. Cookie's human, a young woman named Casey, is understandably distraught as Casey was only seven years old when Cookie became her cat.

Please do whatever you do: send thoughts, offer prayers, practice compassion meditation for them both.

A sincere "thank you" to all from me.

UPDATE: (Monday, July 11) This wonderful kitty went to her reward a few days ago surrounded by her human family. Never was there a cat more loved or laid to rest with more honor. Thanks to everyone for their concern and compassionate thoughts.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Independence Day

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Ultimately, freedom is an inside job. Nevertheless, if we, as human beings, are going to create conditions conducive to the experience of freedom, this principle is vital:

Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of freedom's substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order. If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith within.

-- Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The benefits of TRUE leisure time

This is from Simplify Your Life: A Little Treasury by Elaine St. James:
I was recently in a meeting with a dozen high-powered professional people. We started talking about our goals for our leisure time, and how seldom we allow ourselves to truly enjoy our own quiet moments. We each decided to make a list of the things we really liked to do.

The lists included things like watching a sunset. Taking a walk. Chatting with a friend. Browsing in a bookstore. Reading a good book. Puttering in the garden. Taking a nap. Spending quiet time with our spouse. Spending quiet time with our kids. Listening to a favorite piece of music. Watching a favorite movie. Sitting quietly in a comfy chair and doing nothing.
I recommend making your own list. I have one!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

The most recent addition to my household: Murray

A little relaxation help

I've blogged this one before, actually, but it's been quite a long time.

Enjoy. Very soothing: