Posts Tagged ‘awareness
This always makes me smile – so many reasons (I need this reminder – and I am thankful for it)
the following quote was sent to me thru Tricycle today and it made an impression:
The practice of lovingkindness is, at a certain level, the fruition of all we work toward in our meditation. It relies on our ability to open continuously to the truth of our actual experience, not cutting off the painful parts, and not trying to pretend things are other than they are. Just as spiritual growth grinds to a halt when we indulge our tendency to grasp and cling, metta can’t thrive in an environment that is bound to desire or to getting our expectations met.
In lovingkindness, our minds are open and expansive—spacious enough to contain all the pleasures and pains of a life fully lived. Pain, in this context, does’t feel like betrayal or an overwhelming force. It is part of the reality of human experience, and an opportunity for us to practice maintaining our authentic presence.
- Sharon Salzberg
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”
Thus, the transformation of sociological and psychological structures must take place initially in our own minds. . . (this is) the blueprint for revolutionary change, first in the individual, then in the community of which he or she is a part. . .if we truly hope to address the root cause of social suffering -Charles Johnson
If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.
Your mind is your predicament.
It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death.
But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.
Taming the Monkey
The biggest hindrance to (mindfulness) is constant intrusive thoughts.
This is normal for everyone and from the beginning you should expect it. The nature of our mind is to think, and it is childish to imagine that we can simply turn that process off when we wish to.
Our minds have been almost completely out of control for most of our life.
Recognizing this can help us to be practical and patient—it may take us some time and a lot of skillful practice to tame the crazy “monkey mind.”
The perfect teacher is the one who is front of you. It’s a real relationship, not an objective measure of who is the best. You may learn more from a teacher who has faults and who practices with them.Dairyu Michael Wenger, Tricycle Winter 2004
I have been privileged enough to have some great people and opportunities in my life to practice and develop a sense of self kindness. I cannot express more, how I wish that everyone has the chance to practice self compassion. It has made such a difference not only on how I view myself, but also on how I see the the world and treat others. It has been life changing.
I’ve got a ways to go yet in cultivating this stance; however, I am so grateful for what has awakened in me thus far.
Here’s a post from Tricycle on the subject:
Open Yourself to Yourself
When you don’t punish or condemn yourself, when you relax more and appreciate your body and mind, you begin to contact the fundamental notion of basic goodness in yourself. So it is extremely important to be willing to open yourself to yourself. Developing tenderness toward yourself allows you to see both your problems and your potential accurately. You don’t feel that you have to ignore your problems or exaggerate your potential. That kind of gentleness toward yourself and appreciation of yourself is very necessary. It provides the ground for helping yourself and others.
Chögyam Trungpa, The Sanity We Are Born With (Shambhala Publications)
“Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope -—a slight change, and all patterns alter.” –Sharon Salzberg
There are so many meanings that can be drawn from the above statement, I should probably let it go at that (but I won’t *wink).
When I allow my mind to shift in the direction of unconscious thought or action, my life and all its pattern go one way and when I am mindful, my life and all it’s patterns form a different picture.
Each person, every thing I come in contact with changes the pattern – but not as much as the letting go in my own heart and mind . . .
Have a great one luv,
Sitting, Concentrated, Focused, Calm, Dispassionate
(based on Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness, by Arnie Kozak, Ph.D.)
Ever get lost in the rules?
Hope you enjoy this passage . . .
Seung Sahn would say, “When you eat, just eat. When you read the newspaper, just read the newspaper. Don’t do anything other than what you are doing.”
One day a student saw him reading the newspaper while he was eating. The student asked if this did not contradict his teaching. Seung Sahn said, “When you eat and read the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper.”
–From Essential Zen, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Tensho David Schneide
I’m still throwing around the concepts of “being” and “action” like two tennis players in my head that keep smacking the ball of reality into each other’s court.
Today’s post by Christopher Titmuss, from An Awakened Life has been a great volly between 2 experieced and qualified concepts.
Knowledge and theories about wisdom are like carrying books on the back of a donkey. We may carry around many ideas of worthwhile changes that we would like to make in our life.
To evolve, we must put those ideas into practice or they will become a weight for us. We need to look into every area of our daily existence. It would be a pity to live an unexamined life and only rely upon external voices of authority and our inner conditioning to tell us what matters and what to do with our life.
For consciousness to evolve, we must commit ourselves to living a conscious life. To know ourselves, to go deep into ourselves, awakens the mind.
–Christopher Titmuss, from An Awakened Life
In one his movies, the comedian W.C. Fields walks into a bank and up to the teller’s window. The teller asks, “Can you identify yourself?” Fields says, “Of course. Do you have a mirror?” When presented with one, Fields immediately states, “Yup, that’s me!”It’s meant as a joke, but it carries a ring of truth. Who among us can say they really know themselves, without illusions, beyond the face in the mirror, their name-rank-and-serial-number role in the world, their personas, defense mechanisms, and self-deceptions?
Do we distinguish between when we are being authentic and inauthentic?
Do we know what we really feel about things, what our true values and priorities are, what lies below the surface of consciousness, and what makes us tick?
- Lama Surya Das, from The Big Questions (Rodale)
Here’s to finding out who you really are in the quiet moments.
After a busy and fun holiday weekend, I am in need of some quiet moments – no tv, no internet, no phone, no family and no friends.
I think a walking meditation on the beach is called for tonight, before I even return home from work.
The sound of water & sand, wind, my heartbeat and my breath – Observing my thoughts arise and then watching them fall away, like the water receding and coming to shore again.
Stripped away and back to me.
About 20 minutes should do it – the rest of the night won’t be the same. The rest of my life won’t be the same.
Yeah, it’s time to prioritize.
With Hands Open and Receptive,
Milarepa: “When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.”
It is humbling and satisfying to realize the thoughts that run through my head – often at speed of light (especially when I turn inward) are not that important.
The only attention they deserve, is to be observed as they pass – not followed. My ego thinks they’re priceless and in need of chasing.
There is something very freeing about not chasing . . .
Here’s to Freedom
Make Your Own Way
Hikers know that there are no passable roads in a virgin forest. However, a road will open up when you pull away the grass, thorns and wisteria. Swimmers know that there are no paths in the water, but as you swim you will create a pathway.
Cultivation is similar. You only need to get on the path and walk and you will create your own path. The roads walked by the Ch’an patriarchs are theirs, not yours. You must depend on yourself to open up your own road.
-Ch’an Master Sheng-yen, from Dharma Drum
Just some observations of being consumed with a fever “on and off” for the last 14 days:
I love to escape -
get lost in a DVD in order to forget how I am feeling
or use food to self nurture
I am very resistant to being ill
It’s difficult to focus on normal routine things when sick
It’s easy to be aware of other areas when you just go with the illness and stop resisting
There’s a fine line between focusing on health and accepting what is
Dreams are crazy during a fever
I am very aware of my body
I am very aware of taste
Fresh food is a gift and a miracle
Acheyness and being grumpy are a natural pairing for me
I am very aware of breathing
Breathwork is easier when I’m well
Cool showers are a tactile delight (and I tend to rush through them when healthy)
Wow, I’m really not that aware when I’m not sick
I’m really not missing all that much when I don’t access the internet
I spend too much time on the internet when I’m healthy
People on tv are really consumed with Chris Brown, Rhianna and Octomom
“Match Game” reruns make me laugh (and feel better)
I miss my dog
My neighbor can be very loud
I’m sensitive to light and sound
My home gets messy fast when I don’t have energy to clean
Laundry piles up quick when you sweat a lot
I don’t like a messy or dirty house much
I have a very compassionate doctor
I have some very compassionate coworkers
I suck at slowing down and taking rest when my body tells me to
My mother is horrible at masking her concern/fears and it’s sweet to listen to her try to sound cheerful
I take a good night’s sleep for granted, way to often
I have a love/hate relationship with antibiotics
It’s hard to let go of work issues
I look forward to being well again
I miss exercising
Walking is never a chore when I’m healthy
I’m happy it’s raining and cool
There’s a Zen story in which a man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk. He sees another boat coming down the river toward him. At first it seems so nice to him that someone else is also enjoying the river on a nice summer evening.
Then he realizes that the boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster. He begins to get upset and starts to yell, “Hey, hey watch out! For Pete’s sake, turn aside!” But the boat just comes faster and faster, right toward him. By this time he’s standing up in his boat, screaming and shaking his fist, and then the boat smashes right into him.
He sees that it’s an empty boat.
This is the classic story of our whole life situation.
–Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are
There’s an old Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu, “Please write for me something of great wisdom.” Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: “Attention.” The student said, “Is that all?” The master wrote, “Attention Attention.”…
For “attention” we could substitute the word “awareness.” Attention or awareness is the secret of life and the heart of practice….[E]very moment in life is absolute itself. That’s all there is. There is nothing other than this present moment; there is no past, there is no future; there is nothing but this. So when we don’t pay attention to every little this, we miss the whole thing. And the contents of this can be anything. This can be straightening our sitting mats, chopping an onion, visiting one we don’t want to visit. It doesn’t matter what the contents of the moment are; each moment is absolute. That’s all there is, and all there ever will be. If we could totally pay attention, we would never be upset. If we’re upset, it’s axiomatic that we’re not paying attention.If we miss not just ONE moment, but ONE moment after another, we’re in trouble.
–Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Living Zen
From, –Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart
(Jack basically says it all, no need for much comment, so throw me a bone – I’m a novice at sitting)
For some, [the] task of coming back a thousand or ten thousand times in meditation may seem boring or even of questionable importance. But how many times have we gone away from the reality of our life?–perhaps a million or ten million times! If we wish to awaken, we have to find our way back here with our full being, our full attention. . .
In this way, meditation is very much like training a puppy. You put the puppy down and say, “Stay.” Does the puppy listen? It gets up and runs away. You sit the puppy back down again. “Stay.” And the puppy runs away over and over again. Sometimes the puppy jumps up, runs over and pees in the corner, or makes some other mess. Our minds are much the same as the puppy, only they create even bigger messes. In training the mind, or the puppy, we have to start over and over again.