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Posts Tagged ‘peace
I came across this and it felt right, so I thought I’d share it; enjoy – John
A Post written by Leo Babauta.
Just for a moment.
Listen to the world around you. Feel your breath coming in and going out. Listen to your thoughts. See the details of your surroundings.
Be at peace with being still.
In this modern world, activity and movement are the default modes, if not with our bodies then at least with our minds, with our attention. We rush around all day, doing things, talking, emailing, sending and reading messages, clicking from browser tab to the next, one link to the next.
We are always on, always connected, always thinking, always talking. There is no time for stillness — and sitting in front of a frenetic computer all day, and then in front of the hyperactive television, doesn’t count as stillness.
This comes at a cost: we lose that time for contemplation, for observing and listening. We lose peace.
And worse yet: all the rushing around is often counterproductive. I know, in our society action is all-important — inaction is seen as lazy and passive and unproductive. However, sometimes too much action is worse than no action at all. You can run around crazily, all sound and fury, but get nothing done. Or you can get a lot done — but nothing important. Or you can hurt things with your actions, make things worse than if you’d stayed still.
And when we are forced to be still — because we’re in line for something, or waiting at a doctor’s appointment, or on a bus or train — we often get antsy, and need to find something to do. Some of us will have our mobile devices, others will have a notebook or folder with things to do or read, others will fidget. Being still isn’t something we’re used to.
Take a moment to think about how you spend your days — at work, after work, getting ready for work, evenings and weekends. Are you constantly rushing around? Are you constantly reading and answering messages, checking on the news and the latest stream of information? Are you always trying to Get Lots of Things Done, ticking off tasks from your list like a machine, rushing through your schedule?
Is this how you want to spend your life?
If so, peace be with you. If not, take a moment to be still. Don’t think about what you have to do, or what you’ve done already. Just be in the moment.
Then after a minute or two of doing that, contemplate your life, and how you’d like it to be. See your life with less movement, less doing, less rushing. See it with more stillness, more contemplation, more peace.
Then be that vision.
It’s pretty simple, actually: all you have to do is sit still for a little bit each day. Once you’ve gotten used to that, try doing less each day. Breathe when you feel yourself moving too fast. Slow down. Be present. Find happiness now, in this moment, instead of waiting for it.
Savor the stillness. It’s a treasure, and it’s available to us, always.
From the Tao Te Ching:
It is not wise to dash about.
Shortening the breath causes much stress.
Use too much energy, and
You will soon be exhausted.
That is not the Natural Way.
Whatever works against this Way
Will not last long.
The average person has 12,000 thoughts per day – most of them a recurring handful of unwelcome distractions (source “Still the Mind” – Bodhipaksa)
I’ve been listening to a download by SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE, the author of “Turning The Mind Into An Ally” and I am enjoying listening to his teaching as it slowly sinks in to my being (it’s been a lighter look at his elementary teachings).
The basic gist is about how we do not have to be at odds with unpleasant or unconscious thoughts as they arise – rather it’s about how to have a better relationship with the distracting or unpleasant mind – the same way we have to work through our relationships with others we love, when they are being unpleasant. Now this is not about dealing with the Shadow, it’s more about the constant way our mind can go on and on and on – the Monkey Chatter. I felt his “basic” ideas were worth posting and that some of my blog readers would enjoy his teaching. I find it has been valuable for me; it’s a simple wisdom that has changed my relationship with myself. Here are some of my paraphrased words from Sakyong’s introductory interview:
Peaceful Abiding is a basic meditation, for harmony within ourselves – with our mind. Not at odds with our mind, rather with mind as an ally. For instance, we never know how we are going to wake up (angry, happy, frustrated etc.) and this is the person we are going to have to deal with the rest of the day. This is who we are in relationship with for that day. What kind of relationship will we have with this mind/emotion? If we are not in relationship with our mind – life becomes very difficult.
As a people we generally like to be in control, this is our human condition. We like thinking we are in control of our thoughts. As if it were natural to think certain thoughts only when we want to.
However, as we sit down to eat we can all of a sudden begin to think about a bill, needing to fix our car, problems at work, how our friend acted like such a bitch, etc. If we were in control, we would say (and be), “So I am sitting down to eat, I will be present with eating and think about the bills, the car, work, my friend, when I want/choose to think about the bills or the car or work or my bitch friend”.
Let’s face it – it doesn’t work that way. We don’t have that kind of control. So we have to be in relationship with our mind. Is it our enemy or is it our ally?
In Sakyong’s teaching, it is about making the mind pliable, making it flexible. A hardened and inflexible mind has no room for compassion; it is jealous, angry, holding . . . What we are in need of, is a softening.
In allowing distracting thoughts to arise and pass (and there are various ways to do this), in allowing these to be impermanent, we see that the nature of mind at its core – is peaceful abiding, clear, knowing and powerful. It is our ally. It is part of our true nature. And this is one of the values in meditating – peaceful abiding. It’s not some mystical state, it’s our natural state.
It takes courage to be compassionate (even with the self) when you’re consumed with a thought/emotion. To make peace with one’s mind takes strength and courage and understanding. It is much easier to give in, than to be brave enough to remain open to change or possibility (especially if we are angry or anxious). Yet this is the possibility that exists in all of us.
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.
How do you recognize change?
It is a valid question. How does your own “filter” skew(or screw) what you see? Do you have a preconceived idea of what change should look like? Does “I Already Know What I Want To See” keep you from seeing?
I have needed to shut off the internet news and “web-surfer posts”, because everyone is screaming, “See, there is no change. Here’s “old” Washington again”.
So I needed to sit with this. Just like I needed to sit with whether to support Obama (not my original choice) when everyone was yelling to go with him. I have found value in quieting the mind chatter, remaining in touch with my core. To just be still and sit.
In sitting, I can remain open. The more open I remain, the less my filter gets in the way of listening and observing. And I am at a part of my life where I not only enjoy but I value this child-like quality. The quality of not knowing and thereby, Learning something.
Here are some changes I’ve noticed:
Since even before his election, Obama has reached out from the beginning to people who were rivals during his candidacy (specifically Clinton and McCain). This IS a change in Washington. A change I have desired and wanted (and might have missed if I only listened to the focus of the news media and not been of quiet mind). This reaching out is a HUGE deal.
The above is also an example of negotiating PEACE.
Another change I’ve desired.
There can be no international peace if we do not attempt to bridge the differences within our own party(s). I have not seen an effort from either side in a very long time, like the effort I have seen by our President Elect. This process gives me Hope.
I have seen a man not rely on his own ego, nor a narrow definition of Change as he contemplates his cabinet. I see someone who is willing to view history and see what has worked, chosen people who have made wise decisions in past administrations and honored their talents by choosing them to serve. I don’t know about you, but this is quite a change from the last 8 years and has the great potential to continue change by promoting peace and stabilizing our economy.
Finally, I have seen a man who has not reacted to racial slurs or religious inaccuracies from within our nation and more so from overseas – specifically from terrorists. He has been baited. He also shows no sign of taking the bait. Again, this is quite a change. A maturity I have rarely witnessed the last 8 years.
So here we are only a few weeks after the election and people are already saying that there is no change and our future president has not even been sworn in. My view is different. I am not expecting an administration free of conflicts or imperfect decisions. I hope to remain open, so that I can witness and acknowledge changes as they unfold, whether they are the changes “I expect” or more importantly, the changes I do not expect – and therefore have more difficulty seeing.