Wednesday, September 29, 2010
If we just worry about the big picture, we are powerless. So my secret is to start right away doing whatever little work I can do. I try to give joy to one person in the morning, and remove the suffering of one person in the afternoon. If you and your friends do not despise the small work, a million people will remove a lot of suffering.
Monday, September 27, 2010
True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
What is Meditation?You can read the rest of it right here. Also, some of the comments after the article are quite inspiring.
Meditation is a practice that makes it possible to cultivate and develop certain basic positive human qualities in the same way as other forms of training make it possible to play a musical instrument or acquire any other skill.
Among several Asian words that translate as “meditation” in English are bhavana from Sanskrit, which means “to cultivate,” and its Tibetan equivalent, gom, meaning “to become familiar with.” Meditation helps us to familiarize ourselves with a clear and accurate way of seeing things and to cultivate wholesome qualities that remain dormant within us unless we make an effort to draw them out.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Generosity is another quality which, like patience, letting go, non-judging, and trust, provides a solid foundation for mindfulness practice. You might experiment with using the cultivation of generosity as a vehicle for deep self-observation and inquiry as well as an exercise in giving. A good place to start is with yourself. See if you can give yourself gifts that may be true blessings, such as self-acceptance, or some time each day with no purpose. Practice feeling deserving enough to accept these gifts without obligation-to simply receive from yourself, and from the universe.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well and yet everything happens only a certain number of times - and a very small number really. How many times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your life that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many times will you watch the full moon rise, perhaps twenty, and yet it all seems so limitless…
-- Paul Bowles
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. The aim of meditation is to transform the mind. As things stand now, our mind is often filled with troubles. We spend a great deal of time consumed by painful thoughts, plagued by anxiety or anger. It would be such a relief, if we could master our mind to the point where we could be free of these disturbing emotions.I do really like that last sentence. Many people who come to the Center for meditation instruction are under the illusion that we should "bliss out" when we meditate and what they mean by that is essentionally to anesthetize the mind. Instead, we learn to be both deeply relaxed and powerfully alert at the same time.
We readily accept the idea of spending years learning to walk, read and write, or acquire professional skills. We spend hours doing physical exercises in order to get our bodies into shape. We do so because we believe that these efforts are going to benefit us in the long run.
Working with the mind follows the same logic. It will not change just from wishing alone. Meditation is a practice that makes it possible to cultivate and develop certain basic, positive human qualities in the same way other forms of training make it possible to acquire any other skill.
The goal of meditation is not to shut down the mind or anesthetize it, but rather to make it free, lucid and balanced.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
When the senses contact sense objects, a person experiences cold or heat, pleasure or pain. These experiences are fleeting they come and go. Bear them patiently.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I must first know myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious about that which is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self, would be ridiculous. And therefore I bid farewell to all this; the common opinion is enough for me. For, as I was saying, I want to know not about this, but about myself: am I a monster more complicated and swollen with passion than the serpent Typho, or a creature of a gentler and simpler sort, to whom Nature has given a diviner and lowlier destiny?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The same, I would assert, is true of meditation with regard to our emotional and psychological life.
We all knew there was just one way to improve our odds for survival: train, train, train. Sometimes, if your training is properly intense it will kill you. More often -- much, much more often -- it will save your life.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I would suggest that the word "clarity" here as it is used is very much related to the notion of "observer consciousness".
Seeing our moment-to-moment automatic conditioned reactions is crucial. Without that we will just continue the mess we are creating in our world, in our loveless relationships. Without clarity, the self-pitying or self-aggrandizing soliloquy takes up all the space; then there is just this little stage for the actor, the victim, the hero, the star. If that isn’t seen, self-pitying and self-promoting proceeds and makes oneself and others miserable.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Many people wonder why impermanence is valuable and beneficial even when it's about things we like. Why would we want those things to end? The above video helps us understand that. Do take the time to listen. It's only one minute and fifty-one seconds long. The teacher's name is Ven. Dhammika.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
A few years ago, I was at a small conference of scientists all of whom practiced meditation on a daily basis. Toward the end of the four-day meeting, during which each of them had described at some length how he meditated, I began to press them on the question of why they meditated. Various answers were given by different members of the group and we all knew that they were unsatisfactory, that they did not really answer the questions. Finally one man said, "It's like coming home." There was silence after this, and one by one all nodded their heads in agreement. There was clearly no need to prolong the inquiry further.
This answer to the question "Why meditate?" runs all through the literature written by those who practice this discipline. We meditate to find, to recover, to come back to something of ourselves we once dimly and unknowingly had and have lost without knowing what it was or where or when we lost it.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Kindness is not without its rocks ahead. People are apt to put it down to an easy temper and seldom recognize it as the secret striving of a generous nature; whilst, on the other hand, the ill-natured get credit for all the evil they refrain from.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I would hasten to add here, that this does not mean we can (or should) make our mind "go blank". What Watts is saying here is that we can choose not to indulge or chase after the discursive thoughts that arise in the mind during meditaiton. If we are reasonably consistent in bringing the mind back to the meditative support when such thoughts make their appearance then, yes, we are, in effect, suspending verbal and symbolic thinking.
We are sick with fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin.
-- Alan Watts
Thursday, September 09, 2010
You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
So true. We contribute more than we know to the well being of the whole world when we are doing our own inner work.
If each of us sweeps in front of our own steps, the whole world would be clean.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don't have to gain, develop, or attain them. We're like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don't need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are.
-- Bo Lozoff
Monday, September 06, 2010
We can go a long way with that one, folks.
"If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it."
Sunday, September 05, 2010
When we go to a medicine person or healer because we are feeling disheartened, dispirited or depressed, he or she might ask questions like:
'When did you stop singing?'
'When did you stop dancing?'
'When did you stop being enchanted by stories?'
-- Angeles Arrien (American Cultural Anthropologist and Author)
Friday, September 03, 2010
Listen, are you breathing just a little,
and calling it a life?...
For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!
Of course, I've loved just about every line Mary Oliver has ever put to paper. Reading her poetry is on my "self-soothing/uplift" list.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Who you are, in truth, who everyone is, is whole and perfect and beautiful. And if that can be recognized, then it is possible that self-torture can stop!
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it.
It is the same, I feel,with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them -we may forget altogether to live them.
-- Alan Watts