Saturday, September 05, 2009
To me the gospels are the rarest of treasures and the part of the Bible that I deeply resonate with. Sri Easwaran has provided many commentaries on Jesus' words and Christian masters in various texts -- three of his books come to mind: Original Goodness: The Beatitudes; Seeing with the Eyes of Love: The Imitation of Christ; Love Never Faileth: St. Francis, St. Paul, St. Augustine & Mother Teresa.
I found his commentary on this verse especially helpful, as well as useful to me in my spiritual journey, and thought others might appreciate it as well:
Unto those that hath shall be given, and they shall have abundance: but from those that hath not shall be taken away even that which they have.
-- Matthew 25:29
This is a strange paradox, a little-known secret. Jesus isnâ€™t speaking of worldly goods. He is speaking of a very rare kind of treasure: the more you draw on it, the more you will have. The more patient you are with people, for instance, the more patience you will have. The more generous you are today, the more generosity you will have tomorrow. The more love you give, the more loving you become.
The principle can be stated in the plainest of terms: if you are selfish with your love, the scant security you cling to will be battered by life. But if you give of yourself freely, your security will be unshakable. Your joy will be limitless. You will always have more to give.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Wislawa Szymborska is 80 years old, a Polish poet, essayist and translator. She was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. In Poland, her books reach sales rivaling prominent prose authors, although she once remarked in a poem entitled "Some Like Poetry" that no more than two out of a thousand people care for the art.
I have shared her poetry before. I love how she so beautifully and sensitively captures questions and reflections of the human spirit.
Her metaphors and symbolism attract me and help me to lift this journey to health and wholeness to a new level. She is a woman to model and emulate and I honor her.
Enjoy this utterly amazing piece with me:
AMONG THE MULTITUDES
I am who I am.
A coincidence no less unthinkable
than any other.
I could have different
ancestors, after all.
I could have fluttered
from another nest
or crawled bescaled
from another tree.
holds a fair
supply of costumes:
Spider, seagull, field mouse.
each fits perfectly right off
and is dutifully worn
I didn't get a choice either,
but I can't complain.
I could have been someone
much less separate.
someone from an anthill, shoal, or buzzing swarm,
an inch of landscape ruffled by the wind.
Someone much less fortunate,
bred for my fur
or Christmas dinner,
something swimming under a square of glass.
A tree rooted to the ground
as the fire draws near.
A grass blade trampled by a stampede
of incomprehensible events.
A shady type whose darkness
What if I'd prompted only fear,
If I'd been born
in the wrong tribe
with all roads closed before me?
Fate has been kind
to me thus far.
I might never have been given
the memory of happy moments
My yen for comparison
might have been taken away.
I might have been myself minus amazement,
someone completely different.
-- Wislawa Szymborska
(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Ahhhh...I REALLY needed this this early morning....
In the midst of some activity, even the activity of reading this now, it is completely possible to allow your mind to open fully, and in that opening to discover the peace and fulfillment of your own spacious awareness.
No place to go, no thing to get, no goal to be realized; no body to change no perfection to be attained. Simply, in this very moment, you can recognize what is always here. Here underneath all the lists and underneath all the victories and defeats.
In meeting yourself, free of all should's and must's and will's, for even a moment, you realize that even if nothing gets fixed or done, simple natural fulfillment is already here.
Of course there is much in our world, our bodies, and our minds that could use fixing. And part of the human evolutionary thrust is to use our mental capacities to discover what is wrong -- outside and inside -- and then to begin the work of correction by removal or augmentation. What a truly awesome power of mind. It is a hallmark of the capacity of the human brain.
The problem arises when this evolving, mistake-searching aspect of mind rules the life form called by your name. And this problem is huge in our culture.
How much of your attention is focused on what is wrong with yourself or others?
When we see how much is wrong or harmful in our thinking and our and others' actions, we can be overwhelmed by the tasks revealed. This overwhelm can result in giving up and reverting to cynicism or in strengthening our resolve to work even harder. To think and do more.
I am actually suggesting that before the overwhelm, or even in the midst of overwhelm, it is possible to stop, if only for a moment, and return to silence. In that moment, there is the recognition that to be internally free and at peace, nothing needs to be done.
Even a moment of true silence allows for true choice, for authentic, appropriate action or non-action to follow.
Some spiritual traditions refer to this silence as no mind. But for me that term is too close to mindless as in ignorant or stupid. I prefer the term open mind. The open mind is spacious and aware. It finds nourishment in itself, intelligent and aware without the need to follow thought.
In truth, all creative and fresh thinking comes out of this nourishment of aware silence. And it is available for you right now.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Eknath Easwaran says the important stuff so simply, yet with such depth. And what he is talking about not only has relevance on the spiritual journey, but certainly the journey toward body and mind wellness also:
When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has found.
-- Sufi proverb
During the early stages of the spiritual journey, we can feel a certain deprivation when we have to keep saying no to the senses as they clamor for things that will only add to the burden of the journey later on. "Don't eat this. Don't drink that. Don't smoke this. Don't watch that." There is no rapture; there is no ecstasy; only "keep plugging along."
This discriminating restraint of the senses is not asceticism. Its purpose is not to subjugate the body. We need to train the senses to be faithful allies on our journey for two compelling reasons:
first, the body is our vehicle, and we need to keep it healthy, strong, and resilient so that it can carry us steadily and safely to the summit of consciousness;
second, training the senses strengthens the will day by day, enabling us gradually to gain control over the fierce passions that rage beneath the surface of consciousness.
Without a trained will it is not possible to move up out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death which is our physical world. Untrained, the will becomes self-will, our worst enemy; but trained, the will can become our most powerful ally.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Saturday, August 22, 2009
So...here is my Toyota Dolphin 20' camper in all her glory:
A kind soul took my picture at Yellowstone Falls mid-adventure:
Another sweet person captured me sitting by a rock sculpture I created at Colter Bay, Grand Tetons:
Ahhh, yesterday I paused for some tree-hugging during the *last hurrah* (for now!)...on the Yellow Rock Trail, a 3-mile hike at Devil's Den State Park, near Fayetteville, AR:
This has been a Journey of Awakening in many ways. It has shown me that there are many ways to find peace and balance in this chaotic world...and a prime one is to scoot off into nature to restore my inner resources and contact the stillness within.
I left with severe neck and shoulder discomfort and have returned feeling whole and well. If that's not a commentary, I'm at a serious loss for words!
I lost another 1.5 pounds without even thinking about it...I merely ate when I was hungry...ate simple, whole, nutritious foods...enjoyed my food rather than multi-tasking as I ate. I loved finding privately owned or co-op natural foods stores along the way -- the boutiful offerings of Open Harvest Natural Foods Cooperative in Lincoln, NE and Jackson Hole Organic Grocer come to mind.
I have a challening living situation and need to be FULLY PRESENT to behave with kindness while not giving up my personal power. This journey has given me new insights about parameters and ways to BE, while evaluating the workability of my digs.
I begin university classes in two days...this is an exciting new advenure in itself, pursuing a degree in Spanish to hopefully expand my employment options. I'm also looking seriously at a trip to Ecuador in December to further explore the possibilities that exist there for service and work.
All-in-all, I've come back refreshed and ready to move ahead, thrilled at the Labor Day holiday retreat with renowned Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh just ahead which will further arm me with the strength of the timeless Teachings.
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