Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This is such a wonderful affirmation of the power of long-term, dedicated meditation practice that I had to take a minute to share it, from Sri Easwaran's Thought for the Day.
Om shanthi, shanthi, shanthi!
Know that when thou learnest to lose thy self
Thou wilt reach the Beloved.
There is no other secret to be revealed,
And more than this is not known to me.
To know completely, the knower has actually to become one with the known. To know you as you really are, I must somehow get out of my own shoes and step into yours. I must get myself out of the way in order to know you as you really are. This is what we catch some glimpse of in totally faithful love, where we forget ourselves completely in the happiness of another.
The mystics of all faiths and all ages testify that then we know directly, intuitively, what the needs of the other are, and we do our utmost to make sure those needs are fulfilled. It is this direct awareness that we can develop through the sustained and enthusiastic practice of meditation.
-- Sri Eknath Easwaran
Monday, December 14, 2009
The law of karma is so precise: For every action there is a reaction. And yet the law is also complex beyond our ability to comprehend -- the great teachers have basically said we needn't even try, just do our best to live honorably. The quality of "Interbeing" that Thich Nhat Hanh so elegantly captured, the interconnectedness of all things, is an excellent way to frame the law of karma.
Once again Sri Eknath Easwaran's Thought for the Day communicates a complex truth in simple language that speaks clearly to me..."we are not separate fragments." It helps me understand that the consequences of my unconscious behavior, for instance in the way I eat and care for myself, have a ripple effect FAR beyond what I could ever imagine. ALL of my behavior has consequences, from the most personal to the most socio-economically derived. We truly "inter-are."
All things by immortal power
Near or far,
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star.
-- Francis Thompson
The science of ecology teaches us that everything in the universe is connected. We cannot separate ourselves from the consequences of even the least of our actions: whatever we do here comes back there. This is the law of the unity of life. Like gravity or any other law of nature, you cannot break it; you can only break yourself against it.
If you throw a bottle into the air, it will return to earth and shatter. Similarly, if you act in a way that violates the unity of life -- polluting the atmosphere, wasting precious resources, ignoring the needs of others -- you will find your health, your peace of mind, and your happiness destroyed. We are not separate fragments. Like all the animals and plants, we depend on each other and on the environment.
-- Eknath Easwaran
I can't resist adding this short text from Sharon Salzberg's exceptional book, LOVINGKINDNESS: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, because it is so in *sync* with the words of Thompson and Easwaran: "Committing ourselves to caring for one another and living in a way that is not harmful is the most basic and fundamental protection we can give to and receive from each other. It protects us, because if we are not swept up and carried away into actions based on forces such as greed, hatred, and delusion, then we do not have to suffer guilt, remorse, confusion, and trouble in our hearts -- now, or even when we die. It also protects others from the harm we might cause them (no matter how subtle)."
OK, now I'm going to REALLY get carried away and add this poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, which embodies the essence of "interbeing," the innerconnectedness of all things:
CALL ME BY MY TRUE NAMES
Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond,
and I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his "debt of blood" to my people
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the earth.
My pain if like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up
and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
the door of compassion.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a poet, a scholar, and a peace activist. His life long efforts to generate peace and reconciliation moved Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. "True Names" was written in 1978 during the Vietnam War, while helping the boat people.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
You'll be glad you did! tinyurl.com/ydqlh5v
I just received this CD from Amazon.com...and the music is just fabulously WONDERFUL. I'm having a hard time typing this, because I'm moving all over my chair -- shakin' my booty! I discovered it through the world-music Pandora.com holiday station I created. If you groove to world beat and holiday music with *attitude,* you'll love this!
Here's what the album notes say:
"Our glory is we had such friends.
-- WB Yeats
"Those words, to paraphase Yeats, express how grateful all of us in the Special Olympics Movement are to the artists on this album. They have shared the gift of unique and beautiful Christmas music from each of their countries to make this magnificent 'World Christmas' record a reality.
"And what an important reality! 'World Christmas' will help the expansion of Special Olympics programs in the urban areas of America and in developing countries like Bangladesh and Botswana as well as 150 other countries, bring friendship and joy where there was once isolation....
"We are sincerely grateful to all of you who purchase this wonderfully inspiring Christmas record."
-- Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder, Special Olympics International
O!M!G! I've reached #11...Mino Cinelu and Dianne Reeves, Twelve Days of Christmas. It's BEYOND fabuloso! Cinelu's arrangement is surreal. (I'm prejudiced though, 'cause Reeves is WAY high on my list of fav musicians!) Oh, and check out the stud, er I mean, Cinelu's webpage: www.minocinelu.com/menus/main_menu_V
Saturday, December 12, 2009
This weeks offering from Weekly Words of Wisdom just seemed like something worth sharing! Will all those NOT up for eternal happiness please raise their hands...???
Finding Eternal Happiness
"The goal of human life is to find eternal happiness and supreme peace. Invariably, everyone is seeking to have this permanent joy. All the great sages, saints and prophets who have realized this peace and joy have told us that the moment you keep your mind calm and serene, you can enjoy supreme happiness. Our effort in the name of religion, Yoga or any spiritual practice should be toward achieving this peace and calmness of mind. A restless mind is an impure mind; an impure mind is a restless mind. If we could keep the mind clean, it will find its calmness. 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness.' Why? Because only a clean mind can be calm, and only a calm mind can reveal true happiness.
"God bless you. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti."
-- Sri Swami Satchidananda
Friday, December 11, 2009
You know who you are! (Ahhh...yes, I hear you Mary!)
What is it, that you need so badly?
Think about this.
In the city called Wait,
also known as the airport,
you might think about your life --
there is not much else to do.
For one thing,
there is too much luggage,
and you're truly lugging it --
you and, it seems, everyone.
What is it, that you need so badly?
Think about this.
Earlier, in another city,
you're on the tarmac, a lost hour.
You're going to miss your connection, and you know it,
and you do.
You're headed for five hours of nothing.
And how long can you think about your own life?
What I did, to save myself,
was to look for children, the very young ones
who couldn't even know where they were going, or why.
Some of them were fussing, of course.
Many of them were beautifully Hispanic.
The storm was still busy outside, and snow falling
anywhere, any time, is a wonder.
But even more wonderful, and maybe the only thing
to put your own life in proportion,
were the babies, the little ones, hot and tired,
gurgling, chuckling, as they looked --
wherever they were going, or not yet going,
in their weary parents' arms (no!
their lucky parents' arms) --
upon this broken world.
~ Mary Oliver ~
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