Wednesday, January 13, 2010
This hit me hard even though I've heard it over and over again. Sri Easwaran's explanation of that cryptic statement of the Buddha really says it all...and it's about EVERY part of my life, every high and low place, every crevice, every hidden part.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
-- The Buddha
Our destiny is in our own hands. Since we are formed by our thoughts, it follows that what we become tomorrow is shaped by what we think today.
Happily, we can choose the way we think. We can choose our feelings, aspirations, desires, and the way we view our world and ourselves. Mastery of the mind opens avenues of hope. We can begin to reshape our life and character, rebuild relationships, thrive in the stress of daily living-- we can become the kind of person we want to be.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I have a problem with faith...with trust. I always have. The concrete reality before my eyes is easy. The unseen isn't so easy. As a spiritual being occupying a body (yeah, I've managed to get that integrated), I am aware that growth, greater consciousness, at times requires a leap of faith. And that's where I've often faltered...and failed to accomplish what I've set out to -- whether it be wellness goals or other life goals.
Don't get me wrong. I've managed to do many things over the journey of this topsy-turvy life of mine. It's just that I intuit that if I could learn the "desperate faith of sleep-walkers who rise out of their calm beds and walk through the skin of another life" THEN I would have extra-sensory experience of drinking "the stupefying cup of darkness" and waking up to myself, "nourished and surprised."
The surprise. That's it. I'm missing the surprise of deep, abiding faith (shraddha). Thank you Edward Hirsch for saying what my soul has been whispering for eons.
FOR THE SLEEPWALKERS
Tonight I want to say something wonderful
for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
in their legs, so much faith in the invisible
arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.
I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing
to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,
palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
Always they return home safely, like blind men
who know it is morning by feeling shadows.
And always they wake up as themselves again.
That's why I want to say something astonishing
like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.
Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music
of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
And now our hearts are thick black fists
flying back to the glove of our chests.
We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise out of their calm beds
and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.
-- Edward Hirsch
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Really nothing more to say about it this morning.
IT'S ALL RIGHT
(From the album "TB Sheets," 1973)
If it matters how you do it,
And how you do it is your thing.
If it matters which way you go,
That's your way to go.
And if you get it like that,
That's the way you get it,
'Cause you get it like that
When you want to be that way,
When you wanna be that way,
That's the way you wanna be, see.
Hey! It's all right.
Yeah, its all right.
Now that you try to do to me
Out there a-walkin' doesn't matter, baby
Ain't no question, no suggestion
Nothin' in my mind that can't be
Shut out when I want it to be
Nothin' in yours that can't be kept in
When you open it up and lose it
And nothin' you can't let out
If it's got to be let out, just let it out
And don't worry which way it goes.
Now how can I tell you that I love you
How can I say so many words and so many syllables
In such a short space of time as this
Just turn it on and soak it in
And let it run off the walls
And let it down, keep it, and don't lose it
Or confuse it
It's just right there layin' open
Completely open for everybody to see
Yeah, you got it.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
WHOA! Powerful words from my hero, Sri Easwaran, this morning. I seem to be on a roll with the Thought for the Day as you can see, often deeply resonating with the daily Teaching.
The fact is that my thoughts impact every corner and cubicle of my life. I well know that thoughts repeated over and over make tracks in my consciousness and become conditioned behavior, which is frequently NOT where I want to be. One of the biggest reasons that I meditate is to slow down the mind, slow down the thoughts, the mental chatter and slowly take control. This allows me to change...to act spontaneously...to follow my bliss and move ever closer toward uncovering who I am, my true nature.
It is also so very valuable on a day-by-day, mundane level in attaining goals like meeting and maintaining an optimal weight, eating wisely, following a daily structure that serves me including exercise, clearing clutter, keeping my space clean, etc. In moving toward controlling my thoughts, I'm looking for progress, not perfection -- baby steps toward the goal.
The Buddha says, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a wo/man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows her/him. If a wo/man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows her/him, like a shadow that never leaves her/him." And Notes From the Universe ( www.tut.com ) admonishes -- "Thoughts become things. Choose good ones." Yep. It's a purdy basic formula, simple Truth, but one that for me is not easy to live by, though it IS the "healing I took birth for" as Stephen Levine says.
We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
-- Swami Vivekananda
The ancestor of every destructive action, every destructive decision, is a negative thought. We do not have to be afraid of negative thoughts as long as we do not welcome them. They are in the air, and they may knock at anyone's door; but if we do not embrace them, ask them in, and make them our own, they can have no power over us.
We can think of thoughts as hitchhikers. At the entrance to the freeway, we used to see a lot of hitchhikers carrying signs: "Vancouver," "Mexico," "L.A." One said in simple desperation, "Anywhere!" Thoughts are a lot like those hitchhikers. We can pick them up or pass them by. Negative thoughts carry signs, but usually we see only one side, the side with all the promises. The back of the sign tells us their true destination: sickness and sorrow.
Nobody is obliged to pick up these passengers. If we do not stop and let them in, they cannot go anywhere, because they are not real until we support them. There is sympathy in the world: pick it up. There is antipathy in the world: don't pick it up. Hatred destroys. Love heals.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Thursday, January 07, 2010
As usual, Eknath Easwaran spoke to me in a place that I truly resonate with. Returning home after a wonderful trip to the "left coast" I'm ready to move into a level of greater conscious attention, enabling me to flourish in body, mind, and spirit as I enter the new decade.
I have been consistent with a daily sitting practice since the Soul Writing Retreat in October. I hope to continue deepening my practice and overall wellness as I learn how to increasingly direct my attention.
May we all grow and flourish in this new year!
Genius...means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an inhabitual way.
-- William James
Attention is very much like a searchlight, and it should be mounted in such a way that it can be trained on any subject freely. When we are caught up in some compulsion, this searchlight has become stuck. After many years of being stuck like this, it is hard to believe that the light can turn. We think that the compulsion has become a permanent part of our personality. But gradually, we can learn to work our attention free.
As an experiment, try to work cheerfully at some job you dislike: you are training your attention to go where you want it to go. Whatever you do, give it your best concentration. Another good exercise is learning to drop what you are doing and shift your attention to something else when the situation demands. For example, when you leave your office, leave your work there. Don't let it follow you home and come into the dining room like an untrained dog, barking at your heels.
All this is the spiritual equivalent of kicking exercises in a dance lesson or knee bends in an aerobics class. By practicing these exercises, anybody can learn to direct attention freely.
-- Eknath Easwaran
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