VALERIEMAHA   50,746
SparkPoints
50,000-59,999 SparkPoints
 
 
VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

"Living" my true priorities

Monday, March 08, 2010

Though I'm enmeshed in study for the next few days, certain concerns have gripped me....which has resulted in having difficulty finding the "juice" I need to stay focused (not only with study, but with self-care issues in general). I often find myself near despair at situations in my immediate world, as well as further out there, spiraling into my neighborhood and state and country and continent and hemisphere and this aching, suffering planet.

I know that the only solution is doing the inner work of purifying my own heart with the resulting reassigning of my priorities, and each of us on the planet has the same responsibility. I look at my own mediocre success at this undertaking, even with all the teachers and resources and pointers I'm privileged to have in this life. Then I shake my head...that it's no wonder indeed that so many on the planet are deeply suffering.

Without realizing how minimally really that the material profit will REALLY "profit" us, we continue grasping for more and more, and at a more global level, the western powers go on greedily pushing forward, creating a model that other developing countries blindly follow for those same material gains. And for what, finally...?

My teacher, Sri Swami Satchidananda spoke about deep realization of these truths and this also hit home in a very profound way:



"You cannot say exactly what will open your mind and when it will happen. The real knowledge or wisdom will not dawn slowly. Once you get it, you have it. If you don't get it, you don't have it. The realization doesn't come little by little. Realization is instantaneous. When will it happen? Nobody can tell you. Even a small, trifling thing could do it.

"I will tell you a story about a saint named Patinatar. His father was a very rich man who had made a lot of money from shipping and other businesses. The father had seen many saints and sages and had studied a lot, but nothing had opened his mind to the Truth. He repeated his mantra regularly, performed religious rituals, did all the spiritual practices, but wisdom didn't dawn in him. One day he asked his son, Patinatar, to take his ship and go buy some merchandise. Patinatar went to an island and saw the poor people there. He spent all the money, millions of dollars, on helping these people. Patinatar realized that he couldn't go home with an empty ship, so he filled the entire ship with cow dung cakes, which were probably worth a hundred dollars or less. Then he sailed home.

"As soon as the boat arrived, some of the boatmen ran to the father and told him, 'Your son has gone crazy. He spent all of your money, and all he came back with is cow dung.' The father was so upset that he didn't even want to see his son. When Patinatar arrived at the house, his father was not even there to greet him.

"Patinatar gave a small package to his mother and said, 'Please give this to my father when he comes. I will see you later.' With that, he walked out. When the father came home, he asked, 'Where is my son?' His wife told him that Patinatar had come and gone, and gave him the package. When the father opened the package, he found a broken sewing needle and a note. The note said, 'Even the eye of a broken needle will not come with you on your final journey.' As soon as he read those words, he immediately took off his fancy clothes, put on a loin cloth, said goodbye to his house and his businesses, and walked out. Realization had dawned in him. He had heard many hundreds of stories before, he had read volumes, he knew all the philosophy, but nothing had opened his eyes until he saw these few words.

"Realization can dawn with the smallest thing. It doesn't have to be a big blow. That trifling thing is what you call the final straw. Wisdom dawns that way. At any moment, anything could be the last straw for you. Then you are enlightened. Until then, you are still preparing yourself. You are getting ready for that moment."

I'm sorry to be so sober and pensive this morning, but Swami Satchidananda's and Sri Easwarn's words spoke deeply to me and seemed worth sharing with my SparkFriends. I hope they strike a chord with you. Here now is Eknath Easwaran:



The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.
-- William Blake

One day, when I was a growing boy, my grandmother asked me a question, "Have you ever looked in Hasti's eyes?" Hasti was one of the elephants that frequently served in our religious ceremonies and that I had been learning to ride. Hasti's eyes, like the eyes of all elephants, were tiny-- ridiculously small, really, for an animal so huge. "She has no idea how big she is," Granny said, "because she looks out at the world through such tiny eyes."

If the world seems hostile and lifeless, and if we seem insignificant in it, it is because, like the elephant, we look at it through such tiny eyes. Through those small eyes, shrunken by the desire for profit and personal gratification, we appear just as insignificant as all the green things-- and all the other human beings, animals, fish, birds, and insects-- that stand in the way.

When we are absorbed in the pursuit of profit and desires, we live in the narrow world of the bottom line. In that world, our only neighbors are buyers and sellers, our only concerns property, profit, and possessions. Yet all around us is a world teeming with people, animals, organisms, and elements-- a deeply interconnected environment that responds to all we do.

www.easwaran.org/Thoughts
and
us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=9d12bd98
6b60e49992980a4fd&id=ce334db731&e=fae9
d69d77

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOULCOLLAGESUE 3/10/2010 9:18AM

    Today, because I was able to get to bed before 1, I am able to enjoy your blog for morning meditational reading. Your low "juice" for staying focused on self-care drew me in.... "Oh, what perfect wording for my experience today!"

I love learning about your teacher. Do you receive a daily inspiration, as with the BMCM? Sri Easwaran, as you know, is so familiar that my heart has memorized his every word, each story. As I read your various selections, I am mindful of just how this teacher of mine ("found" when I was 21, so 30 years ago) has formed who I am today. Or, at least taken the seeds of compassion and awareness of all life and stoked a fire that burns so brightly it will never go out on Earth.

Thank you, Maha.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 3/8/2010 10:58PM

    Yes, I share your concerns as well for the course of things in this world. Especially the spread of American materialism as something supposedly enviable. I love the fact that SparkPeople is spreading throughout the globe and is there to counter all the negative things the USA has spawned such as Coke, McDonald's, etc. One of the benefits of my Spark way of life is to value simplicity in so many ways.

Great thoughts, and thx too for sharing the Waters of March words with others...Jobim is one of my very favorite composers!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment
BECOMINGONE 3/8/2010 4:06PM

    Maha,

Thank you for your blog. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there. You do not need to apologize. Rather, I bow in gratitude to your willingness to share what's in your heart.

"You cannot say exactly what will open your mind and when it will happen. The real knowledge or wisdom will not dawn slowly. Once you get it, you have it. If you don't get it, you don't have it. The realization doesn't come little by little. Realization is instantaneous. When will it happen? Nobody can tell you. Even a small, trifling thing could do it."

In its own way, each tradition says this. "He who eyes to see, and ears to hear ...." "You know not the hour or day ...."

Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see God. One of these days ....

Love,
Sandra







Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 3/8/2010 3:22PM

    Great blog.
I read a book by Jilian Barnes which really hit a chord. He compared us to termits. We're termits alright who are sawing the branch on which we're sitting because we want too much, and don't want to coexist peacefully with our buddies.
If everyone on this planet was living like us, this planet would have stopped to exist years ago, as we're already too numerous. Seems like everyone hopes the crisis will be over soon, and we all can resume our little occidental life as before... some don't want to learn, history will soon teach them some life facts.


Peacefulone: I am not really fond of "charity organizations" because it serves to ease our bad consicence of Westerners, and it is often a band on a peg leg, and now it is such a business (with university cursus and profits!)
Yet, it exists an American organization I like, it calls kiva.org
It is about giving micro-loans to persons living in developping countries, and who have a project.


Comment edited on: 3/8/2010 7:25:13 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 3/8/2010 2:32PM

    Such food for thought.

"Until then, you are still preparing yourself. You are getting ready for that moment."

I can't imagine a moment that would lead me from my materialistic world, but I can believe I am looking through tiny, selfish eyes. As I take baby steps, I'm hoping my preparation will lead me to being a compassionate human who contributes something to our lovely planet.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 3/8/2010 1:53PM

    What an excellent blog Maha. You have no need to apologise.

Sometimes the world and its troubles can be overwhelming and it is especially hard to make sense of mankind's capacity for cruelty. Of course, that is balanced with people's great capacity for goodness - which attracts much less media attention.

I like the amended version of the serenity prayer:
'Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.'

Your picture of the tree is beautiful and today's spring sunshine is a reminder of the good things in life.

Thank you.


emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 3/8/2010 10:01AM

    Excellent words of wisdom that hit a chord with me. In such uncertain economic times it is easy to worry about the future. But all we really need can be found in meditation and in loving acts. Think of the Buddhist monks. Many in this world live on $500 a year and many in the wealthy nations feel no obligation to these brothers and sisters. I fear that I will meet the great creator one day and be accountable for their suffering and I am moved to do what I can. Many have generously responded to the suffering in Haiti, but when that is out of the news will we forget the rest of the world who are starving and lack basic necessities? Many great charities exist to help those in need. Charity Water, Bread for the World, ChildFund International, Help the helpless, Heifer International, the Salvation Army and several local charities are among of my favorites. Charity navigator is a great resource for finding out how donations are used. Thank you Maha for this blog. We are all truly blessed to be a blessing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUPERMOM540 3/8/2010 9:55AM

    Debra T I so agree with your post! Thanks

Report Inappropriate Comment
DEBRA_T 3/8/2010 9:22AM

    I know that every age complains about the state of the world and the fears for its survival and we are no exception. I often think these fears are projections of my own unconscious knowledge about the state of my being and fears about my own survival. Coming from a Western perspective, it has been very freeing for me to think about the world being in God's hands and my best action in the world is to follow Him.

Cheers, Debra
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment


How We Become Human....

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Perhaps a more *productive* use of this space would be to share the thoughts of my journey to body-mind-spirit wellness, with ideas about the various skills I can develop and make use of to facilitate that.

But I often need to step back from all the good advice of my own mind and that of my SparkFriends...and listen to the poets, the seers, the wisdom teachers...for the wisdom THEY offer on this journey.

For instance, Joy Harjo -- of Native American Canadian ancestry -- has been a hero of mine for a long time. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 9, 1951. She is an American poet, musician, and author. Known primarily as a poet, Harjo has also taught at the college level, played tenor saxophone with a band called Poetic Justice, edited literary journals, and written screenplays. She is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and is of Cherokee descent. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

She helps me remember the preciousness of this human life, and the value of caring lovingly for this *temple* that houses my soul.



Remember

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.

Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.

Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.

Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.

Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.

Remember.

~ Joy Harjo ~
(How We Become Human)
www.panhala.net/Archive/Remember.htm
l

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTDUCKY1405 3/14/2010 3:27PM

    Amen!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DARKTHOR 3/11/2010 12:50AM

    I adore this poem. It's one of the most beautiful I've read. Thank you for this.

Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 3/6/2010 4:17AM

    I couldn't think of a more "productive use" (oh, I hate this word. Why should everything be productive or useful nowadays?) of your space.
Thanks for sharing this poem... something to remember everyday.

Report Inappropriate Comment
THE_SILVER_OWL 3/5/2010 6:03PM

    How lovely to remember...

Report Inappropriate Comment
SANTANDERE 3/4/2010 6:47PM

    Que belleza de poema! La evolucion es algo tan facinante, verdad?

Gracias por compartir amiga Maha!

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
EARTHSEAME 3/4/2010 5:29PM

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing this.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 3/4/2010 3:27PM

    emoticon What a wonderful way to express coming into being.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 3/4/2010 2:57PM

    Too beautiful. Thank you both for sharing, truly from your hearts and touching ours.
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 3/4/2010 2:00PM

    I miss poetry!!! Soon ... my formal schooling will be done with and I can get back to reading for beauty!! Thanks to you both for sharing this wonderful poet.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 3/4/2010 1:23PM

    Thank you Maha, and Gina, for sharing these words.

Thanks also for the tangerine meditation. I appreciated that you passed this on your comment on my blog.

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 3/4/2010 12:29PM

    Today I am thankful for Maha and Gina and Joy Harjo:

I have that horse that laughs too much...
usually at the horses with fur and teeth.

emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WILDHONEYPIE1 3/4/2010 11:39AM

    How blessed am I to wake up to not one but two wonderful Joy Harjo poems from two amazing ladies? Blessed beyond measure. Thank you again Maha, and I get to add Ginabug to this thanks too. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LUCY419 3/4/2010 11:25AM

    I have to say thank you once again... I truly have learned a lot from you maha! Hugs... lucy



Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIEMAHA 3/4/2010 10:47AM

    She Had Some Horses -- breathtakingly beautiful! Thanks Gina!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 3/4/2010 9:29AM

    I love Joy Harjo. One of my personal favs:

She had some horses.

She had horses who were bodies of sand.
She had horses who were maps drawn of blood.
She had horses who were skins of ocean water.
She had horses who were the blue air of sky.
She had horses who were fur and teeth.
She had horses who were clay and would break.
She had horses who were splintered red cliff.

She had some horses.

She had horses with long, pointed breasts.
She had horses with full, brown thighs.
She had horses who laughed too much.
She had horses who threw rocks at glass houses.
She had horses who licked razor blades.

She had some horses.

She had horses who danced in their mothers' arms.
She had horses who thought they were the sun and their bodies shone and burned like stars.
She had horses who waltzed nightly on the moon.
She had horses who were much too shy, and kept quiet in stalls of their own making.

She had some horses.

She had horses who liked Creek Stomp Dance songs.
She had horses who cried in their beer.
She had horses who spit at male queens who made them afraid of themselves.
She had horses who said they weren't afraid.
She had horses who lied.
She had horses who told the truth, who were stripped bare of their tongues.

She had some horses.

She had horses who called themselves, "horse."
She had horses who called themselves, "spirit." and kept their voices secret and to themselves.
She had horses who had no names.
She had horses who had books of names.

She had some horses.

She had horses who whispered in the dark, who were afraid to speak.
She had horses who screamed out of fear of the silence, who carried knives to protect themselves from ghosts.
She had horses who waited for destruction.
She had horses who waited for resurrection.

She had some horses.

She had horses who got down on their knees for any savior.
She had horses who thought their high price had saved them.
She had horses who tried to save her, who climbed in her bed at night and prayed as they raped her.

She had some horses.

She had some horses she loved.
She had some horses she hated.

These were the same horses.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DEBRA_T 3/4/2010 9:17AM

    Thank you for posting -- it is good to remember how we came to be even though it remains cloaked in mystery.

Cheers, Debra
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment


St. Francis and the Sow

Monday, March 01, 2010

This redux of a phenomenal piece is dedicated to Noreen, who reminded me, and Sandra, who loves St. Francis, the mystic:



ST. FRANCIS AND THE SOW

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

~ Galway Kinnell ~

(Mortal Acts, Mortal Words)
www.panhala.net/Archive/St_Francis_a
nd_the_Sow.html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTDUCKY1405 3/14/2010 3:24PM

    Well surely... if we can see the beauty in a sow, we must be able to see it within ourselves too!

Awesome!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 3/2/2010 9:40AM

    Reminds me of a wise man reminding us of the protons shimmering in the discarded tin can in a dump, just as do those in a diamond, if only we can see.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PENNYAN45 3/1/2010 12:39PM

    "everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing ...
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness"

This speaks to me of how our interactions with others should reflect their loveliness back to them.



emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 3/1/2010 11:05AM

    "as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow"

Ahhhhh. Have you seen the picture of little Pickles next to my exercise bike on my page?... Her poor creased brow troubles me and I have tried so many times to lay my hand on hers to try to tell her that she is safe and loved and will never want for a warm place to rest her head...

A hard concept to get across to a very good girl who was abandoned by her family after 10 years...

And VERY different from the VERY smooth brow of the dogger Parker... who was found running stray but reminds me of nothing so much as The Fool we have so lately been chatting about...

A dog of perfect faith...

These animals... I say I rescue them... but truly it is they who rescue me every day... today's object lesson presents only the latest chapter in my ever-refreshed becoming...

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 3/1/2010 10:57AM

    que linda!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 3/1/2010 10:35AM

    "The long perfect lovliness of sow" and of each and every one of us and especially YOU lovely and beautiful Maha! Ahhhhh! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BECOMINGONE 3/1/2010 9:06AM

    Hmmm ... universal truths ... come in all kinds of forms.

Report Inappropriate Comment


Full Moon Ritual Anyone???

Saturday, February 27, 2010

FULL MOON IN VIRGO
Sunday, February 28, 2010
8:38am PST - 11:38am EST
Sun at 9.59 Pisces
Moon at 9.59 Virgo

You need set aside less than five minutes for this powerful ritual:



Drawing down the moon...


Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit. Stand and raise your arms above your head. Let your palms face each other and curve slightly toward the moon. Feel as though you're a sacred chalice, drawing the power of the Great Mother into every cell of your being -- from your toes, to your womb, to your breasts, to your jaw, and your eyes. Feel the pleasure of this energy. It is vibrant with the power to give, to receive, to nurture life, and manifest what is possible.

Sending your blessings...



Draw your hands to your heart. Massage this area. Feel that you have become the goddess, capable of balancing the earth and harmonizing its opposing forces. In particular you are tuned to the energies of Virgo and Pisces, signs devoted to magic, service and healing, although they approach their spiritual work from opposite directions.

Virgo is that aspect of the goddess who knows the right herb or the proper incantation to fix any problem; she is observant, discerning and analytical. Pisces is your blissful goddess nature. Compassionate, intuitive, and holistic, she sees into the heart of the world. Out of balance, Virgo is constipated, judgmental and perfectionistic. Pisces is helpless and disorganized; she escapes into an unhealthy world of addictions. When these shadow expressions run amok, we feel like our world is imperfect and falling apart. We feel like victims without any protectors. We feel like the diseases of the world will win.

Imagine this negativity circles the globe like a dark smoke. Know that if you breathe in this smoke you have the power to transform it in your heart -- breathing it out as the pure white light of the goddess. Read the affirmations and visualize the world's darkness dissolving with your breath. Find a comfortable rhythm and repeat the statements until your light has transformed the world.

Breathing in...
fear of wild forces beyond our control.

Breathing out...
the power to endure with strength and grace.

Breathing in...
the world's sickness, its worries and blame,

Breathing out...
a world that is radiant, healthy and harmonious.

Breathing in...
whole cities torn asunder by disaster and war.

Breathing out...
the power of the angels to set everything right.

Grounding the energy...



See the world bathed in the purifying light of your offering: the sleeping babies, the politicians arguing, the starving children, liars and thieves. See the world transforming with this light, growing peaceful and calm. When you are ready, bring your hands to your sides, palms facing the earth. Send your divine light deep into the earth. See this energy take shape as a round moon, gathering below you in the center of the earth. Feel yourself slowly coming back into your body. Rest in this peace until you are ready to return to your life.

Blessed be.

The wonderful link:
mooncircles.com/moonritual.html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTDUCKY1405 3/14/2010 3:22PM

    Beautiful ritual!

And I love how it speaks of balance! So true!

Report Inappropriate Comment
COLIBRI930 3/10/2010 8:05AM

    Hi, I'm late reading friends'blogs...I loved this! Thanks for the lovely reminder to draw in the energy of the full moon, and for a specific way to go about it. I missed this one, but will try the next!


Report Inappropriate Comment
SANTANDERE 2/28/2010 5:15PM

    Gracias por compartir. Lo voy a hacer.


emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIZARDG7 2/28/2010 1:59PM

    Well, you're right. I did it this morning and it was wonderful! Thank you! Lizzie emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIZARDG7 2/28/2010 3:14AM

    You have such wonderful blogs! Thank you! Lizzie emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MENT2BE 2/27/2010 7:19PM

    THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LADYIRIS313 2/27/2010 4:04PM

    Maha (hugs) Thank you for the reminder.
Bright blessings to you, sistah!
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LUCY419 2/27/2010 3:19PM

    WOW Maha... this is so Amazing and Powerful! Thank You So Much! I am so glad you shared this with us... will be practicing this ritual often! Hugs... lucy

Report Inappropriate Comment
FOODDIVA1 2/27/2010 2:36PM

    Very nice ritual. Thank you. And thank you for your explanation. I have done the breathing in pain/out light for many years, but never knew what it was called. Now I know.

Amy

Report Inappropriate Comment
PUDLECRAZY 2/27/2010 12:53PM

    Thanks!

Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIEMAHA 2/27/2010 12:27PM

    The practice of breathing IN the negativity, the shadow side, "the dark smoke" and breathing OUT the joy, the love, "the pure white light" is a practice I learned from Pema Chodron. Some may feel it's backwards, but consider this -- from her website:

THE PRACTICE OF TONGLEN

In order to have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves.

In particular, to care about other people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean —you name it— to have compassion and to care for these people, means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves. In fact, one's whole attitude toward pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one could open one's heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify us and make us far more loving and kind.

The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering —ours and that which is all around us— everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem
to be.

We begin the practice by taking on the suffering of a person we know to be hurting and who we wish to help. For instance, if you know of a child who is being hurt, you breathe in the wish to take away all the pain and fear of that child. Then, as you breathe out, you send the child happiness, joy or whatever would relieve their pain. This is the core of the practice: breathing in other's pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness. However, we often cannot do this practice because we come face to face with our own fear, our own resistance, anger, or whatever our personal pain, our personal stuckness happens to be at that moment.

At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment of time are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for yourself and all those countless others. Maybe you can't name what you're feeling. But you can feel it —a tightness in the stomach, a heavy darkness or whatever. Just contact what you are feeling and breathe in, take it in —for all of us and send out relief to all of us.

People often say that this practice goes against the grain of how we usually hold ourselves together. Truthfully, this practice does go against the grain of wanting things on our own terms, of wanting it to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to the others. The practice dissolves the armor of self-protection we've tried so hard to create around ourselves. In Buddhist language one would say that it dissolves the fixation and clinging of ego.

Tonglen reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure and, in the process, we become liberated from a very ancient prison of selfishness. We begin to feel love both for ourselves and others and also we being to take care of ourselves and others. It awakens our compassion and it also introduces us to a far larger view of reality. It introduces us to the unlimited spaciousness that Buddhists call shunyata. By doing the practice, we begin to connect with the open dimension of our being. At first we experience this as things not being such a big deal or so solid as they seemed before.

Tonglen can be done for those who are ill, those who are dying or have just died, or for those that are in pain of any kind. It can be done either as a formal meditation practice or right on the spot at any time. For example, if you are out walking and you see someone in pain —right on the spot you can begin to breathe in their pain and send some out some relief. Or, more likely, you might see someone in pain and look away because it brings up your fear or anger; it brings up your resistance and confusion.

So on the spot you can do tonglen for all the people who are just like you, for everyone who wishes to be compassionate but instead is afraid, for everyone who wishes to be brave but instead is a coward.

Rather than beating yourself up, use your own stuckness as a stepping stone to understanding what people are up against all over the world.

Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us.

Use what seems like poison as medicine. Use your personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.

http://pemachodron.org/ (Tonglen, under TEACHINGS)

Comment edited on: 2/27/2010 1:00:08 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
ZORAHGAIL 2/27/2010 12:20PM

    emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUCHAHOOT 2/27/2010 11:45AM

    Thank you, Maha! This is wonderful!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GINABUG 2/27/2010 11:39AM

    Thanks so much for this, Maha!

I am...breathing in....

I am...breathing out...

Blessings!

Report Inappropriate Comment


Get off my back, donkey!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The body is mortal, but that one dwelling in the body is immortal and immeasurable.
-- Bhagavad Gita



When I say that this body is not me, I am not making an intellectual statement. It is an experiential statement. If you were to ask me, "Who is this body?" I would make an awful pun: "This is my buddy. I give him good food and good exercise, and I look after him very well, but he is not me."

My body has always been my faithful buddy, through many trials, and during many difficult times; and I let him know how much I appreciate his faithful service. We have an understanding: I take very good care of him, and he looks up to me as the boss. As Saint Francis used to say, "This body is Brother Donkey. I feed him, I wash him, but I am going to ride on him." Whenever we use drugs, or smoke, or drink immoderately, or overeat, the donkey is riding on us. Francis challenges us: "Don't you want to get that donkey off your back and ride on it?"
-- Eknath Easwaran

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTDUCKY1405 3/14/2010 3:17PM

    Another words... take control back in your life!

DAMN RIGHTS!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIZARDG7 2/28/2010 3:13AM

    Eknath is my very favorite! He just has a wonderful way with words that touch my heart! Thank you! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MACGIRRL 2/28/2010 12:08AM

    Danke.

((((((( yes )))))))



Report Inappropriate Comment
WILDHONEYPIE1 2/27/2010 11:14PM

    Very nice. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PENNYAN45 2/27/2010 4:24PM

    I had not heard it before, but I like it. I understand it.

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 2/27/2010 11:22AM

    Thank you.

I haven't always looked after my body / buddy but I'm really trying to do so now. It deserves respect.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GENKI_WARRIOR 2/27/2010 11:07AM

    so cute--and so ..."head-smacking!" lol :P
thanks for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BECOMINGONE 2/27/2010 10:58AM

    And as he lay dying St. Francis apologized to his body for not taking better care of it -- working it to death.

Even St. Francis knew what to do but did not do what he knew to do. The paradox of life in this body ....

Shine bright,
Sandra



Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 2/27/2010 10:25AM

    Let's ride the donkey.. Glad you have your neighbors to remind you.

Have a super day.

LOVE



Report Inappropriate Comment


First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Last Page