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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.

I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.

We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

Always tell the truth. Then you don’t have to remember anything.

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, one finds it attached to the rest of the world.

What makes for a meaningful life? I consider each day, not just the life as a whole. I look at four ingredients. First, was it a day of virtue? I’m talking about basic Buddhist ethics—avoiding harmful behavior of body, speech, and mind; devoting ourselves to wholesome behavior and to qualities like awareness and compassion. Second, I’d like to feel happy rather than miserable. The realized beings I’ve known exemplify extraordinary states of well-being, and it shows in their demeanor, their way of dealing with adversity, with life, with other people. And third, pursuit of the truth—seeking to understand the nature of life, of reality, of interpersonal relationships, or the nature of mind. But you could do all that sitting quietly in a room. None of us exists in isolation, however, so there is a fourth ingredient: a meaningful life must also answer the question, “What have I brought to the world?” If I can look at a day and see that virtue, happiness, truth, and living an altruistic life are prominent elements, I can say, “You know, I’m a happy camper.” Pursuing happiness does not depend on my checkbook, or the behavior of my spouse, or my job, or my salary. I can live a meaningful life even if I only have ten minutes left.

The ego, which has traditionally been the enemy of the spiritual aspirant, is not just an individual entity. It also has a collective dimension. The collective ego is your culturally conditioned self-the conglomeration of conscious and unconscious ideas that represent the way you assume life is supposed to be. It is all of the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” you have absorbed from those around you and from the shared history of your culture or ethnic background. It is a set of subtle and not-so-subtle beliefs, ideas, and ways of seeing the world that you deeply subscribe to but may not even be aware of. So much of the individual that you experience yourself to be has been created by the cultural worldspace that you were born into. And that’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. It only becomes a problem when you don’t know how conditioned you are. But the more you are able to shed light on all the different ways in which you are conditioned, the more space will open up for real autonomy-freedom of choice to be the person you want to be. So the culturally created ego is a very significant dimension of the self that needs to be brought to light in your own awareness. And it is not an easy task. It takes an inspired degree of mental focus and a willingness to deconstruct the very foundations of who you think you are-over, and over, and over again. But this process is a critical part of human evolution and spiritual transformation.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

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To do list

To help with the stress associated with our busy lifestyles and seemingly endless responsibilities, create an ongoing to do list. We feel so much better when we have a handle on all of the things we need to get done. And we feel even better than that when we cross them off of the list. With the availability of smart phone, PDAs, and personal computers now-a-days, it’s easier than ever to keep our priorities organized and available to us at all times. I like to keep mine synced up on my calendars on my phone and computer with alerts to…

by David

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