Quotes

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Sometimes people feel that recognizing the truth of suffering conditions a pessimistic outlook on life, that somehow it is life-denying. Actually, it is quite the reverse. By denying what is true, for example, the truth of impermanence, we live in a world of illusion and enchantment. Then when circumstances change in ways we don’t like, we feel disappointed, angry, or bitter. The Buddha expressed the liberating power of seeing the unreliability of conditions: “All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation. Becoming disenchanted one becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion the mind is liberated.”

It’s telling that in English “disenchanted,” “disillusioned,” and dispassionate” often have a negative connotation. But looking more closely at their meaning reveals their connection to freedom. Becoming disenchanted means breaking the spell of enchantment, waking up into a greater and fuller reality. This is the happy ending of so many great myths and fairy tales. Being disillusioned is not the same as being disappointed or discouraged. It is a reconnection with what is true, free of illusion. And “dispassionate” does not mean indifference or lack of vital energy for living. Rather, it is the mind of great openness and equanimity, free of grasping.

A good spiritual friend who will help us to stay on the path, with whom we can discuss our differences frankly, sure of a compassionate response, provides an important support system which is often lacking. Although people live and practice together, one-upmanship often comes between them. A really good friend is like a mountain guide. The spiritual path is like climbing a mountain: we don’t really know what we will find at the summit. We have only heard that it is beautiful, everybody is happy there, the view is magnificent and the air unpolluted. If we have a guide who has already climbed the mountain, he can help us avoid falling into a crevasse, or slipping on loose stones, or getting off the path. The one common antidote for all our hindrances is noble friends and noble conversations, which are health food for the mind.

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Not all pain is negative, even though we label all forms of pain as such and resist them. Positive-negativity is a circumstance that causes us to go deeper, to search ourselves, to stop placing blame on the causes of suffering outside ourselves, and take self-responsibility.
Circumstances arise and hard times come so that we may grow through them, so that we may evolve. I like to say that a bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul. When we look back on some of our most challenging experiences, we admit that we wouldn’t trade what we gained from them for remaining the same as we were. Something within acknowledges that during those times when we are pressed against the ropes of life, we learn to become more generous, to forgive, to never give up on ourselves or others. We learn to regenerate, to rejuvenate, to surrender.

Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words - prana (life) and ayama (control). Pranayama is therefore life control and not “breath control.” The broadest meaning of the word prana is force of energy. In this sense, the universe is filled with prana; all creation is a manifestation of force, a play of force. Everything that was, is, or shall be, is nothing but the different modes of expression of the universal force. The universal prana is thus the Para-Prakiti (pure Nature), immanent energy or force which is derived from the infinite Spirit, and which permeates and sustains the universe.

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.

There is nothing more fulfilling than unconditional love of self, and when we experience it, we can extend that love to every aspect of creation. When we love ourselves unconditionally, all fear disappears. This isn’t a subtle experience; it’s absolute. It is the greatest thing that can happen to any human.

Heaven or Hell: Your Choice

A big, burly samurai comes to a Zen master and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.”

The Zen master looks him in the face and says, “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you? A worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?”

Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword and raises it to cut off the master’s head.

The Zen master says, “That’s hell.”

Instantly, the samurai understands that he has created his own hell—black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment. He sees that he was so deep in hell that he was ready to kill someone. Tears fill his eyes as he puts his palms together to bow in gratitude for this insight.

The Zen master says, “That’s heaven.”

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

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New months resolutions

Make “new months” resolutions. It’s a great way to check in on your goals and intentions so they don’t get away from you. And 4 weeks is a much easier time frame to manage. It’s almost the 1st again!

by David

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