Tagged with: life

It is flat-out strange that something—that anything—is happening at all. There was nothing then a Big Bang, then here we all are. This is extremely weird.

It is flat-out strange that something—that anything—is happening at all. There was nothing then a Big Bang, then here we all are. This is extremely weird.

Everything in life changes. The path to true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience. This integration is represented in the Taoist symbol of yin/yang, a circle which is half dark and half light. In the midst of the dark area is a spot of light, and in the midst of the light area is a spot of darkness. Even in the depths of darkness, the light is implicit. Even in the heart of light, the dark is understood, acknowledged, and absorbed, If things are not going well for us in life and we are suffering, we are not defeated by the pain or closed off to the light. If things are going well and we are happy, we are not defensively trying to deny the possibility of suffering.

Everything in life changes. The path to true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience. This integration is represented in the Taoist symbol of yin/yang, a circle which is half dark and half light. In the midst of the dark area is a spot of light, and in the midst of the light area is a spot of darkness. Even in the depths of darkness, the light is implicit. Even in the heart of light, the dark is understood, acknowledged, and absorbed, If things are not going well for us in life and we are suffering, we are not defeated by the pain or closed off to the light. If things are going well and we are happy, we are not defensively trying to deny the possibility of suffering.

Our difficulties are not obstacles to the path; they are the path itself. They are opportunities to awaken. Can we learn what it means to welcome an unwanted situation, with its sense of groundlessness, as a wake-up call? Can we look at it as a signal that there is something here to be learned? Can we allow it to penetrate our hearts? By learning to do this, we are taking the first basic step toward learning what it means to be open with whatever life presents us. Even when we don’t like it, we understand that this difficulty is our practice, our path, our life.

Our difficulties are not obstacles to the path; they are the path itself. They are opportunities to awaken. Can we learn what it means to welcome an unwanted situation, with its sense of groundlessness, as a wake-up call? Can we look at it as a signal that there is something here to be learned? Can we allow it to penetrate our hearts? By learning to do this, we are taking the first basic step toward learning what it means to be open with whatever life presents us. Even when we don’t like it, we understand that this difficulty is our practice, our path, our life.

Reflecting on our own impermanence helps us stop following the dissatisfied mind of desire whose impulses are seen as without meaning in the face of death. When we don’t face impermanence and death, our lives become busy, complicated, and stressful. When we do face them, our lives become simpler and more full of meaning. Our fear of or aversion to facing these subjects is a trick that the mind plays on itself, which keeps us caught in the trap of self-centered, compulsive, neurotic egotism. The illusion that we exist as solid, permanent entities is in fact a trap or prison for our hearts; facing the truth about impermanence is the doorway out.

Reflecting on our own impermanence helps us stop following the dissatisfied mind of desire whose impulses are seen as without meaning in the face of death. When we don’t face impermanence and death, our lives become busy, complicated, and stressful. When we do face them, our lives become simpler and more full of meaning. Our fear of or aversion to facing these subjects is a trick that the mind plays on itself, which keeps us caught in the trap of self-centered, compulsive, neurotic egotism. The illusion that we exist as solid, permanent entities is in fact a trap or prison for our hearts; facing the truth about impermanence is the doorway out.

On this small planet, in the daily dreams of our life, beneficial deeds are always recommended, simply because we are all born to help each other. By sharing our love with different expressions and through the practice of generosity, morality and understanding, we will then be fulfilling our purpose of being members of the human race.

On this small planet, in the daily dreams of our life, beneficial deeds are always recommended, simply because we are all born to help each other. By sharing our love with different expressions and through the practice of generosity, morality and understanding, we will then be fulfilling our purpose of being members of the human race.

To become a true seeker requires the heroic willingness to suspend, at a fundamental level, our most cherished beliefs. I’m not speaking about suspending our good judgment, discerning intellect, or common sense, but I am saying that we have to be willing to let go, even if only temporarily, of whatever our deepest convictions are about the nature of life, love, purpose, and the meaning—or meaninglessness—of existence. Perennial enlightenment teachings tell us that we have to make room for the unknown. And to make this more specific, I always say that to seek in earnest means that we have to ceaselessly make the effort to peer beyond what we already know. It is only beyond the boundaries of already knowing that we come upon that miraculous domain of unmanifest creative potential and higher knowledge that always liberates and is ever new. And in an evolving world, this will always be the case, because there will always be infinitely more development at every level, more knowledge, and ever-deepening enlightenment to unfold within us.

To become a true seeker requires the heroic willingness to suspend, at a fundamental level, our most cherished beliefs. I’m not speaking about suspending our good judgment, discerning intellect, or common sense, but I am saying that we have to be willing to let go, even if only temporarily, of whatever our deepest convictions are about the nature of life, love, purpose, and the meaning—or meaninglessness—of existence. Perennial enlightenment teachings tell us that we have to make room for the unknown. And to make this more specific, I always say that to seek in earnest means that we have to ceaselessly make the effort to peer beyond what we already know. It is only beyond the boundaries of already knowing that we come upon that miraculous domain of unmanifest creative potential and higher knowledge that always liberates and is ever new. And in an evolving world, this will always be the case, because there will always be infinitely more development at every level, more knowledge, and ever-deepening enlightenment to unfold within us.

The path to happiness and a sense of well-being in this very life lies not in avoiding suffering but in using the conscious, embodied, direct experience of it as a vehicle to gain deep insight into the true nature of life and your own existence. Instead of being a reactionary slave to the inevitable pain, frustration, stress, and sorrow in your life, which the Buddha called ‘dukkha’, you can free your mind such that you have a sense of well-being even when dukkha is present, and you create the possibility of finding compete freedom. Why not dance with the constant vicissitudes of life in a manner that is joyful and liberated, rather than feeling like a victim or being flooded with fear and stress?

The path to happiness and a sense of well-being in this very life lies not in avoiding suffering but in using the conscious, embodied, direct experience of it as a vehicle to gain deep insight into the true nature of life and your own existence. Instead of being a reactionary slave to the inevitable pain, frustration, stress, and sorrow in your life, which the Buddha called ‘dukkha’, you can free your mind such that you have a sense of well-being even when dukkha is present, and you create the possibility of finding compete freedom. Why not dance with the constant vicissitudes of life in a manner that is joyful and liberated, rather than feeling like a victim or being flooded with fear and stress?

If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing… which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like doing what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something… to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.

If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing… which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like doing what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something… to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.

Even though we understand who we are, we have to see what we are. Are we separate from the grasses, trees, or birds? No, we are grasses and trees, snowstorms and fine days. So we have to learn what the storm is, what winter is, what spring is. We have to understand everything in our whole life. So accept that life is just a continuation of learning. Day after day, life after life, we just have to learn constantly. That’s enough.

Even though we understand who we are, we have to see what we are. Are we separate from the grasses, trees, or birds? No, we are grasses and trees, snowstorms and fine days. So we have to learn what the storm is, what winter is, what spring is. We have to understand everything in our whole life. So accept that life is just a continuation of learning. Day after day, life after life, we just have to learn constantly. That’s enough.

In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day.

You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day.

You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school.

You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born.

And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila….

You finish off as an orgasm! I rest my case.

In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day.

You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day.

You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school.

You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born.

And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila….

You finish off as an orgasm! I rest my case.

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Your Culturally Created Self

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…

- Andrew Cohen

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