Tagged with: practice

When you’re hanging out with family, your lover, good friends, etc., be there with them as if it was the last time you were going to see them for a while (or maybe even ever). It’s a really powerful practice that shifts many things towards the positive in our interpersonal dynamics. Imagine how present you are when it really is the case that your loved one is going to be away for a while. Why not bring that energy as often as you can? All that we can be absolutely sure of is what is happening now. Now is the time to be the person you want to be to the people you care about. Plus, who likes to have regrets?

For a little more depth and a fun exercise on the subject, check out this entry.

When you’re hanging out with family, your lover, good friends, etc., be there with them as if it was the last time you were going to see them for a while (or maybe even ever). It’s a really powerful practice that shifts many things towards the positive in our interpersonal dynamics. Imagine how present you are when it really is the case that your loved one is going to be away for a while. Why not bring that energy as often as you can? All that we can be absolutely sure of is what is happening now. Now is the time to be the person you want to be to the people you care about. Plus, who likes to have regrets?

For a little more depth and a fun exercise on the subject, check out this entry.

Knowledge and theories about wisdom are like carrying books on the back of a donkey. We may carry around many ideas of worthwhile changes that we would like to make in our life. To evolve, we must put those ideas into practice or they will become a weight for us. We need to look into every area of our daily existence. It would be a pity to live an unexamined life and only rely upon external voices of authority and our inner conditioning to tell us what matters and what to do with our life. For consciousness to evolve, we must commit ourselves to living a conscious life. To know ourselves, to go deep into ourselves, awakens the mind.

Knowledge and theories about wisdom are like carrying books on the back of a donkey. We may carry around many ideas of worthwhile changes that we would like to make in our life. To evolve, we must put those ideas into practice or they will become a weight for us. We need to look into every area of our daily existence. It would be a pity to live an unexamined life and only rely upon external voices of authority and our inner conditioning to tell us what matters and what to do with our life. For consciousness to evolve, we must commit ourselves to living a conscious life. To know ourselves, to go deep into ourselves, awakens the mind.

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.

Nothing is more becoming a man than silence. It is not the preaching but the practice which ought to be considered important. A profusion of words is sure to lead to error.

Nothing is more becoming a man than silence. It is not the preaching but the practice which ought to be considered important. A profusion of words is sure to lead to error.

The goal of attention, or shamatha, practice is to become aware of awareness. Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward, watching the shifts and changes with the intention of becoming familiar with that aspect of consciousness that recognizes Oh, this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking. As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. With practice, that space—which is the mind’s natural clarity—begins to expand and settle.

The goal of attention, or shamatha, practice is to become aware of awareness. Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward, watching the shifts and changes with the intention of becoming familiar with that aspect of consciousness that recognizes Oh, this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking. As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. With practice, that space—which is the mind’s natural clarity—begins to expand and settle.

The practice of seeing clearly is what finally moves us toward kindness. Seeing, again and again, the infinite variety of traps we create for seducing the mind into struggle, seeing the endless rounds of meaningless suffering over lusts and aversions (which, although seemingly urgent, are essentially empty), we feel compassion for ourselves. And then, quite naturally, we feel compassion for everyone else. We know as we have never known before that we are stuck, all of us, with bodies and minds and instincts and impulses, all in a tug-of-war with our basic heart nature that yearns to relax into love. Then we surrender. We love. We laugh. We appreciate.

The practice of seeing clearly is what finally moves us toward kindness. Seeing, again and again, the infinite variety of traps we create for seducing the mind into struggle, seeing the endless rounds of meaningless suffering over lusts and aversions (which, although seemingly urgent, are essentially empty), we feel compassion for ourselves. And then, quite naturally, we feel compassion for everyone else. We know as we have never known before that we are stuck, all of us, with bodies and minds and instincts and impulses, all in a tug-of-war with our basic heart nature that yearns to relax into love. Then we surrender. We love. We laugh. We appreciate.

Though this post is written mostly from my perspective and my experience, it’s based on a dynamic that my girlfriend and I are consciously working with in our relationship. Much of the awareness I have gained in the last two years has been sparked by our interactions and deep discussions about our relationship and our own inner work. To make things more interesting, I’ve asked her to add her feminine voice/perspective here and there. In this process of discussing, editing and polishing this post together, we basically wound up co-writing it. In that sense it is very much a joint effort, and Beth has offered many insights and observations regarding her sense of these dynamics that have helped me deepen my understanding of myself (as you’ll see below). And for that, I have a tremendous amount of love and gratitude for this absolutely amazing woman.


An exercise in feeling and awareness

Feeling pain can be a scary thing. I’m not talking about the secondary sensation that’s left after being able to overcome (or cover over) pain; I’m talking…

Read more...

Though this post is written mostly from my perspective and my experience, it’s based on a dynamic that my girlfriend and I are consciously working with in our relationship. Much of the awareness I have gained in the last two years has been sparked by our interactions and deep discussions about our relationship and our own inner work. To make things more interesting, I’ve asked her to add her feminine voice/perspective here and there. In this process of discussing, editing and polishing this post together, we basically wound up co-writing it. In that sense it is very much a joint effort, and Beth has offered many insights and observations regarding her sense of these dynamics that have helped me deepen…

Read more...

earthdrop
You’re More Than You’re Cracked Up to Be

When self-centeredness comes to an end, we discover not that our “self” has ceased to exist but that the self is not what we thought. The self is no longer an inner sanctum of private experience or a narrow set of personal needs or expectations. Our world is our self, rather than our self being our world. Rather than constantly trying to impose our self onto life, we realize that all of life is who and what we are. Or, as Dogen put it: “To carry the self forward and illuminate myriad things is delusion. That the myriad things come…

- Barry Magid

Read More