Tag Archive | peace

Discovery

Having discovered all our confusions and neuroses, we begin to realize that they are harmless or helpless. Then gradually we find the innocent-child quality in us. And it does not mean that we are being reduced to a child. Rather, we become fresh, inquisitive, sparkling; we want to know more about the world, more about life. All of our preconceptions have been stripped away.

~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

As much as I value the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, this one confuses me:

Having discovered all our confusions and neuroses, wouldn’t we then be as close to full enlightenment as humanly possible?

Wouldn’t we, by the very nature of discovery, recognize them as confusions and neuroses that would automatically make them harmless and helpless?

And as we are in the process of discovery, wouldn’t we be finding that innocent-child quality, so that the full discovery would already have resulted in the return of our fresh, inquisitive, sparkling nature?

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this or I’m missing some context. Perhcontemplationaps I’m assigning a near-saintly status to the idea of being Enlightened and that the discovery itself is the process– so, “having discovered” isn’t then a new beginning, but a point of Having Discovered (if that makes sense).

After all, “all of our preconceptions have been stripped away”.

Hmmm…

 

Do Something Unpredictable 

When someone else’s pain triggers fear in us, we turn inward and start erecting walls. We panic because we feel we can’t handle the pain. Sometimes we should trust this panic as a sign that we aren’t yet ready to open so far. But sometimes instead of closing down or resisting we might have the courage to do something unpredictable: turn our attention back toward the other person. This is the same as keeping our heart open to the pain. If we can’t shift our attention, perhaps we can let the story line go and feel the energy of the pain in our body for one second without freaking out or retreating. However, if none of these is yet possible, we engender some compassion for our current limitations and go forward.

~ Pema Chödrön

courageWhat a powerful quote! Today, we see so much suffering in the world– we see victims of abuse, oppression, discrimination and violence. We see victims on the news or in our own communities; worse, we may see them in our homes or the homes of those we love. We feel the pain instantly, but often we retreat and push away because the suffering is too great. This is a natural, human response. But what is it that motivates some of us toward action? Why do some of us open ourselves to the very real threat of vicarious trauma, while others either cannot or will not act?

Fear is one of the most powerful motivators in the human experience. Fear spurs us to react or prevents us from moving a muscle. Action rooted in fear most often results in negative consequences– action that harms others in an effort to regain some measure of stability for ourself. Yet fear is also a natural reaction to suffering designed to ensure our survival. It has its merits and purpose.

I think it’s what we do when experience fear that can create either positive or negative results. As Pema Chödrön describes in this quote, we sit with it.. we see the pain and suffering and we feel it for a moment- we explore it, we try to understand it, and by doing so, we naturally turn our attention from ourselves, from our fear and panic, back toward the other(s) experiencing the suffering. Through this, we can act instead of react- and perhaps think a bit globally in our response.

Courage is refusing to accept the patina of security that ignoring the suffering of others allows us in the moment. We can create a positive change in the world, but only if we’re willing to feel, explore and understand the suffering of others.

Reality Is Illusory 

A lot of what we’re doing when we’re sitting is beginning to connect. It’s pointing yourself in the direction of beginning to wake up to the fact that the reality we assume, that we take for granted, is illusory. And it starts with seeing the transparency of our thoughts.

~ Pema Chödrön

When I read these words, I was struck by the sudden realization of just how important a daily meditation practice is for my well-being. I don’t have a true daily meditative practice– it’s more sporadic than it should be and the reasons are as varied as my creative mind can invent. (In other words, I have excuses, not reasons).

But when I meditate, I feel the positive results. I feel centered, grounded.. connected. And one of the most important aspects is the realization that the troubles I face and the obstacles in my path are not nearly as great as I think they are– my mind creates their level of importance. They feel real; they can even be measurable; yet they are illusory. They are desert mirages.. they grow before my eyes and take on a life of their own.

When I meditate, my mind and all the emotions, thoughts, issues and negativity no longer resemble caged animals in a zoo, pacing and racing; instead, I watch them pass, coming and going, rising and falling, gradually reducing their form to transparent, detached, passing entities that no longer control me.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/zoo/

Healing Room

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

~ Pema Chödrön

img_0710As I’ve read books by some of my favorite spiritual teachers, their words, snippets here and there, have resonated deeply with me; however, this particular quote truly blossomed for me over the last year, becoming real to me in a way I could never have anticipated.

While I won’t discuss the details, I was put into the position of making a professional ethical decision that was incredibly painful to make, but one that I never waivered or questioned for a second. I know that I did the right thing; however, sometimes doing the right thing is the most difficult path to travel. My professional purpose was pummeled into the ground and my passion for the important work that I do was decimated. Everything that I once loved about my career became torturous.

The most painful and heartwrenching part of this journey was learning that those I valued and trusted, looked to for support and guidance, were not the people I thought they were. I became angry, hurt, distrustful and resentful. For a short time, I was unable to find comfort in the teachings that had always grounded me before. I was devastated.

And then I simply stopped fighting it. I allowed the negativity to wash over and through me, watching it, feeling it, acknowledging it, for what it was.

Finally, I returned to Pema Chödrön and read these words: they finally made sense. My experience was a painful one– one of many pains and joys and triumphs and failures on this journey. I gave myself permission to feel those things. I also recognized that things will get better, eventually. Things come together and they fall apart. I found comfort in that realization.

Once the negative emotions began to subside, I created the intention of finding my compassion. I sought to find the sufferings of others that hurt me and give them a measure of compassionate thought. I gave myself compassion, as well.

It’s been a tough year in so many ways, but I’m finding resiliency, forgiveness, compassion and hope along the way.

THE PEACEFULNESS OF OUR BEING

“In meditation, we work with breath and meditationposture as expressions of our state of being. By assuming a dignified and upright posture and identifying with the outgoing breath, we begin to make friends with ourselves in a fundamental sense. Through practice, one begins to see the simplicity of one’s original state of mind and to see how confusion, speed, and aggression are generated by ignoring the peacefulness of our being.”

~ Chogyam Trungpa

 

Meditation is both simple and complex. Sitting quietly, focusing on the breath, being fully aware of The Now .. how simple an activity. But when one sits quietly, focusing on the breath, one becomes aware that thoughts are in control, swirling around inside the mind, one after another, and The Now becomes elusive. This is the first step ~ becoming aware of our thoughts and training our mind to calm and quiet.

The practice of meditation is not so much technique as it is mindset. It’s a way of life, a lifestyle. It’s awareness, clarity, consciousness ~ acknowledging thoughts without becoming attached to them. It’s serenity and peace from within, regardless of any chaos in the environment. The health benefits of this practice are being discovered with increasing frequency as more scientific studies discover the mechanisms in the brain before, during and after meditation.

Studies are finding that meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, decreases anxiety, increases creativity, improves memory, even strengthens the immune system. Daily practice can reduce heart disease, reduce the effects of fibromyalgia, and can actually increase optimism and compassion. MRIs detecting the activity in the brain have shown that meditation decreases beta waves, which are indicators of information processing, meaning our brains slow down and rest.

There are many meditation styles and types to try, but an effective method for beginners is guided meditation, via podcasts, apps, videos or classes. They can focus on specific topics, such as energy or clarity; focus on the body and sensations; or direct the meditator to focus on an object and chant or direct the breath. As one becomes more accustomed to the practice, the guiding becomes less necessary and can even become distracting, so simply starting a timer and closing the eyes can be enough.

If you’re a beginner or a seasoned meditator, share your experiences in the comments below. Over the coming weeks, the resource pages will be updated to include those books, podcasts and websites that I like to use ~ and I would love to learn about yours, as well.

Simply let experience take place very freely, so that your open heart is suffused with the tenderness of true compassion.”

~ Tsoknyi Rinpoche

~ namaste ~