Every situation is new and different to a small or large degree, so life constantly brings us to spots where our proficiency is insufficient to some degree. Life happens other than planned, before we are ready, and our challenge is to deal with life situations with the proficiency we have. If prayer is whatever saves me, including good fortune, then I was saved by prayer. However, I don't think I was saved by prayer as usually defined. I think I've been saved by good fortune and all existence interacting in a way favorable for me plus my limited but good judgment and choices. I believe a witness is a part of all that is and contributes to how a situation works out. What helps me lean into the unknown is knowing we live in the unknown and I will deal with the realities presented to me either well or not well, and chances are I will survive and gain more proficiency for dealing with the next spot.
Relationship and combat are not synonymous. Combat is a specific kind of intense relationship. Combat is fighting. Combat is a battle. I agree that we learn and grow in relationship. In combat, the big picture may sometimes be to become better, but the immediate want of the parties involved is to beat on each other and try to beat each other which may result in learning and growing but likely results in destruction and death. I'm all for relationship and encounter; I'm not for combat and beating. Relating to and encountering the person standing before me typically helps me see myself more clearly -- that's not combat. What helps me stay open to growing through relationship is experience, that is, knowing from experience that I've grown through relationship, and valuing opportunities to grow. Relating to the other and not to expectations or prejudices or some underlying agenda helps me stay open to growing.
The difference for me is that faith is deeper than belief. Belief is cognitive, and faith is more than cognitive, it's bodily or experiential. Belief is in my brain, and faith is in my being. My faith for a long time now is that all creation is God in form, so all creation, living and not living, is sacred. I often don't live and act that faith, so I guess my faith is weak, but when I live it I get a taste of the sacred, and then it is the taste of the sacred that strengthens my faith. What helps me want to study over is my knowing very little for sure, my wanting to know more, my wanting to see more clearly, and the satisfaction I feel in learning.
We wear our hearts not only on our sleeves, face, or voice, but throughout our bodies. Author Kram seems to see us more as machines determined by conditions than as persons with at least limited freedom and control. As I see life, our response and our internal state are shaped by our perception. Our perception is not determined by external circumstances but is from inside us. I became aware of that at some time years ago. In that sense I came home. What I needed to do to come home was to trust me and be me. l'm not a powerless victim being triggered by external circumstances. I, including my perception and response and internal state, are influenced by conditioning and by external circumstances, such as by steam, ice, and liquid, but are not determined by them. My perception, response and internal state can be my own and independent of external circumstances. Paying attention internally helps me become aware of what state I am in.
My view is that there is an I that is ground and independent and eternal. Out of I is a me that developed and got molded by the environment, and this me is a knower of what I see (mostly taught to see) which is false knowledge. Sometimes I sees around or over that molded me and sees what is real, that is, sees not what me is supposed to see and expected to see, but sees what really is. When I see what is real, the knower me and the false knowledge disappear. For a long time I didn't know there was real and didn't know how to distinguish between unreal and real. At some time years ago I began to see real, though I mostly I ignored it and kept what I saw to myself. Eventually I saw real more often. What helps me go from the unreal to the real is my inquiry into I, knowing I is is different than me, being open to I, giving attention to I, valuing and trusting I, knowing there is real.
As I see life, there is the unreal or maya which is appearance, and there is ultimate reality which is real. The knower and false knowledge appear when unreal is figure, and disappear when ultimate reality is figure. Ultimate reality is one and true, so when ultimate reality is figure, both knower and false knowledge disappear. I've come to believe that real is ultimate reality, the ground of reality, the source and essence, and unreal is how ultimate reality appears to our senses. To a great degree we live in the unreality of the senses but are not of that unreality. We are of real ultimate reality. When I abide in awareness of that, the awareness helps me go from the unreal to the real.
I think of the essence of travel as having no destination. The best of travel is embracing the process of traveling, meandering rather than hurrying, paying attention to what I'm interested in. Seeing the Grand Canyon was a perception that seemed bigger than my ability to perceive. I felt bigger than me, one with the magnificence I was beholding. The experience enhanced appreciation of oneness that was already happening in me, which fostered further renewal for me. I can plan and have a goal or destination -- that takes effort. My natural inclination is to wander and be goalless which has helped me to see that all is one, that I and earth are one, that earth is an expression of One and I am an expression of earth. In that way I see earth as source. Each of us is a unique expression of One, each with a unique genius, and when I have that perception it helps me celebrate the genius in others. I prepare for surprise by not preparing, by being present and open, by seeing what is and not what I expect.
I very much like this essay. A menial activity like sweeping the floor can be a way to find where the heart is blocked, such as when the activity triggers pain or stress that blocks the heart. Apparently that happened for Zenju Earthlyn Manuel. I liked her recognizing the connection and continuity between her and her ancestors, which reminded me of the main character in Amistad who knows his ancestors will be with him and help him. Remembering the dust from which I came is an awareness that began years ago and has slowly grown for me. Today I'm sure I never have an original thought -- I reconfigure thoughts others had before me. At this point I am aware that the dust from which I came goes back to the Big Bang, so whatever I do is the culmination of all that has happened in and through all creation up until this moment. When I am profoundly with my heart is when I abide in what I am saying here -- such times are few and are the best of living.
All that is is always changing, including me, so me that makes a decision and me that receives the outcome are not the same. But as I see life, me that makes a decision and receives the outcome is not real me. It was a long time ago that I began becoming aware that my body-mind combine and real me are not one and the same. My body-mind combine is my make-up or appearance, while real me is the core or essence of me that expresses as my body-mind and all the rest of what I call me. My body-mind, like all make-up, is surface and very temporary and constantly changing, and beneath that so to speak is real me. What helps me reconcile all this is my experience and faith that there is a consistent essence or core that is really and consistently there, and it manifests a make-up surface, a body-mind, that goes through a lifetime of changes.
I agree that the object of grasping takes up space in the mind proportional to the level of intensity of the grasping. I learned that the object of grasping is never as important or solid as I think it is, and that perception and realization opens up space, helps me grasp less, and helps dissolve the vicious cycle of false solidity. I find the object is transient and doesn't bring what is sought. I've also learned that grasping contracts mind space and is a source of unnecessary suffering. Not grasping results in more mind space and helps me be freer and more happy and at peace. Those lessons help me incline the mind to notice space.
For me, my truth is my truth. My truth in a situation is what I'm thinking and/or feeling and/or sensing. My truth in and of itself sings, and conflict enters when I have a goal or agenda or underlying motive or expectation or prejudice or fear that enters. When I avoid or let go of those and simply express my truth in a caring, open, and honest way, I'm not looking for survival or any particular outcome and instead look for life. For me, being and relating in that way is intimate, fulfilling, and thriving. It's the essence of life and is the best of living. What helps me engage in such living is awareness of the value of it, which awareness is based on having experienced it. Survival is basic. Life can be about much more than survival.
I agree that the first level of happiness is from pleasant sensual experience, and the second level of happiness is from the mind and/or heart. For me, the third level of happiness is in and from awareness of our oneness with all that is which results in compassion with and service toward all. To the extent I abide in oneness with all I experience a contentedness that is deeper than the first two levels and beyond changing circumstances. Reminding myself that all is one enhances my awareness that all is one interactive and interdependent whole that includes me and every being living and not living.
For me, opening to greater life means to become aware that all life is one life, and human life participates in the one life. I began to be aware long ago that all life is one and all life is sacred, and with that my awareness grew that we humans and the rest of creation is essentially and inseparably inter-related, in a mutually enhancing or mutually destroying relationship. When I practice communion with all things, what helps me is awareness that all creation is one, all creation is in communion, and what I or any one or any thing does to any expression of creation, be it to a to the air, the water, another person, or the galaxy, affects all of creation.
The quiet threshold across which life awaits us is real for me. I don' know what to call Life, so I'll call it Ultimate Being, which is for me the Ground out of which the hustle and bustle, the ups and downs, the pains and joys of this earthly reality emerge. Ultimate Being is hidden in the open. We certainly don't have to die in this life to be aware of it and get glimpses of it. I don't know how my awareness of what Nepo calls the threshold and beyond happened, but I began being aware of it probably 25 years ago, and my awareness has grown over the years. I've come to more and more often be living in this worldly reality and be not of it. I believe there is a tug and pull, a tension, of everything. I don't think that is a problem. What helps me accept it is believing all is one, is of one Source, expressed in a zillion different forms, and tug and pull is how existence is.
Being an agent of illumination means to me to let my inner light shine. My inner light is the Light as it shines through me as what I am experiencing, as my feeling or insight or idea. It's my truth. It's often thinking outside the box. Being an agent of that inner illumination means for me to rise above a situation rather than be stuck in it, and have the courage to express and use the inner illumination to make a positive contribution to the situation rather than do nothing or commit some negative action. For example, I told Joe I felt uncomfortable hearing his lengthy self-berating and feeling sorry for himself. My discomfort was my light, and my sharing it with him with care seemed to be a light for him on what he was doing, and he proceeded to self-berate and feel sorry for himself less. What helps me be the light is to look for it, pay attention to it and value it, and have the courage to offer it and let it shine in a positive way.
Such a lovely and profound story. Self-realization means to me becoming aware of what I really am, that is, I am Being or Ultimate Reality or Consciousness or God materialized in human form. I got little glimpse by little glimpse of the ocean like vastness of my true nature until it has become very clear to me that it is true. My awareness is growing of the salt doll experience happening for me.
Thank you for the Chogyan Trungpa quote or paraphrase which I think we are all living to some extent and with some awareness. I am moved by what you shared. Thank you. I hope what you suffer also brings you great joy.
Groundlessness means lack of ground or foundation, lack of anything to count on. As I see life, the ground we have is constant change. We can count on that. No change is an illusion. Actually, I exchanged certainty for curiosity a long time ago. There is no certainty. We live in the unknown. For me those are simply facts of life. As for exchanging fear for generosity, I'm working on it -- my fears have greatly dwindled, and I practice being more generous. What helps me accept the unrelenting constant of change is not seeing it as unrelenting which for me has a negative and oppressive connotation, and seeing change as 'that's life'. It helps that I've become pretty good at being in the present (we are alive only in the present), trusting what I believe to be right action in the present, and letting go of outcome.
I believe the heart is supple by nature and our nature is to take it all in. I believe we learn to fear and build an inner wall to not take it all in which results over time in a dried up, hard and brittle heart. There are times that I have taken in life's deaths with healthy anesthetics, mainly care both given and received, and with involvements that have been good for me and others, all of which have helped me to accept the life death and have resulted in making my heart more soft. For me, unhealthy anesthetics are those that deny or fight the life death, such as many drugs, legal and illegal, which leave the heart walled off and result in its becoming more hard and brittle. What helps me is knowing that it's all reality that I'm being presented with and my accepting that and dealing with it keeps me and my heart supple, growing and alive.
I agree that no system of thought can contain the fullness of human experience. Thought is one aspect of the human experience. The bandwidth of human experience is much greater than the width of thought or any system of thought. I've believed for a long time that we stand on the shoulders of the couple billion years of life that came before us. Furthermore, all life is one, thoroughly interrelated and interdependent, so one person's gain or loss is everyone's gain or loss and we reap what others sew. I believe human knowledge is contained in the fundamental or cosmic ground of which each human is an expression, and I believe human knowledge can not be contained in one person's human self. I think the capacity of one human is not great enough to contain all human knowledge.
You can't get there from here means to me that you can't get there because there is no there. There exists only in imagination so you can only get to there in your imagination. There is here once you get there. There are times I let go of all expectations and am simply present, attentive to and responsive to what I am experiencing and what is happening now. What helps me be fully in the present is knowing I'm alive only in the present, and I like being alive. It also helps me to know I have some control in the present and don't have control of the future, so it makes more sense to be present. Also, intimacy is in being in the present, and I seem to never have enough intimacy so wanting intimacy helps me be present. It helps to not have expectations because they take me away from the present and into thinking or imagining future. Practice being present of course helps to improve being present.
Chelan Harkin's poem is beautiful and wise. I think it's important and probably essential to allow and rekindle wonder every day to be alive beyond being biological robots programmed and conditioned by society and ourselves. I see my familiar world with new eyes of wonder -- when I see my grand daughter's curiosity, awe, learning, and growth -- she looks with wonder at the moon and stars, and I look at her and them with new eyes of wonder; when I look with wonder at a flower bud beginning to emerge this Spring; when I have a moment of seeing my wife of 45 years with new eyes of wonder at all that she is; when I am filled with wonder that my body with its zillion coordinated activities constantly going on continues to function quite well. Wonder is way beyond rationality. I believe the bandwidth of wonder is as big as life, and the width of rationality is very narrow, and our squeezing wonder into the narrow framework of rationality kills wonder and us.
I think it was Krisnamurti who emphasized the importance of nonjudgmental witnessing of self, of which this essay by Benoit reminds me. Not taking sides means to me to not focus on thoughts that emerge and create an internal battle between different thoughts. When I don't take hold of any thoughts and am actively and neutrally attentive, battling of two sides never gets started. That I value. The author seems to say "permitting my imagination to produce whatever it likes" and simply watching the mental images without grabbing hold of them results in the imagination not producing images. If I have experienced that, it has been for only very brief periods. With more commitment, I'm sure I could build up the mental automatism to help curb the natural automatism of imagination. I'm sure that would be good for me -- I may do it.
My understanding is Schlessman is saying we can come from memnoon which is the gift of asking someone to do something they want to do or we can give self empathy that we can't get to memnoon. We do have those choices. I felt blest by the request to talk about something bothering me that I wasn't talking about and wanted to. I don't only give out of memnoon. What would help me to only give out of memnoon if I were to do that is caring that the other gets what he or she wants and paying enough attention to the other to know what he or she wants and then give the gift of asking the person to do that. I don't operate that way. I value what is good for me or for the other more than what I or the other want. What a person wants and what is good for the person may or may not be the same. I like when I help the other to know what is good for him or her and support the person to do that.
A gift is something given without it being asked for or payed for. A privilege is an advantage that is given to only some. A gift could be a privilege, and a privilege could be a gift. Not every gift is a privilege, and not every privilege is a gift. Medicine by definition, is that which heals, that is, makes more whole and healthy. A gift or privilege or tree or river or human or whatever is medicine for whomever it promotes healing. I am able to unlock my authentic identity any time, for whatever reason often unlock it only to some extent, and when I do unlock it to whatever extent I think it is always medicine for me. Internal gifts are from inside me. I think of privileges as given to me from outside. What helps me focus more on internal gift is my drive for healing or wholeness, and my internal gifts and unlocking them is more medicine for me than focus on external privilege. Also, my internal gifts are mine, they are within me, while privilege belongs to some other authority and my having it is dependent on the authority giving it to me.
Sending love to someone needing help means to me to abide in awareness of our oneness and be compassionate and suffer their distress together with them. I have breathed in the pain of the Ukrainian people by abiding in awareness that I and they are one, their pain is my pain, and by suffering at least to a small extent their pain together with them. I believe what helps the most would be to send all of me to physically be there and suffer together with them what they are suffering. It would of course be impractical and very difficult to be there with them, but it could be done. To say I can't doesn't make it so. My honest answer as to why I don't physically go there and be there with them is I don't care enough, it would be more difficult to do than I want to do, so I send my love by being there with them in awareness. I believe that helps a little.
Further reflection: I don't think considering others is giving up one's freedom -- each of us is free to be a team player or not, and there are consequences to either choice. Your fate isn't in the other's hands -- we influence each other, not determine each other. I think every moment of everything carries within it the grace of redemption. More accurately, I believe the grace of redemption is within me to embrace in any moment. I, not an event, frees me. When I am offended, I have the opportunity to be forgiving which is freeing. I've long been aware of my responsibility toward others, that is, aware that I am able to respond as I choose to the other and to what is happening. Over the years, my understanding that we are one became deeper in me. What helps me to remember to consider the fate of others is my awareness that we are one, what I do affects everyone, and my wanting to have a positive effect.
I'm think what happened is we got into this age of entitlement by way of parents' undisciplined love for their children, wanting to give their children everything, resulting in children learning it's all about them. I think what you call the 'all about me' mentality is the result of misguided distorted love.
I believe we are essentially and inseparably interrelated and interdependent. Everything I do affects you, and everything you do affects me. In offending you I offend me. In forgiving you I forgive me. I am redeemed by living our oneness. As a child I became aware of my responsibility toward others and vice verse as a rule of religion. At a much later age I heard statements that 'we are one' and 'I look across at the other and see me' and 'there is no other' and 'we sink or swim together' as facts of life, not as rules. To fight those facts is to fight life. What helps me remember to consider the fate of others in making decisions is to accept those facts of life, let them sink deeply into me, and allow them to be part of my living and relating.
I agree with Russell Wilson that helpers (and all of us) do way too much cognitive bypassing. We do too much living in and trying to heal from our head. We need less cognition to bypass feelings, and more bypassing of cognition. Get out of your head and into your body was a message of the 60's. I've sat with grief and metabolized it, often not enough. We always metabolize grief -- the issue is whether we metabolize it healthily or not. Do I chew the grief thoroughly before swallowing, gulp it down, or avoid it? Do I ingest and metabolize grief mindfully or do it inattentively while doing other activities? What helps me avoid cognitively manipulating emotion is believing cognition makes a valuable servant and a terrible master, believing much more healing lies in feeling my feelings than in cognitive shuffling (let cognition follow feeling feelings, not precede or substitute for feeling feelings), and years of practicing paying attention to my feelings.
Who is looking out from my eyes is Essence called I. I is the Witness. I apparently have never noticed that the feeling of the Witness that is I and the feeling of the world were the same. I believe Essence of I and of the world is the same but there are countless aspects of Essence expressed in countless ways, so the feeling of I and of the world which is composed of countless expressions of the Essence are different. I believe I is an expression of Essence, Essence is One, One is Love, Love includes compassion. I believe all that is, meaning the countless expressions of Essence including my motivations, is sitting within a resounding heartbeat of compassion though unfortunately I am often not aware of that or living that.
I support not criticizing what we don't understand, which means we would criticize very little. When I pay attention, watch, listen, ask questions, am open, and learn, I gain at least some small amount of understanding, which I think is of more value than criticism for everyone involved. I'm not into understanding the why. I don't believe there is a why as in one cause or explanation. I think 'why' is the whole context which can be very big and complex. As Ed Lorenze pointed out, a factor in why a storm happens in New York City is a butterfly flapping its wings in South America. On the biggest level, why something happens is everything that has happened in all of creation. I want to appreciate some of the important factors in the context out of which an action comes. What helps me remain committed to that is my finding it interesting, finding it to be a way to get to know the other, my satisfaction in learning, and the other's satisfaction in being better known.
Perhaps Francis did know God, and saw God in the form of the almond tree blossoming. He might have seen God in the form of the Big Bang. I believe we can't manipulate God -- I believe God takes what ever form God takes.
I believe the real self lives eternally in what Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate dimension. The real of everything simply is, while the form that 'is' takes comes and goes. I accept the notion that I have been nirvanized since the very nonbeginning. Nirvanized is what is aside from all the forms and definitions that are attached. Nirvanized is what's left once all forms, physical and mental, are gone. What is always was and always will be. 'Is' is outside past and future, outside beginning and end. I've touched many moments with some amount of awareness. At the level of nirvanized, there is only one moment, and I touch it sometimes with some awareness. When I live one moment deeply, what helps me be there is knowing that is all that is real, knowing nirvanized exists, and knowing there is only present.
Truth is, a person can sit under a tree all day. I'm not saying any one should, but any one can. Some do. Of course, there are consequences to deal with, as there are consequences to deal with in regard to any choice and any action.
Everything isn't "so screwed up ' -- everything is being what it's being. Trade in the approach of endlessly struggling to fix what's broken for allowing to learn and heal, especially when it comes to self and others. Efforts to solve and fix are a problem. Give up efforts of striving and trying. You never know if or when enlightenment occurs -- to cease material and spiritual struggle seems to help enlightenment occur. Some insights appear to me to be minor and some great. I've continuously experienced insights which seem to occur when I cease trying, striving and fixing, and allow myself to be open, pay attention and learn. I've learned that striving and being goal or outcome driven gets in the way of my seeing and becoming, and when I live that way, it is very satisfying.
Mercy is to be kind or forgiving toward someone whom you could hurt or punish. I've experienced mercy many times, both giving it and receiving it. Years ago, a professor could have been harsh and punitive, and instead was merciful. Once upon a time a young guy drove his car through the fence around our yard, and I could have been mean and punitive, and instead I was merciful. We're always in danger of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by something -- the system, an illness, a thief, a tornado, an accident. We can each use some mercy at some time. What helps me practice mercy is believing that mercy does more for fostering healing and growth than harshness and what's called punishment, which is usually revenge and not punishment, and remembering how much I have appreciated receiving mercy. Also, I feel better being merciful than being harsh or punitive.
It is my understanding that everything including thoughts are essentially without substance, in that everything arises from emptiness and eventually dissolves back into emptiness. I have had many thoughts that I felt difficult, especially at 2 or 3 in the morning, and they and my ruminating over them are disturbing and keep me awake, and then they dissolve back into emptiness as I fall asleep once again. Actually that happened last night. For me, the ephemeral nature of thoughts is part of and the same as the ephemeral nature of everything -- nothing is always. My thoughts and my decisions come and go, like everything. For me that is not sad or negative, it is just how this human life is.
I very much agree with and support what I think Rev Chipenda is saying -- I think his way of saying it is not accurate. Many die hardly having a chance to live and many are struggling to survive -- no one is born to die or born to merely survive. We are each born to live and thrive. It is tragic so many are born into very harsh and sad conditions. I think often about all three groups. I think often about the injustice in the world and have my vision of a better world in which there is justice for all. Problem is I don't do much about it. What helps me be invested is knowing that we are one, care that I have for all people, and belief that a level playing field of fairness, equality, and compassion for all would be best for all.
Our effort is important in the growth of our capacity to love. One effort that enhances love is accepting that we are one, which makes love of 'the other' love of self, and turns 'us vs them' into simply 'us'. When asked how we should treat others, Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi said, "There are no others." Love is oneness, and the more I abide in our oneness the more I enhance my capacity to love. Our capacity to love is also enhanced by accepting that we are God incarnate, and to love the other is to love God. I came to realize that my love is mine -- it is part of me, controlled by me, and can be unconditional, not a reaction to a circumstance, not beholden to circumstance, not done for any goal. I can love independent of the other and of circumstances. Reminding myself of all this helps me return to a place of loving kindness.
One can have and use one's mind without being captured and controlled by it. I think being in the cloud of unknowing of which you speak is being in the present. One can be in the present with freedom to choose and with response-ability and with acceptance of not knowing what will happen and be comfortable.
I agree that we don't need to get somewhere other than where we already are; I believe it's important to be me exactly here where I am. I don't believe I need to become something more; I'm enough -- it is important for me to use what I have and be what I am. I don't believe I have always been "already awake"; I believe I awoke and am becoming more awake. I agree that awakening isn't about changing or about not changing what I am; it is about awakening to and being what I am. It was a major eye opening awakening for me that I don't need to change me and have a goal of being different in the future; it is for me to be more and be all that I am here and now. There is a 'distance' between me asleep and me awake. I'm not a different me in being however awake I am; I am more me in being more awake to who and what I am, and that's no mirage.
I very much believe in life that is beyond the seen and the humanly alive. I believe Life is, and it manifests in a zillion different forms, living and not living, including human form. I am often aware that I live in an Infinite Ocean of Being that carries me and does to me, and I and the Ocean and all that is of it, seen and unseen, are thoroughly interconnected. I also believe (I don't know but deeply believe) that evolution and growth in and of Being and all that is in and of it is inexorable. Those beliefs help me be aware that I have more help than I can know or see. Sometimes that help gets called good luck. I also believe that sometimes the help doesn't feel like help though it is, and I think that because the help is for much bigger than just me.
We do a lot of relating image to image, not person to person. I do believe love is denied when we relate images. I think Krisnamurti is referring to the center as the real self, and I create space around my self by having images of myself and of the other. When images are relating rather than real persons there is neither real love nor beauty. As far as I know, there are times in relating that I am relating how I am and from how I am, and I am relating to the real other and not to an image that I or the other is creating. During those moments there is neither the observer nor what is being observed in that there is simply real to real relating and meeting. That is intimacy that makes life worthwhile. What helps me look without an image is awareness of image creating and having some ability to avoid images and relate real un-imaged me with real un-imaged other. It is an ability that I continue to foster.
Love means abiding in togetherness,oneness, unity. Unconditional means no condition, no ulterior motive, no agenda, no goal. Unconditional love means oneness without condition or motive. Ram Dasssaysloveis "like sunshine, a natural force, a completion of what is, a bliss." I have felt such bliss in feeling togetherness, oneness, unity in relating to some people and in relation to some natural events. In love or oneness a feeling of bliss or awe comes over me like a wave that seems to touch and move me throughout my body and soul, filling me fully. I have felt some amount of that many times, the intensity of it related to the extent of togetherness or oneness I felt. What helps me enter the state of "being love" is awareness that all creation is one, that I am part of all creation, and that I am one with the person or object in my presence.
Kintsugisuggests to me that damage isn't the end, and a valuable new reintegration and new beginning is possible. I was cheated out of significant money by an employer years ago. The beauty in the scar from the greatly healed negative experience is my growth, my increased awareness of my participation and any victim's participation in victimization, and my increased compassion for the apparent wrongdoer. It has also taught me to not give up, there's a way to reap positive from a problem,realize opportunity in a problem. Hemingway said we are sometimes stronger at the broken places -- we are sometimes also more valuable and beautiful. What helps me see my life's scars as an integral part of beauty is knowing that shit happens -- that's life, that's part of the whole, and my challenge is to deal constructively with difficulties and wounds and make them be an integral part of my growth.
From what I know of Gaia -- that all creation is one interrelated system from and of Life -- I believe it. And I think it's obvious earth is suffering. Rocks, plants, fish, animals, and human beings including us are of earth, and human beings are seriously and maybe fatally harming earth and ourselves and all the rest. Earth suffers people.
In my experience, truth does foster personal power. Truth isn't necessary to manipulate anything. I believe earth was conquered by homo sapiens because we are foolish, not because we can cooperate. Large scale cooperation may be based on belief in common stories, but not always. And you can't really make anyone believe anything. Believing a leader who promotes a false story is foolish loyalty. Yes, the truth may hurt -- lies may hurt also. Fiction wins in politics when voters don't want the truth. It sometimes is difficult to know what the truth is. Suffering is bearing what's happening. Whatever is in form suffers from the elements and forces of nature and other beings. If it can suffer, it's real in this reality. I don't know whether the formless suffers. I often consider what consequences I or the other will suffer by my decision or action. Being very sure that everyone is suffering plenty helps me from getting impervious to the suffering of others.
It's seldom that you know that you're having an experience for the last time. I'm aware that all of life consists of firsts since no two experiences are exactly the same and every experience is the last time, so it is valuable to live many experiences as though you were doing them for the last time. That's similar to live each day as if it were your last. If a person dies young or old, he can live with conscious completion. Getting old plays a big part in my being increasingly aware that any activity I do I may be doing for the last time,and that helps me to sometimes savor the moment with conscious completion and be aware of the giant miracle we live in. Small death is constantly happening, and we would do well to enjoy greater conscious completion ongoingly. Conscious completion doesn't make anything sacred; it is because everything is sacred that it makes sense to live with conscious completion.
I fully believe that we are in kinship with each other. We are totally interrelated and interdependent. To me, our kinship is a secret only to whomever is unaware of it, perhaps avoiding or denying the fact. I discovered our human kinship through reading, discussion, reflection, and openness to learn. For many, kinship is discovered in coming together during a crisis. I now live with awareness that not only are we one but all creation is one, expressing in a zillion different forms, and that awareness results in my being much more compassionate toward all that is, living and not living. What I've said applies for me in easy and difficult relationships, and is more important for me to remind myself of in the difficult relationships.
Hi -- I'm getting close to retiring (I initially wrote closed to retiring) soon, and I appreciate what you said. Thanks for sharing. I particularly appreciated your last two sentences ie getting in touch with the peace within that is always there and knowing "I am enough." Retiring is a big transition that I tell myself and hope will open new doors and allow more time for endeavors I'd like to have more time for. I wish you well in your retirement/new chapter.
The fact is, no one makes you feel big, small, or anything. Self-esteem based on comparison with others is dependent and conditional, and as Kristine Neffsays is likely to bounce around like a png pong ball. Self-esteem based on self comes from inside, is not based on outside conditions. Self-esteem based on comparison with others is different than self-esteem based on self. Compassion means sympathy for someone who is suffering problems. Self-compassion means sympathy that I am suffering problems, and I accept that. As a youth, when my self-esteem was based on what others thought of me, I was goal-directed and pursued self-esteem by trying to impress others. Knowing that to be human is to have problems helps me have self-compassion. For me, valuing me and how I deal with life and problems is self-esteem.
I think the primary balance is the balance of all forces in creation, not the balancing of action and fixity. There is no fixity. Everything is always changing, often in balance and sometimes not. When in balance, there may be apparent fixity, but everything is still dynamic, constantly changing. I usually experience balance in my life. The balance is not of stasis and dynamis; the balance is dynamic, not fixed, andis the constant adjusting and readjusting of all the constantly changing parts, with the great majority of the balancing happening outside of my awareness. For example, I usually experience balance in walking, which balance is dynamic as my whole self is constantly adjusting and readjusting mostly unconsciously a zillion changing parts. Only occasionally am I out of balance. I believe balance and the process of balancing is natural and is constantly happening. What helps me make space for balance is staying out of the way of nature and willingnessto adjust when I experience imbalance.
I resist being told what I need to do. I have fought for change, but what I relate to more is that I change, and sometimes my changing takes more effort than other times. Much of mychange and effort to change is to improve myself. I don't know that I ever changed with the intention to make myself worse. Years ago I changed from one career pathto another. My changing was scary for me, and I learned and recreated myself. I think what helps me accept change is acceptinglife, that is, accepting that change is constant. Change and a better future aren't oppositional. Not all change is improvement, but for the future to be better there must be change. I have an optimism that helps me envision a better future and helps me accept change as part of a better future. Nothing needs to change; everything simply is constantly changing. I may want for things to change, which is my want and not the want of things. We can see what is and we can accept what is;that we don't doesn't mean we can't. I have enough power to make some change. Not jumping through a window of opportunity may benefit someone -- you never know. I've never seen not real change. All change is real change, some change making a situation better and some making it worse. Every change is change of everything. Every change is transformation. Yes, a good leader does implement change that improves.
If elders is defined as those having "lifelong wisdom, knowledge, and teaching," then elders are very likely to provide a valuable connecting and nurturing role,being of great benefit to everyone. I very much listen to and respect such elders. It's too bad our society doesn't produce more of them. It's fairly recently that I became aware of an ecology beneath the visible nodes, and now I see that there is one ecology that is beneath all life and includes all life. What helps me be a nourishing elder is life experience and learning from it, years of learning from elders past and present, being open, getting old, caring, healthy detachment, and wanting to make a positive contribution to the ecology network of which I am a part.
What makes a feeling a soul feeling or a worldly feeling isn't whether or not a person gets praise or applause or whether or not a person succeeds or wins, or whether or not a person has power. What makes a feeling a soul feeling is that it comes from the soul, it's genuine in that it's the truth of one's soul, and it is independent of the opinion of others. What makes a feeling a worldly feeling is that it is dependent on the reaction of the world. If how I feel about myself is dependent on how others or the world feel about me, the feeling is a worldly feeling. What helps me avoid getting addicted to worldly feelings is knowing worldly feelings are dependent on the world's reaction, they're triggered from outside me, they're not grounded in me, and they don't last leaving me in the position of chasing the next worldly feeling like any addict.
I believe the statement that we are in the world but not of it. Being only grounded in the world you lose your spiritual groundedness and essence, you are consumed by the world and you lose (awareness of) your soul. Being just (aware of) spiritual, you're not part of this world, you're out of it and irrelevant to this world. The 'goal' of my spiritual quest in this life is to live and balance in the world and not of it. There are times I am aware of being in the world and not of it, and I live in and from that reality, grounded to some extent in both, totally in neither and not totally out of either. During those times I am at peace and satisfied. Knowing this and having at times experienced it helps me be aware of my altitude, be aware of whether I am too high or too low, too in the world or too out of it.
Being beggars is one way we deal with not having and not being able to get, or think we can't get, what we need or want. At such times, a person is likely feeling powerless and/or desperate. The person who is drowning, one way or another, may beg for help. He or she needs a lifesaver. When the person is safely alive is the time to learn to swim. When starving, it may be life saving to be given a fish, and then learn to fish. When being beggars, we try to get what we need or want from outside. Be a beggar only briefly. When I dropped out of a career path that was important to me, I felt at the bottom, thoroughly lost. Others helped me to not drown. The greatest gift I received and learned was to re-empower. I learned that what I needed was in me, not outside of me. Experiencing a bottom still helps me retain what I went through and what I learned and retain empathy when I or another is hurting.
It seems to me that too much is obviously counterproductive. Too much means more than the right amount, more than what is effective or productive. I'm still learning that less, such as less said and less done, is often enough. When I got into a physical exercise routine, I realized that creating space for rest between activities was important to enhance my physical fitness and not harm myself. What helps me appreciate the importance of absence as well as presence is learning that life involves yin and yang. For example, whole life is day-night, body-mind, alone-together, awake-asleep, self-other, wave-particle, absence-presence. Yin without yang, absence without presence, is incomplete and likely to collapse. Kahlil Gibran said we need spaces in our togetherness. Musicians have pointed out that music consists of the right notes and space between the notes.
I agree with Culadasa. For me, the 'I' and 'it' are fictional useful constructs, that is, they are appearances (mirages) that help us get along in the world of apparent separations (a mirage) that we are conditioned into seeing. We human beings are in the fictional usefulworld of separate constructsthough not of it -- we are of oneness (or Oneness). At some point in middle life I became aware that my desires and aversions are from seeing things and persons as being separate from me, and becoming aware that what appears to be separate 'I' and 'them' are really part of one whole. Becoming aware that the ego-self is one more created separate construct makes the ego-self much less important to me and makes it much easier for me to break the cyclical process of protecting and reinforcing it. (Curiously I initially wrote cynical (instead of cyclical) process of reinforcing the ego-self which seems to fit my feeling about that cyclical process.)
What we see in the other is often more about us than about the other. Alcoholics Anonymous says, 'you spot it, you got it.' As someone said, there's something about that guy I can't stand in myself. We project ourselves onto others, especially our own negative traits. Maybe 25 years ago, I very much hurt a good friendship by my negative judgments and criticisms that had much more to do with me than my good friend, and I'm still sad about the hurt I caused to both of us. I see such happeningsas mistakes of judgment and projections, and I catch them best and before they are expressed outwardly by knowing it's valuable for me to examine what my judgment has to do with me, not with the other. It helps me to remember the times I expressed my negative judgments that caused me and the other hurt. It helps that I've learned that as I look at the other I see me, and to remind myself of that. It helps me to think before I speak.
I think the four Bs are important in a healthy life. I don't know what is meant by an emotional footprint. I find that when I live the four Bs to some degree, I feel a sense of satisfaction. What helps me achieve the four Bs is awareness that all creation is one sacred interrelated whole, which is the ground out of which flows living the four Bs.
I don't know about the accuracy of the quote, but I do wonder if meditation and presence are our natural state and we have gotten very far awayfrom our natural state, and that is what the author is getting at. I do appreciate your putting thought and research into the topic.
By definition, ferocious means an unrestrained violence and brutality. It doesn't mean strong. By definition, tenderness means gentleness and kindness. I can see someone being strongly or assertively gentle. I don't see a person being violently gentle. I can see a person being kindly strong and assertive. I don't see a person being kindly violent. For me, ferocity and tenderness don't go together.
Jean Klein states "because meditation is your natural state, Presence is." Presence is your real self. Silent awareness of Presence is meditation. It's an abiding in Presence. Meditation isn't trying to accomplish something or get some where. It isn't trying to stop one's body or mind functioning. Meditation is going past one's body and mind and into the oneness of one's real self. For me, awareness occurs in living stillness, and awareness makes for change. Awareness resulted in the undoing of my conditioning. I didn't consciously undo my conditioning or try to undo my conditioning, it happened with awareness, openness, and allowing. Choiceless living is living without making any intentional choices. In choiceless living, I suspend my freedom to choose and allow myself to simply live. The freedom to unfold found in choiceless living and the freedom to choose are reconciled in that I have the freedom to choose choiceless living or not.
A response is what you are experiencing as you take in the other and what s/he says or does. Your response is what you are feeling, sensing, thinking, imagining, and your expressing of it. A response is present and fluid. It's a personal sharing and tends to welcome the response of the other. One definition of an answer is that it is a solution and it typically is intellectual and impersonal. An answer is about an issue or subject, not about the person giving it. And as Rabbi Burger states, an answer tends to be definitive and closes down further discussion. Ferocity is fierce and cruel aggression. I don't value ferocity. I do value assertiveness and some non-fierce aggression. I think ferocity and tenderness don't balance -- they are either or. My effort is to balance assertiveness and non-fierce aggression with tenderness. Factors that help me to lead with a response include my motivation being right, the situation appearing to be right for me to respond, and my strongly feeling my response.
My understanding is that non-stealing means not taking without permission what is considered to belong to another. It means not taking anything material or immaterial, not money or a car or a paper clip or an idea. Not taking the clean from waters, earth, and air is a subtler awareness of non-stealing that I became aware of as an adult. Someone can try to steal time, energy, attention, knowledge, and love, but really those can only be given, not stolen. Connie Habash says "generosity is the heart of asteya" or of not-stealing. I think generosity is way beyond not-stealing. Generosity is freely giving whatever, be it material or immaterial, be it time, energy, attention, love. What helps me acknowledge my adequacy is knowing that wanting what I don't have, which may result in stealing, generates unhappiness and grief, and giving freely and abundantly what I think of as mine is generosity and generates happiness and satisfaction.
Merciless light of death means to me to realize that death of form is inescapable. Death is a common denominator. It is a universal symptom of existence. Realizing we are all alike in that we will all die can make us all less afraid of our differences. Impermanencedoesn't liberate us from suffering -- we suffer all aspects of human life including impermanence. Impermanence can liberate us from the illusion of permanence and from our "relentless grasp", to use Manuel's term, for the permanent. The near death of my wife deepened my appreciation of life, deepened my gratitude for this briefhuman life that we each have, deepened my awareness that bodily death is in the near future for each of us. What helps me be more awake to the truth that underlies my fears is my faith that human death is death of my body which is a manifestation of God in human form and not death of soul or God that is me and is eternal.
You are what life does to you plus what you do with life. You are the reality you are given plus your choices in dealing with it. You are the hand you are dealt plus how you play it. Gratitude is a great gift of passage from not knowing that to knowing that. I've been in the spiral of increasing gratitude for a long time. I am grateful for what I have been given, with which I could have done more and better, and I am grateful for what I have done. What helps me set the spiral of increasing gratitude in motion is knowing myself, knowing what life gave me and knowing what I can do with what I've been given. Digesting Meister Eckhart's statement, "If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it is enough," helps me. Experiencing the satisfaction of gratitude also helps. Gratitude is its own reward.
The mind is in us, in the whole. It's we who say the mind is in the brain. Passion, and the liver, are valuable and important in staying alive. Faith ishaving passion about what is seen with the soul's eye. The heart represents deeper spiritual perception. My deeper spiritual perception is that I ammore than my experiencing, feeling and thinking. When I give primacy to this deeper perception over surface level emotions, I use more of my whole self and more likely do what is best for me and others. For example, I made a life path change long ago based on perception that was deeper than emotions and thinking. What helps me is when I live what Ronald Laing said, that is, "What we think is less than what we know; what we know is less than what we love; what we love is so much less than what there is. And to that precise extent we are so much less than what we are."
The right amount lies between deficiency and excess, between too little and too much. Virtue is behavior of high moral standard that is done to benefit well being, that is, is done for growth. For me, if a behavior is not intended to further growth, it's not virtue. If the action is too much or too little it can still be virtue if the action was done with the intention of facilitating growth (even if it doesn't). I find virtue in balance when the action intended to foster growth is just the right amount. For example, giving exactly the right amount reempowers and facilitates growth, giving too little doesn't help or helps little, and giving too much is likely disempowering or disrespectful which also doesn't help. What helps you know the right amount is paying attention to the other, respect where he or she is at and what he or she is saying, and pay attention to your own experience and judgment.
A swinging door divides a space into what appears to be two separate spaces. A person swings between a multitude of dialectics in one whole life. The dialectics include individuality-togetherness, living-dying, material-spiritual, awake-asleep, inside-outside, independent-dependent, and on and on. In reflection and meditation, attention to my breathing helps me be aware that inhaling-exhaling is one more dialectic that is really one whole like all other dialectics. I am like a swinging door between what appears to be two but really is one. I belong to both and neither side of every dialectic. I am whole. All creation is whole. What helps me become truly myself is accepting the swinging door that being a human being is, accepting the dialectics of life, being the connection rather than separation of what appears to be two opposites, seeing the wholeness rather than separation, having as much of what appears to be two opposites as I can get, and becoming more integrated and whole.
Virginia Satir was a good lady and therapist. I liked and learned from her. I am the result of what life does to me plus what I do with life. I was dealt a hand; how I play the hand is up to me. I have limited freedom and power to engineer me. I take ownership of all that. As for my conditioning, I long ago learned to own it and I claimed my freedom to participate in my evolution, each of which is an ongoing process. What helps me stay committed to finding solutions, which are partial and temporary, while being rooted in friendship to myself is my knowing that I am to grow,ongoingly own and become more of who and what I am, and my faith in fostering friendship, that is, kindness and care, toward all creation including myself. Unfortunately I'm often less kind and caring toward myself than toward others which is one of those puzzles I continue to address.
Author Todd Henry says the graveyard is where undoneendeavors are buried and is the most valuable land in the world. To me, that's saying the most valuable place is where you find what's dead and not done.The most valuable place is the placethat Iam alive, using my creativityand not having regrets. It's the place that I use and empty what I am. Work is effort to accomplish a goal. Toil is strenuous exhausting work. Work can be toil but doesn't have to be. You can achieve value through work or toil that is of value to you. As many have said, if you do activity you love you never work a day in your life. I was in my early twenties when I got at least some understanding of activity that was really important to me whichresulted ijn the courageto leave the career path I was on and commit to work that is stillvaluable to me. Pursuing what is of value to me, actualizing my potential, helps me to die empty.
It's been said to put your money where your mouth is. At least as important is to put your path or make your path where your heart is. All existence is one. We are one. What we do to anyone we do to everyone. So, it makes good sense to be caring and attentive to one and all, which endeavor matters the most and is fantastic and grand. Your heart is more likely to know that than your brain. Go your heart path. Every moment is an opportunity for one's heart to open. Some opportunities I take, and when I do, I'm present, open, honest, and compassionate from my heart, with no agenda or goal which come from thinking. What helps me live my heart path is trusting my heart, knowing that compared to my head my heart is less conditioned and less conniving, more present and primitive, more real and honest.
For me, preference can be bias, or preference can be natural inclination. I think bias is judgmental preconceived thinking and conditioning, and natural inclination is nature. Preference can be bias and it can be natural inclination. For example, a preference of chicken dinner instead of fish, or preference of one fragrance over another, or preference of something saltyinstead of something sweet, or preference of this shirt over that one, can be examples of preference based on natural inclination or taste and not bias.
I often see my thinking or images, be they images of spirituality or whatever, be they created by me or by the other, instead of seeing what is and letting life in. What comes to mind regarding "humble practice" that results in inspiration is efforts to see what is, such as to be in the present, put aside thinking, preconceived notions and created images, and let go of trying to control. When I do that even to a small extent, I find inspiration, surprises, aliveness, intimacy. Such practice is an important part of the foundation of my spirituality. What helps me stay rooted in such practice is the satisfaction I get from it. I like parables. For me, parables aren't distracting and I don't avoid them. Parables aren't about magical beliefs but are fantastic stories containing wisdom and lessons about rightliving. I have learned from parables and they have enhanced my practice. They tend to stick with me and I find myself reflecting on them.
I find it is important to be detached from and involved in the world, which means to be in the world but not of it. Detached doesn't refer to distance, 'slight' or otherwise. Detached means independent of. Our challenge is to be independent of and not captured by the world while involved in it. As related to spirituality, I found my leverage when I became committed to following truth as I saw it, not following what someone else or an institution said was true. My priority is holding my truth and not losing myself. When I start to lose my truth and myself, I at least sometimes become as wise and elusive as a serpent or I back off my involvement in the world. What helps me is to become more firmly grounded in my truth and become more adept at being wise as a serpent, which do seem to increase or decrease concurrently.
For me, running with the unexpected means running with the unknown, doing different than what's always been done before, going outside the box. The unknown is the source of the unexpected, and the source of surprise, freedom, and creativity. The unknown is present and alive. The known is the past and kind of dead. As a psychotherapist, I run with the wind often. It's when I'm in the present, attending to process as it's happening, embracing the unknown and not knowing where we will go, not trying to engineer a particular outcome. My mantra has long been process not outcome. Don't make empty promises that are not kept. Make sacred promises which are sincere, expressed from heart and soul, with real whole person follow through.
The meaning of terms depends on how they are defined. For me, there is what exists in space and time, which is manifest in form and is temporary, and there is what exists outside space and time, which is unmanifest and eternal. The manifest is the unmanifest in form. In my opinion, both the manifest in form and the unmanifest exist and are real. Manifest in form does not exist and isn't real until manifest in form. The unmanifest from which a human comes exists and is real, but the human doesn't exist and isn't real until manifest in form. I can imagine what is unmanifest or latent before it manifests, but I don't see the unmanifestbefore it is manifest. My imagination helps me to see what I imagine will manifest. I'm stopping this thinking before I get a headache, which is imagined and doesn't exist and isn't real until it manifests in form.
A blessing is a gift. Living is a gift. Living is a blessing. Holding your breath is holding or hindering your living. Release of a breath you have held so long is a return to naturally breathing and living unhindered, which is the arrival of a blessing. When I am intensely involved in some activity, I notice that I sometimes tense and hold my breath, and when I release my breath, I release and breathe and begin to relax and return to the natural flow of me living. The release is relieving and reliving. What helps me is awareness, letting go of holding myself back and in, and allowing my breathing, my body and my self to functionwithout my interference.