This passage, particularly the end, offers a nice way to practice giving. I never realized that it can be cultivated through meditation. Giving more of ourselves to ourselves...what an inspiring and simple place to start! I will be more mindful of being kingly rather than being beggarly the next time that I sit. Thank you for sharing this reading. :)
I really appreciate how this piece characterizes restraint in a positive light. It often has a negative connotation -- that restraint is a denial or a repression of some inner need or desire, a hindrance to freedom and expression. As a result, there is a common belief that restraint leads to feelings of unfulfillment. I never seriously reflected on restraint until I started making "trade offs" in my life in order to try to live out the things that I value. It was initially difficult to say no and detach myself from certain habits because I thought I could have my cake and eat it too! For example, I learned the hard way that it is not possible to work very late or go out late with friends and wake up early in the morning to meditate as I would miss my alarm each time. Finally, when I surrendered to restraint, I found freedom from some strong cravings and freedom to be live out the things that I truly enjoy. The boundaries constructed by such restraint have actually created a sense of boundlessness, well-being, and wholeness that was not satisfied by previously chasing craving after craving. I discovered that many of these cravings were motivated by fear and insecurities and in saying "no" to them, I created a space to be motivated by love and completion. I now find myself nurturing this garden of wholeness and growing in it -- both roots and flowers -- by approaching each moment as an opportunity to do this or do that, think this or think that, attach myself to this or that or to not attach at all. This reading serves as a beautiful reminder for me to be courageous, gentle, and kind in living the dignity of restraint.[Hide Full Comment]
This piece comes just in time as I found myself "waiting for the bus" (train) this morning -- along with hundreds of commuters, all in a rush to get to work. Instead of checking my watch to try to calculate how late I'd be, I lowered my eyes to the ground and began to observe myself in waiting. I noticed how my heart started beating a bit faster, my chest subtly tightened with anxiety, and how I became defensive of "my space" so that more physically aggressive people would not push me out of the way. It was a rich learning experience. :) This passage inspires me to continuously observe myself so that I can accept change with balance, grace, and faith. Thank you. :)
This article is a great reminder for me to be more attentive and mindful to even the smallest of activities in daily life. Thank you. :)
For the past few months, I have been driving to the train station as part of my daily commute to work. Each morning and evening rush hour the roads are packed with people driving from all walks of life on the shared mission of getting to their destination as quickly as possible. Sometimes this involves aggression. Yesterday morning I was in queue at a red light when a man driving a large 4x4 pick-up truck pulled up in the median lane from the opposite direction to make a turn into a plaza driveway. I was directly in front of this driveway and this man was angrily shouting and gesturing from inside his car for me to move back so that he could turn in. I looked behind me and there was not much space to reverse. The light was still red so I couldn't move ahead. I shook my head to indicate "no" to him; even though I could have reversed about 1 foot back, I did not want to yield to this bully. He was fuming inside of his car. When the light eventually turned green, he rolled down his window and yelled a profanity at me. I was not completely shocked since he was very angry but his harsh words stung me nevertheless. They kept on replaying over and over inside of my head. And as they did, I realized that I was witnessing a real-time carving of negative grooves in my mind. Negativities that would become "I am hurt", hurt that would point a finger at "that man who called me a mean name", a desire for revenge that I might unwittingly project onto somebody else in the future, and the amplification of an isolated incident into ripples of violence beyond that street. It became apparent that I needed to both prevent the deepening of this groove and create other more positive ones in its place.
The rebel within, the one who had calmly stood ground in the face of intimidation and force, was now telling me to be compassionate because he spoke those words from ignorance. He deserves to be happy just as much as every being. How do I wish him well?
An friend, who recently told me that in the past lifetimes I was her mother, father, son, daughter, brother, and that I have appeared as everything to her except as her friend, which is now manifest in this lifetime. This man has also been my mother. How would I treat my mother?
In gratitude for this man who helped me to strengthen my awareness of my mind, reinforce the need for kindness in the world, and challenged me to grow in compassion towards myself, him, and others who are suffering. He is my spiritual teacher. How can I thank my spiritual teacher?
Rebel.[Hide Full Comment]
Thank you for sharing this rich story. There are so many layers to unpack, but something that initially comes to mind is a recent experience that I had with anger. I was meditating and observed anger that had been building up for a day or two. Instead of reacting to it this time, I objectively watched it. And in doing so, I realized that anger is an extremely powerful emotion. It's very hurtful to both myself and others around me. It makes me feel bad all over. And because it is so disruptive to a state of homeostasis, or balance, there is nothing natural about anger. So I observed, observed, observed...and over the course of that 1 hour, the anger crumbled into pieces, like a brick wall falling to the ground with dust rising into the air. But the energy of anger wasn't lost; rather, it was converted into litle bits of love that seemed to be pulsing through the smallest of veins. Like little packages of goodness being delivered ceaslessly to all parts of the body. I felt balanced again and realized that love is also very powerful, but in a good way. That's how I would like to treat others and myself...with little bits of love that just flows naturally and in rhythm with the greater whole.
Thank you for sharing these simple, elegant words. I'm still reflecting on it, but what has become apparent to me thus far is the difficult process of going from the solidified self to the no-self. They are opposite forces; the former pulls me into old habits that keep me within my constructed boundaries whereas the no-self opens me up to a natural flow of energy. Straddling between the two is unsteady. Perhaps each being can only house one self: either the solidified self or the no-self. At any given time, I can choose which self to be and my thoughts, feelings, and actions will follow accordingly. But as soon as the walls of the solidified self begin to crumble down and I experience what lies beyond, there is no desire to build it back up again. The whole wall must be brought down so that only the no-self exists.
I like the term "no-self" because without the self, there is no "I am"; only empty space for all possibilities.
On Sep 6, 2013 Manisha wrote on Dropping That Drug, by Anthony de Mello:
This is such a powerful piece, thank you for sharing it. It explains the concept of simultaneously being alone and loving in plain, clear language. A few sentences really stood out to me, including this one: "Think of a life in which you depend on no one emotionally, so that no one has the power to make you happy or miserable anymore." It reminds me of my 62-year old dad, who is disabled, and is entering his old age as a very calm and gentle person whose own inner feelings and thoughts are not affected by others. No matter what is happening around him, he is always content. He is recognizing that things come and go, and it is better not to be attached. Just keep going, he always tells me. Being disabled can be isolating for him much of the time, yet as his body is deteriorating, his mind is becoming stronger, and I look to him as an inspiration of being happy and loving at all times. He has told me that he desires nothing, and it is evident in the simple way that he accepts whatever is offered to him and gives everything that he has to others. Although my dad and me have had many positive and negative experiences over the years, witnessing him these days is a humble lesson in developing clarity of vision and a real capacity to love.