At 72, I realize not only that I cannot keep up the previous pace of my life, but also that I no longer have any desire to do that. It's an interesting process to slow down, to gradually drop out of the whirlwind. I'm not there yet, but something big in me (is it my teenager?) just says no. I'm a very active yogi, but 6 years ago I broke my hip and had to walk with a cane for a while. I loved it! I loved walking slowly and carefully, experiencing everything around me. I started driving slowly as well. The nature of time changed. It became luxuriously expansive- I heard myself say to myself over and over, "I have just the right amount of time." And I did- I had stopped rushing and ironically was rarely ever late.
Easwaran's reminder is a good gift for starting my day. My life began changing when I began to incorporate "First things first" in my life. As often as I can, I ask myself what is the priortiy action NOW. When I focus on the next priority action, I don't waste time analyzing and thinking, much of which wastes time and energy. Slowing down and aiming my thoughts and energy at what is truly important has changed me and my life. The ego, feeding off of drama and fear, thinks so much is important that is not. Recognizing what comes from my ego versus what is necessary for life is easier when I concentrate on slowing down.
Thank you, Gertrude. I'm in N.C. right next to S.C. where people were killed while they thought they were safe in a church. I've been to several groups who want to talk about ending racism. Mostly white folk up here in the mountains, and I hear guilt, anger and sadness. People want to end racism, but don't really see the connection to them. I see it in me when I hold on to money and other illusions of security. When I let go of money, my idea of safety and comfort, cross the street, sit with others, the poor, the disenfranchised, and the hurting, I give up some privilege I was born into. And, I discover as our friend in the article did, that human to human, from the heart, giving will change our hearts, transforming fear and anger, the root of hate into compassion, empathy - love. Gertrude knew the value of money - it's worthless in your pocket or bank. Stagnant, like water, it will begin to rot, attracting the mosquitos of fear and greed. Open our hearts and hands and let the sharing be an airing in the sunshine of love.
Yes. Create. A bigger me, a bigger life is created as I practice an other-centered focus instead of a me-centered world. Practicing stillness, patience, compassion, service and we-ness takes work unlearning our conditioning. I started where I could - baby steps - and my life grew. I grew. I need to daily practice so my practices continue to transform me and my life into all of us and all of life. One-ing takes time, and it is worth it: peace beyond all understanding.
Last Thursday night, I realized I was counting on getting the job that I was interviewing for the next day. I stopped expecting it, and wrote all kinds of things I could be doing instead. I went to bed at peace with whatever might happen. I interviewed without wanting or not wanting the job. When I remember to breathe and be grateful for each moment, I experience the luxury of living. Life is, and when I open my eyes and heart to what is, I always see and appreciate more. Gracias a la Vida. l'chaim
I love "participation of being." To learn the Language of Life is a long, slow process for most of us. Recently I read from a Jewish mystic that God' light is pouring through us constantly, but we are so physical that we block it with our shadow. From another more recent corner, a Franciscan wrote about the dance between our false self and or Real Self. Whether language learning or dancing, it is practice, practice and more practice to find that place of sacred communion with all of life. Keep dancing. Spiritual effort is never wasted.
Recently, I heard a description of the balancing act between our roles & the "worldly" self and the pure spirit or Real Self: It is a dance, moving in this world using our roles and senses, then whirling out to observe from a different center, disengaging the ego so we have more energy and space from which to love and be. You are right, it is a challenge, and we get caught up, easily, in our words and traps, like confusing a spiritual practice with Spirit when it has become another role. Words and analysis are almost futile. I like the image of dancing - I have more hope in that image : )
Thank you - well said. And the Pure Soul has no "he" or "she." As WE live in Comm-Unity we are "with" as ONE. Today, I will practice observing how I interact to each one I meet, imagining all of us as skeletons, reminding me how temporary our roles are.
"Religion" is related to "obligation." Both descended from the Latin word for "to bind." Our roles and illusions of a separate self, the self construct known of our personality, separate us from our true connected Self, bound to all of LIFE. This is so easy to say and so hard to reify. I keep practicing and failing to let go of my roles and my irrelevant past. I saw my grown children over the holldays, and their adult status was a constant reminder to let go of the image of an everyday mother. I am not that. Each day I can re-make myself. Each day I can strive to become the zero Gandhi aimed for, not empty, but a channel full of life and love.
Henri Nouwen also described Hospitality as "the creation of an empty and safe place for all to discover their gifts to share." This, along with the finding out that the original Latin and in modern French, "hospitality" refers to both guest and host, I was prepared. I left my community and home and have been traveling by train, bus and foot for most of the last year, discovering that where I go, I find my people, for we are all related.
"Place your mind before the mirror of eternity; place your soul in the brightness of God's glory" [St. Clare of Assissi]
Nirvana is not the end of your light, but the invisibility of that small flame in the brightness of the full sun.
And, from a 3rd tradition: "It is only in being lived by the Tau that you are truly yourself" [Tau te Ching]
Conscious anything is difficult. Recently I have been so conscious of how I am so unconscious or unable to simply be. Simple consciousness - being here and now. Being does not take stuff or outside approval. Being does not require holding on to my history or past relationships, or planning my next move. Being is simply being conscious and conscious of being: the luxury of simply living. How I wish being simply me, here and now, were as easy as writing about this ideal. Practice, practice, practice, then practice again.
I love and think of this story often. Being hit by a truck while riding my bicycle to high school led to a "bad" concussion and my being excused from classes and teenage restlessness. This led to me meeting Deaf people and their beautiful visual language, changing me and my life. Being neglected - left out of the dinner conversation - in a big family set me up to be empathetic and present when life confronted me with a languageless adult who opened a door I would never have seen. I am now continuing to follow the unknown, traveling with no destination, after giving up my room and most of my "good" stuff, practicing letting go of my judgments and showing up where ever I am invited to share stories of losses, gains, wild horses, broken legs, and life and living in spite of war.
Since I saw how selfish my depressions (from early childhood) were, and began living earnestly, fully, I began to notice lasting, constant experiences, as opposed to temporary feelings, such as happiness. I began to find joy and gratitude which can continually be mined and realized, whereas happiness is temporary and dependent on externals. I began to see how I could be sad or upset and joyful. Joy and gratitude are magic carpets to the present, to timelessness. I need to continue to practice mindfulness and presence where I find joy which needs nothing from the outside.