Friday, April 27, 2012

It is these moments

We must remember to be present during those fleeting moments in this life where we are deeply touched, and awake, and present in our lives... for those truly are the moments. The real moments that take our breath away and break our heart wide open. Its moments like these that give our lives meaning. 
Wishing you a joyous and peaceful weekend friends. Namaste.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

“When we do our Practice…”

Have you noticed that the sunset is more vivid when we do our practice? And that there are fewer “jerks” on the freeway? The hardwood floor is the most comfortable bed in the world when we do our practice. Our mate is more patient and kind when we do our practice. Even the government seems more organized - when we do our practice. We want less and give more, we notice beautiful hearts, and are more forgiving of the mean-spirited. When we do our practice it is as if we live in a different world with our hearts open wide. But of course it is not the world that has changed; it is we who have changed, and that is one of the great secrets of yoga. We change but it appears as if the world around us blooms like a flower.-Max Strom

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I've been at births and I have had a loved one die in my arms and...

Finally someone else speaks of the correlation between birth and death. I have never been to a birth that hasn't reminded me of that moment when my grandma took her last breath in my arms. Its not morbid or sad in anyway. It is real life and is something that we will all face both at the beginning and end of our lives. 
Thank you Dancing Star Birth for posting this video on your Facebook Page today. Poignant and touching, this video chronicles the last days of the life of a man named Lord Gould. He says that when you really know you are about to die "Life screams at you in its intensity". Let us not be afraid to die or afraid to live while we are here. Namaste friends.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day friends.

"All the peace and happiness of the whole globe, 
the peace and happiness of societies, 
the peace and happiness of family, 
the peace and happiness in the individual persons' life, 
and the peace and happiness of even the animals and so forth, 
all depends on having loving kindness toward each other." Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I love Parabola magazine

Have you ever wondered why the Buddha offered Four Noble Truths? Why not just Two—Suffering and the Way Out? Better yet, why not skip straight to the point: The 8-fold Path out of Suffering? Did the Awakened One stretch out the explanation because he lived in a leisurely, pre-literate culture and didn’t have access to the many examples of Steps to A-New-You that abound on the internet and bestseller lists?
No, the Buddha knew that liberation takes place in the wild and woolly space between the recognition of suffering (in one of its infinite guises, even mild boredom at our unrelieved success) and our conscious awareness of stepping on a clearly defined path. Awakening—or the movement towards awakening—takes place in those times when the bubble of ego is popped and you are in pieces and overwhelmed. The work of awakening takes place in that wild interval of not knowing.
“Those times, when you absolutely cannot get it back together, are the most rich and powerful times in our lives,” teaches contemporary Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön. In such moments we look at life and ourselves in a kind of detached wonderment--and sometimes we are met by another kind of awareness that seems to take mercy on us—a free attention from another level. It can feel as if we are being seen and embraced by a higher consciousness that is there all the time (inside and outside) only we are too caught up in our little world to notice. Madame de Salzmann called it a “look from above.” At certain moments, we are joined by this attention in our efforts.
In the “Burning World” issue of Parabola, Rafe Martin retells “The Brave Little Parrot,” a traditional Buddhist Jataka tale—or past life story of the Buddha. Here is my retelling of his retelling: A little grey parrot lived in a green forest. One day a storm sparked a fire that set the forest ablaze. The little parrot reacted in the usual way, flying away to safety. Yet because of her past efforts and many other factors in her conditioning, she couldn’t forget the sight of the trees and animals that couldn’t escape. When she reached a river where many of the other animals were huddling, she didn’t fly on to safety. She dipped her wings in water and flew back to the burning forest to shake a few drops on the blaze. The other animals thought her effort was ridiculous, pathetic—such a tiny effort against such an out-of-control fire. But she flew back again and again. Finally, her brave effort attracted the gaze of a god—who wept at her sincerity (or in other versions banged clouds together and made it rain). With this special help from above, the fire is put out.
At certain moments in life, we cannot deny our suffering. At certain moments we see all the way down to root of it—that we are limited and usually in ignorance of the forest in which we dwell. We spend our time and efforts desperately wanting things to be other than they are, blind to immense fact of our conditioning—we live in an inextricable web of causes and conditions, just like that parrot in the forest. Yet sometimes, instead of trying to fly away and relieve our suffering as quickly as possible—we dip our wings in the living water of understanding. We turn back and bring the cool water of understanding to our situation. And sometimes making the brave effort to be in the fire—to see and feel the heat of our situation-- attracts help from above. It might even attract help from below—or transform the way we look at our lives.
“If you are working inwardly, Nature will help you,” taught G.I. Gurdjieff. “For the man who is working, Nature is a sister of charity; she brings him what he has need of for his work.” From the perspective of awakening, a forest fire is not a calamity but a crisis that brings the ultimate healing, liberation from suffering.

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.
―Wendell Berry: "A Spiritual Journey"

Whatever inspiration is, it's born from a continuous "I don't know."
―Wisława Szymborska from her Nobel Lecture: "The Poet and the World," 1996

Parabola magazine 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ever practice Tonglen meditation? I often do. Especially lately. It's powerful stuff..

Changing pain to compassion.

We really need to listen to each other. Even the boring bits.

What a brilliant talk this is. I love technology and am as hooked as the next person (maybe even more!) but I am also really glad I know how to have a conversation. For lot's of reasons I am really glad I wasn't a child growing up in this computer age. What she says is so true. "It's when we stumble, hesitate, or lose our words that we reveal ourselves to each other" I love that line.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Your mind is like a living room.

Sometimes guests arrive and sit down. Sometimes you realize that you don’t like them, that you don’t enjoy their company. Eventually they leave. And you vow to be more careful about the people you invite. Learning whom to invite is an art. —Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, April 2, 2012

Loving kindness. Community. Practice.

"It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth." --Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist now based in France.

Sunday, April 1, 2012