“One thing I have learned with certainty is not to stand in connection with those who diminish me. This is particularly difficult when family is involved, because we have a vested interest in perpetuating the family system for all kinds of different reasons. I don’t believe one should endure abuse no matter how attached they are to an idea of family. There are many families (read: soulpod) waiting for us just outside our habitual awareness. We are not responsible for those who diminish us. We really have to get that. We can be compassionate and we can certainly understand where their abusiveness comes from, but understanding the origins does not mean we have to endure it. It’s not our cross to bear.”Jeff Brown
We live our lives and reach out to those around us that we feel a connection with. Sometimes that connection comes from a sense of duty, sometimes it is from a shared activity, sometimes we are moved by compassion. There are times when we share interests with people or just connect on a number of levels and enjoy their company. In addition to all of those, we often make extended efforts with members of our own family because the loss of family can seem so alien to everything we know and have been taught. Families are supposed to be forever. They are the ones that are always supposed to have your backs. Continue reading →
I saw this poster a couple of weeks ago. It is one of many that we see, often around the holidays. Many people read it and feel a sense of outrage at the inn keeper. Most of those same people identify themselves as someone who would have found room at their inn for a man and his heavily pregnant wife, had they been in his shoes those many years ago.
It is the same with the death of Christ and the persecution he and his followers suffered. People insist they would have followed him, they would have stood up and been counted. It is easy to talk about what we would have done, after the fact and all the outcomes are known. It is never quite as easy to make that same decision when the actual opportunity occupies the same moment as we do. Continue reading →
“Whatever your difficulties—a devastated heart, financial loss, feeling assaulted by the conflicts around you, or a seemingly hopeless illness—you can always remember that you are free in every moment to set the compass of your heart to your highest intentions. In fact, the two things that you are always free to do—despite your circumstances—are to be present and to be willing to love.” Jack Kornfield
Gather around Chick and Stud-lets, have I got a Christmas load for you! And just in time for the big day. Is it just me or have we all spent far too may days to count, wandering the grounds of those gated homes, avoiding the guard dogs and the worrisome big guy with the gun, our little noses pressed up against the window, staring in at a lifestyle that we can only dream of? Isn’t it always worse at Christmas time?
I bet you have often thought, in despair, I can never ever have a Christmas like that, why the hell couldn’t mommy and daddy have just waited until after the rich people had sex so that I had a chance to be born to a much better life. And how many of us never bought mommy or daddy another Christmas gift, and then had to go to lots of therapy with meds that just distracted you with a bunch of imaginary friends, one of them a clown who kept trying to get you to do bad things.
Put the pill bottle down. I can make your dream Christmas come true. Look what I have found and am willing to share with you. Continue reading →
Tuesday evening, as we were getting dinner ready, a hawk flew into our yard and landed on the roof of a little garden shed just across from the patio. He sat there for almost half an hour.
Birds of prey are not uncommon in our area but they do not live here and we seldom see them. The one or two we have seen were just passing through, flying by in the distance and maybe stopping down at the creek for a quick drink or a rest in the shade of the trees. Having one in our yard was very unusual. We enjoyed watching him in all his majesty, dinner somewhat neglected, until we happened to shift our attention momentarily and the when we looked again, he was gone. Continue reading →
‘A sixth quality of spiritual maturity is questioning. Rather than adopting a philosophy or following blindly a great teacher or compelling path, we come to recognize that we must see for ourselves. This quality of questioning is called by the Buddha Dhamma-vicaya, our own investigation into the truth. It is the willingness to discover what is so, without imitation or without following the wisdom of others. Someone once told Picasso that he ought to make pictures of things the way they are – objective pictures. When Picasso said he did not understand, the man produced a picture of his wife from his wallet and said, “There, you see, that is a picture of how she really is.” Picasso looked at it and said, “She’s rather small, isn’t she? And flat?” Like Picasso, we must see things for ourselves. In spiritual maturity we find a great sense of autonomy, not as a reaction to authority, but based on a heartfelt recognition that we, too, like the Buddha, can awaken. Mature spirituality has a profound democratic quality in which all individuals are empowered to discover that which is sacred and liberating for themselves.
This questioning combines an open-mindedness, the “don’t know” mind of Zen, with a “discriminating wisdom” that can separate what is useful from what is bad, that keeps the eyes open to learn. With an open mind we are always learning.
Our questioning allows us to use the great wisdom of traditions, to learn from teachers and to be part of communities, yet to stay in touch with ourselves, to see the truth and to speak the truth with a great respect for our own integrity and our own awakening. This investigation may not bring us to be more sure of ourselves, but it can allow us to be more honest with ourselves, and in this, our spiritual practice becomes filled with interest and aliveness. The Dalai Lama, when asked about his current life in exile, spoke of this when he replied, “Sometimes I think this Dalai Lama is the hardest life of all – but of course it is the most interesting.”’ Jack Kornfield
“In my experience, everyone will say they want to discover the Truth, right up until they realize that the Truth will rob them of their deepest held ideas, beliefs, hopes, and dreams. The freedom of enlightenment means much more than the experience of love and peace. It means discovering a Truth that will turn your view of self and life upside-down. For one who is truly ready, this will be unimaginably liberating. But for one who is still clinging in any way, this will be extremely challenging indeed. How does one know if they are ready? One is ready when they are willing to be absolutely consumed, when they are willing to be fuel for a fire without end.” Adyashanti