Sacred Moments

hawk

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 

“I have outgrown many things. I have outgrown relatives who gladly offer criticism but not support. I have outgrown my need to meet my family’s unrealistic expectations of me. I have outgrown women who wear masks and secretly rejoice at misfortunes. I have outgrown shrinking myself for men who are intimidated by my intelligence and outspoken nature.  I have outgrown friends who cannot celebrate my accomplishments.  I have outgrown people who conveniently disappear whenever life gets a little dark.  I have outgrown those who take pleasure in gossiping and spreading negativity. I have outgrown dull, meaningless conversations that feel forced.  I have outgrown those who don’t take a stand against ignorance and injustice. I have outgrown trying to please everyone. I have outgrown society constantly telling me I’m not beautiful, smart, or worthy enough.  I have outgrown trying to fix every little flaw. I have outgrown my tendency to fill my mind with self-doubt and insecurity. I have outgrown trying to find reasons not to love myself.  I have outgrown anything and anyone that does not enrich the essence of my soul.  I have outgrown many things, and I’ve never felt freer.”  Chanda Kaushik