Archive for August, 2010

Simple Gestures of Solace

August 28, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Sometimes just being with somebody, rather than words, is all that is needed to help.

Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.

Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them. Should we begin to feel the urge arise to offer advice or repair a situation, we can take a few deep breaths, let the impulse pass, and bring our attention back to the present. Even though we may want to do more, we do not have to do anything other than this to be a good friend.

The more we are attuned to what our loved ones are feeling, the more capable we are of truly giving what is best for them in their hour of need. Keeping things simple helps us give the part of ourselves that is capable of the greatest amount of compassion—open ears and an understanding heart.

A Teacher for All Seasons

August 27, 2010

For all teachers :

A Teacher for All Seasons 

– – By Joanna Fuchs

A teacher is like Spring,
Who nurtures new green sprouts,
Encourages and leads them,
Whenever they have doubts. 

A teacher is like Summer,
Whose sunny temperament
Makes studying a pleasure,
Preventing discontent. 

 A teacher is like Fall,
With methods crisp and clear,
Lessons of bright colors
And a happy atmosphere. 

A teacher is like Winter,
While it’s snowing hard outside,
Keeping students comfortable,
As a warm and helpful guide. 

Teacher, you do all these things,
With a pleasant attitude;
You’re a teacher for all seasons,
And you have my gratitude! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes & Story

August 24, 2010

Because you are alive, everything is possible.

Life is available only in the present moment.

Our own life has to be our message.

Compassion is a verb.

Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.

If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.

You are not an observer, you are a participant.

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow because even today I still arrive.

Earth will be safe when we feel in us enough safety.

If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.

We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.

The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.

 Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.

When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.

By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.

If you suffer and make your loved ones suffer, there is nothing that can justify your desire.

When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates.

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.

I have noticed that people are dealing too much with the negative, with what is wrong. … Why not try the other way, to look into the patient and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

“There is a story I would like to tell you about a woman who practices the invocation of the Buddha Amitabha’s name. She is very tough, and she practices the invocation three times daily, using a wooden drum and a bell, reciting, “Namo Amitabha Buddha” for one hour each time. When she arrives at one thousand times, she invites the bell to sound. (In Vietnamese, we don’t say “strike” or “hit” a bell.) Although she has been doing this for ten years, her personality has not changed. She is still quite mean, shouting at people all the time.

A friend wanted to teach her a lesson, so one afternoon when she had just lit the incense, invited the bell to sound three times, and was beginning to recite “Namo Amitabha Buddha,” he came to her door, and said, “Mrs. Nguyen, Mrs. Nguyen!” She found it very annoying because this was her time of practice, but he just stood at the front gate shouting her name. She said to herself, “I have to struggle against my anger, so I will ignore that,” and she went on, “Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha.”

The gentleman continued to shout her name, and her anger became more and more oppressive. She struggled against it, wondering, “Should I stop my recitation and go and give him a piece of my mind?” But she continued chanting, and she struggled very hard. Fire mounted in her, but she still tried to chant “Namo Amitabha Buddha.” The gentleman knew it, and he continued to shout, “Mrs. Nguyen! Mrs. Nguyen!”

She could not bear it any longer. She threw away the bell and the drum. She slammed the door, went out to the gate and said, “Why, why do you behave like that? Why do you call my name hundreds of times like that?” The gentleman smiled at her and said, “I just called your name for ten minutes, and you are so angry. You have been calling the Buddha’s name for ten years. Think how angry he must be!”

The Music of Language

August 24, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

If we are unconscious of the power of words, we run the risk of creating a noisy disturbance.

When we speak or write, we use the vehicles of words to carry meaning, as well as energy, from ourselves to another person or group of people. We may be speaking to our baby, our boss, or to an audience of 500 people. We may be writing a love letter, a work-related memo, or an entry in our own diary. Whatever the case, each word we speak or write has a life of its own, a vibratory signature that creates waves in the same way that a note of music creates waves. And like musical notes, our words live in communities of other words and change in relation to the words that surround them. When we are conscious of the energy behind our words, we become capable of making beautiful music in the world. If we are unconscious of the power of words, we run the risk of creating a noisy disturbance.

Some of us know this instinctively, while others come to this understanding slowly. Most of us, though, speak without thinking at least some of the time, blurting out our feelings and thoughts without much regard for the words we choose to express them. When we remind ourselves that our words have an impact on the world at the level of energy, we may find within ourselves the desire to be more aware of our use of language.

A fun way to increase our sensitivity to the power of words is to simply make a list of our favorite words and notice the energy they contain. We can write them down and post them where we can see them, or we can speak them aloud, feeling them reverberate in our bodies and in the air around us. This is like learning to consciously play an instrument that we have been playing unconsciously for most of our lives, and the effect can be startling and delightful. As we grow more comfortable and confident playing the instrument of language, we will begin to compose beautiful messages, creating positive energy every time we write or speak.

Without a Net

August 21, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Living life without a net can be just what we need to step outside of ourselves and make the choices we need most.

As we create the life of our dreams, we often reach a crossroads where the choices seem to involve the risk of facing the unknown versus the safety and comfort of all that we have come to trust. We may feel like a tightrope walker, carefully teetering along the narrow path to our goals, sometimes feeling that we are doing so without a net. Knowing we have some backup may help us work up the courage to take those first steps, until we are secure in knowing that we have the skills to work without one. But when we live our lives from a place of balance and trust in the universe, we may not see our source of support, but we can know that it is there.

If we refuse to act only if we can see the safety net, we may be allowing the net to become a trap as it creates a barrier between us and the freedom to pursue our goals. Change is inherent in life, so even what we have learned to trust can surprise us at any moment. Remove fear from the equation and then, without even wondering what is going on below, we can devote our full attention to the dream that awaits us.

We attract support into our lives when we are willing to make those first tentative steps, trusting that the universe will provide exactly what we need. In that process we can decide that whatever comes from our actions is only for our highest and best experience of growth. It may come in the form of a soft landing, an unexpected rescue or an eye-opening experience gleaned only from the process of falling. So rather than allowing our lives to be dictated by fear of the unknown, or trying to avoid falling, we can appreciate that sometimes we experience life fully when we are willing to trust and fall. And in doing so, we may just find that we have the wings to fly.

When we believe that there is a reason for everything, we are stepping out with the safety net of the universe, and we know we will make the best from whatever comes our way.

Letting Go of Understanding

August 19, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Sometimes we are not always meant to know the deeper meaning of certain occurrences and need only move forward.

All of us who seek to be conscious and aware regard our experiences as teachers, and we try to discern what lessons we are learning from the things that happen in our lives. Sometimes the lesson is very clear from the get-go, and other times we have to really search to understand the deeper meaning behind some event. While this search often yields results, there also comes a point in the search where what we really need to do is move forward. It is possible that we are not meant to know the deeper meaning of certain occurrences. Answers may come later in our lives, or they may come as a result of letting go, or they may never come.

We are all part of a complex system of being, and things work themselves out in the system as a whole. Sometimes we are just playing a necessary part in that process with a result larger than we can understand. It may have very little to do with us personally, and while that can be hard to understand, it can also free us from overthinking the matter. Sometimes it is best to see it in terms of karma, a past debt we have been able to repay in this way, or as the clearing of energy. We can simply thank the event for being part of our experience and let it go. This completes the process that the occurrence has made possible.

To make this letting go official, we can perform a ritual, make a final journal entry on the subject, or sit in meditation with the intention of releasing the event from our consciousness. As we do so, we summon it one last time, honoring it with our attention, thanking it, and saying good-bye. We then let it go out the door, out the window, out the top of our heads, or into the earth through the bottoms of our feet, liberating ourselves from any burden we have carried in association with it.

Empowered Forgiveness

August 18, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

We say “It’s okay,” when somebody has wronged us which energetically is allowing for the behavior to happen again.

In life there will always be times when we are affected by the actions of another person. When this happens, we often receive an apology. More often than not we say, “It’s alright,” or ” It’s okay,” and by saying this we are allowing, accepting, and giving permission for the behavior to happen again. When we say “thank you,” or “I accept your apology,” we are forced to sit in our feelings rather than ignore them.

There are many of us who feel that it is easier to brush off how we really feel than to express our discomfort with something that has happened to us. While this may initially seem like the best thing to do, what it really does is put us into an unending pattern of behavior; since we are not honest with another person, we continue the cycle of letting them overstep our emotional limits time and time again. By doing this we place ourselves in the position of victim. We can put an end to this karmic chain by first acknowledging to the other person that we accept their request for forgiveness; often a simple “thank you” is enough. To truly create a greater sense of harmony in our relationship, however, we need to gently, and with compassion, express our innermost concerns about what has transpired. By taking a deep breath and calling upon the deepest parts of our spirit, we can usually find the right words to say and verbalize them in a way that lets the other person recognize the consequences of what they have done.

If we can remember that our response to others is important, we can begin to realize that trust and forgiveness go hand in hand. And when we react in a way that engenders a greater amount of honesty and candor, we will establish a more positive and empowering way of being and interacting others.

Taking a Break from What You Are Doing

August 17, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Sometimes we need to step back from what occupies our minds and take a break much like touching the reset button.

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our thoughts that we wind up going round in round in circles, finding it difficult to concentrate on things and, because we are so distracted, not really accomplishing much. There may be signals—mental, emotional, and physical—that tell us we need to slow down and relax. Since we are so involved in things that are external to us, however, we may easily overlook what is really going on inside of us. It is during these times that we need to step back from the things that occupy our minds and take time out to connect with our inner self, giving our minds, bodies, and spirits the time they need to reenergize and heal.

At first it may seem that by taking a break we may not be as productive as we would initially like. In reality, a healthy period of rest is something that gives us a real sense of the unlimited nature of our true potential. Spending a couple of minutes walking outside, doing a few yoga poses, meditating, or simply becoming attuned to the rising and falling of our breath enables us to let go of our worries. This act brings our focus back to the things that are truly essential for us, such as our sense of oneness with the universe and our inner peace and well-being. As we begin to get in touch with this part of ourselves, we will find that our usual everyday troubles and worries become less critical and that we not only have much more room in our lives to really reflect on the issues that mean the most to us, but we are also able bring to all the situations we encounter a much more positive and healthy outlook.

Giving ourselves respite from our daily concerns is like giving a gift to ourselves. By stepping away from the problems that seem to saturate our thoughts, we lessen the weight of our troubles and instead become more receptive to the wisdom and answers the universe has to offer us.

Beyond Counting Blessings

August 17, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

In a deep state of gratitude we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself.

Often when we practice being thankful, we go through the process of counting our blessings, acknowledging the wonderful people, things and places that make up our reality. While it is fine to be grateful for the good fortune we have accumulated, true thankfulness stems from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive, and when we feel it, we feel it regardless of our circumstances. In this deep state of gratitude, we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself, and our thankfulness is part and parcel of our awareness that we are one with this great mystery that is life.

It is difficult for most of us to access this level of consciousness as we are very caught up in the ups and downs of our individual experiences in the world. The thing to remember about the world, though, is that it ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, gives and takes, and is by its very nature somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, this is not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it is sometimes this kind of loss that awakens us to a thankfulness that goes deeper than just being grateful when things go our way. Illness and near-miss accidents can also serve as wake-up calls to the deeper realization that we are truly lucky to be alive. 

We do not have to wait to be shaken to experience this state of being truly thankful for our lives. Tuning in to our breath and making an effort to be fully present for a set period of time each day can do wonders for our ability to connect with true gratitude. We can also awaken ourselves with the intention to be more aware of the unconditional generosity of the life force that flows through us regardless of our circumstances.

A Matter of Priorities

August 12, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

When we stop worrying about unimportant matters we can devote more to what is truly important.

We experience numerous disappointments each and every day. Our expectations go unmet, our plans are blocked by circumstance, our wishes go unfulfilled, and we discover that our lives are subject to a myriad of forces beyond our conscious control. In some cases, our response is powerful because we must invest ourselves and our resources to overcome genuine hardship. In others, our reactions are far more passionate than our circumstances likely warrant. The tension that permeates our bodies and minds when we are late for an event, interrupted at work, or sitting in traffic is not inappropriate, but it can interfere with our well-being in profound ways. When we stop worrying about relatively unimportant matters, we can be at peace and devote so much more of ourselves to what is truly important.

The small frustrations and irritations wield such power over us because they rob us of the illusion of control. But every problem is a potential teacher—a confusing situation is an opportunity to practice mindfulness, and difficult people provide us with opportunities to display compassion. There is a natural human tendency to invest copious amounts of emotional energy in minor dilemmas and frustrations in order to avoid confronting those more complex issues that are largely outside the realm of our control. The intensity of our response provides us with a temporary sense of personal power that helps us cope with challenges that might otherwise overwhelm us. But it is only when we let the little stuff go that we discover that the big stuff is not really so devastating after all.

In the stress of a singularly tense incident, differentiating between an inconsequential annoyance and a legitimate challenge can seem a monumental task. Ask yourself whether the emotions you are feeling will be as vivid in a year, a day, or even an hour. As focused as you are on this moment in time, your reward for letting go of your emotional investment may be the very happiness and harmony of being whose loss you are lamenting. Needless aggravation is seldom worth the cost it exacts. You cannot distance yourself from life’s inconsistencies, irritations, and upheavals, but you can relinquish your desire for perfect order and gain peace of mind in the process.

Back in the Driver’s Seat

August 11, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Too much on your daily plate lands you in the passenger seat when you should be in the driver’s seat.

It’s easy to go through this fast-paced world feeling as if you are being dragged through your weeks on the back of a wild horse. Many of us go from one thing to another until we end up back at home in the evening with just enough time to wind down and go to sleep, waking up the next morning to begin the wild ride once more. While this can be exhilarating for certain periods of time, a life lived entirely in this fashion can be exhausting, and more important, it places us in the passenger’s seat when really we are the ones who should be driving.

When we get caught up in our packed schedule and our many obligations, weeks can go by without us doing one spontaneous thing or taking time to look at the bigger picture of our lives. Without these breaks, we run the risk of going through our precious days on a runaway train. Taking time to view the bigger picture, asking ourselves if we are happy with the course we are on and making adjustments, puts us back in the driver’s seat where we belong. When we take responsibility for charting our own course in life, we may well go in an entirely different direction from the one laid out for us by society and familial expectations. This can be uncomfortable in the short term, but in the long term it is much worse to imagine living this precious life without ever taking the wheel and navigating our own course.

Of course, time spent examining the big picture could lead us to see that we are happy with the road we are on, but we would like more time with family or more free time to do whatever we want at the moment. Even if we want more extreme changes, the way to begin is to get off the road for long enough to catch our breath and remember who we are and what we truly want. Once we do that, we can take the wheel with confidence, driving the speed we want to go in the direction that is right for us.

Acknowledging Our Pain

August 11, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Sometimes the strong desire to help and rescue others is actually a call to help our own deep seated pain.

Some people seem called to help others, often from very early on in their childhoods, responding to the needs of family members, strangers, or animals with a selflessness that is impressive. Often, these people appear to have very few needs of their own, and the focus of their lives is on rescuing, helping, and healing others. While there are a few people who are truly able to sustain this completely giving lifestyle, the vast majority has needs that lie beneath the surface, unmet and often unseen. In these cases, their motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of themselves that is starving for the kind of love and attention they dole out to those around them on a daily basis. For any number of reasons, they are unable to give themselves the love they need and so they give it to others. This does not mean that they are not meant to be helping others, but it does mean that they would do well to turn some of that helping energy with!
in.

One problem with the rescuer model is that the individual can get stuck in the role, always living in crisis mode at the expense of inner peace and personal growth. Until the person resolves their own inner dramas, they play them out in their relationships with others, drawn to those who need them and often unable to acknowledge their own needs or get them met. In the worst-case scenario, they enable the other person’s dilemma by not knowing when to stop playing the rescuer and allow the person to figure it out on their own. However, if the rescuer finds the strength to turn within and face the needy aspects of their own psyche, he or she can become a model of empowerment and a true source of healing in the world. 

Some signs that you or someone you love may need to rescue the rescuer within are inner burnout from overgiving; underlying resentment; an inability to admit to having needs of one’s own; and an unwillingness to be vulnerable. Help comes when we allow ourselves to admit we need it, acknowledging our humanity and our wholeness by acknowledging our pain. The understanding we gain in the process will naturally inform and inspire our ability to help those in need to do the same.

树欲静而风不止

August 7, 2010

树欲静而风不止 子欲养而亲不待

出处:孔子集语

释义:树想静静地呆一会,可是风却让他不停地摇曳。当你想赡养双亲,可能他们已等不及便过世了。

原文:

孔子行,闻哭声甚悲。孔子曰:「驱驱前有贤者。」至,则皋鱼也,被褐拥镰,哭于道傍。孔子辟车与言曰:「子非有丧,何哭之悲也?」皋鱼曰:「吾失之三矣,少而学,游诸侯,以后吾亲,失之一也。高尚吾志,闲吾事君,失之二也。与友厚而少绝之,失之三也。树欲静而风不止,子欲养而亲不待也。往而不可追者,年也;去而不可得见者,亲也。吾请从此辞矣。」立槁而死。孔子曰:「弟子诫之,足以识矣。」于是门人辞归而养亲者十有三人。

[ 取自天涯问答]

A Good Turn Daily

August 7, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Being of service to the world can be done in many ways, they need not be huge. You are helping right now.

Each of us is more than capable of helping the world, despite our fears and limitations and the uncertainty that holds us back. It is commonly accepted that it is impossible to make a difference without unlimited funding or free time, yet most healing, cleansing, and spreading of joy is accomplished in a matter of minutes. If we vow to make the world a better place one day at a time, the true significance of small good deeds reveals itself to us. We come to see that we can be of service without dedicating our lives to recognized charities or giving up the pleasures we enjoy. The warmth we feel when we help the world is only a tiny part of the affirmative transformations that take place when we make altruism a part of everyday existence.

We make our homes, workplaces, communities, and countries better and brighter when we think positive thoughts that echo outward, give donations of time or money, smile at everyone we meet, and lend those in need of aid our assistance. As we learn, we inadvertently improve the universe because we can only be truly involved when we are informed. Even enthusiastically sharing ideas with others generates positive energy that then serves as the motivation for more tangible change. Selfless and helpful deeds remind us that we exercise some degree of control over a world that can seem chaotic at times. Even the smallest of such deeds is a demonstration of the fact that we are capable of changing the world in a positive way. So much negative energy is generated by the suffering, pain, and close-mindedness we are regularly exposed to, but we can counteract it in a constructive way by thinking and acting altruistically when opportunities to do so arise.

Helping the world often takes no more than a moment, just a wish for the world is a beautiful gesture and can be done by even the busiest of people effortlessly. The gift you give each day need not be grand or attention-worthy because the broader benefits are the same no matter the literal repercussions. Once a day, you can affect reality, and you can reap the rewards of knowing that you are making the world a better place, day by day.

The Power of Disengagement

August 6, 2010

[ From dailyOM ]

Rather than being heart based, some have learned to play mind games or go on power trips in the service of their ego.

For better or worse, many people have been raised to believe that communicating in an honest and open way will not get them what they want. They have learned, instead, to play mind games or go on power trips in the service of their ego’s agenda. People stuck in this outmoded and inefficient style of communication can be trying at best and downright destructive at worst. We may get caught up in thinking we have to play the same games in order to defend ourselves, but that will only lead us deeper into confusion and conflict. The best way to handle people like this is to be clear and honest with them.

As with all relationships and situations in our lives, we must look within for both the source of our difficulties and the solution. Reacting to the situation by getting upset will only entrench us more deeply in the undesirable relationship. Only by disengaging, becoming still, and going within can we begin to see what has hooked us into the mess in the first place. We will most likely find unprocessed emotions that we can finally fully feel and release into the stillness we find in meditation. The more we are able to do this, the less we will be bothered by the other person’s dramas and the more we will be free to respond in a new way. In the light of our new awareness, the situation will untangle itself and we will slowly break free.

Whenever people come into our lives, they have come for a reason, to show us something about ourselves that we have not been able to see. When unhealthy people try to hook us into their patterns with mind games and power trips, we can remind ourselves that we have something to learn here and that a part of us is calling out for healing. This takes the focus off the troubling individual and puts it back on us, giving us the opportunity to change the situation from the inside out.