Sunday Morning

I take hope in every politician’s or economist’s statement that Americans aren’t buying enough; in every student’s reference to “sustainability” or “mindfulness”—terms that weren’t in my college vocabulary… I take hope from the growing number of solitaries and the growing interest in meditation, contemplation, centering prayer. I have faith in the capacity of truth, if brought to light and given time, to win its cause, the capacity of love to win its cause. I place little hope in conventional politics, so invested are mainstream political parties in endless, unsustainable growth, or in conventional religion, with its interest in perpetuating its power. Instead I find hope in love, for one another, for our earth. Those of us invested in love can choose, must choose noncooperation. I buy less; I consume less; I take myself off the grid in the face of efforts to force me to remain on it; I dedicate myself to friendship as my organizing, bedrock relationship; I study and talk about how to become, in fact, a society of friends.

— Fenton JohnsonAt the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W. W. Norton & Company, March 10, 2020)


Portrait: Source

Monday Mantra: Stirring the Pot

pot-boiling-stir

When the mind becomes highly relaxed and alert at the same time, three wonderful qualities of mind naturally emerge: calmness, clarity, and happiness. Here is the analogy. Imagine you have a pot of water full of sediments, and imagine that pot is constantly shaken and agitated. The water appears cloudy. Imagine that you stop agitating the pot and just let it rest on the floor. The water will become calm and, after a while, all the sediments will settle and the water will appear clear. This is the classical analogy of the mind in the alert and relaxed state. In this state, we temporarily stop agitating the mind the same way we stop agitating the pot.

~ Chade-Meng Tan, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) [Read more…]

Yet our useless fascination goes on

eyeball,black and white
In this age of the quantified self, we measure how many hours we slept, steps we took, calories we burned. Yet we know nothing about ourselves. We spend more time checking-in to our stats than our souls. Our experience is mined for data but not depth. We have all these numbers to improve now, but no idea how to dial back the numbness.

Life doesn’t have to be a spreadsheet, yet our useless fascination goes on. We spend more time shopping, in considering the thread-count of our sheets before purchase, than we do soul-searching, that beautiful art of thinking about the quality and purpose of our lives.

We are addicted to the constant digital stream, often peering gape-mouthed into the sordid details of other people’s lives; in the process we have checked-out of reality, neglecting our own life so pregnant with potential and meaning.

If we are to measure and monitor and improve anything, let it be our presence and character, a mindfulness for who we are and how we are experiencing and relating with the world. Have I been true to myself? Have I lived vibrantly today? Have I loved openly today? Have I made a difference today? Let us check in to ourselves in these ways; for, in the end, these are the only measures that matter.

– Brendon Burchard


Notes:

Looking, we do not see. Listening, we do not hear. Loving, we do not feel.

John Daido Loori - 1

“The thing that blinds us and deafens us is the ceaselessly moving mind, the preoccupation we have with our thoughts. It is the incessant internal dialogue that shuts out everything else. That is the problem with trying to take a preconceived photograph. Before you even walk out of the building, you blind yourself. All day long we talk to ourselves. We preoccupy ourselves with the past, or we preoccupy ourselves with the future, and while we preoccupy ourselves, we miss the moment and miss our lives. Looking, we do not see. It is as if we were blind. Listening, we do not hear. It is as if we were deaf. Loving, we do not feel. It is as if we were dead. Preoccupied, we do not notice the reality around us. How can we be present? How can we taste and touch our lives? The answer to these questions is not outside yourself. To see this truth requires the backward step, going very deep into yourself to find the foundation of reality and of your life. To see it is not the same as understanding it or believing it. To see it means to realize it with the whole body and mind. To realize it transforms one’s life, one’s way of perceiving the universe and the self, and of expressing what has been realized…When you practice the Zen arts, practice your life – trust yourself completely. Trust the process of sitting. Know that deep within each and every one of us, under layers of conditioning, there is an enlightened being, alive and well. In order to function, it needs to be discovered. To discover this buddha is wisdom. To make it function in the world is compassion. That wisdom and compassion is the life of each one of us. It is up to you what you do with it.”

~ John Daido Loori [Read more…]

I was in I-95 traffic snarl yesterday. Did this. It worked. (For 8 minutes)

“We spend great energy in mental processes wishing things were different than they are. Wishing the traffic jam didn’t exist. Wishing the boss were a little nicer, wishing our children would take our advice, wishing, wishing, wishing. Acceptance is a key to a happier life. If we can just try to accept what is, and that wanting otherwise is often wasted energy, we will be happier. We would be better able to experience the moment more fully with this state of mind.”

 


Image Source: vicforprez via teachingliteracy.  Quote Source: Pyschology Today. “Every moment in our lives has the potential to be (and generally is) a completely unique experience. Absorb every bit of the moment. Treasure it by completely experiencing it. Congratulations, you are Zen.”


Zeke + Buddhist Monk + Almonds = Enlightenment!

zeke staring at almond9:15 pm.  June 26, 2012.

Zeke, our four-year old Vizsla, has excellent hearing and smell.  But not for the bird hunting discipline that he was bred for – – but for California Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds.  From a room away, he can hear a 1/2 turn on the top of the plastic Almond container.  If he’s outside and comes inside, his nose goes 911 when he sniffs a whiff of a single nut.

Zeke and I have a routine each night.  He waits for Dad’s snack time before bed time when Dad and Zeke share a heaping handful of almonds.  Most days, it’s one for Zeke, one for Dad, one for Zeke, one for Dad.  (OK, sometimes Dad cheats on the allocation when Zeke isn’t looking. OK, OK, more than sometimes.)

Zeke wolfs down his Almond without breaking his eye lock with Dad.  No chewing.  Straight down the gullet.  1 Almond.  2 Almonds.  3 Almonds.  Same pattern.  He gives me the same desperate look that he might miss out on his share if he breaks his stare.   (Those eyes are telling me that he knows that I’m cheating him out of his allocation.)

I proceed to tell him that “maybe you should chew your almonds and enjoy them rather than just scarfing them down without tasting them – maybe you won’t keep begging for more.” (I’m no different that you other dog owners.  I believe he understands me but he just doesn’t want to cooperate.)

[Read more…]

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