Remembering who we really are during these times of challenge and difficulty presents obstacles for so many of us, and yet is the source from which consciousness, freedom, and wisdom are born. It is when we are most faced with the causes of suffering: illness, grief, bias and racial prejudice, poverty and homelessness, that we can open to the possibilities of waking up to the goodness within us and the world around us. These ancient words, often spoken by Jack Kornfield reflect this truth:
“Oh nobly born, oh you who are the sons and daughters of the awakened ones, the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas. Do not forget who you really are, do not forget your true nature.”
Freedom from Harm, Cultivating Love in 2021
As we birth ourselves into 2021, and all it brings with it, we can take time to look purposefully toward the next four years, and what we will create. The past carries a great deal of heavy baggage that we seek to find a way to dismantle — even though it is messy and complex. We look forward to a future of intentionality where we can reconstruct healing modalities and build new relationships with a focus on mutual consideration and no harm for all.
The Buddha spoke these words 2,600 years ago, putting forth the path to this end:
Bringing the Sacred to 2021
When we recognize the sacred in our daily life we can relish the simplest action, opening our heart, and transforming mundane activities into meaningful experiences.
The word sacred has many uses and synonyms. At times, it represents a form of reverence and respect symbolized by some special object, place, or event that manifests as a wise and balanced mind and heart. It is associated with the word sanctity and embodies qualities of holiness, blessings, devotion, spirituality, goodness, uprightness, and virtue.
Practicing the Three Refuges
How do we face and live with life’s ever-changing flow of circumstances that can bring the unexpected loss of loved ones, sickness and injury, uncertain economic security, aging, fear, the loss of control, and the accompanying anger that can arise in response to unpredictable conditions? Our hearts and minds yearn for a way to meet these challenges.
There is a way to find peace, ease, faith, happiness, and freedom amidst all this. In Buddhist teachings, there is a training called the Three Refuges, a practice that brings solace and serenity to an aching heart and mind. Continue reading
The Way of Contentment
This has been an extended and beautiful spring season. As I sit here this morning I am aware that the morning temperature was cool at 53 degrees, the air was refreshing, sweet, a gentle breeze stirred the tree leaves which were animated and dancing, the sky was a true sky blue, bright and clear. At times like this my heart swells and I feel so grateful to be living this life. I hope you are also filled with this deep contentment. Continue reading
“I may not know my original face but I know how to smile.
I may not know the recipe for the diameter
Of a circle but I know how to cut a slice
for a friend. I may not be Mary or Buddha
But I can be kind. I may not be a diamond
Cutter but I still long for rays of light
that reach the heart.
I may not be standing on the hill of skulls
But I know love when I see it.”—Not Knowing, by Stephen Levine
What is real kindness? In our day and age, these words really translate as paying attention to the moment in a gentle, friendly, loving way. When we practice meditation and we take the time to bring a kind attention to the body, feeling tones (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral), the emotions, and our thoughts — that is an act of kindness. Continue reading
Wise Livelihood and Guns
Wise or Right Livelihood is the fifth factor in the Noble Eightfold Path and belongs to the virtue section of the path. It is also the second quality of the Ten Perfections, virtuous conduct. In the Buddhist teachings, it is known as morality, ethics, integrity, and Sila from the ancient Pali language. Continue reading
As this year draws to its end,
we give thanks for the gifts it brought
and how they become inlaid within
where neither time nor tide can touch them.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
At the End of the Year —John O’Donohue
Transitioning and Welcoming 2018
As we shift from the turbulence of 2017 into the promise of the new year, it can be important and significant to look back and remember all the moments of peace, ease, interconnection, strength, tenacity, and happiness we experienced. Continue reading
“When we are connected wholeheartedly with others and the world, generosity is not a matter of deciding to give; giving simply flows out of us.” —Gil Fronsdal
Gratitude Engenders Generosity
When we experience gratitude, we feel connected to ourselves, life around us, and others. There is a deep stirring in the heart and mind of thankfulness. Rather than only seeing what is missing, we see clearly what we do have and its preciousness. Continue reading