Thursday, April 19, 2007

What to do with Words Award - April 19, 2007

Fran is a good friend from my meditation circle. With her infectious smile and kind eyes, she exudes good will. And she's very sensitive.

Fran gets the "What to do with Words Award" today for an email she sent around earlier this week. Her spirit was crushed by the suffering at Va Tech, and she reached out to urge us to spread some love around -- suggesting we offer a kind smile to a stranger. It's a counter-move, a love strategy against hate.

Since she sent that message to a few of us, others in the group have passed it on to still more. I'd like to think it'll make its way around the world.

This phrase from Fran's email particularly struck me: "It is time for all of us to start showing the compassion we all have inside, to all our fellow human beings. I refuse to believe that the world is full of hate and violence."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

WMD - Working Man's Dharma - 4-17-07

I think that I can do a very valuable service to myself and others if, during the course of a day, I notice what arises inside me.

To notice fear arising is a tremendous accomplishment. It's significant because, to notice and name it, halts -- even for a few moments -- its hijacking of sweet reason...our naturally divine and kind nature.

I can hold fear and observe it, as it arises. I can feel it in my guts, my nerve endings. Then I don't have to be fear. It is no longer my identity. My fear becomes simply what it is -- an emotion.

And in that instant of objective viewing, I divorce it from... the argument...threat... or hostility of some person I am fearful of. And the argument, threat or hostility of some person remains simply those things, and nothing more.

How much more equipped am I then to begin making peace?

Monday, April 16, 2007

WMD - Working Man's Dharma

Today, I begin sharing WMD -- working man's dharma, as in lesson or teaching.

To share a teaching, spread the have to admit a few things:

- that you know some things
- what you learned you got from someone else

So let me start off doing that. I do know some things, certainly not every-thing. And I've come to know them from everybody around me -- family, teachers, friends, writers. They are people who have passed their truth and knowledge onto me.

So, I'd like to return the favor. Please consider what I have to offer.

WMD for Monday, April 16:

Today, my intention, my very hopeful intention -- is to experience all that happens to me without holding onto judgment of them. I want to simply hear what others have to say. May I see. May I feel. May I encounter life and resist attaching a label to the experience, a label that lasts, a label that can't be peeled off.

May I allow myself the pure emotional experience of liking or disliking something that I encounter -- a Dogwood tree breaking the rainy gloom with pink buds... or a uncaring remark lobbed at me by someone. May I feel the joy arise in my body when I see new life come to a tree. And may I know, too, the dejection of a hurtful remark.

But may I remember to let pleasure and pain pass on to where they belong. May I see the wisdom in letting my thoughts and desires and disappointments arise and slip back into the universe.

May I know them, and when it is time, may I let them go.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Thoreau's Journal - Listening

What is Thoreau talking about in the following diary passage?

He speaks of the wind and the noise of a toad. But he also reminds us of the magic that happens when we quiet the mind to observe what rises up and falls away:

"When I stand out of the wind, under the shelter of the hill beyond Clamshell, where there is not wind enough to make a noise on my person, I hear, or think that I hear, a very faint distant ring of toads, which, though I walk and walk all the afternoon, I never come nearer to." -- Henry David Thoreau, from his journal, April 5, 1860

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tara Brach on Compassion

Author Tara Brach gets the "What to do with Words Award" for April 4, 2007.

In an interview for my "Waking Up" column on United Press International, Tara talked about how tough, critical we are on ourselves and how we can replace that with compassion. It's the essence of her book, Radical Acceptance, Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha."

In our interview, Brach talked about how we cease to identify with our turmoil when we choose to stay and observe our discomfort -- rather than run from it. A new person emerges. From the article:

"The bottom line in the Buddhist teachings is that, in the moments that you stay, instead of replaying your old routines ... your whole sense of who you are shifts," notes Brach. She adds that "rather than being the fearful self or the anxious self or the self trying to get away from feeling afraid, you become the awareness that is simply being present and holding."

The sufferer becomes the space of compassion, adds Brach. To stay present and then become that presence is "the only way to wake up out of the trance of unworthiness."