10 Nov 2014 Leave a comment
03 Nov 2014 Leave a comment
I’ve been reading this book lately after first thinking it would not have anything for me. Wrong. He writes with great clarity and insight about the concepts I am working with and my Buddhist practice. Here is a section of how the ego is built on fear: (bolding of sections is mine)
One of the essential requirements for a true spiritual growth and deep personal transformation is coming to peace with pain…The psyche is built upon avoiding this pain, and as a result, it has fear of pain as its foundation…You will see that any behavior pattern based upon the avoidance of pain becomes a doorway to the pain itself. If you are afraid of being rejected by someone and you approach that person with the intention of winning their acceptance, you are skating on thin ice. All they have to do is look at you sideways or say the wrong thing, and you will feel the pain of rejection…The avoidance of pain is what your actions are linked to…
If you do not want to deal with the pain at its core, then what you do to avoid it had better work. If you are hiding yourself in a busy social like, then anything anyone does that challenges you self-esteem, such as not inviting you to an event, will cause you to feel the pain. Let’s say you call a friend to go see a movie , and they say they’re busy. Some people feel hurt by that. You will feel pain if the reason you called them was the avoidance of pain...Then in order to avoid pain, you try to stay busy with friends and hide in their acceptance. That is the first layer out. Then, in order to assure your acceptance, you try to present yourself a certain way so that you can win friends and influence people. That is another layer out. Each layer is attached to the original pain….If the core pain was not the motivation behind proving yourself each day, what people say would not affect you…You end up so sensitive that you are unable to live in the world without getting hurt.
If you want out, if you want a decent life, you had better not devote your life to avoiding psychological pain. You had better not spend your life worrying about whether people like you or whether your car impresses people. What kind of life is that? To spend your life avoiding pain means it’s always right behind you. At any point you could slip and say the wrong thing…So you end up devoting your life to the avoidance of pain.
I recommend reading his book for his answers to this universal dilemma.
01 Nov 2014 Leave a comment
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work for peace.
30 Oct 2014 Leave a comment
Have to be careful though that compassion doesn’t turn into enabling. I felt so sorry for an addict’s pain, he took advantage of that and robbed blind. I’ve heard that called “idiot compassion” and I was brought up thinking it was a virtue!
29 Oct 2014 Leave a comment
23 Oct 2014 Leave a comment
In a new location
by the round glass coffee table
Below the window.
Eyes cast down to its glass surface and
Reflected in the glass
The pale blue sky
Only wearing a thin strip of cloud
Birds, so distant from the floor
where I sit
Slip through the sky like tiny arrows
And disappear into the horizon.
A branch of the Plumeria stirs in the wind
then illuminated by sunlight
In the distance,
one arm of a tall palm
stretches its fingers into the air.
From my modest apartment
A million dollar view.
11 Oct 2014 7 Comments
…are many. One of the hardest things for many people is to be silent and alone. This is what makes meditation so difficult for us at the beginning. Sitting in meditation may be the first time we have seen our habituated mind and body in action.
I tried to give up TV for a couple of months. I wasn’t doing this for any noble reason. I didn’t want to pay for cable when I watched so few channels and quality programs are so few. My budget is tight and this seemed like a good place to loosen it a bit.
Three things happened. I discovered the contents of my mind are worse than the contents on TV. I saw how addicted I was to TV and I replaced my addiction with the internet. I also saw how my mind was filled with negative thoughts. I live alone (even without a dog for the first time in 30 some years), so my habit in the evenings when I had no plans to get together with friends, has been to find some “connection” to the world via TV and internet. When I’ve lived with people or a partner, I didn’t use the tube as much, but then I was often addicted to whoever I was with, so that is not not necessarily the easy fix. It’s actually just another “fix,” in my case. Besides there is a lot I like about living alone too.
Though I switched my addiction from TV to internet, I still had more time that was not filled by either and what I saw on the big screen of my mind was not a pretty picture. My mind spewed forth negative thoughts like an opened fire hydrant and I was shocked.
Now I have not been what you might call a really jolly person for my 66 years on the planet. I’ve suffered with depression my entire life, but it’s treated it so I no longer start crying non-stop for no reason. Well, there was a reason and it was usually my thoughts. Dark thoughts of inadequacy. I was not enough, did not have enough and didn’t do enough to deserve life. I was surprised to find that my mind tuned into to the Not Enough Channel on nearly an hourly basis. In fact, my mind is like an analog channel, programmed to the same few old stories.
I started to want to sleep a lot. I felt heavy, deep fatigue and everything seemed difficult to do–even to call and correct my newspaper delivery. I was tuned in to Depression, the Lifetime Series. Starring me and my ego.Lost in SELF, I lamented aging and that I couldn’t stop working. I recalled the losses of my dogs and loves, my house. And my default setting was envying anyone who had what I did not have somehow. Like a puppet, my ego pulled the string that made me compare myself to those more wealthy or young or….on and on. I started to believe in this false self that had been built for many years and that I have been completely dismantling for the past three years.
I thought maybe my anti-depressant had stopped working and maybe I needed to call the doc for a change. I kept up my meditation and spiritual practices but did not recognize that I was being taught a major spiritual lesson: distractions were keeping me from knowing myself. I always knew I struggled with envy and feeling always “less than,” but I did not know the full extent of how prevalent, how much I still believed those things.
No, I did not come through the other side sans TV, enlightened, drinking my chai tea on my yoga mat. I took back the TV and, eureka! I cheered right up! However, I was mindful now; I recognized how I “used” and why. I am grateful for my two month adventure in the mindfield of my thoughts. I have information that I can use in my practice about the power of addiction to thoughts as well as TV.
I have decided to take a fellow-Buddhist friend’s advice to do a silent retreat, guided by my teacher at the”Empty Cloud” cottage of Florida Community of Mindfulness. Now that I know what to expect when silent and alone, I’m less afraid of doing that.
Friends, I leave you with this:
“There is nothing wrong with feeling the energies of fear, jealousy or attraction. It’s not your fault that such energies exist…They are not you. You are the one who’s watching, and that one is pure consciousness. Don’t think you’d be free if you just didn’t have these kinds of feelings. It’s not true. If you can be free even though you’re having these types of feelings, then you’re really free—because there will always be something. If you can learn to remain centered with the smaller things, you will see that you can also remain centered with the bigger things. You can be fine, deep inside, even in the face of a deep sense of loss.”—-Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul.
05 Oct 2014 Leave a comment
He who would be what he ought to be must stop being what he is.