I try to practice what I preach; I’m not always that good at it but I really do try. The other night, I was getting hard-hearted, closed-minded, and fundamentalist about somebody else, and I remembered this expression that you can never hate somebody if you stand in their shoes. I was angry at him because he was holding such a rigid view. In that instant I was able to put myself in his shoes and I realized, “I’m just as riled up, and self-righteous and closed-minded about this as he is. We’re in exactly the same place!” And I saw that the more I held on to my view, the more polarized we would become, and the more we’d be just mirror images of one another—two people with closed minds and hard hearts who both think they’re right, screaming at each other. It changed for me when I saw it from his side, and I was able to see my own aggression and ridiculousness. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
You know the Zen koan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Usually, of course, we need two hands to clap—and that is the structure of typical experience. We have a sense of ourselves as a subject in here, and the world as an object out there. We have these “two hands” of experience, the subject and the object. And typical experience is a smashing of these two hands together to make a commotion, a sound. The object out there smashes into me as a subject, and I have an experience—the two hands clap together, an experience emerges. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Recently I’ve been listening to some lovely audio files by Music for Deep Meditation. Specifically a whole album of songs that take one through the chakras while chanting OM.
It’s been phenomenally heart opening and beautiful and intense and healing. Listening to this ancient sound while in meditation seems to assist in the grounding and revelatory experience both. It’s clear many folks find these sounds helpful. I’m coming to appreciate what gets labeled “hypersensitivity.” In this instance it’s a lovely and profound grace to be able to utilize what might also be considered “sound therapy.” I call it learning to live well. With this body and these capacities. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Last night I listened to a dharma talk from the retreat on bodhicitta. I like how she calls it the soft-spot. It’s a willingness to live in the soft-spot. Another way to consider the soft-spot is to be willing to live from the middle of our pain and our joy. To surrender to the complete depth of life. Much of my suffering, it’s becoming clear (and I mean both physical and emotional) has been a resistance to embracing pain. Once we embrace pain our capacity for joy also increases. And embracing pain means understanding the nature of all of humanity. It allows us to grow our empathy and compassion for all sentient beings and the planet too, our home. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
I’m continuing to read The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defences of the Personal Spirit, by Donald Kalsched.
It’s such a wonderful source of insight and validation about the inner world of those traumatized that I want to share more from the introduction. I shared another part of the intro to the book in this post as well. Read that too if you’re interested.
There are many ways to heal from this fate and we see those who’ve had lives marred by trauma recovery in a myriad of ways, as it is wont for human beings to do. There are as many paths to wellness as there are human beings. Analysis, which is the stance of this book, is only one window and one way to go about healing. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Do not cringe and make yourself small if you are called the black sheep, the maverick, the lone wolf
We have received an inestimable gift. To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe—to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it—is a wonder beyond words. It is an extraordinary privilege to be accorded a human life, with self-reflexive consciousness that brings awareness of our own actions and the ability to make choices. It lets us choose to take part in the healing of our world….
…That our world is in crisis—to the point where survival of conscious life on Earth is in question—in no way diminishes the value of the gift of life; on the contrary. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
As Brother David Steindl-Rast says, whether one is religious or secular, it’s hard to argue against gratefulness. How much gratefulness we feel has little to do with whether life seems abundant or filled with hardship. On the contrary, it hinges on the degree to which we are prey to the delusion that we are self-made, or instead have discovered that life is a process in which we endlessly stumble into the unknown. Let’s never forget what a wondrous planet we live on — a place where staggering beauty can suddenly sweep up from the horizon. … [click on title for the rest of the post]