Invitation to freedom

Repeated thoughts and stories are almost always fueled by an unacknowledged emotion or feeling underneath. These unsensed feelings are part of what brings the thought back time and again. Future planning is usually fueled by anxiety. Remembering of the past is often fueled by regret, or guilt, or grief. Many fantasies arise as a response... Continue Reading →

There is another way of existing

In everyday life, we habitually try to conceal the gaps in our experience of mind and body. These gaps are a bit like an awkward silence around the table at a dinner party. A good host is supposed to keep the conversation going with his or her guests to put them at ease. You might... Continue Reading →

Each of us has our own measure of pain

Each of us has our own measure of pain. Sometimes the pain we suffer is great and obvious; sometimes it is subtle. Our pain can reflect the coldness of our families, the trauma of our parents, the stultifying influence of much modern education and media, the difficulties of being a man or a woman. As... Continue Reading →

Gratitude to Buddha

I feel gratitude to the Buddha for pointing out that what we struggle against all our lives can be acknowledged as ordinary experience. Life does continually go up and down. People and situations are unpredictable and so is everything else. Everybody knows the pain of getting what we don't want: saints, sinners, winners, losers. I... Continue Reading →

Using discomfort as an opportunity

“Strong determination is our commitment to use our lives to dissolve the indifference, aggression, and grasping that separate us from one another. It is a commitment to respect whatever life brings. As warriors-in-training we develop wholehearted determination to use discomfort as an opportunity for awakening, rather than trying to make it disappear. How do we... Continue Reading →

The truth of impermanence

We know that all is impermanent; we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it. We want permanence; we expect permanence. Our natural tendency is to seek security; we believe we can find it. We experience impermanence at the everyday level as frustration.... Continue Reading →

Cultivating loving-kindness

“In cultivating loving-kindness, we learn first to be honest, loving and compassionate toward ourselves. Rather than nurturing self-denigration, we begin to cultivate a clear-seeing kindness. Sometimes we feel good and strong. Sometimes we feel inadequate and weak. But like mother-love, maitri is unconditional; no matter how we feel, we can aspire that we be happy.... Continue Reading →

Who are Bodhisattvas?

“Comfortable with Uncertainty THOSE WHO TRAIN wholeheartedly in awakening bodhichitta are called bodhisattvas or warriors—not warriors who kill but warriors of nonaggression who hear the cries of the world. Warrior-bodhisattvas enter challenging situations in order to alleviate suffering. They are willing to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception. They are dedicated to uncovering the basic,... Continue Reading →

Let me take this armour off

“I take refuge in the Buddha,” that means I take refuge in the courage and the potential of fearlessness, of removing all the armor that covers this awakeness of mine. I am awake; I will spend my life taking this armor off. Nobody else can take it off because nobody else knows where all the... Continue Reading →

The ground of fearlessness

The ground of fearlessness and the basis of overcoming doubt and wrong belief is to develop renunciation. Renunciation here means overcoming that very hard, tough, aggressive mentality which wards off any gentleness that might come into our hearts. Fear does not allow fundamental tenderness to enter into us. When tenderness tinged by sadness touches our... Continue Reading →

Start where you are

“Tonglen practice (and all meditation practice) is not about later, when you get it all together and you’re this person you really respect. You may be the most violent person in the world—that’s a fine place to start. That’s a very rich place to start—juicy, smelly. You might be the most depressed person in the world, the most addicted person in the world, the most jealous person in the world. You might think that there are no others on the planet who hate themselves as much as you do. All of that is a good place to start. Just where you are—that’s the place to start.”  ― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

Being at peace with impermanence

We may lose our best piece of pottery in the firing, the charter school we work so hard to create may fold, our start up business may go under, our children may develop problems beyond our control. If we only focus on the results, we will be devastated. But if we know the cup is... Continue Reading →

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