“Sensitivity is a sign of life. Better hurt than hardened. I bow to those who keep their hearts open when it is most difficult, those who refuse to keep their armor on any longer than they have to, those who recognize the courage at the heart of vulnerability. After all the malevolent warriors end each other, the open-hearted will inherit the earth.”
“Just as the ocean has waves, or the sun has rays, so the mind’s own radiance is it thoughts and emotions. The ocean has waves, yet the ocean is not particularly disturbed by them. The waves are the very nature of the ocean. Waves will rise, but where do they go? Back into the ocean. And where do the waves come from? The ocean. In the same manner, thoughts and emotions are the radiance and expression of the very nature of the mind. They rise from the mind, but where do they dissolve? Back into the mind. Whatever rises, do not see it as a particular problem. If you do not impulsively react, if you are only patient, it will once again settle into its essential nature.”
Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction.
On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.
~ Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide To Compassionate Living
“…violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”
‘For now, please do not abandon your precious body. Do not disconnect and leapfrog over your own experience in search of another one. You are not worthless here. Stay grounded in the breath. Offer sanctuary to the triggered feelings, the sore place inside. Make room for the frightened one, the sad one, the disappointed one, the lonely one. Expand so that you are an ocean, and let the waves of feeling come. Breathe into feelings; they will not harm you.
Your sense of self-worth is not dependent on what anyone else does or says or thinks of you or wants. You are neither worse nor better than anyone on the planet; you are the same Life, as alive as anyone, connected to what’s real, inhaling the same air.
You are not a victim for you are deeply connected to yourself, welcoming all of your thoughts and feelings like newborns, honoring your unique path, bowing humbly to the place where you stand Now, victorious on the road of love.
‘We sometimes wake up fresh in the morning yet still go through the day half asleep. Our busy 21st century lives overwhelm us with a relentless stream of immediate tasks. We lose sight of how precious it is just to have a human life.
This is an awareness that we need to feel in our hearts. I would like to share with you a practice that I call ‘living your whole life in a single day.’ You can do this by starting with this thought in the morning: ‘I am starting a whole new life. It begins right now’. Initially, leave yourself a note at your bedside to remind you, and then slowly cultivate the habit of waking up with this thought.
Your body is fresh from the night’s rest; when you wake up with this awareness, so does your mind. Ask yourself what kind of person you want to be in the life that you will live today. Throughout the day, remind yourself that your life is happening right now. In the afternoon, check to see how your life is going and readjust as needed. A whole lifetime of possibilities stretches out before you every moment.
This is the basic truth of interdependence. Conditions are constantly shifting, and what seemed impossible earlier can suddenly become possible. Every moment counts. Every action counts. A single kind act can have a positive impact on the future of many others you share the earth with. You can change the course of the future in any moment. Do so consciously, and the whole world will benefit.’
“Compassion is a far greater and nobler thing than pity. Pity has its roots in fear and carries a sense of arrogance and condescension; sometimes even a smug feeling of “I’m glad it’s not me.” As Stephen Levine says: “When your fear touches someone’s pain it becomes pity; when your love touches someone’s pain it becomes compassion.”
“In the depths of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.” —Kahlil Gibran