Jack Kornfield- The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

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‘Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how year after year you have cared for your own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:

With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.

With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.

I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.’

 

This excerpt is taken from the book, “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

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“Weak men make us nervous. Gentle men make us calm.” -Marianne Williamson

“Usually, when we think of power, we think of external power. And we think of powerful people as those who have made it in the world. A powerful woman isn’t necessarily someone who has money, but we think of her as someone with a boldness or a spark that makes her manifest in a dramatic way. When we think of a powerful man, we think of his ability to manifest abundance, usually money, in the world.

Most people say that a powerful woman does best with a powerful man, that she needs someone who understands the bigness of her situation, a man who can meet her at the same or even greater level of power in the world.

Now this is true, if power is defined as material abundance. A woman often faces cultural prejudice when she makes more money than a man, as does he. A woman who defines power by worldly standards can rarely feel totally relaxed in the arms of a man who doesn’t have it.

If power is seen as an internal matter, then the situation changes drastically. Internal power has less to do with money and worldly position, and more to do than with emotional expansiveness, spirituality and conscious living…

I used to think I needed a powerful man, someone who could protect me from the harshness and evils of the world. What I have come to realize is that…the powerful man I was looking for would be foremost, someone who supported me in keeping myself on track spiritually, and in so maintaining clarity within myself, that life would present fewer problems. When it did get rough, he would help me forgive.

I no longer wanted somebody who would say to me, “Don’t worry honey, if they’re mean to you I’ll beat them up or buy them out.” Instead, I want someone who prays and meditates with me regularly so that fewer monsters from the outer world disturb me, and who when they do, helps me look within my own consciousness for answers, instead of looking to false power to combat false power.

There’s a big difference between a gentle man and a weak man. Weak men make us nervous. Gentle men make us calm.”
― Marianne Williamson

Hindsight: seeing the beauty in suffering

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‘When you look back at your own life, you see that with the suffering you went through, you would have avoided it each time if you possibly could, yet when you look at the depths of your character now, and the fact that you’re sitting here doing this work, you see it’s all a product of those experiences.

Weren’t those experiences part of what created the depth of your inner being?
I look back over the times when I was suffering miserably. I certainly wouldn’t lay it on myself if I’d had a choice, but it happened. It was part of the working out of my life plan, and now when I look back in perspective, I see the power of those experiences. I see how they deepened something in me that was necessary for the moment.’

– Ram Dass

Living With The Wound -Mark Nepo

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‘There is a need to be specific
if we are to survive,
which requires being honest,
the way seeing requires
the eyes to stay open.

It means I can tell you
when you hurt me
and still count on your love.

It means being honest
with myself, knowing
the ugly things are not
always someone else’s.

I’ve been thinking how
practical people cut the cord
to those who’ve broken hope,
the way breeders shoot horses
with broken legs, as if
there’s nothing to be done.

Now I know they do this
for themselves, not wanting
to care for a horse that cannot run,
not wanting to sit with a friend
who can’t find tomorrow, not wanting
to be saddled with anything
that will slow them down.

I used to think it bad timing.
When I was up, you were down.
When you were ready,
I was scared. But since
we’ve never given up on each other,
it’s clear that drinking wonder
when we’re sad is how we shed
the things we love about pain.

I have a right to joy
even when lonely,
even when in pain,
and you never need
to cover your wounds
when entering my house.

If your voice breaks, I’ll be a cup.
If your heart sweats, I’ll be a pillow
on which you’ll chance to dream
that weeping is singing
through an instrument
that’s hard to reach,
though it lands us like lightning
in the grasp of each other
where giving is a mirror
of all we cannot teach.’

 

-Mark Nepo

A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING -Jeff Foster

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A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING
Life,
Break in me whatever needs to be broken.
Fix my hope of ever being fixed.
Use me. Draw every ounce of creativity out of me. Help me live a radically unique life, forever forging a never-before-trodden path in the forest.
Show me how to love more deeply than I ever thought possible.
Whatever I am still turning away from, keep shoving in my face.
Whatever I am still at war with, help me soften towards, relax into, fully embrace.
Where my heart is still closed, show me a way to open it without violence.
Where I am still holding on, help me let go.
Give me challenges and struggles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, if that will bring an even deeper humility and trust in the intelligence of life.
Help me laugh at my own seriousness.
Allow me to find the humour in the dark places.
Show me a profound sense of rest in the midst of the storm.
Don’t spare me from the truth. Ever.
Let gratitude be my guide.
Let forgiveness be my mantra.
Let this moment be a constant companion.
Let me see your face in every face.
Let me feel your warm presence in my own presence.
Hold me when I stumble.
Breathe me when I cannot breathe.
Let me die living, not live dying.
Amen.
Jeff Foster

Mark Nepo

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‘After feeling driven my whole life
something very near the center has
unwound and I can no longer hurry
through airports or return all my calls.

And sometimes people I barely know
swim up like old worn fish to show me
the map of their gills, and the one long
gash of something they once swallowed,
and how it has cut each breath since.
And I am honored to warm them
like a blanket. But when alone, I
find it hard not to watch
what I swallow.

When alone, these things
I’ve wanted to know since birth
feel so unanswerable, I must
have been torn from them.

I’m sure a hawk doesn’t know it’s a
hawk. I’m sure a spirit doesn’t know
it’s being spiritual. Or a screen door
slapping, like a tired life, in the night,
if it’s opening or closing.

Though we give up the murky fears,
we still can’t know our worth, any-
more than a faceless treasure
can fathom why
it was boxed
or buried
or saved.’

-Mark Nepo

Gratitude

 

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When you’re damaged, you learn to take what’s given to you and be grateful for it. You learn that love is not a game, and cherish it. You learn how to appreciate the smallest things people do for you.

Because when people have gone through wars that have left them broken, they understand how fragile life is. They understand how they must make the most of it. And most of all, they understand how important it is to always be kind.

Nikita Gill, Lessons I Have Learned From My Damage

The Balance of Life

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‘If you have experienced hunger, you know that having food is a miracle. If you have suffered from the cold, you know the preciousness of warmth. When you have suffered, you know how to appreciate the elements of paradise that are present. If you dwell only in your suffering, you will miss paradise. Don’t ignore your suffering, but don’t forget to enjoy the wonders of life, for your sake and for the benefit of many beings.’

– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching”

 

 

Friendship

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“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

-Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, A Life for a Life

THE RUPTURE AND THE REPAIR by Jeff Foster

c33ca758d3ed9f6506a3ae404d079f62‘First there is the rupture. Old pain resurfaces, erupting from the depths of the unconscious.

The status quo is shattered. You feel disoriented, groundless, not knowing where to turn. An old world has crumbled, a new world has not yet formed.

You encounter the strange space of Now, pure presence, raw, unprotected by old dreams, nothing to cling to. Even your outdated concepts of God crumble.

And then you remember to breathe, and feel your feet on the ground, and observe the spinning mind rather than losing yourself in it.

The world is out of control but you are not.

You feel what you feel. Afraid. Angry. Numb. Sad. Lonely. Unsafe. Whatever. You commit to feeling it fully today, to not dissociating this time. A feeling is just a feeling, not a fact, and presence can hold it.

You wail, you weep, you scream, but you are repairing. You have broken to heal, ruptured to mend. Old energies have emerged only to be blessed with love, acceptance, tenderness.

You can’t go back to the way things were. You can’t un-see what you have seen. But you can be present, today. And take each step consciously now, not automatically, habitually, but mindfully, with care. Finding gratitude for each extra moment you are alive.

And staying close to yourself now, as you walk this unknown path with courage, and a new conviction.’

– Jeff Foster

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