A Still Forest by Ajahn Chah

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Image by Talon Wolf

Just try to keep your mind in the present. Whatever arises in the mind, just watch it and let go of it. Don’t even wish to be rid of thoughts. Then the mind will return to its natural state. No discriminating between good and bad, hot and cold, fast and slow. No me and no you, no self at all—just what there is. When you walk there is no need to do anything special. Simply walk and see what is there. No need to cling to isolation or seclusion. Wherever you are, know yourself by being natural and watching. If doubts arise, watch them come and go. It’s very simple. Hold on to nothing. It’s as though you are walking down a road. Periodically you will run into obstacles. When you meet defilements, just see them and overcome them by letting them go. Don’t think about the obstacles you’ve already passed; don’t worry about those you have not yet seen. Stick to the present. Don’t be concerned about the length of the road or the destination. Everything is changing. Whatever you pass, don’t cling to it. Eventually the mind will reach its natural balance where practice is automatic. All things will come and go of themselves.

Shame and Shun or Smile and Shine?

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“I know we often want it all happy and positive, but that’s just not where much of humanity is. Many of us are overwhelmed with pain, undigested sadness, unexpressed anger, unseen truths. This is where we are at, as a collective. So we have two choices. We can continue to pretend it’s not there, shame and shun it in ourselves and others, distract and detach whenever possible. Or we can face it heart-on, own it within ourselves, look for it in others with compassion, create a culture that is focused on authenticity and healthy emotional release. If we continue to push it all down, we are both creating illness and delaying our collective expansion. But if we can just own the shadow, express it, release it, love each other through it, we can finally graduate from the School of Heart Knocks and begin to enjoy this magnificent life as we were intended. Pretending the pain isn’t there just embeds it further. Let’s illuminate it instead.” ~ Jeff Brown (image from www.tailwindapp.com

Move Away From Suffering

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Image from humaneeducation.org

“If you put your hand into a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it? Do you have to decide? No: When your hand starts to burn, it moves. You don’t have to direct it; the hand moves itself. In the same way, once you understand, through inquiry, that an untrue thought causes suffering, you move away from it.” – Byron Katie

Be Still and the Answer Will Appear

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“Every feeling has a message. Maybe that message is simply to allow yourself to feel the emotion until it dissipates. Maybe the feeling is guiding you toward some action… If something persists—anger, fear, or anxiety—simply ask it what it wants to tell you. Sit quietly and allow the answer to appear. When you feel peaceful, you have your answer, whether or not you like what that answer says.”

~ Amber Adrian

Creating a Little Joy

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“Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected. It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.”

Byron Katie 

Painting by Robert Wyland

Letting Go Meditation

Huge thanks to Richard, author of the supremely helpful blog Zen and the Art of Everyday Living. He recently blogged about a mindfulness meditation technique on letting go. I found it immensely helpful as I recently suffered the loss of my dog Bentley. When my monkey mind went into overdrive and when I wasn’t able to calm the agitation, this meditation helped me gain peace again. It’s a technique I’ve found most beneficial.

I hope you enjoy his post.

 

In Letting Go: The Path to Peace we looked at how important it is to develop the ability to let go of anything that is taking us away from peace in the present moment. This is such a fundamental practice both in meditation and everyday moment to moment living that I want to share with […]

via Let Go, Let Go, Let Go — Zen and the Art of Everyday Living

Another Reminder: Only Now Exists

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“Negative feelings are not true feelings at all; rather, they are your thoughts about something, based always on the previous experience of yourself and others. You will not find Truth in your past data, Forget your “past experience” and look directly at the experience you are having Right Here, Right Now. There is your Truth.”

~ Neale Donald Walsch 

“Choose to Be Blissful”-Osho

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“The essential religion is taking the whole responsibility for whatsoever you are. And immediately an insight arises: ‘If I am responsible for my suffering, then it is simple, I can drop it. It is my choice. I will not choose it any more.’ “A Sufi mystic who had always remained happy was asked…. For seventy years people had watched him, he had never been found sad. One day they asked him, ‘What is the secret of your happiness?’ He said, ‘There is no secret. Every morning when I wake up, I meditate for five minutes and I say to myself, ‘Listen, now there are two possibilities: you can be miserable, or you can be blissful. Choose.’ And I always choose to be blissful.’ “All alternatives are open. Choose to be blissful. And then there are people who can be blissful even when they are imprisoned, and there are people who remain miserable even when they are living in marble palaces. It all depends on you.”

~Osho

A Heavy Curriculum: Ram Dass

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‘If somebody is a problem for you, it’s not that they should change, it’s that you need to change. If they’re a problem for themselves that’s their karma, if they’re causing you trouble that’s your problem on yourself. So, in other words when Christ is crucified, he says “forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing”, they’re not a problem for him, he’s trying to get them out of being a problem for themselves, because he’s clear. Your job is to clear yourself. In ideal situations you would clear yourself within the situation, but very often it’s too thick and you can’t do that.

Now, what you do then is you pull back and you do the stuff you do in the morning or at night before you go to work, you do the stuff on weekends, you do the stuff that quiets you down and then each time you go into the situation to where you have to work, you lose it again. And then you go home and you see how you lost it, and you examine it, and then you go the next day and you lose it again, and you go home and you keep a little diary “how did I lose it today”, and you saw that, and then you go and you do it again, and after a while as you’re starting to lose it you don’t buy in so much. You start to watch the mechanics of what it is that makes you lose it all the time.

If I’m not appreciated, that’s your problem that you don’t appreciate me. Unless I need your love, then it’s my problem. So my needs are what are giving you the power over me. Those people’s power over you to take you out of your equanimity and love and consciousness has to do with your own attachments and clingings of mind. That’s your work on yourself, that’s where you need to meditate more, it’s where you need to reflect more, it’s where you need a deeper philosophical framework, it’s where you need to cultivate the witness more, it’s where you need to work on practicing opening your heart more in circumstances that aren’t optimumThis is your work. You were given a heavy curriculum, that’s it. There’s no blame, it’s not even wrong, it’s just what you’re given. You hear what I’m saying? It’s interesting. Can you all hear that one?’

-Ram Dass, Summer 1989

Be Like a Lion 

  

“When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick; every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. 

But if, instead, you look at where your thoughts are coming from, you will see that each thought arises and dissolves within the space of that awareness, without engendering other thoughts. 

Be like a lion, who rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.”

 ~ H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche