Instead we are going to be looking deeply into each moment with full acceptance and not trying to force ourselves to be different from how we are right now. In your meditation practice and in your daily life, can you be in touch, not only with the changing content and intensity of your thoughts and feelings, but also with the vast unwavering reservoir of awareness itself, residing below the surface of your mind?
The lake can teach this, remind us of the lake within ourselves. Through it all, the mountain just sits, experiencing change in each moment, constantly changing, yet always just being itself. It remains still as the seasons flow into one another and as the weather changes moment by moment and day by day, calmness abiding all change… - Jon Kabat-Zinn -. These few words are enough. If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here. This opening to the life we have refused again and again until now. Until now. When flowing water meets with obstacles on its path, a blockage in its journey, it pauses. It increases in volume and strength, filling up in front of the obstacle and eventually spilling past it. You do not belong to you. You belong to the universe. The significance of you will forever remain obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your significance if you apply yourself to converting all your experience to the highest advantage to others.
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day - unless you're too busy - then you should sit for an hour. Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.
Realize that this very body, with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive. The range of what we think and do Is limited by what we fail to notice And because we fail to notice There is little we can do To change Until we notice How failing to notice Shapes our thoughts and deeds. Laing -. The practice of meditation is not really about establishing inner stillness The moments of stillness are one of meditation's byproducts, not the practice itself.
If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed. Francis de Sales -. Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. You can have compassion for yourself - which is not self-pity.
As simple, and difficult, as that! To listen is to lean in softly With a willingness to be changed By what we hear. If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. First, we all have an inner teacher whose guidance is more reliable than anything we can get from a doctrine, ideology, collective belief system, institution, or leader. Second, we all need other people to invite, amplify, and help us discern the inner teacher's voice. Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. Cummings -. For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone.
The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction. This is not an answering machine. This is a questioning machine. You think you understand one. You think you understand two, because one and one make two.
But, you must also understand "and". I am not nearly so interested in what monkey man was derived from as I am in what kind of monkey he is to become. We ourselves cannot put any magic spell on this world.
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The world is its own magic. There is no enlightenment outside of daily life. There's no problem so great it can't be solved. If it can't be solved, it's not a problem, it's reality. Most of the calls we receive and ignore are Our lives are measured out The great breakthroughs in our lives generally happen only as a result of the accumulation of innumerable small steps and minor achievements. We're called to reach out to someone, to pick up an odd book on the library shelf, to sign up for a class even though we're convinced we don't have the time or money, to go to our desks each day, to turn left instead of right.
These are the fire drills for our bigger calls. When I do not know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you. Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous.
If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense. Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes. Hillel the sage, who was asked to relate the whole of Torah while standing on one foot: "Do not do to others that which is hateful to you. All the rest is commentary. Now go study. The saints are what they are, not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everybody else.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, A cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, This is the best season of your life. Today like every other day We wake up empty and scared. Don't open the door of your study And begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do There are hundreds of way to kneel And kiss the earth. Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are. I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?
But if they ask me, "Why were you not Zusya? It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye. When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that's wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that's love. Between these two my life turns. We are not troubled by things, but by the opinions we have about things. Stand still. The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is a place called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Buckminster Fuller himself was fond of stating that what seems to be happening at the moment is never the full story of what is really going on. He liked to point out that for the honey bee, it is the honey that is important. But the bee is at the same time nature's vehicle for carrying out cross-pollination of the flowers. Interconnectedness is a fundamental principle of nature. Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with others. I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened - anonymous sometimes attributed to Mark Twain -.
We see things not as they are, but as we are. Tomlinson -. The birds have vanished into the sky, and now the last cloud drains away. We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains. Ram Dass tells of a student who went to a Zen master. Not a dead Zen master. As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.
To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. First I was dying to finish high school and start college.
And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now, I am dying And suddenly realize I forgot to live. I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. In my walks, I would fain return to my senses.
What business have I in the woods if I am thinking of something out of the woods?
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Our bodies know they belong, It's our minds that make our lives so homeless. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? But every someone is you. I am here. And everybody feels that I in the same way.
So I-ness being, as it were, the most fundamental thing in man is also fundamental to the universe. And that is, of course, why the images of the Hindu gods are shown with many arms or many faces: because it is saying that all arms are the arms of the divinity, all faces are its masks.
Our comings and goings, our fortunes and misfortunes are a sort of mirage. The more we know about them, the more we know about the world, the more diaphanous it seems. Now, there are two attitudes you can take to that state of affairs. Catch hold of it—then you destroy it. And if you see that, then the world of form is very beautiful. If you let it go. If you love a person you say to that person, Look, I love you—whatever that may be. And you can afford to go with it, you can afford to get mixed up in life, and to fall in love, and to get involved with all sorts of things.
But this is not illusion in a bad sense of the word. But what an imagination! Look at the reversal of the word. What matters is all this. But that gets us to a deeper point yet. An eternal now. So this Self, the Brahman, is like the head of a dead cat. After all, if I knew the Self I might be a better person. People might like me more. I would do this, that, and the other. Only when they are not concerned with whether it does them any good or not does it do them any good.
Everything they do is done for some serious reasons. And so we never play, except very exceptionally. Because play is that which is done just for itself—for fun. So the nature, you might say, of the Self is that it does no work, it only plays. That was one of the things they told you as a little child. If you try too hard with anything you usually make a mess of it. And so this basic thing, then, is that the Self—the Brahman behind the world—is engaged in play. It is in this sense that the Hindu philosophers say, Brahman does not actually become the world.
And so, in certain Oriental countries, when one refers to noble people of high birth it is often said, Lord So-and-so has died. Or will he play at taking a journey to Tokyo? The Self is not one. The opposite of one is many—or none. Advaita is meant to be a totally inclusive kind of unity.
Dvaita and advaita. But the idea here, in Indian philosophy, is to use this word in a certain way. Anything you draw will be in two dimensions. But why do we see three dimensions? Because of an artistic convention called one-point perspective , which will give you the illusion of a third dimension. Now, in other words, a two-dimensional line is being used to imply a third dimension which can never be expressed on a flat surface. So, in exactly the same way, advaita is a word used specially to designate what lies beyond all logical categories. Very largely, a game or a play is something associated in our minds with triviality.
How serious do you have to be? When does one get serious in a flirtation? When do we say this is getting serious? Playing footsies under the table? Do you see? Sleeping together? Married and babies? I went to hear Heifetz play the violin. Was that a trivial matter? On the contrary—the very highest kind of artform. The difference, you see, between seriousness and sincerity is that seriousness is someone speaking in the context of the possibility of tragedy; that there is a situation where things might go absolutely wrong, and then I put on the expression which is serious. And when they salute the flag they put on a stern expression.
But the fundamental question [that] must be brought forth: is God serious? I said, also, that the Self—as conceived, the supreme Self—was quite useless, that it was immaterial. Because it transcends all values of what is better or worse, what is upwards or downwards, what is good and bad. It so weaves the world that the good or the bad play together like the black and white pieces in the game of chess.
So play is—deeply—the sort of thing children like to do with deep absorption and fascination. To drop pebbles into the water and watch the concentric circles of waves. Or mathematicians.
Mathematicians, you know—especially what we call higher mathematicians—are entirely lacking in seriousness. They are working entirely on interesting puzzles and working out what they call elegant and beautiful solutions to these puzzles. And they can go on and on like that in absorbed meditation, spend their whole lives doing it.
Or consider the musician: practicing, working out interpretations; what is he doing? Well, as far as I can make out as you look all over the world, they like to get together and do something rhythmic. Or dealing cards: Tsu-tsu-tsu-tsu-tsu-tsu-tsu Wwrrrrrrtt! You know? All the things that people like to do and think about: these rhythms. Or some people like to knit, and this is a rhythmic thing, you see? Others just like to breathe. There are all sorts of ways in which we love to do this.
Just consider what we do every day. Does it really mean anything? Does it go anywhere? So you can get a certain vision of life where everything is seen to be a complex pattern of rhythm. The human dance, the flower dance, the bee dance, the giraffe dance. And these are also comparable to various games: poker , bridge , backgammon , chess, checkers , et cetera, or to various musical forms: sonata , fugue , partita , concerto , symphony , or whatever.
This is a big jazz, this world. Because that what we all come down to, you see? So then that is why, you see, this fundamental view that the world is play. The basic form of the cosmic game according to the Hindu view is the game of hide-and-seek—or you might call it the game of lost-and-found.
In examining the nature of vibration we find a very peculiar thing. If you represent vibration as a wave motion you will notice that there is no such manifestation as half a wave. We do not find in nature crests without troughs or troughs without crests. No sound is produced unless there is both. Both the beat, as it were, and the interval between.
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Now, this wave phenomenon is happening on ever so many scales. There is the very, very fast wave of light, the slower wave of sound, then there are all sorts of other wave processes—the beat of the heart, the rhythm of the breath, waking and sleeping, the peak of human life from birth to maturity and down again to death.
And the slower the wave goes the more difficult it is to see that the crest and the trough are inseparable, so that we become persuaded in the game of hide-and-seek that it is possible for the trough to go down and down and down for ever and never rise again into a crest; forgetting that trough implies crest just as crest implies trough. There is no such thing, you see, as pure sound.
Sound is sound-silence. Light is light-darkness. And so the Hindu image is that the Self eternally plays a game of hide-and-seek with itself. Hindus calculate time in kalpa units, and the kalpa is 4,, years. So for one kalpa the world is manifested, and that period is called in Sanskrit a Manvantara. And then, at the end of the kalpa, there comes the period called Pralaya , and that is also a kalpa long.
And in that period the Brahman, as it were, comes out of the act and returns to itself in peace and bliss. This is a very logical idea. Then they are fighting, in constant conflict. The conflict is not between two persons, the conflict is between false images. Remain with the real, howsoever hard, howsoever arduous and difficult, even if sometimes it seems impossible. But once you know the beauty of remaining with the real, you will never be a victim of dreaming. And thirdly, why do you dream? It is a substitute. Dreaming is a substitute.
If you cannot get whatsoever you desire in reality, then you start dreaming. For example, if you have fasted the whole day, in the night. You will dream: you will dream about food, of being invited by a great emperor, or some such thing. You will be eating and eating and eating in your dreaming. The whole day you were fasting, and now in the night you are eating. If you are sexually suppressive, then your dreams will become sexual. Through your dreams it can be known what you are suppressing in the day.
Your daytime fast will be shown by your dream. Dreams are substitutes, and psychologists say that it will be difficult for man as he is to live without dreams. And they are right in a way. As man is it will be difficult to live without dreams, but if you want a transformation, then you have to live without dreams. Why are dreams created?
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Because of desires. Unfulfilled desires become dreams. Study your desiring; be aware and observe it. The more you observe it, the more it will disappear. And then you will not create webs in the mind, and you will not move in a private world of your own. Dreams cannot be shared; even two intimate friends cannot share their dreams.
You cannot invite anyone into your dreams. You and your lover cannot both be in the same dream.
They are private. Reality is not so private, only madness is private. Reality is universal, you can share it; you cannot share dreams. They are your private madness — fictions. So what is to be done? One can, in the day, live so totally that nothing is left suspended. If you are eating, eat totally. If you are loving someone, love so totally that no love enters into your dreams.
Whatsoever you do in the day, do it so totally that nothing is suspended on the mind, nothing is incomplete which has to be completed in dreams. Try this, and within a few months you will have a different quality of sleep. Dreams will go on becoming less and less, and deep sleep will deepen. And when in the night dreams are less, in the day projections will be less because, really, your sleep continues and your dream continues.
With closed eyes in the night and with opened eyes in the day, they continue.