Are we free? Are we just? Are we able to become both?
It depends; dance!
In deep; end, glance!
Indie; pending chance!
It depends; dance!
In deep; end, glance!
Indie; pending chance!
Not Ideas About The Thing But The Thing Itself
At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.
He knew that he heard it,
A bird's cry, at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.
The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow...
It would have been outside.
It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep's faded papier-mache...
The sun was coming from the outside.
That scrawny cry--It was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,
Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.
(Poem by by Wallace Stevens)
The Acknowledgment of Suffering Is a Gift
As the early Buddhist teachings freely admit, the predicament is that the cycle of birth, aging, and death is meaningless. They don't try to deny this fact and so don't ask us to be dishonest with ourselves or to close our eyes to reality. As one teacher has put it, the Buddhist recognition of the reality of suffering—so important that suffering is honored as the first noble truth—is a gift, in that it confirms our most sensitive and direct experience of things, an experience that many other traditions try to deny.
(--Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “Lost in Capitulation” Tricycle)
The paradox of our practice is that the most effective way of transformation is to leave ourselves alone. The more we let everything be just what it is, the more we relax into an open, attentive awareness of one moment after another.
(-- Barry Magid, “Five Practices to Change Your Mind,” Tricycle)
What I believe, what I value most, is transitoriness.
But is not transitoriness — the perishableness of life — something very sad? No! It is the very soul of existence. It imparts value, dignity, interest to life. Transitoriness creates time — and “time is the essence.” Potentially at least, time is the supreme, most useful gift.
Time is related to — yes, identical with — everything creative and active, with every progress toward a higher goal. Without transitoriness, without beginning or end, birth or death, there is no time, either. Timelessness — in the sense of time never ending, never beginning — is a stagnant nothing. It is absolutely uninteresting.
(-Thomas Mann to Hermann Hesse, quoted in Brain Pickings, by Maria Popova) http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/04/24/this-i-believe-thomas-mann-time/?|By attaching to suffering as “my” suffering, by craving it to be something else, by desiring it to go somewhere else (as if it weren’t everywhere throughout everyone) -- we increase suffering or, at minimum, prolong it.
Yet even the most fundamental teachings of the Buddha, such as the four noble truths, deserve to be held up to the light of inquiry described in the Kalama Sutta. I learned this in my early days as a Vipassana yogi, when the Thai forest master Ajahn Chah visited the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. At that time, many of us were enthralled with the liberating power of “letting go.” In our discussions, everyone was letting go of this and letting go of that—and often letting go of “merely everything.” As he listened, Ajahn Chah seemed to grow skeptical. He encouraged us to slow down, back up, and carefully examine the moments when we were actually suffering. Rather than rush to let go, he urged us to make direct contact with the suffering and to see whether it was caused by some form of craving and attachment, of wanting things to be other than the way they were. He felt that the real letting go was learned by seeing the price we paid by holding on and resisting—and the joy experienced when we were free of the burden of attachment.
Paying attention to our own experience of suffering, rather than our conceptual notions of letting go, gave us the chance to see the benefits of the four noble truths in the crucible of our own lives. The transformation of suffering that comes from awareness is most powerful when it’s intimate with the experience of your own life. Inquire, question, and test your understanding of the teachings so that it becomes bone deep.
(--from, Be a Lamp Unto Yourself, By LARRY ROSENBERG | http://www.lionsroar.com/be-a-lamp-unto-yourself-january-2014/At 3:42AM, following 3AM peeing ritual conducted by elderly German Shepherd out by garden Buddha statue, these words are transported to southern resident who has finished watching the 2013 documentary “Anita” about that generous and courageous woman Anita Hill. It follows closely behind Sunday Evening Practice conversation where those assembled considered the “bone deep” words of the article in Shambhala Sun. These words to someone suffering emerge in middle night where thinking about these things goes its own way on its own:
I've been thinking; "family" is often not limited to those who've birthed us biologically, but to a community of care who birth us in our current struggle to make it through, You have a wide "sangha" I.e. community of folks practicing presence now who hold you in their heart/mind. Our ongoing sustaining family often looks different than what we think they should look like. We are happy and graced, as are the many "odd" members of the meetingbrook community, to hold you in the light of care and love. So, if you want a rest, and circumstances arise fortuitously, come here for whatever time you need to rest and regroup energy to re-engage your spiritual/physical warrior journey to a future that awaits you and belongs to you with the company of unexplained grace and shared suffering.
It's all gift. Even the frustrating, lonely uncertainty our minds can't figure out. Gift. So, oddly, we stumble awkwardly, trying to arrive at the door of gratitude, stuttering our "thank you" and "hallelujah" to the unexpected and heretofore unrecognized face appearing there.
You have that gift. There and here.
[We practice our life in order to] ready to presence assistance for whatever time you wish.No matter how you look at it, things always seem slant.
Our individualistic culture gives us the impression that we are each biologically separate beings-- separate from each other and from nature. At Harvard I received an excellent education in the reason- dimension of my mind. I am so grateful. But to be back here in Cambridge is an opportunity to see both the value and the limits of this education. Reason has its place, its value and its use, but we are not in fact separate from one another and nature. The existence of our galaxy among billions of them is preposterous, and it is totally unlikely that any of us are here, right now. It is absolutely unreasonable that we are living on a sphere that is rotating on its axis at 1,000 miles an hour, rotating around a sun- star at 67,000 miles an hour and spinning through the Milky Way galaxy at 568,000 m.p.h. All of this is happening in virtually empty space that has no up or down. We can forget our tiny efforts to control the situation. Blaise Pascal (17th c.) mused that “the heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.” My heart is teaching me things that reason and science can’t prove but which--nevertheless!-- cultivate palpable experiences of hope, beauty and love. Reason’s most powerful questions--why, how, where and when--seem irrelevant and powerless in the vicinity of goodness, compassion and beauty.
My heart is receiving a teaching from the Beyond Within, that we give each other our being, and our spirits are nourished by the spirits of others. With the hormone treatment and the radiation I often feel fatigued and sometimes afraid, but my emotions are labile and tears of love are always ready to soften the hard pan created by reasonable fears. I can feel a little depressed and lost in practical tasks, but then I feel a surge of desire as I lay suspended on my altar tables. I want to live!
The other day, as I lay on the acupuncturist’s table with needles in my chest and abdomen, I put my hands over my eyes and a rich blue light dotted with countless shimmering stars poured through my eyelids into my whole being. Jesus was holding my hand out here at the boundary of a never-ending explosive, evolving and gorgeous cosmos, and letting me go.
(--from "the empty bell", Radiant Light, A CaringBridge Journal, by Robert A. Jonas, p.15, 2014-15)Dis-ease is our de-fault position. We long to find ease with what is taking place in our life.