What’s Your Superpower?

I must confess that many of the thought I post here come from reflecting on Tara Brach’s podcast to which I listen daily. In her most recent podcast [link below], she spoke about this image…

What’s Your Buddhist Superpower? – Buddhist Peace Fellowship / Turning Wheel Media.

Tara Brach talked about this image in her recent podcast:

2014-02-19 – Part 2: Heart of Compassion – Most of us consciously value compassion, but move through much of life without access to the full capacity of our heart. This talk explores the self-compassion that is the very grounds of loving our world.

Direct download: 2014-02-19-Heart-of-Compassion-TaraBrach.mp3

My superpower IS kindness, but I don’t ‘get into the phonebooth’ often enough, if you what I mean. I often don’t put on my ‘kindness costume’ when I need it most…

Does that make me a failure? No, I think it puts me on a path. It makes me human. HH the Dalai Lama says:

“I don’t know why people like me so much. It must be because I value bodhichitta [the awakened heart/mind]. I can’t claim to practice [it], but I value it.” We care about the awakened heart because, like a flower in full bloom, it is the full realization of our nature. Feeling loved and loving matters to us beyond all else. We feel most “who we are” when we feel connected to each other and the world around us, when our hearts are open, generous and filled with love. Even when our hearts feel tight or numb, we still care about caring.

Brach, Tara (2004-11-23). Radical Acceptance (p. 222). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

How can I, a fellow being who is much less awakened, condemn myself for not practicing?

My takeaway? Get into the phonebooth. Put on lovingkindness. Even when — ESPECIALLY WHEN — our hearts feel tight and numb…

His wise counsel hits the target every time!

The phases are going through me…

Statue representing Siddhartha Gautama.I have a new friend that I am getting to know. I discovered not too long ago that she had begun reading my favorite book Siddhartha. I asked her recently what her takeaway was and she started “in life you pass through different phases…”. Just recently, I had exactly the OPPOSITE reaction, that in life, different phases pass through us! This is one of the things I love about this book. In some ways, it’s more like a mirror than a book and if you read it mindfully over again, you will find the book is different each time you read it. I recently re-read it earlier this summer via Audible after spending a lot of time with Brené Brown, Kristen Neff and Tara Brach and I remember hearing this part while I was out clearing the pasture and it almost knocked me over like a bolt out of the blue:

“Listen well, my dear, listen well! The sinner, which I am and which you are, is a sinner, but in times to come he will be Brahma again, he will reach the Nirvana, will be Buddha and now see: these ‘times to come’ are a deception, are only a parable! The sinner is not on his way to become a Buddha, he is not in the process of developing, though our capacity for thinking does not know how else to picture these things. No, within the sinner is now and today already the future Buddha, his future is already all there, you have to worship in him, in you, in everyone the Buddha which is coming into being, the possible, the hidden Buddha. The world, my friend Govinda, is not imperfect, or on a slow path towards perfection: no, it is perfect in every moment, all sin already carries the divine forgiveness in itself, all small children already have the old person in themselves, all infants already have death, all dying people the eternal life. It is not possible for any person to see how far another one has already progressed on his path; in the robber and dice-gambler, the Buddha is waiting; in the Brahman, the robber is waiting. In deep meditation, there is the possibility to put time out of existence , to see all life which was, is, and will be as if it was simultaneous, and there everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, I see whatever exists as good, death is to me like life, sin like holiness, wisdom like foolishness, everything has to be as it is, everything only requires my consent, only my willingness, my loving agreement, to be good for me, to do nothing but work for my benefit, to be unable to ever harm me. I have experienced on my body and on my soul that I needed sin very much, I needed lust, the desire for possessions, vanity, and needed the most shameful despair, in order to learn how to give up all resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to stop comparing it to some world I wished, I imagined, some kind of perfection I had made up, but to leave it as it is and to love it and to enjoy being a part of it. These, oh Govinda, are some of the thoughts which have come into my mind.” Siddhartha bent down, picked up a stone from the ground, and weighed it in his hand. “This here ,” he said playing with it, “is a stone, and will, after a certain time, perhaps turn into soil, and will turn from soil into a plant or animal or human being. In the past, I would have said: This stone is just a stone, it is worthless, it belongs to the world of the Maja; but because it might be able to become also a human being and a spirit in the cycle of transformations, therefore I also grant it importance. Thus, I would perhaps have thought in the past. But today I think: this stone is a stone, it is also animal, it is also god, it is also Buddha, I do not venerate and love it because it could turn into this or that, but rather because it is already and always everything and it is this very fact, that it is a stone, that it appears to me now and today as a stone, this is why I love it and see worth and purpose in each of its veins and cavities, in the yellow, in the gray, in the hardness, in the sound it makes when I knock at it, in the dryness or wetness of its surface. There are stones which feel like oil or soap, and others like leaves, others like sand, and every one is special and prays the Om in its own way, each one is Brahman, but simultaneously and just as much it is a stone, is oily or juicy, and this is this very fact which I like and regard as wonderful and worthy of worship. But let me speak no more of this. The words are not good for the secret meaning, everything always becomes a bit different , as soon as it is put into words, gets distorted a bit, a bit silly yes, and this is also very good, and I like it a lot, I also very much agree with this, that this what is one man’s treasure and wisdom always sounds like foolishness to another person.”

Hesse, Hermann (2010-02-15). SIDDHARTHA [The Deluxe Edition, Annotated, & Illustrated) (Kindle Locations 1722-1744). Northpointe Classics. Kindle Edition.

There is no moment outside of this one! I cannot be better than I already am! “in the robber and dice-gambler, the Buddha is waiting; in the Brahman, the robber is waiting.” I can only choose to be more mindful and be more in touch with my buddha nature. This moment “is already and always everything” and like the old native-american story of the two wolves, it is the wolf I feed in this moment that wins…

Change Your Life In 2 Seconds

Pema Chodron writes:

One of the lines that I really like in Gaylon Ferguson’s book Natural Wakefulness is “Distraction is married to discontent.” You could test this out in your own experience. There’s nothing as real and direct and counterhabitual as being present with yourself, just as you are, with your emotions just as they are.

As difficult as that can be, the result of that training is nonstruggle: not rejecting your experience, fully engaged with yourself, with the world, there for other people. Another result of coming back to being with yourself, just as you are, is that emotions don’t escalate. Continue reading

I Have Learned So Much

I
Have Learned
So much from God
That I can no longer
Call Myself

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me

That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure
Soul.

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed
Me

Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.

From: ‘The Gift’
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

OHOM-high-res-cover-938x1426

Open heart, open mind…

OHOM-high-res-cover-938x1426

I really enjoyed this talk from Tara Brach‘s meditation series featuring Tsoknyi Rinpoche; perhaps you will as well…

In case you are wondering, I am not a Buddhist — I am a recovering Catholic if you must know! It’s just that lately, the Uni-verse has been using people who are Buddhist to teach me. Keeping an open mind to the wisdom of their message has helped me to open my heart…

Which wolf will you feed?

For most of my life, I have been a bitter, resentful, angry person. The story that I tell myself is that I came by it honestly. I’m a classic case of a person who suffered early childhood trauma around abandonment and rejection issues and much of my life has been spent in trying to get the people in my life now to make up for the things done by the people in my past. When this plan didn’t work [for reasons that are obvious to me now] I reacted with resentment and anger; first toward myself and then toward others… Continue reading

Thanking a Monkey

Kaveri Patel writes:

There’s a monkey in my mind

swinging on a trapeze,

reaching back to the past

or leaning into the future,

never standing still.

Sometimes I want to kill

that monkey, shoot it square

between the eyes so I won’t

have to think anymore

or feel the pain of worry.

But today I thanked her

and she jumped down

straight into my lap,

trapeze still swinging

as we sat still.

via Kaveri Patel – Buddhist Poetry Review.

On these days when our world slows down just a little bit, think about thanking YOUR monkeys…

Working With Difficulties

Tara Brach writes:

About twelve years ago, a number of Buddhist teachers began to share a new mindfulness tool that offers in-the-trenches support for working with intense and difficult emotions. Called RAIN (an acronym for the four steps of the process), it can be accessed in almost any place or situation. It directs our attention in a clear, systematic way that cuts through confusion and stress. The steps give us somewhere to turn in a painful moment, and as we call on them more regularly, they strengthen our capacity to come home to our deepest truth. Like the clear sky and clean air after a cooling rain, this mindfulness practice brings a new openness and calm to our daily lives.

I have now taught RAIN to thousands of students, clients, and mental health professionals, adapting and expanding it into the version you’ll find in this chapter. I’ve also made it a core practice in my own life. Here are the four steps of RAIN presented in the way I’ve found most helpful:

R   Recognize what is happening 

A  Allow life to be just as it is

I   Investigate inner experience with kindness

N  Non-Identification

RAIN directly de-conditions the habitual ways in which you resist your moment-to-moment experience. It doesn’t matter whether you resist “what is” by lashing out in anger, by having a cigarette, or by getting immersed in obsessive thinking. Your attempt to control the life within and around you actually cuts you off from your own heart and from this living world. RAIN begins to undo these unconscious patterns as soon as we take the first step.

Full story at: Tara Brach – Working With Difficulties.