An Invitation Home

In his book The Art of Communicating, Thich Nhat Hahn invites us to come home to ourselves by walking mindfully:

Home is the here and now, where all the wonders of life are already available. You can’t arrive fully in the here and now unless you invest your whole body and mind into the present moment. If you haven’t arrived one hundred percent, stop where you are and don’t take another step. Stay there and breathe until you’re sure you have arrived one hundred percent. Then you can smile a smile of victory. It’s probably best to do that only when you are enjoying mindful walking alone; if you are around other people, you may create a traffic jam.

You don’t need an app or an outsider to tell you whether you have arrived. You will know you have arrived because you will recognize that you’re comfortable being. When you walk from the parking lot to your office, go home in each step. Recover yourself and connect with yourself during every step. No matter where you’re going, you can walk as a free person on this planet Earth and enjoy every step.

Recover yourself. Come home to yourself.

Today, may you be blessed in the knowing you are home. May you know the comfort of be-ing.

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Life Is What It Is

Life is what it is … most often it is people who confuse and perplex me. I can become hurt and angry, hopping mad we used to call it, so I get it. Meanness is something uniquely human and, though I see it and I know it exists, it is something I do not relate to on a personal level.

Currently I am reading Gandhi’s autobiography and the quote below resonates so deeply within my being that I want to share it this morning. Having been on the receiving end of people elevating themselves by demeaning me, I learned at a very young age what it feels like. It is a behavior that mystifies me. The things I have experienced cannot compare to the suffering of those who are treated as “less than” simply because they exist.

May our hearts and minds be open to our own attitudes and behaviors with regard to those we are angry with, those who have hurt us, those we do not understand or agree with, those simply different than us. May we be a force of love, peace, and compassion in a world torn by the differences of its people. May we find ways, no matter how small, to bridge the gaps of misunderstanding so that our differences create a collage of peace rather than a map for turmoil and war. May we spend our energy, time, and money supporting the ways and means that inspire and support us in creating a world that respects and honors its own diversity.

GANDHI:

“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.”

Excerpt From: M. K. Gandhi & Mahadev Desai. “An Autobiography.” The Floating Press. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

 

Use Anger Well

From The Twisted Root by Anne Perry, a murder mystery set in Victorian England:

Anger at injustice has righted more wrongs than most other things, and it is one of the great creative forces in a civilized society. But in order not to replace one enemy with another, albeit innocently intended, you must use your intelligence. (Advice given by the character, Henry Rathbone, to his son, Oliver, who is preparing for an almost hopeless court case with a high moral issue at stake. Page 245)

In my words:

Use your anger to motivate moral action. Relegate emotion to its proper place and purpose; use intelligence to take the highest road possible in attaining your goals.

This passage struck me deeply this morning because I considered participating in a survey yesterday that came to my attention via Facebook. The writer encouraging people to voice their opinion provided red state zip codes for Californians to use because their responses would not be values otherwise. When I read that part, I exited FB and went for a walk. Isn’t that fraud? Is that who I am? Is that what will allow my voice to be heard? I refuse to believe that or participate in it. I cannot make everyone who questions or disagrees with what I believe and want my enemy.

Intelligence won out, thank goodness. I am grateful for those who have consistently taught me to seek truth in all things.

May each of you do the same.

Extreme Can Be Good

Some extremes are necessary. For example, being a conscientious objector is extreme and yet it is an expression of profound dedication to the principle “Do No Harm.”

I played it safe most of my life because I did not want to hurt the people that I loved so I did what I was told even if it denied my personality and what I believed. I did not have the courage to go to the extreme and live my Truth. I chose a novel at random the other day at the library. Never heard of the book or the author and it s blowing my mind! What I read this morning is causing me to rethink the meaning of “extreme.”

The book is The Gadfly by Jennifer Miller. I would like to quote a character, Mr. Kaplan, science teacher in a private school in the year 2012:

“Difference is the essence of extremity. To be extreme, you must assert yourself. No matter how much pressure you feel to obey.  Because, I assure you, the pressure is everywhere.” p. 42

In making this statement to his high school students, Mr. Kaplan is reminding them of micro-organisms that cannot thrive except in the extreme pressure of the deepest ocean depths.

I am now filled with deeper gratitude for the experiences of my life that forced me inward to the Truth of Who I Am…because I have and am thriving because of the pressure.

Love and Peace all ways.

What Ahimsa (Do No Harm) Doesn’t Mean

As many of you know, Ahimsa or Do No Violence/Harm is a fundamental principle of yoga and meditation. This morning I am feeling a different aspect of this divine legacy.

In order to live my Truth so that I am not harming myself, I will at times make decisions that upset other people. It isn’t my desire to do that and yet it can happen. I may be told that I have hurt another and that person may truly feel hurt or angry with me. My response must come from love and compassion rather than defensive righteousness and yet I must remain true to my path, my guidance. I must also allow the other person their feelings.

There are times when my tender understanding can ease another’s suffering though I may not be able to alleviate the source of it. When the reaction of another is frustration and anger because I am behaving in a way that they cannot relate to or that they cannot control, it is not helpful for me to plead my case or try to make that person feel better. I must honor their journey and allow them to experience their own discomfort. Most often this is what stimulates us to expand our understanding and to grow.

Compassion does not require me to take responsibility for another person’s journey. It does require me to be faithful to mine with an awareness of the sensitivity or suffering of another so that I do so with wisdom and understanding. Divine Love will allow me to be frustrated and to suffer when I am beating my head against a wall of my own making. It is my responsibility to become willing to see that wall and then be willing to tear it down. I must allow others to do the same.

The only spiritual journey I am able to walk is my own. Wisdom and understanding call me to follow the teachings and guidance of the Masters so that my journey shows compassion for myself and others. If I try too hard to help another person feel better, I may be interfering with Divine Grace in their life.

Live with awareness and love today, dear hearts.

A Busy Time

I have always kept things quite simple during the holidays. Yesterday I went to pick up a gift or two for my granddaughter. All around me were parents, some with children with them, looking at toys and discussing options. I took a few deep breaths because I was I in the mood to shop – not my normal state of being 😉. As I strolled through different aisles, I noticed a few faces. Most were drawn and weary. Voices ebbed and flowed, some of tired, whiney children, others of tense parents currently not in agreement. I felt a little sad.

I decided to look at clothes and get out of the turmoil. It was not my intention to buy her clothes but walking away gave me a little time to breathe and focus. “Just be here and think about Hannah. Just be here within your own heart and mind.” As I did so, I found the stillness and peace that is True Self and it was fun to find things I knew she would like. It was fun to pay for them and exchanged smiles and laughs with the cashier.

Often lately my mantra is “Just be here, in this moment, in this place. Just be here.”