Facing our own compulsive drives and finding the will force to gently let them go, we come to understand the unconscious compulsions that are at work in creating the anxiety-driven, stress-amplifying, vital-force-depleting social condition we see so prevalent the world over.
When we release the contracted sense of self, we will automatically have compassion flowing. It will be there without effort, that is the beauty and that is what we can trust. But we must first give it to ourselves. If we are doing this, the contracted sense of self can relax and expand. Giving love and compassion to oneself is a first and foremost requirement on our path.
One of the simplest things we can do to decrease our level of stimulation and increase our sensitivity is to sit comfortably and gently in a quiet place and just relax for a few minutes. We may call it meditation, but really it’s just a simple, natural thing that makes a lot of sense.
Sit, lie or stand just like that, for a moment. Two or three breaths. Now imagine, and it doesn’t matter if this is a clear image or just a thought, that Mary is present right here, with a big heart that just loves you unconditionally and deeply wants all the best for you.
Just as we experience the fear, love, and humor of the characters in a movie, so do we experience the enlightened mind of the entities that we visualize. When we visualize an enlightened entity, we are able to recognize its enlightened mind because it is our own – it is inherent within us and it is the basis of our consciousness – so when we call upon it, we find it to be there.
Psychologist Vagn Palle Rasch aligns mindfulness and acceptance as preludes for personal change.
“We have to recognize what is present right now, but often it’s difficult to accept, because there may be unhappiness and dissatisfaction related to it.”
The radical notion of allowing ourselves to be nourished by the hunger of desire is a turning towards the desire, rather than our automatic turning away from desire. We turn away from our desire by chasing the object of our desire.
Touch is such an important element in healing and also in our daily life. But how do we touch? One of the most important elements to touch in the right way is our mind, because if our mind is not in the right space, touch can become very different, even hurtful. Let’s look first at touching ourselves because if we do not know how to touch ourselves, then how can we touch others in the right way?
Where there is suffering, either in ourselves or in our world, it is because there has been a lack of attention, love, and understanding. Now, each breath, each look, each thought we direct towards ourselves can be brimming with love, Each step, and every attentive moment can be like a gentle caress.
To sever attachment to home, family, and friends, chödpas moved from valley to valley, village to village, sacred place to sacred place, charnel ground to charnel ground, staying only for brief periods in small tents and under trees before moving on. They would camp in groups, but only as close as the sound of a kangling could reach.
Trust is one of the basic qualities or life skills we need to learn and embody if we want to shift from living a life based on defense mechanisms and survival strategies to an open and authentic way of being and relating. We need trust to open up and surrender to a broader life perspective, to say Yes to moment-to-moment fresh experiencing of life as it is.
When we are lucid during a dream, instead of following along with the content of the dream, we have the opportunity to do a variety of useful and insightful kinds of meditation practice. Doing meditation practice while dreaming is particularly interesting because of how quickly and responsively our mental states are reflected in the content of the lucid dream.
When we say yes, but in fact, we really mean no, when we do things that we really do not want or simply follow what others have done, we are being co-dependent and not patient or generous! A co-dependent attitude may seem positive at first, but actually, it is generating low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
Sympathetic joy holds compassion back from becoming overwhelmed by the sight of suffering. It soothes the painful burning of the compassionate heart and keeps us free from melancholic brooding and from a futile sentimentality that weakens and consumes our strength.
The whole meditation set-up is built on unfounded assumptions, but hey, so is everything else, nothing new there. Here is the difference: In the meditation state you can find out, what is real and not, because you are not occupied with something else.
With a mind completely fixated on hurrying to meet my friend until I was stopped by a relatively loud shout: “Mikk!” Turning around I was a little confused. Where did this come from? Who called me?
Let’s hold hands together, let’s practice together so that for the sake of our children and the earth, we can go back to being real ordinary human beings again. Through our practice, and our connection to each other and to all things, let’s put the humane back into being human.
True practice involves changing thick habits of body, speech and mind. Sounds simple when you say it. It even sounds romantic and heroic: I will transform my thoughts, words and deeds to become enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings. A hardcore dharma practitioner soon realizes that this particular resolve is hard.
As human beings, we are subject to continuous change throughout life. Taoists speak of ten thousand sorrows and ten thousand joys. The joy turns into sorrow. Sorrow turns into joy. There is no exception. Equanimity is a liberating quality that gives us an open, equitable, peaceful and stable heart towards the vicissitudes of life.
A minor influence outside of your psyche, has eaten away slowly your patience and compassion until it has succeeded in boring a hole right through your previously harmonious state of mind. Your weakened mental structural integrity is being eaten by your newly acquired psychologically triggered chemical imbalances. Physical problems arise from the chemical problems. Your stomach may hurt, your head may ache, and your happiness is in pain.
The starting point is that I want to be better at being myself, the more free and easy me. Freedom is possible, but what happens down the line may be something else entirely and therefore we need to go about it the right way.