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Posts Tagged ‘love’

fundainzunantei

I was raised with the ideal to be no Respecter of Persons. That is, don’t put somebody to be higher or lower than anybody else, but to treat all human beings as equally valuable.

Zen has that ideal, too:

Keichu was a great Zen teacher. He was the head of a cathedral in Kyoto, called Tofuku.

The first time the Governor went to visit him, he gave his calling card with Keichu’s attendant and asked to be announced. Keichu took one look at the words “Kitagaki, Governor of Kyoto”, and handed the card back to the attendant. “I have no business with anybody like that, tell him to leave.”

After the attendant returned with the message, the Governor apologized for his error. He scratched out his title from the card, and asked the attendant to try again.

On receiving the card again, Keichu brightened. “Ah, that Kitagaki! Yes, I’d like to see him, bring him in!”

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I wanted to break my latest hiatus by letting you know I’ve been thinking of you. I know I haven’t reached that many people with my words in the grand scheme of things. That said, I do believe that those whom I have touched have in turn touched the lives of others, just as I continue to share the gifts of insight and love that others have given me. We are sharing the human experience, and we can’t stop our influence from spreading beyond our reach.

It is my sincerest goal that my life bring more love, more peace, and more joy to the lives of those around me than I would have thought possible. And that, through enjoying those blessings we share, those lives then shine their light forward to illuminate the dark spaces of others. In this way, the light and love that I have received with may continue that work throughout our world.

Please, take a moment to remember something that is special to you, that warms your heart. Remember a thought, an experience, a talent or a dream that helps you feel your spark inside. Take three deep, slow breaths, savoring this moment of precious peace. Feel the sacred beauty of nature, and of the human heart, savoring that precious unity-point where the outside world touches your skin. Remember we are one people, sharing one planet, and enjoy a moment of gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Take another moment, please, to experience the positive, warm peace that dwells within the stillness. Form a memory of what that feels like. And from now on, whenever possible, call up that moment of peace to your conscious attention, to help you through a hectic time, or even to periodically brighten your day.

As you practice this, you can’t help but create a positive influence for the world you inhabit. May that warm embrace of the joyful stillness come easier and easier for you, until it shapes your every day.

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I live in an odd culture. Americans are encouraged to prize individuality on a broad scale, with our celebrities and our icons. Yet we are also individually discouraged from lifting ourselves up, as we are accused of being arrogant, and there are many who will try to knock or pull us down.

We are taught that each life has meaning, but are then encouraged to act in ways that disregards that precious value in each living being. We say that all people are unique, but then are ridiculed if we stress that each individual is special in a way that is separate from being “more than” or “better than” another person.

Men and women experience these pressures differently, but we each are subject to this push-pull of “try harder” and “don’t try so hard.” None of this seems designed to help us discover who that unique being is inside of us. Few examples help us see that it’s not only possible to meet and make friends with this contradictory, mysterious inner chorus of thoughts and feelings inside us… it’s the only way to connect with the truest friend we can ever have.

American culture is very off-balance because we are continually distracted from finding our center. For whatever reason, the pushing and pulling and chaos and stress is a constant force, keeping our eyes and ears focused on the outside, rather than inward. Yet just as on a centrifuge you must pull your arms and legs close to your body to keep still along the wall, in this spiral of life we must pull our thoughts and feelings close to our selves to find stillness.

Once we have found our center, we can enjoy that sense of perspective that helps us truly see one another, as ourselves. Once we connect with that stillness, we have an easier time recognizing that same spark in others, valuing their core as much as we value our own. We aren’t in competition to find that precious gift of peace, as we’ve discovered that peace can only be created from within.

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To quote Amy Howe’s piece, “In historic decision, Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage.”  As someone who has a deep respect and gratitude for all the ways love is expressed in this world, this means a lot to me.

I remember watching the progress of this struggle a few years ago, when cautious voices were asking people to slow down on this issue, and not push the matter too quickly. I understood their fear, that the wrong case would go before the wrong court, and there would be a heavy blow dealt to equality just because people tried to move too fast.

So I don’t mean to say that those who are cautious are cowardly. However, those who stand up in the face of opposition from within and without, driven forward by the pounding in their heart — they most certainly are courageous. I recognized the dangers, as it’s pretty evident what happens to people who buck against long-held “traditions”. But I felt the courageous way was the only way forward.

I sincerely believe that love is the powerful force we need to resolve the obstacles that remain before us. But love alone won’t effect those solutions; we each must do our part to speak and act with love in all the ways we feel moved to do so. It takes courage. It takes patience. It takes kindness for others and with ourselves. But as much as we need love, love needs us to flow through this beautiful world of ours.

Please, keep an ear toward the beating of your own heart, and allow it to guide you along the path it needs to travel with you. It will guide you true, and together you will make your corner of our planet a brighter place to be.

Note: The title of this post is taken from Galifesto. It’s currently available for pre-order; contact me if interested in a review copy.

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I wish that your life will feel greater, more complete, because of the day you’ve had today.

I wish that you will feel closer to your goals, if only by moments, and if only by understanding more of what it will take to keep moving toward them.

I wish that you will have a full minute of presence, with several full breaths of air you’re grateful to have the chance to breathe.

I wish you to know peace — if not completely, then just enough to remember what it’s like to pause within the moment.

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We can’t deeply experience hard pride or shame without believing people are more or less worthy based on our behavior, our beliefs, or even just how we were born. To allow ourselves to feel superior or inferior, we must first embrace the idea we are separated from one another by our fortunes or failures. This idea is harder to hold onto each time we feel that spark of true connection from one heart to another. Each moment of pure acceptance of the divine beauty inherent in the human soul.

It is important for us to do our best to live up to our ideals for ourselves, and maintain a self-awareness that helps us recognize and remedy where we’re slipping. It is equally important that we practice patience and lovingkindness along the way, recognizing that who we are — our innate human worth — is eternally true regardless of what we do or say. We are not our successes. We are not our failures. The types of Pride and Shame that try to mark and set us apart based on such things are hamartia, missing the mark.

We are each human beings, learning to do the best we can with what we carry inside us. The ideas, experiences and opportunities that come to us shift from moment to moment, and we can’t reach out to them if we’re holding onto our judgments of what we thought we had just a moment before.

This applies both to judgments of others, and of ourselves. Love one another, as we love ourselves. That’s the path of wisdom, and the way ahead toward our truest selves.

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So, there was that break I took.  I suppose I invited it by starting to really focus on enjoying a positive association with everything.  That is how it tends to work: set yourself onto a path, and it likes to raise itself up to help you really learn how to walk it.

There has been a number of things that have carried with them their own positive association.  Many of these were easier to enjoy positively because I had decided to find that open connection and foster it.  I’m also now in a much better place than I was two weeks ago.

It was quite a chaotic path I took, however.  So much had to be brought up for examination and worked through that I just didn’t have the words to come over and share.  It was a very internal process, and it took all I had to process it all and still be there for the people here in my life.

Accepting that was part of my process, too.  I knew I wasn’t coming here and posting little thoughts, and I had to accept that despite my resolution this year, it simply wasn’t time.  Trying to make it “time” just because I felt obligated would have cost me for no practical purpose.

As someone recently told me, I need to learn when to be “selfish” in order to secure what I need.  Well, I’ve been told that a number of times, but it’s a lesson I’m finally learning.

May this next fortnight bring me lessons on how to enjoy a smooth and rewarding ride, in a way that supports what I need without frivolously costing anyone.

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