Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting – whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us.
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron
You come home to yourself so that you can enjoy the here and now in every moment.
All the wonders of life are already here. They’re calling you. If you can listen to them you will be able to stop running. What you need, what we all need, is silence. Stop the noise in your mind in order for the wondrous sounds of life to be heard. Then you can begin to live your life authentically and deeply.
Tibetan Prayer Wheel, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, March 2012. Photo: MBuffett
Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening … are called warriors – not warriors who kill but warriors of nonaggression … They are willing to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception. A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.
Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior… Our tools are sitting meditation, tonglen, slogan practice, and cultivating limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
The training offers no promise of happy endings. Rather this “I” who wants to find security – who wants something to hold onto – will finally learn to grow up. If we find ourselves in doubt that we are up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty By Pema Chodron
“Today, the values of democracy, open society, respect for human rights, and equality are becoming recognized all over the world as universal values. To my mind there is an intimate connection between democratic values and the fundamental values of human goodness. Where there is democracy there is a greater possibility for the citizens of the country to express their basic human qualities, and where these basic human qualities prevail, there is also a greater scope for strengthening democracy. Most importantly, democracy is also the most effective basis for ensuring world peace.”
-from the essay “Human Rights, Democracy and Freedom” by Tenzin Gyatso, H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama
“When you can appreciate your life as part of this unfolding mystery of the immense forces that formed the entire universe, you can more easily accept the hardships that you face. They are part of the unfolding of life. Many difficulties you’ve face include endings, but none of them so far has been the end of your story. Without knowing the whole story, it is impossible to draw definite conclusions about our difficulties. We are still in the middle of them and don’t know how it will all turn out… To accept this basic uncertainty in life is to discover the wisdom of insecurity. When we realize that things are fundamentally uncertain and learn how to relax into this…we come to trust in the unfolding of our individual lives within the vastness of all time and space. As Zen Master Suzuki Roshi says, “When you realize the truth that everything changes and find your composure in it you find yourself in Nirvana.””
- From A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times by Jack Kornfield
“With equanimity comes an awareness of the limits of our illusions of control. We can love and care for others, we can assist them, we can pray for them, but we cannot control what will happen. Nor can we control the actions or feelings of our children, our lovers, our friends, or our family. Equanimity shows us a wiser way to relate to the people in our lives, which is to love them unconditionally. And acting from this feeling of unconditional love, we can experience deep feelings of care and concern for them but know that their happiness and suffering depend on their actions and not our wishes for them.”
From A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times by Jack Kornfeld