Awakening Is A Choice

Chonor House, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, March 2012. Photo: MBuffett
Chonor House, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, March 2012. Photo: MBuffett

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 

Quiet … Food For The Soul

Sitting. Reading. New Orleans, July 2015. Photo: MBuffett

If you can take just a few minutes for yourself to calm your body, your feelings, and your perceptions … Joy becomes possible. The joy of true quiet becomes a daily healing food.

-from Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh

silence is hOMe

Beach Sitting. Fairhope AL, January 2013. Photo: MBuffett

The practice of mindfulness is very simple. 

You stop, you breathe, and you still your mind. 

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.

-from Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh

Warrior Status. Time To Grow Up.

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 

Once In A While You Get Shown The Light In The Strangest Of Places

City Winery, Chicago, July 4, 2015. Photo: MBuffett

I ain’t always right but I’ve never been wrong

Seldom turns out the way it does in a song

Once in a while you get shown the light

In the strangest of places if you look at it right

There ain’t nothing wrong with the way she moves

Or Scarlet begonias

Or a touch of the blues

And there’s nothing wrong with the look that’s in her eyes

I had to learn the hard way to let her pass by, let her pass by

The wind in the willows play, ‘Tea for two”

The sky was yellow and the sun was blue

Strangers stopping, strangers just to shake their hand

Everybody’s playing in the heart of gold band, heart of gold band

-from Scarlet Begonias by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia

Democracy and Human Goodness, An Intimate Connection

Fabric Scraps Stitched and Photographed by MBuffett

“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

Life’s Difficulties, The Wisdom Of Insecurity, And Nirvana

‘TO BE CONTINUED’, New Orleans, February 2015, Photo: MBuffett

“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

Equanimity, Control, And Unconditional Love

‘TO THE VAST’ Perdido Pass FL, June 2015, Photo: MBuffett

“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