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
“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
“It is not within anyone’s power to save the whole world, but it is within your power to add whatever you can, with a loving and caring and peaceful heart. You can attend the portion of the world that you touch, you can add a bit of beauty and understanding to the world, you can become the one calm person standing in the boat in a great storm… And by doing so with peace and equanimity, you can show others that it is possible for them to do so as well. When you do, you will join with the forces of peace in the complex unfolding of life. And in that moment you will feel yourself to be one with the vastness from which you and all beings were born, returning to the silence that surrounds you in every moment of your life.”
-from A Lamp InThe Darkness: Illuminating The Path Through Difficult Times by Jack Kornfield
“As the pace of our lives continues to be accelerated by a host of forces seemingly beyond our control, more and more of us are finding ourselves drawn to engage in meditation, in this radical act of being, this radical act of love, astonishing as that may seem given the materialistic “can do” speed-obsessed, progress-obsessed, celebrity-and-other-peoples-lives obsessed orientation of our culture. We are moving in the direction of meditative awareness for many reasons, not the least of which may be “to maintain our sanity, or recover our perspective and sense of meaning, or simply to deal with the outrageous stress and insecurity of this age. By stopping and intentionally falling awake to how things are in this moment, purposefully, without succumbing to reaction or judgment and by working wisely with such occurrences, with a healthy dose of self-compassion when we do succumb, and by our willingness to take up residency for a time in the present moment in spite of all our plans and activities aimed at getting somewhere else, completing a project or pursuing desired objects or goals, we discover that such an act is both immensely, discouragingly, difficult and yet utterly simple, profound, hugely possible after all, and restorative of mind and body, soul and spirit.”
“To integrate meditation in action is the whole ground and point and purpose of meditation. The violence and stress, the challenges and distractions of modern life make this integration even more urgently necessary.”
-from ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’ by Sogyal Rinpoche
“The way we start producing the medicine of mindfulness is by stopping and taking a conscious breath, giving our complete attention to our in-breath and our out-breath. When we stop and take a breath in this way, we unite body and mind and come back home to ourselves. We feel our bodies more fully. We are truly alive only when the mind is with the body. The great news is that oneness of body and mind can be realized just by one in-breath.”