“The Buddha taught that the mind is wild and the human experience is full of unpredictability and paradox, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. But through good meditation techniques, a simple attitude, and unconditional friendliness toward ourselves, we can work toward taming the one thing that causes our suffering: the mind.”
Abhyasa: continuous endeavor; constant practice; repetition; exercise; exertion (from A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy; Sanskrit Terms Defined in English)
“And so I practice without knowing how it will all turn out. Clearly, along with clarity and faith, my commitment requires some will and effort. As Patanjali says in verse 14, establishing a firm foundation in practice requires sustained exertion over time. Commitment to practicing means I practice if it is easy for me, and I practice if it is hard for me. If I am bored, I practice; if I am enthusiastic, I practice; if I am at home, I practice; if I am on vacation, I practice. There is a saying in Buddhism: If it is hot, be a hot Buddha. If it is cold, be a cold Buddha. This is the consistency and determination in practice that Patanjali means when he speaks of abhyasa. In the beginning, this sustained exertion may be an act of will, an act of ego. But as we continue, the practice itself creates a momentum that propels us through the difficult moments of fear and boredom.”
-From Yoga Journal article, Hot Buddha Cold Buddha by Judith Hanson Lasater
Even ordinary people like us with hang-ups and confusion have this mind of enlightenment called bodhichitta. An analogy for bodhichitta is the rawness of a broken heart. This is our link with all those who have ever loved. This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we are arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference. This continual ache of the heart broken open is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.
Being able to stop and be aware of the present moment is part of the definition of happiness. It is not possible to be happy in the future. This is not a matter of belief; this is a matter of experience.
On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.
That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.
This weekend while paddle boarding with my mother and her sweetheart on Fish River in Lower Alabama, dolphins appeared and swam beside us. It was an extraordinary blessing and reminder that all sentient beings are essentially bonded to and by
Nature, Spirit, and Love.
In their honor I did a variation of dolphin pose on my board.
Every object and being in the universe is a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty, a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth more shining, as though covered in satin…
You knock at the door of reality, shake your thought-wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.
-from The Gift of Water by Rumi
The Yogi conquers the body by the practice of asanas (postures) and makes it a fit vehicle for the spirit. (S)He knows that it is a necessary vehicle for the spirit. A soul without a body is like a bird deprived of its power to fly.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Work. Keep digging your well. Don’t think about getting off from work. Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there.
-from The Sunrise Ruby by Rumi
Being able to lighten up is the key to feeling at home with your body, mind, and emotions, to feeling worthy to live on this planet.… This earnestness, this seriousness about everything in our lives – this goal-oriented we-are-going-to-do-it-or-else attitude, is the world’s greatest killjoy… When your aspiration is to lighten up, you begin to have a sense of humor. Your serious state of mind keeps getting popped. In addition to a sense of humor, a basic support for a joyful mind is curiosity, paying attention, taking an interest in the world around you.… Curiosity encourages cheering up. So does simply remembering to do something different… Anything out of the ordinary will help. You can go to the window and look at the sky, you can splash cold water on your face, you can sing in the shower, you can go jogging – anything that’s against your usual pattern. That’s how things start to lighten up.
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron