Buddhism, mindfulness and wellbeing

oneday

oneday

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I've been thinking a lot lately about how we treat ourselves, about the self-talk that goes on in our heads (more specifically, how I treat myself, the kind of self-talk that goes on in my head).

With that in mind I'm reading a book on self-compassion called 'Radical Acceptance - Awakening the love that heals the fear and shame within us' by US psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach.

Her website includes many guided meditations, dharma talks etc on audio and video:
http://www.tarabrach.com

This video, for instance, guides us in a five-minute ‘sacred pause’:


Hope to get it together to post something more about the book in the future, but for now here are a couple of quotes from other people that she includes in the book:

All you need is already within you, only you must approach yourself with reverence and love. Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors… I plead with you this: make love of yourself perfect.

Sri Nisaragadatta


My beloved Child,
Break your heart no longer,
Each time you judge yourself you break your own heart,
You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality.
The time has come, your time

To live, to celebrate and to see the goodness that you are...

Let no one, no thing, no idea obstruct you.
If one comes, even in the name of "Truth", forgive it for its unknowing,
Do not fight.
Let go.
And breathe – into the goodness that you are.

Bapuji
 
oneday

oneday

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Also quoted in Tara Brach's booK:

Happiness cannot be found through great effort and will power,
But is already there, in relaxation and letting-go.
Don’t strain yourself, there is nothing to do . . .
Only our search for happiness prevents us from seeing it . . .
Don’t believe in the reality of good and bad experiences;
They are like rainbows.

Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you relax this grasping, space is there
- open, inviting and comfortable.

So, make use of it. All is yours already.
Don’t search any further. . .
Nothing to do
Nothing to force,
Nothing to want,
- and everything happens by itself.

Lama Gendun Rinpoche
 
oneday

oneday

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Glad that meant something. sorry to see you've left us, Ainsworth. Hope you're okay. Hope you come back here as a guest sometime.



This is quoted in the same book ('Radical Acceptance' by Tara Brach) - a poem by David Whyte:

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now.
 
oneday

oneday

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“View all problems as challenges.
Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow.
Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence.
You have a problem? Great.
More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.”

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, ‘Mindfulness in Plain English’
 
oneday

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Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now.


David Whyte
 
oneday

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I've signed up for regular (free) videos and words of wisdom from US meditation teacher (in Tibetan Buddhist tradition) Susan Piver. I loved this that she sent the other day....

"All my life, I have struggled with depression. (Maybe you think that Buddhists aren’t supposed to get depressed, but oh well.) Ever since I was a child, I’ve had to meet and figure out how to work with the heaviness and darkness of depression. Perhaps you can relate.

One thing that makes depression so difficult is that you feel trapped by it. Everything is colored by this dark lens and you feel that you have no options. The world becomes very, very small and dank. It is truly awful.

What to do? Well, of course if you’re clinically depressed you should continue with your medications, therapy and, if you're able, some exercise. Meditation is not necessarily a replacement for those things. OK?

Although sometimes we really need to kick our own asses, is also not always useful to try to talk yourself out of your difficult feelings or attempt to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Of course we should work directly with our situation and attempt to create an inner attitude of positivity, but when we use such skills as a weapon against ourselves or from a sense of self-dissatisfaction, they tend to backfire.

What is helpful is to relax. Although it sounds counter intuitive, when we open to and lean into our experience, a kind of shift seems to take place on its own. First, simply acknowledging what we feel is relaxing in itself. You are human. It is okay. Second, when you look just below the surface of depression (which seems stiff and impenetrable), what you will find is sadness, which is raw and tender and completely workable.

What is the difference between depression and sadness? Feminist icon Gloria Steinem gave the pith transmission during an interview about the death of her husband. The interviewer asked if she was depressed. “No,” she answered. “I’m sad." The interviewer wondered wondered what the difference was. "When you’re depressed, nothing has any meaning. When you’re sad, everything does.”

In depression, you can hardly feel anything. Your heart is closed. Your emotional range is very narrow. But when you’re sad, everything touches you. You cry so easily. You feel things intensely, and not just your own struggles, but everyone else's. There is no barrier. Your heart is so open.

Though it may feel quite disorienting, this rawness is actually a very important threshold. When we’re open, we can be touched. When we’re touched, we can respond genuinely. When we're genuine, we can love and be loved and our real life can actually begin.

That is how important sadness is.

We live in a world that rejects sadness as an indication of failure or a problem to be got rid of. But when we relax with our own sadness, in a sense, we come home to ourselves. So the next time you begin to feel depressed (or if you're depressed right now), try to investigate what is just underneath your depression. To do so, it helps very much to relax.

Your meditation practice teaches you exactly how to relax in this way. By sitting with your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without trying to hold on or reject but simply to be with them, you cultivate the experience of just being yourself. No more, no less. This turns out to be the most relaxing thing of all.

So as we practice today, please know that in addition to all the other great things your meditation can do for the health of your body and mind, it also teaches you how to be fully and properly and awesomely sad."
 
oneday

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Zen oxherding picture 7: The Bull Transcended


My life may appear melancholy,
But travelling through this world
I have entrusted myself to Heaven.
In my sack, three quarts of rice;
By the hearth, a bundle of firewood.
If someone asks what is the mark of enlightenment or illusion
I cannot say – wealth and honour are nothing but dust.
As the evening rain falls I sit in my hermitage
And stretch out both feet in answer.

Ryōkan

[Ryōkan Taigu (1758–1831) was an eccentric Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, poet and calligrapher, who lived much of his life as a hermit.]
 
oneday

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One story tells how one evening a thief sneaked into Ryōkan's hut at the base of a mountain only to discover there was nothing to steal.

Ryōkan returned and caught him there. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift."

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryōkan sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."
 
oneday

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I've been re-reading a book called 'After The Ecstasy, The Laundry' by Jack Kornfield, a bit a of a favourite meditation teacher of mine (a psychologist and Buddhist teacher from the US). As the tiltle suggests, it's a lot about what we do on the spiritual/psychological path after the 'peak', awakening experiences, of the harder work of living back in our ordinary lives. I'll see if I can find some nice quotes sometime - there are lots.

I jotted down something I was reading yesterday morning where he says something like:

Become content with the changing seasons.
Become the love you have sought


- I liked that.

And he quotes a Zen teacher, Dainnan Katagiri:

"The important part of spiritual practice is not to try and escape your life, but to face it - exactly and completely."
 
oneday

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& clean your toilet as if bathing the baby Buddha, as Thich Nhat Hahn almost said...
 
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Parayana

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You know I've had a tough couple of days - anyway I was catching up on my sleep tonight (had this weirf dream where I was battling an extra-dimensional invasion with the characters from TV "comedy" Benidorm).

Anyway I woke up at around 2.15 with the thought that we're all essentially manifestations of the same force including the animals so why treat anyone any different than you treat yourself. However we're so locked into the prison of ego that we can't see it.

I don't know if that force is the emptiness of Buddhism, the interplay of Shiva and Shakti of the Advaitan's or the manifestation of the Tao of the Taoists, perhaps there all the same thing.

Anyway time for a cuppa and a fag.
 
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I've been re-reading a book called 'After The Ecstasy, The Laundry' by Jack Kornfield, a bit a of a favourite meditation teacher of mine
9780749917937.jpg

Hi Oneday Just reading this post and thought I had to post this ...Lessons Of The Lotus by Bhante Y Wimala, ISBN 9780749917937

I have read it twice and I'm about to read it again.The lotus, Bhante Wimala points out, though rising from mud and murky water, blossoms into a beautiful flower. Through his inspirational writing, Wimala encourages us to follow the example of the lotus by growing through our pain, delusions and fear to discover the pure and brilliant lotus within ourselves.
 
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oneday

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"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am then I can change. "

Carl Rogers
 
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Big G

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I have just finished reading 'The Heart of Happiness' by The Dalai Lama & Howard C Cutler for the second time. This is a very good book. I am going to start reading 'The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom' next. Which I bought many years ago but not read from cover to cover.

best quote wallpapers-motivational quote wallpapers-inspirational quote wallpapers (5).jpg
 
oneday

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"I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wondrous earth. In such moments, existence is a miraculous and mysterious reality.

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Everyday we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognise: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle."

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn, from 'The Miracle of Mindfulness'
 
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