Awakening - Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

Discussion in 'Your Religion & Spiritual Center' started by CarolineJ., Jan 1, 2011.

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  1. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 21 - Revealing Who We Are

    ~No bird can fly without opening its wings, and no one can love without exposing their heart.~

    It is perhaps the oldest of inner laws, as inescapable as gravity. There is no chance of lifting into any space larger than yourself without revealing the parts you hold closest to your chest.

    Any time you hesitate revealing who you are, picture yourself as a bird perched on a rood, wings tucked at your sides. To enter a relationship without opening your heart is to jump off that roof without spreading your wings.

    It's true that baby birds hesitiate the first time out of the nest, but once tasting the air, it is in their nature to open and rise, and close and land. This is their life. It is ours too.

    The paradox. of course, is that we must trust that the power to lift and land, for us, is in revealing what we hide. Once revealed, these tender things become our wings.
  2. June-

    June- New Member

    Nice one.
  3. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 22 - Ubuntu

    ~Ubuntu - I am because you are, you are because I am....~ - A Deep African Way of Being

    In the winter, I met a man in South Africa. After several days together, I asked him about Ubuntu. He said, "It is a deep African custom." He did not explain, but rather repeated its meaning, more slowly and with deeper reverence, "It means... I am because you are; you are because I am ... Ubuntu."

    It is something I have always believed in, that in the ignited space of our deepest suffering, in the release of our deepest fears, in the familiar peace of our deepest joys, we are each other. I felt it in the cancer rooms, in the eyes of burdened mothers sitting across from me, none of us wanting the dark things growing inside... Ubuntu.

    I have been finding it in every path, in every way ... in Martin Buber's sense of I-Thou, where only in keeping what-is-between-us real can God appear ... in the gift of Jesus, where two or more of you come together, there I am ... in the one compassion of Buddha ... in the numinous love that ancient stones emanate if we are still enough to bow to them. Ubuntu ... I am because you are, even in how we live off the breath of plants; you are because I am, even in how plants live off our exhalations.

    I remember - years after Robert helped me survive cancer, after Ihelped him survive alcohol - I remember the two of us in a small park eating sandwiches with numb fingers, like little damaged birds, and Robert raised his head suddenly and said, "I have had cancer," and I took his hand and offered in return, "And I have been an alcoholic." Ubuntu ... how we need each other to be complete.
  4. goofygirl

    goofygirl WDE!!!

  5. June-

    June- New Member

    I get the metaphor, but truthfully, you gotta have some fat or air to float. :D
  6. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    In my case that's not a problem... plenty of flotation. :D :D

    I really liked the metaphor though... food for thought.
  7. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 23 - Coming to Terms

    ~We are the stage and all the players.~

    One of the great contributions of psychology has been to help us understand how we replay our hurts and affections with people other than those who have hurt or touched us. There are many names for this, the more well-known being "projection" and "transference." In essence, we play what has been said or done, or what hasn't been said or done, over and over, until we come to terms with it. The coming to terms is called healing, surrender, letting go, or even forgiveness.

    Being yelled at and then later kicking the dog is the stereotype of this. Yet more often, we replay the styles of clumsy love we experience. For example, while growing up, I endured the cold dismissal of my truest feelings. When I would show my hurt, I was seen as trying to weaken my parents' resolve. They then turned their backs on me, as if by showing my pain, I was trying to trick them.

    Having experienced this, I am especially sensitive to the pains of those close to me, yet there are times when I catch myself holding firm, just out of reach, replaying my parents' role as well as my own. This is humbling and upsetting, to say the least.

    But just as germs must run their course, all the players in our dramas must be voiced before they will leave us be. Just as we keep trying to get what we never got from someone else who doesn't know our game, we also keep the trespass alive by reenacting it on others nearby until we can humbly know what it is to be hurtful - the first step toward forgiveness.

    I have seen myself doing what was done to me, never as cruel or as harsh. But it has been enough to make me tremble at how easy it is to be cruel when afraid, and how difficult it is to accept that we are all capable of terrible things, and how cleansing it is to realize that true kindness breathes just beneath this acceptance.
  8. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 24 - Out from Under

    ~All the darkness!! I'm going to walk into the light!" - Job

    Sometimes there's just too much to consider, too much to understand and analyze, too many consequences to play out in our mind, too many thing to clean, unpack, or repair before we can go out and play.

    Sometimes the simplest and best use of our will is to drop it all and just walk out from under everything that is covering us, even if only for an hour or so - just walk out from under the webs we've spun, the tasks we've assumed, the problems we have to solve. They'll be there when we get back, and maybe some of them will fall apart without our worry to hold them up.

    Wouldn't that be nice?
  9. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 25 - Cracks of Light

    ~The human soul is to God is as the flower to the sun; it opens at its approach, and shuts when it withdraws.~ - Benjamin Whichcote

    God, like the sun, emanates on all: on the hill exposed in the open, on the plant growing in the window, even on the weed getting cracks of light under the porch. The same source of spirit emanates on our different lives, regardless of our circumstance. Thus our experience and perception of God in the world may be limited and different, may even change, but that doesn't define or limit the Source.

    And though the sun appears to disappear every day, it is the Earth that turns away, causing night. Likewise, when it appears that God is nowhere to be found, it is we, in the turmoil of our lives, who turn away or are turned away and back, again and again.

    But unlike weeds that grow under the porch, we can move back into the light.
  10. June-

    June- New Member

    I like these. Except for the weed part. The man is no botanist. :D
  11. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    :D :D - I gotta get cracking and get these caught up. :-\
  12. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 26 - House of Clay

    ~The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with.~ - Ane Pema Chodron

    There was a clay house near Puhaditjhaba in Qwa Qwa, South Africa. The roof was flat, made of loose sheets of corrugated iron, held in place by a taut length of wire that ran across the entire roof. Each end of the snug wire was tied to a huge bag of sand, and both hung heavily on opposite sides of the house. It appeared as if the bags of sand were a saddle of heaviness that kept the roof from flying away.

    At first, I thought, no nails or screws, how precarious. But for some reason, the scene stayed with me, until I realized that the people who lived there could open their home to the sky when things turned glorious. Now this simple clay house seemed an image of adaptability and balance: a way to make it through the storms and a way to open to the heavens. Now the heavy bags of sand were an honest and removable grounding.

    It makes me wonder, how much do I nail down prematurely? How much of my pain comes from ripping up what I've overfastened on days I need to see the sky?
  13. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 27 - Allowing Pain In

    ~I am becoming water: I let everything rinse its grief in me and reflect as much light as I can.~

    Another paradox I continually struggle with is how to let others in without becoming them. How to open the door of compassion without the things and people we feel for overpowering us.

    It goes as far back as Jesus and Buddha, and the miracle of such spirits is that they show us that there is some basic clear element in each of us, like water, which can glow without a name, which can allow the pain and grief of others in without turning us into just pain and grief.

    Many traditions speak to this. We call is love when we do this for another and compassion when we hold this intention for all living things. The Tibetan Buddhist tradition has a meditation pactice called tong-len that asks us to breathe in the suffering of the world, to hold it in that unbreakable place of compassion, and to then breathe back light.

    The beauty of such a practice is that it assumes and affirms that there is something timeless and indestructible within each of us that can heal us and the world if we can just open ourselves to it.
  14. carolyn33

    carolyn33 New Member

    ummm next please? I'm needing something good!!!
  15. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 28 - Grace Comes to the Wave

    ~Enlightenment for a wave is the moment the wave realizes that it is water. At that moment, all fear of death disappears.~ - Thich Nhat Hanh

    Much like the life of ordinarry waves, we as human beings are gathered in our passion out of a larger home, that sea of infinite spirit, and propelled from an unfathomable depth, we mount and curl and crest and spray, only to subside back into that from which we come.

    Profoundly, grace comes to the wave when it realizes what it is made of. Since it has risen from the very same water into which it will crash, its fear of ending is somehow lessened. For it is already a part of where it is going. Can it be that you and I, like simple waves, experience such an enlightenment the instant we realize that we are all made of the same water? Can truly knowing this, the way that waves know wind, lessen our fear of death?

    I think I experienced something like this while healing from my rib surgery. I was broken of all difference, dashed of all the ways I could distinguish myself from others. In this tired and dizzied state, I could see that we are all made of the same stuff and that life before me and after me is probably no different than the lights and shadows flickering off my cells right now. Like the wave, aware that it is water, I realized briefly that my skin is a very thin boundary and that wherever I am going is the same as where I am. As a human being now aware of this larger sea of spirit, my fear of death has lessened, though, even as I write this, I don't want to die.

    I think now that the other way to read all this is to say that enlightenment is the moment we realize that we are made of love. At that moment, all fear of living disappears. For grace comes to the heart when it realizes what it is made of and what it has risen from. In that moment, grace comforts us, that no matter the joy or pain along the way, we are already a part of where we are going. Enlightenment for a heart on Earth is the moment we accept that it is the loving that makes waves of us all, again and again and again.
  16. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    That one really reminds me of when in a severe attack. For me it feels like I am going to die and even though I don't want to die I just give up fighting and roll with it making the journey through the attack a little less scary.
  17. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 29 - Live Humble as a Dog

    ~Live humble as a dog and the world will come alive in your mouth.~

    The day I brought my golden retriever home as a pup, I had no idea that she would become my teacher. She was seven weeks old and slept in my shirt the whole way home. I could feel her small rhythmic exhalation like a tiny animal wind warming my heart. Day by day, I came to understand her sheer, complete, and constant presence. I never knew anything to be so thoroughly involved in the moment at hand, so innocently devoted to whatever was before her. If she was rolling in grass, the world was the grass and the feel of the roll. If she was circling the rug to lie down, life was solely the want to curl and sigh. I came to envy my puppy's ability to be completely wherever she was.

    I also came to understand how she knew the world through touch, primarily through her mouth. Without the hesitation that plagues humans, she stuck her snout in everything, and this immediate knowledge of things gave her joy.

    This little dog, incapable of words, taught me that there is an inexpressible feeling of foundation that comes from staying directly connected to the earth, a humility that comes from directly touching whatever we are experiencing. This direct connection helps bring things alive; it is refreshing. In this way, the energy of the world floods through whatever moment we dare to enter fully.
  18. carolyn33

    carolyn33 New Member

    Thank you....
  19. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    July 30 - When the Path Is Blocked

    ~When the path is blocked, back up and see more of the way.~

    We are each a mountain for the other to climb, and often our path to love is interrupted by a mishap or a problem or something unexpected that needs attending. We tend to call these unexpected things in life "obstacles."

    Often the thing in the way comes from another person: a stubbornness falls like a tree blocking where we want to go, or a sadness comes like a flash flood to muddy the road between us, or just as we go to rest in the clearing we have prepared, we are bitten by something hiding in the undergrowth. Thus, in daily ways, we have this constant choice: to see each other as the stubborn, muddy, biting thing that blocks our way, or to back up and take in the whole person as we would a mountain in its entirety, dizzy when looking up into her majesty.

    When we are blocked in our closeness with another, we have this constant opportunity: to raise our eyes and behold each other completely, then to kneel and lift the fallen tree, or cross the flooded path, or pluck and toss the biting thing. We have the chance to keep climbing, so we might cup the water that runs from each other, so we might quench our thirst as from a mountain stream, knowing that love like water comes softly through the hardest places.
  20. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    How beautiful is the above passage. ^^

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