Friday, December 16, 2011

Compassion and Warmheartedness

The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warmheartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection to others, and sense of purpose and meaning in life.
--The Dalai Lama

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So much of life in its meshes!
She called in her soul to come and see.

--Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

To Do Nothing is Failure

To do nothing is failure. To try, and in the trying you make some mistakes and then you make some positive changes as a result of those mistakes, is to learn and to grow and to blossom.
  —Darlene Larson Jenks

Life is a process, one that is continuously changing. And with each change, we are offered unexpected opportunities for growth. Change is what fosters our development. It encourages us to risk new behavior and may even result in some mistakes. Fortunately, no mistakes can seriously hinder us. In fact, most mistakes give us an additional opportunity to learn.

Where we stand today is far removed from our position last year, or even last week. Each and every moment offers us new input that influences any decision from this moment forward. The process that we're participating in guarantees our growth as long as we remain conscious of our opportunities and willingly respond to them. We can be glad that the life process is, in fact, never static. always moving, always inviting us to participate fully.

I will have the courage to make a mistake today. It's a promise of growth.

{Text from Each Day a New Beginning | Image from Rainbow Sky}

Faith is the Thread

Faith is the seamstress
who mends our torn belief
who sews the hem of childhood trust
and clips the threads of grief.
  —Joan Walsh Anglund

A seamstress takes large pieces of material and cuts them to size. Then, with the help of needle and thread and buttons, she goes to work to create a finished piece. Sometimes, in the beginning, it is hard to imagine a finished product. But the seamstress believes it is possible and goes to work on it.

Faith is like a seamstress. Faith is what can pull all the unfinished pieces of life into some sort of order. Faith is what lets us know we are all right even when life doesn't seem to make sense. We all need the faith to believe our skills and dreams, and even our heartaches can be sewn into a shape that is beautiful and useful.

Our faith is the seamstress who guides the needle, mends the tears, and helps create a shape and meaning to our lives.

{Words from Today's Gift | Image from Happily Ever After Starts Here}

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Five Noble Precepts of Buddhism (or How to Be Good)

I have been meditating and studying Zen Master Tich Naht Hanh and his Buddhist practice for awhile now--a combination of  Zen meets Tibet meets the West. I want a record and a reminder of these five Noble Precepts and aspire toward this perfection. Especially in these hard times and this starry season when souls are weary and the winter wind blows cold through the tree. (Become Aware. Vow. Determine. Know. Understand.)

The Five Noble Precepts of Buddhism from Tich Naht Hanh

The First Precept
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.

The Second Precept
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal or possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

The Third Precept

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, family and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.

The Fourth Precept
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be true and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

The Fifth Precept
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest food or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, or conversations. I am aware that to damage my my body or my my consciousness with these poisons is to  betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.

May you find refuge in the Buddha. May the Buddha find refuge in you.


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