suffering

Why Meditate?

Why Meditate?

"Why meditate? As you suffer less, are more fulfilled, as you understand who you are, and as you have a handle on changing how you carry yourself, all of that sums up ultimately in how you contribute to making this world a better place." 

~ Shinzen Young

Things We Are Saying To Ourselves

Things We Are Saying To Ourselves

"An inner voice always used to be an outer voice. We absorb the tone of others. A harassed or angry parent. The menacing threats of an elder sibling keen to put us down. The words of a schoolyard bully or teacher who seemed impossible to please. We internalize the unhelpful voices, because at certain key moments in the past, they sounded compelling. The authority figures repeated their messages over and over until they got lodge in our own way of thinking." 

~ The School of Life

Watching the Clock

Watching the Clock

"As conscious human beings, we know we die, and we therefore know our clock ends on, some level. So time just seems foundational. And I think a lot of the gymnastics that we do as human beings has to do with our relationship to the clock, or lack of a relationship to the clock. We squander time until it’s too late, et cetera. I love looking at the building blocks, the raw material, the irreducibles."

~ B.J. Miller

Feel Your Feelings for a Few Seconds

Feel Your Feelings for a Few Seconds

Thinking your way through unpleasant emotions takes time while a single repetition of any mindfulness exercise only takes a few seconds. The skills of attention strengthened by mindfulness practice enhance both the resolving of unpleasant emotions and the acceptance of them.  

180°

180°

"When you feel the sting of separation inside, simply turn inwardly and intuitively around one hundred and eighty degrees and there will be your innocence, your beauty, your completeness. It may seem impossible, but give it a try until you reconnect with what in truth you never lost."

~ Adyashanti

If You Embrace It, It Will Teach You

If You Embrace It, It Will Teach You

"Healing comes in many guises. We're healed by just the touch of a friend. We're healed by the hug of a child. And healing does not imply that your life is suddenly going to lose all of the struggle, all of the challenge. What it does instead is it strengthens us for what is next. But to be open to healing means to be vulnerable. And I think if you look at me, you know I'm what they would call a vulnerable adult. The cat doesn't even listen to me here. I have no real sense of control anymore."

~ Bruce Kramer

Tired of Yourself

Tired of Yourself

"A lot of the poetic discipline boils down to getting tired of yourself, and I really believe that. When you get tired of yourself, then you change." 

~ David Whyte

The Only Calibration that Counts

The Only Calibration that Counts

"That's the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they're suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That's why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember."

~ Ted Hughes

This Primal Commitment

This Primal Commitment

What happens when, just for a moment, we stay with our pain, our fear, our doubt, our discomfort, our grief, our broken heart, even our numbness, without trying to change it, or fix it, or numb ourselves to it, or get rid of it in any way? What happens when, even when we feel like leaving, abandoning the moment for the promise of a future salvation, we stay, sitting with the raw, unfiltered, boundlessly alive life-energy that is simply trying to express right now?

~ Jeff Foster

The Myth of Permanence

The Myth of Permanence

"Contemplating impermanence can be a liberating experience, one that brings both sobriety and joy."

~ Sakyong Mipham

A Vital Part of Aliveness

A Vital Part of Aliveness

"One of the beautiful things about the early twilight at this time of year, as it fades into the dark of the long nights, is that you can just surrender yourself to it. Allow the twilight to remind you that it is a time of consideration and renewal. Know full well that in this world the darkness and the light are one. There is no new dawn without the night; their seeming separateness disguises a unity that reflects the unity of life, an unfathomable dance of opposites. This paradox is the very essence of what it is to be alive—joy and pain, sickness and health, light and dark, wonder and fear."

~ Phillip Moffitt

Running in Circles

Mad World
by Gary Jules 

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me, what's my lesson?
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world, mad world, mad world, mad world


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What's Worse?

What's worse, the falling rain, or your resistance to getting wet?
The changing winds, or your battle against them?
The grass as it grows, or your demand for it to grow faster?
This moment, or your rejection of it?
Consider the possibility that Life is never 'against' you.
You are Life.

~ Jeff Foster

Rain Room at the Barbican, 2012 from rAndom International on Vimeo.

 

 

Bombarded

Excerpt from "Joan Halifax on Compassion's Edge States and Caring Better," On Being, Dec. 26, 2013:

TV Screens Wall (Photographer: Athewma/Flickr)We are subjected to distressing images through our mediabombarded. So we enter into a state of moral distress and futility. We see that something else needs to happen. Children need to be protected, we have to stop rape and violence toward women in the Congo, and we feel this profound moral conflict. And yet we can't do anything about it and we enter into a state either of moral outrage or we go into states of avoidance through addictive behaviors where we just, you know, don't want to deal with it or we just go into another state of withdrawal, a kind of numbness or freeze. I think a good part of the globe is going numb. 

I think what we're seeing is not actually compassion fatigue, but empathic distress where there's a resonance, but we're not able to stabilize ourselves when we're exposed to this kind of suffering. When we are more stabilized then we can face the world with more buoyancy, we have more resilience. You know, we've got more capacity to actually address these very profound social and environmental issues. So that's why I call these things edge states because they really call us to our edge... A near enemy to compassion is sorrow and that's that sorrow, that's me getting wrecked by the picture of the child in the newspaper so that I can't actually help them.

The theme of compassion has been important in Western culture and it certainly is important in Eastern culture, but it's a kind of fuzzy word. Antoine Lutz and Richie Davidson and others have been finding that certain areas of the brain light up when people are in states of compassion, and that they feel amore acutely the experience of another's suffering, but also they let go of it much more quickly.

From The Emotion MachineOne of the features that the neuroscientists have discovered is an area of the brain that's associated with the capacity to actually distinguish self from other. In other words, if there's such great resonance when you're in the presence of suffering with the other, you go into empathic or over-arousal. If I'm sitting with a prisoner on death row or I'm sitting with a person suffering from intractable pain, I can feel this resonance. I can sense into their suffering, but I also have simultaneously this insightit's that person suffering and this is me. I'm not experiencing it in reality. It's true, but it's not...

From my point of view, the experience of grief is profoundly humanizing and we need to create conditions where we are supported to grieve and where we're not told, "Why don't you just get over it?" "Or, "It's time" or such as that. We in our lives experience one loss after another, and it can be loss of a breast, loss of a loved one, a child going into adulthood, which is a way of loss for many parents, loss of identity, loss of capacity.

My own experience of aging is that there are capacities I had ten years ago that I no longer have, and I have to reflect upon those losses. And, of course, the loss that all of us will face in anticipation of death. It is something that brings great depth and meaning into our lives and also helps us to articulate internally our priorities. What is really important for us? So for me as a human being and not identified as a Buddhist or a woman or a Western person, but as a simple human being, I value the experience of grief. 

Listen to the produced or unedited conversation...


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Standing Strong Together

"The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one...We can't really expect to find an answer when we're still afraid of the question....The only way we're going to beat a problem that people are battling alone is by standing strong together."

~ Kevin Breel, from "Confessions of a Depressed Comic," TEDxKids@Ambleside 

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