waking up

When I Feel At Home

When I Feel At Home

"When I feel at home (or when someone else truly makes me feel at home), I feel comfortable, supported, safe, and relaxed, like I don’t need anything. At those times, my past ceases to be a neon marquee of regrets, and my future is no longer an unending to-do list, bullet-pointed by unrealistic expectations. Feeling at home is the feeling that I can just be myself."

~ Ethan Nichtern

Feeling It for Yourself

Feeling It for Yourself

"If I could explain what the one biggest shift has been from when I was 17 and suicidal to today and 22 and a lot healthier place, it's just that before I used to try to run away from my pain and tell no one about it, and now I try and run right into it and tell the people closest to me about it."

~ Kevin Breel

Benefits Before Mastery

Benefits Before Mastery

Mindfulness meditation is extraordinarily simple to describe, but it isn't easy to perform. True mastery might require special talent and a lifetime devotion to the task, and yet a genuine transformation in one's perception of the world is within reach for most of us. Practice is the only thing that will lead to success.

~ Sam Harris

The Path Home

The Path Home

"The search may begin with a restless feeling, as if one were being watched. One turns in all directions and sees nothing. Yet one senses that there is a source for this deep restlessness; and the path that leads there is not a path to a strange place, but the path home." ~ Peter Matthiessen

This is What You Have Been Waiting For

The Gate
by Marie Howe, from What the Living Do

I had no idea that the gate I would step through
to finally enter this world
would be the space my brother’s body made. He was
a little taller than me: a young man
but grown, himself by then,
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,
rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.
This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This, sort of looking around.


See also:

  • "The Poetry of Ordinary Time," On Being, April 25, 2013
  • Howe, M. (2008). The kingdom of ordinary time. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. (library)
  • Howe, M. (1998). What the living do: Poems. New York: W.W. Norton. (library)
  • Howe, M. (1988). The good thief. New York: Persea Books. (library)

How One Surrenders to the Emptiness

Buoyancy
by Rumi, version by Coleman Barks from The Essential Rumi

Love has taken away my practices
and filled me with poetry.

I tried to keep quietly repeating,
No strength but yours,
but I couldn’t.

I had to clap and sing.
I used to be respectable and chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That’s how I hold your voice.

I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
and quickly reduced to smoke.

I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence!

The sky is blue. The world is a blind man
squatting on the road.

But whoever sees your emptiness
sees beyond blue and beyond the blind man.

A great soul hides like Muhammad, or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city
where no one knows him.

To praise is to praise
how one surrenders
to the emptiness.

To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where!
Just to be held by the ocean is the best of luck
we could have. It’s a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we’ve been sleeping?
It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been unconscious.

We’re groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the buoyancy.

The Important Thing

 Leonard Mlodinow, from "Randomness and Choice," OnBeing with Krista Tippett, April 30, 2014:

When you look at your life, if you had to sit down and think about, and I'm talking about in detail, not just the headlines, if you think about all the details of what happened to you, you will find that there was a time where you had the extra cup of coffee, where if you hadn't, you wouldn't have met Person A.

When I look back in my life, I could find so many instances like that. And I had fun tracing some of them. And the course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that the randomness presents to you.

If you're awake and paying attention, you will find that things happen. They might seem good, they might seem bad but the important thing is how you reacted to it.

Dandelion seeds are dispersed by the wind.


See also: "Stochasticity," Radiolab

The Story Begins to Live and Breathe

Excerpt from Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic by Adyashanti

Topiary Park, April 20, 2014Transmutation is what transfiguration and relinquishment make possible. In it, your orientation to life is entirely selfless. It's not that you want to be selfless or you're practicing being selfless: rather you're selfless in the sense of no self. 

For this transition to happen, one has to go through the death of the ego. Certain aspects of the transmutation may occur earlier in our own journey, but the crucifixion or relinquishment must be complete for it to happen in full. At that point, really, the only thing left to do is to be a selfless, benevolent presence in the world—there's really nothing else to do, nothing else that makes sense. Whatever that may look like—and it looks different for different people—that's where the whole process ends up. 

In the Jesus story, this stage is termed the resurrection. Out of death is resurrected a new life, which really means a new orientation. That movement, that long turning from self-orientation to selfless orientation now comes to fruition. This is where the journey culminates for Jesus, and this is where it ultimately culminates for anyone who's taken the journey of awakening.  

The story of Jesus mirrors back the journey of spiritual awakening for anyone who has the eyes to see it or the experience to notice it. I believe this is among the most powerful lenses through which to view the story, because from this perspective the story begins to live and breathe as a metaphor. 

Jesus doesn't live anything out in a small fashion; everything in his story is writ large. This makes it easier for us to see that he's depicting a journey of awakening. We shouldn't expect to live out our own journey in the same fashion and, fortunately, we don't have to, though our journey will certainly have its own challenges and intensity. 

The mystery of the story of Jesus is the same as the mystery of you and me and everyone: we are all God appearing as man and as woman, divine being manifesting as human being. They're actually two sides of the same coin. They're one and the same thing; it's only our minds that separate divinity and humanity. We separate them in our mind and in our experience, but the whole spiritual journey is finally to see that they aren't separate, that they never were separate...

And when you reorient your life toward this realization, then you understand: you so loved the world, you had so much compassion, you had so much love that you poured yourself forth into life, and that pouring forth was your birth. You are here to redeem whatever you encounter in this life, to wake up within everything the deep reality of its divine existence. 

The kingdom of heaven is spread upon earth and men do not see it. When you see this, you shift from being a victim of your life and assigning blame for the tragedy you encounter. The truth, I would suggest, is that you poured yourself willingly into form of infinite love in order to redeem the entirety of this life. When seen from that perspective, all of a sudden life looks different. You stop holding back from life, your inner life or the life around you, because the kingdom of heaven is within and all around you. That's the message of the Jesus story.  


See also: 

And They Wake Up

The Paper Kites: Young from Oh Yeah Wow on Vimeo.

Young

by Paper Kites

We only wake 'cause our eyes are open
Open so wide we walk in the dark
Trying so hard to keep what we're losing
Using our feet to show them the movements

And they wake up, and they go out
Head in a cloud

We were like them before we were older
Just like they're growing to be as we are
And still only speak with wording of caution
Sow and we reap what we're putting forward

And they wake up, and they go out
Head in a cloud

We can look down, see what we were
Shaking our fingers and using our words
We're all awake; we don't go out
Head in a cloud

Rush goes to the head it's all perception
I know, even so we all need time to grow 

Another Chance at Spring

Tres Esculturas Monumentales de Javier Marín en el Parque Eulogio Rosado

Spring
by Jim Harrison, from Songs of Unreason

Something new in the air today, perhaps the struggle of the bud
to become a leaf. Nearly two weeks late it invaded the air but
then what is two weeks to life herself? On a cool night there is
a break from the struggle of becoming. I suppose that's why we
sleep. In a childhood story they spoke of the land of enchant-
ment." We crawl to it, we short-lived mammals, not realizing that
we are already there. To the gods the moon is the entire moon
but to us it changes second by second because we are always fish
in the belly of the whale of earth. We are encased and can't stray
from the house of our bodies. I could say that we are released,
but I don't know, in our private night when our souls explode
into a billion fragments then calmly regather in a black pool in
the forest, far from the cage of flesh, the unremitting "I." This was
a dream and in dreams we are forever alone walking the ghost
road beyond our lives. Of late I see waking as another chance at
spring.

How Would You Really Enjoy Spending Your Life?

Excerpt from Do You Do It, or Does It Do You? by Alan Watts:

What do you desire?

What makes you itch?

What sort of a situation would you like?

I do this often in vocational guidance of students… They come to me and say, "We’re getting out of college and we haven’t the faintest idea what we want to do.”  So I always ask the question, “What would you like to do if money were no object?”

How would you really enjoy spending your life?

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of eduational system crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way.  Or another person says I’d like to live an out of doors life and ride horses.

When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him, “You do that. And forget the money.  Because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.  You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing!  Which is stupid!”

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what it is you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it.  And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.  So don’t worry too much.  Somebody is interested in everything.  And anything you can be interested in you can find others interested in.

But it is absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending your time doing things that you don’t like and to teach your children to follow in the same track!  See what we are doing, is we’re bring up children, educating them, to live the same sort of lives we are living.  In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children, to bring up their children to do the same thing!

Therefore it is so important to consider this question, “What do I desire?”


See also: Sing and Dance While the Music Plays