Saturday, September 17, 2011

Zen and Meditation on the End of Suffering

The practice of mindfulness is particularly helpful for the highly sensitive.

Today I begin my day in thankfulness, peace and gratitude. Today I meditate to the sound of the bell and the beautiful words of the beloved Buddhist monk and Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hahn on The End of Suffering:

"May the sound of this bell penetrate deep into the cosmos
Even in the darkest spots living beings are able to hear it clearly
So that all suffering in them ceases, understanding comes to their heart
And they transcend the path of sorrow and death.

The universal dharma door is already open
The sound of the rising tide is heard clearly
The miracle happens
A beautiful child appears in the heart of the lotus flower
One single drop of this compassionate water is enough to bring back the refreshing spring to our mountains and rivers.

Listening to the bell I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve
My mind calm, my body relaxed
A smile is born on my lips
Following the sound of the bell, my breath brings me back to the safe island of mindfulness
In the garden of my heart, the flowers of peace bloom beautifully." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

“We always have a choice,” the Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön teaches, “we can let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder.” 

Thanks to Denise for this quote:
“A further sign of health is that we don't become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it's time to stop struggling and look directly at what's threatening us.”― Pema Chödrön, The Places that Scare You, A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times 

I'd add to that: what we THINK is threatening us.  Most of the time, our scary thoughts are about the future, or something in the present triggers a reminder of our past and we want to prevent a yucky like that from ever happening again.  So as the honored teacher Pema Chödrön suggests above, let's look directly, and let ourselves feel what we feel. As we do, notice what's happening in and around us in the present time, and we'll find that most (95% and higher)  moments are safe. --Ayleyaell


Video made by Adèla Stefanov: ‪‬

Meditation and Music from Graceful Passages, written and produced by Michael Stillwater and Gary Malkin, with music by Gary Malkin.

Graceful Passages is a spoken word/music recording and gift book, designed to help open the conversation around mortality for anyone, but particularly for those facing it directly.with messages from 12 of the world's most profound wisdom keepers including Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Thich Nhat Hanh,  Elisabeth Kubler- Ross, and Ram Dass.

From Michael's website: "Graceful Passages, proven effective in reducing anxiety of major transitions, and supporting family members, patients, and health care providers with a spiritual sanctuary around the dying process." 

Jack Canfield, co-creator of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, says:

"If you are going through challenges, or helping others going through transitions of any kind, I highly recommend Graceful Passages. The music is extraordinary, the spoken wisdom is timeless, and the gift book is exquisite. Let this masterpiece of healing music and inspiring words be an audio sanctuary for your soul and a priceless gift to share with someone you love."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gandhi's Wisdom

Practicing some of Mahatma (A respectful title which means "Great Soul") Gandhi's philosophy can help the sensitive soul to participate more in today's intense world.

1. Truth
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed."

"Aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”

2. Control.
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

3. Action.
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

4. Change
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

5. The present moment.
“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present.
God has given me no control over the moment following.”

6. Everyone is human.
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

7. Persist.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

8. Goodness.
“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

9. Forgiveness.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

10. Development.
“Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

And now, I invite you to arrange yourself comfortably,  open your senses, breathe and take in the marvelous "Gandhi Rap," by MC Yogi.  Enjoy!

Thanks to Claudia Kinnaman, whose email inspired this post!

Gandhi oil portrait - many sources, looking for origin

Gandhi with 2 women at PeaceWalk/ Picture source: