Archive for March, 2010

When you think you cannot let the world in because it is so full of heartbreak, you underestimate yourself. You think, “I can’t let any more in,” because you feel like you are breaking apart. If you don’t follow that thought, can you simply allow your heart to let it all in? Not just the current disasters, but the disasters throughout time; not just the external disasters, but the internal disasters of your own life, your neighbor’s life, your friend’s life. Just really open the heart with no resistance.
That is the letting and the facing that I speak about. When you surrender to the pain, the heart does break, and there is profound grief. In the willingness for the heart to break, separation breaks also. Unless we resist or indulge it, the concept of separation disintegrates.
I am speaking of a very sober, still opening. I am suggesting that you just let it come in, and let it come in, and let it come in. Then there is a discovery that the heart breaks totally, forever open. This is possible for everyone. And all that keeps us from that is the thought, “I can’t do this.”

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By Pattiann Rogers

Some of us like to photograph them.  Some of us like to paint pictures of them.  Some of us like to sculpt them and make statues and carvings of them.  Some of us compose music about them and sing about them.  And some of us like to write about them.

Some of us like to go out and catch them and kill them and eat them.  Some of us like to hunt them and shoot them.  Some of us like to raise them, care for them and eat them.  Some of us just like to eat them.

And some of us name them and name their seasons and name their hours, and some of us, in our curiosity, open them up and study them with our tools and name their parts.  We capture them, mark them and release them, their lives and affect their lives and abandon their lives.  We breed them and manipulate them and alter them.  Some of us experiment upon them.

We put them on tethers and leashes, in shackles and harnesses, in cages and boxes, inside fences and walls.  We put them in yokes and muzzles.  We want them to carry us and pulls us and haul for us.

And we want some of them to be our companions, some of them to ride on our fingers and some to ride sitting on our wrists or on our shoulders and some to ride in our arms, ride clutching our necks.  We want them to walk at our heels.

We want them to trust us and come to us, take our offerings, eat from our hands.  We want to participate in their beauty.  We want to assume their beauty and so possess them.  We want to be kind to them and so possess them with our kindness and so partake of their beauty in that way.

We want them to learn our language.  We try to teach them our language.  We speak to them.  We put our words in their mouths.  We want them to speak.  We want to know what they see when they look at us.

We use their heads and their bladders for balls, their guts and their hides and their bones to make music.  We skin them and wear them for coats, their scalps for hats.  We rob them, their milk and their honey, their feathers and their eggs.  We make money from them.

We construct icons of them.  We make images of them and put their images on our clothes and on our necklaces and rings and on our walls and in our religious places.  We preserve their dead bodies and parts and their dead bodies and display them in our homes and buildings.

We name mountains and rivers and cities and streets and organizations and gangs and causes after them.  We name years and time and constellations of stars after them.  We make mascots of them, naming our athletic teams after them.  Sometimes we name ourselves after them.

We make toys of them and rhymes of them for our children.  We mold them and shape them and distort them to fit our myths and our stories and our dramas.  We like to dress up like them and masquerade as them.  We like to imitate them and try to move as they move and make the sounds they make, hoping, by those means, to enter and become the black mysteries of their being.

Sometimes we dress them in our clothes and teach them tricks and laugh at them and marvel at them.  And we make parades of them and festivals of them.  We want them to entertain us and amaze us and frighten us and reassure us and calm us and rescue us from boredom.

We pit them against one another, and we gamble on them.  We want to compete with them ourselves, challenging them, testing our wits and talents against their wits and talents, in forests and on plains, in the ring.  We want to be able to run like them and leap like them and swim like them and fly like them and fight like them and endure like them.

We want their total absorption in the moment.  We want their unwavering devotion to life.  We want their oblivion.

Some of us give thanks and bless those we kill and eat, ad ask for pardon, and this is beautiful as long as they ones dying and we are the ones eating.

As long as we are not seriously threatened, as long as we and our children aren’t hungry and aren’t cold, we say, with a certain amount of superiority that we are no better than any of them, that any of them deserve to live just as much as we do.

And after we have proclaimed this thought, and by so doing subtly pointed out that we are allowing them to live, we direct them and manage them and herd them and train them and follow them and map them and collect them and make specimens of them and butcher them and move them here and move them there and we place them on lists and we take them off of lists and we stare at them and stare at them.

We track them in our sleep.  They become the form of our sleep.  We dream of them.  We seek them with accusation.  We seek them with supplication.

And in the ultimate imposition, as Thoreau said, we make them bear the burden of our thoughts.  We make them carry the burden of our metaphors and the burden of our desires and our guilt and carry the equal burden our curiosity ad concern.  We make them bear our sins and our prayers and our hopes into the desert, into the sky, into the stars.  We say we kill them for God.

We adore them and we curse them.  We caress them and we ravish them.  We want them to acknowledge us and be with us.  We want them to disappear and be autonomous.  We abhor their viciousness and lack of pity, as we abhor our own viciousness and lack of pity.  We love them and we reproach them, just as we love and reproach ourselves.

We will never, we cannot, leave them alone, even the tiniest one ever, because we know we are the oe with them.  Their blood is our blood.  Their breath is our breath, their beginning our beginning, their fate our fate.

Thus we deny them.  Thus we yearn for them.  They are among us and within us and of us, inextricably woven with the form and manner of our being, with our understanding and our imaginations.  They are the grit and the salt and the lullaby of our language.

We have a need to believe they are there, and always will be, whether we witness them or not. We need to know they are there, a vigorous life maintaining itself without our presence, without our assistance, without our attention.  We need to know, we must know, that we come from such stock so continuously and tenaciously and religiously devoted to life.

We know we are one with them, and we are frantic to understand how to actualize that union.  We attempt to actualize that union in our many stumbling, ignorant and destructive ways, in our many confused and noble and praiseworthy ways.

For how can we possess dignity if we do not allow no dignity?  Who will recognize our beauty if we do not revel in their beauty?  How can we hope to receive honor if we give no honor?  How can we believe in grace if we cannot bestow grace?

We want what we cannot have.  We want to give life at the same moment we are taking it, nurture life as the same moment we light the fire and raise the knife.  We want to live, to provide, and not be instruments of destruction, instruments of death.  We want to reconcile our  “egoistic concerns” with our “universal compassion.”  We want the lion and the lamb to exist in amenity, the lion and the lamb within finally to dwell together, to life down together in peace and praise at last. “

Pattiann Rogers

From Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women And Animals

Edited by Linda Hogan, Deena Metzger, and Brenda Peterson


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Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing,
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and
the sweet confinement of your
aloneness to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

by David Whyte
From “The House of Belonging”

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small hands. . . .

Once a little boy went to a grocery store with his mother. The old shopkeeper looked at the small cute boy and lovingly took a bottle of his tastiest sweets and offered them to him saying in a jovial tone, “Dear child, you can take all the sweets you can hold in your tiny hands.”

But the child didn’t take any; he just looked up with a wistful expression on his face. The shopkeeper was a little surprised. He wondered why the little one did not take any sweets. So he tried to persuade him again, “Take the sweets, dear son.”

His mother also joined in and coaxed him to accept a handful, “Come on, uncle is giving you some sweets – take a few.” Yet the boy still did not pick any. The shopkeeper thought maybe the boy is too shy. He himself took two handfuls of sweets and gave it to the child. The boy’s face lit up; he was only too happy to accept them and exclaimed, “Oh thank you, Sir!”

When they returned home, his mother asked him, “Why didn’t you take the sweets when the shopkeeper offered you? There’s no need to be so shy.”

Can you guess what the boy said? “Mum! I was not being shy. You see, my hands are very small and if I take the sweets from the bottle, I can only take a few. But see what happened. When the kind uncle gave them to me with his big hands… how many more sweets I got!”

When we choose and acquire from the world, we are limited by our mind’s desires and expectations. But when we pray to God to supply our wants the way He wishes and knows is best for us, He gives to us everything we could require – way beyond our needs.

Let us depend always on Him. When we rely on Him totally, we will never be short of anything, for He is the True Source of all that exists in this Universe. And His Love is unimaginable.

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“There’s a space at the bottom of an exhale, a little hitch between taking in and letting out that’s a perfect zero you can go into. There’s a rest point between the heart’s muscle’s close and open – an instant of keenest living when you’re momentarily dead. You can rest there.”

Mary Karr

“The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound. The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe.”

Annie Dillard

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Become the Ace of heart?

How to become a king of hearts, loved by all? Become more saintly, so that like a true kind you sit on the throne of love in the hearts of others. Begin by being kind to all. Unkindness is a spiritual disease. If you indulge in unkind acts and feelings, you make yourself miserable and damage your nervous system.

When you see others behaving unkindly, it should give you greater determination to be kind. I practice this all the time. No matter how hurtfully others behave, they cannot make me react with meanness.

The more unkindness people show to me, the more understanding I give to them. Sometimes, in order to stress an important lesson, I speak very strongly to those who have come to me for training. But I am never angry or unkind. Those who receive such discipline have seen that at the height of the scolding, when I seem to be most displeased, I can shut off fiery speech and use the gentlest of words. That self-control has tremendous power. Never allow your voice to be harsh out of anger or vengefulness.

Like a flower, shed petals of kindness when you are aggravated by others or attacked by the evil in them. By self-control and right behavior you will ultimately realize that you are a part of the Eternal Good, you do not belong anymore to the wrong ways of this world.

– Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yoganandaa


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Wisdom words

When confronted with different points of view of what is right, use this slogan to remind yourself that your own conscience is the main judge of your actions. Of course we can always learn from others, but finally each of us can only trust our own intuitive heart.

The whole thrust of the bodhicitta mind-training and Bodhisattva path is to be able to become naturally more loving and compassionate without expecting or hoping for anything in return.

Although your ego may want some form of positive reinforcement or reward for what you do or say, your innate Buddha-nature doesn’t require that kind of acknowledgment. Whatever occurs is what occurs, and it is all positive. Even if a Bodhisattva is the last person on earth, he or she would continue on the way of awakening.

Gradually we learn to loosen our tightfisted grip on worldly values. We become more centered, balanced, straightforward, calm, and clear amid any temporary weather conditions – outer circumstances as well as internal emotional weather. We learn to both sit and stand erect, needing nothing to lean on. We stand up for ourselves and our beliefs and stand behind our words and deeds. We become masters of our own domain.

This is how we awaken our inner guru, our inner guide – the Buddha within, the secret master comfortably ensconced forever in our own heart cave. This inner guru is none other than truth itself – our own innate wisdom and heart center’s noblest intuitive understanding and love.

When you invoke the gods or angels, when you pray, you are awakening this sublime being within yourself. There is no one else to rely upon.

– Awakening The Buddha Within

Lama Surya Das

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