Sunday, January 29, 2012

Finding Non-duality (Unity)

An excerpt from Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict by Tsultrim Allione

"Normally we empower our demons by believing they are real and strong in themselves and have the power to destroy us. As we fight against them, they get stronger. But when we acknowledge them by discovering what they really need, and nurture them, our demons release their hold, and we find that they actually do not have power over us. By nurturing the shadow elements of our being with infinite generosity, we can access the state of luminous awareness and undermine ego. By feeding the demons, we resolve conflict and duality, finding our way to unity."

Great interview with the author is found here:

The Challenge of Awakening

Excerpt from Hakuin Ekaku's Talks Given Introductory to Zen Lectures on the Records of Sokko, 1740:
"Buddha means 'one who is awakened.' Once you have awakened, your own mind itself is Buddha. By seeking outside yourself for a Buddha invested with form, you set yourself forward as a foolish, misguided man. It is like a person who wants to catch a fish. He must start by looking in the water, because fish live in water and are not found apart from it. If a person wants to find Buddha, he must look into his own mind, because it is there, and nowhere else, that Buddha exists.
"Question: 'In that case, what can I do to become awakened to my own mind?'
"What is that which asks such a question? Is it your mind? Is it your original nature? Is it some kind of spirit or demon? Is it inside you? Outside you? Is it somewhere intermediate? Is it blue, yellow, red, or white?

"It is something you must investigate and clarify for yourself. You must investigate it whether you are standing or sitting, speaking or silent, when you are eating your rice or drinking your tea. You must keep at it with total, single-minded devotion. And never, whatever you do, look in sutras or in commentaries for an answer, or seek it in the words you hear a teacher speak.
"When all the effort you can muster has been exhausted and you have reached a total impasse, and you are like the cat at the rathole, like the mother hen warming her egg, it will suddenly come and you will break free. The phoenix will get through the golden net. The crane will fly clear of the cage...."
(As found in The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin, trans. by Norman Waddell. [Boston: Shambhala, 1994].)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Living a Life of Passion

A "meditation" by Skye Thomas--
"I was asked in an interview what advice did I have for entrepreneurs who are just starting their companies. I told them to 'make sure you really, really love what you are doing because you do not own the business, it owns you. You will work more hours for no pay than you ever would for any boss. You will dig, scrape, curse, and bite for quite awhile before it takes off. It is very rare that people make it big overnight. Plan to have another source of groceries and rent money for at least a year, maybe two years. If you won the lottery and never had to work another day, would you still do this work? If not, don't bother. You know you are in the right line of work when you would give it away for free just to get to be a participant.' As I reflect on what it means to follow a spiritual calling, I see that this advice really holds true for callings too. Perhaps it is true for anyone who wants to live a life of passion."
[emphasis added]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Meditation for Taking Down the Christmas Tree

"A Silent Promise"

A poem by Jay Emerson Johnson

Light comes back

as it always does

just before Christmas Day

like finding a treasured keepsake

forgotten in attic recesses

and I start to think about Hoovering up

brittle evergreen needles,

fingering the stubborn ones

out from a wooly carpet’s fibers.

Light comes back slowly

tracing an ancient arc

across the winter sky

and I kneel on hardwood

straining to scoop up

a stray ornament

from a dusty corner

just out of reach

with sunlight

dappling my vision.

Light comes back

with a promise

silent as the stars –

This simple, tender flesh

covering our hands

wrinkling our knees

layering our faces

shall be seen

revealed as a divine gift

for this world

indeed, an epiphany.