Monday, 30 June 2014

#543 What is Meditation?

     “Meditation opens the mind to the greatest mystery that takes place daily and hourly; it widens the heart so that it may feel the eternity of time and infinity of space in every throb; it gives us a life within the world as if we were moving about in paradise; and all these spiritual deeds take place without any refuge into a doctrine, but by the simple and direct holding fast to the truth which dwells in our innermost beings.”                                   Suzuki Roshi


"Pax et Bonum" - Peace and Goodness (be with you) - Franciscan motto, Assisi, Italy

Sunday, 29 June 2014

#542 Do We Know What We Need?

     In a recent excellent 2-part CBC radio documentary "Re-wiring Our Kids", host Pauline Dakin presents evidence suggesting that we're becoming so engrossed in & distracted by digital media, that our awareness of our own emotions is markedly dampened. Digital distraction may well be today's "opiate of the masses."

     Yet isn't it our emotions that warn us that we're suffering, and our emotions that energize us to make changes in order to improve the quality of our lives
     Mindfulness practices serve as a potent, vital antidote to the mind-numbing effects of digital distraction, materialism, cynicism, etc.

Resident of Tuscany

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

#541 Letting Go AND Gaining

     It's easy to become focused almost exclusively on letting go of unskillful habits & tendencies. Peeling away layers upon layers of the onion of our "self" is natural and healthy, but it can start to feel like subtle diminishment or loss. Mercifully, it's only one aspect of mindfulness practice.
     The counterbalancing image (to peeling away layers of an onion) is that of Russian nesting dolls - starting from tiny ones, then progressively enlarging, until the doll is the size of - becomes - the entire universe. This imagery refers to our expanding awareness & growing empathic interconnection ("interbeing").
     As our fear-based self-centeredness diminishes, we progressively open our heart-mind, ever more completely, to embrace all of reality. No loss, real gain.

Nurishing rain, Umbria, Italy