What’s personal

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File:Vaches sur la plage - Cows on the beach.JPG

You should not take personally things that actually aren’t personal.

It turns out when you start to really dig down underneath it, there’s very little that’s personal.

Taking things personally is a prescription for infinite suffering.

Jon Kabat Zinn

photo of cows disturbing a walk along the beach at Whitepark Bay, Ireland, by gtapp

Lost in our moods

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File:Leaf on tree in Yosemite park.jpg

This mind of ours is naturally peaceful. It’s still and calm like a leaf that is not being blown about by the wind…

Why the mind doesn’t feel peaceful right now is because it gets lost in its own moods. There’s nothing to mind itself. It simply abides in its natural state, that’s all. That sometimes the mind feels peaceful and other times not peaceful is because it has been tricked by moods. The untrained mind lacks wisdom.  Moods come and trick it into feeling pleasure one minute and suffering the next. Happiness then sadness. But the natural state of a person’s mind isn’t one of happiness or sadness. This experience of happiness and sadness is not the actual mind itself, but just these moods which have tricked it. The mind gets lost, carried away by these moods with no idea what’s happening.  It still isn’t very clever. And we go on thinking that it’s our mind which is suffering or our mind which is happy, when actually it’s just lost in its various moods.

Ajahn Chah, Training this Mind

 

A way of interacting today

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File:Bee flower - Flickr - Andrea Westmoreland.jpg

In meditation practice we are cultivating a mind that knows rather than judges. In other words, it has enough space to hold what is happening,  without it triggering reactions or negative stories about  how our lives are.  I find the image in this passage to be a help toward developing that:

As a bee gathering nectar

does not harm or disturb

the colour and fragrance of the flower;

so does a wise person move

through the world.

The Dhammapada, v 49

photo Andrea Westmoreland

The right rhythm

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File:Old Road trees (02), January 2010.JPG

The weekend can allow us get out into nature and into its pace, learning its balance and wisdom.  It is a useful corrective to the speed which modern society  – and workplaces –  consider necessary,  and to the importance which it places on passing trends:

The internal activity of analysis, speculation, memory, investigation, cross-referencing, decision-making, and self-evaluation can amount to a volume of overwhelming proportions. Then the experience of overload develops into one of exhaustion, or of a pressure in our lives that diminishes peace and joy… This is the loss of balance that we can rightly experience as being flooded.

It isn’t the world per se, nor is it that we are chronically unbalanced;

it’s just that the right relationship hasn’t been struck.

Ajahn Sucitto, Parami

The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure

with a liberal allowance of time.

Henry David Thoreau

photo of the Mourne mountains, County Down by ardfern

Growth

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Life is a living of who we are, until that form of self can no longer hold us, and …we must break the forms that contain us in order to birth our way into the next self. This is how we shed our many ways of seeing the world, not that any are false, but that each serves its purpose for a time until we grow and they no longer serve us.

Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

photo lionel allorge