Placing demands on ourselves

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What shuts down the heart more than anything is not letting ourselves have our own experience, but instead judging it, criticizing it, or trying to make it different from what it is. We often imagine there is something wrong with us if we feel angry, needy, dependent, lonely, confused, sad, or scared. We place conditions on ourselves and our experience: “If I feel like this, there must be something wrong with me. . . . I can only accept myself if my experience conforms to my standard of how I should be“. Psychological work, when practiced in a larger spiritual context, can help people discover that it is possible to be unconditional with themselves — to welcome their experience and hold it with understanding and compassion, whether or not they like it at any given moment.

John Welwood, Toward a Psychology of Awakening

photo Sheila Sund

Practicing, not talking

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We often prefer talking about something, rather than actually doing it, and the mind continually produces good ways of running away from the present moment:

Speech is born out of longing, true description from the real taste

The one who tastes,  knows,

The one who explains,  lies

Rābiʿah al-Baṣrī, c 713 – 801 AD, Sufi poet and mystic

photo alex yosifov

Ideas of perfection

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When we seek happiness through accumulation, either outside of ourselves – from other people, relationships, or material goods – or from our own self-development, we are missing the essential point. In either case we are trying to find completion. But according to Buddhism, such a strategy is doomed. Completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.

Mark Epstein, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart

photo wingchi poon

How to be at peace

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How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.

Eckhart Tolle, A new Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose

photo tony hisgett