Recharging our batteries

If you watch young people closely, as I do, you’ll see that when they walk into a room they scan the room. No, they are not looking for the best views…..[or] for the most comfortable chairs. They are looking for a place to plug in, to charge. Time and again, they pick the place to charge their appliances over recharging their own souls.

This is where we are as a human species. We have more ways of keeping in touch, and yet seem to have less and less meaningful things to say to one another. We are lonely, deeply lonely. We have our devices that seem to be never more than an arms length away. We have Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, and a hundred other ways of staying connected. As long as our phones are beeping and ringing, we feel assured that someone, somewhere, “likes” us.  One-third of us would choose our electronic devices over being intimate with our partners. What’s wrong with us? 

People in many traditional cultures used to refuse to have their pictures taken, thinking that each photo takes something of their soul. We used to laugh at them, mock these foolish simpletons. I’m not laughing anymore. We do seem to have lost something of our souls to these… these things.

We keep saying that these devices are actually neutral, and it’s just a matter of how we use them. I am less and less sure. Yes, we need to have wisdom in using them, but somehow staring into a screen does not give us the same sustenance as staring into each others’ eyes.

I wish that we had the wisdom to pay as much attention to our hearts and souls as we do to our devices. I wish we knew our selves, our hearts, and our souls well enough to go into that same kind of cosmic and existential panic when we begin to run on fumes. I wish we knew our own selves well enough to know how to sustain our own hearts and souls.

For some of us, it’s through prayer. For some, it’s immersing ourselves in nature.
For some, music. For some, the gentle touch of a loved one.

So many of us walk around with the “battery” of our hearts showing red. Would that we were as kind to each other, and our own hearts, as we are to these devices that we are so quick to recharge.

Omid Safi, Less iPhone Spirituality, More Recharging Our Hearts’ Batteries

The Bigness of the world

The bigness of the world is redemption. Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest. Being able to travel both ways matters, and sometimes the way back into the heart of the question begins by going outward and beyond. This is the expansiveness that sometimes comes literally in a landscape or that tugs you out of yourself in a story.

Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

Not for or against you

The four seasons occur,  free from anyone’s demand or vote.

The natural law and order of this world is not “for” or “against” you.

Fundamentally, there is nothing in the world that either threatens you or promotes your point of view. We often take for granted or reject the basic law and order in the universe, but we should think twice. We should appreciate what we have. It is wonderful to be in this world!

Chögyam Trungpa,The Shambhala Warrior Slogans, Number 7

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The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;   
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.

Galway Kinnell, Saint Francis and the Sow

Leave it alone

When you have an unpleasant feeling, don’t grab hold of it and turn it over and over.
Instead, leave it alone so it can flow.
The wave of emotion will naturally recede on its own
as long as you don’t feed it by dwelling on it.
To get food unstuck from a frying pan, just pour water in the pan and wait.
After a while the food loosens on its own.
Don’t struggle to heal your wounds.
Just pour time into your heart and wait.
When your wounds are ready, they will heal on their own.

Haemin Sunim, The Things You can see Only when You Slow Down