Change and constancy

Your job may change, your relationships may change, your body may change, your beliefs may change, your desires may change, your ideas about your role in the world may change, but the essence of who you are is the continuity of awareness that has no beginning or end. Your thoughts, beliefs, expectations, goals, and experiences may come and go, but the one who having the experiences – the experiencer – remains.

Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga

Our view for the day

Meditation is the natural process of becoming familiar with an object by repeatedly placing our minds upon it. Whatever we’re doing, we always have a view; we’re always placing our mind on one object or another. For example, when we get up in the morning and we’re anxious about something, anxiety becomes our view for the day: “What about me? When will I get what I want?” The object of our meditation is “me.”
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

A fresh way of seeing things

Starting over, being open to all possibilities, not being bound by our familiar conclusions:

To observe anything –  your mind must be free of any conclusion, any previous knowledge, otherwise you cannot possibly see ‘what is’. Isn’t that so? If I want to learn about you  I must observe. I must observe, listen and not come to any conclusion. Conclusion is the image which divides you and me. So to observe, there must be no image, no conclusion, no formula. And in that lies our difficulty, because we live according to formulas, a formula set by another or a conclusion which we have come to according to our conditioning and experience. So can the mind be free of every conclusion, because a conclusion is in the field of time which is the past? You can’t conclude something about the future. You can conclude about the future according to your past conditioning, therefore your conclusion is always based on the past – past knowledge, past experience… various forms of knowledge.

So can the mind, to investigate something which is not of time, be free of conflict so that it can observe completely? This has been the enquiry of man right through the centuries: how is the mind to be so quiet, so still, without any distorting factor in it, so that it is capable of perception without any distortion?

J. Krisnamurti, Fourth Public Talk in New York  7 May 1972

When thinking doesn’t help

Think of a problem that has plagued you for a long time — your weight, a loved one’s bad habits, fear of terrorism, whatever. No doubt you’ve tried valiantly to control this issue, but are your efforts working? The answer has to be no; otherwise you would have solved the problem long ago. What if your real trouble isn’t the issue you brood about so compulsively, but the brooding itself.

Martha Beck, Victory by Surrender, Creating your right life


Not an image that I had heard before, but the ideas behind it are quite useful:

The practice of “remaining like a log ” is based on refraining, not repressing. When you realize you’re thinking, just acknowledge that. Then turn your attention to your breath flowing in and out, to your body, to the immediacy of your experience. Doing this allows you to be present and alert, and thoughts have a chance to calm down.

With this practice, it can be helpful to gently breathe in and out with the restlessness of the energy. This is a major support for learning to stay present. Basic wakefulness is right here, if we can just relax. Our situation is fundamentally fluid, unbiased, and free, and we can tune into this at any time. When we practice “remaining like a log, ” we allow for this opportunity.

 Pema Chodron, No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva

Either holding on or pushing away

Building on the ideas in yesterday’s post…

The way we know things depends on the mind,  nothing more.

Most of us have moments of deep contentment when we don’t feel a need to alter, express, run from, or invest some special meaning in our experience in any way.  Deep contentment shows us that, at least momentarily, our habit of cherishing and protecting ourselves from what we call “other” has subsided. In moments like these we have stopped objectifying things. We can let things be. And when the mind rests at ease in this way, it accommodates everything, like space.

Elizabeth MattisNamgyelThe Power of an Open Question