He is freed from himself, which is the only thing which has ever bound anyone, because he has let himself go. The unenlightened man keeps a tight hold on himself because he is afraid of losing himself; he can trust neither circumstances nor his own human nature; he is terrified of being genuine, of accepting himself as he is and tries to deceive himself into the belief that he is as he wishes to be. But these are the wishes, the desires that bind him, and it was such desires as these that the Buddha described as the cause of human misery.
People imagine that letting themselves go would have disastrous results; trusting neither circumstance nor themselves, which together make up life, they are forever interfering and trying to make their own souls and the world conform with preconceived patterns. This interference is simply the attempt of the ego to dominate life. But when you see that all such attempts are fruitless and when you relax the fear-born resistance to life in yourself and around you which is called egoism, you realize the freedom of the union with Brahman.
I read this the other day and it really spoke to me, and hit home with me. I realized how much of my life I had spent trying to achieve a predetermined outcome in most situations in which I found myself. How often I was disappointed when the outcome didn’t come close to what I had imagined it would be, or even the times I was disappointed when it did come close. I had done everything right in my estimation, it seemed perfect to me. I forget though that we are only one component to a very complex equation or situation. We have the flaw of only being able to see things from our own point of view, everything that anyone else thinks we can only presume through our tainted glasses. We cannot begin to imagine all the experience and perceptions they bring to the experience. In addition, we rarely ask the questions required to gather that information, not that such questions wouldn’t be limited anyway. There are so many factors which determine the outcome in any circumstance we find ourselves in or observing and we can influence so few of those factors.
Continue reading There’s something deep inside of me, there’s someone I forgot to be…
Last night would have been a perfect night for sunset photos. The sky was just right and I’m sure it looked like it was on fire. Unfortunately I had a league game and we started right at sunset. Hopefully there will be some more sun and great opportunities later in this week.
Well we are once again smack dab in the midst of the holiday season. It’s an interesting time of year for me, because years ago I decided not to participate in the consumer madness of the season. I definitely enjoy many aspects of the holidays, but the holidays are really losing their meaning in my estimation. To me this includes both the community aspect and the spiritual aspect (though I don’t personally observe that aspect). There is this notion we are being sold that being a good consumer somehow equates with being a good citizen. This is rich in that those same corporations that feed us that line don’t feel they have to contribute to their own communities and would abandon them in a heartbeat if there was even an infinitesimal amount more of profit to be realized elsewhere.
Continue reading It’s a holiday in Cambodia, It’s tough, kid, but it’s life
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” ~ Mary Oliver
You always think you will know those experiences or moments that will change your life. The thing is for most of us we don’t realize what they were until long after they have happened to us. So you can never remember who you were before that. I had such an experience recently that has irrevocably changed my life. I am a much different person today than I was a mere two months ago. The thing is I realized that I was going through a significant change in my life and I was fortunate enough to live that moment. Those who have known me for some years have noticed that there is something very different about me of late. Well they aren’t wrong, there most certainly is. My life took a very big shift in direction lately, and it’s a very positive one for sure. People can feel the difference in my character, and to be frank it feels great. Whenever I discuss this time people say I am glowing, more than one person has made that comment. The thing is I can feel the peacefulness permeate my entire being. For hours after talking or thinking about this time I am so peaceful. It started not so long ago, in a place not so very far away. At my favourite coffee shop on Davie Street, somewhere around the start of October. I ran into someone I have always had a very strong connection to who I had not seen in at least 6 or 7 years. First though let’s lay some context.
Continue reading Starry, starry nights…
Ah friendship, the calm bay we can set anchor no matter how fierce the storm. These are the people we choose to be in our lives. They are the shoulders we cry on; the bringers of laughter and smiles; the fount of wisdom we nourish ourselves from; the mirror we look into; the light in the darkness and so much more. Our lives would be bereft without them. Some come and go and others make themselves at home and stay for a lifetime. Each one no matter how small can have an impact on our lives. Most times that impact is positive and uplifting, but from time to time it can also wreak devastation. That just goes to show how important they can be to our lives.
In this regard my life has been blessed and I count those blessings every minute. I have made many a friend over the years. They come from a litany of backgrounds and places; they have all kinds of personalities and quirks. I love them all for those idiosyncrasies that make them exactly who they are. I spent a lot of my youth in a small city on the prairies, good ol’ Lethbridge. It was the kind of place where everyone knew your business, even if you didn’t know them personally. That kind of place could drive a good person over the edge; it certainly did the bad ones (perhaps it was that infernal wind). It was the kind of place that cultivated boredom if you weren’t careful. In amongst all of that prairie small town conformity was a group of very individualistic and creative souls. I was lucky enough to meet and befriend a great deal of them. I suppose the same could be said of many towns and cities across our country, continent and world. That tradition followed me back to my home town on the great west coast.
Continue reading Oooh you make me live, you’re my best friend…
Further to my post of yesterday another thing I am working on is listening to what people have to say. I have always been a pretty good listener, in fact I love listening to the stories people have to tell. What I am working on though is listening to others without attaching my values to what they are saying. If I can practice that then I can actually take in what others are saying and then decide how I will react to those statements. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with those ideas or statements but if I don’t listen to them honestly then how can I determine their validity.
“When you listen to someone, you should give up all of your preconceived ideas and your subjective opinions, you should just listen to him, observe what his way is. We put very little emphasis on right or wrong, or good and bad. We just see things as they are with him and accept them. Usually when you listen to a statement, you hear it as a kind of echo of yourself. You are actually listening to your own opinion. If it agrees with your opinion you may accept it, but if it does not you may reject it or you may never even really hear it” Shunryu Suzuki
I think this is a common habit of most people. While you are listening to someone you are already making up your mind about whether you believe them or not, even before they have finished saying their piece. It is often based upon our past dealings with others and how we have been treated by others in our lives. The danger here is we tend to employ this even with people we have never encountered in our lives, someone we have no information to base our opinion upon. Now I understand why we do this and I understand it is mostly a defense mechanism. If we look back to the past of our ancestors they usually lived in small villages and communities and encountered the same people over and over. It was much easier to trust others. In our society, especially an urban one, you meet many others every day to whom you have no connection whatsoever. It is tough to take them at face value, as we tend to be wary of others. Though we would certainly expect them to take us at face value, after all we are honest and trustworthy. So how can we have that expectation of them without giving them the same consideration.
Continue reading Listen to What the Man Said…