Realizing Our Undefended and Awakened Heart

I’m listening to a dharma talk by Tara Brach this morning that I’d like to share with you. She says…

It is our evolutionary and spiritual potential to release unnecessary habits of violating other tribes, individuals and unwanted parts of our own being. This talk explores three essential facets of the pathway to awakening: Leaving the fortress of aversive judgment, entering the wilderness of our embodied being and encircling this life with love.

via Tara Brach : Realizing Our Undefended and Awakened Heart (retreat talk).

You can download the talk here.

Merton’s Revelation

Ronald E. Powaski has written about the Trappi...
Thomas Merton

In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. …

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed…I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.

Thomas Merton

via Merton’s Revelation | Monasteries of the Heart.

 

 

The Atheist and little girl

An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly.

“Okay,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.” To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know shit?”

And then she went back to reading her book.

The Authentic Search for God…

Richard Rohr
Richard Rohr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Steve McSwain writes:

In an authentic search for God, the cosmos of inclusiveness just keeps widening and expanding, not unlike the ever-expanding universe in which we live.

That’s a bit of a paraphrase of something Fr. Richard Rohr says in his book Immortal Diamond. It has been my experience, too. It seems the more aware I become of the Immortal Presence, the wider my heart stretches to include all persons…all faiths…all traditions.

Without judgment.  With love. Continue reading “The Authentic Search for God…”

How Faith and Forgiveness Can Come in the Wake of Trayvon Martin

Rabbi Evan MofficI am the latest Rabbi Evan Moffic fanboy — he actually stopped to comment on a post I did [did I mention lately I <3 the internet?] curating his work this morning…

As I explore the body of his work online, I came across this post on a topic of current interest and I share his reasoned perspective here:

As President Obama said, the jury has spoken. The case has concluded. One side won, and another side lost. Yet, no one is happy. A 17-year-old boy is dead. Grieving parents will never be the same. What now?
Some want to continue the conflict. Facebook and Twitter are filled with words of vitriol and vengeance. Others, like Trayvon Martin‘s parents, have conveyed their sadness and hope. They have turned to faith not in the name of anger. They have turned to God in the name of healing. This morning Trayvon Martin’s mom tweeted, “Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, God is still in control. Thank you all for your prayers and support.”

Amen. There is a time for conflict. There is a time for healing. Now is the time for healing. What insights and support can our faith give us? Continue reading “How Faith and Forgiveness Can Come in the Wake of Trayvon Martin”

Can Science Prove God?

science godRabbi Moffic writes:

Can science prove God? For the last several centuries this question would have seemed absurd. Galileo was forced to recant his discoveries before the Pope. Darwin faced vociferous opposition from religious quarters. Today, however, a new way of thinking has found expression among devout scientists.

Perhaps its most articulate representative is Frances Collins, the former head of the Human Genome Project and an evangelical Christian. Dr. Collins wrote an astounding book about DNA called The Language of God. Among his arguments is the case for what he calls “theistic evolution.” It sees evolution as the Divine mode of creation.

Divine Evolution

According to this framework, biology does not undermine God. It illustrates God’s creative powers because it shows God implanted within nature a way to evolve. In other words, faith and science are not at odds. They depend on one another. Each reveals the other’s power.

Of course some scientists would argue against this view. How can one prove a supernatural creator implanted the ability to evolve within organisms? Yet, they would have great difficulty finding a counter-argument to it. The beginnings of life remain shrouded in mystery, and will remain so.

As Max Planck, one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated scientists put it, “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature.  And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

What we do know pales in comparison to what we don’t know. The ultimate mystery at the heart of the universe lies beyond our grasp, and even if they do not call it God, many thoughtful scientists appreciate that mystery.

via Can Science Prove God? – Truths You Can Use.

Be where you are, not where you think you should be…

Danielle Dowling has some good thoughts here:

I hear it every day from my lovely, clever, go-get-’em clients.

Why isn’t this happening faster?

I’m doing everything right – I’m sick of waiting around.

I’ve dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s, but it’s not working. Let’s gooooooo!

Here’s the thing:

The universe has a better plan. One that’s better than the one we have.

Whatever the “source” is for you: God, The Universe, Allah, Spirit – it doesn’t matter.

What matters is the fact that we lose perspective from time to time. We want to tell the universe when + how we want things to manifest in our lives. Continue reading “Be where you are, not where you think you should be…”

Make love of yourself perfect…

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You are perfect, only you don’t know it.
Learn to know yourself and you will discover wonders.
All you need is already within you, only you must approach yourself with reverence and love.
Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors.
Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of the love you bear for yourself;
all I plead with you is this: make love of yourself perfect.
Deny yourself nothing – give yourself infinity and eternity and discover that
you do not need them; you are beyond.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Have Learned So Much

I
Have Learned
So much from God
That I can no longer
Call Myself

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me

That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure
Soul.

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed
Me

Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.

From: ‘The Gift’
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

The Questions Coaches Say You Need To Be Asking Yourself

Leigh Newman writes:

Ellie Gordon, a personal and executive life coach, helps us figure out what we really need to be thinking about when we’re looking for lasting, hard-to-make change.

1. Can I Replace The Word ‘Afraid’ With The Word ‘Alert’?
“An artist client recently introduced me to this question,” says Gordon, “and it quickly proved effective at dealing with fear.” Fear, as most of us know, is the biggest obstacle to change. Sometimes our fears are authentic (“My husband is going to leave me because he’s having an affair!”) and sometimes they are inauthentic (“My house is going to blow down even though it’s made out of brick, I have a new roof, and the wind isn’t blowing!”). Either way, we usually try to dismiss our exclamation-pointed feelings as silly, ignore them altogether or blow them up to such a hellacious magnitude that we can’t move, breathe, sleep or… well… live. Continue reading “The Questions Coaches Say You Need To Be Asking Yourself”

You Are What You Focus On: The Strength of An Unstoppable Mindset

The FinerMinds teams shares this:

“It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.” – W Mitchell

Not many people have been as unfortunate as W Mitchell – or so it would seem.

He’s been involved in two separate serious accidents – one of which left him with burns covering most of his body, and the other that left him wheelchair-bound for life.

As a result of such disabilities, many would give up. But because of his firm belief that success is not dictated by what life deals to you, but by what you do with the challenges you’re dealt, W Mitchell re-trained himself to fly a plane, become a famous international speaker and an environmental lobbyist.

In this 4-minute video, he reinforces the fact that we become what we focus on, and how once he started focusing on how powerful and innovative he was, he not only changed his life – but the life of those around him.

Go to the source of this quote: You Are What You Focus On: The Strength of An Unstoppable Mindset

Love Yourself First!

…and remember to practice self-compassion this weekend!

Finding Peace and Joy When Dealing with Pain and Loss

recite-18383-1677882087-g93e6vFull story at: Finding Peace and Joy When Dealing with Pain and Loss | Tiny Buddha.

 

Recovery

Melody-Beattie-8x6.jpgMelody Beattie writes:

Recovery is not about being right; it’s about allowing ourselves to be who we are and accepting others as they are. That concept can be difficult for many of us if we have lived in systems that functioned on the “right-wrong” justice scale. The person who was right was okay; the person who was wrong was shamed. All value and worth may have depended on being right; to be wrong meant annihilation of self and self-esteem. In recovery, we are learning how to strive for love in our relationships, not superiority. Yes, we may need to make decisions about people’s behavior from time to time. If someone is hurting us, we need to stand up for ourselves. We have a responsibility to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. But we do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning someone else. We can avoid the trap of focusing on others instead of ourselves. In recovery, we are learning that what we do needs to be right only for us. What others do is their business and needs to be right only for them. It’s tempting to rest in the superiority of being right and in analyzing other people’s motives and actions, but it’s more rewarding to look deeper.
Today, I will remember that I don’t have to hide behind being right. I don’t have to justify what I want and need with saying something is “right” or “wrong.” I can let myself be who I am.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 47). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.

Life is difficult…

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.It is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.” M. Scott Peck

Letting go in love…

codependent no moreMelody Beattie writes:

When people with a compulsive disorder do whatever it is they are compelled to do, they are not saying they don’t love you – they are saying they don’t love themselves.
Codependent No More

Gentle people, gentle souls, go in love.

Yes, at times we need to be firm, assertive: those times when we change, when we acquire a new behavior, when we need to convince others and ourselves we have rights.

Those times are not permanent. We may need to get angry to make a decision or set a boundary, but we can’t afford to stay resentful. It is difficult to have compassion for one who is victimizing us, but once we’ve removed ourselves as victims, we can find compassion.

Our path, our way, is a gentle one, walked in love – love for self, love for others. Set boundaries. Detach. Take care of ourselves. And as quickly as possible, do those things in love.

Today, and whenever possible. God let me be gentle with others and myself. Help me find the balance between assertive action taken in my own best interests, and love for others. Help me understand that at times those two ideas are one. Help me find the right path for me.

via Blog | Just For Today Meditations.

Wholeheartedness = courage, compassion and connection…

220px-Brene_portrait_cropWEBTime to mix things up again. Thanks to my friend Tim Kastelle for sharing Brené Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability. She writes here on cultivating worthiness…

Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness. The key word is practice. Mary Daly, a theologian, writes, “Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.” The same is true for compassion and connection. We invite compassion into our lives when we act compassionately toward ourselves and others, and we feel connected in our lives when we reach out and connect. Before I define these concepts and talk about how they work, I want to show you how they work together in real life—as practices. This is a personal story about the courage to reach out, the compassion that comes from saying, “I’ve been there,” and the connections that fuel our worthiness.

Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Suppose to Be and Embrace Who You Are (p. 7). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.

Here’s the TED Talk in case you haven’t seen it yet…

Oh, Discipline! We Need To Hang Out More Often!

donnagatesDonna Gates writes:

Chop wood and carry water. According to meditation masters and seasoned yogis, the path to greater awareness is unadorned and practical.

In order to awaken to our essential self, all we need is determined effort.

And after we “wake up,” the story is the same: Chop wood and carry water.

Too often, we glamorize spirituality. We are accustomed to finding peace in a place that we need to go to. In reality, our greatest source of strength and peace is within.

And the only way to get there is with consistent effort and discipline.

Discipline can take us to deeper and more fulfilling places in life. It can make our dreams a reality and it can bring our goals within arm’s reach.

Full story at: Oh, Discipline! We Need To Hang Out More Often!.

American Minute for January 8th; The Battle of New Orleans

English: Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of th...

I think this is one of the most fascinating stories in American history and the whole think could have been avoided by one text message [which of course couldn’t happen at the time]:

Though the War of 1812 was effectively over two weeks earlier with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, December 24, 1814, news had not yet reached New Orleans.

On January 8, 1815, in the last battle of the War of 1812, nearly 10,000 British soldiers advanced under cover of darkness and heavy fog, intending to surprise General Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee and Kentucky sharpshooters, aided by French pirate Jean Lafitte and his men.

As the British neared, the fog suddenly lifted and in just a half hour 2,042 British were killed or wounded, while there were only 71 American casualties.

General Andrew Jackson wrote on January 26, 1815, to Robert Hays regarding the victorious Battle of New Orleans:

“It appears that the unerring hand of Providence shielded my men from the shower of balls, bombs, and rockets, when every ball and bomb from our guns carried with them a mission of death.”

General Jackson told his aide-de-camp Major Davezac of his confidence before the Battle:

“I was sure of success, for I knew that God would not give me previsions of disaster, but signs of victory. He said this ditch can never be passed. It cannot be done.”

Andrew Jackson wrote to Secretary of War James Monroe, February 17, 1815:

“Heaven, to be sure, has interposed most wonderfully in our behalf, and I am filled with gratitude, when I look back to what we have escaped.”

The Treaty of Ghent was ratified by the U.S. Senate, February 16, 1815.

All British troops were immediately brought back to Europe as Napoleon had escaped from the Island of Elba, February 26, 1816.

For one hundred days, events in Europe cascaded toward the massive Battle of Waterloo.

President James Madison proclaimed for the United States a National Day of Thanksgiving Devout Acknowledgment to Almighty God on March 4, 1815.

via American Minute for January 8th.

Gandhi & Buddha… What About Jesus Christ?

Kelly O’Brien writes:

Happy New Year, everyone! It seems many of us make New Years resolutions and in order to stay inspired as we revamp our diets or workout routines, relationships or careers, we turn to quotes and affirmations. Universally, we all seem to be able to relate to quotes and “life advice” from spiritual leaders throughout history: Gandhi, Buddha, etc. What about advice from Jesus Christ? It seems when many hear the name “Jesus Christ,” they recoil. Sides are taken, much like a debate between a staunch Republican and avid Democratic. People dont want to hear advice from Jesus Christ, yet his advice is as powerful as Buddha and Gandhi. You can put a quote from Gandhi on your Facebook wall and people will hit “Like” but put one from Jesus Christ and you might get defriended. If you can stay open minded, keep reading.

via Gandhi & Buddha…What About Jesus Christ?.

75 Affirmations to Jump-Start Your New Year

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Get more here: 75 Affirmations to Jump-Start Your New Year | FinerMinds.

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