Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Cultivating Mindfulness

We can practice developing mindfulness—and other skillful qualities—at any moment in our lives, but setting aside specific time to cultivate it is extremely effective. Many people have found that unless they reserve such time, it is difficult—especially in the beginning—to develop this quality.

Cultivating mindfulness through meditation is like cultivating physical fitness. You go to the gym, where you exercise in order to strengthen and train your body, so that you will be strong no matter where you are. In the same way, you can create particular spaces and times in your life to train in mindfulness. At the gym, when you are training your body, that is the only thing you are doing—you are not driving a car or reading or eating. The same is true for awakening and strengthening mindfulness meditation.

–Arinna Weisman and Jean Smith, The Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness Meditation (Bell Tower)

When a person has thorougly understood the world...

"The Buddha said: 'When a person has thoroughly understood the world, from top to bottom, when there is nothing in the world that agitates him anymore, then he has become somebody who is free from confusion and fears and tremblings and the longings of desire. He has gone beyond getting old and beyond birth and death.'
- Sutta Nipata"

Monday, June 29, 2009

Appreciating Ourselves and Taking Responsibility for Ourselves

A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don't appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness toward themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused. Instead of appreciating our lives, we often take our existence for granted or we find it depressing and burdensome.

People threaten to commit suicide because they aren't getting what they think, they deserve out of life. They blackmail others with the threat of suicide, saying that they will kill themselves if certain things don't change. Certainly we should take our lives seriously, but that doesn't mean driving ourselves to the brink of disaster by complaining about our problems or holding a grudge against the world. We have to accept personal responsibility for uplifting our lives.

–Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Sanity We Are Born WIth (Shambhala Publications)