Monday, January 31, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Pema Chödrön's March 2005 article, The Answer to Anger and Aggression is Patience.
The following passage from the article made me think about the many things I hold onto past the point of usefulness--certain ways of doing things, beliefs about myself and others, even my perspective on the world--and how liberating it can be when I let go and open myself up to alternatives. But Chödrön also provides a healthy reminder that it takes patient effort to explore and understand these things, and that sometimes it's best to focus on small ones before addressing big ones:
[W]henever there is pain of any kind--the pain of aggression, grieving, loss, irritation, resentment, jealousy, indigestion, physical pain--if you really look into that, you can find out for yourself that behind the pain there is always something we are attached to. There is always something we're holding on to...
...After a while it seems like almost every moment of your life you're there, at a point where you realize you actually have a choice. You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go, whether to harden or soften...
It requires enormous patience even to be curious enough to look, to investigate. And then when you realize you have a choice, and that there’s actually something there that you’re attached to, it requires great patience to keep going into it. Because you will want to go into denial, to shut down. You’re going to say to yourself, "I don't want to see this." You'll be afraid, because even if you're starting to get close to it, the thought of letting go is usually very frightening. You may feel that you're going to die, or that something is going to die. And you will be right. If you let go, something will die. But it's something that needs to die and you will benefit greatly from its death.
On the other hand, sometimes it's easy to let go. If you make this journey of looking to see if there's something you’re holding on to, often it's going to be just a little thing. Once when I was stuck with something huge, Trungpa Rinpoche gave me some advice. He said, "It's too big; you can't let go of it yet, so practice with the little ones. Just start noticing all the little ways you hold when it’s actually pretty easy and just get the hang of letting go."
Monday, January 17, 2011
Loving-kindness meditation can be brought in to support the practice of insight meditation to help keep the mind open and sweet. It provides the essential balance to support Insight meditation practice.
It is a fact of life that many people are troubled by difficult emotional states in the pressured societies we live in, but do little in terms of developing skills to deal with them. Yet even when the mind goes sour it is within most people's capacity to arouse positive feelings to sweeten it. Loving-kindness is a meditation practice taught by the Buddha to develop the mental habit of selfless or altruistic love. In the Dhammapada can be found the saying: "Hatred cannot coexist with loving-kindness, and dissipates if supplanted with thoughts based on loving-kindness."
Loving-kindness is a meditation practice, which brings about positive attitudinal changes as it systematically develops the quality of 'loving-acceptance'. It acts, as it were, as a form of self-psychotherapy, a way of healing the troubled mind to free it from its pain and confusion. Of all Buddhist meditations, loving-kindness has the immediate benefit of sweetening and changing old habituated negative patterns of mind.
Four types of persons to develop loving-kindness towards: