August 19, 2010
As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out of present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care and love – even the most simple action. ~Eckhart Tolle
Everyday, think as you wake up: Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself to expand my heart out to others for the benefit of all beings. ~His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama
While we have almost no control over external events and conditions, our happiness is largely within our control. “Hah!” you say. And I have said the same. But I do believe that dropping our ego identification as much as possible, waking gratefully, and paying attention to the present moment can radically alter our days.
On good days, I work, I play creatively, and I interact mindfully with others. Mostly, on those days, I can act to make it a good day. I’ve learned that if I pay attention to the nourishing things, instead of despairing over the time-wasters and bad habits, the good things increase. While I don’t buy any of that Secret stuff about the laws of attraction, it’s just common sense that where we put our attention profoundly affects our lives.
Tolle makes it sound simple, but the connection between intention and action can sometimes be tenuous for me. I try to remember what Annie Dillard said: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
May we begin each day in gratitude and aspire to act out of present-moment awareness, feeling the flow of life, making it a good day.
December 20, 2009
We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action. ~Frank Tibolt
Today I want to act as though I am inspired–to be kind, exercise, write poetry. Writers say almost without exception that regularly showing up for writing is essential, and I know from experience that waiting for inspiration to write is just a waste of time!
Fran Leibowitz says, “It’s very psychically wearing not to write—I mean if you’re supposed to be writing.” And Rollo May: “Creativity occurs in an act of encounter….”
What is it that you want to be inspired to do? Can you act as though you are already inspired?
March 28, 2009
If we want to make something spectacular out of our world, there is nothing whatsoever that can stop us. ~Maria Ranier
Make or find? In a previous post, I grappled with Eric Maisel’s concept of making (as opposed to finding) meaning in our lives. How does that jibe with Byron Katie’s concept of loving what is or Eckhart Tolle’s encouragement to live in the Now? If we are attempting to make our worlds, our lives, our meaning, are we pushing the rope?
Right effort is part of the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism. As with other things, perhaps it’s finding (or is it making?!) a balance between effort and surrender. Changing what we can and accepting the rest, as the first part of the serenity prayer teaches. This prayer goes on to refer to a deity, but I think surrender can also be to life and the natural world.
How do you reconcile right effort and surrender? To whom or what do you surrender (if you do)?
September 15, 2008
The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives. ~Annie Dillard
After two days of moping around the house and playing computer games, I am sick of myself! Today I will practice yoga, mindfulness meditation, and writing. I am trying to come up with a sign for my office with the sentiment, “Just Do It!” only using different words, so I am not reminded of an advertising slogan. I endlessly read about my passions–mindfulness, soulwork, writing, exercise, simplifying, poetry, yoga, creativity, meditation–rather than practicing them! It is (past) time to move from learning to doing, from watching to engaging.
Here it is appropriate to recall the famous lines that were probably from a translation of Faust by John Anster (more here), but were attributed to Goethe by Scottish mountaineer W. H. Murray, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
How do you move from intention to action? Hey, send me your suggestions for wording for my sign…