December 6, 2009
On the deepest level, problems such as war and starvation are not solved by economics and politics alone. Their source is the prejudice and fear in the human heart—and their solution also lies in the human heart. What the world needs most is people who are less bound by prejudice. It needs more love, more generosity, more mercy, more openness. The root of human problems is not a lack of resources but comes from the misunderstanding, fear, and separateness that can be found in the hearts of people. ~Jack Kornfield, from Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation
My friend Carol gets the credit for the title of today’s post. She once shared her aspiration for this succinctly-expressed way of relating to the world. While it may sound naive to some, I believe that this practice of loving will create a better world, as Kornfield suggests. I am only one, but still I am one! (This idea from Edward Everett Hale: “because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”)
I want to relentlessly love more and fear less in everything I do, trusting that it will make a difference in my own heart and soul and ultimately in the world, but knowing also that some will misunderstand, suspect, discount, or reject that love. Won’t you join me in this intention?
November 21, 2009
In choosing to live with right intention…you are connecting to your own sense of kindness and innate dignity. Standing on this ground of intention, you are then able to participate as you choose in life’s contests, until you outgrow them. ~Phillip Moffitt
Today, this Yoga Journal article, “The Heart’s Intention”, was exactly what I needed. Moffitt draws the distinction between goals, which are oriented toward a future outcome, and intention, which is “a path or practice that is focused on how you are ‘being’ in the present moment.”
Moffitt says “You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.” Intention, unlike goals, results in integrity, unity, self-respect and peace of mind.
We clearly need goals to help us be effective and move forward in our endeavors. But Moffitt reminds us that goals are inadequate for measuring our success in life. Staying attuned to our heart’s intention (not that of the rational mind) is what Moffitt calls coming home to ourselves.
Of course, we can never do this perfectly. But Moffitt assures us that “each time you start over by reconnecting to your intention, you are taking one more step toward finding your own authenticity and freedom.”
And so the theme is practice, not perfection, again.
November 8, 2009
You always have to be working on something because you have to trust your unconscious life, to be ready to deal with a play [poem] when it says, ‘Here I am.’ ~John Guare
This afternoon I will read, along with other Stonepile Writers Group members, at the Dahlonega Literary Festival. It would be lovely to have a new poem to read, but my last one was written several months ago. Today’s quote is a reminder to myself to get busy working on something. Nothing has said “Here I am” in some time, and I believe that is because I have not sat still enough.
Today I renew my intention to build in time for reception and gestation of images, the attunement to the senses, the mindfulness that often eludes me, crowded out by busyness. I think I will have to schedule this time, as paradoxical as that sounds, to put it on my calendar as sacred time. I am on vacation this week, so it seems like the ideal time to practice this intention.
How do you get yourself to a place where you can manifest your talents, where you are in “flow,” ready to receive that which calls to you, “Here I am?”
February 5, 2009
One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others. ~Archibald Rutledge
For many years, I’ve believed that what hurts one member of the human family hurts us all, and what helps one person helps us all. It is logical, then, to rejoice when another is lifted up or otherwise graced with good fortune. I am learning that, like forgiveness, this practice is something that helps the giver at least as much as the recipient.
When we are jealous or resentful of others, I think we are coming from a scarcity mentality. In celebrating another’s fortune or success, we fear losing something ourselves, whereas embracing abundance (which leads to generosity) shifts our position dramatically. Gary Zukav, in his book, The Heart of the Soul, says that we release our energy into the world from either fear and doubt or from love and trust. It seems important to me to be intentional about staying on the side of love and trust as much as we can, opening our hearts to others.
How do you see it?
July 20, 2008
Make it a rule of life never to regret and never look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it is good only for wallowing in. ~Katherine Mansfield
Amen, Ms. Mansfield! I wish I had a nickel for every time I have wallowed in regret. It is tempting to think one’s sins or shortcomings are somehow more numerous or egregious than others’, that we are special in some way. Some of mine are sins of omission, some commission, but in the end, we all have them. While confession may be good for the soul, there are some I still can’t confess to even my closest friends, and I think the better route is to forgive myself and let go of the past, to stop wasting energy on embarrassment and regret.
After all, it was I who in the spring of 2004 wrote the lines, “I unfold my failures like old clothes/hug them to me, then let go,/watch them sail away on the wind.” I find that writing is so often prophetic, that it gets at truths long before I can understand them fully. Which is one reason this blog is so important to me: Even if I am not living my professions here, they are pointing in the direction I want to go, helping establish and explore my intentions. For example, way back in a January post I wrote, “More and more of being here now, and less and less of dwelling on past mistakes or future possibilities, is liberating and exhilirating.” Life is a spiral.
Have you found freedom from regret? What helps you to forgive yourself for your transgressions?
December 26, 2007
Better keep yourself clean and bright: you are the window through which you must see the world. ~George Bernard Shaw
Any moment of any day, of course, can be (and is) the start of a new year. But the tradition in our culture is to consider January 1 a new beginning. New Year’s Day for many people comes with a list of resolutions, most of which are abandoned by January 15 or so. I suppose we party with such reckless abandon on New Year’s Eve because we know we will pay penance with our resolutions the following day. It’s like that last binge eating spree before the diet starts.
But I think we’re all wrong in this practice. First, because I think our intentions are important to consider every day of our lives; who knows whether there will be a tomorrow? Secondly, because we set impossible goals for ourselves with these lists by trying to think in terms of a whole year. And finally, because life is happening now, not later, not even in the next hour, certainly not next week.
I want to be a mindful being for as many moments of as many days of as many years as I have left on the planet. So I won’t make a list of resolutions next week. I’ll connect in this moment (and this, and this…) to my intentions toward right action, right speech, and lovingkindness toward everyone in the new year that begins right now.