Going On Being

'Buddhism taught me to let go of concepts and opinions and to break down constricting boundaries, not to create a new ideology. Meditation taught me how to be at one with whatever I was doing. It encouraged me to be myself. It allowed me to do therapy with a focus on doing therapy, just as it taught me to wash the dishes when I was washing the dishes, to walk when I walked, and to play with my children when I played with my children. Meditation was about learning to be more fully in the moment, in the Now, engaged in the process of being alive. It was not about creating a new form that is better than the old form.'

- Mark Epstein, Going On Being, Buddhism and the Way of Change.

Emotional Wakefulness

'In the Buddhist tradition, great attention is given to acknowledging the central role that feeling plays in life. Meditation practice is not a path inflicting an emotional lobotomy, but one of appreciating the power of our emotions as messengers of healing, compassion, and depth, as well as messengers of destruction. Instruction is given in the cultivation of loving kindness, sensitivity, forgiveness, joy, appreciation and empathy. The Buddha once remarked that happiness is the taste of freedom. Equally, encouragement is given to understanding and releasing ourselves from greed, hatred, envy, and delusion. Superficially this appears to be a spiritual code based on “positive” and “negative.” But beneath this lies the wisdom of understanding what leads to harm and what heals, a substantively different code than that of “right” and “wrong.”

Simplicity does not demand that we eradicate or subdue our capacity to feel, but encourages us to liberate our emotional processes from the baggage of association, conclusion, history, fear and obsession. An awakened heart feels deeply, loves well, treasures forgiveness and compassion, and lives with profound sensitivity. In the volumes of Buddhist texts, endless references are made to the scale of the feelings we experience, yet it is difficult to find a single word that could be translated as “emotion.” Emotion is not seen as a state or an adverb, but as a process and verb that is constantly changing. No separation is made between heart, mind and body - emotion permeates and unifies them all and in recognizing this unity we can begin to explore the body of emotion.’

- Christina Feldman, The Buddhist Path to Simplicity.

Despair and Enlightenment

'In Buddhism there is no God to call us to account. Suffering simply is. There is no denying it and there is no one to blame. Whoever may be to blame - perhaps even ourselves in a former manifestation - is no more. The present is what is. There is no escape. We do our best to escape, nonetheless. The Buddha himself went to the utmost lengths to escape the suffering he carried within himself. He abandoned his wife and child. he rejected his birthright. he left teacher after teacher. He practiced self-mortification to the limit. He was very hard on himself and difficult to live with at that time. Nothing could throw off the haunting knowledge that his mother died giving birth to him: the pain of knowledge that lay in his heart and that could never be undone. 

The important thing that the Buddha discovered was that none of his attempts to escape worked. Enlightenment came after he despaired of them. It came in the midst of the most terrible night of his life in which he did not get a wink of sleep because all the torments that were within him assailed him from every side. There are plenty of sanitised accounts of the night of the Buddha’s enlightenment which paint us a picture of dignified triumphal procession with the Buddha winning every encounter. The reality, however, must have been a nightmare.

In the end, he found himself grown up and alone. If this seems like a terrible prospect to you, stop reading now. It is, however, the gateway to all real satisfaction. In his new awakening he experienced the most profound joy there is. In his aloneness he found himself in communion with all beings everywhere.’

- David Brazier, The Feeling Buddha.

pppanacea asked:

Hi do you have any informative, mind altering YouTube videos you'd like to recommend? I love expanding my consciousness and learning new things 😁

Hi, I would recommend video’s on mindfulness meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh or Jack Kornfield. Mindfulness of the breath is both a simple and profound practice that helps practitioners to be more deeply aware of the here and now, the present moment.

By more directly connecting with the reality of this present moment we touch and may dwell in a deeper awareness of the simplicity of life, freed from the distractions of our likes and dislikes. 

All good wishes,

Stephen.