A personal blog by a graying (mostly Anglo with light African-American roots) gay leftist leaning liberal progressive fit married college-educated former Baha'i NPR-listening Professor Emeritus now following the Dharma from California to Minas Gerais, Brasil.
I find it really offensive when people say that the emotional experiences of teenagers are less real or less important than those of adults. I am an adult, and I used to be a teenager, and so I can tell you with some authority that my feelings then were as real as my feelings are now.
- John Green
Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people’s response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule.
- Henri J.M. Nouwen
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
- Kent M. Keith
Someone once told me that human beings have three dimensions: how you see yourself, how others see you, and how you want others to see you. The closer the distance between the three dimensions, the more at peace you are and the more stable you become.
- Marwa Rakha
If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: The past does not equal the future. Because you failed yesterday; or all day today; or a moment ago; or for the last six months; the last sixteen years; or the last fifty years of life, doesn’t mean anything… All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now?
- Anthony Robbins
Name ten things you wanna do before you die and then go do them. Name ten places you really wanna be before you die and then go to them. Name ten books you wanna read before you die and then go read them. Name ten songs you wanna hear again before you die, get all of your friends together and scream them, because right now all you have is time but someday that time will run out. That’s the only thing you can be absolutely certain about. Think of all the things that are wrong with your life and then fix them, think of all the things that you love about your life be thankful you are blessed with them, think of all the things that hold you back and realize that you don’t need them, think of all the mistakes you have made in your life, make sure that you never repeat them because right now all you have is time but someday that time will run out. That’s the only thing you can be absolutely certain about. Name ten thousand reasons why you never wanna die, go and tell someone who might’ve forgotten try to list the endless reasons why it’s good to be alive and then just smile for awhile about them, soon the sun will rise and another day will come, soon enough the sun will set, another day will be gone and right now all you have is time, but someday that time will run out.
- Paul Baribeau
Promise yourself, to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds. To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
- Christian D. Larson
Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.
- Cheryl Strayed
If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.
- Fred Rogers
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.
- Wall Street Journal
Peace can exist only in the present moment. It is ridiculous to say “Wait until I finish this, then I will be free to live in peace.” What is “this”? A diploma, a job, a house, the payment of a debt? If you think that way, peace will never come. There is always another “this” that will follow the present one. If you are not living in peace at this moment, you will never be able to. If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now. Otherwise, there is only “the hope of peace some day.
work that we are doing could be understood as a transition in the
direction towards true friendship, which implies wanting to see the
other shine and contributing to this without wanting anything in
exchange. So when we can perform this same benevolent act for those we
consider to be our enemies, we can finally raise our hands up high, for
we shall have passed the final test of the university of life.”
“Sharing our inner treasure—our virtues, gifts and talents—is putting love into movement. This kind of sharing has a tremendous power because it awakens true gratitude. We feel grateful that the other is able to receive what we are offering without waiting for them to respond with gratitude. We give thanks for the opportunity to share and not for the other’s recognition of our acts.”
Desirelessness is moksha (liberation). Desire is the creator, desire is the destroyer, desire is the universe. And when I see the desires that put me in this predicament at this moment, at one level I feel horror, but then I say even that's an attachment. All I can end up feeling is a great sense of the poignancy of the predicament. How poignant it is.
We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.
- Alan Wilson Watts
On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars - Something good will come out of all things yet - And it will be golden and eternal just like that - There’s no need to say another word.
- Jack Kerouac
Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.
- Meister Eckhart
Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
- Eckhart Tolle
To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.
- Alan Wilson Watts
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end.
- George R.R. Martin
Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it - don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of “the one who observes,” the silent watcher. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.
- Eckhart Tolle
The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.
- Chuck Close
You have two choices, to control your mind or to let your mind control you. You’re already familiar with the latter experience, allowing yourself to be swept along your fears, neuroses, insecurity, for we all have self-destructive tendencies.
- Paulo Coelho
Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let it go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry or hard-done by person. You will then ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane.
- Eckhart Tolle
It hurts to let go. Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. For having wanted to be wanted. It confuses you, because you think that your feelings were wrong and it makes you feel so small because it’s so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn’t come back.
It’s kinda funny here, just when I get somewhat anxious, or a little bit of despair creeps in about the current world condition, something hopeful shows up. I normally wait for the bus at the bus stop closer to HQ, but today, I walked down to the next stop, I have no idea, why, I just did.
My bus took its time, and as I was waiting two old ladies were conversing. As I listened, I realized one was telling the other about a wedding she went to, Between two men. She was describing it, and she got all teary. She was so moved as at first, she thought it was strange, but then the celebration was so sweet, and told the other lady how sweet the one groom was in his words to the other, and how everyone was crying, and the place was lovely. Before her bus came, they both agreed that love is love, and that two people happy like that deserve it. The other lady said that people who are prejudiced against gay people are out of step… it made my day.
“Self-knowledge is humanity’s remedy, because through it we learn how to recognize and deal with our dark side. When we deny our shadow, it manifests externally through things like crisis, disaster, illness, failure and loss. Self-knowledge allows our essence, which is love, to manifest and create union, peace and prosperity in our lives.”
“The cause of happiness is happiness itself. Happiness exists right now, inside of us, regardless of any external situation. Nothing outside of ourselves can make us happy. Thus, it is not possible to give anyone else happiness. We can only create the right conditions and help them awaken their own inner happiness.”
When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.
- Thích Nhất Hạnh
Breathe. It’s okay. You’re going to be okay. Just breathe. Breathe, and remind yourself of all the times in the past you felt this scared. All of the times you felt this anxious and this overwhelmed. All of the times you felt this level of pain. And remind yourself how each time, you made it through. Life has thrown so much at you, and despite how difficult things have been, you’ve survived. Breathe and trust that you can survive this too. Trust that this struggle is part of the process. And trust that as long as you don’t give up and keep pushing forward, no matter how hopeless things seem, you will make it.
- Daniell Koepke
The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.
- Stephen King
A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity. When for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.
- Christopher Isherwood
Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp, we lose. Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it too is a vessel of perfection. Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.
- Lao Tzu
You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.
- Max Ehrmann
We define religion as the assumption that life has meaning. Religion, or lack of it, is shown not in some intellectual or verbal formulations but in one’s total orientation to life. Religion is whatever the individual takes to be his ultimate concern. One’s religious attitude is to be found at that point where he has a conviction that there are values in human existence worth living and dying for.
- Rollo May
The Ego, however, is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power, because it lives in fear.
- Deepak Chopra
The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing. Ultimately, after endlessly repeated rebuffs, it succeeds. This is one of the few points in which it may be optimistic about the future of mankind, but in itself it signifies not a little.
- Sigmund Freud
To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.
I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.
Inspired by ancient Buddhist artwork on cave walls, Amanda Giacomini set out on a mission to paint 10,000 Buddhas all over America. Lilly Greenblatt tells her story.
Artist and yoga teacher Amanda Giacomini only saw the inspiration behind her social-media-famous art project, Ten Thousand Buddhas, for a matter of seconds, but those few seconds have kept her painting ever since.
While studying Ashtanga yoga in South India in late 2006, Giacomini visited the Ajanta Caves, a historic site of a series of over 30 Buddhist rock-cut cave monuments and painted murals dating back to the 2nd century. The walls of the caves depict the traditional Jataka tales, which describe the Gautama Buddha’s previous lives.
As Giacomini walked through the dark caves, a guide scanned the walls with a flashlight, moving quickly to protect the precious images from light exposure. For a few seconds, a painting of 1,000 buddhas sitting together was illuminated before her. In the years to come, these little buddhas wouldn’t leave her mind.
“It wasn’t the most sophisticated of all the paintings in the caves,” says Giacomini, “but the buddhas were so captivating because it was all hand-done. All of their little faces all had different expressions and their hands were in different mudras.”
“It stuck with me for many years. It planted a little seed in my mind,” she says.
Years later, in 2012, Giacomini found herself still thinking of those 1,000 ancient buddhas. She set out to create her own version of the painting.
“I loved the image and I wanted to be around it more, but I couldn’t go back to India. I was going to just do a big painting for myself,” she says.
Her first painting, eight feet by four feet, took Giacomini almost a year to complete. It depicted just 99 buddhas. As difficult as it was to paint, Giacomini says she found the act of painting the little buddhas to be calming and meditative. Giacomini decided to paint 10,000 buddhas — an ambition that, at the time, seemed impossible.