Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Via LionsRoar / The Life-Changing Words of Mary Oliver

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
this grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Via LionsRoar: How to Practice Hugging Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

In my hermitage I have planted beautiful trees. When I do walking meditation, I often stop and hug one of the trees, breathing in and out. It’s very nourishing. The tree gives me strength, and it always seems to me that the tree responds to my hugging and breathing.

A tree is always available, but I’m not so sure about a person! Often, we’re not really there with the people we love. We get caught up in other things, like our work or the news on TV. Hugging meditation is a practice of awareness. If we’re not available, how can we hug someone? We return to ourselves to become totally present and available for the other person. If hugging isn’t done in this spirit, it’s only a ritual without content. When we’re mindful and present, hugging has a deep power to heal, transform, and bring reconciliation.

When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings.
We may practice hugging meditation with a friend, our child, a parent, our partner, or a tree. The hugging can be very deep. Life is there. Happiness is there. 

Sometimes the hugging is not very deep and the hugger only pretends to be there, perhaps by patting you on the back—I have some experience of this! When someone hugs you with all their heart and presence, you feel it. When someone takes your hands in mindfulness, with their presence, their concern, you feel it. So hug like that—make life real and deep. It will heal both of you.

Hugging meditation is something I invented. In 1966, a friend drove me to the Atlanta airport, and when we were saying goodbye, she asked, “Is it all right to hug a Buddhist monk?” In my country, we are not used to expressing ourselves this way in public. But I thought, “I am a Zen teacher. It shouldn’t be a problem for me to do this.” So, I said, “Why not?” and she hugged me, but I was rather stiff. Later, on the plane, I decided that if I wanted to work with friends in the West, I would have to learn the culture of the West. That is why I invented hugging meditation.

Hugging in public is a Western practice. Meditation, conscious breathing, is an Eastern practice. The two come together in hugging meditation. I think it’s a good combination. For Buddhist practice to be rooted in the West, new dharma doors should be opened. I think hugging meditation can be considered one of these doors. The practice of mindful hugging has helped so many people to reconcile with each other. When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings.

It’s a pleasure to hug someone we love. But don’t think it’s something easy. 

Maybe we want to hug the other person, but they aren’t available—they’re caught in their anger, worries, or projects. Hugging is a deep practice and both people need to be completely present to do it correctly. That’s why it’s not always easy. So, we have to learn how.

Read the rest of the article and more here

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - August 14, 2019 đź’Ś

In yoga, one of the methods is called 'contentment'. That’s not a goal, that’s a method.
I can be content this moment, and the next moment I’m moving toward something else. When I am here I am content, when I am here I am content, when I am here I am content. So even though you are going to change something the next minute, that doesn’t mean you change it out of discontent. It changes because it changes.

That is the basis that you do everything in yoga.

-  Ram Dass  -

Via Daily Dharma: How We Arrive at Our Views

Once we perceive, we habitually jump to thoughts and feelings about what is being perceived. These thoughts and feelings, rooted in past experiences and conditioning, then influence the mood of our mind. When perception, thoughts, and feelings are repeated or imprinted through experiences, they solidify into view or belief.

—Ruth King, “Mindful of Race