Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we already are. — Pema Chödrön
Image from our Pema Chödrön 2017 wall calendar. Japanese white-eye on blossoming plum tree, Honshu, Japan © Toshiaki Ono.
When people start to meditate or work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I could get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.” Or the scenario may be that they find fault with others; they might say, “If it weren’t for my husband, I’d have a perfect marriage.” “If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get on, my job would be just great.” And, “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.” Continue reading
A Thought From His Holiness The Dalai Lama:
Photograph by Oscar Fernández featured in our Dalai Lama 2017 wall calendar.
No matter whom I meet and where I go, I always give the advice to be altruistic, to have a good heart. From the time when I began to think until now, I have been cultivating this attitude of altruism. This is the essence of religion; this is the essence of the Buddhist teaching.
We should take this good heart, this altruism, as the very basis and internal structure of our practice and direct whatever virtuous activities we do toward its increase higher and higher. We should suffuse our minds with it thoroughly and use words or writings as means of reminding ourselves of the practice. Such words are the Eight Stanzas for Training the Mind, written by the Ga-dam-ba Ge-shay Lang-ritang- ba (1054 – 1123); they are very powerful even when practiced only at the level of enthusiastic interest. Continue reading
It’s that moment when we have become present and offered a kindness – or the intention of kindness – where there’s a real transformation. — Tara Brach
Image from the Present Moment 2017 wall calendar published in partnership with our friends at Sounds True. Photo © Katsiaryna Yudo.
Random Acts of Kindness Week, which will be observed February 12-18, 2017, is an annual opportunity to unite through kindness. Formally recognized in 1995, this seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act — one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. It’s an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Since inception, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation estimates that millions of individuals, celebrities, businesses, schools, and partners have participated in these weeklong celebrations. Continue reading
Image by Jim Yellowhawk from our Lakota Way 2017 wall calendar. Click image for more info.
Courage is not exclusive to any one person or calling or to any situation or circumstance. In a world that is constantly in motion, each of us has much to face each and every day. From the simple to the complex, from the mundane to the heartstopping, each of us has to live our lives with the strengths and the weaknesses we have. We should not blame our weaknesses or yearn for the strengths we do not have; we should instead use who and what we are, at any given moment in our lives, to enable ourselves to take the next step and the next after that. That is courage. As the world swirls around us, having courage is the only way to move with it and face what it will bring.
— Joseph M. Marshall
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Image from our Meditation 2017 wall calendar. Lotus flower offering © imageBROKER. Click image for more info.
It is often said that there are as many paths to meditation as there are meditators. These paths can be likened to streams flowing into the ocean. Each stream takes a unique course, but they all return to the source from which all waters originate.
The most commonly known forms of meditation share a few basic characteristics:
- Posture: Bring your body into a stable sitting position, in alignment, spine straight.
- Solitude: Bring yourself away to a quiet place where you may be relatively undisturbed.
- Silence: Bring yourself to silence.
- Mental quiescence: Bring your mind to stillness.
Image from our Power of Now 2017 wall calendar. Blue Dacnis, La Selva, Costa Rica © David Tipling. Click image for more info.
The sooner you realize that your outer purpose cannot give you lasting fulfillment, the better. When you have seen the limitations of your outer purpose, you give up your unrealistic expectation that it should make you happy, and you make it subservient to your inner purpose.
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Image from The Book of Awakening 2017 wall calendar. Heather in the fog, Overijssel, Netherlands © Ronald Kamphius. Click image for more.
“Loving yourself requires courage unlike any other. It requires us to believe in and stay loyal to something no one else can see that keeps us in the world – our own self-worth.”
— Mark Nepo
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Image from our Thich Nhat Hanh 2017 wall calendar featuring artwork by Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin. Click image for more details.
Sitting meditation is not to arrive
at some kind of enlightenment
in the future. When we sit, we have
a chance to be fully with ourselves.
Sitting on our cushion, we breathe
in such a way that we become fully alive;
we are fully present, in the here and the now.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
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