"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it...unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." --Buddha
"The Grandfathers gave us simple advice.
They recommended that everyone should ask themselves
four important questions:
- Am I happy with what I am doing?
- Does what I do add to the confusion in the world?
- What am I doing to create peace?
- How will I be remembered after I have passed?"
Attributed to the Seneca Tribe
"One finds here, very rarely in the low-lying areas, more frequently as one goes farther up, a clear and extremely hard stone that is spherical and varies in size--a kind of crystal, but a curved crystal, something extraordinary and unknown on the rest of the planet.
Among the French of Port-des-Singes, it is called peradam. The clarity of this stone is so great and its index of refraction so close to that of air that, despite the crystal's great density, the unaccustomed eye hardly perceives it. But to anyone who seeks it with sincere desire and true need, it reveals itself by its sudden sparkle."
from Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing by René Daumal
"Like the Rosetta Stone, for those who know how to read it, the body is a living record of life given, life taken, life hoped for, life healed. It is valued for its articulate ability to register immediate reaction, to feel profoundly, to sense ahead. The body is a multilingual being."
from WOMEN WHO RUN WITH WOLVES by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace -
only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.
Often when we are setting an intent for our lives, we ask that it manifest “with grace”. Here are a few ways we can find grace--or allow it to find us.
Cultivate trust in yourself, in your belief system, in your life. No one can control everything. Whatever you believe, trust that the information and resources you need are being made available to you.
Be open to things working out differently than you anticipated. Even though you may have a firm idea of what is best for you, life (grace) may have other plans. And those other plans may be far better than anything you could have imagined.
Let go of negative emotions like fear, anger and guilt. These emotions muddle thinking and exhaust personal energy. If you need to forgive, either yourself or others, work on that. If you have unresolved issues with your past, get help dealing with them. Staying stuck in negativity makes it harder to recognize grace when it appears.
Be of service to others. Allow that service and those you serve to grace your life by widening your horizons, expanding your tolerance and making you a force for grace in the world
Lastly, practice gratitude for gratitude is a way to invite grace into your life. Start by naming your blessings. Some people find a gratitude journal helpful, others practice by making a point to notice 6 things a day for which they are thankful. Find what works for you, then practice consistently.
Too often, we recognize grace only in hindsight. Looking back, we may trace the winding path of a casual remark which led to new career, the book that expanded our consciousness, or the detour from our daily routine which brought us a new relationship. The practices above can help us become aware of grace in the present, in the here and now. And as our awareness of grace expands, so do the opportunities for receiving it.
“One day I walk in flowers.
One day I walk on stones.
Today I walk in hours,
One day I shall be home.”
Bruce Cockburn - “One Day I Walk”
The spiritual path is hard. Certainly there is tremendous joy, but some days it can seem like a grind. When weeks go by with no epiphanies, when it seems the Universe has forgotten all about you and when even the parking space gods are looking the other way as you circle the block for the umpteenth time, one can wonder: What is the point? Why bother?
Various spiritual traditions offer a number of reasons why we should bother and great comfort can be found in the words of the Christ or the Buddha or one of many learned mystics or sages. Other times, Nature or art or one’s community may offer a reason to continue the practice, to keep the faith. However, when we are unable to find inspiration in the usual places, we may feel we are left with only ourselves, the face in the mirror…and perhaps a bad case of the blahs.
Sometimes taking a day off can help. Being too focused on our personal work can cause tunnel vision and we may forget to enjoy other aspects of life. An afternoon people-watching in a café, or taking in an entertaining movie or book, can refresh our mind and clear our vision. So can fun physical activities, such as dancing or sports. Physical activity is particularly good for integration and sometimes when we are stuck it is because we have not completely absorbed a lesson or an insight.
So after our refreshing break, we return…to the meditation cushion, to the journal, to the work. We return because even though the effects of our work may seem unclear, we are willing to live into the mystery….and work for another opportunity to walk in flowers.