Unbearable or beneficial?

A given situation can be viewed as either unbearable or beneficial: it depends on how we look at it.

We must make certain that things don’t begin to seem unbearable. If we look too closely at problems we will see nothing else, and they will appear all out of proportion with reality; that is when they become intolerable.

If we can stand back from them, we will be better able to judge them, and they will seem less serious. ~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama


~ This quote from HH spoke to me today…and maybe it speaks to you too. There are times to look closely at a situation…and then the situation becomes clear. Yet at other times…if we look too closely…the situation becomes blurry, and we lose our ‘balance,’ our middle way.

Taking a step back from a problem or situation and relaxing our tight view can give us the ‘answer’ we seek.  ~ Debra

Whatever you can do, I can do….

Three monks sat by a lake, deep in meditation. One stood up and said, “I’ve forgotten my mat.” Stepping on to the waters before him, he walked across to the other side, where their small hut stood. When he returned, the second monk said, “I just remembered I haven’t dried my washed clothes.” He too strode calmly across the water to the other bank and returned in a few minutes the same way.

The third monk watched them intently. Figuring that this was a test of his own skills, he loudly declared, “So you think your abilities are superior to mine! Watch me!” and scurried to the edge of the river bank. No sooner did he put his foot in then he fell into the waist-high water. Unfazed, he waded out and tried again. And again and again, to no avail. After watching this performance in silence, one of his fellow monks asked the other, “D’ you suppose we should tell him where the stepping stones are?”

Don’t let ego and jealousy cloud your common sense!


Calm Abiding

Besides settling the mind, mindfulness meditation develops a certain kind of strength, a sort of mindfulness muscle, and cultivates stability so that every thought doesn’t drag us out of the room. Hostile thoughts, sexual thoughts, thoughts about ice-cream don’t just drag us away. We are able to be steady and present with whatever arises in our mind – that’s why this practice is also known as calm abiding. ~ David Nichtern

Book Review: Breakfast with Buddha

It wasn’t as if I’d been suddenly turned gullible in western Indiana, but the raspy hard edges of my suspicion had been worn down, and I have to admit that it frightened me.  This was not a physical feat but something else, a shakiness at the base of who I thought I was.

Breakfast with Buddha is a wonderfully witty ride through America both physically and spiritually.  Through this road trip parable, Robert Merullo challenges us to analyze our own spiritual life and see the equality of compassion and happiness.  Without preaching, he weaves a tale that gives us reason to see all religious traditions in a different light.

I enjoyed every page as Otto Ringling takes us from his wonderfully upper middle class perfect life to the point where he is prostrating to a Skorodovian monk.

The journey begins when Otto is tricked by his sister into transporting her guru across the country on his way to North Dakota.  Along the way, he acquires some realizations about his life, his family, and his spirit.  Volya Rinpoche is an amalgam of several eastern traditions, zen master, Tibetan lama, yoga guru all mixed in a delightfully wise and funny character whose purity of spirit runs through the pages.  Through his words, actions, and silence, Rinpoche shows Otto how to remove the chaos that controls his life and appreciate each moment.

We’ve all had moments when the fabric of our belief system is challenged and this book delves into that challenge with humor and wit.  The western skepticism of eastern philosophy is touched on through interaction with a Catholic nun, Philosophy professor, and Otto and handled in the inclusive manner of the Dalai Lama.  As the hard shell of Otto’s belief system is cracked, the teachings reveal their truths in a way that is completely relevent to his life.

As Cecelia (Otto’s sister) put it “The country needs help, spiritual help.  He’ll change your life too, if you just let him“.  While the book itself isn’t going to necessarily change your life, hopefully it will give you pause to contemplate where your life is spiritually.

~ Review by digging_the_dharma