Friday, October 18, 2019

It's All about Relating - to Ourself, Others, the Universe

     May these insights intrigue and inspire ...

     The most important question a human being needs to answer according to Einstein: " 'Is the universe a friendly place or not?' ... If we believe that the universe is unfriendly ... peace will be elusive at best." Joan Borysenko. “Fire in the Soul. A New Psychology of Spiritual Optimism.” Warner Books, 1993.

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'universe,' a part limited in time and space.
We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all of its beauty.
The true value of a human being
is determined primarily by the measure and the sense
in which s/he has attained liberation
from the (separate) self....
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking
if humanity is to survive."
Albert Einstein

      “By giving ourselves unconditional kindness and comfort while embracing the human experience, difficult as it is, we avoid destructive patterns of fear, negativity, and isolation. At the same time, self-compassion fosters positive mind states such as happiness and optimism. The nurturing quality of self-compassion allows us to flourish, to appreciate the beauty and richness of life, even in hard times.
      ... you are only being asked to relax, allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself. It’s easier than you might think, and it could change your life.” Kristin Neff. “Self-Compassion. The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.” HarperCollins, 2011.

      “I would define love very simply: as a potent blend of openness and warmth, which allows us to make real contact, to take delight in and appreciate, and to be at one with – ourselves, others, and life itself.
      ... love is the central force that holds our whole life together and allows it to function." John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006. 

     "To be enlightened is to be intimate with all things." Zen Master Dogen 

      "I was born
       when all I once feared
       I could love.” Rabia Basri 

     "Once we are willing to be directly intimate with our life as it arises, joy emerges out of the simplest of life experiences." Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara

      During meditation “you are not escaping the world; you are getting ready to fully embrace it.” Christine Skarda 

     "... everything yearns to be met. Everything yearns to resolve itself in love – that love being the open space of acceptance, of allowing, of staying resolutely present, and unconditionally open to every nuance of your inner experience." Amoda Maa. "Surfing the Heart of Darkness: Suffering as a Doorway to Liberation."

     “Your task is not to seek for love,
      but merely to seek and find all of the barriers
      within yourself that you have built against it.” Helen Schueman

      Intimacy is what practice is all about: the realization of the essential lack of distinction between self and other that inevitably leads to wisdom and compassionate action. Intimacy with the depth of our being – authenticity – is the essential first step. Then, with the help of loving-kindness meditation, we bring intimacy into our relationships with others, starting with those dearest to us and moving on to those who don’t seem dear at all. We can grow in intimacy to include everyone around us, all of society, the whole world and all the beings it contains. Pat Enkyo O’Hara “Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life's Challenges.” Shambhala, 2014. 

     We spend a disproportionate amount of time & energy, fearing for our life. This is almost always because we're reacting to past traumas (instead of engaging with reality) and/or we're fearing & trying to avoid ego death (instead of accepting & engaging with the unavoidable reality of physical death). 
     To see what a (spontaneous) shift from fear-based, survivalist self-centered, adversarial, fight / flight / freeze "ordinary mind" to an evolved tend & befriend "open heart-mind" level of consciousness looks like, listen to (or read the transcript of) this documentary: CBC Radio, The Current: “This B.C. woman lodged hundreds of 911 complaints about the homeless. Now she's advocating for them.”

     An overview of Intimacy with the Real World:

     With due respect to William James, most of our thoughts (self-referential internal narrative) are echos of our conditioning. Better thoughts cannot eliminate discretionary suffering.
     “We are here to find that dimension within ourselves that is deeper than thought.” Eckhart Tolle
     We can access, and can integrate, a deeper, far more evolved level of consciousness than the ordinary discursive thought level. 

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