I have an impulse to declare, "These are anxious times." But are they? It feels like they are. But are not all times anxious? Maybe you personally have had long periods where your anxiety was lower than it has been lately, but the globe as a whole, humankind as a whole, has always faced troubles. These are anxious times, but I can't really say if they are, overall, more anxious than most other times.
Anxiety. Everyone feels it, and no one wants to. Spiritual teachers in various traditions encourage us to do this: be curious about the causes of anxiety. Looking with open, accepting curiosity into what's causing our distress can bring us to a more peaceful relationship with those causes. Psychoanalyst Pilar Jennings writes:
"Often, we fixate on the symptoms of our suffering and distract ourselves from the causes. Again, this is a natural human tendency: getting mental distance from the suffering itself. Yet I’ve found that when we risk turning toward the causes of our anxiety, we’ll have a much better chance of getting the relief we need and deserve.In our spiritual practice, we do this by cultivating the ability to observe what’s happening in our minds with as little judgment as possible. By developing a feeling of friendly curiosity even about our neuroses. By noticing where we feel anxiety in the body. Especially by noting any powerful narratives that cause its arising."When you find anxiety arising, may you arouse curiosity to investigate it!
Yours in the faith we share,
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I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)
The Mar 6 worship service, "Humility":
PRACTICE OF THE WEEK: Put It in the Ultimate Context
From Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion, training #12 is Put It In Context. Put It In the Ultimate Context.
"Put it in the ultimate context" means seeing your situation and what you are experiencing in the context of -- indeed, as a part of and an integral manifestation of -- the ocean of love of which all things are in the midst.
The "it" to put in context is all the disturbances of your life -- all your confusion, resistance, pain, fear, grief, your frustrated desires, and so on. Usually, we hope any such emotion or reaction will eventually go away and we will be free of it. Instead, by placing it in context of the absolute, we look at its underlying reality.
What is actually going on at that moment when we are upset or angry? What is happening? Time is passing. Things are changing. Life is arising and passing away, coming from nowhere and going nowhere. Moment by moment, time slips away and things transform. Yet right now there is no past or future.
You may not know what this moment is, but you know it is real. Every moment of your life, including a moment of pain, despair or confusion, is a moment of your own inherent wholeness, your inherent perfection. This is a fact. Learning to see it is the path of wisdom.
When your mind is confused and entangled, you can notice that in this very moment time is passing, things are transforming, and this astonishing, inconceivable fact is profound, beautiful, and joyful.
For the full post, see "Put It in the Ultimate Context."
Here it is, your...
MOMENT OF ZEN
#111: To the Other Shore
As for the other shore, the raft you are using to get there has long since sunk.
One evening Woodpecker asked, "What does it mean to cross to the other shore?"Verse
Raven said, "Flowers crowd the cliffs."
Friend, we have walked around this Mobius strip
A thousand times, thou and I.
You ask me about the other side.
Other than what? I say.
Trust the walking, I say,
And never ignore a flower.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonPREVIOUS ☙ NEXT ☙ INDEX