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John Welwood on skillful means

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  • sharon holmes
    The discovery of basic goodness can be likened to clarifying muddy water - an ancient metaphor from the Taoist and Buddhist traditions. Water is naturally
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2011
      "The discovery of basic goodness can be likened to clarifying muddy
      water - an ancient metaphor from the Taoist and Buddhist traditions.
      Water is naturally pure and clear, though its turbulence may stir up
      mud from below. Our awareness is like that, essentially clear and
      open, but muddied with the turbulence of conflicting thoughts and
      emotions. If we want to clarify the water, what else is there to do
      but let the water sit?

      "Usually we want to put our hands in the water and do something with
      the dirt - struggle with it, try to change it, fix it, sanitize it -
      but this only stirs up more mud: 'Maybe I can get rid of my sadness
      by thinking positive thoughts.' But then the sadness sinks deeper
      and hardens into depression. 'Maybe I'll get my anger out, show
      people how I feel.' But this only spreads the dirt around. The
      water of awareness regains its clarity through seeing the muddiness
      for what it is - recognizing the turbulence of thought and feeling as
      noise or static, rather than as who we really are. When we stop
      reacting to it, which only stirs it up all the more, the mud can
      settle."

      ~ John Welwood, Ph.D., from "Toward a Psychology or Awakening:
      Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual
      Transformations," Shambhala Publications, 2000, as excerpted in the
      April, 2000 issue of Shambhala Sun magazine.


      May this be of benefit.
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