#4615 - Saturday, June 2, 2011
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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #4615, Saturday, June 2, 2011
Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us. Not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing. Silence is God's lap.
Many things grow the silence in us, among them simply growing older.
We may then become more a refuge than a rescuer, a witness to the process of life and the wisdom of acceptance.
A highly skilled AIDS doctor once told me that she keeps a picture of her grandmother in her home and sits before it for a few minutes every day before she leaves for work. Her grandmother was an Italian-born woman who held her family close. Her wisdom was of the earth. Once when Louisa was very small, her kitten was killed in an accident. It was her first experience of death and she had been devastated. Her parents had encouraged her not to be sad, telling her that the kitten was in heaven now with God. Despite these assurances, she had not been comforted. She had prayed to God, asking Him to give her kitten back. But God did not respond.
In her anguish she had turned to her grandmother and asked, "Why?" Her grandmother had not told her that her kitten was in heaven as so many of the other adults had. Instead, she had simply held her and reminded her of the time when her grandfather had died. She, too, had prayed to God, but God had not brought Grandpa back. She did not know why. Louisa had turned into the soft warmth of her grandmother's shoulder then and sobbed. When finally she was able to look up, she saw that her grandmother was crying, too.
Although her grandmother could not answer her question, a great loneliness had gone and she felt able to go on. All the assurances that Peaches was in heaven had not given her this strength or peace. "My grandmother was a lap, Rachel," she told me, "a place of refuge. I know a great deal about AIDS, but what I really want to be for my patients is a lap. A place from which they can face what they have to face and not be alone."
Taking refuge does not mean hiding from life. It means finding a place of strength, the capacity to live the life we have been given with greater courage and sometimes even with gratitude.
- Rachel Naomi Remen from My Grandfather's Blessings, posted to DailyDharma
Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
- Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times
If you approach others with the thought of compassion, then that will automatically reduce fear and allow openness with other people. It creates a positive, friendly atmosphere. With that attitude, you can approach a relationship in which you, yourself, initially create the possibility of receiving affection or a positive response from the other person. And with that attitude, even of the other person is unfriendly or doesn't respond to you in a positive way, then at least you've approached the person with a feeling of openness that gives you a certain flexibility and the freedom to change your approach as needed.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The intelligent way of working with emotions is to try to relate to their basic substance, the abstract quality of the emotion, so to speak. The basic `isness' quality of the emotions, the fundamental nature of the emotions is just energy. And if one is able to relate with energy, then the energies have no conflict with you. They become a natural process... When there is no panic involved in dealing with the emotions, then you can deal with them completely, properly. Then you are like someone who is completely skilled in his profession, who does not panic, but just does his work completely, thoroughly.
- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Generally, when the idea of ego is presented, the immediate reaction is to regard it as a villain, an enemy. You feel you must destroy this ego, this me, which is a masochistic and suicidal approach. But true spirituality is not a battle; it is the ultimate practice of non-violence. We are not regarding any part of us as being a villain, an enemy, but we are trying to use everything as part of the natural process of life.
- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Don't worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn't matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world's harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.
So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing-art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like the edge of driftwood
along the beach, wanting and wanting!
from a slow and powerful root
that we can't see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
- Rumi, Ghazal 110,, version by Coleman Barks, from Diwan-e Shams, posted to Sunlight