Choosing the pain

The Daily Dalai: “Encountering sufferings will definitely contribute to the elevation of your spiritual practice, provided you are able to transform calamity and misfortune into the path.”

Don’t you hate it when it feels like he’s talking right to you? Oh boy. This one puts me in the crosshairs. Take a deep breath and relax. No blame.

So what do I see?

For one thing, I think I am a work in progress. Transforming calamity and misfortune into the path implies non-resistance. For me, I’m always looking for a lesson. But I’ve been running from pain for most of my life.

Now that I’m not taking anything but an occasional aspirin for pain, I am clear the decision to stop taking pain meds was a spiritual choice. I want access to the full range of my psychic and spiritual potential.

Because? Because there is so much happiness in serving. Because there is so much suffering. Because I can help.

If I’m disappointed I can always go back to pain medicine.

This is called having nothing to lose, but it’s bluff. I have lots to lose and I know it full well. And I view reliance on pain meds as weakness. What will I learn now that I have set up this experience?

And so, although I don’t have it all sorted out, I am choosing to be with my pain and learn all I can from it. And that is being on the path.

Whew! I think I’m okay.

Those Glasses Rose Colored?

The Daily Dalai: “The creatures that inhabit this earth–be they human beings or animals–are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.”

Ha. Ha.

They just don’t know it. Nor do they act like it. It’s one big shameless display of self-interest.

I guess when the cows start thanking us for liking hamburgers, I’ll start considering that possibility, Tenzin.

And humanity contributes what exactly to the beauty and prosperity of the world?

War and Peace

The Daily Dalai: “World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”

We do think, I do, of peace as the absence of violence. Given the immediate horrors of never-ending war, how else?

I display peace-oriented bumper stickers on my car. One says “Visualize World Peace.” It’s an old one, from the 60’s, vintage peace regalia. I’m convinced most people are unable to visualize world peace. When a state of being is defined by absence of an opposing state of being, what exactly is it? Most if not all people are unable to picture a world at peace. It makes no sense to them. It looks like weakness, vulnerability. An invitation for evil-doers to have their way with us.

Surely we can not be faulted for our short-range vision. We can’t see beyond the horror of it, which we daily face or turn away from. There is no blame in this. We are here. It is now. Too many babies grow up in war zones. Too many parents are lost to war. In survival mode, how visionary can we be? And who among us has experienced peace?

If we find some measure of peace within ourselves, we can project the possibility of peace outward into the world. We must put clothes on it, flesh it out, build it up, and we must give it voice.

Sharing what we have each individually learned about peace within our own often embattled psyches, let’s begin to fill in the details of our sketch.

In the absence of war, we shall find peace. But if it is merely the absence of war, it will return again to war. Put another way, if we still focus on war we will never create peace, only a temporary time of no-war punctuated by more war.

If peace is not just the opposite or absence of war, of what does it consist? Indeed what will we do when we are not at war?

What we do now is prepare for the next war. Futile.

Maybe we can get past war vs. peace to a place of integrity. Now that really would be something. Rather than resistance of war, which creates it, we can stand in wholeness before the mirror and honestly see who we are.

We are warlike. We are competitive for resources, jealous of possessions, suspicious of difference, and we are easily aroused to battle. In truth, we like battle.

Humanity is a confusing business. We are predator and prey. Both and neither. We follow our fears. Wherever they lead us.

HH is correct, compassion for others slows the impulse to slaughter, but it doesn’t extinguish it.

We engage in peacefulness as if it is a holiday. The serious business of survival ever awaits our renewed attention.

We must WAGE PEACE with as much vigor as we wage war. But how?

I think it begins when we stop believing war is necessary. And who can even begin that?

Can you?

Leave my ego where?

The Daily Dalai: “A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals the secret of some hidden treasure.”

Wow, a utopian vision! HH invokes the ideal, the goal. Can we subscribe to it? I must say it seems far-fetched in this ego-driven nightmare we are living in. Who among us can honestly say they welcome criticism and correction?

During my working years, I had the job of auditing, assessing and assuring quality of staff performance for a state agency. I can’t recall a single instance of “happy the QA lady is here to correct my work.” Quite the contrary was the case.

Oh sure I learned how. The point is no one wanted to hear they had room to improve. Which is sad when you consider that everyone does.

So Holiness, we thank you for directing our attention to a clear measure of ego-attachment that we may re-commit to relinquishing same.

I’m afraid you have also underlined the distance yet to go.

In my personal life I have known many who burst into flame upon any suggestion of criticism. None of the other kind. Let us re-commit ourselves to become free from the shackles of ego. It has ever been our undoing.

Self importance is the great illusion of humanity. We’re so proud of ourselves. Men in suits proclaim our will.


Are you amazed? You ought to be!

“Let us try to recognize the precious nature of each day.” — The Dalai Lama, The Daily Dalai.

I am brought to tears by the occasional glimpse of the miracle of life. These too-brief too-infrequent awakenings spark my heart. It beats faster for a moment. Then it overwhelms me and my heart suddenly breaks, as if what’s underscored is the loss of awareness that is normal waking consciousness.

So casual, so separate, so different. We like the cocoon. Familiar, cozy, safe. Keep the love, that dangerous emotion, in its place. It’s okay, it really is. But it’s such a waste. Sloth is a deadly inclination.

“Without love, where would we be now?” Let’s not even go there.

With love? Where could we be now?