December 27th, 2013

New Year’s Resolution-Connection

 

Connect-with-Otherscon·nec·tion  (k-nkshn)

n.

1.

a. The act of connecting.
b. The state of being connected.
2. One that connects.
3. An association or relationship: There appeared to be a connection to the group.
4. Reference or relation to something else; context: With this connection we can work for justice.

For my New Year’s Resolution I am working on “connection’” as in connecting with others. Connection for me will be accomplished by listening in the moment.

To connect by listening we give up preconceived ideas and subjective opinions. We listen and observe the ways of the speaker. We accept the speaker without our emphasis on good or bad. We feel things as they are with the speaker. To successfully listen we clear our mind to facilitate openness to things as they are.

In responding we must be true to ourself without phoney adjustment to suit the other. If we “try to adjust ourselves intentionally, it is impossible to be natural. …” So without any intentional, fancy way of adjusting” we respond being straightforward.  Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, (Weatherhill 1970).

 

    April 1st, 2013

    Listen with Your Heart

    listen-with-your-heartGerry Spence teaches decisions are made from the heart. He says people decide what to do at an emotional level. They then move to the cerebral cortex to verbally justify their emotional conviction. In this way the decision appears to be a well thought out rational decision-at least it is explained that way.

    If Spence is right, and I assume he is, we are biologically programed to make decisions from the heart. We are programed from thousands of years of evolution to trust our heart. Since the birth of rationalism we are taught to make decisions from the cerebral cortex. We are taught to take emotion out of the equation. A decision is supposed to emanate from the mind and therefore it is deemed “rational.”

    But are thousands of years of evolution to be cast aside in the name of “rational” thought? Why not yield to what we have successfully done from the beginning of human time? That is listen to our heart; admit that we make decisions from the heart; and, admit decisions made from the heart are the best decisions we make. Listen with your heart, trust your heart, and go where your heart directs.

      October 28th, 2012

      Zen

      Zen says enlightenment comes in everyday actions. There is no action that is taken for granted. Rather every action is lived fully in the moment without thinking about the past or the future.

      Fritjof Capra, in The Tao oF Physics, discusses Zen Practice as follows:

      We are fortunate to have a wonderful description…in Eugen Herrigel’s little book Zen in the Art of Archery. Herrigel spent more than five years with a celebrated Japanese master to learn his “mystical” art, and he gives us in his book a personal account of how he experienced Zen through archery. He describes how archery was presented to him as a religious ritual which is “danced” in spontaneous, effortless and purposeless movements. It took him many years of hard practice, which transformed his entire being, to learn how to draw the bow “spiritually”, with a kind of effortless strength, and to release the string “without intention,” letting the shot “fall from the archer like a ripe fruit.” When he reached the height of perfection, bow, arrow, goal and archer melted into one another and he did not shoot, but “it” did it for him.

       F. Capra, The Tao oF Physics, (Shambhala 2010) at 126.

        August 19th, 2012

        Being Real

        What is REAL asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?

        “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

        “Does it hurt?”

        “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

        “Does it happen all at once,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

        “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But those things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

        Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit (1922).

         

          August 13th, 2012

          We are a Diamond

          There is only one of us. We are different than anyone else. No other person has our looks, our voice or experiences from birth. This means no other person sees the world in the exact same way we see the world. This means we are able to offer a perspective that is unique to us and unique to the world.

          Because we are different than all others we have a presence that brings variety, that brings something different, and that others can learn from. We learn from others. Others learn from us.

          Our differences make us like a diamond. No two diamonds are the same. Each diamond has its own beauty. Some may be thought to be more beautiful than others, but the lesser diamond from a beauty standpoint may be better from a work standpoint. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The key is to be yourself, give the gifts only you have, and contribute your uniqueness. This makes the world a better place.

            July 8th, 2012

            Challenge Beats Compliancy

            Compliancy is easy to fall into. We get stuck in a rut when we get compliant. Once in a rut it is hard to move out. Challenge defeats compliancy. When we choose to challenge ourself we choose to live out of our comfort zone. We choose to push ourself to a greater height.

            By choosing to challenge ourself we have the opportunity to accomplish something worthwhile. It may be to get to a higher level of fitness and health. It may be to further our career. It may be to be real and forthcoming in our relationships.

            Whatever our choice by challenging ourself we have a chance of getting there. By challenging ourself  we live at a higher level. By challenging ourself we push through compliancy to become what we are capable of being. Life is short. Now is the time to challenge ourself and live a life we can look back on without the regret of quitting on ourself.

              July 1st, 2012

              Wu Chi-The Second Position

              The first time Master Yang Jun instructed us on standing like a tree I had little appreciation for what we were about to do. “If you want to learn the real thing, stand still without moving with your hands in front of you as in holding a beach ball.” When I tried this with Master Yun  I was amazed at the difficulty. Standing still in this position is tougher that most physical exertion over a similar length of time.

              With practice we learned what is happening inside our body as we stand still for five minutes. Slowly we began to learn of the internal power inside our body that is harnessed through the simple exercise of standing still.

              When we stand like a tree we get in touch with our natural field of energy. Like a tree we take strength from the earth, from the air, and from the space that surrounds us.  We are nourished by everything around us as we stand in the midst of the elements.

               

                June 25th, 2012

                Wu Wei

                “Literally, Wu Wei means ‘without doing, causing or making.’ But practically speaking it means without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort. … Wu Wei  means no going against the nature of things. …

                When we learn to work with our Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei.

                Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort. Since the natural world follows this principle, it does not make mistakes.”

                Benjamin Hoff, The Tao Of Poo(1982).

                  June 17th, 2012

                  Building a Relationship

                  Carl Rogers in his 1961 classic On Becoming a Person discusses building a relationship. He teaches the first step in building a meaningful relationship is to be genuine. This sounds simple and obvious but it is not. We often project something we want to be or something we want another to think we are. But this false projection dooms any hope of building a constructive relationship.

                  To be genuine we must be aware of our feelings. We must then express the feelings and attitudes which exist within us. “It is only in this way that the relationship can have reality, and reality … [is] deeply important as a first condition [of a meaningful relationship]“. Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person (1961).

                  Rogers said this over fifty years ago. He was right then and his words remain true today. Drop pretense be yourself and allow yourself to be real in your relationships. You and those in relationships with you will go beyond a false facade into a meaningful relationship.

                    June 10th, 2012

                    How to Act (from Marcus Aurelius)

                    Never under compulsion, out of selfishness,

                    without forethought, with misgivings.

                    Don’t gussy up your thoughts.

                    No surplus words or unnecessary actions.

                    Let the spirit in you represent a person who moves forward like a soldier patiently awaiting your recall from life. Needing no oath or witness.

                    Cheerfulness. Without requiring other people’s help. Or serenity supplied by others.

                    To stand up straight-not straightened.

                    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (edited by PAT).