The Warmth of Our Completeness (Audio)

Any simple practice, anything we do in life can come from more than one approach. We can count our breath with a sense of struggling to get some outcome, or we can be warm and kind to ourselves. We long for a sense of completeness and fulfillment, and we suffer when we believe that fulfillement will come in some future moment or attainment. Shunryu Suzuki calls this the ‘stepladder’ approach to practice.

Our practice can come from a tremendous sense of affirmation – our completeness is here and now! So we smile at what is here, this breath now. One could define meditation as basking in the warmth of our completeness right now.

Our reading for the day came from Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen by Shunryu Suzuki.

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The Courage of Simple Presence (Audio)

This is the meditation talk from July 3, 2010.

The traditional teachings say that patience is the antidote to aggression. When we have any strong energy, it wants to complete itself in some kind of action or resolution. In a way it is like a snowball rolling down the side of a mountain, gathering momentum and speed as it goes. The resolution – such as telling someone off – feels good for a moment, but then it leads to further suffering.

We need the courage to just be present and aware, not looking for a resolution to strong feelings but for the underlying openness that underlies feelings. That is how we open the door of compassion, for ourselves and others.

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Our reading for the day came from Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron.

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Moving Beyond Hope and Fear – Audio

Our Saturday meditation talk was inspired by a reading from Pema Chodron’s book Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living (Shambhala Library). The key idea is that our hopes and fears, by focusing on the past and future, actually take us away from the only moment where peace and fullfillment can be found. We take the briefest of snapshots from the past, add fantasies about an unknown future, and become endlessly entangled and impoverished.

The present is rich beyond measure
If we give up what is not real
Then at last we can give
Our living awareness to this moment

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