Readings

In my yoga classes, sometimes I end the class with a reading. Many students have asked me to share what I read. So here are various readings, quotes, sayings, etc., in no particular order:

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. They they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

~Excerpt from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”

 

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. By patience, we do not mean endurance–as in “grin and bear it.” In any situation, instead of reacting suddenly, we could chew it, smell it, look at it, and open ourselves to seeing what’s there. The opposite of patience is aggression–the desire to jump and move, to push against our lives, to try to fill up space. The journey of patience involves relaxing, opening to what’s happening, experiencing a sense of wonder.

~Excerpt from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”

We are given changes all the time. We can either cling to security or we can let ourselves feel exposed, as if we just had been born, as if we had just popped out into the brightness of life and were completely naked. Maybe that sounds too uncomfortable or frightening, but on the other hand, it’s our chance to realize that this mundane world is all there is, and we could see it with new eyes and at long last wake up from our ancient sleep of preconceptions.

The truth, said an ancient Chinese master, is neither like this nor like that. It is like a dog yearning over a bowl of burning oil. He can’t leave it, because it is too desirable, and he can’t lick it, because it is too hot. So how do we relate to that squeeze? Somehow, someone finally needs to encourage us to be inquisitive about this unknown territory and about the unanswerable question of what going to happen next.

The state of nowness is available in that moment of squeeze. In that awkward, ambiguous moment is our own wisdom mind. Right there in the uncertainty of everyday chaos is our own wisdom mind.

~Excerpt from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”

 

We all have the inborn wisdom to create a wholesome, uplifted experience for ourselves and others. We can think beyond our own little cocoon and try to help this troubled world. Not only will our friends and family benefit, but even our “enemies” will reap the blessings of peace.

If these teachings make sense to us, can we commit to them? In these times, do we really have a choice? Do we have the option of living in unconscious self-absorption? When the stakes are so high, do we have the luxury of dragging our feet?

~Excerpt from Pema Chödrön’s No Time to Lose

 

Sharing the heart is a simple practice that can be used at any time and in every situation. It enlarges our view and helps us remember our interconnection. The essence of this practice is that when we encounter pain in our life we breathe into our heart with the recognition that others also feel this. It’s a way of acknowledging when we are closing down and of training to open up. When we encounter any pleasure or tenderness in our life, we cherish that and rejoice. The we make the wish that others could also experience this delight or this relief. In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others. If this is the only training we ever remember to do it will benefit us tremendously and everyone else as well. It’s a way of bringing whatever we encounter onto the path of awakening bodhicitta (noble or awakened heart).

~Excerpt from Pema Chödrön’s The Places That Scare You

 

 

 

Gentleness in our practice and in our life helps to awaken the genuine heart of bodhichitta. It’s like remembering something. This compassion, this clarity, this openness are like something we have forgotten. Sitting here being gentle with ourselves, we’re rediscovering something. It’s like a mother reuniting with her child; having been ;pst to each other for a long, long time, they reunite. The way to reunite with the genuine heart of bodhichitta is to lighten up in your practice and in your whole life.

~Excerpt from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”

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