The Buddha is like a doctor; the Dharma is like medicine. Not modern day doctors, but the olden day ones that used to give you a list of herbs that you’d then have to go find to heal yourself. It required one to be observant and aware of their issues, then actively work toward recovery. We must be aware of our breath & work with it to reach desired outcomes. When feeling discouraged, look to the Dharma, lean on the Sangha. The purpose of this contemplation is to get you back to home base, the breath. We must learn to be self observant. When greed or lust arise, we first have to pinpoint where it’s coming from to determine how to deal with it. This course of medicine involves your participation as well as the doctor’s. The Dharma is meant to be put into practice. You reach the benefits when you see it through.
A fitting quote for the hiatus I’ve been on for the last week or so. One of the ways I decided to spend some of my free time during winter break was with a 30-Day Yoga and Meditation challenge. The yoga challenge can be found on YouTube here, the meditation portion I added myself in an attempt to increase my meditation habits from about 4 times a week for 15-20 minutes to every day for 20-30. I’m on day 8 and I feel great! By the time I hit day 4, I felt lighter. Normally, feeling stagnant during times when I’m not working or going to school bums me out. I get a little bit lazier, sleeping and lounging away the days because there’s little else to do. This last week hasn’t been like that at all. I’ve started my mornings with yoga & meditation, usually followed by a run with Pooh Bear and that’s given me more energy to tackle all sorts of other tasks throughout my days. I still set aside an hour each day for my beloved naps, but lately I’ve been waking up before my timer hits that hour mark and some days I decide to skip the nap altogether. Whaaat?! That’s so unlike me…
The benefits of the challenge have been nice. Although, because the meditation has me caught up in being aware in the present moment, I’ve sort of neglected anything or anyone who hasn’t been in my presence lately. Christmas week flew by, and because I would toss my phone aside to fully enjoy family gatherings, I barely made the effort to respond to holiday texts + my social media accounts were as quiet as the night before Christmas. So, sorry I’ve been gone. I’ll make the effort to slow down for long enough to share some of my adventures with you 🙂
& If All I Can Give is Compassion, Then I’ll Sit Here and Give Every Breath.
Every night my light will shine, through the windows of my heart. I will bow my head in silence and respect the nature of the art.
May heaves of loving kindness travel straight through my soles planted, to the destitute knees of the woeful souls who’ve been slanted.
May it wrap up all guilt, resentments, shame in the warm embrace of our connectedness, all humans the same.
May it find its way through darkness, from afar and back to me. For there are as many breaths as we need to all be compassionate beings.
As I was meditating this evening, playing with mantras and inspiring messages, my mind fell upon the first line of this poem. I enjoyed it so much, I let the idea run free. That line took me through a beautiful little journey from the comfort of my own yoga mat. My compassion has traveled a long way this evening, I encourage you to let yours run wild too! 😉
When practicing meditation, you are training to be complete; to get the full benefit of what the Buddha had to teach. It’s not just a matter of sitting with your eyes closed – you are striving to do everything skillfully & maintain that level of skillfulness. As you practice, look at everything as an opportunity for training the mind. The chores that you have to complete on a regular basis should boost good qualities such as determination, endurance, etc. Set goals & ensure that you honor them. Likewise, your speech should promote awareness. Practice eliminating anything that isn’t necessary from your speech. If you can’t control your mouth, how are you going to control your mind? When training the mind, direct your thoughts to worthwhile things & evaluate them in order to abandon unskillful qualities. All good things that the mind can accomplish rely on your ability to keep the mind coming back to what you want to focus on, despite the distractions that will arise. Strive for continuous attention; keep the breath and skillful qualities in mind. Time well spent is accomplished by spending each individual moment wisely & skillfully.
I love to start my mornings with a dhamma talk. Particularly, with a dhamma talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. He’s incredibly inspirational & has helped me tremendously in finding my own middle ground. He has hundreds of short (5min) or semi-long (10-20min) talks, as well as tons of other useful sources for Buddhism and meditation. Every now and then I’ll post notes on his talks that touched me, such as this one:
To develop a heart bigger than the world, start with thoughts of good will. You can’t force anyone to act happy, but you can wish it upon them. When you go into the world with that frame of mind, you will never have the scars of bad intention. Look at your thoughts, your words and your deeds; make sure that they’re in good example. The Buddha saw that there is a good and a bad side to everything, but he also saw that the mind can be trained to be unaffected by that. Focus on the good side & model yourself after it. Know that the bad side is there, but choose not to turn to it for nourishment.