Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Where Am I?

Working with Where We Are

When people start to mediate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, the often think that somehow they're going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It's a bit like saying, "If I jog, I'll be a much better person." "If I could only get a nicer house, I'd be a better person." If I could meditate and calm down, I'd be a better person."...

But loving-kindness--maitri--toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness.

The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That's the ground, that's what we study, that's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest. ~Pema Chodron

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thought. With our thoughts, we make our world." ~The Buddha

Thanks to James at The Buddhist Blog for posting this thought by Pema Chodron


Blogger Dan said...

Isaiah knows nothing, and he also knows everything. We all benefit from it. Thanks!

10:16 AM  
Blogger isaiah said...

No, No, my friend... the older I get the more sure I am that I know less and less. We benefit from each other, that is for sure- I think.

11:38 AM  
Blogger They call him James Ure said...

Happy to see her wonderful post being spread. Thanks for the nod. :)

12:54 PM  
Blogger E said...

Was musing on this the other day, seeing that overfocusing on negative aspects is kind of being in denial. Subtle agression is a good phrase. I like this post.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (Imagine that Zen married Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and they had a baby, DBT!) we help our clients learn to balance building a life worth living with radical acceptance. Change and No Change!The foundation for this work is mindfulness practice - a lovely, difficult place to begin. Just noticing the monkey (monkies) jumping around inside our heads is such hard work in the beginning. We realize more and more that we know nothing. Thanks. Lee-n-NOLA

10:57 PM  
Blogger Trevor Harden said...

"Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years."

Nice Paul Simon reference! This is really great, Tommy, and I was just listening to Alan Watts say this same thing two days ago. There is nothing to become. Self-improvement is bullsh*t. The real work is "radical acceptance." And while I currently think I need to work on "radical acceptance" in my life, the truth is I'm fine just how I am.

And so are you. :)

7:11 AM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

The whole "everything is fine" thing - I wonder if it's easier to accept that as an internally directed truth or an externally directed one?

9:41 AM  
Blogger isaiah said...

I'm glad I stumbled upon this James. The timing is perfect.

Ethan- again, good timing. I like the phrase subtle aggression as well.

Lee-n-nola, thanks for stopping by.DBT sounds interesting. Radical acceptance... does this mean we should embrace our toughest dilemma and give up our vision of how we think we and others should be- all of the time?

Although balance is my goal... how does one work through the thought that change is needed, desired- and the feeling all things are in order, even the thought change is needed?

Trev, I used to think I was here to learn the lesson of patience- now I believe I am here to learn "radical acceptance", which I believe requires much patience with one's self and others.

We are free to give up our past, our story, our hanging on to the opposite of radical acceptance at anytime we wish... but I believe, from my experience, all this must drop away at it's own pace. The dropping away is a most dramatic, romantic, horrific play from a halcyon point A to point B.

I guess absolute love, which Rilke reminds us is the hardest thing we will ever do, is allowing those closest to us as well as others to assume as many roles as necessary to facilitate the "dropping away" without abandoning them or giving up when they are at their weakest. I need to learn this love more.

Julie, I believe it is harder to direct this internally. It is easy to go out and love the world see everything as "just fine as it is" out there... much harder, for me, to direct this inwardly and stay focused, balanced, and aware.

I can only guess if my ability to recognize this about myself makes the' fine as it is." I really haven't experience the degree of balance I would like to- only the degree that I guess I am ready to accept.

In this, I see things as being in order.

Make sense? didn't think so. It is mysterious how one learns what one needs. I believe holding this love for ourselves is just as important, if not more so, than for others. Can we truly give away what we haven't experienced for ourselves?

Questions, questions, questions- perfect as they are.

10:19 AM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Julie- Oh! I get what you're asking...

Perhaps it's a little of both, at least that's how see it. One can never really know if "everything is fine" but, one can as Maharshi stated have a view of, "In my world nothing goes wrong." If this belief is held strongly, I believe the world does give you, "everything is fine."

It's a great game of hide & seek, as Watts says!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Mom said...

I loved this quote and emailed you a big old question...ugh.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Sadiq said...

aha! such beautiful wisdom.

peace be with you dear friend!

6:36 PM  

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