How do we generate the energy of compassion? Compassion is born from understanding, and understanding is born from looking deeply. We need to take time to look deeply into our situation, and the situation of the other person or other people. Let us learn to look at our suffering, and the suffering of our world, as a kind of compost. From that compost, from that mud, we can create beautiful lotuses of understanding and compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Peace of Wild Things - by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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Be Good To Yourself

Be Good To Yourself

Contained in over a hundred files were many messages of my dearest lifelong friend Zoe that I had saved in the last two years of her bright and inspired life. Yesterday was my birthday and I spent an hour going through those voicemails on my computer, searching for one she left me on my birthday two years ago. Today I finally found it. 

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Working With Fear, Difference, Other

Working With Fear, Difference, Other

Could our minds and our hearts be big enough just to hang out in that space where we're not entirely certain about who's right and who's wrong? Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? It is powerful to practice this way, because we'll find ourselves continually rushing around to try to feel secure again - to make ourselves or them either right or wrong. But true communication can only happen in that open space. 

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about tonglen - by pema chodron

about tonglen - by pema chodron

Tonglen reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In the process we become liberated from very ancient patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others. Tonglen awakens our compassion and introduces us to a far bigger view of reality.

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The Summer Day

The Summer Day

-Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Home is where the Kula is

Home is where the Kula is

 

It's good to be back here at @kulayoga tribeca- feels like coming home. 

If you feel like joining for padmasana approaches (or just working on opening the hips and side bodies) tonight I'll be here at 6:30 to share in practice. My last class in NYC for a while!! #nyc #yoga #practice #kula #home #backtozurichsoon

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To Begin With, the Sweet Grass

Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?

Behold, I say – behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
of this gritty earth gift.

Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
thrillingly gluttonous.

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.

What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements,
through with difficulty.

I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment
somehow or another).

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Just a New York Poem
-Nikki Giovanni


i wanted to take
your hand and run with you
together toward
ourselves down the street to your street
i wanted to laugh aloud
and skip the notes past
the marquee advertising “women
in love” past the record
shop with “The Spirit
In The Dark” past the smoke shop
past the park and no
parking today signs
past the people watching me in
my blue velvet and i don’t remember
what you wore but only that i didn’t want
anything to be wearing you
i wanted to give
myself to the cyclone that is
your arms
and let you in the eye of my hurricane and know
the calm before

and some fall evening
after the cocktails
and the very expensive and very bad
steak served with day-old baked potatoes
after the second cup of coffee taken
while listening to the rejected
violin player
maybe some fall evening
when the taxis have passed you by
and that light sort of rain
that occasionally falls
in new york begins
you’ll take a thought
and laugh aloud
the notes carrying all the way over
to me and we’ll run again
together
toward each other
yes?

Regard All Dharmas As Dreams

My Lojong Slogan for contemplation today:

“Regard all dharmas as dreams.”

I am reading from Chögyam Trungpa’s commentary: Training the Mind

This slogan has always surprised and awakened me when I have read it. There is something about it which touches upon the ethereal and fleeting quality of our experience and memory. Something about it which is magical and also reminds us that there are so many fluid dimensions to what may appear solid and concrete.

As I reached for another book about an hour after reading this slogan, it opened to this poem, which dances along the same dreamy nature of the slogan.

The Ponds

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them––

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided––
and that one wears an orange blight––
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away––
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled––
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing––
that the light is everything––that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

-Mary Oliver