Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dependent Co-arising

There is a concept within Zen Buddhism called dependent co-arising.  It means that this moment is made possible because of everything that has ever happened and everything that is happening, and as hard as it is to understand, everything that will ever happen.  You've probably experienced this where you feel that so many variables happened and so many coincidences or connections occurred, and it's this reason that you are where you are.    That is always the case.  We are here now because of everything that is happening in the universe.  Everything is interconnected.  Everything is interbeing.  Everything is interdoing.  This is why the present moment exists: interdoing and interbeing.  Become aware of this and you see the world, yourself, and the moment in a new way, a way that allows you to see your life and the world as happening for a reason, a cohesive and organic creation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just Be There

Our thoughts about the moment make a huge difference.  What if instead of saying that we hate waiting in line because we're busy, busy, busy and don't have time for this, instead we say here is my opportunity to just rest a bit?  Just stand in line.  Just be there.  Allow yourself to slow down.  Take a couple of deep breaths.  Maybe notice the people around you.  Don't judge them; just notice them.  Maybe, if you want, pick up a magazine from the check out displays and slowly thumb through it.  Just be there.  Take the moment, one that could be filled with stress, anxiousness and impatience, and instead, turn it into peace and stillness.  Smile.  Take another deep breath.  Calm yourself.  Then, when you get to the check out person greet him or her kindly.  Keep smiling; keep being content.  You are in the check out line.  It is where you are.  You can't be anywhere else because it is where you are, so make the most of it, transform that moment, standing in the checkout line, into something sacred.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Practice Balance

Balance is important in our lives.  It is the path of moderation.  We need stillness and we need activity; we need seriousness and we need silliness; we need quiet and we need sound; we need meditation and we need exercise; we need happiness and we need sadness; we need company and we need solitude.  Honoring both sides of the teeter totter, we place weight on both sides, and certain that the sturdy center of centeredness supports both sides, we experience both sides.  Each lifts and lowers the other; each depends on the other for its existence.  Remove one and the teeter totter no longer works. 

It is the same with us.  We need both.  When we rely to heavily on one, then we are stuck on the ground; we no longer have movement; we no longer have the ability to elevate ourselves; to rise above the situation. 

So pay attention to balance in your life.  Get a little of everything.  Rely solely on no one thing.  Practice balancing.  If it helps, practice physically balancing yourself. Stand on one leg. Remain still with your body. Count to ten. Then switch legs and do it on that side. Think not only of balance but the fact that you alternate between legs. Do this three times. Breathe as you do it. Be in the moment as you do it.  Do it every day.  Both yoga and tai chi practice balancing on one leg, as does sitting meditation, balancing on the tripod of your two knees on the floor and your butt on the meditation cushion.  Do this everyday.  Let this physical balancing practice flow over into your mental and emotional balancing.  Make balancing a priority in your life by making it a practice in your life and soon you will find you are feeling, thinking, saying, and doing differently.  You sense harmony, peace, equilibrium, and equanimity. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Here and Now

Being present means living now.  When we live now, we set aside the past and future, we quiet our minds with its fears, hopes, worries, wishes, and goals, and we simply notice what is happening right now, right here.  If we don't do this life passes us by.  We never really feel like we're happy or content because we're always living somewhere else.  Of course we cherish past memories and learn from old mistakes, and of course, we plan for the future and dream big, but we also ground ourselves in the here and now, wherever and whatever that is.  When each moment of our day, whatever we are doing, whatever is happening is one we can appreciate, then our days are filled with meaning.  We can reflect upon them at the end of the day and be filled with gratitude for the small and seemingly insignificant moments that made all the difference.  It is the moments that make our day, and the days that make our years, and the years that make our lives, and so, if we can narrow in on the smallest element we can shape—the moment—then we can determine our destiny.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Another word for enlightenment is enlivenment.  Enlivenment is the idea that you are aware of the fact that you are alive and that this is a wonderful gift.  You want to and do make the most of every minute.  You savor every minute.  You appreciate life.  You cultivate life.  You offer encouragement to others.  You think positive thoughts.  You do positive deeds.  You seek to uplift yourself and others.  You practice speech, thought, deed that benefits all living beings.  You practice meditation.  You do this because you know that by doing this you get closer to life itself.  You are more aware, attentive, and appreciative, the three keys to being awake.