Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Siddhearta's Essence of 2014

2014 was a year of change for me.

My wife and I entered the year finalizing plans for a retreat cabin in the San Juan islands, hoping to bring to fruition our dream of having a place for people to spend time devoted to their practice in a quiet, peaceful setting.  Those plans were put on hold when we learned in January that we would be expecting our first baby.  Things have changed a lot since then. 

I got a new job.  We had a beautiful daughter.  And now we are moving.

It has been a challenging year to practice.  Even more challenging to write.  It has been a joy for me to be able to share my journey with you, to share a glimpse of my practice.  Thank you for supporting me and I look forward to what we share together in 2015.

Here is an overview of 2014.

1. Heartfelt Connection
2. How do you sit with irritation? 
3. A Meditation for the Dying.
4. How to tame a horse.
5. How long should I meditate?
6. "I don't know what to do."
7. Our Human Dilemma.
8. Doing work that matters.
9. How does a racoon satisfies it's thirst?
10. Lineage. 
11. What does fearlessness look like?
12. Beyond the surface.
13. Middle Way between extremes.
14. Letting sadness wash over me.
15. I am samsara.
16. Three hats.
17. Neurotic.
18. What do teachers teach?
19. Privilege.
20. Breakthrough.

I wish you all a happy new year,
a year of health and inner wealth!
May you focus on your practice,
generously share love and kindness,
and may you realize the simultaneous fulfillment
of your own and others aims!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Life and death.

When a soldier trains, he understands that it is a matter of life and death.  He knows that his hard work and practice may be the very thing that keeps him alive, allows him to take his stand and fight the battle.  The soldier may not know if the battle is tomorrow or never coming, he trains the same. 

We don't have that same sense of urgency.  Our battles don't seem to hang on the precipice of life and death.

But how many lifetimes have we let pass?  How many moments do we let slip away?  How many days, weeks, months and years?


Train with the intensity, precision and focus of a well-trained soldier. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Difficult to accept.

It's yours.

All of your problems, your negative emotions, your anger and frustration, your suffering and discontentment.  All of it, it's yours.

I know that is hard to accept, but if we can accept that they are ours, then we can also accept our responsibility.  We have a habit of shifting the blame, being the victim and not claiming any control.  The consequence is we are waiting for others to fix our situation, to pick us as the fortunate one and offer us reprieve.

But we have to pick ourselves, we have to take the responsibility.

This moment is the start of our practice.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Meditation is beyond mind.

Mind is like the clouds in the sky.
Clouds of thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Clouds of anger, frustration and sadness.
Clouds of ideas, opinions and affirmations.
Clouds of highs and lows, happiness and suffering.
All of that comes and goes, continuously.

Meditation is beyond mind.

It is not the clouds or the weather, it is like the spacious sky, unchanging and all-encompassing.  When your meditation is like the spacious sky, everything else is an ornament of your practice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I had a bad day.

But it was a good day for practice.

A good day to practice patience.
A good day to relax my fixation and attachment for what I wanted.
A good day to fight my own resistance and stubbornness.
A good day to not get swept away by negative thoughts and emotions.
A good day to train my mind.

Looking back at it, I actually had a pretty good day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A diamond in the rough.

Your sitting there, unrecognized, wondering if you have any value.  What is your purpose?  What is the meaning of your existence?

The problem with being a diamond in the rough seems to be that you are waiting for others to recognize you.  You are waiting for confirmation and approval.  Those are selfish traits cloaked in fear and apprehension, but those are not the problem.

The problem is that you are a diamond in the rough and not even you recognize your value.  You don't trust in it.  Your not confident about your own nature, so you spend all your time running about trying to get confirmation and approval. 

Once you can truly recognize and abide in your diamond-like nature, you have no choice but to share it with others.

It's your turn.

[Thanks Seth].

Monday, December 8, 2014

What would a tulku do?

A tulku is the present reincarnation of a previous great master.  The Tibetan སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་ means 'emanation body', meaning that the present rebirth is an emanation of awakened mind.  They have deliberately chosen to take rebirth out of compassion, to continue to work for the benefit of others.

Once recognized, often at a very young age, tulkus are expected to undergo rigorous study and training.  They receive the best education and are expected to rank at the top of their class.  They receive instruction from the greatest masters of the day and bring those practices to their culmination.

The tulku has the responsibility of preserving the tradition in which they are said to be the lineage holder, but the way in which they carry out that responsibility depends on the tulku themselves.

They might put their efforts into strengthening the education system.
They might emphasize retreats in which the teachings become a living experience.
They might travel extensively, teaching and inspiring others in their own practice.
They might assist the poor and hungry in their communities.
They might become respected doctors who cure disease.
They might focus on preserving the textual tradition and aiding in translation.
They might disappear and live the life of a wandering nomad, renouncing their high status and reminding others of the importance of actually committing your life to your practice.

The one thing the tulku does not do is wait for permission.  They know they have taken on this life to be a living example of the practice tradition and to be of service and benefit to others.  So that is what they do.

Of course you can do all of these things.  What are you waiting for? 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Not this time?

How many lifetimes have passed, how many moments where the time just wasn't quite right?

How long have you said to yourself, "This isn't the right situation, the conditions aren't right."

How many extensions have you been granted, how many pardons have you received to try again later? 

At some point you realize, this is all we have.  This might be as good as it gets.

It may not be perfect timing, the conditions might not quite add up.  This might not work.

But your time has a limit.  Use it. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Transforming poison.

It is easy to focus on all the poison in our lives and the world around us.  To see all of the anger and injustice in the world.  To witness unfairness and outright manipulation by those in power.  It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of our days, the pointlessness of what we are doing.  At times we all feel helpless and lost, that we have no control over all of the problems in our life.

The practitioner doesn't get caught up in the highs and lows of their day.  The don't get caught up in what is right or wrong, what to accept and what to reject.  Everything is applied to their practice.  Everything is an opportunity to practice.

Anger is poison, use it to practice patience.
Attachment is poison, use it to practice impermanence.
Fear is poison, use it to look deeper and examine your fixation.
Anxiety is poison, use it as a catalyst to train your mind.
Resistance is poison, use it to persevere.
Jealousy is poison, use it to rejoice in the happiness and success of others.
Looking outside yourself is poison, recognize and look within and to your own practice.
Death is the ultimate poison, use it to express gratitude and a profound appreciation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

We get to do this.

We get to transform suffering into the path of realization.
We get to transform our problems and obstacles into growth and accomplishment.
We get to dig deeper and experience everything as the path of liberation.

Knowledge isn't enough.  It is not enough to simply know this.
Practice is important.  The lived experience is what counts.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Part of our family.

There are those who care and those who don't.

Don't worry about those who don't care, treat them with respect and kindness and let them go there way.  Respect your own time and energy.

Those who care are like your own family.  They show up, do the work.  They push through resistance because what other choice do we have?  Pour your energy and time into strengthening the network, on impacting their lives and offering your support.  Benefit others, contribute value and the whole community benefits.  

We all want to be part of a family that cares, that takes a chance on being generous and kind.  Such a family experiences true wealth, or ratna, and they are crazy enough to want to share it with others.