Friday, November 30, 2018

Answering the call.

There is something inside of each of us that is calling for us to be more deeply present in the world, to participate and contribute to the world in some way. Answering that call opens the doorway to the path.

When we feel called to step beyond our narrow conception of self and our abilities, we usually experience vulnerability, hesitation and fear. We feel called to step out into the open, but when the time comes to do so we hold back, we wait, we turn back.

That is why we need a practice, a teacher and mentor, a supportive community. We need stories and examples of those who have traveled this path. We need support and feedback and guidance from those who are currently traveling.

On this journey, we often feel alone and isolated. But there are those who walk with us, among us. There are those waiting for us just ahead and around the corner.

By showing up and listening to our own calling, we show up for others and continue to inspire them in their own path. Answering the call fulfills our own aims and brings about the aims of others.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Instructions for practice.

All of the Buddha’s teachings can be understood as instructions for practice. As practitioners, it is our work that reveals the truth of the teachings. Put them to the test, contemplate them, digest them, resolve your uncertainty and doubt, follow your curiosity.

We all have an opportunity to be more present in the world, to contribute from a place of abundance and to bring about tremendous benefit and change. To actually do that isn’t easy, so we must follow a path and commit to a life of practice.

Step by step, we learn to work with the hesitation and fear, we learn to open up, to be more vulnerable and understanding, and to recognize the gifts that we can share with the world- gifts of kindness, generosity and compassion.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The deception of self-help.

The self-help genre is exploding in popular culture. Everything from how to be more fit, more mindful, how find your purpose and how to live the life you were meant to live.

The stories are compelling.

The deception that much of the self-help genre relies upon is that your life, right now, is not good enough. You can do better. You must do better to be the person that you want to be. Pick yourself up. Get motivated. Work!

There is a subtle poverty mentality going on, a failure to recognize your innate qualities and potential. Often we find the Buddha's teachings lumped into this self-help category, a sort of new age twist to an ancient tradition.

Here is the key distinction- the self-help genre wants you to get out of your current situation in search of a better situation. The Buddha's teachings want you to be fully present in your current situation. See how subtle that is? One wants you to start running and keep running, the other wants you to sit and be present with the world as it is.

Both methods create dramatic change. The difference is that one keeps you on a cycle in which you never reach your fulfillment, and the other starts with finding your fulfillment and then teaching you how to move from that ground with intention.

The Buddha's teachings become applicable to any life, any situation, any profession. Right now, just as it is.