I Asked For….

I asked for strength and was given challenges to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and was given problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and was given brain and braun to work.
I asked for courage and was give danger to overcome.
I asked for love and was given troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and was given opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.
——Author Unknown

Unlock the Fullness of Life

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

Hands

By Jewel

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won’t be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
But it didn’t steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But i knew it wasn’t ever after
We will fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what’s right
Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small, i know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s mind
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s heart
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s eyes God’s hands
We are God’s hands God’s hands We are God’s hands

Seeing Through the Veils of Our Stories and Dramas

More than any other human need, perhaps even more than food and shelter, we human beings, born of other human beings, nurtured by and connected to them, need to touch one another.    We need to stay in contact and acknowledge our interdependence and love in order to live in a sacred way.  Think about your own life, the times that you have deeply touched another persona and what that has meant to you; the times of difficulty when you have allowed another person to touch you, to help you.  It is not with our righteousness or our ideas that we solve the ills of the world but with the power of our kindness and our capacity to be intimate with one another.  By seeing through the veils of our stories and dramas we come to know  one author’s pain and sorrow.
—Jack Kornfield,  Soul Food: Stories to Nourish the Spirit and the Heart 

World Peace Prayer

We pray for the power to be gentle; the strength to be forgiving; the patience to be understanding; and the endurance to accept the consequences of holding to what we believe to be right.

May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred. We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe in a world emancipated from violence, a new world where fear shall no longer lead men to commit injustice, nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.

Help is to devote our whole life and thought and energy to the task of making peace, praying always for the inspiration and the power to fulfill the destiny for which we were created.
— adapted prayer from the Week of Prayer for World Peace, 1978

The Fruit of Action

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
—Mahatma Gandhi

To Live Meaningful Lives, We Must Die

In our civil war, we’ve seen death. We’ve watched our people die. Gone forever. As terrible as it was beyond the reach of the Resurrection ships, something began to change. We could feel a sense of time, as if each moment held its own significance. We began to realize that for our existence to hold any value, it must end. To live meaningful lives, we must die and not return. The one human flaw that you spend your lifetimes distressing over… Mortality is the one thing… Well, it’s the one thing that makes you whole.

—Number Six, Battlestar Galactica

Learning to Dance with the Limp

You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

— Anne Lamott

The Best Thing to Give

The best thing to give
your enemy is forgiveness;
to an opponent, tolerance;
to a friend, your heart;
to your child, a good example;
to your father, deference;
to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you;
to your self, respect;
to all men charity.
? Swami Sivananda Radha

If You Cannot. . .

If you cannot be merciful, at least speak as though you are a sinner.
If you are not a peacemaker, at least do not be a troublemaker.
If you cannot be assiduous, at least in your thought do not be like a sluggard.
If you are not victorious, do not exalt yourself over the vanquished.
If you cannot close the mouth of a man who disparages his companion, at least refrain from joining him in this.
—St. Isaac the Syrian

I Am There

Do you need Me? I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there. Yet I am here. Yet I answer.
When you need Me, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never waivers—because I know you, because I love you.
Beloved, I am there.
—James Dillet Freeman

Simply Do This

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.
— A Course in Miracles

Everything is a Computation

We’re presently in the midst of a third intellectual revolution. The first came with Newton: the planets obey physical laws. The second came with Darwin: biology obeys genetic laws. In today’s third revolution, were coming to realize that even minds and societies emerge from interacting laws that can be regarded as computations. Everything is a computation.”
? Rudy Rucker

To See the World Again with Fresh Eyes

As far as our relation to the physical world, I doubt there will be much more improvement. Our basic survival needs have been met, and much of our current progress is superfluous or downright troublesome. Most advancement is performed out of comfort rather than necessity. What we are lacking, what the world so desperately needs now, is adjustments of the mind. We need to see the world again with fresh eyes, and come to an understanding of who we are as individuals, and what drives us.
—Chris Matakas, The Tao of Jiu Jitsu

Untitled

True spiritual virtuescan have no opposite, but they can wear masks and costumes.Joy often masquerades as anger; innocence often dresses up as guilt; love pretends to be fear. At the end of the day, we discover that we don’t need to be fearful of these internal monsters— we simply need to unmask them

Darren Main, “The River of Wisdom.”

No matter how great you pretend to be

Try and stand above others And end up on your knees.

Try to get ahead of others

And fall behind yourself.

Trying to prove yourself to others

Means you don’t know who you are.

Present a façade to the world,

And you’ll live to see it crumble.

Spiritual arrogance is a heavy burden indeed;

It looks light, but is hard to bear.

No matter how great you pretend to be

It is not as great as you truly are.

—Haven Trevino, The Tao of Healing

3 Things

 There are three things I do when my life falls apart

Number one I cry my eyes out and dry up my heart

Not until I do this will my new life start

…that’s the first thing that I do when my life falls apart.

The second thing I do is I close both of my eyes

And say my thank-yous to each and every moment of my life.

I go where I know the love is and let it fill me up inside

Gathering new strength from sorrow,I’m glad to be alive.

The third thing that I do when my world caves in,

is I pause, I take a breath, and bow and I let that chapter end.

I design my future bright not by where my life has been.

And I try, try, try, try, try again.

—Jason Mraz, adapted from the son 3 Things

Do It Anyway

People are often  unreasonable, illogical, and self—centered;  forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, People may accuse  you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,  people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,  someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

— Saint Theresa of Calcutta

Serenity and Truth Amid the Storms

Few great journeys are completed without the occasional detour or diversion. Again and again we make new beginnings in our lives, initiate new directions. The very unfamiliarity of our travels means that there are few signposts we can rely upon for reassurance. Inevitably there are times when we feel we have lost our way, have made mistakes, or flounder in doubts about our ability to complete our journey. Part of bringing our journey to completion is learning how to accept difficulty with graciousness, how to grow through the mistakes we make. It is our own courage that allows us to find a place of serenity and truth amid the storms and difficulties.

What Rituals Are For. . . .

This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

The Body Temple

 

It has been said that the body is the temple of the spirit and the mind is the altar within that temple.  When we practice hatha yoga, we allow ourselves to come fully into the temple of the body—not simply as a tourist wishing to admire the fine architecture, but as a seeker on a pilgrimage of deep devotion and reverence.  

Meditation is the devotional practice of placing on the altar of the mind that which is sacred, holy and revered. Just as you would not place garbage on the altar of a great temple, meditation allows a yogi to place on the altar of her mind that which is noble, pure and free from attachment.

—Darren Main, The River of Wisdom

 

As Genuine as a Kiss

Everything ritualistic must be strictly avoided, because it immediately turns rotten. Of course a kiss is a ritual too, and it isn’t rotten, but ritual is permissible only to the extent that it is as genuine as a kiss.
— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value

Learn to Dress Yourself

Learn to dress yourself with the robes of purity. Adorn yourself with the ornaments of virtues. Beautify yourself with actions that are generous and sublime. Deck your subtle body with the flowers of truthfulness, compassion, humility and cosmic love. Let your heart be a fountain—source of bliss. Thus, you will become truly beautiful.
—Swami Jyotirmayananda

Do not take life’s experiences too seriously…

Do not take life’s experiences too seriously. Above all, do not let them hurt you, for in reality they are nothing but dream experiences…. if circumstances are bad and you have to bear them, do not make them a part of yourself. Play your part in life, but never forget it is only a role. What you lose in the world will not be a loss to your soul. Trust in God and destroy fear, which paralyzes all efforts to succeed and attracts the very things you fear.
—Paramahansa Yogananda

This is to Have Succeeded

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

Comfort and Discomfort

We learn to surrender and continually open to life as it unfolds, moving from the known to the unknown. Karma is simply resistance as we observe our attachments at more and more subtle levels. “Comfort is the only discomfort, and discomfort the only comfort. Yoga becomes our refuge.
——Swami Kripalu

The Bull Fight

In bullfighting there is an interesting parallel to the pause as a place of refuge and renewal. It is believed that in the midst of a fight, a bull can find his own particular area of safety in the arena. There he can reclaim his strength and power. This place and inner state are called his querencia. As long as the bull remains enraged and reactive, the matador is in charge. Yet when he finds his querencia, he gathers his strength and loses his fear. From the matador’s perspective, at this point the bull is truly dangerous, for he has tapped into his power.
—Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Mind-Transformation

By this constant intake of spiritual ideas through daily study, gradually there comes about a process of mind—transformation.  The old mind is gradually eliminated and the new mind is created within you— a new mind which always thinks spiritually, which is always in a state of awareness.
—Swami Chidananda

Everyone Has Equal Claim to Yoga

Everyone has equal claim to yoga and its benefits, but everyone must also observe one primary rule, which is to engage in regular practice. Without practice, even an ordinary task is not accomplished, so how could the extraordinary goal of yoga be accomplished? By studying the teachings, a vision of the path may be received, but remember that success does not come in that way. Success comes only through the repeated practice of yoga techniques.
—Swami Kripalu

Untitled

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
— Frederick Buechner from Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation

 

The Willingness to Be Free

Even in the running away from hurting, there is hurting.In opening unprotected to the experience that is enslaving you with its torment, there is the willingness to be free.

Are you willing? Or do you just want to wait until the world finally gets it and does it your way?

—Gangaji

Unclenched Fist

The good news is that attachment is notan industrial strength glue that binds the mind to condition-based happiness. You can free your mind at any moment by simply letting go—simply relax the mind the way you would unclench your fist.

–Darren Main “The River of Wisdom” 

A Closet is Not a Prison Cell

A closet is not a prison cell.  There are no bars on the windows, locks on the doors, or shackles binding your feet.  The closet door is as easy to open as turning the knob. To turn that knob requires the courage to empty your hands of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.  Once you find that courage, you will wonder why you waited so long to do it.

Darren Main
The River of Wisdom: Reflections on Yoga, Meditation, and Mindful Living

Years in Silence

These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and remind me that accepatance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.

—Ricky Martin

Humility is a Sign of Greatness

Spirituality automatically leads to humility. When a flower develops into a fruit, the petals drop off on its own. When one becomes spiritual, the ego vanishes gradually on its own. A tree laden with fruits always bends low. Humility is a sign of greatness.
—Ramakrishna

Yoga Never Demands the Sacrifice of Our Reason

Yoga never demands the sacrifice of our reason. It only bids us: use it a thousand times more. Yoga does not require us to give up our active lives. It says simply: act, but know how to act. Yoga does not by any means wish us to push our understanding aside. It only tells us: discriminate correctly and act fearlessly. Yoga does not expect us to free from the world and retire in the Himalayas. It assures us: the refuge you seek you will never find in the outside world. It is within you. Leave the stormy world of the senses behind you, raise your consciousness to the central point of your being and realize that here alone is the force, here alone is the peace and here alone the refuge you are seeking. Yoga teaches us: do not condemn the world. Deify the world by your presence.
— Seivarian Yesudian

It Will Pass

Breathe. You’re going to be okay. Breathe and remember that you’ve been in this place before. You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you’ve survived. Breathe and know that you can survive this too. These feelings can’t break you. They’re painful and debilitating, but you can sit with them and eventually, they will pass. Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laugh for having doubted your resilience. I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing, again and again. This will pass. I promise it will pass.
— Daniel Koepke