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a five step values practice…making choices.

inspired by a lecture given by dr. jill carroll at the jung center, houston. i am using this practice to more deeply understand my power in choice.

  1. what are my three core values?
    • for example, currently mine are:
      • love, wellness & freedom
    • the practice here is to reassess regularly and in the context of relationship with both self and others.
      • for example, if you are married and are struggling with how to balance schedules with kids, work, partner, etc., might be useful to discuss and understand your collective values and reflect together on how time is spent and does your “busy-ness” prioritize your values or other things that really are not that important to you.
  1. what is the source of my values?
    • did i choose my value? or was it placed on me by my religion, parents, society, partner, etc.
    • what are my spiritual reference points?
      • is there consciousness in the source of how i ground my life?
  1. do i value my values?
    • what am i actually creating?
      • do my choices reflect my values? do my values reflect my choices?
  1. do i have the capacity to rescind a value/choice if it is not aligned with my authentic self?
    • can i yield?
    • am i adaptable?
    • am i fluid?
      • where there is movement, there is life…
        • what did i learn from this choice/experience?
  1. do i trust my authentic self?
    • what supports me when nothing supports me?

there is also choice in the practice of acceptance, as taught by viktor frankl…another post, forthcoming.

look at the sky

a note from jack kornfield:

When times are uncertain, difficult, fearful, full of change,
they become the perfect place to deepen the practice of awakening.
After viewing the elections…

Whatever your point of view,
Take time to quiet the mind and tend to the heart.
Then go out and look at the sky.

Remember vastness, there are seasons to all things,
gain and loss, praise and blame, expansion and contraction.

Learn from the trees.
Practice equanimity and steadiness.
Remember the timeless Dharma amidst it all.
Think of the best of human goodness.
Let yourself become a beacon of integrity, with your thoughts, words and deeds. Integrity in speech and action, virtue and non harming bring blessings.

Remember the Noble truths, no matter the politics or the season:
Greed, hatred and ignorance cause suffering. Let them go.

Love, generosity and wisdom bring the end of suffering. Foster them.

Remember the Buddha’s counsel,
“Hatred never ends by hatred but by love alone is healed.
This is the ancient and eternal law.”

The human heart has freedom in itself to choose love, dignity and respect.
In every circumstance, embody respect and cultivate compassion for all.
Let yourself become a beacon of Dharma.
Amidst the changes, shine with courage and trust.

Love people, and
This is your world. Plant seeds of goodness
and water them everywhere.

Then blessings will grow for yourself and for all.

Metta,
Jack

the yogi delights

wishing you all a peaceful weekend. rest well darling yogis. below is a section from one of my favourite books. it well encapsulates why practice is so profoundly engaging, and why i love teaching, learning and embodying an ethical practice.

–eight limbs as therapeutic redux–

because our primary suffering is alienation, the yogic path of therapy begins with reestablishing relationship with other. ethics (yama) comes first, because other people mirror your condition very plainly. empathetic relationship with others open the door to a brightening of self-perception (niyama). reconnecting with the flesh and breath (asana, pranayama) folds back into its phenomenal matrix. feeling energy flow evenly back and forth between phenomena is aided by understanding the sensory points of contact (pratyahara).

from here, contemplation of your condition has solid footing, because the most obvious content of alienation—lack of empathy, self-doubt or even self-hatred, and sensory overload—has been witnessed and engaged. one might then turn to witness the very structure of alienation (through samyama, the three degrees of meditation): how consciousness blends sense perception, meaning, concept, and memory into a fluid narrative, and then forgets it is doing so. because it forgets it is a storyteller who takes dictation by chapter and verse from the phenomenal world, it suffers the anxiety of groundless creativity. consciousness fears that it must create meaning alone. but this was never true. consciousness attunes to meaning because it is embedded in larger meanings.

samyama consist of focus (dharana), contemplation (dhyana), and integration

drawing by rebecca wilson, yoga will save the world

drawing by rebecca wilson, yoga will save the world

(samadhi). focus allows concentration to narrow from the typically scattered state we have inherited from a more fearful era of constant sympathetic (defensive) nervous engagement (and now perpetuated in disembodied form through much of our news media). contemplation imbues this focus with empathy, so that attunement between subject and object begins to hummmmmmmm. (my emphasis on hum–can you feel it?☺) the peak of attunement is integration, in which the subject/object boundary is softened, and feelings of wholeness and connection saturate the flesh and mental flow. sensing this pervasion of empathy, the yogi delights even more richly in the ethics of relationship (yama): the circle is complete.

-matthew remski: threads of yoga: a remix of patanjali-s sutras with commentary and reverie

drawing by rebecca wilson, yoga will save the world

well it looks like rain & it feels like rain

I woke up this morning to the sound of the rain. Did you too? Filled with ideas, sleepiness, a bit of anxiety, curiosity at what the day would bring, interest in my social media worlds, wondering if the rain would continue on throughout the day and if my work calendar would be full.

My general habit is to check the weather forecast in the morning—sometimes to pray for rain, always to hope for a cooling break from the brutally oppressive space that holds Houston for the summer season. Then I started to wonder, what if I don’t look at the forecast, and just go forth with my most prepared self. I will wear my Chie Miharah summer sandals (as I’ve done almost every day since buying them last month in Bilbao), bring a pair of old Birkenstocks and carry my trusty umbrella. I will be as prepared for what may come. And also be cognizant that no matter how much I plan, prepare, read, review, fret, hope, etc.— there will be surprises along my path today.

I am both a procrastinator and an over-preparer. Makes for an interesting balance. Currently I am of the perspective that we are in a culture of too much preparation and too much information; and that that over preparation and information overload does not allow us to be in the real ebb and flow of life. If I think I have everything figured out, what do I do when life smacks me in the face with a new teaching on the regular? And if I am in my practice, breathing, feeling, seeing, allowing, open and prepared to be responsive, not reactive, then I can see clearly as things comes up during the course of my life, and not freak out when things do not go #just.as.planned.

So in the words of the great teachers, I will go slowly, breathe and smile. I will be as prepared as is wise and practical, knowing what I know about where I currently sit. The reality is I am in Houston in the summer. It is hot. It may rain. It will be swampy. I will look outside my window and check the sky, observe the clouds, instead of

calle blossom

calle blossom

my weather app. And if it rains, and I am unprepared, I have a choice of how to deal with it. The options are limitless; I can duck into a covered space, I can stay and feel the drops on my skin, I can take off whichever shoes I am wearing and feel the earth. I can pause. I can be present with what comes up, and I can choose to respond (not react) to what is. My ethical practice grounds me in being present, open, pragmatic, realistic, responsive and truly interested, at times delighted, at the surprises that life will always bring.

no-thing

When I became really still and awakened, I discovered that I was nothing. Nothing separate from the rest of the world. Wisdom sees that I am nothing. Love sees that I am everything, and between these two my life flows.
– Jack Kornfield quoting Nisargadattabelieved she could