Delight In The Now

A few months ago, I had the good fortune of spending some time with my then 10-month old godson. It was close to dinner time and he was starting to get fussy indoors so to give his parents and older sister a little breathing room, I picked him up and carried him outside. It was a beautiful spring day and he immediately quieted and became very alert. Then something interesting happened that I cannot really explain but I’ll call ‘merging consciousness’. This happened to me only once before some years ago when I lay down to take a nap and my cat decided to join me. Even though I was tired my mind was racing, continuously thinking about the past and worrying about the future, keeping me from being able to rest. My cat didn’t seem to have any trouble settling down at all and after a few minutes of purring, fell fast asleep. I was pondering, not without some jealousy about how cats are able to shift gears so effortlessly when suddenly it was as if I merged with my cat and got to experience ‘cat-ness’. There was no past, no future, only the moment. And that moment was nap! Every part of his being was 100% invested with total ease, in napping. It was glorious!  Continue Reading →

What Happens To The Wolf You Don’t Feed?

The other day I was thinking about the old Cherokee legend Two Wolves. The story is about an old man who is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The grandfather simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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Help for Helplessness

These are turbulent times. Violence is all over the news; be it a mass shooting, a drone strike or a senseless fight breaking out and ending in a death. I have been contemplating the climate we seem to be in as well as tracking my own responses and I keep coming back to the issue of helplessness. Many of these events, and our own internal responses to them, have a common component of helplessness. Yet the experience of helplessness is so uncomfortable we often resist it and jump right to anger, indignation and even aggression, so as to give ourselves some sense of having power and control. Helplessness often carries with it a feeling of fear and isolation and we can see how this cocktail of emotions can motivate people’s actions and attitudes. They may buy a gun. They may seek out like-minded people so as not to feel isolated or challenged. It is such a basic instinct; get a weapon and find your tribe. This is human history in a nutshell. The tribes have gotten bigger and the weapons we have created are so powerful we have the capacity to destroy our entire species as well as the planet. Perhaps it is time to deal with our helplessness in another way.
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