Humility is the Key

Humility is often recognized as carrying a connotation of specifically Christian spirituality. But as we will see, it is very much in alignment with the Buddhist concept of Right View.

Just as Right View is said to be the foundation of the 8 Noble Truths, Humility is possibly the very foundation of Christian spiritual practice.

Many people who have felt trapped in a rigid Christian theology will recognize something like “knowing our place in relation to God” as the definition of Humility, and the patriarchal connotations of subjugation may easily offend.

However, while Humility may carry with it a connotation of submission, it is not the connotation, but the true meaning which we seek to understand. Humility is not a submission to an all powerful “Other” as much as it is a disidentification with the ego through the practiced recognition of its true and accurate relationship to all things. Continue reading

Paradox at the Heart of Reality

“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

- Leonard Cohen

In this simple yet poignant line Leonard states the truth with the elegant simplicity befitting the poet he is.

Every single thing in the world of form is incomplete. There is a perfect imperfection in any object or concept. The delightful and dynamic potential of $100, for example, is collapsed into a single object or service when you spend it. You can not have the freedom of the money and the stability of that which it buys at the same time.

Our lives in the realm of duality are steeped in paradox like this. Self and Other. Objects and the space between them. Manifest reality and the potential from whence it flows. This fundamental duality gives rise to the “crack” in all things that Cohen is Talking about. Continue reading

Follow Your Bliss. . . More or Less.

How many times have we heard the immortal words of Joseph Campbell? His encouragement echoes loudly through the New Age community and it’s simple wisdom undergirds so many of our day to day conversations, goals and methods.

We use this advice to seek our life’s purpose and sometimes even give it the same exalted status as the Buddhist concept of Right Livelihood. As mistaken as that might be, the idea that following your bliss is the path to happiness is almost universal in the new age community, and it’s easy to see why.

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Life as a Mirror

Have you ever had someone tell you that life is a mirror of your consciousness? Or that we are each mirrors of each other?

Have you also noticed that even though you NEVER cut people off in traffic, some people still cut YOU off, and sometimes blatantly and intentionally?

Very often this mirror idea has been twisted from it’s original meaning to fit into a symmetrical understanding based on the Law of Attraction, namely that your consciousness actively creates the reality that you experience.

However, that is kind of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and one of the reasons it can seem so untrue sometimes is that the Law of Attraction is not really where this particular teaching belongs.

The idea that life is a mirror of our consciousness is often misunderstood and today I wanted to go back to the great traditions for some teachings that might shed some light on the true meaning of this common saying.
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Creating a life of purpose

There are a lot of smart people out there telling you all the wrong things about your life’s purpose.

Maybe that’s a little harsh. I guess they’re not telling you the wrong things per se, perhaps I should say they are telling you the part you want to hear. It’s great because they are wetting your appetite for living a life that is on fire. However, it is generally with the promise that you simply have to do the things that make you happy.

It sounds great doesn’t it? Just do the stuff that you like doing and voila! You are living a life of purpose!

Of course, a life of purpose is supposed to bring financial prosperity, good relationships and spiritual wisdom. . .

So what gives? Continue reading

Overcoming The Pain of Empathy

Let’s talk a little bit about the expansion of individual awareness and the increasing depth in consciousness that we experience on our journey through life.

First we need to differentiate between empathy and sympathy.

Sympathy comes about from, and is developed through, suffering. We can sympathize with someone because we have experienced similar situations and can understand degrees of intensity. While we may never have been homeless we can sympathize, because we have been lonely, lost, poor or otherwise in a difficult situation and we can multiply that experience in our mind to have some approximation of what homelessness might be like. Continue reading