Over recent years, I have found great inspiration and motivation in Eastern religions and their respective philosophies. Buddhism, in particular, has had a very positive effect on my life. About 8 years ago, during a period of profound change, re-evaluation and sorrow, I found myself drawn to that part of the library that offered a different viewpoint on life from that of the Western perspective. Somehow, these teachings connected all the dots for me, and spoke to me in a very real and natural way. No dogma was involved, and Zen/Buddhism appealed to me more as a “science of the mind” than an organized religion. I read all that I could get my hands on, and eventually taught myself how to meditate – which, I might add, was a major turning point for me. Grasping the concepts of compassion, impermanence, selflessness and emptiness – not just on the surface, but to understand these insights deeply – was by no means a “walk in the park” and took some radical soul-searching. However, once the reality of the four noble truths got under my skin, I began to see my life, and all life, through new and different eyes. In every aspect of my daily life, the teachings enabled me to see more clearly, be more pliable to life’s twists and turns, to let go of what I couldn’t control, and to see others’ points of view with compassion, empathy and tolerance. In a nutshell, my life became happier, more peaceful and more fearless. I took to heart that famous phrase, “know thy self”. Buddhism allowed me to see my true nature, and in doing so, I saw the world – its beauty, its gifts, its mystery and its problems – in a more subtle and transparent light. It seems to me, in these threatening and uncertain times, that the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (“the Buddha”) of 2,500 years ago, are still so very relevant today; for it’s one’s mind – how one thinks and perceives – that forms our world, our reality and our vision for the future.
As Daniel Pinchbeck points out in his book, “2012”, “Today’s technology, its poisonous by-products, weapons of mass destruction, and inhumane repercussions are projections of the human psyche, expressing our current stage of development.” Carl Jung wrote, “The only thing that really matters now is whether man can climb up to a higher moral level, to a higher plane of consciousness, in order to be equal to the superhuman powers which the fallen angels have played into our hands. But he can make no progress until he becomes very much better acquainted with his own nature.”
On my inward journey (I’m still traveling), I stumbled across some very special literature; and I hope some of these books are, in some way, helpful to you:
|Entering The Stream||Samuel Bercholz||What is Zen||Alan Watts|
|The Miracle of Mindfulness||Tich Nhat Hanh||When Things Fall Apart||Pema Chodron|
|Being Peace||Tich Nhat Hanh||The Wisdom of No Escape||Pema Chodron|
|Two Treasures||Tich Nhat Hanh||The Book of Life||
|The Four Noble Truths||The Dalai Lama||The Light in Oneself||
|Healing Emotions||The Dalai Lama||Inner Revolution||Robert Thurman|
|The Art Of Happiness||The Dalai Lama||Breath Sweeps Mind||Jean Smith|
|This Is It||Alan Watts||Compassion||Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen|
|The Way of Liberation||Alan Watts||What Would The Buddha Do?||Franz Metcalf|
And these magazines, which can be found at the newsstand: Shambhala Sun and Tricycle
“… Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle”
Thanks for spending some time with me today.