Monthly Archives: July 2010

For the Traveler

For the Traveler

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

~ John O’Donohue ~
For the Traveler
July 14th, 2010

For the Traveler

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

~ John O’Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)
( © John O’Donohue. All rights reserved)

Equanimity (Upeksha)

Equanimity (Upeksha)

The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even mindedness, or letting go. Upa means “over,” and iksh means “to look.” You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love. People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent. If you have more than one child, they are all your chil­dren. Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love. You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without dis­crimination.

Upeksha has the mark called samatajñana, “the wisdom of equality”, the ability to see everyone as equal: not dis­criminating between ourselves and others. In a conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impar­tial, able to love and to understand both sides. We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others. As long as we see ourselves as the one who loves and the other as the one who is loved, as long as we value ourselves more than others or see ourselves as different from others, we do not have true equa­nimity. We have to put ourselves “into the other person’s skin” and become one with him if we want to understand and truly love him. When that happens, there is no “self” and no “other.”

Without upeksha, your love may become possessive. A summer breeze can be very refreshing; but if we try to put it in a tin can so we can have it entirely for ourselves, the breeze will die. Our beloved is the same. He is like a cloud, a breeze, a flower. If you imprison him in a tin can, he will die. Yet many people do just that. They rob their loved one of his liberty, until he can no longer be himself. They live to satisfy themselves and use their loved one to help them fulfill that. That is not loving; it is destroying. You say you love him, but if you do not understand his aspirations, his needs, his difficulties, he is in a prison called love. True love, allows you to preserve your freedom and the freedom of your beloved. That is upeksha.

For love to be true love, it must contain compassion, joy and equanimity. For compassion to be true compassion, it has to have love, joy, and equanimity in it. True joy has to contain love, compassion, and equanimity. And true equanimity has to have love, compassion, and joy in it. This is the interbeing nature of the Four Immeasurable Minds. When the Buddha told the Brahman man to practice the Four Immeasurable Minds, he was offering all of us a very important teaching. But we must look deeply and practice them for ourselves to bring these four aspects of love into our own lives and into the lives of those we love.

Midyear Abundance

This post from Beyond the Fields We Know on abundance brought to mind some of my older posts:

The word abundance made its first appearance in the fourteenth century, coming to us through Middle English and Old French, thence from the Latin abundāns, meaning overflowing. The adjective form is “abundant”, and our common synonyms for it include: abounding ample, bounteous, bountiful, copious, eco-rich, exuberant, filled, full, generous, heavy, lavish, liberal, luxuriant, overflowing, plenteous, plenty, profuse, rich, sufficient and teeming.

We use the adjective form to describe circumstances of fullness, ripeness and plenty, and it’s a word in frequent use in high summer and early autumn. There is something almost wanton (or profligate) about the riches on display in summer – wild turkeys in the corn and waving barley, deer and fawns in the newly mowed meadows, flotillas of fuzzy goslings paddling down the river accompanied by their proud parents.

The sage never tries to store things up.
The more he does for others, the more he has.
The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance.
— Tao Te Ching, Eighty-one

“When you open to receive the love of a friend, you are giving them the greatest gift you can give. When you are open to receiving without hindrance the energy of the universe, you are giving the world a gift. When you open to receive an inspiration or a creative idea, you are giving. In truth, receiving is giving.” — Laurence G. Boldt, The Tao of Abundance

The more you learn what to do with yourself,
and the more you do for others,
the more you will enjoy the abundant life.
— William J.H Boetcker

In 2005, I picked up a book that changed my life, Deng Ming Dao’s “365 Tao”. Reading it every day throughout the year, and using it as a touchstone for my own meditation and writing was the focus of my blog for a year. It helped bring me out of depression, reoriented my thoughts towards the world, and started me on a path that continues to expand and amaze me. Here is his writing on abundance:

Sun in heaven.
Abundance in great measure.

Supreme success
In the midst of impermanence.

The midday sun in summer is the hottest and brightest of all. It symbolizes a zenith, a fulfillment, a period of great brightness. In the affairs of people, it stands for the combining of strength and clarity, which yields brilliance. When the times are in accord, abundance cannot be opposed.

Abundance is a cause for celebration, but followers of Tao also remember to be cautious. No zenith can be preserved forever. In fact, the time of abundance just precedes an inevitable path of decline. Nothing in life is permanent. Therefore, the wise person enjoys and is gladdened by abundance. But while they take advantage of the time, they also prepare for what will follow.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

I realized that I had a great abundance in my life, even though I had felt what I was lacking more than what I had. I learned to start celebrating what I had in my life, instead of worrying about what I lacked. I learned to trust that what I needed would be provided to me — not that I didn’t have to work for it, but that if I did the work, it would be rewarded.

If you live in abundance, celebrate. Stop stressing about what you lack and celebrate what you have and who you are. And if you lack something in your life, trust in yourself to be able to find it. Trust in those around you to help you find it, and ask for their help. If you have abundance, share it with others, don’t be selfish about giving, because what you give to others will return to you in ways you least expect, ways that will make your life far more abundant than you could ever hope.

Realize that when you have abundance, you have the power to plant the seeds that will grow in the future. What seeds do you want to plant? What future do you want to leave for the next generation? Are the fancy toys or big house or car so important that you must have them now, or can that energy and abundance go to energizing the seeds of the future? Is it more important to give that extra hour to work so you can buy more things, or to a child to help develop their future?

“One hundred years from now, it will not matter what your bank account was, the sort of house you lived in, or the kind of car you drove, but the world may be different because you were important in the life of a child.”

Reap the rewards of your harvest, but store some away to sustain you through the lean times that may be ahead, and preserve some seeds to plant in the future as well. Only in that way can you truly sustain the abundance you enjoy today, and share it with others.

From Waking Heart today:

A whole cosmos speaking its loving presence to you in every moment! You cannot comprehend how wealthy you are. There are places and people in space and time that are far away, but not really. When this opens into your awareness, it will not matter where you are, who you are, or who you are with… or who you are without. All of it will be like a movie projection on a screen, and the light source will be in you, constant and intimately connected to everything.

Beyond the Fields We Know: Thursday Poem – In Praise of Mortality

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame

where everything shines as it disappears.

The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much

as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.

Is it safer to be gray and numb?

What turns hard becomes rigid

and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.

Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking

finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation

it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,

dares you to become the wind.

Rainer Maria Rilke

via Beyond the Fields We Know: Thursday Poem – In Praise of Mortality.