Not a Grim Duty

Spiritual practice should not be confused with grim duty. It is the laughter of the Dalai Lama and the wonder born with every child. — Jack Kornfield

I love this quote. I know I am getting off track when my daily practice gets too serious and seems like a duty or even a burden. It can be easy to forget that spending time playing with the girls (our cats Lizzie and Beth) or in my studio playing with my art are an important part of life and spiritual practices.

How do you lighten up when your practice starts seeming a little grim?

Awareness

“Awareness is more essential than a hundred skills. To be aware is to be open. And to be open is to know the path of every master who has roamed the earth.”
― Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Painted Oxen

The Heart Makes it Whole

“The mind divides the world into a million pieces. The heart makes it whole.”
― Stephen Levine, Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening

Putting Teachings into Practice

“You should understand the whole purpose of listening to teachings, taking teachings and studying them is to put them into practice. What you know should be put into practice immediately; you can thus derive the benefit of having some transformation within your mind. Even though it might be a very minor effort, a very small practice just leaving imprints within your mind, still you must think that it is worthwhile to do. Otherwise your knowledge of dharma will be quite fruitless.”
― Dalai Lama XIV, Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to the Stages of Meditation

A Cloudy Sunrise

At six this morning I walked down to the water for morning yoga. It was cloudy but as I looked toward the east there was a big splash of color just over the horizon and under the clouds. I continued to watch the sky during my morning pratice as the sun began to be visible then disappeared behind the clouds.

After watching cloudy sunrises for a couple of weeks now I have discovered that they have their own unique beauty and that the color that does manage to peek through is even more intense. One morning there was heavy mist over the water and the sun in all it’s glory appeared in front of the clouds.

I no longer have a camera that takes good sky shots. I tried to take one with my cell phone last week, but it didn’t capture the colors. But maybe thats a good thing because instead of trying to get the perfect photo I could just sit and immerse myself in the experience.

So the next time you see a sunrise take the time to sit with it. Breathe in. Breathe out. Take in the peace, the quiet and the beauty.

We Practice for Everyone

“To practice is not to practice for ourselves alone. We practice for everyone. We should be proud to say, Violence, it may come from somewhere else, but not from me. Hatred, discrimination, it may come from somewhere else, but not from me.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Ultimate Dimension: An Advanced Dharma Retreat on the Avatamsaka and Lotus Sutras

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