bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: zen

awww shucks, an inspiring award

inspiringblogger

Big thanks to Molly at Love Well Live Well for the very inspiring award!  Please visit her page  http://lovewell-livewell.com, where her mission states:  “I love learning and sharing about holistic wellness. This site was developed as extra motivation to remember to love myself and prioritize my wellbeing, as well as a hope to be a small source of inspiration to others.”  Her blog is diverse and helpful – check it out!

These are the requests of award recipients:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award and link to them.  (I changed this number from 15 to 7 because of the time it takes to copy/paste/post/type/YIKES!)
4. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

1.  Dennis at Gotta Find a Home:  http://gottafindahome.wordpress.com. Dennis is chronicling the lives of homeless people.   This one is particularly touching to me because the homeless hold a special place in my heart.  More on that some other time.

2.  Andrew Mellen at his site’s blog:  http://blog.andrewmellen.com.  He’s all about simplification and less stuff.  Plus I’m in love with his mother’s day message.

3.  Maryanna Hoggatt at Little Wolf:  http://littlewolfblog.com.  It’s so inspiring to see people following their passion – especially when that passion induces grins, gasps and giggles.  If you enjoy whimsy, fantasy and downright creativity, this blog is for you.

4.  Robbie Bobby Boy at Letters to a Nichiren Buddhist:  http://www.nichirenletters.com.  Nam myoho renge kyo.  Period.  🙂

5.  Harula Ladd at Words That Serve:  http://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com.  I nominated her last time I received an award, too.  I just love everything she does.

6.  Terry Marotta at Exit Only:  http://terrymarotta.wordpress.com.   Terry and I occasionally share an editorial page in The Winchester Star.  She is funny, creative and seems to have a bottomless well of inspiration.

7.  Charlotte Porter at Momaste Blog:  http://momasteblog.wordpress.com.  All I can say is, “If you like this blog you’ll LOVE Momaste!”  😉

Thank you for the shout out!  Happy blogging!

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

mindful mothering

A story from my blog Everything Old is New Age Again published last year on May 9, 2012:

I read about a mindfulness exercise in a book called Making a Change for Good by Zen master Cheri Huber.  The idea is that you tie a string around your finger to remind you to be in the here and now.

Tying a string around my finger was too annoying, but I always wear my watch on my left wrist and decided switching it to my right would have a similar effect.  And it did.  (Holy awkward.)  As it turns out, its effect has been undeniable.  All day long I feel that out-of-place watch and all day long I remember to connect to breath.

Now, I’ve got to admit – I was already pretty mindful before this watch switching experiment.  I am very aware of my intimate connection with source and think about the power of my energy every day – honestly, almost all day long.  But nothing yanks me out of my awareness like my three young children…  children who inundate me with challenges in patience and self-control.

So I wanted this week of meditative practice to help me maintain balance with my family.  Beautifully, my watch has brought me back to breath during every single melt down (mine and the kids’).  I’ve consciously applied things I’ve read and learned this week specifically to motherhood.  and I realized something:  I need to spend more time teaching my children and less time feeling exasperated or burdened by them.

My affirmation this week is:  “MOMMY IS HERE FOR YOU.”

We have to teach them this and remind them of this every day.  There are so many things that we skip over because we assume that our children understand the way the world works.  We assume that they can connect the dots on their own.  So when our kids make mistakes or participate in mindless, seemingly crazy behavior, we admonish them.  We shame them.  We tell them they’ve disappointed us.  We make our own children feel like they are disappointments, like they’re stupid.  And then we continue to assume that they know we love them and are there for them.  [Note: I say “we” because I am guilty of this.  And I have seen other people do this to their children as well.  But I do not assume that ALL mothers do this.  And kudos to those of you who intuitively know better while others of us learn by active awakening.]

My personal example.  PG is coloring with Sharpie on a napkin on my new (white) granite countertop.  I see what she is doing and my first inclination is to scream frantically, “ARE YOU NUTS?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!  YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN MY KITCHEN!  YOU ARE 7 YEARS OLD!  YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER!”  But guess what, mommy dearest?  she doesn’t know better.  She’s just being creative and is not thinking about the damage her creativity can cause.  She means no harm.  She is just not tuned in to the consequences of Sharpie meeting countertop.

So this time, instead of launching into my desperate victimized Joan Crawford routine, I feel my watch and take a breath.  I explain to her that Sharpie bleeds through the thin paper of a napkin and can stain the surface underneath.  I tell her that stains do not come out.  I tell her that when she’s 15, she’ll be sitting here at the counter, looking at that old stain and thinking, “I can’t believe I did that.”  Then I hide the Sharpie, give her a crayon and send her back to work on that napkin.

Instead of dehumanizing her and shaming her, something I have done to her before and have decided not to do ever again, I taught her about cause and effect and encouraged her to think next time she pulls the cap off of a marker.  I taught her that sometimes thought-less behaviors can leave ugly stains (in this case literally).  Through this teaching moment, my daughter knows that her Mommy RESPECTS HER LIFE and her Mommy is here for her.   And I taught myself that I am capable of mothering my children with mindfulness and patience.  (I’m bawling right now by the way.  This is a very difficult truth to overshare.)

We expect that our children can understand the complexity of life, the pressures of adulthood.  But they don’t.  Period.  They just aren’t ready for it.  They don’t have the capacity for it.  We parents think that because we drive them to soccer, because we buy them UGGS, because we kiss them goodnight, because we pack their lunches every day, that they should feel safe and loved and grateful.  But that’s not how it works.  The only way they know they are loved is by learning this lesson: “MOMMY IS HERE FOR YOU.”

I have a big chalkboard in my kitchen.  I typically use it to remind my kids to do things like brush their teeth, be kind to others, finish their homework.  But this week I am using it to remind myself of something…

Wait I’m not done yet!  That was last year and this is now:

Flash forward one year to May 2013.  Looking back at this post, I can see that mindfulness changes everything.  Actively practicing awareness and mindful breathing allows us to think more clearly and create better present moments.  And I learned an important lesson this year that change the way I think about mothering.  One of the teachers at my children’s Montessori school retired last year.  She came back in the fall to share some pearls of teaching wisdom at a parenting lecture.  One thing she said really stuck with me.  It went something like this:

“We teach skills deliberately, in a particular order.  Before a child engages in water pouring work, he must first learn how to clean up water.  Once he mastered the skill of cleaning up, he can learn to pour.  So that when an accident happens, and an accident will certainly happen, the child will know exactly what he needs to do to make it right.”

This teaching provided me with such a deep feeling of clarity.  It was like my skull broke open and rainbow poured into my head.  Such a simple idea, yet so profound.  This simply profound idea brought me back to the power of meditation.   Each of us experiences accidents in life – turmoil, trouble, frustration, anger, disappointment, hurt.  You name it.  These things are not preventable, they are our life’s work.  Before we engage in life’s work, we can help ourselves and those around us by mastering the skill of cleaning up our thoughts.  Meditation does that for us.  It provides us with clarity of mind, strength of spirit and acceptance of “what is”, so that when accidents happen, and they will certainly happen, we will know exactly what to do to make it right.  Talk about making a change for good.  🙂
From mine to yours,

Vanessa

my first time with his holiness the dalai lama

I’m going to start off by asking you to not only read this article, but share it.  Facebook, Twitter, email, text, anything.  A bold way to start, I know, but these words have very little to do with my ambitions as a writer and everything to do with us…  you, me, them.  Us.  Oh, and there’s a lot of punctuation ahead, but just push your way through it, annoying as those little dots and curved lines can be.

I’ll start by setting the scene.  My friend LB tipped me off that His Holiness the Dalai Lama would be speaking in Boston this fall, promoting The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics & Transformative Values at MIT, a non-partisan think tank organized in honor of HHDL’s vision to enact holistic education focusing on human and global ethics.

I eagerly bought two tickets for my husband and me and yesterday we were blessed to sit just 20 feet from His Holiness while he shared thoughts on religion, ethics, values and wellbeing.   I snuck the pic above with my iPhone, hence the crappy quality.  Anyway, here’s the story, peppered with my own interpretations and common sense applications of the day’s events:

JAMES TAYLOR:  An emotional opening act

We begin with Boston’s beloved James Taylor warming up the crowd for His Holiness, inspiring a thousand lips to curl up at the corners with his beautiful folk music, as he’s accompanied by BSO’s Owen Young on cello.  The playlist includes You’ve Got a Friend, a cover of I’m a Roadrunner, a folk version of Bach.  Fat tears roll down my cheeks as he sings Sweet Baby James.  I feel as if he sings this sweet lullaby just for me, as I had sung it for my own sweet babies each night as they fell asleep in my arms.

He nears the end of his set, “Shower the people you love with love…  show them the way you feel…”, a heavy door left of the stage opens and the audience breathes a collective gasp.  People rise to their feet, hands to heart center as the one and only Dalai Lama steps into the room, surrounded by crimson-robed monks and dark-suited bodyguards.  His presence alone inspires awe, love and hopefulness.  After a surge of clapping, the group sits down and JT invites his wife and daughter to the stage to join him in one last song before His Holiness takes over.  It is a lovely moment.

HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA:  Quotes, insights and paradigm shifts

His Holiness mounts the stage with his trusted interpreter, greeting fellow panelists:  Father Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk and priest of St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, founder of The Centering Prayer Movement of Contemplative Outreach, and author of several books including Open Mind Open Heart; and Brother David Steindl-Rast, co-founder of The Center for Spiritual Studies, a center incorporating thoughts from Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Sufi religions, founder of gratefulness.org, and author many books including Words of Common Sense for Mind, Body and Soul.  The panel is moderated by Liz Walker, former anchor at WBZ News in Boston, now a reverend at Roxbury Presbytarian Church and founder of My Sister’s Keeper, a grassroots human rights initiative for women in Sudan.

Bows and friendly gestures are exchanged amongst the spiritual brothers and then His Holiness turns to us, his adoring fan club, bowing and smiling.  He begins our first lesson of the day:  The Biological Factor, linking science and Buddhism with our every day actions.  Always the gentleman, he delivers a message to ladies first…

He tells us that the most important thing one can do in life is mother affectionately.  Though we aren’t all mothers, we all have mothers, so everyone can understand.  As new human beings, the first thing we look for is nurturing love from our mothers.   HHDL says, “Right away, the newborn knows how to find the…  the…  the…  [Interpreter:  ‘teats’]  the…  [‘teats’]  no, the…  [‘teats’]  PIMPLE!  [‘NIPPLE!’]”  Laughter ensues.

Comedy aside, his point is perfection.  A good life begins with a loving foundation.  Love is the natural tendency, the biological tendency.  “Females have more sensitivity about others’ suffering,” he says in thickly accented staccato, “Not religious belief.  Biological factor.  Female should take more active role in this field.”  (Thunderous applause.)

I get it.  I understand it.  It registers.  BIOLOGY IS LOVE.  Same, same.  ((MC, I swear I actually hear HHDL say that and I’m snickering!))  He says that we need to teach children love, kindness and compassion the same way we teach children science.  The two are braided together to form the whole tightly-woven truth.  Without an intimate understanding of love, how can we understand our own biology?    His Holiness urges us to educate mankind about the science of loving kindness and about the science of happiness rather than leaving that responsibility to religion or by filtering love through the lens of any one religion.  Love is for everyone, believers and non-believers.  Science has caught up to what spiritually rich people have known for centuries.  Love is real, love is ethics, love is responsibility, love is mainstream.  And just to prove the point, one of the best universities in the world, MIT, is backing up that theory by opening The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics & Transformative Values.

HHDL continues, “Religion gives us practice of hypocrisy, because in reality [people] don’t care about the philosophy of teachings.  They have no firm connection about these basic values…  [We must] educate them through scientific finding and common sense for happy life, happy family,  happy community.”

His Holiness is telling us that he understands – religion teaches strict dogma and demands standards that are so hard to meet that most people give up.  We disconnect.  We stop caring.  We float through life without any solid foundation in spirituality or love.  We live our lives on the foundation of selfishness, of arrogance.  We do this.  You, me, us, them.  We.  We take things because we want them.  We buy things because we need them.  We waste things because we can.  We hurt people because we don’t think.  WE DON’T THINK ABOUT THE EFFECT WE HAVE ON EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ONE AROUND US.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

His Holiness reminds us, “Each person can make a difference. [We] should not think of ourselves as helpless.  A worldwide movement first starts from individual.  First one.  Then your neighbor.  Then ten families.  Then a thousand families.  Share with more people…  more people.  Think more and keep enthusiasm to do something.”  (English is obviously not his first language but, trust me, no love lost in this room.)

“A lot of our problems are of our own creation,” he presses on.  Yes, yes, yes I’m thinking.  We’ve created an ocean of garbage.  We’ve destroyed forests.  We’ve hunted and killed animals for sport.  We’ve bought handbags made my 5 year olds in Vietnam.  We’ve eaten food full of chemicals wrapped up in slippery plastic bags.  We’ve done all of this without thinking.

“Ignorance is the opposite of understanding.  Investigate with a calm mind.  Know reality.  Think.  Then decide,” His Holiness gently impresses.  Think.  That’s all we have to start doing.  Think.  And this is something that each person can do on his or her own.  Just think twice before buying that case of plastic water bottles.  Think twice before leaving the house with the lights on.  Think twice before walking past a person on the street without acknowledging their presence with a smile.  JUST THINK.

These days, we adults are like toddlers in a toy store.  We pull everything out, cause chaos and disorder, push each other around, break everything then leave behind a mess for someone else to clean.  And like small children, we don’t think twice because we don’t realize we have impact.  We don’t realize we matter.  It’s just a plastic bottle.  It’s just a new car.  It’s just a rude comment.  It’s just a middle finger.

As a parent, I understand the frustration of having to sweep up after mischievous kids.  So I should have more understanding.  I should be thinking twice, no three times, before I make a mess.  Where was this dress made?  Do I really need to redecorate my living room?  What’s in a Swedish Fish anyway?  Could I be kinder to people who challenge me?  Could I stop engaging in gossip?  Because here in the grown-up land of planet Earth, my parents won’t be cleaning it up.  My children will.  And depending on the behavior we model, they can continue the cycle or they can start a new one.  There is no politician, no judge or teacher who has more power over the direction of this planet than a mother.  Each mother has an enormous responsibility to offer her children opportunities to THINK about their impact on this planet.  But in the end, it’s up to all of us to be better, to do better.

THIS WORLD REVOLVES AROUND YOU.  THEREFORE YOU MATTER.  EVERYTHING YOU DO… EVERY THOUGHT YOU THINK…  IT ALL MATTERS.

So now that you know you matter, what do you do?  Ignore the call?  Pretend it never happened?  Or do you join the wave of goodness?  Do you start playing the role of responsible human being?  After all, in a hundred years we’ll all be dead.  But our grandchildren will be here.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to train our children to make responsible choices and practice loving kindness by modeling that behavior ourselves?  How else will they learn?  Loving kindness is taught at home, not in school.  At least not yet. 😉

FATHER THOMAS KEATING:  Not your mother’s Father

Now, most of my friends are Christians, and regardless of your level of Christian devotion, I think you’ll be very interested in learning more about Father Thomas Keating.   If you love your faith and believe in God but are sometimes frustrated by the church’s narrow interpretation of the Bible, boy, have I got a monk for you.  If you are searching for a modern take on Christianity, Father Thomas is the just the 80 year old priest that will inspire you to connect fully and passionately to your faith.

I am not your mother’s Father, are the words he does not say, but then again, doesn’t have to.

Father Thomas begins by talking about evolution, setting the tone right away.  The earth is fully populated and this, he considers as proof that the human species is fully evolved.  He challenges, “It’s time to look at the development of consciousness that is beyond biological.”  He goes on, saying that as spiritual seekers, we are constantly searching for union with God, as if God is the “Other”.

“There is no ‘Other’,” he says emphatically, “Everything is a manifestation of the source.”  In other words, we are already in union with God, we just need to awaken to it.  Our problem is that we, “want to become God on our own terms.”  (Yes, yes, I am with you, Father Thomas.)  He tells us we need to reduce our selfishness by serving others.  “We think satisfaction of our emotional needs is happiness, even if it’s brief,” but God is not brief, God is everlasting, so in order to become God, we must invest our efforts in activity that provides us with longterm clarity and peace.

My interpretation:  Stop behaving badly, stop treating our bodies like garbage disposals, stop being assholes to each other and stop disrespecting this planet.  The human race evolved so we could stop acting like animals.  And that’s just what we’re doing!  We are a temporary embodiment of holy spirit.  When we die and shed our skin, all of the bullshit drags our souls down.  Our souls want to rise!  We can elevate by honoring the beautiful energy within us by investing in the intangibles, discovering happiness, serving mankind.

BROTHER DAVID STINDL-RAST:  With gratitude for saying the words we need to hear

Brother David Steindl-Rast (WHOM I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!!!!!!!) completes Father Thomas’ point by sharing a quote from Father Thomas Merton:  “GOD ISN’T SOMEONE ELSE.”  Wait, wait, wait.  Did you hear that?

GOD ISN’T SOMEONE ELSE.

The audience is awake.  We are all taken by Brother David.  He speaks, we applaud.  He speaks, we applaud.  He is wonderful.  He tells us that God is a mystery that doesn’t fit into the limited institutions that we’ve created to contain it.  He urges, “A non-violent revolution against power structure must be started in small communities.”

By revolution, he is telling us that NOW is the time that we can create a better future for the human race.  It has to be now.  (If not now, when?)  We have building momentum, maybe just a loving trickle at this point.  But by adding more mindful energy to the revolution, we can create a steady stream.  And then a flood.  Until we discover we are swimming in our new normal.  Welcome the Christians.  Welcome the Buddhists.  Welcome the Mulims, the Hindus, the Jews, the Sufis, the Non-believers.  Because regardless of our religious beliefs, science has proven something that we can all agree on.  LOVE MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER.

Liz Walker asks Brother David, “Are we guilty of failing God?”

He responds by bringing the conversation full circle, conjuring up an image of a mother at home with her baby, splattering food on the floor and misbehaving.  The mother doesn’t accuse the baby of being a failure.  She loves him and encourages him to do better.  Brother David tells us to do the same, “Look at the world with eyes of a mother and say, ‘You can do better.'”

“Write that one down!  Write that one down!”  My husband whispers as I scribble frantically into my notebook.

POST-GURU FEAST

Like any spiritual junkie, after the conference broke up, my husband and I find ourselves with a glorious high and a serious case of the munchies.  We walk over to Legal Seafoods and order a feast of salad and fish.   We pour over my messy notes and chatter excitedly about our own interpretations and moments of awakening.  We are wrapped in enthusiasm all the way home, where we joyfully embrace our children who have missed us all day.  And then, we pass out.  Because like any spiritual junkie, we cannot escape the crash.

So this morning, I write and think and meditate my way through my first spiritual hangover.  Hair of the dog.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

where zen chanting can take you: nam myoho renge kyo

Sorry for all the “uummmmmms”.  I recorded early this morning without preparing what I was going to say.

Do you chant?  Where does it take you?  Can you share your favorite?

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

bu-review: great reads for budding buddhists

Buddhism is a lofty subject.  Or at least it can be.  Buddhist writing can be confusing, especially for someone who is new to the practice, like me.  I prefer not to translate riddles or resort to look-ups on Wikipedia while I read, but to focus on practical lessons.  For this reason, I’ve really enjoyed learning from teachers who write for the masses.  There are some really great authors out there who have an extraordinary ability to make clear and simple sense out of ethereal concepts like inter-being, oneness, karma, the here and now, macrocosms in microcosms and equanimity.  Here are a few:

If you are bu-curious and looking to learn more about the philosophy or if you are a new-bu like me, I encourage you to read anything by Thich Nhat Hanh (“Thay”).  My friend introduced me to him just last spring and I don’t know how I lived so long without his wisdom.  He reminds us that, while Buddhist texts and scriptures can be complicated, life is actually pretty darn simple.  One of my favorite teachings of Thay’s is looking into the eyes of our loved ones and telling them, “I am here for you.”  Simple yet profound, this sentence validates our loved ones’ needs while affirming our own loving commitment.  And it doesn’t require years of Buddhist training to understand or master.  It just takes the desire to love.  Beautiful.  He’s published numerous books (too many to list).  A lot of them are pretty short but the content will surely provide readers with many tiny shifts along the way.  The first shown above, Living Buddha Living Christ, might be his most famous.  The second, Planting Seeds, is an awesome workbook for moms and dads who would like to introduce children to meditation.

Another book that I’ve really enjoyed is one my sister loaned me a couple of years ago – The Buddha in Your Mirror by Woody Hochswender, Gred Martin and Ted Morino.  It’s an open door to Zen, the Japanese brand of Mahayana born in the 13th century.  Zen was introduced by a monk named Nichiren who saw that Buddhism could have a profound effect on ordinary people and offered folks a path to awakening that was understandable, manageable and downright doable.  In this book, the authors introduce bu-curious readers to the mantra “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”, which, if my interpretation is correct, is the giving over of oneself to the laws of karma, allowing oneself the opportunity to see clearly and compassionately into life’s troubles.  But of course the meaning runs much deeper than that, as does everything in Buddhism.

I’ve been chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo quite a bit lately.  You’re supposed to chant it out loud for at least 5 minutes at a time, and sometimes I do that, apologizing to my kids for the noise while they play nearby or inviting them to join me.  In fact, I like chanting so much that I’ve been whispering Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to myself in half-pigeon pose during sweaty yoga…  or stepping to the beat of the chant when I’m out walking the dog.  I like the idea of discovering the natural rhythm of the world, and me in it, through chanting.  Although sometimes I’ve got to admit, I can’t help but think When did I become this person???  

Another really terrific, easy-to-read book is Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, another gift from a friend.  (Damn, I’ve got some good friends.)  I love this book for a lot of reasons.  Sarah never delves into nuts-and-bolts Buddhism.  Instead she sites practical examples of the ways she and other mommies use Buddhism to get through squeeze-y moments with their own BUBs.  She shares her shortcomings and triumphs, reminding readers that just because she’s a practicing Buddhist, doesn’t mean she’s always Zen.  But when she draws from her practice during tough times, she finds clarity, peace and patience with herself as a mother.


Okay, okay, last one.  Making a Change for Good by Zen teacher Cheri Huber is a self-help workbook.  My friend recommended this book to me because I wanted to break my lifelong habit of being a quitter.  In Making a Change for Good, Cheri teaches readers that through compassionate self-discipline, we can tap into the best part of ourselves.  And our nagging little voices that tell us we’re not good enough or that we don’t deserve success can be gently diverted away from the main stage of our minds.  The end of the book lays out 30 days of assignments from meditation to journaling that help readers beat bad habits and create lasting positive change.  I liked this book because I could DO something with it.  It was a great tool for me and I highly recommend it to anyone else who’d like to implement a little Buddhism to help make a change for good.

Well that’s a start.  My bookshelf is crammed with great reads that I’m excited to share, but we’ll start with these.  If you have a title that you’d like to offer, please post it here with a short description.  Hopefully it’s not one I’m planning to review!  😉

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

noble eightfold path: act now and first 25 readers will receive FREE thoughts on suffering!

Mr. Modern Invention, that tricky bastard, makes us believe that suffering is an easy fix.  Countless gadgets have been delivered to us so that we will never be hungry, never be bored, never be lonely, lost, dirty or without a pre-recorded fart sound (yes, there’s an app for that).  We employ all of these material and virtual inventions, wondering how we ever survived without them; and still, we suffer.

Why is that?  I mean, with all of these gadgets, shouldn’t life be perfect?  Or at least be close to it?  Life should at least be sort of easy, right?

But it’s not.

It’s not.

Life is not easy.

And no matter what the next latest-greatest promises, life will not become easier once we invest in it.  The end of suffering is not available in stores.  The end of suffering is available only deep inside ourselves.  And once we think we find the end to suffering, we must continue to practice through dedication and self discovery.  We don’t stop practicing once we find a shiny happy moment of peace.  The moment will pass and another opportunity for growth through suffering will present itself.  Because life changes at such a pace that the ways we suffer change constantly, too.

Buddhism offers a practical Eightfold Path to the end of suffering.  It doesn’t contaminate the earth, stress you out, make you fat or cause break-outs of any kind.  Oh, and it’s free.  Yah, baby.  Remember those Four Noble Truths we learned about?  Well, this is that path eluded to in the fourth truth, which is broken down into three parts:  Wisdom, Ethical Conduct and Mental Development.  Here are the eight pieces…

  1. Right View, understanding that in 300 years we’ll be dust so keep things in perspective
  2. Right Intention, controlling the way we think about ourselves and others through mindfulness
  3. Right Speech, thinking before we speak and refraining from gossip or harsh language (ouch), being truthful, kind and helpful with the words we choose
  4. Right Action, doing the right thing and living wholesomely
  5. Right Livelihood, earning an ethical living that doesn’t conflict with our values or harm the planet
  6. Right Effort, consciously directing our lives toward transformation by finding a balance between life’s activities and a disciplined meditative practice
  7. Right Mindfulness, living in the here and now through experiencing physical sensations, emotions, thoughts and attitudes
  8. Right Concentration, being absorbed by one thought, also called one-pointedness; it’s a doozy

The Buddhas dying words are these:  “Look not for refuge to anyone beside yourself.”

The machines, the services, the computers, the gurus…  they are convenient or they are distracting.  But they are not the end to suffering.  You are.  It just takes practice.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  Don’t forget to share with your Bu-curious friends!  Read more by Vanessa at Everything Old is New Age Again.