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Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

“Pain Is Inevitable. Suffering is Optional.”  (Zen Aphorism)

It’s a very famous quote that I’ve heard many, many times but only recently began to get a sense of what I think it really means.  Life happens, stuff happens — this is inevitable and responding with pure, genuine, heart felt pain is what is natural.  Or said another way, it is letting your heart break open with love.

But what is suffering?  I think suffering is letting your heart close down in judgement — judgement either of one’s self, another or a situation, whatever that may be.  Suffering includes regrets, all forms of “if only’s” and “I should have’s”.  It also includes believing that there is something wrong that you have done or something intrinsically wrong with you or another.  Blame of anything or anyone leads to suffering.  Negative out-picturing of events, past, present and future also cause suffering.  An idea that says life can never be the same without a person, a situation, or a condition being met, will certainly lead you on a path to suffering.  If we do the simple math, it often looks like: this happened + I judge it to mean this painful thing = I now suffer.

Any time you are in pain that has led to suffering you can be certain it includes some type of discrimination.  I call it discrimination because it selectively screens out what is truth in favor of a perception that separates you from believing in yourself or others and ultimately from believing in Life’s tendency to flow towards well being, balance, order, benevolence and grace.  As long as we are willing to settle for conclusions and judgements that separate us from all that Life willingly and daily offers up to us, we will suffer.

Where’s the way out?  When suffering, ask yourself what are you believing about yourself, another or the situation right now.  Now ask yourself if you unequivocally know that whatever it is you are believing, is absolutely true.  There is very little, if anything, to which you can honestly respond with a yes.  Now, are you willing to suspend what you’ve been believing?  You see, wanting to be on the other side of suffering is a beginning and wanting to be in self friendly relationship with yourself is a must.  Yet wanting won’t be enough, it requires your willingness to live in harmony with yourself.  And sometimes that willingness comes a bit at a time but come it will for one who is ready to walk in harmony with his or herself.

Want the world to be a peaceful, harmonious place, a world filled with love and loving people, want it to be a world without discrimination?  It all starts at home with a willingness to walk the inner walk of living in friendship with ourselves one step, one day at a time.

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It does not astonish or make us angry that it takes a
whole year to bring into the house three great white
peonies and two pale blue iris.  It seems altogether
right and appropriate that these glories are earned
with long patience and faith. . . . and also that it is
altogether right and appropriate that they cannot last.
Yet in our human relations we are outraged when
the supreme moments, the moments of flowering,
must be waited for. . . . and then cannot last.  We
reach a summit, and then have to go down again.

May Sarton

* * * * * *

There is so very much that we can learn from the natural world.  We are constantly surrounded by reminders of the cycles of life, the natural order of things, and if we can just recognize and appreciate the lessons of the natural world, our own lives could become so much easier and so much more comprehensible.  We live our lives in seasons much as the flowers and the trees and the animals do, and one of the reasons for which we tend to become unhappy or frustrated is because we sometimes expect to live in perpetual spring or summer, not allowing or wanting winters to be a normal, important part of our lives.

One of the reasons that spring is so beautiful in the colder areas of the world is because the flowers are coming after a long period without them–we’ve been deprived of their presence for a long time, so they mean much more to us.  We all know that for everything there is a season, but most of us would like to make those seasons longer, or to have some control over them.

But we have to let life be what it is.  Life is a beautiful experience, yet we tend to diminish its beauty by placing our false expectations on it.  One of my favorite art forms is that of ice sculpting, for the artists have a clear understanding of just how short-lived their works will be–yet they’re willing to put in hours of work to create beautiful works of art.  It’s possible that some of the most beautiful sculptures ever made have melted into puddles of water, only seen by a limited number of people for a very short time.

Enjoy the great parts of life, but enjoy them in the right here and right now, which is truly the only time that we can experience anything at all.  And when their time to leave comes, let them go with grace and dignity rather than trying to hold on to them in desperation or fear that you may never experience them again.  You will, if you simply let life be life, and accept the seasons of our lives with love and trust that they will return.

* * * * * *

For further thought:

A garden that never died eventually would weary.
Robbed of springtime, unacquainted with the
extraordinary perfume that rises from the soil after
it’s had its rest, the garden that winter doesn’t visit
is a dull place.  The return every spring of earth’s
first freshness would never be kept if not for the
frosts and rot and ripe deaths of fall.  So when I go
out from the garden for the last time in autumn,
I leave the gate open behind me.

Michael Pollan

Source: Living Life Fully

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gril-feelings-dice_280920051433321

You feel as you feel because you
believe in a certain fashion.
Your feelings follow your conscious
beliefs…

Seth – Jane Roberts
ESP Class – July 30, 1974

So often in the past I have felt that my emotions, my feelings were the potential problem.  It’s as if they existed as some separate entity.  If I felt happy, I felt good, if I felt really sad, I felt bad.  The connection that I wasn’t making and this is something the Field Center also talks about, as Seth does in the above quote — feelings follow intention or what we take to be real.  The first time I heard that, it was like stepping out of the hypnotic trance of my emotions.  My feelings are just information.  They tell me what I am believing.  Understanding what I’m believing gives me choice to question it, to believe it or not.  But to look at it from the standpoint of emotion alone was to miss the whole picture.

I care about what I believe, what I take to be real –  what I identify with is what I breathe life into.  I am in this moment creating my present, my future and interestingly, also my past.  Today is tomorrow’s past.  Funny how that works.

Well, I don’t have all the answers, even though I like to pretend I do on some days.  Some days I try way too hard.  Some days I am willing to let this loving, benevolent Universe work through me.  Some days I’m willing to trust that whatever unfolds is doing so for my greater Good.  Some days I get by on the skin of my teeth and Grace.  I think I love more than anything living in a Universe that I absolutely know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, bends in our favor with so much Grace and Love.  And some days, that’s my resting place and it’s enough.

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waterlilies1


The winds of grace blow all the time. All we need to do is set our sails.

~Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa~

It is such a relief to be reminded that as outer conditions don’t always seem to
swing into agreement in the ways I want them to, that there is Grace.  As Florence
Scovel Shinn once wrote, I am under Grace and not under Law.  I am reminded
again that I live under the umbrella of a Benevolent Universe.  The scales are
inescapably tipped in our favor.  And so, I set my sails with a deep surrender,
which is not to say I cease to have my desires, but is to say I make peace with
the way things are now.

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cats1

“We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us.  The labyrinth is thoroughly known.  We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god…Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence.  And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”
~Joseph Campbell~

I am reading Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.  The above Joseph Campbell quote is excerpted from this book.  I haven’t gotten very far in the book so I can’t really make a recommendation one way or the other but if you have gone through a recent particularly difficult time, it might be the book for you.

I call these particularly difficult times the “pinch me” times.  There are two types of pinch me’s.  Pinch me, I must be dreaming, this is too good to be true and then the other kind: pinch me, I want to wake up from this nightmare.  But the nightmare is real and the waking up that follows is vastly different than waking up from a nightmare with a grateful sigh of relief that it really didn’t happen.  Thankfully most of us can count on one hand how many of the latter we have experienced.  It might be a divorce, a major move, a job loss, it might be the loss of a loved one that thrusts us abruptly into a territory we weren’t quite prepared to enter.  Suddenly we are left caught off guard, vulnerable, raw and unready to face this new challenge.

Many have moved through such times before us and paved a path, they leave bread crumbs of hope along the way.  They carve out handholds to grasp for support. They are the heroes that have taken this path before us and chosen to lend a hand to others along the way.

The Obama administration speaks of service, of cultivating an attitude of ‘we can do it’.   The heroes that I speak of, are in service too, every bit a part of the we can do it.  To all of you heroes, I say thank you.

Love, Bethie

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smallgracering1

I cannot lose
anything that
belongs to me by
Divine Right.
I am under
grace and not
under law.

~Florence Scovel Shinn

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You were born into a state of grace.

Therefore, it is impossible for you to leave it.

You will die in a state of grace whether or not special words are
spoken for you, or water or oil is poured upon your head.

You share this blessing with the animals and all other living things.

You cannot fall out of grace, nor can it be taken from you.

~Seth as channeled by Jane Roberts

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