Thursday, August 11, 2011

Re-Membering Who We Are....

When it comes to suffering injustice, there are two types of people. The first says, 'I can't wait to turn around and do this to someone else.' The second says, 'This was done to me, and I do not want to do it to someone else.'

When it comes to spiritual accomplishments, there are two types of people. The first says, 'I will press on for myself because my knowledge was won so dearly.' The second says, 'I will help others, because I know how difficult it is to walk a spiritual path.'

When it comes to facing death, there are two types of people. The first says, 'My life is at an end, and I am bitter.' The second says, 'In sharing, I became more than myself and cannot die.'

          From: Everyday Tao, p. 129, "Compassion"
This morning's final T'ai Chi Chih class practice was ideal: perfect weather, perfect silence, and, afterward, a feeling of lingering peace. One added bonus: a class member brought blueberry cobbler to share with the group. Perfection plus!

I look forward to a teaching break of several months in order to focus my attention on other people and projects. Nevertheless, I'll miss the wonderful energy, unity, peacefulness, and discussions that this special group of people share when we come together.

After TCC practice today we continued our discussion of Buddha's Brain, Chapter 9, "Compassion and Assertion." One student commented that through the softness in our TCC practice comes the ability to be assertive. I think that's true. As we become better acquainted with our true selves through regular practice of T'ai Chi Chih we become more easily able to speak from our stable, secure, and virtuous core of being. We can speak our truth and pursue our aims because no matter what other people do, their behavior is not controlling us (p. 145-6).

I read this quote by the Dalai Lama on the internet recently: Compassion is the radicalism of our time.

And here's how highly acclaimed meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn writes about loving kindness (compassion):
We resonate with one another's sorrows because we are interconnected. Being whole and simultaneously part of a larger whole, we can change the world simply by changing ourselves. If I become a center of love and kindness in this moment, then in a perhaps small but hardly insignificant way, the world now has a nucleus of love and kindness it lacked the moment before. This benefits me and it benefits others.

          From: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn, p. 162
Just like T'ai Chi Chih and seated meditation, compassion takes practice. See "A Guide to Cultivating Compassion in Your Life, with 7 Practices" by Leo Babauta ( Daily T'ai Chi Chih practice is an effective way to begin the development of self-compassion as well as compassion for others. Still, it's merely the first step down a long, winding path of self-development. Each step, each technique, each tool, and each conscious moment of being help us to re-member the person we're meant to be....

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