Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual practice’

Excerpt from The Five Things You Cannot Change by David Richo

Our spiritual practices have a direct impact on the possibility of our showing love in relationships in an adult way:  Mindfulness helps us practice attention, acceptance, and allowing.  Loving-kindness helps us show affection and appreciation.

As a spiritual practice, ask yourself about the signs that your love for someone is truly unconditional:

  • You feel a sense of connectedness with the other that endures and cannot be supplanted no matter what.
  • You consistently have well-meaning thoughts and are wishing the best for the other.
  • You can act kindly, at times even anonymously, with no expectation of anything in return.
  • You sense your heart opening when you are with the other or thinking of her or him.
  • You maintain a commitment to nurture the other and the relationship more than your own ego demands.
  • You are no longer pushed or arrested by fears of closeness to or distance from the other.
  • You do no engage in ego competitiveness or aggression, actively or passively.
  • You are sensitive to how the other feels and go to any length no to hurt him or her intentionally.
  • You have an effortlessly compassionate, forgiving, generous, and non retaliatory attitude in your thoughts and actions.  (There is no vindictive force in the universe.  Revenge is exclusive to humanity.)
  • You keep your own boundaries intact so that your love is always unconditional, but your commitment is intelligently and appropriately conditional.
  • You are aware of your partner’s negative traits and you see them with compassion and amusement without letting them impinge upon you.  Am I willing to play on relationship’s full check board of light and dark?

Finally, unconditional love is entirely in the present tense.”

Some people may have learned all they needed to in kindergarten but somehow I doubt they learned some really vitally important lessons that many people in long-term commitments never learn.

When I read this passage, what I was reminded of (and am often reminded of) is how importance the cultivation of presence and compassion are, both to ourselves and to our interactions with others.

If we cannot be there and show up in our own lives, we cannot do it in a relationship.  And let’s face it, if we cannot show up and be present, we have no relationship.

I am also struck by the fact that when we have this basic goodness, we can move farther up the hierarchy that Maslow put forth for us.

We have difficulty when those basic needs are not met or better yet, when we have the perception that our basic needs are not met.

But think about this:  as a society , we are become more unhealthy — due to stress, diet, environment, community, pharmaceuticals, lack of priorities, etc.

Are we creating a society whereby in the pursuit of the “good life” we have created a living situation that impoverishes us and keeps us from achieving our highest potential?

The more we endanger our food supply, our surroundings, our bodies, our minds, the less chance we have of being able to be whole — or holy — and the less we are to be able to truly be in communion with each other and our world.

It’s an idea to think about . . . how do we reach the top levels of the pyramid, or greatest good, or anything transpersonal (or unity consciousness, etc) if we have food that does not nourish us, water that is undrinkable, and pain and disease from a multitude of sources.

Can we really have a lived bodily experience and sense of our Oneness, our interconnectedness, or our Interbeing as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, if we are so ill at ease (dis-eased) in our world?

Can we use our spiritual practices to cultivate deep understanding of how the mandala of life truly comes together in harmony?

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from Tricycle

from Tricycle (Photo credit: miheco)

Lewis Richmond has a new book out, with this title, Aging as Spirituality:  How to grow older and wiser. 

Accompanying this terrific new book, Tricycle Magazine is holding 4 “retreats” in March … these are available on demand with a paid subscription to Tricycle online.  So far there have been 2 retreats, each about 25 minutes.

The first is “Lightning Strikes” where Lewis talks about waking up to aging, using aging as a spiritual practice.  The second, “Coming to Terms”, is a discussion on comparing ourslves to who we were, who we used to be, or at least, the mental constructions of who we think we were..

He has two more videos to go.. “Adaptation” where he will talk about letting go of who we were and embracing who we are as a spiritual practice.  And the last, “Appreciation”, where the topic will be learning to accept that “This is my life and I have no other.”

What an incredible teacher and what a gift to have these valuable teachings on demand, so we don’t have to go anywhere.

Lewis is the author of several other books; I think 5 altogether and was ordained by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1971.

I downloaded Lewis’ book to my Kindle as a pre-order and am just waiting for some time “away” to be able to sink down into it.  I think it will be a great gift to myself to hear what Lewis and the Buddhist path has to teach us about aging.

There is quite a community at Tricyle online and I would encourage you to think about it.  I used to drive 45+ minutes to get my paper copy and I finally decided this year that I would prefer to go totally digital with all my subscriptions.  I’m happy to say that I think it was well worth it in this case.

If you download the book or buy the paper copy or if you check out these retreats, give a shout and let us know what you think of it by posting a comment here.  Would love to know what you learn!

Here is to aging with grace and being open to the grace that comes from the wisdom of aging.

Metta, Jennifer

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If you have never picked up a book by Stephen and Ondrea Levine, you are truly missing out.  They now have a website as well.

The Levine’s have worked with dying and grieving people for decades, incorporating a genuine spiritual practice to the gift of caring for the dying.  The work, like the work of Ram Dass, Roshi Joan Halifax, and Frank Ostaseski’s, is about cultivating a compassionate presence to those who are living with their dying, living with their grieving.

Check out their books on amazon.com.

Here is a clip of an interview with this amazing couple and their own journeys with illness and aging.

Keep an eye out for a series of posts based on the Levine’s work that is forthcoming!

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