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Some thoughts on talent, success, failure and compassion for ourselves

The ego has many traps, but one of the worst is self-identification with one’s talent. If one self-identifies with one’s artistic or creative talent, this inevitably leads to suffering as the ego’s unquenchable needs and desires can never be satisfied by that talent. Indeed, the world is filled with “hungry ghosts” whose attachment to their […]

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How long will it take to bring our Narcissus off the cross?

As I promised in my previous post, I am going to share passages from Stephen Levine’s spiritual autobiography, Turning Toward the Mystery. See: Everyone is Just Trying to Get Born Before They Die I found these passages very helpful in understanding how we identify with our pain and suffering and how letting go liberates our hearts. […]

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Everyone is Just Trying to Get Born Before They Die

In the past year I have my life has been greatly blessed by getting to know the inspired, skillful teachings of Stephen Levine. I highly recommend his A Gradual Awakening, Healing into Life and Death, and Who Dies?—An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying, the latter two being extremely helpful and skillful treatments of […]

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Am I Pleasing Others to Make Myself Feel Loved and Good?

The path of awakening, of liberation, always includes self-observation and self-inquiry. Without them, we tend to repeat the same unskillful ways of thinking and acting over and over again. That’s what is called samsara in Buddhism. In this essay I’m sharing my thoughts and observations on something I’ve struggled with much of my life: a […]

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“The Journey”- A Poem for Beginning a New Year by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is a poet I often turn to for comfort, inspiration, and insight. This poem, “The Journey,” just might be my favorite.  For some time now, I’ve read it every year on New Year’s Day. It speaks of great beginnings—of quiet revolution!—of starting the great journey we all have to begin some day, if […]

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The Marriage of the Princess and the Dragon-A Dharma Story

I’ve been thinking about “dragons” recently and thought I’d share this wonderful retelling of a Swedish fairy tale by dharma teacher Jack Kornfield from his wonderful bookAfter the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path. We all have our own “dragons” in our hearts. May this simple tale help us […]

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Life Isn’t Just Suffering-but Clinging Always Is

Here is another great teaching from Thanissaro Bhikkhu.  I have to admit that in my pre-dharma days, I too had the impression that Buddhism was “negative” or “pessimistic.”  Looking into Buddhism for myself and breaking free of the dogmatic beliefs of my religious upbringing, I found the way of the Buddha to be the happiest […]

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Song and Message for those Alone or Bereft on Thanksgiving

As I do every year, I offer this song, “By Way of Sorrow,” to all those who may be alone this Thanksgiving, without family and friends—or maybe even without hope. Please don’t give up! There is a way “home.” The first step may be hope and trust in our own innate capacity to change, to […]

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Veterans Day-The Wounds of Combat Can Be Healed

As an ex-GI, I often find my heart and loving-kindness practice embracing our enlisted men and women throughout the world, and especially those in war zones. War is hell. That’s no cliché, and only those who have been in combat can truly testify to what that phrase means. That’s why around Veterans Day I highlighted the […]

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Hatred Can Never Bring the Changes Our Hearts Long For

“Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.” The Buddha ♥♥♥ “When we attack injustice, cruelty, and suffering with intolerance and loathing, we make the mistake of believing that hatred can generate compassion and goodness.  Hatred is suffering, and can only perpetuate suffering, […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh on Loving Ourselves by Looking Deeply into Ourselves

SELF-LOVE From Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh “Until we are able to love and take care of ourselves, we cannot be of much help to others.” We begin practicing this love meditation on ourselves May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit. May I be safe and free from injury. […]

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A Buddhist prayer for the well-being and happiness of all beings

I recently came across this beautiful metta, or loving-kindness meditation by the dhamma teacher Venerable Visuddhàcàra  One could certainly call it a prayer, although in Buddhist prayer there is no appeal to a supreme being. Rather, it’s a deep and earnest aspiration and wish for happiness from one being’s heart to the hearts of all […]

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Training the heart by seeing what is and letting go

Here is more on “Training the Heart” by Ajahn Chah.  It is a follow-up and further development of yesterday’s teaching: Train your heart!  Don’t just follow its moods! May this teaching help liberate your heart and awaken the mindfulness and presence that lead to liberation and freedom! Training the heart by seeing what is and […]

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Kabir-“I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me”-Poem and Music

Here is another beautiful poem from the Indian mystic and poet Kabir. It’s called “I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me.”  May this poem, and the music that follows it, inspire you to empty your life of whatever would keep you from the happiness of being truly present in what you are! I Said To […]

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