Meditation and mindfulness literally change the human brain. Therefore, virtually anyone who practices consistently becomes less reactive, less stressed out, and less fearfully and defensively self-centered. What’s more, meditation practitioners progressively begin to see the interdependent nature of life more clearly. This is because a meditator’s heart begins to accept natural limits. She becomes simpler, less biased, more open hearted over time. Consequently, unfrozen from biases and fearful hesitation, she can act rightly when action is needed.
Every now and then someone shows me I can really open my heart. From my point of view, it’s wonderful and totally necessary to meet people who can inspire love in my life. Thinking about such inspiring people gives me the lift I need whenever I get a bit discouraged or when I try to improve even just my little piece of the world. I know I can always use some inspiration from life’s down-to-earth doers, from the true lovers of the world.
In the New Year, may you enjoy the best possible health and great happiness. What’s more, for the sake of life on earth, may you know bliss as you grow in simplicity & contentment.
I have an ever deepening sense of contentment, gratitude and love for my life. This is priceless wealth beyond measure. One I did not alway know. Even years into my Zen practice, deep down in my heart I felt unlovable and undeserving. I was subtly yet constantly living as though I’d never have or be enough. I’d never have enough love or understanding, never enough money, or time, or friends, or esteem… Never enough.
I’m always on the lookout for news that sparks even the tiniest bit of optimism about the future. We need that right now, right? I know I do. I look for such news everyday. And, the good news that’s recently come to my attention is minimalism. Ah, minimalism, mindfulness and affection.
People want alternatives to the confusion, strife, and ongoing environmental destruction that touches our lives everyday. Seeing this fact, I also know it’s a good time of year to talk about aspirations. Therefore, I’ll share my aspiration for Buddhist community.
Last week “Giving Tuesday” got my attention for the first time. I love the idea, but I’ve been totally out of the loop. Where did “Giving Tuesday” come from? I’m interested to know because the world really needs our generosity right now. That’s because there’s a healing power in giving that’s way beyond the strength of greed and consumerism. Therefore, what I want to celebrate this holiday season is the healing power in giving.
Thankfully, We All Can Let Go!
The seasons, and healing, and every kind of letting go are possible because of time. On the other hand, isn’t it interesting how our habits create the impression that we are stuck fast in time? Markedly, our habits insist that some things never change. Most relevantly, they insist that you and I will always be exactly the way we are now. Yet, thankfully, I know I’m not stuck in the well-worn track of my habits. Thankfully, rather than being seduced by habit’s illusory permanence, we all can let go.
“The Buddha” is in you
Despite all the ways I think I’m different from others, I also try to see how we’re the same. Here’s one way I think we’re the same. Each of us is a mystery. Whatever this life is, at rock bottom, we don’t know what it is, or who, or what we are. While I’m at it, there’s another way we’re all the same. No matter what, whether I meet an inmate at the corrections facility, a homeless person in Gloucester, or a member at Sweeping Heart Zen, that person, just like me, longs to feel whole, content, and happy. So, in my view, we’re each a mystery that longs for peace and joy, and the welfare of those we love. To me, this is what Zen and some other schools of Buddhism mean when we talk about our shared Buddha Nature. And it’s what I mean when I say that “The Buddha” is in you.
Sweeping Heart Zen has taken root in Gloucester in 2017. We’ve grown as a website and settled in as a center for meditation and Buddhist practice. Consequently, I think it’s a good time to write a post to (re)introduce SHZ to our growing community of members, readers, and friends. The Buddha described his teachings as, “…visible here and now, immediate…, to be experienced by the wise.” That is, he invited us to inspect, test, and experience his teachings firsthand. The Buddha did not offer his teachings as dogma. They’re not a catechism-like checklist of ideas to believe. On the contrary, the teachings are experiments in living to be tried and tested. One asks, “Do I grow in joy, peace, and contentment as I practice these teachings? Do the people close to me suffer less as I grow in this way of life?” Testing the merits of the teachings and the value of the techniques can be likened to mindfulness in action, to compassion in action. Consequently, the Sweeping Heart Zen Way is practical, experiential, broad minded, and nonsectarian.