Reflections for 2010


I spent some time over the holidays with a book I have really enjoyed reading called “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach.  Much of the book addresses what Tara calls the “trance” of our internal dialogue.  The constant chatting of our minds directly influences our experience of our lives and she offers insight on how to tune in and connect with ourselves and the world more deeply.  So often, our resistance to what is creates an enormous amount of suffering for ourselves and the planet.

I would like to share a few paragraphs that have moved and inspired me as I have reflected on my focus and intention for 2010.

“May my life be of benefit to all beings” is a powerful tool for remembering our belonging and widening the circles of our compassion.  If we see ourselves as small and separate individuals trying to take on the world as our responsibility, we set ourselves up for delusion and failure.  Rather, our aspiration to be of benefit arises from the radical realization that we all belong to the web of life, and that everything that happens within it affects everything else.  Every thought we have, every action we take has an impact for good or for ill. An aboriginal woman from Australia speaks from this sense of relatedness in a powerful way: “If you have come to help me, then you are wasting your time.  But if you have come because your destiny is bound up with mine, then let us work together”.

When we feel our togetherness, there are countless ways to express our care.  Some people focus their lives on creating a loving home for their families: others on changing laws that will help poor children get better nutrition and education.  Some people pray for hours in solitude and others are always on the phone.  While it is easy to get caught up in believing we should be doing something more or different, what really matters is that we care.  As Mother Teresa teaches, “We can do no great things – only small things with great love.”

Just as a bright sun causes ice cubes to melt, the moments when we feel connected and kind, we create a warm environment that encourages others around us to relax and open up.  Each time we widen the circle of caring – with a smile, a hug, a listening presence, a prayer – the ripples flow out endlessly.  When we offer comfort to the person sitting by our side, our kindness spreads through the world.  Whether offered inwardly or to others, compassion is a gentle rain that touches, without bias, all of life. (page 241-242)

Note: Tara Brach also has a website with excellent lectures you can download as well.

Wishing you all a new year of good health, peace and a widening of compassion within your lives and in the world.

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