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BEYOND CONTENT OF THOUGHT

September 19, 2017

BEYOND CONTENT OF THOUGHT by Ram Dass

Instead of trying so hard to get out of the shadow, the dark, which I think actually reinforces the shadow and its reality, just do your practices. See, if somebody says, “I’m having these terrible thoughts, and I don’t know why, will you help me understand why?” I’d tell them that I’d rather sit with them and help them to follow their breath. The breath has no content to it at all. It’s just breath. It’s better to strengthen their centering, the quieting, the presence, than to keep strengthening the problem, which keeps being reinforced when you work on it directly. It’s a very delicate situation. I don’t want to undercut times when it’s really appropriate to work on thoughts as content, but for the most part, the focusing on the content of thoughts is, to me, a last strategy. It is a much better strategy to focus on the mechanics of thought, rather than the content of thought. Do you hear that distinction? Now I can go to a therapist, and they can say “Let’s talk about your childhood and where did it all come from…” That’s dealing with the content of the thoughts. Or, instead, I could choose to just see them as thoughts, not focusing on the content so much, looking for answers. They’re just thoughts! Put them in the category of thoughts, not what they’re about, they’re just thoughts, and it’s my major game in meditation to extricate awareness from identification with thought or with clinging to it. In order to do that you go into your meditation practice, which in some cases might be taking one thought, like following the breath. What will then come up is, “But what am I gonna do about this relationship?” Thought appears, and I hear the teacher say, “Return to your breath.” Go back to breathing in, breathing out, then another one comes and says, “God my life is a mess!” Now at that point, you can leave, call a therapist, and say, “Let’s deal with why my life is a mess,” or you say, “Ok, go back to the breath. Sure your life is a mess. Go back to the breath.” It’s just rising-falling, rising-falling, and now, in other words, you can use the meditative practice to extricate yourself from identification with thoughts, whatever they are, shadowy or not. There are some thoughts that you won’t get rid of that way, because they’re sort of in a nest or web of stuff. Then, you’ll approach them in terms of content, but my strategy is to go for the mechanics first, and then go to the content later on, when it’s really ripe for the picking.

~Ram Dass

(1931-pres, Mystical Bhakti Spiritual Teacher)

 

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Sanity

September 19, 2017

When we are happy,

healthy, safe, and at ease,

we can model those qualities

for others as well as make choices

and take action from a place

of sanity and lovingkindness.

~Cyndi Lee

(Hatha yoga and

Tibetan Buddhist teacher)

Friend

September 18, 2017

A friend is not to be found

in the world such as one can conceive of,

such as one needs,

for no human being unites

so many of the attributes of God

as we feel our nature requires.

We have therefore a circle

whom we call friends,

giving a name to the whole,

which perhaps in its singular occupation

might be used for the combination.

Out of the whole circle

we may make up a single friend.

We love them all but

we love the union of all better.

~Maria Mitchel

(1818–1889 Astronomer)

 

Once

September 17, 2017

Once in a lifetime,

perhaps, one escapes

the actual confines of the flesh.

Once in a lifetime,

if one is lucky,

one so merges with sunlight

and air and running water

that whole eons,

the eons that mountains

and deserts know,

might pass as a single afternoon

without discomfort.

~Loren Eisley

(1907-1977, Anthropologist,

educator, philosopher)

Love We Deserve

September 16, 2017

We have learned to draw limits

around the love we will accept.

These limits are not imposed upon us.

We impose these limits on ourselves

with our thoughts about deserving.

The love we think we deserve

is different than the love we actually deserve.

The love you actually deserve

is complete, unconditional and unabashed.

You have deserved this kind of love

from the moment of your birth, if not before.

You may deny yourself

this level of allegedly unearned love.

You may struggle with deserving

as you remind yourself

of your perceived inadequacies –

the things you have done

or the things you haven’t done;

all you are and all you are not.

If you feel unworthy of love, again,

consider a newborn baby, a kitten,

a puppy, or a flower.

You wouldn’t deny love

to any of these divine beings.

Why should your true self

be any less deserving?

We accept the love

we think we deserve.

~Bonnie Rose

(Senior Minister at

The Ventura Center for Spiritual Living)

Movement

September 15, 2017

Wisdom is knowing

I am nothing,

Love is knowing

I am everything,

and between the two

my life moves.

~Nisargadatta Maharaj

(1897-1981, Philosopher and Mystic)

Release

September 14, 2017

By creating a sense

of background support

through the calming and stilling

of the mind,

meditation makes possible

the compassionate conditions

that allow clinging

to be released.

~Mark Epstein

(1953 to pres., Psychiatrist

and Buddhist Teacher)