Would you rather be seen by a doctor who paid attention to you, who listened to what you said during your appointment, or one who was distracted, whose mind was somewhere else, who heard the first few sentences and then made assumptions?
I remember the first time I saw a headline touting "mindfulness" on the cover of O, the Oprah
magazine, which also extolls the benefits of a $250 french fry maker and $300 Ugg boots. I was disconcerted. This was several years ago, and I was fairly new to Buddhist study and protective of the teachings, which didn't seem to belong in a bible of conspicuous consumption and body image. It seemed to be a misappropriation of the teachings.
The Buddha said that hatred never destroys hatred -- only love can do that. But it's hard not to hate people who hurt people, especially when the ones they hurt are children, especially when they hurt our children. That's what makes a letter written by the father of a teenager who was set on fire on a bus so extraordinary.
Maybe you won’t admit it, but I gave myself away one day in a workshop. I actually heard myself say it, “I want to be perfect.” Well, I didn’t actually hear it at first; it was everyone’s reaction to my admission that startled me. They felt sorry for me!
Laurie Anderson -- performance artist, meditator, and wife of Lou Reed -- wrote an extraordinarily beautiful description in this week's Rolling Stone of her husband's death. The couple were students of YongeMingurRinpocheand had studied Buddhist teachings on how to prepare for death -- and how to live when one spouse has a terminal illness.
What follows is something I wrote this morning for myself to bring some context to this anniversary of my sobriety. Afterwards I thought to post it here to give it at least some life outside of my brain and computer. May this post and the intention set herein bring benefit.
I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging. I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness. I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death. I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me. I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.
I'd like to start by inviting you to have an experience. You can read this to yourself, and then try it, but better yet, have someone read it to you, or read it to your friend:
Close your eyes and feel the heart of your being. Take some deep breaths. Move down from your head to your heart.
Your heart is tender warm and open. You feel so curious about yourself and the world outside of you. The warmth of your heart radiates as love in all directions, and the world you experience mirrors back that love.
Eat, a Brooklyn restaurant in Greenpoint, has been offering a silent, prix fixe menu on Sundays at 8pm since August. They serve four courses, and talking is forbidden by customers and staff until after the meal is completed. The food is locavore, organic, with seasonal and locally grown vegetables.