Insights for December 2015


Frozen, image by Margaret Gervais


“If you push away anything, anything at all, you are not free.” Ram Dass

“The point is to relax and rest in the reality of the present.” Jack Kornfield.

“Finding a teacher is like falling in love: you can’t make it happen but you’ll know when it does. Whether you call it serendipity, auspiciousness or karma, trust it will happen when the moment is right.” Shambhala Sun, January 2016, page 35.

“It is only through thousands upon thousands of births, awakening a little each time, that you become what you are.” Ram Dass


“If we’re aware of the habit energies in us, we can transform not only ourselves but also our ancestors who planted the seeds.”

“Whatever kind of action we take, if we look deeply into it, we’ll be able to recognize the seed of that action. That seed may come from our ancestors. Whatever action we take, our ancestors are taking it at the same time with us. So father, grandfather, and great-grandfather are doing it with you; mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother are doing it with you. Our ancestors are there in every cell of our body. There are seeds that are planted during your lifetime, but there are also seeds that were planted before you manifested as this body.”

“Sometimes we act without intention, but that is also action. “Habit energy” is pushing us; it pushes us to do things without our being aware. Sometimes we do something without knowing we are doing it. Even when we don’t want to do something, we still do it. Sometimes we say, ‘I didn’t want to do it, but it’s stronger than me, it pushed me.’ So that is a seed, a habit energy, that may have come from many generations in the past.”

We have inherited a lot. With mindfulness, we can become aware of the habit energy that has been passed down to us. We might see that our parents or grandparents were also very weak in ways similar to us. We can be aware without judgment that our negative habits come from those ancestral roots. We can smile at our shortcomings, at our habit energy. With awareness, we have a choice; we can act another way. We can end the cycle of suffering right now.” Thich Nhat Hanh, “Reconciliation”, Parallax PressTop of Form


“There are endless reasons not to meditate, most of them legit. But if you do it anyway, says Karen Maesen Miller, something changes.” Shambhala Sun, January 2016, page 27.

[As attained and accrued during meditation] “The energy of mindfulness will heal the wounded child in us.” Thich Nhat Hanh, “Reconciliation”, Parallax Press


“Try it in small ways. Don’t pick the most challenging relationship you have. Take responsibility for yourself, listen from a loving clarity, choose to value being loving and understanding rather than being loved and understood. Say what is true for you and allow others to say what is true for them. This is what it means to remain loving but also remain true, honest, and real.” Adyashanti, The Way of Liberating Insight

Strong Emotions:

“During a storm of emotion, leave the head and heart, which are like the top of the tree, and come back to the trunk.”

“A strong emotion is like a storm. If you look at a tree in a storm, the top of the tree seems fragile, like it might break at any moment. You are afraid the storm might uproot the tree. But if you turn your attention to the trunk of the tree, you realize that its roots are deeply anchored in the ground, and you see that the tree will be able to hold.

You too are a tree. During a storm of emotion, you should not stay at the level of the head or the heart, which are like the top of the tree. You have to leave the heart, the eye of the storm, and come back to the trunk of the tree. Your trunk is one centimeter below your navel. Focus there, paying attention only to the movement of your abdomen, and continue to breathe. Then you will survive the storm of strong emotion.

You should not wait for emotion to appear before you begin practicing. Otherwise you will be carried away by the storm. You should train now, while the emotion is not here. So sit or lie down and practice mindfulness of the breath, using the movement of your abdomen as the object of your attention. I am positive that if you do this exercise for twenty days, ten minutes per day, then you will know how to practice whenever a strong emotion comes up. After ten or twenty minutes, the emotion will go away, and you will be saved from the storm.”   Thich Nhat Hanh, “You are Here,” Shambhala.

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