Insights for October 2015


Fern Becoming Image by Margaret Gervais


“Be at peace with imperfection.” Margaret Gervais

“Never doubt that the universe has a wicked sense of humor. It is to keep you on your toes and make sure you have the ability to laugh at yourself, the self you often take so bloody seriously.” Bobby Klein, l Ching Weekly for October,

“Any human being who does not wish to be part of the masses need only stop making things easy for himself. Let him follow his conscience, which calls out to him: “Be yourself! All that you are now doing, thinking, desiring, all that is not you.”

Every young soul hears this call by day and by night and shudders with excitement at the premonition of that degree of happiness which eternities have prepared for those who will give thought to their true liberation. There is no way to help any soul attain this happiness, however, so long as it remains shackled with the chains of opinion and fear. And how hopeless and meaningless life can become without such a liberation! There is no drearier, sorrier creature in nature than the man who has evaded his own genius and who squints now towards the right, now towards the left, now backwards, now in any direction whatever.” Schopenhauer as Educator: Nietzsche’s Third Untimely Meditation Paperback – November 25, 2014, by Friedrich Nietzsche.

“What if you took the drama out of your story?” ‪#‎middlepath Margaret Gervais, The Insight Center, October 2015.

“Remove the drama from your story. Drama fuels anxiety and is not helpful. Every time drama arises, notice it, and let it go. Do this over and over and over to retrain your mind. Choose a calm rational response instead. Remind yourself to choose a calm rational response and your mind will be retrained toward calm rational responses. If you need help knowing what a calm rational response is, recruit a calm rational friend/person into your life to mirror this response for you. This will not make you a person without passion. Passion will still arise, it can and will arise without drama and you will response in a rational manner in order to take action and calmly manage your life.” Margaret Gervais, The Insight Center, October 2015.

“Ask yourself why you are participating in their drama.” Margaret Gervais, The Insight Center, October 2015.

“That peace is not something we get by becoming anything. Instead it happens by letting go, by allowing things to cease. That’s why we talk so much about cessation when I’m feeling grumpy, I remember the teaching: “That’s going to change. Don’t make it a problem.” So I allow myself to be grumpy, which isn’t an indulgence in being grumpy or about laying the mood onto the other monks, but nor is it a denial of that grumpiness. It’s just recognizing that that which has a nature to arise has a nature to cease; I can awaken to that, and then it does cease. As I realize that more and more, it becomes a path of courage and confidence. There is the confidence to allow these things to be there, to make them fully conscious – to allow fear, anger or whatever else to be fully present.” Ajahn VIradhammo, “Don’t Turn Away”, page 82.

“Clouds are just temporary; eventually the wind will come along and blow them away.” ‘On What is Most Important’, Khenchen Thrangu on the liberatory verses of the Tibetan Yogi Padampg Sangye, Tricycle, Fall 2015, pg41.

“Great aims are those aims that all beings share in. So what are they? There are three: 1. To learn about oneself. 2. To resolve the matter of life and death. 3. To save others.” Koitsu Yokoyama, ‘An Intelligent Life: Buddhist Psychology of Self-Transformation’. Tricycle Fall 2015.


“When the mind gets small, problems get big. When the mind gets big, problems get small.” Andrew Holecek, via Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

“Meditation helps us relinquish old painful habits, it challenges our assumptions about whether or not we deserve happiness. It also ignites a very potent energy in us. With a strong foundation in how we practice meditation, we can begin to live in a way that enables us to respect ourselves, to be calm rather than anxious, and to offer caring attention to others instead of being held back by notions of separation.” Sharon Salzberg.

“It is important to emphasize, in discussing the art of meditation (and the practice as you continue it becomes an art, with many subtle nuances), that you shouldn’t start out with some idea of gaining. This is the deepest paradox in all of meditation: we want to get somewhere—we wouldn’t have taken up the practice if we didn’t—but the way to get there is just to be fully here. The way to get from point A to point B is really to be at A. When we follow the breathing in the hope of becoming something better, we are compromising our connection to the present, which is all we ever have. If your breathing is shallow, your mind and body restless, let them be that way, for as long as they need to. Just watch them.

The first law of Buddhism is that everything is constantly changing. No one is saying that the breathing should be some particular way all the time. If you find yourself disappointed with your meditation, there’s a good chance that some idea of gaining is present. See that, and let it go. However your practice seems to you, cherish it just the way it is. You may think that you want it to change, but that act of acceptance is in itself a major change.

One place where ideas of gaining typically come in, where people get obsessive about the practice, is in the task of staying with the breathing. We take a simple instruction and create a drama of success and failure around it: we’re succeeding when we’re with the breath, failing when we’re not. Actually, the whole process is meditation: being with the breathing, drifting away, seeing that we’ve drifted away, gently coming back. It is extremely important to come back without blame, without judgment, without a feeling of failure. If you have to come back a thousand times in a five-minute period of sitting, just do it. It’s not a problem unless you make it into one.”


“We practice meditation to stay with this state of mental calm, for a while. And with practice, it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by calming the mind. Strong concentration is absolutely necessary for liberating insight. ‘Without a firm basis in concentration,’ Ajaan Fuang often said, ‘insight is just concepts.’ To see clearly the connections between stress [dukkha] and its causes, the mind has to be very steady and still. And to stay still, it requires the strong sense of well-being that only strong concentration can provide.” Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “Seeing for Yourself”.

“When we question ego-mind directly, it is exposed for what it is: the absence of everything we believe it to be. We can actually see through this seemingly solid ego-mind, or self. But what are we left with then? We are left with an open, intelligent awareness, unfettered by a self to cherish or protect. This is the primordial wisdom mind of all beings. Relaxing into this discovery is true meditation—and true meditation brings ultimate realization and freedom from suffering.” Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, “Searching for Self” (Tricycle, Summer 2007).

“You don’t need to be an “excellent meditator” to start with. All you need to do is have your heart and mind make the following agreement: “Let’s rest. There’s no reason right now to wander around following thoughts or worrying. Let’s be relaxed and open.” There’s not even any need to shut down your thoughts. Just be there with them, but not overly concerned or engaged.
Let there be total openness, and just relax within that.” The Relaxed Mind by Dza Kilung Rinpoche


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