Here’s to the Helpers
An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
“Young lady,” he asked, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in…
“What the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves.”
Robert Anton Wilson
Domesticated primates (humans) think themselves into their relative neurological realities. Within the framework of these “realities,” they make assumptions about what is true and false, right and wrong, essential and inessential, real and fake.
Humans filter the universe through their nervous systems. They don’t perceive what is objectively true (which is not to say that an objective truth does or doesn’t exist), but rather, they interpret a particular aspect of reality. Mediated through their past beliefs, experiences, conditionings, and so on, they may “see” all of their life through the…
Mettā is loving-kindness.
When we have mettā, we’re kind, respectful, compassionate, gentle, loving, and caring. We want to express our unconditional goodwill. Our minds — bodies come together as friends. We’re accepting rather than judgmental, tender rather than harsh, forgiving rather than punishing.
Thich Nhat Hanh, peace activist and founder of the Plum Village Tradition in Zen Buddhism, wrote that “Mettā meditation is a practice of cultivating understanding, love, and compassion by looking deeply, first for ourselves and then for others.”
When we can heal ourselves, then we can heal the world.
Ajahn Brahm, Theravadin monk and Abbot of the…
“To help us understand the beauty and joy of nothingness Ajahn Brahm talks about his spiritual experience in the jungles of Central America. Ajahn Brahm challenges us to spend half a day on our weekend doing nothing (just simply giving ourselves an opportunity to become peaceful).”
Meditation is not so hard. All we have to do is do nothing. We’re so used to doing things, dwelling on what we do, do not do, don’t want to do, and will one day do, that we forget what it’s like to do nothing. …
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
When we cannot care for ourselves, we cannot care for our loved ones. To first take care of ourselves, we must come back to who we are. We can mindfully return to our bodies, environments, and relationships, over and again. We depend on these elements to be.
Sometimes as we cope with our grief, our suffering overwhelms us. We may avoid experiencing any feelings of uncertainty, fear, and sorrow. Instead of opening ourselves up to what is happening, we harden our hearts instead.
Letter 74. LXXIV. On Virtue as a Refuge from Worldly Distractions
While undergoing hardships, why do some of us develop our resolve while others of us fall into despair? Then there are some of us who are happy, even while we are poor, while others of us are poor, even while we are rich.
To find peace in our lives, we must forgo externals that are out of our control. We can be happy with what is honorable instead. Virtuous choices are in our control. …
· Our lives are generally not as short as we believe them to be. We just waste a lot of our quality time, distracting ourselves with what is trivial and pointless and inessential. Then we regret the time that we have lost when it is too late.
· We often tell ourselves that after years of hard work, we will finally relax into our retirement and do what we want in our old age. But why should we live authentically when we are about to die, when we could have lived before then? …