Tag Archives: Buddhism

The Contextual Nature of Religion

Not believing in God because of religion is like not believing in freedom because of politics. I don’t know how the entire discussion about the existence of God got monopolized by the world’s religious institutions. For sure, there is no doubt that many of the teachings within Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam can offer powerful […]

via The Contextual Nature of Religion — The Passionate Why

This is a post from my other blog, but it is probably more pertinent to this one. Read and let me know what you think!

The Desire to Suffer

That title sounds incredibly odd, and likely insane, but most spiritual teachers will agree that suffering is a very necessary ingredient in self realization. So if I know this, and I have not yet truly realized my true nature, should I pursue suffering?

There are so many things that I can do to ‘feel better’. I can exercise, practice meditation, study cognitive therapy, get massages, play an instrument, or create art. But as these practices create a more pleasant life for myself, am I getting in my own way of realization.

Buddhism in simplest terms is the end of suffering, not the mitigation of suffering. Are these things mutually exclusive? If I pay proper attention does a pleasant life have as much to teach me as an unpleasant one?

I don’t believe I consciously choose to suffer but maybe subconsciously??? Seems I am asking many more questions in this post than I am answering. My ego feels quite like a rookie spiritual seeker here.

As an aside this thought process is coming on the heels of a night where I played hockey for 2 hours for the first time in almost a year and feel fantastic.

Anyways very interested in your thoughts on this! Have a great day!

What Am I Supposed To Think?

This is the question that blocks my growth. Some moments or days I am endlessly asking myself this question.

I become an infinite loop of validating that my thoughts in a particular situation are representative of the person I wish to be, or think that I am. I fear that if I don’t perform this double and triple check my very identity will drift off and become something bad, something very far from where I want to be.

It’s like I am constantly righting the ship.

The random nature of the mind makes this an incredibly tiring activity. I am sure there are many techniques one could perfect to train the brain to be more efficient in it’s thinking. Prior to becoming spiritual I forced my thinking to become more positive. I wrote down my better qualities and carried them around with me. In my tougher times I would repeat positive phrases dozens of times.

And this worked to a certain extent. Repetition was the fuel of my negative thinking so it makes sense that it could be reversed. However this still empowered the mind as the determining factor of my inner peace. And the randomness of the mind is still there.

I suppose it is that inherent randomness of thought that enables creativity.

It allows new ideas to emerge. It is this total freedom to create without boundaries that the mind loves. As soon as we place limitations, rules and boundaries around thought our mind rebels. Almost like a teenager, you tell the mind not to think something and it will think it until the cows come home. And because we are trained to identify who we are with what we think our anxiety goes through the roof. Compounding this is that the emphasis on identifying with thoughts is growing exponentially in our culture.

There is popular buddhist saying “What we think we become”, however the end of that quote is often left off and it changes it’s meaning entirely. It follows “When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” While the shortened version of this quote seems to emphasize controlling your thoughts, when heard in it’s entirety it seems to point away from that. To free yourself of thought is to be joyful.

In order to really change this world you need a free mind.

When you’re that true self who can watch the mind without getting wrapped up in it’s content brilliant ideas will flow through you. Perspectives that remained hidden before will be revealed. You will have an understanding of the whole that’s required to transform this planet into the utopia it was meant to be.

Don’t Seek For The Truth

I found myself in a position yesterday where my opinion was being challenged and I was unable to adequately defend it. That kind of left me reeling. I still felt I was “right” but I was on shaky ground. I felt frustrated that someone was telling me I was wrong and I had no response. I felt like I was being pushed somewhere I didn’t want to go. So this morning I went searching for an Eckhart teaching on opinions and came across the following passage on his website. It helped put things in perspective.

Your first responsibility is not to identify with a position. Everybody has to practice that one way or another. It’s a beautiful practice. It’s expressed in Zen. I don’t remember who said it, some Zen master said, “Don’t seek for the truth – just cease cherishing opinions”. And that’s enough. Many spiritually inclined people look for the ‘truth’ – hopefully at some point within, but first it starts outside. But don’t look for the truth, not even within, just stop cherishing opinions. Cherishing, not having. It doesn’t say stop having opinions, because that would be difficult – maybe a very advanced practice. Even I have some opinions, about Fox News, and so on – but cherishing means to identify with the opinion, to be in the thought. And then it gives you your sense of “I”. Then anybody who has a different or conflicting position becomes a kind of enemy. Then you’re trapped in form. This is a very common human condition. Most humans on the planet derive their identity from their thoughts. So the thought is invested with self. Maybe this is another way of speaking about the essential truth of the Buddha, who discovered that this sense of ‘self’ is an illusion. You derive your sense of self from form – because every thought is a thought-form. It’s an energy field.