Monthly Archives: January 2014

Does meditation make you docile? Or powerful?

Over the past decade in the U.S. the teaching of meditation has been tried and found valuable in the workplace, in prisons and in schools. It is recommended by doctors and taught in hospitals because, as shown on this chart, it has been proven to have many physical health benefits. Recently one of my teachers, author and Spirit Rock co-founder Jack Kornfield was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. And this week’s Time magazine cover article is ‘The Mindful Revolution’. Meditation has definitely become part of the mainstream American experience.

More and more people are taking the opportunity to turn off electronics and find some alone time to center in and savor the spacious silence. Before radio, television, computers, iPods, etc., our ancestors had easier access to natural periods of quiet solitude, fulfilling a basic human need. Now with every waking moment plugged in, that solitude has to be purposely created. So it’s not surprising that meditation has been fully embraced at this time in history.

At the beginning of this trend in the West, some religious leaders thought the practice of meditation was a foreign religion that would, by its nature, turn people away from God. Since in practice it can actually deepen one’s understanding of whatever spiritual tradition one follows, that concern has died down considerably, and the more contemplative aspects of Christianity and Judaism have been enlivened by a new understanding of their value.

But still, ‘new’ things are scary, especially for those who hear about them but don’t try them to see for themselves. So the latest concern making its way around the blogosphere is whether meditation is being offered and encouraged by corporations in order to make workers docile.

Well, good luck with that! Meditators are doing an active practice that increases awareness of the natural moral compass within each of us. They are the least likely people to mindlessly do someone’s bidding, especially if that bidding encourages them to violate that moral compass.

It is part of the meditation practice to notice, question and calm our reactivity to external experience. So is meditation sedation?

Hardly! At the same time that we are less reactive to external experience, meditation also creates awareness that empowers us. We see how in each moment we have choices. By training our minds to stay present, we develop mindFULLness, not mindLESSness.


Empowerment
We actually have the power when we are being mindful to change the energy in a space, to awaken others to the present moment and to a sense of loving-kindness based on common bonds and interconnection. From this sense of ‘all in this together’ and no sense of ‘us against them’, we as a community are able to accomplish things that benefit all life.

I have seen it happen first-hand in my own community. It is fairly typical to say you can’t fight city hall, but the citizens of my neighborhood had decided to try. The first meeting descended into rancor with one neighbor storming out in the middle because he didn’t feel his position was being heard. While speaking with the meeting leader afterwards, I suggested she might want to be more inclusive and less angry. So she put me in charge of the next meeting. (You’d think I would know when to be silent!)

The purpose of that next meeting was to prepare ourselves to speak to the town council about our concerns. It was important to represent all the concerns, but not repeat them, causing the mayor to feel they had heard enough, and end the session. So as neighbors arrived for this preparation meeting they were asked what their main concern was and what experience, skills and resources they had to address that concern. Then they were sent to the table that matched their primary concern. Each table then brainstormed to come up with compelling facts, create brief statements; then they chose the person at their table best equipped to represent that idea to the town council, and made sure that person had everything they needed to do a great job.

The city council was impressed by the well-coordinated, clear-spoken, friendly and civilized nature of our presentation, and they let us deliver it with a thoroughness that would not have otherwise been possible. I was delighted to see democracy in action in the way it was meant to be done.The council decided to delay the vote, do more research and meetings within the community, and eventually most of our concerns were met and compromises were made. We each have this capacity to make a difference in this way, and the responsibility as citizens to do so.


Interconnection
The electronics of our age may distract us from quiet time, but they also activate our awareness of our intrinsic interconnection. And, while electronics can be seriously misused, we are also, and I believe more often, able to respond with loving kindness, sometimes in a very big way. I love all the flash mob musical and dance events that seem to erupt and delight spontaneously! And remember a few months ago when when the whole city of San Francisco came together and recreated itself as Gotham to give a Make a Wish Foundation child a unique and special experience of being Batkid for a day? There were more beneficiaries than just that child. All who participated in making his dream come true felt empowered and enriched by the experience. All of San Francisco felt the awe and wonder of being part of something so purely loving. All of the world could stand witness to the power of love and collective imagination.

As more people become mindful, and have their fears of ‘other’ replaced by an understanding that we are all expressions of the same life force, whether we call it ‘God’ or energy or don’t name it at all, then we are more empowered to face the challenges of our times with a life-loving enthusiasm.


Presence
I imagine there are people who believe that meditation is a means of escape from the challenges of worldly life. They go off into some dream-world and find rest. But this is not the form of meditation that we do, and escape is not the purpose of Insight Meditation. Quite the opposite! We challenge ourselves to be fully present for whatever arises in this moment. Sometimes that is very difficult because we find ourselves squirming and uncomfortable in our body or mind. Sometimes it may feel impossible. In a moment of major crisis, we may feel like we are falling apart. But then, as crisis-mode passes, we have our practice of compassion to rely on as we tend our brokenness with loving kindness, and find we are able to come face to face with what is going on in this moment, again and again. We reset our intentions to be present, anchored in physical sensation, to be compassionate with ourselves when we find we are not, and to be compassionate with others when they seem to be caught up in reactivity and fear.

This is not mindlessly chewing our cud, ignoring what is going on. We are fully engaged but in a way that takes into account the understanding that life is impermanent, that we are all interconnected, and that we create suffering through clinging, grasping and pushing away.


The Moral Compass
Another way to recognize that meditation is not docile, is to look at the last three aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path that we just finished exploring. Wise Action, Speech and Livelihood, are pretty specific as to what is okay and not okay. These three constitute the moral component of the Eightfold Path, and of the Buddha’s teachings in general.

If we have a regular practice of meditation that allows us to access our intrinsic sense of connection so that we care about the well being of all, and if we include this moral component to our inner investigation of the way of things, then we find we have a moral compass, or if you prefer, a pitch-perfect tuning fork, to recognize when something is harmful. In fact, our bodies register when something feels wrong — whether we have said or done something unskillful, or whether we are able to see that our work is not wise livelihood. We can physically feel it if we are paying attention!

Docile? I don’t think so!

Any company that provides opportunity for meditation to its workers will ultimately be glad of it. Although it’s impossible to define common traits of any group, people who meditate regularly are more likely to enjoy teamwork than if these same people did not meditate. They are less likely to whine, gossip or sabotage. As mentioned earlier they have the capacity to change the energy in a meeting or in a company from rancorous to collaborative.

Regular meditators are healthier than the average person so they will be on the job. They are steadier and more balanced than they would be without meditation, so the climate of the workplace is more conducive to reaching clear and reasonable goals. I mention reasonable, because a meditator is unlikely to be driven by fear, or the belief that some future moment will create personal happiness. A meditator is more likely to be present, to question assumptions, to be an active listener, a creative problem-solver and a clear-sighted leader (though it might help if they are a Toastmaster too!) If the company is providing a useful product or service, has fair business and employment practices, then offering meditation practice to its employees is indeed a very wise move. But please, don’t expect docility!



Now let’s talk what everyone is talking about: The weather!
Mindfulness empowers us to cease suffering. We begin by noticing it in the first place. 
For example, we are in drought here in the Bay Area, and the hills that usually turn green in the winter are brown because we have had hardly any rain, and what little we did was way back in the early autumn. I have noticed that I suffer this drought. I suffer seeing the dryness. I suffer worrying what this will mean, how long the drought will last, and how our garden will survive, etc.

In the meantime, the sky is blue, fruit trees are blooming, the sun is shining and the air is delicious. There is nothing I can do to make the drought stop. I have the power to conserve water more consciously than ever, but nothing I can do will make the rain come any sooner. I heard someone on local news refer to this warm pleasant weather as ‘a guilty pleasure’.

I do feel guilty, and so many people I talk to during the day seem to feel it as well. As beautiful as the weather is, we get caught up in this sense of distress. What causes me distress is my fear of the future. When I am purely in the present moment, I am mindful of limited resources, but also enjoy the weather while it lasts.

If you live in Marin County, CA, here’s a link to the MMWD 25% voluntary reduction request.

If you live in an area that has been experiencing record cold or record heat, I send you metta (loving-kindness)! Be mindful and take extra good care of yourself.

The Wisdom to Know the Difference
The power is in doing what we can, accepting what we can’t change. Hey, that sounds like the beginning of the AA serenity prayer: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.’

Our practice of meditation and our exploration of the Buddha’s teachings helps us to understand the difference between what we are empowered to do and what conditions we learn to accept with grace.

Conclusion of formal Four Foundations of Mindfulness Teaching and the continuation of the dharma

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Satipatthana, is called the direct path to realization. Over the past sixteen months we have thoroughly explored these teachings and done the traditional practices to make them real in our own experience.


We have come now not only to the end of the Eightfold Path, but to the end of the Four Noble Truths, and the end of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Wow! Such an achievement!


But in truth there is no end to the learning of the Buddha’s way to end suffering through the practices of meditation and metta. Once we step into the stream of these studies and practices, we understand that we are not questing after some future reward, but savoring the fullness of the experience of being in this moment, not longing for some imagined future, nor missing some remembered past, nor pushing away or blocking out this present experience, wishing it were different than it is.


This exploration we have been on, has been rooted primarily in my reading and working with the book Satipatthana, The Direct Path to Realization by the Ven. Analayo, a Buddhist monk with a Ph.D. from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. This book was his PhD dissertation, and contains half-page long footnotes on many pages. Though my main teacher was the one who suggested I teach the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, she was surprised that I planned to teach it based on this book, which is highly regarded in the Buddhist community as being the most authentic and thorough. She felt that this was not a book one could teach in a class, and she was right. I would have no students left if I had tried to teach directly from this book. Instead, with each chapter I spent a lot of time coming to an experiential understanding of what was being transmitted. When a particular concept was too cryptic or opaque, I also went to other sources, such as occasional talks online by western Insight Meditation teachers. If the topic became too dense, I slowed it down, broke it down into smaller parts, but I never skipped or tried to dilute the teachings. Of course, I could only bring my understanding of the teachings to my students, but this understanding is based not just in reading and studying, but in 35 years of experiential learning through meditation. So if you have been with me on this journey, have heard the dharma talks, participated in the dharma discussions, and/or read my posts on this blog, combined with regular meditation and experiential practices as led or suggested,  then you have delved deeply into the dharma, my friend!


My teacher had suggested I teach instead from the book The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana. I bought it and read parts of it, and I could see why she felt this would be appropriate. If I were to simply quote from a book to my students, this one was certainly accessible. But it didn’t speak to me. I didn’t like the language that it used. My students are mature women who have an overload of ‘should’ and ‘strive’ and prods to change themselves, and they don’t need more of the same! But more importantly, I wanted to work as closely to the source as I could go without knowing either pali or sanskrit. For the first time in my life I was happily engrossed in the delicious details of footnotes! Why would I accept anything less when I was apparently ready to spend as much time as it took to study and savor these teachings in this way?


There is a new book out now by Joseph Goldstein titled Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. I look forward to reading that, as he has a very accessible way of sharing wisdom. For anyone who is interested in further exploration of this core of Buddhist teachings, you might want to check it out as well.
As always, study is only a companion to experience. A regular practice of meditation and the addition of longer periods of retreat is important to provide the full experience. It is the only way the mind can truly take in the concepts presented and in a way that creates joy. Without the experience, the concepts sound good, but they become just one more distant goal to achieve, rather than a helpful guidance to understand what it is we are experiencing in our practice.


Analayo says that satipatthana is not only the direct path to awakening, but the perfect expression of that awakening. The fully-awakened being enjoys meditation as a most pleasurable pastime.


So if meditation is a struggle, something to be gotten through, stop trying so hard! But don’t stop meditating. Find the joy in the meditation itself, in this moment fully alive. Even in a moment of pain, there is joy in awakening to being present for it, to learning how to hold all of life’s experience with equanimity, one moment at a time.


In Buddhism we are said to be stream-enterers as we undertake the teachings and the practices of the Buddha. There are other states of becoming along this path, but to focus on them is to fall out of awakening within this moment. It is to set up a yearning to be some perfect image of a meditator, or to get caught up in attempting to create a wise or holy self-identity. More struggle that is counter to all that we are learning, both through the teachings and through our direct experience.


What now?


Now we continue the practice and the exploration of the dharma. The teachings will be offered to expand and deepen our understanding. Just as a stream at each twist and turn seems new to us, just so does the dharma. But it is all the same stream, and wherever we step in we have the capacity to awaken.

Wise Livelihood

In the Buddha’s day, the role each person played in the marketplace — their occupation and where they put their money — was easy to gauge. Today our local employer and our local market both draw from and perhaps cater to complex and often hidden international market, and we provide each other with an amazing array of services unheard of 2500 years ago.


But we each have a moral compass within us, that when ignored causes a feeling of being off-kilter. This moral compass guides us quite admirably when we slow down and pay attention to it. It lets us know when we are causing pain by the way we make our living and by how we invest and spend our money, for example.


A fellow Toastmaster named Olga gave a speech last week that moved me, especially when she said that she had previously pursued a career that made her feel ‘I lost my North’. Fortunately she heeded her inner moral compass, and changed careers. She is now working in the public sector for the good of the community. She is not a Buddhist as far as I know, but that moral compass lives in her without ever having learned about Wise Livelihood. And it lives in each of us.


So the Buddha was not the source of all wisdom. That universal wisdom is accessible to each of us if we quiet down and pay attention. And that’s what the Buddha advised, and that’s what we continue to practice through meditation. But the Buddha also provided a wonderful and comprehensive structure for us to look at what otherwise might feel like a morass of moral complexity: The Eightfold Path. Wise Livelihood is one of those eight, and the final one we will explore.

Remember our Cooking Pot Analogy. 
Wise Livelihood, like Wise Speech and Wise Action arises naturally like steam out of the pot full of Wise Mindfulness, stirred by the spoon of Wise Concentration (practices such as meditation). The cooking pot itself is Wise View, wherein we see the dharma, the true nature of things such as the nature of impermanence and our inherent interconnection with all life (no separate self) and how we cause suffering. But the steam only arises if the flame under the pot is constant, sparked by the match of Wise Intention (to be present in this moment, anchored in physical sensation and to be compassionate with ourselves and all beings). The flame won’t be constant and the pot won’t stand without the logs burning under it being well laid and balanced, and that is Wise Effort — neither striving doggedly nor lazing and procrastinating.

When we find that our actions, words or livelihood do not seem very wise at all, we can look at our intention, our effort, our view, our degree of mindfulness, our meditation practice, to see why the wise ‘steam’ isn’t rising. It’s a very useful tool.

So here we are at Wise Livelihood. Since our sangha is mostly retired, or wisely employed, we will focus more on this investment/spending aspect of Wise Livelihood. (The Buddha’s list of unskillful career moves is at the end of this post.) Wise Livelihood is the overall impact of our engagement in the marketplace, not just what we do for a living. Why? Because money has the power to create jobs in one area or take them away in another, so the way we invest or spend affects the ways in which others make their living. We are not only concerned with our individual happiness, but with the happiness of all beings. This doesn’t mean we proselytize or tell others how to live or make their living, but it does mean that we try not to create unwise jobs through our marketplace demands.


Do you know your impact on the marketplace? Where your money is invested? Who is producing the goods you are buying? Under what conditions?


Bargain hunting is a valued activity by most of us who have had challenges in making ends meet. It is considered a high virtue, and sometimes a sport. But if we make purchases based solely on price, we may negatively impact people to whom, if we met in person, we would practice kindness. We rarely know for certain the answers to all the wise questions we might ask, but so often we don’t even try to find out if this garment we wear so intimately next to our skin was made by someone who suffered from unhealthy working conditions or whose pay was so minimal that they couldn’t feed themselves and their families. When we think through the choice, that bargain doesn’t seem like such a bargain anymore, does it?


We’re not going to throw out what we have, but we might set an intention to make more informed choices the next time we are shopping.


Of course, it’s not just our clothing but the food we eat, the vehicles we drive, the energy we purchase to heat our homes, as well as a myriad of other choices we make when we pull out our wallet and interact in the massive and intricate web of the marketplace. How are our choices affecting the planet and its inhabitants?


To live out our paired intentions of awareness and kindness we need to look at the policies and behavior of not just the makers of the products but the sellers of the products. When we shop at a store that pays such low wages that it’s employees are eligible for government food stamps, we are giving tacit approval of those policies. Is this wise?


If we buy produce that has been sprayed, we may be concerned for our own health, but have we given any thought to the workers in the fields who have their hands and faces exposed to this toxicity for so many hours per week? And what about the wild creatures and the earth itself, the water that runs off from a polluted field and pollutes the water, that 1% of the earth’s water that is fresh? Lots to consider. Buying organic becomes a way to send metta to all beings, not just a way to stay healthy in our own bodies.


If we invest in companies, or in funds that invest in companies, do we simply look at the numbers? Or can we look a little closer and see what we are giving tacit approval to by our investment. Clearly, a mutual fund that invests in companies that potentially cause harm is not a fund a Wise Livelihood investor wants to fund. To invest wisely, we look at the impact of putting funds and therefore power into the hands of people who are not aligned with our intentions. Through the practice of mindfulness we are becoming increasingly mindful that all beings are deserving of respect, kindness and compassion; that all beings are interconnected, all part of the same web of processes. Our consciousness rests in the sensations of this body at this time, but it is not in isolation. It is in interaction always, in every decision, every movement, every purchase and every investment.


Perhaps you have felt badly about buying or investing in something. These bad feelings are clues that your decision is out of alignment with your deepest intentions and understanding of the nature of things. When this happens, when we notice it, it is an opportunity to slow down, notice, look more closely at what is really going on here. But so often we don’t bother. We just feel bad. We just create suffering for ourselves as we continue to create suffering for others.


All of this may run counter to all we have ever learned about being smart in the marketplace. But in the process of buying and selling, sometimes it’s our ease and happiness that gets sold.


As you might expect, we had a lively discussion in class about Wise Livelihood, especially around the difficulty of obtaining accurate information to make informed choices. As an example, one of the students in class had recently been to El Salvador where she said she was allowed into an area called a free zone, where manufacturers, employing Salvadorans, created goods that they labeled ‘Made in the USA’.


This is not an entirely new scheme. In the 1950’s ‘Made in the USA’ could mean the product was made in a town in Japan with the name of Usa! So it is indeed very challenging to do the right thing when our labels contain insufficient and, as in this case, erroneous information.


Yet we do what we can to live in a way that doesn’t cause our inner moral compass to lose its north. That’s going to be different for each of us. But in this process of coming to understand how we fall into the morass of misery, it’s quite useful to acknowledge that sometimes it’s how we blind ourselves to our powerful impact on the world in all kinds of ways, big and small.


Powerful? Yes! Remember the power of the choice by many people around the world to divest from South African stocks, and the role that played in ending Apartheid? We are powerful! Make these choices count, and let us ‘find our North.’
———————-


End Note (excerpted from Access to Insight’s extensive text and commentary on Buddhist teachings. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html#ch4)

“The Buddha mentions five specific kinds of livelihood which bring harm to others and are therefore to be avoided: dealing in weapons, in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution), in meat production and butchery, in poisons, and in intoxicants (AN 5:177). He further names several dishonest means of gaining wealth which fall under wrong livelihood: practicing deceit, treachery, soothsaying, trickery, and usury (MN 117). Obviously any occupation that requires violation of right speech and right action is a wrong form of livelihood, but other occupations, such as selling weapons or intoxicants, may not violate those factors and yet be wrong because of their consequences for others.”

Live the Questions — an experiential exercise

The beginning of a new year is a great time to do a little inner questioning and reflection. In Buddhism, the most useful ongoing question is ‘How do I live in relationship to this situation?’ The most useless is ‘Why me?’ But there are lots of other useful questions to pose, and we’ll be exploring them here today. Do this when you have the time to really enjoy this process without a deadline.


If we stay with our intentions to be present in this moment, anchored in physical sensation, and to be kind to ourselves as we do this inner work, we can ask the questions and attend the answers that well up from within in a way that gives them a spacious, safe place to land.


This is a process that takes all the kindness we can develop within ourselves. These answers have been there all along, have probably tried to make themselves known in a myriad of ways, but may have been met with harshness, a blank stare, a rude retort, a judgment, or a ready excuse.


As we do this process, we want to be aware of the automatic responses that arise, the ones that deflect or pose to protect us. There’s no need to make them wrong. We can let them sit at the table but not be the only voice. We can listen more deeply. The universal wisdom — that we all have access to but don’t hear until we are present and peaceful — is the quietest voice in the room, the one with no sense of urgency, no agenda, no judgment, just an open, earnest, fearless, loving ease. By learning to meditate and quiet down the stringent inner aspects of our endlessly problem-solving selves, we avail ourselves of this wise voice.


As you look over the questions that follow, you might find that some bring up answers and others don’t resonate. That’s fine. They are all portals to the same inner wisdom, so go with whatever calls you. But notice if you are afraid of a question. The one that causes discomfort is also one you want to spend more time with. Be kind, stay present, ask again.


It is valuable to write down your answers, so grab a pen and paper or bring up a Word document before you begin. You’ll be glad later that you gave yourself this gift of exploration, and it’s good to have a written record to revisit.


Please meditate before doing this exercise. If you have not meditated before, here are basic meditation instructions. Again, do this process when you can give it as much time as it takes without any deadline. It won’t work very well if you feel rushed.


Take each question and spend some time with it before moving on to the next. Don’t read ahead as that takes away from the power of the process.


The Questions


How might I lighten my load? OR What can I take off my plate?



What am I assuming about life that might be in error?


How is this assumption weighing me down?



Is there some external circumstance that I am blaming for my current state of mind?



Where am I struggling?



What am I clinging to that isn’t supporting me, just causing more pain?



What am I trying to prove? And whom am I trying to prove it to?



What am I trying to hide? And whom am I hiding it from?



What am I afraid of?



What is the simplest and clearest expression of my love, my gratitude, my joy?



After you’ve written down your answers, take some time, now or later, to look back over what you have written, and notice the language you use as you answer questions. Wherever you find words like ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘have to’, ‘need to’, that’s a valuable clue to go deeper into the process. These kinds of words come from murky motivations. As always, we are looking to let what we say and do arise from our deep intentions to be present and compassionate with ourselves and others. Discovering our motivations is extremely valuable. Don’t toss them out. Look more deeply. Find the fear.


In this process you will undoubtedly discover something you hadn’t realized. But this is just the beginning. A potent question can take us on a wondrous journey of self-discovery. If one of these questions was particularly meaningful, write it down on a little piece of paper and carry it with you over the coming days, weeks, months. Take it out from time to time and pose the question again. Noodle it! Use the question as a frame to look at life for a while. Question assumptions you hear yourself making in different situations. Ask ‘Is this true? How do I know this is true?’ This is a great way to clear old unquestioned thoughts that have been cluttering up the brain attic!


In class at Spirit Rock one day many years ago, teacher Mark Coleman posed a question that sent me on a months-long journey. He asked, ‘What is it that’s holding you in bondage?’


If this question speaks to you, feel free to use it. At first it seemed such an odd question. Of course I’m not in bondage! The very idea! But that question stayed with me, and I had a series of incremental aha moments that revealed exactly what was holding me in bondage. Isn’t it strange how even in a life that is free of external imprisonment, we can cage ourselves?


You might find that the answer to one question might create another question in its wake. For example, when I realized that what was holding me in bondage was ‘my habitual nature’, that brought up a question about why I was so habitual. Another weeks-long journey of inquiry and noticing. Then an insight where I recognized an erroneous belief within me: I believed that if I did things in the same way every day then things were under control and nothing would change. But having said that, having brought the belief to light, I could easily see how it was not true. Habits do not ultimately protect me from whatever change I fear. It was a very freeing experience, that exploration. I felt an influx of joy and renewed energy.


Did it solve all the challenges in my life? Of course not. The answers we find create more space, free up more energy to live more in the present and with more compassion. But there is no place to get to, no perfect state. And thinking there is the perfect answer somewhere is a sure path of misery. When we say, aha, I’ve arrived! Nirvana! Then we immediately dig in and determine that it will last. Grasping and clinging: The Buddha’s description of suffering.


One of the wisest things we can do is live with the question, to love the question itself, as Rilke said in his Letters to a Young Poet:


“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”


Learning how to live with the unknown within ourselves and in the world is a great gift. And having a question is a way of being actively engaged in that unknown. The answers come, usually with more questions on their tails, but it’s the questions themselves that provide the riches.


Giving ourselves the time we need to quiet down, listen in and ask meaningful questions is a journey alive with richness. By doing so we learn how to live in a way that brings more joy and less suffering to all beings, including ourselves.

Please comment below. I would love to get feedback on how this process was for you.