Rox Does Yoga

Musings on Everything Yoga

Quote of the Day: Compassion Meditation April 29, 2014

Filed under: meditation — R. H. Ward @ 3:17 pm
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Today I wanted to present a quote from the book I’ve been reading. I myself haven’t had any time to try to practice this meditation, but I wanted to make sure I had it saved here on the blog for future reference. It sounds like a beautiful practice. Maybe reading about it will help someone else out there.

“So… let us meditate on compassion today. Begin by visualizing a person who is acutely suffering, someone who is in pain or is in a very unfortunate situation. For the first three minutes of the meditation, reflect on that individual’s suffering in a more analytic way–think about their intense suffering and the unfortunate state of that person’s existence. After thinking about that person’s suffering for a few minutes, next, try to relate that to yourself, thinking, ‘that individual has the same capacity for experiencing pain, joy, happiness, and suffering that I do.’ Then, try to allow your natural response to arise–a natural feeling of compassion towards that person. Try to arrive at a conclusion: thinking how strongly you wish for that person to be free from that suffering. And resolve that you will help that person to be relieved from their suffering. Finally, place your mind single-pointedly on that kind of conclusion or resolution, and for the last few minutes of the meditation try to simply generate your mind in a compassionate or loving state.”

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, quoted in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, page 129

 

The daily struggle to be a better person January 2, 2014

Filed under: wellness,yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 11:29 am
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To start the new year off right, I wanted to share this quote from Cheryl Strayed’s Facebook page:

Is there ever an end to the daily struggle to be a better person? I’m not asking this rhetorically. I’m wondering if there’s a time when you reach it, when you say “I can no longer think of any way to be a better person.” (Or maybe there are people who do not ponder every day how they can be a better person?) When I say “better person” I don’t mean that I constantly tell myself how awful I am but rather I’m very aware of the ways in which I could’ve done better as a friend, as a mom, as a spouse, as a sister, as a writer, as a woman with some serious aspirations for this thing called “balance” (ie: time for exercise, lounging, sex, thrift-store shopping, voracious reading). On a pretty much daily basis I think of how I’ve failed in many of these areas. It’s not a self-hate thing, but rather a deep desire I have to someday fall asleep thinking, “Well done, Strayed. You’ve got it down.” I’m reflecting on this as the first day of 2014 comes to an end here on the west coast of America. Not thinking “Well done, Strayed” but thinking instead, “Maybe next year. Maybe tomorrow. Keep going. Keep walking. Just try to do better in every action, intention, thought and deed.” Happy new year, my friends. I hope 2014 is a revelation and a firecracker for you.

I LOVE this. Strayed is a writer I really admire, both personally and professionally, and I think she really hits the nail on the head here. May we all keep striving to be better people in the coming year.

 

Quote of the day: Buddha lives in the present moment July 30, 2012

Filed under: yoga lifestyle,yoga philosophy — R. H. Ward @ 10:16 am
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For my birthday last week, my husband gave me (among other things) a magnet with the following quote:

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

- Buddha

This is exactly what I was talking about last week – that I’m a better mom, and a better overall person, when I stay in the present rather than replaying moments from the past or worrying about problems that might arise in the future. Hooray for the Buddha for saying it so well (and hooray for my husband and his prescient magnet shopping).

 

Today’s quote: My religion is kindness. May 10, 2012

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

- H.H. the Dalai Lama

In all of the political and social hubbub going on in the US right now surrounding the issue of gay marriage, one of my friends shared this lovely quote from the Dalai Lama. It’s such a wonderful thought that warms my heart.

Last fall I had what was a big revelation for me: for yogis and for Buddhists, religion, spirituality, and faith is a personal issue. Christians have it on good authority that they should preach to others – Jesus specifically said to go out and spread the good news, after all – but in Eastern religions, there’s no such mandate. Yogis and Buddhists, in an ideal world, just go about their business, conducting their lives according to their own beliefs and without any imperative to share their faith, although they may if they wish, if they’re approached by someone who genuinely wants to know. I love this concept, that belief is a personal matter. Think about any conversation or argument. We get so focused on making our point, making the other person see things our way. When we remove that desire to win the argument, then that frees us up to behave differently. When we don’t have to convince the other person, we have more freedom to see things from the other person’s perspective. We can act more kindly. It’s a quieter sort of faith system: you don’t have to prove the strength of your conviction to anyone but you.

I think much of what’s wrong with my country right now can be traced back to a need to proselytize. There’s a difference between sharing your ideas and telling someone about your beliefs, and forcing someone into following your beliefs. Many people get hung up on the idea of converting others, enforcing their own values, winning an imaginary war. But what’s the point of that if you hurt other people in the process?

I think Jesus’s phrasing is interesting because with news, even good news, you can take it or leave it; you can allow it to affect your life, or, like a story about a puppy rescued from a well, you can think, That’s nice and move on. Jesus just said to spread the news, he didn’t say to impose it. The counterargument to that would be, I think, that in other places in the Bible Jesus says that he’s here to make a new covenant, to which my response would be, first of all, show me the spot where Jesus says who can marry whom, and secondly, wasn’t his big new commandment about loving others? Don’t you think Jesus would be on board with the Dalai Lama’s statement here? Jesus certainly acted as though his religion was kindness. I wish that concept, the way Jesus behaved, was valued and acted upon more often in some Christian communities.

Can you imagine if we all loved our neighbor unconditionally and treated others as we would want to be treated, the way Jesus told us to do? Can you imagine what would happen if we all decided that our religion was kindness?

 

Quote of the Day: Yearning for the Full Moon of Autumn May 1, 2012

Filed under: yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 2:05 pm
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Here’s a quote for today:

“Those whom summer’s heat tortures yearn for the full moon of autumn without even fearing the idea that a hundred days of their life will then have passed forever.”

- Buddha Shakyamuni, quoted in Mathieu Ricard’s Happiness, page 227

I love this quote because it’s so relatable: we all have a favorite season and a least favorite. Personally, I don’t like winter. I’m the kind of person who’s always cold, so in winter I have to wear layers and layers of clothes. My skin gets dry and itchy, especially with scratchy sweaters piled on, and I feel very uncomfortable most of the time. In winter we also get a lot less daylight, and that strongly affects my mood. I much prefer summer, when my skin can be out and about, unrestricted in the warm air, and there’s plenty of daylight to go around! But this quote reminds me to appreciate every day of my life, even in the winter; the seasons will come and go, but my life is finite, and I only have so many winters to enjoy. I don’t want to spend a whole season feeling grumpy and sad – it’s just not a good use of my time. So in winter I try to find the things that I do enjoy and appreciate: hot chocolate, freshly made soup, fuzzy socks, curling up with a blanket and a good book. I love the holidays, too, and in the region where I live, it’s not possible to get to Christmas without having some winter along the way.

On the surface, this quote is just about seasons and weather, but really it can be about anything that “tortures” you, making you yearn for something else. An illness, a job you don’t like, or a bad living situation can all represent seasons in a person’s life, difficult to get through. It can be tempting to think, Once this is over, then I’ll really be happy! Then we regain our health, find a new job, move to a new home, and something else becomes our challenge, and we defer our happiness again. This quote reminds me that the time to be happy is right now, regardless of what else may be happening. When we’re ill, there are still many joys we can appreciate even if we don’t feel well enough to do what we used to do. When we’re stuck in a crappy job, there are always plenty of things happening away from the office that fulfill us. Finding ways to enjoy where we are right now, even if it’s not ideal, will make us happier in our day-to-day lives, and when we feel more fulfilled in ourselves, we have more to give to the people around us as well. Don’t let a hundred days or even one day of your one precious life slip past you!

 

Quote of the Day: What Good is Discontent? April 9, 2012

Filed under: yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 1:54 pm
Tags: ,

Today, just a quote to share:

“If there is a cure, what good is discontent? If there is no cure, what good is discontent?”

- Shantideva, 8th century master, quoted in Mathieu Ricard’s Happiness, page 72

I love this quote because it really emphasizes what’s important. If you have a problem that can be fixed, there’s no use worrying about it, because you can fix it. If you have a problem that cannot be fixed, there’s also no need to worry, because it is what it is – better to spend time learning how to deal with, move forward from, or otherwise overcome the problem than with worrying about something that can’t change. There’s really no situation where worry or discontent is helpful, but we still spend so much time on these things! I hope this quote inspires you to leave your worries aside today, just for a few minutes, and do something you value instead, like taking a walk, calling a friend, or reading a good book.

 

Upanishads (part 1) November 1, 2011

We’re taking a quick break from our yoga & sex series so I can tell you how much I’m in love with the Upanishads already. It’s a collection of ancient wisdom from Hindu sages who lived over 2000 years ago, and so far I’ve only read the intros and the first Upanishad, the Isha, but I’m head over heels here. Opening the book, the very first page has this inscription:

You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As you deed is, so is your destiny.
(Brihadaranyaka IV.4.5)

Those few lines touched me really deeply. I memorized them and used them in my meditation this morning. Ten minutes zipped past, and afterwards I felt incredibly peaceful. I love how these lines imply that by using your will to carry out your deepest desires, you have the power to choose your destiny, and further, that that destiny is already within you, ready to be created.

I loved the Isha Upanishad, too. It’s so short and so powerful, really intense and lovely. I read it and the accompanying commentary twice on the train this morning. I’m really loving this. I simultaneously want to read the whole book right now and also to stretch out the reading of it for as long as I can. I’m planning to stretch it out since I know I’ll get more out of it that way. I’m already plotting the purchase of multiple translations so I can reread it again and again and compare the wording. Just thinking about it makes me really happy.

 

 
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