we practice for times like these…


This is what we’ve been practicing for: the situations where the practice doesn’t come easily. When the winds of change reach hurricane force, our inner refuge of mindfulness, concentration, and discernment is the only thing that will keep us from getting blown away. 
~

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

#practice #meditation #change #refuge #mindfulness #concentration #discernment #grounded #steady #presence #JMWart

with each breath i am reborn…

  

we often think and say that, with the New Year, we have a fresh start – a clean slate to make choices that are more beneficial to our lives and the lives of others.
but the truth is, it is even better than that!

a fresh start is available with each breath we take – every breath we take is an opportunity to begin anew. every breath is a new lease on life, a confirmation that we still have the opportunity to benefit ourselves and others as we continue this journey.
each new breath is a new opportunity to let go, to choose life, to choose love, to choose nonaggression and nonviolence, to speak words of encouragement, to bear witness to our suffering and the suffering of others, to act with compassion and kindness, to live generously and with grace, to laugh, to smile, to be brave in the middle of our sadness, to dive into this experience fully opening our hearts more and more, choosing to be healers to the suffering we see.
may 2016, and every breath you take, remind you that there is beauty and there is love – and that you are both of these things.
namaste

~j
#NewYears2016 #NYE2016 #HappyNewYear #change #transition #opportunity #life #love #compassion #kindness #generosity #courage #nonaggression #nonviolence #laugh #healing #healers #mindfulness #meditation #zen  

this exquisite passing life…

  

this exquisite passing life.  bows of gratitude…

“It is the radical transience of the world that makes it both tragic and beautiful, like the cherry blossom in Japanese aesthetics. The tragedy is that nothing actually exists; it is all passing away the instant it forms. The beauty is that we have the means to be aware of this, a moment to know the profound poignancy of this tiny corner of reality.”

~ Andrew Olendzki

Dia de los Muertos

  
Dia de los Muertos
a day to reflect on those who have passed, but haven’t left us. a lifting of the veil revealing that we are all One, interconnected through space and time, life and death, in this always moving ground of Being. through memory and ritual, offering prayers of honor, respect and gratitude.
the theme of death is an integral part of Buddhist practice, not as some morbid practice – but practice for what is inevitable and a sacred part of life. something we so desperately try to avoid in our culture, namely – sickness, aging, and dying – change.
practicing “death” is practicing “life.” each out breath is a death and each in breath is life reborn. an opportunity to be grateful for, an opportunity to continue this adventure of learning to love better and open our hearts.
perhaps this is what our loved ones, who have passed, are trying to tell us.
~j
“In trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. It’s easy to forget that life and death are part of the natural scheme of things, intrinsic to our lives in an eternally shifting universe.”

~ Ronna Kobatznick
#DiaDeLosMuertos

#life #death #practice #love #meditation #buddhism #interdependence #change #family #relationships #ghosts

karma…

  

we rarely if ever can escape the consequences of our actions…how else can we learn? be open to learning, open to growing, open to change. accept with gratitude the opportunity to make new choices that are beneficial for you and all life. that opportunity, just like your life, is a gift. ~j “smile, breathe, and go slowly…” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
#karma #consequences #choices #change #grace #opportunity #learning #growth #life #wisdom #gratitude

listening…

  

if what is presented in Buddhism -that we are interconnected and all things are impermanent and changing – is indeed true, then our most grateful and honorable response is to aspire to and practice toward authentic engagement with life. in other words…Presence. to be Present, we can practice a most beneficial skill…Listening. and the first step toward skillful listening is to stop talking.
~j
#RightListening #StopTheChatter #presence #relationships #communication #practice #listening #authenticity #ThisMoment #impermanence #interconnection #change #life #meditation #Buddhism 

breathe…

  

breathe…one of my favorite Thich Nhat Hanh calligraphies.
the breath is life, to reconnect with the breath is to reconnect with life. to be present as one breathes is to be present in this moment, to be present with life. we cannot be lost in thought, in worry, in anger, if we are with our breath – paying attention to it as we breathe in. does it feel cold, is it warm? does it tingle at the nose? does the chest rise, does the belly expand as the breath fills our bodies? when we breathe out, do we feel the belly sink in, the chest fall, the body relax?
this is meditation. to find a comfortable sitting position, settling our bodies, back straight, eyes softened or closed, finding and releasing tension, and then observing our breath. thoughts can come and go. we let them. we allow them to come and go without judging or correcting ourselves for having them, and without running away with them. when we do run with our thoughts and we become aware that we have, we simply return to observing our breath. practice. this is what we practice. we do this each day so we grow a capacity to “be” with life, no matter what has manifest. we practice so we can learn to pause before our reactions, so we can make a thoughtful choice of action.
(breathing in)

calm body

(breathing out)

calm mind
when we breathe in we are giving our body oxygen, life. a body provided for is a calm body. when we breathe out we are letting go, we are surrendering – quite literally – our life, our breath, along with all of our fears, worries, or anger. a mind provided for is a calm mind.
I know this, just as I know life is filled with impermanence and change (and there has been plenty of that both professionally and personally this year). and although we more often than not have an aversion to change, which causes us suffering, it is important to remember that without change there’d be no possibility of something better, no opportunity for our growth as precious human beings in this life to find a new home, a new place to continue our learning and growth.
yet when change comes heavy and fast, it can be jarring, unsettling and painful. the ground is removed from under our feet and we feel insecure. it is discomforting and heart aching to witness this happening to those we care about and not have a way to fix it or make it better. as was the case today. 
so I remind myself as I remind them and all of us, breathe…
~j

09.01.15

the illusion of security and the reality of Life…

ENSO 2014

From the wisdom of Alan Watts ~

“There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.
 
To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”
 
~ Alan Watts