Saturday, March 6, 2010

Getting to the next moment

“The crucial factor influencing how well we can respond in any given situation seems to be the level of mindfulness we can bring to bear upon the moment. If we don’t care to be present, unconscious decision-making systems will function to get us through to the next moment, albeit in the grips of (often flawed) learned behaviors and conditioned responses. If, on the other hand, we can increase the amount of conscious awareness present by manifesting mindfulness, we expand the range of our possible responses. Even if disposed to anger, we can choose to act with kindness. This is the essence of our freedom in an otherwise heavily conditioned system.”

Read more in Andrew Olendzki’s original article

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Kingdom of God Is at Hand

So many of our fundamental responses to life were formed when we where children and adolescents—long before most of us had much self-awareness.  Many adult patterns build up over time on top of these, making our responses to life pretty kludgy.

Mindfulness gives us a great window to see what all these responses are up to, which is a great gift.  Gradually, lots of misdirected and wasteful patterns can be noticed and in many ways re-formed.  We begin to see more clearly how the ‘kingdom of God’ is at hand—and, gradually, we’re better able to welcome it more wisely and enter it more freely.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receeding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
-R. S. Thomas