Monday, June 27, 2011

Change: A Real Plan

I'm finding Jack Kornfields The Wise Heart helpful. Below is an example. A quote from Romans follows. Seems to me Paul is writing about precisely the same thing, though because of a 1st Century worldview it sounds much more foreboding!

Unhealthy thoughts can chain us to the past. They arise as vipaka, the result of past karma that we cannot change. We can, however, change our destructive thoughts in the present. Through mindfulness training we can recognize them as bad habits learned long ago. Then we can take the critical next step. We can discover how these obsessive thoughts cover over grief, insecurity, and loneliness. This underlying suffering needs to be held with compassion. As we gradually learn to tolerate these underlying energies, we can reduce their pull.

But even knowing their source and feeling them with compassion is not enough to transform the most difficult patterns. We have to replace them. This is the movement of creating healthier karma. Such thought replacement can be challenging, for we are loyal to our stories. They become our identity. There’s an uneasy moment when the destructive stories we have been telling ourselves collapse. We can feel worried, doubtful, spacey, or frightened of the unknown.

Sometimes we have to pry ourselves loose from their power and bad advice. But underneath destructive thoughts is a part of us that knows such thoughts are not true, not valid, not alive. And with a release of these old stories, a whole new perspective dawns. Fear can be transformed into presence and excitement. Confusion can open up into interest. Uncertainty can become a gateway to surprise. And unworthiness can lead us to dignity. -Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart

Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. –St. Paul (Romans 6)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rapture People

Jack Kornfield writes, "What is past is over. It cannot be changed. We will inevitably receive the result of our past intentions and actions. Our freedom lies in how to respond to these results (The Wise Heart)." Jesus says, "The Kingdom of God is at hand." I'm becoming more and more stoked about how these two points of view interact.

I love that mindfulness practice has potential to bring us face to face with any given moment. I love Jesus's insistence that the Kingdom of God is potential reachable at any given moment. Mindfulness is continually presenting us with the possibility of a wide-awake response to whatever is happening. Jesus is saying we don't have to wait or go looking for the Kingdom of God--it's right here and we're, potentially, conduits for it.

Unlike the rapture people who long to leave the 'now' for heaven, mindful people long to incarnate heaven a little bit at a time right here, right now.