Question: It sometimes seems to me that fear has become an unacceptable emotion on the spiritual path. There are so many teachings that talk about how unhelpful fear is, and how it gets in the way of growth. Yet for me, I am increasingly recognizing how dominated by fear my whole life has been, and the more I practice, the more this fear feels like it is dominating my life. I feel it vibrating through my body, making it difficult to breathe, and I often get very little sleep at night as fear and panic surface just as I am "dropping off". It seems to be too terrifying to let go of control enough to fall asleep. I am trying to welcome this fear as a friend who I can learn from. But I find it very, very difficult when I hear teachings that don't seem to have anything positive to say about working with fear - but just name it as an obstacle on the path. I hope that you can help me with this.
Elizabeth explains how we can understand reality just by wrestling with basic questions that we all have: "What is the basis of suffering? What causes happiness?"
In this 2 minute skype video, Elizabeth explains to Erric how we can understand reality just by wrestling with basic questions that we all have: "What is the basis of suffering? What causes happiness?"
“Are you insane?” was one of my first thoughts on this melancholic and allegedly spring morning. My alarm was set early so that I could drag myself out of bed in order to deliberately sit and do nothing.
Sometimes I feel like my life is spent in a dark, smoky, crowded, and noisy nightclub and that I’ve forgotten that there’s a door that’s always open if I choose to leave.
The Buddhist teachings tell us that wisdom and compassion are like the two wings of a bird that will fly you to enlightenment and that you need both wings in order to fly. What does that mean for us?
First of all we might just reject this as irrelevant to us because we don’t think we want to be enlightened, we’ll settle for happiness. What we don’t realize, however, is that enlightenment is just a fancy name for the highest form of happiness, a state that is not only our birthright but the end point of our evolution. We’re heading there anyway, whether we think we want to or not. Some of us aren’t moving of course, some of us are even going backwards, but our innate desire for happiness will keep pulling us towards it.
Not long ago, I fell in love with a beautiful woman. Gently, we became a bit closer. She rejected me, right at the moment, when I was SURE that we had just opened up for each other, and I thought I could FEEL the love she also had for me. At first, my mind reacted with complete disbelieve. It told me that this must be some kind of error. Something within her must have closed down, she might be just not able to face the love and affection for her. When the rejection was confirmed, it really hurt. I was left with the pain of feeling cut off something really precious. And I couldn’t escape facing some of my deep-rooted believes around love and relationship. Which turned out to be a great opportunity for development.
There’s a standard American joke that goes, “A man walks into a bar…” and proceeds to have a short story ending with a punch-line. To get this post started right, I’ll finish the joke:
Recently I've been taking to heart the connections between meditation and compassion. There are times in my meditation practice when I've found these sweet, inspired and clear moments - glimpses actually - where I can actually see how the suffering that I endure in my life really is due to my mind. And, with these glimpses I've begun to emerge from my claustrophobic "me" in realizing that we all suffer due to our mind.