Posts Tagged ‘path’

The presence of compassion

November 15, 2011

I have never been very good at compassion. I especially have difficulty being compassionate with people who I view as behaving badly (including myself). My initial reactions have been to point out their shortcomings, avoid them all-together, let them ruin my moment/day/week/month/year/life, and ruminate endlessly over how they (I) should behave.

I came upon this story from the book Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg. Sharon tells a story about meeting a Soviet official at an airport with “the most hateful stare I have ever received from anybody in my life. It was an icy rage.” She felt as if he had “poisoned her being.”

Some part of her woke up. She realized that every day this man experiences the state that she had just experienced. She writes: “A tremendous feeling of compassion came into me for him. He was no longer a threatening enemy, but rather someone in what seemed to be in intense suffering.”

The path of compassion begins with the knowledge that we do to others what we do to ourselves. None of us really know what is going on inside another human being. We don’t know what they might be experiencing, thinking, or feeling. Even if we ask them, the answer may come back nebulous and arbitrary. I have witnessed people in obvious distress and asked them about their state of being only to be told that they were “fine.” Such a response can indicate that they are truly fine, realizing they are in distress but handling it. It can also mean “I don’t know” or “none of your business” or “NO, I’m NOT!” Distress might be a normal state of being and as long as they are feeling distressed, they feel normal.

This is as far as I have gotten along the path. Compassion is a moment-by-moment, person-by-person phenomenon. It encompasses my projection of myself on to others. It realizes that I am being projected upon. Somewhere in between is a reality I can speak to.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of beliefs

January 20, 2011

The same message has come to me three times recently: the universe is living and manifested through me. I am enamored with this quote from the January 2011 Science of Mind: “there is a wholeness, perfection, love, and beauty in the universe that is seeking permission to live through and as your life.”

My intellect wants to examine this message with detached curiosity. My mind wants to convince myself that it is true. My heart would like to feel that belief in all its intensity. My presence is silent on the subject. Perhaps, at that deeper level, I already know this to be true.

And, if I choose to believe this, then it must be true for everyone, not just for me.

In yet another round of dual unveiling of self, Ben and I recently had this exchange in the presence of challenge:

Ben wrote “I notice as I move towards the thing that really calls me I run smack dab into my beliefs, boundaries, and comfort zones. That is why I really don’t believe in beliefs and yet I see I have them — some deeply hidden away. Those beliefs are the boundary I self imposed that I am not getting beyond or is creating the suffering and discomfort. I am holding onto some idea, belief, or concept about how my life is supposed to look.”

I responded: “Beliefs ARE self-imposed boundaries and someone created them — we absorbed them from the adults in our lives when we were very young and created them from our experiences. Not believing your beliefs has two facets: the first is some people don’t believe they have beliefs (they are delusional) and the second is as you say not “believing in beliefs” because they are just those thoughts/ideas we create to make a boundary for ourselves.”

That I received these messages about the universe and beliefs simultaneously made my inquisitive little investigator perk right up. What beliefs am I holding on to that hold me back? That cause me suffering? That keep me from becoming the being I truly am? Can I let go of enough belief to make room for the idea that I can be the universe manifested in wholeness, perfection, love, and beauty? Does believing make it so? Can I disband the boundary that I and the universe are separate and apart?

Like Ben, I am following the bread crumbs that I toss myself as I seek the path that lightens my heart and quickens my breath. I am seeking the magic that will unlock the words, the feelings, the living, the thoughts, the intents, and the manifestations of the universe incarnate. I find some paths are blocked with gates and locked with heavy steel barricades.

But I think the universe just handed me a key.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

Walking gratitude

June 2, 2010

Gratitude is a tough walk to take at 3:00 a.m.

At 3:00 a.m., the ghosts of past decisions come to visit. Each and every one of those decisions brought me to this space in my life. I look at the coming day and realize that not everything that is going on in my life is the way I like it, but I am happier than I have ever been.

That I set it all in motion becomes acutely clear – so sharp in my vision that I have to sometimes look away. I am not ready to see all of me just yet.

I am willing to see that I make all of the choices and decisions to be working and living where I am. Every day, I choose this path for many different reasons, and some of those decisions are made unconsciously. As my unconscious self slowly wakes up, I am meeting the self I am who desires peace and happiness.

At 3:00 a.m., I am not quite sure where I will find peace and happiness. All of my lessons in being powerless have taught me that peace and happiness are not “out there” even if I perceive others in the world as having more than their fair share. Still others have so much pain and sorrow, I feel guilty for having any joy.

It is easier to talk gratitude than to walk gratitude. My unconscious self who gave up peace and happiness in favor of guilt and inadequacy knows all the reasons, and I do not need to resolve all of those issues before I walk this path of gratitude presence. The wisdom of my eternal presence reminds me that this walk I am taking, this time of waking up, is happening within me. Within me is the path to peace and happiness – within my thoughts, within my feelings, within my actions, within my responses. Who I am becoming is reflected for others to see and perceive however they choose.

It is time to be the word and today the word is gratitude.

©2010 Barbara L. Kass

The disappearing outcome

April 20, 2010

Sometimes, I get a little too attached to the Land of Supposed To Be.

Okay, not just sometimes . . . a lot of the time.

Through the stories I tell myself about what reality is supposed to look like, I create a story about outcomes – how life is supposed to be. And I really cannot be blamed for having this attachment. After all, I was programmed from birth to have expectations. It doesn’t help that nature does what it is supposed to do: water does what water is supposed to do, animal behavior is fairly predictable, trees and grass and flowers all respect their cycles of growth and dormancy. There is a certain stability and logic to our environment that allows humans to depend on specific outcomes.

Nature also limits the predictability of human life. I can depend on certain outcomes in my life given the conditions of any environment. It suddenly makes sense to me why some people abandon civilization and go off to live alone in a backwoods cabin. Life becomes a more known quantity when I have removed variables I cannot control or predict (i.e., other people).

Lately, though, I have been letting go of the need to have a specific outcome to anything. I have become more conscious and aware of taking care of the moments in my life and my internal work has been to trust my intent to bring my presence to life. I cannot predict or control the outcome of being truly present and alive. I only know that I must honor that this path called to me and I chose to follow it. I don’t want to know how it ends or to try to imagine where it might take me.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass