“The bold adventurer succeeds the best.”
Everyday we feature one remarkable Intent. Share yours at Intent.com
Inspiration behind the Intent: Working out my whole being supports my purpose of remembering my life purpose
Everyday we feature one remarkable Intent. Share yours at Intent.com
I admit it… I’m a self proclaimed A-D-D, multi-task-master with looong to-do lists.
At any given moment, I have 20+ windows open on my desktop and often forget what I’m searching for while opening up another browser to find an email in another account. I check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks while waiting for my Final Cut Editing Program to render — you video editors out there feel my pain. Did I mention, I also just picked up my iPhone to check some other apps? (I really did.)
To stay on task, I’m blogging in OmmWriter, a writer’s app I recently discovered that clears your screen and plays zen-like music.
With all the flash, video and pictures proliferating the wild wild web, it’s hard to catch my attention as I am sure it is to capture your eyeballs for more than 30 minutes on any given site. But this Facebook post by our friends at Service Space made me pause, smile and inspired me to blog… about happiness.
We all search for it and make excuses of why we don’t have it. We all can rewind and think about something that happened in our past that creates our bad attitude and bad habits. Likewise, we can look into the future and think our happiness is hinged upon a bigger paycheck, finding the right partner or _____Fill in the blank_____.
The truth is, we have the power to change our thoughts no matter what situation we’re in. That is why I LOVE THIS quote by Deepak Chopra. I stumbled upon this sweet message and picture posted by our friends at Karma Tube.
“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.” ~ Deepak Chopra
This resonated with me on many levels. Just last week, I was on a walk in my quaint San Francisco neighborhood and was completely in the moment. I stopped and asked myself why I was smiling. I remember being happy just for the sake of being happy.
I’ve had naysayers – aka “haters” – tell me, “It’s easy for you to be happy, you have nice clothes, lots of friends and a job.” While that may be true in my current situation, there have been times where that hasn’t been the case. Growing up in bad neighborhoods when I was a child, I wore lots of hand-me-downs from my two older brothers. My mother, being resourceful, used the tattered clothes to stuff the burlap rice bags for pillows. After leaving my TV reporting gig to start up Go Inspire Go, there have been times where I had $0.80 in my bank account. Yep, 80 cents. And there was a time when I lost four family members in one short year.
Looking back during those times, I do remember many happy moments. Most of the time, I didn’t let the situation define my happiness. As one of my favorite authors, Eckardt Tolle, said, “It is what it is.” I’ve learned to surrender to things that happen around me because I can’t worry about what I can’t control. That’s a good start. Instead, I focus on what I’m grateful for.
It seems like my gratitude list is longer than my woe-is-me list:
1. I’m grateful for the family that I still have in my life.
2. I’m grateful for my volunteers, viewers and everyday heroes we feature on GIG.
3. I’m grateful for my Skype sessions with my niece and nephew.
4. I’m grateful for the crisp autumn air.
5. I’m grateful for my breath.
These are just five things I’m grateful for. I made it a habit to log five things I’m grateful for in my gratitude journal before going to bed every night. Oh I have one more to add to the list – I’m grateful for the picture that inspired this blog.
As adults, there are so many distractions: social media, climbing the ladder (whatever the ladder may be), material things, living up to the status quo… the list goes on. I guess as the aforementioned picture shows, we have a lot to unlearn as adults and re-learn from children. I know I do. If this makes you happy, please share with someone you love!
Photo 4: Still Shot from film,The Weeping Camel/Cinematographer: Luigi Falorni
Sometimes you hear a voice through
the door calling you, as fish out of
water hear the waves, or a hunting
falcon hears the drum’s come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you …
Soon after his enlightenment, the Buddha set out to share his teachings with others. People were struck by his extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence. One man asked him who he was. “Are you a celestial being or a god?” “No,” responded the Buddha. “Are you a saint or sage?” Again the Buddha responded, “No.” “Are you some kind of magician or wizard?” “No,” said the Buddha. “Well then, what are you?” The Buddha replied, “I am awake.”
I often share this story because it is a reminder that what might seem like an extraordinary occurrence—spiritual awakening—is a built-in human capacity. Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha’s birth name) was a human being, not a deity. When Buddhists take refuge in the historical Buddha, whose name literally means “one who is awake,” they are drawing on the inspiration of a fellow human who was able to realize his inner freedom.
Like us, Siddhartha experienced bodily pain and disease, and, like us, he encountered inner distress and conflict. For those who follow the Buddha, reflecting on his courageous investigation of reality, and his awakening to a timeless and compassionate presence, brings confidence that this same potential lies within each of us.
In a similar way we might reflect on Jesus or on teachers and healers from other traditions. Any spiritually mature, openhearted human being helps us trust that we too can awaken. You may have already touched upon this outer refuge with a caring and wise teacher or mentor.
My eighty-six-year-old aunt, a specialist in childhood blood diseases, traces her love of nature and her determination to be a doctor to a science class in junior high school. Very few women entered medical school at that time, but her teacher, a woman of passionate intellect,conveyed a pivotal message: “Trust your intelligence and let your curiosity shine!”
An African American friend who leads corporate diversity trainings found refuge and inspiration in his minister, a leader in the civil rights movement and an exemplar of generosity, humor, and wisdom.
I found refuge in my first meditation teacher, Stephen: His great love of meditating, and his own unfolding clarity and kindness, helped awaken my devotion to the spiritual path.
We respond to our mentors because they speak to qualities of heart and mind, qualities of awareness, that are already within us. Their gift is that they remind us of what is possible and call it forth. Much in the same way, we are drawn to spiritual figures that help connect us with our inner goodness.
About ten years ago I began experimenting with a simple self-guided meditation. I would call on the presence of the divine mother (the sacred feminine) and over the next minute or so, I would begin to sense a radiant openness surrounding me. As I imagined the mind of this awakened being, I could sense vastness and lucidity.
Then, as I imagined the heart of the divine mother, that openness filled with warmth and sensitivity. Finally, I’d direct my attention inward, to see how that tender, radiant, all-inclusive awareness was living inside me. I’d feel my body, heart, and mind light up as if the sunlit sky was suffusing every cell of my body and shining through the spaces between the cells.
I’ve come to see that through thismeditation, I was exploring the movement from outer refuge to inner refuge.By regularly contacting these facets of sacred presence within me, I was deepening my faith in my own essential being.
Realizing who we are fulfills our human potential. We intuit that we are more mysterious and vast than the small self we experience through our stories and changing emotions. As we learn to attend directly to our own awareness, we discover the timeless and wakeful space of our true nature.
This is the great gift of following a spiritual path: coming to trust that you can find a way to the true refuge of your own loving awareness, your own perfect Buddha nature. You realize that you can start right where you are, in the midst of your life, and find peace in any circumstance. Even at those moments when the ground shakes terribly beneath you—when there’s a loss that will alter your life forever—you can still trust that you will find your way home. This is possible because you’ve touched the timeless love and awareness that are intrinsic to who you already are.
Adapted from Tara’s upcoming book, True Refuge – Finding Peace and Freedom in your Own Awakened Heart (Bantam, Feb, 2013)