Without Hesitation

Years ago we went panning for gold in Alaska! We knew the chances of finding any was slim, but the prospect filled us up and we spent a lazy afternoon in along the edge of a creek wrapped in happiness and sharing laughter. The chant “gold, gold, Gold, GOLD!” over of each pan that swirled just at the edge of the creek held the same magical possibility every time. Hope never faded.

We knew, of course, even with hope springing eternal, that we would not find any gold. And because of that we never contemplated what it would be like if we did find one of those enormous chunks that make headline news.

And we most certainly never entertained the idea of what we would do if someone came walking along and  asked us for that chunk.

There is a “folk” story…variations found in countries and in languages around the world called

“The Wise Woman’s Stone”

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream.

The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.
The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him.
She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said. “I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious.

“Teach me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone.”

walnut heart

Sure, this is a teaching story. So let’s think about it as such and learn. Instead of making a run for it, the man found he could not live with tricking and taking and returned to the woman. What he really wanted to know, and to have, was how “to give without hesitating.” To no longer cling and protect, to covet and take. Even with the potential of being secure for the rest of his life, he chose to return the stone and to try to attain something intangible.

There are people in the world today who do this every day and we rarely hear about them. Instead we are bombarded with words and actions that profess the opposite of this story.

What do we have within us that would allow us to just give…..? To give without thought of hesitation? Would we give only to someone we know or love? Would we give only with the understanding of an equal exchange or reward? Would we give only to people of like mind and beliefs? Would we hold tight and walk away?

How strong are our fears? How strong is the fear of uncertainty? The internal drive to protect and to keep?

It is difficult to do in this time in history in this country, but imagine yourself walking and finding a precious diamond or ruby, large enough to provide for you and your family for the rest of your life. No more wandering. No more want or hunger. Security and comfort are yours now. Forever. A fellow traveler comes and you generously share what little food you have. Then they see the precious stone and boldly ask for it.

Without hesitation you hold out your hand and give it to them.

IS that you? Could/would you do it? Why or why not?

Now, imagine you are the person receiving the stone. Inside you are giddy. You cannot believe your good fortune! But, by sunrise you are again in front of the woman. This time your hand is outstretched and you are handing her back the treasure of a lifetime. You no longer want that security. That wealth.

You seek instead to attain something intangible. You want what it is that allowed the woman to give away the precious jewel without hesitation.

What is it? Do you want it? DO you have it? Can you, we, attain it?

 

 

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Just Your Heart

“The Full Measure of a man
is not to be found in the man himself,

but in the colors and textures
that come alive in others because of him.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

mapleWhat is my purpose in life?” I asked the void. “What if I told you that you fulfilled it when you took an extra hour to talk to that kid about his life?” said the voice. “Or when you paid for that young couple in that restaurant? Or when you saved that dog in traffic? Or when you tied your father’s shoes for him?”

“Your problem is that you equate purpose with goal-based achievement. God or the Universe or morality isn’t interested in your achievements… just your heart. When you choose to act out of kindness, compassion and love, you are already aligned with your true purpose. No need to look any further.
~ From ~ Note to Self ~ Tao & Zen

This is a really good time to act out in Kindness, Compassion and Love.

Jack Kornfield in his article Dharma and Politics asks, “What can I do as … a member of this society to best contribute to the world in these times? It might be registering people to vote, or working politically, or making our vision heard in organizations of power or in the government, speaking up or writing. It might include working with children, or helping to create a business climate of responsibility and integrity, or working internationally, or tending to poverty, racism and injustice locally. Each person has to find specific steps to offer their vision and energy to society, and to empower those around them. If we don’t do this, change won’t happen. The vision will not be fulfilled.”

And, “the teachings of compassion and wisdom are empowering; they encourage us to act. Do not doubt that your good actions will bear fruit, and that change for the better can be born from your life.”

“I claim to be no more than an average person with less than average ability.
I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have
if he or she would simply make the same effort
and cultivate the same hope and faith.”
~
Gandhi

“What can I do as … a member of this society to best contribute to the world in these times?

Plant your seeds. Sow change. Nurture kindness, compassion and love. Keep the Garden of Hope and Promise healthy and strong.

Please vote.

**Check out a few of this weeks reads:  This Week

Quiet Miracles

I wish I had the presence of being in the moment more often. To see and hear, to be aware of the little miracles that come softly into my day. The ones that are not flashy or boastful. The ones that are small and gentle.

“Take time to see the quiet miracles that
seek no attention”
~ John O’Donohue

One such miracle is still lingering with me. It happened a few days ago. A wee one, just three, sitting and “reading” a book. On the cover was a rainbow and a dolphin. All he cared about was the rainbow.

Softly he began to sing

“Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”

The whole song. Every word. Every lingering note.

A few minutes before he had not been sitting, looking at a book and singing. The Light that burst forth from this child had been a whirlwind of energy and emotion not unlike the cartoon character Tasmanian Devil.

While he was spinning and twirling with seemingly endless energy and force he was most definitely seeking attention.

While he was singing this child was bathed from within with a Light that was not seeking any attention. He didn’t even know I was there. Watching him. Listening to him. Soaking up every last drop of his peace and happiness.

If I had not paused with him in his space between energy waves, or walked away to get away, I would not have heard his little voice softly singing or seen his Light so in love with the magic of singing a beautiful song about a rainbow.

When he finished he did look up at me smiling. He held up the book. “See, it’s a rainbow.”

That interlude, for him, subdued the commanding, rhythmic pattern of those energy waves and left him in a calmness I could never have helped him find no matter how hard I tried. And in that interlude, he was in the fact, the one who helped me find a calmness I could not have found without him.

“Take time to see the quiet miracles that
seek no attention”

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** Check out some of this week’s readingsThis Week

Along The Way

“Tao smooths our sharp edges,
untangles the knots in our lives ,
and blends our brilliance with our dust.”
~Lao Tzu

Twenty some centuries ago Lao Tzu began to compile writings that would come to be known as the Tao Te Ching. Translated: “The Book of the Way of Virtue.”

Tao means way or path. In this life we are all on our way, on a path.

Life is a journey.

In life we plan for how we hope things will go. How to get from where we are to where we hope to be. We may make a plan to attain wealth, or happiness, a house or have children. Maybe we will marry, perhaps not. As with any journey, we check our options. We may find ourselves planning within a specific time frame, or perhaps with definite events or milestones that have to happen along the way.

up-road1On a car trip we plan for the fastest route, the most scenic way, the one that goes by grandma’s, and of course we avoid construction. We use maps and GPS to chart our course. We hope to avoid delays and to arrive on time. We stop along the way for fuel, both for the car and for ourselves. We may pause at a scenic lookout to stretch and soak in the natural beauty.

Well, the Tao Te Ching provides helpful pit stops for the path of life too. Time to pause, check our course and make any changes needed. These are the Four Virtues and they are intended to guide us along the path of a life well lived. Pause to take them in. Gentle reminders of what life can be about. A well worn, creased map of experience that highlights the most spectacular and panoramic outlooks in life…the ones that leave you breathless and in awe. Fulfilled.

path-up

 Reverence For All Life

This is about unconditional love for all living things. Beginning with ourselves, it flows naturally out to include all other life. Here all forms of life are honored, not just some. Found deep within this reverence is the fundamental belief and understanding that we are all made of the same star dust, all sparks of the one fire. Living with this reverence the ego is diminished and replaced with appreciation and gratitude for all of life.

Natural Sincerity

This is compassion, kindness, an all encompassing love. It is sincere and authentic. Actions are honest, and allow us to move towards a state of inner and outer peace. Choices and decisions come from integrity and there is no longer a hint of dishonesty or insincerity, nothing to disturb this inner and outer peace. Cause and effect is balanced. It is manifested in “walking your talk.”

Gentleness

Many often see or sense  gentleness as a weakness when in fact it is a deeply powerful trait.  Gentleness is home to awareness of, respect and reverence for all life. Here in gentleness, being kind is more important than being right or important. In the embrace of gentleness we also find the ability to forgive, the strength to accept and the courage to love unconditionally. Gentleness includes non-violence, conflict begins to drop away.

 Supportiveness

As we grow and develop wisdom we come to be supportive of ourselves through kind words, loving care and a direct extension of this is that we joyfully carry this forward to others. As social beings we want to give to others, support others, be of service to others, help others. We want shared experiences and a sense of connection to one another. In these things we find a sense of happiness. With a full heart our lives gain meaning and purpose. There is little thought or concern with gain for ourselves. Here it is not only possible, but easy to hold space for another, listening to them, being there for them, allowing them to be themselves while wrapped in respect and safety. Some of us know this as Metta: Loving Kindness in its most powerful manifestation.

“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length–and there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.” Carlos Castaneda

So, if you haven’t already, be sure to take advantage of the rest stops along this road of life. Remember that there will always be things that pop up that we are unaware of and caught off guard by. The “not knowing” part of life always travels with us. These may feel like roadblocks, but they too have a detour. What is important is to always take the turn out, the scenic view stop, the rest and nourishment exit, the opportunity at hand to pause and recharge with the Four Virtues. They keep us healthy, they fill us with purpose and offer guidance. They keep us in a healthy head space.They keep us on the road to a life well lived and well shared, and a heart filled to the brim.

**Don’t forget to check this week’s readings by clicking here This Week’s Readings or by opening the This Week tab at the top of the page!