Monday, December 26, 2011


I've just finished Sharon Salzberg's text Faith.  I don't know any more if this was recommended to me by a friend or if I simply picked it up.  It was on my shelf, and had been started at some point in the past year.  And I spent some time moving through it in the past week.

Some lines I have to share:

"One of the most subtle ways fear can bind us, so quietly that we hardly know to call it fear, is what is known in Buddhist teachings as 'fixated hope.' Fixated hope, like hope itself, resembles faith in that both sparkle with a sense of possibility.  But fixated hope is conditional, circumscribing happiness to getting what we want"  (p. 81).

I hope we all have a sense of the world around us 'sparkling with a sense of possibility,' but also with the acknowledgement that happiness lies in a space that doesn't depend on an outcome.  

"Is it necessary to go through despair on a spiritual path, to endure a proverbial dark night of the soul in order to deepen our faith?  I don't know the answer to that--but I do know that it is necessary to strip away the entangling, unhealthy ways of relating to ourselves with dislike and diminishment that we are accustomed to.  And I know that we need to let go of many things, undergo loss, and unhook from the world's insistence that we cover up our pain in order for us to see what is really important to our lives" (p. 121).

I thought this was particularly salient as we move into the new year.  An artificial marker, yes, but a time when we are all looking to return to what's really important to our lives.  I'm hoping that's what our resolutions lead us to.

"If there is nothing we can do right now but wait, then, as T.S. Eliot wrote, 'the faith is in the waiting.' If we can but wait, we may yet emerge from despair with the same understanding that Zen master Suzuki Roshi expressed:  'Sometimes just to be alive is enough"  (p. 123).

Sometimes just to be alive is enough.
I remind myself.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


There are moments when I realize that it's time to stop and revise, remind myself of what the larger purpose is.  That time is now.  I was reading a blog earlier in the day and it said something to the effect of:  "Sure, take some time to visit with your bullshit, but keep it short."  I'm limiting my conversations with my bullshit as much as I can.

Yoga themes have been along this line lately:  "Let go" and "Manifest" were two of the latest.  I think we should all exhale.  I think we should all let go.  I think this will allow us to send out energies that will sustain the glory, the well-being, and the generosity of all around us.  I'm pretty sure I haven't been very good at this lately.  And I'm pretty sure I'd like to be better at it.

I am revising ideas I've been playing with for years as I put together thoughts for my dissertation.  I'm viewing and reviewing countless hours of video tape of my students working hard to become members of an academic community (and succeeding).  I am filled with pride at the work I do.  I am filled with longing to have this searching and researching mean something.  And I am reminding myself that there is a larger purpose.  There is.  And I exhale and continue.   I need reminders, as we all do, that there is so much more to this life than we can see.  There is so much more that we can offer to one another.  We just need to see.  And sometimes, "re-" is the answer.  If researching is really to search again, then we should all view this journey as a pretty big research project.  And we should recognize that we're all in it together.