Customer Favorites

A wildness that wishes to be resurrected through you

Love is inviting you in every moment to undress, to remove your clothing and stand naked in this world. But to accept this invitation you must leave the known. You must set aside your hopes and fears, your quest for safety, and your fantasies of awakening and resolution. And allow love to dismantle you. You will never find ground, security, certainty, or surety in the fires of love, but there is something much more majestic being offered. There are billions of unique cells which have assembled to form your one, untamed heart. It is not a resting place you are after but for a wildness to be resurrected through you.

flowers

Happy 78th birthday to His Holiness the Dalai Lama!

Wishing His Holiness the Dalai Lama a joyful 78th birthday today, and praying for his long life! I’ll never forget the one and only time I met the Dalai Lama, at his residence in Dharamsala many years ago. I was quite young, coming off a difficult break-up, and broken wide open alone in the mountains of northern India, just sort of wandering from place to place. He held my hand and just looked at me. He wasn’t scrambling to try to make my heartbreak go away, he wasn’t playing the wise guru offering me some subtle teaching on the empty-luminous ground of awareness, he wasn’t hurling blessings at me so that all would be made right and I could enter into some other state of consciousness. He simply spent a moment with me, all the way through, totally human, fully there with everything in the space between us. It was a short moment of time, but in another way it was totally eternal; those sorts of rare meetings, heart to heart, are rare and precious, and not easily forgotten. In my experience, the Dalai Lama is a holding environment of love, in and of himself; a totally real, humble, open-hearted, incredibly warm, authentic human being. May you live long, your Holiness!

dalailama4

Shaking it Up

Tami Simon speaks with Bradford Keeney, an internationally renowned scholar, therapist, speaker, and teacher. In addition to being the author of several classics in the field of psychotherapy, including Aesthetics of Change and Shaking Medicine, Brad has a deep connection to elders of numerous indigenous cultures and is a recognized spokesperson for the old ways of ecstatic shaking. He is the author of the Sounds True audio learning course Shaking, and the book Shamans of the World. In this episode, Tami has an intriguing and surprising conversation with Brad about being “struck by lightning” on the path to awakening, the value of both arousal and relaxation in our practice, and the vital role of absurdity in our spiritual journey. (55 minutes)

Burning brightly

Is it necessary to make a commitment to study and practice within one tradition? When I first started meditating, I was introduced by Burmese meditation master S.N. Goenka to the old adage, “If you want to find water, don’t dig many holes. Dig deep in one place.”

And recently in a discussion with philosopher Ken Wilber, when asked this question in the context of a discussion about the future of spirituality, Ken responded by quoting a Japanese saying, “Try to chase two rabbits at the same time, catch none.”

But is this universally true? In our contemporary context, is it necessary to commit to studying and practicing within a singular spiritual tradition if one wants to radically grow and transform? Although I see the value in this perspective and the depth of realization it can bring, I am not convinced.

As an interviewer, I have now met some highly accomplished and wise teachers whose life experience tells a different story. I have spoken with spiritual teachers who have not followed any formal path at all and whose hearts seem wildly open and whose lives seem truly devoted to serving other people. I’ve also interviewed teachers who have simultaneously studied in several different lineages and who actually recommend such an approach as an opportunity for checks and balances (so to speak) as one matures on the path.

Having now met people who come from such a wide range of different spiritual backgrounds and paths of practice, my current view is that it is not the path that matters as much as it is the heart fire of the individual. What I mean by heart fire is the commitment and intensity of love and devotion that lives at the center of our being. When our hearts are lit up to the max—lit up with a dedication to opening fully and offering our life energy for the well-being of other people—there is a torch within us that begins to blaze with warmth and generosity. The real question becomes not are we on the right path but are we fully sincere in offering ourselves to the world? Are we whole-hearted (a word I learned from meditation teacher Reggie Ray) in letting go of personal territory? Are we whole-hearted in our desire to burn brightly and serve, regardless of the outer form our lives might take?

What I like about turning the question around like this is that now our finger is not pointing outward at some consideration of path or tradition or what other people say or have done or are doing. Now our finger is pointing directly to the center of our own chest. We can ask ourselves questions like: Am I hiding or holding back for some reason? What am I holding back and why? What would it mean to risk more so that the fire of life could shine more brightly through me? How could I live in such a way, right now, so that my heart is 100 percent available to love and serve?

My experience is that when we start investigating our own whole-heartedness in this kind of way, we don’t have the same need to judge and evaluate other people and their paths. There are a multitude of options, valid and viable. What becomes important is the purity and strength of the fire that is blazing within us.

candle

All in a flow together

What is spiritual awakening? Author, respected energy healer, and medical doctor Ann Marie Chiasson speaks of the journey as waking up to the reality that “we’re all in a flow together.” Rather than perceiving reality through the lens of what we want, we begin to see things as they are, which releases a tremendous amount of energy in our lives. Filmed live at The Wake Up Festival, Dr. Chiasson describes her experience of awakening and its implications in our lives.

We at Sounds True are committed to exploring the many faces and facets of awakening, and would love to hear from you as to your experience and understanding. Perhaps it is the case that there are 7 billion doorways into awakening, one for each human heart.

 

How to Host a Holiday Party and Actually Enjoy Yoursel...

Hey, far be it from me to offer instructions on how to host a stress-free holiday party, since I can’t remember the last time I even hosted a holiday party, let alone stress-free.  Still, as someone who has spent decades in the kitchen, what I do know is that people spend way too much time and effort trying to follow recipes rather than enjoying themselves and making food for one another. So if I was to host a gathering this season, here’s what I would aim to keep in mind.

First things first, lower your standards enough to have a good time. The best story about this is one that Robert Bly tells at his readings about his friend William Stafford, who was confirming to an interviewer that he had a practice of writing a poem each day.  “How,” the interviewer wondered, “can you do that day in and day out?  How can you be that creative?”  To which Stafford replied, “I lower my standards.”

This is a brilliant piece of advice that requires a sleight of hand: Lowering your standards for making sure that others think highly of you. To engage in trying to control what others think of you is stressful, exactly because it is impossible. To lower your standards, you let them think whatever they do. And they will!  At least it’s not going out on Yelp!  (unless it is..)

So instead of trying to be impressively masterful, you could aim to enjoy yourself alongside your family and friends. Enjoyment in this case is a choice to rest easy doing what you are capable of doing, and letting go of the rest. And tuning into warmth, gratitude, and well-being.

Sure, make some plans, consult some culinary bibles or online cooking sites, but leave room for your plans to change as the holly hour approaches. If things are getting stressful, reassess what to do and what not to do. Decide to do less! Perhaps if people are not too busy with being impressed with the spread, they will have more energy for happily engaging with one another.

Be entirely willing to ask for help. When I’ve wanted to appear masterful, I have hesitated to do this, as then others might see me as being needy and helpless, and my project to appear capable and competent would be a disaster. Then nobody helps. But they do tell you to calm down, which doesn’t help.

So ask for help, whether it’s for food dishes from others, drinks to bring, people to serve, help with cleaning up. Inspiration, assistance, guidance, support—the more you ask for it, the more it appears.

Again, it’s not up to you to make sure that everyone has a good time. That’s their job. After all most of them are probably adults now, and they may choose to enjoy themselves. It’s your job to offer what you have to offer, sincerely and wholeheartedly. Letting go of the results.

And when you let go of assessing the results, you may be pleasantly surprised that you are smiling.  You discover what’s in front of you can be sweetly beyond compare.

Happy hosting!

 

Looking for more great reads?

 

Edward Espe Brown was the first head cook at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and later helped found Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. He is the author of several bestselling cookbooks, including The Tassajara Bread Book (Shambhala, 1970) and the subject of the 2007 film How to Cook Your Life. His newest book, No Recipe, is being published by Sounds True and will be on sale on May 1, 2018.

>
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap