Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Month: January 2013

The Heart of January: Spun

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Welcome to my monthly collection of interesting articles, books, and resources plus a mini-monthly review.

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Is It Always Smart to Follow Your Heart?

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“If you vanquish ego-clinging today, tonight you will be enlightened.” —Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

These days just about everyone in the blogosphere tells you to follow your heart, listen to your inner voice, embrace your passion, and map your desire.

But is it always smart to follow your heart?

There’s one potential problem with this advice:  EGO.  And, I don’t necessarily mean having a big head alone.  Low self-esteem entwines itself beautifully with ego as well.  By ego, I mean the incessant grasping at a permanent sense of self.  This sense of “my” heart, “my” inner voice, “my” passion, “my” desire, “my” dream.

Or, “Me, me, me, me.”

How do you differentiate between a pure voice, idea or vision and all the layers of ego along with its best friends, attachment and aversion – the seeds of unhappiness?

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Gently Lean Into Fear

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

Is fear holding you back from achieving your dreams, tasting happiness, or living a satisfying life?

If you feel afraid, I understand.  For many reasons – from trauma to Catholic school – fear became my signature state.  On top of that, according to Ayurvedic medicine, people with a particular constitution actually possess the genetic potential to create fear.  Count me in that category.

I know that fear runs strong and deep not just for me but for many of us.  It manifests not just as terror, but as a palette of emotional states and stuck places like procrastination, frustration, low self-esteem, self-doubt, a lack of confidence, and more.  What can we do?

Your True Self Awaits You

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke has said that our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures.  As apprehensive as you may feel, like Rilke, you may also have a deep intuition that your true self patiently awaits you on the other side of trepidation.

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Extinguishing the Seed of Violence

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“Murders and wars all begin with just one angry thought.” – The Heart of Compassion by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

From my dusty journals:  December 17, 2003

A long day of travel brought us to the lively and colorful island of Puerto Rico.

After am unexpected night-long coqui frog serenade, I ambled down to the patio for breakfast.   The discussion at the adjoining table first centered around Iraq:  how the number of casualties is nominal when compared to the number of deaths in car accidents.  The conversation then moved on to Michael Jackson:  how he looks like a freak and therefore must be guilty of something.

“Such close-mindedness and intolerance,” I thought.

A spark of argumentativeness and judgment shot up in my being.  I’m not the type to inject myself uninvited into a conversation. Instead, I was given a moment of grace, a moment of space to sit with my own heat and observe this “war-like” part of myself.

I know in my head that change and transformation can only come from acceptance of oneself and others; from feeling a link, not separation.  Yet, in less than a millisecond, I was caught up in a war with strangers.  That war might be silent and only exist within my mind.  Yet, nevertheless it constitutes a war, a seed of violence.

How much I would like to dissolve this tendency to aggression!

Extinguishing the seed of violence begins within each one of us.  Vigilance is required to catch every confrontational rising and release it on the wind.  Not a tough vigilance, but a relaxed mindful awareness.  One that naturally flows from insight into the nature of reality blended with heart-felt compassion, steeped in our commonality and interdependence.

Image:  public domain

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Is Wisdom Lost in Your Journals?

Is Wisdom Lost In Your Journals?

Do you have a stack of old journals taking up space?

When I moved to France in 2006, I put two file boxes of “important” papers into storage. Although I retrieved those boxes in 2010, I haven’t looked inside them once.

A few days ago, as part of my simplicity quest, I took aim for those boxes and discovered 6 personal journals inside.

I immediately tore out the pages and put the gorgeous covers into a recycling bin. This clever idea comes from Tammy Strobel, who lives in one of the tiniest spaces possible.

Admittedly, a few insightful gems popped off the musty pages as I quickly browsed through.  But, for the most part, the sheets regurgitated passing emotional states and long-forgotten unimportant circumstances.

I wondered, “What’s the point of faithfully recording transitory thoughts and emotions?”

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Do Your Beliefs Lead to Happiness or Suffering?

Do your beliefs bring happiness or suffering?

Everything depends on how you perceive, which in turn depends, to a large extent, on your beliefs about the world and how it operates.  Your mind is the universal ordering principle, the creator of suffering and the creator of happiness.

What beliefs do you hold?  About:

  • The way the world works?
  • The purpose of life?
  • The nature of the self?
  • Your responsibility as a human being?
  • The impact of your thoughts, words, and actions?
  • Why you suffer?
  • What happens when you die?
  • Are your beliefs in line with reality as it actually is?
  • What is true happiness and freedom?

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