Thoughts on Karma

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Karma
Shall we take a moment
to ponder?
It’s not a punishment
nor is it a reward
for deeds done–
it’s more than those.
It is not a reason to feel guilty
for your past mistakes
nor is it a reason to feel
resigned to whatever plagues you now.
It is an opportunity for learning,
awakening, understanding.
It helps you to see
where the patterns of conditioned existence
might be stifling
the fullest expression of your beautiful self.
Understanding the way of things,
you can make friends with karma
and seize these opportunities
to know who you are
at the deepest level of being.

A Glimpse of the Miracle

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If we were enlightened all of the time,
we would lose touch with reality
and we would probably be annoying
to be around.
It is the act of falling,
or hurting
or grieving,
or making a mistake,
or losing something,
or being disappointed,
that opens our hearts in compassion
for those who are experiencing
the same kind of suffering.
Don’t expect the path
to be perpetual roses, blue skies,
buttercups and sunshine–
sometimes we will fall
sometimes it will be dark.
Then we can know
the strength needed to get up
and try again.
Then we can know
the grace that lights the sky.
Then we see a vast open reality,
and we experience one tiny
glimpse of the miracle of awakening.

Ever-Widening Circle of Compassion

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It’s a place,
a very real place
beyond right and wrong.
It’s soft and tender
and the thought
of spending time there
can be scary–
because this place is also
vulnerable
and unpredictable
and groundless.
But tune into this place
for even a tiny moment
and you’ll remember
that you have no enemies.
In a place such as this,
you’ll see your heart
as a vast expanse
of clear blue sky
and the light of your consciousness
a great sun
illuminating the ever-widening
circle of compassion.

The Enlightened One is You

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Even  in the midst of turmoil
you are never far from
your enlightened self.
Even when you have lost it
because you are tired,
or your heart is broken
and you doubt it will ever be fixed,
when you are longing for something
you are sure you will never have,
or feeling bitter, or resentful
or guilty, or misunderstood–
even then you are never far
from the awakened one in you.
It is always right where your heart is,
so look there, where it has always been.
Your suffering draws you closer to others,
activates your capacity for offering compassion,
renders you a source of inspiration
for all beings who are in the same boat as you.
Never despair!
The enlightened one is within you.
The enlightened one is you.

Now is Now

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We don’t need to live
in a spiritual community
with saffron robes, shaved heads,
collective meditations,
and special bells to remind us
that now is now.
Right here, in this life,
in this moment
right here
there are plenty of mindfulness bells.
Listen.
It’s the car horn honking its way
through rush hour traffic.
It’s the hum of your refrigerator
after you’ve reached in
and grabbed your cold drink.
It’s the voice of the cashier
in the lane next to yours
whose shift is nearly done
who can’t wait to get home,
just like all of us
who can’t wait to get home.
Just listen.
Mindfulness bells everywhere,
reminding you that
now is now.

Set Down Your Armor

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So you got yourself locked
in several layers of armor…
That’s where we start.
If you want to open,
to be free of those layers,
search for the places
where the armor is latched.
Little by little, lift the latches.
Learn to notice your habitual reactions,
and do something, anything
besides reacting in the same old way.
Every time you pull yourself back
from the ledge of conditioned reactivity,
a little piece of armor falls off
to reveal the beautiful, tenderhearted self within,
the awakened one,
the one who can stand open
in the center of vulnerability
and experience the utter wholeness
of this moment.
Set down your armor when you are ready.
The world waits to see the shining self
concealed within.

This is Your Life

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If you cling to beliefs
that run counter to reality,
it will hurt,
but only one hundred percent of the time.
Stop now.
Stop and listen.
Hear what is.
Look.
See what is.
This moment holds all of you–
all you ever were, all you are,
all you ever will be–
it’s all here, now, in this moment.
Let yourself open.
Let yourself unfurl like a beautiful
blossom in the sun.
As you stand and face the light of reality,
you have no choice but to glow.
Don’t sit in a prison of preconception.
Step out into the light,
grow.
See what is.
See it now.
This is your life.