Creating space for true freedom

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots.

If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance.

It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

-Andrew Olendzki

Kicking the habit of ego

The ego is nothing more than a set of habits. As soon as we grasp this fact we can set about changing, then eventually dropping the habit of ego just like any other unhealthy habit.

Quitting smoking, drinking, or drugs, or even unhealthy eating are all EASY compared to dropping the habit of ego. Most people think they ARE their ego. So, anything that diminishes the ego can make a person feel like they’re going to die.

But, it’s a big lie. The habit of ego can be vanquished just like other bad habits. Breaking free of ego is like the man drowning in three inches of water. To save himself, all he had to do was stand up. Freedom from ego is already here and ours for the taking. All we have to do is wake up.

Why secondhand bookstores smell good

Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.

Perfumes: The Guide

Don’t hate on the birds

When people offend us, we must reach deep down into our compassion and respective levels of training and consider big mind and our natural state. The analogy on which I rely heavily, daily, are “birds in nature.” Some birds are smart looking and acting, some seem sinister and predatory, others are nasty, greasy scavengers. And, some are downright goofy with their wild plumes, and squawking, and strutting antics.

The point being is though we’ve all had various reactions to these kinds of birds, they don’t make us angry and want to harm them! Why? Because, they’re just birds! It’s natural to have diversity in nature which is always tolerant and inclusive. Right? Well, until it’s not. But, that’s another subject for another time.

As an example, when I’m in a restaurant and some bedazzled,
big-heiress wannabe is rude to a waiter or squawks on their cell phone for the room to share, I’ve used this birds in nature technique to dissipate my frustration and indignation. I just smile and look at them like the foolish creatures that they are.

Because, in reality it’s just my ego that’s being offended by these “birds” whether they be predatory, a scavenger, or simply a goofy loon. And, ego isn’t me.  Ego isn’t even a real object. Ego is just a series of habits which can and should be broken.

Whenever I find myself feeling strongly negative about ANY group, I try to take a step back and study just how far tolerance and inclusiveness goes and I try to remember that in the real world, the natural world, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

And, it’s not always just the crows that cheat, steal, and lie.