Beliefs: Gateways or Traps?

doorwayThe truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” -Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun

“We have been raised to have beliefs; that means we have conclusions rather than experience.” –Richard Rohr, Catholic Priest

Definition of a Belief: Something I know to be true, but I can’t scientifically or objectively prove.

I have been thinking a lot about beliefs lately and how much they matter. Beliefs inform our actions. They both dictate and limit the possibilities of our lives. They kill people and they save people. And ultimately they both close and open the doors of our imagination. But what is a belief? How do I know if what I believe is true or not? And what is the purpose of a belief?

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I was recently invited to speak to a group of inmates on the subject of loyalty. After accepting, I realized how little I knew about the subject. So I did some research. The dictionary gives 3 components of loyalty: there must be a cause to be loyal to, there must be a steadfast allegiance to that cause, and there must be a heartfelt devotion to that cause. Continue reading

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Happy Guru Purnima

Guru:  that which brings understanding to our ignorance.

Found:  in a child’s wonder, a teacher’s guidance, an inspirational reading, a friend’s empathy, an embodied person, the teacher within….

The Guru is the hidden force in a poem, a person, a gaze, or a conversation that lifts our spirits, inspires us to be greater than we are, gives guidance to our confusion, dispels our delusions, lifts us from despair, and opens our eyes to wonder and our hearts to our neighbor.  If we listen, we can hear this force nudging us towards clarity and growth. Continue reading

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Goldilocks and the Mind

One of my favorite stories as a little girl was Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  I’m not sure why, maybe my tender little heart felt a surge of empathy for the little bear who discovered his porridge devoured, his chair broken, and someone sleeping in his bed…a terrible thing for a little bear. Continue reading

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Cultivate the Inner Life

Care of One for the Benefit of Many (part 4)

I remember a few years back when a friend of mine was carting her young child around attempting to do several errands.  At each stop, my friend would unbuckle her child out of his car seat, drag him to the errand, and return him to his car seat, buckling him in, only to repeat this scenario again.  After a number of stops, mom and child were back in the car, driving to the next errand, when out of the back seat piped a young voice, “Get me out of here; this is crazy!” Continue reading

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“Darn it, you’ve got to be kind”

Care of the One for the Benefit of the Many (part 3)

In one of his books, Kurt Vonnegut  writes:  “Hello babies.  Welcome to Earth.  It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  It’s round and wet and crowded.  At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here.  There’s only one rule that I know of, babies, ‘darn’ it, you’ve got to be kind.” Continue reading

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Care of the One for the Benefit of Many (part 2) –Practice Passion

In a speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University, he spoke of a quote that had impacted his life.  The quote went something like, “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you will most certainly be right.”

Steve Jobs said that because of this quote, every morning he asked himself, “If this was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?  If the answer is no”, Steve said, “I change what I am doing.” He went on to plead with his audience of graduates that “there is no reason not to follow your heart.  Your life is limited so don’t lead someone else’s life.” Continue reading

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Care of One for the Benefit of Many (part 1)

I begin with a confession.

I am someone who wishes their life could be easier.  I long for a computer with less emails, a calendar with less commitments, a life where things were less complex, where work was less demanding, where time off and play were valued, and sitting on my porch reflecting and visiting had merit. I long to live in a kinder world with less suffering, less abuse, less children dying from hunger, and fulfilling jobs for everyone.  I long to live in a world where people feel more trust, well-being, contentment, and safety….a world where diversity is relished, difference adds meaning, and all life has value.  I long to live in a world where taking care of ourselves is expected. Continue reading

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