Monday, February 14, 2011

The Journey from Head to Heart

This has been a very compelling and arduous week for me, beset by obstacles and challenges.  I am tired and exhausted and feel like my karmic batteries are flashing that little ‘warning’ light.  This week has been a confrontation of the past fraught with the challenges of being able to stay grounded and focused on the here and now.  It has been rough.  It has been demanding.  It has been truly a testimony to the first Noble Truth of my Buddhist beliefs, “According to the Buddha, whatever life we lead, it has the nature of some aspect of suffering. Even if we consider ourselves happy for a while, this happiness is transitory by nature. This means that at best, we can only find temporary happiness and pleasure in life.”
Truly, life is about suffering.
The spiritual path I follow says that the root delusions of this suffering are attachment, anger and ignorance.  Because of these we do things that cause problems to ourselves and others.  We use the power of our mind to create this suffering.  It is only when we can change the way we see things, when we can reach a state of calm and clarity that we can begin to let go of this attachment.  If we can control our body and mind in a way that we help others instead of doing them harm, and generating wisdom in our own mind, we can end our suffering and problems.  It is not an easy road to follow. 
The comfort lies in the fact that suffering is always present, but we can eliminate the causes of it by changing our mind, our outlook and our way of thinking.  Suffering is delusional.  When we possess the proper wisdom, we can rid ourselves of the delusions, if we follow the proper path.  When we learn to give up our need to harm others, we can generate wisdom in our hearts and end our own suffering.  In Buddhism, this journey is known as the eight-fold path.  The set of attitude and action guide markers are correct thought, correct speech, correct actions, correct livelihood, correct understanding, correct effort, correct mindfulness, and correct concentration. 
By following a middle path, there lies a potential for happiness, compassion, love and joyous effort.  Here is wishing everyone a compassionate day and a fuller life.  The hardest journey is the eighteen inch journey between the head and the heart.


  1. So how does 'attachment' cause suffering? What does that mean?

  2. Such a deep question, I took some time to make sure I worded this correctly. I have some attachment to Rebekah. I know deep secrets I have been entrusted to keep confidential. With this “attachment” comes the ability to cause suffering. By abusing this attachment we share, I would take this knowledge to an means that would not be considered a middle path and thus happiness, love and compassion would escape me.

    The Buddha does not ask that you give up all in your life. He only asks that you consider that you love unconditionally and forget the self aspect. Think about the darkest moments in family life. It is always about self. You (and that is a general term, not directed at anyone) take your “self”-ish aspects and place them first, enhancing the attachment to the extreme, which eventually leads to suffering.

    Here is a great quote I found on line, credit at the end and the website of Lama Makransky:

    “Meditate on those with whom you are closely connected,” a Tibetan heart-mind training text says. Often our family is the most intense field of projection: we mistake wife, husband, child for our own narrow, accustomed thoughts of them, and for that reason, family can provoke great suffering. But family can act as the richest vehicle for spiritual practice. - Lama John Makransky

    Finally, here is a great article that may be of interest and help.

  3. I might be on the wrong track but it almost sounds like the Al Anon concept of 'letting go'. Letting go of the notion that we can know what is best for another person. Letting go of the desire to change them or the belief that we can. It sounds like knowing that everyone has their very own higher power and their very own journey. I don't own my son. He has his own higher power and life path. I don't control anything and it ain't all about me. Is it that kind of thing?

  4. Yes, yes indeed. That is the way of the middle path. We offer advice and guidance, shaping a journey of the ages without falling to the extremes that cause suffering.

    You got it!