Posted in interfaith, Uncategorized

All Places Are Sacred

I noticed the small Ganesh statue behind the counter as I was purchasing a six pack of Hard Orange Cream Ale. The statue was pink and enclosed in glass, as little statues of this kind sometimes are. I thought he appeared to have a beatific smile, but who the hell can tell if an elephant is smiling? Not me. The Remover of Obstacles wasn’t facing the customers, it wasn’t there for all to see. It was there for the man working behind the counter to look at.

And it was very small. It certainly escaped the notice of most patrons. I only noticed it because I notice iconography and spiritual things. That’s when I realized that the Indian man who runs the liquor store in my neighborhood is a Hindu. Not a surprise at all, of course. But it just served as a big reminder to me that spirituality exists everywhere.

People tend to think that spirituality only exists in sacred places. Those of us who are paying attention, the mystics, see it everywhere. There’s a metaphor we talk about in Buddhism sometimes. It’s called “Indra’s Net”. It’s an infinitely vast net filled with jewels. Each of the jewels not only reflects all of the other jewels. This represents the interconnectedness of all things. Every jewel reflects every other jewel. There is no separation. We are the same. You and I reflect each other. We are not separate from one another in any meaningful way.

Why did I mention this?

The description of Indra’s net tells us that everything is connected. Not just temples and sacred spaces. Everything is connected and everywhere is a sacred space.

More importantly, our spiritual practice doesn’t just exist in the temple and on the cushion. Our engagement must be in all of our lives.

I think that’s why even when he’s in what might be the least sacred space he goes to, that Indian man has a little sacred figure displayed. Because sacredness and spirituality exist everywhere, not just where we expect them. The mystic’s journey doesn’t exist just at specific places and times. The mystic’s journey is ongoing.

The world is my temple.

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Posted in tattooed buddha, Uncategorized

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

 

“You can no longer deceive yourselves as sincerely as you did before. You have now got the taste of truth.” -Ouspensky

There’s something about the spiritual journey that we don’t talk about much.

When we really engage spiritual practice and we go deeply within ourselves, a lot of things change. The spiritual journey takes us all sorts of places and that’s why it can become uncomfortable at times. We lie to ourselves all of the time and really, looking within is hard sometimes because it forces us to take a good hard look at all the things we believe.

And, of course, we can continue lying to ourselves. We often do. But as stated in the quote above, once we have a certain level of awareness we know we’re lying. We spend a lot more time fooling ourselves than we spend fooling others.

What kind of lies am I talking about? I’ll tell you some lies I used to tell myself.

I’m not overweight but I’ve always had a beer belly. I used to say it was genetic, that I couldn’t really do anything about it. But that wasn’t true. I took control of my health. I started eating better and working out and it started going away. It’s largely because I drank too much soda and ate too many carbs (and, of course, too much beer).

I used to tell myself: I can’t handle that. Some projects or interactions seemed like too much for an anxious introvert like me. But the truth is I can handle anything with just a little effort. I do all sorts of things that I thought I would never be able to do.

And pretending to be confident goes a long way.

I used to tell myself that I loved my job. The truth is that I’m comfortable. I don’t stay at my workplace because I enjoy it. I stay there because it’s comfortable and leaving seems scary. Although I make more money than a lot of people I know, I am well aware that I could make a lot more money in a different industry. But money isn’t everything. I like being comfortable.

I used to tell myself that I couldn’t leave. We tell ourselves that we can’t leave relationships or jobs or situations. But the truth is that you can always leave. Many of us can say: “I should have left but I thought I wasn’t strong enough.” I can say that.

The Eagles said, “Oftentimes it happens, that we live our lives in chains. And we never even know we have the key.”

And it’s a side effect of the spiritual journey. Once you’re in touch with your true self, it just gets harder and harder to fool yourself. It gets harder to make excuses for yourself too.

That said, it doesn’t necessarily make things any easier. We just come to a point where we have to admit to ourselves that the reason we’re doing something (or not) is because that’s a choice we’re making. We come to a point where we aren’t interested in making excuses to fool ourselves anymore.

Because the spiritual journey makes us more honest. And I don’t mean with others, although I think that’s true too. The spiritual journey makes us more honest with ourselves. Because when we are looking for TRUTH, we find all sorts of little truths along the way.

What lies do you tell yourself?

http://thetattooedbuddha.com/the-lies-we-tell-ourselves/