“When you withhold forgiveness or love from anyone, for any reason, it diminishes your awareness of the abundance of good in your life. You are stuck in so much old stuff, new stuff has no way of getting to you. In essence, the good that you withhold from others will be withheld from you.”

Iyanla Vanzant


“A flower cannot be by itself alone. 
A flower can only inter-be with the sunshine, with the rain, with the earth.

So “to be” means “to inter-be”.

When we live the wisdom of interbeing in every minute, then we will not be caught in our small self.

We will see that we are everywhere.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

horizontescuriosos asked: Is Enlightenment not really a “destination”, but more of a discovery?

I cannot say what enlightenment is and is not, but some of the finest elaborations on enlightenment deal with it in negative terms. For example, the Buddha said enlightenment was the end of suffering.

That tells us what enlightenment isn’t, but it doesn’t tell us what enlightenment is.

My favorite of such descriptions comes from the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki:

Enlightenment is nothing added.

Because it is nothing added, we can’t really say it is a destination. A destination is something new, something that isn’t where you are now.

Enlightenment isn’t something you have, it isn’t an added component. Much of spirituality and the Buddhist way is about dropping things from your mind rather than adding more intellectual stuff or acquiring new objects for the mind to chew on.

So I would lean toward saying enlightenment is a discovery of what is rather than a destination to somewhere else. But then this begs the question: Whose discovery is it?
The seeker, the individual identity we mistake ourselves to be, does not become enlightened. Ram Dass once adroitly said that enlightenment is the ego’s ultimate disappointment. Why? Because the ego wont be around to enjoy it.

Enlightenment isn’t of the person or the individual but rather it is liberation from the dream-like illusion of being an individual. This is not an experience of the body or mind.
So who realizes enlightenment? Some say that it is enlightenment that realizes itself, the Self realizes the Self, and God who knows God.

Of course talking about this kind of thing too much, which is predominantly what I do here on this blog, tends to obscure the reality of it. This is why, although these questions need be asked and responded to, they are best answered through the firsthand communion of tranquil stillness with serene silence.

Two books I’d recommend, if you’re interested in enlightenment, are I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj and Be As You Are by Ramana Maharshi.

Namaste brother! Much love.


joyful abandon

sarahmariepixie asked: Lazyyogi, could you speak on the difference between empathy and compassion? Why compassion over empathy? Thank you.

Lazyyogi, could you speak on the difference between empathy and compassion? Why compassion over empathy? Thank you.

Empathy is a more evolved version of sympathy and compassion is the pinnacle of all emotion.

When we are sympathetic, we are merely one step away from being apathetic. Sympathy means feeling bad for someone or something. Suppose the lover of your dear friend dies. Sympathy would mean feeling bad for that person and sending condolences but not stepping outside your worldview.

In sympathy, you relate primarily through the form of judgment and from your own little mental world.

In empathy, you draw from your own experiences to appreciate and attempt to understand the experience of others. In the same example of a friend’s lover dying, perhaps you have never known the death of a loved one. Then you can’t possibly understand that person’s grief and pain. But having experienced grief and pain in other ways, no matter how small, you can use those feelings to comprehend what that person may be feeling.

Through empathy, you are challenging yourself to step outside of the limits of your mental world. Yet since you can only understand other emotions through your own, you still don’t step outside your emotional world.

Compassion, on the other hand, is a mix of sending and receiving. Compassion recognizes that love and kindness are the means to harmony among all living things and therefore generates the wish for all beings to be free from suffering. Compassion witnesses and takes in the suffering of the people around it while giving out love, spaciousness, and healing.

Tonglen meditation is a most excellent way to cultivate compassion. Suppose you’re dealing with a nasty breakup with a lover.

In tonglen meditation, you begin by connecting with the fathomless, shoreless, ocean-like nature of your existence, and the unassailable peace and love inherent therein.
Then you return to your suffering. You open yourself to all the negative feelings of the breakup: resentment, pain, insecurity, jealousy, attachment, neediness, and so on. You inhale all of those bad things like a thick black smoke. The proceeding exhale is then a radiant and clear light of embracing love, acceptance, gratitude, forgiveness, and freedom.

In and out, you keep breathing in your suffering and exhaling compassion.
But you don’t stop there. You then imagine any friend you have had that has also gone through a breakup. You inhale their suffering and exhale compassion to them.

From there, you broaden this to anyone who has ever experienced a breakup, inhaling their collective suffering and exhaling compassion to them.

Finally, you imagine the lover with whom you have broken up. You inhale their negativity and suffering while exhaling compassion.
If at any point you begin to feel overwhelmed by the suffering, you can return to touch the empty expansive nature of your limitless existence and then resume the meditation.
In this way, compassion is not about simply understanding or sharing experiences. It’s about creating the space for something new and different to emerge by digesting all the shit around and within you while also getting in touch with your divine nature. As such, you become a doorway for communion, harmony, and transformative love to enter the world.

A book that I hold in high esteem, which teaches quite a bit about tonglen and the perspectives of dharma in the context of compassion and suffering, is The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.



joyful abandon

the true practice of love

“If you do not know how to take care of yourself, and the violence in you, then you will not be able to take care of others. You must have love and patience before you can truly listen to your partner or child. If you are irritated you cannot listen. You have to know how to breath mindfully, embrace your irritation and transform it. Offer ONLY understand and compassion to your partner or child – This is the true practice of love.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

dafsdThích Nhất Hạnh Thích Nhất Hạnh

(via purplebuddhaproject)