“Nothing can be more important than being able to choose the way we think.”
Please help us spread the word about our YA retreat, November 7-9 Our young adult (YA) weekend retreat in Tomales is coming up soon, and we still have some places available. . . . more
Choose Kindness "As a boy, growing up in a South Indian village, I learned to ride an elephant the way teenagers today learn to drive a car. . . . more
YA Blog Post: Living in Harmony "We are all inclined to get overwhelmed at times and to ask, 'What can I, one person, do to right problems like pollution and hunger?' Gandhi's reply is simple but challenging: you just raise your own consciousness and you will raise the consciousness of the entire world. . . . more
Video Clip: Using Right Speech (2:24 minutes) In this excerpt from a talk on right speech (one of the disciplines from the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path), Easwaran encourages us to try to focus on people's positive qualities and to try not to dwell on their negative qualities. . . . more
A Practice for Today: Choosing and Using a Mantram "Over the years I have learned to use every opportunity, no matter how brief, to repeat the mantram. . . . more
Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.
– Ramana Maharshi
Much of our daily behavior is conditioned by forces deep below the conscious level of our minds. This means we are limited to a conditioned, automatic way of thinking and responding to the events of life around us. When such a conditioned behavior is strong, we think of it as a fixed part of the personality. Othello is jealous, Hamlet indecisive, Macbeth ambitious; that, we say, is their nature. To many biologists, this is something that is built into our very genes.
I do not agree. Jealousy, vacillation, competition, and the rest are not permanent mental furniture; they are a process. A mental trait is a thought repeated over and over a thousand times, leading to words repeated a thousand times, resulting in action repeated a thousand times. At the beginning it is only a burgeoning habit of thought; you do not necessarily act on it. But once it becomes rigid, it dictates behavior. It is possible, through the practice of meditation and the other disciplines, to go against these conditioned ways of thinking and actually change ourselves from the inside out.
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