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Inviting in Hope

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& what if change, an inevitable occurrence and something that many fear or resist, was an entry point to hope?

Insight into change teaches us to embrace our experiences without clinging to them — to get the most out of them in the present moment by fully appreciating their intensity, in full knowledge that we will soon have to let them go to embrace whatever comes next.

Insight into change teaches us hope. Because change is built into the nature of things, nothing is inherently fixed, not even our own identity. No matter how bad the situation, anything is possible. We can do whatever we want to do, create whatever world we want to live in, and become whatever we want to be.

Thanissaro Bhikku

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Have I Loved Enough? by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

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We don’t have to wait for death to approach to liberate ourselves from hatred. We can begin by asking ourselves, have I loved enough — within myself, within my house, beyond my doors, and into the world? Have I expressed the loving being that I am? Have I borne this love even when someone’s heart is closed to it? I am not advocating love or the way of tenderness as an answer to all the ills of the world. Then again it is just that simple: to be love. We need such love to continue to confront the truth of the prolonged mistreatment that oppression brings to the world.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel in The Way of Tenderness

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above image by zach reiner.
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Wisdom from Michael Stone

When we feel breathing and let silence enter us, it’s a light hold; it’s not a strong grip. We turn towards what’s coming up and then we open to it. We feel reactivity but we keep staying there. We see our distractions but we open to the space of the church, the architecture, the art, the light. We want to escape but we don’t. We open to loneliness or we open to agitation and we allow it to crest through the body, to move through moments. We breathe with it. We know it. And in doing this, the reactivity doesn’t get a hold. We have power over it. Then, and this is the most important, we begin to deeply understand its nature. We start to see the impermanence of reactions. We see reactions without being caught by them. We watch them. We know them. And then they settle. And as they settle, calmness increases.

If we don’t reinforce, if we don’t buy into it, if we don’t feed it, then, of their own nature, distractions and reactivity will rise and pass away. That is the key point.

To be free, therefore, in this sense, has nothing to do with getting rid of something or even finding out how it was caused in the past. But rather, cultivating a way of being in which we become open to what’s arising.

Michael Stone