I started reading up about Buddhism, just because it goes hand in hand with my yoga and meditation practice. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this book before, but I'm re-reading it. I don't usually re-read books. But this one is amazing. I'm gaining a lot of insights on ... well, literally ... the joy of living! Life can be so complicated, but so easy at the same time. You just need to know how to disentangle yourself. This book explains the why and the how, and the Rinpoche (which literally means "precious one") does so with funny and meaningful anecdotes.
Here is one of my favorites. To give a quick background, the essence of Buddhism is to realize that no matter what you think about the circumstances that define you and your life, you are already good, whole, and complete. (And i may have just plagiarized a little, to quote from the book!) This just helps explain a little why I think the following anecdote is especially beautiful and meaningful to me:
I visited a retreat house that was quite near the ocean. The day I arrived, the weather was perfect: The sky was cloudless and the ocean was a deep, clear blue -- very pleasant to look at. When I woke the next morning, though, the ocean looked like a thick, muddy soup. I wondered, "What happened to the ocean? Yesterday it was so clear, and blue, and today it's suddenly dirty." I took a walk down to the shore, and couldn't see any obvious reason for the change. There wasn't any mud in the water or along the beach. Then I looked up at the sky and saw that it was thick with dark greenish clouds; and I realized it was the color of the clouds that had changed the color of the ocean. The water itself, when I looked closely at it, was still clean and clear.
The mind, in many ways, is like the ocean. The "color" changes from day to day or moment to moment, reflecting the thoughts, emotions, and so on passing "overhead". But the mind itself, like the ocean, never changes. It's always clean and clear, no matter what it's reflecting.
I realize that there may be others reading that may offended by talk of religion, or don't share the same world view. I wish to express that it is not my intention to sway your belief in your own religion (and I doubt that what I've written so far is adequately enough to convert the staunchest believers). I just thought I'd like to share my discovery in hopes that you may take something positive with you today. On the other hand, you may also calmly mouse over to the X button at the top of your screen (left or right, depending on your browser) and exit this page if you do not like what you have just read (but thank you for reading this far!)
But, I am elated with my spiritual progress so far and would love to engage in a constructive, organic discussion with anyone, from any religion or denomination!