After more than 40 years teaching mindfulness and compassion to thousands on the spiritual path, the most important message I can offer is this: You don’t have to wait to be free. You don’t need to postpone being happy.
All too often the beautiful spiritual practices of mindfulness and compassion become entwined with a vision of self-discipline and duty. We see them as taking us through a long road of obstacles that leads eventually to distant benefits. Yes, there is hard work of the heart and there are demanding cycles in our lives. Yet wherever you are on your journey, there is another wonderful truth called “Living the Fruit” or “Starting with the Result.” The fruits of well-being and the experience of joy, freedom, and love are available now, whatever your circumstance!
Deep down we know this is true. We know it whenever we feel a part of something greater—listening to music, making love, walking in the mountains or swimming in the sea, sitting at the mystery of a dying loved one as her spirit leaves her body silently as a falling star, or witnessing the miraculous birth of a child. At times like these, a joyful openness swells through our body and our heart is surrounded by peace.
As we discover trust and freedom in ourselves, we will then find our way to share them with the world. Barbara Wiedner, who founded Grandmothers for Peace, explains, “I began to question the kind of a world I am leaving for my grandchildren. So, I got a sign, ‘A Grandmother for Peace,’ and stood on a street corner. Then I joined others kneeling as a human barrier at a munitions factory. I was taken to prison, strip-searched, and thrown into a cell. Something happened to me. I realized they couldn’t do anything more. I was free!” Now Barbara and her organization, Grandmothers for Peace, works in dozens of countries around the world. This freedom is here for you as well.
Finding freedom is an active process that engages your intellect, your heart, and your whole spirit. We begin personally, with freedom of spirit, freedom to start over, freedom beyond fear, freedom to be yourself, and then discover freedom to love, freedom to stand up for what matters, freedom to be happy. The means and the goal are one—be yourself, dream, trust, and act. You can choose your spirit. Freedom, love, and joy are yours, in your very life, your exact circumstance. They are your birthright.
have you thought of yourself as anything other than happy? when? why?
inquiry for today~ during a muddy day, listen for the ways you are drawn to create a richer life…..when? why?
There is no effort that we can make to still ourselves. True stillness comes naturally from moments of solitude where we allow our minds to settle. Just as water seeks its own level, the mind will gravitate toward the holy. Muddy water will become clear if allowed to stand undisturbed, and so too will the mind become clear if it is allowed to be still.