Through the ongoing application of the practice of mindfulness, we fill our lives with the grace of a studied dancer at the apex of her art. ~Will Johnson
“The whole tradition of dharma, it’s not a religion, it’s not a psychology, it’s not a philosophy, it’s not an ethical system, it’s a way to become a human being. In the way that we normally live in the world, we are not human beings. We are puppets. We have picked up certain jerky and ungraceful movements, because that’s what we think we have to be. But we aren’t puppets, we are very graceful dancers. But the only way to become a graceful dancer is to cut the strings, and that’s why we are here, to cut the strings.
There is some marionette and it’s not up there, it’s in our head. And this marionette we have carefully developed over many, many years and maybe, many lifetimes. And this marionette is always telling us what to do: “You do this. Don’t do that. This is good. This is bad. This feels good. This doesn’t feel good.” And we have this, we are completely victimized, actually, by what goes on in our heads. And the problem with what goes on in our heads is that it has very little to do with who we actually are. These are things we picked up. We just picked them up. All of these thoughts and ideas, strategies and judgments. And for most people, the marionette living in the brain is a very harsh, controlling, angry person. That marionette doesn’t want us to come alive and doesn’t want us to live from our heart.
So, we need to find a way to become who we are and we need to find a way to find out what life is. We don’t have all that much time on this planet and we actually don’t know what’s next. We don’t know if we’ll ever be born here again. We don’t really know anything. We don’t know, but we know that we have this time. So, we have to find a way to live and not just repeat a lot of habitual patterns that we’ve picked up….
So, the way to make the spiritual journey is to become more and more and more familiar with who we actually are. The journey unfolds by itself… We simply live our lives and we relate to who we are, and that’s how the journey happens. The path is a real path and at each stepping stone there’s another stepping stone in front. Each of us has our own path, our own situation. What we have to do is figure out where the next stepping stone is for us. There are no general stepping stones. There’s only the next stepping stone. If the next stepping stone for me is “I cannot relate to this right now”, then do it, trust it, it’s really ok. We have a mandala here and we’re working together. When you are ready to take the next step, your heart will tell you. Then you can take the next step. That’s called trust in the heart, and that’s really important.” ~Reggie Ray of the Dharma Ocean Foundation
Dr. Reggie Ray currently resides in Crestone, Colorado, where he is Spiritual Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study and preservation of the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the practice lineage he embodied.
The Dharma Ocean Foundation has an online media store where you can download “theme-based affordable bundles of talks, as well as complete program recordings.” Right now they are offering a free MP3 or PDF download, a talk from Reggie Ray entitled, “Emotional Awakening.” Click here for this free download.
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