A student told her spiritual teacher that she was suffering under “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” quoting Shakespeare’s famous verse from Hamlet. The teacher looked her piercingly in the eyes and asked, “Are you so sure that fortune is outrageous and it must bear slings and arrows?”
I recently painted a deck on my house. I enjoy painting, a meditation in being present that doesn’t require much thought but lots of attention. If you tend to live in your head, paint something. Your hands may get dirty but your mind will stay clean.
The only purpose of a house, car, technological device, or body is to serve as a vehicle for the expression of love. As long as the form is a venue for the spirit, it is useful. When the form ceases to serve the spirit, or the spirit ends up serving the form, the system becomes dysfunctional, it will engender pain, and dissolve.
My Australian client Meg was tired of her corporate job and wished she could create a layoff with a generous severance package. So for fun she wrote herself a severance letter offering her desired package, printed it on company stationery, and signed it from the CEO. This was her idea of creating a treasure map toward her ideal scenario.
I had a nasty neighbor who regularly picked fights over all kinds of issues. People drove too fast past her rural home; her neighbors partied too loud; vandals were supposedly stealing from her water line; trees encroached on her property line; and on and on.
One of the great defining moments of my life came when I was in college. I had been practicing Orthodox Judaism for about seven years, a very meaningful path for me. I came to a point, however, when the rituals had become rote and dry for me. On one holiday, a fast day, I was very hungry. But I feared to eat because I might go to hell for violating the religion’s rules. After struggling with the choice, I came to a striking realization: fear is not a good enough reason to do a religious act, and certainly no foundation for a life. So I ate a piece of cake...