Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Taste Of Contentment

Blogging friend, 'Standing' asked me to describe what in my life feeds me.  I don't know if it's my age, or the psychological and spiritual work I've done, but I suddenly find that I'm content in a way I never imagined I would be.  So I guess I would have to say, "my contentment feeds me." That's not to say that I can't get riled over injustice - say, watching people waste things or witnessing co-workers go into denial about the need to be green. But these moments of angry arousal pale in comparison to how obsessive I was around certain issues in the past.

There are two particular books that I always turn to when I start to lose my grip on the kind of sanity I want to maintain. The author is Vernon Howard. He has a nice way of compiling a lot of esoteric authors' quotes into what he calls, "The Power of Your Supermind" and "The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power." I know. I hate those titles too. I was so embarrassed to carry these book around that I made  covers for each out of old sacks. I even started going through them and crossing out 'super'  and 'mystic' because I thought these words couldn't describe how I want to see the truth. But the more I read Vernon Howard, I don't care what words he uses. These truths do bring inner peace. I guess it is pretty super and mystical to arrive at a happier place.

In these books, Howard quotes many others like William James, Arthur Schopenhauer, Erich Fromm and Thoreau. He also quotes and paraphrases The Tao. The Tao is a personal favorite of mine. If I am anything, I am a Taoist. The Tao teaches that life is a series of natural and spontaeous changes. We shouldn't resist them or wish things were different. That only creates sorrow. Go along. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Be like a pebble carried effortlessly along the stream of life. 

The consuming need to acquire riches, fame or power is explained as empty desires. With Tao, you have genuine wealth that never fades away.  And you don't need to shout it around. If you have a pocketful of gold, it is just as valuable whether others know about it or not.

Here is a favorite quote from "The Mystic Path To Cosmic Power."  - 

"Place total living before intellectual gymnastics. That solves everything. Deep within, you know how to live fully; you have always known. You knew it in childhood before hypnotized people misled you. Whenever you don't understand life, dismiss your mind and live without straining to understand. Total living is understanding, just as you understand an apple by handling, tasting, eating. Why ask about an apple? Just eat it. It is for health and enjoyment. And so is life. We learn what life is all about when we dare to live simply, directly, without needing to know anything. This is not a paradox; it is a beautiful state."

For more:


June Calender said...

Interesting post -- never heard of Vernon Howard, the titles, as you say, are very off-putting and I'd never pick up the books. I wonder why people who give real thought to life need the veneer of new-ageism, or maybe it was his editors who were slotting it to the audience for spiritual self-help.

I certainly do know Pema Chodron who you quote in lieu of a bio. I give her books to people often. And I know the Bethesda angel well having only recently moved from NYC. Nice to have discovered your blog. I'll be back.

standing on my head said...

ahhhh. a sigh of contentment.
for you, a buddhist metta meditation:

may you feel protected and safe.
may you feel contented and pleased.
may your body support you with strength.
may your life unfold smoothly and with ease.

traditionally, this is used as a meditation, first directed at someone you view positively, then a neutral person, then an "enemy", then yourself. the last is the most difficult.

Garlandless Judy said...

June - thanks for coming to my blog. How nice to have someone recognize my fountain angel from Central Park. It's also nice to discover someone with the same reading interests.

standing - this is very lovely. Thank you. I'm going to try it.

Trée said...

Much wisdom in this post. I've read it twice, which is something I almost never do.

Radka said...

Beautiful photos, have a nice day Radka.

Busana Muslim said...

I read few posts on this site and I conceive that your web site is very interesting and has got sets of excellent information.