There are moments that escape us completely and only return to us when we are at our weakest. These moments are who we are at our core, they are the underlying roaring current that drags us low. Instead of being dragged, send yourself calmly into those waves and you will see, they will haunt you no more.
—  Michael Lottner

// 11:56am - i’ve got everything i need for a productive day.. iced white chocolate mocha, new spotify playlist, colourful pens, and a messy desk.. i have two midterms next thursday (psych and phil), 8 phil assignments, stats homework, and chem homework all due before then.. but i’m determined to get all my notes done today so i can just focus on my assignments and midterms for the next week 😊✌️ //

"While words and intellectual concepts can only ever be signposts pointing to the true nature of reality, which is quite beyond them, nevertheless the complex interlinked conceptual structure of the teachings is in itself brilliant and beautiful, like a many faceted crystal whose every facet flawlessly reflects and refers to every other. But please remember that the only way to look into the heart of that crystal is to look into oneself. Dzogchen ["Great Perfection"] is not just something to be studied; the Way of Light is there to be travelled.

'As a bee seeks nectar
from all kinds of flowers,
seek teachings everywhere.

Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze,
seek seclusion to digest all you have gathered.

Like a lion, live completely free of all fear.
And, finally, like a madman, beyond all limits,
go wherever you please.’
[A Tantra of Dzogchen]”

- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen
http://amzn.to/1DhtGut

Image Credit: Marita Tathariel Svensson

Happy Birthday Thomas Aquinas!

We’ve highlighted content from the famous Italian philosopher and theologian for you to explore. In honor of Aquinas, read Thomistic Ethics, his commentaries on God and Evil, and how he characteristically deals with Augustine’s philosophical positions. Plus, Aquinas’s account of human embryogenesis, and Aquinas’s Ontology of the Material World, demonstrating the enduring value of Aquinas’s thought.

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!
—  Søren Kierkegaard
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
[…]
I do not live for what the world thinks of me, but for what I think of myself.
—  Jack London
2

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“Thoughts Can Be Chosen”

Art and writing from Julie Elizabeth Henneberg

 A beloved teacher of mine once opened our weekly practice with the subject of Ahimsa (“non-violence”) by asking us to think about how to put it into action. Ahimsa: I had heard the term many times before. The notion of “non-violence” brought to mind peace on earth, placid smiles, people levitating in meditation, free trade coffee, pastel leggings. No particularly “active” image came to me right away.

 Maybe I wasn’t the only one a bit stunned by the question, for when my teacher invited the class to contribute their ideas, not one of use offered a reply. Facing a silent group, the teacher suggested we go home and write our thoughts down after some reflection.

 I admit that I did not go home and think about Ahimsa, but rather about the cacophony of anxiety, frustration and bitterness swirling about it my head. I was at the tail end of a gruelling undergraduate program, four years of non-stop commitments, projects and personal disasters. During that time I had felt unrelenting pressure from all sides, and likes many introverts, felt a constant sensation of being “always and never alone.” I perceived myself as surrounded by other people, without sufficient time to myself, and yet ultimately unsupported and unheard. How was I going to balance all my projects? Why did everyone keep asking me to give my time and energy when I had nothing left? Why wasn’t it enough already?

 …Ahimsa?

 After many years of being angry and hurt, I just wanted to feel something else, and not be stuck in my own shadow all the time. The lightbulb moment came to me when I came face-to-face with another word: accountability. My teacher often asked us to pay attention to our thoughts, and ask who put them there. Over time I began to see a direct correlation between the things I said to myself and the things I wanted to say to others. All the of the unreasonable expectations crushing my spirit were rooted in my own self-talk, and not in what the people in my life said to me. That is not to say that my anxiety lacked validity or that the problems in my personal relationships could be strengthened by my actions alone. Rather, I began to understand my thoughts as cause and effect in nature: what I choose to believe quickly becomes my reality, and directs all of my relationship with other people.

 Destructive thoughts and reasoning, however uncomely and disadvantageous, appear in the human mind naturally. It’s an inherent reflex, but we mustn’t surrender to it.

 Thoughts can be toxic and damaging. Unquestionably, every harmful deed begins with a negative thought. We can emancipate ourselves from destructive thoughts by identifying those thought patterns that do not serve us, and electing to assert a higher mode of thinking in place. Every time our first response toward a person or situation appears as a negative thought, we can actively turn toward something positive that can be derived from the experience (for example, growth in the face of challenge). Inviting positive thoughts to replace destructive ones renders us more balanced and less reactive. By clearing away negative thought patterns we allow new, positive patterns to come into being in their place, making us feel more grounded, stable and in control, and better able to serve ourselves.

 Practicing compassionate thinking may require a lot of concentration. However, the conscious decision to cease thoughts, action and speech is the most worthwhile exercise of compassion toward ourselves and others. Destructive thinking is the root of suffering and the core problem that must be addressed if we are to exercise any significant change in our lives. We need not deny destructive thoughts, but rather allow all of these sensations to be part of life, while actively striving for the betterment of ourselves and in turn, the world.

 The way we treat ourselves is evident in the way we engage with the world. Every relationship we have is reflective of how we treat ourselves. Only when we are compassionate with ourselves can we practice compassion in the other facets of our lives. The anxiety, resentment and anger triggered by certain people or situations may seemingly appear external and beyond our control. However, destructive thoughts take up residence in our own heads - valuable space that prevents something creative and substantial from developing. Hence every destructive thought we have originates from our behaviour toward ourselves.

 Ahimsa is a practice of tolerance, respect and compassion (ultimately, love). By acknowledging the existence of destructive thoughts and letting them go rather than holding on to them, we render ourselves powerful.

Julie Elizabeth Henneberg is a Canadian artist, writer and yoga teacher based in Warsaw, Poland. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University in Toronto and is presently completing a Master of Arts in Sociology at the Centre for Social Research in Warsaw.

See the more of Julie’s Yantra creations on Tumblr here.

ॐ☯ The Art of Yoga☯ॐ