self cherishing

Sometimes it’s the subtleties in life that are of the most value. Pay close attention, for you will find them all around you.
—  Nicole Addison @thepowerwithin
The fact that we are oblivious to our faults does not prevent other people from noticing them and pointing them out, but when they do we feel that they are being unfair. Instead of looking honestly at our own behavior to see whether or not the criticism is justified, our self-cherishing mind becomes defensive and retaliates by finding fault with them.
—  Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Eight Steps to Happiness”

iKON the type of group that

• take showers together
• respect other religions
• make dick jokes on broadcast
• tell each other ‘I love you’ on a daily basis
• promote self love
• respect and cherish women
• pray together and thank god before performing
• wrote 4 songs explicitly for their fans
• tell each other to visit their families & go to church
• love animals & kids
• are always all over each other
• never forget to greet, thank, support & mention their sunbaes
• are genuinely humble & never take enough credit for their work
• love skinship & fanservice
• ship each other & use official shipper names
• think that love doesnt have a number (and prefer an older partner)
• have the most sassy, evil & shady maknae line and most childish hyung line
• always bow 90 degrees
• see criticism as a chance to improve themselves

Domestic Victuuri Prompt Challenge: Day 3

EVERYONE! The wonderful @daysinrussiavictuuri is still doing the August Domestic Prompt Challenge, so send in your domestic prompts and take a chance at writing for the posted ones! We all know I have no self-control so I will be doing all of these that I can. Day 3 Prompt is Date Night! 

So here is my contribution: “Date Night In”

The ice crunched with potential danger under Victor’s feet as the air around him stung with the threat of frostbite. Through his heaviest winter coat, he could feel the layer of sweat on his skin beginning to cool while the damp points of his hair were already freezing against his skin. Huddling tighter into his own waning body heat, Victor moved as quickly as he could over the frozen tundra that St. Petersburg had become.

His solo ice time had been drawn out, used as an excuse for Yakov to release all his personal frustrations built up from the day. Yuri had been mouthy, Mila had made Georgi cry, and Victor had been left to feel Yakov’s wrath. Skittering over the treacherous sidewalk, Victor finally reached the front door of the apartment building, heaving his exhausted body inside. Every part of him ached in memory of all his evening jumps.

Entering the elevator, he leaned heavily on the back wall, letting himself have two minutes of pure self-indulgent sulking. Victor knew when he reached the apartment it would be time to shower and get ready for the next part of his day. He had promised Yuuri a date night, a night for the two of them. No matter how terrible he felt, Victor was going to make good on that promise. He would plaster a smile on his face, wrap his body in appropriate clothing and be the fiancé Yuuri deserved. Even if it killed him.

Pausing only a second longer, Victor unlocked the door and pushed it inside, smile pulled brightly over his face. He stopped short when he was greeted with a mostly dark apartment.

Toeing off his shoes and placing them on the rack, he peered around in curiosity. “Yuuri?” he called into the semi-darkness, trying to process the duel glows coming from the middle of the living room and what seemed to be the bathroom.

“I’m here,” Yuuri waved from the living room, smiling from the corner of a flannel blanket and wearing his poodle pajamas. “Come here, Vitya.”

It was the excitement on Yuuri’s face that had Victor stumbling over his own feet, confusion falling behind him like a forgotten wake. Dropping next to Yuuri on the floor, Victor examined the items spread in front of them. A simple brown picnic basket, a bottle of wine, plates, glasses, and two electric candles. Tears threatened his eyes as Victor turned to Yuuri, raising his eyebrows in question instead of speaking.

“I’m tired,” Yuuri smiled, wrapping an arm around Victor’s waist, “and I saw Yakov before I left, so there is no way you aren’t exhausted as well.” Pulling Victor closer and pecking a kiss to his cheek, Yuuri continued. “I know we said date night, but I thought… it doesn’t mean we have to go out… does it?”

There was no way to avoid Victor’s desire to tackle Yuuri to the ground. Once he had placed an uncountable amount of kisses to Yuuri’s face, Victor leaned back and smiled at the most wonderful man in the world. “Do I have time to shower or will the food get cold?” There was part of Victor that didn’t even want to move now that he had snuggled over top of Yuuri’s chest, but he knew he smelled like a landfill and looked worse. A shower was a necessity.

“Food will be fine… and…” Yuuri blushed ever so slightly and then smiled up at Victor. “I already drew you a bath. Yakov let me know when you left the rink. I think I timed it right, so it is ready for you.”

“I love you,” Victor kissed Yuuri several loud times on the lips, “have I told you that lately?” He chuckled as Yuuri laughed below him.

“Tell me, show me…” Yuuri placed a tender hand against Victor’s cheek, “I know you love, it is never a question.” Pulling Victor back down, Yuuri kissed him deeply for only a moment. Breaking the kiss, Yuuri let his head drop back to the ground. “Now, go bathe… you smell like Georgi’s feet after five hours of skating.” They both made matching horrified faces before Victor smacked a kiss to Yuuri’s head and got to his feet with a groan.

Peeling his clothes off, Victor headed for the bedroom, stopping short again when he noticed the bed. “Yuuri…” he whined, looking over the rose petals and the bottle of what appeared to be massage oil. It looked tempting, but Victor knew that his body was prepared for eating, sleeping and not much else.

“I’m going to massage you until you fall asleep. No other intentions. We need rest tonight.”

The tone in Yuuri’s voice was full of blatant honesty and Victor felt an even brighter surge of love. Without a response, Victor finally made his way into the bathroom, finding more electric candles and a fully drawn bath. The scent that rose in the room was lavender and Victor could see the rainbow reflection of the oils in the water. Not hesitating, he sunk into the water all the way to his neck.

It was the perfect temperature and Victor released another sigh, tipping his head back. Their small luggage rack was next to the tub with a bottle of water, two aspirin, a glass of wine and a small plate of cheese and crackers. On the sink counter, Victor could see his own pajamas and a towel hung on the warming rack. His Yuuri had created a tiny oasis and Victor felt the tears stinging his eyes again.

The feeling of being cared for and loved was still very new. When Yuuri anticipated his needs, swooping in when Victor would have forced himself to stay quiet, it still took his breath away. He was used to putting on a show, running himself into the ground for the sake of an image. Yuuri wouldn’t let Victor do that. He knew when Victor needed to be loved and cherished, and Yuuri did it without giving Victor a chance to say no. It was beautiful, and wonderful, and more than Victor could have ever hoped for.

He let the water seep around his body until it turned cold and then he wrapped himself in the warm towel, followed by the cozy pajamas. Slipping socks over his feet, Victor left the now empty food and drink vessels and ventured back to Yuuri.

“What about Makkachin?” Victor asked, snorting when he spied his sleeping dog sprawled over the dog bed.

“We went for an hour walk and I let Makka sniff everything. Then I made chicken and rice for dinner.” Yuuri also glanced at Makkachin’s snoring form in the corner of the room. “I think she is good for the night.” Smiling brightly, Yuuri flipped open the picnic basket, “now, food!”

The meal was simple, rice, chicken and vegetables in heated containers. The wine was sweet and Yuuri’s soft smile was sweeter. Victor could feel the stress and ache from the day melting from his body, letting Yuuri’s story of Makkachin versus the winter birds wash over him in a wave of amusement.

When their dinners were completely consumed, Yuuri collected the containers and placed them into the sink. Leaning into the fridge, he produced two dessert cups that had Victor squinting in the low light.

“Here,” Yuuri handed Victor a small cup before settling down and digging into his own.

Lifting it closer to his face, Victor studied what appeared to be crumbled chocolate cookies and gummi worms. “Yuuri…” Victor raised one eyebrow at his fiancé before smelling his cup. It smelled remarkably yummy, so he lifted his spoon to cautiously dip it in. “What am I about to put in my mouth?”

Yuuri snorted around his spoon, slightly choking at Victor’s unintentional innuendo. “It is called mud. An American tourist’s kid taught my dad about it and he was obsessed with it for a while.” Seeing the alarm on Victor’s face, Yuuri snorted again. “It isn’t actual mud. It is chocolate pudding, mixed with vanilla pudding, with cookies on top and gummi worms. You know, because there are worms in mud…” Yuuri shoved a huge spoonful into his mouth and smiled. “Ish goodsh,” he said through his full mouth.

“This isn’t on a diet plan,” Victor lifted a minuscule bite to his lips, “really it shouldn’t be on anyone’s diet plan.” Slipping the spoonful into his mouth, he crunched the cookies, gnawed the gummi worms and felt the pudding mash it all together. It was the weirdest, sweetest and most wonderful dessert he had ever had. “Changedsh mah mindsh,” Victor said through the huge bite he shoved in his mouth, “we can hash thees every day.” He was quick to spoon every morsel into his mouth, grinning like a child on Christmas with every bite.

Finishing his own cup, Yuuri wiggled closer to Victor. Running an idle hand down the center of Victor’s back, Yuuri placed a pressing kiss to his shoulder. “When you are finished, I’ll give you a massage okay?”

Victor nodded, stacking his empty cup into Yuuri’s and letting his body sag onto his fiancé’s. “Yuuri,” Victor said, out of habit and because he simply couldn’t stop wanting to say Yuuri’s name, “this is the best date night I have ever had.” Victor nuzzled into Yuuri’s neck, humming as Yuuri continued to run a gentle palm over Victor’s back.

“I’m glad,” Yuuri laid his cheek against Victor’s head. “I love you, Vitya.”

Smiling, Victor let his heart get away with doing a happy dance. Love had vibrated through everything Yuuri had done for him that night and the words didn’t need to be spoken. Knowing that Yuuri was speaking them solely for Victor’s benefit made him feel even more valued. “I love you too, my Yuuri.” Victor whispered, content to let himself be loved for the rest of forever.

2

This sudden attention is giving him stage fright.

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.
—  Earl Nightingale
monster ♡ mysme imagine

a/n: ok me @aquariumprincess23 were talking abt rika and we got soft™ and i started writing some random stuff about her and this happened djdjdb lol im not crying my eyes are sweating,,


Rika couldn’t stop her hands from shaking.

She stood in front of the front door with a plant pot in her grip, looking down at the small flower that only bloomed this morning. Rika wasn’t sure what MC’s favourite flower was, but she hoped that the pink tulip growing in the soil of the ceramic pot would suffice. She hadn’t met with MC since just before her recovery, and truly, she wasn’t in the best state. She apologised for everything – for the troubles, for the pain, for the fear, and she knew that it wouldn’t be forgiveable – although she was blubbering and sobbing and sitting at a table at a mental institution. Now, three years later, she was about to see MC again, who now took the surname Kim and lived in a row house with Yoosung.

Lifting up her head, Rika stared directly at the front door, and she was proud of herself because even that seemed too much for her, right then. She felt some leaves swirl around her ankles as a wind brushed by, and she shivered, suddenly regretting not bringing a cardigan. Swallowing, she brought her arm up and knocked twice on the door, toeing the threadbare doormat below her feet. Home, it read, a heart replacing the ‘o’. Rika’s heart swelled, but her nerves were singing. What if she ruins this home they made? What if she’s really crazy like everyone says she is? What if she really is just a monster? She tapped her foot, and stepped back to look at the curtained windows. Why weren’t they answering the door? Maybe they changed their minds, maybe they realised it was a bad idea to invite her, maybe they–

Oh.

There was a doorbell.

Exhaling, she pressed it, and her trembling fingers made her stutter and ring twice. Swearing under her breath, she clutched the plant pot tighter. She hoped they wouldn’t find her slip up annoying. She really didn’t mean to ring more than once.

If Rika heard the footsteps behind the door, she was sure her heart would’ve stopped. The anticipation was killing her, and she didn’t realise it until the door opened, but a scowl formed on her face as she stared at the bottom of the door. Why does she have to be so jittery all the time? Stop, stop, stop! MC stood in the doorway with a smile, and Rika met her eyes, and her pulse was in her throat. She nearly lost her balance, and she was glad she didn’t, or the plant pot would’ve dropped. Wait, did MC say hi already? Geez, if only she could pay attention for once.

“Oh, Rika!” MC exclaimed, and held the door open wider. “Ah… I hope this isn’t too soon, but is it too much to ask for a hug?”

Surprised, Rika’s first reaction was no. What if she hurt MC? Everything she touched broke, first Sally, then… V… Biting her lip, she looked up, and nodded. Just slightly. It was all it took before MC was tugging her into an embrace. She gasped in surprise, caught mid-hug, looking down at the plant pot in her own hands over MC’s shoulder.

It’d been so long since somebody hugged Rika. She forgot how it felt.

It was comforting. She could feel MC’s heart beat against hers, and smell the hot chocolate clinging to the woollen sweater she wore. MC’s hand rubbed her back, and Rika closed her eyes. She wanted to stay like this. She could live like this. This feeling of affection and the presence of somebody else who wasn’t ready to call her bad names or make her feel crazy. She didn’t want to let go, and she was so glad when MC didn’t pull away. So, so glad. Relaxing, she looked up into the house, and watched Yoosung approach the doorway wearing a pair of mismatched socks and a hoodie. His eyes lit up, and Rika’s heart contracted. Yoosung. Her little baby cousin. He’s so grown up. She only ever saw Yoosung once without brown hair, and now his head was full of blond, clips nowhere to be seen, and his fringe falling over his forehead. He had grown taller, and his face had matured. She saw his graduation photo hung up on the corridor wall, and she couldn’t believe it. Was this her Yoosung? The little boy that would follow her around at the first RFA part because of his shyness? MC let go of her, eventually, and ushered her into the house, saying something about ‘not standing too long at the doorstep.’

“N-noona?” Yoosung stuttered, and Rika swore she’d never felt so relieved to be called something in her life. She was scared to death that she lost him – that after everything, she lost the appreciation that Yoosung had for her. But, she didn’t. Tears fought for room in his eyes, and she could tell he was trying to swallow them back. She stepped foreward, and hugged him, and she felt the feeling again; the one she had when MC embraced her. He held her, and she noticed how much taller than her he was. His chin could rest on her head. She heard him sniff. “I missed you. I missed you so much.

Inhaling, she knotted her fingers into the back of his shirt. This was the only part of her old self she had. She cherished Yoosung. He gave her a reason to recover, because nobody other than Yoosung looked up to her anymore. Nobody other than Yoosung thought she was much more than just a madwoman.

“I… missed you, too.” Pulling away from him, she surveyed his face, trying to mark every one of his changes. No more baby face. The scar over his left eye. The glasses. The maturity. Biting her lip, she suppressed any tears, and shakily brushed his hair above his hairline, before reaching down and gently pinching his cheek. “How’d you grow up so quick, huh? How’d you grow up so much without me to see?”

“I could say the same for you.” Reaching behind her, Yoosung carefully touched the ends of her hair, which now reached her neck. It was cut choppily, and Rika was meaning to get her hair styled at some point. It was only just growing back after she shaved it in her last few months in recovery. “Your hair… it’s so different…”

She caught his hand and stepped away from him. Guiltily, he quickly moved away, muttering an apology, but she stopped him. “No, it’s just… too soon…”

Sensing the change in mood, MC stepped in. “A-ah, Rika, do you want to see our kitten?”

Turning around, her lips parted. She felt Yoosung gently take the plant pot from her hands as she faces MC. Softly, she asked, “Y-you have a kitten?”

“Yeah!” Yoosung smiled. “Her name’s Lisa. She’s still small. Do you wanna meet her?”

Rika bit her lip, and looked down at her beige shoes. Shutting her eyes, she knotted her fingers together. Yoosung and MC were welcoming them into their home with so much love, it was almost too overwhelming for her. After three years of pills, and psychiatrists, and a vacant mind, Rika didn’t think she remembered how it felt to be loved. Now there she stood, fresh from one of the two first hugs she had in over three years, surrounded with soft carpets, and wine red sofas, and a spice perfumed kitchen. She didn’t want to get rid of this feeling.

"Yes,” she said, and followed Yoosung into the living room.

MC walked ahead, and Rika watched as she kneeled down in front of one of the sofas and peered underneath, murmuring softly and running her fingers along the carpet in front of the mouth of the gap beneath the couch. Rika waited with her breath held. She hadn’t been this excited in a long time. MC laughed gently, and waves Rika to sit by her, to which she complied. She gasped when white fur peeked out from beneath the sofa, and when MC reached out to touch it, it darted back in. Rika looked at MC, and saw the mirth dancing in her eyes as she chased for the kitten with her hand again, until it slowly peered out and stretched, sitting just in front of the two girls.

Rika stared. The kitten was still tiny, barely any fatter than the width of her hand. It was white and fluffy, and blue eyes which gazed up at her curiously. They blinked, and she wanted to stroke her so badly, but she was scared. What if she hurt this, too?

MC wrapped her hands around the kitten’s spine and lifted her up, running her thumb along her soft temple as she closed her eyes and nuzzled into her owner. Rika’s heart nearly melted, she barely heard Yoosung sit next to her.

“Would you like to hold her?” MC offered, reaching over to touch Rika’s hand. She froze under the other girl’s touch. Her hands were so warm.

“Y-yes, please,” she responded, but when MC went to hand Lisa to her, she panicked. She didn’t know how to hold a kitten! What if she dropped her? What if she held her too tight? What if something… bad happened… What if Rika–

“Noona?” Yoosung said softly, touching her shoulder. “Do you want me to show you how to hold her?”

Bowing her head, she nodded, keeping her hands in her lap. Yoosung took Lisa from MC and turned Rika to face him, letting the kitten rest against her forearm. Rika looked up at him, hovering her hand over the cat’s fur. He nodded, and she stroked Lisa, scared that she might touch her too harshly in the meantime. She wasn’t breathing. All she could feel was the kitten against her chest, and–

“Oh, my God,” she whispered, feeling Lisa hum against her body. “Is she purring?”

“She likes you,” Yoosung said.

Rika exhaled, rubbing Lisa’s cheek with the tip of her thumb. She was so soft, and so warm. She was alive. The trust that something so vulnerable and so tiny put in her made something clutch her heart. This kitten… Lisa… Lisa trusted her with something as valuable as her own self. Lisa didn’t think Rika was a monster, or crazy, or dangerous. She bit her lip, and didn’t feel the tear run down her cheek. When would she ever feel this much love again? Sniffing, she scratched the cat behind her ear, before Lisa stilled. Rika begun to panic Did she do something wrong? Why wasn’t the kitten moving? Th-this is Sally all over again, how could she–

“Oh,” MC said softly.

Rika couldn’t hold in her sob, and held her hand over her mouth, crying into her palm. They were painful cries, painful and racking her whole body. Yoosung stared at her, alarmed, and so did MC. She cried harder, unable to breathe in properly without hiccuping.

“I-I’m so s-s-sorry… y-you shouldn’t have let m…me touch her.” She touched Lisa’s fur. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

MC leaned in, and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “Ssh, it’s okay…”

“N-no… Lisa isn’t m-moving…”

“Hey, Noona.” Yoosung reached for the kitten in her lap, and nudged Lisa’s nose. She woke up, and sniffed, meowing softly. Rika stared at her lap, the kitten now awake and kneading at the skirt of her dress. Her lungs were worn out. Oh. Yoosung smiled. “See? She just fell asleep.”

She held her hand out for Lisa to sniff, her eyes still spilling tears, and the kitten stuck her tongue out and licked her hand. Rika’s chest contracted.

“I… don’t want to hurt things anymore.” She choked on a sob.

Leaning in, Yoosung let her rest her head on his shoulder. “You won’t, Noona. You’re a wonderful person.”

She paused, inhaling deeply. She listened to the clock tick on the opposite wall, and the cat’s purrs. “Am I a monster?” she asked softly.

“No.” The other two said immediately.

“Then…” she breathed, another tear slipping down her cheek, “why do I feel like one?”

She wept, her tears falling on Lisa’s fur. Her shoulders trembled as Yoosung tried to lull her, and MC reached out to hold one of her hands in both of hers. Rika sniffed, and sobbed, and she was glad Yoosung said nothing about the tear patch she left on his shirt. He stroked her short hair, running his fingers through the choppy strands. She pressed the side of her face against his chest, before sitting up, looking down at the kitten.

“I-I swear on my l-life…” She covered her mouth as she cried, still looking at Lisa. “I swear on my life. I will never h-harm y-you. Ever.”

Rika felt stupid. She felt stupid for crying over a kitten and she felt stupid for walking into her cousin’s home and bringing her messy brain with her. She felt stupid for feeling so much just by embracing Lisa, but she had no room to hate herself, since she could hear Yoosung crying from above her, and MC inclining towards her for an embrace. Other than stupid, all she could feel was how much she loved this family. MC, and Yoosung, and Lisa. And she cried more because she knew this was a love that she’ll only ever know once, and a love that she’ll never have back. She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes, and took in a quaking breath.

“Th-thank you,” she said, “for accepting me.”

“Rika…” MC whispered. “Welcome home.”

Not for Happiness

by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

Buddhist practices are techniques we use to tackle our habitual self-cherishing. Each one is designed to attack individual habits until the compulsion to cling to “self ” is entirely eradicated. So although a practice may look Buddhist, if it reinforces self-clinging, it is actually far more dangerous than any overtly non-Buddhist practice.

The aim of far too many teachings these days is to make people “feel good,” and even some Buddhist masters are beginning to sound like New Age apostles. Their talks are entirely devoted to validating the manifestation of ego and endorsing the “rightness” of our feelings, neither of which have anything to do with the teachings we find in the pith instructions. So if you are only concerned about feeling good, you are far better off having a full-body massage or listening to some uplifting or life-affirming music than receiving dharma teachings, which were definitely not designed to cheer you up. On the contrary, the dharma was devised specifically to expose your failings and make you feel awful.

Try reading The Words of My Perfect Teacher. If you find it depressing, if Patrul Rinpoche’s disconcerting truths rattle your worldly self-confidence, be happy. It is a sign that at long last you are beginning to understand something about the dharma. And by the way, to feel depressed is not always a bad thing. It is completely understandable for someone to feel depressed and deflated when their most humiliating failing is exposed. Who wouldn’t feel a bit raw in such a situation? But isn’t it better to be painfully aware of a failing rather than utterly oblivious to it? If a flaw in your character remains hidden, how can you do anything about it? So although pith instructions might temporarily depress you, they will also help uproot your shortcomings by dragging them into the open. This is what is meant by the phrase “dharma penetrating your mind,” or, as the great Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye put it, “the practice of dharma bearing fruit,” rather than the so-called good experiences too many of us hope for, such as good dreams, blissful sensations, ecstasy, clairvoyance, or the enhancement of intuition.

Patrul Rinpoche said there is no such thing as a person who has perfected both dharma practice and worldly life, and if we ever meet someone who appears to be good at both, the likelihood is that his or her skills are grounded in worldly values.

It is such a mistake to assume that practicing dharma will help us calm down and lead an untroubled life; nothing could be further from the truth. Dharma is not a therapy. Quite the opposite, in fact; dharma is tailored specifically to turn your life upside down — it’s what you sign up for. So when your life goes pear-shaped, why do you complain? If you practice and your life fails to capsize, it is a sign that what you are doing is not working. This is what distinguishes the dharma from New Age methods involving auras, relationships, communication, well-being, the Inner Child, being one with the universe, and tree hugging. From the point of view of dharma, such interests are the toys of samsaric beings — toys that quickly bore us senseless.

The Heart of Sadness

Kongtrul Rinpoche suggested we pray to the guru, buddhas, and bodhisattvas and ask them to grant their blessings, “So I may give birth to the heart of sadness.” But what is a “heart of sadness”? Imagine one night you have a dream. Although it is a good dream, deep down you know that eventually you will have to wake up and it will be over. In life, too, sooner or later, whatever the state of our relationships, our health, our jobs, and every aspect of our lives, everything, absolutely everything, will change. And the little bell ringing in the back of your head to remind you of this inevitability is what is called the “heart of sadness.” Life, you realise, is a race against time, and you should never put off dharma practice until next year, next month, or tomorrow — because the future may never happen.

This race-against-time kind of attitude is so important, especially when it comes to practice. My own experience has shown me that promising myself I will start to practice next week more or less guarantees that I will never get around to it. And I don’t think I am alone. So once you understand that real dharma practice is not just about formal sitting meditation but a never-ending confrontation with and opposition to pride and ego, as well as a lesson in how to accept change, you will be able to start practicing right away. For example, imagine you are sitting on a beach admiring the sunset. Nothing terrible has happened and you are content, even happy. Then suddenly that little bell starts to ring in your head, reminding you that this could be the last sunset you ever see. You realize that, were you to die, you might not be reborn with the ability to appreciate a sunset, let alone the capacity to understand what a sunset is, and this thought alone helps you focus your mind on practice.

Go Beyond Concept

A sincere wish to practice the dharma is not born of a desire for personal happiness or to be perceived as a “good” person, but neither do we practice because we want to be unhappy or become “bad” people. A genuine aspiration to practice dharma arises from the longing to attain enlightenment.

By and large, human beings tend to prefer to fit into society by following accepted rules of etiquette and being gentle, polite, and respectful. The irony is that this is also how most people imagine a spiritual person should behave. When a so-called dharma practitioner is seen to behave badly, we shake our heads over her audacity at presenting herself as a follower of the Buddha. Yet such judgments are better avoided, because to “fit in” is not what a genuine dharma practitioner strives for. Think of the great mahasiddha Tilopa, for example. He looked so outlandish that if he turned up on your doorstep today, odds are you would refuse to let him in. And you would have a point. He would most probably be almost completely naked; if you were lucky, he might be sporting some kind of G-string; his hair would never have been introduced to shampoo; and protruding from his mouth would quiver the tail of a live fish. What would your moral judgment be of such a being? “Him! A Buddhist? But he’s tormenting that poor creature by eating it alive!” This is how our theistic, moralistic, and judgmental minds work. In fact, they work in a very similar way to those of the world’s more puritanical and destructive religions. Of course, there is nothing necessarily wrong with morality, but the point of spiritual practice, according to the Vajrayana teachings, is to go beyond all our concepts, including those of morality.

Right now the majority of us can only afford to be slightly nonconformist, yet we should aspire to be like Tilopa. We should pray that one day we will have the courage to be just as crazy by daring to go beyond the eight worldly dharmas — happiness and suffering, fame and insignificance, praise and blame, gain and loss — and care not one jot about whether or not we are praised or criticised. In today’s world, such an attitude is the ultimate craziness. More than ever, people expect to be happy when they are admired and praised, and unhappy when derided and criticised. So it is unlikely that those who want the world to perceive them as sane will risk flying from the nest of the eight worldly dharmas. Sublime beings, though, couldn’t care less either way, and that is why, from our mundane point of view, they are considered crazy.

Develop Renunciation Mind

If worldly happiness is not the goal of dharma, then what is it that prompts a person to want to practice? Chances are that stepping onto a spiritual path would not even occur to a person who is rich, enjoys their life, and has a strong sense of personal security. Of course all of us, even the rich, experience moments of sadness and hopelessness, and we may even momentarily feel the urge to turn our backs on all this world has to offer. But this is not a genuine experience of renunciation mind, as it has far more to do with weariness and boredom than renunciation; it is often a sign that, like a spoiled child tired of his toys, we are in desperate need of a change.

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye said that if deep down you continue to believe a tiny corner of samsara could be useful or that it might even offer the ultimate solution to all your worldly problems, it will be extremely difficult to become a genuine spiritual seeker. To believe that life’s problems will somehow work themselves out, that everything bad is fixable, and that something about samsara has to be worth fighting for, makes it virtually impossible to nurture a genuine, all-consuming desire to practice the dharma. The only view that truly works for a dharma practitioner is that there are no solutions to the sufferings of samsara and it cannot be fixed.

It is vital to understand that however positive this worldly life, or even a small part of it, may appear to be, ultimately it will fail because absolutely nothing genuinely works in samsara. This is a very difficult attitude to adopt, but if we can at least accept it on an intellectual level, it will provide us with just the incentive we need to step onto the spiritual path. (Other incentives include making fools of ourselves or becoming entangled in worldly systems by trying to fix them.) The bottom line, though, is that only when a beginner truly appreciates just how hopeless and purposeless samsara really is will a genuine aspiration to follow a spiritual path arise in his or her mind.

As Shakyamuni Buddha, compassionately and with great courage, explained to an autocratic king, there are four inescapable realities that eventually destroy all sentient beings:

- We will all become old and frail.
- It is absolutely certain that everything will constantly change.
- Everything we achieve or accumulate will eventually fall apart and scatter.
- We are all bound to die.

Yet our emotions and habits are so strong that even when the truth is staring us in the face, we are unable to see it.

In addition to recognising the futility of samsara, the point of dharma practice is that it penetrates our minds and diminishes our affection for our ego and worldly life by pressing us to detach ourselves from the eight worldly dharmas. However beneficial a practice appears to be, however politically correct or exciting, if it does not contradict your habit of grasping at permanence, or looks harmless but insidiously encourages you to forget the truth of impermanence and the illusory nature of phenomena, it will inevitably take you in the opposite direction of dharma.

Develop the Willingness to Face the Truth

Most of us tend to resent being confronted with the truth, and from resentment springs denial. The most obvious example is that we feel annoyed when we are forced to acknowledge the illusory nature of our lives and the reality of death. We also take exception to contemplating it, even though death is an irrefutable universal truth. Our habitual reaction is to pretend it will never happen — which is how we deal with most of the other inconvenient truths we find difficult to stomach.

Instead of becoming resentful, though, it is important for anyone who sincerely wishes to become a dharma practitioner to develop a willingness and openness to embrace the truth, because the dharma is the truth. The Buddha himself made no bones about it. He never once provided his students with rose-tinted glasses to take the edge off the horror of the truth of impermanence, the agonies that are “emotion,” the illusory nature of our world, and, above all, the vast and profound truth of shunyata, emptiness. None of these truths is easy to understand, or even to aspire to understand, particularly for minds programmed by habit to long for emotional satisfaction and aim for ordinary bliss. So if someone is able to hear teachings about emptiness and tolerate them intellectually as well as practically and emotionally, it is an indication that they have a real affinity for the dharma.

Overcome Poverty Mentality

Many of us feel spiritually impoverished. Kongtrul Rinpoche said this is because we never stop desiring comfort and happiness. Until that kind of poverty mentality is overcome, a large portion of our mind will always be busy trying to secure personal comfort and happiness, making letting go of anything at all extremely difficult. Even those who present themselves as spiritual practitioners will find it impossible to make the superhuman effort necessary.

The problem here is that on a superficial, worldly level, everything spiritual, especially the buddhadharma, appears to be utterly useless and a complete waste of time. We are practical beings who like to build houses so we can be comfortable and happy, and to put our resources into erecting a stupa with no bedroom or toilet or anything functional in it strikes us as being wasteful. But as Kongtrul Rinpoche pointed out, clinging to the merest hint of an idea that worldly values and ideals might somehow be useful makes it extremely hard for anyone to tackle something as apparently futile as spiritual practice. And cutting the ties of the habits that bind us to worldly values, especially when it comes to material wealth, is virtually impossible. “Wealth,” from an authentic dharma perspective, is understood entirely differently. For a dharma practitioner, wealth is not gold, silver, or a healthy bank account; wealth is contentment — the feeling that you have enough and need nothing more.

Liberation from Illusion and Delusion

As the Buddha said in the Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra (Diamond Sutra), “Like a star, hallucination, candle, magical illusion, dewdrop, bubble, dream, lightning, or a cloud — know all compounded phenomena to be like this.”

From a Buddhist point of view, each aspect and moment of our lives is an illusion. According to the Buddha, it’s like seeing a black spot in the sky that you are unable to make sense of, then concentrating on it intensely until finally you are able to make out a flock of birds. It is like hearing a perfect echo that sounds exactly like a real person shouting back at you. Life is nothing more than a continuous stream of sensory illusions, from the obvious ones, like fame and power, to those less easy to discern, like death, nosebleeds, and headaches. Tragically, though, most human beings believe in what they see, and so the truth Buddha exposed about the illusory nature of life can be a little hard to swallow.

What happens once we know that everything we see and experience is an illusion? And what is left once those illusions have been liberated? To be liberated from illusion is to dispel all the limitations that false perception brings and entirely transform our attitude. So “liberate” means to be released from the delusion of imagining illusions to be real. But crucially, we have to want to be liberated; we have to want to become enlightened. And it is only once we develop a genuine longing for enlightenment that, almost automatically, we start to learn how not to want to be ambitious in a worldly sense. Such a longing is not easy to generate, but without it, to step aimlessly onto the spiritual path would be utterly pointless.

Millions of people in this world are interested in some version of meditation, or yoga, or one of the many so-called spiritual activities that are now so widely marketed. A closer look at why people engage in these practices reveals an aim that has little to do with liberation from delusion and has everything do to with their desperation to escape busy, unhappy lives, and heartfelt longing for a healthy, stress-free, happy life. All of which are romantic illusions.

So where do we find the roots of these illusions? Mainly in our habitual patterns and their related actions. Of course, no one of sound mind imagines any of us would willingly live an illusion. But we are contrary beings, and even though we are convinced we would shun a life built on self-deception, we continue to maintain a strong grip on the habits that are the cause of countless delusions. Small wonder the great masters of the past have said that although everyone longs to be free from suffering, most of us simply won’t let go of it; although no one wants to suffer, we find it almost impossible not to be attracted to samsara.

Mindfulness

Most of us know that aggression is a problem, as are pride and jealousy, but the truth is that all emotions cause problems one way or another and each has a distinctive character. “Passion,” for example, is starkly different from “aggression.” Fundamentally, though, all emotions spring from one basic source, distraction.

What is “distraction”? Clearly, it is not merely the sound of a chainsaw firing up or blaring Bollywood music that interrupts our meditation practice. On a more profound level, distraction is any of the emotional responses we are sidetracked by — for example, hope for praise and fear of blame, as well as its more subtle manifestations, like being spaced-out, distracted, lost in thought, or worked up.

Since our fundamental problem is distraction, its fundamental solution is to be mindful. There are an infinite number of methods for developing mindfulness that all fall into one of two categories: shamatha or vipashyana. The point of shamatha practice is to make mind malleable. But a pliant mind alone will not uproot samsara completely; we also need to see the truth, which is why vipashyana , or insight, practice is so crucial.

Unfortunately, though, mindfulness is difficult, mostly because we lack the enthusiasm to develop it but also because our habit of longing for distraction is both deeply ingrained and extremely tenacious. It is therefore vital for a dharma practitioner to develop renunciation mind and to recognise the defects of samsara, both of which lie at the core of the Buddhist approach to training the mind.

The masters of the past suggest we should constantly remind ourselves about: the imminence of death; the futility of our worldly activities; and the worst news of all, that there is no end to samsara’s sufferings. Just look around you and you will see that the world never ceases to churn out more and more of the same thing, and that the result is unremitting pain and unbearable suffering. It’s no surprise, then, as the great masters have pointed out, that to maintain mindfulness for as long as it takes to drink a cup of tea accumulates more merit than years of practicing generosity, discipline, and asceticism.

If he won’t accept your body hair as a natural part of you, if he refuses to embrace the shape and size of your breasts, if he doesn’t appreciate each kink and curl of your hair, if he doesn’t gently trace every beauty mark, if his hands don’t hold onto your thighs for dear life, if he doesn’t eagerly explore every fold, crevice, dip and curve like it’s a new advendture, if his fingers don’t run along every scar and wrinkle like he’s walking along the shoreline of a beach, if he doesn’t think your stretch marks are as beautiful as the stripes on a tigress, if he doesn’t kiss your cellulite with so much passion that your insecurities fade away, if he doesn’t get down on his knees and lose his mind between your thighs as he breathes his life into you, if he doesn’t want you at every size, every shape, every weight, every time of the month, if he hesitates to love your flaws, recognize your worth, give you his unconditional respect, compliment your inner beauty, admire you for the work of art you truly are, cherish your heart, arouse your mind, feed your soul and worship every inch of your body, then he isn’t worthy of you.

You are a goddess. Please love yourself enough to never settle for someone who won’t acknowledge that and love you completely.

3

a/n: “bet you thought you’d seen the last of me!” - a face to call home. welcome to part five, six thousand years later. honestly, to the anon that i got yesterday, this is written because of you, so thank you! i wrote this last night and this afternoon because i missed our favorite little family of four (soon to be five!). i hope you enjoy! happy valentine’s day in august!

february 2030 - the all black wardrobe

Harry would never admit that he was afraid of Eva, but sometimes he was terrified to face her wrath. There were two times a year where Harry would walk on eggshells around his wife, in constant fear of saying something out of line. New York Fashion Week came twice a year and as much as Harry had grown to love fashion over the years, he hated Fashion Week with every fiber of his being.

It was fun being invited to shows and sitting front row. Hectic, sure, but seeing the newest collections was always a good time. It wasn’t until Eva started her own line and began showing at New York Fashion Week herself that it lost its allure. They used to be the couple invited to sit front row at shows (Eva had to turn most of them down because she was working during the day time for Milly, typically on their show). Now, Harry watched from the same spot or backstage with Madeleine and Phoebe by his side.

Keep reading

Commission I got from the lovely taiyari! Go commission them!! Also please full size this to really appreciate the nuisance of these jerk’s blushing faces. 

losingart  asked:

i'm currently really interested in the mbti, but i'm not sure if that's a good thing. is personality typing ever useful or does it just encourage us to focus too much on the ego?

Personality typing may provide some temporary usefulness yet describing your personality will not lead you beyond it. 

In western perspective, the personality is viewed as a character of the soul. In yoga philosophy, the individual is seen as being composed of tendencies and self-created freedom. 

It can be useful to understand your tendencies but the emphasis is on self-created freedom. 

To be self-created means to abide spontaneously as yourself. It is the activity of your naturalness. It has a distinctly child-like glimmer to it. 

To put it simply, if you don’t waste energy propping up your personality, you are free to act, think, and experience in ways that your personality might ordinarily not permit. It is often counteracted by the need to be right, the need to reduce cognitive dissonance, and excessive self-cherishing. 

This is uncovered through the practice of meditation as you begin to gain an experience of yourself that does not depend on the personality in order to be known. 

Namaste :)

Autumn Equinox and Mabon Masterpost

An Equinox is the moment in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the sun. This occurs twice a year, in March (Vernal) and in September (Autumnal). On an Equinox, the duration of night and day are equal. This post refers to the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox.

Originally posted by greatestgifsofalltime

Date: Around September 22

Themes: The second harvest, balance, harmony, finding peace, releasing grudges, self-reflection, cherishing those closet to you, cleaning and cleansing

Lunar Phase Association: The Last Quarter Moon

Colors: Orange, Yellow, Green, Red, Maroon, Brown

Herbs: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, 

Stones: Citrine, Sunstone, Moonstone, Apricot Agate, 

Scents: Fresh Bread, Sweet Preserves, Flowers, Mint

Foods: Apples, Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider, Coffee, Wine (or Grape Juice), Warm Mead, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatos, Warm Soups, Pomegranate, In season fruits and vegetables

Offerings: Acorns, Apples, Fallen Leaves, Pumpkins, Coffee Grounds, Fruit Peels and Cores, Candles, Pine Cones, Pomegranate, Horns and Cornucopias, 

Recipes:

- Pumpkin Bread by @katialena

Things to Do:

- Make Wine or Cider

- Equinox Peace Spell by @curuni

- Participate in Self-Love September

- Donate food or money to your local organizations

- Make “Autumn Fairy Dust” by @teacupsandcauldrons

- Make a Mabon page in your Grimoire, or add a recipe or craft to your already existent section.

- Make Candles to burn during Yule or Imbolc

- Perform a Thanksgiving Ritual or hold your own personal Feast

- Make a Mabon Altar

- Have a bonfire