Invoking Sophrosyne

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sophrosyne

‘Sophrosyne is the greatest virtue, and wisdom is speaking and acting the truth, paying heed to the nature of things.’ – Heraclitus, fragment 112 It happens fairly often. Inside ourselves or in others while in conversation with them, or when we’re alone. Suddenly a light goes on, a flash of insight hits home. With relief and perhaps a satisfied smile, we feel and we say, ‘ah, so it’s all a matter of balance then.’ As if we have found the one key that is so essential. As if in the end, the freedom of ‘enlightenment’ can be had if only we may have that one […]

Alchemical meditation

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Alchemical meditation

‘Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss or tranquility, nor is it attempting to become a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes. We provide space through the simple discipline of doing nothing.’ – Chogyam Trungpa, from The Myth of Freedom Meditation is something we do To change our lives we have to change what we do and how we live. We soon become saturated by the cultures into which we were born. This is true whether we […]

The mystery of meditation

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mystery of meditation

‘Not much to offer you – just a lotus flower floating In a small jar of water.’ – Ryokan, from One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan, translated by John Stevens The paradox of letting go of ‘recipes’ Poetry comes closest to communicate what happens in meditation. The events and landscapes of the soul are as vast and limitless as the galaxies out there. ‘As above so below.’π At moments, perhaps, meditation brings us to truly ‘see’ Ryokan’s lotus flower in the small jar of water. And ‘something happens’. It is as if a vortex opens up and we feel the most incredible […]

The golden mean

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The golden mean

‘Rectitude is a matter of making the innate tendencies of things conform to their natures.’ – From The Classic of Changes, A New Translation of the I Ching as Interpreted by Wang Bi, by Richard John Lynn Buddhism outlines a path through which we may loosen the grip of suffering on us, called the eightfold path. The first of these eight practices entails a shift in perspective and is called ‘right view’. It is also the foundation for the other seven. Without right view there can be no right intention, right speech, right action, right effort, right livelihood, right mindfulness and right absorption. It entails […]

Fear – our first teacher

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Opening to fear

‘The importance of fear has been given too little true psychological attention. … The biblical statement that fear is the beginning of wisdom is significant. … Fear is not merely something wrong, to be overcome with courage … but is rather something right, a form of wise counsel. … Love stirs fear. At the deepest level of fear eros appears. … Fear seems an inherent necessity to the eros experience; where it is absent, one might well doubt the full validity of the loving.’ – James Hillman, from The Myth of Analysis Opening to fear Fear is a most common emotion. Yet, few of us […]

The discipline of openness

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The discipline of the path

‘It takes tremendous effort to work one’s way through the difficulties of the path and actually get into the situations of life thoroughly and properly.’ – Chogyam Trungpa, from Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism Openness When we hear the word ‘discipline’ we usually understand it to mean forcing ourselves into doing things against our will and our instinct. We feel we have to hold our breath lest we slip up or make a mistake, until we get to that goal the discipline is supposed to help us achieve. But in fact, this kind of discipline is only an obstruction to cultivating soul and being on the […]