Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.


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Reverence for life and the death penalty

“Because all manifestation has both an individual an collective aspect, it would not be correct to say that a young man in prison bears the whole responsibility for his crime. He is the product of his family, his schooling, and society. If we look deeply, we may find that when he was younger, his parents often fought and caused each other and their child to suffer. Perhaps he was abused. Lacking love, lacking education, he tried to forget himself in drugs. With drugs, his ability to make good choices diminished even further. Committing a crime was the result.

Looking deeply, we see that the conditions for this young man’s actions did not arise only from his own mind and experiences. All of us bear some responsibility for creating the conditions that led him into the cycle of crime and addiction. If we only condemn or punish him, it will not help. People use drugs because they are in pain and want to run away from life. Putting someone who is suffering like this in prison is not the way to solve the problem. There has to be love and understanding, some means to bringing him back to life, offering him joy, clarity, and purpose.“ Thich Nhat Hanh, Understanding Our Mind.

Image courtesy to pbs.orgWednesday evening, September 10, 6 pm CST, Texas State killed Willie Trottie. Because he killed his ex-girlfriend Barbara Canada and her brother Titus.

I joined my Sangha to sit as a silent witness at the steps of the State Capitol in honor of our first mindfulness training: Reverence for Life. “Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivate the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life.”

I thought of offering myself as a replacement of the convict to take an active stand against executions as a strategy for safety. I thought about it a long time. Then I realized that I would be terrified, panicked, and anguished in the certain prospect of death. I am too attached to life, and too averted to pain and suffering. Instead of peace, trust, love, openness, and understanding of impermanence and interbeing, I would offer fear and terror. I am pretty sure that would not help.

I think the only thing that helps is practicing compassion, understanding, love, and mindfulness in our thoughts, speech, and actions. For ourselves, for our beloved ones, for our not so loved ones, and for our society. So that we would help create a society where everyone receives so much support, acceptance, belonging, understanding, and compassion, that no one needs to kill to get their needs met.

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You want help to practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.


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Killing a mosquito

“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life…”

This is the first Mindfulness Training: Reverence For Life, revised by Thich Nhat Hanh.

I am memorizing all Five Mindfulness Trainings, one by one, thus trying to deepen my understanding of them, and reinforcing my commitment to and love for them.

Yes. I practice the First Mindfulness Training. I shifted to a vegan diet, I started buying vegan shoes (Thanks Teva, for such cute sandals), I sit as silent witness every time a human being is executed by Texas officials.

Image courtesy to c2.StaticFlickr.comAnd yet, I kill a mosquito whenever I see them in the house.

Outside they’re safe. I consider that their home as much as mine.

Inside they’re not.

My husband and I suffer so much from the allergic reactions to the bites and our itching, that I find it completely justified to kill them. Worse, I take pride in the swiftness of my strike and my 80% success rate.

And yet, my consciousness gnaws at me. If I am so aware of our interconnectedness, if I am sincere in my practice of looking deeply into how the mosquito and I interare (which is actually quite easy, when they bite you and carry your blood in their body), how can I kill them?

I make every effort to rescue the silver fish in my bath tub, before I take a shower, to vacuum clean around the spider, to give the ants a chance to flee from the dust pile, before I throw it in the trash bin. Why don’t I extend the same courtesy and support to the mosquito?

The truth is that I feel hurt by the mosquito, and not by the other animals. The truth is that I know how to live peacefully with the mouse and the scorpions, and not with the mosquito. The truth is that I am limited by my inability to stand my feelings, especially the itch. The truth is that I think I already do more than enough to honor the first Mindfulness Training, and that I can happily kill one or two mosquito’s.

Whether or not I do more than enough, the truth is that I’ll keep reciting the first Mindfulness Training till even the tiniest mosquito is safe in my house.

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You want help to connect to the interbeing of all life? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.