The Practice of Acceptance

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Though there are occasions when a firm hand is needed, I learned early that one of the most important qualities of a leader is listening without judgment, or with what Buddhist call bare attention.

In The Tao of Leadership, John Heider writes:

The wise leader is of service, yielding, following. The group member’s vibration dominates and leads, while the leader follows. But soon it is the member’s consciousness which is transformed. It is the job of the leader to be aware of the group member’s process; it is the need of the group member to be received and paid attention to. Both get what they need if the leader has the wisdom to serve and follow.

In Zen it is said that the gap between accepting things the way they are and wishing them to be otherwise is “the tenth of an inch of difference between heaven and hell”. If we can accept whatever hand we’ve been dealt – no matter how unwelcome – the way to proceed eventually becomes clear. This is what is meant by right action: the capacity to observe what’s happening and act appropriately, without being distracted by self-centered thoughts. If we rage and resist, our angry, fearful minds have trouble quieting down sufficiently to allow us to act in the most beneficial way for ourselves and others.

Phil Jackson

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At Sea on a Boat

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Imagine that you’re out at sea on a boat, voyaging to a far-off destination. Your boat springs a leak, which immediately becomes your priority. You jump down and start bailing water to prevent going under, but forget that nobody is left to navigate the ship. One day, after doing nothing but bailing water for who knows how long, you poke your head over the bow and wonder where the heck you are and how you got there. This is the purposeless life. People can become so preoccupied with just staying afloat that they fail to realize that nobody is at the helm.

Unfortunately, clarifying purpose takes time – quiet, uninterrupted time – which is something many of us feel we don’t have. We rush from one obligation to another without a “50,000 foot” view of where we’re going. It may seems self-indulgent to stop and reflect on questions of meaning and purpose, but journey will demand it.

Sean Patrick

Life is a Tennis Match

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Life is a tennis match between polar opposites. Winning and losing, love and hate, open and closed. It helps to recognize that painful fact early. Then recognize the polar opposites within yourself, and if you can’t embrace them, or reconcile them, at least accept them and move on. The only thing you cannot do is ignore them.

Andre Agassi

Law of Dependent Origination

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Buddha came to understand that the destiny of beings was not a result of mere chance or fate, nor was it dependent upon the arbitrary actions of a supreme being. Man’s destiny could be traced to former deeds, good and bad.

He devised the Law of Dependent Origination of all phenomena – the law of cause and effect. He found that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

According to Buddhist philosophy every deed – mental, oral or physical – has a consequence. The entire universe is governed by moral principles. Any attempt to act contrary to these principles or disregard them will only result in the increase of suffering.

Wise and wholesome deeds performed under moral principles reduce suffering and bring happiness, while unwise and unwholesome actions carried out without regard to moral principles result in the end in the increase of woe and suffering.

John E. Coleman

Keep Your Mind at Home

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When you know what to think and do, then you must use your will to compel yourself to think and do the right things. That is the legitimate use of the will in getting what you want – to use it in holding yourself to the right course. Use your will to keep yourself thinking and acting in the Certain Way. Do not try to project your will, or your thoughts, or your mind out into the space, to “act” on things or people. Keep your mind at home; it can accomplish more there than elsewhere. Use your mind to form a mental image of what you want, and to hold that vision with faith and purpose; and use your will to keep your mind working in the Right Way.

Wallace D. Wattles

About Positive Thinking

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Positive thinking is not just a motivational idea. It has measurable, constructive effects on your personality, your health, your levels of energy, and your creativity. The more positive and optimistic you are, the happier you will be in every area of your life.

Each time you take complete control over your thoughts and feelings, and discipline yourself to keep them positive, the quality of both your inner and outer lives improves. In the absence of negative emotions, your mind automatically fills with the positive emotions that generate feelings of happiness and fulfillment.

Brian Tracy

Still mind

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Perhaps a better way to describe the player who is “unconscious” is by saying that his mind is so concentrated, so focused, that it is still. It becomes one with what the body id doing, and the unconscious or automatic functions are working without interference from thoughts.

The ability to approach this state is the goal of the Inner Game. The development of inner skill is required, but it is interesting to note that if, while learning tennis, you begin to learn how to focus your attention and how to trust in yourself, you have learned something far more valuable that how to hit a forceful backhand. The backhand can be used to advantage only on a tennis court, but the skill of mastering the art of effortless concentration is invaluable in whatever you set your mind to.

W. Timothy Gallwey