Eating the Blame

From: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

By Jack Kornfield

When we are confused or in pain, we often judge ourselves as
“not spiritual enough.” But the awakened heart does not judge
anything-not our family or our love, nor our pain and confusion,
our passion or anger. “Terrible harm has been done by this
misunderstanding,” said one Catholic monk.

In mature spirituality we are willing to have a dialogue
with pain, with evil, to hold them in our prayers. In
situations Of great pain, someone has to consciously
suffer the impact, to become the ground where the
sorrows can be held and reworked. These things can be
carried with grace. But it can’t be faked. If you go to
someone with 99 percent of goodwill and are still caught
in 1 percent anger, all they feel is the anger, and it pushes
them from reconciliation. The heart has to willingly hold the
whole of suffering for it to be transformed.

In Zen, holding the suffering sometimes takes the form of
“eating the blame.” It is illustrated by the story of a
cook who made soup for the monks from a turtle offered by
fishermen that morning. When the soup was ladled into the
monks’ bowls, the roshi bellowed for the cook to come out.
The turtle’s head, which should have been removed before
serving, was floating in the master’s bowl. The cook bowed
to the master, looked into the bowl, saw the problem, and
with a deft movement of chopsticks plucked the turtle head
out and ate it. Then he bowed to the master, the master
back, and the cook returned to the kitchen.

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Sure Heart’s Release

From After the Ecstasy, the Laundry:
How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path

by Jack Kornfield

For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and
openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction.
Times of profound peace and newfound love are often over-
taken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery
of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In
mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that
opens and closes. This is our nature. The only surprising thing is
how unexpected this truth can be. It is as if deep down we all
hope that some experience, some great realization, enough years
of dedicated practice, might finally lift us beyond the touch of
life, beyond the mundane struggles of the world. We cling to
some hope that in spiritual life we can rise above the wounds of
our human pain, never to have to suffer them again. We expect
some experience to last. But permanence is not true freedom,
not the sure heart’s release.

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Fresh Start

From: The Places That Scare You

By Pema Chödrön

Forgiveness is an essential ingredient of bodhichitta practice. It allows us to let go of the past and make a fresh start.

When a close friend of mine was dying, a Tibetan teacher told her to review her life with honesty and compassion. This process led her to some pretty dark places, corners of her mind where she was stuck in guilt and resentment. The teacher then instructed her in forgiveness, saying that the most important thing to do was to forgive herself. He suggested that she do a variation on tonglen. She should begin by visualizing herself and then intentionally bring up all her life’s regrets. The point was not to dwell in painful memories but to contact the feelings underlying the pain: guilt or shame, confusion or remorse. The feelings didn’t have to be named; she was to contact the stuckness in a nonverbal way.

The next step was to breathe these feelings into her heart, opening it as wide as she possibly could, and then to send herself forgiveness.fter that, she was to think of others feeling the same anguish and to breathe their pain and hers into her heart and to send everyone for- giveness. My friend found this to be a healing process. It allowed her to make amends with those she had hurt and those who had hurt her. She was able to let go of her shame and anger before she died.

A woman who came to Gampo Abbey for a tonglen retreat had suffered severe sexual abuse from her father. She strongly identified with caged birds; she told me that she often felt like a bird in a cage. During tonglen, she would breathe in the feeling of being small and caged; on the outbreath she would open the door and let all the birds out. One day as she was sending and taking in this way, she experienced one of the birds flying out and landing on a man’s shoulder. Then the man turned around and she saw it was her father. For the first time in her life she was able to forgive him.

Forgiveness, it seems, cannot be forced. When we are brave enough to open our hearts to ourselves, however, forgiveness will emerge.

There is a simple practice we can do to cultivate for- giveness. First we acknowledge what we feel-shame, revenge, embarrassment, remorse. Then we forgive ourselves for being human. Then, in the spirit of not wallowing in the pain, we let go and make a fresh start. We don’t have to carry the burden with us anymore. We can acknowledge, forgive, and start anew. If we practice this way, little by little we’ll learn to abide with the feeling of regret for having hurt ourselves and others. We will also learn self-forgiveness. Eventually, at our own speed, we’ll even find our capacity to forgive those who have done us harm. We will discover forgiveness as a natural expression of the open heart, an expression of our basic goodness. This potential is inherent in every moment. Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start.

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Bittersweet Symphony Lyrics

Song Lyrics on Allspirit

The Verve

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
Your a slave to money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you
to the places where all the things meet yeah

No change,
I can’t change I can’t change, I can’t change
But I’m here in my mold, I am here in my mold
But I’m a million different people from one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no

Well I never pray
But tonight I’m on my knees yeah
I need to hear some sounds
that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind,
I feel free now
But the airways are clean
and there’s nobody singing to me now

No change,
I can’t change I can’t change, I can’t change
But I’m here in my mold, I am here in my mold
And I’m a million different people from one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no
I can’t change I can’t change

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
Try to find some money, then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you
to the places where all the things meet yeah

You know I can’t change, I can’t change
I can’t change, I can’t change
But I’m here in my mold, I am here in my mold
And I’m a million different people from one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no
I can’t change my mold
no, no, no, no, no,
I can’t change

I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
(It justs sex and violence melody and silence)
(Been down)
(Ever been down)
That you’ve ever been down
That you’ve ever been down

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Peace On Earth Lyrics

Song Lyrics on Allspirit

U2

From the Album All That You Can’t Leave Behind

Heaven on Earth, we need it now
I’m sick of all of this hanging around
Sick of sorrow, sick of the pain
I’m sick of hearing again and again
That there’s gonna be peace on Earth

Where I grew up there weren’t many trees
Where there was we’d tear them down
And use them on our enemies
They say that what you mock
Will surely overtake you
And you become a monster
So the monster will not break you

And it’s already gone too far
Who said that if you go in hard
You won’t get hurt?

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth
Tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on Earth
No whos or whys
No one cries like a mother cries
For peace on Earth
She never got to say goodbye
To see the color in his eyes
Now he’s in the dirt
Peace on Earth

They’re reading names out over the radio
All the folks the rest of us won’t get to know
Sean and Julia, Gareth and Ann and Breda
Their lives are bigger than any big idea

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth
To tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on Earth
Jesus sing a song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth
Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won’t rhyme
So what’s it worth
This peace on Earth

Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth

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Bridge Over Troubled Water

Song Lyrics on Allspirit

Simon & Garfunkel

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I’m on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

Sail on silvergirl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

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The Times You’ve Come

Song Lyrics on Allspirit

Jackson Browne

In the time we’ve known
That we each are a part of one another
We’ve lost as much as we have won
And as our lives have grown
We have found that it only brings us pain
That hangs on to the things that we have done
Still I love the times you’ve come

When you went away
Taking all that I’d built my false road on
I dropped my life and couldn’t find the pieces
Now you come and go
And it’s hard but I feel my strength returning
We’ll see how far this new road reaches
We’ll see a little more each time we come

Now everybody’s gonna tell you its not worth it
Everybody’s gotta show you their own pain
You might try to find your way up around it
But the need for love will still remain

Now we’re lying here
So safe in the ruins of our pleasures
Laughter marks the place where we have fallen
And our lives are near
So it wouldn’t occur to us to wonder
Is this the past or the future that is calling

You know I’ve loved these times you’ve come.

Index of Lyrics on Allspirit