25 Oct
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No Thanks, I’ll Pass

sisyphus-1Our KM group met last night to discuss the chapter on Renunciation in Joseph Goldstein’s Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. The word “renunciation” has a lot of negative connotations, but in this case we’re not talking about depriving ourselves of joy and comfort and pleasure. We’re finding peace and ease by releasing ourselves from the “addiction” of habitual patterns.

Joseph talks about “the wisdom of no, when we recognize that some things are not skillful, not helpful, not leading to happiness. At those times,” he writes,”we can practice saying, ‘No thanks, I’ll pass.'”

But we are often so used to our habits — even our painful, stress-causing habits — that we forget they can be changed.

I like Stephen Mitchell’s take in Parables and Portraits:

“We tend to think of Sisyphus as a tragic hero, condemned by the gods to shoulder his rock sweatily up the mountain, again and again, forever. 

“The truth is that Sisyphus is in love with the rock. He cherishes every roughness and every ounce of it. He talks to it. Sings to it. It has become the mysterious Other. He even dreams of it as he sleepwalks upward. Life is unimaginable without it, looming always above him like a huge gray moon.

“He doesn’t realize that at any moment he is permitted to step aside, let the rock hurdle to the bottom, and go home.

“Tragedy is the inertial force of the mind.”

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