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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 23 also has a quality of claustrophobia—we are comfortable within the small domain of limiting concepts. I’m not necessar- ily talking about clinical depression, but about the depression of our ability to per- ceive the world as it is. We have padded our perceptions. When we do this, how we en- gage in the world strengthens our disbelief of our own nature, almost as if radar goes out and bounces back. We feel the room as small and the world as dead, so we can’t appreciate who or where we are. When we’re depressed, we don’t want to extend ourselves, so we become lazy. Laziness and depression make a nice cou- ple at the party of suffering. There’s a low- grade anger involved, a slight irritation at the sight of others celebrating. We want what they have. We can liberate that sense of heaviness and depression by relaxing how we regard our environment, not in a sloppy way but by opening our senses. Appreciating where we are right now is a helpful antidote to depression. Uplifting our minds and increasing our life-force energy begins with a good strat- egy. In this very difficult period, we need action-oriented practices, starting with mindfulness—paying attention. As prac- titioners, we have the power to create an uplifted environment that supports us in changing our habits. There is nothing like success, whether it is big or small, so we work with outmaneuvering the negativity by starting small. We begin by looking at the conditions of our life, which may be coming together in such a way that ampli- fies the darkness of the age. In our daily cycle, where are we plac- ing our mind? What environmental influ- ences are we encouraging? When mind- fulness shows us our options, we’ll be able to institute small changes that will have a cumulative effect. I call this the “ten- percent advantage.” If we shift our atten- tion in just a few key ways, it’s easy to fall into negativity. If we shift our attention in other key ways, it’s easy to go in a positive direction. Paying attention to our life and arranging our environment so it supports us in cultivating compassion is how we move out of the dark age with expediency and momentum. ♦ Sylvia Boorstein Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche Polly Young-Eisendrath John Ta rrant visit us online at eOmega.org or call 800.944.1001 Cosponsored By Mindfulness, Love & Relationship What the Buddhists Te ach In Buddhism, the issue of relationship represents more than how we get along with lovers, family, or friends. It explores the basic split between self and other and the conflict inherent in this dualistic view. Join a stellar faculty and the Shambhala Sun at Omega Institute in New Yo rk City as we explore the basic Buddhist view of self and other, and work specifically with relationship issues in that light. Sheraton New Yo rk Hotel, New Yo rk City April 3-5, 2009