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December 14, 2005     Mukilteo Beacon
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December 14, 2005

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16 - Mukflteo Beacon - December 2005 'I r-~, r~" !i !/ r :|7 r i: The Zen Master replies, SAL BARBA, PH.D. I, sir, am the one who ~ir the Beacon . can be run through without batting an eye!" Hearing this, In my next few articles, Ithe general bowed and left. will be discussing Compas- sion. Compassion is critical to psychological and spiritual health. Since the emphasis in this column is on Buddhist spirituality, compassion is es- sential to understand. There is an old Zen tale that I occasionally come across. It's a story from a time dur- ing the civil war in Korea. One day, a general escorted his troops from one province to the next, trampling upon everything that crossed his path. People living in the next village heard of his cruelty and quickly exited into the mountains. As the general entered the empty town with his troops, he sent them out in search of tenants. Some soldiers re- turned, and reported only one old Zen priest had remained behind. The general strode over to the temple, walked in and pulled the sword from his sheath, and said, "Don't you know who I am? I am the one who can run you through without batting an eye!" Many of us would not have such an outcome in circum- stances as the Zen priest. Several years ago, as a young man, I found myself in an argtunent with a fellow spiri- tual Sojourner. We had an ar- gument about feeling I had cheated him in dollars re- garding repair work I com- missioned him to do. In fact, it was the other way around. He wouldn't include me in his monologue, and in a heated instant he struck me after punitively lecturing him on how he had much to learn about honesty, mindfulness and compassion! Weeks later, during our walk in a cemetery, we laughed at our mutual igno- rance, and made amends. We can find Ourselves in similar situations. Life re- minds us of our shortcom- ings. How do we learn to become spiritually astute? Loving kindness and compas- sion require disciplined ef- fort and patience. Unlike the Zen master, many of us have not become familiar enough with prac- tices that keep our hearts and minds open. Therefore, we sometimes blame others for our adversity. When we feel that we have been the victim of injustice, the most debilitating impact upon us and others is anger. On a superficial level, the cause of adversity is anger. The remedy, of course, is strength of heart. This means cultivating a courageous attitude so that when adversity does strike us, we can transform it into spiritual practice. Adversity can help us return to a calm- er state of mind. We can remember phrases like, "May adversities infuse me with the opportunity to deepen understanding and compassion!" This doesn't imply responding to injustice with apathy. It means refrain- ing from hatred. "Compati," a Latin deriva- tive of one which signifies suf- fering with another, is rooted in empathy, and in Buddhist psychology this wish extends beyond oneself. Compassion begins with the wish of em- pathy for oneself, and extends outward to others. This later quality of com- passion means "great com- passion," or ultimate com- passion. The Dalai Lama explains compassion as "a mental attitude based upon the wish for others to be free of their suffering." Love en- genders compassion because it perpetuates the wish for ev- eryone to have every kind of happiness that is beneficially possible, In her recent book, A Call to Compassion, Aura Gla- ser says, "Together, love and compassion give us the flex- ibility, resilience, and cour- age to embrace life, in all of its splendor and sorrow." Compassion encourages self-reflection, and deep awareness of our own imper- fections. A heart and mind that is open and vulnerable gives us the strength and courage to reach beneath the surface of our irrevocable connection with others. We can begin to develop the practice of compassion by learning how to calm the mind. We must first learn how to become friendly to our self by accepting our self as we are. We can engage in simple meditation practices at first. We can simply place our at- each time the mind drifts. Thoughts, feelings and emo- tions distract us; just contin- ue to bring the mind back to the breath without judgment. This is another antidote to support us to shift from bewilderment and suffering to development of stability, clarity and calmness of our mind. A calm attentive mind is a preliminary for moving beyond our knee-jerk reac- tions of fear, anger, aversion and hostility to patience, equanimity, understanding and compassion. A calm mind makes it pos- sible to inquire and find an- swers to our questions. We can practice further with simple phrases such as the following: May I and all beings be free from pain and sor- row. May I and all beings be held in compassion. May I and all beings be rec- onciled. May I and all beings be at peace. Dr. Barba has been a psy- chotherapist for 28 years. He has been practicing Buddhist principles since 1971. He teach- es on Whidbey Island and in Seattle. You can contact him tention .on the breath, and withfurther quest nsat.'(360) keep it there, or bring it back 221-7525 or (206) 215-0534. ~WT. ]~ FROM. PAGE 7 * e* Q e** e* and get it." Mariner team captain Mo- hammad Mustafa, at 189, fol- lowed Wright's victory with a pin of his own - his second in as many meets - to seal the victory. "The coaching staff has been really excited in the improvements that our wres- tlers are making from match to match," Olson said. "They are willing to evalu- ate their performance and st. b|L a - st. paC |ck ep|scopaL cl u c} Church shopping? Take our Compatibility Test D Do you have an open mind? Do you want to understand the Bible without swallowing it whole? Q Do you want to protect your family from excesses of religious beliefs? Ever been touched by God through sacraments, prayer, scripture or music? Do you see God in other people? I to 2 boxes checked: You need us! 3 to 4 boxes checked: You would make a great Episcopalian! 5 boxes checked: You must be an Episcopalian (and if not, you should be)! Come and worship with us this Christmas! December 18 Children's Christmas Pageant 10:30 a.m. Christmas Eve Family Service 4:30 p,m. Christmas Eve Lessons, Carols, Communion 9:30 p.m. Christmas Morning Service 10:00 a.m. Visit our website www.sthildastpatrick.org for more information and directions, or call the church, 425-743-4655. nd 1522452 Avenue West, Edmonds ooe**oeoe*ooD* ooo*oooQ* work on making the changes necessary Our guys keep pushing their skills, and look- ing for areas to improve." Other Marauder victories by way of pin came from Woo Song (103) Raymon Yee (119) and Long Bui (135). Kamiak's Skylar Graika, at 140 pounds, defeated Mariner standout Austin Kintner, 4-0. Sam Wilkins pinned Mari- ner's Ryan Coffman with 1:10 remaining in the third round, and Jeremy Galloway pinned Nick Almelia at 275. Mariner improved to 1-0 in league, and 2-0 overall. Ka- miak dropped to 0-1 in league and 2-2 overall. Boys Basketball The Knights nearly over- came an early double-digit deficit Friday night before falling 50-48 to Everett in a Western Conference South Division nail-biter. Trailing by as many as 10 points early in the first half, the Knights mounted a comeback that got them to within 5 points at half- time thanks to a Ben Iddins last second 3-pointer at the buzzer. Iddins finished with 9 points and teammatd and senior guard Journey Perry scored a team high 14 points to lead Kamiak. The Knights 1-1, 1-2, play at Jackson beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday and hosts Mountlake Terrace Dec. 20. iL