Looking around the world, we see that there's certainly enough death, loss, and grief to go around. This year we saw the horrific Japanese tsunami, the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, and violent weather and natural disasters around the world.
No one can escape the fact of death and mortality. Pain, too, is a fact of the human condition and is unavoidable. That said, the state of our hearts and minds is an area we can do something about it. Great suffering can lead to great awakening. There are spiritual answers to our mental suffering, as these teachings, below, explain.
If your heart needs help, I hope you'll take a look at these posts. They are not all "dharma" or Buddhist "how to" instructions. You'll also find powerful music and poetry that speak to our common humanity and to what is best in us as human beings.
May these all of these be of help and comfort you! Steve Goodheart
Music and Poetry in Remembrance of the September 11th Attacks
“On this day before the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I want to share what I think is one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard about this terrible event that broke our hearts and for a time united people all over the world in our common humanity...I’m also sharing a poem speaks of the burdens we carry in our hearts over loved ones lost and of the “severe gift” that calls us to honor the dead by being true to ourselves and by courageously living in the light of what we learn from our losses...“
“It is understandable that those who do not believe there is any reality deeper than this life, and the death that ends it, do not want to dwell on the fact of death. But if you suspect there is a way to awaken to a deeper, timeless reality that lies beyond birth and death, there is nothing more compelling than reflection on death. Inspiration and joy can be found in doing so, since it turns one’s thoughts away from attachment to what is unreal, and leads one in the other direction of what is ultimately real and of lasting value… ~ “Lama Shenpen Hookham
For the Sake of Strangers—Poem and Music
“The whole world is speaking, if only we can listen, even for a moment. The whole world is trying always to find us, to rescue us from ourselves, from our own self-absorption; from the despair that lives in everything and everyone. From this temptation to step off the edge and fall weightless, way from the world...”Some Helpful Buddhist Meditations on Death (audio)
“Of all the challenges we face as humans, none is more difficult than death. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the death of thousands in some natural disaster, or the fear of our own eventual demise, death is the terrible problem that won’t go away. Nothing causes more suffering….”
Breathing in Peace—Breathing Out Love
"With so much pain and suffering in the news, I wanted to share this guided metta meditation that I’ve used for years. It’s from the book Who is My Self: A Guide to Buddhist Meditation by Ayya Khema, a wonderfully skillful nun in the Theravada tradition."
“This returning to the Source, or realizing the Deathless, is the sense of coming to know the source of our life, the origin of our life. Because it is the very fabric of our life, the basis of our existence, it is something that has been exerting a power of attraction on us all through our life, the attraction of Truth, of the Real, the completely satisfying, the completely safe…” Ajahn Amaro
For more in-depth dharma articles and instruction, visit: METTA REFUGE