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August 18, 2015

Lose Heart! {Editor’s Letter}

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“Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” ~ M. Scott Peck  

Lose Heart!

We all lose heart, from time-to-time.
 
Angry, frustrated, despondent. Below all that is sadness. And below all that is a place of vulnerability and strength, both, where we can begin to learn our way out of the habitual patterns that have—temporarily—defeated our ego.

For when we lose heart, really, it’s an opening: I’m depressed, frustrated, put-upon, sad…I’m ready to give up.

Trungpa Rinpoche loved that moment. He said, that is the moment when your ego has finally figured out that it can’t win. When you can actually learn something new. You’re open, soft.

Often, when I’m depressed—miserable—my friends will say, We like you more this way. You’re not an asshole. It’s a funny moment. I’m miserable, or think I am—but I’m more fun to be around. Often, when we think we’re fun or cool to be around, we’re just pretentious loud arrogant blowhards.

So. The way out is through, as Churchill reminds me. The way out is through. We don’t get out of this defeat by running. By giving up. We get out of this defeat by giving in, by letting go, but opening up and learning.

Life is tough stuff. I’m defeated all the time. But I’m also in love. But I’m also privileged to be enjoying a safe, sunny summer. Life is a mixed bag of nuts and ouchy thorns. Life is a rose, I guess.

Prune the rose. Water the rose (with water you catch in your bath when you’re waiting for the shower water to get hot). Pay attention to the rose, and it’ll delight yourself and others, both. Don’t spray it with poison, or the bees will die.

Elephant is about two things: inner mindfulness, and outer mindfulness. Inner mindfulness—genuine spirituality—is manifest when we pay attention and care. Outer mindfulness is manifest when we pay attention to inner mindfulness and extend the flower outward, helping others through humor, authenticity, gentleness.

So I’ve lost heart. And I know that’s not a bad thing, even if it feels like it. It’s a signal that I have something to learn, so that I can further enjoy being me and further appreciate this precious life and be of further benefit to others.

> Elephant trains our staff to do this, too, learning from the mindful craft of journalism, of Buddhadharma. Every three of four months we start a new apprenticeship program, where you, our readers, get to (if you wish) work with us directly and learn to blog, edit, learn journalism ethics, and learn social media. Our Fall Apprenticeship program is starting soon. It takes 10-15 hours a week. It’s affordable (most social media training programs are pricey—google ’em). It’s here. Two days left to apply. It’s online—you can be anywhere. Many folks have fun, and many folks get jobs in social media/blogging/editing/writing, and a few folks get hired by elephant itself.

Enjoy the rest of summer—here’s my mindful tips on how to slow it down and enjoy it fully. Video of me pratting on here.

Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,

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