Buddhism-informed transformation explained
Part of my work involves helping you find effective tools for transforming your awareness of your sense of prosperity and abundance. Often there are mixed feelings around the concept and practice of stewardship. This is because the world tends to teach, and to reinforce, a tightly held belief in scarcity rather than in your inherent richness.
Fortunately, and despite what you may have learned and tend to cling to, there is an expansiveness within you that reveals the truth that is at the heart of all teachings on abundance. It is that whatever you require is already provided for you. It is right within your reach, yet instead of grasping as the world teaches us, abundance is a gift you can easily bestow and receive, just as the air is that you breathe in from without, and that you also breathe out from within. Breathing as a practice can do much to not only calm any fear or other thought-feelings that can tend to cloud issues surrounding money, but teach or inform you about the energy of breath itself being the basis of all energy, even the energy of supply.
You can learn from any number of modern masters how to become rooted on the path of becoming enlightened. Enlightenment can also assist you in all areas of self-transformation, including the transformation you may desire to have in your own relationship to money. I’d like to suggest beginning with what noted teacher, Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., has to teach on spiritual transformation.
Developing rapport between your thought-feelings and money
The basic concepts of transformation Kornfield talks about can help you begin to find meaningful ways to develop a better relationship between your thoughts and feelings about money. It is also of course important to develop this kind of aware relationship in any other area of your life. Dr. Kornfield, trained as a Buddhist monk and in clinical psychology, has much to say of the sound psychological practices inherent in Buddha’s teachings. He says of all the world’s great religions and philosophies, Buddhism has developed one of the most detailed and practical maps of consciousness in recorded history.
In an interview by Sounds True, where Jack Kornfield talks about the roots of Buddhist psychology, he describes the transformative process as something you can use to lead you to a true “freedom of the heart.” He describes the essence of Buddhist psychology as being both practical and transformative, saying that when you understand the heart and mind you can be free, authentically compassionate, and “happy in the midst of all the things that change in our world.” The tools and practices that Buddhist psychology provides can assist you to find true happiness, the kind of happiness that sustains you between the vagarities of praise and blame, gain and loss, or pleasure and pain.
Consciousness: a transformative healing tool
This study and application of consciousness as taught by the Buddha as a transformative or healing tool is thousands of years old and very well developed. Kornfield says that the understanding of the nature of the senses, the body, and the mind as taught in monasteries is comprised of details that are “as sophisticated as an MIT course on cybernetics.” Yet, while being a complex study, it can through practice be applied simply to lead you to direct ways of transforming your relationship to the world so that you are free.
Kornfield says, “Just as all the great oceans have but one taste – the taste of salt – so all of the teachings of the Buddhas are said to have but one taste,which is the sweet taste of freedom in the heart.”
The phrase, “freedom of the heart” is something that you can actually have in your daily life. It is a very real possibility in that it is, as Buddha taught, the capacity and birthright of every human being. While it may not always be possible to change the circumstances of your life, you have the capacity to be more loving and open, while at the same time you are not so apt to be caught up by or reactive to the greatest difficulties or challenges your life presents.
This freedom that the Buddha taught is, Kornfield believes, that which you can grasp even in the face of fear, anger, addiction, and confusion. “This is true spiritual freedom that connects us to what we really know to be true in ourselves.”
You can cultivate and awaken this inherent capacity to be both wise and free through a sound spiritual practice and understanding. The practices Kornfield teaches have to do with sacred attention. He says that you do this in order “to reconnect the body and mind”. Begin first by learning to know your breath and your body intimately, then extend your attention to your senses of sight, sound, taste, and smell. Do this to understand the life of the senses and the body. From this, Kornfield says, you begin to “examine the nature of the mind and how your moods and inner stories tend to affect all your relationships as the world around you also changes.
This self-examination opens you to the possibility of the practices of the “spacious heart of forgiveness”, how to let go and tap your sense of inner abundance and ease.
When you do this, you shift away from the “body of fear,” from the “small-self” stories, the beliefs that that your egocentric self has identified with but are not the truth. You go from the limited awareness that would keep you in pain to your Buddha nature. And in your Buddha nature is an inherent happiness that is the facilitator of all transformation.
Dr. Kornfield maintains that meditation and Buddhist teachings can provide you with practices for reawakening your natural lovingkindness. You can use them to help you cultivate a profound forgiveness, compassion and joy. Your practice of the equanimity of the Buddha can bring you to “a sense of divine equilibrium, or sacred ease in the midst of all things of life.”
Buddhist psychology: a self-transformation modality
On The Roots of Buddhist Psychology audio set, Dr. Kornfield speaks about an actual shift in personal identity, and how that happens in the process of studying and practicing Buddhist psychology as a self-transformational modality. He explains that, in order to understand Buddhist psychology, you are invited to study yourself. You might, for instance, observe your anger and just begin to notice when it comes to the surface. You then name it and bow to it. You allow yourself to feel it in your body. This enables you to be open to hearing the stories your anger has to tell you, to listen to it as it informs you.
Anger can be a teacher, because as you begin to sense it more deeply, you find its roots. And that is where you can identify those very stories that arise out of fear, disappointment, or pain. You can then see the stories that you’ve been taught or that your mind tells you about how the world supposedly should be and who you think you are.
An understanding of the self-transformation process, such as a Buddhism-based practice through its respectful and careful attention to the inner workings of being, brings with it the discovery that these stories and reactions are not who you really are – they are merely your “conditioned responses and old habits.” Kornfield talks of “an enormous space of knowing and ease that can be found surrounding the fear or the contraction” that only seem to be your problems.
This is how you then begin to reverse the false image you have of yourself, and that the world may seem to reinforce or fix in your being. We are no longer acting like a person who is lost.”We are no longer climbing in a dark forest; all of a sudden it’s as if we come out in a clearing and see the sky and the space all around. We see the trail we’re on and we know how we got there. It’s like suddenly we take a deep breath and say, ‘Ahhhhhhh…. It’s a much bigger dance than I thought.’
What is this new identity like? Kornfield explains that, as your identity shifts, your “body, personality, friends, and habits may remain much the same.” You can either continue to believe that’s all of who you are, you may still at times feel “frightened or lost or needy.” Or, through the transformational practices you may choose to follow you can experience a shift from the the ego nature that feels you’re “this limited person who can only do and know so much” into a greater awareness of interconnectedness with the whole world.
This is how your “innate Buddha nature is awakened, which has within it a great abundance.”
Shining light on the inner treasure
Just as mystic Rumiwrites: “Walking out of the treasury building, I feel generous,” you can also “find this inner treasure of what it is really like to just feel fully alive.”
“We come to realize that it doesn’t matter what grade we got on a test, or how much money we make, or those kind of worldly accomplishments. It’s more like the music of our being. And that shift is not a philosophy, but can be directly experienced through the practices that are offered in Buddhist psychology.”
Dr. Kornfield, often quotes the famous saying of the Buddha, “Be a lamp unto yourself”. He simply explains this as the fact that no one can do the great work of the heart and spirit for you. “No one can love for us. No one can let go for us. No one can be free for us. In the end, it is we who become the source of the love that we seek.”
For more information about Buddhism, meditation, and historical and modern teachers of this transformational healing practice, visit my blog, www.meditationmontage.com
This teaching of the Buddha, “Be a lamp unto yourself,” is the core essence of the philosophy of WhoHeals.com. Self-transformation after all is at the heart of all true spiritual practice and healing. This is not limited to one tradition, rather it is embraced by and at the heart of all world traditions, all healing modalities, and all movements whose purpose it is to foster oneness. It is through such processes that you can, together with your health or healing practitioner, create a greater synergy between that which is known empirically, such as through the great advances in modern medicine, and that which is already inherent within you, the Great One Who Heals.
Video excerpt from the DVD, Rumi: Poet Of The Heart
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