I sought a different path than that of my parents. I totally rejected meditation and all the spiritual shit they built their lives on. Looking at the once idealistic hippie generation who had long since cut their hair, left the commune, and bought into the system, we saw that peace and love had failed to make any real changes in the world. In response, we felt love and despair and hopelessness, out of which came the punk rock movement. Seeking to rebel against our parents' pacifism and society's fascist system of oppression and capitalist-driven propaganda, we responded in our own way, different from those before us, creating a new revolution for a new generation. Painfully aware of corruption in the government and inconsistencies in the power dynamics in our homes, we rebelled against our families and society in one loud and fast roar of teen angst. Unwilling to accept the dictates of the system, we did whatever we could to rebel. We wanted freedom and were willing to fight for it.
It's easy to hate and point out everything that is wrong with the world; it is the hardest and most important work in one's life to free oneself from the bonds of fear and attachment.
The truth is, going against the internal stream of ignorance is way more rebellious than trying to start some sort of cultural revolution.
The inner revolution will not be televised or sold on the Internet. It must take place within one's own mind and heart.
The body breathes by itself. The mind thinks by itself. Awareness simply observes the process without getting lost in the content.
Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries by Noah Levine (2007)
Everything is impermanent. Every physical and mental experience arises and passes. Everything in existence is endlessly arising out of causes and conditions. We all create suffering for ourselves through our resistance, through our desire to have things different than the way they are - that is, our clinging or aversion.
Happiness is closer to the experience of acceptance and contentment than it is to pleasure. True happiness exists as the spacious and compassionate heart's willingness to feel whatever is present.
The greatest satisfaction comes not from chasing pleasure and avoiding pain, but from the radical acceptance of life as it is, without fighting and clinging to passing desires.
Spiritual revolutionaries must be committed not to what is easiest, but to what is most beneficial to themselves and the world.
Renunciation is not about pushing something away, it is about letting go. It's facing the fact that certain things cause us pain, and they cause other people pain. Renunciation is a commitment to let go of things that create suffering. It is the intention to stop hurting ourselves and others.
With mindfulness we have the choice of responding with compassion to the pain of craving, anger, fear and confusion. Without mindfulness we are stuck in the reactive pattern and identification that will inevitably create more suffering and confusion.
The Dalai Lama is rumored to have said that being able to have sex without any attachment would take the level of attainment of being able to eat either chocolate cake or dog shit without any preference between the two.
Those who understand the way it is, rather than the way they wish it were, are on the path to freedom.
The most important thing to remember is that we must live in the present, and if in the present moment we are still holding on to old wounds and betrayals, it is in this moment that forgiveness is called for.
Experience each moment as if it were the first sensation of its kind ever. Bring childlike interest and curiosity to your present-time experience.
The Heart of the Revolution: The Buddha's Radical Teachings on Forgiveness, Compassion, and Kindness by Noah Levine (2011)
Forgiveness is not just a selfish pursuit of personal satisfaction or righteousness. It actually alleviates the amount of suffering in the world. As each one of us frees ourselves from clinging to resentments that cause suffering, we relieve our friends, family, and community of the burden of our unhappiness. This is not a philosophical proposal; it is a verifiable and practical truth. Through our suffering and lack of forgiveness, we tend to do all kinds of unskillful things that hurt others. We close ourselves off from love, for example, out of fear of further pains or betrayals. This alone—a lack of openness to the love shown to us—is a way that we cause harm to our loved ones. The closed heart lets no one in or out.
The next step in the process of liberation is to break this chain reaction of suffering whenever life is unpleasant and feeling content only when life is pleasurable.
If our definition of happiness is "experiencing that which is pleasurable," we are going to be disappointed a lot of the time.
Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction by Noah Levine (2014)
As we walk the path of Refuge Recovery, we gradually uncover a loving heart.
While we are in recovery we need to be able to strike a balance between not allowing our ego to do all the talking and not letting our low self-esteem to only present what is wrong with us.
The cause of our suffering has always been our reaction to the thoughts, feelings, cravings, and circumstances of our lives. The cause of our addictions has always been the indulgence in the behaviors or substances.
Difficult personalities are a mirror for the places where we get stuck in judgment, fear, and confusion.
We must do away with any shred of denial, minimization, justification, or rationalization. To recover, we must completely and totally understand and accept the truth that addiction creates suffering.
We could search the whole world and never find another being more worthy of our love than ourselves.
We would all say that deep down, all we want is to be happy. Yet we don’t have a realistic understanding of what happiness really is. Happiness is closer to the experience of acceptance and contentment than it is to pleasure.
Recovery is also the ability to inhabit the conditions of the present reality, whether pleasant or unpleasant.
Everything is impermanent—every pleasure, every pain, every body. But the survival instincts crave permanence and control. The body wants pleasure to stay forever and pain to go away forever.
Mindfulness is defined as nonjudgmental, investigative, kind, and responsive awareness. This sort of awareness takes intentional training of the mind.