Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships
Kindle Notes & Highlights
Read between August 28, 2016 - March 24, 2017
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Spiritual growth happens as we relinquish clinging to a fixed identity, freeing us to experience our inherent connection with ourselves, others, and life itself.
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open curiosity and a devotion to truth
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a horizontal spirituality is about being awake in our everyday lives and relationships.
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A Path with Heart, meditation teacher Jack Kornfield
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There has to be a wedding of the personal and universal.
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Spirituality means relating to one another and ourselves with tender openness.
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spirituality is about receiving people with an available and undefended heart.
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I do my best to maintain an availability to connect with others.
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The relationship wounds we have endured shape the social self we construct.
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We take solace in our judgments about people that separate us from each other and ourselves.
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longing, like life itself, is a flame that cannot be extinguished.
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Living with less suffering and more freedom means noticing our impulses and mindfully weighing them until they either pass, offer greater self-understanding, or move us toward some skillful action.
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When you are intimate, you are one with. When you are not intimate, you are in your head.
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Welcoming and “being with” our experience is not the same as “being for it” or “being against it.”
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it is how we relate to what arises within us that can lead us either to suffering or to liberation.
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We might be gentler toward ourselves by realizing that when we move from simple desire to craving something, we have disconnected from our body in a certain way. We have stopped being mindful of what is really happening inside us and gotten stuck. And it is this very disconnection from ourselves that causes our suffering.
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Clinging is the futile attempt to grasp the ungraspable and control the uncontrollable.
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Being mindful and accepting of where we are right now is the starting point for change.
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Craving has a twitchy, agitated quality that stirs up emotional mud. It may be associated with restlessness, anxiety, or being out of control.
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When we stay close to our tender yearnings, a softening happens in which we are better positioned to reveal our feelings and wants, as well as let in nurturing and comfort when they visit.
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By holding our longings with loving-kindness, we are better able to reveal what is in our heart without shutting down or resorting to aggressive demands, harsh words, or exasperated body language. We are able to make a gentle request or offer a tender glance or playful gesture.
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Clinging to being right can become a delicious addiction because it activates the pleasure centers of the brain. But it also isolates us and offers only a fleeting flash of satisfaction.
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Voltaire warned us, “Doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is absurd.”
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Reducing suffering is largely a matter of accessing the non-rational structures of our brain rather than clinging to clichés.
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The key to happiness and awakening is finding a way to accommodate our limbic brain, not lobotomize it.
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it is primarily our consistent caring and acceptance that enables people to relax enough to grow and change.
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Speaking from the felt experience that underlies our automatic reactions of fight or flight invites a conversation that connects us.
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Preferences add passion and juiciness to our lives.
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By holding our desires lightly, we can see where they lead and then fine-tune our way forward.
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Sensing inwardly, we can pause and ask ourselves, “Is this what I really want to do; does it really feel right?”
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gently hold our uncomfortable feelings rather than act them out.
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Contacting and expressing our genuinely felt experience nurtures a climate that allows people to feel safe coming toward us.
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This insensitivity is inherently shaming, as it invalidates another’s experience.
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our unmet needs hijack our lives.
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Being present means being aware of our present experience as it is, which means being intimate with ourselves.
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Being in the now includes staying with the “feel” of what we notice about “wanting to advance.”
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Sacred receiving, letting things in with heartfelt gratitude, is a gift to the giver! When we are visibly moved, it conveys that they’ve made a difference in our lives.
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Receiving requires us to be non-egotistical. Letting life and love in happens naturally when we are simply present. When we’re full of ourselves—that is, overly self-conscious—we are not available to receive.
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To be is to interact.
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It takes more than positive intentions and upbeat thinking to move toward a spiritual life rich in intimacy.
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We need to engage with our feelings so that the reptilian instinct to freeze, attack, or retreat doesn’t hijack our spiritual intentions.
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Can we allow ourselves to shimmer with delight as we let them in? Or do we quickly turn away, fearful that relishing the pleasure of praise will activate clinging or expose us to some ill-defined danger?
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We find freedom not by clinging to any particular state of being (including the ultimate trap, clinging to awareness itself), but by becoming more adept at living in this moment and welcoming what flows toward us—if not with a smile, then with a wise acceptance of what is.
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What creates a rigid or inflated self is our tendency to cling to certain feelings while exiling others from awareness. We continue to recycle the same emotions when we fail to unearth our underlying feelings and longings.
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How we relate to people is an extension of how we relate to ourselves.
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Living a relational life means hearing, seeing, and entering each other’s hearts and relishing their precious presence.
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what may create a steady slog toward the dissolution of intimacy is not that we become too familiar with people, but that we become comfortably familiar with our perceptions about them.
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living in our perceptions and judgments removes us from a spontaneous and alive connection.