The Story of Awareness in Action
We use the image of the sky and the clouds to demonstrate that clarity, connection and openness are always available to us. It’s just that sometimes these qualities are obscured by the press of events, of thoughts and emotions—just like the clouds can travel across the sky. However, as we see with the sky and the clouds—the sky is never reduced by the clouds. It remains vast, limitless, and sparkling. The clouds, on the other hand, always move and change and eventually dissolve. It’s the same with our thoughts and emotions—however troubling they are, they are not permanent, and they cannot damage our potential for peace of mind.
There are two major sources of inspiration for the work of Awareness in Action. The first is the Dalai Lama’s development of secular ethics. Here is a quote from him which explains the idea:
For all its benefits in offering moral guidance and meaning in life, religion is no longer adequate as a basis for ethics. Many people no longer follow any religion. In addition, in today’s secular and multicultural societies, any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values could not be universal, and so would be inadequate. We need an approach to ethics that can be equally acceptable to those with religious faith and those without. We need a secular ethics.
The second is the work the scientific research being undertaken into the effect of meditation on the brain. Pioneers such as Richard Davidson, and Sara Lazar are doing wonderful work in this area.
These two approaches meet in the work of the Mind and Life Institute. This is their mission statement:
The mission of the Mind & Life Institute is to alleviate suffering and promote flourishing by integrating science with contemplative practice and wisdom traditions.
The world can seem a harsh and troubling place but somehow, we need to navigate our way through and find some sense of meaning and contentment. Bringing together contemplative practices, wisdom traditions and modern science seems a realistic way to provide us with the tools to take control of our own minds and hearts and learn to use them in the most skillful way possible.
The goal of Awareness in Action is to contribute to this sharing of knowledge and skill that can help support each of us on our journey and at the same time, reach out to all our fellow travelers.
You are invited to join us, and to take part in this process. We love to receive feedback, suggestions, and offers of collaboration.
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