Eden offers both recorded podcasts and written blogs. Please scroll down for written blogs. If you would like to make a donation in order to support this work and in appreciation of these podcasts and blogs, you are welcome to do so here, All donations are greatly appreciated.

Podcast: The Courage of the Bodhisattva

November 21, 2017 | No Comments »

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Live Wholeheartedly and Leave Not a Trace

July 24, 2017 | No Comments »

Join Deborah Eden Tull for a meditation and dharma talk with Worldwide Insight on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 11 am PT exploring this Zen teaching by Suzuki Roshi. 

 

Reflections on LIVE WHOLEHEARTEDLY AND LEAVE NOT A TRACE

“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”

I read this teaching by Suzuki Roshi in my early days as a Zen student, and it has been a guiding light for me ever since.

There is no other moment in our lives to live but now, no other circumstance to awaken to, no other time to be of service…other than this very moment. We know this but we forget.

Last month I befriended a young woman a wife and mother – who had recently lost both legs due to a virus. I asked her, “How have you made it through this tragedy? What has been the gift of this profound loss?” She responded, “The gift has been that living with pain, there is no more energy for the superficial. Judgment, dissatisfaction, and drama are gone from my life experience. I have zero energy for conditioning, for living my life through a false lens. I live each day in a more awake and tender state. I know now that I must live each day fully, as my heart and my illusions have been shattered.”

Ideally we do not have to experience such tragedy to see clearly, but it is often the avalanche of impermanence that reminds us to ”let go” of that false lens.

Practice means showing up each day, with fierce compassion as our ally, to cultivate awareness of:

  • the immediacy of life…the impermanence of all the we hold closely to our hearts;
  • our true nature and inherent interconnection with all beings;
  • the impact of each and every action we take on the whole.

“To burn ourselves completely” means to show up fully to this moment, as it is and as we are. It means to surrender ourselves to consciousness or true nature, rather than remain caught in the bubble of small self, the story we tell ourselves, fear, and projection. It means to not sweat the small stuff but to meet the given circumstance in each moment with as much love and vibrant aliveness as we can. The task of bringing practice from the meditation cushion into every aspect of our lives is the opportunity to hone our true nature, and to do so moment by moment.

This is not always an easy task, but it is the only sensible task for a heart that is on fire. Through practice, we understand that the power and impact of each action we take is what we leave with. This is the beauty of how one cultivates the bodhisattva spirit. This is the awareness that inspires us to show up, to whatever the task at hand is, “burning ourselves completely and leaving not a trace.”

Today, I invite you to reflect for yourself:

  • How wholeheartedly are you showing up to life?
  • What most helps you to remember that THIS IS IT?
  • What helps you to remember, in the face of the small stuff, to drop it and give yourself wholeheartedly to the moment, the task at hand, or to the one you are with?
  • What helps you to see clearly that you might take the wise action that “leaves not a trace?”

I offer these reflections in loving kindness, Eden

 

The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Self

May 24, 2017

Reflections about a talk by Deborah Eden Tull for a meditation and dharma talk with Worldwide Insight on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 11 am PT.

It is an extraordinary relief to encounter the perfection of ordinary self in a world that is screaming loudly, “There is something better out there! There is something you might be missing! There are standards you need to meet! There is something more you need to prove!”  As we remember our inherent goodness, we cease to have an appetite or artificial need to participate in the outer focus, the conditioning that is telling us that what we have and who we are simply ARE not enough. Embracing our essence ends the charade of the conditioned mind, and all that is left is acknowledgement of the preciousness of our unique expression of life and all forms of life. We finally relax, aware that there is nothing to do and nowhere to get to that is worth more than being who and where we already are.

Ordinary does not mean “not special.” It means inherently special just as we are—where we are smooth and where we are cracked. The ordinary self has no self-consciousness, no pretense, and no need to be seen as “special” for it perceives no lack and does not live in the realm of comparison. It can also be called “no self” because it points to the quality of presence we emanate when we allow ourselves to be free of identity and surrender to the spaciousness of awareness. 

Real practice begins when self-improvement ends. Practice supports us to stop trying to fix ourselves and open our eyes to see clearly. We see our conditioning and we see our inherent goodness. We see ourselves as part of the whole rather than separate. We see the perfection of the unique signature that we carry. Our essence does not call out loudly to be seen, but instead gently reveals itself to us. Shadow can be a welcome part of that revelation. When we find our essence, we find a humility at the same time that we shine as brightly as we ever have. There is a sense of shining for the benefit of the whole.

We cannot go out and find our essence forcefully. We would not know where to look. Instead, the more we practice stepping back from separate self and relax into presence, the more true nature reveals itself to us.

I invite you to reflect, with curiosity and without any judgment… 

What are some of the masks you wear that have been revealed to you through meditation practice?

In what ways do you strive and effort to maintain identity, self-improve, or be seen as “special?”

What essential qualities do you experience in YOURSELF when you settle into presence? When you spend time “just being?” What qualities do others tend to experience in you when you are simply present?

 

 

Letting Go of Fear – Finding Courage in the Face of Uncertainty

March 1, 2017

Reflections about a talk by Deborah Eden Tull for a meditation and dharma talk with Worldwide Insight on Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 11 am PT.

Even though we know fear does not serve us, we often allow it to stop or limit us. We might not even be aware of the ways it drives us and makes us smaller than we are. Though we might think we can control life, there is little we can actually control. If we are honest, we can say that the human experience involves some form of uncertainty and disappointment every single day. Death is the only thing we actually know with certainty will happen to us in this life.

We suffer when we resist our innate vulnerability and view it as a weakness, rather than embrace it with acceptance. We try to build scaffolding and protection in the form of future planning, goal-setting, and gated communities to cope with the innate uncertainty with which we live. We have myriad ways to guard against, defend, escape, protect ourselves, and turn away from the vulnerability that is actually the key to our authentic power and our shared compassion for one another.

Each time we turn away from vulnerability, we give away our power to a story that we are not adequate to meet our life experience. The surrounding environment we create for ourselves—with its walls, barricades, and defenses—reflects our fears and therefore reinforces states of fear. We live in a vulnerable state, yet by avoiding this reality we are never put in touch with the resilience of our deeper being.

Meditation teaches us how to relate to fear in an entirely different way. It gives us the choice to see fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) clearly and to cultivate the equanimity and courage that is our birthright.

When we first come to meditation, even the groundlessness of awareness can seem frightening. We are frightened by the possibility of letting go and expanding our experience of self. Meditation can at first seem like sitting outside in the dark at night…….. but gradually we become curious about the darkness around us. We learn to pay subtle attention as we sit in the dark, and to care for ourselves. By continuing to sit with groundlessness, something within us changes, and the world around us changes too. We begin to feel connected to the darkness, and rather than being fearful, we turn to greet fear with open curiosity.

I have been struck by the degree to which fear’s volume has been turned up in my community and in our world. Whether it is personal fear of “How can I make it in a challenging economy?” or “What will become of what appears to be the rise of fascism in both the US and Europe?” It is my hope that we will see the invitation being offered, the invitation to transform our relationship with fear. Questions that I find helpful to ask are:

  • What if we did not take fear – or the sensations and thoughts associated with fear – personally?
  • What does fear actually serve?
  • How can we remember to pause and turn within in the face of fear, in order to access stillness and clarity?
  • How can we cultivate authentic courage? And how can we both welcome and embrace fear while choosing courageous action?

I offer this teaching in Loving kindness,

Deborah Eden Tull

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Podcast: From Separation to Interconnection

November 23, 2015 | 2 Comments »


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Podcast: Intimacy – With Our Self, One Another, and Our World

July 23, 2015 | No Comments »

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Podcast: Restoring the Divine Feminine

May 19, 2015 | No Comments »


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Podcast: Bringing Presence to the State of Our World

April 14, 2015 | 1 Comment »

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Podcast: Transforming Anger Through Mindfulness

March 31, 2015 | 2 Comments »

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Podcast: Navigating the Unknown

March 20, 2015 | 2 Comments »

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Podcast: Compassionate Self-Discipline

March 11, 2015 | 2 Comments »

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Giving Back to the Soil: A Teaching on Personal Sustainability

March 10, 2015 | No Comments »

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The soil never lies, just like our bodies never lie.  Nature offers an intricate natural feedback system to keep life in balance and thrive, but we often fail to listen to the outer or inner landscape. Through conventional farming and unconscious land use/urban design, we have learned the hard way that when we impose our will on nature without “giving back to the soil,” we are left with soil depletion, desertification, and land degradation.  Topsoil – the magical layer of earth appropriate for growing our food and medicine – is not a resource to take casually.  It takes 600 to 700 years to fully grow back topsoil.

How we do anything is how we do everything. In the same way that we impose our will on the natural world, egocentricity or separate self imposes its will on us. The part of us that is attached to agenda and is too often focused on product over process, is more than willing to use our physical bodies and life force in ways that diminishes and deplete our vitality and well-being. We have been conditioned to compromise authenticity and truth in order to meet goals, standards, and produce.

To honor and respect nature – inside and out – means to work with, rather than against nature in all matters. It means to see every endeavor as opportunity to bring a compassionate and wise process to life rather than focusing on the product. One becomes a steward of the land by practicing deep listening, appropriate response, and working with rather than against nature. This is how one cultivates healthy soil that can grow vibrant nourishing food and medicine sustainably for years to come.  An earth steward commits to a framework and practice that “give back to the soil.” 

Meditation practice teaches us how to instill this framework and practice in ourselves. We learn, through meditation, that when we are willing to focus on process and put compassionate awareness in charge of our lives, rather than default to the product-focused conditioning that pervades our society, we can cultivate the soil within for sustained well-being and compassion to thrive. Meditation practice teaches us how to commit to personal sustainability and how to continually give back to the soil that is who we are.

The soil within is the ground of our well-being. It is the ground from which all that we do grows from and from which our deepest intentions are expressed. In the garden, we take care of the soil by paying attention. That is the primary job of the gardener or earth steward and it is also the primary job of the meditation practitioner, to be a steward of well-being. When we pay attention, moment by moment, to the subtle feedback of our emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual experience, we learn how to respond to life appropriately and work with, rather than against nature, at the most subtle level. Meditation teaches us that awareness is the most subtle form of love… And when we pay attention, moment by moment and maintain awareness, we feel loved. We feel cared for. We feel seen, heard, and met when we receive the gift of our own attention, moment by moment.

Consider, what are some ways that you give back to the soil that is who you are?  In what ways do you have an adversarial nature with yourself and avoid or diminish the messages from your natural system? In what ways to you work against, rather than with, your nature? What is one way today in which you can “give back to the soil?” 

This blog is written in honor of the summer retreat, Giving Back to the Earth: A Pilgrimage and Wilderness retreat in the Smokey Mountains, July 27-August 5, to be led by Deborah Eden Tull and Lama Justin Wall.  This retreat will be an integration of meditation practice and sustainability, an opportunity to heal our relationship with the planet and with all beings, while backpacking along a beautiful mountain trail in the deep stillness of the wilderness.

For more information, please click here.

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