"To be wise, we have to examine our intention to ensure that it is free from delusion. The ends do not justify the means. If our actions will bring harm to others, even in the service of some 'good', they are almost certainly deluded. If our actions do not come from a kind heart, from loving courage and compassion, they are deluded. If they are based on a distinction between "us" and "them", they stem from delusion. Only to the extent that we act from the wisdom of no separation, understanding how we are woven together, will our intention bring benefit." (Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart, 264)
When I first became a formal student of plant medicine over a decade ago, I immediately fell in love with the medicine of burning plant material -- smudging, as it was introduced to me. I was transported into one of my childhood memories of building and burning a fire made of hard and soft wood, pinecones and dried needles, and the feeling of comfort, protection and purification that accompanied the warmth and beauty of smoke and flame.
Life is made of fleeting here and nows
Joys and sorrows
Valleys and summits
Questions and moments of clarity
Through it all, the river flows
Drop by drop into the miraculous vastness of eternity
I remember standing on the water's edge
Then, dipping my toes in
Slowly I learned to submerge myself, inch by inch
One day, perhaps, I will understand that I am the river; the river is me.
Molly Jo Stanley
Educating for Mindfulness and Sustainability