More from and about
Christina Feldman
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

You can pursue the ephemeral pleasures of fame, money, security,
and recognition and see the consequences of your pursuit in
disappointment, anxiety, and fear of failure. Compassion invites
you to aspire to an awakened heart, to trust in its value
and be committed to its realization.

   

Anger is a powerful emotional energy that constantly seeks an outlet.  The tension that surrounds anger is sometimes so volatile and unendurable that catharsis appears to be the only relief.  Accusations and abuse directed at another become a means of relieving ourselves of the pain of our own anger.  We insist on being heard, on making our point, yet in doing so we create an even deeper pain--the pain of separation and division. . . . It takes remarkable patience and compassion to pause before words of anger are hurled at another.  At times this pause is born of the wisdom that recognizes that the only point we make in the impulsive expression of anger is that we may be a person to fear and avoid.

      
What difference would it make in your life if you engaged the world with a conscious commitment to end sorrow or pain wherever you meet it? What difference would it make to wake in the morning and greet your family, the stranger beside you on the bus, the troublesome colleague, with the intention to listen to them wholeheartedly and be present for them?  Compassion doesnít always call for grand or heroic gestures. It asks you to find in your heart the simple but profound willingness to be present, with a commitment to end sorrow and contribute to the well-being and ease of all beings.
  
Sadness is the ground in which love and compassion grow.
   

We may dream of a time when we can lie down beneath the night sky and do nothing but be present in its vastness with total attention. But our dreams are too often sabotaged by the busyness generated by anxiety. We seek evidence of our worth through what we produce, become, and surround ourselves with. Boredom has come to be regarded as one of our greatest enemies and we flee from it by generating endless complexity and busyness. Boredom may be no more than a surrender of sensitivity, yet, rather than turning our hearts and minds to rediscover that lost sensitivity, we thirst for even more exciting experiences, drama, and intensity. . . When alienated from inner vitality we mistake intensity for wakefulness.

     

The human story is both personal and universal. Our personal experiences
of pain and joy, grief and despair, may be unique to each of us in the forms
they take; yet our capacity to feel grief, fear, loneliness, and rage, as well as
delight, intimacy, joy, and ease, are our common bonds as human beings.

   

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Pleasure and happiness are too often equated with being the same;
in reality they are very different. Pleasure comes. It also goes. It is
the flavor and content of many of the impressions we encounter in
our lives. Happiness has not so much to do with the content or
impressions of our experiences; but with our capacity to find balance
and peace amid the myriad impressions of our lives. Treasuring
happiness and freedom, we learn to live our lives with openness and serenity.

   

In your own life too, unanticipated events and uninvited pain
have visited, crumbling your certainties and leaving you bereft.
You can be dedicated to wise choices, yet nothing can protect
you from unexpected experiences that can break your heart.
Despite efforts to cultivate honesty, integrity, and clarity, you
still can find yourself the recipient of anotherís rage, ignorance,
or prejudice. These are the moments when you are asked to
dive deeply within to find the stillness and healing that rescues
you from drowning in reciprocal anger or despair.

   

The green bough in your heart is like the willow branch that can
bend in the most fierce storms of life, yet always springs back
upright. It may take some time for the branch to spring back, but
you can have faith that the resilience that enables you to
remain present and committed will be found. Those moments
when uprightness and steadiness feel remote or impossible require
great patience. You can never predict when the storm will end,
but it always does. Remaining committed to ending pain allows
you to embrace the pain of this moment rather than
looking for the end of the storm.

   

    
Christina Feldman is a co-founder and Guiding Teacher of Gaia House, and has been leading Insight Meditation retreats since 1976.  She is a Guiding Teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Ma.  As well as teaching retreats worldwide she is committed to the Personal Retreat Programme at Gaia House. She is the author of a number of books including Woman Awake, The Way of Meditation, and co-author of Soul Food.  Recent books are Silence and the Buddhist Path to Simplicity.
  

    

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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.

    

Other people: 

Alan Watts
- Albert Einstein - Albert Schweitzer - Andy Rooney - Anne Frank
Anne Morrow Lindbergh - Anne Wilson Schaef - Annie Dillard - Anthony Robbins
Ari Kiev - Artur Rubenstein - Barbara Johnson - Benjamin Disraeli - Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Hoff - Bernie Siegel - Bertrand Russell - Betty Eadie - Booker T. Washington
Charlotte Davis Kasl
- Cheryl Richardson - Cristina Feldman - C.S. Lewis - the Dalai Lama
Dale Carnegie - Deepak Chopra - Don Miguel Ruiz - Earl Nightingale - Elaine St. James
Eleanor Roosevelt - Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross - Ralph Waldo Emerson - Emmet Fox
Frederick Buechner
- George Bernard Shaw - George Santayana
George Washington Carver - Gerald Jampolsky - Harold Kushner
Harry Emerson Fosdick - Helen Keller - Henry David Thoreau - Henry James
Henry Van Dyke - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Henry Ward Beecher - Hugh Prather
Immanuel Kant
- Iyanla Vanzant - Jack Canfield - James Allen - Jennifer James - Jim Rohn
Joan Borysenko
- Joan Chittister - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - John Izzo John Ruskin
Joni Eareckson Tada
- Joseph M. Marshall III - Julia Cameron - Kent Nerburn
Khalil Gibran Leo Buscaglia - Leonard Jacobson - Leslie Levine - Lucinda Bassett
Lydia Maria Child - Lynn Grabhorn - Marcus Aurelius - Marianne Williamson
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Maya Angelou - Melody Beattie - Michael Goddart - Mitch Albom
Mohandas Gandhi
- Morrie Schwartz - Mother Teresa - M. Scott Peck - Nathaniel Branden
Nikos Kazantzakis
- Norman Cousins - Norman Vincent Peale - Og Mandino - Oprah Winfrey
Oriah
- Orison Swett Marden - Pau Casals - Peace Pilgrim - Phillips Brooks
Rabindranath Tagore
- Rachel Carson - Rachel Naomi Remen - Rainer Maria Rilke
Ralph Waldo Trine - Richard Bach - Richard Carlson - Robert Frost - Robert Fulghum
Robert Louis Stevenson
- Russell Baker - Sarah Ban Breathnach - Shakti Gawain
Soren Kierkegaard - Stephen Covey - Stephen C. Paul - Sue Patton Thoele - Susan L. Taylor
Sylvia Boorstein - Thich Nhat Hanh - Thomas Carlyle - Thomas Kinkade - Thomas Merton
Tom Walsh
- Victor Cherbuliez - Wayne Dyer - Wilferd A. Peterson - Willa Cather
William James - William Wordsworth - Zig Ziglar - Rhonda Byrne - Neale Donald Walsch
Carl Jung
- Desmond Tutu - Paulo Coelho - Jon Kabat-Zinn - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Walt Whitman