Catherine Ingram: Heart to Heart

Cape Healing Arts publisher Beth Draper interviewed Catherine Ingram via email recently.

CHA: What do you love the most about being a human being?

CI: I would have to say it is love itself, although love is also what has most broken my heart. Still, better to have loved�and all that. I find as I grow older that it truly doesn’t matter what stuff one has, what one has accomplished, who knows your name, where you have traveled. It really is, as the great ones always said, all about the quality of the love you share with your loved ones. And if one is lucky and is willing to take chances with one’s heart, that is, to let it break as needed, the circle of those one loves widens enormously. This is really the main treasure of life, as far as I can tell.

CHA: When your heart breaks, how do you mend it?

CI: My heart never seems to actually get mended. It keeps breaking wider open and holding more of the sorrow, but, coincidentally, it is also open to more joy and tenderness. Of course, that is how things work. I often say that there is a spectrum of feelings and that the more one is willing to feel on one end, the sorrow, let’s say, the more one is able to feel on the other end, the joy. It is perhaps safe to close off and try not to feel too much suffering, but it is not a rich way to live. It cuts off all passion and beauty as well.

CHA: In a society that barely acknowledges grief and grieving-in fact, often squelches it-how do you allow yourself to experience deep sorrow?

CI: I live among the brokenhearted. They allow it.

CHA: Of the seven qualities of awakened awareness that you discuss in your book, which one is the trickiest for you to remember-and why?

CI: There are several that I seem to skip over or remember last on the list-discernment, embodiment, genuineness. The ones I seem to remember most easily are silence, tenderness, wonder, and delight. Maybe because those are the most fun.

CHA: In your book, you describe discernment as a clarity of perception. The ability to clearly see what is instead of what or how we would like things to be. How do you reconcile “passion, focus, and intensity” with your excellent advice to “have a light relationship with your preferences?”

CI: It is a sense that things are blowing very quickly through one’s soul, if you will. Feelings, emotions, passion, pain-all profoundly felt and released as quickly as possible. It is the experience of life in present awareness without resistance but also without clutching to a particular form or experience. Naturally, we have preferences. It is all a matter of how much we suffer when we don’t get what we want or when something or someone that we wanted leaves us. It is good to imagine one’s awareness as an open sky through which all passes and to “kiss the joy as it flies” as Blake said.

CHA: I see that your passion and focus lie with this process of being in present awareness.

CI: Yes, it is another way of saying that one lives in reality-for in actuality, the present is the only time in which we exist, which is what makes it feel so much more alive than the trance-like dreams of past and future taking place in imagination.

CHA: How do you allow feelings of anger and jealousy to blow through you? Many of us were taught that these are “negative” feelings, especially when we feel them in regard to people we love.

CI: We have to learn to admit that negative feelings are a common experience, no matter how good we are trying to be or what spiritual practices we have engaged in. Jealousy, anger, annoyance, irritation, pettiness-they all visit with unfortunate regularity. But the trick is not to take them personally or to be shocked by them. And then they have no power over you. The thought of jealousy that arises and fades in a few moments is not a problem. The jealous thought that Is denied and twisted into some kind of justification due to one’s own discomfort can often turn into unkind words and actions directed at the object of one’s jealousy. In these ways, the refusal to admit to negative thoughts can create all kinds of problems, as we so often see in spiritual leaders and masters who insinuate or even say that they are enlightened but whose behavior belies petty and desperate motivations involving sex, money, or power. I prefer to hang out with what Alan Watts called “divine rascals”-those who know both their divinity and their rascality.

CHA: Fabulous! What would you like to share most right now with our readers?

CI: The thing I seem to most emphasize in Dharma Dialogues-and would say to your readers-is to not postpone living your life. There is a subtle way that we have of waiting for something to come or waiting to get rid of something we have (even in the case of extra body weight, for instance) and thinking that our real life will begin then. Your real life is happening now, and there is no guarantee for any of us how long that life will be. As we let ourselves live fully in present awareness, it is as though we are experiencing life at last. We are no longer waiting.

Since 1992, Catherine Ingram has led Dharma Dialogues, public events of inquiry into the nature of awareness and the possibility of living in awakened intelligence. She is the president of Living Dharma, an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to inquiry and service with offices in Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, CA. Catherine also leads numerous silent retreats each year and is coming to Cape Cod this June.
Source: Catherine Ingram

Passionate Presence: Seven Qualities of Awakened Awareness by Catherine Ingram [updated Mar 2016]

Learn the seven ways to tap into a state of pure joy, at any time, with the spiritual teacher Catherine Ingram. When we deeply relax, free from the stories the past, present and future, a great passion for life emerges, along with an awakened intelligence. This passionate presence is innate; it is a universal intelligence that transcends biological abilities and educational backgrounds.

In this book, spiritual teacher and writer Catherine Ingram offers seven ways to awaken the passionate presence that is in all of us. Each chapter describes one of the seven primary qualities of awakened intelligence. These qualities are based on her observations over years of working with thousands of people in silent retreats and public interactive events called Dharma Dialogues. The seven aspects – tenderness, discernment, authenticity, embodiment, delight, wonder and silence – naturally and consistently emerge as a result of deep relaxation and lead us easily to our passionate presence.

Catherine Ingram is a renowned dharma teacher with communities serving several thousand students in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Since 1992, she has led Dharma Dialogues (www.dharmadialogues.org), which are public events of inquiry into the nature of awakened awareness and its benefits in life. She is the founder and president of Living Dharma, an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to inquiry and service.

Click here to browse inside.

Catherine Ingram – ‘Practical Wisdom In Precarious Times’ – Interview by Renate McNay

Catherine Ingram – ‘Practical Wisdom In Precarious Times’ – Interview by Renate McNay

Catherine Ingram is an International Dharma teacher and Author of three books: “Passionate Presence”, “A Crack in Everything” and “In the Footsteps of Gandhi”. Catherine says, “Our sanctuary is not in finding security in this world. Security in the things and circumstances of the world is an illusion. Our sanctuary is in our ability to relax into ‘Present Awareness’ and passionately celebrate beauty, to show up in love for our friends and families, to live lightly on this earth, and to experience wonder.”

Catherine Ingram – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Catherine Ingram is an international dharma teacher with communities in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Since 1992 she has led Dharma Dialogues, which are public events that focus on directing awareness toward greater wellbeing in an ethical and happy life. Catherine also leads numerous silent retreats each year in conjunction with Dharma Dialogues. She is president of Living Dharma, an educational non-profit organization founded in 1995.

Catherine has been the subject of numerous print, television, and radio interviews and is included in several anthologies about teachers in the west.

A former journalist specializing in issues of consciousness and activism, Catherine Ingram is the author of two books of nonfiction, which are published in numerous languages: In the Footsteps of Gandhi: Conversations with Spiritual Social Activists (Parallax Press, 1990) and Passionate Presence: Seven Qualities of Awakened Awareness (Penguin Putnam, 2003); and one novel, A Crack in Everything (Diamond Books, 2006). Over a fifteen-year period beginning in 1982, Catherine published approximately 100 articles on issues of consciousness and activism and served on the editorial staffs of New Age Journal, East West Journal, and Yoga Journal. For four years she wrote the Life Advice column for Alternatives Magazine based in Oregon.

For the past thirty five years, Catherine has helped organize and direct institutions dedicated to meditation and self-inquiry and, more recently, human and animal rights. She is a co-founder of Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts (1976). She also co-founded the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in The Hague, Netherlands (1991) and is a member of the Committee of 100 for Tibet. For six years (1988-1994), Catherine also served as a board director for The Burma Project, dedicated to raising international awareness about the struggle for democracy in Burma. She is currently serving on the board of Global Animal Foundation, which works on behalf of the world’s animals.

Her work provides a context in which to consider life experiences—work, romance, creativity, loss, and death—through the calm and simple quiet of the heart.

catherineingram.com

Interview Recorded 9/7/2013

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