Lamp in the Darkness   

Discussion Group – Class Schedule – Wednesday 2pm – 3:30 pm

All readings from:  “A Lamp in the Darkness” by Jack Kornfield. 

  • August 27th – Chapters 8 & 9
  • September 10th – Chapters 10 & afterwards

From Miki Fine

Often we think that we will be happy when external conditions of life are just right — we find the right person to love, we get that promotion at work, etc. — but happiness doesn’t work that way because everything changes. Regardless of how hard we try, these conditions are rarely “just right,” and clinging to the idea that we can control them only causes more suffering for us. Even our greatest moments of happiness come to an end, so we worry about them ending and try to hold onto them, which also creates suffering.


Can you surrender your belief that happiness is something you can control?


CHAPTER 8 – Equanimity and Peace

  • “Let it be.” Paul McCartney
  • We will all experience waves of gain and loss, of fame and disrepute, of praise and blame that wash over us within the vast turnings of life. Each of us has to find our way to keep a peaceful and steady heart in the midst of it all.
  • You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
  • Without knowing the whole story it is impossible to draw definite conclusions about our difficulties. We are still in the middle of them and don’t know how it will turn out. Unfortunately there is no rulebook for life. “Things are uncertain aren’t they?” When we realize that things are fundamentally uncertain and learn how to relax into this uncertainty, we come to trust in the unfolding of our individual lives within the vastness of all time and space.
  • As the Zen Masters Suzuki Roshi says, “When you realize the truth that everything changes and find your composure in it, you find yourself in Nirvana.”
  • “No one can harm you, not even your worst enemy, as much as your own mind untrained. And no one can help you, not even your most loving mother and father, as much as your own mind well trained.” …Buddha
  • We can be fully aware of our difficulties-we can remain calm, peaceful, and wise. If we can prevent anyone or anything from forcing us out of our sense of equanimity, we can gather the strength necessary to accept our difficulties.
  • Don’t add to the problem. Don’t add fear. Don’t add confusion. First take a breath. Then simply see the situation clearly.
  • Withdrawal and indifference are called the near enemies to equanimity in the Buddhism, which means that they masquerade as equanimity, but indifference and withdrawal are based upon fear, not acceptance. True equanimity arises when we can maintain a sense of balance and openness and acceptance in the midst of whatever’s happening.
  • With equanimity comes an awareness of the limits of our illusions of control. We can love and care for others, we can assist them, we can pray for them, but we cannot control what happens. Their happiness and suffering depend on their actions and not our wishes for them.


CHAPTER 9 – Your Highest Intention

  • Live in joy, even among the troubled.” The Buddha.
  • “May I be a guard for those who need protection; a guide for those on the path; a boat, a raft, a bridge for those to cross the flood; may I be a lamp in the darkness; a resting place for the weary; and a healing medicine for all who are sick. For as long as earth and sky endure, may I assist until all living beings are awakened.”
  • We can choose our spirit in spite of everything. Sometimes, all we will be able to offer is a smile to the weary or forlorn on the streets. Sometimes it will be to plant a garden where there was none or plant seeds of patience in a family or of reconciliation in community difficulty.
  • When your thoughts are racing and repetitive, remember: no one can harm you as much as your untamed mind. When you are struggling or in pain remember: no one can help you as much as a quiet clear composed mind.
  • By taking one simple mindful breath, you will return again to compassion and realize that you are more than your fears and confusions.
  • You can always remember that you are free in every moment to set the comp us of your heart to your highest intentions.
  • Merton wrote to a young activists, “Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.”


Future Classes at West U

These are 3 hour introductory classes to meditation.   It is the same class that most of you have attended.

  • Thursday September 18th from 2 – 5 PM
  • Thursday October 23rd from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm


Jung Center – The Four Noble Truths for Everyday Life

Saturday November 1, 2014 – 9 am – 1 pm – Jung Center – 5200 Montrose Blvd

Call (713) 524-8253 to register


Jung Center – Free Movie – “The Way Home” 

Thursday October 30, 2014 – 7 pm – 9:30 pm – Jung Center – 5200 Montrose Blvd – Call (713) 524-8253 to register


Additional Resources

Any questions email me at

Copies of the handouts and homework on