Archive for July, 2008

Disapproving Faces

July 31, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

It is not necessarily a pleasant experience, but there will be times in our lives when we come across people who do not like us. As we know, like attracts like, so usually when they don’t like us it is because they are not like us. Rather than taking it personally, we can let them be who they are, accepting that each of us is allowed to have different perspectives and opinions. When we give others that freedom, we claim it for ourselves as well, releasing ourselves from the need for their approval so we can devote our energy toward more rewarding pursuits.

While approval from others is a nice feeling, when we come to depend on it we may lose our way on our own path. There are those who will not like us no matter what we do, but that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with us. Each of us has our own filters built from our experiences over time. They may see in us something that is merely a projection of their understanding, but we have no control over the interpretations of others. The best we can do is to hope that the role we play in the script of their lives is helpful to them, and follow our own inner guidance with integrity.

As we reap the benefits of walking our perfect paths, we grow to appreciate the feeling of fully being ourselves. The need to have everyone like us will be replaced by the exhilaration of discovering that we are attracting like-minded individuals into our lives—people who like us because they understand and appreciate the truth of who we are. We free ourselves from trying to twist into shapes that will fit the spaces provided by others’ limited understanding and gain a new sense of freedom, allowing us to expand into becoming exactly who we’re meant to be. And in doing what we know to be right for us, we show others that they can do it too. Cocreating our lives with the universe and its energy of pure potential, we transcend limitations and empower ourselves to shine our unique light, fully and freely.

Knowing Our Heart’s Desire

July 30, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Jealousy is one of the toughest feelings we come up against in our lives. There is not much worse than this aching sense that somehow life has been unfair to us, while amply rewarding someone else. It’s even worse if that someone else is present in our daily lives, making it difficult for us to get the space we need to feel and heal our pain. We may be jealous of a sibling, a dear friend, or even famous personalities. We may even face the challenge of feeling jealous of our spouse, our child, or one of our parents. Whatever the case, we can normalize our experience by understanding that, as painful as it is, jealousy is a common human feeling.

Nevertheless, it is important that we not revel in our jealousy for too long, feeding it with inner talk or gossip with others. If we do, we run the risk of losing ourselves to its negative power. Jealousy has something good to offer us, though, and that is information about our own heart’s desire. When we are jealous of certain people, we want what they have, and if we are to be conscious, we must acknowledge that. In this way, we discover what we want for ourselves, which is the first step to getting it. It may be a certain kind of relationship or a career. Whatever it is, it is possible that we could create it for ourselves, in our own lives, if we are able to honor our own desires.

Of course, there are times when we cannot heal our jealousy in this way, and then the lesson may be about acceptance and the understanding that our path is different from the paths of those around us. It may be hard to see now, but perhaps it will eventually be clear why our life has taken its particular path. In the end, the best cure for jealousy is the recognition that the life we have is full of its own meaning and beauty, utterly unique to us—a gift that could never be found in the life of another.

“What is love ?” ( Through a child’s eyes )

July 29, 2008

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
Billy- age 7

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
Karl – age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”
Chrissy – age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
Terri – age 4

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.”
Danny – age 7

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.”
Nikka – age 6

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.”
Noelle – age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”
Tommy – age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.”
Cindy – age 8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.”
Clare – age 6

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.”
Elaine-age 5

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.”
Chris – age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.”
Mary Ann – age 4

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.”
Lauren – age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”
Karen – age 7

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.”
Mark – age 6

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”
Jessica – age 8

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry”

Taking Our Turn To Give

July 29, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

When we see a person in need, we may want to give them something as a way of helping them, but if we give without taking the time to see who they really are, honoring that most of all, our gift is nowhere near as powerful as it could be. We may want to give a homeless person a sandwich, for example, but if we give it without also taking a moment to look the person in the eye, making authentic contact, we rob them of the experience of being human.

Being in a position of need leaves a lot of people feeling vulnerable and full of self-doubt. The greatest gift we can give is to meet people in need without judgment and with the awareness that we are not superior to them simply because we are not currently in their position. If we take the long view, we can see that we all began life in need of a lot of care and attention, and many of us end life in the same way. Giving and receiving are companion energies that take turns throughout our lives, and we all get a chance to be on both sides of the exchange from time to time.

It’s important to be aware of our own tendency to give from a desire to feel good about ourselves, rather than from an acknowledgement of our connection to all people. Letting go of our self-importance allows us to see that, regardless of appearances, we are all givers and receivers. When we are in the position of the giver, we honor those we are helping when we remember the many people who have helped us. Then we can look the person we are helping in the eye, aware that we are making contact with a human being who is our equal.

Afraid Of The Truth

July 26, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Most of us have had the experience of being in possession of a piece of truth that we were afraid to share because we knew it would not be well received. There are also instances in which we ourselves have been unable to handle some truth confronting us. This might be a small truth, such as not wanting to see that our car needs repairs because we don’t want to pay for them, or a large truth, such as not fully accepting that someone close to us is pushing us away. Usually the truth is evident, and we can see it if we choose, but we have elaborate ways of hiding the truth form ourselves, no matter how apparent it is. 

For the most part, we avoid the truth because it scares us, or makes us angry, or makes us feel like we don’t know what to do. We often create our lives based on a particular understanding, and if that understanding turns out to be fully or even partially incorrect, we may feel that our whole sense of reality is being threatened. It takes a strong person to face the truth in circumstances like these, and many of us run for cover instead. Nevertheless, we can only avoid the truth for so long before it begins to make itself known in ever more forceful ways.

Ultimately, there is no way to avoid the truth, no matter how painful it is, so the sooner we let down our defenses, the better. When we know the truth and accept that we may have to adjust our lives to accommodate, we are in alignment with reality. At the same time, we can be patient with people around us who have a hard time seeing the truth, because we know how painful it can be.  Whatever the truth is, we make a sincere effort not to close our eyes to it, but instead to be grateful that we have access to it.

Children Of Mother Nature

July 25, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

A tree that is beginning to grow sends roots down into Mother Earth even as it reaches and opens to the sky above, seeking nourishment from the sun and the moisture in the air and in the rain that falls. In the same way, we can envision ourselves as treelike beings, imagining that we have roots reaching down into the earth, energetic strands that keep us connected. At the same time, the crowns of our heads lift and open to receive nourishment from above. Just like a tree, we seek the sunshine and water we need to survive and thrive. Both trees and people serve as conduits for the intermingling of the opposite and complementary elements of air, water, sun, and earth.

We also share creative ways of growing, regardless of the challenges we come up against in our environments. Trees will even grow through rock, shattering it, in their effort to reach the air and light they need to survive. We are similarly resilient, with a built-in propensity for growth and the conditions that promote it. We find creative ways around the obstacles we confront as we move along our paths, moving toward the light that feeds us, just as trees grow around other trees and rocks as they make their way upward.

Contemplating the ways in which trees and people mirror one another brings us into alignment with the reality that we are part of Mother Nature. Our children, and the trees and their children, will live together on the earth as long as we all survive, sharing the elements and serving together to forward nature’s plan. Walking in a forest can be a meditation, the interweaving lives of all living creatures and the planet on which we all take root and reach for the sky.

Footprints

July 24, 2008

[Author Unknown]

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

“ Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You, You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me. “

The Lord replied, “ My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only set of footprints, it was then that I carried you. “

Remembering the Moment

July 22, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Life, in all of its fullness, is happening right now. While our thoughts are sometimes elsewhere, beautiful opportunities and moments are being passed over and lost to the flow of time. And though we cannot possibly fully experience each leaf that falls to the ground, sometimes we get so attached to reaching our goals that we don’t pay attention to the wonder all around us. When we do that, we live in a world that exists only in our heads, while we miss life itself. There is so much to be enjoyed and appreciated that we need to remember to pay attention to the present moment, because it is the only space in which we can experience being alive.

We learn from our past, but dwelling on it keeps us from being fully present to life in the moment. We create our lives with our thoughts, but focusing so firmly on our imagined future keeps us from co-creating with the universe, so we might never allow ourselves to live our dreams as they manifest. It’s possible to be so happy and comfortable in our inner worlds that we lose touch with the business of life. We may enjoy spending large portions of time in meditation, or focused on our thoughts. 

Life must be attended to, and if we are wise, we can enjoy it at the same time. We can awaken ourselves to the moment we are living right now by taking a deep breath and simply looking around. In doing so, we refocus our attention to our location in the real world. Then we can learn to appreciate the process of working toward our goals as much as their attainment. Balancing ourselves between the present moment and eternity, we can experience and enjoy the full range of reality available to us as spiritual beings living on earth.

Come and See (Ehipassiko)

July 19, 2008

 

Music/lyrics: Daniel Yeo 28 Oct 1999 Salford, England

 

Ehipassiko come and see

you’ll know

The Teaching of Peace

The Teaching of Love

The Teachings of the

Buddha is for all

Who want to be free

forever more

 

But don’t just believe

Investigate

Do not simply accept what

you hear or see

Not even if it is uttered by ME

 

So don’t just agree

you’ve got to verify

When you know that it’s good

And it’s praised by the wise

Then live up to it for the rest of your life

 

Storytelling

July 19, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Ever since our ancestors could first communicate, we have gathered to share our stories. We have passed along creation tales and tragic stories of love lost. We have repeated accounts of real heroism and simple stories of family history. When our forebears lived closer to the land and to each other, the practice of storytelling was imbued with ritual and occasion. Members of the tribe would often gather around the fire to hear their genealogy recited aloud by an elder or master storyteller. Listeners could track how their own lives, and the lives of their parents, interwove with the lives of the other tribe members, as everyone’s ancient relatives once played out similar life dramas together.   

As a custom, some cultures’ storytellers repeat the same tale over and over because they believe that each time you hear it, you come to the story as a different person and view the plot and characters in a new light. Hearing the story over and over is a way to gauge where you have been and where you are now on your path of personal evolution. It also helps the younger generation learn the stories so that they can pass them to forthcoming generations.

When we hear others tell stories, we can laugh at their humorous adventures, feel the thrill of exciting encounters, see parts of ourselves in them, and learn from the challenges they face. Though most of our formal traditions of storytelling are lost, it does not mean we have to be without. We can begin new practices in our own families of listening to one another, of honoring our own journey, and witnessing the journeys of those around us. We can revive the fireside communal by gathering around the campfire or hearth with family and friends, sharing in stories. By building new practices of storytelling, we give ourselves and the ones we love an opportunity to draw ever closer in our shared human experience.

《一塊地,總有一粒種子適合》

July 18, 2008

有一個女孩,沒考上大學,被安排在本村的小學教書,由於講不清數學題,不到一週被學生轟下台。
 
母親為她擦了擦眼淚,安慰說,滿肚子的東西,有人倒得出來,有人倒不出來,沒必要為這個傷心,也許有更適合你的事情等著你去做。
 
後來,她又隨本村的夥伴一起外出打工,不幸的是,她又被老闆轟了回來,原因是剪裁衣服的時候,手腳太慢了,品質也過不了關。
 
母親對女兒說,手腳總是有快有慢,別人已經幹了很多年了,而你一直在念書,怎麼快得了呢?女兒先後當過紡織工,幹過市場管理員,做過會計,但無一例外,都半途而廢,然而每次女兒沮喪回來時,母親總安慰她,從沒有抱怨。
 
三十歲時,女兒憑著一點語言天賦,做了聾啞學校的輔導員,後來她又開辦了一家殘障學校,再後來,她在許多城市開辦了殘障人用品連鎖店,她已經是一個擁有幾千萬資產的老闆了。
 
有一天,功成名就的女兒湊到已經年邁的母親面前,她想得到一個一直以來想知道的答案,那就是前些年她連連失敗,自己都覺得前途渺茫的時候,是什麼原因讓母親對她那麼有信心呢?
 
母親的回答樸素而簡單,她說,一塊地,不適合種麥子,可以試試種豆子,豆子也長不好的話,可以種瓜果,瓜果也不濟的話,撒上一些蕎麥種子一定能開花,因為一塊地,總有一粒種子適合它,也終會有屬於它的一片收成。
 
聽完母親的話,女兒落淚了,她明白了,實際上,母親恆久而不絕的信念和愛,就是一粒堅韌的種子,她的奇蹟,就是這粒種子執著而生長出的奇蹟。
 

Actively Participating

July 18, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

The way we walk into a room says a lot about the way we live our lives. When we walk into a room curious about what’s happening, willing to engage, and perceiving ourselves as an active participant with something to offer, then we have really shown up to the party. When we walk into a room with our eyes down, or nervously smiling, we are holding ourselves back for one reason or another. We may be hurting inside and in need of healing, or we may lack the confidence required to really be present in the room. Still, just noticing that we’re not really showing up, and having a vision of what it will look and feel like when we do, can give us the inspiration we need to recover ourselves.

Even if we are suffering, we can show up to that experience ready to fully engage in it and learn what it has to offer. When we show up for our life, we are actively participating in being a happy person, achieving our goals, and generally living the life our soul really wants. If we need healing, we begin the process of seeking out those who can help us heal. If we need experience, we find the places and opportunities that can give us the experience we need in order to do the work we want to do in the world. Whatever we need, we look for it, and when we find it, we engage in the process of letting ourselves have it. When we do this kind of work, we become lively, confident, and passionate individuals.

There is almost nothing better in the world than the feeling of showing up for our own lives. When we can do this, we become people that are more alive and who have the ability to make things happen in our lives and the lives of the people around us. We walk through the world with the knowledge that we have a lot to offer and the desire to share it.

A TEACHING ON DEPRESSION

July 17, 2008

—  Ven. Thubten Gyatso

Depression is a state of extreme unhappiness, described by sufferers in a recent BBC radio program as a black, dismal, dungeon of despair; as a stifling hot room with no means of escape; as a heavy overcoat of pain with the buttons soldered together; and as like walking through treacle. It is characterised by a sense of loss of control over one’s life, a loss of enthusiasm, and the inability to enjoy pleasure. One may know what to do, but cannot summon the energy to do it.

Depression may be precipitated by bereavement, illness, unemployment, and perhaps sometimes a neurological abnormality. According to Buddhism, however, the overriding cause of depression is self-cherishing – seeing one’s own physical and mental pleasure as more important than anybody else’s. Self-cherishing is irritability when our spouse asks us to do something that interrupts our own enjoyment, such as watching television, playing sport, or talking with our friends. It is the desire to get the best food for oneself, the best seat in the cinema, the best result in an examination, and the most praise from someone of influence.

How can a small thing such as selfishness, which we all have, be the cause of such a major illness as depression? There are two main reasons. The first is that unhappiness arising from selfishness is cumulative. When we do not obtain what we want, or are stopped from doing what we want, we often over-react to a ridiculous extent. Examine your own experience – how many domestic arguments have exploded out of incredibly petty causes? Even though we chastise ourselves for our stupid behaviour, we repeat the same thing again and again. At home, at work, at the club, wherever we go to relax, our selfish behaviour isolates us from others. The accumulation of small failures in life erodes our self-confidence, we are unable to be happy, and we spiral into depression.

The second reason why selfishness causes depression is because it prevents us from doing the one thing that is guaranteed to bring happiness – cherishing others. Self-obsession smothers consideration for the needs of others and we stop giving love. The constant whirl of self-centred thoughts in our heads, “I am so sad, I need to be happy,” blinds us to the needs of our family and friends, and we do nothing to help them. Our self-confidence takes a further battering because we no longer receive the feedback of love from them, or the pure satisfaction and joy of making them happy. The joy of making others happy is pure because we do not crave it again and again, unlike the joy of self-indulgence which is impure because it never brings satisfaction. Cut off from the world, we sink into unhappiness, self-doubt, and the thought that we are going insane. This is depression.

Buddha’s diagnosis of the cause of depression is not petty or discriminative. We all have self-cherishing, and if we allow it to take over our lives and block our love and compassion for others, we will be in danger of following that awful path into depression. Depression does not cause misery, depression is misery, at its worst. In the human realm anyway. Depressives may not believe this, but it can get far worse in other realms of rebirth.

To indicate our own part in the development of depression is not to point the finger of blame and cause guilt. If we can see that the cause is in our own mind, we will understand that the cure is also in our own mind.

Seeing the shattered self-confidence of depressed people, many new-age creeds attempt to cure the problem with the philosophy of “love yourself first.” But this is the cause, not the cure. The great Indian Bodhisattva, Shantideva, said, “If you want to be happy, you should never seek to please yourself.” Instead, we should seek to please others.

If we ask, “But, don’t I have to protect myself from suffering?”
Shantideva replies, “If you wish to be protected, you should constantly protect all others.” Buddha’s prescription for happiness is to forget yourself and love others. The more we look after our family and friends, the more they will care for us. It is so simple, so obvious, but we have to do it. Not just our family and friends; our purpose in life should be to protect every living being from suffering. When this attitude is supported by wisdom, we will never know unhappiness.

Should you flush your Valium and Prozac down the toilet? No, not yet. Begin with small actions to help others – empty the garbage can without being asked, clean up your own mess in the kitchen, polish the shoes of others. Smile occasionally.

Gradually build up the courage and determination to confront your self-cherishing mind and declare yourself a slave and friend of all living beings. Then you will extract more joy from cleaning up somebody else’s mess in the kitchen than you will ever get from watching the football on television. Not only will this lift your depression, it will place you on the path to bliss.

Changing The Way We Relate

July 17, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

A relationship, in the truest sense of the word, means relating to another. Usually when we say that we relate to someone, it is because we’ve found common ground. But part of relating is finding ways to make ideas that seem different come together. So often when we choose relationships, we try to fit another person into our predetermined ideal. When they don’t fit perfectly, we may try to make them over, creating our own vision from the raw material they’ve brought. But unless someone asks for guidance and direction, entering into a relationship with someone we want to change is dishonest. Then our relationship becomes with someone we’ve imagined, and anytime our partner steps outside of that imaginary projection, we will be disappointed. An honest relationship is one in which we accept each other as whole individuals, and find a way to share our life experiences together. Then, whenever we want, we can choose as a couple to give the relationship a makeover by renewing the way we interact.

By wanting to give another person a makeover, we are basically saying we don’t accept them for who they are. If we take a moment to imagine the roles reversed, we can get a sense of how it would feel if our beloved only committed to us because they thought we were, or would become, someone else entirely. In such an environment, we are not relating to each other from a real place, and we are keeping ourselves from being able to learn and grow from the different viewpoints that our partners offer.

If we feel that a change is needed in our relationship, the only makeover that we truly have the power to make is on ourselves. By accepting our partners for exactly who they are—the ideal and the not-so-ideal—we will create an energetic shift in our relationships, and we may find ourselves really appreciating our partners for the first time. Working from within, we determine how we relate to the people and the world around us, and when we can accept it and embrace it all, without conditions, we make every act of relating a positive one.

Buddha Quotes

July 16, 2008

1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

2. All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.

3. All wrongdoing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrongdoing remain?

4. An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

5. Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.

6. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

7.  Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.

8. Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.

9. Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.

10. Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.

11. Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

12. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

13. However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?

14. I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.

15. In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

16. It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.

17. It is better to travel well than to arrive.

18. Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

19. Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.

20. No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

21. On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.

22. Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

23. Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.

24. To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.

25. To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.

26. To keep the body in good health is a duty. Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

27. Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

28. There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

29. The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.

30. There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

31. The mind is everything. What you think you become.

32. Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.

33. The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.

34. We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act.

35. We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.

36. Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.

37. You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.

38. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.