Archive for March, 2009

How do you relate to the Universe?

March 28, 2009

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).
 
The habit of looking at the world “out there” as disconnected from you is entrenched; we all share a cultural bias that reserves life only for plants and animals, and that places intelligence exclusively in the brain. You can begin to break down this belief by acknowledging any hint that the inner and outer worlds are connected. Both have the same source; both are organized by the same deep intelligence; both respond to each other.

When I say that you can talk to the universe, I mean you can connect to it. If you feel depressed by a gray and rainy day, for example, see the inner and outer grayness as the same phenomenon with objective and subjective sides. If you are driving home from work and your gaze is caught by a glowing sunset, consider that Nature wanted to catch your attention, not that you and the sunset are having just an accidental encounter. On some intimate level, your existence meshes with the universe, not by chance but by intention.

When you see that life exists everywhere, acknowledge what you’re seeing. At first, it may seem peculiar to do this, but you are a co-creator, and you have the right to appreciate the patterns of connection that you’ve made. Carrying yourself like a child of the universe isn’t a game of cosmic pretend.

At the level of the field, you exist everywhere in spacetime, a scientific fact that we are carrying a step further by saying that this moment in spacetime has a special purpose in your world. It is your world, and by responding to it that way, you will begin to notice that it responds back.

On some days everything goes right. On some days everything goes wrong. At certain moments you feel absorbed into the rhythm of Nature. At some moments you feel as if you disappear into the sky or the ocean. Sometimes you know that you have always been here.

There is no defined way for you to relate to the universe. Just relate in your own way. What is yours going to be?

Aging Gracefully

March 28, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

We tend to associate youth with beauty, but the truth is that beauty transcends every age.  Just as a deciduous tree is stunning in all its stages—from its full leafy green in the summer to its naked skeleton during winter and everything in between—human beings are beautiful throughout their life spans.

The early years of our lives tend to be about learning and experiencing as much as we possibly can. We move through the world like sponges, absorbing the ideas of other people and the world. Like a tree in spring, we are waking up to the world. In this youthful phase of life, our physical strength, youth, and beauty help open doors and attract attention. Gradually, we begin to use the information we have gathered to form ideas and opinions of our own. As we cultivate our philosophy about life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are saying, doing, and creating as it is about our appearance. Like a tree in summer, we become full, expressive, beautiful, and productive.

When the time comes for us to let go of the creations of our middle lives, we are like a tree in autumn dropping leaves, as we release our past attachments and preparing for a new phase of growth. The children move on, and careers shift or end. The lines on our faces, the stretch marks, and the grey hairs are beautiful testaments to the fullness of our experience. In the winter of our lives, we become stripped down to our essence like a tree. We may become more radiant than ever at this stage, because our inner light shines brighter through our eyes as time passes. Beauty at this age comes from the very core of our being—our essence. This essence is a reminder that there is nothing to fear in growing older and that there is a kind of beauty that comes only after one has spent many years on earth.

Philosophy of Life

March 26, 2009

In With the New

March 26, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

As the last vestiges of winter depart, all of nature enters into a lively and animated state of renewal. In the springtime, earth’s life energy is awakened from dormancy, and the cycle of life starts anew. We have the ability to sense this change taking place even before the seasonal flora around us blooms before our eyes. It is natural, therefore, that during spring many of us begin to feel the urge to clear away the clutter that has accumulated while we’ve enjoyed being sequestered in our winter nests. Now is the time to let the fresh breezes cleanse the energy in our homes.

Spring cleaning is traditionally a way to welcome a new season—one in which we open our doors and windows to let visitors and the sunshine in. It is also a way to remove stagnant energy from our homes in order to prepare our personal space for the positive, verdant energy of spring and summer. As you sweep away the dust and clutter that has blocked the flow of energy in your home, you inevitably sweep away some of the issues that may have been blocking you in your life. Intention is important, so before you begin cleaning, ask yourself what needs to be cleansed, what can be discarded, and how you can make your home a reflection of your best self. Then, gather your tools and supplies around you—vinegar mixed with water makes a wonderful natural cleanser, and putting everything you need in a bucket with a handle will make it easier to move your supplies around your home. Once you’ve begun spring cleaning, you may find that with each piece of clutter you discard and each item that you clean you begin feel increasingly energized. Divesting yourself of unnecessary possessions can help you regain clarity of mind while cleaning your windows can help you refocus your vision. As you clean, invite healing and vital energy into your home and heart.

When you’ve cleaned your home from top to bottom, create a floral arrangement with flowers from your garden, or buy a new plant at a farmer’s market. You may notice that your home feels newer, and brighter and full of new fresh energy. You also feel reawakened, rejuvenated, and alive. By cleansing your home, you can harness the vivacity and vigor of spring.

Living Like Water

March 25, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

The journey of water as it flows upon the earth can be a mirror of our own paths through life. Water begins its residence on earth as it falls from the sky or melts from ice and streams down a mountain into a tributary or stream. In the same way, we come into the world and begin our lives on earth. Like a river that flows within the confines of its banks, we are born with certain defining characteristics that govern our identity. We are born in a specific time and place, within a specific family, and with certain gifts and challenges. Within these parameters, we move through life, encountering many twists, turns, and obstacles along the way just as a river flows.

Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility. When a river  breaks at a waterfall, it gains energy and moves on, as we encounter our own waterfalls, we may fall hard but we always keep moving on.  Water can inspire us to not become rigid with fear or cling to what’s familiar. Water is brave and does not waste time clinging to its past, but flows onward without looking back. At the same time, when there is a hole to be filled, water does not run away from it in fear of the dark; instead, water humbly and bravely fills the empty space. In the same way, we can face the dark moments of our life rather than run away from them. 

Eventually, a river will empty into the sea. Water does not hold back from joining with a larger body, nor does it fear a loss of identity or control. It gracefully and humbly tumbles into the vastness by contributing its energy and merging without resistance. Each time we move beyond our individual egos to become part of something bigger, we can try our best to follow the lead of the river.

Claiming Our Feelings

March 24, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

If you’ve ever found yourself repressing your anger and behaving in other ways to get your point across, you may be someone who is adept at engaging in passive-aggressive behavior. Although passive-aggressive behavior is recognized as a psychological disorder, it also describes the behavior that many people use to cope with confrontational situations. Such behavior has the outward appearance of being peaceful, yet it is really an attempt to express oneself in seemingly passive ways—usually without accepting responsibility for doing so. For example, someone who doesn’t want to attend an event with a partner might engage in behavior that causes them to be late or miss the event without ever admitting to their partner that they never wanted to go to the function at all. Procrastination, inefficiency, stubbornness, and sullenness are some of the many ways that anger can be expressed indirectly.

It is important not to judge ourselves when we engage in passive-aggressive behavior. You may want to consider that you are not owning your feelings or your expression by indirectly expressing yourself.  Perhaps you are judging your feelings and needs as wrong—which is why you are expressing yourself indirectly. You also may be worried that others will judge you for feeling the way that you do. Remember that anger and every other emotion are never good or bad. They can, however, become toxic of you don’t express them in healthy and proactive ways. When we express ourselves directly, we are more likely to be heard by the other person. It also becomes easier for us to ask for and get what we want.

Once we learn to be honest with ourselves about our feelings, we can begin to directly express ourselves to others.  By learning to express ourselves directly, we prevent misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment from cropping up in our relationships. We also learn to communicate with others in healthy and productive ways.  It is never too late to start working on ourselves and our behaviors, just take it one day at a time.

Supporters

March 20, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Behind each of us stands at least one supporter. This was once thought to be the spouse who ran the home while leaving the other spouse free to work. While this is still one valid scenario, most of us will find that we have other kinds of supporters in our lives. In some cases, our supporters are the people whose help allows us to do the things we’re best at, see to our obligations, or pursue or dreams. In other cases, our support may come from the people who are there to help us through life’s challenges by offering us their strength and bolstering our spirit.

Our support may come from our families and friends or from the people we hire—nannies, assistants, gardeners, healers, therapists, and advisors.  Our supporters may be the mentors who help us express ourselves by listening to us as we share our thoughts and feelings. Our supporter can be the person sitting next to us at a networking meeting or the teacher from our childhood whose words still resonate in our minds. We have always had supporters around us whether we noticed them or not. No matter where the support comes from, few of us can make it through life without assistance.

As we take the time to acknowledge everyone that has every supported us, we can’t help but feel grateful. Understanding our place in our human support system helps us see that just as there are people that support us, we are a supporter to many people.  By gratefully accepting the expertise and assistance of our supporters, we can consciously and more easily build a life that we love. Thanks to our staff, groups, friends, and loved ones for all their support. We all need each other’s support to thrive this world.

Staying On Track

March 19, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

In a world where we have routines for nearly everything—our route to work, our physical fitness regimen, and our weekday schedule—it’s amazing how many people forget to create a routine for meeting their spiritual needs. We run around in an attempt to be at our many appointments on time and meet our many obligations. In our efforts to be as productive as possible, however, our spiritual needs tend to take a backseat. After all, taking care of our spiritual needs doesn’t directly pay the bills or tone our abdominal muscles. We may even wonder who has time to meditate or write in their journal when there are more pressing matters to see to. The truth is that nurturing ourselves spiritually is what gives us the energy and grounding that we need to make sure that our lives stay on track.

How you choose to nurture yourself spiritually is a personal choice. For some people, meditating once a day may be what they need to stay centered. While spending 10-20 minutes with your eyes closed and your brain devoid of thought may seem like a lot of time doing nothing, this state of nothingness actually allows you to stay calm and focused so you can be as productive as possible. Writing in your journal everyday lets you stay in touch with yourself so that you are always tuned in to your feelings. Repeating affirmations for success, happiness, and well-being on a regular basis can help you live with optimism and enthusiasm and create what you want in life.

Having a routine for nurturing your spirit that you do each day lets you feed energy to your soul and can serve you well if your life suddenly takes an unexpected turn into a difficult period.   This kind of routine grounds your spirit in your body so that you stay anchored in yourself as you move through each day. Nurturing yourself spiritually allows you to not only stay on track in your life, but it allows for your life to stay on track with what your spirit wants.

Pushing Away Emotions

March 18, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Throughout our lives, we may experience emotions that disturb or distress us. Often, our first reaction is to push our feelings away. We may say, “I don’t want to think about that right now,  I’ll think about it later” and we bury our emotions, deny the validity of our feelings, or distract ourselves with other concerns. But the diverse emotions you experience are neither good nor bad—they are simply a part being human. Choosing not to experience pain, anger, or other intense feelings could cause those feelings to become buried deep into your physical body. There, they may linger unresolved and unable to emerge, even as they affect the way you experience the world. Allowing yourself to experience all of your emotions rather than push the more painful ones away can help you come to terms with your feelings so you can experience them and then move on.

It is possible to bring forth the old feelings you have pushed aside and experience them in a safe and enriching way. It may sound silly to set aside time to feel your old wounds that you haven’t dealt with, but this can be a very beneficial healing experience.   Find a safel place and pick a time when you can be alone. Make sure that you feel secure and comfortable in your surroundings. Bring to mind the circumstances that originally triggered the emotions you’ve been pushing away. You may need to revisit these circumstances by reading relevant entries in your journal or using visualization to relive your past. Once you have triggered your long-denied emotions, let yourself feel your feelings, and try not to judge your reactions. Cry or sound your emotions if you need to, and don’t block the flow of your feelings. Allow any thoughts that are connected to your emotions to surface. As you release the feelings you have pushed inside of you, you will find yourself healing from the experience associated with these emotions.

When you deal with your feelings directly, they can move through you rather than staying stopped up in your body as emotional blocks that can sometimes turn into disease. Acknowledging your emotions, instead of pushing them away, allows you to stay emotionally healthy and in touch with your feelings.

Emerging From the Grey

March 17, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

We are born equipped to experience a complex array of diverse emotions. Many of us, however, are uncomfortable confronting our most powerful emotions. We may shy away from delight and despair and deny life’s colors by retreating into a world of monotone grey. We may numb ourselves to what we are truly feeling. It’s easier to suppress our emotions than to deal with them, so we may momentarily turn to pleasures such as alcohol, food, sugar, shopping and too much television. We may even numb our hearts. While it’s normal to temporarily seek distractions as a means of coping with intense emotions, numbing yourself prevents you from confronting your issues and keeps you from ever finding resolution or peace. When you are numb, there is no pain or powerlessness, but there can also be no joy or healing.

The activities that numb you may seem harmless or pleasurable, but using them to numb yourself diminishes the quality of your life. Numbing yourself so that you don’t have to feel intense emotions can often satisfy a surface need while blocking your awareness of a deeper need. You may find solace in food or shopping when what you really need is spiritual nourishment. The less you feel, the less alive you feel. Your feelings add vividness to your experiences and serve to connect you to the world around you. It is possible to disavow yourself of numbing behaviors a little at a time and once again taste life’s rich flavors. When you sense that you are engaging in a particular behavior simply to deaden your emotions, stop and ask yourself why. Examining the feelings that drive you to numb yourself can help you understand what is triggering your desire to emotionally fade out.

With each numbing activity that you cut out of your life, you’ll find yourself being more aware and experiencing a greater emotionally acuity. Senses once shrouded by the fog of numbness become sharp and acute. Traumas and pain long hidden will emerge to the forefront of your consciousness and reveal themselves so that you can heal them. You’ll discover a deeper you—a self that is comfortable experiencing and working through intense emotions with courage and grace.

Bruno’s Art and Sculture Garden

March 16, 2009

Art work and sculpture in these slides were created by Bruno Torfs at Marysville Victoria, Australia.
On Saturday February 7th 2009, the fires in Victoria completely destroyed his unique forest creation taking over 300 paintings and scuptures.

Giving Your Gifts to the World

March 14, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

In our search to define ourselves, we often look to our job to show us our worth. Society does not judge all professions equally, however, and it is not uncommon for the individuals who hold what others may consider to be ordinary or menial jobs to feel that they themselves are ordinary or menial. Yet, in truth, many wonderful and wise people throughout history have held what have typically been perceived as ordinary jobs, and this in no way has had any bearing on whether or not they have managed to contribute their skills and talents to the world. Whether you work in business, education, medicine, retail, or another profession, you worth is inherent to who you are and not what you do for a living.

A job that you enjoy, lets you meet your needs, and allows you to live in accordance with your values will always be more gratifying than a high-status job that you dislike. But while experiencing professional satisfaction can be a vital part of being fulfilled by your work, it is important to remember that it is possible to find happiness in any job. This is because what you do is often less important than how you do it. Your attitude and intention can turn a mediocre job into work that fulfills you because of the way that you approach it. If you do your job well and what you do benefits others, then you are doing work that is making this world a better place.

If you are happy in your current line of work and feel that it allows you to be yourself and live authentically while meeting your emotional and physical needs and allowing time for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor, then you have found a job that adds value to your life. If you are a waitress, then be the best waitress you can, take pride in your work and others will notice your passion.  You can contribute your talents and skills to this world while doing any job. It is not the kind of work you do that allows you to be of service. It is you who must choose to be of service through the work that you do.

Set Yourself Free

March 12, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

It is good to remember that one of our goals in life is to not be perfect. We often lose track of this aspiration. When we make mistakes, we think that we are failing or not measuring up.  But if life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, then to be imperfect is a prerequisite. Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be our best. We simply accept that there is no such thing as perfection—especially in life. All living things are in a ceaseless state of movement. Even as you read this, your hair is growing, your cells are dying and being reborn, and your blood is moving through your veins. Your life changes more than it stays the same. Perfection may happen in a moment, but it will not last because it is an impermanent state. Trying to hold on to perfection or forcing it to happen causes frustration and unhappiness.

In spite of this, many of us are in the habit of trying to be perfect. One way to nudge ourselves out of this tendency is to look at our lives and notice that no one is judging us to see whether or not we are perfect. Sometimes, perfectionism is a holdover from our childhood—an ideal we inherited from a demanding parent. We are adults now, and we can choose to let go of the need to perform for someone else’s approval. Similarly, we can choose to experience the universe as a loving place where we are free to be imperfect. Once we realize this, we can begin to take ourselves less seriously and have more fun. Imperfection is inherent to being human. By embracing your imperfections, you embrace yourself.

我的脚送给你

March 7, 2009

                                          我的脚送给你                            妙妙

 

 大约十多年前,在一个义工分享会上,第一次聆听许哲女士述说她的生活点滴,那时她已是近百岁的人瑞了。

 

从年青到年长,她都在服务人群。她的生活重心是一心一意照顾贫苦、无依无靠的老人。每天的瑜珈练习及自然简单的生食习惯,令我大开眼界;她那充满笑容的慈祥脸容及’爱’的分享;为一批要到国外当义工的我们打了一支强心剂。

 

之后偶而在刊物、媒体资讯中知道她的一些近况,心里对她那无私的奉献印像猶深;几次萌起去拜访她的念头,可就一直没行动。

 

今年春节期间,感触于圣严法师圆寂的当儿,联想到了许哲女士这位善知识。心动不如行动,在網络上找到她的服务中心 ( Heart – to  – Heart  Service ) 的網址 (enquiry@hearttoheartservice.org),便写电邮表明要拜访她,她的义弟(Sharana)很快就安排了见面的时间。

 

当天下午,来到许哲女士简单樸素的小屋。她的身躯看起来与十多年前一样硬朗,雖然行动缓慢,人一样亲切如故。她坐在固定的座位后,看着记事本上的英文名字,一字不漏、一字不差的、清楚的读出三个朋友及我的名字。

 

由於她的耳朵不灵光,接下来的谈话,是在Sharana的協助下;就是在她耳边以英文或潮语、简单重复传话而完成的。

 

我们好奇的询问:〝您不用戴眼镜?〞她指着自己的头,风趣的说:〝眼镜在里边。〞

 

談到她的飲食习惯,由於大部分的牙齒已经掉了,每天吃柔软、流质的食物;Sharana透露说她嗜好吃雪糕及甜卷;每天都有善心人士为她送食物,並说他托许哲女士的福,也不用担心每天的温飽问题。

 

许哲女士对小时候不适合吃鱼肉的印象深刻。她的外婆曾经一再说:〝不吃鱼会不够强壮。〞可是偏偏她一吃鱼肉后就全身发癢,所以从小就不吃肉了。活到这大把年纪的她说:〝我不吃肉,身体还是强壮。不吃肉是不让动物有痛苦。〞她至今没’正式’ 生过病;跌倒过二次,但很快就复原了。

 

一位朋友问她:〝您的飲食与长寿是否有关系?〞她开朗的笑着说:〝上天还没把钥匙拿给我。〞Sharana笑着说〝哈哈!活的快乐,精神勝於物质是决定因素。〞

 

我们惊叹着许哲女士的健康之餘,談到了一位五十来歲的朋友,走路已经膝蓋痛了好久;我也无奈的说现在自己下樓时,左膝蓋也有痛的感觉了。她自然的、关心的说:〝我的脚送给你。〞迟钝的我对这出人意料、’捨脚’为人的话语,只会说声谢谢,就一直感动的看着她微笑。

 

每个星期六,她会到牛车水去探访年老的’红头巾’,通过无数次的交谈,原是潮州籍贯的她,学会了说一口流利的广东话;’ 通行无阻’的与她们话家常。

 

她曾对伤心的老人说过:〝与其浪费一张用钱買的纸巾去抹你的眼淚,为何不开心的笑;笑不用花錢又能保护大自然。纸来自於树,树来自大自然,大自然是我们的母亲。〞

 

她的服务中心每个月会有一次家访话动,义工们会上门拜访贫困的家庭,送上糧食及衣物。

 

她每天还是持续练瑜珈,除此之外,也在学习梵文,阅读华文书;真是一个活到老、学到老的好榜样;她那坚毅的好学精神真是令我们汗颜。

 

感恩有这样一个殊胜的因缘,能与许哲女士再度会面、交流;让朋友与我度过一个温馨、愉快的下午,与她相擁挥手话别时,心里温暖满满的。

 

许哲女士几十年无私的奉献贯穿着她的信念:这世界是一个大家庭。她直透人心、简单又深广的话语及行动,是智慧及爱心的具体表现,让贫苦无依的老人及贫困家庭活得有尊严及有希望。

 

许哲女士,衷心谢謝您!

 

我们祝您妇女节快乐!

 

 

 

 

Embraceable You

March 7, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

You are unique. There is no one else like you in the entire universe. In honor of your unique self, it is good to acknowledge and embrace the special qualities that make you the person that you are. One way to do this is to not compare yourself with other people.

It is human nature to want to see how we measure up in comparison to others – especially if we think that they are better than us or have more of something that we want. Yet the truth is that it is not a good use of time to compare ourselves with others because there is no one like us and this makes us incomparable. It is sometimes almost easier to look outside of ourselves and feel like we are deficient in comparison to other people rather than taking responsibility for our own progress in relation to the fulfillment of our life purpose. It actually takes more courage to be self-referential and look at ourselves to see whether we are measuring up to our standards or meeting our full potential. Each of us has very special gifts, and we are here for very specific reasons. We each have a life purpose to fulfill and with this come the lessons that we must learn and the circumstances that we must go through in order to evolve as spiritual beings. To compare our lives to other people’s lives when we have no idea of what they are here to learn or fulfill doesn’t benefit anyone – especially you.

Instead, if we can accept ourselves, appreciate the special talents and qualities that we alone possess, and realize that each of us is going through certain kinds of experiences for a reason, we are less likely focus so much on what other people have or are doing. Realizing and valuing our uniqueness enables us to bring out the best in ourselves so we can get on with living rather than preoccupying ourselves with meaningless comparisons. Try to not compare yourself to others, and you will see how much you have and how special you are.