Archive for May, 2010

How to Live a Whole Life?

May 30, 2010

[ Posted by Deepak Chopra in Care2,adapted from Reinventing The Body, Resurrecting The Soul by Deepak Chopra ]

Wholeness is the result of connecting body, mind, and soul. In wholeness you aren’t divided against yourself; therefore the choices you make are beneficial at every level. Once you realize how the soul functions, there is no reason to turn back and live any other way than from the level of the soul.

Yet living without the soul has also been easy. You can ignore being divided against yourself. Life goes on without resolving that issue. Bad decisions bring pain and suffering, but people learn to put up with it. In other words, life without being whole is “easy” because of habit, inertia, or old conditioning that is hard to break.

‘Holisitc’ has come to mean organic food, leaving no carbon footprint, practicing prevention, and trusting in alternative medicine. All of those things are undeniably good – they are evidence of growing consciousness that earlier generations only dreamed of – but they won’t keep you on the spiritual path.

A holistic lifestyle should sustain the ties to your soul even when those ties feel fragile. Spiritual teachers have wrestled with this problem for centuries, wondering how they can bridge the gulf between the old life and the new. Teaching and preaching aren’t enough. Showing by example isn’t enough. Yet many human beings have crossed over to the light (call them saints, yogis, bodhisattvas, or simply inspiring examples) and what they have achieved is real.

If we distill their stories, a lifestyle emerges that applies to you and me in these times of transition. The lifestyle is simple, and can be followed without anyone else needing to know or approve.

Ten steps to wholeness: Nourish your “light body.” Turn entropy into evolution. Commit yourself to deeper awareness. Be generous of spirit. Focus on relationships instead of consumption. Relate to your body consciously. Embrace every day as a new world. Let the timeless be in charge of time. Feel the world instead of trying to understand it. Seek after your own mystery.

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Why it’s Green to go Vegetarian ?

May 30, 2010

[ Info from The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom ]

What we choose to eat is one of the biggest factors in our personal impact on the environment. A 2006 study, examining the impact of a typical week’s eating, showed that plant-based diets are better for the environment than those based on meat. A vegan, organic diet had the smallest environmental impact, but the single most damaging foodstuff was beef and all non-vegetarian diets required significantly greater amounts of environmental resources, such as land and water. Similarly, a 2008 study found that the transition to less meat or even a complete switch to plant-based protein food has a dramatic effect on land use. By feeding grain and vegetables directly to people (rather than livestock) we can increase the amount of food available to everyone.

By going vegetarian you will help:

• Avoid excessive CO2 production
• Reduce methane/nitrous oxide production
• Save large amounts of water
• Avoid polluting our streams/rivers/oceans
• Reduce destruction of topsoil & tropical rainforest
• Reduce the destruction of wildlife habitats & endangered species
• Reduce the use of antibiotics, growth promoters and chemicals

The environmental arguments are strong, but many vegetarians simply believe that it is wrong to kill when there is no need to. Others love and respect animals and want to minimize their suffering. Some vegetarians are specifically opposed to intensive farming and choose vegetarianism because it sends a strong signal, guarantees you won’t be eating an animal reared in appalling conditions, and avoids the distress experienced by all animals slaughtered for their meat. Whatever their reasons for giving up meat, vegetarians benefit from much more than a clear conscience, with lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

Begetting Change

May 29, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

If our patterns of thought and behavior remain unchanged our lives will continue to unfold much as they have previously.

Repeated bouts of adversity are an unavoidable aspect of human existence. We battle against our inner struggles or outer world forces, and in many cases, we emerge on the opposite side of struggle stronger and better equipped to cope with the challenges yet to come. However, we can occasionally encounter trials that seem utterly hopeless. We strike at them with all of our creativity and perseverance, hoping desperately to bring about change, only to meet with the same results as always. Our first instinct in such situations is often to push harder against the seemingly immovable obstruction before us, assuming that this time we will be met with a different outcome. But staying power and stamina net us little when the same choices consistently garner the same results. A change in perspective, behavior, or response can do so much more to help us move past points where no amount of effort seems sufficient to overcome the difficulties before us. 

Whether our intention is to change ourselves or some element of the world around us, we cannot simply wish for transformation or hope that our lives will be altered through circumstance. If our patterns of thought and behavior remain unchanged, our lives will continue to unfold much as they have previously. Patterns in which fruitless efforts prevail can be overcome with self examination and courage. It is our bravery that allows us to question the choices we have made thus far and to channel our effort into innovation. Asking questions and making small adjustments to your thought processes and behaviors will help you discover what works, so you can leave that which does not work behind you. To break free from those unconscious patterns that have long held sway over your actions and reactions, you will likely have to challenge your assumptions on a most basic level. You must accept once and for all that your beliefs with regard to cause and effect may no longer be in accordance with your needs.

Stagnation is often a sign that great changes are on the horizon. Courting the change you wish to see in yourself and in the world around you is a matter of acknowledging that only change begets change. The results you so ardently want to realize are well within the realm of possibility, and you need only step away from the well-worn circular path to explore the untried paths that lie beyond it.

Silence of the Heart

May 27, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

It takes a sensitive ear to tune in to the silence of the heart, it can offer us profound experiences if we listen.

We spend a lot of time attempting to put the feelings in our hearts into words, to communicate to others our passions, our emotions, and our love. Often we are so busy trying to translate our heart’s roar into language that we miss the most profound experience the heart has to offer, which is silence. Every poem arises from this silence and returns to it. When all the songs have been sung, the soliloquies delivered, the emotions expressed, silence is what remains. As each wave of feeling rises and falls back into the silence, we have an opportunity to connect with the vast, open, powerfully healing wisdom at the soundless center of our hearts.

Our hearts may seem noisy and tumultuous so much of the time that we do not even associate them with silence. It takes a sensitive ear to tune in to the silence of the heart, but it is there in each one of us, so close and so large that we do not even notice it. We can begin to become aware of it in the same way we become aware of the negative space in a still life, the background of a photograph, or the open sky that contains the sun, clouds, moon, and stars. We are accustomed to tuning in to objects and sounds that are one-pointed, solid, and three-dimensional. Seeing and hearing the apparently empty space that contains these sounds and objects takes a little practice.

We can bring our awareness into our hearts by simply breathing into the general area of our heart. The first thing we may notice is feelings like joy or sadness and physical sensations like tightness or tenderness. We acknowledge these as we continue to breathe and focus, listening attentively. We surround these feelings and sensations with breath and recognize that they are contained and held in an immeasurable substance like water or air, intangible, ineffable, but utterly real. This is the silence of the heart, and the more we listen for it, return to it, and accept it, the more we bathe and purify ourselves in the soundless center of our being.

To Be Right or To Be Happy?

May 27, 2010

[ Posted by Deepak Chopra in Care2. Adapted from The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2009).
Conflicts arise as a result of not understanding that there are as many points of view as there are people. Our unique points of view are a gift. We live in a universe reflecting who we are, which we should cherish and celebrate. Instead, we rush to defend our tiny piece of it.

Consider how relationships develop. We get along well with someone else who agrees with our point of view. We feel an intimate connection; we feel validated in their presence. Then the spell is broken: it turns out that the other person has many opinions and beliefs with which we don’t agree at all. At this point, the war between right and wrong starts, and the road to unhappiness unspools before us.

The very fact that you are in an intimate relationship makes it even more painful to find areas of disagreement. At the subtle emotional level you feel abandoned. The beautiful sense of merging with someone you love is shattered. At this point love is compromised, as both people experience the return of the ego, which says, “I am right. My way of doing things is the only way. If you really loved me, you’d give in.”

But in reality love hasn’t failed. It was just blocked by the need to be right, to cling to your own viewpoint instead of surrendering to what love would do. To the ego, however, surrender is defeat and disgrace.

If you are mindful of this fact, then every time the urge to be right surfaces in your awareness, look at your circumstances in context. Is it possible that someone else’s viewpoint is as valid as yours? Since the equality of viewpoints is a given, now it becomes possible to let go of the win-lose scenario.

Ask yourself, “What do I really want out of the situation, to be right or to be happy?” Can you see that the two are not the same? When you give in to your need to be right, you are turning your back on love, communion, and ultimately unity. Unity is the realization that at the deepest level everyone shares the same consciousness, which is the source of all love and joy.

Roadmaps of Life

May 26, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

We are the only true experts on our journey to enlightenment. Filter all information through your own heart.

All the major spiritual traditions serve the purpose of offering us a roadmap to guide us on our individual journeys to enlightenment. These roadmaps are made up of moral codes, parables, and, in some cases, detailed descriptions of mystical states. We often study the fine points of a particular ascended master’s narrative in order to better understand our own and to seek inspiration and guidance on our path. In the same way, when we plan a road trip, we carry maps and guidebooks in an effort to understand where we are going. In both cases, though, the journey has a life of its own and maps, while helpful, can only take us so far. There is just no comparison between looking at a line on a piece of paper and driving your own car down the road that line represents.

Some people seem well-suited to following maps, while others are always looking for new ways to get where they’re going. In the end, the only reliable compass is within, as every great spiritual guide will tell you. The maps and travelogues left behind by others are great blessings, full of useful information and inspiration, but they cannot take the journey for us. When it is time to merge onto the highway or pull up anchor, we are ostensibly on our own. Strange weather patterns, closed roads, and traffic jams arise in the moment, out of nowhere, and our maps cannot tell us what to do. Whether we take refuge in a motel by the side of the road, persevere and continue forward, or turn back altogether is entirely up to us.

Maps are based on observations from the past and we are living in the present, so we are the only true experts on our journey to enlightenment. We may find that the road traveled by our predecessors is now closed. We may feel called to change direction entirely so that the maps we have been carrying really no longer apply. These are the moments when we learn to attune ourselves to our inner compass, following a map that only we can see, as we make our way into the unknown territory of our own enlightenment.

弘一法师名言

May 25, 2010

气,忌盛。心,忌满。才,忌露。

臨事須替別人想;論人先將自己想。

善用威者不輕怒;善用恩者不妄施。

为外物所动之为静。不为外物所实则为虚。

意粗、性躁,一事无成;心平、气和,千祥骈集。

自責之外,無勝人之術;自強之外,無上人之術。

不近人情,舉足盡是危機;不體物情,一生俱成夢境。

处超然,处人蔼然。无事澄然,有事斩然。得意淡然,失意泰然。

Clinging to the Core

May 22, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

When it feels as if your world is falling apart, know at your core that you are a strong being of light.

There are times when our whole world seems to be falling apart around us, and we are not sure what to hold onto anymore. Sometimes our relationships crumble and sometimes it’s our physical environment. At other times, we can’t put our finger on it, but we feel as if all the walls have fallen down around us and we are standing with nothing to lean on, exposed and vulnerable. These are the times in our lives when we are given an opportunity to see where we have established our sense of identity, safety, and well-being. And while it is perfectly natural and part of our process to locate our sense of self in externals, any time those external factors shift, we have an opportunity to rediscover and move closer to our core, which is the only truly safe place to call home.

The core of our being is not affected by the shifting winds of circumstance or subject to the cycles of change that govern physical reality. It is as steady and consistent as the sun, which is why the great mystics and mystical poets often reference the sun in their odes to the self. Like the sun, there are times when our core seems to be inaccessible to us, but this is just a misperception. We know that when the sun goes behind a cloud or sets for the night, it has not disappeared but is simply temporarily out of sight. In the same way, we can trust that our inner core is always shining brightly, even when we cannot quite see it.

We can cling to this core when things around us are falling apart, knowing that an inexhaustible light shines from within ourselves. Times of external darkness can be a great gift in that they provide an opportunity to remember this inner light that shines regardless of the circumstances of our lives. When our external lives begin to come back together, we are able to lean a bit more lightly on the structures we used to call home, knowing more clearly than ever that our true home is that bright sun shining in our core.

《金刚经》的四句偈

May 21, 2010

 [ 金刚般若波罗蜜经   姚秦三藏法师鸠摩罗什译 ]

 一切有为法,

如梦幻泡影,

如露亦如电,

应作如是观。

 

Why Not Now?

May 21, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

If today is the day you will take your destiny into your hands, you will soon discover that you hold the keys of fate.

The time we are blessed with is limited and tends to be used up all too quickly. How we utilize that time is consequently one of the most important decisions we make. Yet it is far too easy to put off until tomorrow what we are dreaming of today. The hectic pace of modern existence affords us an easy out; we shelve our aspirations so we can cope more effectively with the challenges of the present, ostensibly to have more time and leisure to realize our purpose in the future. Or we tell ourselves that we will chase our dreams someday once we have accomplished other lesser goals. In truth, it is our fear that keeps us from seeking fulfillment in the here and now—because we view failure as a possibility, our reasons for delaying our inevitable success seem sound and rational. If we ask ourselves what we are really waiting for, however, we discover that there is no truly compelling reason why we should put off the pursuit of the dreams that sustain us.

When regarded as a question, “Why not now?” drains us of our power to realize our ambitions. We are so concerned with the notion that we are somehow undeserving of happiness that we cannot see that there is much we can do in the present to begin courting it. Yet when we look decisively at our existence and state, “Why not now, indeed!” we are empowered to begin changing our lives this very moment. We procrastinate for many reasons, from a perceived lack of time to a legitimate lack of self-belief, but the truth of the matter is that there is no time like the present and no time but the present. Whatever we aim to accomplish, we will achieve it more quickly and with a greater degree of efficiency when we seize the day and make the most of the resources we have at our disposal presently.

All the joy, passion, and contentment you can envision can be yours right now, rather than in some far-flung point in time. You need only remind yourself that there is nothing standing between you and fulfillment. If you decide that today is the day you will take your destiny into your hands, you will soon discover that you hold the keys of fate.

Space in Togetherness

May 20, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Healthy barriers will give you the freedom to pursue your development apart from those whose approval you seek out.

As relationships evolve, lives gradually become entwined. We tend to have a great deal in common with the people who attract us, and our regard for them compels us to trust their judgment. While our lives may seem to run together so smoothly that the line dividing them cannot be seen, we remain separate beings. To disregard these barriers is to sacrifice independence. It is our respect for the fact that our lives exist independently of the lives of others that allows us to set emotional and physical boundaries, to explore our interests and capabilities even when people close to us do not understand our partialities, and to agree to disagree. Maintaining healthy barriers is a matter of recognizing the point at which our principles and those of our loved ones and peers no longer overlap.

Human beings must relentlessly fight the temptation to follow the crowd. Naturally, we want to be liked, accepted, and admired, and it often seems that the easiest way to win approval is to ally ourselves with others. When we assume that our standards are the same as those of the people close to us without first examining our own intentions, we do ourselves a disservice. The barriers that exist between us are a reminder that our paths in life will be unique, and we must each accept that “I” and “we” can coexist peacefully. Our reactions, our likes and dislikes, our loves, our goals, and our dreams may or may not align with those of others, but we should neither ask others to embrace what we hold dear nor feel compelled to embrace what they hold dear.

As you learn to define yourself as an emotionally and intellectually distinct individual, you will grow to appreciate your autonomy. However much you enjoy the associations that bind you to others and provide you with a sense of identity, your concept of self will ultimately originate in your own soul. The healthy barriers that tell you where you end and the people around you begin will give you the freedom to pursue your development apart from those whose approval you might otherwise be tempted to seek out. Others will continue to play a role in your existence, but their values will not direct its course, and the relationships you share will remain marvelously balanced and harmonious as a result.

Present in the Progression

May 18, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Try to allow your life to unfold like a flower rather than worrying and making predictions which cause stress.

Our lives are guided by natural rhythms that are particular to each of us and cannot be altered by force of will alone. Life itself is a journey made up of processes and events that manifest before us only to be swept away when time marches on. Whether we envision ourselves creating a career, building a family, or developing the self, we instinctively know when the time has come for us to realize our dreams because all that is involved comes together harmoniously. When the time is right, the passage of destiny cannot be blocked. Yet as desperate as we are to touch these beautiful futures we have imagined, we cannot grow if we are not fully present in the evolutionary experience. The present can be challenging, uncomfortable, and tedious, but life unfolds as it will, and the universe will wait patiently as we make our way into the unknown.

The fate that awaits us is not dependent on our pace, which was preordained before we ever appeared in human guise. Therefore there is no reason to rush through life to reach those pinnacles of development associated with the paths we have chosen. Enjoying and fully experiencing the journey of life is as important as achieving goals and reaching milestones. There are lessons we can learn during those moments that seem immaterial or insignificant that we cannot learn at any other time. Appreciating these takes patience, however, because human beings tend to focus on the fulfillment of expectations rather than the simple joys of being. 

Like many people, you have no doubt longed for a device that would give you the power to fast forward through certain periods of your existence. Yet haste is by its very nature vastly more stressful than serene fortitude. When you feel yourself growing impatient because the pace of your development is deceptively slow, remember that everything that will occur in your life will occur in its own time. Quelling your urge to rush will enable you to witness yourself learning, changing, and becoming stronger. There is so much to see and do in between the events and processes that we deem definitive. If you are patient enough to take pleasure in your existence’s unfolding, the journey from one pinnacle to the next will seem to take no time at all.

A Reason to Smile

May 15, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

Devoting time each day for happiness will change your day and change your brain chemistry.

It can be so easy to get caught up in the rigors of modern life that we tend to forget that happiness need not come with stipulations. Happiness becomes something we must schedule and strive for—a hard-won emotion—and then only when we have no worries to occupy our thoughts. In reality, overwhelming joy is not the exclusive province of those with unlimited time and no troubles to speak of. Many of the happiest people on earth are also those coping with the most serious challenges. They have learned to make time for those simple yet superb pleasures that can be enjoyed quickly and easily. Cultivating a happy heart takes no more than five minutes. The resultant delight will be neither complex nor complicated, but it will be profound and will serve as a reminder that there is always a reason to smile.

So much that is ecstasy-inducing can be accomplished in five minutes. Alone, we can enjoy an aromatic cup of our favorite tea, take a stroll through the garden we have created, write about the day’s events in a journal, doodle while daydreaming, or breathe deeply while we listen to the silence around us. In the company of a good friend or treasured relative, we can share a few silly jokes, enjoy a waltz around the room, play a fast-paced hand of cards, or reconnect through lighthearted conversation. The key is to first identify what makes us dizzyingly happy. If we do only what we believe should bring us contentment, our five minutes will not be particularly satisfying. When we allow ourselves the freedom to do whatever brings us pleasure, five minutes out of 14 wakeful hours can brighten our lives immeasurably.

It is often when we have the least free time or energy to devote to joy that we need to unwind and enjoy ourselves the most. Making happiness a priority will help you find five minutes every day to indulge in the things that inspire elation within you. Eventually, your happiness breaks will become an established part of your routine. If you start by pursuing activities you already enjoy and then gradually think up new and different ways to fill your daily five minutes of happiness, you will never be without something to smile about.

Resistance Equals Persistence

May 14, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

We can’t get rid of something we don’t want by pushing it away. The more we push away, the more we get pushed back.

We all know the feeling of being repeatedly haunted by the same issue, no matter how we try to ignore it, avoid it, or run away from it. Sometimes it seems that we can get rid of something we don’t want by simply pushing it away. Most of the time, the more we push away, the more we get pushed back. There are laws of physics and metaphysics that explain this phenomenon, which is often summed up in this pithy phrase: That which you resist persists.

Resistance tends to strengthen the energies it attempts to oppose by giving them power and energy to work against. Additionally, resistance keeps us from learning more about what we resist. In order to fully understand something, we must open to it enough to receive its energy; otherwise, we remain ignorant of its lessons. There is a Tibetan story of a monk who retreats to meditate in a cave only to be plagued by demons. He tries everything—chasing, fighting, hiding—to get the demons out of his cave, but the thing that finally works is surrender. He simply lets them have their way with him and only then do they disappear.

Now, this wisdom must be applied practically. We are not meant to get ourselves physically injured. Instead, this story speaks of how, in essence, our demons are inside of us. What plagues and pursues us on an inner level has a way of manifesting itself in our environment in the form of people, events, and issues that appear to be beyond our control. But all these external expressions are reflections of our insides, and it is inside ourselves that we can safely experiment with surrendering to what we fear and dislike. It may feel scary, and we may find ourselves in the company of a lot of resistance as we begin the process of opening to what we fear. But the more we learn to surrender, and the more the demons that plague us disappear in the process, the more courageous we will become.

Be Open

May 13, 2010

[ From DailyOM ]

When taking in new information, always use your own intuition to see how the information feels to you.

Living in an information age, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the constant influx of scientific studies, breaking news, and even spiritual revelations that fill our bookshelves, radio waves, and in-boxes. No sooner have we decided what to eat or how to think about the universe than a new study or book comes out confounding our well-researched opinion. After a while, we may be tempted to dismiss or ignore new information in the interest of stabilizing our point of view, and this is understandable. Rather than closing down, we might try instead to remain open by allowing our intuition to guide us.

For example, contradictory studies concerning foods that are good for you and foods that are bad for you are plentiful. At a certain point, though, we can feel for ourselves whether coffee or tomatoes are good for us or not. The answer is different for each individual, and this is something that a scientific study can’t quite account for. All we can do is take in the information and process it through our own systems of understanding. In the end, only we can decide what information, ideas, and concepts we will integrate. Remaining open allows us to continually change and shift by checking in with ourselves as we learn new information. It keeps us flexible and alert, and while it can feel a bit like being thrown off balance all the time, this openness is essential to the process of growth and expansion.

Perhaps the key is realizing that we are not going to finally get to some stable place of having it all figured out. Throughout our lives we will go through the processes of opening to new information, integrating it, and stabilizing our worldview. No sooner will we have reached some kind of stability than it will be time to open again to new information, which is inherently destabilizing. If we see ourselves as surfers riding the incoming waves of information and inspiration, always open and willing to attune ourselves to the next shift, we will see how blessed we are to have this opportunity to play on the waves and, most of all, to enjoy the ride.