Archive for February, 2011

Unconscious Communication

February 26, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Addressing chronic lateness helps us to better honor both others and ourselves.

Being late for an appointment or a date can seem like a small thing that really doesn’t matter, but it communicates volumes, whether we mean it to or not. Being kept waiting is an experience that almost no one enjoys, because at best, it wastes their time, and at worst, it indicates a lack of regard. It’s as if we’re saying that our time is more important than their time, so we don’t need to honor them by showing up when we said we would. When we are running late, it means a lot if we call and let the person know, especially if it’s going to be more than ten minutes. However, if we are chronically late, it may take more than a phone call to properly address the issue.

If it’s become a habit of ours not to be on time, we may want to look inside ourselves and see what’s going on. It’s easy enough to make excuses about our behavior, or to project responsibility on the other person, perceiving them to be uptight if they are irritated by our tardiness. What’s more difficult, and more meaningful, is looking at ourselves and asking why it is that we always, or often, show up late. Sometimes this happens out of a lack of self-regard, as if we aren’t really important anyway, so why will anyone care if we’re late, or don’t show up at all. Chronic lateness can also stem from being disorganized, or simply trying to do too much in one day. Another possible reason for being late to a particular appointment, or date, is that we don’t really want to be there. We communicate our disinterest or boredom by not showing up on time.

Whatever our reasons, if we raise them to the conscious level, we have an opportunity to live a more conscious life. As we begin to understand the deeper reasons behind our inability to show up on time, we have the option to communicate clearly and consciously about how we really feel, rather than communicating unconsciously by being late.

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Bringing Out The Best

February 25, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

The traits we notice in others, both good and bad, can be opportunities for us to understand ourselves more deeply.

Most of us have probably come across the universal wisdom that the people who irritate us the most are expressing qualities that we ourselves have. This is why family members can be so vexing for so many of us—we see ourselves in them, and vice versa. This isn’t always true, of course, but when it is, it’s a real opportunity for growth if we can acknowledge it, because it is infinitely easier to change ourselves than it is to try to change another person, which is never a good idea.  For example, if we have a coworker who engages in some kind of negative behavior, like complaining or trying to control everything, we can look and see if we ourselves carry those traits.

We may have to look to other situations in our lives to see it, because we behave differently in different environments. Perhaps we don’t complain at work, because our coworker overdoes it, but maybe we do it with our friends. Maybe we aren’t controlling at the office, but we’re used to being in control at home, and this is why we feel so irritated not to be in control at work. Even if we look and find that we are not engaging in the same behavior that we see as negative in others, we can still learn from what we are seeing in this person. The truth is, human nature is universal, and we share many of the same tendencies. What we see in others can always help us to understand ourselves more deeply.

Having the ability to see something in another person, and automatically bring this observation back to ourselves, is like having a built-in system of checks and balances that enables us to be continually engaged in self-exploration and behavior change. When we see behavior we don’t like, we can make a concerted effort to weed it out of ourselves, and when we see behavior we do like, we can let it inspire us to engage in imitation. Through this process, we read our environment and let it influence us to bring out the best in ourselves.

Create a Supportive Life Story

February 24, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

When you remember that you are the author of your own life story, you are free to create a masterpiece.

We all have our own life story. It is filled with relationships and events that help shape who we are and what we believe to be true about the world. Depending on our perspective and willingness to grow, our experiences can become fodder for negativity and patterns of playing the victim, or they can fuel a life of empowerment and continued self-development. It is the story we tell ourselves about what happens that makes all the difference.

Take a moment to look at the life story you create for yourself on an ongoing basis. If you generally feel peaceful about the past and trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way, then you are framing circumstances in a manner that serves you well. On the other hand, if you retain a lot of guilt or resentment and often feel weighed down by life, you may want to start telling yourself a new version of past and present events. No matter who the characters are in your story or what they have done, you are the only one who can give their actions the meaning they will have for you. You are the only one who can define what role you will play in your own life. By taking responsibility for your story, you are able to learn and grow, forgive and find compassion, and most importantly, move on into a brighter future.

From now on, you can choose a life story that supports you. Let it be proof of your own resilience and creativity. Be kind with the roles you give yourself and generous with how many chances you get to learn what you need to know. When you remember that you are the author of your own story, you are free to create a masterpiece.

吉祥经 原文

February 23, 2011

如是我闻。一时佛住舍卫国祗陀园给孤独精舍。时已夜深,

有一天神,殊胜光明,遍照园中,来至佛所,

恭敬礼拜,站立一旁,以偈白佛言:

   众天神与人,渴望得利益,思虑求幸福,请示最吉祥。

   世尊如是答言:

   勿近愚痴人,应与智者交,尊敬有德者,是为最吉祥。

  居住适宜处,往昔有德行,置身于正道,是为最吉祥。

  多闻工艺精,严持诸禁戒,言谈悦人心,是为最吉祥。

  奉养父母亲,爱护妻与子,从业要无害,是为最吉祥。

  布施好品德,帮助众亲眷,行为无暇疵,是为最吉祥。

  邪行须禁止,克己不饮酒,美德坚不移,是为最吉祥。

  恭敬与谦让,知足并感恩,及时闻教法,是为最吉祥。

  忍耐与顺从,得见众沙门,适时论信仰,是为最吉祥。

  自制净生活,领悟八正道,实证涅盘法,是为最吉祥。

  八风不动心,无忧无污染,宁静无烦恼,是为最吉祥。

  依此行持者,无往而不胜,一切处得福,是为最吉祥。

 

Rippling And Tipping

February 23, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

At this time of awakening, even small acts can become great forces in the world, like pebbles making ripples in a pond.

A snowball at the top of a mountain has the potential to become huge, just by rolling down the mountain and gathering more snow. In a short time, this tiny snowball can become a force to be reckoned with. We humans are like this when it comes to exchanging energy and vision, and no matter how few people are involved at the beginning, there is the potential for massive change. As consciousness seekers, we are in the midst of this process, and it is amazing to see people we thought might never come around, waking up to their truth. Each time we see this, we can count ourselves blessed to be living at a time when the awareness of humanity seems to be at a tipping point, as more and more individuals open their minds and change their ways.

For some people, this revolves around an awareness of the environment, for others it is a spiritual awakening, and for many it is both. A great change in consciousness is sweeping through us all, as we recognize that things are not what they have seemed to be, that there is more to our lives than meets the eye. Many of us have the awareness and the energy at this time to break through old, outmoded ways of seeing things and to move into a new way of being in the world, and it is essential that we do so. The beauty of living at this time is that even small actions have a powerful ripple effect, and the reverberations of what we do have the power to reach and open many minds.

It is as if a scale is about to tip in favor of higher consciousness, and each one of us has the power to bring humanity closer to that point with the smallest of actions. Each time we move in the direction of our dreams and visions, we can visualize another small pebble dropping into the pond, or another gold weight on the scale, rippling and tipping our way to universal awakening.

Fresh Mind

February 22, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

It is up to us to seek out media that empowers and informs us, and to say no to media that drains energy and hope.

There is a lot of information available to us at this time in history, more than ever before, and it travels fast. We are able to learn in the blink of an eye about something that happened halfway around the world, and it’s natural for us to want to know what’s going on. However, it’s also fair to say that we don’t want to become so caught up in one way of looking at events that we lose perspective. Often, the news comes to us in a very fear-oriented format, and when too many of us get caught up in fear, the balance of the whole is disrupted. It helps to remember that we have a much greater and more positive impact on the world when we maintain our inner sense of peace and joy.

We are aware enough to know when we are eating something that is not good for us, because we don’t feel well after we’ve eaten it. In the same way, we can determine for ourselves whether the sources in which our information comes are ultimately healthful. News can be presented in a way that inspires us to take positive action to help the world, or it can be presented in a way that leaves us feeling powerless and sad. It is up to us to seek out and support media that empowers and informs us, and to say no to media that drains our energy and our hope.

For a time, it may even be of benefit to commit to a media fast, in which we stop taking information in for a time to give ourselves a rest. When we return to the task of taking in and processing the information all around us, we will come to it with a fresh mind. This will enable us to really notice how we are affected by what we hear and see, and to make conscious choices about the sources of information that we allow into our lives.

Prioritizing Over Smokescreens

February 21, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Honesty and taking responsibility for our choices and feelings helps us move beyond excuses to achieve our goals.

Excuses may seem like rational reasons for us not to do something, but if we’re not careful we can allow them to keep us from reaching our goals. Too often we accept our excuses as reasons why we cannot accomplish what we set out to do, and instead of finding alternatives we give up. But if we can be honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our choices, we will begin to notice that we no longer give excuses. When we keep our minds focused on our goals, we will find that excuses fade away in the light of our priorities, and issues become challenges that can help us become wiser and stronger.

Sometimes we may give others excuses rather than be fully honest. We may think it is kind to tell someone we are willing to do something with them, whether work or play, but then keep putting them off. This diverts our energy into keeping the truth at a distance while continuing a falsehood. But when we can take responsibility for our feelings and express them honestly, but gently, the other person is free to find someone who is better suited to accompany them while we are free to pursue the things we like. When we can do this, our energy can be invested in building better lives and relationships.

There’s another way in which excuses rob us of energy—and that is in the power of our thoughts and words. If we find ourselves in a situation, for example, where we are being asked for a financial contribution but we use the excuse that we can’t afford it, we create and attract lack and limitation into our lives. The same goes for seemingly simple things like pretending to not feel well or any other false statement. We may think that excuses make things easier, but they complicate matters with smokescreens. When we can commit to our priorities, take responsibility for our choices, and communicate them honestly to others, there will be no need to make excuses, and we will have much more energy to dedicate to all the things we love.

Doing Our Best

February 18, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Your best is always good enough, because it comes from you, and you are always good enough.

We often come into contact with the idea that our best isn’t good enough, as if this were actually possible. If you examine this notion, you will begin to see that it doesn’t make much sense. Your best is always good enough, because it comes from you, and you are always good enough. You may not be able to deliver someone else’s idea of the best, but the good news is that’s not your burden. You only need to fulfill your own potential, and as long as you remain true to that calling, and always do your best to fulfill your purpose, you don’t need to expect anything more from yourself.

It’s easy to get tangled up with the idea of trying to be the best—the best parent, the best employee, the best child, or best friend. If we try to be the best, we run the risk of short-circuiting our originality because we are striving to fit into someone else’s vision of success. In addition, if everyone is striving for the same outcome, we lose out on creativity, diversity, and visionary alternatives to the way things are done. On another note, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but examining where this feeling comes from is important because wanting to be better than others is our ego coming into play.

Letting go of the tendency to hold ourselves up to other people’s standards, and letting go of the belief that we need to compete and win, doesn’t mean we don’t believe in doing the best job we can. We always strive to do our best, because when we do we create a life free of regret, knowing we have performed to the best of our ability. This allows us to feel great personal satisfaction in all of our efforts, regardless of how others perceive the outcome.

Recharging Your Batteries

February 16, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

If you are feeling run down you may find a belief or behavior pattern that is out of sync with who you really are.

Our natural state of being is vibrant, happy to be alive. Yet, there can be times when we feel run down and worn out. This does not mean that we are lazy or unfit for the tasks in our lives; it means that we need to recharge our batteries and find a way of keeping them charged. Vitamins and extra rest can be very helpful in restoring our physical bodies. And if we are willing to delve deeper, we may discover that there is an underlying cause for our exhaustion.

Whenever you are feeling run down, take an honest look at how you have been thinking, feeling and acting. You will likely find a belief, behavior pattern or even a relationship that is out of alignment with who you really are. Perhaps you believe you have to be perfect at everything or you have been bending over backwards to get people to like you. Maybe you are dealing with mild depression or simply have too much on your plate right now. There may also be people or situations in your life which are draining your energy. Once you get clear on the root cause, you can weed it out and better direct your flow of energy in the future.

In time, you might notice that the reasons you feel run down have less to do with how much you are doing and more to do with the fact that in your heart, you would rather be doing something else entirely. From now on, try and listen to what your heart really wants. It may take meditation, or just a moment of silent tuning in to gain the clarity you need, but it is well worth the effort. When you know what you truly want to do, and honor that in all situations, you will find that getting run down is a thing of the past.

Everyone Has A Story

February 12, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Each and every one of us has a story to tell and they are all important.

It’s easy to forget sometimes that everyone has a story to tell if we take the time to listen. We are so accustomed to hearing the stories of people in the news that we sometimes lose track of the fact that the random stranger on the bus also has a fascinating story about where they came from and how they got to be where they are. The sheer variety of paths taken in this world, from farmers to CEOs to homeless people to world travelers, is indicative of how much we can learn from each individual. Sometimes the shy, quiet person at work has the most amazing life story and the biggest dreams, it is up to us to take the time to find out.

Some people travel a path of wealth and privilege, while others struggle with only themselves to rely on, and both have great stories to tell. Each person learns lessons, makes choices, and develops a unique perspective, which only they can claim and share. Even two people who have had very similar lives will have slightly different experiences, leading them to a different point of view, so each person remains a treasure trove waiting to be explored. When we take the time to ask questions and listen, we find that every person has a fascinating story to tell and an utterly unique perspective from which to tell it.

Bearing this in mind, we have the opportunity to approach the world around us in a new way. There is never any reason to be bored at a party, or on the bus, or in a conversation with a stranger. When we retain the spark of curiosity and the warmth required to open someone up, we always have in front of us the makings of a great story. All we have to do is ask.

Remember The Light Side

February 11, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

There is no need to feel guilty about having fun; having fun and being happy is our birthright.

Often when we talk about fun, or doing things just for fun, we talk about it in a dismissive way as if fun isn’t important. We tend to value hard work and seriousness, and we forget to pay our respects to the equally important, light side of silliness and laughter. This is ironic because we all know the feeling of euphoria that follows a good burst of laughter, and how it leaves us less stressed, more openhearted, and more ready to reach out to people. We are far more likely to walk down the street smiling and open after we’ve had a good laugh, and this tends to catch on, inspiring smiles from the people we pass who then positively influence everyone they encounter. Witnessing this kind of chain reaction makes you think that having fun might be one of our most powerful tools for changing the world.

Laughter is good medicine, and we all have this medicine available to us whenever we recall a funny story or act in a silly way. We magnify the effects of this medicine when we share it with the people in our lives. If we are lucky, they will have something funny to share with us as well, and the life-loving sound of laughter will continue to roll out of our mouths and into the world.

Of course, it is also important to allow ourselves to be serious and to honor that side of ourselves so that we stay balanced. After a great deal of merriment, it can actually be a pleasure to settle down and focus on work, or take some time for introspection until our next round of fun begins.

Life Transitions

February 10, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life. Even though this is a natural and necessary part of our growth, it is often painful or, if we don’t realize what’s happening, confusing and disorienting. In fact, confusion and disorientation are often the messengers that tell us a shift is taking place within us. These shifts happen throughout the lives of all humans, as we move from infancy to childhood to adolescence and beyond. With each transition from one phase to another, we find ourselves saying good-bye to an old friend, the identity that we formed in order to move through that particular time.

Sometimes we form these identities in relationships or jobs, and when we shift those areas of our life become unsettled. Usually, if we take the time to look into the changing surface of things, we will find that a shift is taking place within us. For example, we may go through one whole chapter of our lives creating a protective shell around ourselves because we need it in order to heal from some early trauma. One day, though, we may find ourselves feeling confined and restless, wanting to move outside the shelter we needed for so long; the new part of ourselves cannot be born within the confines of the shell our old self needed to survive. 

We may feel a strange mixture of exhilaration and sadness as we say good-bye to a part of ourselves that is dying and make way for a whole new identity to emerge in its place. We may find inspiration in working with the image of an animal who molts or sheds in order to make way for new skin, fur, or feathers to emerge. For example, keeping a duck feather, or some other symbol of transformation, can remind us that death and rebirth are simply nature’s way of evolving. We can surrender to this process, letting go of our past self with great love and gratitude, and welcoming the new with an open mind and heart, ready for our next phase of life.

Laying Our Burdens Down

February 8, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

We weren’t meant to carry such heavy burden alone; visualize yourself laying down your burden and feel the lightness.

We all know the feeling of walking through life as if we are carrying the huge burden of our worries and stresses on our backs and shoulders, struggling to keep moving forward. There is no real way to move freely and fluidly in such a situation, and we are all longing to lay our burdens down. Just imagining that it would be possible to do such a thing can be enough to elicit a sigh of relief and a feeling of lightness.

The human imagination is a powerful tool, and we can use it to take journeys to faraway places without ever leaving our home. Because of this, we too can lay our burdens down at the feet of a divine being such as the great Mother, Buddha or a mountain. Releasing ourselves from that which we can’t handle on our own. No matter how smart we are, how capable we are, or how hard we work, no one can single-handedly cope with all the worries that we tend to take on in the course of our lives. And, we aren’t designed to do so.  Our wellbeing depends upon our ability to hand over that which we can no longer carry by ourselves.

Visualizing yourself carrying your burdens to the feet of someone or something much bigger than you can be a powerful daily practice. To begin, sit with your eyes closed and envision an all powerful, supremely comforting being in what ever form that takes for you, standing at the end of a road. See yourself carrying a large sack, box, or other container, imagining that all your worries are inside it. Watch as you make your way to the being of your choice, and lay your baggage down at their feet. Allow yourself to feel the lightness and relief of this action, express your gratitude, and surrender. You will be amazed by how this simple meditation can liberate you from a burden you were never meant to carry.

Start Today

February 5, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Today we can make the choice to end a cycle or way of being that is not in alignment with our soul’s desire.

One of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck in a situation that we don’t like and want to change. We may have exhausted ourselves trying to figure out how to make change, and we may even have given up. However, each day offers us an opportunity to renew our resolve and to declare to the universe that we are ready for change. We may even say out loud that we have tried and struggled and have not found a way, but that we are open to help, and that we intend to keep working to create change for ourselves. Making this declaration to the universe, and to ourselves, may be just the remedy for the stagnation we are experiencing. And, it can be done today, right now.

It is difficult to understand, even with hindsight, how the choices we have made have added up to our current situation, but it is a good idea to examine the story we tell ourselves. If we tend to regard ourselves as having failed, this will block our ability to allow ourselves to succeed. We have the power to change the story we tell ourselves by acknowledging that in the past, we did our best, and we exhibited many positive qualities, and had many fine moments on our path to the present moment. We can also recognize that we have learned from our experiences, and that this will help us with our current choices.

When we do this kind of work on how we view our past self, we make it possible for the future to be based on a positive self-assessment. This inner shift may allow us to get out of the cycle we’ve been in that’s been keeping us stuck. Now we can declare our intentions to the universe, knowing that we have done the inner work necessary to allow our lives to change.  Allow today to be the day to end cycles and enter into a new way of being.

Poetry in Motion

February 4, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Movement is a vital celebration of life. It is a way to proclaim your own existence and relish in the joy of being alive.

Our bodies love movement. When we stretch or dance, our bodies adjust, realign and start to become fluid with the rhythm of life. Our mood lifts and we feel more connected with the world around us. If you are feeling stuck, ready to release old energy, or eager to feel more alive, try moving your body. By giving your muscles a chance to do what they were created for, you may find that all areas of your body and your life benefit as well.

Many times we can be so busy that we forget moving our body is even an option. Some of us remain seated at our computer for hours every day or rush from task to task with robotic precision. When we are caught up in crossing items off our to-do lists, we tend to neglect all the opportunities there are to enjoy our bodies in the process of living. If this is true for you, begin looking for opportunities to move. You might try dancing or moving about freely as you clean your home, tend your garden or care for your children. If you are able to devote a set amount of time to self-care, practices such as yoga, dance, tai chi and walking are all great ways to keep your body in motion.

Imagine how freeing it would feel to trust your body’s movements completely, knowing it has a perfect strength and rhythm of its own. See if you can sense your bones providing graceful support, your muscles and tendons expanding and contracting in just the right measure, your lungs changing pace to fill deeply with fresh air. Movement is a vital celebration of life. It is a way to proclaim your own existence and relish in the joy of being alive. Today, and into the future, give yourself the gift of your body in motion.