The Power Forgiveness Has Against Hatred

October 28, 2010 by  
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Angie Rubin

The more I think about discord and anger the more I realize how poisonous those sentiments are.   When we arrive to a point in our lives where we make a choice between chasing after our misconceptions or taking a journey inward, we start on a cleansing process.    And, as we move towards contentment feelings like resentment and conflict cause damage.  We become ultra-sensitive to them and the reason is very simple; hatred hurts its own host the most.

When people believe the only way they will get rid of the pain they have inside is by exerting the same pain back, all they do is continue to feed resentment.   It takes incredible strength of character to say no to the continuation of hatred.

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How To Achieve Bliss

August 10, 2010 by  
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Candles

Think simplicity.

Twice in my life I have experienced complete bliss.

When I lived in NYC, many years ago, I had a house upstate NY in an area which at the time was mostly economically depressed but had amazing mountains, lakes and streams.  I was living in a very abusive relationship which lasted eleven years.  My refuge was going upstate.

I had a friend there who had been born and raised in the small town where my house was.  He built custom made furniture and lived alone in the woods.  He planted and cut his own trees to make beautiful tables, chairs, and beds.  He led a simple life with his dog who only liked two people; him and me.

One night, my friend invited the man I lived with and me to come to dinner.  It was winter, and the night was really quiet.

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Learning To Love

July 19, 2010 by  
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I have a housekeeper who comes twice a month.  She’s 32 years old from El Salvador and she’s a grandmother.  Corina, is a lovely and kind woman.  When she found out I was a widow she hugged me tight while tears ran down her face.   It was not a put on and her gesture was not thought out, it was an impulse by someone who is free with her emotions.

I’ve never seen Corina sad or tired, although I know she struggles to support her family, and the more I get to know her the more I realize she’s happier than a lot of people I know who have plenty of money.

When Corina arrived today I had been thinking of my family, which is in Brazil and Italy, and of my late husband.  I was a little sad and wondering why love sometimes is so complicated and why must we hide, and distort the only thing that truly fills us up with hope, connectedness and contentment.

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Think Now What Your Obituary Would Say

July 18, 2010 by  
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heart on the beach

I have recently come across an interesting anecdote.  Alfred Nobel, the dynamite inventor who left his estate to the establishment of the Nobel Prizes, supposedly came to that decision after reading an erroneous obituary about his death.

In 1888 Alfred’s brother Ludvig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper published Alfred’s obituary instead of Ludvig’s. The publication condemned Alfred for his invention and stated Le marchand de la mort est mort (“The merchant of death is dead”) and then went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Read more

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The Pleasures Of Solitute

May 31, 2010 by  
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our orchidsI ended up having a lovely day yesterday; actually very recharging.

I had written about being in a funk in the morning – as I had been waking up feeling down and fighting the feeling throughout the day for the past few days – but then I realized it was a beautiful day.

I usually go to Yoga on Sundays but I knew I needed to do my day differently so I put the dogs in the car and went to the farmer’s market.  Walking around the market amongst the many other people with their partners and children made me feel part of a community.  I guess I could have felt lonely but I have come to a point in my own personal growth that I take the good moments for what they are, good moments.  I have learned to leave myself alone and not have the banter within that could have pointed out that while most people had others, I was alone.

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Our World Is In Peril, How Do You Cope?

May 5, 2010 by  
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I like this article because it discusses the dual world we are living in today.  This is the time in our history with the most amount of wars, famine, hatred and destruction.  But I also feel this is the time with the greatest amount of possibilities for us to evolve and connect in a different way.  While forests are being destroyed the number of people coming together from all of the world to try to stop it is huge.  While there are wars and injustices the number of people caring and coming together keeps increasing.  There are a number of us that see the hate but choose to find ways to embrace love.  There are a number of us that after embracing people all over the world that are like minded, want to find a way to reach out to others that are not like minded a find a world we can all live in.

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By John Robbins

I am someone who longs for world peace. Perhaps you are, too. But every single day our world spends more than $4 billion on war. The last hundred years have been by far the bloodiest in human history.

I support human rights and human dignity. I want every child to grow up healthy and strong. No doubt you do, too. But today, like every day, 20,000 children will die of hunger and poverty. Even in the world’s wealthiest country, the U.S., nearly 25 percent of children live below the poverty line.

I believe in upholding the brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. I believe in the inherent worth of every human being. But we live in a time of grotesque inequalities. There are shoe companies who pay famous athletes $20 million to endorse their shoes, while paying their workers only 20 cents an hour to make them. The CEOs of some companies make more money in an hour than many of the company’s employees make in a year.

Many of the world’s spiritual traditions teach that inner peace is found when you love the world as it is, rather than faulting it for not living up to your expectations. But our addictions are not only damaging our spirits, they are also causing irreparable harm to the biosphere and to humanity’s future.

I believe in holding a positive attitude toward life. But the rate at which forests are disappearing, coral reefs are deteriorating, the arctic ice cap is melting, and species are going extinct is undermining the capacity of the earth to support human life.

I draw strength from my kinship with animals. Some of my best friends have had four legs. Perhaps you, too, have had a relationship with an animal that has enriched you as a human being. But today, almost all of our meat and dairy products come from animals raised under conditions of horrific cruelty…Continued

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A Roadmap To Peace…

May 29, 2009 by  
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“Peace between countries must rest on the solid foundation of love between individuals.”

- Mahatma Gandhi

 ”Choosing to cultivate love rather than anger just might be what it takes to save the planet from extinction.”

- Pema Chodron

In the Buddhist tradition much of human suffering is attributed to the effects of three primary forces that are at work in the human mind. This triad of psychic forces is generally translated as Greed, Hatred, and Illusion. Other wisdom traditions have developed similar frameworks in their analysis of the causes of human anguish. For example, the Roman Stoics warned against the influence of lust, pugnacity and acquisitiveness. According to these pragmatically oriented traditions, the task of building character, or of cultivating spiritual growth, aims to diminish the intensity of these forces that are circulating in the body-mind system. In doing so the practitioner creates a climate of inner peace from which an array of virtues may flow into the world.

The force of greed is born from an innate yearning to maintain a continuous stream of good inner feelings. It fuels the relentless drive to seek out experiences that will provide a steady stream of pleasure. This dimension of mind is charged up with an assortment of habitual cravings; with varying degrees of addiction that are directed towards objects or experiences that often lie beyond reach. The mental state of greed could consist of anything from lust, to an obsession with collecting handbags. It is a state in which appetites fan their own flames, generating an inner momentum that drives behavior.

The Buddhist approach to this problem is not an inordinately severe or ascetic one. It is not a position or path that endorses abstinence or a “just say no” mentality. It is a perspective that places the array of human desires in a sober context: Desire is seen as a good servant, but a bad master. It has an appropriate time and place. Moderation and proportion are necessary to keep its living flame from engulfing us in an inferno of agitation and addiction. Such states feel like a powerful spell that can compel us to make some really bad decisions. Desire is to be enjoyed when available to experience. When the world does not offer up the objects of our desire, despite having taken our best shot at getting them, letting go enables us to hold on – to a balanced and poised state of mind.

The mental force of hatred refers to the anger and aggression that can arise and overtake the mind when threatened in some way, or incited by a hostile or unpleasant presence. The mind of anger operates with an internal logic that is spelled out in its own native tongue. Under the influence of such a state, decisions and actions that would be seen as outrageous and destructive from a clearer and calmer vantage, seem entirely consistent and appropriate. They actually feel gratifying in the heat of the moment, often providing a sense of momentary relief and satisfaction. Invariably, this is followed by feelings of regret or even self-loathing, in proportion to the damage that has been done.

One way of looking at the phenomenon of destructive anger is through the lens of a cost-benefit analysis. When applied in retrospect such postmortems often reveal great costs and negligible benefits. The primary cost of being drawn into this mental state comes with the loss of peace of mind – it leaves you shaken and disturbed.

Reflecting in this way can lead to a realization that the mind of anger is to be regarded with a healthy sense of skepticism and distrust. Bearing in mind its power to mislead, to contaminate our perceptions and to steer us down the road of regrettable action, can help us resist its gravitational pull. Doing so brings its own rewards, in the form of tranquility and a sense mastery that nurtures self-esteem. Of course there are practical benefits to exercising such restraint as well. By regarding the mind of anger from a skeptical distance we can preclude unnecessary confrontations, or at least prevent an escalation of hostilities. All of this takes real guts.

A distinction should be made between anger that has been channeled toward appropriate action, and anger that simply corrodes the mind until it boils over and unexpectedly explodes. Consider an example of injustice in the world, such as the Chinese occupation of Tibet. When hearing of daily events in this part of the world – the persecution, oppression and destruction of a people and its culture – it is hard not to feel a sense of indignation and anger toward the Chinese authorities. If such feelings become the basis for a course of constructive action – e.g. active participation and opposition to these injustices, then it has served a useful purpose. Such anger has been harnessed to good effect. If however it is just another source of distress, another axe to grind, further evidence to fuel a sense of despair about the condition of the globe, it only serves to erode one’s peace of mind. The idea then, is to engage energetically while maintaining a clear sense of conviction and a cool head.

The mental phenomenon of illusion is the grand-daddy of the entire family of woes that inhabit the human mind. The mind of illusion consists of distorted or partial perspectives, of perceptions that are clouded and buffeted on a sea of unstable emotions, and is the root that grows beneath the other two categories of mental anguish.

I have no illusions about having breached these walls of illusion – or more accurately, my head is filled with just such illusions. So I will say just a few things based upon the occasional glimpse behind the veil …

… It is a state that is charged with expectations that are levied upon an indifferent and impersonal universe. It is a vantage from which it is difficult to distinguish circumstances that can be influenced or controlled through personal effort, from those that unfold independently of our will and wishes. The mind of illusion obsesses with schemes and configurations of thought that are designed to sway the world in its favor. It imagines a desired outcome will emerge from the nervous energies it brews up in high doses. While it may succeed in generating an abundant supply of such energy, the only certain outcome will be the erosion of our own peace.

Needless to say, the project of quelling these energies, of redirecting mental and physical currents that are charged with their own natural momentum, of rearranging errant and longstanding habits of mind, is a daunting one. It involves the cultivation of a form of insight that watches over the mind with an increasingly refined eye; it entails keeping a vigil that observes the impulses and tricks the mind involuntarily plays.   

Through the habitual cultivation of this form of contemplative perception, a practitioner can progressively strengthen the power of an inwardly focused lens that observes the activity of the mind. In doing so she creates the conditions that make it possible to see her world with increasing clarity – to recognize what separates conscious experience from what is referred in Buddhism as the “basic goodness” that is inherent in all Being. It is a path whereby one may cultivate an increasing experience of an inner peace that ultimately blossoms to express itself in the world.

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My Yard

May 26, 2009 by  
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I’m just about to write the biggest cliché of all clichés but when I walk outside to my yard and hear the birds and look at my tree full of oranges and at the flower trees, I think life is good.

My dog runs out and meets up with his friend, a street cat that comes to the house every day, and they greet each other and then lay down together in the sun.

If I sit on the steps with the dog and the cat and join them in taking in the sun, life is perfect.  For that moment I don’t think about my husband, who is gone, financial difficulties, or my dad’s failing health. 

Of course I have the privilege of having a yard with oranges, flowers, and animals. What if I lived in a slum and when I came out I saw garbage and hungry faces?  I don’t know.

But I would like to offer from my very bourgeois experience that for each person there is a “yard” out there.  That each of us needs one. And maybe its not one with oranges but it is only a plant grown from a seed. Maybe the pride of seeing this seed turn into a plant can be someone’s yard.

I have to remind myself tomorrow to come out to my yard.   Maybe you can do the same.

 

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