The Power Of Compassion

February 4, 2012 by  
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heart on the beach

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there –Rumi

One of the first things I do every morning is read the news.  I believe that is the same for most people.  We want to know what is happening in the world and in our communities.  We want to know how yesterday’s developments will be impacting our lives today.  But as we read about all the wars, poverty, and instability we feel overwhelmed and start to shut down.  Unfortunately, the shutting down to the pain in the news carries on to our daily lives; we start to become disconnected from our ability to feel compassion and to empathize. But, the news is not the only reason.  Our own life’s difficulties and struggles take care of whatever compassion we have left in our hearts.

The human experience is based on exchange and connectedness.  How many times we have a good experience and wonder how much better it would have been if shared with a loved one?

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Beyond Feelings Of Wrongdoing And Rightdoing

February 26, 2011 by  
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Photo by Angie Rubin

The great poet and theologian Rumi, said “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

That’s the gist of Anne Naylor’s post.  To find ourselves at an evolutionary point where feelings are neither good nor bad; they just are.

Having feelings and emotions is part of being human.  Being dominated and controlled by them is neurosis.  We cannot stop feeling and we cannot become different people.  But we can allow the emotions and thoughts to exist without bowing down to them.

If we don’t underline and hang on to the negative emotions we actually have the possibility to turn pain and discomfort into something more fulfilling.  Grief, the ultimately negative experience, if allowed to exist can teach us about empathy, compassion and letting go.

When I lost my husband I kept thinking that pain and loss could not be all that was left of him.  As I allowed my grief all the space it needed without clamming to it and berating myself, I found the wisdom of acceptance.

Loving acceptance of our vulnerability and insecurities bring us emotional freedom.  And with that compassion for others.

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Can We Be Emotionally Free?

By Anne Naylor

What would life be like without emotional burdens like anxiety, depression, guilt, rage, self-doubt and shame? What does it mean to be “emotionally free”? Is it possible? Is it even desirable?

Part of the tool kit with which we human beings are born are our emotions. They must serve a purpose, or we would not have them. So far, so obvious. What would life be like without love, passion, enthusiasm, joy, excitement, exuberance, compassion, empathy or frustration, anger, resentment, envy, jealousy, greed and fear? Positive emotions serve to move us forward and expand our horizons. Negative emotions can trap us in a miserable downward spiral of hopelessness and despair…Continued

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How To Create You Own Love Story

September 25, 2010 by  
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Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

I’m finishing a book “Paint It Black” by my friend Janet Fitch, who is also the writer of “White Oleander”.  The book tells the story of the aftermath of a young woman, Josie Tyrell, whose boyfriend, Michael Farraday commits suicide.  We never “meet” Michael alive.  Our knowledge of him is through Josie’s memories of the world they shared. And it is this world I want to discuss.

Janet Fitch describes in details the love-making, dreams and fantasies Josie and Michael shared.  The time they gave to one another and their excitement in discovering things together.  In the fantasy world they created they experienced trips, meetings and situations without ever leaving their small house in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

We also learn Michael was the type of person who saw the beauty in everything and stopped the world to appreciate.

As I read their story, I am reminded of how much we short change ourselves when it comes to love.

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Removing The Blinders And Finding Freedom

September 23, 2010 by  
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A friend sent me this poem by the Sufi Scholar, Rumi, who is considered to be the most read poet in the world.

Quietness

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.

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Finding Balance Between the Opposites

September 5, 2010 by  
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Angie Rubin

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”  – Rumi

Being human is complex.  Within each one of us there is a whole world of rights, wrongs, beautiful, ugly, attractive, sad and happy.  We form ideas; “this is the way being right is”, “this is the way being wrong is” and we become rigid in the word we create.

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How To Stop Being Self-Destructive

June 25, 2010 by  
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heart on the beach

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Why are we so self-destructive?  Often the answer is fear. Somehow we are afraid of both succeeding and failing in the things we consider important and we turn to aggression and self-destruction as a way of keeping us from truly going after what we desire.

This life dynamics starts early in our development.  Think back to when we were kids and we liked the girl in pigtails or the boy with the banged up knees.  Most of us pulled the girls’ hair or ignored the boy instead of demonstrating how much we like them for fear of being exposed and rejected.

While that behavior can be cute when we are ten years-old it is destructive when we are adults.

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Why You Fear Love and Success

May 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

I found this article on the Huffington Post and wanted to share because it talks about how our own happiness and contentment is up to us.  And how much the work we do is within ourselves.  I’m a firm believer our journey through life is a journey within.

by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

In an earlier blog I quoted Rumi’s Guesthouse poem in order to convey a radical approach to our difficulties in everyday life. He says:

This being human is a guest-house.Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

However, it’s not always the difficult emotions we’re trying to avoid. Sometimes there’s a subtle, or not too subtle, aversion to the “positive” feelings like “love” or “joy” that come for life or success. Why might this be?

Well, one thing I’ve learned over time in my own life and as a psychologist is that emotions aren’t so black and white. For example, anger doesn’t just come with anger alone; at times it comes with sadness or other emotions. We just have these words to help us better define emotions as we do with other things.

In this same vein, when we’re growing up we often have a natural love for our parents, but this can get mixed up with other uncomfortable emotions. If we grew up in a scary household perhaps love got mixed up with fear or if we grew up in a family of divorce, love may have been mixed with fear or the sadness or anger of separation or failure.

In other words, in order to feel love, we might also have to feel these uncomfortable emotions. So, acting in our best interest to avoid discomfort, some part of ourselves decided to keep the uncomfortable emotions at bay and at the same time keeps the love or joy at bay.

All kinds of tricks of the mind are deployed to have this work out. Perhaps we discount the positive and exaggerate the negative or maybe just go up in our heads and analyze over and over again to avoid the feelings…Continued

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10 Things You Need To Know About Premonitions

August 11, 2009 by  
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Previously Published on Intent.com (http://www.intent.com)

by larry.dossey

1. Premonitions are extremely common. They probably arose early in our evolutionary history because they provided our ancestors with a greater likelihood of survival and procreation. They were thus likely to have been incorporated into their genes and passed down through succeeding generations. As a result, we now appear to be hardwired for premonitions. They have become our birthright, part of our original equipment.

2. Premonition means literally “a forewarning,” indicating that they often announce upcoming events that are unpleasant  e.g., a health crisis or a natural disaster. This is not absolute, however; premonitions may also foretell pleasing events such as a job promotion, the location of a parking spot, or even winning lottery numbers.

3. Premonitions can be realistic or symbolic. They occur commonly during dreams, but also during full, waking awareness.

4. Five rules of thumb aid us in knowing which premonitions to take seriously: (1) if the premonition warns of a health crisis or death; (2) if the premonition is numinous, highly vivid, or “realer than real”; (3) if a dream is recurrent, appearing often in the same night or in succeeding nights, as if clamoring for attention; (4) if the premonition is associated with physical symptoms; or (5) if the premonition is experienced independently by a spouse, partner, lover, or close friend.

5. There are four categories of scientific evidence for premonitions: (1) presentiment experiments, in which the body responds to a future event prior to one’s conscious awareness of it; (2) precognitive remote viewing tests, in which a distant individual “gets” information from a sender up to a week before it is mentally sent; (3) online tests of precognitive functioning, and (4) global consciousness effects that are detected by random event generators stationed around the earth, which often react prior to the occurrence of a subsequent happening.

6. Premonitions alert us to impending problems and crises of those we love. These warnings are extremely common between parents and children, spouses, siblings (particularly identical twins), close friends, and lovers. Empathy, love, compassion and a sense of oneness mediate premonitions.

7. Although we cannot have premonitions on demand, we can invite them into our lives by setting the stage for them, so they are more likely to occur. We can become more premonition-prone.

8. The most effective way to become more premonition prone is to develop a discipline wherein we quiet our mind and attend to the subtle messages from within and without — through meditation, contemplation, immersion in nature, or just “getting quiet.” Courting mystery also helps. As Rumi said, “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”

9. Keep a dream diary, in which you record your dreams on waking. This makes premonitions more likely to occur and insures that they will be remembered.

10. Premonitions are an indicator of the soul and a bridge to the transcendent. Their value goes beyond their practical benefit of warning us of upcoming dangers. They reveal the presence of a timeless aspect of our consciousness, and therefore point like an arrow to an immortal, eternal aspect of who we are.

©2009 Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Shape Our Lives [1]

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Mystic Poet

June 12, 2009 by  
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When I come across a line in Rumi’s poetry that points directly to belief in the existence of a deity – e.g. “death is a bridge that leads the lover to the Beloved”, I find myself wondering whether it is even possible to approach and appreciate the work of this mystic poet from a non-theistic perspective. After all Rumi’s work is a catalogue of his encounters with a god that he recognizes everywhere in his surroundings. The essence of this work is a description of joy in the presence of divine love, of the mystical rapport and union with a divinity that is omnipresent and accessible in the natural world.

Rumi is not espousing a theological position (though we may ascribe one to his utterances) so much as reporting on his experience of mystical love. He is primarily a mystic and a visionary poet, not a philosopher or an academic theologian. As such he has shed conventions of religious tradition; he sees and speaks from a vantage that lies outside their domain. As Annemarie Schimmel has written, “Prayer was the center of his life – not the prayer that is performed with lips and limbs only, but a prayer that means true union with the Divine Beloved.”

I have prayed so much that I myself turned into prayer -

Everyone who sees me begs a prayer from me. (D903)

“This couplet” continues Ms. Schimmel, “may represent the truest self-portrait of the great mystic.”

As an elder in the Sufi order (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufi) and a teacher in his community, Rumi’s writings undoubtedly served an educative purpose. “The parables and metaphors in Rumi’s work, which often seem to be intertwined, lead the seeker to the living reality” (Schimmel). Through his art Rumi reveals the living heart of his own experience; it is an offering and an opening to a view of a world that is suffused with divine love.

In Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman has written -

Argue not concerning God, … re-examine all you have been told at church or school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul…

Theological questions regarding Rumi’s work may be raised and debated. But at the heart of his poetic vision lies the endeavor to illuminate and convey an experience of the love that he witnessed coursing through the world.

Coleman Barks has described Rumi’s work as “…The impulse to praise and recognize every being and every moment as sacred…” speading not from the exclusive perspective of a particular spiritual tradition – but rather “from the clear bead at the center”.

For Barks, mystical poetry “is a way to open the heart, as a Sufi master, or any enlightened being, is a door to the radiant depth of the self.”

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Being Of Trees

June 3, 2009 by  
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Jane Goodall has written about her experience of “the being of trees” during the extended periods she spent in solitude in the forests of Goma. What an incredible thing it must be to encounter a tree as a being, and not just a wooden thing. Our usual sense of a tree is as a thing after all, animate, but just barely so. Rooted permanently in the same spot, baking away under the sun, soaking up the rain like a wooden sponge that expands as it manufactures more of itself.

There is something wondrous about the idea and experience of a being that sets it apart from the rest of the impersonal, oblivious landscape of things. The concept is not quite synonymous with life, for trees and plants are clearly living things, though life is necessary for a being to come into existence. Particular characteristics are requisite for a thing to attain the stature of being, such as soul and sentience and persona.

Undoubtedly, many people would view Ms. Goodall’s notion that trees could possess any such characteristics as a fantastical thing. I am inclined to believe her though. In the remotest places, where prolonged silence is the natural order of things, reality is free to configure itself in all sorts of uncommon ways. Remarkable creatures emerge from the forest to drink at the waterholes of such places.

Where does the hard boundary that segregates beings from things actually lie in the world? Is it possible that this boundary is essentially a projection of the human mind? Is it possible that all existence partakes of the qualities of being in some way? It may seem very “new-age”, but there has been no shortage of poets, mystics and visionaries who have experienced the world in exactly this way. Keats, to mention one such poet, spoke plainly about the personality of a wooden ball. And he meant what he said. According to Rumi, the sun taught the atoms to be lovers. Both poets belong to a tradition of creators that view the world from a radically different vantage – a vantage that abounds with being, stashed in every corner and crevasse.

This vantage may be just another projection, but it seems that projections of this sort wield an astonishing power – the power to breathe life into inanimate surroundings. It is this power that a creative soul projects onto the world, imposing a distinctly personal design upon reality, reaping the experience that flows from it.

I can’t lay claim to Ms. Goodall’s unique experience, but as I was watch the trees wave and dance on the wind at dusk, I must say they look as full of energy and joy as anything alive. Why shouldn’t they be? They are majestic, towering over the world of living things. They are self-sufficient, needing only sun, rain and soil to thrive and thrive. They experience no cold, they savor the rain, they sprout toward the sky, they wake to the sun. Yes, they are tied down, stuck deep into the earth, and yet their freedom is uncompromised, untainted.

One day I hope these beings will emerge from the deep forests where they have been hidden, disclosing themselves in all their magnificence and wonder to this being. Perhaps then, I will be able to see the forest through the trees; or would that be the trees through the forest? I’ll have to ponder that.

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