In Faith

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“A person who does not have anything to believe in is without energy. When you have the energy of faith in you, your steps become firmer, your look becomes brighter. You are ready to love, to understand, to help, and to work.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

In the softness and tenderness of my soul, I open to the generosity of my essence. With each in breath, I pull into myself the abundance of life. With each out breath, I release my need to control…to feel safe. I trust the process that is before me and though I feel fear of uncertainty and the pain of old familiar wounds I open and let go in the faith that love will sustain me. In gratitude, I dwell in the energy of Oneness.

*photo credits go to Steve Mackay

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Right on Track

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Sometimes we have to repeat certain words to ourselves over and over again. Over days and even weeks just to help keep our focus. To help pick us up when we have fallen over a negative thought or feeling. It’s like that story that Pema Chödrön tells about the Buddha:

“On the night on which he was to attain enlightenment, the Buddha sat under a tree. While sitting there, he was attacked by the forces of Mara. The story goes that they shot swords and arrows at him, and that their weapons turned into flowers.

What does this story mean? My understanding of it is that what we habitually regard as obstacles are not really our enemies, but rather our friends. What we call obstacles are really the way the world and our entire experience teach us where we’re stuck. What may appear to be an arrow or a sword we can actually experience as a flower. Whether we experience what happens to us as an obstacle and enemy or as a teacher and friend depends entirely on our perception of reality. It depends on our relationship with ourselves.”

Well, that is why over the last couple of weeks I have needed to repeat some words over and over again to myself. Because I have been experiencing a lot of obstacles and unpleasant circumstances….particularly arising from within my own thoughts and emotions.

Here is what I’ve have personally had to write and say to myself over and over again to transform those arrows and swords into flowers:

“I am right on track, right on schedule. I trust that everything is unfolding perfectly. All is well. I am free to enjoy myself. I am right where I need to be, when I need to be, how I need to be. My life is enough. I am enough. Everything I say or do is enough. In chaos or order, it is enough. My life is natural and wholesome. I am natural and wholesome. I have the grace to recognize and accept that. I have the grace to be free. I go on and on past this moment, past boundaries, past time, past understanding.  I am an infinite being. I AM Infinity, itself. I AM Essence.”

*this post is dedicated to a dear Twitter friend, Ishani, @musicmoonlove “Be blessed, Soul Sister.” ❤

*photo by Alisdair Miller, New Day

The Life Balance of Happiness

We are well on our way into 2015, and well…interestingly enough life keeps slowing me down…causing me to pause, breathe, and smile. Here is something about happiness I’ve been reading lately that has poured a lot of insight into my day to day routine.

“Our minds, hearts and souls have been fully coded for happiness; all the wiring is built-in. Everyone is capable of finding happiness. all he or she has to to is look for it in the right places. While happiness is our natural state, we’ve been trained to feel more comfortable with unhappiness. In a strange way we are not used to happiness: at times it feels not only unnatural but undeserved. That’s why we often find ourselves thinking the worst about someone or some situation. It’s why we must work to feel good about being happy and why we must commit ourselves to happiness.

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Part of the work is accepting the belief that finding happiness is essentially our purpose of life. Many people recoil at such a thought, saying such an approach is self-centered and uncaring. Why do we resist the idea that the purpose of life is being happy? We feel guilty being happy, and we wonder how we can strive to be happy when so many people are less fortunate than we are.

You were meant to enjoy all the wonders around you. And remember that you have more to give to others, to the suffering, when you are happy. When you have enough and are content, you will not act from a place of need or lack. You will feel that have a little extra to give to those around you, that you can afford to share more of your time, yourself, your money, and your happiness. Happiness expands our capacity to give. True happiness is not the result of an event, it does not depend on circumstance. You, not what’s going on around you, determine your happiness.

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Happiness depends not on what happens, but on how we handle what happens. Our happiness is determined by how we interpret, perceive and integrate what happens into our state of mind. How we perceive things is determined by our commitment. This is where the balance comes in, learning our lessons and remembering the truth about each other. Are we committed to seeing the worst in people and situations or the best? What we commit to, what we turn our attention to, grows. So the best or worst grows within our interpretations, and within ourselves. If we see the past in a bad light, as lacking purpose or meaning, we plant seeds that will grow into similar futures. This is why we refer to the past as our baggage–it’s something heavy to carry around. It is the part of ourselves that continues to weigh us down and slows our progress toward happiness.

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Happiness is our natural state, but we’ve forgotten how to be happy because we’ve gotten lost in our notions of what things should look like. Making comparisons is probably the shortest route to unhappiness. With little effort, we can quickly compare ourselves into downright misery. We don’t even need others for these self-destructive comparisons; comparing ourselves to our past or future can do the same thing. Happiness comes from seeing ourselves as being okay, just as we are, today. without comparison to others, without reference to the way we were or the way we fear we will be.

Happiness is just as possible with this set of circumstances as it is with the next. Often, we don’t see a situation as it truly is. Instead, we focus on our image of what the situation ‘should’ look like, or how it should be. By projecting our ‘should’ onto circumstances, we deny the truth. We see illusions. To see truth is to know that no matter what may be happening, the universe is moving in the direction it is supposed to. The world is set up to work in a way that brings us to our lessons. It is designed to move us to joy, not away from it, even when we think things are going in the wrong direction.

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We want to live our lives in balance, but what we think of as balance is not balance at all. In fact, it’s very much out of balance. We are a mass of contradictions. Always trying to be more, yet trying to accept and love ourselves just as we are. Trying to accept the reality of the human experience while knowing that we are also spiritual beings. We suffer, yet we can rise above our suffering. We experience loss, yet we feel love forever. We take life for granted, yet we know it does not last. We live in a world filled with less and more, with cycles of scarcity and abundance, big and small. If we can recognize these oppositions, we will be happier. Our part of this universe is always in balance, it just may not seem so to us.

Part of dealing with this balance means understanding that life does not revolve around our big moments: the promotion, the wedding, the retirement, and the cure. Life also occurs between the big moments. Much of what we need to learn is found in the small moments of life.”

-Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Turning the Wheel

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Upon completion comes fulfillment.

With fulfillment comes liberation.

Liberation allows you to go on.

Even death is not a true ending.

Life is infinite continuation.

Always finish what you start. That alone is discipline and wisdom enough. If you follow that rule, then you will be superior to most people.

When you come to the end of a cycle, a new one will begin. You might say that completion actually begins somewhere in the middle  of a cycle and that new beginnings are engendered out of previous actions.

Completing a cycle means fulfillment. It means that you have achieved self-knowledge, discipline, and a new way of understanding yourself and the world around you. You cannot stop there, of course. New horizons are always there. But you can reach out for those new vistas with fresh assurance and wisdom.

With each turn of the wheel you go further. With each turn of the wheel you free yourself from the mire of ignorance. With each turn of the wheel comes continuation.

Turn the wheel of your life. Make complete revolutions. Celebrate every turning. And persevere with joy.

-Deng Ming-Dao-

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

*photo by Kyle Telechan

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityeyes/3647616581/in/photostream/

Arbitrary in Meaning

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Meaning in life is arbitrary

Why ruin the universe with rigidity?

Why do we make the choices we do? After all, we do not have unlimited freedom to do things. We find ourselves constrained by our gender, our race, our economic circumstances, our personalities that were shaped both by genetics and the random processes of life. Furthermore, we find that other people have their own ideas of what we should be doing, and they constrain us still further.

A person born into one culture will have entirely different options than one born into another. They may both lead valuable lives, but they will most certainly differ in many respects. The meaning that they find will come from different palettes. We cannot say that one person’s life is more valuable than another’s.

Of all the people who have lived, have any of them been truly “better” than another? We see in their lives only the exercise of preferences, not differences of inherent meaning.

All meaning in life is arbitrary. It is not tied to god, family, or self unless we define it as such. Nothing in life gives us meaning in and of itself. It is we who assign meaning to objects and relationships. We all try to make the structure of our meaning pretty, but in the end, there is no escape from the feeling that it is all arbitrary.

It might be better not to ruin the universe with our own patterns.

-Deng Ming-Dao-

*art from http://sayoneword.tumblr.com/post/34311554603

From Deep Within

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 “…. all progress must come from deep within and cannot be pressed or hurried by anything. Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark…. and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist’s life, in understanding as in creating.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke~

*photo via    http://faerypotter.tumblr.com/post/48606178574/thedrunkenorseman-hiding-from-the-world-by

The Killing Jar

Image“Enter into direct dialogue with the Life/Death/Life nature by listening to the inner voice that is not ego. Learn by asking the Life/Death/Life nature direct questions about love and loving and then listen to her answers. Through all, we learn not to be misled by the nagging voice at the back of our mind that says, “This is silly…I’m just making this all up.” We learn to ignore that voice and listen to what is heard beyond that. We learn to follow what we hear -all those things that bring us closer to acute awareness, the love of devotion, and a clear view of the soul.

It is good to make a meditative and daily practice of untangling the Life/Death/Life nature over and over again. When we are untangling this nature, it would be good for us to sing something like this: What must I give more death to today, in order to generate more life? What do I know should die, but am hesitant to allow to do so? What must die in me in order for me to love? What not-beauty do I fear? Of what use is the power of the not-beautiful to me today? What should die today? What should live? What life am I afraid to give birth to? If not now, when?

If we sing the song of consciousness till we feel the burn of truth, we throw a burst of fire into the darkness of psyche so we can see what we’re doing…what we’re truly doing, not what we wish to think we’re doing. This is the untangling of one’s feelings and the beginning of understanding why love and life are to be lived by the bones.”

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes~

Photo by Michael C. Mendez

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Photography-The-Killing-Jar/71626/1232482/view

*title for today’s post comes from the title of the photograph