Do we need help?

 

Spiritual experience and goods can certainly reinforce a consuming mind, too, and it is no surprise to see this happening in a consumer culture. Marketers are successfully targeting spiritual consumers as a market niche and figuring out exactly what fulfills their self-centered yearnings. How many of these products are necessary for spiritual enlightenment? Probably not one.

– Stephanie Kaza, “Ego in the Shopping Cart”

I saw this today on Tricycle and two things come to mind:

1. I believe people can be helped by others, although the final step is their own.

2. Why is it I try to find fault in someone else’s thoughts?

 

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It feels good

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&emc=edit_na_20130919&pagewanted=all&

In times where extremes are the norm (especially in politics), it’s refreshing to see areas that were once thought to be strongholds to be tearing down those walls.

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First the Pope and now Iran

Another great gesture.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/09/04/irans-president-just-wished-all-jews-a-happy-rosh-hashanah-on-twitter/

 

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Admiration for the Pope

I am sure that the Pope’s decision on “who am I to judge” about homosexuality took great courage.  I admire his decision and hope that with this wall having been breached, that others too, will follow suit.

I respect the priest celibacy angle, since it’s truly an accepting position.  I also can accept, within the confines of Catholicism that the acts themselves are not acceptable – meaning sex is intended to pro-create, as I understand this, having never been a Catholic myself.

They key, though, was his “who am I to judge” stance and I see this a truly a great step to be taken by a Pope.  Thank you!

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Make the First Move

Usually we are in a stalemate with our world: “Is he going to say he is sorry to me first, or am I going to apologize to him first?” But in becoming a bodhisattva we break that barrier: we do not wait for the
other person to make the first move; we have decided to do it ourselves.

-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “The Bodhisattva Vow: Eight Views”

 http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/the-bodhisattva-vow-eight-views

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Keep Your Balance

Just another way (metaphor) of explaining that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself first, but maybe the only way to be in a position to help others.  Think of the people that have helped you the most … your mentors.  Were they balanced?  Were there lives in order?  Mostly likely, yes.

Just as a person mired in quicksand cannot help another until he has himself reached firm ground, our ability to help others depends chiefly on keeping our own balance.

– Andrew Olendzki, “Keep Your Balance”

 

http://www.tricycle.com/thus-have-i-heard/keep-your-balance

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Recognizing Yourself in Others

Another one of those articles that makes me realize just how judgmental we are by nature.  Even when we are being non-judgmental, we can have underlying judgmental motives.  Here, in this article from Tricycle, compassion is thrown into the mix.  Do we develop compassion out of trying to make ourselves feel better about ourselves – “glad we’re not them”?  Or, can we truly feel their pain?

Compassion is not condescension, but a leveling of the playing field, a recognition of yourself in others and an acceptance that their stress is your stress, that their happiness is your own. The gulf between us all is imaginary, born of insecurity and fear.”  — Stephen Schettini, “What to Expect When You’re Reflecting”

http://www.tricycle.com/insights/what-expect-when-you’re-reflecting

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Unity Bonding

Unity bonding cannot just happen with anyone anywhere anytime; rather it happens with everyone everywhere all the time.

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Why we love the Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama - His guard is always down

Well, one reason at least.  His guard is always down.

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Consider yourself a tourist – The Dalai Lama

There is no denying that consideration of others is worthwhile. There is no denying that our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others. There is no denying that if society suffers, we ourselves suffer. Nor is there any denying that the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill-will, the more miserable we become.”

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Only the Truth

The Buddha didn’t talk about Buddhism. He was concerned, simply, with the truth, the truth of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering; —and that, I’d submit, is a good thing for anybody to learn.”

– Peter Doobinin, “Tough Lovingkindness”

Couldn’t we very easily switch the name Buddha to Jesus and Buddhism to Christianity.  Therefore, another  opportunity to accept that all religions are pure at their pre-organizational conceptions.

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Silence

To further elaborate on the “Translation and Time” post – is SILENCE a better way to communicate than verbally?

No, I was not intending this to be a Koan.

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Sentient Beings

Metaphorically, is this what reincarnation (both Buddha’s major Karma paradigm and the Hindu Sacred Cow) comes down to?

Treat all living conscious life as if it were a rebirth of another.  It could be you someday.

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Translation & Time

We’ve mentioned before about Buddhism’s focus on “truth” as opposed to “metaphor.”  Not that metaphors can’t be the truth, they’re just up for interpretation.

Of course, there is the whole reincarnation aspect, but I’m not ready to call that a metaphor just yet.

However, both metaphors and truth face the same challenges in the confines of “standard” religions: Translation & Time.

Misinterpreting or “taking what you want” from scripture/history/truth crosses all religions.  Those were originally written in a different time, in different languages (many times), and a different set of social-political and even moral values.

Therefore, misinterpretation becomes misleading. It doesn’t mean we can’t still find value from these words.  On the contrary. But, hopefully, take the purest meanings – love, peace, acceptance.

As has been said so many times before, “thoughts” of those epiphanies we have cannot be put into words.  And, words cannot describe those epiphanies even when written. But, we try anyway – many times in the form of stories, parables, metaphors.  And, that’s the danger and the beauty.  It’s where poetry lives.

Let’s just not take it literally.

Here’s a great article:

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/lost-quotation-partial-readings-kalama-sutta

From another article in the same issue:

This leads on to the misconception that the Buddha was a philosopher, in the sense in which that term has been used in the Western tradition. I am not the only person to have insisted that he makes it quite plain that his interest was purely pragmatic: he intended to help people and only attempted to teach the truth to the extent that it was helpful; further speculation he tended to discourage. At the same time, one must remember that, as [the philosopher] Paul Williams has written, “the teachings of the Buddha are held by the Buddhist tradition to work because they are factually true (not true because they work).”

http://www.tricycle.com/feature/what-buddha-thought?page=0,0

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“What is myth?”

In college, one of my best friends (Rick Ramell) and I took a class from Dr. Soo Bach Choi.  At the beginning of the first class, he asked this question.

Recently, I was listening to the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell.  This is what JC said about what Myth is:

“Myths are clues to the experience of life.”

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Higher Nature

Joseph Campbell once said: “Put yourself in situations to invoke your higher nature.”

To me, this means that you’re not copping out when you decide to be non confrontational, or if you decide that being around a certain person can be avoided, or not exposing yourself to an awkward situation.

In some ways, this is very Buddhistic – Understand that there is pain, and find ways to avoid that pain.

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Don’t resist change and be enlightened

When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment.

Pema Chödrön

http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/fundamental-ambiguity-being-human

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I am no one

I see houses in neighborhoods, and I think – what do all these people do?

Read this and tell me you don’t feel insignificant:

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007.

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Impermanence

Although referred to as a part of Buddhist protocol, we can apply this to our own metaphor.

For instance, there are things around your home that you have done to make it comfortable and appealing to you.  But, let’s say, you have to switch jobs and move.

Therefore, some of that comfort you’ve created will have to be left behind.  But, thinking back, isn’t that what you did before?  And, wasn’t it better the second time.

I think about a fire pit and back patio cover I had built at my last home. It was perfect.  So, when I moved, I did it again.  And, again, it’s perfect.  So, if the impermanence continues, which it will, then the next iteration of the patio and pit will be … perfect.

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Why do we need an incentive to be good?

  • Is this why religion was “invented”?
  • If there’s no heaven, would that mean more chaos?
  • Is it our way of dealing with death?
  • Can’t we be good because being good it our nature?
  • Does having heaven (or whatever) as an incentive to be good make being good a good reason?
  • Doesn’t being good bring good things, and isn’t that a good reason?
  • Or, are we being good to bring good things, and is that a self-serving reason?
  • Just because man created religion, doesn’t mean there is no God.

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Paradoxical Faith

So, we believe in the hereafter and we’re God fearing in our religion.  Then, why are we afraid to die?

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What is the definition of a friend

A friend is someone who is still your friend, even if you’ve done something that does not coincide with their beliefs.  I’m sure there are those that have murdered, stolen, cheated, lied – but they still have friends.  Those friends say things like – “That just wasn’t who that person was. I know that person, and he is still my friend.”

Can’t we all be friends?

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Anger Management

When you get angry at someone else, that means you’re judging them.

If we’re not supposed to judge others, then we should not get angry.  Hard to do, but something to idealize.

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If you can just be happy …

Things will work out!  Be happy and your outlook changes.  Be caring. Be kind.  Wave a people.  Smile at people.

Say this, believe it, and then see what happens: “I am more helpful today than I was yesterday.”

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Bellefontaine Sports Trivia

Name the two players that played on a Bellefontaine, OH, basketball and baseball team that went to the State Tournament in the same year.

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Thinking (and talking) in the shower

Some mornings (most?) as I lather up in the shower, my mind begins to think of what I will be doing, or, frequently, what has been bothering me. I notice that I talk as if I’m talking to another person – typically someone that has been bothering me.

I know that this brings negative energy, but I wonder why it feels “good” to me to get this off my chest?  Maybe it doesn’t, maybe it’s just bringing more of what I don’t want. So, how do I stop this?

One way is to think of the good people and those that have helped you in your life.  I sometimes have to mindfully focus to move that energy pattern from the victim mentality to the peace, love and acceptance mentality.  It’s hard.

http://www.tricycle.com/insights/do-thoughts-ever-stop

But, let’s not be too hard on ourselves either. There’s no such thing as perfection.

http://www.tricycle.com/interview/practice-first

And, there’s no such thing as bad meditation.

http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/stepping-towards-enlightenment

 

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Choosing

“Discard evil friends, but call near virtuous enemies.”  – Parabola, Summer 2012 issue

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Words to Meditate By:

I LOVE

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Neighbors
  • Coworkers
  • Boss
  • Business
  • Community & Officials
  • City & Officials
  • State & Officials
  • Region
  • Country & Leaders
  • Continent
  • Hemisphere
  • World & Leaders
  • Milky Way
  • Universe
  • Energy throughout

BEING PEACEFUL

  • I am peaceful
  • These people are peaceful
    • My community
    • My country
    • Our leaders
    • Other countries
    • Other country leaders

I ACCEPT

  • Me
  • Others
  • Religions
  • Politics
  • Lifestyles
  • All Sexes
  • Those brought up differently than me
  • All intellects
  • All attitudes & demeanors
  • All professions
  • All ages
  • All social statuses

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Help Everyone, All the time

From the movie: “I am”

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The Patience of Cultivation

When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time.

Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.

http://www.tricycle.com/feature/meditators-toolbox

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