A Level Of Commitment – The Value Of Kindness

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Image: Harris Rosen with young girl in Tangelo Park.

The purpose of our human life is to help others as best we can.  Research indicates that those who consistently help other people experience less stress, enjoy higher levels of mental health, feel more connected to your spirit, feel more grateful for what you have and less invested in the ‘rat race’ that causes stress for so many of us. Religion begins with an obliging nature. Happiness begins from the moment we do something for others. I cannot see why on earth we are born if not to help others. Okay, there are times when we can’t always do our best, but when we do, it is like a light going on.

I remember a sweet story from Sathya Sai Baba that dealt with this very topic. The story goes like this: A married couple asked him what was the most important piece of advice he could offer. He replied. “To serve. It does not matter what your station is in life, as long as you help others. It does not matter what career you have, what house you live in, large or small, none of these material gifts matter. All that matters is how much you have loved and how much you have shared.”

There are many times  when people need our kindness and at other times we need kindness from others. To withdraw kindness from another person is like turning off the light.”


I read in the Dalai Lama’s book – Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, (1999) the following: “On a recent visit to New York, a friend told me that the number of billionaires in America had increased from seventeen just a few years ago to more than 350 today.  So clearly the number of rich people in the world is growing. Yet, at the same time, the poor remain poor and in some cases are becoming poorer. This I consider to be completely immoral. It is also potentially a source of problems. Whilst millions do not even have the basic necessities of life – adequate food, shelter, education and medical facilities – the inequity of wealth distribution is a scandal. If we were the case that everyone had sufficient for their needs and more, then perhaps a luxurious lifestyle would be tenable. If that was what the individual really wanted, it would be difficult to argue that they need refrain from exercising their right o live as they see fit. Yet things are not like that. In this one world of ours, there are areas where people throw food away while others – our fellow humans, innocent children among them, are reduced to scavenging among rubbish  and starvation.

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Thus, although I cannot say that the life of luxury led by the rich is wrong of itself, assuming they are using their own money and have not acquired it dishonestly, I do say that it is unworthy, that it spoils us. Moreover, it strikes me that the lifestyles of the rich are often absurdly and pointlessly complicated. One friend of mine, who stayed with an extremely wealthy family, told me that every time he went swimming, he was handed a bathing robe to wear! This would then be changed for a fresh one each time he used the pool, even if he did so several times in one day. Extraordinary! Ridiculous even. So complicated! It is not as if living like this adds anything to one’s comfort. As human beings we only have one stomach. There is a limit to the amount we can eat. Similarly, we have only eight fingers and two thumbs. We cannot wear a hundred rings. Whatever extra we have is to no purpose in the moment when we are actually wearing a ring. The rest lie useless in their boxes. The appropriate use of wealth, as I explained to the members of one very prosperous Indian Family who came to see me long ago, is found in philanthropic giving. In this particular case, I suggested, since they asked, that spending on education is perhaps of most use. The future of the world is in our children’s hands.Therefore, if we wish to bring about a more compassionate, and fairer society, it is essential that we educate our children to be responsible, caring human beings. When a person is born rich, or acquires wealth by some other means, they have a tremendous opportunity to benefit others. What a waste it is when that opportunity is squandered on self-indulgence.”

 

Harris Rosen: “Tangelo Park does not have to be an exception, it is possible to help communities all over America. “

“I” Or “Me” Or “Mine” – Spirituality

Source Beauty Of the Arts

Source Beauty Of the Arts


The undisciplined mind is like an elephant so have suggested that, if we are to be genuinely happy, inner restraint is indispensable. We cannot stop at restraint, however. Though it may prevent us from performing any grossly negative misdeeds, mere restraint is insufficient if we are to attain that happiness which is characterized by inner peace.” ~ Dalai Lama quotation from Ancient Wisdom, Modern World

I am not ashamed of my very human responses to the painful and difficult things of life. I get angry, hurt, and despondent just like anyone. I do things that greatly embarrass me at times. I have plenty of shadow stuff to work on, just like anyone. But I have learned that *whatever* arises in my thought, and heart, is something that needs my attention, something that I need to look into, with curiosity, compassion, and loving-kindness.

It doesn’t really help to think, “I shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts or having such feelings.” It’s too late. You already did! These feelings or thoughts, which arise due to causes and conditions, we identify as “I” or “me’ or “mine.” And it does not help to deny it or to suppress the arising. Yes, sure, it’s a red flag, maybe even a neon sign flashing for immediate attention! The arising thought or feeling may point to some serious stuff. Our moral sense of the wrongness of something is *essential* to a healthy being. Never try to suppress or ignore your moral nigglings and alarms! But the first step to freedom is being honest enough with ourselves to admit the “truth” of what has shown up for our attention. And the “truth,” in this sense, is simply *what is* — yes, I am feeling this, yes, I felt that, yes, I am thinking this, yes, I thought that, yes I am doing this, yes, I did that. Just the facts, ma’am!

I find that genuine regret and remorse only arise when I am unmindful of some painful arising of feeling as “I” or “me” or “mine” and don’t give it what Buddhism calls “appropriate attention.” Some thoughts and feelings can be looked into and quickly dismissed; others may require deep self-investigation and courageous path-finding. If you really listen to your heart, you will know what to do.

But don’t ever be ashamed of being human and for having your human feelings. You can’t control the thoughts and feeling that arise as “I” or “me” or mine.” They come unbidden, whether we want them or not. And they tell us all about ourselves, sometimes more than we want, or even sometimes can bear. That’s OK! The good news is that what we can always own, and should own, is our *response* to what arises as “I” or “me” or “mine.” Let that response be mindful, attentive, curious, wise, patient, and compassionate.

Sometimes, we may think we are our own worst enemy, and I suppose in a certain sense that’s true, in that we cannot escape the effects of our own unskillful, selfish, ignorant thoughts and actions. But we are also our own very best friend, for everything we think and do tells us something about us we need to understand and know. If we will only get to know ourselves and investigate ourselves, we will indeed find we are our own very best friend. As we learn this, we become, as the Buddha once said, lamps unto ourselves, and the light in our hearts will take us all the way home.

Eve in Collusion with Steven G.

An Ocean of Consciousness – Video

This is an excellent short video on consciousness from David Lynch. I am sure most of you are familiar with David’s work in films. For those of you who have not heard of him, here’s a little about his career. David Keith Lynch is an American film director, television director, visual artist, musician, occasional actor, and author. Here he talks about how “lost” he had been at one time, but when he began meditating how his life changed. David, in this talk, gives us a  glimpse into his own achievements through meditation. (video viewing time about 10 minutes but worth every single second.. :) )

This talk is not an advertisement for TM – although the TM Society is mentioned.


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Wisdom From The Buddha On Being Lost

The Buddha said, “So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings.” What The Buddha is saying here is do not make thought spring from love born out of concern for all beings. Rather, we are advised by the Buddha to let it spring from the love that is our own true nature. Now this is not always well understood,  so let me further explain.

When we cannot heal the rupture between ourselves and the rest of life itself, created by mistaken concepts, we remain forever lost, and uncertain about what our lives mean and where we belong. Confused by concepts of separate self and distant “other,” as though pursued by furious enemies, we run until we are totally lost, hiding in whatever places seem to offer us safety. Our safest haven, however, may be found neither in running nor in hiding, but in staying still. Here is a parable that explains clearly the meaning of this:

“There was a man so displeased by the sight of his own shadow and so displeased with his own footsteps that he determined to get rid of both. The method he hit upon was to run away from them. So he got up and ran. But every time he put his foot down there  was another step, while his shadow kept up with them without the slightest difficulty. He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running fast enough. So he ran faster and faster, without stopping, until he finally dropped dead. He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade, his shadow would vanish, and if he sat down and stayed still, there would be no more footsteps.”

From the Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu

When we make the courageous choice to be still, rather than running away, we have the chance to establish a relationship with what is.

Now doesn’t this story ring a bell for you? I feel I have a ways to go before I reached the blissful state  “of no more footsteps.”

Sacred Substance – Reincarnation/Spirituality

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The Sense of the Sacred and the Feminine Body,

excerpt from a talk given by Angela Fischer at the event “The Feminine and the Earth”, July 2014.


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What is little known, or has been almost forgotten, is that our bodies are sacred and that the body of a woman is sacred in a very particular way.

And if you realize how much and for what a long time the feminine has been violated, and how the feminine body has been treated and regarded, it becomes all too clear how vast the consequences to the spiritual and to the inner light altogether are.

We are used to see this from the perspective of women, and this is of course true: women have been hurt and violated. But widening your view and looking at it from the perspective of the light, of the sacred in the world, of the divine, we see the tremendous violation and denial of the divine, which occurs when you suppress it that much in relation to women.

Why is the body of a woman sacred in a particular way?

Because she has the possibility and the capability to bring the light of a soul into the world.

There is an expression… people say, they “make children”. I don’t like this expression, because women don’t “make” the children, men don’t make them either, neither are they made by both of them together.

What we do is, we make ourselves available and we guide them into the world. We do not make them. And a woman is created in such a way that she can be very close to this and can contribute a substance of her body and of herself, also of the inner substance, not only the physical one, so that the light of a soul can manifest and take on a physical body.

This means, at first she receives the soul. This is the beginning.

There is a tradition that says that in the beginning the soul that is coming into the world is sitting on a woman’s shoulder, before the child matures in the womb. And the woman is created like this – she receives. Like an antenna that receives. She is able to receive a soul. Of course, sometimes a woman and a man receive a soul together, but it is the shoulder of a woman where she is landing.

And secondly the woman prepares a space for this.

She opens a space so that the soul can come closer and find the conditions to manifest within this space.

And the third aspect is that a substance in women – a sacred substance that is living in the cells of her body and in her spiritual centres – participates in the process of light taking on form. Without this substance it is not possible.


How Souls Choose Their Parents and Families

by Lindsay on October 10, 2013

Years before my baby girl was born, I had a dream that I had a daughter. She came to me and gave me a hug, told me I was her mother, and told me her name was Evelyn.

That dream imprinted on my memory and my heart. So much so that when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I was carrying a girl, and she had already told me her name: Evelyn. Meaning wished for child, which couldn’t be more true!

In order to evolve, our souls come to Earth more than once.  I know that as I’ve grown and changed and learned about soul contracts and reincarnation, my thoughts and beliefs have gravitated to this notion.  For those of you who are on the fence about reincarnation, I invite to you to explore the idea that a soul is born into a (different) body for many lifetimes.

It is my belief that once a soul has made the decision to have (another) earthly incarnation, the first step is to decide on what kind of life they want. This is contingent upon what lessons they wish to learn. This involves being matched with a parent or set of parents. This process really depends on the soul’s purpose and desire for specific lessons and lifestyle.

For example,  if two souls had been together before, perhaps as a mother and daughter set, then they might wish to relive that experience again or perhaps relive it in reverse, so the daughter becomes the mother in the new lifetime. Sometimes, the soul wishes to incarnate in a particular part of the world, and the choice will be less specific to the individual parent.

As diverse as people are, so are our souls and what we wish to create and experience in our lifetime(s).

 http://www.thedailyawe.com/2013/10/how-souls-choose-their-parents-and-families/

It’s Only One! – Love And Friendship

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“A soulmate is an ongoing connection with another individual that the soul picks up again in various times and places over lifetimes. We are attracted to another person at a soul level not because that person is our unique complement, but because by being with that individual, we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves.” ~ Edgar Cayce

I would love to add something of my own to the above quotation but I cannot think of anything appropriate. I will leave you to read the rest of the post, and ponder on “the whys and wherefores.” Eve


Excerpted from a talk given by Ram Dass in 2012

Question: The problem seems to be that when you are in a relationship, in the beginning everything is happening, but when you marry that person it changes. I’ve been in several relationships, major relationships, I’ve been married and divorced twice and I’m searching for something special. Something I’m told is called a “soul mate”. Do you believe in such a relationship or person and what would that mean? How would I know that?

Ram Dass:
Got it! Keep looking! I’ll give you the farthest out answer first of all and then we’ll come back to something that everybody can handle. In the farthest out answer, we have all been around so many times that every one of us has been everything with everybody else. So when I look at you, you and I have been in so many relationships together. It’s just that we don’t remember them. Do you know how many times we have been born and died? Remember Buddha’s story: If you take a mountain six miles long and six miles wide and six miles high, that’s the distance a bullock walks in a day. And a bird flies over the mountain once every hundred years with a silk scarf in its beak and brushes the tip of the mountain. In the length of time it takes the scarf to wear away the mountain, that’s how long you have been doing this. Just think about that. Once every hundred years the scarf goes over; a scarf and a mountain. It goes on and on and on. In India there are Yugas and Kalpas of hundreds of thousands of years and then they start the cycles all over again. And we’ve been through all of them again and again.Now, behind all of this is the One. And that is all there is. All of us here are one in drag, appearing to be many. So we are all “soul mate”. There is only one of it. It’s not mates, because it’s not even two. It’s only one. There’s only one of us. So what you’re really doing is constantly marrying yourself at the deepest level of God marrying God. Now you come down into soul. And each soul has a unique karmic predicament (you could call it a psychic DNA code) that in a way guides which way its life will go. And it is entirely possible that souls when they take birth into parents that are part of their Karma will at some point meet a being and they have agreed in advance to come down and do this together and meet. And that’s what we usually call soul mates.What you have found from your past marriages is that what you are attracted to in a person isn’t what you ultimately live with. After the honeymoon is over — it’s after the desire systems that were dormant in the relationship that have the attraction in it pass and all of it passes — then you are left with the work to do. And it’s the same work. When you trade in one partner for another, you still have the same work.

Goddess Earth – Inspirational Quotations

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Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world’s leading spiritual teachers, is a man at great peace even as he predicts the possible collapse of civilisation within 100 years as a result of runaway climate change.

The 86-year-old Vietnamese monk, who has hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, believes the reason most people are not responding to the threat of global warming, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, is that they are unable to save themselves from their own personal suffering, never mind worry about the plight of Mother Earth.

Thay, as he is known, says it is possible to be at peace if you pierce through our false reality, which is based on the idea of life and death, to touch the ultimate dimension in Buddhist thinking, in which energy cannot be created or destroyed.

By recognising the inter-connectedness of all life, we can move beyond the idea that we are separate selves and expand our compassion and love in such a way that we take action to protect the Earth.

 

 

Look beyond fear

In Thay’s new book,  “Fear” he writes about how people spend much of their lives worrying about getting ill, ageing and losing the things they treasure most, despite the obvious fact that one day they will have to let them all go.

When we understand that we are more than our physical bodies, that we didn’t come from nothingness and will not disappear into nothingness, we are liberated from fear, he says; fearlessness is not only possible but the ultimate joy.

“Our perception of time may help,” Thay told me in his modest home in Plum Village monastery near Bordeaux. “For us it is very alarming and urgent, but for Mother Earth, if she suffers she knows she has the power to heal herself even if it takes 100m years. We think our time on earth is only 100 years, which is why we are impatient. The collective karma and ignorance of our race, the collective anger and violence will lead to our destruction and we have to learn to accept that.

“And maybe Mother Earth will produce a great being sometime in the next decade … We don’t know and we cannot predict. Mother Earth is very talented. She has produced Buddhas, bodhisattvas, great beings.

“So take refuge in Mother Earth and surrender to her and ask her to heal us, to help us. And we have to accept that the worst can happen; that most of us will die as a species and many other species will die also and Mother Earth will be capable after maybe a few million years to bring us out again and this time wiser.”

 

Excerpted from the Guardian On Line with thanks

 

Amazing photos of our beautiful home, Earth.

 

 

Flowers In The Garden – Rumi


Beauty Of The Arts

Beauty Of The Arts

Imam Ali once said, “be like the flower that vies its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it.”

 

We humans are like seeds. We belong to the garden. ‘But of what garden?’ we ask. ‘From what planting?’

We admit to pondering little about the matter of our growth in this Earthly garden. We barely discern the seed-like nature of ourselves; that the outer-life is a flower or husk, protecting or concealing our fragile inner life, an embryo of a new being-ness. Both pod and flower have a part to play if the whole self is ever to be born.

We search for ways to harmonize these often quarrelsome aspects. Will we ever succeed? If not, the difficult task of bearing new life onto the planet, life and vision and will, is bound to fail, with seeds falling on fallow ground.

Traditions also speak of the calamitous consequences of ignoring this enormous human responsibility. All this knowledge, the good gardener knows, and probably more. Doesn’t the gardener remember where control over conditions ends?  Nature is far more powerful than us. A good gardener is well-practiced in sprouting seeds, and getting them to grow. But the ‘Garden of the Heart’ needs cultivation, to bring forth the blossoming of spirit and of a new consciousness.  

 


Here’s a short story about ‘The Wisdom of  Rumi’.

 

One day Sirajuddin, a Khalifa of high initiate of Rumi, went to the garden of Husamuddin and picked a bunch of flowers for Rumi. When he again entered the house, he saw that many important and learned people were sitting and listening to Rumi give a spiritual discourse. Sirajuddin was taken by the talk and forgot about the flowers. Rumi turned to him and said that whoever comes from a garden should bring flowers with him, as whoever comes from the shop of the sweet-seller is expected to bring back some sweets.

Rumi once said in such a discourse that God had a collyrium that, when applied to one’s eyes, opens the inner vision, and  allows one to see the mystery of existence and know the meaning of hidden things. One also can be illuminated by the gaze of a Sheikh. Rumi reminds us that when the inward eye is opened, one sees that the flowers that grow from Earthy plants live only for a day or two, while the flowers that grow from reason and wisdom are ever fresh. The flowers that bloom from the earth become faded while the flowers that bloom from the heart produce joy. All the delightful sciences  known to us are only like two or three bunches of flowers from God’s Garden. We are devoted to these two or three  bouquets because we have shut the Garden-door on ourselves.

“Behold our words!” Rumi said. “They are the fragrance of those Roses, while we are the Rosebush of certainty’s  Rose Garden.”

The fragrance of the Rose can lead one to the Rose itself and even the Rose-seller. But somethings Rumi was anxious about – that time should not be wasted, as he indicates in this poem:

 

My poetry resembles Egyptian bread;

When a night passes over it you cannot eat it anymore.

Eat it at this point when it is fresh,

Before dust settles upon it.

 

photo source - Beauty Of The Arts


Easy To Be In Love With A Tree – Inspirational Quotations

the big old conifers were cut down this year. The new shrubs are my new additions to the garden.

The big old conifers were cut down this year.
The new shrubs are my new additions to the garden.

When I think of trees, I think of temples. For me trees represent temples. They provide both shade and sanctuary to all creatures. They feed the earth and give shelter to the birds. Trees are holy and vital to our well-being. Yes, I am a tree hugger. The vibrations of trees has a strong attraction for me.

For the past eight years I have sat back and watched  over forty trees cut down all around us. It was devastating to see those old temples go. None of them deserved it. We were told the trees were a nuisance for they cut out  light, they dropped leaves, they had nasty growing habits.  So they met an untimely end by  mutilation. I have never come to terms with the loss of trees. Although I have filled the garden, (although home now for sale,) with new trees. Among them, two beautiful young Weeping Willows, planted last winter. Hopefully, they will thrive at the bottom of the garden where they bother no one. Perhaps they will receive more care –  new temples for a new age. I won’t be here to see them grow, I can only wish them well.


 

One of the most beautiful passages in literature and perhaps the most profound thoughts anyone has ever uttered about trees, comes from the pen of Hermann Hesses, whose  melancholy joy and heartfelt understanding of his light and darkness strikes a cord with me.

This Ode to Trees is  found in Hesse’s Wondering: Notes and Sketches, published in 1920, after caring for World War I prisoners and experiencing multiple family losses and conflicts:

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For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more, I revere them when they stand alone.

They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not loose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.

When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disc of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured.

And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger, the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique in the form and veins of my skin, unique in the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust – I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent.

But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the child-like hastiness of our thoughts will achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is.

 

That is home. That is happiness.

If  trees could speak, they would say:  “Please let us live!”