Monday, August 27, 2012

Life is Easy

There is the phrase “Life is not supposed to be easy,” and another phrases “We’re living on Easy Street,” and “Living the Life.”  All of these are commonly used but misleading.  The common phrase about life which is most accurate is “It is what it is.”  Although the phrase is overused today by our youth, it is absolutely the most accurate.  Life” is what it is” and no more.

It means that one should not become attached to the events in our life because they are transitory.  There should be no judgment as to the positive or negative aspect of events because everything is really neutral.  Once we label them, we distort their very existence and worth, “worth” as a learning tool on our path.  If we call something negative then typically in our minds, the event becomes of less value, something to shy away from, something to be ashamed of, or even something to hide or deny.

If the event is “positive” we might not see it in its true form by giving it a more glowing aspect, it might play to our enlarged ego, our sense of who we are and distort that too.  It may give us a sense of security, acceptance, or love that makes us feel better about ourselves or others.  

The interesting thing is that the exact same event can trigger all of these interpretations depending on how we color the event through our own biased eyes.

There is another common phrase “I only believe what I can see.”  This one is really misleading because it is very common for a dozen witnesses that see the same event, to describe it differently.  There will also be a dozen different interpretations to the meaning of the event.  So what is true and what is false?  The short answer is that all of the various interpretations of the event are true and false.  Each person’s interpretation is true for him or herself but false for others.  If this is the case, then clearly there are many “truths” that result from one event, so don’t become attached to any one of them.

When we accept an event as neutral, “it is what it is,” and without judgment as to its positive or negative nature, we are better able to provide an authentic response.  We are better able to learn what we are meant to learn from the incident and move on.  It is the judgment that we place on something that keeps us attached to the events and to the results – results that we alter depending on our biased judgment.

Our subsequent action can be very different depending on how we judge an event.  Any action that we take based on that judgment will have a higher probability of being inappropriate when we are responding to our judgment rather than to the neutral event. 

Instantly judging all that we see, do, and think is a very human response.  But it is what keeps us from living a stress free life.  It is impossible to shed stress if one minute we are being bullied one direction by feeling negative and the next minute being pushed another way feeling positive.  Pretty soon we have whiplash!

There is another common phrase “Stay on the straight and narrow.”  The only way to do this is to not respond to our biased judgment of events.  “It is what it is” and we respond in an appropriate and authentic response.

One might criticize this suggestion with another common phrase “You are taking the joy out of life” when the emotional roller coaster is berthed.  This is a myth.  You will find that your life will be much more joyful when you are on an even keel and can better trust that the world you see around you is there for you to learn from, there for you to interact with in stress free intimacy.  

Pavlov trained his dogs to respond in a certain way to repeated stimuli to obtain a reward of food or avoid a shock of electricity.  When the rewards and punishments were removed, they still responded in the same way to the stimuli.  Unfortunately human behavior is entrenched in the say way.  When we feel the rush of a high of a strong emotional response due to positive or negative judgment of an event, we automatically know how to respond –because that is how we have trained ourselves to respond.  To change our patterns in life, we have to change our response to events.

Life is not positive or negative, it is just so, deal with it and move on.

A man, let’s call Joe is sitting in a waiting area just reading a magazine.  Another man, let’s call Mike, comes, he is clearly agitated.  Mike, who does not know Joe, growls something to him that is unintelligible.  Joe could have several different responses
  1. Ignore it.
  2. Interpret the remark as a personal affront and get upset.  He then challenge Mike with “What did you say to me?!” 
  3.  Become frightened and leave.
  4. Feel sympathy for Mike because he is obviously distressed and say something to try to diffuse the situation.

All of these options, except the first could lead to a more dangerous provoked response from Mike.  No one knows why the man is agitated so any judgment or interpretation on the part of Joe will most assuredly be wrong.  Simply noting the events and staying alert for a possible potential second action that might put him in danger, is the best course of action.

The agitation is not about anyone or anything in the waiting room.  The event is related to Mike so why should Joe take it as his own stress?  Merely noting it and letting it go is best.  This is how to live a more stress free life – note events and let them go.  Don’t judge events; as soon as you do, you personalize them when 99.9% of the time the event has nothing to do with you.  Don’t you have enough stressors in your own life, why take on the stressors of others?

“Life happens” and “it is what it is” and no more.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gift of Life

Gift of Life
The phrase “Life is precious” is commonly heard.  Unfortunately few people know the true meaning of the phrase.  The assumption is that it means that we must be careful with our lives and the lives of others because they can be so easily snuffed out.  Another interpretation is that each person is unique and therefore we must be careful to not harm any life.

The above are both true but there is also another meaning to the phrase “life is precious’.  The focus is on the meaning of “life” not “precious”.  Life is more than the energy running through the body without which we would be dead.  “Life” is how we interact with the world.  It is how we see ourselves as an integral part (or not) of the world and all of humanity.   Life is the membrane that exists between our living selves and our “other” living selves.  “Life” is the karma that keeps us rooted in our rebirth.

It is not fragile as glass that will shatter with the thrust of a knife.  In fact, it can only be ended through extreme deliberate action on the part of the “life” itself – upon which it becomes even more “precious” because it finally exhibits natural perfection.

What are we really saying here?  “Life” is the energy that we put forth on a second-to-second basis that is either contributing or not, to the level of compassion and acceptance in the world.  Each breath, each and every person on the planet takes either moves the whole of humanity forward on the compassion/acceptance scale, backwards, or holds it in its current place.

It is only through acts of kindness done for NO reason without the expectation of reward or gratitude that the spiritual psyche of the world heals.

Deliberate acts of kindness are typically done with the expectation of gaining some recognition or quid pro quo.  Example: a wealthy individual or corporation donates large sums of money to build a community ball field or convention center.  In exchange, their name is plastered on the marquee so everyone knows how “generous” they are.  This is NOT generosity; it is marketing that is visible for all to see that is designed to improve their business.  If the corporation was truly generous, the donation would be anonymous AND they would not use it as a tax write off.

The “gift of life” is truly rare and precious precisely because the human species rarely does anything without an agenda.  Dogs on the other hand are actually much better at this than humans.  They have no agenda when they wag their tail in happiness to greet their friend and provider.  It is with pure natural joy that the tail wags and they pant in happiness.
We need to take cues from our loving pets.  Be a source of unqualified happiness in the world.  Develop an automatic smile that is triggered upon seeing another person.  You need not speak in words, speak in smiles.

If someone needs assistance or someone to just listen to them without judgment, be there for them with no agenda, just an open ear and heart.  Do not attempt to influence them, just provide a mirror so they see and have a sounding board to they hear themselves.  No one can “fix” the suffering of another, we can only reflect back to another what is being projected into the space around them.  Allow that space to be pure and untainted with your own prejudices.  Provide the soft warmth of compassionate safety to just “be” who they are with all their failings, flaws, successes and insights.  Offer a safe zone, with no expectations of any payback or required gratitude.

Life is about being a flexible blade of grass that moves in response to external forces, to allow them to pass but stays firmly rooted in who they are a simple force of nature, supportive of all it comes in contact with and is ever growing and changing.
So yes “life is precious” but not because it can be so easily snuffed out, but because it cannot be killed.  It can only be transformed into a slightly different material version of itself.  Because we live in a material world, we tend to place more value on material things for their physical “value” when in fact that entirely misses the point of what the essential essence of “life” is really all about.

Don’t give in order to receive, give to give, because it is the natural thing to do.  Begin your “precious life” this moment.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where Did the Wild Ones Go?

Once we are past our early thirties, our everyday existence could feel as though it has become hum-drum and boring.  Maybe on a weekend we might have an evening of pleasant discussion or see a movie but life would not be labeled wild and crazy.

What is it that changes in us from a fun loving teen who is the life of the party, to a “mature” person who is sedate?  Where did our spontaneousness go?  One theory that has been proposed is that we squash our enthusiasm for life because we learn as a child (under the age of 7) that we are rewarded when we “behave” and showing wild enthusiasm is “misbehaving.”  So by the age of 21 we have learned to sedate the life out of ourselves for public approval.

This approach could not be farther from the truth.  Learned self control is not equal to killing off your emotional energy bodies.  Allowing your emotions to whip you around from highs to lows and all about is not a prized state, it only makes one dizzy.

When we are mindful and in the moment, we do feel the joy of life.  We understand what is going on with complete clarity, without the blinders of living in past guilt or in the rose colored future to distort our impressions.  The sensation we feel is like a warm, soft, encompassing glow that brings a smile to our face and a sense of contentment settles over us.  Why go jumping around like a firecracker when being still brings such pleasure?  It is impossible to have clarity of mind if you are jumping about and impossible not to have clarity if you are still in your being.  “Maturing” is not about denying oneself the pleasures of a wild life; it is about learning how to be in tune with it.

In order to feel this intense pleasure one must be willing to open the door to it.  This is done by spending time each day just “being” in quiet reflection or meditation.  Meditation is better than reflection where we tend to beat up on ourselves for every little thing we perceive that we have done wrong.

Instead, quiet your mind, be fully aware of your surroundings, yet not absorbed into it.  Quiet your body and mind for a period of time each day to allow your senses to recharge and bounce back from the barrage of stimuli it is showered in on a minute-by-minute basis.  No wonder “adults” feel they must be “sedated,” they must shield themselves from the constant bombardment of stimuli that comes with multi-tasking and living an electronic existence.  Humans have become like robots, programmed to patch into the command center – smart phones, computers, music devices – to receive their direction for life or to provide distraction so that they don’t have to experience the moment.

Hand held portable devices have been hailed as the technology that has improved lives and connection among people.  Instead, the reality is that they have done just the opposite.  People rarely make eye contact as they walk down a street or sit in a room full of people, but they are tuned into their own little shuttered headphones world.

How can you be open to the possibilities of a moment –to-moment awareness when you are deaf to your environment?  So improve your life – unplug, turn off the electronics, experience a renewed relationship with your environment and those in it.

Embrace the duel stimulation and calm that comes from being fully present in your everyday life.  You will be amazed how it will seem the pleasure days your wild youth has returned but in a way that is calmer, steadier, and providing you with clarity instead of a hangover.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Forgotten Existence

Is it possible to forget who we are?  People who have suffered a severe head injury sometimes have amnesia and do not know who they are.  What about those who have not suffered an injury?

Sadly, most people in life do not remember who they are.  They believe themselves to be what their roles are and identify themselves by their jobs instead of their essence. What is our essence?  It is the breath that sustains us without which we would be no more.  Our personal history – our stories are important to our ego centered nature but what if we could not remember our stories? What if our slate for this lifetime were to be whipped clean? What if we can begin from scratch creating ourselves without karmic cause and effect payback to complete, what would we do?

Essentially, this is possible with each passing moment.  Since each moment is new yet to be written, we have the opportunity to construct it the way we wish.  Maybe we cannot change our physical surroundings, say for example, because you are in prison, but you can determine where your emotions, mind and thoughts will be and this directly controls your situation.

If you want your true essence to shine through, you need to consciously set aside these exact emotions, thoughts, and experiences that you so dearly cling to.  Don’t let the past old news define your present.  Let your essence shine through to define you instead.  Begin by thinking with your heart.  This is not to say you should let your emotions rule you, absolutely not.  By using the tools of the Eightfold Path and the Six Perfections, combined with a loving heart, we will always know what to do.  (Link to the teachings:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cycle of Lives

We think life begins at birth at conception but really it can begin centuries or millennia before.  Christians and Buddhists both have it wrong but when you combine their theories then you have it right.

Christians believe that everyone has a soul.  Upon the death of the physical body, that soul upon judgment by God goes either north to heaven, south to hell or into purgatory to get cleaned up before going to heaven.  They believe there is only one physical life.  At least they got the soul part right.  The rest is wrong.

Buddhist believe there is no soul; only something called karma, an account of credits and debits of your actions from the physical life just ended and the balance of all previous lives brought forward to the next life.  Of course there are multiple lives occurring one right after the other with a predetermined period of assessment and reflection between them.
Buddhist have the multiple lives correct but the lack of soul wrong.  Also there is no preset time period before the soul cycles back into body.

So what really happens?  We have a soul that is our energy body, once assigned to us it is the essence of who we are permanently.  The soul does live by karmic accumulation and release.  There is a fully voluntary process that while in body, the mind has the free will to make decisions based on cause and effect that either removes or acquires karmic credits or debits.

There is no preset reincarnation period.  The intervening period depends on several things.
  1.  Need for rest.  If the life just ended was particularly difficult, the soul might want to take some time out to fully reflect on every decision made and its result.  This is necessary in order to learn so the next life will be easier.
  2. The exact right parents must be found that will provide the physical traits necessary to provide the challenges and lessons we need to move us on our path.
  3. The couple is not just any ordinary or random pair of souls but there must be a karmic tie from a previous life so that the 3 souls can settle accounts with each other.  When one of the parents is simply a genetic donor for whatever reason and does not become involved in the actual life of the newly birthed body, then this is a result of the strong karmic bond with just one parent but there is a need for the physical traits from the other parent.
  4. All of your guides must also be available at the right time.  Guides are souls that have selected to not reincarnate for the period of your physical life so that they can stay in energetic form to be with you at all times.  The term “angel” is not exactly the same or interchangeable but it might be.  An “angel” is a soul that is further on the path towards enlightenment, a “spiritual bodhisattva” if you will.  Some guides are this advanced but not all.  Most of your guides are just other souls that you have interacted with at some point in your centuries/millennia soul lives.  They are carefully selected to provide you with the type of guidance you will need for the challenges that lie ahead.
  5. All souls will have guides that match the place where they are on their path, plus one step ahead.

Typically, the guides we are born with in a particular life are the ones we end with but not always.  If a soul makes great progress during a lifetime, beyond the experience level of the initial guides then new guides will replace the initial ones as needed in order to provide the one-step ahead advice.

  •  The events on earth also need to be at an appropriate place for your rebirth, the country/region selection typically can change with each lifetime.
  •  The other souls in body that you need to interact with also must be available.  These are souls with whom you have karmic debit or credit that must be worked out.
So you see, many things must fall into place during a transmigratory period.  There is no guarantee that will happen within 49 earth days.

Is there a final stopping place of heaven or hell?
Not in the Christian, Muslim (Islamic) or Judaic sense of the words.  Once all karmic debit/credit has been cleared AND IF the soul chooses to stay in energetic form to provide “angelic” level guidance, then the reincarnation cycles stop.

Only those balanced souls are the “buddha” or “angel” energy.  They provide higher level and more accurate, loving, compassionate and universal energy and guidance than your typical guides.

Those souls that reach this level do have a choice to return to physical form, if they desire to lead larger numbers of souls that are in body during one period, then they return to physical form. For example: Jesus and Gandhi are often used as examples of fully enlightened souls that decided they could do more good in physical form than purely energetic form.

The phrase “Life is precious” is very true.  Many things must fall into place in order for the perfect life presentation to occur for a specific soul.

When the physical body dies a brutal death, the cycle is shortened so that the soul can quickly rejoin the perpetrators and have a karmic influence in the same lifetime.  This is why there are “baby booms” after periods of wide scale war.

Cherish your current life, it was carefully crafted to provide you with exactly the experiences you need.  You only need to step out of your comfort zone and pick up the mantel you left for yourself and use it to grow and develop.

Source: Chien Sung, ancient esoteric master