6 October  2015      

Good day!  Another new day has arrived, which means that this amazing
planet of ours continues to circle the sun, and that these amazing lives of
ours continue to unfold, bringing us new experiences, new people, new ideas,
new ways to look at the world.  Let's hope that we're all able to see more of
this wonderful world and make the most of our amazing lives!

Karma
Emi Kiyosaki

Choose Four Principles
Michael Goddart

Preparing for Scarcity
tom walsh

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Kindness is more important than wisdom,
and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.

Theodore Isaac Rubin

To miss out on joy is to miss out on the reason for your existence.

Lewis Smedes

You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartaches for other folks, you are a pretty rich person.

Seth Parker

Grown people can learn from very little children for the hearts of little children are pure.  Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.

Black Elk

  

Karma
Emi Kiyosaki

Many Westerners use the word karma in everyday conversation.  Perhaps you've heard comments like, "Oh, he had bad karma," or "You're going to get some great karma for doing that."  It's as if karma is a reward, or retribution for doing something bad.

Karma actually means action and, interestingly enough, it's not just about what you do, your physical actions.  It's more about the motivation and attitudes driving your action.  Ethics and intention determine whether a karma is virtuous or not; that's dramatically different from reward and retribution.

What I'm saying is this:  actions from the past determine and inform our present experiences.  Our motivations and actions now will determine future results, including our tendency toward doing certain actions over and over again.

Even though I was doing work to benefit others, I was at times full of conflict.  Not resolving that conflict affected my relationships and my health.  It didn't matter that I was a vegetarian with a meditative lifestyle.  I got heart disease--an illness that more commonly affects people like my high-stress, steak-loving brother.  How's that for a shock?

I had to make changes.

I now know that because this is the way I have operated most of my life, it would be easy to fall back into old patterns.  It's something I need to be aware of, and guard against.  My illnesses have been challenging, but I also have great teachers who help me to make corrections in my life.

Buddhist teachings inform us that karma is not instant.  Westerners find this challenging.  Most want answers and results right now!  That is unless, of course, the results are negative.  During a course I attended that was led by the Dalai Lama, an American woman asked, "What is the quickest, easiest, most convenient thing I can do to reach enlightenment right away?"

The Dalai Lama wept.  He observed that so many people want things instantly.  But in fact, we need experience, compassion, and wisdom to attain enlightenment.  The process--the transformation that occurs through repeated practice and insight--is indispensable to that goal.  And there's simply no rushing it.

If I want my life to go in a certain direction or to produce certain results, I have to direct my intentions and actions.  But that alone is not enough.  I also must become better informed and gain skills to attain my goals.  The Tibetans say, "If you want to know where you came from, look at your life and experience now.  If you want to know where you are going, look at your mind."

Robert chided me when I quoted this, telling me I keep getting too deep in theory.  He is right from a non-Buddhist perspective.  For people who do not accept karma, it is just a theory of the way things exist.  Though karma is a theory in some sense, to a practicing Buddhist, it connects causality with behavior.  It is the building block of our life experience and who we are.  While there are many wealthy and famous people in the world, I observe Robert and Kim having built their wealth through hard work and study, developing themselves, not giving up, building great friendships and connections, learning through their experiences, and teaching others.  They are generous and give back to help organizations and their community.  All these actions build strength and conditions for their future success.

You will find Buddhist masters saying that a karmic act--because of the complexity and subtlety of other actions and motivations involved--is more difficult to fully comprehend than some of the most profound views.  Simply said, good karma, not harming others or ourselves, produces happiness, and negative karma produces suffering.
  
  

Two people, born of the same parents into the same household with the same childhood experiences, found themselves on distinctly different paths toward God, money, and happiness.  Robert became a world-famous entrepreneur, author, and teacher of al things financial.  Emi became a highly devout Buddhist nun, author, and teacher of all things spiritual.  Rich Brother Rich Sister will reaffirm your belief in the power of purpose, the importance of action, and the ability to overcome obstacles in a quest for a rich life.

   

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Choose Four Principles, Own Them, and Follow Them
Michael Goddart

You may wish to practice truth in the world, and a great support in doing so is being anchored to principles that you know to be true.  In today's world, where anything goes, where just about anything passes for spirituality, and where the most curious experts purvey soul in tantalizing ways, a powerful boon is to have guidelines by which you can always find your spiritual center.  Being grounded in your spiritual center will help you attract all those who can support you on your true path.  This will also help you withstand onslaughts from all the well-meaning teachers and helpful leeches who beat a path to your door to urge you to try the latest fixes of the soul.

Spiritual principles can also save you during your own wanderings.  Just when you think that you know where you stand, sorting through the babble (that's the only thing you finally realize you recognize from some expert's Tour de Soul that you signed up for), you can easily find yourself sinking in quicksand with nary a tree's branch within grasp.  If you have principles that you own, you may not stray into such a predicament.  Try this activity if you're interested in forming a base that will serve you as an initial foundation.

Use any method for choosing four principles.  If you're stumped, this may work for you.  On a clean sheet of paper, make a list titled "What I Know to Be True."  Write as quickly as you can, without censoring anything.  Write another list, titled "What Will Move Me into the Light."  Write like lightning.  Scan your lists.  Are there any items you could form into principles?  Ideally, these principles will support your growing spirituality and also challenge your unfolding as a human.

Here's an example of a set of four principles for someone who has particular issues with gossip, honesty, drugs, and money.

1.  Do not intentionally hurt another person by word or deed.

2.  Live honestly.

3.  Take drugs only as prescribed by a doctor to promote health.

4.  Use money responsibly and consciously.

Here's another set of four principles for someone who has particular issues with negative thoughts, anger, workaholism, and self-centeredness.

1.  Employ positive thinking.

2.  Work out anger constructively.

3.  Spend time wisely.

4.  Give of myself to family and friends.

You'll notice that some of the principles are expressed as warnings to refrain from certain behavior.  They are to be your daily disciplines that foster the growth of your spiritual crop.  Think of these principles as weeding, pruning, fertilizing, and staking your crop.  Thus, choosing principles that are true for you will allow the tender seedlings of your spirituality to grow and flourish as you channel your energy. . . .

It's one thing to choose principals to live by.  It's another thing to own your principles and make them part of your everyday life.  To do this, start by making the principles into specific agreements or promises.  The actual agreement should be something that you need to work on for your growth, something that may be challenging, and yet something that you can attain and maintain with resolve.  The specifics can evolve and deepen with your growth. . . .  [For example] for the first principle in the first set of examples, the person could resolve the following:

1.  I agree not to intentionally hurt another person by word or deed.  Specifically, I will not engage in gossip that is hurtful or negative in any degree.  Nor will I spread rumors or make up stories about people.  I will concentrate on my own business. . . .

These are promises you make to your Self, to anchor your Self at your spiritual center and to encourage the growth you are seeking.  To really own these agreements, write them out and keep them in a place where you can refer to them regularly.  Referring to these agreements or promises regularly will support you in following these principles.
  

* * * * *
  
      

These 33 simple yet profound exercises reveal and develop your spiritual core.  Try them.  You will experience bliss--here, now.  You initial investment?  Two minutes a day.  That is all it takes to begin a lifetime of wonderment, awe, and love--love you can keep forever.

   

   

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For years, the people of Canyon Bluff have shared the stories of the Nogglz, their own version of the monsters in the closet. "If you don't behave, the Nogglz will come and get you and carry you down into the mines," they've told their children. Of course, they were just stories. Nobody could have stayed alive in an old mine for six decades. But when one of their own is brutally murdered one cold November night, it may be time to come to terms with the sins of their fathers and their own ties to the town's dreadful past. And for the sheriff and his deputy and the state troopers who are called to the town to deal with the murder, an ordinary day becomes an extraordinary battle for simple survival.
 
Sometimes I write things just to tell a story, but I just can't help mentioning some life lessons, even in a novel about creatures running amok in an old mining town in the Colorado mountains.  Nogglz is available in print by clicking here, or as a Kindle e-book by using the link to the left.  Using the mining town as the setting is a tribute to my mother, who grew up in a tiny mining town herself, and who has never left there in her heart.

   

Joy has nothing to do with material things, or with a person's
outward circumstance. . . a person living in the lap of luxury
can be wretched, and a person in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy.

William Barclay

   

 

Preparing for Scarcity

Now that autumn is here, I can't wait to watch the world prepare itself for winter.  Days of scarcity lie ahead--less sunshine, lower temperatures, less vegetation, fewer hours outdoors, no productivity at all from the frozen earth of the farms.  They aren't days of famine, but they are different days ahead of us than the ones immediately behind us.  And the world knows this, and the world doesn't complain one bit--it simply goes about its business, letting go of all the things that won't be needed over the next six or seven months, depending on how far north one lives.

I like watching this change because it's simply that:  a change.  The earth doesn't judge whether it's a good change or not, a positive change or a negative one.  No, the elements of nature simply go about preparing themselves for the coming lean, cold days, so that when they get here they cause the least amount of damage to those elements as possible.  The lean days can be harmful, and some of the trees and some of the plants and some of the squirrels and bears won't make it through to spring, but that's life.  I believe it's safe to say that worrying about what's coming each year wouldn't change anything about what makes it and what doesn't--the worrying would be wasteful, while the preparation at least makes survival possible.

I know people who have an incredibly positive outlook on life no matter what their situations.  I'm constantly amazed at the optimism and happiness that I see in people who have almost no money at all, and I find it wonderful to see people who have just suffered the loss of a loved one, but who acknowledge and mourn that loss and still see the beauty of the world around them.

In many ways, life is about creating the best possible conditions for us to thrive as human beings.  If we want to have strong relationships, it's very important for us to develop ourselves first--our self-esteem, our self-images, our self-confidence.  If we can do that, then the people with whom we have relationships won't trigger our defensiveness with every word that they say, with every action they take, with every word that they say.

Personally, this concept hits home very strongly.  I used to have such a low image of myself that whenever I was trying to develop a relationship or friendship, I took almost everything that the other person said that had even the slightest negative connotation as a personal comment, as that person telling me why I wasn't good enough.  In response to that, I would try far too hard to make things "better," and it was that trying hard that sabotaged the relationship, as it made others feel very uncomfortable around me.  Needless to say, the strategy never worked.  It wasn't until I developed a healthy image of my self that I was able to function effectively in a relationship and ended up marrying.

And when lean times come along, as they have several times during the past few years, the self-image that I've cultivated has allowed me to work my way through them without getting angry with myself, without blaming myself for situations that were out of my control, without criticizing myself for not doing "better" at avoiding the lean times.

Scarcity will happen.  Sometimes it will be a scarcity of affection, when someone is going through things in their own life that don't allow him or her to show the amount of affection that you're used to.  Other times, we may face a scarcity of money, after a layoff or a pay cut or a particularly expensive repair bill.  And the scarcity of money can lead to scarce supplies of things like food, clothing, and/or shelter, which are our three most basic needs.  We also will feel scarceness in our emotional support, our friendships, our spiritual support, our relationship with God, our relationship with our spouse, the amount of stimuli that we receive intellectually, creatively, or productively.  I'm sure that we all could create unique lists of the places where scarceness occurs in our lives--but the main questions that we have to ask ourselves are simple.

First, am I ready to deal with scarcity in most areas of my life?

And second, if I'm not ready, how do I go about making myself ready?

Of course, if we're talking about financial scarcity, then one of the most important things that we can do is to put some money aside each week or month, leaving it untouched in the bank or in investments so that we'll have some money ready for us when and if we need it.  We can also help things out by having credit available to us--while this isn't the best thing we can do, it can be extremely helpful in times of dire need.  We just have to remember that we will pay for it later--literally.

When we talk about other types of scarcity, then we have to think about the things that we do--or don't do--to build ourselves up.  Do we do things that will strengthen our self-esteem so that a lack of positive feedback won't affect us so strongly?  Things like read books that will help us to see our strengths and developing those strengths?  Things like practicing positive self-talk and taking time for ourselves to do things that we truly enjoy?  Like keeping a journal that focuses on the positive things that we do and the results that we see so that we can be truly aware of the good things that we do in our lives?

Right now, do you spend time cultivating friendships with positive people that you know will be supportive when you need them, or do you focus on the people about which you're not sure--people who are great to be around when times are good, but who disappear whenever need arises?  It does take time and effort to cultivate a friendship, just as it does to cultivate wheat or corn or character.  Unfortunately, most of us don't take the time to consider what most of our friends will do during down times--are they people who will be there for us, or are they people who will turn their backs.  If we're completely honest, it's sometimes disappointingly surprising the answers that we find when we explore.

Scarcity, unfortunately, seems to be a norm of the world in which we live.  Because our lives run in cycles, we will have times of plenty and times of lack.  It's important that we recognize these cycles and live with an awareness of how they work if we're going to be able to deal with each part of the cycle on its own terms, keeping our sense of self-worth and allowing ourselves to feel joy and peace of heart during any of the cycles.  How we react or act during each time of scarcity is completely up to us, and up to how we've prepared ourselves for it.

   
More on autumn.

   

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As the fish doesn't know water,
people are ignorant of space.
Consciousness is concerned only
with changing and varying
details; it ignores constants--
especially constant backgrounds.
Thus only very exceptional
people are aware of what
is basic to everything.

Alan Watts

  

Always Be. . .

understanding to your enemies.

loyal to your friends.

strong enough to face the world each day.

weak enough to know you cannot do everything alone.

generous to those who need your help.

frugal with that you need yourself.

wise enough to know that you do not know everything.

foolish enough to believe in miracles.

willing to share your joys.

willing to share the sorrows of others.

a leader when you see a path others have missed.

a follower when you are shrouded by the mists of uncertainty.

first to congratulate an opponent who succeeds.

last to criticize a colleague who fails.

sure where your next step will fall, so that you will not tumble.

sure of your final destination, in case you are going the wrong way.

loving to those who love you.

loving to those who do not love you; they may change.

Above all, always be yourself.

-Author Unknown

It has been surprising to see how often people do not realize that their deepest values are as personal as their fingerprints.  Not knowing this, many of us have sacrificed certain things in order to have other things that we have been told are more important.  Some of the things we have let go of in order to be seen as successful may be far more important to us personally in the end than some of the things we have held on to or even fought for.  Sometimes it takes a wake-up call like cancer to bring us back to ourselves.  The crisis of illness may shake us free of the life that we have created and allow us to begin a return to the life that is our own.  Often what then turns out to be important is not a surprise at all.  One patient, a CEO diagnosed with cancer, told me, "I always knew what mattered.  I just never felt entitled to live by it before."

Rachel Naomi Remen
   
  

It's been said that to wonder is to begin to understand.  Wonder most definitely
creates possibilities!  Where's your sense of wonder?  Have you gotten so
bogged down in the minute-to minute "stuff" that  life has become dull?  Bring
forth your curious, creative, sense of wonder  and dust if off -- lighten up and
wonder about everything!  We are all amazing and awesome beings and our world
is extraordinary even when days may be dark.  A sense of wonder reminds
of just how vast the unknown is and how much we have to learn each day.

Beth Burns

    

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