21 June 2016
can see in the puddle either
the mud or the reflection of
the blue sky, just as we choose.
need only examine your present situation to discover
resources and opportunities.
When life's problems seem overwhelming,
what other people are coping with. You may consider
There is no
danger of eyestrain from
looking on the bright side of things.
Kindness for All
and Deb Shapiro
Kindness does not stop with us; we can extend it outward
from ourselves, like the ripples on a pond, toward our
family, friends, and loved ones. This is relatively
natural and effortless. But for loving kindness to
be genuine, it cannot just end with the people we know and
like; it has to go further, toward those we do not know
and even do not like. This includes people we may be
having a hard time with, someone with whom communication
is difficult, where negative issues have arisen that are
pulling the relationship apart, where there is anger,
resentment, or dislike.
When we are affected by someone being hostile, dismissive,
critical, or hurtful, then it is often because there is a
hook in us for that negativity to grab hold of, a place
where it can land that triggers all our hidden feelings of
unworthiness, insecurity, doubt, even self-hate.
However, when we extend kindness toward such a person, as
we can in meditation, an extraordinary thing
happens: The landing place, or the hook within,
begins to dissolve. There is no place for the
negativity to take hold.
The negative reactions that arise within us during moments
of discord or disagreement cause continued suffering and
conflict. Extending kindness toward the adversary
is, therefore, really extending it toward ourselves, as it
releases the inner pain and puts us into a more balanced
Burmese teacher once told author Andrew Harvey, "Out
of compassion for myself, let me let go of all these
feelings of anger and resentment toward others."
As we focus on the adversary, all manner of divergent
feelings may arise about what happened, about who said
what to whom, and what someone did or did not do. To
get to loving kindness, we have to accept those feelings
while also letting go of the story, releasing the
details. Who did or who said what is not relevant;
what matters is the shared human experience. Hurt
and disagreement and anger arise when we forget our
essential unity and hang out in separate, isolated places,
while knocking heads with each other. By letting go
of the story, we are going beyond the ego's affront to the
We can extend kindness toward people who are upset, angry,
or irritable, whether their feelings have anything to do
with us or not. In this way, we can stop negativity
from affecting us. Whether it is our boss or a bus
driver or our partner or teenage children, wishing them
well helps us keep our cool.
From extending kindness toward an adversary, the natural
next step is to extend it toward all beings, whoever and
wherever they are. Theoretically, this sounds very
straightforward, but it can highlight hidden issues of
prejudice and resistance. Can we really extend
kindness toward terrorists, murderers, or dictators as
easily as we can toward caregivers, charity workers, or
our loved ones? Can we step beyond personality to
the essence of shared beingness? Can we find a place
where all beings are equal in our heart?
Prejudice can go very deep. It is only healed when
we end the war within and accept those parts of ourselves
we find so unacceptable. Then we will have the
courage to accept those who are different from us, who
have different beliefs, who are a different color, or who
live differently. When we can tolerate ourselves,
then we can be tolerable toward others and extend kindness
to all equally.
As Mohandas Gandhi said, "We must widen the circle of
our love until it embraces the whole village; the village,
in turn, must take into its fold the district, the
district the province, and so on, until the scope of our
love encompasses the whole world."
Ed and Deb Shapiro, and a
host of world-renowned luminaries,
on an enlightening spiritual journey.
Spiritual leaders from all
disciplines and walks of life
reveal how meditation has
changed their lives from
the inside out-motivating
readers to begin their own
practices and create the
foundation for a new, more
hopeful age in the wider world.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Discovering the True You
Joan Duncan Oliver
Are you ready to emerge from the cocoon of your past? The
key to inner freedom is self-reflection--uncovering the habits
that have held you back and identifying your strong points.
With self-knowledge comes the ability to frame new responses and
to relate authentically to the world.
Lately, whenever I try to start something new, whether it's a
project or a friendship, things don't seem to come together as I'd
hoped or planned. I make all the right moves, but success
remains elusive. Somebody suggested that the problem is
something I'm not looking at--a hidden assumption I'll fail, for
example. Maybe so, but I don't see how digging around in my
psyche will help. I simply want to get on with my
life. Any suggestions?
Unfortunately, we can't just set aside what we don't want to think
about and assume that it will go away. Whoever suggested you
try a little self-evaluation makes a good point. When we've
exhausted all the excuses for why life isn't working--other
people, bad luck, misalignment of the stars--we're left with the
possibility that the answer lies within. Nine times out of
ten, it's our fears or doubts or attitudes--carryovers from the
past--that are getting in the way of our accomplishing what we
Can't I just let bygones be bygones and start afresh?
Unfortunately, "the eternal sunshine of the spotless
mind" exists only in movies. Even if you could ignore
the past, I doubt that would make you happy. The past is the
repository of all your experiences--the joys and triumphs,
as well as the disappointments. Without your past, you
wouldn't be you. When you say you want to put it behind you,
don't you mean you want to be free of unpleasant memories?
I guess so. Whenever I think about the past, I have a
thousand regrets. Every "Why did I. . . ?" or
"Why didn't I. . .?" feels like karmic punishment for my
Everyone has regrets. We've all said or done things we're
not proud of, or that failed to get us the results we want.
But torturing yourself by rehashing those moments isn't going to
put the past to rest any more than ignoring them would.
Karma isn't a cosmic evaluation slip that says, "Too bad, you
failed the test." It's merely a clue to where you need
to do some self-reflection. Karma says, "Mine your
experience for what it can teach you about your habitual responses
to the world." You need to find out what's keeping you
from expressing fully who you are.
If I look, I'll only feel inadequate. Maybe whatever is
happening now is just my karma, and the best I can do is accept
There's a common misperception that karma locks us into what was
true in the past. Fortunately, that's not the case.
Character and personality are malleable. We can and do
change. In fact, our inner experience of the world changes
constantly. That's why it matters so much what thoughts we
entertain. If we cling to our old ways of thinking, we'll
simply respond as we always have and the same things will keep
happening to us. The first step toward awakening is
admitting you want something different.
Some things aren't going my way right now. I suppose my
whole life could use an overhaul.
It isn't a matter of overhauling your life--though aspects of your
life are bound to change as you develop self-awareness. This
is about understanding who you are at the core. We all have
within us a wealth of resources--everything, in fact, we need for
growth. Evolution has seen to that. The way to tap
that inner wisdom is through self-examination. . . .
self-reflection is very practical. What are the hopes and
dreams you cherish, the abilities you aren't yet
actualizing? What are the secrets and nasty little habits
you're hiding? Only if you bring all this to light will you
be able to lead the full, rich life you crave. . . .
I see how mindfulness could enhance my experience of the present,
but how will it help me put the past to rest?
The only place you can change the past is in the present. By
not focusing on the "story" of your life--the events
themselves--but rather on how you interpret and shape those
events, you will start to see patterns emerging. Insight
into the assumptions that have been running your life will tell
you why things turn out in certain ways. The patterns and
habits you've developed are karmic opportunities. Unlike age
or eye color or family of origin, they're aspects of yourself you
have the power to change, which could, in turn, change your
life. Karma arises out of our choices. When we choose
not to respond as in the past, we create the possibility of a
us how to take responsibility for our words and deeds, to
listen to what our conscience is telling us, to behave in
a way that won’t undermine our prospects for happiness,
and to examine specific actions closely and untangle the
right from the wrong. The karmic view on
decision-making discussed so intriguingly here is one of
the trickiest, most essential forms of self-analysis that
we can undertake—and one of the most rewarding.
Wallpaper! Just click below
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right-click on the
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Have you ever
seen an inchworm crawl up a leaf or a twig,
and then, clinging to the
very end, revolve in the air,
feeling for something, to reach
That's like me. I am trying to find something
there beyond the place on which I have footing.
Albert P. Ryder
Finding and Living with Silence
Very few cultures value
silence. We like to fill our days and moments with sounds,
with music, with television, with radio. Anything but
silence! Silence actually makes many people nervous, and
they don't lose their nervousness until they're able to fill the
air with sounds by turning on some sort of device. It's
really quite a shame, too, because silence can be one of the
strongest healing influences in our lives if we allow it to
be. Silence can be a balm that can sooth our hearts and
spirits, but first we have to lose our fear of silence.
Why might we actually fear silence? Perhaps the noises
remind us that we're alive by stimulating our ear drums and thus
our brains. Perhaps we fear that in silence we're going to
realize things that we perhaps don't want to realize--that we're
going to be able to think at depths at which we aren't normally
able to think when we're constantly distracted by sounds and
I knew a student once who moved from New York to Vermont to go to
school, and for quite a while she wasn't able to sleep at night
because everything was just "too quiet."
is something like an endangered species. The experience
is now so rare that we must guard it and treasure it.
For most of us,
finding silence has to be an active pursuit, for it
truly is not common in today's world. We're
constantly bombarded with sounds in our lives,
especially sounds related to transportation--cars
and planes and buses and motorcycles. Notice
the difference between the noise level very early on
a Saturday or Sunday morning (when most people
aren't even up to enjoy the relative silence) and
almost any other time. The difference is
almost astonishing. Most of us have to
actively seek out silence or we won't find it at
all, and most of us never have been encouraged to
seek it out for any reason at all.
The most important thing we can do is to find a
place where we feel comfortable that also has the
potential to provide silence for a certain period of
time. The basement is probably better than the
kitchen, and the bathroom is possibly the best place
in the house for avoiding noise, especially when the
bathroom has no windows. And if you think that
seeking out silence in the bathroom sounds
unpleasant, perhaps filling the tub with hot water
and taking a bath would help. While the
sloshing of water as you bathe will ensure that the
silence isn't complete, it's not a noise that tends
to intrude in negative ways.
When you have your place, it's important to find
realistic times when you can enjoy the
silence. If you have kids, there are certain
times when silence is simply impossible, but if you
examine your day closely enough, you should be able
to find some times that could work. At work,
for example, most people take their breaks or
lunches in break rooms, talking to other people,
rather than finding quiet spots where they can
recharge and refocus for the rest of their
day. While there's nothing wrong with talking
to co-workers during a lunch break, that time is
often one of the few chances that we get to spend
time in quiet solitude, and when we sacrifice it, we
ensure that we don't have any quiet time at all.
world of profit
It cannot be exploited for profit;
you cannot get anything
of it. It is "unproductive,"
therefore it is
as useless. Yet there
is more help and healing
all useful things.
We also must
remember that silence doesn't have to be absolute in
order to be useful or helpful. We can hear
birds sing, we can hear the odd car go by, we can
hear the hum of the refrigerator. While the
benefits increase as the ambient noise
decreases--until we hit complete silence--there are
still deep benefits to finding quiet that is not
absolute. Some of the most amazing silences
that I've experienced have been during walks in the
woods or especially the desert--even with sounds all
around me, the silence is stronger than they are.
When you're in the silence, it's important not to
leave it too soon. As with anything else that
we haven't done or experienced in a very long time,
it's very easy to become uncomfortable or uneasy in
a silent environment. We start to feel that
something is missing. But if it's just noise
and voices that are missing, then it really isn't
missing at all--our brains are just telling us that
it is because they're so used to it. Don't
leave your silence too soon, even if you feel
uncomfortable. It's like getting into a pool
sometimes when the water feels too cold--stick it
out, and soon the water feels absolutely perfect
after your body gets used to it.
When we're in silence, our minds will also start to
tell us that we need to be more productive, that
we're wasting time. When you look at being in
silence as time spent preparing--preparing to feel
better, preparing to be more productive, preparing
to raise your energy levels and your
concentration--then there really are few things in
this world that you can do that are more
productive. When we plant crops, the seeds lie
in the ground for quite a while before we ever see
any indication that anything is growing, and so it
is with silence. We don't necessarily see or
feel immediate results, especially the first few
times that we immerse ourselves in it, but the
benefits most definitely are there.
Take time to be quiet. This is something that we
don't do enough
in this busy world of ours. We rush,
rush, rush, and we are constantly
listening to noise all
around us. The human heart was meant for times
quiet, to peer deep within. It is when we do this
that our hearts
are set free to soar and take flight on
the wings of our own dreams!
Schedule some quiet
"dream time" this week. No other
cell phone. No computer. Just
you, a pad, a pen, and your thoughts.
If you take the
time and make the effort to make silence a part of
your life, then you'll discover a world of beauty
and relaxation that you didn't know existed and that
is extremely easy to access. It may take some
effort in finding the right place and making enough
time, but it is most definitely worth it. One
of the most important things that we can do for our
spirit and our psyche is to give them a rest from
the constant inundation of sounds in our lives--that
constant noise is a destructive force, no matter how
we look at it, and escaping from it from time to
time is necessary to maintain our life force at high
levels of productivity and peace--the two aren't
necessarily mutually exclusive.
of the most important elements
of living life fully is
awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people
and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that
affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively.
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travel a circle is to journey
over the same ground time and
again. To travel a circle wisely
is to journey over the same
for the first time. In this way, the
and the circle, a path to where
you wish to be. And when you
at last that the path has
circled back into itself, you
where you wish to be is
where you have already
been. . . and always were.
years ago, a friend of mine lived with me during the final few
months of her life. Not completely understanding the effects
of her illness, I kept saying, "Michelle, you must eat.
You're getting too thin! Eat!" And after she
died, I read in her journal about how "Marianne takes it for
granted that if you eat, you gain weight; if you want to go out
somewhere, you can; and if you want to live past this year, it's a
reasonable proposition." She was someone who had so
little to be happy about, but she taught me so much about
happiness. During those months, right after the birth of my
daughter, I would come home to find my dying friend with my baby
snuggled next to her. There was a smile of bliss on both
their faces that I will remember all my days.
Wilferd A. Peterson
to the art of listening is selectivity. You stand guard at
the ear-gateway to your mind, heart and spirit. You decide
what you will accept. . .
the good. Tune your ears to love, hope and courage.
Tune out gossip, fear and resentment.
the beautiful. Relax to the music of the masters; listen to
the symphony of nature -- hum of the wind in the treetops, bird
songs, thundering surf.
with your eyes. Imaginatively listen to the sounds in a
poem, a novel, a picture.
critically. Mentally challenge assertions, ideas,
philosophies. Seek the truth with an open mind.
with patience. Do not hurry other people. Show them
the courtesy of listening to what they have to say, no matter how
much you disagree. You may learn something.
with your heart. Practice empathy when you listen; put
yourself in the other person's place and try to hear his or her
problems in your heart.
for growth. Be an inquisitive listener. Ask
questions. Everyone has something to say that will help you
creatively. Listen carefully for ideas or the germs of
ideas. Listen for hints or clues that will spark creative
yourself. Listen to your deepest yearnings, your highest
aspirations, your noblest impulses. Listen to the better
person within you.
with depth. Be still and meditate. Listen with the ear
of intuition for the inspiration of the Infinite.
is slipping away with incredible speed. We are racing
at the rate of nineteen miles every second.
Today is our most
It is our only sure possession.
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