3 January 2017
In spite of all
our hopes, dreams, and efforts, change is real
and forever. Accept
it fearlessly. Investigate the
unknown; neither fear nor worship
Joseph A. Bauer
more fun you have,
the greater your value
to yourself and to your
society. The more fun you
share with others, the more
fun you have.
of the Oaqui"
seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful
what might not the heart of the human become
in its long
journey toward the stars?
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Is Our True Home
In the Buddhist tradition, a session of sitting
meditation always begins with the sound of the
bell. This sound is a gentle reminder to
come home to ourselves.
Our true home is the present moment, whatever is
happening right here and right now. Our
true home is a place without discrimination, a
place without hatred. Our true home is the
place where we are no longer seeking anything,
no longer yearning for anything, no longer
regretting anything. When we return to
right here and right now with the energy of
mindfulness, we will be able to establish our
true home in the present moment.
Your true home is something you have to create
for yourself. When we know how to make
peace with our body, to take care of our body,
and release the tension in our body, then our
body becomes a comfortable, peaceful home for us
to come back to in the present moment.
When we know how to take care of our
feelings--when we know how to generate joy and
happiness, and how to handle a painful
feeling--we can cultivate and restore a happy
home in the present moment. And when we
know how to generate the energies of
understanding and compassion, our home will be a
very cozy, pleasant place to come back to.
But if we're not able to do these things, we
won't want to go home. Home is not
something to hope for, but to cultivate.
There is no way home; home is the way.
lies in the present moment. We can be in touch with
all our spiritual and blood ancestors right in the present
moment. We need to learn how to come back to the
present moment, and penetrate that moment, in order to
discover our true home. When we can feel these
ancestors with us in the present moment, we no longer need
to worry or suffer. When we stop trying to find our
home outside ourselves--in space, time, culture,
territory, nationality, or race--we can find true
Our true home is not an abstract idea. It is a solid
reality that we can touch with our feet, our hands, and
our mind in every moment. If we know this, then
nobody can take away our true home. Even if people
occupy our country or put us in prison, we still have our
true home, and no one can ever take it away. I speak
to those of you who feel that you have never had a
home. I speak to the parents who feel that the
country they left is no longer their home, but that the
new country is not their home yet either. Each one
of us can practice to find our true home and to help our
children find their true home also.
You may wonder if the most wonderful moments of your life
are already behind you. Or you may think the
happiest moment of your life is still to come. But
this is the moment we have been waiting for. The
Buddha said, "You have to make the present
moment into the most wonderful moment of your life."
This collection of
autobiographical and teaching stories from peace
activist and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is thought
provoking, inspiring, and enjoyable to read.
Collected here for the first time, these stories
span the author’s life. There are stories from
Thich Nhat Hanh’s childhood and the traditions
of rural Vietnam. There are stories from his years
as a teenaged novice, as a young teacher and
writer in war torn Vietnam, and of his travels
around the world to teach mindfulness, make
pilgrimages to sacred sites, and influence world
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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the Past Go!
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
not begin the new year by recounting to yourself or
others all your losses and sorrows.
Let the past go.
some good friend present you with material for a
lovely garment, would you insult her by throwing it
aside and describing the beautiful garments you had
worn out in past times?
new year has given you the fabric for fresh start in
life; why dwell upon the events which have gone, the
joys, blessings and advantages of the past!
not tell me it is too late to be successful or happy. Do not tell me you are sick or broken in spirit; the spirit
cannot be sick or broken, because it is of God.
is your mind which makes your body sick.
Let the spirit assert itself and demand health
and hope and happiness in this new year.
the money you have lost, the mistakes you have made,
the injuries you have received, the disappointments
you have experienced.
sorrow, the sorrow which comes from the death of dear
ones, or some great cross well borne, you need not
think of these things as sent to enrich your nature,
and to make you more human and sympathetic.
You are missing them if you permit yourself
instead to grow melancholy and irritable.
is weak and unreasonable to imagine destiny has
selected you for special suffering.
Sorrow is no respecter of persons.
Say to yourself with the beginning of this year
that you are going to consider all your troubles as an
education for your mind and soul; and that out of the
experiences which you have passed through you are
going to build a noble and splendid character, and a
not tell me you are too old.
Age is all imagination.
Ignore years and they will ignore you.
moderately, and bathe freely in water as cold as
nature's rainfall. Exercise thoroughly and regularly.
alive, from crown to toe.
Breathe deeply, filling every cell of the lungs
for at least five minutes, morning and night, and when
you draw in long, full breaths, believe you are
inhaling health, wisdom and success.
good health. If
it does not come at once, consider it a mere temporary
delay, and continue to expect it.
any physical ailment as a passing inconvenience, no
more. Never for an instant believe you are permanently
ill or disabled.
young men of France are studying alchemy, hoping to
learn the secret of the transmutation of gold.
If you will study your own spirit and its
limitless powers, you will gain a greater secret than
any alchemist ever held; a secret which shall give you
whatever you desire.
of your body as the silver jewel box, your mind as the
silver lining, your spirit as the gem.
Keep the box burnished and clear of dust, but
remember always that the jewel within is the precious
part of it.
of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled
whole, clear, glorious year lies before you!
In a year you can regain health, fortune,
* * * *
From The Heart of the New Thought, 1902.
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People who take the risk make a tremendous
discovery: The more things
you care about, and the
more intensely you care, the more alive you are.
capacity for caring can illuminate any relationship:
friendships--even the ties of affection
that often join humans and animals.
Each of us is born
with some of it, but whether we let it expand or diminish
largely up to us. To care, you have to surrender the
armor of indifference.
You have to be willing to act,
to make the first move.
Things I'm Going to Do This Year--Regularly
I do like new year's
resolutions, but I find them to be a bit nebulous,
usually. After a while they tend to hang over our
heads like laundry that hasn't been washed yet and that
keeps piling up. Except with the laundry, you have
the chance to do it all at one time and get it out of
the way--only to have it start to accumulate once
again. We do that with resolutions, too.
"I resolve to be more fit" becomes a week or
two of exercise in January, then another week in March
once we realize that we've forgotten to fulfill that
resolution. Maybe we'll pick it up again in April
or May, but we can always rationalize by saying, "I
am more fit because I'm eating less junk," whether
or not we have an exact measurement of the junk we've
eaten this year versus the junk we ate in previous
I'm just going to do some things this year. They
aren't really promises to myself, just things I'm going
to do. And the nice thing about this list is that
I can post a note on my door reminding me of exactly
what I need to do in order to fulfill these tasks.
And they aren't difficult tasks at all, but one thing I
know about them is that all three things will have very
positive effects in other areas of my life--I want to do
things that affect me in positive ways in more than just
an immediate result.
First of all, I'm going to get rid of a lot of stuff,
either by giving it away or throwing it away. This
is going to be one of the most important things that I
can do for myself (and for my wife) because I have quite
a lot of stuff that I don't really use, and it tends to
become clutter from time to time. I can do this
with a very concrete strategy--each day, I'm going to
get rid of three things. Now, I'm not going to
make myself a task that's impossible to fulfill by
forcing myself to get rid of things I really love, but
I'm also not going to "cheat" by throwing away
three old index cards one day. I can get rid of a
dvd and a shirt and an old candle one day, and two books
and a couple of pens that I never use the next.
Having too much stuff can be one of the most damaging
elements of our lives. In my case, the tendency
comes from a childhood situation in which we could never
trust what the future held--we had to keep everything
because there was always a chance that we'd hit rock
bottom tomorrow and have to rely on what we had
saved. So I keep things because I think that if I
don't keep them, I'll never see them again. But
life since childhood has taught me that I can trust
life, and it's taught me that I don't need to save
everything just to make sure I don't have to go
without. I need to start trusting life more and
trying to regulate life less by getting rid of many
things that I don't really need. But I may want to
watch that movie again, so I'm keeping the DVD.
Hmm. . . I haven't watched it in four years, and I have
about ten other DVD's that I haven't seen yet--I think
that getting rid of a DVD of a movie that wasn't even
one of my favorites is a pretty safe risk. And
whenever I go to get a sweater, I pass over that one in
favor of others, so maybe I should give that one away.
for security is often marked by the collection of things.
They seem a fortress against need. We get caught up in the belief
that "more is better." Piles of objects often take more
time to clean
and store than they save. We exhaust ourselves taking care of our
property and social roles.
How many things do you have stored away for the future, like
squirrels with their nuts? If you were asked to give away one half,
what would you keep? When you dream about a fire, what do you
rescue in the house? Make a list. Figure out what is weight
helps you float. . . . When you let go of the constant urge to acquire,
what you truly need begins to flow into your life.
Second, I'm going to
study about my vocation to become the best teacher I
can be. And I have to clarify here--I've
already studied more than most of my fellow teachers
have, including a doctorate in education, so I'm
pretty well off as far as this topic goes. But
studying doesn't necessarily mean putting my nose to
the grindstone and suffering through tedious hours
of dry reading and writing. It also means
reading interesting works on teaching and
methodologies, sharing ideas and strategies, and
learning new ways of approaching things like grading
and assigning work to do.
You see, I don't want to become stagnant as a
teacher--I don't want to be that teacher that
continues to do the same things year after year just
because it's safe and comfortable. I want to
employ new strategies that may help my students to
learn better; I want to develop new ideas that will
help them to be more proficient in whatever it is
that I'm teaching. I want my students to feel
respected and appreciated, and it's important to
read up on strategies for doing so. I want to
help them develop their confidence and their
willingness to take risks, and that's something that
I can't learn from works that address only pedagogy.
If I were in customer service, I would want to read
up on how to make customers feel valued (Dale
Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence
People comes to mind), not just strategies for
how to persuade people to buy something ("would
you like to supersize that?"). If I were
in the insurance business, I would constantly keep
up on the different policies available to my
customers so that they would always have what's the
best for them. If I were a nurse, a soldier (I
did tons of studying when I was in the Army), or a
police officer, I could find plenty of things to
read that would help me in my job and make me better
It was either Jim Rohn or Earl Nightingale who once
said that if you were to read just one book a month
on your profession, by the end of the year you'll be
one of the most well-read people on the planet in
your chosen field, because other people simply stop
studying about their jobs once they get them and
become comfortable in them.
The more that you read,
the more things
you will know. The more that you learn,
places you'll go.
Third, I'm going to
consciously try to contribute in positive ways to
the lives of others. And I'm going to try to
make this a daily task--I'm going to keep track of
whom I've encouraged and whom I've helped to do
something important in their lives. I don't
want to keep track to make myself feel better or to
quantify what I'm doing; rather, I want to hold
myself accountable to this task and not let a day or
a week go by without working on it.
There are many ways to contribute to the lives of
others. A greeting card with an encouraging or
appreciative message can do wonders; a phone call
just to say hi can make a person's day. A
sincere and well-placed compliment may be remembered
for a long time; if they make something to sell,
buying something that they offer can send a very
strong and positive message. Helping someone
out with something that they need may be in order;
helping them to learn something that they need to
learn can prove to be invaluable (as long as I'm
actually competent enough to help someone
else!). Sometimes even just being there to
talk to someone can be a wonderful thing to do for
another person--as long as our focus is on listening
and really hearing what that person has to
say. Relatively few people have the experience
of actually being listened to in most of their
conversations, and allowing someone to speak without
correcting them or giving them advice for how to
"fix" things is a tremendous gift that we
Very often we just assume that people don't need to
hear positive things from us, for from what we can
see, their lives are going just fine. I often
think that other people's lives are much easier and
much more positive than mine, and I'm surprised when
I find out just how much adversity they're dealing
with. Most of us would be surprised, I
believe, at just how much other human beings are
craving some positive words from their fellow
people--and we can be the ones who provide those
positive and, yes, loving words for them.
is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things
even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our
do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is
kindness in everything we think, say, want and do.
I'm pretty sure that I
wasn't born to change the world in big ways. I
won't be a president or a king or even anyone in an
important policy-making position, but that's more
than okay by me. As long as I continue to try
to make a positive mark on the lives of others
around me, and as long as I continue to try to make
my own life happy and fulfilled, this life of mine
will be a meaningful and worthwhile
experience. These promises to myself can
definitely help me to have more positive
experiences, and if I find after a couple of months
that they're not serving the purposes that I hope
they'll serve, then I can modify them. It's up
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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Her heart--like every heart,
if only its
fallen sides were
cleared away--was an
love: she loved
everything she saw.
The Day Boy and the Night Girl
New Kind of Resolution
You are not just the size of your bank account,
the neighborhood you live in, or the type of work
that you do. You
are, just like everyone else, an almost
inconceivably complicated mix of abilities and
A new kind of New Year’s resolution is
becoming increasingly popular.
Instead of dwelling on something they think
is wrong with them and resolving to improve, a lot
of people are taking a different approach.
They are resolving to accept themselves.
To acknowledge that, faults and all, they are
complete people, good people.
Kathleen, a member of a group that spreads the
acceptance philosophy, explains that she used to
feel like she was in a trap she could not get out
would try to correct herself and change herself, and
the failure to change was actually worse than the
original problem itself.
She felt like a “maniac” because of the
pressures to change and the weight of failure.
Now Kathleen counsels accepting yourself, which does not mean ignoring
your faults or never trying to improve.
What it does mean is “believing in your own
value first, last, and always.”
From The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy
People by David Niven.
When we can
begin to take our failures non-seriously,
it means we are ceasing to be
afraid of them.
It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at
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