2 October 2018
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.
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.
Kindness is more important
and the recognition of this is the beginning
Theodore Isaac Rubin
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
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
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
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Four Principles, Own Them, and Follow Them
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.
* * * * *
Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement. Our
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live
from them what you will, and disagree with
whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you
has nothing to do with material things, or with a person's
circumstance. . . a person living in the lap of luxury
can be wretched, and a person in the depths of
poverty can overflow with joy.
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
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.
Autumn. . . makes a double
demand. It asks that we prepare
for the future--that we be wise
in the ways of garnering and keeping.
But it also asks that we
learn to let go--to acknowledge
the beauty of sparseness.
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
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
For humans, autumn is a
time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.
Edwin Way Teale
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
season for enjoying the fullness of life --
partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest
with others, and reinvesting and saving portions
of the harvest for yet another season of growth.
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
- contents - Daily
Meditations - abundance - acceptance
- aging - ambition
- anxiety - apathy - appreciation -
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balance - beauty
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charity - children
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discouragement - diversity -
doubt - dreams
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ego - emotions -
enthusiasm - envy
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ideals - identity
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life - self - self-love
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down - smiles
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strength - stress
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suffering - talent
the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts
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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.
Be. . .
to your enemies.
enough to face the world each day.
to know you cannot do everything alone.
those who need your help.
that you need yourself.
to know that you do not know everything.
enough to believe in miracles.
share your joys.
share the sorrows of others.
when you see a path others have missed.
when you are shrouded by the mists of uncertainty.
congratulate an opponent who succeeds.
criticize a colleague who fails.
your next step will fall, so that you will not tumble.
your final destination, in case you are going the wrong way.
those who love you.
those who do not love you; they may change.
always be yourself.
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
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
extraordinary even when days may be dark. A sense of wonder
of just how vast the unknown is and how much we have to
learn each day.