Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sept 12, 2010 - Suffering

In the time of Buddha, a woman suffered the death of her only child. Unable to accept it, she ran from person to person, desperately seeking a medicine to restore her child to life. She was directed to approach the Buddha.

She asked for a medicine to restore her child to life. The Buddha told her that to make this medicine he would need special ingredients. He told her that he needed a handful of mustard seeds from a household where no child, spouse, parent, or servant had died.

The woman ran from house to house in search of the mustard seed. The houses she went to were happy to give her the seed. When she asked if death had ever visited their home, they all acknowledged that they had lost loved ones. The woman was unable to find a home free from the suffering of death. Seeing that she was not alone in her grief, the mother let go of her child’s lifeless body, and returned to the Buddha. He said, with great compassion, “You thought that you alone had lost a son; the law of death is that among all living creatures there is no permanence.”

Suffering is something that we all experience; none of us will escape this law.

We of the western society tend to believe that if we are suffering, we have somehow done some thing ‘wrong’, or that something must be ‘fixed’ in order to restore happiness. We have a tendency to not want to face our suffering, so we look for ways to escape from it. External escapes, such as addictions, entertaining a myriad of distractions, and chemicals; internal escapes such as denying or blaming; will in the long run, fail, and often times will cause the suffering to be greater. We can not escape the law that we will suffer in our lifetimes, but how we react to it, what we do when it is in our midst, is entirely up to us. And in this way, we can not only face our suffering, accept its inevitability, but perhaps learn some thing important in its wake.

The Dalai Lama entertains a way to make this a little easier for ourselves. If we contemplate suffering in all its forms, then when it comes to us, it will be easier for us to face it, and easier for us to respond to it in a productive manner. This does not alleviate the suffering in the least bit, but it will help us to mentally prepare and not be blind-sided by it. Since it is a fact, a law, that suffering does occur; and since we see that there is more suffering in the world than contentment and happiness, we begin to understand that we will have to deal with it as a reality. Our attitude toward suffering can help us greatly in dealing with these issues as they arise.

‘I think that how you perceive life as a whole plays a role in your attitude about suffering. For instance, if your basic outlook is that suffering is negative and must be avoided at all costs, and in some sense is a sign of failure, this will add a distinct psychological component of anxiety and intolerance when you encounter difficult circumstances, a feeling of being overwhelmed. On the other hand, if your basic outlook accepts that suffering is a natural part of your existence, this will undoubtedly make you more tolerant towards the adversities of life.’ -Dalai Lama

In accepting our lives in this place, it is important to not take an overall pessimistic view. The reason that all societies in the world have religion is that it stabilizes our place here, gives us a purpose and reason to exist at all, and gives us strength and sanity. If you can find your inner spirituality, no matter what your doctrine, than you can find the underlying objective to your life, and take the altruistic path. With this basis, you can see that every one is here to learn, not how to suffer, but how to live well in spite of suffering. We can learn to grow and progress through the teachings that are rooted in suffering. And we can better our spirits, since once we leave this world, our spirit is the only thing that we will be taking with us.

In my mind, we are here to learn, to grow, to love, and to one day progress to the next step, or to find out way back to God-Home. Either way, this is my path, and it causes me to feel at peace. I am hoping that this will also give you a sense of hope and peace as well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sept 9, 2010 Compassion is the Key

When the Dalai Lama was asked whether he ever gets lonely, he responded that he did not. When asked to elaborate, he said that this might be attributed to his compassion for all human beings. He looks for the positive in everyone that he meets, and that helps to set up a connectedness and warmth with them at that instance. And, although it may not always be greeted by others with a mirrored friendliness, it does put one in a position of changing their approach to encourage a more open exchange.

Now, when you look at the teachings of Jesus, you hear the same ring of compassion. To approach everyone as your brother, your sister, not better than you, not worse than you, but the same, is the height of nonjudgmental living. It’s absolutely freeing, and the hardest thing I have every half-heartedly done!

It’s very hard for me to practice this. I am Scorpio, and honestly do not harbor compassion for others easily. Disdain is probably more like it! But truly, I have practiced this technique some and found out that the response from other people was almost always good. And it astounded me! I hate to say this, but people that I normally would not talk to opened up to me very easily. People that I “assumed” where to good to speak to me, spoke with me. It awed and humbled me to know that I was (am) such a prick!

I have always been socially retarded, I was very ‘closed off’ in school, and literally had to make myself speak to people at all in my 20’s. There was always this hierarchy in my mind, this person is better; this person is worse, etc. Always comparing and judging, always worrying about how I would look to other people. Absolutely exhausting, really! I worked on a lot of different issues, but this is one I still have to tackle in order to reach the state of grace that I want to achieve.

It doesn’t come to me naturally, so I really have to exercise the techniques of approaching and responding to people from a stand point of compassion. I know that this will only help me to get by in this world. So here’s one of the issues I was speaking of in my bio, when I said “don’t ask her to practice what she preaches”. I know that I am lacking in this area of my life, and I know that I suffer for it, and the next step is to do the work necessary to make this habit.

And I don’t think the learning will stop until I am gone from this world.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6 2010 - The Pursuit of Happiness

When I was young, I was extremely unhappy. I was amazed to find out that not everyone had suicidal thoughts. I had a few people in my life to show me that I had some worth as a human, but not a lot of support from my main family unit. I know that a lot of us have come from the same place.

For my case, it was really the times that we lived in. The generation that my mother came from was taught to never speak of their troubles with anyone outside the home, and Psychiatry was still viewed as something for severe schizophrenics, not for your semi-functioning individuals. We as a society were just starting to see the worth in evaluating ourselves and our thinking, but most people kept everything repressed due to shame and/or conditioning. The majority was prone to say, “That’s just the way I am”, and leave it at that.

I saw a few people in my life that were not depressed all the time, that were genuinely happy, and I wanted that. In the early 80’s I began to read self help books, and attending regular group therapy sessions.

During the self-help craze of that time, we slowly began to examine who we were, where we came from, which leads to the next logical step…where are we going?.

The pioneers in the field of depression wrote books that explained ideas that were totally new to me, and were of great help to me. They explained that our emotions are caused by out thoughts, and we control our own thoughts, so ultimately, we control our emotions. We were conditioned by our environment, society, family, etc., to think specific ways, whether they were helpful or hindering. What we could accomplish, however, was to break from the thinking that was negative, and promotes positive thinking in ourselves. This would in turn produce positive emotions for us. We were challenged to accept that we are a culmination of our choices, and not a slave to our circumstances.

I took this idea, and I ran with it. Every time that I would hear myself say that I wasn’t worth anything, I would stop myself and change that into a positive. I am worth something. I am here for a reason, and I am in control of myself. It was hard, because my negativity was habitual, so the very first thing was to recognize what I was saying to myself, before I could change it into something self-affirming. But I stuck to this, and kept chasing my happiness, until it became habitual to change the negative into a positive. Not that I still don’t berate myself sometimes, but that I almost immediately analyze what I’m doing, and change it. It’s become my habit now.

When I become anxious and nervous and scared, I would commence to do something I call “talk myself down out of the trees”. In my mind, I visualized an agitated monkey screaming and jumping from limb to limb, accomplishing nothing. I would have an internal dialogue like, “O.K., girl, let’s calm down and see what’s going on…figure out what’s important. You don’t need to be freaking right now…”. This exercise has been of tremendous value to me. At one point in my life, I started to have anxiety attacks, and I had already practiced this technique for quite a few years, so I used it when I had these attacks. It worked like a charm. And after about 6 months, I didn’t have any more attacks. And I never had to seek out drugs to moderate my mood.

I can say that for the most part, I am genuinely happy. I realize that I have worth and real gifts to give to the world. Because I have practiced positive thinking and temperance in my emotional state, I have come to a place where I can trust myself not to go to far out “into the trees”. That even though I have the occasional ‘back-slides’, I can bring myself out of them and get myself back to a state of calm and love. I can do this, because it was my dream to have happiness, and I pursued the teachings of happiness, and I practiced the exercises of happiness.

I’m telling you that you can do the same.

♥ LOVE ♥

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8/25/2010 Segue (a short story)

When we sit to studies and duties laid before us, we are focused to a fine precision point. Very little disturbs our concentration when we are here. We are trained well. But some times the brain registers some thing “out of kilter” at the very edge of our attention, and this can distract us from our purpose. And it will distract us whether we welcome it or not. It registers as “off”.
One day, hunched over my screen, I feel some thing “off” to the side. I look up, my feeble attempt at investigation. Walking into the room is a mysterious older woman, dressed in a long black tunic that fell almost to her shoes. She moved silently, almost gliding, across the floor. I was mesmerized.
Her hair is yellow and short, but thick. She wears wire frame glasses, and (oddly enough), an anklet with bells. With each step she takes you hear the sharp, quick jingle. When you look in her face, though, you perceive that the anklet is not an expression of gaiety, but rather a warning, much like a bell on a cat’s collar. Her expression is enigmatic, hard to read, but she is aware of us all, although not looking directly at any of us. Now that I have noticed her, I am unwilling to be noticed by her, so I slink my head back in the direction of my studies, and watch out of the corner of my eye.
The instructor doesn’t acknowledge her; it’s as if she doesn’t even exist in this world, gliding to her purpose. In one door, out another, back in another door, gliding out another. I am fascinated. Who is she…what is her function here? Should we be concerned? She doesn’t have a feel of a instructor, more so an outsider with authority and a mission to accomplish. I become anxious.
I don’t want anything to disturb the balance of my life. I don’t want any one to interfere with my studies. I like it here, absorbing knowledge on an unprecedented scale. I know that the nature of all energy is to change, but I dread any change to this existence at all. I begin to resent her, because this is what she will require of us at some point. She represents our future, which is unknown, and unsettling. I can feel this all the way into my bones, and I decide that I will not be taken unaware. I will find out who she is, and what lies ahead for us. I will attempt to recruit others to this cause as well.
I will know what lies ahead for us, all of us. I will find out what her plan is. More importantly, I will choose my own destiny, and not have a path chosen for me. I choose. Me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August 5th, 2010 More Hopi Stuff

When I’ve seen Native American medicine wheels (a cross within a circle), the colors I have seen associated with it were yellow, black, red, and white. I always wondered why the colors were not the primary colors and ‘something thrown in’. To be honest, it wasn’t “pretty” in my mind, but I think I get it now.

I understand the significance of the number four. There are four directions, four elements, four seasons, etc. When thinking about that number, I feel that four represents solidity, strength, and stability, like the four legs on a chair. Three is better than two, less wobbly, but nothing offers protection and confidence like four. I also thought of another word to describe it, and that was ‘courage’. The stability of four lets us push the outer edges of the envelope. Having a solid foundation allows us to branch out to new and different things. If it doesn’t go well, you already have a place, a home, to head back to. You haven’t lost a thing.

In regards to the four colors, in an article I was reading, Lee Brown, a Native American, was talking about the 4 races of man, and their significance in Hopi belief. He mentioned that the colors stood for the directions, elements, and the races of man. He said that the different races were related to the four elements: The black race is the guardian of water; the yellow race is the guardian of air; the red race is the guardian of earth; and the white race is the guardian of fire. He mentioned that the ‘fire’ race had to initiate the coming together of all races, as was our nature. He said that was why we were the race to bring machines and internal combustion engines, etc. The author also noted Dr. Charles Drew, an early 20th century Negro medical scientist, as a pioneer in the uses of blood plasma for patients needing transfusions, and that this did not surprise him at all.* We all have something to give to the whole.

A quote from a different websites states:

A Medicine Wheel is a physical manifestation of Spiritual energy. An outward expression of an internal dialogue. A mirror in which we can better SEE what is going on within us. It is a wheel of protection and enables us, and allows us, to gather surrounding energies into a focal point and to commune with Spirit, Self and Nature (ALL elemental forces)........Creation!
It helps us with our "Vision," to see exactly where we are and in which areas we need to develop in order to realize and become our potentials. That we are all connected to one another, and by showing us the intricacies of the interwoven threads of life, what our part in it all is. It helps us understand that without our part in the tapestry the "Bigger Picture" is not as it should be. We add colour, dimension and life to each other, to all of life. No matter what colour, race or creed we are, we need each of us to create a beautiful existence and expression of the Whole. - Tree-Song

The medicine wheel represents us, individually, as well as the whole human race, at our very best. It reminds us to remain centered and focused on what is important. It shows us that together we can accomplish anything that is worthwhile. But without any one element, we may not be able to get the stability that we need to work from. It was mentioned in Lee Brown’s article that when this world is over, and we step over into the new world, we will all work together to survive and succeed, that we are all needed for this work.

The eighth prophecy mentioned by Frank Waters is below:
"This is the Eight Sign: You will see many youth, who wear their hair long like my people, come and join the tribal nations, to learn their ways and wisdom."

The guardians of the fire have dominated the world, and the philosophies within that way of life, and this has created imbalance. Our society rushes ever head long toward more, more, more, and still it is not enough. The Hopi say that when the prophecies have come to pass, then they will need to slow down, not speed up. Then it is time to return to the old ways.

I am starting to hear a call to ‘return’ myself. I have no desire to work for a corporation. I want to get some property out in the country, to plant a garden and learn how to become self sufficient. I want things to slow down. It is rushing by way too fast, and it is sometimes hard to catch our breath at this pace. We don’t have time to appreciate all the blessings that we have received. We don’t even have time to connect spiritually with God.

I don’t want to be dependent on this society. The philosophies that are currently prevalent do not have my best interest at heart. We are encouraged to look at ourselves and see only our “lack”. It doesn’t matter how many ‘things’ we own, it doesn’t matter how many addictions we try to feed, it will never be enough. None of these ‘things’ will sustain our souls, and our souls are the only part of us that remains forever

I hope I make it there.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1st, 2010 – Emotional Pain

I’ve been hearing a lot of people crying out for solace, for comfort, crying because the emotional pain they feel seems unendurable. They feel that if they lash out at others, their pain will be lessened. They forget how to be happy, and forget how to do the work that comes with being happy. They want the world to change to suit them and their desires, and they may very well lose their way. It is we who must change to suit the world.

The world is not with out pain. However, it is also not without blessing. Have we counted our blessings lately? Have we looked to those around us and appreciated who they are, as they are right now? Or are we blind? We long for some ethereal “other” and forget about the people closest to us. We even push them away, thinking “This is best for everyone”. And we hurt the people around us.

The world has always been dangerous and ironic. Life is unpredictable and full of challenges. Your pain is the same pain that your ancestors felt in their life times. They say there is nothing new under the sun, and in regards to human suffering, you can believe it. If you choose to medicate yourself from emotional pain, then you may miss something that you need to understand. If you continue to medicate to block your emotional pain, you will be visited with an addiction that will take you to the deepest, darkest wells, until you choose to live your life sober. This is the way of physical beingness.

For people diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), the treatment includes getting the patient to face their fears willingly. Once in the midst of what that person fears, they will ask the patient, “Where is your anxiety level, on a scale from one to ten”. The patient assesses and responds, but conquers their fear by staying in the midst. The therapist will ask a little later, and again a little later, and the patient soon realizes that at first the anxiety spikes up really hard, and then it slowly comes down. This is how they begin to see how their bodies respond to anxiety so they make some changes in their behavior to take back control of their lives.

I believe that the emotional pain is like this. It spikes, and then comes slowly down if we allow ourselves to feel it, let it flow through us, and then let it go. We mourn, loudly at first, then more softly, then less often, and finally we release it. Let it go, simply put, means to forgive any transgressions and let God take care of it. Our mourning time is done, and although we may still feel the hurt, we have faith that everything is exactly as it should be. We can sigh, and get on with our life.

In order to be happy, you must simply put, work at it. It will not arrive at your door and extend a hand. You have to appreciate and socialize with the people you care about, or at the very least, the people who care about you. You need to extend your hand to the people around you, and learn to love them despite their flaws. You need to consider treating everyone with respect and dignity, without prejudging who they are based on income and social standing, race, looks, etc. You need to find out what you can give that makes you happy, and then give it freely without expectation of return. You need to learn to forgive them and release the hurt associated with them. The continuation of these practices will keep you happy. The smiles you generate will fill you with joy. And know that we are in a unique moment in time, when we can honestly say that we control who we are, how we are, and what we do. We choose.

The following passage is from Lee Brown, speaking at the 1986 Continental Indigenous Council.

And now it is us. We are the ones they spoke of long ago. They say to be alive, to come into creation and to live upon the earth at this time is a great honor. In the cycle of time, from the beginning to the end, this time we are in now will change the purification of all things. They say this is the hardest time to live, but it is also the greatest honor to be alive to live and see this. – Lee Brown

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25, 2010 - Hopi Prophecy

I did not write this, but I can see where we are in the progression of the signs, and I felt a need to communicate this to you. The prophecies below are a small part of the prophecy of the Hopi. There is much more that they say, but these are the signs to the ending of the Fourth World, and the beginning of the Fifth.

"The Fourth World shall end soon, and the Fifth World will begin. This the elders everywhere know. The Signs over many years have been fulfilled, and so few are left.
"This is the First Sign: We are told of the coming of the white-skinned men, like Pahana, but not living like Pahana men who took the land that was not theirs. And men who struck their enemies with thunder.
"This is the Second Sign: Our lands will see the coming of spinning wheels filled with voices. In his youth, my father saw this prophecy come true with his eyes -- the white men bringing their families in wagons across the prairies."
"This is the Third Sign: A strange beast like a buffalo but with great long horns, will overrun the land in large numbers. These White Feather saw with his eyes -- the coming of the white men's cattle."
"This is the Fourth Sign: The land will be crossed by snakes of iron."
"This is the Fifth Sign: The land shall be criss-crossed by a giant spider's web."
"This is the Sixth sign: The land shall be criss-crossed with rivers of stone that make pictures in the sun."
"This is the Seventh Sign: You will hear of the sea turning black, and many living things dying because of it."
"This is the Eight Sign: You will see many youth, who wear their hair long like my people, come and join the tribal nations, to learn their ways and wisdom.
"And this is the Ninth and Last Sign: You will hear of a dwelling-place in the heavens, above the earth, that shall fall with a great crash. It will appear as a blue star. Very soon after this, the ceremonies of my people will cease.

The ceremonies cease for a time, and then resume to a new world.

If you look at recent events, you see that we have experienced (and I wouldn’t be surprised) will still experience the Seventh sign. We are fast approaching a very different world order. I think it is time to ready ourselves for what is to come.