Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Blog: The Power of Non-Resistance Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. taught and modeled non-violent resistance to the world. Consider that this principle is more than a powerful political tool; it is also a practical technique for living life. The rebel within tells us we must fight that which we don’t like so that it will cease to exist. But the opposite is true. By resisting an annoyance, we maintain attention on it, thus giving it power. Attention is the key. If you are sitting in traffic, worried about being late for an appointment, your tendency is to become anxious. By concentrating on the problem (tardiness), it doesn’t desist, but rather builds anxiety. To act non-resistantly, you let the annoyance be itself and place your attention elsewhere, hopefully on something you can control. (You can’t control traffic or the fact that you are late.) By not resisting the irritant, you release yourself to be yourself, thus you are free in the moment. While experiencing traffic, plan the fastest route to your destination, then relax, turn up the radio and sing. You can control your mood, attitude, and activity. You can’t control the light, flow of traffic or blockages up ahead. As you contemplate the principle of non-resistance, you can see that its point is profoundly placed in controlling what you can and releasing what you can’t control. The more you occupy your mind with irritating, external factors, the less you remember to be yourself. Apply these ideas to life – a disgruntled boss, emotional spouse, high prices, taxes, mechanical failures, illness – and you begin to unfold the meaning of non-resistance. These elements are a part of life. Respond to them as you must, but don’t uproot your peace. Handle situations with ability and imagination. Then move on. Gandhi and King used non-violent resistance to make powerful political and social statements. You can incorporate this principle to maintain peace and build self expression. And talk about synchronicity...today, I received this information from Shambhala Publications. In 2000, the Hopi Elders issued a prophecy for the challenging times that are now upon us. “There is a river flowing now very fast,” they said. “It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.” The modern world is very good at showing us vividly how we’re hooked, stuck in fixed mind, habitually riding the wheel of suffering. These times are making the option of clinging to the shore more and more unpalatable. Therefore, the Hopi Elders advise us to “push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.” Once there, we’ll be able to see our companions in the river and “celebrate.” The Elders don’t lament what is happening. On the contrary, they say, “This could be a good time!”
Blog: Simplicity - the path to peace Multitasking is “big” these days. What with computers, internet, e-mail, cell phones, voice mail, and scheduled lives for every family member, it would seem the only way to make it through the day is to multitask. Because we live in an age information explosion, we feel a great loss in quality if we attempt to divide our attention in dozens of ways. It seems that the number of tasks to be completed, and the design of the human brain, doesn’t quite match. Thus we must become protective of where we place our attention, and what we ask of ourselves as human beings stuck in a 24 hour, 7 day a week world. Writer, Martha Beck, offers some wonderful pointers for those who crave a simpler life without losing a sense of purpose. Her first point is to accept that you will not be able to read every bit of mail, respond to every offer, attend every event, and complete every project. Simplification boils down to managing your time by managing your attention. Secondly, she suggests starting your day with a clear plan about where you will be placing your attention. Otherwise, it will get wasted. Prioritizing must be done before the day begins as if you wait, demands that spontaneously sprout up take over leaving you overwhelmed and mentally fuzzy. Plan according to your big picture, or manage your priorities with “eagle vision”. This means that you consider today’s goals in terms of what you want to achieve in the long run. In other words, what experiences do you want to have and how do you want to have affected the world during your time here? While planning from a big picture, work with “mouse vision”. Focus directly and completely on the task in front of you. This means to cutout distractions. Not only will mouse vision eliminate feeling scattered and the accompanying exhaustion, you will discover that your concentration improves over time. So while you are giving up talking on the cell phone, driving, reading a map, and planning your next meal, what you are gaining is sanity, being present, peace and purpose. Leonardo da Vinci said it this way, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Blog: Loving People and Using Things Some people use things and love people and others love things and use people. The former have an abundance of friends, opportunities and experiences. The latter are difficult to know because of guarded attitudes and possessiveness. When people place their highest value in the objects they own, they must protect them. They believe that what they own sets their own value and their understanding is that ownership creates security. In other words, their security does not come from themselves, but from their 401K plan, their house, family, and societal or professional position. (Of course, any of these things can disappear overnight.) These folks have not learned to build security through trusting themselves – their talents, resourcefulness, determination, etc. Therefore they experience a kind of lack in their lives. They busy themselves warding off vulturous people, as they hold tight to meager security taking form in things. Their small mindedness produced paranoia and interferes with personal growth and taking advantage of opportunities to expand themselves by loving and learning. When these people near the conclusion of life, panic sets in because, by forsaking their search for peace, they have forgotten to love themselves. Things are transient. They can be lost, stolen, destroyed in the twinkling of an eye. Then security based on possessions is gone also. If you are a lover of things and a user of people, consider your options. If your house burnt down, you lost your business and your best friend moved away, would you have sufficient self-esteem and trust to start over or would you be hopelessly devastated? Those who have lived with nothing are not afraid of losing everything, because they know they will survive regardless. There is security in knowing that. They have weathered the storm and found themselves whole and complete despite it. Let your things serve you by offering comfort, convenience, and beauty. Enjoy them for what they offer and don’t let your identity or self worth depend on them to make you valuable. You have always been valuable; you will always be valuable whether you occupy a small room or a mansion. Once you understand this, you can open your heart to life's opportunities and the freedom to investigate and enjoy relationships. Each person offers you a chance to love and be loved. As you love, you expand. You grow greater! It is true, the more you give, the more you receive and the greater you become. In time your friends will out number your possessions and your value will no longer be threatened by changes occurring in the physical world. Loving self and others opens your heart to immutable peace that can never be lost, stolen, or destroyed. Start today by extending yourself to others in the spirit of givingness and service. When you reach out unconditionally, people reach back. Both are enriched. Is there someone in your neighborhood or work that needs a friend? Is there some way that you can ease someone’s burdens? Are you ready to be loved?
The secret: Creating Peace through Mind Control The secret to living a life of connection and joy is to keep your mind clear and clean of garbage. What is garbage you ask? It is criticism, guilt, shame, worry, gossip – all things negative. How does one do that you ask? By monitoring your thoughts. A thought is a wave of energy that flows through your mind. Most of them have been triggered by the news, television, conversations and interactions through the day, and programming from family, teachers, and various groups. Sounds like a lot – well, maybe. The point is that a thought is an energy impulse that you can listen to and respond to or not. It can just be there like traffic noise in the background. Observe your thoughts without reacting to them. You will begin to notice trends and patterns. Are you a worry wart – you are living in the future. Are you guilt ridden, you are living in the past. Do you run conversations over and over in your mind, you are creating anxiety and second guessing. Now the good part. When you notice a negative thought, step back from it. Do not engage. Remember, it is just an energy impulse, let it flow by. The reason people get into trouble is that they take their thoughts seriously and act on compulsions and impulses without considering their source or consequences. To an alcoholic, I want a drink. Observe it and let it go. Same with drug addicts, food addicts, shopping addicts, any addict. Essentially we are all addicts in some way. Notice what your addiction is. Maybe it is the need for attention, or wanting approval. Again, notice these thoughts as they arise and let them go. Yes, it is hard if you don’t replace it with something else. The thought you are releasing take up space. So put something else in that space. Be ready with a new thought, one that will keep your mind open and fresh. Gratitude is a good one. Thank yourself for noticing the thought and letting it go. Be grateful for a beautiful day or for sunshine. Be grateful for having legs to walk and speech to share ideas. There are a million things for which to be grateful . Why do you want this? It is simple - gratitude elevates your mind. As you learn to clear space by letting go of useless thoughts, you are learning to allow the light of the Universe to shine through. Practice being quiet - even with yourself. When more thoughts arise – shhhh! I am quiet now. This is all about self-discipline -- to take control of YOUR mind. Like driving a car, you get to decide where your vehicle is headed and the mental exercise is you decide what thoughts are allowed and which ones are not. Where do you want to take your mind? You can drive it DOWN in negativity, which create restriction, upset, depression and chaos. Or you can navigate it UP to uplifting thoughts and possibilities. Just the act of clearing it of negativity is transformative. So the exercise is: observe your thoughts. Let them flow. Then disengage from uninspiring ones and shift to peace. Equating a beautiful image to peace – like a serene forest or park, the ocean, sitting on the porch on a sunny day, watching the sunrise or set – will help. Have the image ready so you can go there quickly. Gratitude always ascends the energy of the mind. Forgiveness does too.
Blog: The ability to carry on despite obstacles As many of you know, I love studying historical figures and people who have accomplished incredible things. It is always with the question in mind of how did they do that and how did they recognize their direction? George Washington Carver's story is a favorite of mine. It is compelling, interesting, and thought provoking See if you think so too. Carver started life with the handicap of being a slave. Yet he broke through the barriers that went with that position. Because of hard work, he advanced to become a great scientist. He became renown through his efforts in developing multiple uses for the peanut. As a result of his labor, he is given almost sole responsibility for the rise in US peanut production after the boll weevil devastated the American cotton crop in 1892. He literally saved the Southern farmer by creating adaptations and crops that would work in the depleted soil plus offered nutritious food to the farmers’ families. You will note that whenever Carver’s path seemed blocked by events or race prejudice, he found another way to continue his journey. He typifies flexibility, determination, and objectivity. He was always true to his purpose – education and botany – and maintained his focus without taking on the anger, resentment or smallness of prejudice – even for those who wanted to harm him. Here is his story. See if it inspires you as it has me. George Washington Carver was born a slave in the area now known as Diamond, Missouri in either 1864 or 1865. (The exact day and year of his birth are unknown). His master, Moses Carver, was a German American immigrant who had purchased George’s parents, Mary and Giles on October 9, 1855 for $700. When George was a week old, night raiders from Arkansas kidnapped him, a sister, and his mother. The outlaws sold the slaves in Kentucky. Wherein Moses Carver hired John Bentley to find them. He was only able to locate the infant, George. Moses negotiated with the raiders and gained the boy’s return. When slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife Susan raised George and his older brother James as their own children. They encouraged George to continue his intellectual pursuits and Aunt Susan taught him the basics of reading and writing. Inasmuch as black people were not allowed at the public school in Diamond Grove, George traveled ten miles south to Neosho to the black children's school. When he arrived, the school was closed for the night so he slept in a near by barn. The next morning he met a kind woman, Mariah Watkins, with whom he asked to rent a room. When he identified himself as Carver’s George, as he had done his whole life, she replied that from now on his name was George Carver. Watkins words were, you must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people. This thought impressed him greatly. At age thirteen, he could attend the academy at Fort Scott, Kansas, where he witnessed the murder of a black man by a group of whites. As a result, Carver left the city. It followed that he attended a series of schools, finally earning his diploma at Minneapolis, Kansas High School. After graduation he was rejected admission to Highland College in Highland, Kansas because of his race. Consequently, in1886, Carver traveled to Ness County, Kansas to homestead a claim. There he maintained a small conservatory of plants, flowers and a geological collection. Carver was always drawn to education and botany. He attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames where he was the first black student. As a result of his research in plant pathology and mycology at the Iowa Experiment Station, he gained national recognition and respect as a botanist. This led to His being the first black faculty member at Iowa State. Later in 1896, Booker T Washington, the president of the Tuskegee Institute, invited Carver to head its Agriculture Department. Carver found a home there andf taught for 47 years developing the department into a strong research center. Carver’s hard work and research resulted in the development of hundreds of adaptations for the peanut. This allowed southern farmers to come back after the devastation of their main crop, cotton. When I read stories like this, I am awed by the person’s ability to look beyond his circumstances and find his way. Life most definitely bestows great blessings when we are ready to receive them. With fortitude and focus an unlikely individual in the person of a slave moved past all the incredible obstacles that faced him to become a renown scientist and supply the research that saved the very people who considered him less valuable than they were. Carver never participated in the prejudice that ruled the times in which he lived. This story puts things in perspective. 1) We have great opportunity today. 2) The prospect of exploring the wealth of our own minds, to make significant contributions and lead fulfilling lives is daunting. George Washington Carver is a wonderful example of what is possible when one chooses to survive challenge and conflict to follow his inherent path. Would the agricultural industry have received his knowledge had it not been devastaged by the boll weevol? I don’t know. Nevertheless, George Washington Carver looked beyond racial barriers and shared his gift with all who would receive it. What are your gifts? Are you willing to share them?
Blog: Be Still and Listen The greatest problem with allowing your mind to be fixated with worry thoughts is that they act as barriers to the elevated vibrational messages of your Higher Mind, otherwise known as your intuition. Spirit is in constant communication with you but you let the distractions of the ego override this guidance. The ego wants to keep you small and under its control. Whereas Spirit holds no limit and anything is possible Spirit does not fight; it waits. Perhaps when you are done struggling and in your exhausted state, you will be still and listen. When you have an idea to hold an amazing seminar, paint a beautiful picture, redecorate your house, travel to a distant land, write a poem or run a marathon, what comes next? Do you check out travel agents or marathons or go to the paint store to start the process? Or do you begin the battle with your small-minded training – you are not a good enough artist or runner. Or you are too afraid? Hence you give in to the internal conflict and time waster. A better way – open your heart (feelings) to communicate with Higher Mind. Set the environment to do this. Be quiet or play light beautiful music. Soothe your soul. Walk quietly in nature, breathe, journal daily. What does the Universe want to tell you today? Open your heart and mind to miracles. Miracles are natural. Every minute you cultivate communication with your Inner Guide (Higher Mind), your rewards are exponential. This communication is the most natural thing there is. Babies and animals do it automatically. Perhaps we have looked with our physical eyes too much and now it is time to turn inward. Set your earthly tasks aside and listen. You will be guided. Set your fear and your trumped up inadequacy aside and absorb the love. Turn off your head; listen to your heart. Your consciousness will elevate, your guidance will grow in volume. You are capable of great things.
George Carlin (comedian) has some great tips for "How To Stay Young" . Here we go: 1. Throw out nonessential numbers – age, weight, height. Let the doctor worry about them – isn’t that why you pay him/her? 2. Keep only cheerful friends. Grouches – bye, bye! 3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, languages, other cultures, gardening, fixing things, whatever. Never let your brain idle. An idle brain is the devil’s workshop – his name is Alzheimer’s. 4. Enjoy simple things. 5. Laugh often – long and loud. Laugh until you are gasping for air. 6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person that is with you for your whole life is YOU. Be alive while you are alive. 7. Surround yourself with what you love – family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Make your home your refuge. 8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it beyond what you can improve, get help. 9. No guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is. 10. Tell the people you love that you love then – at every opportunity. 11. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. I decided to add one more - Look at people with love. They are doing their best. None of us are fully evolved but we are on the path. Be kind!
Blog: Letting go – Moving on When you engage in self-criticism you keep your Light small. Your illusion is that you are to be external or materially perfect (per man’s definition), never make mistakes, and always know what to do. But the rules of heaven and the rules of earth are different. In our true state of divine perfection, we are beautiful, pure and innocent as a baby. In the earth we have adopted false guidelines that judge on the basis of having the RIGHT answer at all times, possessing a culturally deemed perfect body, having certain initials behind or in front of our names, having the correct life experience, and living in the right neighborhood – all external/material indications of having followed man’s rules or preferences. None of this is relevant in heaven or our inner perfected, divine state. Babies slobber, soil their diapers, and spit up on people and they are still beautiful. They put out their innocent, toothless grins and we all melt. We are like babies. (Maybe not toothless - but we are innocent.) Stop judging yourself. Stop judging others. Instead see God within each person as you do a baby. Everything is possible to a fresh, young life. We would not think of telling our young ones that they are incapable, stupid, or incompetent. We must apply this same logic to ourselves. We are the babies. If you don’t make a sale, that person or company was not yours. There are others waiting. If you lose a friend or other relationship, your time with that person is over, complete. It is time to move on. There are others waiting. If a tornado destroys your home (as it did mine), there are better arrangements up ahead. Don’t hold on – let go. There is a miracle in every step and circumstance. Continue looking for the miracle and keep moving. Don’t put egoic judgments on anything. People come and go – so do jobs, businesses, homes, and friends. The physical world is transient. The only constant is change. It has to change – the world is fluid energy, always moving you to the next step. If you judge harshly, the next step is lower energy – seemingly negative. Like a child who spills his milk and cries pitifully. He can instead wipe it up and start over. It is your choice. Embrace change, be part of the adventure. The Earth School is about transformation and growth. Anything is possible. The axiom is to devote 3% of your money and 3% of your time to growth and you will continue to move to higher, more joyful energy. Keep changing and growing, and enjoy the ride.