Saturday, February 24, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love, Part 4

     Every day is an opportunity to practice love, isn't it?  We have the mission of seeing God within every person we meet.  We have the mission of interacting with our fellow creatures in a holy manner.  We have the mission of treating our Earth Mother with reverence.

     Whatever your religious belief or philosophical viewpoint, we need to dig deeper and get to the essence of how to meet that mission.  Here are some thoughts:
Being a Christian does not mean hating or belittling the non-Christians.  Being a Muslim does not mean hating or belittling the non-Muslims.  Being an atheist does not mean hating or belittling the religious people.  In a civilized society, diversity in religious orientation should be the reason for celebration, not the cause for hatred and differentiation.  (Abhijit Naskar)
Skip religion and the politics, head straight for the compassion.  Everything else is a distraction.  (Talib Kweli)
Kindness is the mark of faith, and whoever has not kindness has not faith.  (Muhammad) 
     So, keep practicing love.  Every day.  For every person, place, or thing you meet.  It matters.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love, Part 3

     So far we have focused on loving ourselves, on loving our partner if we have one, and this week, I'm going to ask you to focus on loving those around you.  That means the people that live next door, the ones in city hall, the ones from opposite political parties, and those from different religions. A tall order, I know.  Here's a wonderful quote from Kelsang Gyatso that may put things in a different perspective:
Normally we divide the external world into that which we consider to be good or valuable, bad or worthless, or neither . . . For example, our habitual way of categorizing people as friends, enemies, and strangers depending on how they make us feel is both incorrect and a great obstacle to developing impartial love for all living beings.  Rather than holding so tightly to our discriminations of the external world, it would be far more beneficial if we learned to discriminate between valuable and worthless states of mind.
      Whew!

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love, Part 2

     For this week, I'm going to have you focus on the love relationship in your life, if you have one.  If you don't, then please re-read last week's post and focus again on loving yourself.

     But if you do have a love relationship, then I ask that you focus on that person.  Really focus.  Pretend that you have just met and study his or her face, his or her words and the topics of discussion, how he or she spends their free time.  Try to learn things that you never knew before.  Ask questions.  Truly listen.

     Maybe you are in a relationship with someone who you have decided is not your Twin Soul.  That's OK.  The Universe has you in this relationship for a reason.  Learn to love the one you're with.

      But if the one you're with doesn't make you feel loved or cherished, or worse, makes you feel diminished or controlled, perhaps it's time to step back and focus on loving yourself enough to make some drastic changes.  That's OK, too.

     Whatever you do, direct your heart to the highest vibration of love that you can, and go from there.  You can't help but soar.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love

     February is the month of lovers, with Valentine's Day celebrated mid-month, but today we're going to focus on you.

     Yes, you.

     After all, you can't "love your neighbor as yourself" if you don't love you, right?  So, we're going to focus on how to love yourself.

     Perhaps you're better at this than I am, but I've learned that as an empath, it's pretty darn hard to love myself.  I'm swamped by other people's feelings and needs that I feel I have to take care of, soothe over, or try to get away from.  It's hard for me to just focus on myself.

     But here's something that I've learned.  If I want to love myself, I have to feel myself and what I want or need at that moment.  So, I get away from people, get quiet and listen to my feelings and thoughts.  They tell me a lot about what I want or need.  Then, I tell myself that I'm worthy of getting whatever it is that I want or need and go do it.

     I know, as an empath, that it's very, very easy to put others' needs first.  But I'm giving you permission here to take care of yourself first.  Take the time for you.  You deserve it.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Start the Year Right - Book Recommendation #4

     We now call to session our fan club meeting for the artist, poet and writer, Deng Ming-Dao.

     Kidding.  Sort of.

     The last book I'd like to recommend is Deng Ming-Dao's beautiful translation of the I Ching.  Entitled The Living I Ching: Using Ancient Chinese Wisdom to Shape Your Life, he again brings this ancient text to modern times.  As a bonus, he provides the glorious artwork that illustrates the different sections.

     This is a huge book. But it is definitely worth an honored spot on your bed stand or book shelf.  The author presents the history of the I Ching, what the yin and yang symbols are, how they combine into trigrams, and then how the trigrams combine into the hexagrams used for divination.  If you are interested, he also presents who the different authors are purported to be, how various people and traditions changed it, and how it can be relevant in today's world.  A beautiful book.  Highly recommended.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Start the Year Right - Book Recommendation #3

     A third book I'd like to recommend is by my new one-of-my-favorites author, Deng Ming-Dao.  I'll tell you -- the man is prodigiously talented.  He is a gifted writer and poet as well as a renowned artist and Taoist master.  Seriously, why doesn't the man have a fan club?

     Similar to 365 Tao, that I recommended last week, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony is another book which takes a word or topic, shows the Chinese character, and then expounds on the subject.  What I really like about this book is that it explains the parts of the Chinese character and the essential meanings of the word.  It gives greater depth to the topic and how it is relevant to today's life.  The author, while well-versed in Taoist philosophy, is no ideologue.  He gets how it is to live in this world.  His essays are relevant and useful, not abstract or nebulous.  I use it as I do 365 Tao, reading one page per day to give me something to mentally chew on.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Start the Year Right - Book Recommendation #2

     If you like a reading-a-day type of book, you will probably enjoy Deng Ming-Dao's 365 Tao: Daily Meditations.  He presents a word or topic -- everything from Absorption to Youth -- shows the Chinese character for it, has a short poem to contemplate, and then expounds on the word.  Sometimes he includes stories from the Taoist tradition, and sometimes he follows the Taoist method of finding something to learn from that topic.  A brilliant book.  Highly recommended.