Saturday, August 1, 2020

An Unusual Book on Meditation

     I just finished an interesting book on meditation with an unusual twist:  it uses music as a bridge to meditative states.  No, I'm not talking about listening to New Age music while meditating, but rather using certain musical principles to help induce meditative states.  Interested?  Read on.

     Written by Richard Wolf, In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness could be a valuable resource for a people who would like new and different methods for their meditative practice.  Richard Wolf, by the way, is an Emmy Award-winning composer, music producer, and professor at UCLA's school of music.

     Of course, I think this book would be best suited for people who have at least some musical training and know what a beat is, what a 4-beat measure is all about, and have some familiarity with intervals (measuring the distance between two pitches).  I've had a bit of musical training, so most of this book made sense to me.

     First, this is not at all like Anthony de Mello's books on meditation, where he gets right to it and describes one method after another, along with helpful hints and caveats.  No.  Wolf gently leads the reader from one concept to another, sometimes offering inside looks at his interactions with various famous musicians over his long career.  This is a gentle, leisurely book.  However, I did find a few of his meditation techniques very helpful and I often come back to them again and again.

     A recommended book, especially if you have a little musical training and want some new and unique techniques for your meditation practice.



Saturday, July 25, 2020

To Free Minds

A couple of quotes for today:

"Think for yourself . . . or others will gladly think FOR you."
 (Dana Gore)

"Nothing threatens a corrupt system more than a free mind."  
(Suzy Kassem)


(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)


Saturday, July 18, 2020

For Free Minds: How to Avoid Mind Control, Part 2

     Last week we were examining how people try to control our minds through fear, anger or outrage, and greed.  Today we will look at how often-anonymous people in social media try to influence what we think and do.

     I have a friend who gets almost all of his news from a prominent social media site.  Sadly, much of the news that he chooses to click on is fake.  They have provocative headlines that are designed to elicit fear, anger or outrage, or greed.  One of his favorites are conspiracy theories, which mix fear and outrage.  The problem is, whenever he clicks on one of these stories, the website remembers and generates more articles along that vein.  So, he clicks on more, and more appear.  In a sense, he is creating his own hall of mirrors.  The sad thing is that these fake news articles are designed not only to get him to read more like them, but they are also created to influence how he votes, how he views certain ethnic groups, and how he becomes more ingrained in a certain world view.  It's very sad.

     Stay free of this.  Do not click on articles that you can tell are appealing to your lower emotional centers.  Check "facts" in these articles with Snopes.com or other fact-checking sites.  Be objective.

     Similarly, the non-anonymous talking heads on the daily news channels, especially the ones that run 24/7, use your base emotions to continue watching.  Anger, fear and outrage are particularly common emotions that they elicit in order to keep you glued to the TV.  After all, they are in the business of selling commercial time, and the longer you watch, the more commercials you will see.  Of course, I am not saying that you should avoid being informed and watching the news, but be aware of how the different news organizations make you feel.  Do you feel angry, afraid, or upset?  Do those emotions make it hard for you to pull away from the TV?  Or do you feel informed, where the news is presented in a logical, even-handed way?  That is probably the better choice for getting your information.

     We all make choices in how we stay informed in this world.  By making wise choices, we can avoid the chance that we might come under someone's influence through the manipulation of our emotions.  Be wise.  Stay free.

    

Saturday, July 11, 2020

For Free Minds: How to Avoid Mind Control

     Since July is a month to celebrate freedom, how about if we discuss how to keep our minds free?  There are several ways that people, organizations, and the media try to control our minds, and we are so often easily swayed by them.  Through awareness, however, we can avoid coming under their control and stay free.  Freedom is good; wouldn't you agree?

     First, let's look at how individual people try to influence us to their advantage.  We have all received phone calls from scam artists who try to control us by using our emotions to our disadvantage.  Scammers call this "getting them under the ether."  They say things to elicit the strong emotions that are based in our reptilian brains, getting us out of our logical, objective higher brain.  And the emotions they love to use are fear or urgency, anger or outrage, and greed.

     For example, a scammer might want to scare you to believe that your computer has been hacked and you only have minutes to take care of it.  They are using fear and the pressure of time to hook you into doing what they want, such as providing them with your credit card number.  The best thing to do is to take a deep breath and hang up.  (Better yet, never answer a number you do not recognize.)

     But leaders also do the same thing, don't they?  Whether it's religious leaders who scare you with talk of eternal damnation or governmental leaders who vilify a minority ethnic group, saying that they are out to take your job or are a threat to your safety, these leaders are using fear to control you so that you will do what they want.  Stop.  Take a deep breath.  Go back to watching and listening to them objectively.  Ask yourself:  What do they want from me?  Decide for yourself if that's something that is in your best interest and the best interest of those you care about.

     Stay free, friends, stay free.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day

May you be free of fear.
May you be free of pain.
May you be free to develop
the best that's in you.

Happy Independence Day!

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

A Useful Book on Meditation

     Continuing on a run of book recommendations for summer reading, today's feature is Anthony de Mello's Sadhana, a Way to God: Christian Exercises in Eastern Form.  If you would like to expand your repertoire of meditation practices, this is a great book to have.

     I've written about Anthony de Mello before.  He was a Jesuit priest, born in India, received his higher education in Great Britain, and prolific writer and teacher.  Given his background, he was uniquely able to meld Christian beliefs with Indian meditative practices.  This book is the result.

     Like many meditation books, he starts with concentration exercises, such as focusing on the breath or body sensations, and advances to practices which he called meditations based on fantasy.  By this he meant meditative practices which use the imagination to access spiritual insights, promote relaxation, heal past trauma, and bring peace.  For me, these were the most interesting and useful practices.

     The last section deals with meditative practices that are strictly Christian in nature.  If you are Christian, you will have no issue with this section, but if you are not, you may have difficulty transferring the practices to your own spiritual viewpoint.  But no matter, the rest of the book is well worth the money.  A highly recommended book for those wanting to deepen their meditations.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

An Informative Historical Book, Part 2

     Last week I was praising my latest read, Joel F. Harrington's Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart's Path to the God Within.  While it is not an easy-breezy read, it is definitely worth the effort. 

     While it is valuable for its historical insights, I think I appreciated most how Dr. Harrington explained Meister Eckhart's spiritual teachings.  Meister Eckhart believed that the masses to whom he preached could be taught how to unite with the God within and would sometimes use phrasing that bordered on pantheism and other non-orthodox beliefs.  One such statement was, "Therefore I pray to God to make me free of God."  He also stressed that the inward state is much more valuable to God than good works.  Of course, this eventually brought him unwelcome notice for the religious authorities and he was called in to explain his allegedly heretical statements.  I won't ruin the ending for you, but it cost him both his reputation as well as his being officially "forgotten" for many centuries.

     I think that what is important about this book is that Dr. Harrington worked to present Eckhart's teachings within the framework of his time and place.  As we have seen in the last several decades, several authors have taken some of Eckhart's words and used them to promote their own viewpoint, but Dr. Harrington clearly counteracts that.  Meister Eckhart taught important spiritual insights that must be taken within their context and, once understood, can provide useful nuggets for spiritual wisdom in our times. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

An Informative Historical Book

     I just finished reading Joel F. Harrington's book, Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart's Path to the God Within.  What a terrific read.  It was also a slightly more taxing read than I am used to, but perhaps I grew a few more brain cells in the process.  I was glad I made the effort.

     The author is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University and an expert on social and religious history in premodern Germany.  He provides the reader with a thorough sense of German life in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, the Catholic viewpoint and the political struggles of that time.  Within this framework, he zeroes in on the life of a Dominican monk from a small town who had both keen intellectual gifts as well as unique spiritual insights.

     Meister Eckhart was clearly a man of enormous potential, as his superiors supported his intellectual pursuits at the Univeristy of Paris, where he eventually earned a Master of religious studies and also taught there.  He was also a gifted administrator and his superiors also relied on him to lead at various monasteries where the political winds were particularly treacherous.

     However, it is Meister Eckhart's spiritual insights which have made him known, in a negative way toward the end of the life, and somewhat more positively in recent years.  A highly recommended book.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

An Informative Book

     Some time ago I visited our city's art museum and looked at an exhibit of art based on the life of Guru Nanak.  I had read that he was the founder of Sikhism, but knew nothing else about him.  I had a very superficial knowledge of Sikhism because I had taken a class from someone of that faith some years ago.  That's all I knew.

     When I looked at the art, I was struck by the simple honesty of the depictions.  The renderings were accompanied by brief descriptions of the scene they were portraying.  But since I didn't know anything about Guru Nanak's life, they meant little to me.  It was more of the energy of the work -- the directness, the simplicity, the quiet wisdom -- that touched me most.

     Of course, on our way out, we had to stop by the gift shop and I picked up a biography of Guru Nanak so I could learn more.  I finally sat down and read it bit by bit and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a delightful read and illuminated the life of Guru Nanak as well as his teachings.  I learned a lot about Sikhism as well as its founder.

     And what is this book, you ask?  Let me tell you.  It's The First Sikh Spiritual Master: Timeless Wisdom from the Life and Techniques of Guru Nanak by Harish Dhillon.  I found myself looking forward to seeing what would happen to Guru Nanak, as his biography read like an adventure story.  Of course, I also relished the parts which explained his teachings and beliefs.

     If you'd like to learn more about Sikhism and its founder, this is a great book to get.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Quote for Today


We are the children of the Age of Enlightenment, and we have brought the world to the brink of ruin by acting under the delusion that humans are separate from the earth, better somehow, in control of it.  We believe that humans are the only creatures of spirit in a universe otherwise made up of stones and insensate matter; that the nonhuman world was created for us alone and derives all its value from its usefulness to humanity; that we are the masters of the universe.  Because of our technological prowess, we see ourselves as exceptions to the rules that govern the “lower” forms of life.  We believe we can destroy our habitat without also destroying ourselves.  How could we be so tragically wrong?  (Kathleen Dean Moore)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

An Empath's Survival Guide to COVID-19

     Fellow empaths, have you been noticing things are more turbulent these days, emotionally?  On a global scale, we humans, during this challenging time, have been sending out some pretty heavy emotions, mainly fear, anger, and sadness.  I know that for me, the emotions that are bombarding me have affected my health and close relationships.  After talking to a wise friend, she reminded me that my physical ailments and personal stress are directly related to the emotions that are running amok these days.  We talked through the steps of how to deal with them, and I have boiled it down to this five-step guide.  Ready?  Here it is:

  • Come to your sense of self.  It doesn't matter how you do it -- wiggle your toes, stomp your feet, count your breaths, chant, meditate, do a yoga pose -- it doesn't matter, as long as you can come back to your inner self, with its unique emotional landscape.
  • Observe your emotions.  You may find that there are layers of emotions there; some are weaker and some are stronger; some may feel familiar and some may feel like an ill-fitting, itchy sweater.
  • Visualize these emotions as having separate layers.  The more familiar ones may be in your core self.  Others may feel like they hover on the outer part of your emotional sphere.  Do they have colors?  Wave shapes?  Weight?  Notice as much detail about them as you can.
  • Inhale, reaffirming the emotions that truly belong to you.  The ones nearest your core may feel more stable, familiar, and part of your world outlook.  Keep those.  Then, exhale, releasing the ones that do not belong to you.  Repeat.  Repeat again until you feel calmer and more at ease in yourself.
  • Do this process as many times per day as you need -- even 19 times, if that's what it takes.
     We are all in this together.  So let's keep even-keeled, focused, and at peace.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Must-Read Book, Part 4

     May I share some delicious quotes from Anthony de Mello's book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality?  It may give you a taste for how clearly he wrote and how much sense his ideas make.
"A nice definition of an awakened person:  A person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within."
"What does it mean to love?  It means to see a person, a situation, a thing as it really is, not as you imagine it to be."
"It's not reality that matters, but what you're saying to yourself about it."
"The beauty of an action comes not from its having become a habit but from its sensitivity, consciousness, clarity of perception, and accuracy of response."
     I am so glad I found this book, and am honored to share it with you.  It can be world-changing.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

A Must-Read Book, Part 3

     Last week I was introducing you to Anthony de Mello's book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.  If you get nothing out of this book (and it really is jam-packed with clear and helpful hints on how to live more wisely), let me outline briefly one of the major lessons he returns to, which is his Four Steps to Wisdom.

     In step one, he asks that you first get in touch with your negative feelings (ones that you may not even be aware of).

     In step two, he says that you need to understand that the feeling is in you, not in external reality.  He says that no person, event, or circumstance has the power to disturb or hurt you.  Think on that a while.

     In step three, he says that we must never identify with that feeling, but realize that feelings come and feelings go.  Let it pass.  There is an eternal "I" which is completely undisturbed by external reality.

     In step four, he says that good feelings -- happiness, joy, bliss -- come from inside and have nothing to do with externals.  As we change, everything changes.

     As I read the book, I couldn't help but see that some of his philosophy has some influences of Buddhism and mindfulness practices.  Still, the way he presents his ideas make perfect sense and seem fresh and applicable as he describes them.  A fabulous book.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

A Must-Read Book, Part 2

     I'm such a tease.  The book I was referring to last week, the one that took my soul and pointed to a way deeper and purer than ever before, the one that rattled my viewpoint and spoke to the essence of wise living, is Anthony de Mello's Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.

     First, a word about Anthony de Mello.  He was born in Bombay, India, in 1931 and became a Jesuit priest and a psychotherapist.  His writing shows both a strong mystical leaning as well as a rare insight into the human psychological dilemma.  One of the things that I also appreciated about his viewpoint is that he was able to meld Eastern and Christian spirituality with a clear description of human psychology.  He spoke and wrote with a rare clarity that took my breath away.

     Sadly, he died too soon, at the age of fifty-five, of a heart attack.

     Awareness is a compilation of talks de Mello gave at a spirituality conference, put together and edited by an associate, J. Francis Stroud, after de Mello's death.  Happily, it reads like you are sitting in the conference room with him, watching as he goes off on tangents, or re-engages his audience with a fitting joke.  He speaks to where people are, and not in some nebulous theoretical discourse.  It's a pleasure to read.

     If you are remotely interested in deepening your spiritual life, read this book.  Like, right now.  Like, go to your favorite bookstore and order it.  Now.  It will change your life.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

A Must-Read Book

     After reading a book on various Christian mystics, I picked up a book written by one of the mystics described.  It was one of those books that took me by surprise -- I kept asking myself, "Where has this book been all my life?"  Once I read it, savoring each short chapter, I immediately re-read it, taking detailed notes all the way through.

     Like it was a college text or something.

     And then I typed those notes up to keep as reference and reminder.  That's pretty serious for me.

     Even though I don't completely identify as Christian anymore, I found this book spoke to my mystical-leaning heart.  In fact, it helped deepen those leanings and lit the way for further journeying along that path.  It was a joy to find.

     And what is that book? you ask.  Well, tune in next week and I'll tell you more.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Some Wonderful Quotes

     Here are some quotes that are applicable to our times:
Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before.  You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good.  (Elizabeth Edwards)
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.  (Helen Keller)
Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you.  Never excuse yourself.  Never pity yourself.  Be a hard master to yourself -- and be lenient to everybody else.  (Henry Ward Beecher)
The human capacity for burden is like bamboo -- far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance.  (Jodi Picoult)
     Have courage, friends.  Peace.

 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Yet Five More Things I've Learned from COVID-19

     Reading the news about how people and leaders react to the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me a few things about human nature.

1.  People can react either out of fear or out of love.  The former buy guns and stockpile supplies, while the latter express gratitude and compassion to others.  Although it's hard at times when things seem so out of control, I try to act out of love as best I can.

2.  In times of crisis, people can turn their fear into anger and aggressiveness.  This manifests as putting blame on other people or countries, being threatening, or turning inward and ignoring the needs of others.  This is an opportunity to pull our fractured nation and world together and work as one.  Let's do that.

3.  Our leaders show their true values in times of crisis.  I've noticed that they either put money and the economy first, or they put people and their wellbeing first.  My personal belief is that you can't have an economy without people, but I suppose there is some merit to the idea that if you have a healthy economy, then people can take care of themselves.  Still, if both the economy and the people are ailing, let's put people first, shall we?

4.  Viruses have no nation, creed, ethnicity, or religion.  It is universal, just as the human soul is.  I think people are coming to the knowledge that we really are all one.

5.  We are living through extraordinary times.  Let's be remembered for rising to the occasion and showing our best selves.  We can overcome this.  We're in this together.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Five More Things I've Learned from COVID-19

     Staying home for days on end can be very trying, especially for an introvert living full-time with others.  Here are some lessons I've learned.

1.  Alone time is essential.  Even if I can't be completely alone in the house, I can still hide in a room, a closet, or in my innermost self through meditation.  I need this.  Every day.

2.  Little things can become big things if we let them.  I've learned it's necessary for my sanity and for peace between peoples if I lighten up and let things slide a bit.  Rather than make a big deal over that irritating mouth sound my Significant Other makes when reading, I can either focus on my breath or I can leave for a while.  Fantasizing about silencing those mouth sounds with a pillow is OK as long as I don't act on it.

3.  People are reaching out more.  I heard from a family member for the first time in a couple of decades and the conversation was quite pleasant.  Perhaps this pandemic has put things in perspective for some people.  I know it has for me.

4.  Gratitude goes a long way.  I find things run much more smoothly at home when I say at least five  "thankyous" for every "please will you . . ".  People like to feel appreciated, not constantly commanded or criticized.

5.  On the rare occasions that I go to the store, I make it a point to thank every worker that I see.  So often treated as if they are invisible, they are heroes in my book.  We both feel better when I take the time to acknowledge that.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Five Things I've Learned from COVID-19

     Like many of you, I am staying home almost all the time, going out only for absolute necessities.  Having to stay home can be both a challenge and a focused way to learn some important lessons.  Here are five that I have learned so far:

1.  Finding toilet paper at the store is like finding a winning lottery ticket.  Even if is not my favorite brand, I am filled with gratitude for finding it.  Who knew that an everyday item could impart such joy?

2.  They say that necessity is the mother of invention.  I learned that not being able to find things I usually buy at the grocery store causes me to try new and . . . interesting . . .  ingredient combinations.

3.  The fur babies are loving having us home more.  Having them cuddle on my lap makes me feel better, too.  They help ground me and bring me comfort in trying times.

4.  Taking time to look at the tree branches swaying in the breeze, to listen to the birds singing, to feel the sun on my face is a result of having the time to do so.  These simple pleasures never felt so good.

5.  It is possible to watch too much TV news or read too much news reports on the internet.  For my sanity, I need to step back and return to the present.  Today is a gift to be treasured.  Who knows what the future may bring?  I may as well enjoy now.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

March Forth, Part 4

     We are marching forth!  We are building a new future!  Let's keep hope that it can be accomplished.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.  (Desmond Tutu)
We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.  (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.  (Martin Luther)
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

March Forth, Part 3

     As we march forth in building a better world, we focus this week on the theme of endurance.
Every calamity is to be overcome by endurance.  (Virgil)
The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.  (Frederick Douglass) 
We all wish to be brave and strong in the face of disaster.  We all wish to be looked up to for our endurance and efforts to help others.  (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

 
 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

March Forth, Part 2

     Building on the idea of marching forth to build a better future, today's focus is courage.
From caring comes courage.  (Lao Tzu)
You will never do anything in this world without courage.  It is the greatest quality of mind next to honor.  (Aristotle) 
We must be bigger than we have been:  more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook.  We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.  (Haile Selassie)
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

March Forth!

     This month I'd like to focus on moving forward.  The way I see it, the only way to get through the current social mess we're in is to go through it with vision, courage, endurance, and hope.  Remember, what you resist persists, so resistance to our current state is only going to prolong it.  Let's build our better tomorrow starting today!  Let's march forth!

     Today's theme is vision.
Where there is no vision, there is no hope.  (George Washington Carver)
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.  Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.  (Carl Jung)
Anything can be changed.  Anything can be fixed.  Things that are broken can be fixed.  And you don't have to be some billionaire or millionaire to do it.  You just have to be a person with a vision and the passion to do it, and be willing to fight for it every day.  (Dana White)
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)





Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Terrific Book, Part 2

     Last week I was lauding Carl McColman's book, 108 Mystics: The Essential Guide to Seers, Saints and Sages.  One of the things I liked best about the book is that McColman introduced each mystic in one to three pages, and then provided sources for further study.  His bibliography is packed!  What a wonderful resource!

     I found that, in reading, some of the mystics were well known to me.  But I met a few that were unknown or even overlooked by history.  It made my heart warm, knowing that some of these mystics, working quietly and often alone, described their experiences for a future that they could never imagine would appreciate them.  What a testament to faith and courage.

(courtesy of Jose Antonio Alba of pixabay.com)

Saturday, February 22, 2020

A Terrific Book

     I recently finished a leisurely read through Carl McColman's wonderful book, 108 Mystics: The Essential Guide to Seers, Saints and Sages.  It's a wonderful resource for those interested, like me, in the inner core of religious experience.  By that, I mean the mystical experience.

     McColman is a lay Cistercian, as well as a contemplative writer, speaker, and retreat leader.  He writes with sensitivity and clarity, a rare gift given the difficulty of putting such experiences into words.

     He focuses on mystics from the Christian tradition (oh, that he would write on mystics from other traditions as well!) and divides them into nine categories of twelve mystics each:
  • Visionaries
  • Confessors
  • Lovers
  • Poets
  • Saints
  • Heretics
  • Wisdom Keepers
  • Soul Friends
  • Unitives
     Of course, many of the mystics could fit into more than one category, but he did a wonderful job of explaining how the core of their writings or teachings pertained to that category.  A terrific book.


Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day!

For all Twin Souls --
Lovers and Beloveds -- 
May this day be a celebration
of deep, unitive love.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, February 8, 2020

A Lovely Little Book, Part 2

     Last week I was sharing how much I enjoyed reading through the book, Wisdom: Moments of Mindfulness from Indian Spiritual Leaders (Mini) by Danielle and Olivier Follmi.  I found many of the quotes, some of which are centuries old, to be profoundly relevant to today.  The pages were further enhanced by Olivier's fabulous photographs from many parts of India.

     May I share two more quotes, which I think pertain to today's push for change?  They come from Mahatma Gandhi.  We need to become students again of Gandhi's ideology which aims for social change through non-violent (non-resistant) means.  His words still ring true in today's climate:
When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible.
and:
The noblest moral law is that we should unremittingly work for the good of mankind.
     True then, true now.  
 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

A Lovely Little Book

     I recently finished reading through a beautiful little book entitled Wisdom: Moments of Mindfulness from Indian Spiritual Leaders (Mini).  It is put together by the couple, Danielle and Olivier Follmi.  He is a fabulous photographer, and she gathered some pithy quotes from the Indian spiritual tradition.  Together, they produced a book that can be enjoyed again and again.

     Last month I featured a couple of quotes from this book.  Here is one more:
A profound understanding of religions allows the destruction of the barriers that separate them.  (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948)
     I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Another Relevant Quote

We must learn to love those who think exactly opposite to us.
We have humanity as a background, but each must have
his own individuality and his own thought.
Push the sects forwards and forwards till
each man and woman are sects unto themselves.
We must learn to love the man who differs from us in opinion.
We must learn that differentiation is the life of thought.
We have one common goal and that is the
perfection of the human soul, the god within us.

Swami Vivekananada (1863-1902)


Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Lovely Quote

In your veins, and in mine, there is only one blood,
the same life that animates us all!
Since one unique mother begat us all,
where did we learn to divide ourselves?

Kabir (c.1440-1518)

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A New Year, a New Chance

     I know that many of us like to start the year with fresh hopes for betterment of ourselves and of the world.  Along side that, I think we can all sense that winds of change are blowing away old ways of thinking and old ways of living.  I applaud the courage of every person who stands for change, whether within themselves, or as a member of a society that needs changing.

     But I would like to remind us all that change is far more than pushing away the stuff you don't like.  To do that only breeds resistance, and you know the old saying, "What you resist persists."  That's very true whether on the personal level or in societal structures.

     It's far better to go around that stuff and aim higher.  By that I mean that we need to acknowledge that wrongs, faults, and injustices exist but to hold as our goal the establishment of something better to replace it.  We need to have the courage and persistence to fight FOR what we want, not AGAINST what we don't want.

     So whether your issue for this year is person, say, weight loss or stopping smoking or gossiping, or whether it is societal or global, say, climate change, plastic pollution, economic inequality, overpopulation (why do so many people ignore this issue, which is at the root of so many other issues we face?), wars, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and so on, I strongly urge us all to imagine what its preferred opposite might be and to work for that.

     Up and at 'em.  Keep the faith.  Have courage.

(photo courtesy of Goran Horvat of pixabay.com)