“God Does Not Play Dice with the Universe.” – Einstein

If we are patient with ourselves in looking for the cosmic reason behind any seemingly random/chaotic event, a very good and empowering reason will come to us with time.  We simply must give ourselves the chance to see the good in all things.  When we open our hearts and minds to the possibility of goodness in all, very soon we will begin to see with eyes more attuned to the beauty and wonder of creation.

It is not a coincidence that 14 billion years of the Universe existing and 4.5 billion years of life existing bring us to this moment.  We’ve grown together in tremendous ways to arrive Here & Now.  It’s both a blessing and a curse, or neither, depending on how you look at it.  We are given the freedom to choose what kind of light we’d like to see this world in.  There may be an objective, physical reality, but our experience of Creation is a subjective one, and we’re given the opportunity to put on the rose-tinted glasses whenever we’d like.  We can also wear glasses that show us a big and scary world, or we can put on the spectacles of wonder, delight, and beauty.

Recently I’ve shared some meals with family and found myself laughing at the food on my plate.  Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Peace is Every Step, raised my awareness for the practice of Mindful Eating, and since then I’ve experienced a lot of joy while eating.  By imagining some of the process the food journeyed through to arrive on my plate: from the planting of the seed, to the watering by the clouds, to the sprouting to the beaming sun to the harvesting and packaging and shipping and shelving and purchasing and preparing…it’s quite a magnificent process, and when I even begin to think about the origins of food, a smile seems to effortlessly fill my face.

Meanwhile, we can partake in this same process of mindfulness with anything, imagining the origins of and creation of any object in our current awareness.  Even just thinking about ourselves…the journey we’ve been through to arrive Here & Now…all the food we’ve eaten…all the people we’ve talked to and laughs we’ve shared…truly there is a Miracle at play 🙂

Makes me think of how there are always all the reasons in the world to celebrate each moment and live with a Reverence for Life.

p.s. Happy belated Jesus’ birthday!  As Jack Kornfield reminded me this morning, “Remember who you really are.  Remember the Buddha who has taken birth in your own form.”

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December 21…Wow so Close! :-)

What to say…what to say…

Ultimately, words don’t matter.

Experience is it.

What are you feeling?  Do you feel connected?

All is Good.  And an experience of Complete, Infinite Goodness is available to everyone Here & Now.  It’s just a matter of becoming aware of the Goodness that pervades all reality.  Open, open, open, completely open!

Choose Love. Believe Love is with you Now, even fake it until you make it! Soon you will realize you don’t need to fake anything but instead become aware of truth of reality that is with you always, Here & Now.  You are the Miracle.  🙂

Consider your place on earth.  In the solar system. In the galaxy. In the Universe.  All of history brings you to the Present Moment.  You made it!  Congratulations, Miracle of Miracles.  You’re amazing!

Thoughts on the Connecticut Shooting: “I say there is in fact no evil.”

This morning I read some of my favorite books, Cosmic Consciousness, and came across an awakening line by Walt Whitman.  In a poem, he writes, “I say there is in fact no evil.”  Wow. Really?

Is there evil in this world?  Tough question. Science doesn’t really address whether or not evil exists.  From my personal experience, I think an understanding of evil exists within the minds of each one of us, but there is no objective evil.  What appears evil to one may not be evil to another.  Even to someone yet another, there may be no evil at all.  Believing in evil or not is simply a choice one makes.

Shakespeare actually shared similar words to Whitman when he wrote, “There is no good or bad but thinking makes it so.”  Whether we perceive good or bad is a matter of our perspective on what we observe.  Of course, given years of cultural programming, mass media, and consumerist culture flooding the minds of so many millions of people, it’s quite common to believe in evil, to believe in fear, and to believe in people jumping up and down when they drink Coca-Cola, but is any of it actually real?  It’s real if you think it’s real.  If you don’t, it’s not.

Walt Whitman and Bill Shakespeare decided that evil did not exist, and look what that did for them.  Fairly prolific guys I’d say.  Great contributors to humanity too!

It might seem difficult to let the idea of evil go in this world of school shootings and bombings and Big Macs, but the key, as one of my heroes Steve Pavlina reminds me of over and over again – is the lens you apply to the given event.  What kind of glasses are you looking at the world with?

How you perceive events in the world is ultimately a choice you make.  For me, it makes sense to choose to perceive events in a way that is truthful and for the greater good, because I believe the Nature of the Universe is inherently good.   Rather than letting the news of the recent school shooting shake me into a state of fear and sadness, I think it’s best to see the event, like all events, as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to unite, and to awaken.

Ultimately I believe in a cosmic reason that underlies all events.  I understand God as a sort of Infinite Goodness, offering us a beautiful message to discover each and every moment.   So then, what’s the beautiful message behind the school shootings?  As I mentioned before, some may choose to see it as evil and madness and a sign of everything that’s wrong in the world, however that perspective doesn’t vibe well with me and I don’t see it as useful.  Rather, I think the event sends just the message we all need for our growth, which for me, goes something like this…

The Message and Meaning I Choose for the Connecticut Shooting

Life is short.  The passing of the spirit from the physical body can happen at any time, so I shouldn’t take moments of being with other people for granted.  Instead, I should cherish each and every moment as a miraculous gift.

Mental and physical sickness exists in the world, but that does not mean it cannot be eliminated.  Because I too exist in the world, then this sickness also exists in me, so the best thing for me to do is strive to eliminate any sickness within myself and within every part of my life.  This means I should start take better care of my physical body, of my mind, and of my spirit.  By eating only vegan foods, monitoring my use of language to only speak positively and in love and harmony, and spending more time each day in meditation and prayer, I intend to live in greater health and energy, and so use that energy to further eliminate sickness in myself and in the world.

There is an opportunity to love in each and every moment, and the more we transcend our egos and forget about this false sense of separation that keeps us apart, the more we’ll realize the unity of us all, and how intricately connected we really are..  No man or woman is an island, and therefore I too am responsible for the choices of the shooter in Connecticut.  After all, I’ve chosen to live in this culture that promoted exactly the type of behavior that occurred, so how am I not responsible?  By living in the world, I am complicit in the act, and it’s clear that there is still some violence in me.   The best thing I can do is look to my own life, to the choices and decisions I make each moment, open up my consciousness to any violence I’m allowing into my own life, and overcome such violence with compassion and love.

Furthermore, I know that on the day of the Connecticut shootings, there were many other people and animals who also died. Thousands of people lost touch with people they loved and many tears were shed.  These things are a part of life, and it’s important to accept them and learn from them.  I choose to see this event as a reminder of my role in the world as not just a citizen of America, but a Citizen of the World.

I also look to this shooting as a wake-up call to more freely share love with not only my neighbors, but also strangers I pass on the street.  The power of a smile or of an enthusiastic “Hi!” should never go underrated.  A kind moment of connection and compassion with a person can totally change a life, and even save many lives.

The shooting also reminds me how important it is that I have conscious conversations with those who I speak instead of fluffing about weather and nonsense beyond my control.  The personal choices we make in our life ripple out into the world, and the more we think about how we can personally grow in compassion and peace, the greater peace and compassion we will generate in the world. The best conversations we can have are those that bring issues of peace to conscious awareness, so that we can constructively think together as to how to realize greater peace in our own lives and in the world as a whole. Through conscious conversation, we can answer all kinds of questions and create a better world Here & Now.

The best thing any of us can do is be the change we want to see in the world.  This means identifying as a Citizen of the World and making a conscious effort to bring greater Peace, Love, Compassion, and non-violence to each of our lives.  Certainly, our thoughts and actions ripple out into the world and affect those around us.  If we all were living with greater Peace and Compassion, maybe it would have rippled to the shooter himself, and he might have felt loved, and so not have done what he did.  The responsibility rests within each one of us to be the change.

Remember: the meaning of the event may be different for every one of us.  It is our personal responsibility to look deeply within ourselves, to think, consciously, and discover the empowering significance of the event in our lives.

 

Links to Other Articles and a Poem on the Shooting, Perspective, and Oneness

Below are three links that help explain some of the points above.

For one, the article Jumpers testifies to the power of a smile or a kind word to literally safe someone’s life.  Following is an excerpt from the article:

“Dr. Jeremy Motto had a patient who committed suicide from the Golden Gate in 1963, but the jump that affected him most occurred in the seventies. “I went to this guy’s apartment afterward with the assistant medical examiner,” he told me. “The guy was in his thirties, lived alone, pretty bare apartment. He’d written a note and left it on his bureau. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/10/13/031013fa_fact#ixzz2FQXjxN2Q

Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem, Call Me By My True Names, speaks to our interconnectedness and how we cannot really separate ourselves from the shooter.  In his instance, he heard of a story of a girl raped by a pirate, and realized that he was ultimately one with the girl and the pirate.  Following is an excerpt from his poem:

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and
loving.

Read more: http://www.quietspaces.com/poemHanh.html

Steve Pavlina wrote an amazing article titled Dealing with Tragedy and Loss in which he discusses various ways we can place seemingly tragic events in perspective to derive meaning from them and understand the role the events play in ultimately bettering the world we live in.  Following is an excerpt from his article:

“When I look around at a world that others would have me view as discouraging, one supposedly full of corruption, famine, disease, poverty, murder, and environmental destruction, I don’t see tragedy in any of it.  All I see is the joyful expansion of consciousness.  I don’t turn away from such events; I simply recognize the joy within them.  We have free will here in this physical universe, so anything goes.  If you can accept and even embrace that fact, then human life becomes a wondrous adventure instead of a series of uncontrollable tragedies.  We are free to make this reality anything we wish it to be, but we must first do it in our thoughts.  I choose to hold the vision of this world as a joyful place, regardless of circumstances.  Others may choose to view it in a less empowering manner, but I will not be joining them, although I do feel great compassion for the suffering they choose to experience (usually without being aware that they do have a choice).

We will not improve the circumstances of this physical world by labeling them as tragic.  That robs us of all our power to think and to act consciously.  Such attachment defines us as victims instead of as the creators we truly are.  Victims cannot save our environment.  Victims cannot end our wars.  Victims cannot transform our corporations.  Only creators have the power to make these changes.

But even while we regard ourselves as victims, we are still powerful creators.  We’re so powerful in fact that we can even choose to create ourselves as victims.

What is your choice?  Do you choose to be the conscious creator of your life or the unconscious victim of it?  There is no right or wrong answer.  You have the free will to do whatever you wish.  But even if you choose to deny yourself the full exercise of your true power, you can never deny yourself the existence of it.  It is always there, locked away in a safe place, and the state of joy is the key that opens the door.”

Read more: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/06/dealing-with-tragedy-and-loss/

Steve Pavlina also wrote another awesome article called Recovery in which he discusses three critical steps to successfully recovering from a seemingly tragic event: reacting consciously, accepting, and finding meaning.  This guy is really a great writer and very wise as far as I believe.  Helping a man find meaning in killing a drunk person with his car, he addresses the importance of perspective:

The next decision is to determine the meaning behind the event.  What exactly happened?  What does it all mean?

One of the best ways to do this is to look at the situation from multiple perspectives.  Here are some examples:

  • Zoom in – I just watched a man die.
  • Zoom out – Over 150,000 people die on this planet every day.
  • Downplay the impact – The man was 72 years old and drunk, so he probably didn’t have much longer to live anyway.
  • Magnify the impact – This man’s family will really miss him.  He might have lived another 20 years.
  • Downplay the responsibility – If the man hadn’t been drinking, he might still be alive.
  • Magnify the responsibility – If only I’d driven a different route, he might still be alive.

Well then!  That should do it for today.  Much of this post was not my own words, but I find Thich Nhat Hanh and Pavlina’s words incredibly relevant for addressing a similar situation we are all facing.  Hopefully they help you experience some Peace as well.

Until next time…and even after next time!…Much Love and Peace J

Accepting 100% Responsibility: Open to Possibilities!

What does it mean to accept 100% responsibility for everything about your life,  right now?

You are in control!

A Script on what it means to Accept 100% Responsibility

“My life is exactly as it is now because I have created it this way, and by exercising my power to choose, I can choose to create the future I desire.  The choices I make create my life, I am in control of it, and I accept this responsibility and rise to the occasion to make conscious choices rather than mindlessly conforming to a way of life that is less than what I am capable of.  Or, if I do find myself conforming, that is a choice I make too.  Everything in my life, at every moment, is the result of choices I have made and continue to make in this very moment.  Whether or not I am enjoying this moment, right here and right now, is a choice. I can consciously choose to enjoy this moment, or consciously choose to be upset and maybe trigger some negative emotions.  I can also choose to raise my left hand or blink 10x fast.  The choice is mine.  I am in control of my physical body and my thoughts – no one has can control these for me.  Others can influence me, but only so much as I allow them.  Ultimately, I am completely responsible for everything about my life and for my experience of this moment.  I am in control.

Therefore, if there is any change I’d like to see in the world or within my personal life, it is within my power to create it by using my consciousness to choose thoughts and actions that align with experiencing my ideal life.  I can allow other people to influence me and play their music for me or speak to me, but ultimately, the affect anyone or anything has on my thought, body, and experience of reality is entirely in my control.  I have the power, each and every moment, to create the reality I desire.  If I am depressed or down, the power is wholly within me to lift myself back up and awaken once again to the beauty and joy of the Universe.  ”

As Shakespeare said, “There is no good or bad but thinking makes it so.”  Of course, you can spend your days believing that you are not in control of your thoughts and that all of your thoughts and actions have been pre-determined or even pre-destined, but is that really an empowering way to move through the world?  Accepting responsibility for everything about your life is the same as believing in free will.  I do believe we have free will, and that means we can will ourselves to experience any reality we desire, if not in the physical, external, reality, then at least in our imaginations!  Free will means that we are continuously creating this present moment and future moments.  With our thoughts and actions, we create the future!  It is therefore our responsibility to control our thoughts and actions, to consciously choose our thoughts and actions every Moment, and in so doing we are consciously creating the world we desire to live in.

Awakening to the conscious control we all have over our own minds to think the thoughts we choose and experience what we desire is incredibly empowering.  Essentially, it means that such ideals like Peace or Unconditional Love or Happiness are simple choices we can consciously make with our mind in every moment!   At least, as far as my own experiences has allowed me to understand, this is true 🙂

And an Hallelujah for that!

The Peacewalking Habit: A Great Conscious Choice!

I’ve recently returned to one of my favorite habits of walking in Peace.  That is, whenever I’m conscious of the idea and walking, I will repeat Peace and even visualize a Peaceful World in my mind with each step that I take.

When I go on these Peacewalks, stepping to Peace, I often find myself in a state of abundant laughter and joy.  I’ve once found myself thinking, “How can it be this easy?” and then I express gratitude to the Universe and God and all the Goodness that’s out there in this wonderful Creation.  Just thinking about Peace creates an incredible feeling in me…what a gift!  Even better, I have no doubt that I’m not alone in experiencing good vibrations when thinking about Peace.  Please though, don’t take my word for it or believe me.  Instead, do it yourself and see how you feel.

Of course, remembering to repeat thoughts and images of Peace in your head with every step can be a bit of a challenge.  The good news is that if your mind does wander during a Peacewalk, it will likely wander to something that you relate to Peace anyway, perhaps thoughts of your family or all the good you see in the world, so that’s not such bad mental wandering anyway.   There’s an old saying about apples not falling far from the tree.  Applying the proverb to the Peacewalk: if you consider thoughts and images of Peace to be your mental tree, then any apples than fall off of the tree will still be pretty tasty, maybe even Golden Delicious?

Peace is a good road to walk along.  And, when we accept responsibility, we’ll realize we can choose to walk along the Road of Peace each and every Moment.

A Problem with Science…

Science is incomplete, non-conclusive, and pretty much everything science purports to ‘have discovered’ is really ‘to be determined.’  Most, if not all, of what science claims rests upon clouds.  For us to look to science as our source of making decisions about our lives is disempowering our own personal experience as the best testimony to the effectiveness of any life decision.

Rather than relying on science to tell us what is good and bad for our bodies or looking to logic to explain to us “the good life,” we would all benefit if we tapped into the courage and power within ourselves to experiment with different ways of living to discover the best way to live.  Often times, we hold ourselves back from making changes in our life because we haven’t found sufficient ‘reasons’ or ‘evidence,’ and that lack of ‘evidence’ can actually trap us into living a life of quiet desperation until the end of our days.  Instead of waiting on infallible ‘evidence,’ we’ll be much better off if we accept the incompleteness of science and take it upon ourselves to be the real-life evidence for the goodness or badness of any particular life decision.

An old proverb goes, “Experience is the Mother of all Wisdom.”  Life, not science, is our greatest teacher.  When we learn from life and our personal experience, we are empowered and tapping into our great potential much more fully than if we wait for science to tell us what to do.

It could be centuries, or possibly never, thanks to lobbyists – but let’s be optimistic!, before science ‘proves’ the superiority of a vegan diet, or before it once and for all proves short-term and long-term dangers of cigarettes, microwaves, cell phones, or tanning beds, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep on using them as though we are incapable of determining anything for ourselves.

I heard a song on the radio the other day that started with the words, “Why should we trust the government,” and I had a nice chuckle with my friend over it.  The same question applies to science.  Why should we trust science?  Not saying we have to distrust all of science and renounce technology completely, but I think it makes sense if we approach scientific creations and reasoning with a skepticism that deters us from embracing whatever new technology is out there without considering its effects on our bodies and the environment.

For example, I personally am not a fan of processed foods or animal products, talking on a cell phone next to my ear, using soap, deodorant, or toothpaste, having a laptop on my lap, and using/being around microwaves.  I choose to abide by these behavioral changes because I think they’re in my own best interest as far as my personal health goes.  Even if they do not necessarily make me ‘healthier,’ I highly doubt that choosing the opposite of any of those lifestyle choices, .e.g. using microwaves, would add enough positive benefits to my life to accrue for the potential dangers.  For these choices, science is still inconclusive, but from my personal experience and reasoning, I find them in my own best interest.  Call me a pseudo-scientist if you’d like.

A more drastic behavioral change I’ve been experimenting with is living without money.  Cultural norms and reasoning might suggest that money is a necessary part of life, but so far I’ve found it to be anything but necessary, and not having money has actually afforded me a lot more freedom to do what I love.  I’ve played Peace and Love and Service to the Highest Good as priorities in my life, and with these as my guiding lights, living without money has been a joy.  After all, material possessions don’t provide any lasting satisfaction.  And, of course, the best things in life are free!

By taking on the responsibility of being scientists in this experiment called Life, we can discover, through experience, many more personal truths than ‘modern science’ would otherwise allow us to know.  If you are not sure about the merits of a particular lifestyle choice, such as becoming a vegetarian or vegan, you don’t have to read 99 books before you decide whether or not it’s the right decision for you.  Instead, draw upon the power within you to try it out for a week, two weeks, preferably 30 days, see how you feel, and then decide whether or not it’s right for you.  Or, regarding a choice like microwaves or cell phones, I consider how much I really know about how the technology works, what benefits it gives me, and then at what potential cost.  For me, talking with a cell phone next to my ear rather than on speaker phone provides minimum extra benefits but could possibly save me from something like brain cancer, so I’m all for it.

I believe our own personal experience and reasoning, not science, has the answers we are looking for.  Science is incomplete, but you are infinite!  Explore and experiment in the world for yourself, awaken to your own ability to discover personal truths, and enjoy the freedom to make decisions for yourself 🙂

What is the Greatest Gift Bestowed Upon Humanity?

Whatever it is, we should probably all cherish it and nurture it to the best of our ability.

In the running for the Greatest Gift…

1.  How about the big, blue, floating sphere we live on?  We are literally floating in space!  14 billion-ish years in the making and we are Here!  If earth isn’t a heavenly body I don’t know what is.

2.  Physical bodies?  Yes, these things are pretty darn cool.  We can do all sorts of amazing with our bodies, so perhaps we should delve deeper into what might be the greatest ability of our physical bodies.  Then again, maybe we could just stop at the body’s ability to pump 1.3 gallons of blood through the heart every minute, or 1,900 gallons a day.  Whoa!  And to think, we’re not even consciously doing that…

3. The voice and language? I reckon this world wouldn’t be quite so wonderful if we weren’t able to communicate to each other via spoken word.  Then again, I get the feeling dogs and other animals live quite blissfully, so it’s tough to say.  Verbal language is one of those tricky things that can be used for good or bad, so we’ve got to accept responsibility and use our voices for good!  This is probably why “Right Speech” was one step along the Buddha’s 8-fold path.  Speaking kind words and singing are both beautiful acts, so let’s do more of those and less of the other!

4.  The Mind…?  If the mind is the brain, then we’re talking about the most powerful three pound piece of organic matter humanity has ever known!  Then again, this whole process of ‘knowing’ anything stems from the brain anyway, so it seems a bit far-fetched to think we could know anything beyond that which allows us to know anything in the first place.  (Ayyy – that’s a headache just to think about)

The awesomeness of the mind, like the sweetness of the body, is something that libraries have been written on, so it probably doesn’t make sense to attempt to testify to all the incredible features of the mind right now..  Suffice it to say, my favorite part about the mind, and what I think is perhaps the most awesome gift bestowed upon humanity, is our ability to choose to experience reality any way we want to experience it.  That is to say, if we want to live in a loving world, that’s simply a choice we make.  Or, we can choose to walk through the world in a state of paranoia, thinking everyone’s out to get us, and that will be what we experience as reality too.  So, ultimately, the choice is ours!  This places a lot of responsibility on us as the creators of our reality, but hey – the great news about responsibility is that it means that we are in control.  External conditions of our life and the world only affect us so much as we allow them.  For me, then, the greatest gift is that something so beautiful as Peace is simply a conscious choice, hence the phrase, Inner-Peace.  The best things in life, whether it be Peace or Love or Joy, they are all states of being that emerge from within us, free for us to choose at any moment.  Hooray!

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I think it’s about time for me to think about more of the wonderful gifts bestowed upon us as human beings, but not only will I think about them…I will be grateful for them too!  That feeling of gratitude is also a pretty awesome gift.  Hmmm…

I am grateful for gratitude!  And for you, reader, and for all the non-readers out there too.

Go forth in Love and Service 🙂