The Benefits of Volunteering & Charity

For the Highest Good! Amen.

– Volunteer. Donate your time and energy to a worthy cause; giving for the sake of giving without any thought of return for you. Give of yourself without fear, free within by the purity of your intention which is to simply give your best, totally unconcerned about anything you may or may not receive in exchange for your volunteering efforts. And, when volunteering, give of yourself with maximum love and joy. Service with a smile!

– Charity. Donate your money to a worthy cause. When giving in this way, the most benefits accrue when performed in secret. That is, don’t let anyone see you donate to charity, and don’t go telling all your friends and family. If you tell them, then you are receiving your reward by building your reputation in their minds. Rather, if you give in secret, then you are setting yourself up to be rewarded by that which knows of your giving.

General note: The balancing of giving and receiving, the law of karma – sowing and reaping, is a basic rule of the universe (not necessarily true at every level, but at least some levels, it holds ground!). When you give, your reward must come from somewhere. If no one consciously knows of your giving, then your reward will come from that Great Power that sees and knows everything, and that is a far greater reward that receiving an increased reputation in the eyes of your friends and family. So by all means, whatever good works you do – you’ll reap the maximum benefit when performed in secret. Hence, the Bible’s recommendations to give in secret, to pray in secret, to fast in secret. So much is lost by talking, talking, talking. Don’t talk about your good deeds – don’t let anyone know about them! Whatever practices you engage in, let them be between you and that Great Power, the All-Seeing, All-Knowing.

Love & Peace and nothing else 🙂

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What Advice Would my 2050 self give me now?

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Perspective can serve as massive leverage and bring clarity and alignment with Truth.

So, imagining my sagacious self in the year 2050, what wisdom would the 2050 self offer me now? Or even, what advice would Buddha or Gandhi or Jesus give me now?

Everything is sacred. So…relax. What are you gaining by hurrying and rushing and being impatient – how does that serve anyone? Why not just let go, relax, and trust in God? And why not prioritize being awake to the Presence of God, in all things, every moment? Why not cherish the Divinity in all things?

Think less about things of the world and more about the qualities of God. Or really, don’t think at all about the things of the world. No thinking is necessary. The sound of God is Silence, so to be aware of the Presence of God, no thoughts are necessary or really valuable at all. All thoughts can be surrendered and given up. Truly, you can become like a baby in the arms of the Mother, if you wish.

Each day will take care of itself. Your concerns and obsessions with food and money are not grounded in spiritual truth. Trust in God. Know that God provides and takes care of every moment. Enthralling yourself in dramas about food and money don’t serve you or anyone else. Why not just focus on radiating Love and Peace to the world? Don’t you think rendering that service will bring you all the abundance you could ever need?

Have more discipline in your life, so to demonstrate greater mastery over animal impulses and cravings, and to free yourself from them. Decide on a time to wake up each morning, and stick to it. Decide on regular meal times and eating guidelines, and stick to them. Don’t be like a vulture constantly snacking, or like an ascetic thin to the bone. Moderation in all things. Honor the body and mind as divine gifts, and treat them with great respect and care for them appropriately.

Social anxiety…ahh who doesn’t have it from time to time? Any anxiety or stress of any kind if connected with selfish pursuit – you are looking for some personal gain. If you are truly dedicated and fully devotional in this moment, what is there to have anxiety over? With total faith, where is there any room for stress? Spiritual practice is about cultivating the constant awareness of the Presence of Divinity – so strive for that – and know that anytime you feel anxious or stressed or even angry, you likely forgot the Presence of God – thereby slipped into a sense of separateness, scarcity, and neediness, leading to selfish, petty pursuit. So, take a moment to re-expand your awareness back to the Infinite, relax, and enjoy. The things of the world come and go – let them do so. Enjoy the coming and enjoy the going.

Stop thinking. Just be! (Easy to say, hard to do…but you can do it! Or rather…you can not do it, and thereby do it ;-)) Witness. Watch. Observe – without commentary or editorializing. Just…enjoy! Like wow, what a show! What a Divine Play! When valuable, treat the world as a school, teaching you the great lesson of Infinite Love, and Boundless Faith and Trust in God. Those are the lessons to learn – learn them! Know Love, know God. Perfect the relationship with that which is Eternal and Omnipresent – that is the only real relationship there is anyway. Cherish it. Prioritize that relationship above all else. Lapse not into separateness and duality. Realize it is all One Life, One Love.

On a practical level…
Wake up earlier. Pray more. Meditate more. Give thanks more. Speak less. Listen more deeply. See more beauty. See the Spirit. See the Essence behind the appearance.
Give more. Be more generous.
Remember the illusion behind the pleasures and gains of the world. Give up seeking wealth or relationships – seek to know and love and serve God instead. That quest will take care of everything else. Literally, you are free to completely forget the notion of material gain or pleasure – just let it go as even a remote possibility. Be present to the moment, Loving what is, and you will awaken more and more to the perfection and glory of God.

Keeping the body healthy is valuable. But what is health? Happiness, really. How to keep the body happy? It is happiest when the mind is happy – so prayer and meditation are foundational. Spiritual study also helps – to fill the mind with uplifting thoughts. Physically, then, light food, stretching, walking, and perhaps deep breathing will take care of all the bodies needs. The strength building exercises quickly puff up pride and vanity. If you do decide to engage in such activities, see if it is even possible to not flex in front of the mirror with a sense of pride or bodily identification. If you can build physical strength without vainly looking in the mirror, then it is probably okay.

You can partake in any action when done in the name of the Lord.
“Whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord.”

Have fun! Enjoy! Be cheerful. Don’t worry. Be happy! The Kingdom is Within. Know that by knowing which all else is known. Love and Play!

Pardon the Advice Giving…

For the Highest Good! Amen.

As you can probably tell from the famous last words piece,

the words I chose were basically advice that I find valuable based on what I’ve experienced.

Yet, what kind of illusion must I be living in, to think that you or anyone else needs advice?

Accepting the Beauty, Sacredness, and Perfection of all things – what would then be last words?

Peace. I love you. Thank you. I am grateful. I give you all I can give you. I give you my all. Thank you for your kindness and for your friendship, and for your loving example. I feel blessed by your presence. Thank you for letting me be of service. Thank you for letting me do and be, learn and love.

I offer my life to the Supreme. I gladly lay down my life for the Lord. I happily take on any suffering for the relief of suffering of humanity, or whatever is Thy Will, Lord. I offer everything to Thee!

For the Highest Good! Jesus Christ. Amen.

What Would Be Your Last Words?

For the Highest Good! Amen.

This is my new favorite way to elevate a conversation.

I generally do my best to refrain from casual conversation,

but sometimes it happens. Having meals with people, etc.

So this is one of my favorite ways to lift up the consciousness

to focus on what really matters.

What really matters?

I learned this from a swami at Satchidananda Ashram.

The swami sets the stage,

“Okay, everybody. This is it. Who knows?

This really might be the last time any of us see each other.

One of us or all of us might pass away any moment.

So what really matters? What do we want to leave each other with?

What would you say to me if you knew it was the last time you were ever going to see me? What would you like to share with all of us?”

What would I share?

Well…

I think one of the biggest behavioral decisions I made that resulted in major transformation was to

learn from the most legendary men and women of history.

Who are these people? Jesus. Buddha. Krishna. Mahatma Gandhi. Rama. Mother Teresa. St. Francis. Lao Tzu. Ramana Maharshi. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Master Sivananda. Sri Swami Satchidananda. St. Paul. Dogen. Dr. David R. Hawkins. Thich Nhat Hanh. Swami Vivekananda. Sri Ramakrishna.
And another great teacher – Steve Pavlina.
And prior to diving into the spiritual giants, there were the teachers of how to get along with people, and generally how to live a good life – Hal Urban, Neil Strauss, Dale Carnegie, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, Carlos Xuma.

Really…the willingness to learn…
and in a way…there was a feeling, “I’m not enough. But I can see that there are people who I can learn from, there are people who I’d like to be like.”

So out of some suffering, arises a desire for betterment, for growth, and that comes from learning, either via books or conversations, tapes or videos.

In a way…for me…the key was to hit rock bottom! Or at least, to hit bottom enough to then be able to stand up and say,

“Something has got to change!”
or even, I remember as the transformation was beginning, there was a song with the chorus:
“I can’t live my life this way,” – demanding change!

Then…

it is important to wake up to the potential within all.

Each human has incredible potential. Jesus said of his own works, “And greater works shall you do.” Imagine that – Jesus calling us to even greater works!

So, to brush off success or even healing powers to a few select, elite individuals is a mistake.

To accept that greatness is one’s potential – that is a great starting point.

When accepting that one has the potential for greatness, and the potential to serve God and humanity in wonderful ways, then one is willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill that potential –

whatever it takes!

Ok – well let’s be real – it is easy to say whatever it takes – and it is quite another to be there.

The “Whatever it takes” mentality applies when one is deep in the pits of despair and suffering – one will do “whatever it takes” to get out of it.

Then, once you get out of it, through evolving consciousness via learning, you continue on the path of learning because it is its own reward.

Learning and teaching, learning and teaching – the Upanishads say.

Learning and teaching is a good life.

To realize all of life as a school, filled with abundant potential for learning and growth – that’s a valuable perspective.

Learn from everything! Nature is a great teacher. Books are great teachers. Family and friends and even strangers and animals are great teachers.

Ultimately, the major lessons of life are about Love.

Baby steps to Universal, Infinite Love include: getting along with people, cultivating a positive attitude, developing virtuous qualities, understanding human nature.

Point being…

As quickly as you can, get to the point where you feel that you’ve suffered enough – and you can tell that “what you know” is not serving you well because you are suffering immensely – and then realize the conviction and burning desire to learn, learn, learn, learn valuable information from the great ones who have what you want.

Be willing to be a humble little bee, a humble student from the Great Ones.

Learn from the people who have what you want – be it health, wealth, relationships, or spiritual awareness. Whatever it is, you can learn it. And people are happy to teach you – and really the best teaching does not cost a penny – that’s how you know it is pure, and even pure gold! (Just as an example, to walk in nature does not cost a dime, and much can be learned from nature!)

Embrace the potential!

Then once you’ve learned what is to be learned, hold to it. Realize the truth of spiritual teachings by direct experience. Beyond intellectual understanding, know it experiential, and then no one can ever take it awayP from you.

“Seek the truth directly! Put no head above your own.” ~ Buddha.

That’s what!

We are all worthy to know and live and abide in the Supreme Truth. Settle for nothing less than that!

And how will you know you’ve reached it?

Well…that’s a tough one to say…but generally I’d say…going in the direction of…

Profound Love. “If it isn’t profound love, it isn’t it.” – Dr. David R. Hawkins

Awareness of/with/in/as Profound, Infinite, Love, Peace, and Beauty, Always & Forever –

Go for That!

So then…famous last words?

I’d go with…

Learn from people who have what you want. At the end of it all, you will want only the Supreme Truth, and then you learn from Jesus, Buddha, the sages and saints. Then, after understanding intellectually, know it experientially, and live in that Truth, and then by living in that Truth, you share it and teach it to others – not by anything you do, but by who and what you are – and that is the greatest gift you can give to the world.

Om Tat Sat!

Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

How to Feel Invincible

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Today, I had feelings of invincibility.

Reflecting on how this feeling emerged –

it came from alignment with Higher Truth.

And even, exerting myself to be of service and to contribute.

A day filled with quality service, without thought of how I would be rewarded for such service,

revealed great strength.

And in every moment, to have a pure intention, a pure heart,

a sincere dedication to Love, to Service, to Goodness,

that is a source of infinite strength.

If in the moment,

consciously –

you are dedicating your all to the All, what more could anyone ask?

Giving your best, supreme confidence and strength is inevitable.

The more aligned with Truth,

the more Power.

The more Loving, the more Joyful, the more Grateful, the more awake to Beauty and Perfection,

the more Generous, the more Kind, the more Compassionate, the more Truthful, the more Playful, the more Happy…

all of that – the more of That – the more aligned with the Truth we are –

the more we realize a sense of fearlessness and Power that comes with the Purity of our intention.

Not wanting anything for ourselves, but living only to serve the All,

what more could there be?

Living consciously as a servant of God, what is there to fear?

God protects God’s servants!

So, living as a servant of God, one can walk freely and fearlessly,

with a heart dedicated to loving all and to serving all, moment to moment,

one is basically

Invincible.

Tests will come.

Opportunities for subjective pleasure and gain will arise.

The tests are asking you, “Don’t you just want to be a little bit selfish and indulge in this?” Or, “Don’t you want think you are better than this person and morally superior to them?”

Be careful!

To love all unconditionally,

is to remain conscious of the innocence of all,

and thereby the perfection of all.

All are doing/being the best they can!

If they could be different, they would be!

So…to love with no exceptions…

I watched something today

about people drinking poison

and living

because of their strong belief that God was protecting them.

Believe and achieve!

I forgot why I mentioned this story…

maybe it has to do with Invincibility?

Fear and faith do not go together!

Faith is Power. And with real Faith, how could one not be Pure?

If one had faith and acted impurely, then one might very well fall into fear and shame and guilt, etc.

So…karma! As you sow, so shall you reap.

To go beyond karma, just offer everything to God.

“Whatever you do, do it in My Name,” says the Bhagavad Gita.

That is real Power, and notice it requires consciousness.

Before doing anything, to do it in the name of the Lord,

requires a presence of mind, perhaps going slowly, taking a moment

to dedicate

to the Highest

and then whatever follows

is safe.

Invincibility…

By living a dedicated life – focused on giving, loving, serving one and all.

By setting a good example

By exerting! “Full effort is full victory,” as Mahatma Gandhi says.

Exert to Love, to Give, to act kindly and compassionate, to tune into the natural flow and rhythm.

Be able to be with others without wanting others; be able to have abundance without wanting abundance.

Run from the world, and it will run after you. Run to God, run to Love, run to Peace, and it is already You, Within You, All Around You.

Let go of wanting anything for yourself. Live each day, ready to serve and ready to love and ready to embrace what is before you in each moment, and all is taken care of, and there is nothing to fear, and you have real Power and Strength.

Invincibility!

By service. That’s the path of Karma Yoga.

Invicibility!

By dedication and devotion, by purity of heart, by sincerity.

By alignment with Spiritual Truth!

“All Fear is an illusion. Walk straight ahead, committed to spiritual truth, no matter what.” – Zen / Dr. David R. Hawkins

Actions of the Higher Self vs. Lower Self

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Ultimately, the Higher Self isn’t really doing anything…but let’s just pretend.

If you catch ‘yourself’ acting in alignment with any of the following verbiage, then by golly you’re being very good!

Playing, Enjoying, Having Fun, Loving, Giving, Serving, Accepting, Learning, Teaching, Engaging in Spiritual Practice, Surrendering, Letting go, Sharing, Being Kind (list any virtue), Forgiving, Empathizing, Listening, Meditating, Smiling, Laughing, Singing, Dancing, Rejoicing, Radiating Love & Peace, Seeing Beauty and Perfection, Appreciating, Giving Thanks.

What else? What did I leave out?

And moving on to lower self activities…

Hoarding, Stealing, Indulging, Gluttonizing (made up word I think ;-)),
Craving, Lusting, Hating, Raging, Yelling, Acting violently/selfishly, dwelling in fear/anger/shame/guilt/depression, hurrying/rushing/being impatient, destroying (but not all destroying would be negative), judging, resisting, clinging, projecting happiness or dependency on something…

What negative verbiage am I leaving out?
The 7 deadly sins…being prideful, wrathful, gluttonous, jealous, envious, lustful, greedy, lazy!

Ok then…

So that’s just fun reflection.

Especially to be aware of moments of engaging in lower-self activities, and to very gently let them go, and align with the higher self.

There is always an opportunity to Love, to Give, and to Serve!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

With Infinite Resources, How would you live?

For the Highest Good! Amen.

I’ve heard similar advice from Brian Tracy and Warren Buffett. Mr. Buffett said something like, “My recommendation…is to do what you would do if you were already financially independent.” Specifically, he was addressing people graduating from college, but I think it is sound advice regardless of the demographic. Basically he’s saying, do what you love! Do what inspires you. Live in a way that you enjoy and that moves you to good service, even greatness!

Brian Tracy asks a similar question, “How would you live if money were not an obstacle in your life? Imagine you just won the lottery, $100M is now yours. How would you then spend the days of your life?”

It is easy to get caught in the traps of questing for worldly gain while sacrificing the quality of our experience. Putting ourselves through involuntarily suffering on the quest for a few extra dollars – don’t we do that? “I’m going to do something I really don’t want to do because it will pay the bills.” In a way, there is nobility in that, especially if you are paying the bills to care for others. If, however, you are a loan eagle at the moment, why not reduce your standard of external living to greatly enhance your standard of internal living? That is, reduce the material to enhance the spiritual. The more stuff we have, the more there is to worry about, to care for, and to clean. So many dishes! Why not just have one dish? (Disclaimer: I currently have more than one dish.)

“Simple living, high thinking.” So said Gandhi, or Master Sivananda, or both.

Perhaps one of the main illusions people get stuck in is the idea of needing to save the world. The healthy approach to balancing the idea of saving the world is that there is a responsibility to make the most of the gifts you have been given. Re-contextualize your assets! If you have been given great artistic ability, then there very well might be some responsibility to share that gift with the world. Serve in the way that comes naturally – that is most inspiring to you and that utilizes the great abilities you’ve been given. Just…don’t get caught in the idea that the world needs saving, and remember that the human race has gotten along perfectly fine for thousands of years without us 😉 (courtesy of Dr. Hawkins)

A balanced life!

A little of this, a little of that.

Beware of the external seeking and the illusion that, “When I get this, then I will be happy.” That is not the reality! That is an illusion and seduction of the world.

What do you really need to be happy? A moment of awareness of just that! Awareness is all you need, and it is always there and available. Meditation helps cultivate that awareness of the presence of Happiness, Peace – all the good stuff!

The key…is to be real and brutally honesty! We don’t really want a million dollars. And we don’t even want all the things we can buy with a million dollars. What we want is the sense of freedom and security that such wealth would bring us. Yet, if we stop, breathe, smile, think of Peace, and look within, we’ll find that the freedom and security are already present. Nothing out there can bring us freedom beyond what we already have. The Freedom and the Peace is present. To awaken to it, we need to be real with ourselves and honest. We have to be willing to see past the illusion that money brings happiness or certain relationships bring happiness – to see past all of those cultural programs and to tune into the spiritual programs and reality – that the Kingdom is Within! Feeling happy is just a matter of awareness. Peace is within and available in all external circumstances.

By all means, continue to serve. Service with a smile! Generally, there is not a need to compromise one’s sense of peace and happiness. That is the real treasure, and that can be held onto throughout all service. And then, that is real service – because think of the example being set. The example is: Peace is Within, and we all have the right to prioritize that Peace above all else, and then – with an awareness of that Peace – I can move about in the world and serve, play, laugh, dance, sing, whatever is natural – always with that Peace.

That is the real gift – to courageously cling to Peace above all else. While abiding with that Peace, one will certainly be moved to all sorts of actions – or perhaps one will be moved to a cave to meditate for months – who knows! Don’t worry about it. Trust in the Power of Peace, the Peace that is not dependent on things of the world.

As Thich Nhat Hanh simplifies the keys to success in life, “Breathe, smile, and go slowly.”

Smiling is the essence – and smiling means more than simply smiling, although that is enough. Smiling generally using the will, so by using the willpower to smile alone – that is a great service, and the act of smiling will release endorphins and eventually – even just fake smiling for a few minutes – one will really begin to feel good.

The willpower to smile – that is an expression of the Kingdom of Within. We have the gift and freedom to use the will to do whatever we’d like. By willing a smile, we are essentially willing ourselves to experience happiness, so long as we are willing to hold it long enough. Just like willing conscious breaths and going slowly – we are demonstrating mastery over the animal impulses and ego – and we are going deep within to reservoirs of Peace and Happiness.

When in doubt…
Smile!
Breathe deeply.
“Give thanks in all circumstances!” – St. Paul

“Do it with joy or not at all.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“The dedicated ever enjoy Supreme Peace, therefore, live only to serve.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!