I Might Die Today, Therefore…

Glory to God in the Highest!

OM OM OM!

Thy Will Be Done.

A key attitude for peace: “I Trust Thy Will Completely.” – P.B.

Living with awareness of the death, or what we might call death – the leaving of the spirit from the human form…what a great way to live!

For some reason, it is relatively easy to ‘take life for granted’ and live like we’re just going to keep on living for a long time without any problems…and we forget that death is lurking and could strike any moment!

What I do if I knew I would die in the next 10 days?
What would you do?

Get all the ducks in a row! Make sure the Will is good, everything going to support good causes…and of course heal any broken relationships! Call up ‘enemies,’ and apologize and tell them you love them — and if you tell your enemy that you are scheduled to die in the next 10 days…that might very well help them to let go of whatever they’ve been holding against you as well.

Death is a great healer!
Remember death helps us cut through all the nonsense and tune into the essence.

So…
let’s remember!

The scriptures say the time of death is already set and determined at the moment of birth, but how we die has not yet been decided. So, by all means live well…and if you end up living a really great life and everybody loves you and you take exceptional care of your physical body and mind…then — sad to say but you might end up dying in a car crash or even someone might have to murder you…because otherwise it would look like you’d just keep on living forever!
(Of course, dying a peaceful death in old age is also a possibility…)
I mention this because I find it helps me cope with some of the absurd events of the world..

Seeking first to understand is a key to peace.

In fact, the two spiritual keys to resolve any inner or outer conflict are faith and understanding.

To place an event in the context of faith and/or a cosmic understanding will lead us to a great sense of acceptance, and from acceptance we are free.

Resistance is futile!

So Faith in God – the presence of a Power that is always present, infinitely powerful, and infinitely loving. Nothing happens without the will of God – not even a single speck of dust can move without God’s Will!

Then…understanding…a cosmic understanding…sometimes referred to as the laws of karma…action and reaction…when something happens – you can trust it is the response to something prior. As we sow, so shall we reap. Everything is a boomerang, and whatever we send out returns back to us. Hence…speak wisely…think wisely…live wisely…be good and do good! If you be bad and do bad, that badness will come back to you and hurt! And that is why we hurt…so that we can learn to do better and to be better! Pain is a great teacher. Suffering helps to wake us up. That is why…I would nearly wish a near-death-experience upon everyone…because such experiences are so incredibly transformative — so refreshing! To be close to death and then survive — emerging with a new sense of gratitude and appreciation for all of life and a love for everyone and everything…such is the gift of a near death experience.

So by all means, meditate on death. Get close to it! Even fasting for a day or more gets you a little closer to death in a sense, and you very well might emerge from such an experience with a greater sense of love and appreciation for this precious gift of life.

When we appreciate and love life, we don’t waste it.
Are we wasting our life or are we using it for good purposes?

Great is our potential!
Vast is our capability!
The limit does not exist!

Go for the great goal of life!
Go for abiding peacefully and happily…eternally!
Let nothing disturb your peace and happiness.
And let your peace and happiness depend on nothing outside of you!
The Kingdom is Within You!

The Kingdom is Within You!
All the outside stuff…
it is just drama!
Don’t get swept up in the drama.
Movement is drama.
Just stay still, stay silent,
and enjoy.
Allow the body to move and to talk
but you remain still and silent within,
ever abiding awake and aware
of the Kingdom Within.
Do anything, have anything, be anything,
awake to that Kingdom!

Let Love be the guiding rule of your life,
and let nothing compromise your sense of Peace and Happiness,
know you are worthy of all the very best life has to offer!
And if Gandhi can do it, you can do it.
(Gandhi I think is one of the best modern day examples —
someone we pretty much all agree accomplished tremendous feats
and if you read about his life…you find he was somewhat ordinary…
just sincerely dedicated and devoted to Truth and Non-Violence and God…
but he did not superhuman feats…he was just fearless, infinitely empowered
by the purity of his heart and the goodness of his cause.
We have that same capacity!
Align your life with something great.
Dedicate yourself to something cosmic.
Stand for an eternal value or virtue with everything you do.
Live for something eternal.
And realize the great power and capacity you have!)

What is a great skill than being able to communicate?
And what is more essential to communication than being able to listen?
From listening we can understand.
And with understanding, we can connect
and ultimately realize our Oneness.
So it starts with listening.
Listening!
Stay humble.
Be humble enough to listen to what people say to you, and to what nature says.
There is no need to express every opinion and thought that comes to mind.
Just keep listening.
If you can listen, you can be of service wherever you go,
you can travel the entire world and contribute immensely,
just by listening.
Who would not feed you and shelter you and care for you,
if you were willing to let them talk and listen to them?
And by listening, we can understand,
and with understanding, we can really serve people as they need to be served
and not just how we want to serve them.
Seek first to understand,
and understanding alone is a great service.
And remember the essence of understanding…
Buddha’s great truth,
“Life is suffering.”
And the only sin is ignorance, and we are all innocent!
We are all doing the best we can…
so in all circumstances,
have compassion.
Seek to understand, listen, practice compassion, feel for the suffering,
and if you listen and look closely enough, the Oneness emerges.
“They Live in Wisdom, who see themselves in All, and all in Them.”
Listen and Watch.
Give to the one who asks. Focus on giving.

If you were to die today,
what would people say about you?
What do you want people to say about you – and how can you live in such a way that you know it would be said?
Of course, this isn’t about people pleasing and catering to others…
Just live sincerely dedicated to whatever your highest values are,
and each day strive to align a bit more with them – whatever they are!
Living up to your own highest ideals is all anyone could ask…
not to conform to someone else’s standards, but to assess what you truly value,
and honor that more and more each day.

Life…
A journey about discovering what is our purpose here.
What is our niche?
What are we here to do?
What gifts have we been given that we can utilize to benefit all?
How can we best be of service?
What is the most we can do?

It can sound overwhelming, so that’s why I often resort to…
small acts with great love!
Even then…my kitchen is a mess!
But a mess does not need to be condemned.
Everything is perfectly as it is.
And yet, I can take action to clean it –
cleanliness is next to godliness!
At some point, yes, you can go beyond that
and see beauty in even the weeds and the trash,
but it is a good standard to keep things tidy.
Because…just think if a saint or sage was to visit your house,
wouldn’t you want it to be clean?
Of course the saint or sage wouldn’t care,
but wouldn’t you feel a little embarrassed if it was dirty?
If not, that’s fine — you’re in an advanced state!
But if you would feel embarrassed, it is best to take action
and to prepare for when you are visited by the Great Ones…
live in a way that you are always preparing to come into contact
with the Great Ones!
You never know when Jesus might stop by.
Do you have food prepared?
Do you have questions to ask?
Do you have entertaining stories to tell?
Do you have a good joke?
Would you be comfortable just sitting in silence with such a Master?
Hopefully so!
Jesus probably wouldn’t need any food or stories or jokes…
but why not be prepared with a few?

Communication is the master skill of life!
Communication is connection and it is love.
Communication is uniting with the other.
Communication is communion!
Communication is community and a nation.
Communication is everything.
If you know everything, but cannot communicate it,
what’s the point?
And remember…communication happens on all levels.
It is hardly what we say…
but it is mostly the energy we radiate…it is how we feel…
and it is how we live our lives –
that is how we are really communicating all the time.

How we live is an expression of what we value –
and what we value is the most important thing to communicate –
and if you value love – you communicate love –
and you can communicate love by listening, seeking to understanding,
letting go of whatever dramas you have in your life,
and just listening with a sincere, pure, open heart.
The Guest is God!
When you listen, you are listening to God.
God is present everywhere as everything.
So you can always melt into that Divine Presence.
Let go of the petty and experience the Infinite.

OM!

I don’t want to plagiarize,
and I also don’t want to cite everyone I quoted or didn’t quote…
so maybe I can just confess to being guilty!
And I take no credit for anything –
all Glory belongs to God!
And teachers referenced in the above include but not limited to
Sri Swami Satchidananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. David R. Hawkins,
St. Francis, Stephen Covey,
God only knows who else!

All is One
And with a pure heart, with a pure intention,
dedicate to the good of all
there is nothing to fear.
All fear is an illusion!
Walk straight ahead, committed to spiritual truth.
And as the Buddha says, put no head above your own!
Trust your own, direct experience.
Like Gandhi, make your life an experiment.
Constantly test and experiment and explore!
Test the truth of the scriptures with your own life.
Seek the Highest Truth!
Put the teachings of Jesus to the test!
Are you really safe to give up everything and follow him?
Why not test it?
It is a test that will result in you experience greater happiness and freedom and beauty than ever before….
but don’t take my word for it!
You need to test it. You need to experience it directly.
You need to walk into the fear, and go through it, and emerge free!
There is nothing to fear.
Test it! Walk straight into your fears.
Watch the fears dissolve. You have all the Power!
A Pure Intention to know the Truth and serve the Highest Good is incredibly powerful
and you can do anything with a pure intention, a pure heart…
the power of purity!
You can walk anywhere in the world committed to Peace and Love.
Fear not!
Love is real Power. Love is real Strength. Love is Infinite!

Glory to God in the Highest!
OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

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Suffering = There is a Lesson to Be Learned

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Recently, I’ve experienced a feeling of anger/shame/guilt – something like that – toward myself. This feeling arose because I’ve been mentally projecting that I did something stupid.

In the midst of coping with this feeling of suffering over me feeling like I did something stupid and acted hastily when patience would have been better, I found myself praying for help, asking, “Give me some perspective!”

I don’t know if I’ve ever had that prayer before: “Give me some perspective!” But it certainly helped and continues to help.

So here I am – projecting impatience and stupidity onto myself, thereby feeling bad. What’s the antidote to heal this?

There is probably more than one…

1. Forgive myself. Accept that when I made the decision that I am labeling as poor, I was doing the best that I could at the time. If I knew better, I would have done better. I need to express compassion toward everyone, including myself. We all operate with some degree of ignorance, and out of ignorance I made a ‘poor’ choice. A worse choice would be to not forgive myself, continue to condemn myself, and wallow in the negativity. A wise choice is to practice forgiveness, let the past be the past, learn the lessons and grow and become better from the suffering.

2. Learn from the mistake. What did I do that was wrong? I acted hastily, perhaps greedily, perhaps out of fear. So – I need to learn patience, I need to learn faith, I need to learn to trust and relax and to discern before making big decisions: weigh the pros and cons. What really matters? What are the benefits? Will this harm anyone? Will this help at least one person? What can I learn from this mistake? How could I upgrade my way of living to demonstrate that I learned from this mistake?

3. Perspective! In this particular example that I’ve been living out, I made what I might consider a financial mistake. For perspective, I could zoom out and imagine the financial condition of people around the world, and I can see that even despite the mistake I made, I am still fortunate. And, even though this ‘suffering’ arose under the umbrella of ‘finances,’ to resolve the suffering I can zoom out beyond that, acknowledging that finances are just one small aspect of the human experience, and I can look at all the other areas of life and how they are doing and how much there is to be grateful for. Zooming out in another way, I can see that apparent mistake I made might not actually turn out to be a mistake at all, and it could even work out in my favor – how could I really know for certain one way or the other? Zooming out and considering the goal and purpose of life, amassing money is not the goal or the purpose, and there is no guarantee even that more money would move me closer toward the goal or purpose of life – which for now let’s just say is Happiness. There are plenty of people with oodles of money who do not experience as much happiness as some people who don’t have nearly as much. In fact, the most supremely loving, peaceful, blissful, and happy people have all basically had no money to their name: think of Buddha, Jesus, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi. No money, no problems – just Love and Peace!

4. A great opportunity! Adversities are blessings in disguise! Loss is an opportunity for greater freedom!

To disclose some of the details of the financial mistake, I essentially traded some bitcoin a few days ago right before the market has skyrocketed upward – so in a way it looks like I missed out on a few thousand dollars profit – which to me is a significant amount. Alas, there were plenty of perks with what the trade too, and it is important to remember those. I essentially gave over managing my finances to professionals / family, which costs a bit but it relieves me of the great burden of thinking about investments every day and instead I have the freedom to sit back, relax, and trust completely. Even if it all goes to zero, I don’t think I would really mind – especially because I would just take that as a sign to live a simple life, but I am already doing that – so it wouldn’t really affect me much at all.

So anyway, I’ve been beating myself up (mentally) about a potential of a few thousand dollars missed profit. Yet, since the money is being re-invested, in the long-run it could really turn out much to my favor in a financial way and beyond. I really cannot know for certain, so there is definitely no point of stressing about anything or feeling guilty — the ignorance of the future is inescapable! Yet, we all can know the Presence of God now and eternally, so I guess we can know that about the seeming future 😉


To summarize, I think the big lessons for me are to:
– slow down. think. patience. patience attains the goal! With big decisions, it is okay to take time to reflect, write things down, get clear, talk it over. There is no rush. Hurrying is a total illusion of the ego. Haste makes waste. Don’t get caught in the nonsense. Sit back and relax. Enjoy the show!
– accept that I don’t know. I really cannot know on pretty much any level if the decision was good or bad – I’m just saying it was bad because in a few days bitcoin went up and I ‘missed out,’ but who knows how it would have played out otherwise and what how everything will continue to unfold? It is nice to not know. And, not knowing is more aligned with the truth. Reality is Reality! What is, what is, is. No use getting caught up in all sorts of hypotheticals, “Well what if I held it a few more days and then sold it? Then I’d have so much more…” These hypotheticals are just that, hypothetical with no real reality. Sooo….stop being delusional and just stay humble, don’t know, and trust in God.
– let the past go. Past is past. don’t dwell on it. let it go. learn from it, and live in the Golden Present!
– Have faith! Trust in God! Don’t concern over these petty things. Wear the world like a light garment. Retire from the dramas of the world.
– Act with a good intention, for the highest Good, and with a pure heart and intention – let it go and trust the process. Have no fear! Motivated by love, there is nothing to fear.
– Happiness dependent on anything is utter misery! Don’t get caught in the delusions of the world. The Source of Happiness and Joy is Within and not dependent on external things. Everything you want is within.
– Stay connected with a Higher Purpose. Would a few thousand dollars really change your life that much? Would it really impact how you are living on a daily basis and how you are pursuing great, worthy, noble goals? Keep your eyes on the prize! The prize is not 0s in the bank account, but rather Eternal Peace and Happiness. Sometimes, when a few 0s in the bank account are lost, that leads to our Happiness increasing, because we learn a lesson – that 0s do not dictate our happiness! And that is real freedom!
– Be free! Not bound by worldly stuff. Love is always present. Love is more valuable than anything else. And Love is Free! Free to Love and Enjoy every moment 🙂

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Striving for Spiritual Goals

For the Highest Good – Amen!

Hallelujah!

I have the great fortune of giving a talk tomorrow at Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville titled, “Striving for Spiritual Goals.” Alas, I remembered the difference between giving people what they need vs. what they want. So…the title I think is more addressing what people ‘need’ but it isn’t necessarily presenting itself as addressing what people “want.”

If I was to re-title the talk to address what people want I might go with:
“Living every day to the fullest!”

Then, addressing what people “need,” talking about spiritual goals!

Anyway…continuing on to the discussion on spiritual goals, and perhaps a bit of an outline for the talk.

The story of Viktor Frankl – perhaps the most inspiring story of any human being that I’m aware of. His story is testimony to the Kingdom of God that is present within each of us.

To live in the reality of the Kingdom of God I’d say is the essence of spiritual work / practice, and the direction which all spiritual goals would lead.

When we are awake and aware of the Kingdom Within, what more is there?

So our duty is stay awake to the Kingdom! Or, as the Bible says, “Seek first the Kingdom!” And as Swami Satchidananda says, “Your first duty is to find the Peace within.”

The foundation for the spiritual journey is seeking and finding and knowing the Peace and the Kingdom within. From there…it is all gravy!

I mean – really – if we are awake and aware of the Kingdom of Peace/God within, what else even matters? What is it supposed to move us onward from there?

Well, in the moment, awake to the Kingdom, nothing will necessarily spur us to further action. Alas, as we’ve all experienced, the awareness seems to wander and doesn’t stay fixed. Hence, our great practice is to bring the awareness back and back again to the Kingdom.

Striving for Spiritual Goals is like setting up our life in such a way that it is more and more conducive to connecting our awareness with the Kingdom Within, with Peace.

In a sense, we can say that the end goal of all Spiritual striving is truly available in this moment. It is simply a matter of awareness! And yet, the process to spiritual success is a practice, moment to moment, of cultivating a higher quality of consciousness/awareness, such that our life is filled ever more with increasing levels of Love, Peace, Joy, Happiness, Gratitude – all the good feelings! Perhaps the best of all feelings: a knowingness that all is well, that God is Present, and God is Infinite Love, therefore – we have nothing to fear, and can fully enjoy this moment and relax completely. No stress! Is stress anything but a forgetfulness of the perfection and glory of God?

Okay then…here are the big-time quotes that steer us in the direction of realizing spiritual success and progress on a daily basis.
– “There are no great acts, only small acts done with great love.”
– “Love is a fruit of every season, within reach of every hand.”
– “Be kind whenever possible – it is always possible.”

– “Your daily life is your temple and your religion; whenever you enter into it, take with you your all.”
– “Make each day your masterpiece.”
– “Spirituality is about how you live each moment of life.”
– “Live as if the whole world is watching.”
– “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
– “Be cheerful for I have overcome the world.”
– “Do it with joy or not at all.”
– “Live your life like a prayer.”

– “Joy in life comes from living for the welfare of all.”
– “The dedicated ever enjoy supreme peace, therefore, live only to serve.”
– “Dedication, Dedication, Giving, Giving, Loving, Loving.”
– “Be self-controlled. Be Compassionate. Give.”

– The 3 levels of success: having (ehhhhh), doing (ok…), being (yeahhh!)
– “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
– “Full effort is full victory.”
– “Never give up!” Change what you’re doing until you get what you want!

– “Your first duty is to find the peace within.”
– “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all else shall be added unto you.”

– Always affirm…”I am peaceful. I am joyful.” “Every day I am getting better.”

The direction to move in…
– free from the selfishness. Sacrifice the “I, me, and mine.” “Turn all your mines into Thines!” “I am Thine. Thy Will Be Done.”

Clear examples of spiritual goals:
– Unconditionally Love everyone and everything. (Make a list of anything you’re aware that you find challenging to love and start praying for it and blessing it whenever it is in your vicinity or consciousness – or do whatever you can for its benefit – or whatever good you can bring yourself to do.)
– See beauty and perfection in everything. (What do you consider ugly? Can you look at it longer and see some good in it, and even see it as beautiful? Persist! Let go of the judgments and opinions and see beyond the appearance and see and know the Divine Essence.)
– Abide in Peace! (When do you ever notice your sense of Peace feeling disturbed? What disturbs it? How can you heighten your awareness during those moments and stay connected to the Peace?)

But remember…no stress!
The realization of the Spiritual Goal is great, and it can seem totally unreachable and unrealistic,
so simplify it!
Approach it one step at a time.
“The thousand mile journey begins with a single step.”

How do we do this? How do we take single steps toward the spiritual goal?
Day by day. Moment by moment. Door by door. Person by person. Bite of food by bite of food. Every moment is an opportunity to practice. Don’t miss it!

Each day, have some challenge in mind. Specifically, how could you love a bit more? What discipline could you practice? How could you listen better?
Small acts of discipline on a daily basis are a great way to make progress. Build the muscle.
Discipline is largely about valuing the long-term over the short-term pleasure.

Daily effort – how?
Month by month – day by day – cultivating one virtue per month.
Yoga philosophy has a nice foundational to focus on: called Yama & Niyama.
Non-violence
Truthfulness
Non-stealing
Moderation / Continence
Non-Greed
Purity / Cleanliness
Contentment
Accepting Pain without causing pain (Accepting pain as help for purification)
Spiritual Study
Surrender to God.

Practice one per month in a specific way.
Non-violence toward your shoes. Treat them like a baby. Care for them! Sounds ridiculous, but it might very well transform your life. Treat them like they have feelings too, and that they are alive and benefit greatly from your love and affection – not in an obsessive materialistic way, just…like baby! And the shoes as a baby – don’t worry – you can leave them alone for extended periods of time and they won’t choke on a penny or anything like that.

If, during the month, you catch yourself throwing your shoes or taking them off unconsciously, don’t worry about it. Be aware. Forgive yourself. Practice better next time!

“Patience attains the goal!”

Daily effort. Daily progress. Day by day, getting better!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Confidence in Moderation

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Imagine a scenario where your daily life consists of you acting in perfect harmony and alignment with your highest standards, doing all the things you feel are important to do and abstaining from any and all activities you find destructive or harmful. Undoubtedly, you’d have a great sense of confidence from such a way of living. Even just making daily progress toward such a way of living by building one habit per month would serve to give one a sense of confidence. Daily success is what it is all about! “Make each day your masterpiece,” as John Wooden says.

Alas, when you start to make each day your masterpiece, and find yourself doing so well, beware! As much as living in harmony with your values and ideals gives you confidence and high self-esteem, it could also be a slippery slope to then lapsing into judging others and comparing yourself. Martin Luther King Jr. says something about only judging others by their own standards, not our own. And, I think Gandhi says how he would only ask a Christian to be a better Christian, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Jew a better Jew, etc. We don’t all need to live by the same standard, and so we don’t need to judge others or compare ourselves to others. Beware of pride and vanity! No getting puffed up! Yes, you’re doing a great job living in harmony with your highest ideal, and maybe your highest ideal is really awesome and you see people around you perhaps motivated by lesser impulses or acting in ways you find reprehensible – alas – leave the judgment to God. Unless you know exactly what kind of standard of living they are aspiring to and what the person’s primary values and goals are, it is a good idea to not judge, to not even have opinions.

Instead of cultivating judgments and opinions about others, the solution is to adopt a holistic attitude toward all people. Such that, one can embrace the context that, “We are all learning. Life is a school. We are all evolving.” So instead of seeing sinners and thieves and gluttons and womanizers or whatever it may be – we can just see students enrolled in the great school of Life. (Note: God is the teacher. You don’t have to worry about teaching everyone 😉 Sometimes, you will play the role of teacher, but don’t get caught up in that role. Let the entire Creation serve as the great teacher – the Great Teacher is not limited.)

Another attitude valuable to adopt is compassion. The Buddha’s 1st great truth is, “Life is suffering.” If we are aware of the suffering of people, even if externally it doesn’t look like suffering, internally we can know that there is some degree of suffering. Aware of that suffering, we can feel compassion, and feeling compassion for the suffering will keep us in a calm, peaceful, state of mind. (This is the wisdom of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: the 4 locks and 4 keys).

So – if you ever catch yourself getting puffed up and seeing how much you are than everyone else – see everyone, including yourself, as a student. And realize too that the feeling of vanity/pride is not an enjoyable feeling, and embracing the oneness or goodness and innocence inherent in all is much higher quality state. See the innocence, knowing that we are all on the journey, all learning and evolving. And know that we all suffer to some degree, so have compassion! Even have compassion for your ego when you notice it feeling vain and better than others. You can say to your ego, “Poor little pet! I feel so much compassion for you. I’m sorry you feel that you are better than others and separate from others. Know that we are all one. There is nothing to be afraid of. We can let our separateness melt and enjoy life a whole lot more when we let go of our sense of superiority, and we will actually be even more provided for then. Let’s be grateful for what we have and be grateful for others, and acknowledge that all these humans are on a great journey together, and the same Spirit is moving through all of us.”

Confidence is great. Do the things you know you should do. Live in the way that you know you should live. Be good and do good! And when you find yourself doing very well, beware of the vanity that might arise. Remember to give thanks to the Higher Power. Mother Theresa has a great saying about giving all the credit to God – and be sincere when you do so! No man is an island – we are all connected, and we all owe each other and the entire creation for any success we have experienced. We always give thanks to everyone and everything! Stay humble, stay grateful!

Glory to God in the Highest!

How to Enjoy Life More

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Confidence!

Confidence is like – feeling comfortable with what is, how you’ve lived your day, perhaps even your life. But really, it doesn’t have to reflect your whole life. Supreme confidence can arise in the moment, from your presence in the moment. You don’t have to have lived a perfect life thus far and saved millions of dollars and served thousands of people to feel confident. You don’t even need to have earned an excellent education or know all kinds amazing things to feel confidence. No, there are many ways to increase confidence, and all of them accessible in this moment.

One path to confidence I recently re-connected with:
Do things that are good, and live in a way that you know is good, regardless of whether or not other people around you are doing it or not. For example, you know it is a good idea to prayer before you eat and to slow down enough so you can really appreciate and enjoy the food. But how many of us do this? And what part of it is that know the validity of prayer, and what part of us it that denies the prayer and instead hurriedly eats? Let’s just say – the higher part is the part that knows the value of prayer, and the lower part is the part that wants to rush. When the higher triumphs over the lower, confidence arises. To have mastery over our own lower impulses – that is real confidence. Confidence really has nothing to do with other people, but it is our own reputation with ourselves. If we do what we know is good, we will feel good about ourselves. If we know things are good but instead we choose the lower, we might feel a bit shameful or guilty – or both! What a bad life that is…living with feelings of shame and guilt.

To resolve shame and guilt, forgiveness is essential. Whatever happened in the past is in the past – so let it go. Know that “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” Now you know better, and can do better. So confidence comes from being present, and living well in the present moment. If you are living well now, doing good things, being good, then you have every right to feeling awesome about yourself, regardless of whatever happened in the past.

You can be free from the past! It is your choice. Best to let it go and commit to excellence now. Commit to giving your best to serve all humanity and all of life. Commit to loving everyone and everything. Commit to cultivating a healthy body and mind. Commit to smiling and people and enjoying the entire creation. Commit to focusing on the positive and cultivating positive thoughts and positive mental attitudes. Commit to being grateful for the little things. Commit to going slowly enough from time to time so you can enjoy the birds, enjoy the flowers, enjoy the clouds. Commit to your own happiness and peace by living in a way that you know to be good!

Hallelujah 🙂

Realize or Die

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Someone once told me that Swami Sivananda writes as if every single word is the most important word in the entire world, or that any teaching he is offering in the moment is the greatest of all teachings anywhere…something like that. The point is, when he speaks/writes, he does not mince words. He does not dabble. He goes big!

The other day, reading one of his books, there was a line that started with something like ‘You must have a strong determination:’ and then second part of it I remember for sure: “I will realize or die.”

Realize or die!

Meaning…
That human life is a precious gift, and we can know God in this very lifetime. We can realize the Divine Light that dwells within us, that dwells within all. We can know the Source of Life & Existence via direct experience – i.e. realization – thus it is wise to strive to do so!

There is even something in Christianity, I believe it is called the Natural Law perhaps – but it states that man has within his capacity to know God and therefore he has a moral obligation to aspire accordingly.

If we possess the capacity to know God, but instead squander this life on pursuing passing pleasures and material gain, what good are we?

We are blessed in that sometimes, just by virtue of taking optimal care of our body and minds to the best of our ability, we will nonetheless get to experience pleasure and perhaps acquiring material things also makes sense. It makes sense to provide ourselves with healthy food, a nice home, clean clothing, an informed library and learning materials, etc., so that we can take good care of our human.

It is hard to pursue knowing God when we are starving and homeless and broke. At the same time, it is difficult to know God if our stomachs are so full that we cannot move and all we ever think about is money and sex. There is a balance to life. Moderation!

Ultimately, as the Bible mentions storing up treasures in Heaven rather on the earth, the treasures in Heaven (i.e. treasures of education, treasures of spiritual awareness, treasures of positive attitude, positive intentions etc.) are far more valuable than treasures one earth. Even practically speaking, there is a saying that a good man to lose his fortune in a day and quickly earn it back again – because that good man has stored up his treasures in Heaven! If we have intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and virtue, we can certainly do and have whatever we’d like. Whereas, if we’re consumed with greed, lust, anger, and all kinds of selfishness, well simply put life will not be that enjoyable, no matter how much money we have or any of that stuff of the world.

Interestingly, in Hindu tradition there is a term Brahmacarya, which can be translated to mean many things, but most often and most bluntly it is translated as continence or even celibacy. Master Sivananda has written quite some many inspiring words on the subject. Just reading his words the other day, I feel so inspired to practice. The basic idea is that when a person releases their sexual energy (i.e. orgasm) the person loses a lot of vital energy. And, if this energy is lost regular, all kinds of negative lifestyle conditions such as laziness, tiredness, and even loss of wealth, fame, memory, etc. On the other hand, when the sexual energy is retained (not repressed), one gains energy, clarity, increased mental faculties, strength, etc. It is really quite amazing.

After studying Brahmacarya more, what I realized/remembered is that much of Hindu/Yoga philosophy is like a very advanced science, more advanced than western science has arrived at thus far. That is to say, some day I think certainly enough tests could be done in laboratories and on people could be done to prove all the claims of Hindu/Yoga philosophy, but there is no need to wait for everything to be proven in a laboratory before realizing the benefits of the practices ourselves. Truly, we can be our own scientists and test by direct experience! That is the great gift. We need not wait. We can explore and try things out and see what works and what doesn’t.

On the quest for realization and to know God, certainly Brahmacarya/continence/celibacy/moderation in all things is a common recommendation, and some say the most essential aspect. Really, the opposite of Brahmacarya is essentially excessive indulgence / gluttony which only leads to suffering and is the result of projecting happiness on things outside of ourselves, which is also the opposite of acknowledging that the Kingdom of God and the Presence of Divinity is Within! If Divinity is within, how or why would we possibly project happiness outside ourselves? Hence, Brahmacarya is really affirming that Divinity is Within, and also that there are much greater pursuits in life than sexual conquest, or eating more hot dogs than anyone else, or abusing drugs, etc. Store up the treasures in Heaven!

Even with women, recently I’ve been going back and forth between feeling sexual feelings toward women vs. embracing them as the Divine Mother. From direct experience, I can tell you it is a far more peaceful, loving, joyful, relaxed feeling to be aware of the Divine Mother rather than some object for sexual conquest. It is really, I’d say, a better life to see women as the Divine Mother rather than as potential life partners, etc. Even if one does at some point have a life partner, even Gandhi says that he realized his partner doesn’t need to be the object of his lust for when his carnal desires arise. So…all things in moderation.

It comes down to happy and joyful and peaceful we really want to be, and how honest we are willing to be with ourselves. If we take time to relax, sit back, and assess the quality of our life and our motivations, we’ll see that the more we selfishly pursue things just for ourselves – like money, women, tasty food – without considering others – then the more we suffer. On the other hand, when we dedicate everything we do to the welfare of all life in all of its expressions, and when we live only to serve, and when act generously and give abundantly, life becomes better and better. It is our choice!

As Dr. Hawkins says, Love and Peace is the ultimate law of the universe. The more we live in harmony with that law, the better our life becomes. The more we surrender to that law, the more we realize that we are not even the human body, but really we are the witness, and we can witness creation functioning by the law of Love and Peace and see the glory of it. The same energy moves through us all, and when any act against Love and Peace, there is a balancing.

Surrendering to Love and Peace, one can then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. One need not worry about subjective pleasure and gain. Everything is taken care of. Aligning one’s life with Love and Peace, what else could possibly matter? Does it matter how long one lives?

All we have is today. This is it! “This is the day the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad!” What are we waiting for?

As the Yoga Sutras say – future suffering can be avoided! Meaning, we have the freedom and the power and the choice to live virtuously from here on forward forever, for eternity. Living virtuously, there is no suffering. There might be the experience of pain, but no suffering. Suffering comes from us not living in accordance with our highest ideals, from lacking faith in the Supreme, and from immoral living. Living virtuously, morally, knowing we are doing our best, even then when we fail – there is no suffering. Even in failure, with faith in the goodness of virtue and moral living – there is no loss – only opportunity for learning and growth!

Context! Divine Context! Divine Play!

Enjoy 🙂

Realize or Die! Or, we could say, realize that Love and Peace is the ultimate law of the universe and live in harmony with it, or suffer. Virtuous living is the way to go! Virtue is unseen…Love and Peace are unseen…cultivate some faith in the unseen…Realize the power in the unseen…and then one discovers that one also is unseen…and then, being unseen, you cannot die, for you were never born…that’s what!

Glory to God in the Highest!

What Must We Do?

For the Highest Good! Amen.

One of the most liberating moments for me: when I understood that I didn’t need to save the world.

We don’t have to save the world!

Then what are we to do?

Well – we can think of it as – we need to save ourselves!

How do we do that?

By living virtuously, to the very best of our ability, and striving toward greater virtue and ethical perfection each day, each moment.

A simple way to think of is – courtesy of Dr. Hawkins – is to follow the 10 commandments and avoid the 7 deadly sins. That’s all there is to it!

For bonus points, study and follow the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount.

No need for further complication!

Walking into a library can be daunting – seeing thousands if not millions of books to read – that one has not read – perhaps feeling inadequate – perhaps even feeling, “I need to read all these books!” No, thankfully, that’s not necessary.

Even, walking through the streets of India, or through a big city, one can see so much poverty, or even so much trash. Do we think, “Stop everything! We are not moving until all of these people are fed, clothed, housed, and employed.” Or, “We are not moving until every piece of trash is properly disposed, as far as the eye can see.” No…this doesn’t seem to be the natural thing to do.

Even with the driving past people asking for money on the corner of a street or intersection, do we stop our entire lives in an attempt to ‘save and transform’ their life?

Sometimes, people do take action like this – and that is beautiful when it happens. It is all part of the journey. Alas, thankfully, such drastic action is not necessary.

The real gift we can give to the entire world and all creation is to become more loving, more peaceful, more joyful, every day. To see more and more beauty and perfection in all things -that uplifts everyone and everything.

Looking at the life of Mother Teresa, she likely fed millions of people. Yet, you can even read her own words, and she says things like, “I am not feeding these people. They are feeding me.” Truly, in giving, we receive. It is a beautiful paradox of creation and perhaps evidence of the Divinity in all things. When we give, we receive. So, for her, the path of serving the homeless resonated with her and allowed the perfect opportunity to become more loving each and every day. For another person, perhaps they are inspired to care for animals at a shelter, or yet another inspired to simply care for their family, or another takes a reclusive approach and cares for the entire world through prayer and meditation. Some people serve by educating others. It is all part of a balanced life. Who we serve or what we serve doesn’t matter so much. Whatever increases the radiance of the Love within us and enhances our capacity to Love, that is for us. As St. Paul says, “If I give…but have not love in my heart, it profits me nothing.” The love in our heart is what really matters.

Whatever you do, do it with love, do it with joy, do it with peace. A balanced life externally, and peaceful, loving, joyful, within. The external is constantly changing, but internal awareness need not change. The philosopher Camus has a great line, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

Love is invincible. Thou art That!

Glory to God in the Highest!