What is the Most One Can Give?

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Ah yes, the power of questions…especially in that optimum language of most/best/greatest…

What’s the most I can do?
What’s the best way for me to be of service?
What are the best thoughts to cultivate?
What are the best goals for me to set?
What are the best values to live by?
What are the most important priorities in life?
What’s the best use of this precious gift of life?
What’s the best way to know the Supreme Truth?
What’s the best way to serve the Highest Good?
What’s the most valuable habit to develop?
What’s the greatest service I can render?
What’s the highest Truth to live in harmony with?
What’s the best way to live, day by day?
What is the greatest role for me to play?
Who are the best people for me to cultivate relationships with?
What are the best books for me to be reading?
What are the most important habits/activities for me to let go of?
How can I love and serve and contribute to the very best of my ability?
What are the greatest gifts I have to offer?

How can I know God?
How can I unconditionally love everyone and everything, in all conditions, no matter what?
How can I best serve the Highest Good?
How can I perfect the relationship with God?

In what area of my life do I most need to improve?
What skill would it be best for me to develop?
What topic would be best for me to study?

What is the best way for me to contribute to the welfare of all and to live a holy life?

What are the best questions to ask?

Perhaps my favorite question, courtesy of Dr. David R. Hawkins…

How am I aware or even know that I exist?

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

The Abundant Life

For the Highest Good! Amen.

“Want not and waste not your happiness.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda

“Desirelessness is perfect bliss.” – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“If you want to have everything, don’t want anything, then everything will run after you.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda

Benjamin Franklin said something like, “There are two ways to increase your wealth. You can decrease your wants or increase your means.” – or some combination of both!

When I graduated from college, the CEO for Habitat for Humanity spoke at one of the events and asked 3 powerful questions,
What is uniquely you?
How do you define rich?
Who do you let influence you?

The “How do you define rich?” question was the big one for me at the time, and it serves me well to remember it.

The Abundant Life is living one day at a time.
The Abundant Life is cherishing what is present now and not taking it for granted.
The Abundant Life is appreciating what is present rather than desiring what is not present.

It is all a matter of awareness!

The mind/thoughts can be tenacious. The idea of lack arises, the idea of needing more, not having enough already, wanting more.

Ultimate security arises with unshakable faith, like the story of Job in the Bible. Even after losing everything, he would not say a word against God. Beyond all the dramas of the material world, we can abide in faith, knowing that ultimately God is taking care of everything, perfectly, always and forever.

When we accept the Presence of God in the Eternal Present, Now & Forever, then what is left to desire? Awake and aware of the Divine Presence, could we possibly ask for anything more?

Abundance is all about appreciation and gratitude. Lack and scarcity only exist as thoughts – they are not reality.

Remember – humility! Such humility that embraces, “I do not know.” God knows. I do not know.

There is a higher perspective and a higher way of seeing things in which everything is clearly perfect, complete, and total already. Nothing needs to change and there is nothing to do.

Love Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent – what more could we ask for?

Love rules the Creation! And Love rules in ways that are beyond the human intellect’s capacity to grasp. So, that’s why we let go of our arrogant sense of “I know” and we accept that “I do not know,” and then we can relax.

Perhaps paradoxically, the real ignorance we suffer from is the idea that “I know.” St. John of the Cross has a beautiful poem about “knowing without knowing, all science transcending.” We can know, just not with the intellect. We can know by the quality of awareness, but not with reason and logic. We can know with the heart, not the mind. Know by being, not by doing.

Real knowing is more like when the thoughts are totally calm and quiet, rather than when the thoughts are saying, “I’m hungry! That’s ugly! She’s mean! I want this.” Real knowing is not with thoughts, but real knowing is with awareness.

Real knowing is like the quality of awareness that arises from experientally realizing the truth of the idea that “everything is perfect,” or “everything is one,” or “God is Love, and Love is the only thing that’s Real.”

It is one thing to intellectually be able to say such ideas and memorize them and recite them, but it is another thing to know them by direct experience.

Go for the direct experience!

One way to go for the direct experience –

I like to read the work of Dr. David Hawkins in the mornings, and oftentimes I’ll read his words in describing God or the Self.

He says things like, “The Self lacks nothing. There are no questions to ask. Everything is known.”

So how could one experientially realize the truth of that?

Go throughout your day and don’t ask any questions. Just trust that on some level, everything is known.

When a question arises mentally, you can let it go, surrender it to God, and see that the thought basically arose from fear and from the illusion of lack and egoism. Let it go – and identify with that Self that does know, that lacks nothing and needs nothing.

There are no questions to ask!

Try it out.

Then again, since the topic of questions came up, I’ll just mention some of my favorite questions to ask, if I am going to ask them…

First a pair of powerful introspective questions that can be used in meditative practice –
What am I?
How am I aware or even know that I exist?

Some more questions that can be used either in meditation or daily life:
What serves the Highest Good?
How can I best serve the Highest Good?
How can I best serve Thee, Oh Lord?

What’s the best thing to do?
How is the best way to live?

Notice…best, best, best!…not settling for anything less than that 😉

Serving the Highest Good…one way or the other…
by dedication and devotion alone to that!

Even peeling a potato, in the name of service to the Highest Good, truly does serve the Highest Good –
and the Love present within radiates out to uplift and benefit All.

The Abundant Life…
it is about…
Appreciation.
Purity of Heart, Purity of Intention, Purity of Purpose.
Living for the Welfare of All.
Absolute Faith in God.
Being Humble, Being Grateful.
And, on a practical level,
daily – doing what you can to cultivate skills + knowledge that are useful to people, thereby enhancing your capacities to be of service and contribute to the welfare of all. Praying and meditating will do this, and so would studying scriptures, reading books about human nature, communication, humor, personal development…I like all those tools because they are not dependent on outside ‘stuff’ – hence they are highly portable and easy to share!

So…
Whatever you do,
do it for the benefit of all,
in service to the Highest Good,
and you will be Supremely Happy.

OM

Go For It!

For the Highest Good. Amen!

Know what you want. Know the outcome you’re going for…know the target you’re aiming for.
And go for it!
If you don’t get it, if you miss…
Change what you’re doing…
Until you get it! Until you hit the target!

On the level of mastery of the ego/body/human pet, two great aspirations I have for this vessel are for it regularly wake up before 4 am and sit and meditate from 4-6 am and to eat only 1 meal a day.

I’ve had this aspiration for months if not years, primarily because I find it recommended in various spiritual texts and from teachers.

Alas, I have yet to succeed.

And yet, I’m persisting! I realized each month is a nice clean 30 days to build a new habit, even if that habit is only a baby step to arriving at the end habit I’m aiming for.

So, it is a journey!

As Lao Tzu says, the thousand mile journey begins with a single step.

The cool thing is, mastery over the tongue corresponds to mastery over sleep patterns, because what we feed the body affects how well it sleeps.

So, feed it moderately, sleep moderately – done!

This month, I’m working on both of the habits.

Once before, for several months, I experienced great success with being finished eating each day by 4pm. So, for this month, remembering the success of the past, I decided I would move it up 1 hour, to 3pm. So – that’s the challenge for the month! It’s tough, but 2 full days complete so far! Especially tough because one of my responsibilities is bringing an elderly woman to supper every night – but anyway that gives me an extra awesome opportunity to practice clear, compassionate communication and to come prepared with some entertaining stories / questions so that she doesn’t mind that I’m not eating with her. Of course, I find white lies also work – like if I tell her I had way too much for lunch – she’ll have compassion and understand my not choosing to eat in the evening.

So finished eating by 3pm….

Which at least last night led to me feeling crazy amount of energy in the evening and having a hard time falling asleep – alas it was easy to wake up at 3:45am!

So…we will see how the journey continues.

The thing is, “success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” – Earl Nightingale.

So success is a daily thing, it is not like, “oh I’m only successful when I’ve consistently woken up at 4 am for a year.” Yes, that would be a success, but success can be each morning if waking up that early.

Success is daily! Hence the wisdom of 12 step groups, “One day at a time.” And John Wooden’s beautiful saying, “Make each day your masterpiece.” There is also an ancient sanskrit verse that emphasizes to live for this day!

This day is what we’ve got. Success is this day. It doesn’t matter where we are on the path. Today, even if we just take one step in the direction of one of our goals, that is a success. We don’t have to and cannot accomplish everything in one day, but we can make progress, and progress is success.

Ultimately, success is in the journey, not the destination (maybe another Lao Tzu quote?)

As long as we are progressing, and perhaps more importantly and valuable – enjoying the journey! – then what else matters?

Tony Robbins emphasizes how the most important decision in life is to decide to live in a beautiful state. That is basically like saying, enjoy the moment first, be at peace first, be happy first, and then from that joyful, peaceful, happy state, do what you want. Once you’re established in a positive state, take action, but prioritize the quality of your state first.

So then, our first priority is happiness and peace, and then go from there. Yet, if we are in a state of peace and happiness, is there really anything we need? No!

Success is ultimately in the present, and the present is the only reality. Now is the only time we have, and it is actually beyond time and eternal. So enjoy what is, and everything else will take care of itself.

Remember the happiest time of your life, get to that place internally, and stay there. 🙂

Of course, if you feel happy now, and perhaps remember a time that you were happier and more peaceful, then you can aspire to enhancing that quality of happiness and peace.

With happiness, peace, joy as the foundation…progress to ever greater happiness, peace, and joy, by offering beneficial service for the welfare of all life.

Dedication, devotion, freedom.

“Want not and waste not your happiness.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda.

Go Within! Established within, you can be without and flourish. Wear the world like a garment, not vulnerable to it – but master of it. Take care of it without being attached to it. If your garment gets a stain, do you cry? No! Accept it, change as needed, and stay happy. Don’t let the quality of your garment determine your quality of happiness!

Power is Within!

Kingdom is Within!

Is there any spiritual teaching more foundational than this?

All we are really looking for is within…everything else is just gravy!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Maybe…

For the Highest Good – Amen!

The great “maybes” of this journey through life…
Maybe there is more to life than partying, drinking, and getting together with a girl?
Maybe I can learn something from books?
Maybe enjoying the company of people is a skill I can learn?
Maybe there is such a thing as wisdom?
Maybe I can learn wisdom by asking people who I admire?
Maybe I can become more like people I admire by talking to them and spending time with them and copying what they do?
Maybe I can learn something from successful people?
Maybe success is something I can study, be it social success, economic success, health success, spiritual success?
Maybe I can study humor and become more funny, entertaining, and enjoyable to be around?
Maybe I’ll meet some really great people by volunteering?
Maybe whether or not I have fun and enjoy this moment and life is all up to me?
Maybe I have the power to choose to enjoy or not?
Maybe I can learn a lot from homeless people?
Maybe I can experiment with life and do crazy things, if for nothing else than for a good story?
Maybe I would learn something by blindfolding myself for a week?
Maybe I would learn something by fasting for a week?
Maybe I can simplify my life and give away some of my clothes?
Maybe I can wear the same outfit every day, and maybe I don’t have to think about what I wear each day?
Maybe studying philosophy and religion would benefit me?
Maybe I can learn something from Jesus, from Buddha, from the great thinkers and men and women of history?
Maybe there is more to life than winning?
Maybe the world will end soon, so maybe it would be good for me to pursue the Truth?
Maybe I will die soon, so maybe it would be good for me to focus on things I really care about and things and people that really matter to me?
Maybe its a good idea to not take this life for granted and to cherish each day and each moment?
Maybe I can be happy while sleeping on the floor?
Maybe I can be happy without having any money?
Maybe I would learn something valuable by spending a week homeless in New York City?
Maybe I can live the rest of my life without using money?
Maybe I can live each day as if I am in a Heaven on Earth?
Maybe I can align my life with the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount?
Maybe I can give to the one who asks, and not even need to think about it – and just trust that it is a good idea?
Maybe I can love everyone and everything, unconditionally, no matter what?
Maybe I can forgive everyone, including myself?
Maybe I can let go of all grudges and resentments?
Maybe I can be happy always and enjoy every moment?
Maybe this is eternity? and if this is eternity, maybe it would be a good idea for me to start enjoying it?
Maybe I am One with Everything?
Maybe God is All That Is?
Maybe I can know the Truth, and the Truth shall set me free?
Maybe God is taking care of everything?
Maybe the world is fine just as it is, and it is not my duty to save the world?
Maybe I am free already, and maybe the only thing that binds me are thoughts of desire?
Maybe desirelessness is perfect bliss?
Maybe I don’t ever have to think again?
Maybe I can let go of everything and trust completely in God?
Maybe I don’t need to be attached or averse to anything?
Maybe I can let come what comes, and let go what goes, and maybe I can remain content the whole time?
Maybe what I really am is invisible?
Maybe all fear is an illusion and not based on truth?
Maybe God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient?
Maybe God is Love and Peace and nothing else?
Maybe Love & Peace is the ultimate law of the universe?
Maybe the Kingdom of Heaven is Within?
Maybe Peace and Happiness is always within?
Maybe I always have everything I need to enjoy the moment?
Maybe separateness is an illusion?
Maybe scarcity and lack is an illusion?
Maybe adversities are blessings in disguise?
Maybe I am a student and life is the teacher?
Maybe Reality is Perfect already – as it is?
Maybe everything is beautiful?

back to the mundane… 😉

Maybe if I eat healthier foods, I’ll feel better and enjoy life more?
Maybe the quality of the foods I eat do affect the quality of my consciousness and quality of life?

Maybe meditation really is the key to everything?
Maybe the way to have everything is to not want anything?
Maybe everything is occurring spontaneously?
Maybe everyone and everything is already beautiful, perfect, infinitely good, and 100% Divine?
Maybe the greatest service I can offer humanity is feeling peaceful, loving and enjoying what is before me in this moment?
Maybe prayer is powerful and benefits all creation?
Maybe I become what I think about, so maybe I better think some good thoughts?
Maybe the more I give, the more I receive?
Maybe giving to charity and volunteering is the surest way to acquire great wealth?
Maybe ‘Thank you’ is the only prayer I ever need to say?
Maybe God is present everywhere at all times and in all things?
Maybe every hair on my head is already counted?

Maybe cleanliness really is next to godliness?
Maybe an apple a day really does keep the doctor away?
Maybe there really are no great acts, but only small acts done with great love?
Maybe love is a fruit of every season, within reach of every of hand?

Maybe none of these are really questions, and therefore the question mark at the end of all these sayings is not appropriate?

Maybe the key to happiness is giving and contributing to the welfare of all?
Maybe acting selfishly is the dumbest thing I could ever do?
Maybe living only to serve One and All is the best way to live?

Maybe I can be free in this very moment?
Maybe heaven or hell are really within the mind?
Maybe heaven or hell are really only 1/10th of an inch a part?

Maybe desiring to serve the Highest Good is the only desire worth having, or maybe even that isn’t worth it?
Maybe letting go and trusting completely in God is the best way to live?

Maybe we are all here to experiment and explore and to share our experience and thereby we all serve as each others students and teachers and grow together and become healthier, happier, and more peaceful and loving together?

Maybe any beliefs or ideas or dogmas I hold in my mind are totally worthless and I can let them go?
Maybe memories don’t really serve me at all and I can let them go?
Maybe I can let go of everything, and just be fully present with what is?

Maybe as long as I’m doing my best to love everyone and everything, and forgiving myself when I screw up – maybe nothing else matters?

Maybe we really are all doing the best we can, so maybe finding fault in anyone or anything is actually fallacious and maybe it really makes more sense just to feel compassion for us all, suffering in our ignorance?

Maybe life is suffering, and maybe there is an end to suffering?
Maybe Jesus and the Buddha actually knew what they are talking about?
Maybe the guidance offered by Jesus and Buddha is actually worth listening to and following?
Maybe there is infinitely valuable information I have yet to learn?
Maybe there are things I can learn that will greatly enhance all aspects of my life?

Maybe every moment is a blessing and a gift?

Maybe there are greater pleasures in life than food and sex, and maybe if I give up food and sex for just a day even, or 3 days, or 7 days, maybe then I’ll get a taste of the much greater pleasures in life, and perhaps maybe I’ll receive a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven within?

Maybe the perfection and glory of God is shining forth, always and forever?

Maybe God is providing perfectly for me and giving me all I need, every moment, moment by moment?

Maybe God is the only thing that is Real?

Maybe the purpose of life is to have fun?

Maybe the purpose of life is to learn and to serve?

Maybe the purpose of life is to unconditionally love?

Maybe the purpose of life is to know and serve God?

Maybe every moment offers a perfect opportunity to love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to melt, to play, to laugh, to smile, to dance, to sing, to be kind, caring, gentle, and compassionate?

Maybe sitting in stillness and silence is a service to the entire Creation?

Maybe thinking good thoughts is a service to the entire Creation?

Maybe, if I ever need help, all I ever have to do is say, “God, please help me!” and I’ll receive all the help I need?

Maybe if I ever need guidance, all I ever have to do is ask for guidance?

Maybe, truly, in order to receive anything, all I ever have to do is ask?

Maybe I can have anything I really want in life?

Maybe life is already complete and total and perfect, and for me to want anything is actually me just being ignorant of the perfection?

Maybe I can take a vow of silence for the rest of my life, and maybe that would be the greatest service I could provide?

Maybe we are one, and we are infinitely powerful?

Maybe we are Love and Peace itself?

Maybe….

OM Shanti

Glory to God in the Highest!

Deep Rest

For the Highest Good! Amen.

No thoughts – no problems.
Or at least, uplifting thoughts –> uplifted, relaxed consciousness.
Relaxed consciousness = relaxed living.
Relaxed living means low stress.
Low stress means low tension.
Low tension means not much need to rest.

The real thing though is…
going beyond cravings, desires, attachments and aversions.
To give up wanting things, that’s powerful.
To see through the illusion of desires and wants.
To see that desires arise from the illusion that happiness is outside of ourselves.
And then to look within and remember and accept that happiness is truly within.
With that awareness of the Kingdom Within, then the desires for external gain can let go of.
Like opening a fist – unclenching. Free.

Not holding onto things. Not clinging. Not allowing yourself to get caught in the illusion that happiness comes from outside of yourself.
Wear the world like a light garment. Like a cape…for the most part you don’t think about it. It is just there for you, it serves its purpose, but you don’t have to think about it. You are aware of something before you, infinitely greater than the light garment you are wearing. Keep your eyes on the Infinite Greatness, and forget about the light garment of the world you are wearing on your back. Sure, take care of if it gets stuck on a tree or who knows what, but don’t obsess over it.

Exhaustion comes when we look through the glasses of desire, craving, need, and lack.
At any point, we can take off our glasses.
Remove the glasses. The glasses are basically made of thoughts. So take off the glasses and feel that you are taking off the thoughts.
Set the glasses aside. Set the thoughts aside.
Just be aware.
To be aware does not necessitate thinking.

Like seeing a sunset, the best part of the sunset experience is seeing it before the thoughts come in to tell you, “How beautiful is this?”
You see the sunset and there are no thoughts.
There is just awareness.
Only seconds later do thoughts come in to editorialize, “Ah yes, this is a beautiful sunset.”
Yes, it is a beautiful sunset, but the greater beauty is experienced before the thoughts of beauty. Real beauty transcends thoughts, even the thoughts of beauty.

Every moment can be like witnessing the glories of a sunset.
Just keep letting go of the editorializing, the opinions, and the judgments.
Let go. Relax.
Take off the glasses.
Set the thoughts down.
As the saying goes, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!”
You’re not asked to think in that process, are you?
No!
You just let go.
You trust completely.
You accept safety, security. You accept goodness. You accept positive intention. You accept opportunity and abundance and fun and wonder before you.
You let go of thinking. You become present. Totally present – free from past and imaginative futures – which really only exist on the level of thoughts.

Real rest.
Like a baby in the arms of the mother.
Like being the sun itself – rather than just a ray of the sun.
We try so hard to individuate ourselves, to perpetuate our sense of separateness and uniqueness.
Why not instead, dissolve into the oneness?
“Know that by knowing which all else is known.”
Know the essence, then you can play with the nonsense.
The sun is the essence, the rays of the sun are the nonsense – yet ultimately it is all the sun.
SO we think we are separate rays of sunlight, but if we look within, we see we all come from the same source.

The sublime…
before the thoughts arise, beauty abounds.
Thoughts arise, beauty remains, but the awareness of it diminishes.
Lift the screen, remove the veil, take off the glasses.
Go to the space that is present before the thoughts arise. Live from there.
See…the thoughts don’t really add much value to life.
Life is far more enjoyable basking in the awareness that is present before thoughts arise.
Thoughts are really more like a burden than anything else.
Is all pain and suffering not just a thought?
No thoughts, no problems.

Of course…
No thoughts is pretty advanced.
So one can start with thoughts of thanksgiving, gratitude, appreciations.
Thoughts of love, peace, prayer, meditation.
Mantra repetition.
Choose one thought and stick to it.
That is giving the mind a great vacation.
So much energy is consumed mentally with all our opinions and judgments.
Instead, just focus on one, uplifting, powerful idea.
Stick to it!
And notice how much more enjoyable life becomes,
and how much more energy you have,
and how much less sleep you need. How much stronger you feel!

I remember – for a while my spiritual practice throughout the day was simply
breathing in Infinite Love
and as exhaling, thinking Infinite Peace
hundreds if not thousands of thoughts a day on
Infinite Love
Infinite Peace
those were good days!
Of course, it was difficult to connect with people,
but at the same time – it really didn’t matter,
because amidst the glories of Infinite Love and Peace,
people take care of themselves.

Glory to God in the Highest!

Learning from Suffering

For the Highest Good! Amen.

Note: Suffering here means any negative experience, if even only for a second, a negative feeling or emotion.

I spent the other day with a friend, and at points throughout the day we laughed uncontrollably and bickered over little things like the merits of tofu and the car AC settings. At one point, I also expressed some frustration and perhaps even projected some blame on my friend and took on the role of playing victim – like how he asked me to go with him to see the doctors and then proceeded to make 5 other stops and spend the whole day out into town. I felt a bit taken advantage of, so to speak. Alas…

Looking back on the day, there were many high points, and my friend shared with me two stories of infinite value that served to demonstrate great spiritual teachings. One of them demonstrated the value of living a simple life and how often having more material possessions can actually seem to decrease from the quality of our life and relationships, and the second story demonstrated how we always reap what we sow, and everything balances in the end, and if we are really being mischievous, we might be scared straight by a big Italian Mafioso character. We are all provided abundant learning opportunities! And there is no escaping the justice of God and the supremacy of Love and Peace as the ultimate law of the universe 🙂

So, sure – throughout the day I felt like I was missing out on opportunities to be of service in other ways or perhaps to earn money or to read and learn new things – but ultimately I did come away from the day with great stories to share and fun memories overall – and was also given great opportunities to practice communicating to my friend my concerns in a non-harmful way. So…the day was really full of opportunities!

When I look back on the day – I can see that the mental suffering I experienced came from several different thoughts / attitudes that are not really in harmony with spiritual truth:
1. I projected lack upon myself, therefore felt the need to be gaining and acquiring material things, and hence felt like I was missing out on earning opportunities.
2. I had a sense that “I know better than this,” and that sense of “knowing” is really in a sense – lack of faith. If I had total faith, I could have relaxed and smiled and enjoyed every moment of the wild ride of events of yesterday. This also led to me setting up dualities of right and wrong, good and bad, etc. which led to a greater sense of separation, feelings of lack, etc.

What else?

Well..I’ll just share where I see the mind wandering…

Perhaps one of the greatest events of the day was when I saw what seemed like a very nice, new-ish BMW pull in to the McDonalds drive-thru. It made me stop and think, “What kind of person is driving a BMW and eating at McDonalds?”
Not to say there is anything wrong with such a person, but it helped me see a bit how much of an illusion pursuing material gain might be, or at least to help me see past it as the be-all and end-all of what it means to be successful and the purpose of human life.
I cannot say this is as a fact from direct experience, but I have a hunch and imagine that there are plenty of wealthy people who have nice cars and luxurious homes who experience far less happiness than I do. Not to say that we are competing for who experiences more happiness, but ultimately our day-to-day happiness is the real game to play and really the only game worth playing. What good is it to play the game of “How much money can I acquire?” if it does not necessarily compliment the game of “How much can I enjoy today? How happy can I be today, all throughout the day, every moment?” That is the game we all really care about! Unfortunately, we are blinded by the lures and seductions of the material world and forgetting that enjoying life matters far more than how many 1s and 0s we have in our bank account.

So, seeing the guy in the BMW was a wake up call for me, reminding me that material gain does not guarantee making smart choices regarding health or happiness. As I heard someone say the other day, “wealth just magnifies what you already are.” So then, rather than concerning about accumulating material wealth, better to concern about becoming loving, pure, peaceful, compassionate, happy, grateful, generous, kind, gracious, happy, fun — so that all that gets magnified 🙂

To learn from suffering,
we must be patient!
We must be willing to endure.
And look for the meaning!
Become a student.
What is the suffering teaching me?
What lesson can I learn from this?
How can this service my spiritual growth and evolution?
How can this suffering progress me on the spiritual path?
How has this suffering exposed my selfishness and my attachments and aversion?
What is this suffering showing me that I need to let go of?
How have I come to forget God? How did I get caught and deluded by the world?
How can I be more loving, more generous, more peaceful, more content, more compassionate, more kind, more grateful?
What do I need to remember next time – in a similar circumstance – so that I don’t suffer again but instead enjoy the moment and give of my best?

Sometimes, it can take some time for us to see the meaning and the message.
But once it becomes obvious, we let go of the suffering and our feelings of being the victim – and we accept the gift with gratitude.
We grow spiritually, and return to our natural state of peace and happiness.


General reflection..
on the great spiritual goal of unconditionally loving and everything and everyone…
How am I doing?
I’ve got to work on loving…
myself! Or rather, loving this human pet and appreciating it. Sometimes ‘i’ condemn it for its less-than-mindful eating habits. As I cultivate the witness and tune into the Divine Play, i think the behaviors of the animal will become more mindful, more loving, more holy – and also my awareness will shift to be compassionate anyway, so the animal can really do whatever it does – and I’ll see it all with compassion…and the compassion will probably melt the thing!
Compassion, that’s the key for me right now. I tend to project blame or lack or insufficiency or less-than-best onto people / behavior (Including my own pet) – and really I just need to see with compassion – to know that we are all innocent. No one is intentionally trying to hurt me – and we are all doing the best we can. So I don’t need to go blaming people – but anyone I feel like blaming – rather it probably makes sense just to feel compassion for them, and to feel compassion for myself for even wanting to blame and play the role of victim. Compassion for all.

Why compassion? Because we don’t know anyone better! We are all innocent, doing the best we can, given what our life experiences have taught us thus far. If we knew better, we would do better. So compassion, and even gratitude. Gratitude is another good antidote rather than wallowing in victimhood. I can just choose to be grateful for any and all opportunities to be of service rather than critique the system or whatever mental dramas I get into. I am not here to save the world…but if anything i am here to save myself and thereby benefit all by being loving and peaceful and happy no matter what! And that is the greatest service any of us can offer, because in that way we raise the entire ocean itself, and all ships are lifted. So, raising the internal state of awareness is my duty – and the dramas and games of the world can serve that purpose. My duty is to remain aware, awake, loving, peaceful, grateful, playful. Seeing beauty and perfection, what else could really matter?

To see the beauty in a trash can and in a weed – that’s noble work! And those moments of oneness with beauty, how could that not benefit all humanity? The consciousness is connected …so treating oneself to those sublime moments of uplifted consciousness uplifts all, if only a little bit.

One of the key lessons in life that I am still working on – but I’d say is perhaps the greatest lesson when fully understood because it speaks to the nature of Creation and our oneness and to what really matters…
“There are no great acts – only small acts done with great Love.”
What really matters is the Love. The act itself – who cares? In the ballpark of St. Paul, he might say something like, “If you feed a million people but have not love in your heart, it profits you nothing and it matters not!” His words on Love are all about having the Love – and if you don’t have the Love then whatever you do isn’t worth so much. The Love is what counts.

So we don’t need to get caught up in feeding billions, speaking to millions, reaching the whole planet with our words and our message…but rather if we just become that which is worthy to be witnessed by the whole planet – that serves as an example for us all, totally pure of heart – free from all the selfishness, free from all illusion, immersed in Love, in the Oneness and Allness – if we become that – that is real, eternal, infinite Service. Becoming is the great service and work of our lives. Having certain things and doing certain things can lead to us becoming perfect instruments of Divine Love and Peace…just remember it is always about the becoming – that is what matters. Ultimately, we are already That which we are to Become, so really it is just a matter of becoming aware of that.

Become aware!

Jesus said…the kingdom of God is within!

How would life be if you were constantly aware of the Kingdom of God Within? How happy would you be? How grateful would you be? How much would you enjoy life? How glorious would your life become? Constantly aware of the Kingdom of God Within…wow what a life!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

How to Become More Valuable

For the Highest Good! Amen.

I saw a Dr. Phil clip that highlighted, “Winners do things losers don’t want to do.”

Not that I’m a fan of the duality of winners and losers, but the point is that there are some things we all naturally don’t want to do. As an example, the human likes comfort – so — if we had our choice — we’d all probably choose to sleep on a comfortable bed, sleep as long as we’d like until we feel ideally rested. We’d also like to all eat the very best food, perfectly seasoned and prepared. I think it is safe to say that, most people – given the option – would choose the comfortable bed and the delicious food.

On the flip side, what is it to voluntarily choose to sleep on a thin mat or even on the floor, and to eat bland food, or even to fast? Safe to say, very few people “want” to do those things. Yet, there are a few who feel inspired to make decisions in their lives. Who are those people?

The people who choose to sleep on a floor and to eat bland foods are those who are seeking to gain mastery of the animal cravings, desires, appetites, etc. These people are seeking to fully awaken to the Kingdom Within that is independent of external circumstances. Ultimately, they are seeking the direct experience of the fact that truly our happiness and peace and joy and all valuable, uplifting awareness and experience of life is not dependent on how comfortable the human vessel feels or how much food it is given or what kind of food it is given. Yes, truly one can still experience happiness even if one has not eaten for days and feels sleep deprived.

This isn’t to say I’m encouraging us all to go eat bland foods and sleep on the floor – I’m just using it as an example of some life decisions that most of us would clearly not prefer, and yet a select few – with a certain goal and an understanding of how to progress toward the goal – will choose such decisions.


The point – whatever our goal is, there is a sense of giving up something lesser for something greater, and then – when realizing the greater, we will see that the sacrifice was quite minimal and well worth it.

To think, would you be willing to give up sleeping on a mattress and instead sleep on the floor if it guaranteed you a sense of permanent peace and happiness? Of course! Who wouldn’t? Now, I’m not saying it is a guarantee. But, for a certain individual, if they feel like making that decision would increase the quality of their life / awareness, then sure – why not test it out?

Whatever the goal, whatever direction you are going in, how could you increase your progression? How could you become more valuable to the people you serve? How could you increase the services you offer?

For me, by my life I’d like to inspire the practice of meditation, spiritual study, selfless service, simple living and high thinking. Then again, I’m not concerned with inspiring anyone else. I know that the only person I ever need to inspire is myself. If I am inspired, and do my best, making daily progress, then that is the best I can do – and what happens beyond that is not up to me. I can exert to the best my ability, and then surrender what happens to God.

For me to become more valuable, and continue to inspire myself, I need to keep developing daily disciplines that increase my sense of health, happiness, and awareness of the Presence of God / the Kingdom Within.

Currently for this month, my practice is completing a full integral hatha yoga practice, with deep relaxation and breathing, before I eat anything for the day. Some of the yoga postures I practice can feel a bit uncomfortable or challenging, but just like lifting weights – it is a demonstration of prioritizing the long-term. To prioritize the long-term is incredibly valuable. The short-term seduces us, but to prioritize the long-term leads to enduring health and happiness.

I’ve found that with this morning yoga practice, I’ve also been eating healthier and happy to eat healthier foods that maybe are a bit less tasty. I also find my meditation practice has increased, and I’m also more inclined with engaging the mind in reading, listening, and writing.

And now, currently, I’m working on bringing a greater sense of cleanliness and order to my living space. What feels better than having everything in its place?

For me…to become more valuable…
I hold the spiritual practices recommended by Swami Satchidananda and his teacher Swami Sivananda in very high regard. I have not come to fully implement all the recommendations in my daily life, but that is generally the direction I am moving in, even though sometimes it looks like 2 steps forward and 1 step back.
In general, the direction is more regularity with sleep and meditation and cleanliness and service and communication. It is great, because the teachings really do address all facets of life.

Alas, as much as I consider myself a spiritual aspirant, progressing daily and gradually implementing upgraded daily disciplines into life, sometimes I am asked to play the role of teacher. And to teach, I think the best way to teach is from direct experience. Hence, every 30 days provides an opportunity for me to try something new, test it out, and then I can speak from my experience on the matter.

So here we go…I think the next big step I’m gearing up to take is for 30 days…
– 1 meal a day.

That one will be fun! Quite a challenge, no doubt…and there is a chance that it might not be the appropriate one for me to take on at this point, as much of the service I render is bringing an elderly woman to meals and she obviously prefers if I eat with her then sit and stare at her…so what else might be good?

I put off ‘waking up at 4 am’ because I am living with the same elderly woman and she regularly wakes up in the middle of the night (and wakes me up…:-))

The other, less super strict / disciplinarian vibe task I could take on, perhaps more feasible, is more meditation throughout the day. Perhaps the days meditation schedule could look something like…
– 7 – 8 am
– 1145 – 1215 pm
– 545 – 615 pm
– 10 – 11 pm

If I stuck to that, that’d probably be good! Although, it’d be safer to start with 3 a day, because I’m only at 2 a day on average, so baby steps!

So then…initial planning phases for becoming more valuable. This month, sticking with the commitment to morning integral yoga practice before eating anything, and next month looks like it will be a commitment to a 3rd daily meditation. Which reminds me, one month I made it a rule that I would not eat until I meditated twice that day, so for that month I basically skipped breakfast. That was a powerful practice – but even then it didn’t necessarily guarantee meditating before sleep.

Oh, what I could definitely give up – that would be challenge — is to give up snacking! That’d be a great month long challenge, something that I don’t think I’ve ever really taken on before either…so that’d be a good one! No snacking would also pretty much guarantee more gratitude and consciousness and mindfulness during every meal…sounds like a good direction to go in! (I guess 1 meal a day is a similar challenge – but this could even look like 3 meals a day…so taking it easy on myself…slow and steady wins the race!

Anyway…
Love is Real!
All else…who knows?

The 3 commonly agreed upon characteristics of God – omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience. That means…God is present always, aware of everything that happens, and is all of the Power —- so then…we have nothing to worry about 🙂 Just in case though, if there is any concern, know, “God is Love and Peace and nothing else.” – Dr David R. Hawkins.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!