Blog Post: There's a Lesson in the Moonlight
Day in and day out I grow weary of a world where material things seem to matter more than anything else. We live in a world where, you’re either with us or against us. We are still connected to that tribal mentality that was better suited for caves and jungles. I grow weary of the way everyone is so busy yet has nothing to do. We ask, “What’s new?” and the reply is generally “Oh nothing”. We are in a world where we satisfy our spirit by condemning and judging others or by following leaders who push us to fear anyone who is not like us.
In this week of the Super Blue Moon, I find solace in reflecting on that moon. As it drifts so peacefully through our lives, the moon pays no mind to politics, race, or religion; it just shines its light on us all. I remember in my youth someone said, “The face of the full moon is the face of God.” No doubt. Through the ages men worshipped the moon as a God.
That moon has melted many hearts, guided many dreams, and lead many to love. Yet, that moon is merely stone. Even as a stone, however, the moon is made of so much more. In fact, how can anyone argue against the moon’s Divinity on a beautiful night as it lights the heavens and the earth?
Imagine through the centuries that same moon has been looked upon in everything from rapture to fear…it is an object that gives us the peculiar kind of feeling, as if it is something we should worship. It moves us emotionally and serves us thoughtlessly. The moon is a stone, yet, it is a stone that requires our attention. It draws us in, it moves us. It sends us light which we use to our satisfaction and our own needs of the moment.
From the moon there is a moonlight that is soft and can bring us a peace that passes all understanding. There is a moonlight that inspires a kind of awe. There is a cold and austere moonlight that tells the soul of its loneliness and desperate isolation, its insignificance or its uncleanness. There is an amorous moonlight prompting to love - to love not only for an individual but sometimes even for the whole universe.
Even if we look to the moon as only a stone, we shall find its very stoniness worthy of our awe. You cannot stare at the moon for long without being brought under its spell…it will seduce you and it will tame you; it will unleash the wildest emotions, yet still bring peace to what pains you. Is it merely a stone?
Meditating on that moon I open my mind and am reminded that that beautiful stone shines brightly for every man and woman; rich or poor; young or old; no matter the race, no matter the politics it shines without prejudice. Perhaps the moon is showing us how we were meant to live, without ego, without greed, we are meant to just shine our light onto all life and let our light move others to shine as well.
For hundreds of generations before us and for many more to come that moon will simply shine, that stone in space will carry on…just shining its light lovingly upon us all.
I find such peace in its grace...let it shine.
Blog Post: New Year Release
Here’s a great list to take with you into the New Year, or better yet a list of things you shouldn’t take with you into the New Year.
This is a list of beliefs that we cling to yet are holding is back. Start letting go of these beliefs and you will open yourself up for real growth and peace in the New Year:
1. “I need to be doing something right now.”
This is an incredibly subtle belief that most of us don’t even realize we are holding onto. It stems from our obsession with productivity and achievement, and it manifests as a constant, itching discontent.
Though our ego tricks us into believing we need this feeling to get things done, when we can let it go we see a lot of our anxiety dissolves and our relaxation deepens. We’re also much more likely to enjoy what we need to do without the constant internal pressure of feeling that what we’re doing in this moment is never enough.
2. “When I get what I want I will be happy.”
This is another cliche that I’m sure most of us are aware of. But despite acknowledging that we don’t need to get anything to be happy, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the chase.
To overcome this, we need to be mindful of when we have the feeling that we need something before we can be happy. When we see we’re doing this we can practice letting go of that need, even if only for a brief moment. The more capable we become at doing so, the more we will naturally experience happiness in the present, and the less our minds will fixate on ideas of the future for fulfillment.
3. “Finding inner peace is difficult.”
This is another myth that gets in the way. Many of us feel that we are far from inner peace, and we idolize those who seem to have found it. Because of this, we unconsciously believe that it’s a long way away from where we are in our lives, and we need to go on a long journey to find it.
Maybe we’ve read books that suggest that fundamental change in how we feel or act takes years of difficult training or some sort of pilgrimage. But often it is letting go of the belief that what we want is so far away, and understanding that when you stop striving so aggressively you will start to see the calm you’re looking for. It is this process of turning your beliefs upside down that becomes the journey in itself.
4. “If I express my emotions honestly people will think I’m weak.”
We’re often taught, as we grow up, to keep a lid on our emotions. This is common for responses that are considered socially inappropriate such as anger, fear, and sadness. Though in many ways we’re also taught to limit how much we show our positive emotions such as joy and excitement. This leads us, in adulthood, to believe that honest expression will be met with disapproval by others.
The irony in this is that as everyone is dealing with the urge to be authentic, those that actually do so are often met with respect and admiration.
5. “If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like it.”
This is similar to the issue we have with emotional expressions. We hide certain aspects of our personality, defining ourselves publicly by what we show and privately by what we’ve hidden. The reality is that you are a lot more than either of those stories, and people will gravitate toward the real you because they appreciate honesty.
6. “I should be happier right now.”
In our culture, we fixate too much on social comparisons between individuals. When we don’t feel good, we look at what we have and feel guilty for not being happy enough. Or, we look at what we don’t have and wonder why we’re not as happy as the next person. Happiness isn’t something you need to have all the time; it comes and goes, like any experience, but it’s not a prerequisite for being human.
7. “Not being the best me isn’t good enough.”
There’s been a huge movement in the last twenty years toward personal development. Though a lot of these ideas are healthy, they can be driven by toxic motives. Most people don’t feel they need to better themselves out of a genuine need to improve their community, but out of the feeling that they’re not good enough in the first place.
When you can strip yourself of this idea you’ll soon realize that the chase to being your best self is infinite and anxiety-inducing. You’ll see that you can love and appreciate yourself now, as you are, without needing to be someone else before feeling okay.
8. “I owe the world.”
This is a tough one and is related to the feeling of needing to be your best self. Though gratitude is important, it doesn’t mean we should walk around with the feeling that we’re in debt to the universe. We see this when people pathologically try to prove their worth to others. When we let go of the deep feeling of debt and obligation, we can then really start to give people what we have to offer.
9. “There was a time in my past that absolutely sucked.”
Often we become so identified with bad times in our past that they get in the way of us enjoying the present. We define ourselves with these past experiences and feel they we need to share them with everyone we know before they know the real us. But when we come to realize that they are far less significant than we initially thought, we stop feeling like imposters and we let old memories fall away.
Make it happen! Happy New Year 🙏🏻😎
Blog Post: Embrace the Change
2017, it’s just a number, right? Not really…2017 was another year in your life.
No matter what happened, we should be grateful that we had the opportunity to experience it. We shouldn’t have regrets because, at the very least, we learned something. If you look, I am sure there was plenty of good in 2017, in YOUR life. If you let go of the outside noise, the politics, the reports of terrible things happening around the world, the negativity the media bombards us with daily, you’ll probably see your year was generally pretty good, better for some, not so great for others, but we lived another year, another chapter of our life.
Think about where you were a year ago. In some ways, or many ways, your life has changed. Life is full of changes, nothing lasts forever. Without change we wouldn't be here today. Without change, there is no creativity, ingenuity, or progress, no growth, no birth. Without change, there is no life.
According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It is a progressive and successive series of different moments joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, where, in reality it is not. You may look at the river year after year and think it’s the same, but it’s not. The river of yesterday is different from the river of today. The river of this moment is not going to be the same as the river of the next moment. So goes our life. It changes continuously, becomes something or the other, from moment to moment nothing stays the same.
Take for example the life of an individual. It is a fallacy to believe that a person would remain the same person during their entire life time. We change every moment. We live and die but for a moment, or we live and die moment by moment, as each moment leads to the next. A person is what he is in the context of the time in which he exists. It is an illusion to believe that the person you knew years ago is the same person you see now. It is illogical to think that the person whom you are seeing now is the exact same person you saw just a year ago. We are constantly changing, internally and externally.
You can resist all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that everything and everyone changes. You should embrace the change because it is necessary. This, above all other things, should move you to live in the moment, to love your neighbor, to offer forgiveness for past mistakes, and to show compassion for all life.
Stop wasting time waiting for change to hit you across the head, it's time to live! Embrace the change, act on it and look forward to what each day and every NEW YEAR has to offer. There are only so many left in each of our lives, so make it count, make a difference, don’t wait until it’s too late.
Be the change that you want to see happen in the world…THIS YEAR!
Holiday Blog Post:
Put the HAPPY back in your holidays...here’s how...Just Be Happy!
It’s not that difficult to be happy, you just have to choose to be happy...it’s as simple as that. Happiness can come to you simply by having the clear intention to be happy.
By consciously deciding to focus on the good and choosing to see all that you have, you can be happy just being.
Simply choose to take little moments to pause and be thankful for whatever is unfolding, like hearing your favorite song, seeing a beautiful sunset, or holding the hand of someone you love. Simply choose to not participate in negativity or drama, whether it’s mind drama or the words and actions of someone else, you can choose whether to participate or not...choose the not.
Then ALWAYS Remind yourself to choose love over hate and fear. The mind can find many things to be afraid of if you let it...don’t let it.
Choosing happiness is a concept that might seem cheesy, but it works. You may choose to judge the intention negatively but then you won’t be happy. It’s your choice, that’s how life works. We might not have full control over what goes on around us but we ALWAYS have a choice in how we react to it.
Even if you are in a challenging moment in your life, there is something to be grateful for and here too, you can choose happiness.
Just Be Happy!
Wishing you a Happy Holiday, put the focus on the Happy and let go of the rest.
Blog post: Being Selfless in the Age of Selfishness
“Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without himself.” – Henry Ward Beecher
It seems that our society is filled with more greed than ever, the politics of the day seem to be all about selfishness. We see it all around us and it seems worse than ever. Our government appears to be focused on helping those who need need it the least and lining the pockets of supporters, politicians and the companies who support them.
This apparent greed pushes us to lash out against policies that seem unfair. We see the ever rising corporate profits and executive salaries as pure greed, we argue against the politicians who seem to be spending aimlessly on things that only benefit a few, we protest selfish motives and cry out against the injustices of poverty and hunger.
With little or no effort, we recognize the ugly effects of greed and selfishness on our society, culture, and in our nation. The greed of others makes this world a less pleasurable place to live for all of us. We see the wealthy get wealthier as the poor get poorer.
The media is obsessed with the rich and famous and our commercialized society puts pressure on us all to “need” the latest and greatest phone, television, car or whatever. We thumb our noses at the excesses of others and easily mock those who flaunt their greed.
All the while, our personal greed rarely goes challenged. It’s easy to recognize the negative effects of corporate selfishness. But identifying our own selfish motivation is more difficult to accomplish. It is, after all, far more painful to discover and admit that perhaps we are selfish.
As a result, we rarely recognize how our own selfishness and desires keep us from experiencing real joy, hope, gratitude, generosity, and love. Our quest for more and our attachments to material things hinder our ability to experience true contentment. Many of the decisions we make daily are based on money, sometimes at the expense of happiness. We tend to spend much of our time focused on wanting more instead of on appreciating what we have.
It is healthy and wise to recognize the greed of our society. We need voices speaking out against it… loudly. And history will continue to recognize and praise the heroes who took a stand against it. May each of us be bold as we champion society’s selfless pursuits.
But as we do, don’t forget to pay attention to your own heart. As we strive to build a world filled with generosity and charity, we should never neglect the pursuit of removing selfishness from our own affections. As we move through the holidays and in to the New Year, take some time to reflect on and consider not only your own interests, but think about the interest and well being of others.
In our meditative practice of self-reflection, we should routinely place ourselves in the plight of others and see our lives from a different perspective. Then we may discover a bit more motivation to share and help others to meet their own basic needs. We may find that we can put as much energy into helping others as we do into helping ourselves. We can move from the selfishness of the day and start to demonstrate what it means to live a life of selflessness.
The antidote for selfishness is you. And the battle must begin in OUR heart.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to love and be loved. We see love as a magic elixir that can make everything in our lives right. The loss of love can be devastating. We define ourselves, create our identities, around who and what we love and by who loves us. Empires are built and kingdoms crumble from the forces of love. With so much riding on love, it is important that we learn to live with it.
Living with love should be easy. It is the closest thing we have to a magic potion that will make everything right. When we feel love, we feel good. When we don’t feel love, we feel bad. That part is simple. When we try to love ourselves or other people things get more complicated. The problems do not come out of love, they come out of our ideas about how love should be.
Love is always just as it should be. We often think it should be different, which causes problems. We think love should make us feel good. It does. When we think love is making us feel bad, we are not feeling love. We are feeling attachment to an idea of what love should be. We expect people to behave in certain ways to demonstrate their love. They behave differently and we question the love. We expect ourselves to be a certain way to be worthy of love, but we are how we are and we question love.
When we feel sad or anxious or scared because of love, we are putting too much pressure on love. We are trying to confine it to too small of a space. We try to confine it to a specific circumstance, person, place or time. No matter how awful these ideas of love may make us feel, love will eventually be there to make us feel better. Big love, spacious love, is all around us.
Everybody, everywhere, does everything they do for love. Admittedly, in our confusion, we sometimes make a big mess of things as we do what we do for love. When we are feeling the pressure of the love we want, we need to open ourselves up to the love that we have. In every interaction, love is present. To summon love we don’t need to find our soulmate, we can think of people we love. think of things we love, or think of times we felt loved. When we are able to evoke that feeling of love, it works. We love. We feel good. No pressure.
❤️🙏🏻🌼 z m
At the core of the meditative practice is learning to be comfortable with ourselves. Most of us spend our time trying to get away from ourselves, looking for distraction, and have become addicted to being busy. We convince ourselves that being alone is lazy, unproductive, and BORING.
Being alone is just so...lonely. But, for the most part it’s more of a fear of ourselves than anything. Loneliness is a discomfort we have with ourselves, almost a phobia. Strangely enough, the cure for loneliness is being alone.
Most people try to get rid of loneliness by surrounding themselves with friends, or by watching tv, or finding other things to keep their minds so busy. In that “busyness” we don’t have to think about ourselves.
We do all we can do to keep from being by ourselves. We fill our lives with distractions, then claim we are “so busy”. We find ourselves in a constant state of distraction. That distractedness might feel right, but it keeps us off balance and forces us to waste time on things that don’t matter. Being alone can cure you.
Meditation, as a practice, helps us become more comfortable with ourselves, more comforts being alone. Whether we are meditating by ourselves, or with a group, we are sitting in self reflection. We look into ourselves with a determined focus. We watch our thoughts. We think about our feelings. We feel out moods. That’s when we find that when we you become interested in ourselves, we learn, we accept, we grow. That’s when we cure the fear of being alone and find inner peace. Peace with ourselves.
We find contentment with who we are, not always being happy with where we are but knowing we have the ability to change, to learn, and to grow. It’s important because if you cannot find contentment within yourself, you will not find it with another person.
The only way another person will bring you contentment is if they help you find it in yourself. Enjoying company is wonderful. Enjoying your own company is also wonderful.
Once you become comfortable with who you are you will never loneliness.
Try it, it works. 🙏🏻😎❤️
Blog Post: Happiness
All of us want happiness in life, yet when it stares us in the face, inviting us for a few moments of quiet bliss and happiness we walk right by.
Many times we miss it because we don't take time for ourselves or time for our loved ones. Come on, there's no time to stop, I'm busy. Heck, even for our holidays we get so caught up in the distractions of materialism that we miss the opportunity to just be together, to just be happy.
Our busy-ness is almost a disease, we don’t stop to smell a flower any more, we don’t smile at strangers, hugs are shorter, kisses are brief. There's no more dancing in the rain because, we're afraid that we might get wet.
All of us want happiness in life, yet when it stares us in the face, inviting us for a few moments of bliss, calm, and happiness, we walk away.
When did we start trading our happiness for material desires? That new car every few years, that big house, that vacation that we can't afford, going out to eat rather than cooking at home, Being distracted with programs and news, by our devices and our vices? Little realizing that thirty minutes in a garden would give us the same happiness and maybe more, but who has the time? We can watch hours of television, yet there's no time to walk in the park, to walk on the beach, or even around the block – We are just too busy. Happiness...we'll catch up to it someday.
Happiness is right there, right in front if your face. There's happiness in stopping if you're willing to look, there's happiness in sitting still.
Every day I walk past this flower that silently watches me. Every day it sways gently, as if calling for me, it even seems to be reaching out, as if it wants to touch me...I walk by. It won't be long before that flowers withers and dies, will I even notice? Will I miss that small chance to appreciate the beauty that's staring at me at this moment?
How many little joys do we miss in our day, in our life? We take these things for granted, expecting they'll be there when we have time. Those little glimpses of life, those hugs, those moments of bliss. We blink an eye and they're gone, will we even know what we missed?
Happiness is right in front of us yet, we're too busy chasing happiness to know. Is that new car really going to bring happiness? That big house? That crazy trip? Maybe, but what about that happiness we walk by every day?
Take a moment...maybe even five. Just do nothing, just be. Witness the beauty around you, sit with gratitude for all the things around you, gratitude for being alive. There's happiness there, you just have to look. ❤️