Zen Being

“Thought-forms that are emerging from a sense of connection are so much more powerful than thought-forms which are emerging from a sense of separation”– Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith

Life  sometimes seems demanding, and we often have a tendency to live out long patches of it in response-mode as we react to the circumstances and stimuli that we encounter, trying to keep up with the hectic pace of this technological, economy-centered, career-oriented age.  We often find meaning in the living as we go rather than embrace and enlist our greatest powers of deliberate creation.

The simple question, “How may I serve the highest good?” can be a powerful internalizing tool to awaken the deliberate creator within.  Asked at the beginning or close of a meditation, when one is contemplating a course of action, or even when feeling anxious or fearful, subtle shifts happen.  Fears seem more flimsy.  Priorities seem to shift…

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Everyday Wisdom #57

To be generous means to conquer our fears.

Our fears of loss.  Of losing our possessions.  Of losing our identity.

We fear irreversible loss – of giving away something that we cannot get back.  We fear losing a part of ourselves in the process.

To be generous though means to redefine our boundaries.

Those ‘things’ that are yours – your pain, your suffering, your problems – are also mine.

And those things that are mine – my knowledge, my abilities, my time, my resources and energy – they are also yours.

This is true generosity.

 

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” 

The Dalai Lama 


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Everyday Wisdom #56

 

“My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

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The pieces of the puzzle

This morning I feel incredibly grateful to have witnessed the most amazing thing…

But first I should preface this blog post so it makes sense.

My gorgeous 6yo little boy has Aspergers Syndrome.  

And recently a cognitive assessment showed a borderline intellectual disability.

To me though, it makes no difference.  The “labels” that have been placed upon him.

He is my son

He is beautiful, and sweet and kind and gentle.

And I love him more than life itself.

I accept his limitations, and encourage him and support him.  However I am also realistic with what he is capable of.

Which is what made this morning so special.

He was given a “challenge game” for his birthday.  Where you have to fit the pieces in the right order so they all match.  Kind of like a rubix cube.

The instructions with the game say: “This travel sized, single player game is great for almost any age!  It is suitable for children from age 6 through to adults.  Work your way through the various levels of difficulty, enhancing your concentration, problem solving, sequential thinking and hand-eye coordination skills”

This morning, in front of my eyes, he completed the puzzle.

All by himself.

This is something I have not even been able to achieve!  And the 2nd time he did it (in a row!) I had my camera handy.

It was a truly wonderful moment, and I am incredibly and immensely proud of him ♥

To me it was better than winning lotto.

 

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Children make you want to start life over. 

~Muhammad Ali

 

Wonderful tips for meditation ♥

219,000 Minutes of Emptiness

don't just do something, sit there!One of the truly awesome, and at times challenging, things about meditation is there really is no instruction other than beginner’s instruction. If you are new to meditation, try to and enjoy your practice without seeking expert status – this is it!

Today’s tips are about getting to the cushion. Often we are exposed to meditation and we bring great enthusiasm to making this practice a part of our lives. However, we quickly find ourselves putting off sitting in favor of watching a little more TV or sleeping in a few minutes longer. The greatest benefits of meditation come not from a single session but rather from sitting every day.

  1. Set a reasonable length of time: Consider starting with 5 minutes. Remember our goal is to sit every day, not to be rocketed into enlightenment with that one perfect session. The first few months provide more of a challenge building…

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Everyday Wisdom #55

 

Children are natural Zen masters;

their world is brand new in each and every moment.

John Bradshaw

 

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Happiness is: Switching Off

Most of us – if not all of us – struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

One of the particular challenges we face each day is ‘switching off’ once we get home, and detaching ourselves from the stresses of the work day – difficult clients, challenging cases, meetings, paperwork to be done.

Often our heads can still be “at work” even hours after we step through the front door.

This can have an effect on our relationships, and our roles as parents, partners and friends.  It also means we are missing out on the precious moments around us.

So here are some strategies for switching off once you get home:

  • Create a routine.  Many of us have a set routine in the mornings: wake up, coffee, shower, dress, breakfast.  Create a similar routine for when you get home.  Get changed, put on your favourite comfy shoes.  This routine helps you make the mental shift from work to home.
  • Unplug.  Literally switch off.  Turn off your phone (if you can).  Resist the urge to check your work emails.  Have a clear boundary between “home” and “work”.
  • Set achievable goals.  Don’t set unrealistic goals for what you can achieve while you are at work.  If you need help, ask for it.  Delegate where possible.
  • Create a to-do list.    For home!  Of all the fun things you would like to do.  It’s important to have things to look forward to outside of work.
  • Prioritise relaxation.  Make sure you make time when you get home to do what helps you to unwind.  Whether that’s exercise, meditation, reading, playing with your dog, or just sitting quietly.

 

Don’t forget – you work to live, not live to work.

So follow the tips above and switch OFF from work, and ON to life.

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Wonderful and concise thoughts on Karma ♥

Everyday Wisdom #54

“When someone is suffering deeply within themselves, their suffering spills over and they start making others suffer as well. What they truly need is our help, not punishment.” 

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

I saw this great quote today, and it really struck a chord with me.

It’s so true in so many situations.

Today I saw a news article on my local news website – it was a photograph of a man that police believe could “assist them with their enquiries” in regards to a hold up.  

Looking at the photo it made me think about this person.  What has driven him to that desperate act?  Where he would rob a bottle shop?  Or at least attempt to.

What suffering and pain must he be experiencing?  That would cause him to commit this act, and thus transfer his suffering to others.

I felt a deep sense of compassion for this person, and the people who’s lives he affected as well.

For me it also applied to another situation I faced today.

I was feeling a little upset and hurt that I had not heard from someone.  

I had made the situation all about me – and how I was feeling sad.  And what I needed.  Reading this quote though snapped me out of my malaise.  This person is going through a rough time, and needs my support and understanding more than ever.

And really, that is true of nearly everyone in our lives.

 

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Goosebumps

I have goosebumps.

What a wonderful and inspirational thing to be part of!!

My Grateful Challenge

This afternoon I was reading a wonderful article on Hailey Bartholomew, and the 365 Grateful Project.

She says that:

“What started out as a chore became a gift that changed the way I looked at the world.  Just having the camera physically with me every day caused a shift in the way I was thinking.  Previously I was concentrated on the negative, but doing this made me consciously look for the positive.  That process literally changed the way my brain was working, shifting it from always focusing on the bad to the good.

About three months into the project, I woke up one day and bounded out of bed.  I just sort of leapt out, ready for the day, excited about it, and that hadn’t happened for such a long time.  I remember thinking that morning, this is unusual – and I realised I was happy.  This project saved me”

It has inspired me to start my own Grateful Project.

Today I am grateful for:

A beautiful, clear and crisp Autumn Day (with a distinct flavour of winter).

A perfect daisy.

A knitting/craft afternoon with my neighbour.

My partner, and his love and support.

 

I would be honoured if you followed my progress on my Facebook page.

Love & blessings to you all ♥

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Truly where growth begins

Mindfulbalance

Without darkness, Nothing comes to birth, As without light, Nothing flowers.

May Sarton

It has taken me a long time to recognize that darkness is an essential element for personal growth. No matter how many ‘right things.’ I do, darkness will still come unannounced and uninvited because it is an essential part of life. Without darkness I cannot become the person I was meant to be.

Joyce Rupp, Little Pieces of Light

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My vows

I vow to live as an instrument of peace.  To live a simple, sincere, gentle and serene life.  
 
I will cultivate cheerfulness, compassion, and hope.  Only speaking words that are true, necessary, and kind.
 
I shall exercise economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, diligence in my faith, and fidelity to every trust.  
 
Where there is darkness, I will bring light.  Where there is intolerance, I will bring understanding.  Where there is despair, I will bring hope.  Where there is sadness I will bring joy.
 
I shall not seek to be consoled, but to console.  To understand, and not be understood.  To love, and to be loved.
 
My soul is open, and my heart is ready.
 
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Everyday Wisdom #53

Look to this day.

In it lie all the realities and verities of existence, the bliss of growth, the spendor of action, the glory of power.

For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision.

But today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

 

Sanskrit Proverb

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Idle speech

I had a great reminder today about the dangers of idle speech.

I try to be very careful with what I say, and avoid gossip and idle speech as much as humanly possible.  I also try to avoid listening to it.

Today I was involved in a situation where there was a fair amount of gossip being spread – none of it particularly malicious – but it still caused a great deal of heartache.

People were given the wrong idea.

People were hurt, and caused unnecessary stress and suffering.  Those people included myself and my loved ones.

And it made me even more determined to be very careful with what I say.

Iit reaffirmed my commitment to practice right speech: to use words skilfully, in a way that will bring peace and happiness to myself and the people around me.

Dogen said that idle talk disturbs the mind. A Buddha, fully mindful of his thoughts, words and deeds, does not speak idly.

 

“The man who is committed to abstinence from slander avoids tale-bearing.
He brings about reconcilation among those who are divided.
His words strengthen the unity of those who are already united.
He delights in seeing people in harmony.
He loves harmony, so he will make only the remarks that tend to encourage harmonious relationships.”

Buddha

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Everyday Wisdom #52

Within yourself
is a stillness
and a sanctuary
to which you can
retreat at any time
and be yourself

Hermann Hesse 

 

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Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

If you have a dream, chances are you’ll need help to get there. Whether you want to write a book, climb a mountain, win Olympic Gold, speak a new language or improve your health, your best bet will be to attract a good teacher into your life – one who will believe in you, and have the ability to help you to grow and to shine.

Sometimes the only thing that holds you back from success is not a lack of talent or good ideas, it’s a lack of knowledge, skills or techniques.  But that doesn’t have to be an obstacle – trust that there truly is someone or something out there in the Universe that can help you bridge that knowledge gap. Someone will have walked that road before you…

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Everyday Wisdom #51

Enjoy and savour the moments of silence that are easily available to us,
there in our daily lives

 

Everyday Wisdom #50

Every morning when I wake up, I dedicate myself to helping others to find peace of mind. Then, when I meet people, I think of them as long term friends; I don’t regard others as strangers.

Dalai Lama

 

This is something I feel very passionately about.

I always approach all people with the attitude that they are just a friend that I haven’t met yet.

And I treat them with as much open heartedness, and kindness, and warmth as I can.

And I am very blessed that I frequently become “instant friends” with people.  

To me there are:

No boundaries

No division

No seperateness

We are all one, and we can all help each other.

 

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Divorce and forgiveness

My partner is in the process of going through a divorce, and was asking my advice on how he can get through the process without becoming bitter and jaded.
I put my thoughts into an email which I wanted to share on my blog…

Divorce and forgiveness

I guess I can only speak from my own personal experience.  Of what I did, and what worked for me.

It hasn’t always been easy to remain calm when it comes to dealing with my  ex-husband. He can be very secretive and ‘closed’.  And hostile as well.

For me I decided early on that I wasn’t going to let it affect me.  I didn’t want my son to see it.  And if I let it affect me, it was only going to compromise me, and my ability to handle the situation.

I have a need to have open communication and understanding to work through issues..  And it makes life difficult when I am not met with the same respect and courtesy.

I guess though at least by trying to continue doing the right thing myself, I could be confident that I’d done the very best that I could. To make the situation as easy and pleasant as possible.  Even the times that my ex-husband was unpleasant I just remained calm.

Because that was something that he needed to deal with.  It was no longer my problem.  And funnily the more calm and even I remained, the more it annoyed him.  Because he wasn’t affecting me.

It’s also very liberating to step away from their games.  And to be free of it.  To rise above it I guess.

Dealing with the feelings of resentment is going to be key in getting through this.  Because if left as it is, resentment will turn into frustration, which turns into anger.

It will be a matter of how to deal with the resentment in a useful way.  It can help to write out how you are feeling.  Even if this is only in a letter that s never going to be read.  Sometimes it helps to just put thoughts into words.  It helps to untangle our thoughts by writing them out.  And clears our head a little.  Sometimes just by getting them out there it’s enough to release our tension and frustration.  Nothing more needs to be done.  Sometimes.

But just remember to put yourself first in all of this.

That’s something I learnt the hard way.

You need to do what brings you comfort and peace.

Enjoy the good times – however brief they may be.  They give you strength to face the bad times.

And also accept offers of help from people.  Let people that care about you support you through it.

I let friends know that I wasn’t okay.  And mostly what I needed was just company.  Someone to talk to.  To spend time with.

You get out of relationships (of any sort) what you put into them.  The more love, kindness and compassion you approach a situation with, the more you will (eventually) get in return.  Perhaps not from your ex-partner, but from the universe in general.

Nothing has changed between my ex-husband and I.  We have a very terse relationship.

However the world around me has changed as I have changed.  As I have softened and opened, more opportunities have become available to me.  I have met so many beautiful people.

Also just allow yourself to work through the stages.  Grief, anger, resentment, etc.  Allowing yourself the time to feel your full range of emotions is not only liberating, but necessary.  It helps cleanse you of any negativity you may be holding on to.

The ability to wholly and truly forgive is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself.  Forgiveness sets you free from resentment’s confines; it breaks down the walls that anger builds and negativity reinforces.  When we forgive, we stop letting ours pasts dictate our presents. We acknowledge we want the very best for ourselves; accepting that our past makes us the person we are today, and embracing that.  Letting go of resentment doesn’t necessarily lead to forgiveness, but when you embrace forgiveness, resentment ceases to exist.

We cannot control what other people do, but we can control how we react. When we practice truthful living, and forgiveness, resentment fails to have any power over us.

And that’s really how I feel, and how I have managed to get through it without bitterness and anger.

I refused to let this experience change me – for the worse.  Only for the better.  I was determined to learn from it, and grow, and use it to be coming more open and loving and kind.  And help other people.

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