Personal Note

My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From your thoughts, you can create greatness.

This is what I need to remind myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create. Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgemental, love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are love.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

How easy it is to see your brother's faults, how hard it is to face your own. 


Week 31

I'll bet we are all quite guilty of this: easily spotting someone else's faults while conveniently forgetting our own. It is so much easier to pick at and pull apart someone else while avoiding ourselves in the mirror. We use many distractions to avoid self-reflection, actually; directing the focus onto someone else is just one way we escape the hard truth about ourselves.

We, as a human race, also have a great tendency to escape reality with drinking, drugs, food, shopping, promiscuity, television, the Internet or gambling. Most of us do these things plus point fingers at everyone else and avoid working on ourselves for the greater good. All are distractions from dealing with the hard work it takes to be better individuals. Sometimes it is easier to concentrate on the faults of others than to do the hard work on ourselves.

The 'faults' of others may not even be faults at all. Maybe just differences. Differences in opinion, how we raise our children, what foods we eat, who we love, what religion we choose, what philosophy we follow, our beliefs, our politics, even our morals. Different doesn't necessarily mean wrong.

If we open our hearts and minds, we may see that all of our differences may not be all that different, after all. We must realize that we're all in this together and we all basically want the same things--happiness, peace, love. Our differences don't really matter, anyway. What matters is that we accept each other for who we are, with respect and dignity. Our contrasts and diversities, and our ability to consciously accept them, are what make our species unique. Acceptance brings us together, acceptance breaks down barriers, acceptance eliminates fear.

 When you learn to accept others for whom and what they are, you are better able to accept yourself. Looking in that mirror and practicing a bit of self-reflection won't be so hard. I guarantee you'll stop wanting to focus on everyone else's 'faults' and want to start fixing your own.

Be gracious in your thoughts of others. Be gracious in your reflection of yourself.

Thanks for reading



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

Week 30

Well, if ever there was something I was abundant in, it's ideas. Being brave or audacious enough to see them through...well, I'm getting there. Afterall, I have started these two blogs and submitted a few articles to a well traveled website.  So I think I've done a pretty good job of stepping out of my confining walls of doubt or fear that have been holding me back.

But, it's feeling like the time to really start focusing on putting more of my ideas into action; bringing them into fruition.  I don't believe that it's completely due to fear that I am so slow to find my motivation, but it is still a factor with me, even though I've learned so much about letting go of fear and doing what makes me happy and not holding myself back due to what other's opinions may be.

I also suffer from periodic ALML-Acute Lack of Motivation and Laziness (pst...I just made that up, by the way...). Again, this could be a by product of fear, and I'm working on figuring that out, too. It is important to realize where your actions, or lack thereof, are coming from so that you are properly equipped to conquer those not-so-good-for-you actions.

Whatever the reason, an idea that just stays inside you as a thought is useless. If you leave the seeds in their packages in the shed they won't grow. They must be planted, fertilized, cared for and the weeds need to be pulled out to give them room to root well. They must be nurtured until they are fully grown and ripe for harvesting. But it's important that you DO reap what you sow. What's the use in doing all of that hard work, if you are just going to let the garden rot and never enjoy the benefits of your labors?

The same goes for all of your thinking and planning. I do a lot of it, myself. But there comes a time when you have to put your "what-if's" aside and believe in yourself enough to take the risk of putting yourself out there. You never know unless you try. What's the worst that could happen? You could be told 'no' if you're looking for an approval for something, you could be criticized by other people, you could outright fail.

Well, then, ask the person telling you 'no' the 'why' and work on fixing it to turn it into a 'yes' next time. You've probably been criticized before in your life, and while it doesn't feel very good, use it to your advantage and be open minded. If it seems like constructive criticism, use that to your advantage. Learn from it, don't be angry at it. It's all in your perception, after all. If it just seems like cruel naysaying, ignore it. You know what the purpose of that is, and you don't need that in your life. You can choose to disregard that which does not serve you. And if you just outright, 100%, flat on your face fail...well, you can choose to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes.

It worked when you were five years old learning to ride a bike, and it will work the same way now. You wanted it badly enough to keep at it then, so why not reach back and pull from that same determination you had when you were an innocent youth?

I think I'm ready to take the training wheels with me?

Have a great week, and thanks so much for reading.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

"As I am, so are others; as are others, so am I." Having thus identified self and others, harm no one nor have them harmed.

Week 29

The world has a lot to learn from this quote. The moment we stop seeing ourselves as separate, different, and start realizing that we are all One, is the moment we start to heal. We will heal from the inside out; inside us, and out into the world.

It's a big lesson for most, "As I am, so are others..." If everyone would think of each other as the same--same families to take care of, same jobs to work, same bills to pay, same life struggles, same joys, same sorrows--maybe we could start to feel a kinship with one another that should encourage us to not want to harm each other. And there's more to harming someone than with a hand.

Our cruel and unfair judgments or even outright selfish disdain for someone 'different' or 'beneath' us is a slap in the face with just as much sting. What makes us so supposedly 'different' is our reaction and preconceived thoughts about who someone is based on the external and our treatment of each other. We are all basically the same: human beings who need a connection.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking..."Well, not everybody has the same job or bills, struggles or even sorrows..." Yeah, some have it perceivably 'better' than others. But do you really begrudge them their good fortune? You don't know how long that's all going to last for them, and you most likely don't know the work that they did to get there. Would you want them to begrudge you for your good fortune, whatever it may be, without even knowing you or what you went through to get it, or even how grateful you are everyday to have it? Or would you rather they encourage you and congratulate you, with honest love and goodwill in their hearts?

It certainly is a nice sentiment, isn't it? Being happy for someone else?

Try to open your heart to others. You will be surprised at the gifts you receive in return.  This practice may not create global peace just yet, but it's a heck of a good start.

Thank you so much for sharing with me today.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sundays With Buddha


Teach this triple truth to all: a generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.

Week 28

Though these lessons are about 2500 years old, and the time between our modern age and the time of Shakyamuni Buddha is spanned over two millennia, the basis of the "Triple Truth" he speaks of has not changed all that much. Here, I give a breakdown of my interpretation of how I can use the three aspects of this lesson in my everyday life. I think you will see that it won't take you too far out of your way to bring some light of your own to humanity.

A Generous Heart: being generous can mean so many things. Yes, the first thing you are probably thinking of is being generous with your money. Donating money to a good cause or charity is important. Helping others in this way is great, not only for them, but you will reap the rewards of tuning your vibrations into being one who gives freely; and the Universe will reward you right back. You can also be generous with your time. Volunteering your time to help others is a fantastic way to give back and share some generosity. Even just taking the time to do something nice for someone else on a day to day basis is a great way to show generosity and selflessness.

Kind Speech: Always try to be mindful of what you are saying. Take a split second before you speak to gauge whether or not what you are about to say will be beneficial or harmful. Be the one who 'gifts' someone else with a kind word. Words are so powerful, for those who hear them, and those who speak them. Try to remember to think first before 'stirring the pot', so to speak, with gossip, or anything you know in your heart will be hurtful to someone else. Really decide if it's worth it. This is one of the difficult changes for me, personally, because we tend to do it without a second thought, and it is such a habit to 'speak our minds'. I have to really be diligent in asking myself "is it worth it?" when I want to argue or feel the need to be 'right'. It took a bit of practice, but I really do feel so much better when I concede and keep my undue opinions to myself. I'm not always successful at it, but it's becoming the new habit for me.

A Life of Service and Compassion: "How may I serve" is a new thought I have very recently familiarized myself with. It's a shocking concept when we are so used to being a selfish breed. Think of all the different ways you can serve; you might be surprised with what you come up with. Pick one, practice it. See how that makes you feel. Notice that you have not lost anything from it, but more than likely gained something invaluable. There are many different ways to serve another. Again, volunteering is a great way to serve your community, but the way I have come to learn to serve is by lending myself to being there for someone else in need, the best way I can. If that just means being a good friend and listening, you are serving. Or if it means being a little less selfish and stepping up to be available when needed, for whatever reason, that's servitude, as well. This does not mean to completely sacrifice yourself all off the time. Just be a little more conscious of another's needs, not just your own, and serve with an open heart, out of love and compassion.

Speaking of Compassion, I've just recently come to the realization that everyone wants the same thing: to be happy. If we can look at each other in this way, that we are all in the "same boat", that we are all basically the same, our compassion for each other will grow. Our love will expand to them as we should love ourselves. When we see in another the suffering that we ourselves have endured, our compassion for their suffering will grow, and we will want them to suffer no more, just as we long to end our own suffering. When you start to see other people like this, hopefully your compassion for them will grow into something that will encourage you to treat people with a more kind, open heart.

I know I always say this, but just imagine what would happen if each person set aside their differences, their selfishness, and their fear and lived with a more compassionate, generous and kind way about them, thinking of others before themselves a little more. What kind of world would we live in? I really want to see that world, and live in it. It's up to each one of us to decide to be better. We can create that world, even if it's just the small "world" of your everyday life within your circle of existence.

When you drop a pebble in the water, no matter how small, it still forms concentric rings that affect the whole body of water. Let your smile, your generosity, kindness and compassion be that pebble.

Thank you for being here today.



(*Note: The wisdoms that I speak of here are taken from the multiple teachings that I have observed through books and video along my journey from authors and teachers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer and the Venerable Thubten Chodron, a Western (American) Buddhist Nun who speaks very plainly about how to relate our Western modern selves to becoming better people through compassion and wisdom)