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, March 30, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere, or through anger or irritation wish for another to suffer.

Week 49

This is quite the tough one for us "mere mortals". The patience that this requires is almost nothing short of 'Saintly'. I don't make it a daily practice to wish another to suffer (...anymore. Seriously, if you didn't know already, I used to have a real problem with this), but if we are being honest, we do have anger and irritation and often deceive and even despise one another in our everyday lives. No matter how hard we try to be decent people, we just sometimes let our emotions get the better of us.

Sometimes, even when we are on a path to better living and higher consciousness, we live through instances where, when we are victims of 'wrong doing' we wish for retribution against those we feel wronged by. We will fantasize and let our minds run amok with scenarios to satisfy our egotistical need to be vindicated in some way.

The ugly, disrespectful customer, the teacher who upset our child, the loan officer/banker who made us feel inferior, the boss who belittled us, even the driver who cut us off; we spend so much of our time and energy reliving our emotional journey with these people, often wishing for the outcome to have the tables turned--to have them feel the pain we sufferer with. But who does this make us, if not just like them?

If you are reading this, your desire to journey deeper into compassion and kindness and to change the ways that have tormented you in the past are possibly upon you. Or perhaps you are not ready yet, but wish to see how others cope with this part of their lives while still trying to maintain some balance between being 'good' and living realistically.

All of my posts are essentially about the same thing: trying to find that balance between doing what you feel is right, doing right by yourself and the others around you, and living your life without strain and pain and making yourself crazy in the process for fear you're not doing it right. If you can really quiet down long enough to listen to yourself, you'll know what is right. I think some of us just try so hard, I know I do, to 'get it right' that we stress ourselves out. And I believe that because we often do try so hard, it leaves a lot of room for frustration at those who seem not to.

We just have to remember that it is not our responsibility to ensure that they live their lives right. We can only do that for ourselves, and hope that we lead by example. And that example probably should not include outward irritation, deception or despising others for their decisions.  When you are on the path to trying to make yourself better, what could be more self destructive?

The one you end up starting to despise is yourself.

Thanks for reading today.



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations.


Week 48

Doubt and misunderstanding: there is no wider abyss between people, and there is no greater distance from yourself.

Doubt comes from mistrust and we all have some reason or another for our trust to have been damaged. However, if we allow situations from our past (or present), even multiple situations, to influence us for the rest of our lives, imagine what we could potentially be missing. I'm not saying that, if your spouse cheats on you time and time again, or your child lies to you or steals from you to support their own greed, for you to continue to turn a blind eye; that would be foolish.

But we cannot use our prejudices or stereotypes of one life experience to influence our outlook on all relationships. You've heard the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me", right? There is a way to take that self-preservation a little too far. While it is definitely very good to take care that you do not become a doormat for anyone to use, allowing your experiences to encourage you to wall yourself off from everyone for fear of being mistreated will, I assure you, make for a very isolated and lonely life.

We often doubt the intentions of those who differ from us. Look at the evidence of conflict between races of all kinds, in all different countries. We fear what we don't understand; what differs from us. Our doubt and prejudices leave no room for compassion and understanding. And what about the preconceived notions a lot of people have about gays? Their 'intentions' are often doubted, as well. How horrifying to constantly be misunderstood because of such a matter as who you love or what color your skin is, even if that fear or doubt or prejudice is based on the actions of some that can be "categorized" with the whole. We are only part of the problem if we allow our doubt and fear and misunderstanding to rule our minds...and our tongues. It inevitably results in hate.

Are there any other ways you can think of when doubt has controlled you? How about with your own personal decision making? Doubting other people is not the only way to break up pleasant relations. Constantly living in the shadow of doubt can affect many aspects of your relationship to yourself, as well. From the simple decisions like "what do I wear to this thing?" to major financial decisions like what to invest in, when to make that offer on the house you want, when to take the leap and change jobs, what relationships to acquire because you doubt yourself and everyone else causing you to have trust issues (based on those past hurts) all builds up, no matter how small and insignificant the decisions seem, each one a stone. And, no matter how small, each one helps you to build that barrier of doubt around your life, isolating you from freedom and happiness.

Always doubting and being on guard for someone to 'do you wrong' can cause agony where it needn't be. The attitude that everyone is 'out to get you' is very damaging, at best. Having a suspicious mind because you have been hurt before is the fast track to ruining good relationships. Don't let past mistakes cloud your judgment for future fulfillment.

Letting go of the fear of making the wrong decisions is scary. Sometimes, especially if you have been this certain way all of your life and have lived through terrible hurts, it will seem next to impossible to change. But, doubt is not your friend. In some cases it can cushion you from the blows of your mistakes. But creating a habitual life of doubt...that's a far lonelier place than picking up the pieces after learning from your mistakes.

Thanks for reading today.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

(Photo courtesy of, a very inspirational blog written by Jennifer Miller, Heart Based Healing)

Watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings.

Week 47

It is definitely not easy, or always practical, to watch our every thought, as it seems suggested here. I could lie and tell you I am becoming a master at this, but the truth is, the only thing I am becoming a master of is trying. For now, that is good enough, because, whether or not I ever get there, at least I want to get there. And to me, that's better than doing nothing at all.

But it is worth it to at least try to be more mindful of what we allow to come through (as our thoughts). If we learn to observe our thoughts more so than feeling we have to control them, if we think of it that way, we may be more open to the change, as it will seem like less of a challenge.

You've heard me talk about being in the "Now", and you've probably heard this idea quite often, by now. It simply means to stay present in your day to day life, or to remember to pull your awareness back to the present moment whenever you realize your mind is taking you someplace else, usually as an escape from reality. While this can seem useful in times of duress or even boredom, escaping reality isn't always the answer. 'Observing your thoughts' only requires you to pull yourself back into reality whenever you can and really look at what you are thinking about. Just realize that you are having racing or chaotic thoughts and what they are. Don't judge, don't admonish.  Just observe. You can choose to change the ones that you want, and let the rest go. You don't have to study every though that you have; just have a mild recognition as they come and go. You'll get the hang of it sooner or later, and can decide which thoughts to change and which to let go.

Once we start to get comfortable with watching our thoughts, we can move to practicing to guide those thoughts. Patience is key, here. This isn't just a one week learning situation. With this observation you will surely be able to see how your thinking affects your life. When you tire of how life is going, the natural path to then follow is to change something; your thinking, your actions and reactions, etc. You need to love yourself enough to know that you deserve better and to make those changes to better your situation. You will find, as I did, that once you show compassion enough for yourself in this way, your compassion will spread to others. You really do have to learn to love yourself first, for what you dislike in another, you actually already dislike in yourself.

You will eventually learn that it feels better to forge thoughts based on concern for all living beings, than from conceited, one-sided thoughts concerning yourself alone; that can prove to be very isolating over time. I can think of several situations, just recently at work, even, where I felt completely cornered by someone's hateful tendencies.  Their actions and words were demeaning and degrading, hurtful and just all around emotionally upsetting. Definitely not the way you should be or expect to be treated in your work environment. And the last thing on my mind was to have loving thoughts towards this man. However, I have gotten to a place where this is mostly second nature because I was able to still keep my actions and emotions (mostly) under control. He wanted to be upsetting and it worked. March is a really sorrowful month for me, and I am filled with sadness, so my emotions are a bit on edge this time of year. But I'm at least proud of the fact that I was able to not react like I would have several years ago. It was still very upsetting, but I did not have the anger I would have had before. I still retained some of the compassion that I have learned to have for others.

If I had not taken the time to care about my own well being (and my own mental health) and started the practice of more positive and loving thoughts, scenarios in my life would have far different outcomes than they do. So, you see, it's not always about changing your ways to treat others better. You have to also try to incorporate how you will be affected, as well.

So, no, it's not always practical to monitor every single thought you have every single day, but to make the effort to be more of a witness of the majority of your thinking, more at ease and connected you can start to become with yourself and the more joyful and connected you will feel to others. You can be proud of the fact that you care enough about yourself to care more about the people around you. The more connected you feel toward others, the more apt you are to let your thoughts about them spring from love and concern.

Everything in life is a learning process. Most of everything you learned as a child you did so through trial and error, practice and patience. No one learned to ride that bicycle for you, you had to do it yourself. Once you got the hang of it, though, it became second nature. You never forgot how to do it. All that's left now is to enjoy the ride.

Thanks so much for being here today.



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

Live joyfully, without desire.

Week 46

When trying to interpret these quotes/lessons, I try to remember that the ideals behind them are ancient when compared to our modern times, and therefore, the interpretation may be slightly different now than it was 2,500, or even 1,000 years ago, just as one must give wide berth to interpretation of the Bible to each who is reading and applying it to their lives.

I try to see each quote for what it may have meant to the Buddha and learn to incorporate it into my life for what it could mean for me today.

Most people believe that to live joyfully, one must accumulate what their heart desires: more money, a bigger house, a more luxurious car, a perfect California closet, beautifully  organized and packed with the latest trends in clothing, shoes and bags...the man or woman of your dreams, the perfect body, etc.

It's somewhat unbelievable to most of us that we could ever live joyfully without the major comforts, or at least a few of our desires. What I feel the Buddha is saying here is, that to live joyfully,  you must live without desire. Not necessarily without, just without the egotistical need to fulfill yourself with 'stuff'.

Believe me, I definitely understand the need for security and financial freedom, and the desire for the feeling of calm that it gives. I would be lying if I said I didn't believe that this was important. It's very difficult to concentrate on being happy if you constantly worry about how to pay the bills, and I think we all know the relief that can come from having 'enough' money to take care of everything we need to take care of and live comfortably without worrying how our next bill will be paid.

However, when we switch our minds from always being afraid or always being in a position of 'need', to trying to have the mindset that, no matter what, we are ok and will have enough, because there is enough out there for everyone, you can watch as the 'enough' starts to fill your life.

So, how do we start to accomplish this, a lifestyle of living without the desire for more or the constant feeling of need because we feel we don't have 'enough'?

For starters, having too high of expectations or always desiring more and more, when it may never happen, does not bring joy. Find joy in what you already have. Sounds real hard, but, trust me, it can be done. You have to at least accept what you have and your life for what it is, right now. If you find you are not satisfied, only you can change it. You have to decide which sacrifices you must make in order to feel at peace with your situation and live with joy.

Next, make sure if you do decide to attain more for your life (this can mean anything from money and posessions to titles and relationships), attain without ego or attachment. Ego in the way that we allow these attainments to define us causing us to have a false sense of self such as superiority over others or pride in ourselves and attatchment in the way we allow our self-worth or identity to be defined by our accomplishments causing us to be crushed under the weight of our losses.

The best way to avoid it, though, is to just not muddle your mind with constant desire. Live in the 'Now'. Live with joy in the everyday and good things will find their way to you. Like attracts like. If you live feeling the constant need for more or the fear of 'not enough', your life will most likely never have enough. But if you live from a place of confidence in the fact that there is plenty for everyone, plenty you shall have.

Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by!



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes. 

Week 45

The last two weeks touched on being quick to diligence, ridding oneself of an idle mind and a lazy disposition. I think it quite appropriate to link this week's quote with those last two posts. The main way to a more diligent way of life is, of course, endurance. To form the daily habits of a more diligent life, you must learn to through endurance. To form life long strengths to better yourself, you must have that endurance.

I've touched upon the things that I try to build my endurance for--maintaining diet, exercise, finances, meditation, letting go and speaking and acting with a pure heart. You may have a lot of the same habits you would like to form to better your life, maybe you have a whole different list. One thing is the exact same...keeping up these practices and forming them into new habits (enduring) is "the most difficult of disciplines".

It's not always wise or realistic to try to work on all of your newly desired habits all at once. I wrote an article about getting things done, with the suggestions that have helped me to endure through the process. Give yourself time, but believe that it will happen. Believe in yourself. Maybe that is one of your tasks--enduring in the belief that you can, and will, accomplish your goals.

You deserve that victory.

Thank you for being here.