Transformative Nature of Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness: The Transformational Effect of Letting Go of Resentment

The Power of Forgiveness - The Transformational Effect of Letting Go of Resentment 4

26th August 2016

By Steve Taylor, PhD

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Recently I met a woman called Sena, whose brother was killed 13 years ago. Tony, her brother, was working as a chef in the British army, when he was shot by one of the soldiers in his own unit. The soldier claimed it was an accident, that the gun had just gone off as he put it over his knees. He was eventually sentenced to two years in prison for manslaughter. The death was made even more tragic by the fact that Tony’s wife was pregnant with their first child.

Sena’s life was thrown into disarray. She had a psychological breakdown, couldn’t work or sleep, and was put on strong psychiatric drugs. She became timid, felt that she couldn’t face the outside world, and didn’t leave her house for months. It was made worse by the media attention which the incident caused. The investigation and trial lasted for more than two years, and as Sena told me. “We lived in a small town where nothing ever happened, so it was big news, and always featured in the local newspaper and on local television.”

Sena’s difficulties continued until six years ago, when she began to go through a process of healing, the main feature of which was forgiving the man who killed her brother. As she describes it:

“I realised that it wasn’t serving any purpose for me to be so full of hatred and bitterness. All it was doing was causing intense pain inside me. It definitely wasn’t serving my purpose. So I decided to let go. I realised that he [the man who killed her brother] was no different to me. He said it was an accident, and I was sure he felt remorse about it. I knew that it was the right thing to do, to forgive him. And it had an immediate effect. I felt lighter and freer, as if I’d suddenly let go of about 40 years of ageing. It felt like my life could begin again.”

Since then Sena’s life has turned around. She feels that the experience has deepened and expanded her, and enabled to live a richer and more meaningful life.

Letting Go

It’s certainly not easy to forgive. If someone has wronged you – inflicted pain, humiliated you, abused or exploited you – it’s entirely natural to feel bitterness and resentment. That’s surely what they deserve. Surely what they dont deserve is our empathy and understanding, and certainly not our charity. Surely to forgive them just “lets them off the hook” and gives them licence to mistreat others.

But there are good reasons why forgiveness is worthwhile. A prolonged, constant sense of resentment doesn’t punish the person who wronged you, but only yourself. Carrying resentment – or a grudge against someone – drains of us our energy and well-being. It creates tension inside us, makes us rigid, and creates a general sense of negativity which seeps through the whole of our lives. In a sense therefore, by carrying resentment, we allow the person to continue hurting us. An act of forgiveness, therefore, means releasing this resentment, freeing ourselves from the tension and rigidity which comes with carrying a grudge.

Research has shown how beneficial forgiveness can be. In a study at Stanford University, 259 people were assigned to either a nine hour “forgiveness workshop” or to a control group. At the end of the workshop, the workshop participants reported significantly lower levels of stress and anger, and more optimism and better health. (1)

You might assume that, if you had the opportunity to take revenge on someone who has wronged you, this would give you a tremendous sense of well-being, a sense of catharsis which would purge you of your resentment and make you feel liberated. But research has shown that this is generally not the case. Whereas people who don’t seek revenge tend to “move on,” people who take revenge continue to ruminate about the situation, which prolongs the negativity. Situations which may have been seen as trivial are inflated and inflamed. The “catharsis” of revenge only leads to more bitterness and resentment. (2)

And in any case, acts of revenge are counterproductive in the long run. They only set up a cycle of violence which leads to more hatred, hurt and destruction on both sides.

Empathy and Understanding

I’m aware that this is very idealistic, of course. The idea of offering complete forgiveness to someone who has wronged you may be a step which you’re unwilling to take. It may depend on the severity of the incident, and how strongly it has affected you.

However, there are some intermediate points between vengefulness and complete forgiveness. It may help simply to try to understand the person’s perspective, and look at the reasons for their actions. Did they really intend to hurt you? And even if they did, were they really responsible for their actions? If they really are “evil” in some way, perhaps this is due to factors beyond their own control – for example, psychological or personality problems, or environmental factors. Perhaps they suffer from low self-esteem, insecurity, or a psychiatric disorder. Perhaps they had a terrible upbringing which has scarred or traumatized them. It’s also worth remembering that people who hurt and humiliate others are usually full of psychological discord themselves, and most likely extremely unhappy.

It doesn’t really matter conclusions you come to – the simple act of empathising with the person may release some of your resentment.

And once you’ve reached that point you may feel that you can further, to the point of forgiveness. In Sena’s experience, forgiveness was sudden and immediate, but according to the psychologists Enright, Freedman and Rique, the process normally has four stages. First, there is the “Uncovering Phase,” where you become aware of the negative effect your resentment is having on your life. Second, there is the “Decision Phase,” when you decide to let go of your resentment. Next is the “Work Phase,” where you cultivate your forgiveness, by accepting what has happened and trying to empathize with the offender. Finally, there is the “deepening phase,” in which your forgiveness leads to a deeper understanding of yourself and of life in general; you might, for example,develop a sense of empathy and compassion for others who have suffered in a similar way. (3)

We shouldn’t, therefore, think that forgiveness means letting the wrongdoer “off the hook.” We should forgive for ourselves, not for them. If anything, forgiveness means letting ourselves “off the hook” – that is, freeing ourselves from unnecessary anger and bitterness, which – as Sena put it – serves no purpose and blights ourselves our lives with negativity. As the saying goes, “The best revenge is living well.”

Perhaps we also have a collective responsibility to forgive, as a way of avoiding (or at least mitigating) the conflicts and wars which still rage throughout the world – all of which began and are continually inflamed by resentment, and which will keep raging until empathy and understanding overcome resentment. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written, “Forgiveness is an absolute necessity for continued human existence.”

Notes/References

  1. http://learningtoforgive.com/research/effects-of-group-forgiveness-intervention-on-perceived-stress-state-and-trait-anger-symptoms-of-stress-self-reported-health-and-forgiveness-stanford-forgiveness-project/
  2. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/95/6/1316/
  3. Enright, R.D. (1998). Comprehensive bibliography on interpersonal forgiveness. In R.D. Enright & J. North (Eds.), Exploring forgiveness (pp. 165-186). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press

from:    http://wakeup-world.com/2016/08/26/the-power-of-forgiveness-the-transformational-effect-of-letting-go-of-resentment/

Plumbers Install Filters in Flint, MI

300 Plumbers Volunteer to Help Those Affected by Flint Water Crisis

Installing water filters in households
water-glass-clean-drink-735-280
Julie Fidler
by Julie Fidler
Posted on February 1, 2016

Government officials put the lives and safety of Flint, Michigan, residents in jeopardy to keep a dollar in the bank and save face, but the story of what hundreds of plumbers did to help those residents will restore your faith in humanity.

Some 300 members of the Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) hit the streets of Flint on January 30 to install donated faucets and other plumbing in homes of residents affected by the lead-contaminated water crisis.The day began at 7 a.m. at the UA Local 370 Union Hall. Armed with the faucets and plumbing supplies, as well as Brita water filters capable of removing lead (which were provided by the state), the group set out on a mission to make life a little bit easier – and a lot safer – for many people in need of assistance.

“PMI is proud to join with its members and the UA to put our vision of safe, responsible plumbing into action,” said Barbara C. Higgens, PMI CEO and executive director in a statement. “We appreciate the generosity of our members, the UA plumbers, IAPMO and everyone else that is helping to assure safe drinking water for the residents of the Flint area.”

In fact, people from all over the country have been chipping in to help those affected by obscenely-high levels of lead in the water system, and pipes that were corroded by the heavy metal.

“People from all over the country, Canada, Cher, tons of organizations are sending trucks loads of waters and filters to us,” said Lawanda Asa, 70. “I’ve even lost count on how many people are sending us water,” she said. “It just goes to show how giving American people are. People that don’t even know us, have never heard of flint before are at our side. We’re so very blessed that the American people have such big hearts.”

PMI and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA) teamed up to coordinate the humanitarian effort. All of the faucets and plumbing supplies were donated by PMI. [1]

“A lot of our members live here in the community,” said Jeff Peake, organizer at Local 370. “We have a responsibility to pay back to the community.” [2]

Kingsley Dennis on Empathic Consciousness

The Rise of Empathic Consciousness


For many of us we have been brought up within a social structure that demands we become a ‘productive member’ of our society; thus much emphasis is placed upon developing individual skills so that we can compete with each other for social betterment. Inherent in this is a residual fear that if we open ourselves too much to others we may lose our ‘competitive edge’ and defined sense of individuality. Much of mainstream media (aka propaganda) has exploited the mythological images, collective stereotypes, and subconscious signifiers that play on our collective vulnerabilities and social fears. Knowledge has more or less trickled down to the average person through heavily filtered channels, and most often has been doctored, amended, and/or edited. The end result has been not knowledge but consensus information, or ‘allowed’ information. It has served the elite power structure well that people in general have not awoken to the understanding that humanity possesses incredible capacity and inherent resources for creative expansion and evolutionary development.

Added to this is the fact that Western science, which has asserted itself as the dominant hegemony since the Renaissance, has been at pains to stress that matter is primary and that consciousness is a secondary by-product from our mental activity. The modern worldview which denies the primacy of consciousness is fostering forms of human alienation, both psychological and social. It is a great paradox that modern science, itself a result of human consciousness, has produced a view of the cosmos which has no room for consciousness. Yet human beings are in need of meaning and significance in their lives as much as they are in need of air to breathe and food to eat. This struggle over the conscious mind(s) of humanity, which has been going on in various forms for aeons, is coming to a crux in our present generation. We are in a transition period which sees the expanding awareness and connectivity between individuals worldwide clashing against the increasing authoritarian technocratic ‘surveillance machine.’ The result is that we have now collectively arrived at a critical moment in our evolution of human civilization. Yet any society or civilization which makes the material world its sole pursuit and object of concern cannot but devolve in the long run. It is now necessary to see our future potentials, not the daily news. As Professor Needleman so aptly remarked:

The esoteric is the heart of civilization. And should the outward forms of a human civilization become totally unable to contain and adapt the energies of great spiritual teachings, then that civilization has ceased to serve its function in the universe.[1]

It is therefore imperative that we begin to break-away from non-developmental social conditioning; this includes being conscious of the type of media impacts we are open to. Furthermore, during moments of cultural and social disorder/disequilibrium the human mind often works with an energy and intensity not manifested when social patterns are stable and monotone. At such dynamic periods there can be the realization that no individual is isolated; that each person is interwoven into a vibrant network and web of psychological, emotional, and spiritual interrelations. Such realizations can be heightened during periods, such as now, when it appears that human consciousness is moving through a time of critical transition.

Our self-awareness over the nature of human consciousness has been increasing greatly over the last several decades. The latest findings in the new sciences (especially quantum and neuroscience), in consciousness studies, in the popularity for inner and self-development, etc, all indicate a new awareness emerging within our collective consciousness. That is, energetic change will come through our social and cultural forms, and not by avoiding them. Developmental change on a large scale can occur by creating conscious change from within our daily lives and within our social systems, and not outside of them. By just walking on this planet, holding the focus and intention, we create incredible energy – energy that is shared. We are creating change by just being alive. That is why being without fear is so important. We need not create a black and white film in our heads when in reality we are creating colour. We can make use of the tools that are already available to us, and within us.

There is an exponentially increasing mass of individuals worldwide who are now awakening to the connected empowerment of empathic consciousness. Recent de-stabilizing social events, such as in our financial and political spheres, have drawn people’s focus to the dysfunction of many of the systems that we once gave our trust to. Even the focus on religious extremism in the media has drawn people’s attention not only to the deficit of spiritual values in our major religions but also to how religion is being used as a tool for furthering social, political, and emotional control. This trance-like grip on our collective consciousness is now being stripped away as people awaken to the knowing that there is so much more to our lives than that of a materialistic and consumer-based lifestyle. Yet don’t become frustrated if things don’t happen tomorrow, but trust that changes and shifts are happening over time. The necessity of inner knowing, intuition, self-trust, and integrity, is now critical. And let us remember that humans are biased for compassion and empathy. The awakening of our empathic mind is our natural inheritance.

The Awakening of a Planetary Consciousness

The accelerating changes occurring across our planet right now will have no alternative but to force a mind-change on a global and individual level. We are coming together as a global species like never before; despite what we have been shown and told by the mainstream media. We need to view this in both the immediate and the bigger picture. Due to our relatively short human life span we rarely reflect beyond a generation or two in front of us. We have evolved as a species that reacts to immediate concerns. This served us well in the past when we had survival needs in a restricted world of limited horizons. Yet now we need a perspective that is global at the very least – and even possibly beyond!

If we now look at the bigger picture we will see that a different type of consciousness has been emerging over the past 150 years. That is, since the dawn of the Second Industrial Revolution. The new technologies of the Second Industrial Revolution – the telephone, radar, cinema, automobile and airplane – called for a new reorientation of human perspective. A new perception of the dimensions of space and time began to birth a psychological consciousness – one that wanted to look beyond the borders and horizons of the physical frontier. The 3rd Industrial Revolution, if we wish to call it that, will be a convergence of digital communications combined with a young generation that is more globally aware. This has the potential to catalyze upon this planet a rising empathic, integral consciousness. Also, our global communications will encourage new relations in our extended connectivity. That is, increased multiple relations are likely to stimulate a connected, collaborative consciousness; rather than stepping back into an older consciousness of conflict and control. A planetary citizenry is likely to emerge that will exhibit greater empathy, and which will create a different planetary society within perhaps two generations. Humanity already contains the seeds of these momentous potentials.

Many social changes within the upcoming years will emerge from the creative engagement and innovation of individuals and collectives worldwide – a shift catalyzed within the hearts, spirit, and minds of the people. Externally we may seem like a vast, distant, and separate collection of individuals yet in truth the human family is an intimate, closely entwined species comprised of various cultures. Many of the younger generation now are waking up to this fact. Youngsters the world over are growing up accustomed to having networks of hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of friends across the planet; sharing intimacy and empathizing easily with an international social group of like-minded souls. This younger generation is manifesting, whether conscious of it or not, a non-local level of human relationships. This expanded connectivity is impacting and affecting a change in our psychology and consciousness. We are now being impelled to live in ways that enable all other people to live as well. We are also being compelled to live in ways that respect the lives of others and that respect the right to the economic and cultural development of all people; and to pursue personal fulfilment in harmony with the integrity of nature. These traits may constitute what I refer to as an integral-ecological consciousness: a person acting and behaving as both an individual and as a part of the greater connected whole. Such multiple relations form a more varied, rich and complex life; they also provide a more diverse range of impacts and opportunities to develop the self. As well as providing challenges for developing new skills and learning, our diverse networks can form new friendships and add extra meaning to our lives.

Many young people today are comfortable in expressing themselves with strangers; they explore and express their inner thoughts, feelings, emotions and ideas with hundreds of unknown persons online, from various cultural backgrounds. More and more daily interactions are empathic as we react and share news, stories, and emotional impacts from sources around the world. Empathy is one of the core values by which we create and sustain social life. Exposure to impacts outside of our own local and restrictive environments helps us to learn tolerance, and to live with experiences that are richer and more complex, full of ambiguities, and multiple perspectives. It is a mode of connecting that allows diverse people worldwide to construct a new form of planetary social capital. We have the resources to co-create a planetary human society where once again the focus is on social benefit rather than profit. We can see many examples of this today, such as in online collaborative tools and in the proliferation of local and global projects. The online global community is a model for the new paradigm that illustrates how sharing can work above the individual motive for profit. The values and ethics of communal sharing might seem odd or out-of-place to the old capitalist-consumerist mindset, yet these are the very values that will be on the rise within the coming generations.

The spectacular rise in global communication technologies (Internet and mobile phones especially) reflects a new form of participatory consciousness, especially among younger people. This new model is a distributed one; in other words, it connects people through networks rather than through hierarchical structures. It also represents a more feminine energy that seeks to nurture relationships, and to collaborate, rather than compete and conquer. It is this emerging feminine energy that underlies the rise in global empathy. Furthermore, since people are connecting amongst themselves in multiple relations it impels them to have an active engagement. For those individuals brought-up within the older generation of communication technologies (radio, television, fixed phones), the interaction was either two-way or, for the most part, one way. In this era people were passive receivers, targeted by information they could not engage with. This has now shifted so that the receiver of the communication can be both the user and the producer. Individuals today are shifting from being consumers to prosumers.

We have learnt to democratize our engagement and to activate choice through online social networks, phone messaging, video channels (e.g. You-Tube), and various other broadcast mediums. The younger generation is waking up quickly and learning how to set-up inexpensive, or free, radio sites (podcasts), home websites, newsletters, and are managing their own forms of self-expression. This new model is changing our thinking and behavior patterns. We are now getting used to dealing with multiple connections rather than single ones; and to becoming immersed in diverse relations and not just one-on-one dialogues. We are also being exposed to a myriad of viewpoints, beliefs, identities, and experiences. Within these new arrangements we are being asked to respond and engage with the outside world not in fear or with anxiety but with healthy, creative, and positive energies.

The Arrival of 3 Billion New Minds

We are going to witness a young generation expressing their desire for human betterment through intensified action for social, political, and ecological change. More and more young people are growing up experiencing social relations that transcend space and time, as well as cultures, national boundaries, and local ideologies. This may account for the increasing numbers of young people in developed nations becoming involved in community and social projects and NGOs; such as taking a year out to help in another culture abroad, to learn, experience, and to offer assistance. Volunteering among the young, despite what appears to be the contrary, is on the increase. Young people are even putting themselves into dangerous situations – in conflict zones – to stand up for values of peace, justice, equality, and human rights. Across the world young minds are demanding fair and equal access for all peoples to engage in open communication and free speech. And it appears that many more creative minds will be joining the global conversation as our current generation(s) increasingly ‘wake up.’

In 2012 the planetary population was around 7 billion and the number of registered internet users was 33%, a rise of over 500% from the previous decade. By 2020 world population is set to be 7.8 billion and internet users worldwide is estimated to be 66% – that’s a little under 3 billion new people plugging into the global conversation. In other words, nearly 3 billion new minds will be tapping into the information flows – and that’s many millions of new creative problem solvers, innovators, and visionaries. What is more, the majority of these new minds will be coming online from Asia, the Middle East, and what we refer to as the developing countries. These will be mostly young minds; and minds with necessities, with the urge for social betterment. Can we imagine the collective potential of these creative new minds; many of them thinking outside of the box, and outside of the old patterns?

It is significant that in times of relative social stability, human consciousness plays a lesser role in the behavior of society. However, when a society reaches the limits of its stability then social-cultural systems are sensitive and responsive to even the smallest fluctuations in the consciousness of its citizens. In such times, changes in values, belief sets, perceptions, etc, hold great sway over the future direction of the social situation. Human consciousness becomes a significant stimulus and catalyst for change during these times of social instability (see the history of social revolutions). That is why it is imperative humanity be collectively focused upon positive development and betterment rather than to be coerced, or conditioned, into a fear-based security that resists change. We should not underestimate the capacity for the human mind to adapt and evolve according to social and environmental impacts and influences.

Our modern sense of self-awareness has clearly evolved to root us in our social world: a world of extended relations and social networks. Humanity, it can be said, has been biologically hard-wired to tap into extended social connections and human communication networks. We are also hard-wired to adapt physically in response to experience – new neural processes in our brains can come into being with intentional effort, awareness, and different patterns of concentration. This capacity to create new neural connections, and thus new mental skill sets through experience, has been termed neuroplasticity. The human brain of today has to respond to the incredible amount of energy and information that is flowing through our environments and embedded in our cultural experiences. Thus, how we focus our attention and awareness greatly shapes the structure of our brains. Further, the ability to grow new neural connections is available throughout our lives and not only in our young formative years. This knowledge encourages us to nurture our mindfulness, our self-awareness, and our empathic relations with others. Neuroplasticity also encourages us to be more reflective over our human networks, and to develop those social skills that underlie empathy and compassion. These new ‘wired connections’ are exactly what are becoming activated as individuals increasingly ‘wake up’ to what is happening within our communities, our societies, and upon the planet. Such distributed connections breach cultural and national borders and force us to self-reflect on our identity, values and ethics.

The opportunity is here for change and betterment like never before in our recent history. This means that the responsibility is also here; and these two factors may never be present again at exactly the right moment when they are so badly needed. What the human species may now be witnessing during these years is the rise of intuition, empathy, greater connectivity to the world and to people, and a sense of ‘knowing’ what changes need to be made. Furthermore, within each person is a growing sense of the greater cosmic whole: the realization that humanity exists and evolves within a universe of great intelligence and meaning. This serves to impart within humanity a more profound spiritual impulse. As a new global empathic mind emerges, people worldwide will grow up with new expressions of mindfulness that are more caring, relational, and compassionate. The 21st century is likely to be the era that births and nurtures such an evolving consciousness.

Many of the younger people across the world do not accept the social conditioning of anger, fear, and insecurity of their past generations. They want to reach out for change and betterment. Around the world there are examples of young people rejecting the conflict mentality of their elder generations. In conflict zones especially, where young minds are conditioned into unconditional hatred of fixed enemies, there is a backlash against this old programming. Younger people are reaching out across artificial borders to engage with the so-called ‘enemy’ and to start a new dialogue of peace and reconciliation. Such minds realize that the conflict mentality has no future, and will be left behind if it cannot accept change. Whereas many of those from the older mindset thought that a future meant putting up borders, and viewing the ‘others’ with suspicious eyes; many of today’s young minds see differently. We can see this in youth movements worldwide as there is change emerging in the mindset of young people everywhere. This is especially so in Middle Eastern territories where restrictive regimes are now encountering rising youthful demographics who are not accepting the old mentalities and old ways. A lot of the young people today want the same thing – peace, justice, equality, freedom, etc. There is a new spring in the step of young, tech-savvy, energetic minds that are by-passing the old models. In these years ahead – at least for the next two decades – we will increasingly see the signs of the changing of the old guard (the dinosaurs!). And this time they will not be replaced by those with the same consciousness. With generational change we will see the gradual transition to an era of individuals who think differently, feel differently, connect differently, and who will want to work toward a different world.

Yet we also need to acknowledge that this transition may not be a smooth one – the shifting of one mindset to another rarely is. We have seen this play out many times; think of the scientific revolution as one example. The reaction of the status quo has always been to strengthen its ruling apparatus. In the case of today, this means increased physical and digital surveillance; increased militarization of the state; and violations of individual privacy. And the first wave response from people is generally to fight back – head on. I contest, however, that this form of response also constitutes the old mind. The newer consciousness does not seek conflict. Rather, it seeks to create ways around the current blockages. Or, in the words of Buckminster Fuller – “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Over time, the old models will fight their way into obsolescence. Those who express the ‘newer mind’ must be patient, positive, and incredibly creative.

In summary, a new narrative is emerging, one where each person is integral to the larger picture; the journey of each one of us being a part of the journey as a whole. This new story informs us that the possibilities are open for humanity to engage in consciously creating its way forward – with harmony, balance and respect to all. This new narrative is part of humanity’s evolving empathic mind and which compels us to seek greater connectivity and meaning in our lives. This most recent human story is one where we create the story of the future.

[1] Jacob Needleman, New Religions (New York: E P Dutton, 1977)

Kingsley L. Dennis, author of The Phoenix Generation: A New Era of Connection, Compassion, and Consciousness

from:    http://realitysandwich.com/226693/the-rise-of-empathic-consciousness/

Call to Awakened Warriors

Awakened Warriors Arise

by Zen Gardner

Life is a struggle. How much more then is the spiritual life, the fight to remain conscious in an illusory world where deviant forces vie for control more than caring, battering your very body and soul day in and day out on top of your struggle to survive . Oh, we’re going peacefully downstream in the conscious dimensions. There we learn to let go and follow the flow of the Universe and synchronicity. But in this physical, lower density world, we’re fighting directly upstream.

In addition, we’re living in a time of increasingly turbulent waters. Our kayaks hit all kinds of eddies and crosscurrents, never mind the rocks and rapids we have to navigate–all while idiots, enemies and doubters, prodded on by the propaganda whores, are screaming obscenities from the shore and trying to hit us with anything they can get their hands on!But alas, grasshoppers—we have powers they know not of!

queenconscious

The Call to Battle

We’re in a warfare, any way you look at it. Only it’s not a warfare of hate, but of love. It’s not a warfare of physical violence, but a spiritual one of intention and a Truth directed life. The inherent cause and effect of Universal consciousness is the dissolution of the ways born of ignorance and darkness by means of the all powerful exposing and enlightening weapons of Light, Love and Truth.

The medieval matrix, no matter how fancy and hi-tech it has become, is dissolving and losing its grip. We need to actively help it on its way to oblivion, identifying its lies and blatant agenda for control and subjugation.

Don’t forget, non-compliance is a decisive action, not inaction. Inaction is going with the current of the matrix.

There is no sitting still. We’re all doing one or the other. Complying, or rejecting and countering their flow.

That’s the choice. That’s the battle.

WarriorMonk14

In A Time of Imbalance the Call to Rise is Natural

Similar to the poetic beauty of martial arts, the Truth warrior uses his weapons skillfully and with great discretion. While many argue we need evil for good to exist and all that esoterica, we happen to be living in a time of great imbalance.

Do you enjoy having lords of darkness rule over you and yours, exercising more death dealing, spirit quelling control over humanity by the day?

I didn’t think so. Will it collapse under its own weight? In many ways it has to. Will it do it all by itself? We have to play our parts. As long as we’re here we’re integral to the Great Design and clearly need to do our part.

All I know is that what I am finding out and tuning in to calls me to participate, as so many are experiencing. It’s as real as the sun and water hitting a seedling and the organism responding. If it’s not evident to you that our planet and civilization are under attack I do wonder how you got to this article. It couldn’t be any clearer. That’s why they direct the angst people are feeling, the knowing that something is wrong, towards fabricated “outside” enemies to divert attention from the real perpetrators and agenda. Hence the daily “scare” headlines, whatever they are.

Similar to how religion co-opts, steers and contains the human soul’s hunger for the spiritual, the Controllers arouse, channel and misdirect humanity’s sense that it is being attacked and they literally harness what they themselves have aroused, using it for their own parasitic, vampiric purposes.

Cattle prods and sheep dogs driving humanity into the slaughterhouse, mentally, spiritually and physically.

Sorry, not on our watch. It’s long been time to sound the alarm and awaken as many as we possibly can. The spiritual, mental and physical arousal has way more effect than we can begin to imagine. Only your mind and low level system programming diminish its importance.

Trust your heart.

There is No “They”…They Said.

The old “tell a big enough lie” ploy is at work here. Their biggest tool is to say there is no “they”. There are no dark forces according to mainstream understanding in this dumbed down world. In fact, we’re told the “they” are the good guys looking out for us. It reminds me of the adage that the biggest lie Satan ever told is that he doesn’t exist. Pretty clever these demons. Just laugh at them.

Yet their all usurping lie remains:

There is no negative, destructive, usurping parasitic force in the Universe other than far away safely distanced religious concepts. Most feel humanity just has other controlling humans to worry about. The powers that be are here to simply save us from each other then becomes the most believable option, and into the cattle chute they go.

After all, that’s the mantra of the anti-conspiracy camp. ” THEY? Are you crazy? You really think there’s some ‘secret cabal’ running things from behind the scenes? How insane are you? If that were the case we’d be hearing all about it in the mainstream media! No way they could hide something that big!”

Same old, same old.

A very dark time right now indeed. All the recent pandemic scares, terrorism stagings, and economic and phony political rattlings attest to it. And if those fade they’ll create some new ones.

Consciousness Calling

If you feel the call to participate more it’s consciousness calling, any way you slice it.  Take your place on the great mandala and all that, but there’s a bulldozer headed for your house. Are you just gonna sit there?

No doubt you’ve given all of this serious thought. And I know many of you have activated and it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m proud to be associated with so many amazing, loving committed people. I think we just need to be adaptive and prepared for more. The winds are picking up and the battlefield is becoming more fluid, more challenging and more demanding.

And for those on the sidelines: It’s time to choose your course of action – or let it choose you.

I’m not gonna tell anyone what to do. If people don’t learn to choose for themselves, consciousness is not at work and back to the old paradigms we go. But do something. Get the boat in motion or the rudder can’t take effect. Find and take your calling seriously and step it up. We all have to.

Meditate, intend, pray, affirm, that’s great…but act! Change your life, change the etheric world around you by your loving actions and intentions. Try new consciousness technologies while changing your lifestyle. And perhaps move to a smarter and safer location away from this obvious steamroller coming at many of you. Why just sit there?

Meanwhile write, talk, show up, contribute, speak to groups, attend gatherings of active and motivated individuals or just get honest with your loved ones. Find the opening and jump in. The rest will follow. Time is too short to do otherwise.

Contribute we must. Hopefully with our whole lives. It’s all we have for all we’re worth.

It’s not a time to get frantic by any means, but take this as a loving alert, something I know many of you are also feeling. Our old views of just weeks and months ago are shifting and will continue to do so. It’s subtle, but it’s profoundly real. We have to step it up and yield to what consciousness is calling each of us to do and let go of the baggage holding us back.

from:     http://www.zengardner.com/awakened-warriors-arise/

Are You COmpassionate?

8 Ways To Tell if You’re A Truly Compassionate Person

http://themindunleashed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/studiesss.jpg

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” –Dalai Lama

His remarks capture a simple truth: Despite popular belief that happiness depends solely on you, the way to achieve it may not lie just within yourself, but in your relationships and interactions with others.

“When we have feelings of caring or love for other people, we feel better,” clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., tells The Huffington Post. “We all think we want to be loved, but what actually feels good to us is feeling loving – and part of what makes us feel more love for other people is doing kind, compassionate things for them.”

The good news is, if you don’t normally identify as someone who is overly empathetic, studies show it’s a habit that can be cultivated. So how can you tell if you are or not?

Below, find eight signs you’re a truly compassionate person.

You find commonalities with other people.

Compassionate people know what it’s like to be down on their luck, and they keep those experiences in mind to develop a more empathetic nature, whether through volunteering or just simply networking. “Compassionate people are very outward-focused because they think and feel about other people,” Firestone says. “They have that ability to feel others’ feelings, so they’re very socially connected.”

And turns out, there’s science behind why we feel compassion toward people who have been in our same boat. In one small study, researchers found that humans’ sense of compassion actually increases when there’s a common connection with the other person. “What these results suggest is that the compassion we feel for others is not solely a function of what befalls them: if our minds draw an association between a victim and ourselves — even a relatively trivial one — the compassion we feel for his or her suffering is amplified greatly,” study researcher and Northeastern University psychology professor David DeSteno, Ph.D., wrote in The New York Times.

You don’t put emphasis on money.
money

If money doesn’t buy happiness, then according to studies from the University of California, Berkeley, it doesn’t buy compassion, either. In one study, researchers found that as someone grew in social class, his or her compassion for others declined. The findings support previous research that showed that a higher social class also negatively influences a person’s ability to pay attention in interactions wither other people, Scientific American reported.

You act on your empathy.

Firestone says a major component of compassion is giving back, even in the smallest ways. “When we take actions that are caring and loving, we feel more love in return,” she explains. This is why compassionate people act on their kindness, whether it’s through volunteering or just being a shoulder to lean on — and overall they’re much happier for it. “If you’re going after happiness, you don’t get as happy as you would if you’re going after generosity,” she says. “A hedonistic way of pursuing happiness really doesn’t work for most people.”

You’re kind to yourself.
self love

“Self-compassion is actually really, really key to becoming a more compassionate person overall,” Firestone explains. “It’s hard to feel for other people something we don’t feel for ourselves.”

Practicing self-love is a little different than self-esteem, is also crucial to beating bad habits in other aspects of our lives. “We often think the way to change bad behaviors is to beat ourselves up, But self-compassion is actually the first step in changing any behavior you want to change.” And there’s science to back it up: According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, those who practice self-compassion are more motivated to improve themselves and go for their goals.

You teach others.

Compassionate people don’t want to just keep their gifts to themselves, they want to impart their knowledge onto other people. As motivational speaker and author Jen Groover notes, it’s this desire that lies in the root of all empathetic habits. “True compassion exists when you give your strength, guidance and wisdom to empower another so that you can see who you really are and live in a greater capacity and expect nothing in return,” she wrote. “True grace exists when the ‘teachers’ realize that the gift was really theirs — to be able to teach another.”

You’re mindful.

meditation

When you’re exercising compassion, you’re putting yourself in the moment. Compassionate people aren’t listening and checking their smartphones at the same time — they’re present, offering their empathetic response to the story right in front of them.

This awareness is crucial to compassion because it allows you to really focus on others rather than your own reflections. “Mindfulness allows us to develop a different relationship to our feelings,” Firestone explains. “Feelings or thoughts may come up, but with mindfulness we can sort of see them as clouds floating by. Not getting caught up in our thoughts is really helpful.”

You have high emotional intelligence.

Individuals who are tapped into their own compassion also seem to be tapped into their own emotions. “It’s partly … being able to see what’s going on in your mind and other people’s minds,” Firestone explains. “I think when we can do that we have more compassion toward other people.”

When you’re emotionally intelligent, you also have a greater sense of morality and you genuinely try to help others – which are all crucial components of empathy. Compassionate people “understand that other people have a sovereign mind that sees the world differently than you do — and one isn’t right and one isn’t wrong,” Firestone says.

You express gratitude.

gratitude

“Doing things that light us up and make us feel good — people think of that as being selfish, but often that leads us to better behavior toward other people,” Firestone says. One way to do that is to count the positives.

Whether or not you’ve committed a lot of compassionate acts in your life, chances are you’ve been on the receiving end at least once or twice. Empathetic individuals not only acknowledge those acts of kindness done unto them, they actively express gratitude for them. “Just thinking about our gratitude for other people makes us feel happy,” Firestone says. “And it’s slowing down and expressing those types of things that makes us more caring and loving.”

Credits: livebuddhism, where this was originally featured.

 

from:    http://themindunleashed.org/2014/07/8-ways-tell-youre-truly-compassionate-person.html

Habits of Very Compassionate Men

5 Habits of Highly Compassionate Men

Having compassion leads to increased happiness, freedom from gender stereotypes, and better relationships with others.

by Kozo Hattori

posted Apr 02, 2014

This article originally appeared at Greater Good Berkeley.

I remember being a very compassionate child. While watching “The Little House on the Prairie,” I cried my eyes out when Laura couldn’t give Pa a Christmas gift. But 12 years of physical abuse and being forced to the confines of the “act-like-a-man box” wrung most of that compassion out of me by the time I reached adulthood.

Although I was what therapists call “high-functioning,” my lack of compassion was like a cancer that poisoned my friendships, relationships, business affairs, and life. At the age of 46, I hit rock bottom. Unemployed and on the verge of divorce, I found myself slapping my four-year-old son’s head when he wouldn’t listen to me.

As a survivor of abuse, I had promised myself that I would never lay a hand on my children, but here I was abusing my beloved son.

Dr. Ted Zeff believes that only compassionate men can save the planet.

I knew I had to change. I started with empathy, which led me to compassion. I committed to a daily meditation practice, took the CCARE Cultivating Compassion class at Stanford University, and completed a 10-day silent meditation retreat. I read and researched everything I could find on compassion.

I found that the more compassion I felt, the happier I became.

Convinced that I had found an essential ingredient to a happy and peaceful life, I started to interview scientific and spiritual experts on compassion, trying to find out what made a compassionate man. Interviewees included Dr. Dacher Keltner, co-founder of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center; Dr. James Doty, founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University; Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness; Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence; and Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen Buddhist monk nominated by Martin Luther King Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.

From these interviews and research, I compiled a list of what makes a compassionate man.

1. Learn to see compassion as strength

Most events I attend that discuss compassion are predominately attended by women. When I asked Thich Nhat Hanh how we could make compassion more attractive to men, he answered, “There must be a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of compassion because compassion is very powerful … Compassion protects us more than guns, bombs, and money.”

Although many men in society see compassion and sympathy as feminine—which translates to a weakness in our patriarchal society—all of the compassionate men I interviewed view compassion as a strength.

Dr. Hanson noted how compassion makes one more courageous since compassion strengthens the heart—courage comes from the French word “coeur,” which means heart. Dacher Keltner argues that Darwin believed in “survival of the kindest,” not the fittest. Dr. Ted Zeff, author of the book Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy, believes that only compassionate men can save the planet. Zeff argues that “the time has come to break the outdated, rigid male code that insists that all men should be aggressive, thick-skinned, and unemotional”—an excellent description of the act-like-a-man box that I tried to live in.

The compassionate men I interviewed agree with the Dalai Lama when he said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

2. Have compassionate role models

All of the compassionate men seemed to have role models that supported their compassion instinct. Marc Brackett gives credit to his uncle, Marvin Maurer, who was a social studies teacher trying to instill emotional intelligence in his students before the term “emotional intelligence” was coined. Over 30 years after teaching in middle school, Maurer’s “Feeling Words Curriculum” acts as a key component of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER program. Similarly, Marshall Rosenberg, author of the book Nonviolent Communication, constantly mentions his compassionate uncle who cared for his dying grandmother.

Role models are not meant to be worshiped, deified, or prayed to. They are meant to be emulated.

A role model doesn’t necessarily have to be living, or even real. Chade-Meng Tan, author of Search Inside Yourself, cites Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of Gandhi as a role model for compassion. Dr. Rick Hanson posits Ender from the science-fiction novel Ender’s Game as a compassionate role model. Certainly, Jesus and Buddha are obvious role models of compassion. The key is to treat them like role models.

Role models are not meant to be worshiped, deified, or prayed to. They are meant to be emulated. They pave the way for us to walk a similar path. Can we turn the other cheek and love our enemies like Jesus asked us? Can we transcend our ego and see all things as one, like the Buddha did?

In contrast are individuals who were not guided by positive role models. In his book From Wild Man to Wise Man, Franciscan friar Richard Rohr describes what he calls “father hunger”: “Thousands and thousands of men, young and old … grew up without a good man’s love, without a father’s understanding and affirmation.” Rohr, who was a jail chaplain for 14 years, claims that “the only universal pattern I found with men and women in jail was that they did not have a good father.”

Scott Kriens, former CEO of Juniper Networks and founder/director of the 1440 Foundation, concurs: “The most powerful thing we can do for our children is be the example we can hope for.”

3. Strive to transcend gender stereotypes

All of the compassionate men interviewed broke out of the “act-like-a-man” box. At a certain point in his life, Dr. Rick Hanson realized that he was too left-brained, so he made a conscious effort to reconnect with his intuitive, emotional side. When Elad Levinson, program director for Spirit Rock Meditation Center, first encountered loving-kindness and compassion practices, his first reaction was one he claims is fairly typical for men: “Come on! You are being a wuss, Levinson. No way are you going to sit here and wish yourself well.” So the actual practice of compassion instigated his breaking free from gender stereotypes.

Ted Zeff cites a study that found infant boys are more emotionally reactive than infant girls, but by the time a boy reaches five or six years old “he’s learned to repress every emotion except anger, because anger is the only emotion society tells a boy he is allowed to have.” If society restricts men’s emotional spectrum to anger alone, then it is obvious men need to transcend this conditioning to become compassionate.

Dr. Doty points to artificially defined roles as a major problem in our society because they prevent men from showing their vulnerability. “If you can’t be vulnerable, you can’t love,” says Doty. Vulnerability is a key to freedom from the “act-like-a-man” box, for it allows men to remove the armor of masculinity and authentically connect with others.

Both Dr. Doty and Scott Kriens emphasize authenticity as a necessary pathway to compassion. Kriens defines authenticity as “when someone is sharing what they believe as opposed to what they want you to believe.” This opens the door to compassion and true connection with others.

4. Cultivate emotional intelligence

In his book Raising Cain, Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson argue that most boys are raised to be emotionally ignorant: “Lacking an emotional education, a boy meets the pressure of adolescence and that singularly cruel peer culture with the only responses he has learned and practiced—and that he know are socially acceptable—the typical ‘manly’ responses of anger, aggression, and emotional withdrawal.”

In contrast, most of the men I interviewed were “emotionally literate.” They seemed to see and feel things with the sensitivity of a Geiger counter. Tears welled up in Doty’s eyes a number of times when he talked about compassion. Hanson explained how he landed in adulthood “from the neck up” then spent a large part of his 20s becoming whole again. Much of Chade-Meng Tan’s Search Inside Yourself training that he developed for the employees of Google is based on emotional intelligence developed through attention training, self-knowledge, and self-mastery.

Similarly, Father Richard Rohr leads initiation groups for young men that force initiates to face pain, loneliness, boredom, and suffering to expand their emotional and spiritual capacity. It is no coincidence that these initiations are held in nature. Nature seems to be an important liminal space that allows boys and men to reconnect with their inner world. Dr. Hanson is an avid mountain climber. Ted Zeff advocates spending time in nature with boys to allow their sensitivity to develop.

5. Practice silence

Almost all of the men I interviewed regularly spend some time in silence. They’d hit “pause” so that they can see themselves and others more clearly. When our interview approached two hours, Dr. Rick Hanson asked to wrap it up so he would have time for his morning meditation. Meng Tan had just returned from a week-long silent meditation retreat a few days before our interview. Scott Kriens started a daily sitting and journaling practice almost ten years ago that he rigorously practices to this day.

Father Richard Rohr practices Christian contemplative prayer, which he says leads to a state of “undefended knowing” that transcends dualistic, us versus them thinking. Rohr argues that true compassion can’t happen without transcending dualistic thinking. “Silence teaches us not to rush to judgment,” says Rohr.

Self-awareness through mindfulness practices like meditation, silent prayer, or being in nature allow compassionate men to embrace suffering without reacting, resisting, or repressing. Thich Nhat Hanh says that mindfulness holds suffering tenderly “like a mother holding a baby.” That poetic image is backed up by more and more research, which is finding that mindfulness can help foster compassion for others.

So the path to making more compassionate men is clear: Understand compassion as a strength, get to know yourself, transcend gender roles, look for positive role models—and become one yourself. If that sounds too complicated, 84-year-old Marvin Maurer sums up being a compassionate man in five easy words, “Be in love with love.”

from;    http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/five-habits-of-highly-compassionate-men

Healthy Emotions to Foster

Jim Sniechowski, PhD

Co-creator, The Fear of Being Fabulous (TM)

The 5 Key Emotions of Success

Posted: 10/28/2013 3:51 p,

How do you know when you are successful? What clues do you need to demonstrate that you know you’ve made it whether you’ve reached a life goal or just completed an important project? With regard to how you feel, should there be a difference in feeling between the sizes of your achievements — small, medium, large, colossal?

No doubt there will be an intensity difference. You can’t expect the same level of intensity across an entire range of possible successes. But the intensity of your experience should not alter the emotional experience itself. For example, if you are pleased with something you’ve done you can be exhilarated or quietly thoughtful, but the fact that you are pleased does not change. Only the expression and emotional intensity of your being pleased changes.

With that, here are five key emotions that will let you know you’ve succeeded — not that you’re on your way, but that you have actually reached the success you intended.

Ease/Comfort With What You Are Doing

Once you’ve succeeded at something you know what you’re doing. What was once a struggle in the learning process becomes a graceful implementation. Why graceful? Because you’ve become confident in your ability to deal with what life brings you. You’ve done it and furthermore you know you can continue, and that’s what brings the comfort; that comfort is the source of your ease.

Patience With Yourself and Others

Patience is tied to your confidence because in knowing that you can handle what life brings you, you can deal with whatever comes your way. No need to panic. You know you will take the time to see things through because things take time. Success is about quietly and steadily persevering or being diligent, especially in the details.

Trust of Yourself and Those With Whom You Work

Trust is an issue of reliance. You can count on yourself to come through. You can rely on your own integrity, your strength, your ability and the ability of those you work with. You can be sure, within your experience, that what’s needed to be taken care of will be. So you can relax and be confident of your own expectations, of your vision and the choices you make, and you can know that the world will support you and your intentions.

Compassion With Yourself and Others

There’s no need to measure yourself against others, or against any extremes. The locus of control of your life is solidly centered within you. There’s no longer any need to seek perfection. You can assess all of the factors that make up any moment, and take the time to think critically and evaluate as deeply as you need, because you know what you’re doing. Your gut and your heart can lead the way.

Satisfaction That Comes With Success

Very deeply within you, you know you belong where you are. You live with a confident acceptance of your talents and your limitations without any need to grasp or seize to prove to yourself that whatever skills and talents you possess won’t fade away. In other words, your success is not just a one-off. You can let go of unwarranted self-judgment that you’ve wasted time. You haven’t. All those moments, even those in which you were doing nothing, have come together to make you who you are. And it is you, all of you, the whole of you that is now successful.

These emotions are part of every success you’ve achieved, even the small successes on the way to a large accomplishment. Watch for them. They are the brick and mortar of enjoying who you are and who you are becoming.

from:    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-sniechowski-phd/the-5-key-emotions-of-success_b_4103830.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

Jim Self on Judgment, Compassion, Forgiveness

Getting Out of the Judgment Game

a message from Jim Self
Tuesday, 14 August, 2012

You’ve been on this path of knowledge for a very long time. You’ve studied the best self-help books, taken the workshops and followed all the inspirational teachers. You’ve learned that you are in complete management of how you design your life. Then why do you continue to find yourself judging others? (Yes, that teeny-tiny voice is still there whispering.) So why does that continue to come up in your life when you thought you had gotten beyond all that?

Because YOU have been judged.

There is a very interesting line right in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. It says, “Forgive us for our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It doesn’t say, “Go fix that guy over there and when he is perfect and kind and considerate then I’ll consider forgiving him.”

What this really means is: “I’ve bought somebody’s baggage and I’m carrying it around. Now I’m deciding and choosing to believe that they’re okay. As mean and horrible as they may be acting right now, they’re really okay. They’re simply in a lot of pain.”

You see, there are no bad people—only a lot of people in pain. Sometimes that pain demonstrates itself very loudly. Sometimes that pain is thrown at you as judgments.

Did you ever try to work when you had a toothache? It’s not very comfortable. Have you ever had a splinter in your finger and tried to type? Not easy. People have massive pain because they have been lied to, and lied to, and lied to. They’re simply demonstrating what they know best. Have you ever seen someone walking around in anger, pain and victim-energy? They’ve been lied to. Their in-dwelling light has been dimmed and they are simply demonstrating what they believe as truth.

Have you ever had the experience of holding a grudge? For example, let’s say I kick you and walk away. You think to yourself, “What a jerk that guy was. He didn’t even say I’m sorry.” You’re really upset about it and you tell all your friends. A year later I come into town and I say, “Hey, nice to see you again.” What’s the first thing that comes into your mind? “You jerk.” But then what happens is I say, “You look like you’re angry at me.”

“I am! You kicked me and you’re such a jerk and…”

“Wow, I didn’t know that. Thinking back I realize that when I got up I thought I stepped on the chair or something. I’m really sorry. If I would have known, I would have absolutely apologized.”

At that minute, do you still hold that grudge? Not really. But throughout that entire year who was stuck—you or me? You sat for a year in that grumbling and judgment. Mostly you chose to stay in that judgment energy because you didn’t get what you really passionately wanted from me. You wanted a “Hello.” Hello. I see you! That’s what you’ve wanted all of your life. You just wanted somebody to say, “Hello! I see your brightness.” Pretty simple.

In kindergarten did you show someone your elephant drawing that had orange all over it and the color was outside the lines? Perhaps the response was, “That’s not an elephant. It’s a scribbly mess. Don’t you know elephants are gray and they stay within the lines? And don’t ever draw like that again.” If that happens to you, will you ever draw another elephant? Not likely. So, do you carry a little bit of judgment in your space about who you are and what you are capable of? (A lot.)

That invalidation comes from people who are in pain. They aren’t bad—they’re just in pain. Does looking at that past experience from a new perspective change it a bit? You got rid of the judgments of right/wrong and good/bad. There go the judgments. All that’s left is experiences—amusing, interesting experiences. You can make a different choice now.

You can choose compassion.

Would you like to begin to let some of that pain go so that you don’t have to carry judgment around anymore? When you choose to view life experiences from a higher perspective, you find that higher, older, wiser, broader part of you. Your Higher Self sits there and it says to you, “I want to add to All-That-Is. I want to experience more.”

You see, when you came in to this body, you said, “I’m a big, capable spirit. I remember who I am. I’m going to make a difference. I’m going to break up the current pain-game. I’m going to break up the judgments that were added to the judgments that were added to the lies that were added to the pain that was added to the punishment that was added to more judgment.”

You said, “When I come into this body I’m coming in with the goal to bring Heaven to Earth.”

Universal Copyright 2012 is authorized here. Please distribute freely as long as both the author and www.masteringalchemy.com is included as the resource and this information is distributed on a non-commercial
no charge basis.
from:    http://spiritlibrary.com/jim-self/getting-out-of-the-judgment-game

Lessons from A Taoist Monk

Nine Powerful Life Lessons From Studying with a Monk

29th June 2012

By Robert Piper – docakilah.wordpress.com

When I was 18 years old, I suffered from anxiety and stomach problems. A compassionate physician and practicing Buddhist referred me to a Taoist monk who specialized in meditation and martial arts. I ended up healing myself of anxiety and stomach issues by doing meditation, and went on a great journey of self-discovery.

Here are 9 lessons I learned while studying with a monk:

1. Keep trying until you get it right.

The most important life lesson I learned was trying something three times (maybe even four times) before you stop trying and move on. Also, this monk taught me that, even after multiple tries, you should work on different angles to approach things that are difficult.

If you keep trying, you’ll eventually get where you’re going.

2. The answer to your question is inside of you.

As part of the original monastery training, a monk didn’t answer direct questions from a student unless it was a well thought-out question. A Chinese proverb says, “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”

Some forms of Zen Buddhism use a very similar style of training. An old saying (by Taoist monks) goes like this: “In making a four corner table, the teacher shows the student how to make one corner. It’s the student’s job to figure out how to make the other three.”

They did this because they were preparing a student to deal effectively with problems in the real world.

I traveled to South Korea one time, and I found it fascinating how much you have to rely on your intuition when you don’t speak the native language of a country. I remember one instance, I had trouble explaining to the cab driver where my hotel was, and he didn’t speak English. So I had to get out of the cab and ask several people until I could find someone to tell the cab driver in Korean how to get to my hotel.

In life, whenever we try new things, we have to go into new places with only a small amount of information. The real world doesn’t give us all the answers. The greatest teacher is inside of us.

3. Real wisdom in life comes from doing something and failing.

Prior to starting meditation, I used to get upset when I’d try something and fail.

I’ve been in sales since I was sixteen. I remember going to work and getting so angry with myself because I didn’t get a sale. If I ever got rejected, I’d get upset with myself, and I’d want to quit my job. But I just keep failing over and over—until I became good at it.

I remember, when I first started doing meditation, I ran into several problems. For example, at first it was difficult to calm down; but if you stick with it, its gets easier and easier. I tried for only a few minutes, and then every day, I added more time onto my meditation.

When we struggle, we learn about ourselves and what we need to do to become stronger.

4. When you start to do meditation you recognize the egotistical mind.

Everything in the ego’s world is the result of comparing. I compared myself to other salesmen and would blame myself because I wasn’t making as much money as them.

When I started doing meditation, I began to build separation from this egoistical mind, which is consistently making these comparisons. A lot of us try something and get rejected, so we give up. Even worse, we blame ourselves for a long time and get depressed. When I started to do meditation, I began to identify my ego and was able to build separation from it.

That’s what happens when we meditate: We separate from the part of ourselves that dwells on comparisons, and start learning to live a life that isn’t driven by our egos.

5. We must be both compassionate and resilient.

The monk wouldn’t meet with me to train unless I called him a minimum of three times. I hated this part. I used to call and call and he would never answer. But this is how life is. How many times do you have to call or email someone to get something done in the real world? It’s usually several times.

Most of us blame ourselves when we try once to do something and fail. At the time, I hated this part of the training, but now I think it was the most important life lesson.

There’s a Taoist proverb that says, “Cotton on the outside, steel on the inside.”

It reminds us to be compassionate, but not weak.

6. Patience is a virtue.

The monk always made me wait—and I dreaded this.

For example, when I got to his house to train, he’d make me wait for a minimum of a half-hour, sometimes longer. We’d go out to dinner on Friday nights and he’d show up at the restaurant an hour late.

He’d tell me to meet him at a particular restaurant at 7:00. I’d get there and find out that he wasn’t there. So I’d usually be sitting in the restaurant by myself fumbling with my phone, acting like I was texting someone, while worrying about what everyone at the restaurant was thinking about me.

Keep in mind, it’s not like I could call him; I don’t think the guy ever turned his cell phone on. Then he’d show up at about 8:15 and act like nothing happened.

His first question was always, “How’s your mother and father?” (Of course in my head I’m thinking, “What do you mean, ‘How’s my mother and father?’ I just waited here for an hour and fifteen minutes.”)

But after a few years of this, it never bothered me; and not only that, it spread to every area of my life. Because of this training, I can honestly say that I very rarely get upset about anything. I never get agitated anymore when I have to wait in a long line or when someone cuts me off on the highway.

Patience is the gift of inner calm.

7. Detach from your ego.

At first, it’s hard to sit at a restaurant by yourself. You’re constantly worrying, thinking that people probably think you’re a loser because you’re sitting by yourself. But the reality is, you will never be happy if you care about what people think you!

Prior to starting meditation, I’d get upset over just about anything. Now, nothing really bothers me. Recently, I was in the airport and there was a several hour delay on my flight. I just used that time to do meditation. Ten years ago, I would have become extremely upset. An airplane delay would have ruined my day.

When you let go of your ego needs, it’s easier to accept and even benefit from whatever comes at you.

8. In Taoism, they say, “No self, No enemy.”

It’s the enemy within that causes all of our fears, worries, and insecurities. If you come to terms with this enemy within, it will impact every area of your life. It’s the identification with the “self/ego” that causes all of life’s problems.

How many times do we not go for something because of fear? Think about all the fears that we have conjured up in our minds that stop us from being truly happy. If you can conquer the enemy within yourself, you won’t have an enemy outside yourself.

9. Happiness come from within, and also comes from outside.

I learned this from observing the Buddhist Physician I met. He used to do meditation in his office before he would interact with his patients. He was one of the happiest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met.

By creating happiness inside, he was able to increase that emotional state by spreading it to others.

We must cultivate happiness from within, and work to spread it around to everyone we interact with. The monk used say, “Everyone has a purpose or a mission in life.”

We have to find happiness within, and also find our purpose on the outside.

About the Author

Robert Piper is a meditation instructor & the creator of monkinthecity.com. He studied with a Taoist monk for 9 ½ years & traveled to Asia & Australia in search of other meditation teachers. Robert is currently writing a book on meditation to make it more accessible for stress relief, health & happiness.

from:    http://wakeup-world.com/2012/06/29/nine-powerful-life-lessons-from-studying-with-a-monk/

On Love & Transformation

Heart of Transformation: How Courageous Is Your Love?

22nd May 2012

By Jack Adam Weber

Many view love as a purely positive force. It is positive, but for love to live up to its advertising as the most powerful energy on the planet, it must be bigger than the feel-good experience we claim it to be. Love must embrace everything from euphoria to devastation, selflessness to utter selfishness, on both the personal and collective level. For love to be the all-encompassing force we intuit it to be, love must also be able to fully embrace and reconcile the darkness and suffering of the world. The transformation of pain and suffering into positivity, deep compassion, and healing service is the way that love achieves this and grows into its own heart to embrace all of life. This way, seeming opposites are united—Yin and Yang become one dynamic whole, and life flows deeply, courageously and robustly through and from us.

Because life is full of loss, grief must be part and parcel of love. Grief must allow us to love more, not less. When we conceal grief, we stymie the transformation of love from pain and suffering into pleasure, deeper beauty and genuine compassion. Reciprocally, love must allow us to grieve more. And it does, for the more we care for and love this world the more it breaks our hearts. Ultimately then, a sure measure of our integrated love is the degree to which our hearts have broken open and recapitulated that breaking by staying profoundly open. In this, paradoxically, we can find both a concrete and ineffable wholeness, beauty, appreciation, and an abiding care for the welfare and fulfillment for all of life.

When we grieve something we realize how much we love it, how much it has meant to us. This experience opens us to value other things that we love; that is, if we are not afraid of grief and its attendant heartache. In one way, religious notions of salvation can be a seen as another way to stave off feeling badly, as can the idea of romantic love—that someone else is going to make us happy and whole and disappear our problems.

I do not advocate seeking out heartache, but it is amazing the lengths to which humanity will go to stave off psychological pain, to the point of pervasively denying reality. Perhaps this is because pain is a taste of literal death, as are illness and trauma. We intuit that nothing will feel as bad as to die, literally. I go so far as to say that our fear of pain, as a taste of final death, is at the root of personal and planetary suffering. For we equate feeling badly with suffering. But, pain is not suffering. Suffering is, in fact, the refusal to risk or to deal with pain. Ironically, suffering is what happens when we see things non-poetically, one-sidedly, rather than paradoxically, more wholly, as the interdependence and inter-promoting properties of dark and light, Yin and Yang.

Yin-Yang theory is one of the few practical, non-dual gems of ancient wisdom we have to illuminates spirituality in everyday life. Yin and Yang are integral to Taoism, the pragmatic philosophy of living in harmony with nature, and to the practice of Chinese medicine. I am grateful for my training in Chinese medicine, to be been versed in this dynamic, profound and ultimately practical model of living that allows us to richly appreciate healing, spirituality, sustainability, ecology, economics, and all aspects of life. The key to Yin and Yang theory, and its stamp of validity for me is both its poetic and literal embrace of dark and light, good and bad, visible and invisible, happy and sad, positive and negative. These are the paradoxical, dialectical truisms that comprise the ever-changing, ever-diminishing and simultaneously regenerative flow of life.

The unity of Yin and Yang, as depicted in the Ying-Yang symbol, can be summed up as the fundamental interplay and unity of dark and light. Only when dark and light transform into and promote one another do we achieve true wholeness. This is the law of nature to which we are all subject. All of reality as we know it follows the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. When we can celebrate this cycle in our daily lives, we live a taste of the great fear at the end of our lives for which we invent our religious beliefs and unduly protect our attachments—to avoid facing the inevitability of death.

Daily disappointments and losses cut our attachments, exposing our fears and vulnerability, challenging our instincts for survival on all levels. Yet, if we can breathe deeply and allow our hearts to engage their transformational nature, of turning pain into positivity, then we can find more peace, freedom, and wholeness. The bonus of embracing and being transformed by our daily declines—our small deaths—is that we get to live more fully while still alive. Is it any wonder then that the French word for orgasm, petit mort, translates literally as “small death?”

Figurative death, when it is transformative, (as all declines potentially are) is ultimately an ecstasy, an orgasm of the heart. At our literal death, we do not get the opportunity to transform our lives; all we really know is that our physical bodies decay. Ironically, when we unilaterally deny and try to avoid death via our rejection of embracing the relatively smaller daily heartaches, our lives become a kind of sleepwalk. This happens when we do not have the courage to embrace the inherently transformative nature of our own hearts to allow pain to transform us into a generous and integral spirituality. When we do not embrace our petit morts, we perpetuate the horror we supposedly fear so much in the future. The antidote is to die, figuratively, today, so that we can truly come to life while we are still alive.

Emotional transformation is a radically creative effort. Transformation is the key to unite the polarities, the paradoxes as seeming contradictions, of life—dark Yin with light of Yang, as the circle of life. Staying close to paradox is to stay to the path of courageous spirituality, wholehearted love. The key to living with a heart of transformation is courage, the courage to honestly and frankly face and embrace the painful aspects of life at face value, yet to deal with this pain in an utterly creative way. After all, happiness is not the opposite of suffering. Transformation is. The great irony, the pitfall in the unilateral pursuit of pleasure, is that suffering results as the attempt to avoid feeling bad. The more we avoid inevitable or extant pain, the more deeply our suffering becomes entrenched in our hearts and the farther we arrive from freedom, deep love, and connecting with —especially giving to—the world in a meaningful way. Indeed, when we avoid the beauty of paradox we live out the horror of its irony.

When we can embrace the difficulties and pains of love and transform them into the feel-good qualities of compassion, depth, richness, gratitude, appreciation, beauty and wonder, we make love more all-encompassing, holistic in the deepest sense. This way, we allow love to be as powerful, as big, as whole, as unifying as what we bill it to be. We transform our hearts into the strongest emitters of energy on the planet, figuratively speaking anyway!

As part of humanity’s long history of denial and attempt to stave off feeling badly, we invented a heaven where everything is perfect. We believe in reincarnation so that death becomes not as terrifying as it really is. We abdicate our sensibilities to a distant, invented God, or an imagined perfect “light,” instead of discovering the inherent nature of morality and compassion in our own hearts via the embrace of darkness for light. We have invented millions of rituals to stave off anxiety. We have created fairy-tales of resurrection to justify a belief in our own immortality. We pray to make ourselves feel better, as wishful thinking to avoid facing the difficult and tragic realities we cannot control. These same challenges, ironically enough, free, deepen, and honestly spiritualize us. At some point we discover first-hand that a hellish life is what we live for having invented a hell and heaven in the first place.

When we take away the magical props of religion we are left with the cold hard facts of life. If we take away our addictions, obsessions and compulsions we are more apt to encounter more cold hard facts of life. If we dare to abandon, even temporarily, our compulsion to pursue the less benign assuagers of anxiety and disappointment, such as excess sex and culinary indulgences, we are also left with more of the same facts of life.

But the hard facts of life are really not so bad. To the sincere and grateful, to the insightful and courageous, the facts are certainly more desirable than chasing a life of superficial pleasures, religious delusion, and New Age fantasies. Why? Because life’s challenges and pains hold within their seemingly impenetrable shell, their seemingly endless spooky corridors, a graceful, deeply compassionate path to freedom, fulfillment, and ease in our own skin and in the world. When we relinquish escape into fairy-tales we are left in the seat of real possibility for transforming our lives and our spirituality, if we have the courage and creativity to appreciate and persevere through the paradoxes that integrate our spirituality in the world.

About the Author

Jack Adam Weber is a licensed acupuncturist, master herbalist, author, organic farmer, celebrated poet, and activist for Earth-centered spirituality. He integrates poetry, ancient wisdom, holistic medicine, and depth psychology into passionate presentations for personal fulfillment as a path to planetary transformation. His books, artwork, and provocative poems can be found at his website PoeticHealing.com.

from:    http://wakeup-world.com/2012/05/22/the-heart-of-transformation-how-courageous-is-your-love/