Shine☀️

shine

Wish to neither possess nor be possessed. Covetousness is not love. Attachment to illusion is not loyalty.

Allowing possessions to define you is a tacit admission that you have no idea who you are at all. So let’s state it cleanly – you have not owned anything, do not own anything and never will.

It may appear to you as though you are profiting, but in the end you are only feeding the delusion. You know very well that all of these appearances could be gone in a moment, so just what kind of investment is this? Don’t you think it’s time to stop allowing these illusions to consume your remaining time?

Transparent and vulnerable self-observation is the first step in awakening inner revelation. You will see that your experiences do not form you – you form yourself by understanding your experiences.

The character in this movie of yours seems to have all of these very interesting ideas about you, but all of his ideas keep coming up short – and are still all about him.

Make an allowance to stop betraying your wisdom. It’s quite possible to perceive your ego without being involved. When you make peace with yourself you’ll be at peace with everything. Isn’t it time for peace?

When we do not realize the formless nature of all things, we cling to these forms, and when these forms change, as they inevitably do, we suffer because of our attachments to them.

In order to bring light to the world you can’t be afraid to shine. To truly shine we must resist clinging to the false promises of materialism. The greatest beauty lies in the greatest clarity.

“He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” ~Epictetus

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

Don’t be too important to ask for help. And don’t be too scared. Don’t let your problems consume you and those you love.

Letter To A Friend❤

letter-to-a-friend

Your first obligation as a dignified human being on the contemplative path is to stop inviting chaos into your life and the lives of those you love.

You have outgrown yourself.

The same old tired identity and life plan just isn’t working anymore. It’s time to retreat inward and gather your resources once again. You must discover yourself in solitude to learn how not to be be defined by others and the world.

When you look within to discover the depths of the pain and your own being at the end you will find nothing, and then develop this fortitude – resist filling the void. Rest in the not finding. Love, that not finding anything when you look for yourself is the finding. And in that resting you will discover your true value – that your nothingness is neither a vacuum nor a void, but instead is the ground of your limitless potential. You have a voice that doesn’t use words – that voice is silence. Listen to that voice.

Every emotion you have ever experienced is the relationship to your own projective reality – not to any other world or person out there independent of your own mind. It is your deepest pain that will empower you to realize this highest awareness.

Everything that seems to be happening to you is only appearing on the screen of your own consciousness – when you realize this nothing can harm you or make you afraid. When reality is observed through this lens you will know that the suffering you have experienced only happened for you to discover your depth, humility, compassion, quiet grace and dignity. You will love the freedom that comes from no longer seeking approval and validation. You will relieve yourself of denying your pain to make others comfortable. The transmutation will be painful, but don’t fear that you are falling apart, you are only turning into something beautiful. Allow every pain to be a teaching, make an allowance for your every suffering to move you closer to realization.

This time try loving yourself instead of loving the idea of other people loving you. No matter what you say I will keep telling you that you are important, loving, intelligent, worthy of your own self-respect, beautiful, creative, brave, strong and able until you realize it for yourself.

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

May you be happy, may you be well, safe, peaceful and at ease.

Truth Statements

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There is no going back once the lid on the box of deep personal insight has opened. Like a butterfly trying to return to its cocoon, a place that used to be all it knew, what was once warm and comforting, now seems small, toxic and claustrophobic.

 

Destructive habits, emotions and relationships operate, manifest, and thrive in the unconscious ecology of projective experience. Shining the light of awareness onto our destructive tendencies and taking responsibility is rewarding, and revealing but facing the truth of self-deception comes with a requisite amount of pain and resistance to change.

 

As painful as self-sabotaging behaviors can be, the allure of the known and familiar seems far too often to have an almost magnetic appeal.

 

Sometimes there is simply no happy medium, no way to have your cake and eat it too, meaning it is simply impossible to live having both the wisdom of introspection and the destructive relationship or habit. It’s going to simply be one or the other. One option is to return to the cocoon, to the familiar pain, and the other option is a vast space of endless possibility.

 

Don’t be afraid to step over the line, a demarcation, a personal rite of passage – to leave the destructive relationship, habit, and emotion once and for all. Cold turkey. This is called a moment of truth. We encourage our friends and clients to find a destructive tendency or even relationship and to make a truth statement.

 

A truth statement is a powerful intentional statement. A truth statement is a promise to never return to the former aspect of our lives that we unconsciously manifested. Never again.

 

An example of a truth statement is Gandhi’s or the the Dalai Lama’s truth statement of non-violence (ahimsa). Under no circumstance will I ever commit violence to another. Personal truth statements are very powerful – serious business; Not for the meek. When you gather your courage and fortitude, examine the destructive tendencies and relationships in your life. I urge you to make a few truth statements every year. Some relationships or tendencies simply are not manageable. They have to be severed and cut off. No looking back. Game over. When we can no longer bear the weight of our own justifications; when our rationalizations have become intolerable.

 

Life is in the present and ahead, so be brave and make the space, an allowance for personal transformation: “this time I’ll reenter into my life and world consciously, I’m done with the pain.”

Next act, next episode please. It’s time to move on now.

The Three Scopes 

  

The Lowest Scope Person is someone who believes that this life is all that there is. This type of person believes that reality is coming at their awareness and they are merely experiencing and trying to make sense of it. They believe that when the physical body ceases functioning that their non-material awareness/consciousness discontinues. 

The lowest scope person is generally a hedonist nihilist – meaning that they will say things like, “you only live once,” to justify focusing their lives on immediate sense faculty urges and temptations. Their ethics and morality will largely consist of doing what is legal so long as they don’t get caught – which may extend all the way to a sometimes empathetic, “I will do onto others as I would have them do unto me.” Most importantly this type of person marginally accepts the causality of thoughts, speech, and actions. 

The lowest scope person does not believe that they will experience the results of ALL of their behaviors – curiously – only some. The lowest scope person believes (and I would add without evidence) that with the material death of the body – the game is over – and consequently the way that they conduct themselves in this life is substantially different from the middling scope practitioner. Even worse this type of person may believe that there could be something beyond this life but simply doesn’t prepare for what they might find.

The Middling Scope Person prepares for the hereafter believing that when the material body dies that there is a next life and that an aspect of themselves, typically referred to as a Soul or Atman (Higher Self) continues.This person believes that their ethical actions in this life will result in their immaterial Soul being redirected to another destination (often an eternal destination with no chance of effecting a different outcome) typically referred to as Heaven or Hell. 

The middling scope person often, but does not always believe that a higher power will assess their conduct in this life and make the decision about where their Soul will eternally reside in the hereafter; Subsequently the middling scope person often moderates their ethical behavior in this in hopes/fears of this eternal outcome.

The Highest Scope Person understands awareness to be timeless. This person accepts that the reality (the world and others) that they are experiencing is being manifested from their own awareness in the form of sense faculty arising and thinking. 

The highest scope person realizes that awareness-consciousness is not material, but instead interacts (not separate from) with materiality through mental labeling or imputation. They believe that reality itself in all of its varied forms is an expression of mind. Consequently the highest scope practitioner focuses their energy in this life on living a life of ethical integrity knowing that they will experience the result of their thoughts, speech, and actions. This type of person does not blame others or the world for their troubles, instead they accept full responsibility for their lives. 

Ultimately the highest scope person with dedicated focus begins through their restrained conduct to purposefully create a life and a world of their own making – and then resides in that world. This type of practitioner realizes that even their own physical body is not separate from awareness. Consequently the highest scope practitioner believes (with good reason and direct experience) that awareness is timeless, imprintable and is and will always manifest the result of their conduct perfectly. This being’s raison d’être is one of compassion: to help others to stop suffering, and show them the path to enlightenment. This type of being is an Awakened One – awakened to the experience of ultimate reality and acts with generosity and compassionately in accordance with this Highest Scope.

How to Understand the Wisdom of Peace In a World on the Verge of War


Take a moment and step back from the everyday news bombardment regarding the latest terror threat, terror alerts and other pretexts for future war. Let’s be reflective and non-reactive and examine where we are from within a wider lens.

Worthwhile Perspectives on War From the Most Unlikely Sources

My claim is simple, if you want peace, you need to know your war. It seems that many of my younger friends understandably lack the context of what it means to live in a country continuously at war and in a country whose leadership in retrospect has purposefully manufactured and manipulated consent for the United States to go to war throughout its modern history.

The questions, “Why would our political leaders purposefully lead us into war? And who benefits?,” are actually remarkably easy to understand.

Let’s begin with an excerpt from Norman Cousins’s 1987 book, “The Pathology of Power.” Cousin writes,

 

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military–industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

That was 1987 – long before our next enemy invention (although in all fairness the United States began grooming, arming and funding the post-modern Jihadi Taliban and Al Qaeda movements as anti-Soviet proxies during this period).

Since the fall of Communism, we have indeed invented a new convenient enemy, one that can never be beaten because it’s neither an army nor a country – it’s a mere idea, a word, a thought – and it’s called, “terrorism.”

The military budget of the United States for the 2014 fiscal year was $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion. This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget. Overall the United States government is spending about $1 trillion annually on defense-related purposes.

If we are not already in one, we are in danger of being in a permanent war economy.

 

“Men who during war, who have tasted the powers of coercive control, may find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the humbler roles they will then have to play in peaceful times.” – Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

 

In his farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the American people to keep a careful eye on what he called the “military-industrial complex” that developed in the post-World War II years. The phrase, “military-industrial complex,” is neither conspiratorial nor a scary possibility – it’s living and it’s factual.

A fiscal conservative, President Eisenhower had been concerned about the growing size and cost of the American defense establishment since he became president in 1953. In his final presidential address to the American people, he expressed those concerns in terms that frankly shocked some of his listeners.

President Eisenhower began by describing the changing nature of the American defense establishment since World War II. No longer could the U.S. afford the “emergency improvisation” that characterized its preparations for war against Germany and Japan. Instead, the United States was “compelled to create a permanent armaments industry” and a huge military force. He admitted that the Cold War made clear the “imperative need for this development,” but he was gravely concerned about “the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” In particular, he asked the American people to guard against the “danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a defense-scientific-technological elite.”

Eisenhower’s blunt language stunned some of his supporters. They believed that the man who led the country to victory in Europe in World War II and guided the nation through some of the darkest moments of the Cold War was too negative toward the military-industrial complex that served as the backbone of America’s defense. For most listeners, however, it seemed clear that Eisenhower was merely stating the obvious. World War II and the ensuing Cold War resulted in the development of a large and powerful defense establishment. Necessary though that development might be, Eisenhower warned, this new military-industrial complex could weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect.

Worse still, the military-industrial complex and related defense industry subsidiaries contribute heavily to incumbent members of Congress. Take the sugar coating off of that statement and a direct question is being asked for you to ponder, “Are our political leaders either too cozy or are pawns in the pocket of an industry that far too often may be short-sightedly and diametrically opposed to peace and the very welfare of our country?”

There’s nothing but hard evidence here is my claim, so “What are the names of some of these companies within this so-called military-industrial complex?”

 

“Companies that employ millions of American workers?”
Danger 101: An Ongoing War Economy: Some of America’s Largest Employers Need/Needed War as a Profit Center Just to Stay in Business:



Boeing 

General Dynamics 

Lockheed Martin Corporation

General Electric 

North American Aviation 

United Aircraft 

AT&T Corporation 

Hughes Aircraft Company 

Sperry Corporation 

Raytheon 

McDonnell-Douglass



After Our Wars – Construction and War Re-Construction is Big Business, and a Few Companies Consistently Manage to Win Supply and Infrastructure Project Contracts:

Bechtel

Halliburton Kellogg Brown and Root

Fluor

Foster Wheeler

Washington Group Intl

ABB USA

McDermott Intl

Jacobs Engineering 

Black and Veatch

Tyco

Aker Maritime

Contrack International 

Interestingly, it would be very simple to work in any of these industries and never really take stock as an employee in just what exactly the overall magnitude of violence and death that you’re involved in actually is. It is also the case that one could be a soldier, for all the right reasons, but be a cog in the wheel of something larger than what is immediately recognizable.

If you live long enough and pay just a little attention you can’t help but notice the same themes playing out over and over. After World War II and until the fall of the Soviet Union there was an idea that was fought for repeatedly without end – that idea was called Communism.

The Western world was full of hope – the year was 1991. Communism had completely collapsed. The long-awaited peace that the free world had always wanted was finally here. While the fall of communism was an extremely hopeful moment for the people of the world, there were some very painful and predictable side effects: There were layoffs at US defense contractors, there were the closing down and downsizing of armed service bases, a decreasing number of uniformed personnel – all were becoming increasingly common. Many heated debates were fought in the House and Senate about which bases would remain open as base closures were vital for many American cities viable health and survival.

For all the problems Communism created, it also provided the US with a consistently reliable source of military jobs, a firm tax base, defense contractor positions, and a large military on constant stand-by. There were always huge cost overruns, but there were also major technological achievements that came from these developments.

This was the era of the Cold War and there were continuous low to mid-level conflicts at all times from Central to South America, to Africa and the Middle East, all the way to SouthEast Asia. Enormous sums were spent on telecommunications, intelligence, space and satellite development to justify the enemy, for if there were no enemy – these sums, lives lost and energy would be both morally and financially unjustifiable.
American industry benefitted tremendously from continuous conflict. The contractors benefitted not just on the side of the war machine, but especially on the side of the construction and the reconstruction machine. Eisenhower was unfortunately right.

Whatever damage the United States did by tearing apart countries with its politics, bombs and guns it made right by turning right around and putting a friendly government in place and performing exactly the same tried-and-true routine: After overthrowing or undermining governments around the world, putting U.S. friendly governments in place – we then conveniently always helped them to rebuild. Always.

The first item on the agenda was to always have the new U.S. friendly government take out a series of loans from international banks that the U.S. and it’s close allies controlled: namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. There were commercial banks too, but these were the principal entities.

With US friendly leadership in place, these new governments would take out loans – specifically reconstruction and infrastructure loans. Almost all contracts for infrastructure would go to American companies, and that is how the world was geopolitically structured until the end of the Cold War. With great frequency, and conspicuously when the United States needed a specific vote at the United Nations, debt was often forgiven.

The best part of these new infrastructure loans that were made largely from the World Bank – they were made with often unreasonably long pay-back periods, but at a reasonable interest rate with this caveat: the currency the country would now use would either be the dollar or pegged directly to the dollar.

The United States was directly creating global hegemony on a scale that British colonialists from the 19th century could only envy. One consistent difficulty with this new American Century was that all of the governments that the US would put in power, all seemed strikingly opposed to the very people that they were supposed to represent. While the US was friendly with these self-created autocratic puppet governments, in most every case the people that lived under those governments understandably began to despise the United States and its self-serving foreign-policy.

From the overthrowing of the President of Iran, to the placement of Manuel Noriega in Panama, to befriending the likes of Saddam Hussein, to sustaining the brutal Saudi regime – the U.S. managed to isolate itself from the goodwill of the world for the sake of a wayward foreign policy run amok by defense, food, oil/energy, telecommunication, mining, and infrastructure contractors. All of this was financed by several very large international banks that held sway over the “free-world’s” governance through pegging US loans to the dollar as a float, without any further underlying standard.

One last item: the number of US military bases spread rapidly worldwide after World War Two to contain the spread of, “the idea of Communism.” The proportion of the U.S. economy controlled by Defense and Intelligence was sky-rocketing. The United States quickly became dependent on its Defense/War machine for its very economic survival. We became a nation that quite literally – had to be at war both to survive and justify its way of life in the eyes of more than just a few powerful interests.

Meanwhile the collateral damage were US friendly authoritarian (anti-democracy) rulers in place worldwide, millions of dead and wounded worldwide and thousands of honorable dead and wounded US soldiers.

Our future soldiers were often conscripted from high school ROTC, recruitment stations at lower-income shopping malls in rural areas, and from exciting television ads promoted at sporting events – far from the privileged class that was benefitting and pocketing from the spoils of war. Time and again the political leaders that were sending our children to die overseas evaded the very service they were now leading and had every financial and political power incentive to maintain.

To this day it amazes me that popular sporting events in our country have somehow become aligned and associated with and used as recruitment propaganda tools. Just what exactly does one have to with the other? Why are we saying the national anthem and having military jets fly overhead at stadiums? Just what exactly do football and baseball have to do with war? Why exactly do so many toys, video games and films glorify something so obscenely grotesque as modern warfare? Is there a purposeful attempt being made to familiarize, normalize and propagate war in every level of our social conscience?

Why exactly do the news channels voraciously repeat certain sensational acts of terror over and over again even though they are significantly disproportionate to the number of events taking place? Not until you leave the United States and live overseas (and I don’t mean in an Army Base or work for a contractor or work for the U.S. in anyway) would you truly discover how very weird all of this really is. We live in something of an odd container of an all-encompassing, all too-often violent sound bite news cycle.

To this day only thirty-eight percent of Americans have ever left the country and that is up substantially as of late according to current State Department statistics – simply because Americans now need a passport to travel to Mexico. Few other places are quite like the United States when it comes to violence. We are unique – something of a gladiator society. Even boxing has lost its popularity as a sport for us – it apparently has nothing compared to the latest rage: human cock-fighting. Armed to the teeth with guns – truly violence and household armaments are an incredible economic industry. Travel and you will see that the rest of the world, except where we have armed it – is anything like us at all.

From a certain perspective – much of what is taking place is well-beyond the banter of conspiracy buffs – it has simply becoming patently obvious by the oversized defense budget and the number of simultaneous low-grade continuous conflicts that are taking place. No other country comes close to what we spend on war. We dwarf all other countries – there is no arms race.

“Friendly US governments” were bought and paid for as was evidenced by almost strict uniform results of vote tallying at the United Nations along Free World-Communist lines until the end of the Cold War. It was a great time to be an investment banker on Wall Street, a lobbyist on K Street, or a politician who was under the heavy and corruptive influence of both, or a shareholder in these stable blue-chip companies. Ah, the good old days.

Well, they’re back. And they’ve been back. Perhaps there was a small hiatus between the fall of communism in 1991 and September 11, 2001 but we have a new idea to fight and it’s much more elusive than the old one. This new elusive enemy is called “Terrorism,” and it is a convenient idea but can never be beaten, but will always keep us employed. We can only kill terrorists but we can never beat an idea called terrorism. We are being sold a very deadly bill of goods. The war machine is back, the reconstruction and construction machines are back. The banks are back. And they’re all back with a vengeance.

There will be no end to this greed, there will be no end to this corruption until we as a society are educated, fed up with the fear and propaganda from select news, fed up with war, and begin to truly reevaluate our economy and transition it to peace.

There will always be a bomb that goes off here, a bomb that goes off there, there will always be a pretext for the next arms shipment, proxy war or invasion.

Realistically the Middle East hasn’t looked any less spiritually difficult for thousands of years. The only thing that’s different now, is the location of oil. Religion is a pretext. Clash of civilizations is a pretext. We are not stepping into a war with ISIS – we are just about to step into another war with a deception – a machine that cannot be seen, until you step back and see the wider context in which you are being asked to fight once more. Step back from the thirty second propaganda sound bites of breaking news. Get a birds eye view. There are larger forces at work.

We were never attacked by the people of of Afghanistan or Iraq, yet we’ve been at war with them for 15 years. We have never been attacked by Syria but we are being prepared to go and fight an enemy that appears we have largely created and tailor made to meet our war economy once again. The wisdom of peace is to not play into or at least minimize your part in this money and blood thirsty cycle of violence and never-ending war.

Paul Wolfowitz was conveniently nominated by George W. Bush to head the World Bank after the Iraq war was declared Mission Accomplished, and if you were in the Bush Administration, to some degree the mission in 2004 was indeed accomplished: a new friendly US government was in place, reconstruction had begun, the loans and the contracts were flying. And the oil was said to be flowing once more. From beginning to the end none of this was true. Literally trillions of dollars were erroneously and surreptitiously spent on a war to find non-existent weapons of mass destruction. The United States destroyed and then ineptly tried to rebuild Iraqi society – by all accounts a complete failure unless you were part of the machine that profited.

Truly a disgusting waste of human lives and a breeding ground was all that remained for the very worst of Saudi funded Wahhabist extremists to thrive in.
In Afghanistan, outside of attacking a few tented terrorist camps in Kandahar and a few caves at Bora Bora most of Al Qaeda had melted into Pakistan and beyond. New oil leases are ready to be exploited in the disputed Syrian Israeli-held Golan Heights and just offshore are thought to be some of the biggest reserves in the world.

Americans won’t be fooled by a simple oil pretext again, but perhaps a murderous group of Christian killing Islamist extremists might do the trick, that might be just enough pretext to ignite our war machine into full gear once more. And of course, Syria will need to be rebuilt after the fall of Assad. If you want to understand what we’re getting into, and how we might avoid another round of pain – follow the money, not the pretext for war.

In conclusion I leave you with a final gift as I attempt to coerce you toward the more noble aspirations of peace and love – from the Nuremberg diary of American prison psychologist G.M. Gilbert and his interviews with one of the chief architects of the The Third Reich and Commander of the Lufftwaffe, Hermann Goering:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, “I did not think the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.”

 

“Why of course the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a Democracy, a Fascist dictatorship or a Parliament, or a Communist dictatorship.”

“There is one difference,”I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only the Congress can declare war.”
“Oh that is all well and good,” Goering replied, “but voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

 

Since World War II the United States has been in an almost continuous state of war and this is exactly how many times Congress has used the War Powers Act: Zero.

The people’s wish for peace are being circumvented by powerful lobby’s and interests, we are being sold a bill of violent goods through the pretext of a War on Terror. If you want peace you must see through the mirage, you must speak up – silence is the hidden enabler of violence. It is patriotic to want peace.

It is patriotic to want an end to the violence and destruction. It is human and it is humane to wish to leave this world a better place than we found it for our children and for our environment. Each of us is responsible to find our voice of peace and love.

May we be happy, may we be well, may we be safe, and may we peaceful and at ease. May we find peace within and may there be peace in our world.

Prayer for the World❤️

  
When other’s hearts are on fire, be patient, be the cool water. Nothing good has ever come from violence, and nothing good ever could. Please think before unleashing the next round of pain. Honor the dead by honoring the living. Have the foresight to see that revenge will only breed another generation of hatred. An eye for an eye is leaving everyone blind. There will be no victory through violence. This does not have to be us versus them, because there is no us versus them except for those whose eyes are shut to the broad view of the needless cycle of pain. Anger is our closest enemy.
Every act of extremism from both sides breeds more extremism. Forget who started it. Be a part of the peace that ends this. What has been done is so horrible that we can no longer hear what each other are saying. People’s behavior at all times is a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves. If you wish for peace than you must be peaceful. It’s very simple – you cannot continue to attack and retaliate if you want peace. Violence does not bring peace. Compassion brings peace. Love brings peace. Forgiveness brings peace.
May you be the medicine for those who are sick. May you be a bridge for those who wish to cross over. May you be a lamp in the darkness. For those who are weary, may you provide a resting place and shelter. May you be a guide for those on the path to light and peace. May you bring sustenance to those in need. For as long as there is suffering, may you endure until all beings are freed from sorrow, until all are free from pain.

THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI


Make me an instrument of your peace,


Where there is hatred, let me sow love.


Where there is injury, pardon.


Where there is doubt, faith.


Where there is darkness, light.


Where there is sadness, joy.


O divine Being, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.


For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Self-Discovery: An Inner Journey

Integrative-Medicine

Roughly five hundred years before Christ, Socrates issued his famous dictum, “That a life unexamined was a life not worth living: Know thyself.”

At approximately the same time in Northern India the ascetic wanderer Siddhartha Gautama, soon to be known at the Awakened One, the Buddha, was exploring the depths of mind, consciousness, and body through a process called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the ability to non-judgmentally and non-reactively observe thoughts, emotions and physical sensate experiences (pain and pleasure) come and go without attachment. The result of this process is a deep inner-contentment, a joyful release, and a freeing of being pushed and pulled by sense faculty desires and aversions, stories created by the mind and the ensuing emotions that follow. Freedom from stress and suffering – in the beginning a temporary freedom, and finally a lasting freedom known as awakening or enlightenment. In effect, mindfulness at its deepest levels is a knowing (insight) of oneself that finally transcends the very egoistic self that was restlessly pursuing the very freedom it was seeking. This realization is known as Nirvana.

In the interim there is a massive reduction in the production of the four primary stress hormones (cortisol being primary), high blood pressure, insulin levels, bone density loss, a massive reduction in afflictive and destructive emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression and guilt. All of this is quite testable and done without medication. A deep acceptance, love, and compassion for oneself and others are the results of long-term practice.
Our next ten day retreat begins the day after Christmas and can be found at:

Mindfulness Meditation Centers

Please put aside the typical excuses such as I can’t sit still or my mind can’t calm down..of course we know this already, this is what everyone says..this is precisely what we do, we help you learn exactly how to manage and understand these very processes.

We do not promote Buddhism or any other religion, only introspection and self-examination. There is no need to be frightened by the process of sitting quietly with your own mind and body without electronic distractions for a few days. Unplugging is good for you – healthy, and inspiring. You will have a penetrative understanding of your own being, you will learn so much about yourself by sitting still and being radically simple that you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done this sooner.

Thousands of people of all ages, races, genders and sexual orientation walk through our doors each week (donation only) from all levels of socio-economic status.

Mindfulness is for everyone.

Relationship Selection Process

Your selection process in choosing friends, intimate partners and others to have in your life will largely dictate and determine your emotional future. Anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt and other destructive emotions can largely be mediated by a wise selection process – what you will accept and not accept, tolerate and not tolerate.

If you enter the amusement park don’t blame anyone else. If you get on the roller coaster don’t blame another. Know what your selection process is, and stick to it – don’t waver. Most importantly be patient – the first few months in any relationship is not a reliable indicator of character; it takes time to have enough reliable data points to see the larger chart of someone’s integrity and personality.
Pay careful attention to how someone manages and deals with conflict. All relationships have sticking points.

Key things to watch for: Emotional Responsibility

  1.  No one blames you for how they feel
  2.  No demands
  3. No control. Most importantly observe someone’s ability to communicate, apologize, forgive and move on.

If it’s too late and you’re already on the ride, instead of continuing to punish yourself, it’s okay to leave. Always give yourself permission to move on to another adventure – each time a little wiser than before.

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Happiness and Poverty Mentality

  
Pure present moment joy. Once you leave Bangkok and travel northeast into the jungles and rice fields of Issan province this is what you’ll find: A way of life called, “sanook,” in Thai – it means to find the joy in whatever you do. 

When I left investment banking and became a Buddhist monk this was where the first forest temple (Wat) I lived in was – and the experience inalterably changed my life for the better. Living in Thailand shined a stark light on what has become an obvious and evident truth – that true joy comes from the inside – and exudes and shines its way out through expression, speech and action.

When I first arrived in this rural area near the Laotian border I thought everyone – all of these happy people were impoverished. It didn’t take long to discover that it was me who was lacking. Poor and desolate. That with all of this money, education and ambition that I was so incredibly vacant, so uninformed and pathetically poor – immersed in what I have come to understand and termed as, “poverty mentality”. Poverty mentality is in opposition to joy, it is falsely seen through the eyes of consumerism and materialism as something to cultivate and even admire. The attitude and stance that nothing is ever enough: To always want and need more – to never be satisfied. Insatiable craving and thirsting for more and more. In retrospect I don’t know how I didn’t see it. 
There is no real sanook in consumerism – just temporary and fleeting gratification from mundane pleasures that are mistaken for happiness, but far from well-being. There’s nothing wrong with material things as long as you know their actual worth: that all things actually have no inherent value beyond the conditioned mind that assigns and attributes a price to their perceived function.

The first day as a monk I begged (Buddhist monastic tradition) for food from a young woman with two infants who lived nearby in a small corrugated tin shanty. I’ll never know her name. She fed me in the rice field that I was walking through that day – she simply placed rice and vegetables in my bowl and offered prayers. There are fewer humbling experiences than begging for alms. How to accept food from someone who has less than you? Only to quickly realize she had so much more. Sitting outside on a thin rice mat smiling with her children and hands in prayer. She was so rich and so filled with the joy of generosity. 

I never felt so poor as that moment. In that time and space it occurred to me almost instantly that my ambitious values and constant craving were at odds with harmony, contentedness, peace and love – even for myself. Right there in the middle of that rice field thousands of miles from home my knees buckled and I wept and wept. That was the day I gave up, let go and truly started to give in. That was the day I found my good heart and began to discover the joy in the easy naked simplicity of just being. Sanook. 

May you be happy, may you be well, truly peaceful and at ease 🙏❤️🌷😊

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Ultimately Speaking

Not until you let go of everything that you crave and cling to will you receive all that you truly need. Furthermore – if you will simply pay attention you will recognize that you already have all that you need, I promise it is only the craving for more that stops you from realizing this. How could you ever have more than being a part of everything?
Finally you will need to let go of the person you think you are to discover what you just might already be. Only by releasing the grasping to the various identities you’ve unnecessarily created will you see that everything you’ve longed to become was already a part of you.

Relax the craving and the grasping. Everything is fine as it is. Everything is fine in its own place. There is nothing to cling to or control. There is nothing to fixate on, nothing to adopt or reject. Everything is free just as it is. Relax into this awareness, release the striving. Relax and observe the appearances of the mind like stormy weather passing through a perfect sky. You will burst into laughter when you discover that you have made a big deal about absolutely nothing for far too long now.

May you be happy, well, safe, peaceful and at ease.

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