Discovering Other Worldly Joy

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It is the joy within that creates a magnificent life on the outside. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, who you are with, or what is happening around you – joy is always with you.

Other-worldly joy is differentiated from joy received through the experience of trying to be happy through the sense faculties, which is constantly changing and is reliant upon outer causes and conditions being the way we hope for. Other worldly joy is reliable and is always available because it relies upon something that is always present and just needs to be recognized – awareness.

Joy is an energizing quality and is accessible with different levels of intensity – momentary joy, minor joy, cascading joy, uplifting and all-pervasive joy.

Meditation Instruction, Classes and Retreats Offered at Every Level:
www.mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

On-line classes: contact davitamoodley@gmail.com

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

Gently Letting Go of Who You Used to Be

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“Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land; there is no other life but this.”

– Henry David Thoreau

There is complete freedom in every moment, all that this discovery requires is for you to focus your attention on the only time context that is possible – the present – otherwise what I refer to as BST – Buddha Standard Time.

We softly release the grasping sense of self into this moment through a combination of mindfulness and concentration practices and then gently reappear – differently.

Our practice begins to heal both the conscious and sub-conscious psyche of its neurotic burden. As we become increasingly immersed in the present moment (jhana) waves of cascading joy roll through the body and mind culminating in blissful rapture. We ride these waves of joy into a tranquil ease…a vast sea of equanimity remains. Our sense of consciousness and awareness expands…our perceptions deepen into the essence and nature of reality.

And then we return to the old familiar mundane patterns of life…we reengage, but it’s different now. It is like a butterfly that has left its cocoon. What used to be the old familiar cannot be returned to – a larger field of awareness has been awakened and we are confronted….

Will we now hide who we are to protect who we once were? Will we release who we once were and authentically be who we have become?

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

Meditation Instruction, Classes and Retreats Offered at Every Level:
www.mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

On-line classes: contact davitamoodley@gmail.com

Instagram: mindmichael

This moment

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This moment is the last moment, and every moment is a rebirth.

It is widely believed that which is just born, which has just come into existence, has no past behind it. Birth seen through this lens, is the condition of having no past.

And likewise, anything which now dies, which has just ceased to be, has no future left in front of it. It is widely believed that death is the condition of having no future.

These comments however defy direct experience and rationale, as it is the case that the present moment has no past or future simultaneously.

That is, birth and death are one in this present moment. This moment is just now being born – you can never find a past to the present moment, and you can never find something after it either.

Yet also, this moment is just now dying- as you could never find a future to this moment, and you can never find something after it.

This present moment then, is the synchronicity of opposites, a momentary coming together of an underlying field of infinite possibilities – an unending continuance of infinite birth and death – of being and non-being, of existence and non-existence in an eternal present.

Rest in this timeless awareness, all else that can be conceived is a mirage, a play in a forest of symbolic appearance.

– Wilbur, Ippen, Myself

Teaching and Meditation info below:

Mondays live in St. Pete 6-8 pm EST at 222 2nd St. North in the Accupuncture and Herbal Therapy Building. Tuesdays live in Sarasota at Prana Yoga 3840 S. Osprey from 6-8pm. Wednesday’s 6:30-8:30 at the Centre for Women in Tampa 305 S. Hyde Park live and online.

Dec 9-11 retreat in Denver, Colorado on the Union of love, Compassion, and Wisdom

18th Annual Ten Day Silent New Year Retreat Dec 26th-Jan. 3rd at our retreat center just South of Tampa.

May you be happy, may you be well, safe, peaceful and at easeūüôŹ

For more info and/ or to schedule sessions with Michael, Davita or any of the other excellent counselors at Beyond Therapy or to attend classes at Mindfulness Meditation Centers:

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

 

Limitless Compassion‚̧ԳŹ

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Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness – they are a sign of strength. My work involves listening to thousands of stories each year involving people in pain and crisis – – many of which directly have involved you or people you know.

I know that everyone lives their own private hell and the content of their hell I neither have the luxury or privilege to value, discount or judge. I encourage you to follow my lead in that statement of truth.

Those we find to be intolerant, intolerant to everything we hold to be precious and dear, and even those who are destructive to our shared environment are those we need to show the most compassion toward. Release your anger and embrace a listening and loving conversation. Model in yourself what you wish to see in others and the world.

Lately much of what I have seen involves people discounting and even rejoicing (gloating) in others’ pain because the pain does not directly involve you or is a pain that you cannot relate. It saddens me to see such a lack of empathy from those I know who are deeply caring in other aspects of their lives. I am also energized – I know that I need to double-down on my efforts to communicate the necessity of compassion for us to live together in a shared world.

I believe everyone is worthy of compassion, even for those who victoriously gloat in the face of others and falsely believe that they themselves will not experience the result of that karma. That is simply untrue with regard to the nature of reality – the cycle will continue, and like a shadow that never departs – those who do not show compassion for those who are in pain are only sowing the seeds of their own future painful harvest. You can do better. We can do better.

I don’t care whatever difficulties we have had or may have. I don’t care what you’re going through. Let’s put everything aside and practice mindfulness, compassion, and kindness together. Regardless of religion or political affiliation, race, gender or sexual-orientation – all are warmly welcomed with an open mind and an open-heart.

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

For more info and/ or to schedule sessions with Michael, Davita or any of the other excellent counselors at Beyond Therapy or to attend classes at Mindfulness Meditation Centers:

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

Feel free to like, comment on, share, or invite others to read our daily mindfulness and counseling posts.

For meditation classes and retreats:
www.mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

To watch either live on-line or recorded classes please contact: davitamoodley@gmail.com for more info

Instagram: mindmichael

Calm the Storm

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Nothing is worth sacrificing your peace of mind for. Yesterday is what it was. Today is what it is, and tomorrow will be what it will be.

In any given moment there are precisely two things happening – there is what is happening and there is your relationship to what is happening. Please calm yourself, you are responsible for the latter.

Awaken, heal, grow and mature. Empower yourself – no one is controlling your emotions, only you are responsible for the way you feel. Don’t waste a moment in either anger or despair. You may not be able to control a situation, but you are responsible for how you let it affect you, and how you let it affect you depends on your level of conscious awareness. If you are being dramatically affected by events that appear to be coming from outside of you then the apparent event is a teaching pointing you in the areas that you need to grow.

Be careful how you to attempt to influence others – resist sharing anything but love and compassion – you will never regret refraining from ill-will and a divisive tongue. You will always find solace in a peaceful mind and speech that heals. Be a lamp for those who need light, a bridge for those who need to cross over, a resting place for the weary.

Don’t run from yourself, don’t blame another. There is no other when there is no division within. To heal, place your hands on your heart, forgive yourself, and fully embrace this moment as it is, welcome this reality as if you had chosen it yourself – as a reminder, as a teaching. The moment you truly do this it will be as if a miracle had entered your life, as if providence had directly intervened on your behalf.

Infinite causes and conditions have gone into and make up every moment of your life. Everything is perfect just as it is, only the mind of fear says otherwise. All things ebb and flow in this infinite expanse of time and tide. Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists.

Difficult times are the measure of your good heart. Don’t run away from the work to be done. Look around you – the sun has risen, you are a fully endowed human being with a beautiful mind and a loving heart – you are free. Take stock, pause, be grateful, how many would live and love to be in your shoes even on this day? This moment is not an ending, this moment is a beginning. Be gracious, don’t bring things to a painful point – humble yourself and respectfully congratulate and offer the victory to others. Your Awakening depends it, it is in your interest to let go, to not react unconsciously and surrender any ill-will.

As with a lotus flower, you have the ability to rise from the muck, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.

Nothing in this world of illusion can protect you from suffering – only your very nature – tapping into and opening up to your unbridled and limitless pure potential can save you from stress and suffering.

For Refuge, for true protection – it is time to look within. Calm the storm – take a deep breath in, then breathe out – release the excessive flow of thoughts and attachments to the past and future without agenda. Relax into the present moment. Rest again and again at the end of each exhalation. At ease at ease, at ease with any unease. Come home. There is nothing worth sacrificing your peace of mind and good heart for.

Monthly retreats live and online from the Ellenton/Palmetto retreat center.

For more info and/ or to schedule sessions with Michael, Davita or any of the other excellent counselors at Beyond Therapy or to attend classes at Mindfulness Meditation Centers:

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

For meditation classes and retreats:

www.mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

To watch either live on-line or recorded classes please contact: davitamoodley@gmail.com for more info.

Responsibly Projecting Your Reality

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A very¬†common stumbling block on the Path to¬†Awakening is that after coming to terms and experiencing that you are indeed living in your own projective reality – after the initial excitement wears off, “Wait a second, what are the implications?”

The implications are that you are both 100% responsible for not only your emotions but that you are also 100% responsible for your projections…

You want to be happy, and you don’t want to suffer so you realize you must maintain the view of complete responsibility for the relationship to the world and all relationships that are created by your own mind.

And you can’t just change your thinking…your speech and actions, which are the active derivatives of your thinking, must also change. Far from realization being a passive exercise in sitting and meditating the results are reflected in your conduct.

Yes, you are projecting your reality – therefore it is not the case that your thoughts, speech, and actions don’t matter – the opposite is true. Your thoughts speech and actions matter tremendously because everything is empty of inherent or intrinsic reality…your love, compassion, generosity, and your conduct creates your world, combined with your focused attention and insight.

The willingness to play in the field of your projections wisely determines the very reality field you are playing in.

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

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’√™tre 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.

The Wisdom of Generosity

Heartwarming Video on Generosity

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need. – Khalil Gibran

Soon after returning from monastic life in Asia, I took a job as the director of a hospice in the mountains of Colorado. A number of truths became quickly apparent when working with the dying, and other insights quietly surfaced:

Your remaining years and death will be graceful, peaceful and filled with hope if you have lived a charitable life; therefore a life of generosity is the greatest investment in your future happiness. For those who have spent their life giving all of themselves there is a grace in dying, an ease and a sublime willingness to let go – to release the grasping for this world and existence.

Conversely and proportionately the more an individual tries to covet and and maintain possessions and control others they grow older and die in painful proportion.¬†The poorest days of my life were when I looked out for myself first. I thought if I could acquire or store enough wealth that I’d be less fearful, less doubtful and feel successful. I would be foolish to not notice that I stopped seeing myself as inadequate when I started living a life devoted to charity and sharing.

When you switch your attention from the subject to the object is when you will become successful in the highest sense. When you start giving to the world all in which you had previously hoped to receive is the day you will feel most whole, most complete.

I had always wished for someone to love me, to listen to me, to be understanding, to give of their time, and if needed – I would like to have known that someone would have been there materially.

The day I started giving everything I ever wanted – was the day I started receiving. Life has informed me that if I’m not expressing my generosity, than I am expressing my greed. Greed incapacitates your good heart and sensibility, generosity frees your smile, love, and wisdom.

Your hands were born open, and so was your heart. Somewhere along the line perhaps, something shifted.

The intention and quality of giving matters. I remember wanting to ask for help when I was younger. I felt humiliated; I was somehow lacking. I would sometimes steal to avoid the humiliation of being discovered that I did not have enough. This is known as poverty mentality. And it truly doesn’t matter how much you have, if you think you don’t have enough, there is no amount of money or possession in the world that will ever satisfy you. I remember this lesson when I offer assistance now, to remember to go out of my way to not have the other person feel humiliated.

Strive to let each person that you assist know that this is a temporary situation; that they’ll be strong enough soon to stand up, give back, and pay the kindness forward. I love to try and foster that sense of confidence in others.

When people give only because they have an excess of funds, that doesn’t make them generous, it just makes their previous miserliness more tolerable. The real value of a gift is not determined by its price, but by the amount of attachment overcome. Be prepared to be overwhelmed with happiness when you start giving from the heart. If you keep it up, you’ll likely discover that you’re happy virtually all of the time.

As long as you give without strings attached or outcome expectation you’ll be fine. That means don’t expect thanks or applause either. If you can give anonymously, that’s the best way. You are your own witness, so even if others think you’re miserly, that’s an even greater opportunity to test your true understanding. You can never be taken advantage of, or disturbed, unless you’re giving with attachment.

Some of the greatest lessons in generosity are also learned when the gift is used differently then directed. When there is pain in generosity it is invariably a sign that we’re still holding onto something – typically a combination of anger and self-importance.
Don’t forget that you’re not superior to the recipient, they are affording you an opportunity to be happy and lighten your load. Be generous and grateful for the chance to be helpful. Looking at the recipient as lower than ourselves even in the midst of apparent generosity, is just another example of class warfare in disguise – a beautiful gift in a poisoned wrapper.

Watch what happens when you give to someone who has nothing – that nothing just become their everything. Watch their face light up and then be happy for their happiness. You can change someone’s life by giving in some small way, as long as you give with all of your heart. In competition, be generous and always offer victory to the other. Let them have what they want, and help them to get it – then both of you will be happy. There are few greater joys then being happy for the happiness of another.

Try not to be capricious with your generosity: give equally regardless of someone’s wealth, privilege or standing. Give of yourself with equanimity: Perhaps the object will change, but give nonetheless. Time, an ear, a hug, advice, love, give as much as possible for the highest happiness. True generosity doesn’t discriminate.

At times perhaps it’s best to be patient instead of giving immediately; There may be a more significant and wiser way to be generous than the one that seems most apparent.¬†It will take a higher level of realization to notice that you’ll enjoy all of your possessions even more when you give them away. To train yourself in generosity give away what you cherish most, item by item and discover the happiness unfolding in your heart. For those on the spiritual path, loving and maintaining material possessions is seen as a weakness in wisdom, a confusion to be overcome. Generosity enriches you, and there is no easier way to be poor, than by being selfish.

Why do some people see reality as dark and bleak while others see the same place as an opportunity for hope and possibility? The world you see is a reflection of your character and values. Your priorities are your character. A world seen as dark and impoverished is created by an attitude of self-cherishing and greed. A world of abundance is created by a heart and mind filled with love and generosity. May you be magnanimous, and may you give freely.

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The Garden

I walk softly through the garden of my mind planting the seeds of love and kindness, nurturing the growth, tending to the future harvest. May never-ending abundance fall from these limbs encouraging and feeding the lives of others. May the shade from these trees provide protection from the heat, and the weary a place of rest and gentle sleep. May these falling leaves and changing seasons remind me of my short time and brevity. I will mindfully sow my thoughts, reaping every action. These actions will flower into habits, and these will blossom and become my character. With every thought sewn, I weave the fabric, this colorful field of my reality.

There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our thoughts. Bertrand Russell

Imagine that there is no knowable world out there independent from your mind and the way that you think. 
When the Buddha was asked, “Where does the world and all of its inhabitants come from?”
He replied, “From movements of the mind.” 

Imagine that now. Imagine all that you’re perceiving now is the result of your previous conditioning. We reap what we sow. Thought by thought, word by word, action by action – tend to your garden wisely, creating your future harvest.

And another perspective: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7

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Passionate Love

It would be so easy to settle for companionship. For years I’ve watched couples in counseling gravitate toward the middle, what even they describe as “good as it gets, I guess,” being comfortable, and just feeling safe.

I’m fascinated by extraordinary people who also have extraordinary relationships. People who live not only their lives to the fullest, but are complimented even further by their partners. And there’s more – they keep it going throughout their lifetime together.

We’ve had the chance to interview many of these unfortunately rare couples. Thirty years together plus, and still passionate for each other. Is there a commonality? Yes! What have we discovered?

These passionate couples share these five qualities in common, and I seriously recommend that if you’re going to be in a relationship that it has these qualities, and if you’re not in a relationship with these qualities – to recalibrate – and quickly!

1. They have the same sexual frequency – this is the number of times over a given period under optimal circumstances that they desire to be with each other sexually. Inevitably this turns out to be a deal breaker for passionate people if it’s not met.

2. They are emotionally responsible. They don’t blame each other or make demands on one another. In fact they are each other’s biggest fans and supporters! This is huge. They support each others dreams and aspirations even when it’s inconvenient. They have similar communication styles and take complete 100% responsibility for their behaviors and emotions.

3. Their values and beliefs are aligned. Think religion, ethics, financial responsibility, philosophy of life, vision.

4. Intellectually compatible. Need I say more? Not a deal breaker necessarily, but definitely a stressor if there’s a mismatch.

5. Recreational Activities. She likes to camp, he’s a metrosexual. Again, not a deal breaker, but a stressor.

Passionate couples who last over the long term – are five out of five on our checklist. They consequently know what to expect from each other – they have a degree of certainty which creates stability. Consequently they have little fear of uncertainty and both trust and support the changing passions of their partner. They are behind them all the way. They can’t seem to get enough of them, and support them to the end.

I highly recommend never settling for anything less than this regardless of the consequences. This is your life, and be fair to your partner as well, recalibrate as often as necessary. Staying together without passion is not what we’re looking for. Lots of people manage that, there are plenty of ordinary relationships, we’re seeking something else!

There’s more to it than this of course, but this is a great start!

One last bit of advice, and it’s completely telling of the relationship: In your heart do you believe that this person would be there for you if you were sick, injured, bed-ridden? Could you see this person sticking it out with you on your deathbed? If the answer is no, you’ve got some talking to do with yourself.

If you’re going to be putting your life into this, and that’s what a passionate relationship is all about, watch that selection process and save yourself years or even a lifetimes worth of heartbreak.
Finally, if it’s just not happening, do both of you a favor, don’t be afraid to fire someone, to let go and move on. It’s your life and you’re worth it.

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