Give more of what you want!

Most of us who have sought spiritual guidance in some way, have heard this saying… ” Give more of what you want”, but what does it really mean?

The other day, a friend of mine was distraught.  she had been having a hard time with someone she worked with and it had been a daily culmination to what would naturally become an explosion of emotions that day.  Now on a normal day, most of us handle explosions quite well, but on a day when we have learned that someone dear to us has been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and then the carefully crafted coffee we made to soothe us was left on the counter and as we are tardily running down the stairs because we went back to get the coffee, we roll our ankle which makes it harder for us to do what we need to do in a day. Well, you get the picture. (insert crazy face 🙁 )

My cup runeth over….

My friend was having that kind of a week, she had reached her threshold.  Imagine a cup under a dripping faucet that hadn’t been emptied and eventually reaches it’s limit and overflows.  I think we forget that we aren’t invincible and we can tell ourselves over and over that we can handle what’s thrown at us, but unless we are refueling and resting, however you do it, we will reach our threshold as well. Our lack of refueling shows itself in many ways, skin conditions, gastritis, hair loss, ulcers, migraines, debilitating panic and anxiety and of course, cancers, etc.  And if it affects our insides, what do you think it does for our relationships around us?  We become intolerant, angry, guarded, close minded, scared, stagnant, anti social, depressed, etc.

The wonderful medicinal properties of love.

My friend had gotten caught up in what we call the drama of it all.  She, being a spiritual person herself prayed to God often for strength but did not tap into her own ability and wisdom to understand that we choose how we want to engage in situations.  So, while her colleague may approach her in a hostile way, it is how we respond that either empowers us or makes us a victim.

What is it in you that is choosing to see the horrible side of this person?

When i was in NY, I attended the Kadampa Center in Chelsea quite often to listen to lectures.  One lesson that resonated with me was when a woman who was in a similar situation as my friend, asked the monk, ” How should I deal with someone I work with who is what I consider a terrible person”?  His response was what is it in you that is choosing to see the horrible side of this person?  What are you bringing to the situation that may give rise or diffuse your encounter with this person?  When I heard his response, I was completely dumbfounded.  What a challenge it is for us to actually send love and maneuver with heart when what we are receiving is the opposite.  I had no idea that we ourselves had that much control over how someone affected us?  I remember thinking how strong you must be to be able to do this. That little lesson helped me so much after that point.

Love is the most valuable fuel in the world.

From time to time, I need to remind myself and on this day, my friend needed that reminder as well. I explained to her that she had the power to use the love that God has put in her heart. It is the biggest and most valuable fuel anyone could ever use against you and the consequence is always positive for you and the other person.  You may not see it right away, but continued acts of kindness will eventually make you a happier, kinder and a more peaceful person.

So, if you want a certain reaction from someone, you need to introduce it to the relationship. You can’t give up when it’s not reciprocated because everyone is on their own path and will learn on their own time but you can certainly plant that seed.  The best part is, by responding in a positive way and not engaging, we avoid the self loathing and guilt that we may experience when we let our tempers get the best of us.  It’s a win-win for everyone.  So, if you want to be treated with kindness, give kindness freely. If you want tolerance, be more patient with others. If you want to encourage someone to listen, listen carefully to what others have to say.  If you want more respect, learn to give respect, etc. xo

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The power to affect your Faith lies within you.

What exactly does it mean to have faith?

A quick look up on the internet will tell you ” it is a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof ” 

My biggest challenge with this definition is that it takes the power away from me or you from being able to influence our future.  That just doesn’t sit well with me.  Can we influence our fate?  I would most certainly like to believe that we can.

While enjoying a delicious latte this morning, I read a wonderful Buddhist article on this exact topic that put into words what I had been thinking but could not quite articulate until now.

When our faith comes from wisdom, insight and understanding, it sets us on a path with fruitful results . 

I guess I am not a believer in blind faith.  I truly believe that in order to have any influence on our future,  we must have a history of putting into certain practices, that which would align us with a certain goal or desire that we see for ourselves in the future.  In other words, we have to do the work, be prepared and then pursue our goals.  Quoting the definition of faith from my text this morning  pretty much solidified that for me;” Faith is the confidence we receive when we put into practice a teaching that helps us overcome difficulties and obtain some transformation.  How wonderful to know that we can affect our faith.

Preparing for a presentation is what we should do, attaching ourselves to the outcome is not. So, the goal would be, to prepare for the presentation and have faith that we did our best and be at peace with that.  

This may be a difficult concept to absorb because coming short on something you have prepared for will understandably disappoint you but don’t let it derail you.  When we are steadfastly focused on one goal, we tend to miss the opportunities around it.   Sometimes, we focus on goals that someone else has set for us. Sometimes we haven’t really given much thought to what it is that will make us happy.  Being open to the possibilities brings us closer to founding out what will truly make us happy.

We relinquish any attachment to the outcome because if we know we tried our best, we must learn that that is enough.  

Ideally, if I can combine both of these definitions, I would say that having faith is being empowered that with proper and diligent practice, we have the ability to reflect change in our future and trust that God will guide us along the way.

Now this is something I can work with! xo

Based on one of the Five Powers, Faith. Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh.

 

 

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If you don’t put meaning into your life, the result is, your life will be meaningless.

There are so many,  but let’s start with these.  Quotes or reads from my 2015 studies that have influenced me and shown me a light along my path.  🙂  Happy New Year 2016!!

The blog title is my number 1 quote because although very simple, it’s also very deep.

  1. If you don’t put meaning into your life, the result is, your life will have no meaning.  The only way your life will have satisfying moments is if you seek to do things and spend time with those that feed your soul.Prop of Vanilla Clouds
  2. You are the owner of your own karma.  There is no surprise here, but also remember that the biggest importance with karma is intention.  What was your true intention behind an act.  Catching the flu isn’t the result of your karma coming back to get you.  It’s simply the result of coming into contact with the flu virus.PropofVanillaClouds
  3. People often meditate hoping that some light will go off and give them the answers they are seeking.  You meditate not to get things but to let things go.  Meditation is a way to let go of the baggage that we often carry around. It’s a way for us to have 10 minutes of non activity. It gives our brain a rest so that we can refresh and begin again with a free and less heavier mind. PropofVanillaClouds
  4. Often, our first response is to put someone down for doing something we don’t approve or feel is not helpful to the person. To really help someone or make progress in a situation, you must understand someone or something,  from the mind of the person and empathize with them.PropertyofVanillaClouds
  5.  Most of our lives, we feel shame and hide from our imperfections, feeling terrified that someone will call us on it and this discovery will be the worst possible thing.  The truth is, there is a big freedom that comes from understanding our flaws.  Once you understand, you can either embrace or improve them and that fear begins to disappear.

Model is our local Yogi and Dance Teacher, AshleyAnne Brown.

Article was inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Brahm.

 

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The difference between non violent protest and non action.

Ignoring something doesn’t help make the world a better place and according to a Buddhist teaching I listened to, I now understand the difference between non violence and non action.

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For a long time, I thought the best position to take was that of no comment.  Not because I didn’t have an opinion, but because I hated confrontation.  Then one day, while I was talking to my boyfriend who quite often brings up controversial topics,  I took my usual neutral position to which he grew flustered and basically said, that I couldn’t continue to ignore everything.  At that moment, it occurred to me that having no position isn’t necessarily the best way to be because people just assume that you live in a bubble and aren’t aware or don’t concern yourself with what is going on.  When that was in fact, so far from the truth because I care, actually, I care a lot.

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Is there a karmic result for not helping a situation?

When I work on some photo editing, quite often, I listen to either music or something spiritual depending on what I need most that day.  On this particular day, I listened to a spiritual talk called  ” the karmic result of not helping a situation“. Referring to many countries who are experiencing countless atrocities and being forced to flee their lands or convert to whatever the hostile side is demanding; one of the audience members asked the speaker,  “How can someone who’s ongoing nature and path is to peaceful, avoid being involved in controversial situations whatever scale they may be? “. “Is the answer to run away to avoid it? “

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Doing nothing to avoid conflict isn’t always the answer.

When I heard the response, it was as if another window was opened along the road to my spiritual path.  If you don’t stand for something, you will always be running.  Ignoring a situation that hurts others with the mentality that it’s not affecting you will almost guarantee you the karmic result of that same issue being at your doorstep one day.  I think it’s fair to say that in the most basic general way, every person deserves a chance at happiness. When that chance is taken away from someone, we all become at risk of it being taken from us.

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So, although the speaker did not encourage violence, he also did not encourage passivity.  

I could not even begin to suggest solutions in such horrific situations and I do not think there is any one solution to finding ways to help a situation like that but I certainly think about it often.

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In our own daily lives, just being an advocate for compassion can take a tiny bit of anger out of a conversation and create the scenario for a more open mind.  As we all know, the result of these hostile situations has created a domino effect in the migration of millions of displaced families to our own lands.  How would you feel if you were in the shoes of those families.  I personally cannot imagine.

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So my big lesson that day was not to always avoid conflict for fear of confrontation but instead to be courageous and risk adversity and hope that in the very least, with having done my own research, I can properly support my position and be respected for at least having one.  xo

Inspired by the talks of Ajahn Brahm.

Images above are of our local yogi, AshleyAnne Brown.

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