When we experience "moments of grace", or "magical moments" in daily life, while walking in the snow under the stars or spending a beautiful moment with dear friends by the seaside, what is really happening? All of a sudden, we have left our burden of inner conflicts behind. We feel in harmony with others, with ourselves, with the world. It is wonderful to fully enjoy such magical moments, but it is also revealing to understand why they feel so good: pacification of inner conflicts; a better sense of interdependence with everything rather than fragmenting reality; and a respite from the mental toxins of aggression and obsession. All these qualities can be cultivated through developing wisdom and inner freedom. This will lead not just to a few moments of grace but to a lasting state of well-being that we may call genuine happiness.
There's only one thing that we can control in the human life, and that one thing is not our mind. It's not a thought, it's not our breath, it's not our responses, it's not our actions. It's the cultivation of personal awareness, the moment-to-moment awareness of who we are -- in charge of our life, in charge of our purpose, in charge of our path."
There are worlds of experience beyond the world of the aggressive man, beyond history, and beyond science. The moods and qualities of nature and the revelations of great art are equally difficult to define; we can grasp them only in the depths of our perceptive spirit.
""No revolution in outer things is possible without prior revolution in one's inner way of being. Whatever change you aspire to in your affairs must be preceded by a change in heart an active deepening and strengthening of your resolve to meet every event with equanimity, detachment, and innocent goodwill. When this spiritual poise is achieved within, magnificent things are possible without." - I Ching Hexagram 49: “KO” from the Book of Changes: A Guide to Life's Turning Points
by Brian Browne Walker
Once upon a time physicists thought they had the universe solved. Some obscure details remained, but the basic structure of the cosmos was thought to be understood. Out of this naivete, relativity theory emerged, fundamentally altering classical notions of space and time. Then came Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and the surreal revelations of quantum physics. String theorists, in their attempts to reconcile ever widening theoretical gaps, started talking about eleven dimensions. Dark matter still makes no sense. Modern physics knows so much more about the universe, but their is still much it doesn't understand. for the first time, some scientists are openly wondering if we, in fact, are incapable of figuring out the cosmos.
(Image is of six-dimensional Calabi-Yau shapes)
Human existence is significant and life essentially makes sense in spite of our confusions. Mankind is not here on Earth by accident, but for a purpose, and that whatever the purpose may be, it demands from him the discovery of his own meaning, his own totality, and identity.
D, M. Dooling, Founder Parabola Magazine.
All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles to waves and waves to particles simultaneously and simultaneously integrates. The force or pulse is underpinned and emerges from an intelligence of being, a supra-conscious mind which gifts dynamics and dimension to all matrices.
Max Planck (paraphrased)
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to hate so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone,they will be forced to deal with pain. My enemy's face frightens me when I see how much it resembles mine. We cannot teach 'never' to be angry, but we can teach 'how' to be angry. What is tolerance but a consequence of humanity? We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.
"Personal mastery means approaching one's life as a creative work, living life from a creative as opposed to reactive viewpoint. Personal mastery is not something WE possess. It is a process. It is a lifelong discipline. People with a high level of personal mastery are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, their growth areas. Paradoxical? Only for those of us who do not see that 'the journey is the reward.'
"The best thing for being sad," said Merlin, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder in your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics. Or know your honour trampled by the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then-to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn."
T. H. White, The Once and Future King
There are three kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving, and thanksgiving. Grudge giving says, “I hate to,” duty giving
says, “I ought to,” thanksgiving says, “I want to.” The first comes from constraint, the second comes from a sense of obligation, the third from a full heart. Nothing much is conveyed in grudge giving, since “the gift without the giver is bare.” Something more happens in duty giving, but there is no song in it. Thanksgiving is an open gate into the love of God.
Robert N. Rodenmayer
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. Our hope for creative living lies in our ability to reestablish the spiritual needs of our lives in personal character and social justice. Without this spiritual and moral reawakening we shall destroy ourselves in the misuse of our own instruments."
--Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
In this era, to become a spiritual inquirer without social consciousness is a luxury that we can ill afford, and to be a social activist without a scientific understanding of the inner workings of the mind is the worst folly. Neither approach in isolation has had any significant success. As soon as there is awareness of wholeness, every moment becomes sacred, every movement is sacred. The sense of oneness is no longer an intellectual connection. We will in all our actions be whole, total, natural, without effort. Every action or nonaction will have the perfume of wholeness. To be attentive requires tremendous love of living. The total revolution we are examining is not for the timid or the self-righteous. It is for those who love truth more than pretense. It is for those who sincerely, humbly want to find a way out of this mess that we, each one of us, have created out of indifference, carelessness, and lack of moral courage."
- Vimala Thakar
Most everybody is overwhelmed. And they respond with various defense mechanisms. Denial, isolation, increased greed, righteousness. There are a whole set of mechanisms that people use to keep from being open, because the quality of the human heart uncontrolled by the mind is that it will give away everything... We have to find ways to exercise the compassion of our hearts, and at the same moment learn how to know what the limits are and be able to say "no" without guilt.
--- Ram Dass
Hatred and malice are the greatest dangers to peace and happiness. In order to prevent hatred and anger from taking root in ourselves, we must first of all avoid discontent, for it is the root of hatred and malice. Once hatred is expressed with all its strength and power, it is very difficult to find an antidote to it.
The 14th Dalai Lame
Difficulties and obstacles, if properly understood and used, can turn out to be an unexpected source of strength . . . To be a spiritual warrior means to develop a special kind of courage, one that is innately intelligent, gentle, and fearless. Spiritual warriors can still be frightened, but even so they are courageous enough to taste suffering, to relate clearly to their fundamental fear, and to draw out without evasion the lessons from difficulties.
-- Sogyal Rinpoche
“To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others. To remember the other world in this world is to live in our true inheritance. How we greet the dawn is a measure of the freedom we have made for ourselves.” (David Whyte)
"And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air, and the blue sky, and in the mind of man; emotion and a spirit, that impels all thinking things, all objects of all thought, and rolls through all things."
"Knowledge about is not the most important thing in the behavioral sciences today. There is a decided surge in experiential knowing, or knowing at a gut level, which has to do with the human being. At this level of knowing, we are in a realm where we are not simply talking of cognitive and intellectual learning, which can always be rather readily communicated in verbal terms. Instead we are speaking of something more experiential, something having to do with the whole person, visceral reactions and feelings as well as thoughts and words.
(Carl Rogers, A Way of Being)
"Our highest potential as a species is our ability to achieve full self-reflective consciousness or knowing that we know. Through humanities awakening, the Universe acquires the ability to look back and reflect back on itself--in wonder, awe, and appreciation."
"Meditation does not necessarily make the craziness go away; it just makes it less personal. You just have more space and the less you identify with it, the less likely you are to get stuck in it. You 'demagnatize' so that all the stuff can arise in the mind, but the awareness does not implode and contract and become identified with all the stuff in the mind. But the stuff still arises."
- Stephen Levine,
The universe is an inseparable pattern of relationships and the mind is not separate from any other part of the body -- even the simplest cell, and evolution is a cooperative dance in which creativity and constant emergence of change are the driving forces.
"The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself. He who has gained the secret of Aikido has the universe in himself and can say, " I am the universe." I am never defeated, however fast the enemy may attack...When an enemy tries to fight with him, the universe itself, he has to break the harmony of the universe. Hence at the moment he has the mind to fight with me, he is already defeated.
Winning means winning over the mind of discord in yourself... Then how can you straighten your warped mind, purify your heart, and be harmonized with the activities of all things in nature? You should first make God's heart yours. This is a Great Love Omnipresent in all quarters and in all times of the universe. There is no discord in love. There is no enemy of Love."
- Morehei Uyeshiba
Do you want to have a long life? Well, you will need to have wisdom. You will need to think about your own mind. You will need to work on it. You should start doing this now. You must make your mind smooth. You must make your mind steady. You must make your mind resilient. If your mind is not smooth, you will fail to see danger. If your mind is not steady, you will be easily angered and upset and arrogant and proud. If your mind is not resilient, you will be unclear and easily startled.
Dudley Patterson, Apache Elder, from the book Wisdom Sits in Places by Keith Basso
[T]he horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. … [E]nvision us approaching and pounding on this door, increasingly hard, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it; we don’t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and ramming and kicking. That, finally, the door opens…and it opens outward — we’ve been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.
"If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me -- your spouse, your child, your neighbor, your boss, your coworker your friend -- you first need to understand me. And you can't do that with technique alone … you have to build the skills of empathic listening on a base of character that inspires openness and trust."
(Stephen Covey, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"
These persons of tomorrow are seekers. They wish to find meaning and purpose in life that is greater than the individual, (and) … are examining all the ways by which humankind has found values and forces that extend beyond the individual. … Persons with these characteristics will be at home in a world that consists only of vibrating energy, a world with no solid base, a world of process and change, a world in which the mind, in its larger sense, is both aware of, and creates, the new reality. They will be able to make the paradigm shift. Carl Rogers
For a simple and effective method to clear and focus your mind throughout the day, shift into a receptive listening mode. It is so quick and easy! "The mystery, the essence of all life is not separate from the silent openness of simple listening," says Zen teacher Toni Packer. Simply pause for a few minutes and be mindful of the sounds around you. Notice the phone ringing, horns honking, the sounds of voices, the roar of traffic, the chirping of birds. Let your mind be like a sensitive antenna--a listening, receptive space of awareness in which sounds come and go, rising and falling into silence. Let your listening awareness effortlessly receive sound like an ocean receives rain or earth receives water. Without needing to think about them, just let the sounds come and flow. The moment you notice that you've spun off into thinking, smile to yourself and mentally say: "Listen )))" Notice how all sounds come out of silence--and dissolve back into silence. Notice how your listening mind is like the deep, clear sky which can contain limitless different sounds without any of them getting in the way. Just breathe, listen, and smile for a few deep refreshing moments.
Excerpted from "Wisdom at Work" by Joel & Michelle Levey
Excerpted from "Wisdom at Work" by Joel & Michelle Levey
"Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe towards which this world is headed - be it ecological, social, demographic or a general breakdown of civilization - will be unavoidable. . . The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility."
"The quieting of our mind is a political act. The world does not need more oil or energy or food. It needs less greed, less hatred, less ignorance. Even if we hae inwardly taken on the political bitterness or cynicism that exists externally, we can stop and begin to heal our own suffering, our own fear, with compassion. Through meditation and inner transformation, we can learn to make our own hearts a place of peace and integrity. Each of us knows how to do this. As Gandhi acknowledged, 'I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills." It is our inner nobility and steadiness that we must call on in our personal and collective difficulties.'
- Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart
"The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter."—Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido, from The Art of Peace.
“...But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.”
In the same way that the body needs food, and not just any kind of food but only that which suits it, the psyche needs to know the meaning of its existence-not just any meaning, but the meaning of those images and ideas which reflect its nature and which originate in the unconscious. C. G. Jung
"At some ideas we stand perplexed, especially at the sight of human sins, uncertain whether to combat it by force or by human love. Always decide, 'I will combat it with human love.' If we make up our minds about that once and for all, we can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is the strongest of all things and there is nothing like it."
All evolutionary processes depend on information being copied with variation and selection. Most living things on Earth are the product of evolution based on the copying, varying, and selection of genes. However, once humans began to imitate, they provided a new kind of copying and so let loose an evolutionary process based on the copying, varying, and selection of memes. This new evolutionary system co-evolved with the old to turn humans into more than gene machines. We alone on this planet, are also 'meme' machines. We are selective imitation devices in an evolutionary arms race with new replication processes. This is why we are so different from other creatures, this is why we alone have big brains, language, and complex culture.
Susan Blackmore, in "What Makes Us Human?"
"It is all a question of story, we are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not yet learned the new story. Our traditional story of the Universe sustained us for a long period of time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purpose and energized action. It consecrated suffering and integrated knowledge. We awoke in the morning and knew where we were. We could answer the questions of our children. We could identify crime, punish transgressors. Everything was taken care of because the story was there. It did not necessarily make people good, nor did it take away the pains and stupidities of life or make for unfailing warmth in human associations. It did provide a context in which life could function in a meaningful manner.
-- Thomas Berry
"We each have a personal identity but often fool ourselves into thinking this is all we are. The ego is a harsh taskmaster who often has us on remote control, unconcerned with life's grand perspective. The inner self can lead us out of the prison of separation. As we come to understand our motives, we gain choice and are not obligated to operate from our prior automatic response patterns." Andrew Beath