Saturday, March 17, 2012

Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?

"There is a very little word that we often use. It has only two letters, but it is full of power for good or evil. It is the word 'if'. Do not be always fancying that if your circumstances were different you would be different; if only other people would be agreeable, you would; if only you were somebody else and had their chances you would do differently; if this, that and the other might be, all would be well with you."  ~Hermes

I tend to say "if" a lot - If only I had more money.  If only I lived in better home.  If only this person treated me with more kindness.  If only I had this or that or did this or that I would be happy.  But the fact is, IF I were to get this or that or achieve this or that, I'd only be wanting something more, something bigger, something else.  Life can turn into a cycle of wants if I'm not careful, instead of a cycle of thanks for what I have which has the power to bring a sense of contentedness.  I sometimes think the grass is greener on the other side, but I must remember that to someone else my grass is green and healthy and lush.  I have a beautiful field and if I tend to it with love and gratitude it will allow me to feel satisfied with things the way they are, which will allow me to be satisfied with myself, which will allow me to be in harmony with my Higher Self.

Thanks, Universe, for the lovely pasture I have and for the rain and sunshine you provide to keep it green and in production of some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Negative Thoughts, Negative Energy

"It is your belief in vulnerability that causes things to get bigger. It is the absence of your awareness of well-being. There is nothing creeping after you. There is no bad stuff coming after is only you holding yourself in a place where you are disallowing the well-being, that would be there otherwise. There is no bad stuff out there. Everything is a by-product of how you flow your energy." ~Abraham Hicks

Negative thoughts create more negative energy.  The snowball effect definitely applies to my thoughts, and before I know it the negative energy I have created is monstrous.  Luckily I have Ray around to remind me of the good I have in my life.  When I start thinking I don't have enough money, or our apartment is too small, or the neighbor's music is too loud, or about the people in my life who have hurt me, he reminds me that I have a roof over my head when the homeless are trying to stay warm by sleeping on the sewer grates.  He reminds me of the comfortable bed I have to sleep on when some people are sleeping on benches.  He reminds me of the women in the world who go to bed lonely without a man that loves them.  He reminds me that I have lots to be thankful for.  Yesterday he asked that I write a list of things I have in my life to be thankful for.  (Of course he was first on the list!)  When he puts things in perspective for me it lifts me up and makes me feel that I am lucky to have what I have and there are some people in this world who would give anything to be in my position.

Ray takes all my gloomy clouds and paints silver linings on them.

Ray reminds me that even on cloudy days the sun is still shining above and beyond them.  The sun is always shining.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Soulmate Holds the Key

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise.
~Richard Bach


That is how I feel about my soulmate.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Like Children With a Game

"You are like children with a game, and you think that the game is played by everyone. Physical life is not the rule. Identity and consciousness existed long before your earth was formed. You suppose that any personality must appear in physical terms. Consciousness is the force behind matter, and it forms many other realities besides the physical one. It is, again, your own viewpoint that is presently so limited that it seems to you that physical reality is the rule and mode of existence." -- Future Seth

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stop Thinking

How long will you think about this painful life?
How long will you think about this harmful world?
The only thing it can take from you is your body.
Don't say all this rubbish and stop thinking.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Long Time in the Making

When you think objectively about how much work went into creating your own capacity to have the experience you are having in this very moment – fourteen billion years of hard work - then it might even begin to strike you as immoral to spend too much time sitting around and worrying about the fears and desires of your personal ego. Surely the purpose of all that cosmic effort and creativity and positivity – from nothing to energy to light to matter to life to consciousness to you - could not possibly have been just for that. When you awaken to the evolutionary process and its endless creativity, and you discover how profound and complex the structure of our universe is, you start to recognize and appreciate, at a soul level, what a precious gift it is to be here.  (p. 37, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening,ch. A Big Yes)

When looked at from that perspective it seems like more than just a grand fluke!  It gives life so much more meaning.  I should keep this in mind when I'm feeling down and wondering if there really is any meaning to life after all.  Since before the beginning of time I was an idea, a thought that became an action!  Now here I am, and to get me here the Universe had to line things up JUST SO.  I was a long time in the making, and SO WERE YOU.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just Try

With each morning’s awakening try to live through the day in harmony with the Higher Self. “Try” is the battle-cry taught by the Teachers to each pupil. Naught else is expected of you. One who does his best does all that can be asked. There is a moment when even a Buddha ceases to be a sinning mortal and takes his first step toward Buddhahood. (Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. 12, Esoteric Instructions)

In the mornings I have been doing exactly that - trying.  I may be forgetful when it comes to thinking positive thoughts or showing gratitude to the Universe but some mornings I have succeeded in remembering.  I feel that if I work with the Universe then the Universe will work with me.  We get out of something what we put into it.  As above so below.  Have you heard this koan below?

"A new student approached the Zen master and asked how he should prepare himself for his training. "Think of me a bell," the master explained. "Give me a soft tap, and you will get a tiny ping. Strike hard, and you'll receive a loud, resounding peal."

OK, Universe.  I'm pounding on that bell with my thoughts and I'm putting feeling into them.  Hope You can hear me.  Thanks for listening.  (Since gratitude is important.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What To Do With All These Thoughts

Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don't realize this because almost everyone is suffering from it, so it is considered normal.  This incessant mental noise prevents you from
finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.
-Eckhart Tolle

I don't know that I could ever stop the incessant chatter inside my head but I have been trying to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.  We'll never be able to watch all our thoughts because we have about 60,000 thoughts a day, but anytime I can become aware of them and catch myself "in the act", so to speak,  is a good thing.  So, anytime I can I'm going to think good thoughts and thoughts of gratitude to the Universe.  As someone with OCD I tend to think the same thought over and over and over again.  (...and did I say "over and over and over again"?  Good.)  So, I'd much rather say, "It's a great day!" many times, instead of, "Oh, it's a gloomy old boring day."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dear Universe

" Your happiness depends on your ability to change your state of consciousness, to extricate yourself from the realms of the unconscious, the subconscious, and even the self-conscious, in order to elevate yourselves to the realms of the superconscious, or divine consciousness, so that you may dive into it as into an ocean of light. Doing this, you realize not only that you are free from the limitations of your physical body and the impressions of the five senses, but also that your whole being extends to infinity. In this fusion with divine light, even if it only lasts for a brief moment, you feel that you are gradually being taken over by your superior self, which is a tiny part of the Godhead. And then, one fine day, all of a sudden, you will be given all the comprehension, sensations, or achievements you previously lacked."  ~Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

I've been very pumped up and excited about the Law of Attraction.  My main goal at this point in time is to make myself feel good.  I'm putting effort into thinking positive thoughts.  So, my first order from the Universal Catalog is HAPPINESS!  Ever since I put my order in I've been feeling some of these blues lifting.  It's an actual sensation that I can feel physically when depression starts to fade away, and I'm feeling it.  I'm starting to realize that I need to put a little bit of effort into making myself feel good beside just taking some magical pill which really isn't very magical at all since it doesn't work 100%.  It might work 50% but I need to do the rest.  I am programming myself like a computer.

Universe, I will be happy.
Universe, I am the Master of my thoughts.
Universe, thank you for all that you have given me.  (Because gratitude helps bring more good things into one's life.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tosui's Vinegar

Tosui was the Zen master who left the formalism of temples to live under a bridge with beggars. When he was getting very old, a friend helped him earn his living without begging. He showed Tosui how to collect rice and manufacture vinegar from it, and Tosui did this until he passed away.

While Tosui was making vinegar, one of the beggars gave him a picture of the Buddha. Tosui hung it on the wall of his hut and put a sign beside it. The sign read:

"Mr. Amida Buddha: This little room is quite narrow. I can let you remain as a transient. But don't think I am asking you to help me to be reborn in your paradise."

This is a funny Zen koan.  Just yesterday I was joking around with Ray about how I was hoping it could be possible to hop off the merry-go-round of reincarnation, as if we had a choice.  Round and round we go again, and I am getting rather dizzy!

I know that my speaking of koans probably defeats the purpose, which is to silence the mind, but I can't help myself.  :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Law of Attraction and OCD

A humorous - or not so humorous - thought occurred to me yesterday.  I've been listening to the audio book _The Secret_ by Rhonda Byrne.  It's about the Law of Attraction.  I'm a firm believer that we can at least affect our own moods by our thoughts.  (...and at times our moods affect our thoughts.)  I've been trying to push myself out of the doldrums by thinking positive thoughts.

...but on to the humorous thought.  How does the Law of Attraction work for someone with OCD?  I'm sure our thoughts cause things to happen tenfold, since OCD is obsessive thinking.  I have OCD.  I tend to think negative thoughts, so if I can change my thoughts to positive thoughts, instead of ruminating on the gloomy past, I could be happy day and night, not just during my bipolar up phases.

"I am the Master of my thoughts."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is That True?

One day the Master announced that a young monk had reached an advanced state of enlightenment The news caused some stir. Some of the monks went to see the young monk. "We heard you are enlightened. Is that true?" they asked.
"It is," he replied.

"And how do you feel?"

"As miserable as ever," said the monk.

I like this parable.  I think it gives a very realistic idea of what enlightenment is.  Enlightenment is not going to solve all the problems one has.  Enlightenment is not going to take away depression, or solve money problems. Enlightenment is not going to solve relationship problems or employment issues.  Enlightenment just is.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Depends on How You Look at Things

Life is the same for the saint and for Satan;
and, if they are different, it is because of their
outlook on life. The one turns the same life
into Heaven and the other into Hell.

-Hazrat Inayat Khan

Earth can be our heaven or it can be our hell.  Right now, to put it in simple terms, there is a lot of $#|% going down on my part of the planet and I can either choose to focus on this small part of life when the rest of life going on around me is wonderful and beautiful.  I can pump my head full of sad gloomy thoughts or I can pump my head full of happy gratitude thoughts.  So, will I be the saint or the Satan?  I choose to be the saint.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Course in Miracles... and Other Odds and Ends

My fiancé and I started the lesson portion of A Course in Miracles the other day.  We're on the third day.

I've started a new blog as a sort of journal of my experiences with it.

Elsewhere, yesterday I signed up to get "Notes from the Universe" from the TUT's Adventurers Club and a statement on their website today made me smile.  I'd say it applies to me.  "The reason old souls enjoy spending time alone is because they never really are."

The first letter I received from today says,

"Sophia, you don't even have to ask.

I know, I'm there, and I'm already busy.

The Universe

On the other hand, Sophia, a little wink, "the chicken" when no one's watching, or a soft "hubba, hubba..." wouldn't hurt, either."

I laughed at the synchronicity because earlier today I made a joke with Ray about being beaten with a rubber chicken.  (Ray is my fiancé.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's the Grain that Tires

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

This quote reminds me of, "Missing the forest for the trees."

...or maybe even, "Don't sweat the small stuff."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Best Season

Ten thousand flowers in spring
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

There are a few things fighting for attention in my mind.  I'd say this is good advice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Hunter and the Bird

A  hunter once caught a small bird.  ‘Master,’ said the bird, ‘you have eaten many animals bigger than I without assuaging your appetite.     How can the flesh of my tiny body satisfy you?  If you let me go, I will give you three counsels: one while I am still in your hand, the second when I am on your roof, and the third from the top of a tree.  When you have heard all three, you will consider yourself the most fortunate of men.  The first counsel is this: “Do not believe the foolish pronouncements of others.” ’

The bird flew on to the roof, from where it gave the second counsel, ‘ “Have no regrets for what is past.”  Concealed in my body is a precious pearl weighing five ounces.  It was yours by right, and now it is gone.’  Hearing this the man began to bewail his misfortune.    ‘Why are you so upset?’ asked the bird.  ‘Did I not say, “Have no regrets for what is past”?  Are you deaf, or did you not understand what I told you?  I also said, “Do not believe the foolish pronouncements of others.”  I weigh less than two ounces, so how could I possibly conceal a pearl weighing five?’

Coming to his senses, the hunter asked for the third counsel.  ‘Seeing how much you heeded the first two, why should I waste the third?’ replied the bird.

Adapted from The Mathnawi of Jalalu’ddin Rumi, IV

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Ghost of My Dead Wife

The wife of a man became very sick. On her deathbed, she said to him, "I love you so much! I don't want to leave you, and I don't want you to betray me. Promise that you will not see any other women once I die, or I will come back to haunt you."

For several months after her death, the husband did avoid other women, but then he met someone and fell in love. On the night that they were engaged to be married, the ghost of his former wife appeared to him. She blamed him for not keeping the promise, and every night thereafter she returned to taunt him. The ghost would remind him of everything that transpired between him and his fiancee that day, even to the point of repeating, word for word, their conversations. It upset him so badly that he couldn't sleep at all.

Desperate, he sought the advice of a Zen master who lived near the village. "This is a very clever ghost," the master said upon hearing the man's story. "It is!" replied the man. "She remembers every detail of what I say and do. It knows everything!" The master smiled, "You should admire such a ghost, but I will tell you what to do the next time you see it."

That night the ghost returned. The man responded just as the master had advised. "You are such a wise ghost," the man said, "You know that I can hide nothing from you. If you can answer me one question, I will break off the engagement and remain single for the rest of my life." "Ask your question," the ghost replied. The man scooped up a handful of beans from a large bag on the floor, "Tell me exactly how many beans there are in my hand."

At that moment the ghost disappeared and never returned.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Order in Chaos

My mind loves fiddling around with ideas like this. I imagine the infinite amount of chaos there is and yet, too, there is an infinite amount of order. An infinite subset within infinity and yet both are infinitely large, which makes them equal.

The True Path

Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him.
"Shall I lead you on?" Ikkyu asked.

Ninakawa replied: "I came here alone and I go alone. What help could
you be to me?"

Ikkyu answered: "If you think you really come and go, that is your
delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and

With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa
smiled and passed away.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What is Enlightenment?

A student once asked his teacher, "Master, what is enlightenment?"

The master replied, "When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Clouded Sight

"Soon the child's clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers." -Peter Matthiessen-

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Character and Reputation

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
- John Wooden

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Meditator and the Hermit

A devoted meditator, after years of concentrating on a particular mantra, had attained enough insight to begin teaching. The student's humility was far from perfect, but the teachers at the monastery were not worried.

A few years of successful teaching left the meditator with no thoughts about learning from anyone; but upon hearing about a famous hermit living nearby, the opportunity was too exciting to be passed up.

The hermit lived alone on an island at the middle of a lake, so the meditator hired a man with a boat to row across to the island. The meditator was very respectful of the old hermit. As they shared some tea made with herbs the meditator asked him about his spiritual practice. The old man said he had no spiritual practice, except a mantra which he repeated all the time to himself. The meditator was pleased; the hermit was using the same mantra he used himself-- but when the hermit spoke the mantra aloud, the meditator was horrified!

"What's wrong?" asked the hermit.

"I don't know what to say. I'm afraid you've wasted your whole life! You are pronouncing the mantra incorrectly!"

"Oh dear that is terrible. How should I say it?"

The meditator gave the correct pronunciation, and the old hermit was very grateful, asking to be left alone so he could get started right away. On the way back across the lake the meditator, now confirmed as an accomplished teacher, was pondering the sad fate of the hermit.

"It's so fortunate that I came along. At least he will have a little time to practice correctly before he dies." Just then the meditator noticed that the boatman was looking quite shocked, and turned to see the hermit standing respectfully on the water, next to the boat.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hearing the Cricket

A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City,
walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch
hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their
horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing,
and the sounds of the city were almost deafening.
Suddenly, the Native American said, "I hear a cricket."
His friend said, "What? You must be crazy. You couldn't possibly hear a
cricket in all of this noise!"
"No, I'm sure of it," the Native American said, "I heard a cricket."
"That's crazy," said the friend.
The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked
across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were
growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure
enough, he located a small cricket.
His friend was utterly amazed. "That's incredible," said his friend.
"You must have superhuman ears!"
"No," said the Native American. "My ears are no different from yours.
It all depends on what you're listening for."
"But that can't be!" said the friend. "I could never hear a cricket in
this noise."
"Yes, it's true," came the reply. "It depends on what is really
important to you. Here, let me show you." He reached into his pocket,
pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk.
And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their
ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see
if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.
"See what I mean?" asked the Native American. "It all depends on
what's important to you."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Enjoying Fish

One day Chuang Tzu and a friend were walking by a river. "Look at the fish swimming about," said Chuang Tzu, "They are really enjoying themselves."

"You are not a fish," replied the friend, "So you can't truly know that they are enjoying themselves."

"You are not me," said Chuang Tzu. "So how do you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Page

It has been over a year since I last posted to this blog.

I just wanted to update everyone - I have a public page on Facebook on which I post inspirational tidbits to help get us through the day. Anyone can join in on the conversations. We will be posting inspirational quotes, humor, beautiful images of animals and nature, koans, parables, motivation, etc.