Relating Wisely with Imperfection


Published on Nov 11, 2015

Relating Wisely with Imperfection (10/28/2015)

Our survival brain reacts to perceived imperfection with aversion and anxiety, and if we are habituated to this reaction, we become imprisoned in the identity of a flawed separate self. This talk explores the healing and transformation that is possible as we learn to regard imperfection with mindfulness and compassion.

Advertisements

Eckhart Tolle on the refugee crisis in Europe


Published on Nov 6, 2015
By approaching the situation with both compassion and wisdom, Europe could demonstrate it’s evolved state of consciousness.

Die to Love ~ Unmani Liza Hyde


This is book is for those who have been genuinely searching and longing for ‘awakening’ or ‘the truth’. Die to Love directly points the reader to the end of the spiritual search once and for all. ‘I am not trying to help you. If you read this book I will simply destroy you. And who am I? I am you. I am Life itself.’ Die to Love explores the desperate longing for love and surrender that so many people feel. But are we willing to lose everything that is familiar and safe in order to know that love that we long for? Are we willing to die for love? This is the death, not of the body, but of the identity called ‘me’. Unmani looks at what it is to fall in love and how in moments of intimacy there is no separation. Two merge and become one. Two separate individuals know that they can never be separate. There are also chapters on relationships and the madness of love as well as unconditional and conditional love, and what compassion really is.


Unmani is originally from the UK, but has lived a nomadic life in many countries around the world from the age of 18. Unlike most people, since she was a child, Unmani never identified with being a ‘person’ in the world, but she felt very lost and alone in a world that everyone else seemed to take so seriously. She spent years traveling around the world trying on different roles and identities to see if any of them fit. Disappointed with each role, she continued searching to find a way out of the pain she felt. She spent some time in the Osho centre in Pune, India, and there discovered meditation, free expression, and other insightful wisdom. But although this brought her more relaxation, it did not seem to get to the root of her search. Some years later she met the German Zen master, Dolano. With her, Unmani recognized that what she had been searching for had always been right here. She woke up to the dream, time stopped and the search ended. She no longer needed to try to fit in or be someone, because Unmani had finally acknowledged the truth of who she really is. Unmani began holding meetings and retreats 3 years later. She is now the author of two books ‘I am Life itself’ and ‘Die to Love’ and is now writing a third book.

View Here

Unmani: Die to Love

Streamed live on May 4, 2014

This conversation is part of a series of free, live, online conversations on the theme of Living from Love.
For more information go to http://www.living-from-love.com.

~ Grace Bubeck

The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace by Jack Kornfield


You hold in your hand an invitation:

To remember the transforming power of forgiveness and lovingkindness. To remember that no matter where you are and what you face, within your heart peace is possible.

In this beautiful and graceful little book, internationally renowned Buddhist teacher and meditation master Jack Kornfield has collected age-old teachings, modern stories, and time-honored practices for bringing healing, peace, and compassion into our daily lives. Just to read these pages offers calm and comfort. The practices contained here offer meditations for you to discover a new way to meet life’s greatest challenges with acceptance, joy, and hope.

Biography
Jack Kornfield, Ph.D. co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later, the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart (over 100,000 copies in print).

Look Inside

Jack Kornfield: The Ancient Heart of Forgiveness


The renowned teacher and author shares extraordinary stories of forgiveness–and explains how the next story could be yours.

A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times by Jack Kornfield PhD (Author)

When the path ahead is dark, how can we keep from stumbling? How do we make our way with courage and dignity? “Inside each of us is an eternal light that I call ‘the One Who Knows,’ writes Jack Kornfield. “Awakening to this wisdom can help us fin dour way through pain and suffering with grace and tenderness.” For anyone seeking answer during a trying time, he offers “A Lamp in the Darkness,” a book-and-CD program filled with spiritual and psychological insights, hope-giving stories, and guided meditations for skillfully navigating life’s inevitable storms.

The practices in this book are not positive thinking, quick fixes, or simplistic self-help strategies. They are powerful tools for doing “the work of the soul” to access our inner knowing and to embrace the fullness of our life experience. With regularly practice these teachings and meditations enable you to transform your difficulties into a guiding light for the journey ahead. Join Jack Kornfeld as your trusted guide as you explore:

· Shared Compassion-a guided practice for planting the seeds of compassion and opening the heart to all that life brings

· The Earth Is My Witness-a meditation to establish firm footing in the midst of darkness, centered by a steady witnessing presence

· The Practice of Forgiveness-what Jack calls “the only medicine that can release us from the past and allow us to truly begin anew.”

· The Temple of Healing-a guided visualization to meet our own inner healer

· Equanimity and Peace-a meditation for maintaining balance and acceptance regardless of the situation

Just as it is certain that each life will include suffering, explains Kornfield, it is also true that in every moment there is the possibility of transcending your difficulties to discover the heart’s eternal freedom. With A Lamp in the Darkness, he offers you a beacon for yourself and others until joy returns again.

Jack Kornfield, Ph.D. co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later, the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart (over 100,000 copies in print).

Table of Contents

Foreward by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Introduction: An Invitation to Awaken

1. The Wisdom of Our Difficulties

2. The Earth is My Witness

3. Shared Compassion

4. Awakening the Buddha of Wisdom in Difficulties

5. The Practice of Forgiveness

6. The Temple of Healing

7. The Zen of an Aching Heart

8. Equanimity and Peace

9. Your Highest Intention

10. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Healing Journey

Afterword: The Return of Joy

Excerpt

If you’re reading these words, you’ve probably hit hard times. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, or maybe you’ve lost your job, or received a difficult diagnosis, or someone close to you has. Maybe you’re divorcing or you’re in bankruptcy or you’ve been injured, or your life is falling apart in any number of ways. Maybe daily life itself has become too much for you.or not enough. But even in the best of times there’s plenty to worry about: seemingly endless wars and violence, racism, our accelerating environmental destruction. In difficult times, personally or collectively, we often begin to wonder not only how we can get through this difficult patch; we begin to question existence itself.

Look Inside

Jack Kornfield: 12 Principles of Forgiveness

The acclaimed author and teacher explains the principles that are integral to the process of forgiving, according to Buddhist philosophy.

Not I, Not other than I: The Life And Teachings Of Russel Williams by Russel Williams (Author), Steve Taylor (Editor) [updated Sept 11, 2015]

Russel Williams is one of the most remarkable enlightened spiritual teachers of our time. After an early life of extreme hardship—leaving school at the age of 11, and becoming an orphan shortly afterwards—he underwent a spiritual awakening at the age of 29.

Since the late 1950s, he has been a spiritual teacher, and is still actively teaching now, at the age of 94. Previously, Russel has avoided publicity and never published any writings or transcripts of his talks, preferring to work quietly with small groups. This is the first time any details of his teachings or of his life have appeared in print.

This book is partly a record of his teachings, and partly also the story of his extraordinary life. Working with well-known spiritual author Steve Taylor—who has attended Russel’s meetings regularly since the 1990s—Russel has created a profound text which will surely become known as a classic of spiritual literature.

Russel Williams
was born in London in 1921. He now lives in lives in Atherton, near Manchester, UK, with his wife Joyce. Since 1974, he has been the president of The Buddhist Society of Manchester. This is his first book. Steve Taylor PhD is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is the author of several best-selling books including Waking From Sleep and Back to Sanity, and a book of spiritual poems The Meaning. http://www.stevenmtaylor.co.uk

BROWSE HERE

Not I, Not other than I: Russel Williams

Published on Aug 29, 2015

Georgi & Bart join spiritual author and teacher Steve Taylor (http://www.stevenmtaylor.com/about-st…) in a conversation with Russel Williams in Manchester, 2015. Here Russel gives a simple exercise to use right now, to bring heaven to earth.

[About Russel Williams, from the introduction to Not I, Not Other than I]

Russel Williams is a simple man. On the surface, you would think of him as a fairly typical man of his generation, although perhaps one who looks unusually young and sprightly for his 93 years. If you visited him at home with his wife Joyce, you wouldn’t find anything unusual there either. Again, it would strike you as a fairly typical house for a couple of their senior years.

Russel is not educated – he left school at the age of 11 (in 1932) and has had no formal education since. He’s not an intellectual; he hasn’t read a great many books, and in his teachings he only rarely refers to texts or other sources. Although he has been the president of the Buddhist Society of Manchester since 1974, and sometimes uses Buddhist terms or talks about the Buddha as an individual, he doesn’t consider himself a Buddhist. He certainly doesn’t ‘teach’ Buddhism in any formal sense.

As a result, Russel’s spiritual teachings are very ‘naked’ and pure – that is, they are very free of theories, concepts and categories. This gives his teachings a rare clarity and power. There is no system. There are no rituals or rules to follow, and no ideas to take on board. You don’t have to believe anything. You don’t have to accept anything. You don’t have to become anything. All you have to do is be.

Russel often says that he’s not interested in convincing people of anything. He encourages people to play with his teachings, to question them, to find out for themselves whether they are true. He doesn’t think of himself as a guru, and has no desire to accumulate followers or disciples. Everything he teaches stems very directly from a particular state of being, one which he experiences as his constant reality, and which he has done for almost 65 years. There are many different terms for this state: stillness, pure consciousness, emptiness of being, the essence of our being, our true nature…

(Extract from the introduction to the book by Russel Williams “Not I, Not Other than I”, by Steve Taylor.)

Sit Like a Mountain: An Image of Equanimity by Sharon Salzberg|


Sharon Salzberg teaches on why equanimity is important, and how to foster it.

The fourth Brahma Vihara is equanimity, where the predominant tone is one of calm. In this spacious stillness of mind, we can fully connect to whatever is happening around us, fully connect to others, but without our habitual reactions of rushing toward what is pleasant and pulling away from what is unpleasant. Developing equanimity, in effect, is how we can forge a space between fear and compassion and between sorrow and compassion. This is how we cultivate lovingkindness without it turning into impatient entreaty or demand, “Get happy already, would you!” This is how we expand sympathetic joy.

Without equanimity, we might offer friendship only as long as our offering is acknowledged and appreciated, or as long as someone responds in kind. We would offer compassion to ourselves only when we weren’t overcome by pain, and compassion to others only when we weren’t overcome by their suffering. We would offer sympathetic joy only when we did not feel threatened or envious. When we cultivate equanimity, our tremendous capacity to connect can blossom, for we do not have to push away or cling to anything that may happen.

Sometimes in teaching meditation we say, “Sit like a mountain. Sit with a sense of strength and dignity. Be steadfast, be majestic, be natural and at ease in awareness. No matter how many winds are blowing, no matter how many clouds are swirling, no matter how many lions are prowling, be intimate with everything and sit like a mountain.” This is an image of equanimity. We feel everything, without exception, and we relate to it through our own strength of awareness, not through habitual reactions. Practice sitting like a mountain sometime, allowing all images and feelings and sensations to come and go, as you reside in steadfastness, watching it all arise and pass away.

We Can Do It

Abandon what is unskillful,
One can abandon the unskillful,
If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do so.
If this abandoning of the unskillful would bring harm
and suffering,
I would not ask you to abandon it.
But as the abandoning of the unskillful brings benefit
and happiness,
Therefore, I say, “abandon what is unskillful.”
Cultivate the good,
You can cultivate the good.
If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it.
If this cultivation of the good would bring harm
and suffering,
I would not ask you to cultivate it.
But as the cultivation of the good brings benefit
and happiness,
Therefore, I say, “Cultivate the good!”

—The Buddha

The-Kindness-Handbook_S.Salzberg_CVRAdapted from “The Kindness Handbook” by Sharon Salzberg. Copyright 2008, 2015 Sharon Salzberg. Published in paperback in August 2015 by Sounds True.

This passage is one of my favorites from the Buddha’s teaching. I think it beautifully exemplifies the extraordinary compassion of the Buddha. The mind of the Buddha sees not good and bad
people, but suffering and the end of suffering, and exhorts those heading toward suffering through greed or anger or fear to take care, to pay attention, to see how much more they are capable of, rather than condemning them. He sees those heading toward the end of suffering through wisdom and lovingkindness and rejoices for them.

It is a passage that inspires our sincere efforts. In the end, these ideas of how to live a better life aren’t something to admire from afar or hold in an abstract way. We need to experiment with them, breathe life into them, see how they affect our minds and hearts, and see where they take us. Turning our lives in the direction of kindness can be done . . . It can only bring benefit and happiness. I can do it. You can do it. Otherwise, the Buddha would not have asked us to do so.

Source:http://www.lionsroar.com

Jack Kornfield: Awakening To Pure Consciousness


By Jack Kornfield: In the next chapter we will examine consciousness in its particle-like nature…

For now, let us consider the unbounded sky or mirror-like nature of consciousness. We need to be practical. Our first task is to learn to distinguish the mirror-like nature of consciousness from its content, our sense perceptions and thought. When we learn to distinguish consciousness from the states and experiences that color it, we are freed from reactioning to each passing state.

While studying Buddhism in college, I tried a little meditation on my own. But it was unfamiliar and I was unsuccessful because I didn’t know what I was doing. It wasn’t that I was afraid of silence or of some terrible darkness that I would find inside, though these are common misunderstandings of meditation. It was that my body would get uncomfortable and my mind would spin out in a million directions. When I got Ajahn Chah’s teaching, the practice became gradually clearer. He taught me to relax and feel my breath carefully, which helped focus and quiet my mind. Then he taught me just to mindfully notice the stream of thoughts and sensations without reacting to them as a problem. This took some practice.

Finally he taught the most important lesson, to rest in consciousness itself. As his own teacher Ajahn Mun explains, “We become the witnessing of experience, abiding in pure consciousness or awareness.” He goes on, “We can notice the distinction between consciousness and all the transient states and experiences that arise and pass away within it. When we do not understand this point, we take each of the passing states to be real. But when changing conditions such as happiness and unhappiness are seen for what they are, we find the way to peace. Most people lump everything together as the mind itself, without distinguishing between the temporary states of mind and the knowing of them. If you can rest in the knowing, the pure consciousness, there’s not much more to do.”

Does resting in consciousness mean we are simply checking out of the world, or withdrawing into navel gazing? Not at all. Resting in the knowing is not the same as detachment. When I look back at my own life I can see my struggles to discover this truth. Because of the conflict and unpredictable violence in my family, there were many times I wanted to run away but couldn’t. To cope with the trauma, at times I became depressed, angry or cynical. But as a primary protection, I developed the capacity to detach myself from what was happening. Detachment came naturally to me. I used it to become peaceful within myself and to try to calm those around me. Of course, these patterns persist and now I do it for a living.

So when I began Buddhist practice, shifting my attention to rest in consciousness felt familiar, natural. It seemed similar to my strategy of detachment. But gradually I discovered how wrong I was. My detachment had been a withdrawal from the pain and conflict into a protective shell. It was more like indifference. In Buddhist psychology indifference is called the “near enemy” to true openness and equanimity, a misguided imitation. To rest in consciousness, I had to unlearn this defensive detachment and learn to feel everything. I had to allow myself to recognize and experience the feelings and thoughts, the conflicts, the unpredictability of life in order to learn that I could trust the openness of consciousness itself. Ajahn Chah invited us to rest in consciousness and allow every experience in a fearless way. To rest in consciousness is the opposite of contraction and fear. When we rest in consciousness we become unafraid of the changing conditions of life.

In the monastery Ajahn Chah would point us back to rest in the pure knowing, consciousness itself. Sometimes he would notice that we were caught up in a state of worry or anger or doubt or sorrow. He would smile with amusement and urge us to inquire, Who is doubting? Who is angry? Can you rest in the consciousness that is aware of these states? Sometimes he would instruct us to sit at the side of a person who was dying, to be particularly aware of the mysterious moment when consciousness leaves and a person full of life turns into a lifeless corpse. Sometimes he would say, “If you are lost in the forest, that is not really being lost. You are really lost if you forget who you are.”

This knowing or pure consciousness is called by many names, all of which point to our timeless essence. Ajahn Chah and the forest monks of Thailand speak of it as the Original Mind or the One Who Knows. In Tibetan Buddhism it is referred to as Rigpa, silent and intelligent. In Zen it is called the mind ground or mind essence. The Hindu non-dual tradition speaks of this as the timeless witness. While these teachings may sound abstract, they are quite practical. To understand them we can simply notice the two distinct dimensions to our life, the ever-changing flow of experiences, and that which knows the experiences.

Perhaps we can better understand this through a story of a Palestinian named Salam, one of my good friends. I met Salam when I was doing some teaching for the hospices of the Bay Area. He was able to sit with the dying because he had no fear of death. In the late 1960’s and 70’s Salam lived in Jerusalem as an activist and a journalist. Because he was writing about creating a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian state, he was regularly arrested. He spent nearly six years in Israeli prisons. He was frequently interrogated and periodically beaten and tortured. This happens on every side in war.

One afternoon after he had been badly beaten, his body was lying on the floor of the prison and he was being kicked by a particularly cruel guard. Blood poured out of his mouth, and as the police report later stated, the authorities believed he had died.

He remembers the pain of being beaten. Then, as is often reported by accident and torture victims, he felt his consciousness leave his body and float up to the ceiling. At first it was peaceful and still, like in a silent movie, as he watched his own body lying below being kicked. It was so peaceful he didn’t know what all the fuss was about. And then Salam described how, in a remarkable way, his consciousness expanded further. He knew it was his body lying below, but now he felt he was also the boot kicking the body. He was also the peeling green paint on the prison walls, and the goat whose bleat could be heard outside, he was the dirt under the guard’s fingernails—he was all of it and the eternal consciousness of it all with no separation. Being everything, he could never die. All his fears had vanished. He realized that death was an illusion. A well-being and joy beyond description opened in him. And then a spontaneous laughter arose at the astonishing folly of humans, believing we are separate, clinging to nations and making war.

Two days later, as Salam describes it, he came back to consciousness in a bruised and beaten body on the floor of a cell, without fear or remorse, just amazement. His experience changed his whole sense of life and death. He refused to continue to participate in any form of conflict. When he was released, he married a Jewish woman and had Palestinian-Jewish children. That, he said, was his answer to the misguided madness of the world.

This excerpt is taken from the book, “The Wise Heart” VIEW HERE
Source: Jack Kornfield

The Wise Heart Chapters 1 through 4

Published on Nov 7, 2014

Introductory Announcement at 0 minutes and 0 seconds

The Wise Heart: Introduction at 0 minutes and 35 seconds

Chapter 1: Nobility at 13 minutes and 33 seconds

Sacred Perception at 20 minutes and 57 seconds

Chapter 2: A Psychology of Compassion at 28 minutes and 44 seconds

Chapter 3: Who Looks in the Mirror? at 41 minutes and 45 seconds

The Two Dimensions of Consciousness at 49 minutes and 1 second

Chapter 4: The Colorings of Consciousness at 1 hour 0 minutes and 30 seconds

Healthy and Unhealthy Mental States at 1 hour 7 minutes and 25 seconds

Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World by Matthieu Ricard (Author)

The author of the international bestseller Happiness makes a passionate case for altruism–and why we need it now more than ever.

In Happiness, Matthieu Ricard demonstrated that true happiness is not tied to fleeting moments or sensations, but is an enduring state of soul rooted in mindfulness and compassion for others. Now he turns his lens from the personal to the global, with a rousing argument that altruism–genuine concern for the well-being of others–could be the saving grace of the 21st century. It is, he believes, the vital thread that can answer the main challenges of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. Ricard’s message has been taken up by major economists and thinkers, including Dennis Snower, Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Soros.
Matthieu Ricard makes a robust and passionate case for cultivating altruistic love and compassion as the best means for simultaneously benefitting ourselves and our society. It’s a fresh outlook on an ardent struggle–and one that just might make the world a better place.

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author, translator, and photographer. He is the author of several books including The Monk and the Philosopher, a dialogue with his father; The Quantum and the Lotus, a dialogue with astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan; Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill; and Why Meditate? His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He has lived, studied, and worked in the Himalayan region for over forty years. Four million people have viewed his TED talk on happiness.

LOOK INSIDE

Matthieu Ricard: How to let altruism be your guide

What is altruism? Put simply, it’s the wish that other people may be happy. And, says Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk, altruism is also a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.

Matthieu Ricard: “Altruism” | Talks at Google

Published on Jun 11, 2015

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who left a career in cellular genetics to study Buddhism in the Himalayas over forty-five years ago. He is an internationally bestselling author and an active participant in the current scientific research of the effects of meditation on the brain. He lives in Nepal and devotes most of his time to 140 humanitarian projects in Tibet, Nepal and India.

In Meng’s words, Matthieu is a true gem in this world. He may be the world’s best bridge between modern science and ancient wisdom.

In this talk, Matthieu presents his new book: “Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World”. He argues that altruism–genuine concern for the well-being of others–could be the saving grace of the 21st century. Altruism is the vital thread that can answer the main challenges of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. His message has been taken up by major economists and thinkers, including Dennis Snower, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Soros. Altruism is Matthieu’s masterwork – the fruit of years of research, experience, observations, and reflections.

Matthieu led a meditation on compassion after his talk. Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/unX4FQqM6vI .

A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World by Daniel Goleman (Author), Dalai Lama (Introduction)

For more than half a century, in such books as The Art of Happiness and The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Inner Peace, the Dalai Lama has guided us along the path to compassion and taught us how to improve our inner lives. In A Force for Good, with the help of his longtime friend Daniel Goleman, the New York Times bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, the Dalai Lama explains how to turn our compassionate energy outward. This revelatory and inspiring work provides a singular vision for transforming the world in practical and positive ways.

Much more than just the most prominent exponent of Tibetan Buddhism, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is also a futurist who possesses a profound understanding of current events and a remarkable canniness for modern social issues. When he takes the stage worldwide, people listen. A Force for Good combines the central concepts of the Dalai Lama, empirical evidence that supports them, and true stories of people who are putting his ideas into action—showing how harnessing positive energies and directing them outward has lasting and meaningful effects. Goleman details the science of compassion and how this singular guiding motivation has the power to

• break such destructive social forces as corruption, collusion, and bias
• heal the planet by refocusing our concerns toward our impact on the systems that support all life
• reverse the tendency toward systemic inequity through transparency and accountability
• replace violence with dialogue
• counter us-and-them thinking by recognizing human oneness
• create new economic systems that work for everyone, not just the powerful and rich
• design schooling that teaches empathy, self-mastery, and ethics

Millions of people have turned to the Dalai Lama for his unparalleled insight into living happier, more purposeful lives. Now, when the world needs his guidance more than ever, he shows how every compassion-driven human act—no matter how small—is integral for a more peaceful, harmonious world, building a force for a better future.

Revelatory, motivating, and highly persuasive, A Force for Good is arguably the most important work from one of the world’s most influential spiritual and political figures.

DANIEL GOLEMAN is the author of the international bestsellers Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intelligence, and Social Intelligence, and the co-author of the acclaimed business bestseller Primal Leadership. His latest books are What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters and The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education. He was a science reporter for the New York Times, was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and received the American Psychological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his media writing. He lives in Massachusetts.

LOOK INSIDE

Daniel Goleman on the Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World: Compassion

Published on Jun 9, 2015

http://www.joinaforce4good.org/

Daniel Goleman, New York Times bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence and A Force for Good, talks about compassion as it relates to the Dalai Lama’s vision for our world.

The Scientific Basis for Compassion, Part 1

Published on Jul 15, 2014

A “Day of Science and Learning” with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and part of the Seeds of Compassion tour on Friday April 11 from 9:00 — 11:00 a.m. The Dalai Lama joined a panel of leading researchers to discuss the quantitative benefits of compassion. Held on the University of Washington campus, the event included Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence,” who moderated a panel including Andrew Meltzoff, co-director, University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences; Richard Davidson, director, Laboratory of AffectiThe Scientific Basis for Compassion, Part 2ve Neuroscience; Alicia Lieberman, president, Board of Directors, Zero to Three; and Daniel Siegel, author of “The Mindful Brain” and “Parenting from the Inside Out.”

Music
“Carolina” by Tingstad & Rumbel (iTunes)

The Scientific Basis for Compassion, Part 2

Deepak Chopra: The Health Benefits Of Practicing Compassion


by Deepak Chopra:
Compassion is changing before our eyes. A religious concept associated with Jesus and Buddha

(known as “the Compassionate One”) is being researched today through brain scans and positive psychology. In positive psychology your aim is to reach a state of well-being. The actions of a compassionate person, being kind and sympathetic, turn out to bring personal benefits as well. This is one way that a spiritual value acquires practical, everyday value.

As part of a compassionate lifestyle, a person:

Lets go of judgment
Is more accepting of others
Appreciates how other people feel
Tries to help in difficult situations
Acts as a sympathetic listener
Renounces anger and aggression
Works to maintain a harmonious, peaceful atmosphere at home and at work.

The reason a compassionate lifestyle leads to greater psychological well-being may be that the act of giving is equally or more pleasurable than receiving. A brain-imaging study led by neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health showed that the “pleasure centers” in the brain — the parts that are active when we experience things like dessert, money, and sex — are equally active vicariously. We feel pleasure, for example, when we observe someone giving money to charity as if we were receiving the money ourselves. A complementary study at the University of British Columbia showed that even in children as young as two, giving treats to others increased the givers’ happiness more than receiving treats themselves.

In a description written from the viewpoint of positive psychology, compassion is “an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology.” In other words, as human beings evolved, we became more aware of the good that results from empathy and kindness. We developed an alternative to selfishness. Studies have suggested that compassion is indeed an evolved part of human nature, vital to good health and even to the survival of our species. Compassion motivated 25.3 percent of Americans to volunteer in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

A recent study found that the pupils of infants’ eyes widened when they saw someone in need — a sign of concern — but their pupils would shrink when they could help that person — or when they saw someone else help, suggesting that they felt better. (Babies as young as four or five months will try to help their mothers pick up something dropped on the floor.) They seem to care primarily for the other person and not themselves. It was calming to see the person’s suffering being alleviated, whether or not they were the ones who did it.

In the same vein, research by David Rand at Harvard University shows that adults’ and children’s first impulse is to help others, not to compete with them. Other research by Dale Miller at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business backs this up. Compassion involves feeling what someone else is feeling, which forms an invisible bond. But the bond is more than mental or emotional. Research in positive psychology suggests that connecting with others in a meaningful way helps us enjoy better physical health and speeds up recovery from disease; it may even lengthen our lifespan.

These physiological findings go back almost 30 years to experiments at Harvardwhere people watched a film on the charitable work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who devoted her life to the poorest children in India. As they watched, the viewers’ heart rate and blood pressure changed in a positive direction.

More sophisticated measurements are available to us now. New research at UCLA and the University of North Carolina evaluated the levels of cellular inflammation in people who describe themselves as “very happy.” Inflammation is suspected to be at the root of cancer and other diseases and is generally high in people who live under a lot of stress. We might expect that inflammation would be lower for people with higher levels of happiness. But there was an important distinction. People who were happy because they lived a life of pleasure (also known as “hedonic happiness”) had high inflammation levels, while people who were happy because they lived a life of purpose or meaning (also known as “eudaimonic happiness”) had low inflammation levels. A life of meaning and purpose is one focused less on satisfying oneself and more on others. It is often a life rich in compassion and altruism.

As for longevity, a compassionate lifestyle may be beneficial because it provides a buffer against stress. A recent study conducted on a large population (more than 800 samples) led at the University at Buffalo found that stress was linked to higher mortality rates, but not among those who helped others.

In sum, the spiritual value of compassion has been shown to extend to mind and body as well. It’s in our nature to be sympathetic and kind to others while doing great good to ourselves at the same time.

Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 80 books with twenty-two New York Times bestsellers. Join me at The Chopra Center’s Second Annual Global Meditationon July 11, 2015.

Source: The Huffington Post

The Healing I Took Birth For Practicing the Art of Compassion by Ondrea Levine, as told to Stephen Levine

For more than 32 years, Stephen and Ondrea Levine have provided emotional and spiritual support to those who face life-threatening illness and their caregivers; deeply affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the process. The Healing I Took Birth For, which was begun after Ondrea’s own medical prognosis that foretold the end of a lifetime of spiritual exploration, is the culmination of her work. Their collaboration, in the service of the dying, especially during the height of the AIDS epidemic, set them both more deeply on the path of compassion—compassion for self, for others, for all.

The Healing I Took Birth For is the heartfelt sharing of Ondrea’s life of service and a deeply inspiring example of how one faces illness and great personal difficulties, with a deep spiritual practice and grace. It is the most “intimate collaboration” she and Stephen have worked on and it will inspire readers to find their own way toward living a life of compassion.

Ondrea Levine and Stephen Levine are close collaborators in teaching, in practice, in life. Together they are the authors of more than eight books, some of which bear Stephen’s name only as author, but all of which Ondrea had a hand in. Together they are best known for their work on death and dying. They are also the parents of Buddhist teacher and writer Noah Levine. Visit them online at http://www.levinetalks.com.

Look Inside

The Healing I Took Birth For – Ondrea & Stephen Levine – Book Trailer

Stephen and Ondrea Levine Discuss Fear & Death

Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason With Pema Chodron – Part 1 to Part 3

This is a 55 minute interview which has been split into 6 segments.
Video provided courtesy of PBS.
Please visit the official PBS website at http://www.pbs.org
PBS’s “Terms of Use” are available online

Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason With Pema Chodron – Part 2

Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason With Pema Chodron – Part 3

Return to The Sacred: Ancient Pathways to Spiritual Awakening by Jonathan H. Ellerby Ph.D. (Author)

Are you looking for inner peace? Do you seek a deeper understanding of yourself and the spiritual world? Have you followed the popular prescriptions for enlightenment and still found yourself unsatisfied? Return to The Sacred is a fascinating guide that will help you understand the importance of spiritual practice and the great diversity of paths that are available to you. This is a book that does more than provide philosophy and inspiration; it gives you the freedom to find a path that works for you and the knowledge to experience the answers for yourself. You’ll learn about the time-tested tools of spiritual growth that will help you discover extraordinary depths of wisdom, power, and peace.

Return to The Sacred will introduce you to the 12 Master Paths and Practices that have transformed the lives of countless saints, mystics, masters, and sages since the beginning of history. In this book, you’ll find what you need to discover your spiritual personality and choose the path that will lead you toward the realization of boundless joy and a lifelong journey of meaning.

Jonathan Ellerby, Ph.D., weaves threads of personal growth and comparative religion into captivating true tales of spiritual adventures with teachers and healers around the world. Through colorful stories and clear reflections, he presents a perspective that reveals the rewards of spiritual practice, and a realistic understanding of the deep commitments and challenging steps along the way. Return to The Sacred is an inspiring journey around the globe and into the furthest reaches of Spirit.

Read Inside

Soul Success and Spiritual Growth with Jonathan Ellerby PhD

Life changing steps toward peace and awakening.

Master the BASICS of Spiritual Health with Jonathan Ellerby PhD

Amazing introduction to six timeless tools to manager stress, master mindfulness, and move toward spiritual awakening. Check out Jonathan’s acclaimed new book “Return to the Sacred” you can learn more at http://www.returntothesacred.com

Also View Here /

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Author)

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world—and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Sue Monk Kidd’s first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold nearly six million copies, and was chosen as the 2004 BookSense Paperback Book of the Year and Good Morning America’s “Read This!” Book Club pick. It was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2008. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times bestseller, won the 2005 Quill Book Award for Best General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie. Her novels have been published in more than thirty countries. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of many awards, including a Poets & Writers Award. She lives near Charleston, South Carolina.

Read Inside

Sue Monk Kidd NEW Interview AWESOME

Conn Jackson interviews the amazing and inspiring Sue Monk Kidd. She is awesome.

Sue Monk Kidd Takes Readers’ Questions on The Invention of Wings – Super Soul Sunday – OWN

Oprah and Sue Monk Kidd sit down for an exclusive reader Q&A on Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection The Invention of Wings. Sue shares the motivations behind her characters’ actions, the challenges of writing in many different voices, her personal tricks for overcoming writer’s block and much more.

A Force for Good : The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World ~ Daniel Goleman

Publication date: 6/23/2015

For decades, the Dalai Lama has travelled the world, meeting with people from a wealth of countries who differ greatly in their background, social status and viewpoint, bringing them his own individual wisdom and compassion. In his encounters with everyone from the inhabitants of shantytowns in S o Paulo and Soweto to heads of state in Davos and Washington D.C., the Dalai Lama saw similar problems: a set of values that have helped the very rich to advance beyond the multitudinous poor, a disregard for the environment that could lead to global catastrophe and governments in paralysis, bereft of positive, progressive policies of any sort.

Now, as he turns eighty, having built up a profound knowledge of the world we live in today, as well as a penetrating grasp of its scientific context, the Dalai Lama gives us his vision for a better future. Challenging what he sees as a general mixture of cynicism and self-interest, he offers a radically different perspective and a vision that can be assimilated by people around the globe.

From cultivating early on a capacity for caring that transcends religious, ideological and national boundaries, to creating an economic system that applies principals of fairness and which values fulfilment, his argument focuses on what is urgent and why it should matter to each of us. In his unique manifesto, the Dalai Lama presents perspective on the world that can bring hope to millions, that will endure beyond the present day and that has the potential to reshape humanity as we know it.


Daniel Goleman, a former science journalist for the New York Times, is the author of many books, including the international bestseller Emotional Intelligence. He co-founded the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center (now at the University of Illinois at Chicago). He lives in Massachusetts. @DanielGolemanEI danielgoleman.info

The Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules For Living

At the start of the new millennium the Dalai Lama issued eighteen rules for living.

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: 1. Respect for self 2. Respect for others 3. Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

View the Updated Version HERE

From Dragons to Schmoos – Meeting Life with Compassionate Presence (02/25/2015)

Published on Mar 12, 2015
From Dragons to Schmoos – Meeting Life with Compassionate Presence (02/25/2015)
The trance of unworthiness is sustained by our aversion to the dragons – the difficult emotions and related behaviors that are a deeply conditioned part of the human experience. In this talk we explore the awakening that is possible as we recognize our reactive patterns and instead of judgment, offer a loving and healing presence.

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
****************************************­**********************

10 Ways To Shift Your Consciousness by Paul Lenda

In moments of stress, anxiety and other intense harmful mind states that we experience within our lives, it can be difficult to keep our focus on positive personal development. The thought of becoming an enlightened sage radiating seemingly-perpetual positive energy can seem far off… an unattainable goal given life’s everyday problems. True as it may seem to be, this is a mental mechanism that blocks our ability to see things for what they are, namely that, “Your Self is already inherently liberated. It is the ideas that have been imposed on that Self which must be set free,” as Gangaji once mused.

We’re going to take a look at 10 ways in which you can help shift your consciousness to a higher level of well-being. These tools, methods and mind states will help you become consciously evolved and on your way towards the expansion of your awareness.

Compassion

By being compassionate, we embrace the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress, together with a desire to alleviate it. By experiencing compassion, we also experience the awareness of the interdependence of all things. Compassion is an active choice to want for others the alleviation of their suffering. Compassionate action is a willingness to go beyond our own self-interests for the good of others. We let go of our own needs to attend to the needs of others so that we can meet our own deepest need: to feel connected to something…to feel a part of a larger shared humanity.

Boundary Dissolution

By experiencing boundary dissolution, we experience a deconstruction and dissolving of boundaries that have been created by human cultures and societies and which have existed as long as the self-centered ego has influenced humanity. The purpose of boundary dissolution is to do away with these falsehoods that separate humanity instead of uniting it. When you dissolve the boundaries that divide and separate you from others, you will have the ability to transform your world into one of serenity, tranquility and peace. Oneness will not be just a philosophical concept but a reality that will be experienced by the totality of the human race.

Appreciation

When you appreciate someone, you are tuned into their positive qualities and express your empathy and gratitude for them. Appreciation results in positive vibration offered to all and further inspiration and expansion into a greater you. It’s a simple way to refresh ourselves, to open up heart-felt connections to ourselves and to others. Appreciation is both a fully-focused delight about whatever it is that feels good and a recognition of your own ability to intend and allow its manifestation.

Appreciate a deep relaxing breath of air or maybe the pleasurable radiant warmth of the sun. The simple things you might take for granted are all worthy of appreciation. As you do this, try to focus completely on the good this experience or item offers you, and acknowledge that you and only you have created it, no matter how it came to you. No matter your condition or circumstances, there will always be something that you can find to appreciate. If it seems that your life is lacking in happiness, just look for a single thing each day and honor your part in manifesting it, then think of any and every aspect of that item or condition that is a positive force in your life.

Inner Peace

Having inner peace means that we are mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep ourselves strong in the face of difficult and stressful life experiences. In some cultures inner peace is considered a state of consciousness that can be cultivated by taking up things like meditation, Tai Chi or yoga. Many spiritual practices refer to this kind of peace as being an experience of knowing your own self. The solution to finding inner peace requires us to look at the problem from a new perspective. We cannot change the nature of the world or its problems, but we can add a new dimension to life that will give us peace.

We may not be able to eliminate all the problems of the world, but through meditation we can attain peace and happiness. We can make our family life more peaceful, loving and caring. We can help change the society in which we live. We can be a source of peace to all those around us. By leading a life in which we are caring and loving to others, we will develop into ideal human beings. By gaining inner peace, we can also achieve outer peace. Some people mistakenly think that the path of meditation is one of escapism. They feel that it requires you to sit in a cave or on a mountain top like a hermit. Meditation doesn’t lead to escapism, instead it makes us more alive.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the moment-to-moment experience of peace and understanding that occurs when someone who feels injured has their suffering reduced, as they transform their grievance against the person or group that initiated the experience that led to that suffering. Forgiveness involves a sense of felt unity with one who has hurt us and can be regressive or progressive. By embracing the feeling of forgiveness as something that can help us, we accept it as an aspect of acceptance, love, peace, and truth, instead of experiencing hatred, emotionalism, negativity, falsehood…all of which are aspects of resentment.

Forgiveness brings utter peace of mind. Resentment brings inner turmoil and suffering. Forgiveness means choosing to see the absolute perfection and beauty in everything. Everything and everyone is currently operating at its own level of awareness and/or evolution. Everyone and everything is what it is right now because that’s what it needs to learn or un-learn. People are what they are and make mistakes because they really don’t know otherwise or they don’t want to know otherwise. If they really knew otherwise, they would already be otherwise.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a state of mind where you pay attention in a certain way. Mindfulness practice expands your field of awareness, allowing for improved oversight of somatic and effective experiencing, thanks to which you can experience an enhanced capacity for self-regulation of our arousal, affect and behavior. Mindfulness is incredibly helpful to us for several reasons. For starters, it reflects only what is presently happening and in exactly the way it is happening. There are no biases.

Mindfulness is also the ability of the mind to observe without criticism. With this ability, you see things without condemnation or judgment. Nothing surprises you…you just take a balanced interest in things exactly as they are in their natural states. You don’t decide and you don’t judge…you just observe. Mindfulness registers experiences, but it does not compare them. It does not label them or categorize them. It just observes everything as if it were occurring for the first time. Mindfulness sees things as they really are. Once mindfulness becomes part of your everyday life, you develop the capacity to tolerate and accept painful experience, and you cultivate inner resources that help stabilize affect and reduce impulsiveness. For help with increasing your mindfulness, you should practice a meditation technique called vipassana, which was introduced around 2,500 years ago and has been specifically focused on experiencing a state of uninterrupted mindfulness.

Selflessness

When we are selfless, we shift our focus onto the needs of others, rather than keeping it on ourselves. It is the practice of being unselfish and minimizing the gratification of the ego’s wants and desires. In order to make the life-redefining shift from selfishness to selflessness, go and focus on the well-being of others. This can be done in countless ways. You can clean up your life and surrender a fully healed body, heart, mind and soul to others when entering a relationship. You can also be ready to share any amount of time needed by others whenever they need. Be happy with your life and with whatever you are offered by others. Whenever you are sure to give your very best possible, you are receiving exactly whatever you need for your greatest possible spiritual benefit.

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a yearning for a return to some past period or seemingly-irrecoverable condition. It is the reliving of a past time, which is usually seen in a more positive light than the reality of that experience may have been. Studies have found that people who have a heightened level of nostalgia have higher self-esteem and are less prone to depression. Thinking of good memories for just 15 or 20 minutes a day can make you more cheerful than you were the week before, and happier than if you think of your current life. Nostalgia is a very potent mood booster, so if you seem to be in a bit of a funk, think about good memories of times past and you will experience higher self-esteem and feel more positively about friendships and close relationships.

Post-Materialism

As the Czech poet-president Vaclav Havel once said, “If the world is to change for the better, it must have a change in human consciousness.” Albert Einstein mused in a similar vein when he said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. The world’s problems are grand and are many. The only way these problems can be solved is by a fundamental and profound shift in human consciousness. Making the shift to post-materialism requires us to take a few steps first.

We need to face the implications of population and consumption growth for pollution, climate change and environmental destruction. We need to realize that materialist values make for less happy lives. We need to identify and promote things in life that matter more than economic growth. We need to understand and experience the nature of the oneness and interconnectedness of all things and people.

Wonder

Wonder is the experience of those who reach a sense or state of so-called perfection in the ordering of the world. Experiences of wonder can lead us to a sense of transcendence and realization of higher states of being. From a mystical perspective, wonder relates to affirmation as wonder openings reveal the infinite and the source of all that is, which operate as gateways to uniting experiences. Energetically, wonder is an expression of Eros, a life force that propels one into the present moment and into life and that magnifies attentional capacities.

Buddhism muses that distinctions limited to relative or empirical reality are artificial and result in perpetuating the anguish, the pain and the frustration that some speak of because we become alienated from experience. Religious practice and customs propagate and create alterations in perception. Ultimately, through such alterations, we are able to experience the transparency of relative existence and of subject-object separations that exist in reality. In other words, wonder leads us tasting a unified and infinite existence.

About the Author:
Paul Lenda is a conscious evolution guide, author of The Creation of a Consciousness Shift, and co-founder of SHIFT>, a social community focused on anchoring in the new paradigm and assisting the positive transformation of humanity. With the drive to be aware of and experience the wider horizon of Reality, Paul has developed an extensive background in the spiritual and transformative elements of life; one that is both knowledge and experienced-based. Visit his website http://www.shift.is, follow him on Twitter or visit the Shift Facebook community.

‘Compassion, Truth and Adversity’ with Ram Dass and Sharon Salzberg


Published on Feb 16, 2015
There’s no doubt that we all have adversity, and these days it’s even more obvious in our very difficult world. In this new film, Compassion, Truth and Adversity, Ram Dass and Sharon Salzberg pinpoint the ways in which we can transform our adversity, by being honest with ourselves, and compassionate and truthful with others.

This film and all other offerings on RamDass.org are only possible with the support of friends like you. Please consider a donation of any amount before, during or after the event, which will allow Ram Dass’ Love Serve Foundation to continue to present more projects like this and to help him share these transformational teachings with current and future generations. Donate Here: http://goo.gl/d3a8JT

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: