Buddha

All posts tagged Buddha

Liebster Award

Published 28/08/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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One of my readers Khalkinised over at http://buddhasutra.com has just nominated me for the Liebster award and although I have a policy of not accepting awards and going through their process and acceptance criteria due to the time it takes to complete, I do however accept the award in the spirit it was offered to me, so a big thank you to Khalkinised, please check out his site as it is full of great articles 🙂

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

The Heart Sutra, Brings Tears Of Joy To My Eyes and Love To My Heart

Published 19/08/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

My Dear Friends,

A Beautiful, very powerful and angelic rendition of the Buddhist Heart Sutra performed by Faye Wong at the Famen Temple, Shaanxi Province near my wife’s home town . Its message and sound brings tears of joy to my eyes and opens the lotus petals within my heart. I hope you will all feel the same and receive the energy from this song.

Namaste, with Love,

Always ,

Mark

Observation & Judgement …..Your Mind and The Games We Have To Play

Published 13/08/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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My Dear Friends,

You have to be quicker than your own mind!

When you see yourself analysing or negatively judging what you observe in yourself, whether it is a thought,emotion, or attitude, be more clever than the one who is judging or analysing. Step back into the observer; observe the judge and don’t judge him. The judge becomes the object of your observation. Remember to make every disturbing element the object of your observation; in this way, the observer goes more deeply into observation each time, whereas if you see what comes as an obstacle to observation, it becomes one.

The more you are in the observer , the less importance the object you observe has. When you are in the state of the observer, , which is not the state of the dreamer, you observe what you decide to observe and are awake to the rest; otherwise this state of concentration leads to emptiness, but to a hollow emptiness. True emptiness is the emptiness of the observer who is detached from the mechanism and capable of taking in everything. Thoughts come and go in your emptiness, and it remains empty because nothing remains attached to it.  The observer sees everything, it remains tranquil, there are no negative emotions . Everything is handles rightly. Things pass, the observer can take them seriously or lightly, it is identified with nothing. Judgment belongs to the world of things that pass.

So keep on observing with no judgment my friends and have some fun with your mind.

Namaste with Love

Always

mark

What is the difference between I like you and I love you?

Published 06/08/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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What is the difference between

I Like You

and

I Love You

?

Beautifully answered by Buddha:

“When you like a flower, you just pick it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily and enjoy it.

The one who understands this, understands life”!

Blessings of love and understanding my friends,

Namaste with love

Always

Mark

A New Day

Published 04/07/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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A New Day.

A new day dawns.

In the early morning, the birds are singing cheerfully in the garden,

greeting the beginning of a new day. I wish our lives could be in healthy growth

every day, so that we will not waste our lifetimes!

Have a wonderful and productive weekend my friends

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Loneliness

Published 26/06/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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Sometimes I just sit alone and think, often thinking too much about my life, the people around me, my family, my friends, my work colleagues, spending too much time overthinking and allowing my ego mind to have it’s way with me!

Our days are filled with wasted time, hour after hour our mind ticks over, relentlessly sending us it’s opinions based upon our thoughts on the things we see, hear and fell, judging this and judging that, telling us to hate this person, stay away from that person, beware and fear this or that and holding us back from living our lives to the full.

Somedays our hearts are totally controlled by our mind, we feel lost and alone, its like something is missing from our heart, like a lost loved one, something is missing and causing us pain, we become tearful, agitated, anxious and sometimes so down that we just don’t want to get up or go out, the feeling is so strong that it controls our very being and stops us from moving forward with our lives.

Loneliness and the lack of love for ourselves feeds our ego mind, it fuels its fire and allows damaging thoughts to be generated at a rapid speed, negativity reigns supreme when the ego mind is at play, controlling our very being.

When your feeling down and lonely, its hard to pick yourself up when the ego mind is holding you down , twisting your mind with its negativity, pumping your body full of non-productive, suppressing ideas as to how you should live your life, it’s in total control…but how do we break free from the clutches of our ego mind?

Well, in my case, meditation is the key, it brings me peace and allows me to break free of the chains that my ego mind has wrapped around my soul, meditation takes me to a place of peace, to a solitude of silence where I can connect with my soul, with my Divine Self and where I can take back my life from the clutches of this egotistic mind that is at play with me.

If you suffer from any form of loneliness, unhappiness, anxiety in your life then please try meditation, seek out someone to help you, to guide you in the early stages of your practice……feel free once again and regain your happiness, then start living your life of joy 🙂

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Touching on Love Again!

Published 16/06/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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Ah, here I am again talking about love 🙂

But what is love?

I have posted about Love so many times, love for self, love for others, unconditional love etc……

But when i sit down, meditate and go into my heart centre i realise that most of us are under the wrong impression of what love really is!

Oh my!, What am I letting myself in for now!…..I guess I will get lots of replies stating…’Rubbish Post’,……. Love is….etc!

Well, here goes anyway 🙂

To me, Love is everything, Love is with us from the day we are conceived because our mother gives us the love from her body to help carry us through the pregnancy period; until the day that we are born, then we receive the love from our parent/s, our siblings, our families… we receive love from our friends, our colleagues and from our experiences in life.

Love is all around…..So we should be happy, right?

Actually, the next time your sitting with your dog or your cat, take a proper look at the feeling, the sensation and their energy towards you, they are in fact giving you love, unconditional love, especially from the dog. Cat’s.. well, they have their own opinions on life and will give you their love when they are ready, but a dog’s love is unconditional and always!….Then take a long look at your life, where is your love? how do you show your love? do you love yourself?…I don’t mean how you look in a mirror, but deep down, Do you love who you are?, What you stand for and where you are going with your life?

I often ask my friends:-

What is important to your life,

What do you feel is missing from your life?,

What are you seeking, looking for in your life?

And the answers are:

Love

Happiness

Success

But love comes, and it goes…We think and believe that love is just a relationship thing between two people, a partnership, a marriage etc,…and then, when that love goes away, we are left in a mess, often deep down in depression, bringing anxiety, unhappiness and sadness to our life ……

So! How many of us actually love ourselves?…..

Actually not that many of us because most of us don’t love the way we look, we are not happy with our weight, body shape, we are either too tall or too short, too much hair or (in my case lack of hair) 🙂 We don’t love our jobs, we don’t love our daily lives, we don’t love our homes and, on and on the lack of love for ourselves goes on causing us to be unhappy with who we are……

Well! , let me tell you something.

If you don’t love yourself then how do you expect to attract love into your life?

So, pick yourself up, start a new page and take another look at yourself…..What’s not to love!……..Right?

You are a Divine being, you are a wonderful creation, you are love itself!…And the sooner you realise this and make this your daily mantra then the sooner you can start enjoying your life, attracting more love into your daily life then bringing about happiness and then achieving all the success you truly want in your life.

So, if you are going to say  ‘Rubbish Post’ then fine, but if for one second you feel you are not 100% happy with the love in your life and the love for yourself; then please take a long look at yourself, see who you really are, connect with your Divine Self, connect with your heart and see the love, then share the love and …Love….Will come right back at ya 🙂

Go on, do yourself a favour for once…ACT!

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Bringing Unconditional Love Back to Our World, One Person at a Time

Published 09/06/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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What does unconditional love mean to you?

For most of us we think it is simply the love between two human beings, love of a partner, a husband, wife, child or friend but unconditional love is actually much more than that, it transpires the relationship between two human beings into the realms of love that are sadly missing from our daily lives, our relationships between religions, our relationships between countries, our relationships between race, colour and creed. Most of the conflicts in our relationships arise because of our greed, our desires and our expectations, and, when both parties are selfish and self-centered, they do not remain in a relationship for long as the suffering becomes greater, distance comes about until total separation is the end result. The ideal relationship is that which is based upon mutual unconditional love and respect. It is as difficult as finding an ideal saintly human being upon earth. We cannot practice it if we have desires and expectations and if we are guided by fear, egoism, greed and self-interest.

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We may study scriptures and participate in intellectual debates, but it will serve no purpose if we do not have a loving heart. We may judge others based on the religious morality we learn. But it is of no use in our own spiritual development, if we do not follow it ourselves and validate it based upon our own experience. Religious dogma is not meant to develop a blind following, but rather a deep curiosity to search for truth.
Unconditional love or our infinite innate capacity to love others unconditionally, can take us beyond the mortal plane into the realm of the immortal gods. When you go beyond desire-ridden judgments and selfish expectations and accept people and things with love and compassion, you earned the right to reach the abode of God. When you do not act with moral superiority and religious prejudice, you become a source of love and healing to others.

As human beings, we all have our weaknesses. We are incapable of exhibiting the virtuous qualities of God in our ordinary selves. However, our weaknesses and imperfections can be overcome if we strive to transcend our lower nature with abundant faith and love in God and cultivate the single most important virtue of unconditional love. Unconditional love can arise only in a mind that is truly detached, that has no preference and is established in equanimity and oneness.

Therefore, bring love into your life and radiate it unconditionally, like a flower radiates its fragrance, by cultivating detachment and equanimity of the mind. Accept everything that comes into your life as part of your divine creation and as a part of your destiny. Build relationships not for mutual satisfaction of wants and desires, but for the sake of unconditional love, without expecting anything in return.

First, practice it towards those whom you may harbor negativity and resentment of those whom you find difficult to forgive. Learn to forgive them and let go of your feelings of hurt and indignation. Then gradually spread the same attitude towards one and all. As part of your practice, you should radiate your love in your daily life towards one and all, and try to be forgiving and helpful. If you start practicing these suggestions, slowly you develop a compassionate heart, which will open the doors of God’s unconditional love to you.

If you look carefully, most things in creation already practice unconditional love. It is usually humans who have difficulty in practicing it because we are the subjects of freewill, desires and attachment. A tree does not choose whom to give its fruit. It is we who build a fence around it. A well does not choose whom to give water. A river does not choose whose boat it will carry. A flower does not choose to whom it will spread its fragrance. The sun and moon do not choose to whom to radiate their warmth and light.

God’s unconditional love manifests when we silence our desires and suspend our judgment. Both are difficult to practice. When they are absent, God’s love manifests itself. It is in the silent heart of a Buddhist Monk, an Ascetic Yogi, Priest, Pastor, Cleric, Brahman, holy person that the unconditional love wells up.

Universal Love….

Every religion in the world today talks about love, peace and harmony, to love your brothers and sisters, to do good unto men

  • The only love worthy of a name is unconditional.
  • The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.
  • Intense love does not measure, it just gives.
  • Love is the doorway through which the human soul passes from selfishness to service.
  • Where there is great love there are always miracles.
  • Where there is love there is life.
  • Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.” St. Augustine
  • Love is life…and if you miss love, you miss life.
  • Universal love gives without expecting anything back.
  • Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the Children of God. 1 John 3:1
  • Greater love has no one than this, that he laid down his life for his friends. John 15:13
  • God is love, and he who lives in love, lives in God and God in him 1 John 4:14
  • God loves you no matter who you are. He will cover you within his feathers. Under his wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
  • These is only one love that loves unconditionally-The love of the Divine.
  • Love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  • God loves each of us as if there was only one of us- Augustine
  • I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
  • Love is the absence of judgment
  • Until he has unconditional and unbiased love for all beings, man will not find peace. – Buddha
  • The greatest gift you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.

Go with unconditional love my friends, be the love and share the love with all beings.

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

The Most Beautiful People In The World

Published 05/06/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat,

known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life

that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.

Beautiful people do not just happen.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends.

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

What Thoughts Do You Keep In Your Mind?

Published 02/06/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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Your Mind it a powerful thing, it can control your life, your happiness and your future….

What Thoughts Do You Keep In Your Mind?

Your Mind is not a dustbin to keep anger, hatred and jealousy.

But it’s a Treasure box to keep love, happiness and sweet memories.

What does your mind contain?

Food for thought my friends, food for thought!

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

The Laughing Buddha Will Help You Through Your Day

Published 19/05/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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Post by Susan Jeffers Ph.D.

As many of you already know, I am a lover of the Laughing Buddha. I think you’ll agree that we all take life much too seriously! Because of my love of the Laughing Buddha, I’ve placed a number of them around our house and office as a reminder to lighten up and enjoy it all.

I have a wooden Laughing Buddha on my bedside table next to a picture of my laughing husband (who is also a Laughing Buddha!), a gorgeous pink quartz Laughing Buddha on my desk, a magnificent amber Laughing Buddha on my husband’s desk, a large stone Laughing Buddha sitting outside on our balcony…and many more. What they all seem to have in common is that they have all learned how to enjoy the feast and they certainly seem to have no worry about the future. They are always laughing!

My outdoor Laughing Buddha is the one that never ceases to amaze me. He is laughing when the rain pours down on him. He is laughing when the sun bakes down. He is laughing when we put a Santa hat on him at Christmas time. There is nothing that takes away his laughter. I know he would be laughing even if a tree fell on him and crushed him into a million pieces. I would be crying, but he would be laughing! Obviously, the Laughing Buddha has learned that, It’s all happening perfectly! The spirit that emanates from his smile is one of trust, appreciation and inner joy.

I believe the Laughing Buddha represents the inner intelligence that lives within us all. He represents the part of us that is in tune with the Grand Design. He doesn’t try to control the chaos. Instead, he listens and moves comfortably within the chaos as the world unfolds around him. He stays open to a constant flow of joyous survival versus turbulent survival. He makes us realize that we can’t get rid of the chaos, but we can get very creative with the turmoil. We are all the creators of how we want to see this world.

As a constant reminder to lighten up, I suggest you purchase a Laughing Buddha. They come in all sizes. A little one to put on your desk or next to your bed…or both…would be a good start. Understand that the Laughing Buddha does not have to be seen as a religious symbol. Buddhism is considered by many to be an inspiring philosophy…a way of seeing the world and becoming more enlightened about life. There are Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Atheists and others who embrace the teachings of Buddhism as a way of improving one’s life. So no matter what your religious belief, the Laughing Buddha can bring you great wisdom and peace of mind.

Once you acquire your Laughing Buddha, make sure you look at his joyous presence every time something is troubling you and ask yourself what your Laughing Buddha would tell you. I know you will find answers that will lift you out of your upset and elevate you to a more cosmic space. That’s what the Laughing Buddha does for me. Any time I am driving myself crazy trying to control everything around me, I look at my Laughing Buddha and laugh right along with him. I let go and lighten up. The Laughing Buddha reminds me that peace and joy lie within…not out there somewhere. And we all need reminders!

To take it one step further, you can pretend you are the Laughing Buddha. Some years ago my husband, Mark, was having difficulty with a few people in one of his projects at work and he decided that instead of letting it get him down, he would go to work as the Laughing Buddha. To him, that meant radiating a happy, loving energy no matter what was happening in the office. He created a list of his favorite happy affirmations and a few times throughout the day, he would repeat them over and over again. He would also e-mail me daily a message from himself as the Laughing Buddha.

The little game he was playing became our private joke, but the effect on his experience at work was very healing. He was actually able to deflect the negativity of the people in his project and embrace the happy nature of the Laughing Buddha. This enabled him to interact with everyone in a much more positive way. His demeanor changed so much that his assistant jokingly asked him what drugs he was taking! Mark just smiled.

We can all play the Laughing Buddha game in any area of our lives. Each time we play it, it shows us how to stay in the highest part of who we are, our Higher Self, for longer and longer periods of time. And lightening up and appreciating the beauty in our lives makes our spirits soar. Powerful stuff, so rewarding, and a lot of fun.

It is clear that appreciation of today is one of the most powerful tools for helping us embrace tomorrow. So take it all in. And once you do, you will be astounded by what you have been missing in this life, right here, right now. I keep going back to the telling words of Emily Dickinson…

As if I asked a common alms

And in my wandering hand…

A stranger pressed a kingdom

And I bewildered stand.

These beautiful words tell us that when we finally open our eyes, we stand bewildered by the riches in front of us. Life is beautiful…and funny. Open your eyes to it all…and don’t forget to laugh!

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Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Loving and Living Your Life?, or Do You Have Unresolved Karma Tying You Down?

Published 05/05/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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Karma is a Bitch!…

Not My Words but they are words used all around the world, words spoken of things that have happened in your current lifetime or in previous lifetimes that are connected to your life and which hold you back from living a life of happiness and abundance.

Karma is a frequency a vibration sent out from you through your actions, reactions, emotions or ego, these vibrations  and frequencies are mostly negative, they often come from anger, resentment, hatred, anxiety, depression, jealousy, doubt, mistrust, feelings of betrayal, lost love etc. But we may be moving on with our life never even realising that Karma is at play in our life, often doing things the same old way, acting or reacting in the same old ways, making decisions in our life based on following our old feelings and habits the way it has ‘always been’, but not ever realising that these decisions, or thoughts of doubt, feelings of sadness, jealously, not being worthy, ‘I will never have money’, ‘I will always be poor’, ‘I will never find love’, ‘Its no point me going because I will only be disappointed’, ‘ I have no talent’, ‘I am not worthy’ etc are based and controlled by Karma, and this Karma may have been put into place due to a bad experience a previous life has gone through and they at that time put out a message a Karmic message, a frequency/vibration that bounces around the universe and keeps a control of your life and the decisions and actions we take, and until you realise this Karma is in play with our life and until you get to the root of the original problem, the cause of this Karmic reaction then you will never resolve it, you will never break the chains that shackle you to this or other bad and destructive Karma’s that control your life.

I too am going through huge awakenings in my present lifetime and I am now connecting with my previous lives, connecting with unresolved Karma that was placed by my previous lives; that are still in play now and effecting my present life.

Releasing the unresolved Karma on our Earth is the most important action for the heart of humanity at this time. We are collectively being asked to resolve all of humanities miscreations through all incarnations so that the Earth may become free of this unresolved energy and ascend. In each moment of your day, you are creating and manifesting your own Karma, either in alignment with the Divine Will or solely through your personalities free will. The Karma created is either resolved Karma, energy filled with unity consciousness or it is unresolved energy filled with separation and duality.

Karma is sparked and is birthed into the Universe by you, it is not an emotion, feeling or a thought, it is a vibration of consciousness that you create from that experience, event or encounter in your life, Usually Karma is then held through your attachment to the beliefs or programs you have decided to adopt from your life’s experience. Karma is therefore the consciousness of energy that is encoded to your very DNA and perfectly aligned to the intent you held, consciously or unconsciously, at the time you manifested this energy. You must realise or remember that you are responsible for all that happens in your lifetime, you are responsible for all the energy you choose to create or filter, distort, change, transmute or transform within the energetic field you exist in in your physical body.

How you choose to manifest your will in the physical form is always accepted and honoured in the Universal Mind because it understands that like children you are learning about mastering the power you hold to co-create in the physical form.

Every manifestation you choose to create in your physical form holds an energetic force of consciousness that is encoded with your intention through your free will. These encodements are aligned with your DNA and when you send this energy out into the field around you it is first manifest in the etheric and then the physical. All manifestations of creation travel through the seven lower bodies of your being and are anchored on the Earth. Whilst you may judge these manifestations as good or bad Karma, in fact they are neither, it is simply your learning. All that you choose to manifest in the physical form through your free will is effected by the Karma-resolved or un-resolved-that you already hold within your energy body from all your incarnations. Whatever Karma you hold affects your reality in each moment of your life.

The Karma may or may not serve your highest potential, if it is resolved and balanced aligned to God then it assists you to reach your full potential, but if it is un-resolved and filled with negative intent and out of balance with God then it causes separation, sadness and non achievement of your goals and full potential.

So in short, in order to manifest abundance in your life and the achievement of your full potential then you need to find out what Karmic forces are at play with your life, what Karmic bond, contacts and agreements have been put into place by you in this lifetime and by your previous lives that are still in play now!…Delve deep into your inner self through meditations, connect with your previous selves, seek for answers that lead to to the cause that brought about the Karmic effect that is now manifested into your live and creating your reality, one you find these clues then you can seek further help and guidance from the Masters to break these old Karmic bonds , contracts and agreements thus releasing you from the chains that hold your current life back.

If you need help with understanding Karma, resolving unresolved Karma, connecting with previous lives and bringing about a change in your life please let me know, because I am here to help you and I can recommend you to other light beings and professionals that can help bring about the necessary changes you may need to make in your life.

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Shenpa…Attachment and What it Means in Your Life

Published 23/04/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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BY PEMA CHÖDRÖN

Shenpa is the urge, the hook, that triggers our habitual tendency to close down. We get hooked in that moment of tightening when we reach for relief. To get unhooked we begin by recognizing that moment of unease and learn to relax in that moment.

You’re trying to make a point with a coworker or your partner. At one moment her face is open and she’s listening, and at the next, her eyes cloud over or her jaw tenses. What is it that you’re seeing?
Someone criticizes you. They criticize your work or your appearance or your child. At moments like that, what is it you feel? It has a familiar taste in your mouth, it has a familiar smell. Once you begin to notice it, you feel like this experience has been happening forever.

The Tibetan word for this is shenpa. It is usually translated “attachment,” but a more descriptive translation might be “hooked.” When shenpa hooks us, we’re likely to get stuck. We could call shenpa“that sticky feeling.” It’s an everyday experience. Even a spot on your new sweater can take you there. At the subtlest level, we feel a tightening, a tensing, a sense of closing down. Then we feel a sense of withdrawing, not wanting to be where we are. That’s the hooked quality. That tight feeling has the power to hook us into self-denigration, blame, anger, jealousy and other emotions which lead to words and actions that end up poisoning us.

Remember the fairy tale in which toads hop out of the princess’s mouth whenever she starts to say mean words? That’s how being hooked can feel. Yet we don’t stop—we can’t stop—because we’re in the habit of associating whatever we’re doing with relief from our own discomfort. This is the shenpa syndrome. The word “attachment” doesn’t quite translate what’s happening. It’s a quality of experience that’s not easy to describe but which everyone knows well. Shenpa is usually involuntary and it gets right to the root of why we suffer.

Someone looks at us in a certain way, or we hear a certain song, we smell a certain smell, we walk into a certain room and boom. The feeling has nothing to do with the present, and nevertheless, there it is. When we were practicing recognizing shenpa at Gampo Abbey, we discovered that some of us could feel it even when a particular person simply sat down next to us at the dining table.

Shenpa thrives on the underlying insecurity of living in a world that is always changing. We experience this insecurity as a background of slight unease or restlessness. We all want some kind of relief from that unease, so we turn to what we enjoy—food, alcohol, drugs, sex, work or shopping. In moderation what we enjoy might be very delightful. We can appreciate its taste and its presence in our life. But when we empower it with the idea that it will bring us comfort, that it will remove our unease, we get hooked.

So we could also call shenpa “the urge”—the urge to smoke that cigarette, to overeat, to have another drink, to indulge our addiction whatever it is. Sometimes shenpa is so strong that we’re willing to die getting this short-term symptomatic relief. The momentum behind the urge is so strong that we never pull out of the habitual pattern of turning to poison for comfort. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve a substance; it can be saying mean things, or approaching everything with a critical mind. That’s a major hook. Something triggers an old pattern we’d rather not feel, and we tighten up and hook into criticizing or complaining. It gives us a puffed-up satisfaction and a feeling of control that provides short-term relief from uneasiness.
Those of us with strong addictions know that working with habitual patterns begins with the willingness to fully acknowledge our urge, and then the willingness not to act on it. This business of not acting out is called refraining. Traditionally it’s called renunciation. What we renounce or refrain from isn’t food, sex, work or relationships per se. We renounce and refrain from the shenpa. When we talk about refraining from the shenpa, we’re not talking about trying to cast it out; we’re talking about trying to see the shenpa clearly and experiencing it. If we can see shenpa just as we’re starting to close down, when we feel the tightening, there’s the possibility of catching the urge to do the habitual thing, and not doing it.

Without meditation practice, this is almost impossible to do. Generally speaking, we don’t catch the tightening until we’ve indulged the urge to scratch our itch in some habitual way. And unless we equate refraining with loving-kindness and friendliness towards ourselves, refraining feels like putting on a straitjacket. We struggle against it. The Tibetan word for renunciation is shenlok, which means turningshenpa upside-down, shaking it up. When we feel the tightening, somehow we have to know how to open up the space without getting hooked into our habitual pattern.

In practicing with shenpa, first we try to recognize it. The best place to do this is on the meditation cushion. Sitting practice teaches us how to open and relax to whatever arises, without picking and choosing. It teaches us to experience the uneasiness and the urge fully, and to interrupt the momentum that usually follows. We do this by not following after the thoughts and learning to come back to the present moment. We learn to stay with the uneasiness, the tightening, the itch of shenpa. We train in sitting still with our desire to scratch. This is how we learn to stop the chain reaction of habitual patterns that otherwise will rule our lives. This is how we weaken the patterns that keep us hooked into discomfort that we mistake as comfort. We label the spinoff “thinking” and return to the present moment. Yet even in meditation, we experience shenpa.

Let’s say, for example, that in meditation you felt settled and open. Thoughts came and went, but they didn’t hook you. They were like clouds in the sky that dissolved when you acknowledged them. You were able to return to the moment without a sense of struggle. Afterwards, you’re hooked on that very pleasant experience: “I did it right, I got it right. That’s how it should always be, that’s the model.” Getting caught like that builds arrogance, and conversely it builds poverty, because your next session is nothing like that. In fact, your “bad” session is even worse now because you’re hooked on the “good” one. You sat there and you were discursive: you were obsessing about something at home, at work. You worried and you fretted; you got caught up in fear or anger. At the end of the session, you feel discouraged—it was “bad,” and there’s only you to blame.

Is there something inherently wrong or right with either meditation experience? Only the shenpa. Theshenpa we feel toward “good” meditation hooks us into how it’s “supposed” to be, and that sets us up forshenpa towards how it’s not “supposed” to be. Yet the meditation is just what it is. We get caught in our idea of it: that’s the shenpa. That stickiness is the root shenpa. We call it ego-clinging or self-absorption. When we’re hooked on the idea of good experience, self-absorption gets stronger; when we’re hooked on the idea of bad experience, self-absorption gets stronger. This is why we, as practitioners, are taught not to judge ourselves, not to get caught in good or bad.
What we really need to do is address things just as they are. Learning to recognize shenpa teaches us the meaning of not being attached to this world. Not being attached has nothing to do with this world. It has to do with shenpa—being hooked by what we associate with comfort. All we’re trying to do is not to feel our uneasiness. But when we do this we never get to the root of practice. The root is experiencing the itch as well as the urge to scratch, and then not acting it out.
If we’re willing to practice this way over time, prajna begins to kick in. Prajna is clear seeing. It’s our innate intelligence, our wisdom. With prajna, we begin to see the whole chain reaction clearly. As we practice, this wisdom becomes a stronger force than shenpa. That in itself has the power to stop the chain reaction.

Prajna isn’t ego-involved. It’s wisdom found in basic goodness, openness, equanimity—which cuts through self-absorption. With prajna we can see what will open up space. Habituation, which is ego-based, is just the opposite—a compulsion to fill up space in our own particular style. Some of us close space by hammering our point through; others do it by trying to smooth the waters.

We’re taught that whatever arises is fresh, the essence of realization. That’s the basic view. But how do we see whatever arises as the essence of realization when the fact of the matter is, we have work to do? The key is to look into shenpa. The work we have to do is about coming to know that we’re tensing or hooked or “all worked up.” That’s the essence of realization. The earlier we catch it, the easier shenpa is to work with, but even catching it when we’re already all worked up is good. Sometimes we have to go through the whole cycle even though we see what we’re doing. The urge is so strong, the hook so sharp, the habitual pattern so sticky, that there are times when we can’t do anything about it.

There is something we can do after the fact, however. We can go sit on the meditation cushion and re-run the story. Maybe we start with remembering the all-worked-up feeling and get in touch with that. We look clearly at the shenpa in retrospect; this is very helpful. It’s also helpful to see shenpa arising in little ways, where the hook is not so sharp.

Buddhists are talking about shenpa when they say, “Don’t get caught in the content: observe the underlying quality—the clinging, the desire, the attachment.” Sitting meditation teaches us how to see that tangent before we go off on it. It basically comes down to the instruction, “label it thinking.” To train in this on the cushion, where it’s relatively easy and pleasant to do, is how we can prepare ourselves to stay when we get all worked up.

Then we can train in seeing shenpa wherever we are. Say something to another person and maybe you’ll feel that tensing. Rather than get caught in a story line about how right you are or how wrong you are, take it as an opportunity to be present with the hooked quality. Use it as an opportunity to stay with the tightness without acting upon it. Let that training be your base.

You can also practice recognizing shenpa out in nature. Practice sitting still and catching the moment when you close down. Or practice in a crowd, watching one person at a time. When you’re silent, what hooks you is mental dialogue. You talk to yourself about badness or goodness: me-bad or they-bad, this-right or that-wrong. Just to see this is a practice. You’ll be intrigued by how you’ll involuntarily shut down and get hooked, one way or another. Just keep labeling those thoughts and come back to the immediacy of the feeling. That’s how not to follow the chain reaction.

Once we’re aware of shenpa, we begin to notice it in other people. We see them shutting down. We see that they’ve been hooked and that nothing is going to get through to them now. At that moment we have prajna. That basic intelligence comes through when we’re not caught up in escaping from our own unease. With prajna we can see what’s happening with others; we can see when they’ve been hooked. Then we can give the situation some space. One way to do that is by opening up the space on the spot, through meditation. Be quiet and place your mind on your breath. Hold your mind in place with great openness and curiosity toward the other person. Asking a question is another way of creating space around that sticky feeling. So is postponing your discussion to another time.

At the abbey, we’re very fortunate that everybody is excited about working with shenpa. So many words I’ve tried using become ammunition that people use against themselves. But we feel some kind of gladness about working with shenpa, perhaps because the word is unfamiliar. We can acknowledge what’s happening with clear seeing, without aiming it at ourselves. Since no one particularly likes to have his shenpa pointed out, people at the Abbey make deals like, “When you see me getting hooked, just pull your earlobe, and if I see you getting hooked, I’ll do the same. Or if you see it in yourself, and I’m not picking up on it, at least give some little sign that maybe this isn’t the time to continue this discussion.” This is how we help each other cultivate prajna, clear seeing.

We could think of this whole process in terms of four R’s: recognizing the shenpa, refraining from scratching, relaxing into the underlying urge to scratch and then resolving to continue to interrupt our habitual patterns like this for the rest of our lives. What do you do when you don’t do the habitual thing? You’re left with your urge. That’s how you become more in touch with the craving and the wanting to move away. You learn to relax with it. Then you resolve to keep practicing this way.

Working with shenpa softens us up. Once we see how we get hooked and how we get swept along by the momentum, there’s no way to be arrogant. The trick is to keep seeing. Don’t let the softening and humility turn into self-denigration. That’s just another hook. Because we’ve been strengthening the whole habituated situation for a long, long time, we can’t expect to undo it overnight. It’s not a one-shot deal. It takes loving-kindness to recognize; it takes practice to refrain; it takes willingness to relax; it takes determination to keep training this way. It helps to remember that we may experience two billion kinds of itches and seven quadrillion types of scratching, but there is really only one root shenpa—ego-clinging. We experience it as tightening and self-absorption. It has degrees of intensity. The branchshenpas are all our different styles of scratching that itch.

I recently saw a cartoon of three fish swimming around a hook. One fish is saying to the other, “The secret is non-attachment.” That’s a shenpa cartoon: the secret is—don’t bite that hook. If we can catch ourselves at that place where the urge to bite is strong, we can at least get a bigger perspective on what’s happening. As we practice this way, we gain confidence in our own wisdom. It begins to guide us toward the fundamental aspect of our being—spaciousness, warmth and spontaneity.

Do You Know Your Yin from Your Yang?

Published 28/02/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

My Dear Friends,

Living in China and having a long personal history of martial arts, Chinese history, culture and my own spiritual practice embedded in China for the past fifty years, has; over the years made me very interested in Daoism/Taoism, Lao Tzu/ Lao Zi, the Dao De Jing/Tao Te Ching, I Ching..there are so many ways they are represented globally 🙂 The difference between Daojia 道家 , Taoist Philosophy and Daojiao 道教, Daoist Religion brings even more confusion to the western world let alone understanding the I Ching (The Book of Change), the oracle of fortune, a guide to success and a dispensary of wisdom. The ancestor of all Chinese philosophy, it is the primary source for the pragmatic mysticism of the Tao Te Ching, the rational humanism of Confucius, and the analytic strategy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War and of course the wonderful Yin 酓 Yang 昜 in traditional Chinese and Yin阴Yang 阳 in modern simplified Chinese.

Yin_Yang_art

Yin is the black side with the white dot in it, and yang is the white side with the black dot in it. The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley. Yin (literally the ‘shady place’ or ‘north slope’) is the dark area occluded by the mountain’s bulk, while yang (literally the ‘sunny place’ or ‘south slope’) is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed.

Yin is characterised as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity , and nighttime.

Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.

Yin and yang applies to the human body. In traditional Chinese medicine good health is directly related to the balance between yin and yang qualities within oneself. If yin and yang become unbalanced, one of the qualities is considered deficient or has vacuity.

Anyways, I could go on forever trying to explain Yin Yang, The Dao/Tao so I thought I would share with you this very short cartoon animated Ted Talk video explaining Yin Yang, I hope you enjoy it and that it will inspire you to learn more about Daoism 🙂

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Prioritising Solutions to Your Problems

Published 27/02/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

fish-out-of-water

Chinese Wisdom:

Once there was a man walking along a empty road. Suddenly he heard a feeble cry. He looked around but saw nothing. Thinking he heard nothing, he continued to walk along. Once more he heard the faint cry. This time the call was nearby. He searched high and low, and found the sound was coming out of a little fish lying in a drying pond, his mouth was bubbling.

That fellow looked at the fish strangely and asked: “Was that you who were just calling me? Did you need my help? “

The small fish looking suppliant at the man gasping and breathless said, “Please save me quickly, I am dying, I need water. I am not a normal fish, rather I am the eastern sea dragon’s official.  Please give me a little water.”

That person hearing this quickly nodded his head and said: “I understand, I will immediately go to the south and let the southern king direct a river to here so that you can swim and return to the eastern sea.”

The fish angrily cried out, “Can a fish live out of water? I am only in need of a little water. Your idea is pointless. I think that the next time you see me will be in a shop that sells dried fish. “

Moral : Sometimes an “ideal” solution isn’t practical because it requires too much time in a time-critical situation.

Enjoy your weekend and don’t overthink too much, sometimes the solution to your life’s problems is easier than your mind will allow you to believe.

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Connecting With and Understanding Yourself…. Enjoying Your Life To The Full

Published 26/02/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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Understanding Self:

Getting to understand yourself, is an art form that many never achieve in their lifetime, many people believe they know who they are but actually they don’t have the slightest clue!

How often do you shut your self away from the world, and by shutting away I don’t mean going to the top of the Himalaya’s and sitting in a cave by yourself for ten years 🙂 What i mean is; do you switch off from the world each day, do you set yourself time each day to have no interruptions, in a room with just you, no tv, no radio, no newspapers, books, magazines, no phone, no computer,no electronics, no people, no children, nothing to disturb your time with yourself?

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It’s not easy at first, setting aside time in what you probably believe is already a fully scheduled day, getting up, shower, breakfast, dressing for school, work or getting yourself and or your children ready for your day, attending back to back meetings, dropping the kids to school, picking them up, taking them to after school activities, checking homework, making dinner, eating dinner, bathing and dressing the children, putting them to bed, watching tv, reading a book, getting yourself ready for bed…etc, etc, the list is endless, or so we all believe!

We just don’t have any time in our lives for ourself!

Wrong!

It’s your life, you can make choices re your life, you are the master of your schedule and you, only you can make the time! After all, it’s certainly in your own best interest to make time for yourself, your body needs this time, your mind needs this time and your heart certainly needs this time! So why is it we are so bad at setting time for ourselves?….Well, we feel guilty, that’s why! We feel that we are being self indulgent by setting ‘valuable’ time aside just for ourselves,…..Bullsh*t (sorry for the bad language my dear friends)……., take it from me…STOP IT, NOW!, Set up time each and every day to give yourself quality time on your own, start small, it can be 10 minutes per day at first, try this for a few days then increase your time slowly to 15, 20,30 minutes, or even better 45 minutes or an hour, but make sure you set your schedule, set your time, your phone whatever to remind you to go and enjoy time with yourself, don’t give up on yourself, keep the commitment to this time each and every day and I guarantee you will start to know yourself so much better than you do right now, you will have no external influences, just you, your time is your own for you, only you and your meditation, reflections on who you are, where your life is right now and where you want to be, this quality time will enhance your levels of understanding for others, you will be more empathetic towards yourself and to others, your life will benefit from the quality time you give yourself…TRUST ME… give it a try, if you need help, I’m here to help you, if you need help with meditations, just let me know and i will send you some to help you along the way, but please, please my friends…get in touch with yourself and start to enjoy the rest of this life 🙂

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

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Freezing Homeless Child (Social Experiment)

Published 25/02/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

My Dear Friends,

Please take a few moments to watch this short video and think about what you see, it literally broke my heart to see literally hundreds if not thousands of people in New York walking past this young boy in the freezing cold of day with no one stopping to see how he was, let alone offering him any help. Until the one homeless man walked up and offered not only help in the form of his own coat, but also the little money he had whilsy he also offered his advice and comforting support for what he saw in this young boy!

I love the words of this homeless man…“Im homeless too and We got to look out for one another”

Remember my dear friends “If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up doing nothing for nobody”!

Let’s together make changes to our world, let’s bring humanity back together where we actually care for one another, where we don’t chase money and things, where we don’t turn our backs on the needy, where we start loving one another and we listen to each other with the intent to understand…

We can make a difference, we can make change happen…but we have to stand up and say…… “I will”

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Going with the Flow of Life

Published 16/02/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

zen

Do not struggle with life.
Go with the flow of things,
and you will find yourself
at one with the
mysterious unity of the universe.

Self observation brings man to the
realisation of the necessity of self change.
And in observing himself
a man notices that self observation itself
brings about certain changes in his
inner processes.
He begins to understand that
self observation
is an instrument of self change,
a means of
awakening.

and remember..

You are never alone or hopeless
during your life’s journey.
The force that guides the stars
guides you too.

Namaste with Love
Always
Mark

Dormant Seeds Ready to Sprout

Published 10/02/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

Sprouting

Excerpt from Grist of the Mill Ram Dass

There is a story about an old Zen monk who was dying, who had finished everything and was about to get off the wheel. He was just floating away, free and in his pure Buddha-mind, when a thought passed by of a beautiful deer he had once seen in a field. And he held on to that thought for just a second because of its beauty, and immediately he took birth again as a deer. It’s as subtle as that.

It’s like when we begin to see the work that is to be done, and we go to an ashram or a monastery, or we hang out with satsang. We surround ourselves with a community of beings who think the way we think. And then none of the stuff, the really hairy stuff inside ourselves, comes up. It all gets pushed underground. We can sit in a temple or a cave in India and get so holy, so clear and radiant, the light is pouring out of us. But when we come out of that cave, when we leave that supportive structure that worked with our strengths but seldom confronted us with our weaknesses, our old habit patterns tend to reappear, and we come back into the same old games, the games we were sure we had finished with. Because there were uncooked seeds, seeds of desires that sprout again the minute they are stimulated. We can stay in very holy places, and the seeds sit there dormant and uncooked. But there is fear in such individuals, because they know they’re still vulnerable.

Nothing goes under the rug. We can’t hide in our highness any more than we’ve hidden in our unworthiness. If we have finally decided we want God, we’ve got to give it all up. The process is one of keeping the ground as we go up, so we always have ground, so that we’re high and low at the same moment – that’s a tough game to learn, but it’s a very important one. So at the same moment that if I could, I would like to take us all up higher and higher, we see that the game isn’t to get high – the game is to get balanced and liberated.

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

Fear and Love

Published 03/02/2015 by inspiringyourspirit

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Fear and Love

Life can be unpredictable, so we worry about things going wrong, and sometimes our worries can become sever anxieties. We fear possible accidents and imaginary disasters, even though they will probably never come to pass. In extreme cases, such fears can be debilitating.

There is an answer put forward by Lao Tzu in the Tao. Fear is like darkness in the mind. When it grows out of balance, it becomes a terror that can completely warp your thinking. Fortunately, it is not difficult to counter the power of this darkness by turning your awareness to love.

Love is the illumination of life. It brightens your world, warms you up and gives you strength. You can do anything you set your mind to, when its brilliance energises your thoughts and actions. There can be no darkness or fear when you walk the Tao with love lighting your way. Always walk the light.

Whenever you feel the darkness of fear closing in on you, turn to the light. Who do you love? ‘ Fix that person and your love for them in your minds eye and hold that love in your heart’ It is that essence of love that is at the core of your very existence, and that is what makes it infinitely more powerful than fear. Use its illumination to banish the darkness from your life and live with joy and love in your heart once again.

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

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