Archive | September, 2012

Reflection for today…To Be A Philosopher -Henry David Thoreau

27 Sep

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts,

not even to found a school,

but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates,

a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.

It is to solve some of the problems of life,

not only theoretically, but practically.”

Henry David ThoreauWalden (1854), p. 12

"The heart is a symbol of love, of emotion, the center of our Selves. Wings represent freedom, divinity, and transcendence..."

Heart of Wisdom Symbolic Mandala by: Cristina McAllister at Gypsy Mystery Arts.
Please go to:
http://cristinamcallister.blogspot.ca/2011/01/art-spotlight-heart-of-wisdom.html for more information. She goes into an even deeper analysis and explanation on her blog. It is trully fascinating. 

According to the artist Cristina McAllister:
“The heart is a symbol of love, of emotion, the center of our Selves. Wings represent freedom, divinity, and transcendence.
Together they suggest the form of an owl – an animal sacred to Athena, ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, civilization, strength and strategy. Owls have been revered throughout the world as messengers of sacred knowledge, insight and intuitive awareness, as well as scholarly pursuits.
At the top, a Native American shaman’s eye offers wisdom and protection. In many tribal cultures, shamans serve as intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds. They interpret omens and offer insight through mystical, as well as practical means, in effort to protect and guide their people.
Below twines a pair of snakes. These creatures signified wisdom to the ancient Egyptians, Jews, Gnostics, Eastern Indians and Chinese. The notion of snakes being wise was based on observations of their behavior. When hunting, snakes appear to think deeply and consider every move before acting.
Also present are two West African adrinka symbols. Sankofa, or “return and get it” (above the winged heart) represents the ability to learn from the past. Nyansapo, or “Knot of Wisdom” (at bottom center) indicates intelligence, wisdom and cleverness.”

Buddha Mind Voyager

Photo Courtesy of: Unborn Mind Zen Blog
http://unbornmind.com/myblog/2012/02/23/now-voyager/

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This quote begs the question…Do you love wisdom enough to live in wisdom?

Peace & Namaste…

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Reflection for today…True Alchemists Control Imagination -William H. Glass

25 Sep

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold;

they change the world into words.”

William H. Gass

Alchemical symbolism fonts
Created by Adam McLean from the comprehensive list in Medicinisch-Chymisch- und Alchemistisches Oraculum, Ulm, 1755.

Does that mean that writers are alchemists???

Reflection for today…The Universe Conspires In Your Favour -Paulo Coelho

24 Sep

“And, when you want something,

all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

― Paulo Coelho,

The Alchemist

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Do you agree with Paulo Coelho?

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For more information on Paulo Coelho and his writing,

please visit his official blog…http://paulocoelho.com/en/

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Peace & Namaste Friends…

 

Reflection for today…Without You This Existence Will Not Be The Same, There Will Be A Hole -OSHO

20 Sep

 

“You are a unique individual.

And whatever you are, that’s the way existence wants you to be.

Enjoy it.

Existence created you because it loves you, it loved you so much that it couldn’t resist the temptation to create you.

There has never been anyone else just exactly the same as you, and there never will be.

Without you this existence will not be the same, there will be a hole.

Without you this universe will lose some poetry, some beauty: a song will be missed, a note will be missed, there will be a gap.

Existence loves you, otherwise you would not be here.”

-Osho

 

Reflection for today…The Consequences of Technology -Doris Lessing

18 Sep

“A foolhardy lot, we accepted it all, as we always do, never asked:

“What is going to happen to us now, with this invention of print?”

In the same way, we never thought to ask,

“How will our lives, our way of thinking, be changed by the internet, which has seduced a whole generation with its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that, once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging etc?” 
— Doris Lessing

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The irony is not lost on me that I am using the internet to communicate to you and you are using it to read this post. I am also not saying that the internet is exactly the matrix.

I simply liked this quote because it questions how the internet has changed our lives. Of course, it has changed our lives for the better. I love blogging as much as the next person. You can research anything you want at the touch of a few computer keys. You can communicate with people all over the world. You can buy things online, etcetera.

We also need to analyze the negative ways the internet has changed our lives so that we can find a healthy balance online and offline.

Peace & Namaste…

Japan’s Suicide Forest Teaches About Compassion & The Human Need For Real Connection…

18 Sep

Suicide is a very uncomfortable and necessary subject to discuss.

I recently came across a YouTube video that left such an impact on me that I was not able to write a blog post until now {approx. 18 days}.

The vice documentary left such a deep impression on me that I had to reflect for a while before I could decide what to write.

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Japan’s Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) forest also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai) or the Suicide forest is a place where many people go to contemplate suicide.

Sadly, many actually commit suicide.

I feel so much compassion for people who are considering suicide as a way to end their pain.

I strongly believe that people do not actually want to die but to end their pain and they do not see another way to achieve this.

Below is an actual suicide note found in the forest.

I find it heart breaking.

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Many moons ago, I had a friend that was considering suicide.

I pray that he finds the strength to fight against his darkness.

I am still haunted by the fact that he felt this depressed but I could not do anything to heal his pain.

I know that only he can heal his pain.

I did my best to be a loving friend but I know that we cannot truly save anyone.

We can only save ourselves. 

In fact, we always had a friendly argument about saving and being saved.

It revolved around the graphic novel and film Sin City.

Here is the trailer in case you are interested

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFLrTYKIXk

Please click this link for more information on the movie: Sin City.

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Marv was so madly in love with Goldie and he loved her so much that he wanted to go to hell to save her.

My friend fiercely defended his thesis of loving someone so deeply that you go to hell to save them.

Art Made By Nat Wellington at http://boodoyouthinkyouare.blogspot.ca/

Conversely, I went for a different thesis. I said that you can love someone so much that you get out of hell because of your love for them and possibly their love for you. Your love for them is so powerful and/or their love for you is so strong that you pull yourself up with your own strength and get out of hell- your personal hell or the other kind. In essence, you save yourself instead of saving someone else.

No one was right or wrong. It was fun to discuss but I stand by my point of view even though I recognize his had merit. It all depends on how you look at things. It was a healthy discussion nonetheless.

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Can we actually save someone?

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine Photo By Steven Klein

 Azusa Hayano makes me question my beliefs that we cannot save anyone but ourselves.

I do believe we can help someone to save themselves and this is what I think he does so brilliantly and compassionately.

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We meet an extraordinary soul, Azusa Hayano, in this vice documentary.

He is a geologist that does the most important job of suicide patrol in the forest. {I discovered from another video that the police also seem to do suicide patrol}.

Azusa also studies how people co-exist with nature because he says it is part of environmental research.

He still does not know why people kill themselves in such a beautiful forest (18:53) although he does explain that it may be because of a popular book written in the past.

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Azusa patrols the forest looking for people who are contemplating suicide in hopes of convincing them otherwise.

He even finds a man in a yellow tent that appears to have been contemplating suicide. According to the VICE website comments found at http://www.vice.com/vice-news/aokigahara-suicide-forest-v3, the man in the yellow tent had been camping in the forest for one month. He had to be taken out in an ambulance.

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The police even put up signs to try to stop people from committing suicide. They also provide the number for suicide hotlines.

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I found it fascinating that many people leave a trail of tape to find their way back in case they change their mind. This is hopeful because people who are undecided can finally decide to leave the forest.

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With his gentle and compassionate manner, one can see how Azusa could convince someone who is struggling to live.

I was struck by how much this man cares.

He really cares and that is so rare these days.

In a forest where traditional compasses do not work, Azusa uses his compassion and wisdom as his guides.

He also looks for people who have committed suicide.

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Azusa reminds me of the value of a life and how much difference one life can make in the world.

If we could find our purpose and live our potential, then we could make our contribution- our gift to the world.

We need more people like Azusa in this world.

We need more people who really care and have compassion for those who are suffering. I don’t know if he technically “saves” anyone but he does help people to save themselves and this is priceless.

Azusa is actually living the Buddha’s teachings- especially that of compassion.

I am also reminded by how the absence of one life can be a tear in the fabric of existence and humanity. I think about how that person had so much more life to live, love and wisdom to give and receive, experiences to be had and potential to be lived.

I think of the apocalyptic loss for their loved ones.

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Azusa states in the documentary that the internet and technology may be the reason why there is such a disconnection between oneself and others. It is as if a schism is caused between our waking lives and our onscreen lives. Our lack of face-to-face communication has a price. Disconnection, depression, further loneliness and numbness may develop. Azusa discusses the human need for connection in real life- not through the filter of a computer screen.

“Face-to-face communication used to be vital, but now we can live our lives being online all day. However, the truth of the matter is that we still need to see each other’s faces, read their expressions, hear their voices, so we can fully understand their emotions to coexist.”
 -Azusa Hayano

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The essence of what Azusa teaches and lives is filled with compassion and wisdom.

This documentary also reminds me of the urgent need to discuss mental health issues.

I am and continue to be a mental health advocate.

I deeply believe in the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

We can transcend our suffering and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful.

The phoenix always rises from the ashes… 

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To those of you suffering and feeling depressed…I offer you my compassion.

This post is for you.

Please speak to someone who cares- even if they are a stranger.

You will never know what a difference it could make in your life. They might have some life changing wisdom to give you or messages from the universe.

*Please reach out to someone.

I pray that the Buddha’s teachings, wisdom and compassion can alleviate your suffering. 

Conversely, you never know how you can help someone who is suffering and in need.

You never know what impact you can have on someone’s life- even a stranger.

We are all interconnected.

By helping others we are actually helping ourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuUhBuSgmik

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Here is the documentary friends.

Please be warned of the graphic subject matter of this video and of some sad and possibly disturbing video footage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8 

Here is part of the transcript:

Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

I’ve been living here for more than 30 years. My job is mainly environmental protection, I study volcanic eruptions and the plantation at the foot of Mt. Fuji. 

In the year 864, Mt. Fuji erupted, and the forest that grew over the dried lava was named “Jukai” or “Sea of Trees”. Aokigahara is the actual name of the place, but people started calling it “Jukai”, because the forest as seen from halfway up of Mt. Fuji, is green all year round, and it looks like the ocean. 

We’re entering the forest now. There’s a car that’s been abandoned for a few months, let’s take a look. I’m assuming the owner of the car went in from here and never came out. I guess they went into the forest with troubled thoughts. 

In the old days in Japan, suicide was mainly known as the samarai’s act, as in “Seppuku” (harakari). In other cases poor families would abandon their elders in the mountains. That’s how it was back then, they weren’t killing themselves cause they couldn’t adapt to society. That didn’t happen like it does now, it’s a modern phenomenon.

This is a sign to stop suicidal people.

“Your life is a precious gift from your parents,
Please think about your parents, siblings, and children.
Don’t keep it to yourself. Talk about your troubles.”

Then it says to contact the Suicide Prevention Association. 

Locals don’t commt suicide here. As children they’re told not to come near here, that it’s a scary forest. This path is open for the public, but you can’t follow the trail beyond this point. It says not to enter because you can easily get lost. In the Jukai, I think I’ve found more than… 100 suicide corpses in the last 20 years or so. 

I found something strange, I’ll show you. People who are indecisive about dying, wrap this tape on trees along their way, so they can find their way out. There’s something that looks like a tent. I’m going to see if anyone’s inside, please wait here.” -Azusa Hayano, geologist

The forest is a popular place for suicides, reportedly the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This popularity is often attributed to the 1960 novel Nami no To  by Seicho Matsumoto, which ends with two lovers committing suicide in the forest. However, the history of suicide in Aokigahara dates from before the novel’s publication, and the place has long been associated with death: ubasute was allegedly practiced there into the 19th century, and the forest is reputedly haunted by the ghosts of those left to die…”

Copied and pasted from: http://ponury.tumblr.com/post/15293840018/aokigahara-suicide-forest-ive-been-living-here

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Here is a short video about the Aokigahara forest and the plague of suicide in Japan (2:34). There is thought to be one suicide every fifteen minutes in Japan.

An expert postulates that societal pressures and culture is to blame for the high suicide rate in Japan (1:55). He notes that even from a young age weakness is not allowed to be displayed.

“Whether it is within the family, at work or in society, it is very hard to show weakness. From a very young age, from primary school on, dynamic and happy kids are held up as examples to follow. If you don’t live up to that, other people treat you harshly and that’s is why people don’t ask for help.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq1-0FvME8U&feature=player_embedded

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This video offers a different perspective of the Aokiagahara forest (4:57).

It attempts to answer the question of why people come to die there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD2cJlx-caQ&feature=player_embedded#!

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It is intriguing to note that Dante wrote about a suicide forest.

His writing was also translated into art.

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dali’s depiction of the ‘Wood of Suicides’ from ‘Inferno’ 13
©2006 Salvador Dalí, Gala–Salvador Dali Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post.

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Life Hurts More Than Death -Jim Morrison

1 Sep

People fear death even more than pain.

It’s strange that they fear death.

Life hurts a lot more than death.

At the point of death, the pain is over.

Yeah, I guess it is a friend.”

Jim Morrison

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I just had to include one of my favourite songs by The Doors as it is relevant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lofF2p0_cJs

“This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again…”

-The Doors, The End

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Do you agree with Jim?

Why or why not?

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For more information on Jim Morrison and his band The Doors,

please visit:

http://www.thedoors.com/index.php

Peace & Namaste…