Tag Archives: Buddhism

Story For Home by Gabriel Byrne…

1 Nov

Gabriel Byrne is one of my favourite people.

Gabriel Byrne Reflective

Even though I have never had the honor of meeting him, he intrigues me in the most beautiful way.

He is a very soulful person who seems to be deeply compassionate, sensitive, introspective and intelligent.

In this short clip, you can feel Gabriel’s conviction in his words and voice.

{His voice is medicine for my soul}.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eYvTpZTZFU

His suggestion of “imagining Ireland” is a great segue into this post.

*

In this short clip, Gabriel discusses his hunger for travel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ-rQcJF6Ns

He says that he always had a desire to travel and move.

In his birthplace of Ireland, Gabriel feels that he is always colliding with his past. 

 He feels defined by his past in Dublin.

Whereas in New York he feels that he has a clean slate- a tabula rasa where he is “free to compose his own present.” 

Gabriel lived in Los Angeles for five years but he decided to leave. He feels that when you live in a place without clearly defined seasons, your sense of time becomes distorted. Time passes almost invisibly yet quickly.

*

Gabriel decided to move to New York and he lives there presently.

He compares Los Angeles to New York and he focuses on their restless nature.

“It’s a restless city…Los Angeles even more so than New York is a city where people come to…it has to exist for those people who can’t exist in places outside of it.

It exists for people who become in a way…who outgrow or out-dream or out-fantasize their own places

For Gabriel, Los Angeles is a land of paradox.

It offers new beginnings and freedom yet an ambiance of melancholy haunts it.

He notes, “The sense of freedom and light and being able to re-invent oneself is very strong there…but there’s also a sense of melancholy that pervades the place.”

I found the following observation to be the most intriguing. 

“It is a place where people think that if they get successful enough, they are not going to die.”

In essence, Gabriel is using memento mori to analyze people’s avoidance of death. It is almost as if success was used as a passport out of death.

This incisive observation is very Buddhist as Buddha believe in impermanence {i.e. everything dies}.

*

One doesn’t need to have a gypsy soul to want to move or travel.

We’ve all dreamed of moving our proverbial roots to far away magical lands.

I know I have…

I believe the term is called wanderlust.

Wanderlust

*

Ireland is definitely one of the countries that I long to visit.

Majestic Ireland…

It is the birth place of two of my favourite actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers and of course Gabriel Byrne. They often speak about Ireland’s sublime beauty.

Ireland’s Majestic Northern Lights…

To be honest there are so many places I would love to visit.

Since I was a child I fell in love with Egyptian history and mythology. 

Ancient Egypt has fascinated me and still fascinates me to this day.

Egypt is one place I would love to visit.

Egypt: A Land of Alchemical Beauty

Iceland also seems like a mystical land full of haunting beauty.

The Magical Northern Lights in Iceland…

I would love to experience the northern lights- aurora borealis.

I would love to experience the beauty of Iceland that resonates in the music of Björk and Sigur Rós.

*Please enjoy Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWoQxk0-f0o   

       

 These days my heart longs to visit the magical lands of Greece.

Greece…A Place of Rich History and Eternal Beauty…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-ZeMwI2pL4

Japan is also another country I definitely want to visit.

I love Japanese culture and I love the humility and resilience of Japanese people.

Other places I would like to visit:

New Zealand…

Waitomo Worm Cave in New Zealand…

Australia…

australia_kangaroo

and Hawaii.

Aloha From Paradise…

I would also love to visit Buddhist temples through-out the world.

buddha

I would really like to explore all the countries of Latin America- especially Cuba.

Che Guevara Grafitti in Habana Cuba

{To be honest, there are too many places I would love to visit but I just mentioned a few to not make this post too long}.

*

I think travel enriches one’s life in so many ways.

It open one’s mind and possibly even one’s heart.

Travelling connects us with our shared humanity and our interdependence.

Where would you like to travel to?

Where would you like to move to?

Do you agree with Gabriel?

*

For more information…

Gabriel Byrne…http://www.byrneholics.com/ 

Jonathan Rhys Meyers…http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001667/

Björk…http://www.bjork.com

Sigur Róshttp://www.sigur-ros.co.uk 

*

travelquote11

Peace & Namaste

Reflection for today…The Ocean of Consciousness -Rumi…

18 Oct

Rumi You Are The Ocean In An Entire Drop

I remember reading some Buddhist teachings many moons ago that spoke about the ocean of consciousness.

It spoke about each of us being a wave in the ocean.

We think that we are completely independent; that we are a single wave because of the illusion of our ego.

Our ego clouds and distorts our perception creating a false sense of self.

It is complicated as in Western society there is so much focus on the self: self-improvement, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-doubt, etc.

The truth is that while it may seem that we are individual waves,

we are actually part of the ocean; the ocean of humanity.

*

I really cannot understand how some people can have no compassion for each other.

At the root of this poverty of the spirit is a lack of compassion for the self, selfishness and an overindulgence of the ego.

{One cannot offer compassion if you have no compassion for yourself}.

As I said to my friend, if we don’t help each other then we will all sink.

I know that we all have our individual problems but if we just focus on them, then we cannot get out of our heads and the prison of selfishness.

There is a delicate balance between having compassion and helping others with helping yourself and protecting yourself from harm. Boundaries are necessary.

I always struggle with how to have compassion while not losing myself.

The sad truth is that many people mistake kindness for weakness.

The truth is that it takes great strength to be compassionate in this world.

It takes great spiritual strength to open your heart and mind to offer your compassion. 

*

 When the triple disasters were taking place in Japan in 2011, I was horrified. I was watching the news on the internet. I constantly watched BBC, CBC and Al Jazeera with tears in my eyes.

I could not help crying as I watched the news.

It hurt my heart and soul to witness such suffering.

I could not believe that on top of the tsunami and the earthquake there was a nuclear situation as well. As I thought of Fukushima, I was reminded of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. I was very concerned and afraid for Japan. I still am.

While I had no family, friends or loved ones in Japan, I felt deep compassion for the Japanese.

It didn’t matter in the least if I didn’t know a single soul in Japan.

We are all interconnected and if Japan was suffering and grieving then we all were.

I still think of Japan and how the triple disasters affected and affect people today- especially the effects of nuclear contamination/radiation.

The reason that I share this is because I had an epiphany then.

My good friend and I were having coffee one day {during the disasters in 2011}.

I was telling him about what was happening in Japan.

He stopped me in the middle of my sentence and said very coldly, “you know what…I just don’t care.”

That is when I realized that something inside of him died.

To be honest, I was very disturbed by his comment and his attitude.

Upon deep reflection, I felt sadness and compassion for him.

He had just gone through a very painful and dark time with the illness of his mother. I know that this experience had a very damaging effect on him.

I think he was most likely spiritually disconnected and emotionally numb at that point.

He probably had nothing left to give as he was in desperate need of healing.

*

Compassion is the greatest gift you can offer someone.

Compassion is what makes us truly human.

Our humanity is rooted in compassion.

*Remember that we are all in this life together.

We all depend on each other.

We are all interdependent as waves in the ocean of humanity.

*

Please enjoy Ocean by Azam Ali and Loga Ramin Torkian as I felt it complimented this post.

It is from Azam Ali’s album: “Lamentation of Swans: A Journey Towards Silence.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3558lJuA8Y8

*

To learn more about Azam Ali, Loga Ramin Torkian and Niyaz…

http://www.niyazmusic.com/

Here is a brief description that I copied and pasted from their biography.

From this link: http://www.niyazmusic.com/#!/biography/

Niyaz, which means ‘yearning’ in Persian and Urdu, was formed in 2005 by Azam Ali, multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian and two-time Grammy nominated producer and electronic musician Carmen Rizzo.

The band borrows from an historic lineage of Middle Eastern poets setting verse to music, perhaps most famously known today through the work of the 13th century Persian poet Rumi and the endless barrage of quotes attributed to him on Twitter and Facebook.

While the immediate goal of Niyaz was to explore the music and identity of Iranians living in exile and struggling to maintain their cultural identity in the modern world on their first two acclaimed records, Niyaz and Nine Heavens, the band has expanded that theme with Sumud.”

*

Azam Ali is the singer with the heavenly voice in Niyaz.

Azam AliHer voice is truly “otherworldly” and hauntingly beautiful.

Azim Ali Otherworldly

She has also been a part of another band named VAS. Their albums include: Sunyata (1997), Offerings (1998), In the Garden of Souls (2000) and Feast of Silence (2004).

Azam has released seven albums between Niyaz and VAS.

Niyaz’s albums include: Niyaz (2005), Nine Heavens (2008) and Sumud (2012).

She has also released four solo albums: Portals of Grace (2002), Elysium for the Brave (2006), From Night to the Edge of Day (2011) and Lamentation of Swans- A Journey Towards Silence (2013).

Azam has also been involved in movie soundtracks (the movie 300) and video game soundtracks.

For more information, please visit her official website…

http://www.azamalimusic.com/main.php

*Much Love to Japan and the rest of the world.

My prayers are with Japan as they are facing another natural disaster in the form of a typhoon.

*

Peace & Namaste Friends…

Reflection for today…What is Important In Life -Henry James

25 Jun

“Three things in human life are important:

the first is to be kind;

the second is to be kind;

and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James

Compassion Is At The Heart of Buddhism…

…”It’s the kind words you gave to that homeless man without judging that man
it’s the fact that you gave;
and showed compassion ’cause he humbly asked you for change…”

*

Please enjoy Helpful by Dead Prez

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy7cZP3dSVc

“[Pulse of the people]
[If it feel good to ya]
[It’s okay to smile]
can’t get but so far in this life being selfish.
a free spirit
a giving heart
that’s what wealth is
we rich when we recognize the power that’s within
it’s not all about the money
it’s the time that we spend
it’s the hand that we lend
to a friend when we can
it’s the kind words you gave to that homeless man
without judging that man
it’s the fact that you gave;
and showed compassion ’cause he humbly asked you for change
i know the blessings I receive is not just for me
a shared blessing comes back to you
that’s what I believe
to help someone in need
to throw down some rope
to be a ray of hope
ya know?
sometimes you gotta help somebody
sometimes you gotta help somebody
sometimes you just gotta be helpful
when life gets stressful
sometimes you gotta help somebody
sometimes you gotta help somebody
what goes around is gonna come back ’round
what goes around is gonna come back ’round
when you help somebody
donate my extra clothes
to a clothing drive.
help the lady cross the street
bring her bags inside.
send a letter to a prisoner to lift his spirit.
be a mentor to a child ’cause it takes a village.
lend a hand, help a brother
that I learned the hard way
all for one
one for all
it got to be the squad way
the early bird get the worm
it’s corny but it’s true
first impressions last forever
careful how you move
first you crawl
then you walk
the 1 before the 2
nothing new under the sun
the golden rule
lazy people work the hardest
that’s my motivation
everything in moderation
even moderation
yo
yo, when you put out your hand,
is it to give or to receive?
see what goes around will come back around
I do believe
that the positive and negative is relative to where you live
not from experience
that’s what we tell the kids
’cause they are the seeds
the stronger the root
the stronger the tree
if we eat from the fruit
the stronger we be
if we do it today
tomorrow we free.”

*

Thank you Stic & M-1 {Dead Prez} for this inspirational song.

I love Dead Prez.

Their music is full of pure wisdom.

*

For more information on…

Henry James…

http://www.online-literature.com/henry_james/

Dead Prez…

http://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/

*

How can you be helpful?

You never know how much your words and actions can help someone in need.

We are all interconnected as sentient beings.

Why not have compassion for each other?

One love.

“A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed…”

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…The Surrealism of Life -David Lynch

25 May

I watched David Lynch‘s film Inland Empire.

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460829/?ref_=sr_1

{“As an actress starts to adopt the persona of her character in a film,

her world starts to become nightmarish and surreal.”

Tagline: A Story of a mystery…

A mystery inside worlds within worlds…

Unfolding around a woman…

A woman in love and in trouble.}

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On the bonus features disc David revealed that he opens his film premieres with an improvisation of the Aitareya Upanishad.

“We are like the spider…

We weave our life and move along in it.

We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.

This is true for the entire universe…” 

David Lynch: The Awakened Dreamer

Dreamer Within A Dream…

Surrealist Spiritual Ascension…

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Buddhism speaks about life being an illusion.

We are living in a dream within a dream.

The goal is to live our potential by awakening our Buddha nature.

Then we can live accordingly by developing our wisdom and compassion.

*

Please enjoy Karmacoma by Massive Attack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbZPyWI0Wds

This song has such a surreal vibe that reminds me of David Lynch’s art.

It has that Edgar Allen Poedream within a dream” quality.

{I love Massive Attack}.

*

For more information…

David Lynch…http://davidlynch.com/index/

Massive Attack…http://www.massiveattack.co.uk/

*

Have a surrealist day.

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Invite Peace -Buddha

16 May

“The only way to bring peace to the earth is to learn to make our own life peaceful.”

-Buddha

Buddha’s Universal Love, Compassion, Peace & Wisdom…

Reflection for today…The Goal of Creativity -Moby

23 Apr

“The Goal of Creativity is Beauty.”

Moby

Moby and David Lynch: Two Masters in Creativity
Photo courtesy of Moby
http://www.moby.com/

David Lynch & Moby Working in Creative Synchronicity
Photo Courtesy of Moby
http://www.moby.com/

Moby Reflects…

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In this short clip, Moby reflects on the goal of creativity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xitia8di4n4

He heard David Lynch say:

Creativity in and of itself is a beautiful thing.”

That one sentence resonated so much with Moby that it inspired him to refine his artistic focus.

Moby reflected on the preciousness of life and decided that he wants to remember making beautiful art and music on his death-bed.

His new focus is self-expression and to make beautiful art that will affect people.

In my opinion, Moby has always made beautiful emotive music that has touched people’s souls.

I have been a fan of his music for many years and am grateful that he is continuing on his artistic path.

*

What Moby said made me reflect on the legacy that I want to leave behind.

{Thinking of what you want to remember on your death-bed really puts life into crystal clear focus}.

I think that the relationships, friendships and interactions with people is what we leave behind.

{Of course if you are an artist you will leave behind your art as well}.

Whenever we gave the gift of our spiritual presence, love, compassion and kindness is hopefully what people will remember.

*

This clip also made me realize again how interconnected we really are.

{Buddhism and many spiritual paths speak about the interconnection of sentient beings}.

You never know how your words or actions will affect someone.

{I try to be really mindful about this}.

Our words and actions are so powerful that they have ripple effects.

Why not try to give the best of yourself to others?

{I know that it is easier said than done but we can still try our best to give our best}.

*

Please enjoy The Sky is Broken by Moby…

{The X-Files episode “All Things” from Season 7 includes Moby’s song “The Sky is Broken}.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsFIZa1jQCE

*

What are your creative goals?

What do you think the role of creativity is?

How can you infuse your life and the lives of others with more beauty?

*

For more information…

Moby…http://www.moby.com/

David Lynch…http://davidlynch.com/

*

Moby wishes you peace, love, creativity and enlightenment…

Peace & Namaste….

Reflection for today…The Power of Compassion -Dalai Lama

15 Apr
“If a person has never encountered love towards himself or herself from any quarter, it is a very sad thing.
But if that person can meet even one person who will show unconditional love– simply acceptance and compassion — 
if he knows that he is an object of someone else’s affection and love, 
it is bound to have an impact, and this will be appreciated.
Because there is a seed in himself, this act of love will start to catalyse or ripen that seed.”

Reflection for today…Creativity & Intelligence -Albert Einstein

12 Apr

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

-Albert Einstein

The beautiful marriage of creativity and intelligence…

Do you think that creativity and intelligence are interrelated or do you think that they are separate entities?

Does “creative intelligence” exist?

Do you think that creative expression can heal?

Can creative expression be a spiritual practice?

How do you like to express your creativity and intelligence?

Are there other creative outlets that you would like to try?

Would you rather stay with your favourite forms of creative expression?

{I would like to try many creative outlets…music {being a DJ and learning to play an instrument}, photography, jewellery design, graphic design, interior design, fashion design, teaching {the alchemy of education}, cooking, gardening, cinematography, graffiti artist, painting, sculpting, origami, making art on Etsy and Deviantart, learning photoshop, make-up artistry, typography, calligraphy {the art of beautiful writing}, dancing, yoga, meditation, etc }.

There is so much to choose from in a possible creativity palette.

{Some of these creative possibilities can even be a spiritual practice e.g. Buddhist monks creating mandalas for meditative purposes}.

Tibetan Buddhist monks creating a mandala...

Photo courtesy of: http://www.buffalo.edu/

I would also like to do some writing and research to develop a thesis into a possible book.

Of course, working on and hopefully improving this humble blog is a favourite creative outlet.

*It must be noted that creative consumption is also part of the creativity & intelligence equation.

Your creative diet is vital for your creative expression.

I love to read other blogs in order to inspire, educate and enlighten me.

Thank you for all of your hard work fellow blog lovers!!!

*

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Faith In One’s Spiritual Path -Paulo Coelho

11 Apr

“In order to have faith in his own path,

he does not need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong.”
Paulo Coelho

Warrior of the Light

Stic Man Praying…

Buddhism is an inclusive spiritual path…

*

Please enjoy “No Way As The Way” by Dead Prez

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEXB0WsFVKg

*

I love how inclusive “no way as the way” is.

“…My mind is a Buddhist temple.

The truth is simple.

I try to be principled.

Walking with a warrior’s spirit.

Aint’ nothing like learning from first hand life experience.

I’m a realist.

That’s all I deal with.

Respecting truth, that’s all I build with.

A child of the universe.

My religion is life and it’s just as valid.

I strive for balance…”

*

For more information…

Paulo Coelho…http://paulocoelhoblog.com/

Dead Prez….http://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/

Their new album “Information Age” is available for purchase now…

{Thank you Stic Man & M-1!}

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/information-age/id565661367

http://www.amazon.com/Information-Age/dp/B009I5LNMW

*

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Time is of The Essence -Buddha

27 Feb

“The trouble is,

you think you have time.”

-Buddha

*

Buddha’s reflection on time is that it is taken for granted.

Time is of the essence because death is approaching {memento mori}.

Being mindful gives us awareness of how we use our time. Hopefully our time is being used living our potential and awakening spiritually and otherwise.

The key is to live in the present moment {the now} and do your very best.

*

I wonder about Buddhist conceptions of time.

I found an intriguing excerpt on Buddhist notions of time from www.tricycle.com 

Daniel Goleman: “What is the Buddhist understanding of Time? How can we relate our sense of the process of time to our experience of the present moment?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: In Buddhism, the concept of linear time, of time as a kind of container, is not accepted. Time itself, I think, is something quite weak. It depends on some physical basis, some specific thing. Apart from that thing it is difficult to pinpoint—to see time. Time is understood or conceived only in relation to a phenomenon or a process.

DG: Yet the passage of time seems very concrete—the past, the present, aging. The process of time seems very real.

HH: This business of time is a difficult subject. There are several different explanations and theories about time; there is no one explanation in Buddhism. I feel there is a difference between time and the phenomena on which time is projected. Time can be spoken of only in relation to phenomena susceptible to change, which because they are susceptible to change are transitory and impermanent. “Impermanent” means there is a process. If there is no process of change, then one cannot conceive of time in the first place.

The question is whether it is possible to imagine an independent time which is not related to any particulars, any object that goes through change. In relation to such an object, we can talk about the past of that thing, its present state, and its future; but without relation to such particulars, it is very difficult to conceive of an instant of time totally independent of a particular basis.”

*

This video clip is from The Tudors.

King Henry the eighth reflects on loss.

He asks his beloved friend Charles Brandon

What loss is to man most irrecoverable?

Charles answers virtue and then honour.

Henry says that by his actions man can redeem his virtue.

He may  also find the means to recover his honour as he recovers fortune that has been lost.

Henry answers…

Of all losses time is the most irrecuperable for it can never be redeemed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0RME0FD1_k

*

I highly recommend watching The Tudors if you haven’t seen it yet…

Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ performance as Henry VIII is unforgettable to say the least.

Long live the king!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTiL8pgNqhs

Have a surrealist day 😉

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Use Buddhist Teachings As A Catalyst -Dalai Lama

28 Jan

Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist;
use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Butterflies: A Symbol of Metamorphosis
Photo Courtesy of: http://till-we-droop.tumblr.com/

I love how inclusive Buddhism is.

Every life is precious.

Everyone has buddha nature.

Everyone has the potential to reach enlightenment.

I know Buddhism is a religion but I see it as a way of life.

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…The Roots of Peace -Thich Nhat Hanh

10 Jan

“Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves.”

How can you make peace with yourself?
How can you make peace with others?
*
“Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Martin Luther King Jr. for his efforts in generating peace and reconciliation in his native country. Thich Nhat Hanh travels internationally, teaching from his book The Art of Mindful Living. He lives at Plum Village Practice Centre in France, a Buddhist monastery for monks, nuns, and laypeople.”-Shambhala Sun
To learn about Thich Nhat Hanh and his work,
please visit his website:
Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Awakening Compassion -Pema Chödrön

9 Jan

Learning how to be kind to ourselves is important.

When we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering.

We’re discovering the universe.

When we discover the buddha that we are, we realize that everything and everyone is Buddha.

We discover that everything is awake, and everyone is awake.

Everything and everyone is precious and whole and good. When we regard thoughts and emotions with humor and openness, that’s how we perceive the universe.”

Pema Chödrön

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Compassion Is The Key To Enlightenment -Buddha

15 Dec

“For those of you who want to attain enlightenment,

do not study many teachings.

Only study one.

What is it?

It is great compassion.

Whoever has great compassion has all Buddha’s qualities in his hand.”

-Buddha

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.tibetanecology.org/Tibetan-Tent_files/tibetan_contemporary_art_mantras.html
Compassion Mantra: Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum
Art by: Artist: Tsultrim Gyatso
“All the teachings of Buddha are contained within the six letters, also it is the embodiment of the compassion Buddha Avalokiteshvara. Tibetans believe that praying or chanting the mantra will increase your compassion and make closer your connection to the Buddha Avalokiteshvara eventually achieving Buddhahood.”

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.wiseattention.org/blog/2012/04/01/palden-gyatso/
This photo accompanies a sobering and inspiring articled entitled,
‘Compassion for My Torturer’: A Meeting With Palden Gyatso.”
Written by: Vishvapani on http://www.wiseattention.org/
“Tibetan Buddhist monk, Palden Gyatso, spent 33 years imprisoned by the Chinese and drew deep on his Buddhist practice to survive his brutal treatment. He escaped to the West to tell his story and I met him in London to discuss his experiences his searing memoir, Fire Under the Snow.”

Angelina Jolie Photographed by: PER-ANDERS PETTERSSON
The caption on his website:
Darfur Refugees
“Angelina Jolie, the Oscar winning actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, holds a mentally disturbed boy, as he is tied with a rope in a camp in Oure Cassoni, Chad, 2007.
Angelina Jolie met the 7 year-old boy while spending two days visiting Oure Cassoni, a refugee camp close to the Sudan border.
Almost 27,000 refugees lives there and it was opened in 2004.”
“I also spent time with SOS Children’s villages staff, and we visited a 7-year-old boy that was held with a rope to a pole by his family.
This to keep him from wandering away, they said.
According to SOS, the boy saw his village bombed when he was 3- years old.
He hid alone in the bush for 2 days before his family found him and they all fled across the border.
SOS Children’s villages launched an emergency relief program for refugees from Darfur in 2006.
They focus on providing psychosocial care for traumatized children and their parents.
They presently care for about 230 children and adults.
Many have been living in the camp since 2004.
Many children experience symptoms such as nightmares, bedwetting and behavioral problems.
These children are often in a state of anxiety and they often have hallucinations. The children attend group therapy sessions where they play, sing and paint.
They work closely together with UNHCR and International Rescue Committee in the camp.”

Angelina Jolie: Humanitarian, Social Activist & Beautiful Soul

Audrey Hepburn: Humanitarian, Social Activist & Beautiful Soul

Peace & Namaste Friends…

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Reflection for today…Humility Is Compassionate -C.S. Lewis

11 Dec
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself,
but thinking of yourself less.”

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.soulcoin.com/HumilityandJoy.html
The elements of this coin focus your attention on humble thoughts.
In the center on the front is a door.
This door is from the Maisel Synagogue in Prague.
In regards to an arrogant person the Creator says: “I and he cannot dwell together.” The door to the Creator’s house
allows for the humble of spirit to enter. The door itself, represented by the Hebrew letter Dalet, is the property of humility and lowliness.
The letter Dalet is the large letter in the middle of the reverse side of the coin On the front, the phrase “I am but dust and ashes” , from Genesis 18:27, is written in English and Hebrew.
Hebrew – V’anokhi `afar va’efer
The plant below this phrase on either side is the hyssop – the lowly hyssop represents modesty and humility. It never becomes proud because of its numerous useful qualities, but remains humble in appearance and modest in its demands.

On the reverse (“tails”) side, the phrase “Know from whence you came”, is written in English and Hebrew.
This reminds you that once upon a time you were just a small bit of matter, and have no reason to be puffed up with pride.
Hebrew – da may’ayin ba’ta
In the center is the Hebrew letter Dalet, characterizing lowliness, the consciousness of possessing nothing of your own.
“434” is the numerical value of the Hebrew word “Dalet”. There are many meanings associated with this number and Dalet for you to explore if you so chose.

DWENNIMMEN (djwin-knee-mann): “Ram’s horns.”
“West African symbol of strength (in mind, body and soul), humility, wisdom and learning.
The ram will fight fiercely against an adversary, but it also submits humbly to slaughter, emphasizing that even the strong need to be humble. “

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What a brilliant quote!

Humility as a cure for  ego and selfishness- as prescribed by C.S. Lewis.

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Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…The Manifesto of Encouragement -Danielle LaPorte

20 Oct

The Manifesto of Encouragement

“Right now:

There are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.

Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.

Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.

Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God’s children.

A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering, “nourish them.”

Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you.

Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie.

Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you — for free.

Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.

The next great song is being rehearsed.

Thousands of people are in yoga classes right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth.

Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.

Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.

Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want — and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in it’s reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all “So worth the wait.

Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche — this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you.

Someone just this second wished for world peace, in earnest.

Someone is fighting the fight so that you don’t have to.

Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe. Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.

Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable.

You. Me. Some. One. Now.”

Danielle LaPorte

Copied & Pasted from: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/inspiration-spirituality-articles/the-manifesto-of-encouragement/

“Danielle LaPorte is the creator of WhiteHotTruth.com, which has been called the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.”

Please visit her website for some inspiration and wisdom…She is so brilliant. I just “discovered” her and will most likely be doing more blog posts about her and her writing.

If you want more inspiration and wisdom from Danielle, please go to her website: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/ to sign up for her newsletters.
You can choose to receive via email a “daily truthbomb”, a “somewhat weekly” newsletter and a “monthly digest” newsletter.
I am signed up for all of them and highly recommend them.

Her book The Fire Starter Sessions is at the top of my reading list.

Danielle has generously provided the first chapter of her book for free on her website. You can read it on Scribd or download it in pdf format. Please click on this link: The Fire Starter Sessions Chapter One.

Peace & Namaste Friends…

Photo Courtesy of Anastasia Photography
From their blog at: http://anastasiachomlack.typepad.com/laughter/2009/11/inspired.html

Reflection for today…The Three Methods of Learning Wisdom -Confucius

5 Oct

“By three methods we may learn wisdom:

First, by reflection, which is noblest; 

Second, by imitation, which is easiest; 

and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Confucius

“In Japan, Conan, a male chihuahua, has been imitating Buddhist priest Joei Yoshikuni in the prayer stance.”
Photo Courtesty of: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2008/03/31/all-dogs-go-to-heaven/

“Derivation of Wisdom,” by Connie Tettenborn
A mix of poetry and calculus.
{Photo Courtesy of: Scientific American}

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…

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…Interrelationship -Thich Nhat Hanh

10 Aug

“You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Mistakes On The Road To Truth -Buddha

6 Aug

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;

not going all the way,

and not starting.”

-Buddha

Reflection for today…Good Deeds Cannot Be Erased -Buddha

10 Jul
“Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death, can erase our good deeds.”
-Buddha

Reflection for today…Truth Cannot Be Hidden- Buddha

9 Jul

*Three things cannot be hidden:

The sun,

the moon, and the truth.”

-Buddha

Reflection for today…The Punishment of Anger -Buddha

5 Jul

“You will not be punished for your anger,

you will be punished by your anger.”

-Buddha

Peaceful Lovely Sun SetPeaceful Place To Think

Reflection for today…No Attachments, Ego Or Possession- Buddha

16 Feb

“All of my teachings can be put
in a single sentence.
Nothing is to be clung to as I, me, or mine.”

—Buddha