Tag Archives: Gift

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.

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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. 

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 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.

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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

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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.”

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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…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

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.

*

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.

*

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

*

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

*

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…Love and Respect -Don Miguel Ruiz

18 Jul

If someone is not treating you with love and respect,

it is a gift if they walk away from you.

If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her.

Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal.

Then you can choose what you really want.

You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.

-Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

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The Four Agreements is a valued reference book for me and many others.

I always come back to its wisdom and simplistic teachings as life always presents new lessons and challenges.

For more information on author Don Miguel Ruiz, please click on this link: http://www.miguelruiz.com/

*Please note that there is a companion book to the four agreements for those that want to do further inner work.

It is called The Four Agreements Companion Book: Using the Four Agreements to Master the Dream of Your Life.

There is also a fifth agreement book that expands on the four agreements.

It is called The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery.

Don Miguel Ruiz also has a blog.

Please click this link if you are interested: http://www.miguelruiz.com/blog/

Peace & Namaste…