Thursday, May 28, 2015

Love Heals

Our society uses punishment and disapproval to steer others in the "right" direction, and we use the same method to shape our children’s behavior. I do that with my children like everyone else, but it was only recently that I noticed the fallacy in this approach. First, children have a life of their own, and second, they only mind the constant interference and get more determined to go their own way.

We want to see others and our children to see this world through our eyes, yet we forget that they are there to help us see this world through their eyes as well. When we impose our will on others we are not thinking of them,  we are only thinking of ourselves. We are irritated by their behavior and we want it to change right away. To the contrary, when we focus on the other perspective, we suddenly understand its meaning and significance. With this acceptance and insight everyone involved calms down and we are wiser for it. Love dissolves any difficulty.

By Christian and Su Zhen 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Live a Little

I have a spiritual idiosyncrasy, I look for hidden messages in license plates. Yesterday I saw one that read, "evil 1", which I guess the owner meant to read as "evil one". The only thing though, in my methodology I take the messages reading from left to right as the ego message and the message from right to left - just as in Hebrew - as the spiritual one. Using this technique, the message suddenly became "I LIVE". Wow, what a difference!

I actually had all forgotten about this little play on words this morning when I read the post of a fellow traveler in the Spiritual Networks Community who said that he is already vegetarian but that he still feels a residual aggression in him that scares him; so he is taking the vow never to hurt anyone intentionally. When a I saw his message I only thought to myself, "live a little."

All thoughts are tainted by the "I". We can take this insight to the conclusion that we retreat to the Himalayas and meditate, or we just accept this fact and live life to its fullest, always trying to put our best foot forward. The voice in your head will always play merry-go-around games with you and can see evil intentions in any of life's actions. But you always have the choice to step outside of it. Embrace life, decide on the spot how to respond to the holy Now and your divine intuition will make all decisions for you. Live a little, and She will take you Home.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Leadership as Art

Leadership as Art

Check out this video link. Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra outlines his notion of empowerment, leadership and connectivity.

This theme resonates. In fact, one day the company I work for met with musicians to compare notes and to demonstrate that we are in a similar network of creative people where everyone and everything depends on the performance of the friend next to you. An interwoven net of creative, inspired and hard-working people.

In a way, I have made this form of leadership my mission at work. I focus on the big picture as a global strategist, yet, I am surrounded with experts who are their best at what they are doing, and all I really have to do is to put their pieces together in one harmonious masterpiece. My recommendation to you, find this network of creative artists who empower each other, and be part of it.

Benjamin Zander is in a position of power as a conductor, so it is easy for him to reach down to lift others up. What few know though, everybody can be in this position; in fact, every spiritual traveler is. I remember once seeing an image at the Spiritual Networks community which showed ME in giant letters, but beneath it you could see as a mirror image, WE. Spirituality is a way of perceiving a beautiful world that some are somehow unable to see. Specialize in jobs where you depend on others and see that beautiful network effect in operation. Being spiritual is really like being an artist. Have an eye for the WE in every situation and your happiness and career will thank you for it. 

On Facing Anxiety

Our emotions have something to tell us if we allow them. Take anxiety for example, no one likes feeling anxious. We take anti-anxiety pills to repress this awful feeling. But could it be that anxiety has an important message for us?

Have you ever observed your anxiety? Just  let it come out, and try to understand what exactly happens with you when you feel anxious; experience your body when that dreadful feeling overcomes you. 

I used to be so scared of that feeling. I meditated and practiced my deep-breath exercises every time I felt anxious. In fact, it was only recently when I just realized that in a way I used these meditation sessions to repress the anxiety as well. However, just like you can't push a basket ball under water for long - it always comes back with a splash - similarly, you have to face the root cause of your anxiety attacks as well; otherwise they will be frequent visitors.

Last week, when the anxiety visited me again, although I felt incredibly uncomfortable, I decided to let it all come to the surface. I faced my anxiety and asked what it is all about.  To my surprise I suddenly understood that we feel anxious of the unknown; we feel anxious because we fear that we don’t know what to do; we expect the worst and forget about the upside that could come with it.  A spiritual path can help with that! While we face uncomfortable situations like everyone else, we also know that we receive answers in these situations, and weird as it seems, almost look forward to the tension of the next moment.

So if we allow the anxiety to be there and allow ourselves to be one with this chaotic situation for a while, just waiting there, suddenly wisdom shows us the Way. And then, what choice do we really have? If we repress that horrible feeling, it will only come back no matter how we might distract ourselves and how many pills we swallow. Repressing anxieties will only give strength to the monster within. One day it will all come to the surface with a splash.

Value your feelings, even if they don't seem comfortable. Every feeling has a message for you. Muster the strength and courage to face them and your Guides will rush to your side to find a resolution. Face your demons and wisdom and peace will be yours. That is the promise of the Way.

By Christian and Su Zhen 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Passion Test

Mark Twain supposedly once said, "If you always tell the truth, you have to remember less." How true, and how relevant for us spiritual travelers. Somehow we keep things simple for that is how the Way is: simple, yet powerful!

I thought about this simple truism as I was reading Mark Abraham's "Meet Your Sexual Mind: The Interactions Between Instincts and Intellect and its Impact on Human Behavior", in which he was somehow bemoaning the fact that our out-dated instincts way too often overwrite the intellect. Instincts don't have to battle the intellect at all. Along a spiritual path you are gently led to hobbies, professions, relationships and creative outlets that allow your instincts to be utilized to the fullest, while the intellect has little else to do than to grasp that life is somehow perfect as is. 

The Bhagavad Gita introduces the idea that we all have our idiosyncratic dharma (mission/calling/destiny) that allows us to make full usage of our nature. Life will make sure that we are subconsciously drawn to the outlet that is most meaningful. Just do this little passion test: do you feel thrilled to do what you do, and hang out with the people that are currently in your life? If the answer is yes, know that intellect and instincts are perfectly balanced within you and no energy gets wasted along the Way. If the answer is no, don't worry; the Tao will get you there!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Upside Down

Who's to say
What's impossible
Well they forgot
This world keeps spinning
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
But in some ways they remain the same
And as my mind begins to spread it's wings
There's no stopping curiosity
I want to turn the whole thing upside down
I'll find the things they say just can't be found
I'll share this love I find with everyone
We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's songs
I don't want this feeling to go away
(Upside Down, Jack Johnson)

You attract everything that comes your way. Face it and discover this incredible creativity in what is. If you accept the shadow within, you can find the light that shines it away. If you accept the pain that is inside, you will find the love that heals it. Spirituality means to awaken to a creative and loving world beyond our understanding. The world is spinning day in, day out, creating the solutions to whatever bothers you, and building the platform to your dreams. It is a limitless well; just take as much as you like.

Friday, May 22, 2015

When the Selfish Gene Meets Love

Instincts have increased the probability of our collective survival for millions of years. Many of our egotistic attributes like greed, lust, aggression and competition over scarce resources can be traced back to the dawn of humanity, as nicely summed up by the theory of the selfish gene. But there is also the polar opposite force that helped humanity survive and thrive: maternal and paternal love, cooperation within the group, the need to belong, or more generally, the ability to love! It seems to me that humanity is on a quest to leave all the violence and fighting behind; we try to get back where it all began, in the Garden of Eden.

Right now the two modes of existence - nature versus nurture, ego versus love - are coexisting. Each culture and each nation has found its idiosyncratic solution. We raise and train each other to override the most disruptive instincts, like killing or stealing, but we leave a few raw elements behind to allow at least some animalistic self-expression: gladiator fights in the olden days, Toreros and bull fighting in Spain a century ago, and professional sports in today's day and age). We cannot eradicate our drives, but we can redirect and transmute them. So we encourage aggression in sports, assertion in business settings, while the sexes pursue each other in old-fashioned or new dating games. In short, each culture gives their people respectable outlets for their drives and desires, and each generation updates and modernizes this interaction.

It is hard, perhaps impossible, to say what exactly is our nature, what is given to us by our genes and parents, or the environment we operate in. What can we over-write, what should we strengthen, and what should we drop in the name of humanity and spirituality? Don't overthink it; just accept what gets your juices flowing and let life give you the symbolic outlet that works for you. The Bhagavad Gita claims that all of us have idiosyncratic drives and natures, hence, we need to be willing and eager to embrace whatever comes our Way. Arjun discovered Lord Krishna's might on the battlefield, it was his dharma (fate/nature) to fight. 

A spiritual path is an idiosyncratic way to find love and co-operation in life while burning up your passions, drives and karma in whatever it is you do. The selfish gene may have created you, it may even be responsible for everything you do, but it cannot prevent you from going Home. Life wraps Itself around you and gives you the perfect outlet to burn your desires and karma in the process. No matter what story you have chosen for yourself, the choice - ego versus love - presents itself every step of the Way. You don't have to repress your nature, and you don't have to neglect your desires. Choose love but don't forget to live a little. Embrace life fully, and let Her take you Home.