Thursday, July 24, 2014

Discover the Golden Rule for Yourself

Vivekananda once told the story of an Indian king who was defeated by another king, and when his foe approached him, the other king simply took a dagger and executed him. In his last breath, the dying king whispered, "Thou art Him" and fell to the ground.

A Torah expert once said that if the gist of the entire Old Testament had to be summed up in one sentence it probably would be the Golden Rule, "Treat your brother as you want to be treated." The Golden Rule always rang in our ears like a normative statement, so something one aspires to accomplish, yet, along a spiritual path you realize that it is more of an observation than a command. If instead you realize that every brother who comes your way is a sort of a mirror image of yourself, would you be mad at your own reflection?

While the Golden Rule comes natural to anyone who walks the Way, we rarely spot our Self in others. Sure, glimpses of the divine are granted to us on occasions. Yet, few of us would perhaps see the Lord in an opponent who is about to execute us on the spot. Yet, probably even that  is true

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Unconditional Love

When we grow up, our parents, teachers, or any other meaningful adults reward us for our good behavior, and punish us or discourage us when we display a so-called bad behavior.  Our feelings and actions are shaped by their expectations, yet if deep down inside we might disagree with some of their value judgements, a subconscious split opens up. We become the "good" me and hide the "dark" me below the surface.

We express our socially accepted behavior to win people’s respect, acceptance, and love; and we subconsciously repress any behavior which is labeled as "bad" only to watch helplessly how it pops out on a full moon's night. When we are adults ourselves, a life-long battle with bitter-sweet emotions opens up.

We now understand how harmful it is to push our expectations - or worse, our inherited expectations - on anyone else. We cannot just love half of a person and reject the other half. We now understand that if we can only love a person because he meets our standards or expectations, it is not love at all.  When we truly love, we love him unconditionally. Everyone who has children knows instinctively that no matter what, we will always love them unconditionally. If we are spiritually quite advanced, we can even extend this insight to our spouse, a few close friends and ourselves.

If you are a spiritual traveler and just "will" yourself to love unconditionally then you make the same mistake as your elders before. Try insight instead of will-power. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and we all make mistakes. Reflect on your situation and start seeing your Self in others and unconditional love will come naturally to you. True forgiveness and appreciation is an insight not a spiritual mandate.


By Christian and Su Zhen

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Road to My Self

On the road to my Self,
I often got lost,
the pounding I received hurt a lot.

On the road to my Self,
I frequently stood shivering outside,
and watched the cosy fire places of others.

And sometimes tears streamed down my face,
and carrying on was hard,
but one thing I knew for sure,
I will never give up even if it gets a lot worse,
I would only lose my own respect.
And I will get up even if I have stumbled,
I will overcome, I know, it's inside of me.

On the road to my Self,
I wandered through Heaven and hell,
realizing that true freedom is somewhere in-between.

On the road to my Self,
I often bumped into myself,
sometimes no longer recognizing myself anymore.

To be free often means to be alone.
I met many on this road but rarely a friend.
No, I will never give up even if it gets a lot worse,
otherwise I would only lose my own respect.
And I will get up even if I have stumbled,
I will overcome, I know, it's inside of me.

(Peter Maffay, Auf dem Weg zu Mir; my translation)

Monday, July 21, 2014

It is all about Your Attitude

Have you ever observed how your attitude towards a project pretty much decides the outcome? When you feel annoyed that you need to do something and you consider it a waste of time, guess what will happen, the anger and resentment will be building up until you ready to explode.

The magic is, as soon as you observe that you have an attitude, your annoyance and anger will disappear. Now you just focus on whatever it is you are doing. With this focus and awareness, anything that you are doing just flows through you. Activity now gives you energy instead of deflating you. Whatever we are doing can be a pure pleasure if we don’t contaminate with our thoughts and opinion.

Perhaps you can make a habit of asking before you start anything, "What is this for?" If you find - perhaps after a little soul searching - meaning in whatever you do the outcome will be a good one. Eventually a Tao traveler will find meaning in whatever comes her way, that's what the spiritual path is all about. But until you reach this stage it helps to step back from time to time and remind yourself what the symbolic meaning of your next task is. Chances are, a smile will come to your face and the job at hand will take care of itself.

By Christian and Su Zhen

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Conflicted

Attractive women have called him a "good man" on a number of occasions and mostly he smiles politely, but deep down inside there is a storm brewing when he hears that expression. His demon laughs heartedly because that's what he is has been trying to tell him for the longest time: "don't try to be good, make use of your good looks and have some steamy fun instead!"

There is a problem in our spiritual community and that is to state so confidently that it is our right and destiny to live in peace, love and happiness. Sure, if your notion of spirituality is to have a loving family, a creative job, a good standing in the community, with the occasional yoga and meditation class to ensure a healthy mind, body and soul balance, then there is every incentive in the world to just look the other way when it comes to these internal conflicts. Yet unless you deal with everything that is hidden in your psychological basement, true peace of mind will never be yours.

A spiritual mission is a full-contact sport to discover the robot inside and free yourself from it. Peace, love and happiness are by-products of this discovery. Pretty much everyone is trapped in conflicting mission statements that beg resolution: biological drives, ego's battle with the spirit, parental mission statements, soul demands and subconscious programs. It is hard work but it can be done, at least so we are told by some of the masters who claim they overcame the internal conflict of humanity and divinity.

A spiritual mission starts in earnest when you discover lies in your life and you say to yourself, "Hey, what's up, there must be another way!" There are so many "white" lies and you could look the other way just as you have done all your life. Yet, for some reason you
suddenly do mind and you start to ask questions and solutions present themselves. It turns out you are on the Way once you start looking for a new way. Ask for God's guidance earnestly and you will always get an answer.

One little qualifier though, if you strive to be a "better" person because you don't like what you see in the mirror you will always be caught in the duality of life. A spiritual path is not about striving, it is about break-through. It is about observing, understanding and transcending, and not really about "doing" anything. All you have to do is to be mindful of internal conflicts and about letting the Way help you find answers. It is about seeing the yin and yang at work and learning to dance with it. A conflicted person hears the demon speak and is devastated. A spiritual traveler perceives the conflict inside and smiles: another creative solution must be near-by.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It Will All Work Out!

It will all work out, it always does!
(Christian M. Wiese)

What do you do when the project of your dreams runs into difficulties? Will you just give up? Will you complain to a higher authority and ask, "why me"? The solution to your problem lies in your belief set: zoom into the results, focus on what you want to get and just do it!

When we run into problems we fight monsters of our own making. Persist and they will withdraw. Of course you can have the upper hand when you struggle with yourself. It may be hard to believe but there is an upside in every resistance that we face. It sharpens our focus, makes us more flexible and builds our will-power.

Along the Way everything is perfect as is. The problems that are coming our way are the means towards finding our Self. When you climb every hurdle that pops up along your way you will start believing in yourself.

The secret of an effective spiritual traveler is to have the trust that you are protected and taken care of no matter what. With this positive attitude you will find that for every closed door you are facing, a sister will come along with a key in her hand to open a new one for you. It is fun to explore the workings of the Way!

Always focus on what you want and Tao will help you implement your plans. May your dreams come true!

By Christian and Su Zhen

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Retirement of Retirement

You have the right to work Arjun, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction.
(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)

A colleague told me other day a story of a fairly successful CEO who retired at the age of 65 and afterwards fell into a big hole of darkness. I can understand why; it is hard to accept if you go from being at the top of the world to apparent "nothingness". Sure, most rich people have the means to hide this transition fairly well. Fancy vacations, club memberships, perhaps even displaying their "trophy wives" in social gatherings but eventually all that is meaningless. Only one thing gives you true happiness, meaning, connectedness and love!

If there is a promise of the Creator it is that meaningful work is yours to choose if only you are willing to go the distance. The rewards the Creator can't promise to you since these are your desires. But as we all know, whenever we put our heart and your soul into something, a few crumbs will come our way. So let's focus our attention to the creative outlets, the connectedness with others and the love for what you do instead and chances are, we will be just fine.

Everyone should always have an eye on the next creative outlet. It is a nice feeling to be at the top of your game and perhaps at the peak of your earning power. Think about passing that golden goose on to someone while you already work on your next endeavor. Sure, there may be a time when you finally settle down with a person you love and really do retire for good. You will know when this point is reached, but until then have fun creating, connecting and caring for what you do!