Kindness

uni2Mindshift Monday…

“There is an almost sensual longing,”
wrote Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,
for communion with others, who have a large vision.”

“The immense fulfillment of the friendship
between those engaged in furthering
the evolution of consciousness
has a quality impossible to describe.”

A scene from A WONDERFUL WORLD OF LOVE documentary on the life of Mother Teresa. Express archive photo
A scene from A WONDERFUL WORLD OF LOVE documentary on the life of Mother Teresa. Express archive photo

What will you do today
to advance the evolution of consciousness…
to bridge the gaps in our mutual understanding?
To bring compassion and awareness
where it has been forgotten?

It is not by seeking to do grand things,
like the barbaric orangutans in politics…
but instead, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta would encourage, “to do small things with great love…”

gdisig2

Moving from Resentment to Forgiveness

CaptureToday, I choose to shift my focus from resentment toward forgiveness. I recognise that forgiveness is a gift I give to myself. It is an opportunity for me to release the energy that holds me hostage, and distracts me from growth. As I forgive myself, it becomes easier to forgive others.

Each moment is an opportunity for me to release a limiting belief or fear, and to forgive myself for holding me back from experiencing the full potential of that moment in the past.

I know that my experiences are the result of my thoughts. And without a need for blame, I recognise that there are times my thoughts take a less productive turn. And that’s alright, because it’s part of the experience of learning. But I also realise that I am free to choose new thoughts.

forgiveAnd so today, I choose thoughts which free me from the decisions of my past… which bring new possibilities and reinvigorate my journey, rather than distracting me from it.

I let go of resentment I have felt toward those who have let me down. I release the need to punish those who have hurt me. I know they were doing the best they could, and their mediocrity and lack of commitment is their business… their lesson to learn… not mine.

I am limited only by the barriers I create in consciousness. And so I release those barriers now, and recognise my essential nature as Pure Awareness.

Today, I allow ease and compassion to guide my thoughts and energise my actions. I celebrate the limitless potential that exists in the present moment, and choose to mindfully turn my awareness to that moment… to live from that place alone… which is the source of my power and potential.

I forgive myself and others effortlessly, and let go of the old stories that held me captive.

The wisdom of the Buddha points out that holding onto anger is like holding onto hot coals, but hoping that the other person is the one who feels the pain. It’s like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die from it. And so it’s time for me to let go of these foolish endeavors and resentments.

I’ve allowed another to hold the pen that was writing my story. Today, I choose to write a NEW STORY, in my own hand…

And as that story unfolds the joy and abundance that are my birthright begins to express in every experience… every turn.

Forgiveness comes easy and release gently follows.

Letting Go of Boundaries

boundary_fullMaster Thich Nhat Hanh once observed, “Most of the boundaries between traditions are artificial. truth has no boundaries. The differences are mostly in emphasis.” Letting go of the perception of boundaries can free us to experience a deeper, quieter, and more still version of Truth. In the Buddhist tradition, we call that place of letting go, “calm abiding”.

I’ve often thought it interesting that some Buddhists, especially in the Tibetan tradition are so quick to pontificate that “all phenomena are empty,” and yet they get their uttarasanghas in bunch so easily, decrying this monk’s lineage or that teacher’s orthodoxy! If phenomena are empty, then doctrine and dogma are equally empty, and all wisdom paths ought to be given the same respect.

A couple months ago, I was approached by a number of practitioners, who wanted to know if I would consider reinvigorating the Contemplative Order of Compassion as a centre for wisdom and dharma.  And I agreed to give it some thought, as I took into account many of the areas of my work and practice at the end of the year. It is something I am still giving a great deal of thought.

Some have encouraged me to consider incorporating the order back into an institutional organisation, so that we could have access to greater funding for the projects that impact so many people’s lives.

I’m not sure that will ever be a good idea, as who and what we are arose from the journey out of institutional religion, to a place where post-denominational expression of ancient teachings and new thought philosophy could be unencumbered by dogma and doctrine.

cropped-zenkonweb31.pngOthers have suggested that we formalise the beliefs and teachings in such a way that Zenkondo becomes a spiritual path itself. And I think we’ve done so already, without allowing it to become another institution or religion.

It may be time to explore the possibilities of forming a greater community, possibly even a physical community again. Time will tell.

In the meantime, let’s simply agree to let go of the idea of boundaries, and begin working toward expanding the work of compassionate service to others. And we will be well on our way to rediscovering what the future holds.

Finding Clarity in the Midst of Terror

terrorI won’t pretend to understand why some New Thought and Dharma teachers have gone silent about the concerns that so many are facing right now, especially in the United States.

I’ve personally been dismissed by some of them, when I shared that I too struggle with emotions that are very real, over the prospects of one of the most dangerous sociopaths this world has seen since Adolf Hitler taking office in one of the most powerful roles in the Western World.

Sometimes I think it’s that they don’t know what to say, and are not really willing to allow themselves to go down that road. That’s where New Thought gets a bit mixed up with New Age fluff — where we pretend that we have to think all unicorns and rainbows and everything will be magically OK.

fearThe difficulty I have with that is that magick can be a temporary fix, where the transformative power of the Science of Spiritual Living is permanent and universal in scope.

I also think that sometimes experience (or lack thereof) plays a role, as does a fear of being controversial and unpopular. Those whose White Privilege has never caused them to experience real prejudice or oppression might not have the personal framework with which to truly empathise with the men and women whose civil rights and human rights are at stake.

This doesn’t mean that those teachers are not concerned, nor that they wouldn’t be first to step forward and stand on the front lines with us in solidarity. But when the going gets tough, I don’t honestly believe I can count on them not to turn and run either.

So where do we go from here?

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Feel My Pulse – In Requiem

Orlando candlelight vigil (courtesy Getty Images)
Orlando candlelight vigil (courtesy Getty Images)

In the Zenkondo tradition, as with Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, Ubuntu, and the New Thought philosophies, there is a belief in our essential unity.  This foundational principle states that “I am because you are”… some call this the Great Namasté Principle — the Divine Spark within me bowing to the Divine Spark within you, which makes us ONE.

Late Saturday night/Sunday morning, 49 men and women, largely Latino and Latina, nearly all of them members of the LGBTQ community, were gunned down in Orlando, Florida. They were out at the end of wonderful week-long celebration of Pride events. They were there to mingle… to get their flirt on… to dance… to LOVE.

#WeStandWithOrlando, #OneLoveOnePulse
#WeStandWithOrlando, #OneLoveOnePulse

Pulse Nightclub was a safe space for them to come together. Or it was, until Sunday.

I think about what would have happened, had I acted on my impulse to possibly move back down to Central Florida back in April of this year. Three of my friends, two of whom I was in regular contact with, and fairly close to, were murdered that night. It’s inconceivable to me that I would not have been at Pulse that night, since one of those three was visiting Orlando from Sarasota, with his boyfriend. Of course I would have been there, with my fiancé, so that he could meet Eddie and Luis, Jimmy, and maybe even Stanley that night.

While I am not Latino myself, the majority of my friends in the LGBTQ community have always been people of colour. All but two of my long-term boyfriends were of ethnicities other than white. It was my Puertorriqueño, Cubano and Black brothers, who first took me in, as a young sixteen year-old gay boy, just beginning to come out to myself and others. So these were not just my people because they were LGBT, but because they were culturally my people as well.

I cannot pretend to be able to make sense of this purely senseless massacre. I don’t believe the “official story” being reported in the news for one minute. I’ve spoken to people who were there, and to their loved ones. I know we are not being told the whole truth.

So all I can do is to stand in solidarity with my sisters and brothers, both in the LGBTQ community as well as within the Latin and Muslim communities.

I can offer my ear and shoulder to cry on…

I can share our stories…

I can be there in any way possible.

And I can continue to openly and honestly grieve.

Today, the second round of funerals and memorial services are underway, as I write this. I wish I were able to be there for all 49 services. I wish I could be at the hospitals to hold the hands of those struggling to pull through.

And I woke up with a heavy-laden heart for this reason… struggling to treat today as a “business as usual” day. I cannot.

And then, my brother, Episcopal priest, and UCF university professor, Harry Coverston, shared this beautiful song from Eli Lieb and Brandon Skeie, called Feel My Pulse.

So you say this is human
Your heartbeat versus mine
I’m in chains cause I’m choosing
showing love or living life
I shouldn’t have to leave where I stand
I shouldn’t have to change who I am
To count as a human
Feel my pulse
With your hand on my heart
You know it beats just as hard as yours
Feel my pulse
Feel my pulse
Can’t you see that im scarred
I’m just the same as you are so just
Feel my pulse
I wish I could reach them
And strip away what separates
It’s the same air we’re breathing
The same tears run down our face
So I don’t have to leave where I stand
And I don’t have to change who I am
To count as a human
Feel my pulse
With your hand on my heart
You know it beats just as hard as yours
Feel my pulse
Feel my pulse
Can’t you see that im scarred
I’m just the same as you are so just
Feel my pulse

Nothing I can write or do or say will ever suffice to bring sense to the senseless. It won’t heal those fighting for their lives. It won’t make the loss of the thousands of family members, loved ones, and friends who mourn the 49 any less palpable. It won’t bring any of them back. And it’s unlikely to reveal the truth of what happened that day any more than we will ever know the truth about the similar False Flag operations used to justify violence, wars or serve as distractions on 9/11, at Sandy Hook, or Boston’s Marathon, in Paris or Belgium.

But we can stop, and allow our awareness to dwell in the present moment. We can enjoin our hearts with all of those who know… who mourn… who will not be silenced.

We can resolve to live FULLY and PASSIONATELY. We will never forget. But we can go on.

We can go on fighting for our civil rights. We can go on working to make sure this never happens again… to us or to any other marginalised group. We can go on living. We can go on LOVING.

Awareness of the Path and its ultimate purpose

kashiboardwalk

When we speak of awareness of the Path, we sometimes become distracted, and imagine that the Path is all that matters.

This mindset can get us in trouble. We might believe that wisdom, compassion, virtue and service are the foundation of our Dharma practice, and that is as it should be. But we must also realise that these four pillars, when erected upon the bedrock of concentration, are merely the means of getting to what the Guru ultimately desired for his students.

Awakening.

I pray your Path will always be well-lit, by the heart of the Guru. I pray that you are blessed with joy and abundance, and that you will always generously share from that joy and abundance, as you make your way from the Dharma to Enlightenment.

It is my hope that this Path of Zenkondo — the Primordial Way of Compassion — will continue to inspire you to serve with a full heart… to love… and to remain deeply rooted in the moment.

Namasté, Beloved!

On Unconditional Love

Unconditional LoveUnconditional love is a path of service. It seeks nothing in return, and has no expectations or conditions placed on the recipient.

Author Stephen Kendrick once observed, “The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.”

In this video, I share a few thoughts on why unconditional love is so important to your daily practice, and offer a challenge for those interested in cultivating a greater unconditional love for others, as part of their Zenkondo/Bodhisattva path.

“When you plant a seed of love it is you that blossoms.”
– Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

♥ मा मा मा ♥

The Jade Emperor

Jade_Emperor_(WO3U)On this ninth day of the new year, we commemorate the birth, according to the Taoist tradition, of the Jade Emperor, Yu-huang Shang-ti, who is said to be the Supreme Ruler of the Cosmos.

The Taoist mythos does not embrace the kind of mythological “creator gods”, such as YHVH from the Abrahamic tradition, but instead sees the Supreme Ruler of the Cosmos as an anthropomorphic representation of the compassion, right action and mindfulness with which balance and awakening is achieved, to which we should all aspire. Our understanding of the “creation” is that the universe came into existence from the union of matter (Ki) and movement (Li) which, according to the principle of yin and yang, infinitely alternate to produce the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth.

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