orion-nebula-space-galaxy_w725_h490-to-use-nasa-public-domain-photo[1]“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Well, that sort of turns the whole thing around doesn’t it?  You mean I’m supposed to be grateful for people who irritate me, are greedy, self-centered, mean, childish?  You can add your own list.

I don’t think the Dalai Lama is saying to excuse them or approve of them.  I think what he is saying is to see that their presence in your life has the potential to bring you great teaching.

OK, so let’s say you are my enemy.  Sort of always in my face, never have anything good to say to me, always doing your own thing and generally don’t seem to care about me.  If I can see you as my spiritual teacher, rather than a pain in the neck, you present me with the opportunity to walk my spiritual talk.  Can I stay centered in who I am, in inner peace?  Can I look at you with compassion and understanding?  Can I look beyond your words and actions to the human being you are inside? A tall order.

Now, I don’t believe this means I stay in your presence, or that I seek you out.  It simply means when you are in my life, I don’t allow my energy to entrain with yours.  I stay centered, know who I am and consciously practice compassion for you.

In the United States our current political climate is presenting many of us with just such an opportunity!

Isn’t it wild.  We often become that which we don’t like.  You are angry, so I become angry in an effort to protect myself.  I wonder why you don’t become peaceful in an effort to regain your ground of being?  I wonder how the world would change if we each held who we are in the face of adversity – strong, steady, centered, at peace inside.  Who knows maybe your anger would lessen – maybe if I show compassion, you will soften?


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The Great Awakening

genesis1[1]The following is from Illumination by Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., a psychologist and medical anthropologist.   Villoldo has studied the healing practices of the Amazon and Inka shamans for more than 25 years.  I really like this book.  It is packed with wisdom.  Here are excerpts from Chapter 4, “Archetypal Death and the Great Awakening.”

The Shaman understands that identifying with the observer, rather than with the emotions, is the key to freedom.  The primal fear all adult humans share is the fear of death, which represents the end of the only reality we’re aware of.   Perhaps it is the awareness of our death, and not the opposable thumb, that makes us distinctly human, for no other creature is aware of its own demise.

The Sudden Awakening

The great awakening occurs swiftly. . . . This awakening must be followed with the great departure and a journey to a new destiny.

To lessen the terror that arises whenever we become acutely aware of our own mortality, we have developed a marvelous capacity for denial.  The denial mechanism is functioning continually.

Pain awakens the brain out of denial. . . . Eventually, we become tired of learning through pain and long to learn through joy.  Joy, after all, is the best teacher.

There are two great leaps in awareness that we make during our initiation:  the awakening to our mortality. . . and the awakening to our immortality.

The First Leap:  Awakening to Your Mortality

To forget about our mortality we fuss about our problems endlessly, and we start to fool ourselves that by being thus engaged in the struggles of life, we’re outwitting death.  Even if our problems cause us suffering, it’s nothing compared with the agony we’d feel if we were perpetually aware that the clock is winding down and Death is on its way to claim us.  We’d like to believe that Death won’t find us when we’re constantly on the move and so very busy. Continue reading

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Diamond Net of Indra

ku-xlarge[1]I recently saw an article on the web talking about the vast cosmic web of filaments that connect the galaxies in the universe.  At the top of this post is a picture of this cosmic web.  Due to some activity of a distant quasar the web has been illuminated so we are seeing it for the first time.  Up to now it has been scientific theory. You can see the full article here.

Some call this web of filaments dark matter.  Well, it turns out dark matter and dark energy are neither dark, nor matter, nor energy.  Those words could have been anything.  Neil deGrasse Tyson says we could call them Fred and Wilma.  He says the names – dark matter and dark energy –  are unfortunate since they communicate properties that are unknown. You can see a great interview with him here on Bill Moyers & Co.

So what does all this new science have to do with the Diamond Net of Indra?

The Vedas are some of the oldest sacred texts, dating roughly to 1500 – 1000 BC.  The metaphor – the story – of the Diamond Net of Indra came from some of these earliest texts.  So the philosophical roots of Indra’s net are deep and old.

The sutra describes a vast net that reaches infinitely in all directions. Through this net all phenomena are intimately connected – an interconnectedness of the universe or all universes.  Indra’s net has multifaceted jewels at each connection, each jewel reflecting all other jewels.  Everything contains everything else.  Through this interconnecting net all life is one.

It seems people who lived a very long time ago had an uncannily accurate view of what our scientists have recently been able to see.  They saw what we are now calling dark matter as an interconnecting net – a web showing us all life is one and that everything contains everything else.  Ummm…  I wonder what other scientific wonders we will discover that are described in ancient writings?

I also wonder how this discovery and others surely to follow will change our view of ourselves and our global community?  Remember, uni-verse can be interpreted as one song.  Now we have a multi-versemany songs?  We might want to concentrate on hearing and learning to sing and play the one song here sometime soon.  It looks like the band might be warming up for a concert.


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Unconditional Happiness

“In order to get in touch with the unconditional happiness in our innermost being, we need to stop running around, looking for happiness in all the wrong places and instead start to focus on our own mind.” – Tara Springett, The Five-Minute Miracle

Unconditional happiness. Think about that for a minute. Since most of us are not happy all the time, I wonder why? What if it was as simple as consciously choosing unconditional happiness.

In his life changing book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer challenges us to do just that. To choose unconditional happiness. Unconditional means not conditioned on anything. So, I chose to be happy and yet deep inside I believe my happiness is dependent upon: great health, a thin body, lots of money in the bank, the perfect partner, the perfect boss, friends who always agree with me, kids who live their lives in a way that makes me happy, perfect weather, never having to do anything I don’t want to do, and your own must haves. These are all thoughts and/or emotions. They aren’t real.

You see? Unconditional happiness means I commit to rest in the witness place in my mind. Sort of apart from and behind all the thoughts and emotions that arise during a normal day. I commit to watching the never-ending performance of the emotional/thought show. I simply watch. I don’t attempt to stop the monolog – I simply watch as the thoughts come and go – as they move through me. If I don’t grab ahold of a passing thought, it just drifts away like a cloud in the sky. I wonder why I choose to cling to some of them – my heart starts racing, my breathing changes, I might feel a minor pain in my body. It’s just one of many thoughts that have floated through my mind today. Why did I choose that one to hang on to? And, why am I having this reaction to a completely unreal thought?

Ask yourself when you are upset if any of it is real. Or, is the basis for your stress simply thoughts and emotions that ebb and flow like the surf at the beach. What if you could become aware enough not to ever identify with one of these thoughts? How would your world change?

Unconditional happiness begins when we realize we are not our thoughts or emotions. We are the observer of those thoughts and emotions.


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Winter Solstice – The Light Returns

“The Christians stole the winter solstice from the pagans, and capitalism stole it from the Christians.” – George Monbiot

Cycles. Thousands of years ago we humans lived in sync with the seasons. We were astute observers of the heavens. In the northern hemisphere the winter solstice was one of the major markers of the cycles of our lives. To the pre-Christian peoples, it was the most sacred of days.

The winter solstice occurs every year when the Sun moves into the constellation of Capricorn. This year the solstice is amplified, and many astrologers believe it may be the marker for a new era. Following is a quote from Stephanie Austin’s most recent newsletter which explains this phenomenon:

“The winter solstice occurs this year on December 21 at 8:28 AM PST [11:29 AM EST], and is greatly amplified by its close conjunction with Saturn (10’ of arc), something which has not happened since 1700 and will not occur again until 2200, signaling the initiation of a new era. Solstices and equinoxes mark the seasonal shifts, and this one is even further potentized by its proximity to the galactic center. The word solstice comes from the Latin word ‘to stand still’; for three days, the Sun appears to rise at the same place, before beginning to climb a little higher each day, until the next solstice 6 months later. For three days around each solstice, the Earth’s magnetic field is more open to cosmic radiation, facilitating the download of new energetic codes and matrices. This is a very potent time for setting intentions, as well as for group prayer and ceremony.”

Stephanie goes on to discuss how the winter solstice has been honored over time by many cultures:

“Many cultures celebrated this time of year as the Return of the Light. The Yule log was initially kindled in honor of Sulis, Sol, and Sunna, goddesses of the Sun. Ancient Rome merged Egyptian and Persian traditions into Saturnalia, a weeklong festival ending on the winter solstice, which honored Saturn, the god of agriculture, with candles, decorations of greenery, parties, role reversals, and the exchange of gifts. Christmas was initially held on January 6, Jesus’ Baptismal day, but in 350 was moved to December 25, to coincide with Saturnalia and the winter solstice. Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorates the miracle of faith, the light of truth, and the flame of freedom. One of the main rituals of Kwanzaa, a Pan African celebration, is the lighting of seven candles, symbolizing the values and concepts reflective of African culture. For the Hopis, this is Soyal, where ritual fires are lit and creation stories re-enacted, as the kachinas, the spirit helpers, emerge from their underground kivas.”

She goes on to discuss our current lifestyle and the effects this has on our psychological health:

“Regardless of our religious or cultural affiliation, for the 90% of the world’s population who live in the northern hemisphere, these are the shortest days and darkest time of the year, an optimal time to be inward and contemplative, yet we are pressured to be busier than ever, with shopping for gifts, holiday parties, and family gatherings. Plants, animals, and fields appear dormant, but much is happening below the surface, in the dark. Before the invention of the light bulb in 1879, we spent half of our lives in darkness, living in sync with the Sun and Moon for thousands of years. The vast majority of our photoreceptor cells (95%) deal with night vision, peripheral vision, and movement; our rods are not only far more sensitive than our cones, but are also linked to our subconscious brain activity and our capacity for dreaming, imagination, and non-ordinary reality. Research shows that both indoor and outdoor light pollution affect melatonin levels, which in turn affects our metabolism, immune function, and endocrine system. We pay a physical, psychological, and spiritual price when we dismiss our inner world, as we need a balance of light and dark, outer and inner awareness, to be creative, healthy, and whole.

“. . . the coming solstice urge[s] us to honor our inner light, and eliminate what dims it. As we grow, things that were sources of enjoyment in the past may no longer provide the same satisfaction. This doesn’t mean they were bad; only that they are no longer in resonance with who we are now. Let go of ‘shoulds.’ Participate in the traditions that bring you joy. Know that your thoughts, prayers, and level of consciousness make a difference. We are in a time where our light is needed more than ever. Shine your light. Share your light. Be grateful for it all, and remember: ‘Self-Light is a natural part of our engagement with the world; becoming aware of it shifts our identity and sense of self. By consciously recognizing and standing in it, we can begin to see ourselves as one who is a source of the blessing and nurturing that spirit provides. This light lies as a potential within us always, but our intent makes it brighter – energizes, awakens and sets it into motion such that it is a gift to the community, we become a source of spiritual presence in the environment of the world. (Julia Spangler).’”

My thanks to Stephanie Austin for this very thoughtful, timely article helping us remember we are powerful light beings. May you be at peace at this most sacred time of year.


Note: Stephanie Austin M.A. is a full-time astrologer specializing in life purpose, career, and relationship readings since 1986. She also teaches astrology, and wrote the New and Full Moon column for the Mountain Astrologer magazine for 14 years. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s in Consciousness Studies, and a lifelong involvement with meditation, Nature, and healing. For more information on her astrology readings, eBooks, tutorials, and forecasts, please visit www.EcoAstrology.com.

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The Dawn Has Come

beautiful-mountain-dawn-108975[1]The Dawn Has Come

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” – Rabindranath Tagore

There are so many ways to die.  I remember the old saying – to live many lives, you have to die many deaths. Sounds morbid.  Actually, it’s not.  It’s the most joy filled times of life.

Death here is symbolic death, metaphorical death.  We see ourselves in a new way and choose to let go of – die to – an old way of being that no longer serves.  We become the caterpillar transforming into the butterfly.  A life well lived is filled with many deaths – metamorphosis after metamorphosis.  We learn to fly at new heights every moment.  See the world from completely new vantage points. What a trip!

Now, if we choose not to die to the old, then what?  A whole lot of stress for starters.  All life is in constant motion.  We are either expanding or contracting.  We are never staying the same.  When we attempt to hold onto the status quo, we are setting ourselves up for failure.  It’s just simply not possible.  It’s easy to fall into denial and fantasy.  Life isn’t real and is filled with disappointments.

Some of us want to stay young – maybe age 8 or 17 or 25.  For some those were utopian ages.  Nothing wrong with being young at heart.  I’m all for that.  Any age is simply a point in the circle of life – a time that was full and right and now has passed.  This moment – this magical, precious moment is really all that is ever real.  Here – right now – is where real love is.  Where real people are.  Where we are truly alive.  If we are always living in the past, we miss the dawn of this moment.

Consider looking around your life.  Maybe it’s time to put out a few lamps – maybe the dawn has come and you just haven’t noticed?


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The Wise Guide

imagesCA8YLE0IThe Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

by Sogyal Rinpoche



Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to. As you listen more and more to the teachings, contemplate them, and integrate them into your life, your inner voice, your innate wisdom of dis­cernment, what we call in Buddhism “discriminating aware­ness,” is awakened and strengthened, and you begin to distinguish between its guidance and the various clamorous and enthralling voices of ego. The memory of your real nature, with all its splendor and confidence, begins to return to you.

You will find, in fact, that you have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide. Because he or she knows you through and through, since he or she is you, your guide can help you, with increasing clarity and humor, negotiate all the difficulties of your thoughts and emotions. Your guide can also be a con­tinual, joyful, tender, sometimes teasing presence, who knows always what is best for you and will help you find more and more ways out of your obsession with your habitual responses and confused emotions. As the voice of your dis­criminating awareness grows stronger and clearer, you will start to distinguish between its truth and the various decep­tions of the ego, and you will be able to listen to it with dis­cernment and confidence.

The more often you listen to this wise guide, the more eas­ily you will be able to change your negative moods yourself, see through them, and even laugh at them for the absurd dra­mas and ridiculous illusions that they are. Gradually you will find yourself able to free yourself more and more quickly from the dark emotions that have ruled your life, and this ability to do so is the greatest miracle of all. Terton Sogyal, the Tibetan mystic, said that he was not really impressed by someone who could turn the floor into the ceiling or fire into water. A real miracle, he said, was if someone could liberate just one negative emotion.

More and more, then, instead of the harsh and fragmented gossip that ego has been talking to you all your life, you will find yourself hearing in your mind the clear directions of the teachings, which inspire, admonish, guide, and direct you at every turn. The more you listen, the more guidance you will receive. If you follow the voice of your wise guide, the voice of your discriminating awareness, and let ego fall silent, you come to experience that presence of wisdom and joy and bliss that you really are. A new life, utterly different from that when you were masquerading as your ego, begins in you. And when death comes, you will have learned already in life how to control those emotions and thoughts that in the states of death, the bardos, would otherwise take on an overwhelm­ing reality.

When your amnesia over your identity begins to be cured, you will realize finally that dak dzin, grasping at self, is the root cause of all your suffering. You will understand at last how much harm it has done both to yourself and to others, and you will realize that both the noblest and the wisest thing to do is to cherish others instead of cherishing yourself. This will bring healing to your heart, healing to your mind, and healing to your spirit.

It is important to remember always that the principle of egolessness does not mean that there was an ego in the first place, and the Buddhists did away with it. On the contrary, it means there was never any ego at all to begin with. To realize that is called “egolessness.”


I learn a lot from reading Buddhist teachings.  I hope this quote will help you on your way today.



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Joy Happens To Us

free-wallpaper-17[1]“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

I was talking to a friend today about how easy life is if we simply check in and see what we truly in our heart of hearts want.  We were discussing the upcoming holiday season with all its challenges.  She was in the process of deciding which parties to give or attend; how much money to spend on the people she loves; and, how she was going to find time for herself.  I suggested she simply check in with herself.  What does she truly want to do?  Do that.

We can easily get off track this time of year.  We commit first and consider second.   And, before you know it, we are so tired or stressed we miss the whole spirit of the season.

As Marianne Williamson says life is filled with good things – love, caring for each other, peace, happiness, smiles, laughter, music, friends, children, dogs, blogs! – and, anything else you believe is good!  Maybe doing only what we truly want and focusing on all the good things will allow Joy to happen to us at this special time!


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Unbounded by Space and Time

imagesCA4SET61We are all unbounded by space and time. Free. Just passing through this lifetime. Consider for a moment your ability to imagine. In our imagination we can go to any time or place. We can have any experience we can imagine.

Try it. Find a quiet, comfortable place. Breathe and relax. Close your eyes. Now you can go anyplace you choose. The beach on a warm day. The mountains in the snow. Mars. The Andromeda galaxy. At one with source, creator or however you envision the transcendent. You can be anything you choose to be. Brilliant or beautiful. Young or a wise old sage. You can be in any time you choose. Watching the dinosaurs from a nearby hilltop. Travelling through space at warp speed to rendezvous with your mother ship.

Did you ever stop to consider how powerful imagination can be? Some teachings say imagination is the voice of the transcendent. Others that we can change our lives by living in imagination – the energy literally shifts us physically. And, it’s fun!

Many hard core scientific discoveries began in someone’s imagination. A new thought. Creation. Maybe the way our whole material world was and is created is through imagination? I wonder how consciousness and imagination are related? If they aren’t the same thing, I expect they are at least very good friends.

The life you have right now is the life you have imagined. If you want a change, simply go into your imagination and create what’s next. It really is that simple.


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Don’t Go Back To Sleep

beautiful-mountain-dawn-108975[1]“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep!

You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep!

People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep!” – Rumi

I can’t add anything to that! Wish I had known Rumi.



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