The Power of Forgiveness

“Compassion is the foundation of peace. Compassion resides within everyone. But it is difficult to experience it and express it in all of our actions. We must turn inwards to search deep within ourselves. ‘Is my heart still vibrant with life? Can I still experience the source of love and compassion within me? Does my heart still melt at the pain and sorrow of others? Have I cried along with those who are suffering? Have I really tried to wipe another’s tears to console them or given someone at least a single meal or a set of clothing?” Like this, we can honestly introspect. Then the soothing moonlight of compassion will spontaneously shine within our minds. If we want to bring peace to the external world, first our inner world needs to be at peace.” Amma

unnamed-8

There is a great ambiguity in the whole concept of ‘forgiveness’, thus many write about it and perhaps we all have moments where we can truly forgive. However, it has been my experience, despite feeling a deep need to find forgiveness and coming very near the entrance of this energy. I found that in some way I could not fully let go of the burden I had been carrying. I still choose to hang onto the suffering that I felt from my own actions and those of others.

The point is, when do we really get to a place to allowing this beautiful and divine energy to come into our hearts and cleanse them of all the anger, resentment, and other energy that we constantly hold on to and renegotiate with on a regular basis.

“Not causing harm requires staying awake. Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice.” Pema Chödrön

My realization is that at the end of the day, you have no control over others or the external environment. However, you do have an element of control over who and how you choose to be as a person. 

I have tried to find this feeling throughout my life, yet never really managed to allow it to permeate my consciousness. Yet, with grace all things are possible and when the time comes, it can and will happen. When you are no longer willing to continue to carry the burden of emotional pain over something that is beyond your reach. This is when you can choose to either become hard, like an impermeable rock, or let it all go and allow the softness of love and forgiveness to awaken from within and flow throughout your life.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2016

The Numinous

Unique-nature-spiritual-art-decoration-for-walls

“Numinous /ˈnjuːmᵻnəs/ is an English adjective, derived from the Latin numen, meaning “arousing spiritual or religious emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring”.”[1]

“Real love exists in the heart. The love that exists in the Heart cannot be spoken; it cannot be put in words. The heart is not the place for words. Words are in the intellect. The intellect can speak, but it is nothing more than a tape recorder. It records and spits out words and words and words – words that don’t have any feeling in them. The intellect cannot feel compassion; it cannot feel love or kindness.” Amma

As a spiritual aspirant, how can one even broach this abstract topic with mere words. I am capable of writing on many holistic topics, however it is the essence of spirituality and human transformation that captivate me, leaving me in deep water. Thus, I am at an impasse, trying to construct and galvanize something that in practicality, can not be caught and trapped by the finite demarcations of human language.

I will attempt to discuss the relationship of the devotee with their divine aspirations. Hence, the idea of the Numinous; the divine love that we all seek at some level, which is the unification with our own true sense of Self.

This experience is not something that one can even talk about. I rarely write or speak of my own deep personal connection to the Divine. However, I felt drawn to write this, due to a misconstrued sense of egoism I witnessed recently. The Numinous is not about hierarchy, popularity, power, or recognition for who we are, in the eyes of others.

“Lift the veil that obscures the heart, and there you will find what you are looking for.” Kabir

This relationship is so subtle, so personal and delicately intimate. The only similarity may be between lovers who are experiencing a higher expression of human love, not sensually based. The feeling of such a deep opening in your heart that you can not breath, you can not even speak of it, for it has possessed your soul. You are exhilarated, yet the subtle dance is only between you and your Beloved. There is no possible mechanism to translate this sublime love into any words that exist, for the feeling is one of being completely consumed. The dance of love, is so delicate and awe inspiring, it feels so deeply personal that to speak of such a precious thing would reduce its true essence to something of the worldly domain; losing all intrinsic value.

“What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love. But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colours that never before existed.”  Hafiz

To engage at this level with the Divine; to taste the Numinous, is a delicate art that only very prolific poets may have half a hope of conveying, such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir. The likes of, I used to literally have a stack of their books, which I would constantly be reading. Then life took me away from such things, down a different path, away from the essence of my heart.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” Rumi

It has taken a long time to return to this sacred place, to find my way back to who I am and honour my own unique sense of expression in this world. Poetry is the essence of true expression for such an experience, as other such writing and words do not suffice.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

True love and contact with the Numinous is not something anyone would yell off the roof top. Instead,  one turns inward and can only be absorbed into the abstract experience.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2016

 

Truth Through Action

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

6705-water-lilies-purple-lotus

We are all searching for some tangible sense of contentment, happiness, and truth that helps us to understand the life that we are all collectively living. Of course, there are numerous paradigms that we prescribe to for various reasons, as a means of searching for something greater than ourselves. The question I have, is what stops us from really practising what we believe; really being the energy of what we speak and write. This is why, I only write about subjects that I am experiencing through my own actions; rather than just write about all of the health, philosophical, or holistic concepts that I have spent a considerable amount of time studying. I find tranquility through: simplicity, awareness, and working each day to really practice what I deeply believe within the teachings that I follow on a holistic level. The daily health and holistic advice that I give to others, has come about not only through the years of theoretical training, but also a lifetime of experience and observing how these aspects affect the human body, mind, and spirit.

In my own life, I have been interested in many aspects of spirituality, philosophy, and understanding the human condition. However, one thing that I have always done is to find some level of awareness and observation. I try to be observant of my environment, through watching others and the related dynamics that ensure, including my own actions. Through this process, I have seen time and time again how easy it is to write or speak words of various meanings, yet unless you can fully embody what you believe through these truths; it becomes meaningless to repeat such things to others. Inevitable, it does not matter what or how much you know, if it’s not transfered through your actions, it profoundly lacks any real meaning.

I felt inspired to write on this subject, as I tend to read numerous articles and blogs on health and spirituality. In addition, I tend to spend time with many people who are trying to find meaning in these two areas. I notice time and time again, we as individuals don’t practice what we deeply believe, on a large scale. Yes, there are many people who do make a huge effort and their truth is easily seen through all of their actions. However, I have witnesses people who are spiritual seekers, yet still their actions are not in direct correlation with what they inevitably believe. This phenomena is very prevalent, where most people create their own ideologies around others, allowing them excuses to treat others poorly or wreak havoc on someone else’s life through creative gossip and untruths.

Through such experiences, I find a sense of incredible resolve to focus on developing greater levels of awareness and not inflicting harm into my environment. Inevitable, it is only through our own actions that we should be concerned, even if someone else is at fault or has done the wrong action and you are the one blamed, for your reaction – to their poor action. Still, you must continue to bring the awareness back to your own actions; this is true self empowerment and will make your life much more authentic, transparent, and honest. Thus, bringing a congruence with your thoughts and beliefs, aligning these with all of your actions.

Often, it is through our greatest suffering that we make the greatest effort to change, or through our witness of someone else’s very destructive patterns that have touched our lives. If you witness others behaving in ways that are based on poor judgment; remember that action will ONLY ever harm them.

The real reality is that what we believe is inevitably conveyed through our actions, regardless of what we think or say; if we are not able to convey these into action, then we have a lot of work to do. As many of us know, this can pertain to anything, from negative mental and emotional patterns that we constantly play out in our minds, to cruel and destructive tendencies that we justify to ourselves. The truth is that regardless of who someone is or how they behave, no one deserves to be treated poorly. Moreover, if we find ourselves treating another person poorly because of what someone else has told us through their transfer of hate; we should be very cautious with our actions by taking on someone else’s issue, which may not even be a real phenomena.

In our society, we as a collective love to discriminate against others and demonize them, even if it’s to justify our own self created ideas.

Inevitably, each negative action that has come to slice through my life; I have become much more diligent with my own transformation, focusing on trying very hard not to be this way myself. In addition, we must become more aware of our actions and the consequences that follow. If we have contributed to some harm, due to our actions, the most benevolent role to play is to take accountability and do your best to amend the action. It takes a certain level of self honesty to really find a sense of self awareness. Even though I make an effort to attempt to be more and more aware and be mindful of my own actions, I also make many mistakes. The thing that I am trying to convey is the importance of having this awareness, thus making our lives an expression of who we are and what we believe, seen through the quiet simplicity of our actions.

The most powerful truth is only see through action, this is something we see with the Mahatma’s (great saints) of the world. Their actions are completely in alignment with the universal truth, there is no hypocrisy. All of us can practice some level of truth through repeatedly invoking them within all of our actions. By becoming more observant of our own actions, we can mediate them as we go along to become more harmonious with the universal truth. I find that one of the most motivating factors, as discussed above is to become aware of the actions from others that we have found painful and try very hard not to inflict those onto other people. If we find ourselves in the process of doing this, we always have the chance to retract our steps and make amends. This is my ongoing practice that requires tremendous patience and self forgiveness, to continue practising. Self forgiveness, when our actions are not in harmony with peace and love and inflict harm onto another; to become aware of this and try and correct this action. If we make the effort, it’s really amazing how we can find greater inner peace, love, and harmony in our relationships.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2015

The Holistic Balancing Act

“Some medical experts have shown that constant anger and fear undermine our health by eating into our immune system. Meanwhile, they find that the compassionate mind is good for our physical well-being.” – Dalai Lama, Ladakh, India

923108_518859711510038_1257391684_n

 

The main question that I always find myself asking, is what truly constitutes living a holistic lifestyle. There is a massive amount of multimedia regarding living a healthier lifestyle. However, in my opinion all of these are just fragments to what really constitutes living a truly holistic lifestyle. I too have almost an entire lifetime of expertise in regards to almost every facet of what constitutes a truly healthy, organic lifestyle. From what I have personally witnessed in my own life and in the lives of many other, very dedicated health driven individuals, the focus primarily on the physical body is actually the least important area of focus.

I have seen this in my own life, if we go through an extremely traumatic or stressful situation in life; there is no amount of anything we can put into our bodies to maintain our health. Once we lose our emotional balance, it radically affects our physical body. Thus, most people who are fanatically into ‘health’ are mostly focused on what they put into their bodies, or the external environment of their physical body, rather than their inner mental and emotional body. I also have seen that people who have very strong minds, thus who can maintain an equanimous approach to life, tend to be much healthier regardless of what they consume physically. This phenomena has been widely studied, how our mind and thoughts directly affect not only our physical body, but our environment.

In my early twenties I was very driven by finding this notion of ‘wholeness’, seeking it through the medium of holistic health. Even though I was touching the foundation of living a holistic life, I was not aware of it at that time due to the inner turbulence of my mind. On a physical level, I have had to undergo over a decade of chronic, undiagnosed health issues; despite having access to medical opinions and every facet of alternative health care. Despite the tremendous amount of effort, time, and money exerted by me, still nothing shifted. I was living one of the purest, cleanest lifestyles that exists, yet still the underlying problems of exhaustion and a weak physical constitution did not change. During this time in my life I learned the most about what holistic health really means, in addition to a suffering that has allowed me to embody a tremendous capacity of compassion for others suffering. This is something that I previously did not have when I was extremely healthy with a strong young constitution.

It was during this time, I never gave up, continuing to try new avenues of medicine and natural remedies. Finally through extensive testing from a Naturopath, I was able to find greater physical healing. The most amazing thing really was that true healing only came when I took self responsibility towards helping myself overcome this issue. Something more fascinating and a much longer discussion, was that this entire experience was outlined and discussed in detail when I became interested in Vedic astrology. I was told that most of what I was going through was ‘karmic’, thus nothing would shift it until the time for it to be over came. Sure enough, when that time came and a new planetary influence came to direct my life, the suffering ended completely. I have experienced many astounding phenomena like this in the many years I have been interested in such things as Vedic astrology. Through this knowledge we can easily see that nothing is relative or as straightforward as we would like it to be. We are conditioned to perceive the body as a mere physiological organism, which in many retrospects, it is. However, there are numerous other factors that most of us can not understand or conceive of, such as the profound effect our thoughts and emotions have on our physical body, or karmic effects we may have to undergo on a physical or psychological level.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is well know that when someone has a health imbalance, there are actually three possibilities: physical, mental/emotional, or spiritual causes. The first cause you treat with physical medicine, the second needs to be treated at a mental & emotional level, and the third is a spiritual cause that must be treated at that level. When a very famous Ayurvedic practitioner first came to the U.S many decades ago, one of the first assumptions that he immediately had was that most of the diseases in the West actually originated at a mental and emotional level, rather than merely a physical level. He also thought that Western society was actually quite ‘crazy’, due to our way of perceiving and living life. This perception is actually a very astute observation of a society whose adults have little to no control over their emotions. Thus, the tendency for most people to get angry at others is a very common occurrence in most of our lives.

However, this was not always the case in smaller indigenous societies, such as when early anthropologist first began to study the Inuit, in the very Northern area of Canada. The anthropologist realized right away that adults in this society were not permitted to show anger towards others. When the anthropologist became overtly angry, he was compared to a two year old child, as those were the only members of the society who would react in a fit of uncontrolled angry tendencies. Thus, the majority of our modern societies are very immature, lacking any real wisdom or true knowledge, and most people are focused merely on the most superficial aspects of consumerism and materialism.

Therefore, if there are severe challenges in our lives, especially with our physical health, it may be beneficial to also observe our inner mental and emotional landscape. Through being more aware of how our minds and emotions function on a daily basis, we can find a more thorough comprehension of what could also be contributing to our lack of health, joy, peace of mind, and ability to fully feel alive and grateful to be living life.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014

Through The Heart of Compassion

“Real love exists in the heart. The love that exists in the Heart cannot be spoken; it cannot be put in words. The heart is not the place for words. Words are in the intellect. The intellect can speak, but it is nothing more than a tape recorder. It records and spits out words and words and words – words that don’t have any feeling in them. The intellect cannot feel compassion; it cannot feel love or kindness.” Amma

Pink-Rose-Flower-Wallpaper-3

As most of us are inundated with an increasingly individualistic and materialistic culture, the concept of compassion seems like a catchy theoretical term. However, the actual practice and application of embodying true compassion is a rare phenomena; one that comes as a result of the lessons learned through ones own suffering and of becoming more conscious of ourselves and the world at large. A very famous Zen Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, focuses on love, forgiveness, and embodying true compassion.

“The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.”” Thich Nhat Hanh

Through most spiritual traditions, the concept and practice of compassion is highly regarded as one of the most important aspect on the search for Truth. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has spent his lifetime teaching and practicing this very same spiritual tradition, of embodying compassion. Even though Tibetan Buddhism may look very different from the theoretical and practical applications of other spiritual paths; in essence, compassion is the central theme of all spirituality.

“We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion….This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.” Dalai Lama X1V

To truly reach out with empathy and unconditional love towards another, is a very rare phenomena, yet even if we can find that place within ourselves momentarily and share this deep sense of selflessness, the world will eventually start to evolve. Even more precious is to have the opportunity to spend time with a true Mahatma or spiritual Master, who embodies the essence of true humility, selflessness, compassion, and infinite grace for everyone who comes for their darshan. My spiritual teacher or Guru is one of these very rare exceptions in this world. Sri MataAmritananda Mayi Devi, known as Amma has been embodying such teachings for over 30 years, through sharing Her emanation with people from all over the world. Through being in her presence I have been able to witness what true compassion really is.

“Sadhana shouldn’t be done for one’s own liberation, but for the sake of becoming loving, compassionate, and understanding enough to remove the suffering of the world. We have to become so large-hearted that we experience the suffering of others as our own, and work to alleviate their suffering.” Amma

Thus, when creator and creation are one and the same, you will find Mahatmas like Amma spending every moment of Her physical presence uplifting the suffering of humanity in some way or another. Her organization, Embracing The World has been recognized by the U.N and WHO, as the biggest humanitarian organization in the world. She was also invited to be a member of South East Asia at the U.N conference in China in the fall of 2012. Hence, Amma is a true humanitarian, offering the pure essence of compassion to everyone, no matter who they may be. Its a deeply profound teaching to assimilate and attempt to practice. Hence, through the teaching of selflessness and attempting to be more kind and compassionate there are moments of embodying this teaching. However, there are far more experiences of being the exact opposite of compassionate; caught in judgement, criticism, and separation.

It shows me the true essence of compassion and how precious and rare the embodiment of this energy really is. It also reveals the delicate balance of allowing the fruits of our spiritual practice or positive actions to flow out of us, as grace to be more compassionate and kind towards all other beings. In such acts, I honestly feel that such true compassion, even if just experienced for a small moment, is the grace of the divine, rather than from our own sense of ego. In essence, all of our acts are mostly steeped in selfishness, due to our association with our egoic mind. However, we can always keep striving to be kinder, more compassionate, and more selfless to others. It has been my experience, that even when we are unkind, fight with others or get drawn into disagreements, and act in selfish ways; we can always learn from such mistakes and redirect our thoughts, words, and actions to show more kindness, forgiveness, and compassion. 

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2013

The Spiritual Path of Simplicity

“Sadhana shouldn’t be done for one’s own liberation, but for the sake of becoming loving, compassionate, and understanding enough to remove the suffering of the world. We have to become so large-hearted that we experience the suffering of others as our own, and work to alleviate their suffering.” Amma

pw_ge_parvati_01_300

For all of us, life must feel tangible and real regardless of which philosophical paradigm of thought we choose to view the larger panorama of life. We all have in common our collective shared human experience of being confronted with the ubiquitousness of negotiating between the banal and the profound, which are intertwined and imbedded within all of our experiences of being alive. Whether or not we are spiritual aspirants, we all seek a life with more peace, happiness, and fulfillment. The only difference is that a spiritual seeker is choosing to embody a truer sense of consciousness within themselves at an experiential level, often through some form of theoretical teaching and practice that is taught by a spiritual teacher.

Theoretically, the goal of the spiritual path is a process of aligning our inner selves with a greater sense of self awareness to fully comprehend the truth, through the inner purification that strips us of our self importance (ego) leading to our true sense of Self. This inevitably invokes a greater sense of inner simplicity, compassion, and humility which allows us to perceive the whole of existence as interconnected, being one unified whole.

I have spent a tremendous amount of time in spiritual environments and with spiritual seekers of all kinds. I came to strongly realize that if we are serious about evolving in this way, one needs a teacher who embodies this truth. If we do not have a teacher to help dismantle our ego of self importance, then we will not progress very far. It took me a long time to become fully aware of my own sense self importance, as it was not until after I found my spiritual teacher that I realized that feeling like I was so ‘spiritual’ was not conducive to true inner growth. Spirituality is really about letting go of our sense of; self importance, being special, spiritual pride, being self righteous, and competitive with others as to who is more spiritual.  

I too have been one of these people, who would engage in endless philosophical discussion on spiritual theory. In addition, I had a very strong sense of spiritual pride after being on this path throughout my life. In addition to having had numerous phenomenal experiences, starting when I was a young child. However, as the last decade of my life has unfolded in a seamless flow of challenging lessons. All of these experiences became a catalyst for very deep inner reflection, dramatically altering my previous perception of myself. Another huge lesson for me was through interacting with several ‘spiritual’ people who played the mini-guru to others, all the while their personal lives were steeped in controversy and hypocrisy.

I am far from being enlightened, yet throughout my life I have always been highly opposed to all forms of hypocrisy. I am well aware that all of us share our own measure of ambiguity and few of us live completely free from hypocrisy. These seemingly negative experiences made me hyper aware that if we are going to represent something, its wise to practice what we are advocating through our positive actions. I am following a spiritual path of inner purification towards developing a greater sense of empathy and compassion towards others. I am not indicating by any means that I am a fully humble or compassionate person, in contrary I have the same imperfections as everyone else.

I feel that the further we wander on this path the process of purification is supposed to bring us into a deeper sense of humility, simplicity, and compassion where we at least can try to be kind to ourselves and others, through practicing compassion, which is the essence of spirituality. When we embody a sense of compassion for all other living beings, there is a greater sense of awareness towards our actions and their consequences. Even though, the truth of the matter is that we are all beginners, stumbling along the spiritual path. The more we simplify ourselves and the less we feel that we truly know, the farther we can travel and truly learn. 

© All Rights Reserved 2013