So I have decided to remove all tech for 7 days (minus having a land line and transportation what with the kids and all). As to create my own 7 day retreat at home. My focus will be embracing my true self once more, meditation, study and reflection. I am tracking my progress on a legal pad which I will upload later.
Science Officer’s log: Stardate 69174.8
First let me say how difficult it is to count the Stardate when Star Trek has been off the air for such a long time and no computer or calculator at one’s disposal! After dropping the kids off at school and taking a few moments to meditate and gather my thoughts for the day, I quickly realized I had no new books to read that might spur on my reflective moments. After a quick jaunt over to the local book store, I managed to get a copy of Tesla’s Notes and Inventions in hard back and a paper back of the Essence of the Heart Sutra by the Dalai Lama.
Started reading the Sutra, best quote so far: “The Buddha recognized among his followers a diversity of mental dispositions, spiritual inclinations and interest, and saw that in order to suit this diversity he had to teach differently in different contexts. No matter how powerful a particular teaching may be or how “correct” a philosophical view may be, if it is not suitable to the individual hearing it, it has no value. A skillful Spiritual teacher will this judge the appropriateness of a given teaching for a given individual and teach accordingly. Buddha recognized the diversity of mental dispositions, interests, and mental capabilities of his followers and thus gave diverse teachings. Looking at all the world’s religions in this light, I feel a deep conviction that all of the traditions are beneficial, each of them uniquely service the needs of their followers.”
Decided to write things out on this legal pad after the kids went to bed to serve as a sounding board for my thoughts, much like I do when online. I find it therapeutic when my brain is scrambled with thoughts to give them linear form, thus making them easier to let go of.
After the kids got home and had finished their homework they had played outside till dinner then I decided it was best to give them the freedom of choice to watch Netflix or not. Just because this is something I am doing does not mean I should force them to go through it too. I retreated to a quite corner to read and meditate further.
One thought that I have felt a strong urge it to let a friend know that I have had a crush on her for quite some time, but I feel it is better to not mention it now that I have time to reflect instead of the instant form of communication brought via instant messaging. I don’t want to bring her into this troubled world I live, she deserves far better than myself.
End Entry Day 1
Science Officer’s log: Stardate 69177.7
Still quite the feat calculating Stardates but at least its easier with the initial Stardate calculated. Went fishing today, you may think “how cruel” when I say went fishing, I mean I went to the river and cast an empty hook and line out repeatedly knowing full well I would not catch anything but twigs and leaves lol. I had been difficult, I have subconsciously reached for the phone a few times, only to have been stymied by the fact that wifi has been shut off lol. Have managed to maintain a vegetarian diet the past few days as well as to not disrupt the flow of energy.
Today’s quote also from Heart Sutra about theologies with a creator deity.
How might we determine whether someone loves God sincerely? Surely, we would examine that person’s behavior and attitude toward fellow human beings, toward the rest of God’s creation. If someone has genuine love and compassion towards fellow human brothers and sisters, and towards the Earth itself, then I think we can be sure that that person truly demonstrates love for God. It is clear that when someone respects God’s message they emulate God’s love for humanity.
End Entry Day 2
Science Officer’s log: Stardate 69191.5
So the experiment comes to a close. What can I conclude? Although technology has it’s pros and its cons it is neither inherently good or bad. Good and bad are simple illusions, symptoms of an underlining problem, a colossal time suck for certain. The root of the problem, however, lies not in the tech but in the heart, the mind, and the soul. Although my self imposed isolation can hurt at times, it is neither fulled or caused by the technology, it is a crutch, and until I can learn to be ok with being alone, I will never be able to end my self inflicted suffering.
End Experimental Log….
Even as a child I found social interactions confusing, often I would find myself unsure of how to act or react so I would sit quietly watching the interactions of others, often feeling like an outsider to the species (figuratively), if you will.
I have come to the long standing conclusion that often what we fear, what we hate in ourselves is what we hate in others. I know not a very profound statement considering this has been a belief long held by psychologists. But even my untrained eye can see what is right in front of it. I will give an example.
I was following an interaction on a politically fueled discussion in regards to an argument of Liberals vs Conservatives. It was a short lived argument because the Liberal decided not to engage (something I wish I had the strength of foresight to do often). The Liberal minded person made a statement (something I wont mention because I feel it will distract from the topic at hand), and the conservative persons response was as follows:
“You stupid ‘Libtard’ you are so uneducated are you a high school droup oute, or go to some libtard college?”
And that was where the altercation ended. I did find it fascinating that the conservative minded person was angry, because they believed that the Liberally minded person was uneducated, yet themselves could not properly use punctuation marks, real words, or correctly spell the most basic of words. I don’t mention this to insult, I know my own punctuation can be lacking due to thoughts streaming out into posts with little regard to editing, merely to point out the very thing he hated in the liberally minded person was what was true in his own heart.
I often find myself wondering if those who hate others for other various reasons also do so out of such fears. Hating those who are homosexual out of fear that they might be homosexual in their own hearts comes to mind.
1. When you catch yourself having a defining thought about someone, step back and ask, “What do I really know about this person?”
Often, the answer is a version of “not very much.” This behavior acts as a pattern interrupt, and forces you to stop and consider where the judgment is coming from.
2. When you hear yourself criticizing someone to others, stop and take a moment to come up with one thing you like about that person. Then praise them, out loud, for that quality.
This is another version of a pattern interrupt, and is also a reminder that they too are human, and like us all, have both attractive and not-so-attractive qualities.
3. When you find yourself in one of those incessant loop thought patterns of judgment about someone else’s behaviors, ask the hard question: Do I myself exhibit this same behavior or attitude that I judge in this person?
Almost always, the answer is yes (not that one always comes to that yes easily). You probably already know that the stuff that irritates us the most about others tends to be attributes we don’t necessarily realize we ourselves have. This was the single most difficult tool I used. It was also probably the most effective.
“Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” -Buddha
“By doing this you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink.” -Buddhaghosa Visuddhimagga IX, 23.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching here in the states, you cannot help sometimes but feel the twinge of the chronically single life style. With everything geared towards romance and couples, the days can pull at the ole heart strings. Admittedly a few times myself I have wondered if my standards were too high, if I should have settled when a relationship did not work out. Other times I have asked myself what I could I have done better when someone had left me and the shoe was on the other foot.
Lately while reading the Dhammapada a running theme kept popping up, and if you are like me you may find these words, if not inspiring, at least comforting when those doubts start to creep into your conscious trains of thought.
If a traveler does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal. let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; this is no companionship with a fool. DP 61
If a man finds no prudent companion who walks with him, is wise, and lives soberly, let him walk alone like a king who has left his conquered country behind, -Like an elephant. DP 329
It is better to live alone, there is no companionship with a fool; let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes, like an elephant in the forest. DP 330
The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by lust: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from lust brings great reward. DP 359
If we want to be free of suffering in our relationships, we must find our equals and those who inspire us to better ourselves, we must not become trapped by our lusts, for when we do we become like spiders who have become trapped in our own webs.
But how is this fair we might ask? So many happy couples why not me? Honestly who knows, we should strive to continue on living in the now, continue our good works until our seeds ripen to bare fruits.
Even a good man sees evil days (finds suffering in this world), as long as his good deed has not ripened; but when the good deed has ripened, then the good man sees happy days. DP 120
Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, it will not come nigh unto me. Even by falling of water-drops a water pot is filled; the wise man becomes fill of good, even if he gathers it little by little.
So to my fellow romantically challenged brothers and sisters, I wish you press on, happily diligently, doing good works, for sometimes the sweetest fruits come from the trees that take longest to bloom.
Something we can do for our New Year’s eve celebrations suggested by a fellow Buddhist.
Burning Bowl Ceremony
On New Year’s Eve, get together with some close friends, and write on pieces of paper the things you do not wish to carry with us into the new year.
Then sit around a bowl of fire, and take turns visually letting it all go…. Share some of the challenges out loud with the group, and simply burn other challenges in silent support of one another.
Let go of what’s killing you, even if it’s killing you to let go.. and then you’ll have room in your life for the abundance of love that awaits
One thing I have learned in life is that truth is always subjective but is often given more weight than fact. Often we substitute our own personal truths in place of facts, because we cannot often handle them. Honor the truths of your fellow sentient life form temper your minds with compassion and you will know peace!
Once again the ego monster has reared it’s head on the net. People who have not trained under a master, who rely on their own egos corrupt the teachings of the Buddha, to put down or belittle people they feel do not agree with what their egos are telling them. I do not view this as condemnation or judgement, because I feel everyone has their own personal truths, I do however think we all (including myself) need a refresher of some of the Basic tenants of Buddhism.
Zen Teachings & Beliefs
- All sentient beings have Buddha-nature.
- Knowledge can be acquired from all aspects of life.
- Such knowledge helps to achieve enlightenment.
- The six paramitas (perfections) are the six principles of enlightened living. They are:
- Dana paramita: unattached generosity, boundless openness. Open heart, mind and hand.
- Sila paramita: virtue, morality.
- Shanti paramita: patience, tolerance, acceptance, endurance.
- Virya paramita: energy, diligence, courage, enthusiasm, effort.
- Dhyana paramita: meditation, absorption, concentration, contemplation.
- Prajna: transcendental wisdom.
- Meditation and mindfulness help in achieving new insights which leads to enlightenment.
- The experiencing of mu (or ‘wu’, the lack of presence, emptiness) leads to satori (spiritual awakening
“Well so ‘n so believes in stuff that I think is new age hippie BS and not Buddhism, because they are talking about coming from a place of spiritual love and compassion.”
Well, to be honest one of the basic teachings of Buddhism is the act of Altruism (the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.)
‘Is this what you have in mind,’ I asked the Dalai Lama, ‘when you say in teachings that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the world are the most selfish beings of all, that by cultivating altruism they actually achieve ultimate happiness for themselves?’
Yes. That’s wise selfish,’ he replied. ‘Helping others not means we do this at our own expense. Not like this. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, these people very wise. All their lives they only want one thing: to achieve ultimate happiness. How to do this? By cultivating compassion, by cultivating altruism.
The root of happiness is altruism — the wish to be of service to others. -Dalai Lama
As for the confusion of Spiritualism, often people still mistake the No-Self or No-Soul means there is not room for spirituality in Buddhism. If Buddhism does not believe in an immortal soul, then what and who will be reborn in the cycle of samsāra?
This is an interesting question. Buddhism definitely does not accept the belief that there is an immortal and perpetual soul. As mentioned in the teaching of non-self, no permanent self or soul entity exists permanently and invariably—only the current of karmic consciousness of sentient beings flowing constantly like the running of a river. If there were an immortal and invariable soul, an animal would not be able—after cultivating wholesome karmas through multiple lives—to become a human and a human would not be able to become a Bodhisattva or even a Buddha (See Jataka Tales for more information). Here, it is the very karmic current of consciousness that continually operates and transforms itself from this life to the next life in the cycle of samsāra in which the mind of each individual is the only foundation for this operation. Consequently, Buddhism does not accept the existence of an immortal soul, although it does accept that a transformation of the mind occurs throughout the journey of birth and rebirth. Until a practitioner—after a long term of spiritual training—attains sainted fruits such as Arhat, Buddha, or Bodhisattva in the eighth stage, he or she will break the cycle of samsāra. At this point of the spiritual journey, the motivation of birth and rebirth belongs to the devotional vow of each Bodhisattva; it is no longer pushed by the karmic force. Speaking of problems of rebirth or samsāra, you should note that Buddhism does not use the term soul, but rather mind.
As a rule, I generally only post what I practice, or at least what I strive to practice. I know I am not a perfect individual and I still struggle with the ego mind that acts as my own worst critic. Often, however, I have to “kill the Buddha I see in the mirror” as it were because I have turned my practice into an extension of my own ego. When ever it goes too far to the opposite tangent I tend to step back and pull away from sharing what I learn when I start to feel that I need to lead others, especially when I am lacking in my own practice. Namaste my friends!
A disciple once asked, “Master, what is the value of silence?” The master told the disciple, “ So long as the bee is outside the petals of the lotus, and has not tasted its honey, it hovers around the flower, emitting its buzzing sound; but when it is inside the flower, it drinks its nectar silently. If a man quarrels and disputes about doctrines and dogmas, he has not tasted the nectar of the Tao; when he has tasted it he becomes still.”
Often, through the means of social media, with the anonymity that comes with it, we find there are many with self appointed authority on any given subject. Whether it is spirituality or through other subjects. Often it is easy to get wrapped up in the egos of ourselves and the egos of others.
No one man should one be regarded more than another, this was the first illusion Buddha shed when he discarded his princely riches.
We must remember no one man is more holier than another, what is divine in ourselves is divine also in others. If you seek validation, you will only find the ego, and the ego leads to suffering. Seek only genuine connections, and help, free yourselves from the illusion of the digital media age.
3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. -NIV Bible
“If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. There is no companionship with the immature.” -Buddha
Often it has been a matter of debate about what is a truth. As a follower of Yoga I practice the Yamas, one of this is Satya or Truthfulness. “So to someone online I may say, in the spirit of Satya and Ahimsa (Non Violence) I wish you peace, Namaste!” Often this brings up further debate, especially if I say something that expresses ownership of the truth not being shared by me, but what is Truth?
- A thing that is indisputably the case: she lacks political experience—a fact that becomes clear when she appears in public a body of fact
noun (plural truths /tro͞oT͟Hz, tro͞oTHs/)
- The quality or state of being true:
A fact or belief that is accepted as true:
- A fact or belief that is accepted as true:
Because a truth can also be a belief, it does not have to be true necessarily for everyone, in this context all facts are truths but not all truths are facts. So when I have accepted something has been your truth I am neither denying it nor am I accepting it, it is something that is your truth and that is ok! I only pray that your truths bring you peace, Namste!
Archaeology is the search for fact… not truth. If it’s truth you’re looking for, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall. – Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones JR.
Today’s thought is about our definitions of the divine. It is my belief that not only should our definitions, be based on an intellectual level, but also on an intimate level. We should not limit our definitions about the divine to the borders of traditions found in our families and in our faiths. Just as man has evolved so too has the divine, for we all learn and grow.
From a Christian perspective we see the divine, in the form of monotheism, evolve from wrath into love, compassion, and forgiveness. Our definitions should not be based solely on what our parents believe or on what is written in our scriptures, no matter which scriptures you read. Always seek the divine within our own human hearts, by forming intimate connections to the divine through daily actions. Free yourself from traditions and surrender yourself over to the goodness found in a genuine connection with the divine.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of all true art and science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.