Take Care of Your Own



"Take care of your own." A trite statement that seems to make sense.  Sounds good on the surface. A mantra - easy to repeat and no thought necessary.  Not bad advice, why wouldn't you take care of your own?

The question is where do you stop?  Where does your "own" begin and end?

When I see my little granddaughters Skylar and Kiersten, I see every little girl like them in this world.  Would I want any to suffer?  When I see the light in my wife's eyes, I see the tenderness, the hopes and joys of every wife, mother, and woman in the world.  Why wouldn't I wish happiness for them all?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of your own, but it doesn't have to be at the expense of others.  If we create a hostile world where it's us versus them then we put our very own children and others at risk.  If children grow up in a world with a scarcity mentality; where brute force is used to ensure the safety of a select few, then that is how they will learn to behave - even the dreaded "others".

In a world where all are cared for and protected, would there be terrorists and wars?  I may not be able to solve all of the world's ills and hostilities, but I do NOT want to contribute to the misery.  I do not want to create that sort of hell for my or anyone else's children.  I'm taking care of my own.

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Life

Life is a process, not an object.  Anything we call life has changed by the time we give it a name or firmly grasp it in our mind.

As I become more deeply in touch with this process, I begin to lose this ego I call self.  Loosing my identity and the doubts associated with it, I learn to flow.  Let your thoughts self liberate, like words written on the surface of a pond.

Love, patience, compassion, joy...all processes and sequences with nothing left behind.  To cling and grasp is to suffer.  Life - Flow.

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Responsibility



We are intricately intertwined with the world around us.  In fact, there is no separation.  Emptiness and interdependence can be hard to understand.  We see the world "out there" as separate from us, but in fact, what we see, hear, and touch is not separate at all.  It comes from our mind.  There is nothing that we observe that we do not observe through the filter of our mind.  The tree that you see does not exist outside of your mind.

Picture your shadow.  You see it clearly on the ground beside you.  Mistakenly you see it as something separate from you with inherent existence and confusion sets in. In reality there is no shadow without "you" blocking the light.

This is not irrelevant nor "spooky" superstition.  Quantum science knows well that the observer plays a role in reality and so should we.  Take responsibility, look closely.

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Orange Hair, Golden Showers

I try very hard not to be political on this blog, but I feel that we are at a social crisis.  The only thing that I despise more than politics is bully tactics and the manipulation of people's ignorance and fear.  It is always for our 'own good' that we are asked to give up our freedoms or to succumb to tyrany.

Be mindful, be careful, and keep love and determination in your heart.  Fear and greed lead to ugliness. Never loose your love and compassion for other beings.

For all those ailing in the world,
Until their very sickness has been healed, 
May I myself become for them
The doctor, nurse, the medicine itself.

Raining down a flood of food and drink,
May I dispel the ills of thirst and famine.
And in the aeons marked by scarcity and want,
May I appear as drink and sustenance.

- Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva 


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Victims



Change your life immediately.  Stop blaming.

Try going one full day without being a victim.  No blaming, no giving your power away.  Watch your mind closely as you do this.  Observe with amusement.  Notice the voice running through your mind, the frantic struggle to blame someone for your obstacles and frustrations. Notice your thoughts, but give them no power - let them fade and self liberate.

Try again tomorrow.  What have you got to loose?  - powerlessness, frustration, passive aggressiveness, hopelessness?


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The Author

If you could write your life like a novel, what kind of story would you tell?

Now look around at what you see.  Notice the life that you are living and compare it to the story above.  You do realize that you are responsible for the life you experience dont you?

If you don't like what you see;  should you write it differently, read it more carefully, or is there a lesson in there you're not seeing?

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Open Your Heart



Open your heart, get out of your head.

Heal your soul, look at (comprehend) your anger and fear.

End selfishness and suffering, see the big picture.

Cleanse your karma, act for the benefit of All Beings.

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Paramitas (Perfections)

Through giving we will be taken care of.
From ethics we achieve happiness.
Patience brings trust and likability.
From virtue comes brilliance and radiance.
Concentration and mindfulness bring peace.
Wisdom leads to realization and liberation.
Compassion assist with all of the above.


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Take the Load Off



Most of us feel pressure, stress, and uneasiness in our lives as a constant presence.  It's always there, even when we are otherwise happy, it lurks below the surface as an underlying sense of dread or irritation.  This is what the Buddha called suffering - dukkha.

If we look closely we will see that destructive emotions such as anger, anxiety (fear), jealousy, shame, stubborn pride (ignorance), or depression are the cause of this sense of uneasiness.

The Buddha offered the Eightfold Path as a means of relieving this suffering.  The steps and a description of this path are linked above and are well worth investigating and practicing, but often in the Western world we have trouble understanding how to incorporate them into our lives.  I would like to offer a method to begin to ease our daily struggle, a means of taking the load off and relieving our suffering so that we may see clearly and proceed on the path to realization and enlightenment.  This is by no means a substitute for the tried and true Eightfold Path, but a reworking or simplification of the beginning steps for the Western person as a place to start.

A. Practice morality so that you don't have strong feelings of guilt and fear.  To begin one might take the the following basic vows:

  1. I vow not to kill or harm other sentient beings.
  2. I vow not to steal or take what is not given to me.
  3. I vow not to misuse sexuality.
  4. I vow not to become intoxicated.
  5. I vow not to lie or mislead others with my speech.
B.  Practice generosity.  As we practice generosity we learn that we are not separate and that we have the power to help others.  Generosity gives way to an open heart and helps us to feel our personal power.  It opens our hearts to an abundance mindset as opposed to a fearful, scarcity frame of mind.

C.  Practice patience.  Patience and understanding go hand in hand.  Together they lead to compassion and understanding of the human condition.  From here springs love and joy.  

D.  Look deeply for understanding.  Meditate, observe and mull your mind.  Sit quietly to calm your mind.  Notice your mind and look at what is happening in there.  Finally question and understand.  Are you angry?  At who and why?  If you look deeply you will understand that other people are not the actual cause of your anger, they might be the trigger, but it is your own thoughts and beliefs that make you angry.  No one can cause an emotion in you without your mind's cooperation.  Can you change your beliefs?  Each destructive emotion is created by our mind.  Anxiety is caused by focusing on the future instead of the present moment and/or desiring for things to go a certain way - you are resisting reality.  Take responsibility for your emotions and investigate their causes.  Research each destructive emotion and learn the antidotes.

E.  Meditate upon the Four Immeasurables.  They are Love, Joy, Compassion, and Equinimity which is a calm mental state.

I have used the above steps to focus my practice and give it some foundation for a while now and have found it life changing.  Taking responsibility for my experience in the world has been huge.  Now I have incorporated the path of the Bodhisattva to further my understanding.  An alternative might be to take up the practice of LoJong or mind training.

I wish you well.



Just as the Buddhas of the past
Have brought forth the awakened mind,
And in the precepts of the Bodhisattvas
step-by-step abode and trained

Likewise, for the benefit of all beings
I will bring to birth the awakened mind
And in those precepts, step-by-step
I will abide and train myself.

~Shatideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva



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Agendas

"All the peace and happiness of the whole globe,
the peace and happiness of societies,
the peace and happiness of family,
the peace and happiness in the individual persons' life,
and the peace and happiness of even the animals and so forth,
all depends on having loving kindness toward each other." 

                                                                      

~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Everyone has their own agenda.

Everyone is looking out for their own interests.

The trick, as a caring person - a Bodhisattva - is to work on perfecting ourselves and expand our compassion so that our interests include others; eventually realizing that there are no "others."

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Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them all.
Desires are inexhaustible; I vow to end them all.
The Dharma Gates are infinite; I vow to enter them all.
The Buddha Way is unexcelled; I vow to attain it completely.


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Noticing (Karma)

Your mind notices so much more than you realize.  Consciously or not, it knows everything that you do and it knows your real intentions.  It knows and forms your beliefs which guide you towards the realities in your life.

Live mindfully.  Until you are liberated, karma is real.

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All appearances are mind.
Mind is empty, empty of independent existence.
Presence and phenomena spontaneously arise from emptiness.
Spontaneous arising is self liberating.

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Seeing Spots?

If you woke one morning and saw red spots everywhere you looked - in the sky, on the ground, and even upon your own face - would you believe something had happened overnight and the world was now spotted or would you question your perception?

If suddenly you heard a humming noise emitted from everywhere, even the mouths of those who spoke, would you believe that the world had changed in a day or would you question your perception?

Your brain is an organ like your eyes or ears.  When your view changes from positive to negative, when your outlook changes from optimistic to pessimistic, do you question the world or your view - the thoughts your brain is creating?

As a human we have the freedom to observe and change.  The human mind is a complicated thing.  Body chemistry, events, and conditions may trigger thoughts, moods, and emotions but we have the ability to override.  Deep looking, mindfulness, loving kindness meditation - these are all tools available to us.  Ultimately we are responsible for our own thoughts, speech, and actions - no one else.

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