Right Action

karmaEverything we think, say, and do has consequences.  This is the law of karma.  If a person spends a great deal of time fantasizing about winning the lottery, partnering with an actor or music star they met at a fan party, or dreaming about what will happen when one gets a new job, loses twenty pounds, etc. the consequence is disappointment, possible depression, and definite suffering.  When a person focuses on being positive, enjoying the simple things in life, and verbally appreciates those around them the consequences are likely to be contentment, happiness, and friendship.  When we continuously hold a certain attitude, opinion, or belief about life it tends to manifest regardless rather the attitude is positive or negative.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  And people are about as unhappy as they make up their minds to be.

In the Analects of Confucius it states something like this- first it is necessary for the ruler to have peace in his heart, then there will be peace in the home, if there is peace in the home there will be peace in the neighborhood, if there is peace in the neighborhood there will be peace in the city, if there is peace in the city there will be peace in the nation.

So, the ability to have our actions take place in rightness depends first on having right thoughts or a right mind.  One way the dictionary puts it is to be morally correct and while there is precious little agreement about what is morally correct it behooves us, once we have decided on a set of ethics, to remain true to those ethics.  Changing our mind from one set of principles to another, possibly even to an opposing idea, to justify getting what we want is breaking the Spirit of Honor.  It is important for a human being, a son or daughter of the Divine Spirit, to know what is right according to a chosen set of life ethics and then to do what is right rather than what might feel right at the time.

Over the years as a minister, I‘ve witnessed the misery created by individuals choosing what felt right at the time over what they had proclaimed was right prior to their time of temptation.  Mostly, these decisions took place because the individual “fell in love” and knew without doubt that this time they were experiencing Ama Marai– unconditional love.  It is easy to forget that unconditional love is something only Divine Spirit can give so we spend years looking for and hoping to be loved unconditionally by our family, friends, children, and partners.  True love, for a fallible human, is facing our capacity to hurt each other.  True love is the willingness to be accountable when we do hurt people, to make amends if we can, and to strive and devote ourselves to accepting, nurturing, and cherishing the love we give and the love we have received.

Being a divine avatar, a beloved son or daughter of Divine Spirit, implies that we must struggle to move from the absurd living of the world mind to the obedient listening of Tarai Spirit Mind.  Absurd comes from the word sardus which means deaf. The dark world of ordinary reality teaches a Machiavellian attitude of expediency and unprincipled, self-aggrandizement- the standard “me first” attitude which keeps people deaf to the cries of suffering arising all over the world.  When actions take place in rightness social justice and equality become the center post for decision making.  This is the principle of democracy- the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people

Actions arise from attitude, attitude arises from habituate thoughts.  Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is more than a cute saying; it actually works.  The two most important values for living fully are appreciation and forgiveness.  This works within our own psyche as well as within communities small and large.  We must forgive ourselves for not being perfect and forgive others that they cannot live up to our expectations of them.  Appreciating what we have, and what gifts others share with us, creates a willingness to wholeheartedly engage in relationship.

  EmployeeBadAttitudeDeveloping a useful attitude starts with understanding and working within the conditioning of our ancient darkness.  If we don’t bring to light the hidden motivations of our decisions they have a way of tripping us up.  In my twenties, I had a terrible fear of abandonment and worked hard to become indispensable to those around me; so they would keep me around.  And, while I did learn the basic principles of how to be a good servant this strategy was actually unsuccessful in keeping relationships.  Friends and people in various communities found my solicitous assistance annoying or in some cases arrogant and snubbed me or even cast me out because I was a pest. Fortunately, Amma Ilowan, pointed out to me that while serving was commendable, my motivation was joyless and detrimental to myself and others.  Ah, enlightenment! Oh, shit!

Actions arise from thoughts and attitudes.  Actions are the ground on which we stand.  Actions are the karmic seeds of destiny.

The Two Wolves
Cherokee

3b4ff0e7They sat together and watched the full moon move through the stars. The young Cherokee boy had been in a fight that day and his grandfather would speak with him.

“My son,” he began, ”there is a battle that goes on inside people. This battle is between two wolves that we carry within us. One wolf is evil. It holds the energy of anger, sorrow, jealousy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, inferiority, false pride and lies.

The other wolf is good. For it holds the energy of love, joy, peace, hope, humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, faith and truth.

These wolves are very powerful. And, they are often fighting like small boys,” he said glancing down at his grandson. His smile was hidden in the darkness.

The grandson thought about it for a while, and then asked, “Which wolf wins, grandfather?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Most of us what to know the rules, learn what is expected of a spiritual person and live accordingly.  However, while we can adopt a set of precepts it’s important to remember that those precepts, like the ones I included in this chapter are a call to be more than is even humanly possible.  The reason spiritual paths create impossible goals is to elevate us to a greater height than we would choose for ourselves.  It’s more likely that when we are goal setting we attempt to vision something that is actually possible of accomplishment.  Spiritual ethics and precepts are so lofty that it reminds me of the catchphrase – Aim for the sun because even if you miss you will fall among the stars.  Our actions will always take place in rightness if we are striving for the highest things we know.

The temptation is to say that loving-kindness, peace, acceptance, forgiveness, etc. is always the answer.  And that answer may cause us to make decisions that are detrimental to ourselves or others.  I love this story about employing loving-kindness in an unusual way.

Umbrella Love  
Buddhist

teacher-and-studentSangmu was developing the practice of loving-kindness. As a young disciple, she would sit in meditation each day filling her heart with loving-kindness for all beings, may they be free from suffering. However, each day she found her practice greatly tested when she went to the market for food. There was among the shopkeepers one merchant who persistently subjected Sangmu to unwanted advances. One day she could take no more of this. She turned to the merchant and raised her umbrella to strike him. It was at that moment that she saw her teacher standing some distance away watching this situation. Humiliated and chagrined she walked over to him ready to receive the admonishment that was surely hers.

Her teacher smiled down at her and said, “Sangmu, what you should do, my child, is fill your heart completely with loving-kindness before you hit this rude man over the head with your umbrella.”

Our actions are the ground on which we stand.  Our actions are our destiny.  Any relationship we enter into will be riddled with frustration and disappointment.  That’s the price of being human. It’s in those times when we feel the most disillusioned that Spirit is calling us to be true to our soul’s honor, true to our promises, true to the moral, and ethical values we believed in when we thought life was perfect and our relationships seemed perfect. Only when tested in the fires of the dark world where we must strive to find the courage to live as a Divine Avatar, or not, do we cast the pattern of our future.  Will we choose what is right?  Or will we choose what feels so right at the moment?

 

May Changes Bring Healing

Things are often changing in our personal world and in the larger world of societal and political arenas.  Changes occur in the natural earth environment on a regular basis, some are evolutionary and some, due to human ignorance, are regressive or destructive.  Humans live with constant change, while striving to create security and permanence. Hence, our relationship to everything over which we have no control determines how we live our lives.  Viewing difficulty and suffering as isolating, a sign of weakness and failure, or as an obstacle that has to be overcome results in one world view.  Viewing difficulty and suffering as an initiatory experience that calls one to be more present and open to transcendence results in a different world view.  Changes are going to happen.  We have little or no control over our outer circumstances.  So, how are changes going to bring healing to us personally, let alone to the greater world?

523406466Once again, we come to the truth that attitude is everything.  If we examine the attitude that suffering and difficulties are an indication there is something wrong with us, with our job, with our family, with our communities, with the government, and with Spirit itself, we may conclude that “God is dead!” and “I have to look out for number one.”  At worst, this attitude becomes a cause of war, violence, domination, and the greedy, relentless destruction of the earth in order to satisfy a need for safety and comfort.  If we examine the attitude that suffering and difficulties are a normal part of life and a call for us to be open, engaged, and cooperative in discovering how to move through the vicissitudes with compassion, kindness, and generosity to all involved we might find ourselves following in the footsteps of the Great Beings of Spirit.  This attitude of initiation or innovative beginnings can become the incentive to find a cure for life-threatening diseases, discover how to feed the hungry of the world, clean up the oceans, or negotiate a lasting peace for war torn countries.  In all challenges and changes the choice is clear- will it be Me or We

Before western civilization decided to regard happiness as an inalienable right and therefore deemed pain and sadness as a diagnosis that needed treatment- woundedness and aliveness were thought of as natural and dependent on each other in order to find something deeper than momentary satisfaction- Joy.  Think of a time when you were really ill for days or even weeks and then one day you awoke and knew you were on the mend.  That feeling was more than fleeting happiness it was a deep seated joy.  Or, consider a time of loss when a loved individual, human or animal, had left you brokenhearted.  For a time, everything reminded you of the pain until one day all those same things reminded you of the love.  This is the meaning of joy. Someday, when we are awake, at last, we still have to decide how to come to peace with the very real life experience of suffering.

ABFM-changes_old-new.jpg.daijpg.380Changes can bring healing into our lives and into the world.  However, change doesn’t always bring healing or evolution.  Sometimes, change is just a different form of injustice, suffering, and rhetoric. So, how can a person develop evolutionary change?  One way is called cognitive behavioral therapy.  This is a form of self-questioning that examines motivations and unconscious habit patterns to discover if there is a true willingness to change or only an imagined desire to change.  Some of these questions are: What change do I wish to make?  Why do I want to make this change?  What are the advantages of staying the same?  What are the perceived advantages of changing?  What changes have I succeeded in making in the past?  What qualities were required to make that change?

Transformation is a process and takes more than simply making up one’s mind in order to engage the desired evolution.  Just like in the political or societal world where the majority of people have to be convinced that the restructuring process is actually worthwhile, our internal committee voices have to be convinced to cooperative or failure is inevitable and permanent.  All evolution is an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t.  Amma Ilowan often says– failure is inevitable, success requires repeated effort.  One of my favorite sayings from t-shirt ads is- What would you create if you knew you could not fail?  It takes more courage to live in the world as it is, than going open-eyed toward certain death.

pranic-healing-and-reikiA spiritual life doesn’t necessarily lead to tranquility, peace, or a beautiful feeling about ourselves or how nice it is to be together with others.  An ordinary life, with or without spirit, doesn’t lead to these feelings either.  If we want our changes to heal our heart, and bring about the possibility of a better world we need courage, determination, a positive attitude, and the remembrance of who we truly are.  The negative voices in our heads and the negative voices surrounding us are so loud and persistent that it is easy to believe them.  It’s the trap of being a fugitive hiding from life in entertainment, drugs, alcohol, or sexual addiction.  The transformational journey of healing change requires constant remembrance that we are the avatars of Divine Spirit and Divine Spirit is within us, around us, and expressing as us.  We are not taking our life journey alone.  Divine Mother, Father, and Weaver are walking with us.  Our job is to accept Presence and listen to our authentic, true self.  In this way, changes shall bring healing for ourselves and maybe the whole world.