Tuesday, December 20, 2011

As You Grow Older, You Can Grow Wiser and Healthier.

Modern Western medicine is beginning to accept the benefits of ancient Chinese experience. We, though the help of Eastern and Western science, can benefit from both.

I have taken the following suggestions from Kenneth S. Cohen’s excellent book, “The Way of Qigong and the Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing”. According to this concept, the goal of each human is to become a wise and healthy “Sage”.

1. The sage is true to his or her nature, neither compulsively following nor rebelling against rules of conduct. The sage is capable of expressing emotions, including anger, as necessary and appropriate to the situation. He or she practices self-acceptance and is thus more accepting and understanding of others. The first step in self-acceptance is giving oneself permission to feel what one is feeling, especially if it is anger; then inner resistance and friction is lessened and much of one’s anger is already gone.

2. The epidemic of heart disease in the West may be symptomatic of our society’s preoccupation with “enjoyment or excitement”. Excitement places sudden demands on the heart. The heart is over-stimulated by our quick pace of life: by listening to and watching frightening new reports, TV violence, and having an over-infatuation with sex and romance. The most extreme form of excitement and thus the most damaging emotion for the heart is emotional shock, whether from a negative event such as the death of a loved one or from a positive event, like winning the sweepstakes. The heart likes peace and quiet. It needs a feeling of security in order to keep an even pace as it pumps energy through the body. To enhance the feeling of security, calm down, take long walks, turn off the TV and cut down on the news.

3. The spleen is damaged by pensiveness. Your inner energy becomes knotted and stuck. Pensiveness means excess concentration, and obsessive preoccupation with a concept or subject. Excess empathy also harms the spleen. Empathy is similar to compassion. The American Heritage Dictionary defines compassion as “Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” Empathy means that we also identify with that person’s suffering. Empathy is considered excessive and damaging to the spleen when we lose a clear recognition of boundaries, when we feel distraught and upset by someone else’s problems. Pensiveness and excess empathy, the two qualities that harm the spleen and our health, are related. When we are pensive we are preoccupied with ourselves; we are overly empathic when we are preoccupied with others.

4. Each of the major internal organs can be damaged by emotional excess. However, there are also positive emotions that can help heal the organs. The lungs are healed by “righteousness”, the sense of living with integrity and dignity, which gives your self and others a kind of psychological “elbow room”, room to live and breathe. The kidneys are healed by wisdom, by a clear perception and self-understanding, a sure antidote for irrational fears. The anger of the liver is mended with kindness. The excitability of the heart is balanced by peace, calm, and orderliness. The spleen is healed by trust, faith, honesty, confidence, and a deep belief in oneself. Trust is openness and acceptance, a feeling that emerges when one finds a common ground with another.

5. And my final advice: Lose your mind and come to your senses! Spend more time in nature, seeing nature as a positive model of health and balance. The earth supports all kinds of life, impartially and without attachment. Let your mind become quiet and your senses open to the environment. Such a cure may seem too simple, non-technical, perhaps even naïve. However, it works!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What Does It All Mean?

I have been trying to find the ultimate of the meaning in life as I grow older. Recently, reading William Saroyan’s play again, “The Time Of Your Life”, his opening lines in Act 1 seem to do as fine a job of expressing what life is about as I have found:

”In the time of your life, live – so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man (or woman), nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of your self. No man’s guilt is not yours, nor is any man’s innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness (selfrighteousness) , but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle. … In the time of your life, live –- so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trust The Chaos.

I now has this statement framed in my room. It is something I can finally live by:

On what do we
Trust our own
in life?

Being right?
Being wronged?
Or attending the
And always insufficient
Knowledge that requires
Being okay with the
Self-doubt of faith?

Always be reminded how
eccentrically and suddenly a
human being can be so greatly
self-convinced of imagined
wrong and how, just as
eccentrically and suddenly,
it can also be true that in the
wink of an eye, some new
grace will be born.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Stone Is Melting In My Heart. Letting go.

How to choose without getting trapped:

1. Make the most of every experience.
2. Don’t obsess over right and wrong decisions.
3. Stop defending my self-image.
4. Go beyond risks.
5. Make no decision when in doubt.
6. See the possibilities in whatever happens.
7. Find the stream of joy.

1. The experiences need to be engaged at the level of meaning and emotion.
a. Meaning: if the moment truly matters to me, experience it fully.
b. Emotion: If the moment truly matters to me, bond with it.

2. Go with it and make the best of it.

3. Release myself from my self-image; be free to choose as if for the first time.

4. Go beyond risks; there is infinite intelligence in the hidden dimension of my life.

5. Get in contact with my essential self; make the decision then.

6. Go back to my basic principles:
a. Adapt to my desires.
b. Keep everything in balance.
c. Harmonize my individual life with the life of the cosmos.
d. Be aware of what I am doing.
e. See the consequences of my actions.
f. Make my life as real as possible.

7. Find the joy in my existence, the joy that is free of any good or bad choices.

Finally – Review my life and list my good and bad choices. Realize that good often comes from bad choices. Celebrate the good results and be thankful for them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We Can Transform Ourselves.

The day hanging by its feet with a hole
In its voice.
And the light running into the sand

Here I am once again with my dry mouth
At the fountain of thistles
Preparing to sing.”
W.S. Merwin
The Moving Target

How can I change? How can I learn to sing? How can I become someone new, wiser, able to create a more youthful energy to not only transform myself, but to help others transform their lives as well?
It seems so difficult; but poets like W.S. Merwin, extraordinary people who think outside of the box of life, can give us the vision to begin our own pursuit of self-transformation.
And Deepak Chopra, another extraordinary person, can also help us add strength to this quest. In his recent creation, The Book of Secrets, he suggests that inner transformation works according to the principles that make up the universe’s operating system. When you consciously align with them, you give yourself an opening for self-transformation.
I am going to try these principles. I am inviting you to come along on this transformational quest:

I will write down the ten principles as they personally apply to me and will begin to live them. I will carry them around with me and refer to them as reminders every few days. I believe that it’s better to focus with attention on one principle a day then trying to work on too many of them at once.
1. The events in my life reflect who I am:
I will apply one experience today to myself. Whatever catches my attention is trying to tell me something. If I feel angry with anyone, I will see if what I dislike in the person actually exists in me. If an overheard conversation catches my attention, I will take those words as a personal message. I want to find the world that is inside me.
2. The people in my life reflect aspects of myself:
I am a composite of every person who is important to me. I am going to look upon friends and family as a group picture of me. Each stands for a quality I want to see in myself or want to reject. Yet in reality I need to realize that I’m really part of the whole picture. Then I can gain the most knowledge from those people who both I intensely love and intensely dislike: The one reflects my highest aspirations; the other reflects my deepest fears of what lies inside me.
3. Whatever I pay attention to will grow:
I will take inventory of how I’m using my attention. I will keep a log of how much time I spend with television, video games, the computer, hobbies, gossip, work I don’t care about, work I am passionate about, activities that fascinate me, and fantasies of escape or fulfillment. In this way I will find out what aspects of my life are going to grow. Then I will ask, “What do I want to grow in my life?” This will tell me if and where my attention needs to shift.
4. Nothing is random—my life is full of signs and symbols:
I will look for patterns in my life. These patterns could be anywhere: in what others say to me, the way they treat me, the way I react to situations. I am weaving the tapestry of my world every day, and I need to know what design I am making. I will look for signs that show me my hidden beliefs. Do I meet opportunities for success or failure? These are symbols for whether I believe I have personal power or not. I will look for signs about my belief in whether I am loved and whether I deserve to be loved.
5. At any given moment, the universe is giving me the best results possible:
I will concentrate today on the gifts in my life. I will focus on what is working instead of what isn’t. I will appreciate the world of light and shadow. I will receive with grace the remarkable gift of awareness. I will notice how my own level of awareness makes me perceive the world I am co-creating.
6. My inner awareness is always evolving:
Where do I stand right now? How far have I come on my chosen path? Even if I don’t see immediate results outside myself, do I feel that I am growing inside? Today I will face these questions and honestly ask where I stand. I will experience my awareness not as a stream of thoughts but as the potential for becoming who I want to be. I will look at my limitations and boundaries with the intention of expanding beyond them.
7. The direction of life is from duality to unity:
Today I want to belong. I want to feel safe and at home. I want to be aware of what it’s like simply to be, without defenses or desires. I will appreciate the flow of life for what it is; my own self. I will notice those moments of intimacy with myself, when I feel that “I am” is enough to sustain me forever. I will lie on the grass looking at the sky, feeling myself at one with nature, expanding until my being fades into the infinite.
8. If I open myself to the force of evolution, it will carry me where I want to go:
Today is for long-term thought process about myself. What is my vision of Life? How does that vision apply to me? I want my vision to unfold without struggle. Is that happening? If not, where am I putting up resistance? I will look at the beliefs that seem to hold me back the most. Am I depending on others instead of being responsible for my own evolution? Have I allowed myself to focus on external rewards as substitute for inner growth? Today I will rededicate myself to inner awareness. Knowing that it is the home of evolutionary impulse that drives the universe.
9. The fragmented mind cannot get me to unity, but I have to use it along the way:
Today I will focus on a long term plan for myself. What experiences of oneness can I look back upon? Today I will remember the difference between being at one with myself and being scattered. I will find my center, my peace, and my ability to go with the flow. The thoughts and desires that drive me are not the ultimate reality. They are just a way to get myself back to oneness. I will remember that thoughts come and go like leaves in the wind, but the core of consciousness is forever. My goal is to live from that core.
10. I am living in many dimensions at once; the appearance of being trapped in time and space is an illusion:
I will set time aside to be present with myself in silence. As I breathe I will see my being spreading outward in all directions. As I settle into my own inner silence, any image that comes to mind will be asked to join my being. I will include anyone and anything that comes to mind, saying, “You and I are one at the level of being. Come, join me beyond the drama of space and time.” In the same way I will experience love as a light that begins in my heart and spreads out as far as my awareness can reach: as images arise in my mind I will send love and light in their direction.”

Working on the principles of transformation listed above will be a slow and ongoing process for me. Yet I believe that over the next several weeks, they will grow more familiar and more comfortable.
Join with me in working on them in your life. I am sure that if we dedicate ourselves to this transformation process during the next weeks, you and I will feel the results in our own lives.
Soon, I will offer more ideas that will help our new lifestyle to prosper. Good luck!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Learning To Give Oneself Away


The bird of ash has appeared at windows
And the roads will turn away, mourning.
What distances we survived, the fire
With its one wing.
And I with my blackened heart.

I came home as a web to a spider,
To teach the flies of my household
Their songs. I walked
In on the mirrors scarred as match-boxes,
The gaze of the frames and the ticking
In the beams. The shadows
Had grown a lot and they clung
To the skirts of the lamps.
Remembered who I was.

The dead turn in their locks and
I wake like a hand on a handle. Tomorrow
Marches on the old walls, and there
Is my coat full of darkness in its place
On the door.
Welcome home,
W.S. Merwin, The Moving Target

Sometimes, what matters as one grows older isn’t what one has but what one gives up. As we age, our memories of who we were and what we have achieved informs who we are now. But our day to day lives, our essential ego, our identity of the present moment, the true reality of who we are at this new minute after minute, also moves along and changes with the years we continue to spend on this planet.
We no longer are who we were. We no longer have the youthfulness, the biological vigor we once had. We have lost old loves, passions and friends. We are strangers in an increasingly strange new land. As we age, we become more and more estranged and lost from our old self and our old, comfortable loves, fears, and the reassurances of our past lives. We need to pay more attention to this passing of the old and must begin to learn how to welcome and integrate ourselves into our changing lives.
Yes, it is daunting to realize that we are losing who we were and what we have accomplished, that we can even lose those sad, bad memories which previously continued to haunt us. And now, in our middle and later years, we have a new opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to create new passions and desires; and most important, we can find new friends, do new work, spend more time in sharing with others in our new, emerging later lives.
Now is the time to learn how to give from our present, older, and hopefully, wiser, hearts and souls. We are who we are now, at this moment, new persons who have the priceless opportunity not to die unhappily, dwelling in our past, but to begin again in this new age with new prospects. We need only to have the courage and acquired wisdom to grasp and squeeze every drop of joy, satisfaction, and yes, gratitude, with the last bits of energy and compassion we still have left in us.
What I am telling myself, and you, is that this is our new, probably greatest opportunity. Look around you, what needs to be done? Who around you needs your help, your companionship, your comfort, right now? What can still make you happy, a little more content; what can make you feel like you are accomplishing something that will make a difference to the ones you love, your friends, the homeless, the needy on your block or in your town?
People and causes need you. You have a new opportunity to change your life, change someone else’s life, the opportunity to let go of those old unhappy memories and create new memories for the new you who is still alive and still has the energy and the will to do something new, maybe even revolutionary.
Let’s get going! Let’s let go of those old, faded memories and find some new ones to take their place!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back again.

I'm back again, and ready to go!
There comes a time in every person's life when we think we're nearing the end of life, and heck, let's just give up.
But, if we're lucky and maybe a little smart, we then think, the hell with that. While I'm still breathing, I'm still able to be doing. So let's get going and see where our last part of life can take us.
Mr. Michael Sabon, that great author of "Wonder Boys" and other fine fiction said: "I aught to have been welcoming the bright angel of disorder into my life like a pickling flow of blood into a limb that had fallen asleep." And I said,
"I have enough trouble being who I am, and not what I used to be, so ...
"It's about time I face the reality of "now" and the life I have left before me..."
PS: If you have trouble following this, just take a little time and think about. We'll carry on this conversation later ...