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The Farther Reaches of Human Nature

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Abraham Maslow, Lecture 3: The Jonah Complex A third lecture on Abraham Maslow's The Farther Reaches of Human Nature.
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"I have recently found it more and more useful to differentiate between two kinds (or better, degrees) of self-actualizing people, those who were clearly healthy, but with little or no experiences of transcendence, and those in whom transcendent experiencing was important and even central."

Abe Maslow

Introduction

Abraham Maslow was a professor of psychology at Brandeis University, a social scientist, one of the foremost spokesmen of the humanistic psychologies, and author of many books and articles, including: Toward a Psychology of Being, and Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences. He is considered a pioneer, and in a "Review of General Psychology" survey, published in 2002, he was ranked as the tenth most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Maslow's research concluded that psychology had been selling human nature short by focusing too much on pathology, while ignoring our positive potential. He realized that what we generally call "normal" is in reality a stunted and limited condition compared to what is possible for us. He sought to elucidate what the most highly developed human beings revealed.

I do not claim to fully embody these qualities; far from it, although I continue to work toward their realization. In fact, it is precisely the follies, missteps and disasters in my own life that have led me to seek an understanding of the "farther reaches" of what is possible.

Despite the temptation - rather than thinking of the following qualities using the metaphor of ascension - one may be better served by seeing the evolution of consciousness as a process of deepening or becoming more "soulful."

Maslow's Pyramid

This article is titled after a collection of his essays, which can be thought of as the summation of his life's work. Maslow is primarily known for his model of a "hierarchy of human needs," conceptualized as a pyramid beginning with the most basic needs at the bottom and moving up toward more complex needs.

These sources of motivation include:

Physiological needs such as food, water, warmth, rest.

Safety needs - a sense of security.

Belonging and love needs, such as friendships and intimacy.

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I work as a psychotherapist with an emphasis on transformational learning - a blend of psychoanalytic and transpersonal approaches, and am the author of Self Actualization and Unselfish Love and co-author of Families Helping Families: (more...)
 

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Blair Gelbond

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Maslow's research was broad and deep. Early in his career it included dominance in monkeys and humans; later he expanded to look into authoritarianism.

He went on extensively explore optimal psychological health and functioning as a coherent personality syndrome. Late in life, during the 1960s Maslow founded with Stanislav Grof, Viktor Frankl, James Fadiman, Anthony Sutich, and Michael Murphy, the school of Transpersonal Psychology, and described it as the "fourth force" in psychology.

Maslow had concluded that humanistic psychology was incapable of explaining a variety of aspects of human experience. He identified various mystical, ecstatic, or spiritual states as experiences beyond self-actualization.

Transpersonal psychology was concerned with the "empirical, scientific study of, and responsible implementation of the finding relevant to, becoming, mystical, ecstatic, and spiritual states."

He believed that psychedelic drugs like LSD and Psilocybin were able to produce peak experiences and profoundly positive altered states of consciousness in the right people under the right circumstances.

His work spoke directly to my experience. I based some of my college and graduate school research on this work in part to be able to understand the implications of my own experiences.

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 4, 2021 at 11:57:08 PM

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Working to serve the world is like a self sharpening tool. We work on ourselves to become better "servants," who keep the Whole in mind (while dealing with specific issues). Doing so helps us to become more authentic, clearer, and heart-centered people, who are better able to relieve suffering in the world.

The planet needs human beings who are willing to become compassion and wisdom-based individuals, and are able to stretch their perceptions and actions to think in terms of "parts" - yes - but also "wholes." ("Act locally, think globally"). We need to be able to see things clearly at both levels. In terms of our previous conditioning, this will require us to grow beyond old habits, limits, and ego-centricity - into love.

Many people seem to be "asleep" when it comes to the multiple feedback loops that constitute our current planetary predicament. A major dimension of the solution is not on the practical level (although this is also essential); Rather, it is making the effort to awaken ourselves to our potential, and doing the same for others. Are you and I willing to take this task on?

Submitted on Monday, Jul 5, 2021 at 1:57:27 PM

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Well said. Stay true to your calling. Many go to their graves, having touched no lives with life-giving -sustaining-truth.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 6, 2021 at 5:30:41 AM

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Irene,

Those of us who have been blessed with awakening have the option to continue the awakening process, and eventually to "die into truth." Transcendence of the ego is a possibility, though the journey be long and at times arduous.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 6, 2021 at 1:34:59 PM

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Richard Alpert, Harvard psychology professor, traveled to India and eventually found a guru (Neem Karoli Baba), who gave him the name, Ram Dass - which translates as "servant of God."

I think this is an ideal reminder for one to have. Serving Divinity in all beings. I know the name helped him remember his purpose and intention.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 6, 2021 at 1:42:04 PM

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While self-actualization and transcendence may be exalted goals, most of us are occupied with simply coping with daily life. Daily life presents us with daily challenges - also known as "problems."

As Scott Peck points out, problems can evoke in us frustration, grief, sadness, loneliness, guilt, regret, feat, anxiety, anguish or even despair. Our usual response is to push these emotions away (or into the unconscious) and struggle through them. However, solving problems can bring forth our courage and our wisdom.

Even so, it is commonplace to seek to avoid problems. It is not unusual for many (if not most) of us to avoid problems by procrastinating, ignoring, forgetting them, or pretending they do not exist. We may skirt around problems and try to get out of them, rather than meet them head on and suffer through them.

Peck states that the tendency to avoid problems, and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the basis of all human mental illness.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 6, 2021 at 2:02:06 PM

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I have, for some time, been in the process of moving toward, rather than away from tasks that are uncomfortable. I have learned to listen to my gut feeling, heeding Peck's statement the tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering which accompanies them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.

It usually turns out that whatever suffering I experience is minor, compared to the alternative: a niggling feeling that I have avoided what needs to be done, rather than what I might "want" to do in a given moment. And I do experience a feeling of satisfaction in doing what is "needed." If quite a bit of effort is involved, taking breaks between "doing what is needed" to rest or find an activity that is gratifying, is helpful.

As Peck says, most of us have the tendency to avoid problems and therefore, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree. I seek to heed Carl Jung's wise words: "Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering."

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In The Road Less Traveled, Peck devotes a number of chapters to exploring the subject of discipline, as a route to self-actualization and transcendence.

He goes on to devote even more pages to the subject of love.

I was a first son and to some degree was doted upon. Although by nature I was a giving person, the family atmosphere also served to cultivate egocentricity. For sure, it was a confusing, "mixed bag." I still possess elements of self-centeredness, and recognize that the complete elimination of these tendencies is 1) the work of a lifetime; and 2) identical with the enlightenment of the saints and sages. It has taken years to begin to understand and embody service as a way of life. I consciously chose a profession that would evoke this quality.

Peck offers a helpful distinction between "loving" and "being in love."

No doubt, the experience of being in love is exhilarating, exquisite, and delightful. Peck adds that this experience involves the collapse of ego boundaries: the sense of being "blown away" - of being at one with the object of our desire and affection.

Falling in love is a type of love. And the experience of loving also involves ego boundaries. But in this case, it is a matter of extending one's boundaries or limits. What occurs over the course of time is an enlargement of our sense of self. We learn to "go the extra mile" for those we love. As we do, our ego boundaries become thinned, and we experience a different version of the ecstasy we felt when falling in love. This will usually be more gentle and less dramatic; perhaps we might call it "a rising in love."

Be that as it may, loving involves transcendence, and is a well-traveled route to self-actualization.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 7, 2021 at 12:15:06 AM

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Maslow differentiated between 2 types of love: D (or deficiency) love and B (or being-love).

Deficiency love is the process of loving another person (especially a partner) focused on the need for one's own gratification.

B-love is form of love characterized by mutuality, genuine concern for another's welfare and pleasure, and reduced dependency, selfishness, and jealousy.

There is also the form of love manifested by the Buddha or the Christ - an unconditional love that can be compared to the sun shining on all things and all beings. One might say that the goal of the spiritual path is to become love itself.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 7, 2021 at 6:42:10 PM

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B-Love includes separateness:

Despite our myths that marriage involves union - "the two becoming one," the reality is that authentic love preserves the distinction oneself and the beloved. Other than in exceptional moments (such as "falling in love," or sexual orgasm) the distinction between oneself and the other is always maintained.

Fusion or merging - a failure to perceive and respect the individuality of the beloved - is very common, and the cause of much unnecessary suffering. It commonly shows up as a symptom of narcissism, where the other person is seen as an extension of oneself.

Being love - as Maslow calls it - seeks to support and cultivate the separateness of the beloved, and this itself enriches the union, including the spiritual growth of both people. Too often, marriage is the coming together of two people who are terrified by their basic, existential aloneness.

There also is a form of "transcendental love" which experiences two levels of being simultaneously (or sequentially). Here, one perceives the separateness of the beloved, and also has the experience that the other and oneself are both manifestations of Divinity. One "sees the light of God in oneself and others," and at the same time perceives the uniqueness of each of us. It has taken me quite some time to begin to approach this way of being.

A humorous example of this dynamic is Ram Dass's statement that, "We are all one, and you still stole my TV." It is, of course, challenging to keep these two levels going - both in day-to-day life in the world, and in an intimate love relationship.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 8, 2021 at 12:59:45 PM

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Almost always, our psycho-spiritual development is uneven. It is not unusual to be learning the ropes of B- (Being) Love, while still carrying a relatively heavy load of D- (Deficiency) Love. Particularly in a culture marked by multi-generation dysfunctionality like the U.S., children have been inadequately loved. As adults, this has left its mark on our ability to love well.

It may well take decades for us to work through and leave behind the aftermath of our parents' inadequacies and failures. At best, this requires significant patience and persistence. We best not deceive ourselves through the illusion of premature transcendence.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 9, 2021 at 12:48:37 AM

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One of the most common symptoms of D-Love is difficulty with commitment. Commitment is the bedrock of any genuinely loving relationship. Anyone who is truly concerned with nurturing the spiritual or psychological growth of another person, knows - either instinctively or consciously - that he or she can significantly foster that growth through a relationship of constancy.

I know this because there were large holes in the texture of constancy in my own family of origin. The atmosphere of unpredictability made the process of growing toward maturity significantly more arduous than it otherwise would have been.

Many of us have difficulties with commitment in the present because - either in obvious or more subtle ways - our parents failed to commit themselves to us as children . Parental commitment allows a child (and future adult) to feel rooted in deep feelings of security: the knowledge that the parent would (as much as possible) always be there to support and nurture the child in a reasonable way, should the child feel threatened.

Those of us who were exceptionally fortunate were provided with a deep inner experience of security. In this sense we were given a "leg up" when it comes to developing B-Love. As for the rest of us, our destiny - in terms of developing B-Love - entails the work of facing the deficits we endured and patiently working them through on an emotional level. In this way we become more whole as people.

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In the psychospiritual discipline known as Psychosynthesis (whose founder, Roberto Assagioli, was one of Freud's first students to break away from his circle) it is postulated that we have a "higher unconscious" or "superconscious," in addition to Freud's formulation, which psychosynthesis refers to as the "lower unconscious."

Today, an increasing number of people are accessing the superconscious. There is a strong kinship with what Maslow referred to in speaking about transcendence, peak experiences and the farther reaches of human nature.

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However, a form of confusion can occur known as "spiritual bypassing" or "premature transcendence."

'Spiritual bypassing' is a term first coined by John Welwood to describe the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with out painful feelings, unresolved emotional wounds, developmental needs, and day-to-day responsibilities.

It tends to be more common than we assume, and in fact is so pervasive, as to be largely unnoticed.

Because this preference has been so deeply and thoroughly absorbed by our culture, it has been essentially normalized, and fits into our collective habit of turning away from what is painful.

We can have exhilarating experiences and feel ourselves on a high plateau, while in fact we are manifesting distortions vis-a-vis material from the "lower unconscious," which we have repressed or suppressed. In this case, as long as a person has convinced themselves that they are functioning on a higher plane, their negativity will leak out, while they rationalize away their distortions, especially in relationships with others.

Thus, my opinion is that for those of us consciously on a path of both personal and spiritual growth - where superconscious energies are beginning to enter our lives - we need to remain vigilant lest self-deception have us believing we are further along than we actually are.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 9, 2021 at 7:20:56 PM

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We can have exhilarating experiences and feel ourselves on a high plateau, which in turn can be distorted by material in the "lower unconscious" that we have repressed and avoided. In this case, as long as a person has convinced themselves that they are functioning on a higher plane, their negativity will unexpectedly (and often unconsciously) leak out, especially in relationships with others, while they rationalize their distortions.

In the worst-case scenario, a person enmeshed in self deception will use compartmentalization and denial. Many Nazis were known to be involved in abhorrent actions during the day, and then come home and be "wonderful" family men at night.

The same dynamics can apply to beings that have personality disorders, yet are ostensibly pursuing a spiritual path. One part of them can quote scriptures and the golden words of their teachers. Meanwhile they remain separated - as if by a concrete wall - from the malignant narcissistic and anti-social traits they manifest in daily life. And never the twain shall meet: they remain blissfully unconscious of their own destructiveness and the enormous division within themselves.

At a lesser extreme, there can be types of more subtle spiritual bypassing - a widespread and persistent shadow of spiritual growth.

Traits of which we are usually unaware and which we rarely acknowledge include: exaggerated detachment, overemphasis on the positive, lopsided development (e.g., cognitive intelligence being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence) weak or too porous boundaries, blind or overly tolerant compassion ("enabling"), anger-and confrontation- phobia, emotional numbing and repression, devaluation of the personal life relative to the spiritual, debilitating judgment about one's own negativity or shadow elements, and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being. We may fall into premature forgiveness and confuse anger and chronic irritation with assertiveness, leaving us disempowered and with weak personal boundaries.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 10, 2021 at 1:31:01 PM

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The trappings of spiritual bypassing can look good, but the appearance and experience of serenity is more akin to metaphysical valium, especially for those who have made a virtue out of being and looking positive.

This pattern usually involves fleeing our darker ("less spiritual") emotions, impulses and intentions, such that the person is essentially trapped within the very practices and philosophies they hoped would liberate them and make them whole. Instead, we attempt to feel better by remaining unconscious of these emotions and intentions, although they are often evident to others.

One way to do this is stay "really busy" and have ambitious goals that preoccupy our consciousness, while keeping our darker tendencies out of awareness.

Spiritual bypassing can be noticed by an excessive niceness, which in fact strands us from authenticity and emotional depth. The "spiritual" philosophies that commonly form the basis of this syndrome tend to keep us from experiencing the tragic dimensions of life. This applies both to our personal griefs and our pain for a world riven by suffering.

Almost all of us have engaged in this pattern at one time or another to make ourselves feel better or more secure.

Because this is so, we can engage its manifestations in ourselves and others with compassion, even if this needs to be fiery or confrontational. We need to be careful to not be shaming or condemning by including our thoughts and feelings in our awareness without allowing them to run the show. This may take considerable restraint, especially when we think we or others should know better.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 10, 2021 at 1:39:33 PM

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Instead of ("spiritually") trying to "get beyond" our personal history, we need to learn to relate to it with as much compassion and clarity as we can muster in a way that serves, rather than obstructs our healing and awakening.

As spiritually inclined people become more intimate with their pain and difficulties, they become more authentic and strike others as "more real;" they then either question or abandon the spiritual practices which fed their distortions and will be able to find a path that involves less submissiveness and more integrity. They may feel compelled to find a new tradition that better suits their needs and encourages their embracing the whole of who they are.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 10, 2021 at 1:48:00 PM

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If we are seeking the "farther reaches of human nature," there are an infinite number of paths to take, or at least as many as there are people on the planet. Art may be considered one path; athletics, another. Through these activities we can experience a "flow state," in which the separate ego seems to disappear. Buddhist tradition focuses in an overall way on "mindfulness," or simply "paying attention."

I would like to share one road - known as "the eight-fold path" - which the Buddha articulated for those who wished to attain the state he had achieved, known as "full enlightenment" or spiritual liberation.

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 11, 2021 at 3:25:46 PM

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If we are seeking the "farther reaches of human nature," there are an infinite number of paths to take, or at least as many as there are people on the planet. Art may be considered one path; athletics, another. Through these activities we can experience a "flow state," in which the separate ego seems to disappear. Buddhist tradition focuses in an overall way on "mindfulness," or simply "paying attention."

I would like to share one road - known as "the eight-fold path" - which the Buddha articulated for those who wished to attain the state he had achieved, known as "full enlightenment" or spiritual liberation.

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 11, 2021 at 3:26:07 PM

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As I understand it, the eight-fold path is simultaneously grounded, practical and transcendent. It can gently lead us from an identification with ego to a vast openness some call God. Yet, the ego in its near-infinite cleverness, can always find a way to undermine our growth.

Westerners (and this likely applies to all beings attempting to walk the spiritual path) are vulnerable to various missteps. It is more than wise to be aware of these perils. As long as we are still identified with "our" ego, we will be vulnerable to spiritual bypassing - the basis of which is to avoid pain. Whether the practice is dispassionate witnessing or various devotional rituals, we remain stranded in a limbo of exaggerated gentleness, excessive niceness and/or superficiality. Other detours in the road include premature forgiveness and emotional dissociation.

The most obvious traps include the belief that we should rise above our difficulties and simply embrace Oneness, but in the process divide everything into the One and the many, higher and lower, spiritual and non-spiritual, positive and negative. Cloaked in the appearance of discernment, it is a veritable metaphysical lullaby.

One may have had experiences of the innate unity of Being, and yet use this as a way of reinforcing fragmentation by separating oneself from what is painful, distressing and unhealed - and instead settle for "looking good" - to oneself and others. Our ostensible serenity and detachment essentially become metaphysical valium.

A common sign of spiritual bypassing is a lack of grounding in the body, which keeps is "afloat" or rigidly tied to a spiritual system that provides us with the experience of the solidity we lack.

Too often psychotherapy is seen as less worthy than a spiritual approach. One is often advised to rise above personal pain, not identify with the ego, and for example, merely to "trust in God." Many meditation teachers realized that the psycho-emotional work they needed could only be done in a psychotherapeutic context, beyond deep meditation practice.

As people become more intimate with their pain and difficulties, and understand the origins of their troubles with an open heart and a receptive ear, they enter into a deeper life of integrity, authenticity, love and sanity in which the personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal levels of their being are all honored and can be shared with others.

The most obvious traps include the belief that we should rise above our difficulties and simply embrace Oneness, yet in the process dividing everything into the One and the many, higher and lower, spiritual and non-spiritual, positive and negative. Cloaked in the appearance of discernment it is a veritable metaphysical lullaby.

Spiritual bypassing distances us not only from our present and historical personal pain and issues, but also from our authentic spirituality.

Submitted on Monday, Jul 12, 2021 at 12:49:16 PM

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The first section of the Buddha's "Noble Eight-fold Path" is called "Right Understanding." The term, "right" can be also be translated as "ideal."

One of the methods the Buddha taught for achieving this understanding - which extends from the earthliest day-to-day life to the most transcendent - was via the basic meditation technique he taught. In the modern world it is known as mindfulness.

We human beings have been classified as Homo Sapiens sapiens, which means "the human that is doubly wise."

Animals (other than a few we know of) cognize the world directly. There is no doubt that a cat can be alert and concentrated - especially when he or she sees something it wants. It appears, however, that most animals do not have the capacity to mentally step back and observe themselves or their mental processes.

It is this capacity for "witnessing ourselves" that characterize humans. Thus, we can say that, in addition to thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and intentions, we possess awareness, which is the capacity to be mindful of, rather than merely identified with, these phenomena. Mindfulness meditation, translated from the original Pali, is described as "seeing things as they are."

It is through strengthening this latent gift that, in time, we can come to an understanding of the laws and ways of our universe and ourselves.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021 at 12:19:17 AM

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1) "Right Understanding:"

The first element of "ideal understanding" has to do with the Buddha's first words after his enlightenment. It is said that he was radiant and the first people who encountered him asked, "Are some kind of an angel?" He answered, "No." "Well, are you some kind of a god then?" "No." "Well, then are you some kind of a wizard or magician?" "No," he replied. "Well, are you a man?" "No," he said. "Then what are you?" He answered, "I am awake."

And in those three words he was saying that to be a Buddha is to be one who has awakened - awakened to the nature of life and death and the world in which we live, awakened to the body and mind. So, we can say that the purpose of practicing meditation is not to become a meditator, or a spiritual person, or a Buddhist, or to join something. Rather, it is to understand this capacity we have as humans to awaken.

And what is it which we can awaken to?... to the laws of the universe and the teachings which describe them - in Buddhism, known as the Dharma, which refers to that which is universal. All of this can be discovered when we bring our attention into the present moment, discovering what it means to be awake.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021 at 12:30:37 AM

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So, we can clearly notice that one aspect of "ideal understanding" is that we are only here for, a very short while: 80-100 years and often much less.

One way to live is to be more or less lost in thoughts and fantasies (whether conscious or not), and the other is that while we have this life - to come into it; to live in our physical bodies, to be aware of the senses, to open to the reality we behold. When we do that and we pay attention, we start to see some of the characteristics of the Dharma or the life in which we live.

One characteristic is impermanence.

One Buddhist sutra advises us think of this fleeting world as "a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, an echo, a rainbow, a phantom and a dream."

As we more closely observe ourselves and reality, the more we realize that everything we look at is changing: all the experiences in the body and mind, all the experiences of the senses change.

It all may seem solid, but really, it's like a movie. When we watch the screen and get caught in the story, it seems like it's very real. But when we turn our attention to the projector, or slow it down, or focus our awareness very carefully, we start to see that it's one frame after another, one appearing and dissolving and the next arising.

It's so it is for our life, because things don't last. And because things don't last, if we're attached to them being a certain way, what happens?...We suffer, or we get disappointed.

We start to see that one of the essential laws of things in this universe is that things are impermanent; that grasping or attachment doesn't work, and that there must be some other way. This is what Alan Watts called, "the wisdom of insecurity,"

We also see that, not only are things and situations impermanent and ungraspable, but that if we're attached to them there's suffering, so that there's pain as well as pleasure in this world.

We see - on a visceral level - that we grow up, grow old, and sooner or later, die. Sometimes we get sick, sometimes we feel good, sometimes we hurt. So, we might say that we rent, but do not own our bodies.

*

Another law of the universe we discover is the law of cause and effect, known in the East as karma. It means that we become what we do, or that our present actions create how our future will be. It is easy to remain oblivious re- this reality. For example, we have the option tp notice that if we practice being angry all the time, in a while when an irritating situation arises, that will be our conditioned response to it, and it will create anger in other people; and eventually, that will be the kind of world we end up in. If we practice being loving, that becomes the way of what will happen to us in the future.

The Buddha said in essence: If you maintain a basic level of non-harming, if your words are honest and helpful, if your actions are truthful and based on kindness, your world will start to become kind. Inside you'll feel kinder and happier; outside people will treat you that way.

The law of karma is one of the first things we observe if we live our lives with mindfulness and awareness.

Jesus said it this way: "You reap what you sow."

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021 at 1:36:28 PM

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An elderly Jewish woman in New York goes to a travel agent and says, "Please get me a ticket to Tibet. I want to go see the guru."

The travel agent says, "You know, it's a long trip to Tibet. You'd be much happier going to Miami."

She says "I insist. I want to go."

So this old lady gets a ticket, brings her things with her, gets on the plane and goes to India, gets the visa and the pass, takes the train up to Sikkim, gets a border pass, takes the bus up to the Tibetan plateau, and gets out.

And her fellow travelers are all saying, "Where are you going?"

She replies: "I must go see the guru."

They say, "It's such a long way. You're an old lady. It's up in the mountains."

She says, "I'm going. I have to see the guru."

She arrives and at the bottom of the mountain and one of the guru's attendants tells her, "You know, you only get three words with him."

"It doesn't matter, I am going."

So she goes, and she gets on the horse in Tibet, because there are no roads in this part, gets to this large mountain, and all these pilgrims are saying, "Where are you going?"

She says, "I want to see the guru."

They say, "Remember, you get just three words."

She says, "I know, I know."

She gets in line, finally past the guards at the door who say, "Three words only." She goes in and there's the guru sitting in his robes with a kind of scraggly beard.

He looks up at her and she looks at him, and she says, "Sheldon, come home."

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021 at 1:58:05 PM

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Well... it turns out I jumped gun re- the eight-fold path, since the matter of ethical living precedes the deeper levels of path. I will return to "Right Understanding."

But before leaving the topic for now, I'd like to add a few things about the concept of "ideal understanding."

Within the overall concept of this path, the most exalted grasp of "Right Understanding" is the highest wisdom, which is capable of perceiving the Ultimate Reality.

According to Buddhism there are two sorts of understanding. What we generally call "understanding" is knowledge, an accumulated memory, an intellectual grasping of a subject according to certain given data. This is called "knowing accordingly" (anubodha). It is not very deep. Real deep understanding or "penetration" (pativedha) is perceiving a thing in its true nature - in the light of universal manifestation.

As William Blake put it:

"To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour."

My early family life was disturbing and confusing. My first glimpse of a deeper or higher reality arose from the use of psychedelics. From there I moved on to meditation and spiritual practice. This, at first, was an arduous process.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021 at 1:28:47 PM

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According to Buddhism, it is possible to perfect two qualities which can be developed simultaneously : compassion (karuna) on one side, and wisdom (panna) on the other.

Here compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance on the emotional side (qualities of the heart), while wisdom reflects qualities of the mind.

If one develops only the emotional, neglecting the intellectual, one may become a good-hearted fool (which Trungpa Rimpoche once called "idiot compassion," while to develop only the wisdom function, while neglecting the heart-centered quality of being, may turn one into a hard-hearted intellect without feeling for others - like looking down at someone who has fallen and merely saying: "karma"...

In the aim of the Buddhist way of life wisdom and compassion are inseparably linked together.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021 at 1:51:57 PM

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Virtually the whole teaching of the Buddha, to which he devoted himself during 45 years, deals in some way or other with the practicalities of eight-fold path.

He explained it in different ways and in different words to different people, according to the stage of their development and their capacity to understand (as did Christ). The essence of those many thousand discourses scattered in the Buddhist scriptures is found in the noble eightfold path.

It should not be thought that the eight categories or divisions of the path should be followed and practiced one after the other in numerical order. Rather, they are to be developed more or less simultaneously, according to the capacity of each individual. They are all linked together and each helps the cultivation of the others.

The eight divisions of the path can be grouped according to three headings.

These eight factors aim at promoting and perfecting the three essentials of Buddhist training and discipline, namely:

(a) ethical conduct (sila),

(b) mental discipline (samadhi) and

(c) wisdom (panna).

ETHICAL CONDUCT

Ethical conduct (sila) is built on the vast conception of universal love and compassion for all living beings. Practically speaking, it is difficult to engage in deep meditation or prayer, when our mind is occupied by guilt re- all the nasty things we have done.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 15, 2021 at 12:43:53 PM

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It should be realized that the Buddhist ethical and moral conduct aims at promoting a happy and harmonious life both for the individual and for society. Moral conduct is considered as the indispensable foundation for all higher spiritual attainments. No spiritual development is possible without this moral basis.

Three factors (right - or "ideal" - speech, right action, and right livelihood) of the eightfold path constitute ethical conduct.

"Ideal speech"

Right speech means abstention (1) from telling lies, (2) from backbiting and slander and talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity, and disharmony among individuals or groups of people, (3) from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, and abusive language, and (4) from idle, useless, and foolish babble and gossip. When one abstains from these forms of wrong and harmful speech one naturally has to speak the truth, has to use words that are friendly and benevolent, pleasant and gentle, meaningful, and useful. One should not speak carelessly; speech should be at the right time and place. If one cannot say something useful, one should keep "noble silence."

As Zen masters and other liberated beings have shown, there are occasions when abrasive speech can play a useful role in awakening another person. Yet, it is assumed that they have reached what could be called "the end of the path." For those of us still walking it, it makes sense to follow these guideline s to rein in and eventually transcend the ego. At the same time we need to make compassionate room for our human imperfections.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 15, 2021 at 12:56:54 PM

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RIGHT ACTION

Right action aims at promoting moral, honorable, and peaceful conduct. It admonishes us that we should abstain from destroying life, from stealing, from dishonest dealings, from illegitimate sexual intercourse (e.g. with another who is married), and that we should also help others to lead a peaceful and honorable life.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 15, 2021 at 12:59:40 PM

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RIGHT (or "ideal") LIVELIHOOD

Right livelihood means that one should abstain from making one's living through professions that brings harm to others, such as trading in arms and lethal weapons, intoxicating drinks or poisons, killing animals, cheating, etc., and should live by a profession which is honorable and innocent of harm to others. One can clearly see here that Buddhism is strongly opposed to any kind of war, when it states that trade in arms and lethal weapons is an evil and unjust means of livelihood. Naturally, in extreme cases, there can be exceptions.

These three factors (right speech, right action, and right livelihood) of the eightfold path constitute ethical conduct. It should be realized that the Buddhist ethical and moral conduct aims at promoting a happy and harmonious life both for the individual and for society. This moral conduct is considered as the indispensable foundation for all higher spiritual attainments.

Little spiritual development is possible without this moral basis.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 15, 2021 at 1:06:47 PM

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Under "mental discipline," the first quality is "right or ideal" diligence or effort.

From Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh:

Right Effort

"The eighth is right diligence, right effort. The Buddha taught how to cultivate and take care of our energy, and he also taught how to practice conserving energy. In Buddhist psychology, we see our consciousness as having two layers. The lower layer is called the store. It's always operating, even in our sleep. The store receives information and classifies it, and it makes a lot of decisions without the intervention of the mind consciousness, which is the upper layer.

"When you drive a car you think it's the mind consciousness that is driving, but actually a large part of the work is done by the store, without our conscious thinking. When you do your everyday work, the store plays an important role.

"When the store operates, it takes less metabolic energy than the mind does. The mind consciousness takes a lot more sugar, glycogen, and protein to work. At the level of the store things are done very quickly and inexpensively, so most things are handled by the store and the mind consciousness does just the final part. In the store many seeds are buried, good seeds and bad seeds. The seed of anger is there. The seed of despair is there. The seed of meanness, the seed of compassion, are there. The seed of joy is there. So to cultivate right effort the Buddha proposed four practices.

Four Practices for Cultivating Right Effort

"The first practice is, don't water the bad seeds. You know that there are negative seeds in you, and if they manifest, you will suffer. So let them sleep peacefully. When you watch a film, when you read a newspaper, when you listen to music, there is a chance that a seed will be watered and will manifest. We have to consume in mindfulness so that the bad seeds are not watered. When we love each other we have to sign a peace treaty. "Darling, I promise never to water the bad seeds in you or in me, and you have to do the same. You have those seeds. You must not water them in you, and don't water them in me."

"The second practice is that every time a bad mental formation manifests, we have to make it go back to sleep, because if we keep it here too long, then it strengthens down in the base. If we leave it up in the mind for an hour, then that seed has an hour of strengthening. It's dangerous.

"The third practice is to allow the good seeds to be watered so they have a chance to manifest in the mind. For example, a Dharma talk is a kind of rain that can water the good seeds in you. When they manifest in the mind consciousness, the landscape will be much more beautiful.

"The fourth practice is when the good seed has already manifested, we help it to stay in the mind consciousness as long as possible. Like when you have a friend who comes to visit bringing good news, you try to keep that friend with you as long as possible.

"That is the teaching of the Buddha on right effort, diligence, and conserving energy. It's very concrete and practical and is done in a natural, relaxed way. We don't need to fight or struggle; we don't have to make exhausting efforts. Naturally and with a lot of pleasure, we can enjoy the practice."

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 15, 2021 at 9:55:14 PM

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The next grouping - mental discipline - includes three other factors of the eightfold path: namely, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

Ideal or "right" mindfulness involves simple awareness or "bare attention."

Right mindfulness is to be diligently aware, mindful, and attentive with regard to (1) the activities of the body - movements in the external world; (2) sensations or feelings, (3) the activities of the mind, including ideas, emotions, thoughts, assumptions, intentions and perceptions of things. The practice of concentration on breathing is one of the well-known exercises - a way of focusing our attention, and centering and calming the mind to promote attention.

Concerning the activities of mind, one can become aware of whether one's mind is lustful or grasping or not - given to hatred anger, irritation or not - deluded or not - distracted or concentrated, etc. In this way one can be aware of all movements of mind and body.

Regarding present moment attentiveness, one is invited to become clearly aware of all thought-forms, feelings and sensations (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, and how they appear and disappear within oneself).

In this way we can become more and more aware of the gross and subtle activities of the body and the mind. This awareness offers us many gifts

Submitted on Friday, Jul 16, 2021 at 1:23:30 PM

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Right Concentration - "If Thine Eye Be Single"

Concentration can be thought of as the backbone of the 8-fold path, particularly when blended with mindfulness. It is simple, concrete and practical, and is a way of temporarily dispelling the repetitive thoughts of the everyday mind, and in the process, opening the psyche to new and completely fresh experiences.

In a meditative context it means keeping one's attention steady on a single object such as the breath or a sound for extended periods of time. As anyone who has tried this knows, it takes effort and is not an easy thing to do.

The Pali word translated into English as "concentration" is samadhi.

The late John Daido Loori Roshi, a Soto Zen teacher, said, "Samadhi is a state of consciousness that lies beyond waking, dreaming, or deep sleep. It's a slowing down of our mental activity through single-pointed concentration." It results from a deliberate attempt to raise the mind to a higher, more purified level of awareness.

Right Concentration is most often associated with meditation. In Pali, the word for meditation is bhavana, which means "mental culture."

Bhavana is not a relaxation practice, nor is it about having visions or out-of-body experiences. Very basically, bhavana is a means to make the mind ripe for realizing enlightenment

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 17, 2021 at 11:38:39 PM

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To achieve Right Concentration, most practitioners will start by creating an appropriate setting. In an ideal world, practice will take place in a monastery; if this is not possible, one can select a quiet location free from interruptions.

There, the practitioner takes up a relaxed but erect posture (often in the cross-legged lotus position) and focuses one's attention on the breath moving in and out of the body or a word or phrase ( "mantra") which can be repeated over and over again.

Meditation involves simply breathing naturally and focusing one's mind on the selected object or sound. As the mind wanders, the practitioner notices this, catches it, and brings it back gently but firmly to the object, doing this as often as is necessary.

Concentration, especially when utilized with mindfulness, will produce higher states of consciousness.

Called Jhanas, or Absorptions, each level is a refinement of the last and opens up vast vistas of awareness, usually not available to us in everyday life. Generally speaking, each jhana is associated with a form of bliss and equanimity.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 17, 2021 at 11:43:08 PM

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Concentration steadies the mind and is usually taught before mindfulness training. The next section of the eight-fold path is called Right Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is attention - a nonjudging and respectful awareness. If we stop and observe our mind, what almost all of us find is that we don't attend in this manner. Instead, we continually react - judging whether we like, dislike, or can ignore what is happening. We evaluate ourselves, others and events with a stream of expectations, commentary and criticism. In this way we are prevented from simply seeing reality as it is.

People may come to a retreat or class hoping to become calm and peaceful. Instead, initially we are met with a stream of discomfort as we encounter the chaotic working of our mind.

Yet, if we persevere, mindfulness can bring perspective, balance, and yes, a calm state of mind in which we notice, but don't judge (or if we do, we simply notice that).

As Alan Watts said, "It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive."

Krishnamurti said it this way: "Learning takes place only in a mind that is innocent and vulnerable."

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 18, 2021 at 11:37:06 PM

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Mindfulness is bringing the mind back home.

Once an old woman came to the Buddha and asked him how to meditate. He told her to remain aware of every movement of her hands as she drew water from the well, adding that she would soon find herself in a state of alert and spacious calm.

The practice of mindfulness is one of bringing the scattered mind, and the different aspects of our being, into focus and integration. It is sometimes called "Peacefully Remaining" or "Calm Abiding."

Mindfulness also has a way of defusing our negativity, aggression and turbulent emotions. Rather than suppressing emotions or indulging them, we instead utilize our one-pointedness (concentration) to simply observe our feelings with acceptance and appreciation as they arise - and work to continue this process. Although at times this may feel like a rocky road, the process is one of over and over working toward Radical Acceptance.

This open spaciousness has a way of dissolving unkindness so that we can be optimally useful to others and accepting and generous with ourselves.

Submitted on Monday, Jul 19, 2021 at 10:46:57 PM

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The Noble Eight-Fold Path is considered a way of living that leads to happiness for ourselves and others. As we've said, one aspect of this road is called Right Mindfulness:

· Right Mindfulness

· Right Concentration

· Right Insight

· Right Thinking

· Right Speech

· Right Action

· Right Livelihood

· Right Diligence

But if there is Right Mindfulness, can there be Wrong Mindfulness?

If we are clear-minded and focused, but we ignore whether or not our actions are causing harm, this can be called Wrong Mindfulness.

If someone in the army learns mindfulness so that they can be more effective at pulling the trigger and become more effective at killing people, under certain circumstances that can be called Wrong Mindfulness.

Nowadays when talking about the concept of 'focus', "mindfulness" has become a trendy word. Just learning to be more focused can be a very superficial form of mindfulness. This has been called "McMindfulness!"

A key aspect of Right Mindfulness can be practicing with others, which can help us see ourselves more clearly. At centers around the world, people sit in a circle with others and hear people speak mindfully and truthfully about their suffering and challenges. This is part of what makes people's experiences transformational.

Mindfulness forces us to look at things that are uncomfortable. When we stop and calm our mind, we might start to notice discomfort around our job. A feeling that we are not contributing to something positive or unease about the harm we might be causing.

Right Mindfulness is more than mere awareness: it is filled with love. When you are mindful of something, the goal is appreciate and cherish it. It's more colorful than indifferent awareness. If we are practicing Right Mindfulness, the process will evoke insight.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 20, 2021 at 12:55:19 PM

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Thought-provoking:

"Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretense. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true."

" Adyashanti

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 21, 2021 at 12:02:20 AM

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Right Livelihood as articulated by Thich Nhat Hanh:

"Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to our environment and society, we are committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. We will do our best to select a livelihood that helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion.

"Aware of global economic, political, and social realities, we will behave responsibly as consumers and as citizens, not supporting companies that deprive others of their chance to live." Right Livelihood is an element of the Noble Eightfold Path. It urges us to practice a profession that harms neither humans nor nature, physically or morally. Practicing mindfulness at work helps us discover whether our livelihood is right or not."

Naturally, when we live in a society where jobs are hard to find and it is difficult to practice Right Livelihood. Yet, if we want to practice right, Still, if our work entails harming life, we should try our best to find another job.

"Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or it can erode them. Our work has much to do with our practice of the Way."

Many modern industries, including food manufacturing, are harmful to humans and nature. Most current farming practices are a prime example. The chemical poisons used by modern farmers harm the environment. Yet, if they do not use chemical pesticides, it may be hard to compete commercially.

Relatively few farmers have the courage to practice organic farming. Neverthless, Right Livelihood has ceased to be a purely personal matter. It is a collective issue.

"[However], if we contemplate the interrelatedness of all things, we will see that the butcher is not solely responsible for killing animals. He kills them for all of us who buy pieces of raw meat, cleanly wrapped and displayed at our local supermarket."

The act of killing is a collective one. Let us remember that, if we didn't eat meat, the butcher wouldn't kill or would kill less. This is why Right Livelihood is a collective matter.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 22, 2021 at 11:10:24 AM

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"Millions of people make a living off the arms industry, manufacturing "conventional" and nuclear weapons. These so-called conventional weapons are sold to Third World countries, most of them underdeveloped. People in these countries need food, not guns, tanks, or bombs. The United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom are the primary suppliers of these weapons."

Manufacturing and selling weapons is not Right Livelihood, but the responsibility for this situation does not lie solely with the workers in the arms industry. All of us - politicians, economists, and consumers - share the responsibility for the death and destruction caused by these weapons.

If we do not see clearly enough, if we do not speak out, and if we do not organize enough national debates on this huge problem, we, too, are responsible. If we could discuss these issues globally - and attitudes, motivations could be transformed - while international paranoia could be quelled, it is highly likely that solutions could be found. New jobs must be created so that we do not have to live on the profits of weapons manufacturing.

To awaken both ourselves and others, and to help ourselves and others are the essence of Buddhism.

"If we are able to work in a profession that helps us realize our ideal of compassion, we should be very grateful. Every day, we should help create proper jobs for ourselves and others by living simply and sanely."

"Individual karma cannot be separated from collective karma. If you have the opportunity, please use your energy to improve both."

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 22, 2021 at 11:18:59 AM

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A Bit More on "Right Concentration" vis-a-vis The Father Reaches of Human Nature:

Deep levels of concentration can become a doorway to a wide range of psychic abilities. Buddhist psychology outlines the way in which systematic training in concentration can evoke the ability to read minds, see or hear at a remote distance, know the past of an individual, and to manipulate the elements.

Kornfield relates the abilities of one of his teachers, Dipama Barua, who was trained in these capacities. She could see into past lives and transport herself over time and space. Similar capacities were manifested by Neem Karoli Baba, as discussed in Miracle of Love.

Because psychic powers can present a distraction from the development of wisdom and compassion, they are seen as optional trainings for advanced students, and a way to call attention to the possibility of inner freedom. There are dangers that accompany these refined states: grandiosity and inflation, and pride in our "accomplishments;" one can also misuse them in the world.

The point of these trainings is not to increase the grasping of our ego, but to use concentration in the service of inner liberation. On the journey, the stability and well-being created by concentration creates a steadiness while the whole (previously taken for granted) sense of self and other - and the barrier between them dissolves.

A wise psychology must incorporate these transcendent dimensions. Concentration is a powerful step in quieting the mind, opening the heart, and discovering inner freedom. The deepest blessing is being able to utilize the transcendental levels of consciousness to perceive and illuminate ordinary life.


Submitted on Friday, Jul 23, 2021 at 12:02:58 PM

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Right (or ideal) Speech:

Thich Nhat Hanh states:

"Do not say untruthful things. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things that you are unsure of. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred, that can create discord and cause the family or the community to break. All efforts should be made to reconcile and resolve all conflicts."

Many of us realize that we can destroy our own and others' happiness when we are not mindful in saying things. We need to bring mindful awareness to bear on our conversations and, whenever possible, to use our speech to create more understanding and mutual acceptance. Obviously, words can create happi­ness, but they can also destroy. Practicing right, loving speech, is a learning process and central to the eight-fold path to liberation. This is a significant matter indeed.

It is possible to be firm and assertive, even fierce - without forgoing compassion.

Peace on Earth is only possible with concord, and creating this is an artform, as well as a necessity for human survival.

Reconciling differing viewpoints and practicing kind speech is born from understanding and patience. We can contemplate the following: understanding and care can bring about change. Reconciliation requires us to understand both sides of a conflict, knowing that both sides, ordinarily, carry partial responsibility, as may others not in the conflict. If we had lived in mindfulness, we may have seen been able to see the beginning phases of the conflict and helped to end or avoid it.

Our awareness of the need for human reconciliation will empower us to work in this direction. Ideally, the success of reconciliation will arise from understanding and compassion for the other side as well as for ourselves.


Submitted on Friday, Jul 23, 2021 at 4:27:47 PM

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Thich Nhat Nanh on Right Action

Right Action is a part of the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha. It includes, the kinds of actions that can help humans and other living beings who are being destroyed by war, political oppression, social injustice, and hunger. To protect life, prevent war, and serve living beings, we need to cultivate our energy of loving kindness.

But many of us are not capable of reaching out due to feeling cut off from the world. Yet, if we see an insect suffering and we do something to help, this energy of loving kindness is already within us. If we take a small stick and help the insect out of the water, we can also reach out to the rest of the world. The energy of loving kindness in us becomes real, and we can derive a lot of joy from it.

The aim of Right Action is to generate the energy of compassion in us, and, except for the most disturbed among us, the more compassion we generate, the more joy and peace will be evoked in ourselves and others.

Right Action is the action of touching love and preventing harm. There are many things we can do. We can protect life. We can practice generosity (giving). Our tendency when we are angry is to say unkind things, but if we do or say something positive re-him or her, our resentment may well diminish.

Many children in the world are suffering from malnutrition, abandonment or the sex industry. If we are caught up in the situation of our own daily lives, we feel we don't have the time or energy to do something to help these children. But if we can find a few minutes a day to help, suddenly there is the sense of the windows opening, letting in more light and fresh air.

In a mysterious way, the performance of generous, positive actions can relieve our own difficult situation and loneliness. We don't need to be rich or need to spend months and years to do something. A few minutes a day can already help. These are all acts of protecting life and helping people who really suffer. (For example, there are sites such as thenonprofits.com where you can contribute to some 70 charities at no cost).

Thich Nhat Nanh emphasizes that Right Action is also linked to Right Livelihood.

"There are those who earn their living by way of wrong action - manufacturing weapons, killing, depriving others of their chance to live, destroying the environment, exploiting nature and people, including children. There are those who earn their living by producing items that bring us toxins. They may earn a lot of money, but it is wrong livelihood. We have to be mindful to protect ourselves from their wrong livelihood."

Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, and Right Effort are manifested as the practice of mindfulness in daily life.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 24, 2021 at 2:11:09 PM

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A summary of a Dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on "RIght View"

[Thich Nhat Hanh, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967. Here is an excerpt from King's letter to the committee:

The Nobel Institute
Drammesnsveien 19
Oslo, NORWAY

Gentlemen:

"As the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 1964, I now have the pleasure of proposing to you the name of Thich Nhat Hanh for that award in 1967. I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam"

"Thich Nhat Hanh offers a way out of this nightmare, a solution acceptable to rational leaders. He has traveled the world, counseling statesmen, religious leaders, scholars and writers, and enlisting their support. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity]."

**

Right View - Free from Notions

"Right view helps us to think correctly. It helps us to say things correctly, and to do things correctly, so we don't create suffering and despair for ourselves and for others. When we practice mindfulness, we produce thoughts in alignment with right thinking, full of understanding and compassion"

"We have to cultivate right view. If you listen to a Dharma talk or read a book, you'll get some ideas about right view. But right view is something you experience directly, not through concepts and ideas. Right view is the kind of insight"

"In the Diamond Sutra, a very famous sutra in the Zen tradi­tion, we learn that there are four notions that you have to remove if you don't want to suffer".

The Notion of Self

"First is the notion of self. You separate reality into two parts. You distinguish between self and non-self. One part is yourself - the other part is the non-self. But looking into what we call a self, we see only "non-self-elements."

"As a practitioner of mindfulness, you look deeply into this flower and you see that it is made only of non-flower elements. There's a cloud inside also, because if there's no cloud, there's no rain and no flower can grow. So, you don't see the form of a cloud, but the cloud is there" You don't need" a certain form of appear­ance in order to see it. There's the sunshine inside. We know that if there is no sunshine, no flower can grow. There is the topsoil inside. Many things are inside: light, minerals, the gardener. It seems that everything in the cosmos has come together to help produce this flower.

"If we have enough concentration, we can see that the whole cosmos is in the flower, that one is made by the all. We can say that the flower is made only of non-flower elements. If we return the cloud to the sky, return the light to the sun, the soil to the earth, there is no flower left. So, it's very clear that a flower is made only of non-flower elements.

"What we call 'me,' 'myself,' is like that, too. We are also a flower. Each of us is a flower in the garden of humanity, and each flower is beautiful. But we have to look into ourselves and recognize the fact that we are made only of 'non-us' elements. If we remove all the non-us elements, we cannot continue. We are made of parents, teachers, food, culture, everything. If we remove all of that, there is no 'us' left.

So, the removal of the notion of self is crucial for peace. If we can do that, we can be free from discrimination, separation, fear, hate, anger, and violence. With mindfulness and concentra­tion, you can discover the truth of no-self, the truth of interbeing."

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 25, 2021 at 2:24:35 PM

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A summary of a dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on "RIght View" (con't)

2. The Notion of Being Human

"The second notion that the Diamond Sutra advises us to re­move is the notion of man, human. Man is made only of non-man elements. Man, we know, is a very young species on earth. We are made of minerals, and animals. Humans have human ancestors, but we also have animal ancestors, vegetable ancestors, and mineral ancestors.

"They are still in us. We are the continuation of our ancestors. We still carry the minerals, the vegetables, and the animals within us. If you have the insight that man is made only of non-man elements, you will protect the ecosystem. You will not destroy this planet. That is why the Diamond Sutra can be seen as the most ancient text on the teaching of deep ecology. In order to protect man, you have to protect minerals, vegetables, and animals."


Submitted on Sunday, Jul 25, 2021 at 5:00:07 PM

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A summary of a dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on "RIght View" (con't)

3. The Notion of Living Beings

If you know how to grow lotus flowers, you know that a lotus flower is made only of non-lotus elements. Among the non-lotus elements is the mud. The mud does not smell very good; it is not very clean. But without mud you can never grow a lotus flower. So, if you look into a lotus flower, and you have not seen the mud in it, you have not seen the lotus flower. It is only with mud that you can grow a lotus flower. It is with the suffering, afflictions, fear, and anger that you can make the compost in order to nourish the flower of Buddha within ourselves.

That is why in the Lin-chi Zen tradition, when you look into the living being, you see the Buddha. When you look into the Buddha, you see the living being, because you are made of "non-you" elements and the Buddha is made of non-Buddha elements. If you have that insight, communication between you and the Buddha will be very deep. Otherwise, you will be worshipping an idea that is not reality.

You are the Buddha. You have Buddha nature, and if you practice mindfulness and concentration, you can transform afflictions. That is why the Diamond Sutra advises us to remove the notion of living beings.

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 25, 2021 at 6:35:05 PM

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4. The Notion of Life Span

"The fourth notion is the notion of life span. Suppose we draw a line from left to right, representing time. And suppose we pick one point here and call it B, representing birth, and another point, we call it D, representing death. Usually, we think that birth is the point where we start to exist, to be.

"So, the segment from birth, from B on, is being. Before we are born, we did not exist. So, the segment starting with D represents non-being. When we come to D are very afraid of coming to this point. [laughter] It's not pleasant to think of D.

"But if you can remove your notions, your wrong thinking about D, you are saved by right understanding and you are no longer afraid of D; not by a god, but by right understanding"

"A well-known theologian named Paul Tillich described God as "the ground of being." But if God is the ground of being, who will be the ground of non-being? You cannot conceive of God in terms of being and non-being. God, the ultimate, must transcend both notions. So, to describe God in terms of being is to reduce God to something much less than God"

"Science can help us understand this. We know that at every moment, many cells in our body die, right? And every day new cells are born. So many cells are dying in one second and we are too busy to organize funerals for them. [laughter] Birth and death happen in the here and the now, in every moment, in every millisecond. Why are we afraid of death? We are experiencing death in every moment, because where there is life, there is death...

"If you believe that you are born at one point and you will die at another point, after which nothing remains, you are caught in the notion of life span. It is impossible for you to die. It is impossible for the cloud to pass into the realm of non-being.

"Right view transcends the notion of being and non-being, birth and death. That is why this insight can help produce right thinking, right speech, and right action. It has the power to heal and to nourish.

"Many of us think that happiness is made of power, fame, sex, and wealth; but many people running after these objects suffer deeply. Those of us who practice mindfulness and concentration know that every moment can be a happy moment, because a moment of happiness is a moment when you are truly in the here and the now, and you notice that so many wonders are in you and around you. You can be happy right here and right now.

"That is the teaching of the Buddha. It is possible to be happy and joyful in the here and the now. Every in-breath, every step can help you touch the wonders of life. Recognize that you are luckier than so many people. And if you are happy, you have an opportunity to help other people."

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 25, 2021 at 6:44:01 PM

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Right Thought

The goal here is to be mindfully aware of our thinking - to know what we are thinking and where our thinking is taking us: to notice that our judging and blaming other people leads to our ill-being as well as theirs. If we can have a compassionate, non-judgmental, non-blaming thought, this opens the door to our well-being.

So, it is wise to observe our thinking from the spacious abode of awareness - noticing the various kinds of thoughts we have, be it our joy, our complexes, guilt, shame, anger, or comparing ourselves with others.

Right thought is connected with intention: what I intend to do, what I decide to do, what I want to do. Intention or volition can provide us with a lot of energy, yet can also pull us in a direction we don't want to go. These intentions are not necessarily fully within our conscious mind. We may have things deep down in us driving us in a certain direction without even knowing it: for instance, the obsessive desire for fame, for money, or the desire for sex.

The key is the willingness to look deeply, asking, 'What is my deepest desire? What are the things that are pulling me along in my life? Do I want to be praised? Do I want to have a position? Do I want to be useful?' Thus, when we discover what is motivating us, we will have the option to choose not to feed those thoughts and decide to go in a different direction.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 at 12:19:00 AM

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Laszlo and Macy: "Species Forerunners" -

Ervin Laszló - philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist, originally a classical pianist. He is an advocate of the theory of quantum consciousness.

In 1993, in response to his experience with the Club of Rome, he founded the Club of Budapest to, in his words,

"centre attention on the evolution of human values and consciousness as the crucial factors in changing course from a race towards degradation, polarization and disaster to a rethinking of values and priorities so as to navigate today's transformation in the direction of humanism, ethics and global sustainability."

Akashic field theory

Laszló's 2004 book, Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything posits a field of information as the substance of the cosmos. Using the Sanskrit and Vedic term for "space", Akasha, he calls this information field the "Akashic field" or "A-field". He posits that the "quantum vacuum" is the fundamental energy and information-carrying field that informs not just the current universe, but all universes past and present (collectively, the "Metaverse").

Laszló believes that such an informational field can explain why our universe appears to be fine-tuned so as to form galaxies and conscious lifeforms; and why evolution is an informed, not random, process. He believes that the hypothesis solves several problems that emerge from quantum physics, especially nonlocality and quantum entanglement.

Laszlo:

"We are beginning to see the entire universe as a holographically interlinked network of energy and information, organically whole and self- referential at all scales of its existence. We, and all things in the universe, are non-locally connected with each other and with all other things in ways that are unfettered by the hitherto known limitations of space and time."

"There is a constant and intimate contact among the things that coexist and co-evolve in the universe - a sharing of bonds and messages that makes reality into a stupendous network of interaction and communication."

"We are forced to choose, for the processes we have initiated in our lifetime cannot continue in the lifetime of our children. Whatever we do either creates the framework for continuing the supreme adventure of life and consciousness on this planet or sets the stage for its termination." The choice before us is urgent and important: it can neither be postponed nor ignored."

**

JOANNA MACY PH.D, AUTHOR & TEACHER, IS A SCHOLAR OF BUDDHISM, SYSTEMS THINKING AND DEEP ECOLOGY. A RESPECTED VOICE IN MOVEMENTS FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, AND ECOLOGY, SHE INTERWEAVES HER SCHOLARSHIP WITH LEARNINGS FROM SIX DECADES OF ACTIVISM.

Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and postmodern science. The many dimensions of this work are explored in her thirteen books, which include three volumes of poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke with translation and commentary.

As the root teacher of The Work That Reconnects, Joanna has created a ground-breaking framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application.

Based in Berkeley, California, close to her children and grandchildren, Joanna has spent many years in other lands and cultures, viewing movements for social change and exploring their roots in religious thought and practice.

Joanna Macy:

"This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don't be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings."

"You don't need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough."

"We are capable of suffering with our world, and that is the true meaning of compassion. It enables us to recognize our profound interconnectedness with all beings. Don't ever apologize for crying for the trees burning in the Amazon or over the waters polluted from mines in the Rockies. Don't apologize for the sorrow, grief, and rage you feel. It is a measure of your humanity and your maturity. It is a measure of your open heart, and as your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal. That is what is happening as we see people honestly confronting the sorrows of our time."

" If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear. People who can open to the web of life that called us into being."

"Out of this darkness a new world can arise, not to be constructed by our minds so much as to emerge from our dreams. Even though we cannot see clearly how it's going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imagination. We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts."

"The most radical thing any of us can do at this time is to be fully present to what is happening in the world."

" The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present, and when you're worrying about whether you're hopeful, or hopeless, or pessimistic, or optimistic, who cares? The main thing is that you're showing up, that you're here and that you're finding ever more capacity to love this world because it will not be healed without that. That was what is going to unleash our intelligence and our ingenuity and our solidarity for the healing of our world."

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 at 2:10:29 PM

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How it gets done:

Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

Dialogue starts with the willingness to challenge our own thinking, to recognize that any certainty we have is, at best, a hypothesis about the world.

It is not the absence of defensiveness that characterizes learning teams but the way defensiveness is faced"

"Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlersa prize for the best Halloween costume, grades in school, gold starsand on up through the university. On the job, people, teams, and divisions are ranked, reward for the top, punishment for the bottom. Management by Objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable."

"We will never transform the prevailing system of management without transforming our prevailing system of education. They are the same system."

"I believe that, the prevailing system of management is, at its core, dedicated to mediocrity. It forces people to work harder and harder to compensate for failing to tap the spirit and collective intelligence that characterizes working together at their best.

Collaboration is vital to sustain what we call profound or really deep change, because without it, organizations are just overwhelmed by the forces of the status quo.

Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something, or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes.

The organizations that will truly excel in the future will be the organizations that discover how to tap people's commitment and capacity to learn at all levels in an organization.

"Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers: a prize for the best Halloween costume, grades in school, gold starsand on up through the university. On the job, people, teams, and divisions are ranked, reward for the top, punishment for the bottom. Management by Objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable."

Don't push growth; remove the factors limiting growth.

Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing 'patterns of change' rather than static 'snapshots.'

You cannot force commitment, what you can do"You nudge a little here, inspire a little there, and provide a role model. Your primary influence is the environment you create.

When you ask people what it is like being part of a great team, what is most striking is the meaningfulness of the experience. People talk about being part of something larger than themselves, of being connected, of being generative. It becomes quite clear that, for many, their experiences as part of truly great teams stand out as singular periods of life lived to the fullest.

Learning is all about connections, and through our connections with unique people we are able to gain a true understanding of the world around us.

"Courage is simply doing whatever is needed in pursuit of the vision"

Submitted on Friday, Jul 30, 2021 at 1:42:34 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Author 71296
(Member since Sep 8, 2011), 7 fans, 58 articles, 1 quicklinks, 2050 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
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I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to spend time imbibing the teachings and vibrations of highly evolved beings, such as Kalu Rimpoche, Neem Karoli Baba, Ammachi, and Gurumayi Chadvilasananda. It seems true that, even at advanced levels of evolution, there are gradations of attainment.

The key for the seeker seems to be taking what is useful at the time - and leaving that which does not feel relevant - perhaps to be imbibed at a future time when one is ready. After all, if we bring a thimble to the ocean, we will only be able to take away a thimble-full of the vastness of the sea. Nothing wrong with that: what is, is.

What is important is allowing the consciousness of such being to plant seeds in us, which may grow in time. What is important, if possible, is to place oneself in the presence of such beings, or if not possible, absorbing and contemplating their written words. These beings, because they have already attained advanced states of consciousness, can at the very least, be exemplars for what is possible.

Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche was a Tibetan master who said the following:

"The master is like a great ship for beings to cross the perilous ocean of existence, an unerring captain who guides them to the dry land of liberation, a rain that extinguishes the fire of the passions, a bright sun and moon that dispel the darkness of ignorance, a firm ground that can bear the weight of both good and bad, a wish-fulfilling tree that bestows temporal and ultimate bliss, a treasury of vast and deep instructions, a wish-fulfilling jewel granting all the qualities of realization, a father and a mother giving their love equally to all sentient beings, a great river of compassion, a mountain rising above worldly concerns unshaken by the winds of emotions, and a great cloud filled with rain to soothe the torments of the passions. In brief, he is the equal of all the happiness Buddhas."

Such beings exemplify the higher reaches of human nature, something for which we call can strive.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 1:14:07 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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How to do it:

Quotes from Chris Argyris:

Whenever undiscussables exist, their existence is also undiscussable. Moreover, both are covered up, because rules that make important issues undiscussables violate espoused norms... It is very difficult to manage [organizational defense routines]. They continue to exist and proliferate because they are relegated to the realm of underground management and all sides tacitly agree to this state of affairs. As a result, organizational defense routines often are very powerful.

Smart people don't learn... because they have too much invested in proving what they know and avoiding being seen as not knowing.

Most people define learning too narrowly as mere 'problem-solving', so they focus on identifying and correcting errors in the external environment. Solving problems is important. But if learning is to persist, managers and employees must also look inward. The need to reflect critically on their own behavior, identify the ways they often inadvertently contribute to the organization's problems, and then change how they act.

Managers who are skilled communicators may also be good at covering up real problems.

In fact, people themselves are responsible for making the status quo so resistant to change. We are trapped by our own behavior.

Success in the marketplace increasingly depends on learning. Yet most people don't know how to learn.

Individual learning is a necessary but insufficient condition for organizational learning.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 2:22:27 PM

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