Saturday, December 31, 2011

in the new year

Heart Chakra Energy
Picture "Heart Chakra Energy" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
in the new year, have no fear
be the change you want the world to be
see the change within you, in the world you want to see
the two are not so far apart, as you may think
together, we will all stop this ship of madness to sink
but it needs to start with me & you, with a few
write, speak, act with love and compassion,
live a mindful life of gratitude, live a mindful life of passion,
happy new year,
remember in the new year have no fear...


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Here is a tip for new year's resolutions. Keep them to yourself!




Monday, December 26, 2011

Qi Gong



Imagine a knot, tie it many times over, until you cannot tie it any more...now imagine what this is like to undo...well the same thing happens with our minds, emotions & bodies...many years go by, closed body postures, poor working conditions, stressful situations, you can imagine what can happen to you...imagine what happens to the subtle electrical currents that need to move in these layers...

I love this video, it is really something else, it started me on the Qi Gong journey, I only stumbled on it by chance personally...Qi Gong allows you to unclog those subtle energy pathways, gather and recharge Qi/Prana from nature...

I highly recommended Qi Gong...here is two links I brought across from my old blog, the first was some basic pillars of Qi Gong, the second is one of the most popular Form "The 8 brocades"...


Amazing Grace...


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Moola Mantra




Om Sat Chit Ananda Parabramha
Purushottama Paramatma
Sri Bhagavathi Sametha
Sri Bhagavate Namaha


Tweet - pray for the gift that is priceless

Buddha heartfully stoned
Picture "Buddha heartfully stoned" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
merry Xmas everyone...give the gift that can't be wrapped, pray for the gift that is priceless...maybe the greatest gift has already been given to us...waiting to be unwrapped with our minds...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Zen @ Starbucks

Good Night Buddha
Picture "Good Night Buddha" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
I bumped into my yoga instructor today while I was getting a coffee from Starbucks, it was good to see E, a kind hearted brilliant yoga instructor, and a friend. We sat down for a coffee, somehow people you meant to talk to just turn up sometimes…I thought I would capture some of my words that happen in this short space of time…

“You, me everyone in this café, we all have the same potential, because we all have the same soul…you can say it is the energizer battery in us, only it is immortal, intelligent, compassionate…now what’s the difference between the people in the room then…is that some of us, work hard to get our negative habits out of the way.   The process never really ends, because once you say that you are done, you are complacent again...

There is a few ways to do it, one is to replace it with positive habits that give more long term internal satisfaction, contemplating on opposing positive attitudes, cultivating stillness of mind, like a wise Tibetan teacher once said, that if you let the mind settle down into stillness, the deluge gets settled at the bottom, and the mind like the water on top gets clear and can be poured out into a clear glass.

People don’t realize the that consistent training using simple basic techniques like holding discomfort of body, staying present with it, softening to it has a direct link to being able to do it in uncomfortable situations at home, at work…this would have saved me much heartbreak in the past…but hey that’s in the past…what matters is now…and the training that we can instill in our self in the training ground of our own intimate self that matters…”


Friday, December 9, 2011

The poverty line of happiness…

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Follows is my Toasmaster speech which I am doing next week as a key note:

In the world bank global poverty indicators, the poverty headcount ratio is at $1.25 a day (PPP)
(% of population) 41.7% in 1990 to 25.2% in 2005.  As more and more people come out of physical poverty they are faced with a different type of poverty, a poverty of mental happiness.

In an interview the following dialog takes place between Oprah and the Dalai Lama:
Oprah: Though many Americans have read your book about happiness, some still don't understand how to achieve it. How can someone attain true happiness in a culture that emphasizes materialism? 


Dalai Lama: Even when a person has all of life's comforts—good food, good shelter, a companion—he or she can still become unhappy when encountering a tragic situation. Physical comforts cannot subdue mental suffering, and if we look closely we can see that those who have many possessions are not necessarily happy. In fact, being wealthy often brings even more anxiety. On the other hand, those who don't have a life filled with luxury may have a home filled with compassion, based on their choice to be content and to practice self-discipline. Even when we have physical hardships, we can be very happy.


Oprah: So happiness begins in our minds?


Dalai Lama: Yes. That's why mental happiness is more important than physical comfort. Physical comfort comes from the material. But material facilities cannot provide you with peace of mind.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-The-Dalai-Lama/2#ixzz1g71lsmro

According to NIH, at least 1 in 4 Americans suffer from some sort of mental health problem every year.  

Is this what we want to bring the rest of the world into? by lifting them out of a poverty of physical needs to a poverty of mental health.  Do we just replace one set of suffering with a different more difficult set of suffering to solve?

Here is some interesting research from Harvard university that used an IPhone app to randomly sample people (embedded video) shows when we actually feel happy in our daily life…

Mean happiness reported during each activity
(top) and while mind wandering to unpleasant
topics, neutral topics, pleasant topics or not
mind wandering (bottom). Dashed line indicates
mean of happiness across all samples. Bubble area
indicates the frequency of occurrence. The largest
bubble (“not mind wandering”) corresponds to
53.1% of the samples, and the smallest bubble
(“praying/worshipping/meditating”) corresponds to
0.1% of the samples.

If we have a look at this chart it gives us some interesting insights, things that we think may give us joy, actually don’t make us happy at all, or only slightly happy, rest, working, home computer, grooming, watching TV, yet it seems that this is where spend most of our time.

The other big insight that this research shows us is that we are most happiest when we are devoted to one thing at a time, how often do you think that happens in todays environment, 80%, 50%, 10%? look at your own minds what percentage of your time is your mind not wandering? is it present in your what you are doing right now, not the in the past or future?

So if you want to be more happy what do you think you should be doing or rather not doing (not mind wandering, if you did this 1/2 of the time you would be less stress, a lot more happier half of the time. 

There are specific training that can help you do this, typically based on Zen principles of mindfulness, being in the present moment, non-attachment, compassion, simplicity, meditation.

This speech does not give me much time to go through various aspects Zen teachings, however I would like to tell a simple story that illustrates many aspects of these ancient attitudes that are mostly forgotten in the modern world which leads to suffering.

A monk was travelling with his student, both had vowed a oath of celibacy, until they came to a river, there was a beautiful woman at the edge, who was lavishly dressed to go to a wedding, however the bridge between the shallow river had been broken, the young student monk, being the stronger and faster one, walking ahead got to the river first, and asked what was the problem.


The young woman, asked “I need to go to a wedding, but I cannot ruin my dress, could you  kindly lift here across the shallow water, I will give you some money for that”,  The young monk thinking about what his master would say exclaimed “Oh no, I cannot do that, we as monks are not supposed to touch a woman, and my master will be very upset”


The master arrived and asked what was the problem, the young monk exclaimed righteously how the young woman was trying to “corrupt” him by asking him to taking him across the river.  The old master upon hearing this gestured to the woman “may I”, and lifted her up with a clean swoop, the woman wrapped her arms around him in the fear off being dropped.  


On reaching the other side, the women took out some coins, and gave it to the master, the master said “kindness is not kindness if it demands a price”, departing the woman gave him a affectionate hug, and made her way.


They walked to the monastery, and the young man was upset for various reasons, one how could the master be such a hypocrite, secretly he also wished he got the same attention from the woman, as she was very beautiful.


The Master now moving on from his gracious deed, had forgotten about it, in enjoying every second of the beautiful scenery of the mountain along the way, he was hummed a folk song, felt the cool breeze caressing his bald head, while the young student was roasting in the fire of his emotions…


The student could not take it any more, and he demanded an explanation “Master, how can you touch a woman? we are taught not to give attention to such things, how could you carry her”


The master paused thoughtfully and then replied “Well, I left her at the river 4 hours ago, you on the other hand still seem to be carrying her”


So the poverty of happiness is real, the line exists, to move on the right side of the line, involves a shift in attitudes, discipline, and it pays off in real joy, it seems that the modern comforts of today and the things that we think make us happy don’t actually make us happy at all and a major factor of happiness is being in the present moment.

There are ancient practices like Zen and Meditation, which are probably more relevant in today’s stressful life then ever, if we cultivate and practice this self disciple, we will live happier lives, and this happiness will extend to those around us. at home, at work…if everyone starts doing this on a global scale, the world will be a kinder, more compassionate place for our future generations to enjoy…


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A guide from beyond

Dharma
Picture "Dharma Singing in the Rain" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival

A joy, a depression, a meanness
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture
still, treat each guest honorably
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight

The dark thought, the same, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond...

~Rumi~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Zen in Las Vegas

Dharma Moon
Fantastic picture "Dharma Moon" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
I have been on a technology related conference all last week in Las Vegas, learning about social, mobile, cloud, “gamification”, “management hacks”….there is a lot of change happening in this space.  The technology landscape is changing quite quickly, and will impact the way work is done in the future.  There is even a government in a box being developed which looks quite interesting.

Using the Zen principle of “beginner mind”, one needs to hold a natural curiosity of things in awareness that is related to one’s profession and just let this natural curiosity drive the learning. If you see a child, curiosity and awareness goes hand in hand, a child can go for hours experimenting and learning….

I was talking to an intelligent and eloquent friend, he expressing some frustration at not doing something about his great ideas.  This is something I can relate to, however I always found this made me more distant to what I had to do every day…I said the key is to hold the intent, with a certain amount of detachment…He did not quite understand that, and my other work buddy next to me broke in with a great Zen story.   I had heard this story before, I wanted to share it with you with some of my own adaptations Smile

A monk was travelling with his student, both had vowed a oath of celibacy, until they came to a river, there was a beautiful woman at the edge, who was lavishly dressed to go to a wedding, however the bridge between the shallow river had been broken, the young student monk, being the stronger and faster one, walking ahead got to the river first, and asked what was the problem.

The young woman, asked “I need to go to a wedding, but I cannot ruin my dress, could you  kindly lift here across the shallow water, I will give you some money for that”,  The young monk said “Oh no, I cannot do that, we as monks are not supposed to touch a woman, and my master will be very upset”

The master arrived and asked what was the problem, the young monk exclaimed righteously how the young woman was trying to “corrupt” him by asking him to taking him across the river.  The old master upon hearing this gestured to the woman “may I”, and lifted her up with a clean swoop, the woman wrapped her arms around him in the fear off being dropped.  On reaching the other side, the women took out some coins, and gave it to the master, the master said “kindness is not kindness if it demands a price”, departing the woman gave him a affectionate hug, and made her way.

They walked to the monastery, and the young man was upset for various reasons, one how could the master be such a hypocrite, secretly he also wished he got the same attention from the woman, as she was very beautiful.

He could not take it any more, and he demanded an explanation “Master, how can you touch a woman? we are taught not to give attention to such things, how could you carry her” The master paused thoughtfully and then replied “Well, I left her at the river, you on the other hand still seem to be carrying her”

The Master was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the mountain on the way, he was singing a folk song, he remembered as a child, and the joy of the breeze hitting his bald head, while the young student was roasting in the fire of his emotions…

Applying the moral of this story, what needs to be done, needs to be done, however one need not be attached to the results of the action, the young monk was attached to anger, while the master was not attached to even joy, yet he acted without hesitation and with clarity.  Too often we get tied up with attachment to whatever happened good or bad, this traps valuable energy in us, that could be used to get to our goal or make progress towards it…

I said to my friend, there is a lot of Zen that can be applied in every day life including work, at which he was interested in borrowing a book from me.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Zen, Zombies & Karma - ZZK Chapter 3

Follow the Flow
Picture "Follow the Flow" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
Zen Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness is an essential ingredient in meditation, meditation itself cannot be described, only the meditation technique can be described, likewise mindfulness itself cannot be described only the techniques can be described, you probably use mindfulness already in much of your life, particularly when you are doing something you enjoy, or are with someone you love, the trick is how do you use it to dance with your Karma.

As with everything there is technique, from applying that technique, one gets to use the technique more skillfully without thinking too much about the technique.  There is a view that it takes about 10000 hours to master any technique, so the more we do it everyday the faster we get to master it and, more joy and peace comes into our lives.

Often there is disappointment when a new technique is tried, we are all impatient creatures, we expect instant gratification, I told my friend I was having coffee with the other day, expect a 3 year learning circle, and it is worth every single moment that you spend on it.

One needs to realise that there is a learning cycle that happens with everything, and we need to give up so easy.  The cycle goes something like this, first we don’t know that we don’t know, then we know that we don’t know, then we know that we know, the we forget that we know, we just know, everything happens automatically.

There are many great books on Zen mindfulness, the technique itself is so simple that it can be explained in a few lines:
- Be totally in the present moment,
- Be aware of what is happening within and without,
- Reserve judgement,
- Be compassionate to yourself and others

I often like to use the analogy of an anchor and the ship.  Imagine a ship in a storm, it will get tossed and taken anywhere, but if there is an anchor the ship will hold steady until the storm passes.  The anchor is the attention focusing technique, that keeps the ship steady rooted to the bottom of the ocean.  Once the mind is held in the present, awareness and deeper contemplation takes place, coupled with compassion, only favourable responses or Karmas are possible.

They key to mindfulness is directing your mind to be present right here, right now, resist the urge to do anything else other than what you are doing.  Practising control over this urge is what you what to develop.

I like to practice this using Qi Gong, you could apply this to anything really.  It was the weekend of the Satnam Fest and Yogi Akasha was doing his overarm lion breathing, for at least 10 minutes and he kept on going, I spoke to him afterwards, and talked to him about it, he said, my arms still hurt yesterday but it is Tapas (Sanskrit word for purification, which is a poor translation), the next week I found some shifts happening in concentration, I was positive it was because of the weekend experience.  The more that I thought about it, the more I realised it was not just the techniques, also I am sure certain Asanas help a lot, it was simply practice of will power that made the difference.  I was able to confirm this by applying it to the Qi Gong Forms I did yielding similar results.

Once you practice it on a small controlled basis, then it really helps to be able to apply it to daily life.  You notice the most effective people are the ones that can harness their intelligence, by rituals, focus, presence, and being emotionally connected.

That's what being mindful is all about, its a skill you can learn and build, the more you develop it the more you are in control, being better enabled to handle the path that you are on.   You start bringing out the latent potential in you, in the mind problems that seem to be like mountains, turn into molehills, as you start realising the temporary nature of it all.  You start realizing that you have been a slave all along, a slave to the whims of your mind, which itself is a slave to the ego, and to the sense, which themselves were slaves of external programming.

To Chapter 2

Zen, Zombies & Karma - ZZK Chapter 2

Holy Swan
Picture "Holy Swan" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
Zen Mindfulness and Karma
Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them..Albert Einstein

Now that we understand what Karma is its important to know that we are not our Karma’s, our true nature is actually beyond this, untouchable by these Karmas, the soul as such has no Karma, however, it takes on the layer of the mind to exist on this plane which has memory of these Karma's.  The mind is the layer of machinery that makes all this play of universe happen, govern by laws of the universe, everything is dynamic observing these laws.

Imagine if you could find a way to do something about these Karmas, so that you are not flung around like a rag doll in the waves of the Karmas that come out of the Ocean of your stored Karmas.  Imagine if you could plant more positive Karma’s that lead to joy.

If we know that these karma’s are coming from a mental layer, then to negate them we must act from an awareness that is beyond the mental layer...that means, we must act from a deeper foundation beyond the automatic response and limited mental frame of references that we have.

We must be able to build sufficient awareness through our daily discipline of meditation to be in tune to our higher self...
We must be able to put those temporary pauses in our daily action, to allow us to contemplate what is happening with our deeper self...
We must be able to act with conviction from the sensitivity that we build through our daily discipline of meditation, and be totally congruent with our higher self...

Now dealing with Karma, is not an easy thing to do, thankfully all that we need to deal with it are within us already, and that is our soul force or awareness through meditation and mindfulness.

Using mindfulness to dance with our Karmas
We are all bound by our Karmas, it is the basis of all animating life itself...so the question really becomes how well do we really handle our Karmas.  One can handle Karma only by activating the higher faculties of the soul and mind, so that in flight Karma are managed, stored Karma’s are burned away, and only beneficial Karmas is sowed for the future.  One does this by a daily disciple of Meditation, Yoga, Pranayama, and Qi Gong.  Whats common to all of this is Mindfulness, in fact none of the meditation techniques indicated actually work without Mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? As the simplest level, mindfulness is a matter of looking things as they are suspending judgment and thinking of any kind, be it temporary, however with all the attention and compassion we can give to it. Some would say it is the lamp of the awareness itself from the soul that is a “witness” to everything that is happening.

It involves non-doing or being, something that may be strange to the western world, how can the mind not being doing anything, this is where there the distinction of thinking and awareness comes in.  Thinking is not awareness, and awareness does not necessarily imply thinking, one could say that thinking is born out of the quality of awareness that is present.

From the wonderful book “Meditation an Indepth Guide” Gawler and Bedford make several interesting observations on awareness.  They say that awareness is still, unchanging, unattached, it is always in the present, it is receptive and formless.  Thoughts on the other hand, has to use imagination or memory to conjure up internal images, sounds, and feelings and is a dynamic and changing in nature, while awareness is still and unchanging, thinking is frequently judgmental, while awareness has the capacity to observe what is happening in this current moment.

If you notice babies, their thinking facilities are not developed yet, but their awareness is evident, I often find it very relaxing to watch a baby stare, breathe, play, sleep, it shows natural awareness in action working with minimal use of thinking, very beautiful to watch.  Some of our most beautiful moments we feel in life, are actually when we have no thoughts, it just is what it is, we lose ourself in the beauty of it all, be it a beautiful sunset, a beautiful song, the  arms of a lover, holding a child in our arms...It is blissful, tender, almost feels infinite...time and space is forgotten.

Mindfulness is the skillful use of awareness in daily routine to be able to dance with our Karmas.  Zen is awareness or mindfulness in action, a state of “FLOW” or Samadhi, where thinking comes out as waves from bigger ocean, rather than a pond.

To Chapter 1
To Chapter 3

Zen, Zombies & Karma - ZZK Chapter 1

Meditation Red Sun
Picture "Meditation Red Sun" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
Zen, Zombies & Karma
We live in a world of the half dead, I say that because we aren't really living, we are existing, we aren't really thinking, we are caught up in the hurt of yesterday, and a fantasy dream about tomorrow. We are simply reacting and playing a script in auto-pilot that we have created for ourselves or one that has been created for us.  Another name for this script is Karma.

This book explores where this Karma or this script comes from from, it looks at mindfulness as a Zen technique which allows one to undo this script and write a new script, one that will take you to the destination where you want to be, a destination of a less stressful life, richer relationships and better natural results!

Why we are zombies?
I see them all around me, I feel like one too at times...everywhere you look, everyone is on autopilot...

Is this what we were destined for? Is this why humans were given this intellect? Why is this?

Well it takes work and discipline to overcome the lethargy and the addictions of the mind and of the body...the spirit is boundless, the mind however is a slave, a slave of the senses, a slave to the addictions of the mind...so is this what we have reduce the spirit to? a slave? a slave of the mind which itself is a slave...Where is the freedom in all of this?

The mind has itself has forgotten about the spirit, and has itself identified itself with the mind, the ego, the emotions, the senses...In that lies the very fact, we are really zombies, being free to be controlled by a bombardment of external driven selfish and sometimes perverse programming that appeals to the palate, to the senses, to the ego...

Its akin to a person taking the hands off the steering wheel and expecting the car to drive itself...well maybe off the cliff or into the tree you will go, if you are lucky it will be fatal, otherwise it could be life of misery and pain from some serious injury...life is no different...the results from mindless action, is well mindless random results...

The mind, the emotions, the body are useful servants but bad masters...under the leadership of the soul...amazing things are possible...just from one person...just from one lifetime.

What is Karma?
O God and Heavenly Father,
Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Reinhold Niebuhr

Why is this happening to me? Why was I born this way? Why am I the way I am?  There is a lot of whys in life...too many that we can possibly comprehend.  Could it really be that life is just one big random event?

According to the law of Karma, there is no such thing as a random event, everything is interrelated working like perfect clockwork, there is a reason for everything to be as it is, there is a reason for everyone to be in everyone’s life, there is learning possible from every single situation.

I really like the definition of Karma by Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, he says:
“Karma is action that results from the impressions of the mind, the action it has produced, and the new impressions it is going to produce in the mind in the future which will cause further actions."

The impressions are called Samskaras in Sanskrit, these are scripts recorded in the inner depths of our mind which governs our automatic behaviors, they also shapes our personalities. This explains why everyone has different personalities, even animals show different personalities.

Karmas are of 3 types, stored (Sinchit), in flight (Pralabdha), future (Kriyaman)...The stored karma is like seeds that have been sowed by passed actions, in flight karma is the plants (action) that have sprouted from these seeds, which is happening now, and lastly future karmas are the fruit of these plants (action) that give more seeds.  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar goes to say that we don't actually know when these seeds are going to sprout.

Why is Karma so important to understand?  This is important because one can understand that one is simply a product of ones own creation, through the actions one has taken in the past. If we understand this, we can take steps in creating karma’s that are more beneficial to us, live with them with a certain level of acceptance, and rise above them.

In the epic Hindu legend of Mahabratra the blind king Dhritarashtra asked Lord Krishna why he was born blind, and why he had lost his hundred children in battle, despite being such a kind and compassionate king.  Lord Krishna gave him the power to go back and find out for himself through meditation.  Dhritarashtra meditated and discovered in an earlier life, one day he saw a swan with a hundred signets around it, he ordered that the swan’s eyes be cut out and all the children killed just for his fancy...As such he was born blind in this life, and lost all of his 100 children in the war.

To Chapter 2

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tweet - The rules...

Flight 888
Picture "Flight 888" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
The ignorant is not aware of the rules,
The novice starts learning the rules,
The average person applies the rules,
The experts understands the rules,
The master teaches the rules,
and also knows how to break the rules,
without breaking the rules...


Kyrie


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tweet - sometimes it feels good to be alive

sometimes it feels good to be alive, 
sometimes it does not, 
the difference is that the later is just attachment to so called good things or bad things in life...


Tweet - Too often we sacrifice

too often we start sacrificing things we enjoy,
because we don't have time to do the so called "more important things", 
however this just serves to take away the energy to tackle these, 
and leave you nothing more than a miserable life...


Seek knowledge which unravels mysteries

Good Night Buddha
Love this picture "Good Night Buddha" by h.koppdelaney

That friend brought me up with great care and attention,
He sewed me a garment from skin and veins.
The body is like a cloak and my heart in it like a mystic,
The world is like a monastery and he is my guide.

Seek knowledge which unravels mysteries
Before your life comes to close
Give up that non-existence which looks like existence,
Seek that existence which looks like non-existence!
~Rumi~

From Divani Shams, "Life and Work of Muhammad Jalal-ud Din Rumi"
by Afzal Iqbal

Tweet - always have a plan B in place

the cracks are starting to show in the world in all area's economic, employment, environmental, social
one cannot be ignorant about these major "tectonic" shifts that are happening
be mindful of this and what you need to be able to navigate these difficult pathways ahead
for example, keeping this in mind at work, one can focus on learning, relationships, and seeking more stable positions
keeping this mind for health, one be can focus more on invigorating yoga, qi gong/pranayama
always having plan B for various aspects of your life...should things around you take a turn for the worse...


Tweet - Work calls for taking some risks

at work sometimes you just have to take some risks, 
let it be risks that show leadership, value for relationships and integrity...



Tweet - Often we think, why this, why that?

often we think, why this? why that? 
little do we know dwelling on situations that are, 
is just making us more miserable, better to accept what is, 
this allows you open to the joy in just being alive...
and truly appreciate what we do have...


Tweet - giving does not imply giving something material

giving does not imply giving something material,
it can be a kind word of appreciation, of empowerment, of comfort...
the gift of words can bring lots of joy,
not only for the receiver but maybe more so for the giver...


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Tofurkey Day..


Buddha's Birds
Picture 'Buddha Birds' kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
we can't change the cruelty that happens around the world,
but can we not we can change the demand that fuels this senseless slaughter?

we create a statement by our non-participation, 
passive as it may seen, it is still a statement...

so this thanks giving...
i am wishing everyone a happy "Tofurkey Day"...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creating Space for Zen...

The logo I designed has got the number 4 behind the Space & Zen in Roman Numerals

What better way to start a new post for a new blog, than about the blog itself...The inspiration for the name of the blog comes from really nice quote I read in a book by Gawler & Bedford,  where they described meditation as simply "creating space for grace", this resonated strongly with me.  Struggling with meditation for a long time myself, I know you can't force meditation, nor can you force love, kindness, presence of mind, happiness and even sleep, you can simply make space for it to happen naturally.

"Water, if you don't stir it, becomes clear, says a Tibetan proverb. Similarly, the mind, if you don't stir it, finds peace" ~ Sogyal Rinpoche, likewise with our endless thirst to be everywhere except where we are, agitates our minds so much that we can never enjoy the preciousness of the current moment...

"When we stop trying to force pleasant feelings, they are freer to emerge on their own.
When we top trying to resist unpleasant feelings we may find that they can drift away by themselves
When we stop trying to make something happen, a whole world of fresh and unanticipated experiences may become accessible to us" ~ The Mindful Way Through Depression


Instead of using "Space for Grace" I used "Space for Zen" , because Zen encapsulates so much more personally, it implies meditation, it implies mindfulness, it implies direct experience, it implies simplicity, it implies poetry and unsolvable puzzles, it implies there is much more than what can be expressed by words.

Creating a space for Zen then for me a deeply spiritual statement because I believe we are deeply spiritual beings with infinite innate potential. The sad state of the world today requires us to be able to connect to this potential and bring it out so that we can get through in life with joy and peace of mind amongst the chaos, as well as being able to offer this to the world around us through our own very example...


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Welcome to my new blog...space4zen.com




Hi All,

Welcome to my new blog...space4zen.com

I have been blogging coming up to almost one year now on guruhabit.com, powerofqi.blogspot.com etc. This new blog allows me to take myself to the next stage of evolution. I will be consolidating my writings in this web site from past blogs, look to provide a better structure to index the different sub-themes.

The underlying theme of this site, is that we already have all we need in us, and we "simply to make space for magic to happen in our lives", and real magic happens when we open up to the vastness inside us or "Zen" state of mind inside us.

Enjoy the next journey with me...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Tortoise and the Hare, The Sequel

Picture "Master Oogway" kindly provided by  KungFuPandaWorld
For my next Toastmaster speech, I need to write an original story with a twist, this was a difficult for me to thing to do amongst the craziness and busyness of life, I managed to write a draft sequel to the "Tortoise and the Hare" in the chaos of it all.  I will probably do some further refinements as the speech comes closer.  Here it is, enjoy:

The Hare was humiliated after losing the race to the Tortoise, 10 years later the Hare was a Broken Bunny! The Hare never quite forgave himself for falling asleep at the race, he kept on revisiting that event over and over again in his mind everyday since then.

He pondered "How could I have lost that race, everyone knew I was faster...everyone thought I was better looking, everyone thought I was the one that was sure to be a success in life".  He sure was a dashing young bunny back then, with great looks and speed...

It did not stop there, the Tortoise got the promotions, everyone loved being around the Tortoise, the Tortoise always made time for everyone, even animals he did not like.  The Hare was a sorry picture of what he was before, he looked 10 years older than his age, his face showed his bitterness, and his words reflected it...he was the heaviest bunny in town...

The Hare had heard of the wizard Owl, which was the Tortoise's mentor, he decided to go visit the Owl, after all, if the Owl could help a loser like the Tortoise to become a winner, surely the Owl could help him. He arrived at the Owl's tree, to find the Owl meditating upside down...The Owl sensed him, opened his eyes, and said to him, "so its taken you ten years to come and see me, tell me how can I help you".  The Hare poured out his anger, his hatred for the Tortoise, and hatred for himself...

The Owl listened carefully, and asked, what do you think could change all this...The Hare paused and then he thought "it was that darn race, if I had won it, things would all be different..." The Owl paused, he picked up a twig, and he put a magical spell on it, he said to the Hare "take this, go home, picture in your mind the event you want to change, and break the twig...it will take you back in time to change any event you want..."

The Hare was delighted, finally he got "a second bite of the cherry", he took the twig and kissed the Owl's feathers... He went home, and he pictured the race in his mind...and broke the twig, all of the sudden he was transported back in time to the race.  He was there, the Tortoise was there, the crowd was there, all 10 years ago...The Hare said "ahh, I am going to win today! nothing will stop me, I will not sleep today no matter how tired I get"

So the siren went off, off they went, the Hare ran, and he ran, he started to feel tired, and he passed the place he slept before..."ahh I am not going to fall for that one he said..." He kept running, he went passed the carrot farm, and he felt really hungry.  He thought, since he was so far ahead, he would stop and have a quick bite, he stopped and ate the carrots, they were so delicious, he had not enjoyed such succulent carrots for ten years, then he was full, but he kept on eating....as he was eating and eating he saw the tortoise pass him by, so he jumped up  startled and started sprinting again, he felt really uncomfortable running with such a full stomach.

He ran and he ran, and then he came across a beautiful female Hare who needed some help to take a splinter out of her leg, being so far ahead again, and enjoying a youthful body again, he stopped to help her, soon he was lost in her eyes, and was captured by her beauty, he lost track of time, and soon the tortoise passed him again...He thought "Just a bit longer, I really want to get this foxy Hare's number!",  he lost track of time, from a distance he saw that the tortoise was slowly inching to the finish line....

He said to the female Hare, "Stay put babes, I will be back...", and he sprinted as hard, and as fast as he could, he ran and he ran, like he never ran before in his life.  The Tortoise was almost at the finish line, the hare lunged and landed on the Tortoise's shell with a thud, he bounced and he flew over the Tortoise and won the race...He face burst with pride. and he forgot all about the Foxy Hare he left behind, "I did it, I did it, I did it", then all of the sudden he was then suddenly teleported to the present moment.  He thought how great things would be now...when he open his eyes, he got to where he left off, nothing seemed to have changed, he went to work the Tortoise was still his boss.

He stomped back to the Owl's tree, and demanded an explanation why things had not changed.. The Owl looked at him and said "I have done all I can please go and ask the Tortoise what his secret is".  The Hare's pride kept him from approaching the Tortoise, until one day he could take it no more, he asked the Tortoise to go out for a drink of wheat juice, down near the non-alcoholic bar next to the lake.

He poured his heart out to the Tortoise and also blamed him for almost half of the things that happened to him.  The Tortoise looked at him compassionately, and said...my friend, "I have always wanted to speak to you about it, but I never thought you would want to listen to what I had to say to you, since you ask, I will tell you...

See your problems lies not in the fact that you got defeated, not just with our race but with anything, I lose in many things myself, we all have our ups and downs.  The problem lies in your attachment to your loses and the attachment you have to your wins.

For me it did not really matter if I lost or won the race, I would have just gotten on with the rest of my life, and forgotten about the race...I just was more concerned about finishing the race and moving on to my next challenge, one day at a time...I know my weaknesses, but I overcome it by just keeping myself present at the task at hand, doing that and only that, and also not getting attached to the results good or bad...I know I may be a bit simple, but I find that works for me.  I did not believe it at first too, when the Owl revealed it to me"

The Hare was struck by this, "could it really be that simple, could it really be that it is not what happens to you good or bad, but how much you are attached to it" he thought...It was a hard pill for the Hare to swallow, but he knew deep down inside that it was true...for when he reflected back to the days in his life when he felt most alive, he could not find any attachments...

The Tortoise did not give up on his friend the Hare, and taught him the Tortoise Meditation Technique, the slow Tortoise Breathing Method, the Tortoise Tai Chi Form.  This gave the Hare a practical way to build these skills, and learn to be more mindful, present and compassionate in life.  The Hare learnt much from his former nemesis who was now his closest friend and mentor and went on to truly live his life....



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A lover only knows humility..



I just love this song based on Rumi's poem, here are the lyrics:
A lover knows only humility, he has no choice.
He steals into your alley at night, he has no choice.
He longs to kiss every lock of your hair, don't fret,
he has no choice.
In his frenzied love for you, he longs to break the chains of his imprisonment,
he has no choice.


A lover asked his beloved:
- Do you love yourself more than you love me?
Beloved replied: I have died to myself and I live for you.
I've disappeared from myself and my attributes,
I am present only for you.
I've forgotten all my learnings,
but from knowing you I've become a scholar.
I've lost all my strength, but from your power I am able.


I love myself...I love you.
I love you...I love myself.


I am your lover, come to my side,
I will open the gate to your love.
Come settle with me, let us be neighbours to the stars.
You have been hiding so long, endlessly drifting in the sea of my love.
Even so, you have always been connected to me.
Concealed, revealed, in the unknown, in the un-manifest.
I am life itself.


You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
I am the ocean and its turbulent flood.
Come merge with me,
leave this world of ignorance.
Be with me, I will open the gate to your love.


I desire you more than food or drink
My body my senses my mind hunger for your taste
I can sense your presence in my heart
although you belong to all the world
I wait with silent passïon for one gesture one glance
from you.


The Mindful Way through Depression...





I am reading "The Mindful Way through Depression" presently (sample embedded above), although it is for depression, it offers a great amount of detail to handle difficult emotions that is applicable to everyone...I wander sometimes why being born as a human never came with a owner's manual.  Thankfully there is some great material coming available on the "human being manual" especially on mindfulness based techniques.

The more I think about it, it is really that we are rediscovering techniques that we already know innately, techniques so long forgotten, knowledge that we already have inside us that we are rediscovering like a sculptor chipping away at a rock to reveal a beautiful statue within...

Enjoy the sample from the book above, it resonated with me quite a bit, you could apply the morale of the story to any "day to day moment" and appreciate it so much more:

A well-known travel writer was invited to dine at the home of a well-to-do Japanese family.  His host had invited a number of guests, letting it known that he had something of a great importance to share.  part of the meal would consist of a blowfish, considered a superb delicacy in Japan, in part because these fish are fatally poisonous unless the poison has been removed by a highly skilled chef.  To be served such a fish was a great honor.

As guest of honor, the writer received the fish with great anticipation, and savored every mouthful.  The taste was, indeed, like nothing he had ever eaten.  What, asked his host, did he think of the experience?  The guest was ecstatic about the exquisite flavor of the fish he had sampled.  He did not have to exaggerate, for it was indeed sublime, among the best food he had ever tasted.  Only then did his host reveal that the fish he had eaten was a common variety.  Another guest, without realizing it, had eaten the blowfish.  The "important thing" the writer learned was not how good a rare and expensive delicacy tasted, but how amazing ordinary food could be if he paid close attention to each mouth full.


Monday, November 14, 2011

The Same Parents


Sample of Lyrics

We all had the same parents
Many million years ago
Why can't we live in freedom
Without hunger, with no war?

At the beginning we all had
One mother and one father
That's where we're descending from 
I don't, I don't understand why so much hate 

Between races, and religions
It's mad, insane
I don't understand 
Why it has to be like that?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

See me here..


"A human being is part of a whole called by us the Universe. A part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires, and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of understanding and compassion, to embrace all living creatures in the whole of nature and its beauty."
~ Albert Einstein

We must be able to...

Buddha's Eagle
Picture "Buddha's Eagle" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
We must be able to build sufficient awareness through our daily discipline of meditation to be in tune to our higher self.  

We must be able to put those temporary pauses in our daily action, to allow us to contemplate what is happening with our deeper self.  

We must be able to act with conviction from the sensitivity that we build through our daily discipline of meditation, and be totally congruent with our higher self.

From my upcoming book "Zen,Zombies & Karma"

The poverty of mental and spiritual wealth...

Vipassana Meditation
Picture "Vipassana Meditation" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

There is a endless rat race in today's society for material wealth...people seem to think that getting material wealth will give them piece of mind. Those who do not have it spend their lives getting it, those that have spend their live hoarding it, squandering it, rather than putting it into good use...so were is the joy in living in all of this...

In a conversation between The Dalai Lama & Paul Ekman, PH.D, his holiness says:
In the eighteen century, nineteenth century, early part of twentieth century, no government says what is the importance of peace of mind. Only say: economy, economy, economy. Why? Because poverty is urgent. So, therefore, people everywhere, putting every effort, including our education into eliminating poverty...

Also on the television, all you see, is about improvement of the proverty: to improve the economy, propsperity. But you see, people, at least those people, how are no longer much worried about their physical needs, now they are experience problems, but mainly at the mental leval. That mental unrest brings a lot of suffering on humanity. Therefore, now we have to think or explore another field, and that is mental health. We cannot change mental health overnight.

Today's world is in deep mental and spiritual poverty...Here is the irony of it all, spiritual & mental wealth is free, its freely available inside you!

One only needs to switch off external channels, and switch on internal channels...

When I was driving back today from picking up my dry cleaning, I saw a billboard it was of a mini coke can and it said "Open up a little happiness", pondering on it, it made me sick!  This is the type of programming that tells us that we can buy happiness out of a can, what a joke!...but this sort of programming is prevalent at every scale...

One needs to switch off these really damaging external negative messages, and realize that true happiness, comes only from realizing and exercising our true core nature..through stillness, compassion, contemplation...

Sadly even spirituality is commoditized into products that make us believe that we can buy it!  If only it would be that simple all the millionaires would be in bliss, when they suffer mentally more than a average villager in poverty...

I say onto you that you already have all that is required, only thing that is required is a simple method of meditation (if you don't already have one)...and daily discipline...

Spiritual and mental poverty needs to be eliminated by daily discipline of your meditation method...



Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is Karma?

Ordinary mindness is the way
Picture "Ordinary mindness is the way" by h.koppdelaney
Here is another sample (draft) of a short book I am doing, which is moving very slowly :)

Why is this happening to me? Why was I born this way? Why am I the way I am?  There is a lot of whys in life...too many that we can possibly comprehend.  Could it really be that life is just one big random event?

According to the law of Karma, there is no such thing as a random event, everything is interrelated working like perfect clockwork, there is a reason for everything to be as it is, there is a reason for everyone to be in everyone’s life, there is learning possible from every single situation.

I really like the definition of Karma by Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, he says:
“Karma is action that results from the impressions of the mind, the action it has produced, and the new impressions it is going to produce in the mind in the future which will cause further actions."

The impressions are called Samskaras in Sanskrit, these are scripts recorded in the inner depths of our mind which governs our automatic behaviors, they also shapes our personalities. This explains why everyone has different personalities, even animals show different personalities.   

Karmas are of 3 types, stored (Sinchit), in flight (Pralabdha), future (Kriyaman)...The stored karma is like seeds that have been sowed by passed actions, in flight is the plants that have sprouted from these seeds, and future karmas, are the fruit of these plants that give more seeds. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar goes to say that we don't actually know when these seeds are going to sprout.

Why is this so important to understand?  This is important because one can understand that one is simply a product of ones own creation, through the actions one has taken in the past. Now if we understand this, we can take steps in creating karma’s that are more beneficial to us, live with them with a certain level of acceptance, and rise above them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Let love and grace guide your sail

Om mani padme hum
Picture "Om mani padme hum" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
The winds of time takes you to places you don't expect to go
It brings together people you don't expect to know...

All is not random, although it may seem that way
There are lessons to be learnt, kind deeds to do, kinds words to say...

Learn the lesson of simplicity,
Learn the lesson of humility...

Leadership, strength, courage to be shown
Your soul in this body to be flown...

Alas, you have it in you to go through this journey and come out awaken
Pray that you don't fall asleep, pray with grace you are shaken...

Let love and grace guide your sail
So in life you do not fail...


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mind like the Sky


Let your mind be like the clear blue sky
Clear blue it always is, above the dark clouds you can always fly
Even when there is storms, hurricanes, all is just a phase
For when the storms clear, the clear blue skies come back to amaze
Such is yourself, the storms of your emotions, your troubles, your environment
In your mind are just really small mice, not a big elephant
Don't blow them out to what they are not, keep your piece of mind all the same
Your troubles are like the clouds, they will disappear just as they came


(This poem was inspired by Jack Kornfield's Mind Like the Sky Meditation)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why we are zombies...

Ordinary mindness is the way
Picture "Ordinary mindness is the way" by h.koppdelaney
Finally I get the courage to start on my first book...here is a sample...

Why we are zombies?
I see them all around me, I feel like one too at times...everywhere you look, everyone is on autopilot...

Is this what we were destined for? Is this why humans were given this intellect? Why is this?

Well it takes work and discipline to overcome the lethargy and the addictions of the mind and of the body...the spirit is boundless, the mind however is a slave, a slave of the senses, a slave to the addictions of the mind...so is this what we have reduce the spirit to? a slave? a slave of the mind which itself is a slave...Where is the freedom in all of this?

The mind has itself has forgotten about the spirit, and has itself identified itself with the mind, the ego, the emotions, the senses...In that lies the very fact, we are really zombies, being free to be controlled by a bombardment of external driven selfish and sometimes perverse programming that appeals to the palate, to the senses, to the ego...

Its akin to a person taking the hands off the steering wheel and expecting the car to drive itself...well maybe off the cliff or into the tree you will go, if you are lucky it will be fatal, otherwise it could be life of misery and pain from some serious injury...life is no different...the results from mindless action, is well mindless random results...

The mind, the emotions, the body are useful servants but bad masters...under the leadership of the soul...amazing things are possible...just from one person...just from one lifetime.