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What is happening in the Ukraine is not new, it is has been going on since people have walked this earth. It is explained clearly in the little book that my dear neighbor Ben Ferencz gave me one day by Robert Muller who was the former Assistant-secretary General of the United Nations for forty years titled Dialogues of Hope. Muller wrote:

…it seems to me that there is a perpetuation of tribalism that goes under the name of national sovereignty. I feel that not enough people understand that they have connections to one another in the human family and that human sovereignty is much more important than national sovereignty. In our time, human sovereignty and national sovereignty have come into conflict because the national interest is placed against the human interest and is made to be primary (page 14).[1]

So what can we do about it? First, believe in peace. Second, love your fellow earth dwellers regardless of their race, color, creed, national origin, or religion. Third, stand up for organizations like the UN that have been created to help the world live in peace, harmony, and love. Finally, live by the commandments written by Muller each and every day. I still need to remind myself daily that “peace begins with me” not the other man, woman, or child with whom I roam this “blue planet.”

Muller wrote the most wonderful “Ten Commandments to Humanity.” I hope you will take them and post them someplace where you can read them daily. I hope, as well, that you will make a pledge to yourself to live each one as best you can every moment of every day. The planet just may not survive if we don’t.

Ten Commandments to Humanity

  1. You shall love each other, your planet, your family, the God of the Universe and your own miraculous life with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength.
  2. You shall practice truth, kindness and tolerance toward each other.
  3. You shall never kill a human brother or sister, not even in the name of a nation or a faith.
  4. You shall not produce, trade, or use any arms or instruments of violence.
  5. You shall never be violent, neither physically nor verbally toward each other.
  6. You shall respect the lives, peace, happiness and uniqueness of all your human brothers and sisters.
  7. You shall cooperate with each other, help each other, inspire each other.
  8. You shall contribute your peace, love and happiness to the peace, love and happiness of the human family.
  9. You shall live in harmony with yourself, with your family, with your environment, with all humanity and with the God of the Universe.
  10. You shall live a responsible life in accord with the supreme interests of our planet and of the human family.

I invite you all to share this with your representatives at the local, state, and federal level and ask them to pledge to work and live by these commandments and if they do not you will choose someone else to represent you. If we are unable to do this I am afraid that our children and our children’s children may not have a planet on which they can live, breathe, and love.

In gassho,

Shokai

 

[1] Muller, R. (1990). Dialogues of Hope, World Happiness and Cooperation, Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY

Once a year I’m invited to the Center for Spiritual Living’s Christmas Eve Interfaith Service in Boca Raton, Florida, and I lead a meditation on peace for them. We have a beautiful reading attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha entitled “Metta (Loving-Kindness) Sutra.” I have copied it below for you to use, meditate upon, and share with others that want to live a more peaceful and compassionate life.

Metta (Loving-Kindness) Sutra

May all beings be happy.
May they be joyous and live in safety.
All living beings, whether weak or
Strong, in high or middle, or low
Realms of existence, small or great,
Visible or invisible,
Near or far, born or to be born,
May all beings be happy.
Let none deceive another nor despise
Any being in any state; let none
By anger or hatred wish harm to another.
Even as a mother at the risk of her life
Watches over and protects her only child,
So with a boundless mind should
One cherish all living things,
Suffusing love over the entire
World, above, below, and all around
Without limit
So let each cultivate an
Infinite good will toward the whole
World.

This is my mantra for living. Each day I am given many opportunities to use it and many challenges are presented in which I must decide which world I want to live in. For me I want to live in a world “without limits” on love! I hope you’ll join me.

Namaste, Shokai

I moved into my new villa and saw my next door neighbor and his lovely wife walking down the sidewalk. I thought it only appropriate to stop and introduce myself to them and soon I discovered the most amazing thing—Ben and I had a lot in common. As a Zen Buddhist I sit each day in meditation and before I begin I set my intention for this period of time.   I set my intention on saving the planet and finding peace, compassion, and love for it and all sentient beings. Ben too has spent his entire life finding and working for peace, compassion, and love on this planet in a most loving and powerful way.

Ben Ferencz was the chief prosecutor at the subsequent proceedings at Nuremberg. He is the only prosecutor who is still alive and his mantra is “never give up!” You can see a lot more about Ben at his website www.benferencz.org. I hope you’ll take a look as it will amaze and astound you. Ben wrote, “Nuremberg taught me that creating a world of tolerance and compassion would be a long and arduous task. And I also learned that if we did not devote ourselves to developing effective world law, the same cruel mentality that made the Holocaust possible might one day destroy the entire human race.”

Ben has inspired me to write a series of blogs on peace and what it means in Buddhism, in Christianity, in ethics, and in daily life. I hope you’ll join me on this important journey as Ben said, if we don’t we could “destroy the entire human race.” One of his many life goals is stated succinctly on his website, “Ferencz’s goal is replacing the “rule of force with the rule of law.”

In Buddhism we may not actually have “laws” but we do have many precepts that we follow and we understand the laws of nature and life and love and how when followed they bring peace and contentment into our lives and the lives of our neighbors, friends, family, and ultimately the world.

Ben loaned me a little book the other day written by Robert Muller who was the Assistant-secretary General of the United Nations for forty years. The book is entitled Dialogues of Hope (1990). In it he wrote: It is by transforming our own lives that we transform the world (page 101).[1] This is what we believe in Buddhism and in my former career as a Unity minister. Each Sunday we ended our service by singing the peace song and it ends with this phrase: Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

I hope you will join me on this journey and share the posts with your friends, families, and associates. I hope as well that you will comment on the posts and share your ideas and thoughts on this very important subject with me and my followers. In peace and love, Shokai

[1] Muller, R. (1990). Dialogues of Hope. World Happiness and Cooperation, Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY

Someone Should Start Laughing

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
What is God?

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean
Can pass through that tiny opening called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly Laughing Now!

Hafiz

Mitch Doshin Cantor

Mitch Doshin Cantor

When we really look at our lives and the ruts that we have created for ourselves we may wonder—how the heck did I get here?  When practicing meditation and/or mindfulness we want to be nonjudgmental and simply observe the “stuckness” and then decide either to stay stuck or get unstuck!  The choice is always up to us!

Does it really matter “how” we got stuck?  Or is it more important to review the situation and decide if it is worth my time and energy to get unstuck.  Will getting unstuck help me in a positive way.  Will it help me get my homework assignments completed for school?  Will it help me get the chores done around the house or the projects completed at work?  Will it help me improve my health or income or relationships?

I love what Russell Simmons wrote in his new book Success through Stillness in his chapter “Getting Unstuck.”  “…no matter where you’re from or what you’ve done, you’re never stuck in anything unless you say you are (page 143).”[1]

Many years ago I learned about the Theory of 21.  This theory purports that it takes 21 days to create a new habit or get unstuck!  So that means once you’ve observed your “stuckness” evaluated its impact on your life and then decided it was something you’d like to see change—getting unstuck will take at least 21 days.  For me it usually takes much longer than that!  When I get stuck I really get stuck!

Whether you’re stuck in a bad relationship, habit, thought pattern, job, school, or work…you can get unstuck.  Below are some simple steps for getting there!

1.  Make up your mind that YOU want to get unstuck, not your mother, father, girlfriend, boyfriend, or boss—You want to do it.

2.  Identify what triggers you about this “stuckness.”  So if you’re stuck on procrastinating on homework, work projects, doing the laundry, or cleaning the house it’s probably because these things are too big and are overwhelming you when you see them or even think about them.

3.  To fix it break this “stuckness” down in to bite size pieces.  How do you eat an elephant—one bite at a time!

4.  Meditate on one of those pieces each day and allow the unconscious mind to bubble up the things that are holding you back from getting unstuck.  As they come to mind take the energy out of them and see them being done with ease, floating away like a hot air balloon.  Take the emotion out of the picture and change the picture from one of fear, anxiety, or pain to one of completion, peace, joy, forgiveness, love, and release.  Do not give it any power. Simply observe and let it go again and again till the energy in it has dissipated!   Remember things are “just this” in Buddhism and it is only our thoughts that give them power over us in both negative and positive ways.

5. Finally, just do it!  Like the Niki commercial says.  Do it every day until you’re unstuck and can move on with your new life—just this!

Just sit each morning in meditation. Then while doing the thing, if the emotions or thoughts begin to take you back to the “stuckness” take a quick moment to breath into it, fill it with air, smile, and let it go.  Remember what Russell Simmons said, “you’re never stuck in anything unless you say you are.” The choice is up to you! Meditation and mindfulness are the simple glue removers!


[1] Simmons, R. (2014) Success through Stillness Meditation made Simple. Penguin Group: NY, NY

unlockthedoortolearning:

sorry about the gibberish on the first post…

Originally posted on unlockthedoortolearning:

Being mindful in life, in the classroom, at work, at home or at play can increase your powers of concentration, recognition, memory, and more.  Would you like a better relationship with your significant other?  Then using mindfulness techniques in your relationship just might help.  When was the last time you forgot his or her birthday, an anniversary, or her favorite food or that he liked his coffee black?  Want to have a better relationship with your boss, co-workers, and customers?  How mindful were you at that last meeting with them?  Was your mind wandering from to-do list to- do list so much so that you couldn’t even remember what he or she said, what they were wearing, or the color of his or her eyes or hair?  If this sounds like you help is on the way!

Russell Simmons in his new book Success through Stillness writes, “…we eventually come…

View original 558 more words

Being mindful in life, in the classroom, at work, at home or at play can increase your powers of concentration, recognition, memory, and more.  Would you like a better relationship with your significant other?  Then using mindfulness techniques in your relationship just might help.  When was the last time you forgot his or her birthday, an anniversary, or her favorite food or that he liked his coffee black?  Want to have a better relationship with your boss, co-workers, and customers?  How mindful were you at that last meeting with them?  Was your mind wandering from to-do list to- do list so much so that you couldn’t even remember what he or she said, what they were wearing, or the color of his or her eyes or hair?  If this sounds like you help is on the way!

Russell Simmons in his new book Success through Stillness writes, “…we eventually come to understand that our happiness is derived from being present in the moment.  In seeing the miracles that are constantly unfolding around us every second, instead of blindly running past them (page 51).[1]  So here is the trick…when you catch your mind wandering, acknowledge it and invite it to come back into the present moment.  Whether you are reading a text for school or work, washing the dishes or the car, or waiting for a bus bring yourself back into the now moment.  Take a deep breath, scan your environment, focus on the person you are speaking to or the book that you are reading or the assignment that you are writing and smile. Yes, smile! Don’t put yourself down or criticize yourself for having that wandering mind just be grateful that you are beginning to recognize it and call it back to the now moment.

I like to help my students practice being mindful with a simple exercise like taking a piece of wrapped hard candy and using every one of your senses to “experience” the candy.  Yes, experience the candy.  Most of the time when we just eat the candy: We just unwrap it and throw it into our mouths and never really know what it felt like or tasted like and seconds later some of us have forgotten that we’ve even eaten it!

So try this and see what happens.  Take the candy and use all 5 of your senses to eat it. How does it feel to the touch?  Look at it before unwrapping it and after unwrapping it.  See its color, texture, shape, and more.  Listen to the sounds it makes as you do that.  Next, smell the candy and really smell it. Yes, hard candy does have some luscious smells!  Next, hold it in your mouth and feel what it feels like in there.  Is it sharp, soft, hard, feel it as it melts does it get slippery?  What happens to your saliva?  Does it taste different when you move it around your mouth from one place to another?  Really “experience” the candy.  Many of my students have noted after this exercise that this was the “best” candy they had ever eaten.  Why?  Because they actually took time to “experience” it.

What would happen if you spent your life really experiencing it—seeing the people, places, and things around you? What if you really smelled the smells, felt the textures, and enjoyed the views.  Really read the words that the author has written—really put yourself into the writing.  Really be there!  What would happen if you really looked at the cashier behind the register?  Saw him or her as a real human being with feelings, likes, dreams, and ambitions.  Like you!

Woody Allen once said that he’d never met a man on his deathbed who said “I wish I’d spent more time at work.” I have always said that when I die on my tombstone I want it written that “She died having no regrets.”  How about you? What will yours say?

Live life today—experience  it every moment, no matter how many times you have to remind yourself to “be in the now moment.”  Simply be here now!  Now is the only time there really is.


[1] Simmons, R. (2014) Success through Stillness Meditation made Simple. Penguin Group: NY, NY

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