My quote today is by Russell Simmons from his wonderful book, Success through Stillness Meditation Made Simple. In his chapter entitled “The Heaviness of Success and Failure” he quotes this phrase from the Bhagavad Gita “You have control over your work alone, never the fruit (page 116).” Then he writes
There are a lot of different ways you could interpret that passage, but to me it’s always meant “Stop worrying about how much money you make off your work (the fruit) and instead just stay focused on your work itself.” Because when you embrace the process of your work, instead of focusing on the results, you’ll always be happier, plus do a much better job (page 116).
For some your work may be school, some may be working on friendships and/or relationships, or working to stay clean and straight and not use. For others you may be thinking about a paid job where you earn your living. In life we want to be successful in all aspects of our lives not just at the so-called work that we may do for a living to support ourselves and our families.
I wonder what our lives would look like if we had the same definition as Russell Simmons. There are so many people throughout history that we could point to who simply did the “work” without focusing on the outcome or the money or the fruits of that labor. In Buddhism we study people like Thich Nhat Hanh who started out as a young Buddhist student, then monk, then founded the Engaged Buddhism movement in response to the Vietnam War. From there he served as the delegate for the Buddhist Peace Delegation at the Paris Peace talks in 1969 and the Paris Peace Accords in 1973 to help end the war. Today he lives in Plum Village in France surrounded by his students and friends.
Or what about those adventurous people in history like the Englishman Doctor David Livingstone who went to Africa in 1840 with two goals: to explore the continent and to end the slave trade. In 1871 Henry Morton Stanley went to find the then “missing” Dr. Livingston. Eight months later he found him and upon meeting is to have said these famous words, “Dr. Livingston, I presume.”
Success does not mean that you have to be as brave as Thich Nhat Hanh or as adventurous as Dr. Livingston and Henry Stanley, but I hope that it does mean you look within and discover your passion and run to it. Live it. Love it. Discover it. Find it. Share it. Meet it.
How far will you go for your goals, passions, and dreams? What will you do for success? Where will you meet your success today? Keep me posted I can’t wait to hear!
 Simmons, R. (2014) Success Through Stillness Meditation Made Simple. NY, NY:
Posted in BUddhism, fears, happiness, love, oppression, self-help, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen | Tagged adventure, Africa, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhism, Buddhist Peace Delegation, challenges, compassion, Dr. David Livingston, dreams, goals, happiness, Henry Morton Stanley, love, mindfulness, money, Paris Peace Accords 1973, Paris Peace talks 1969, passions, patience, peace, Russell Simmons, success, Success Through Stillness Meditation made Simple, Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnam War, work, worry, Zen, Zen Buddhism | Leave a Comment »
Health is a state of mind as well as a state that the body and mind either has or does not have. We often take our health for granted and do things that are detrimental to the body such as improper eating, lack of exercise, lack of mental calmness and fortitude, abuse of substances, and more. We cannot abandon the mind/body connection in this life unless we are dead set against living. The fact is living can be hard at times. However, I always find that much better than the alternative.
Dr. Jan Chozen Bays author of How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness (2011), has a great exercise that I recommend for everyone who feels limited in health of mind, body, and/or spirit. She is a physician and Zen teacher who has written this great book filled with easy exercises to invite mindfulness, meditation, and concentration into our lives in a fun and playful way!
She calls this exercise “Loving-Kindness for the Body” below are the directions for the exercise.
The Exercise: For one week, practice loving-kindness toward the body. Spend at least five or ten minutes a day with this practice. It could be during your meditation time. Sit down in a comfortable chair and breathe normally. On each in-breath, be aware of fresh oxygen and vital energy entering your body. On each out-breath, send this energy throughout your body along with these silent words: “May you be free from discomfort. May you be at ease. May you be healthy.”
Eventually you can simplify this process by just saying “ease” with the out-breath. Any time during the day when your attention is drawn toward your body (when you see yourself in a mirror or when you feel discomfort), send loving-kindness to the body, even if only briefly (page 211).
A healthy body, mind, and spirit makes life so much more fun! I hope you’ll try it out and let me know how it goes! I hope you’ll buy her book and work through all of the exercises in it. Meet your good health today! It will transform your life in many ways! I know that from experience.
Posted in BUddhism, cause and effect, death, faith in Mind, fears, happiness, love, meditation, Mindfulness, old age, prayer, psychology, self-help, sickness, suffering, Uncategorized | Tagged anger, anxiety, breath work, Buddhism, compassion, contemplation, death, fear, happiness, health, Jan CHozen Bays, joy, life, love, MD; How to Train a Wild Elephant, meditation, mind, mindfulness, patience, peace, prayer, sitting, suffering, wisdom, Zen, Zen Buddhism | Leave a Comment »
Faith is a very broad topic and means many different things to many different people. How can I “meet” my faith today anyway? It’s not like faith is walking down the street in a shiny new pair of shoes and a red dress or a blue suit. James Russell Lowell said “Science was faith once.” And my favorite Unity minister and author H. Emily Cady wrote this about faith:
The word faith is one that has generally been thought to denote a simple form of belief based mostly on ignorance and superstition. Blind faith they have disdainfully chosen to call it—fit only for ministers, women, and children, but not a practical thing on which to establish everyday business affairs of life (page 71).
In the Lotus Sutra in Mahayana Buddhism it links the idea of faith to discernment.
“If any living beings who seek after the Buddha-way either see or hear this Law-Flower sutra [i.e. the Lotus Sutra], and after hearing it believe and discern, receive and keep it, you may know that they are near perfect enlightenment.
The same sutra asserts that the Dharma as a whole is difficult to grasp with mere words, and that ultimately only those bodhisattvas who believe with firm faith can penetrate its nature. The Buddha says:
This Law [Dharma] is inexpressible,
It is beyond the realm of terms;
Among all the other living beings
None can apprehend it
Except the bodhisattvas
Who are firm in the power of faith.
And thus we see that in both Christianity and Buddhism the idea of faith is important to help us live a fulfilling life. We all have faith in somethings and people and not in others. How hard it is to “keep the faith” in times of trouble, stress, and doubt. And yet if we believe in our self, in our capacity to love, to think, and to learn all things are possible.
Remember “all things are possible to those who believe.” For those who do not “believe” nothing is possible. You can only work up to your level of belief in life whether it is in education, employment, or love. If you cannot see yourself doing it, attaining it or gaining it –it will always be outside your grasp.
The skies the limit for those who believe and without hesitation move forward one step at a time toward it! Think back upon a time when you had doubt—what happened? Now think back upon a time when you had faith—what happened? Cady writes, “In some way, then, we understand that whatever we want is in this surrounding invisible substance, and faith is the power that can bring it out into actuality to us.”
So stay “firm in the power of faith” don’t walk toward it—run toward it and it will meet you beyond the horizon of doubt and mistrust!
 Cady, H. E. (1903) Lessons in Truth. Unity Village, MO: Unity Books
Posted in BUddhism, Business, cause and effect, Christianity, education, enlightenment, faith in Mind, fears, happiness, love, self-help, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen | Tagged belief, blind faith, bodhisattvas, Buddha, Buddhism, Christianity, compassion, dharma, education, enlightenment, faith, Faith in Mind, fear, goals, H. Emily Cady, happiness, joy, life, Lotus Sutra, love, Mahayana Buddhism, patience, peace, Shakyamuni Buddha, suffering, Unity Church, wisdom, Zen, Zen Buddhism | Leave a Comment »
What does it mean to be free? There will be different connotations if you live in the middle of a war zone in the Middle East, or in a job that you feel chained to that is joyless and boring, or if you are incarcerated in a prison “behind the fence” as we say. Then there is the prison of our minds and emotions that keep us from being free of our thoughts of lack, limitation, and ill health.
As a college professor I have seen that fear in my students eyes when they enter my developmental English class and know that they will not be free to take the “for credit courses” and earn a degree in their favorite area of study if they don’t pass my class. And yet at some time during that semester I can see the light go on in their minds when they finally “get it.” They are finally free of their negative thoughts and fears and able to move on with their education.
H. Emily Cady in her book Lessons in Truth wrote:
You may think that something stands between you and your heart’s desire, and so live with that desire unfulfilled, but it is not true. This “thing” is a bugaboo under the bed that has no reality. Deny it, deny it, and you will find yourself free, and you will realize that this seeming was all false. Then you will see the good flowing into you, and you will see clearly that nothing can stand between you and your own [good/freedom].
You will be free!
Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years and yet he was still able to be a powerful symbol of black resistance to apartheid. On February 11, 1990 he was released by President de Klerk and in 1991 he was elected president of the African National Congress. In 1993 Mandela and President de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work toward dismantling apartheid.
A similar story can be told in our country about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Susan Bright Eyes LaFlesche (Omaha Native American civil rights activist.) and R.C. Gorman painter, sculptor and Native American the first Native American to be internationally recognized as a major American artist.
Freedom: Nothing stood in the way of their “hearts desire.” Do not let anything stand in yours either. Freedom is not a place—it is a consciousness.
Be free to meet your good today! Let me know how that goes!
 Cady, H.E. (1903). Lessons in Truth. Unity Village, MO: Unity House
Posted in BUddhism, campus unrest, cause and effect, Christianity, clinging, discrimination, diversity, education, enlightenment, Ethics, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, illusions, love, Metta Prayer, Mindfulness, old age, oppression, prison system in America, protesters, psychology, religion, self-help, sickness, suffering, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen | Tagged African National Congress, anger, anxiety, Buddhism, challenges, Charles Fillmore, compassion, consciousness, education, enlightenment, fear, freedom, freedom from terriany, freedom from war, freedom of speech, H. Emily Cady, happiness, hearts desire, joy, July 4th Independence Day, Lessons in Truth, life, love, MartinLuther King, Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Prize, peace, prayer, President deKlerk, R.C. Gorman, Rosa Parks, suffering, Susan Bright Eyes LaFlesche, teaching, Unity Church, wisdom, Zen Buddhism | Leave a Comment »
What is love in the spiritual sense?
We see that this love is not something far-off, nor is it anything that can come to us. It is already a part of our being, already established within us; and more than that, it is universal and impersonal. As this universal and impersonal love flows out from us, we begin to love our neighbor, because it is impossible to feel this love for God within us and not love our fellow man (page 66-67.)
~Joel S. Goldsmith
It just happens to be Father’s Day when I am writing on this topic of “love.” Some of us have been born lucky into a family where our father was a great dad, loving, kind, sharing, supportive and more and for others not so much. But in everyone’s life there is a person who fills that roll. It could be a friend, uncle, grandfather, teacher, minister, neighbor, or coach. So this blog is dedicated to everyone who has inspired someone to be the best they can be, consoled someone when they were sad or afraid, and loved someone just for who they were—a perfectly divine and lovable being. They see a person that is loved beyond their actions or words in a given situation or in spite of them.
Every time I walk into our prison sangha to share the teachings of Buddhism with our members “behind the fence” I am reminded of that truth. If I did not know that I was in a prison and I was just dropped into the room unaware of its location I would have thought that I was in the midst of a study group of monks and priests practicing and living a life of peace, love, and compassion for all. They are such a great demonstration of what some might term “fatherly love.” They support each other, share, praise, and love each other as the divine beings that they were created to be.
Love is not something that you get out of a bottle or can create in a high school science lab. It is not something that you can buy in a store or on line from Amazon. It does not come from the US Post Office or FedEx. It comes from each individual when their hearts and minds meld together supported by feelings and actions that are loving, compassionate, and sometimes firm when need be. All the money in the world could not buy it. It is not for sale. It does not have to be earned, nor can it be.
Love simply exists in the universe as an energy that we are born with, an energy that exits everywhere and thus in everything. When we open our hearts and minds to this truth of our being all doors can be opened and all hearts can be repaired. I have seen it with my own eyes in our prison ministry each and every day.
I encourage you all to meet your good today and every day by living your life through the words of Emmet Fox and watch your life be transformed!
In gassho, Shokai
 Goldsmith, J.S. (1958) Practicing the Presence: The Inspirational Guide to Regaining Meaning and A Sense of Purpose in Your Life HarperSanFrancisco:CA
Posted in birth, BUddhism, cause and effect, death, enlightenment, fears, happiness, hate speech, love, Metta, prayer, prison system in America, self-help, suffering, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen | Tagged Buddha, Buddhism, challenges, compassion, Emmett Fox, fear, God within, happiness, Joel S. Goldsmith, joy, life, life energy, love, mind, patience, peace, Prison Ministry, spiritual life, universal energy, wisdom, Zen Buddhism | Leave a Comment »
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