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Posts Tagged ‘Edwene Gaines’

“Peace is the way,” is a very famous idea and the original quote is shared with us in the very popular book by Robert Aitken, The Mind of Clover Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics (1984). He writes:

. . . we have the saying attributed to A.J. Muste, “There is no way to peace; peace is the way,” I doubt if this could have been formulated without the influence of Gandhi, who showed that swaraj, or independence, is right here now, not some time in the future… “Right here now,” “Peace is the way,” “This very body is the Buddha,” “The Kingdome of God is within you”—these are all expressions of human intimacy with essential nature, which is not born and does not die (page 164).[1]

So how do we get so far off the track of peace and into war, anger, meanness, self-centeredness, and the like? All of these words lead us away from peace and make us a very unlikable person. For me I find that when I allow my ego to take over my thinking and feeling nature I’m in big trouble! When the only words that I hold in my head are I, me, my, and mine I am in bigger trouble! And yet it is a great challenge to hold your ground when you are being abused or taken advantage of without giving up your “peace.” But it can be done!

I took a workshop many years ago with a wonderful Unity minister named Edwene Gaines and she shared a great affirmation with us to use when we needed to get a “toxic person” or situation out of our lives and it went like this: “I bless her on her way to find her highest good elsewhere.” WOW!! That’s a powerful thought and I have used it for over 20 years very successfully and so have others that I have shared it with.

So you might say, “I bless ________on his way to find his highest good elsewhere.” Change the pronoun as necessary. Really do it, say it, and think it from a place of peace and love, not of anger and hatefulness. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, JR were able to do it in a big way. If they can free countries and people we sure can free ourselves and others with peace and love to find their highest good elsewhere.

Remember peace is inherent in you right here, right now, not in some other time in the future! Our essential nature is peace. Can’t you just picture that new born baby asleep in the crib how beautiful the baby looks, serene, content, and fulfilled? When was the last time you looked and felt like that, and I don’t mean without the wrinkles! I mean with real love and contentment in your mind and heart. The love and contentment that you were born with, you had it once; you can have it again right here right now this very minute. It is all up to you—choose it or lose it! A person can have love and compassion for even the most so called “unlovable” person in the world when they remember that everyone’s true nature is love and for whatever reason they just do not recognize it in themselves.

Let’s take the time now to do our three breath exercise. Take those three long breaths now! Feel the peace begin to move through you as you count one on the in breath and two on the out breath. Feel the relaxation that begins to encompass your mind, body, and spirit. Unwind your mind and ego~ and rewind the natural peace with which you were born!

And when you do you will see your relationships blossom and grow through peace and love. Peace is the way…this I see for you today!

In love and light, Shokai

 

[1] Aitken, R. (1984) The Mind of Clover Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics. North Point Press: NY, NY

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In a culture where almost everything is sold around “sex” whether it is toothpaste, cars, clothes, furniture, houses, or hair dye we have been misusing sexuality.  When studying and practicing The Ten Grave Precepts students of Zen are invited to take a look at their sexuality and decide what it means to them, how they use it, and how its use affects themselves and those around them.

Reb Anderson in his wonderful book Being Upright (2001) has a beautiful chapter entitled “NOTHING IS WISHED FOR: Not Misusing Sexuality.”  He talks about various ideas from sexual greed to sexual imagery, energy, and intimacy.  He describes it in one paragraph as—

. . .dancing in perfect harmony with the rhythms of our sexual passion. Eventually, the time comes when a human being appears before you as a brilliant and shinning god or goddess, acting as a mirror reflecting your wholeness.  This reflection reveals the dazzling promise of orgasmic unity and the bliss of the complete integration of your whole being (page 118).

When I read this passage it brought back to me a time many years ago when I had a lucid dream about my partner and we were both walking through a doorway, he coming from one side and me from the other.  The doorway was too small for us to pass by without touching and yet neither of us wanted to wait for the other so we both proceeded and our ethereal bodies slowly merged into one and from the top of my head to the tips of my toes I felt the energy—you might say it was a super orgasmic lucid dream from which I did not want to awaken.   But now these many years later I realized that is exactly what Reb was talking about in this chapter.  The merging of the “rhythms of our sexual passion” was “reflecting each others wholeness” and not as separate individuals but as one.

This is how we are taught to live in Zen Buddhism—as “One” with everything.  Regardless of where we are or what we are doing when we focus on the person or the object not as “the other” or something “separate” from us then we are practicing the Bodhisattva way.

I was counseled many years ago by a Unity minister friend of mine, Edwene Gaines, not to sleep with anyone whose consciousness I did not want to own.  I did not understand it very well then, but now I do.  She understood that when you had sex with someone you became one with them, as Reb speaks about, and that his or her energy—good or bad—enters you and yours enters them and you share thoughts, emotions, dreams and more.  Ask yourself before the encounter is this someone I would want to merge with.  Are his or her thoughts, energies, and emotions similar to mine?  Is the person filled with peace, love, compassion, and kindness? These are simple but tough questions to ask and to answer.

Remember Reb says it is a “mirror reflecting your wholeness.”  Is this person’s wholeness the wholeness you want to embrace and make your own?

In the end of the chapter he closes by saying he compares it to sitting Zazen which he calls “sitting upright.”

The world of sex is sitting upright, too.  Whenever you do anything with complete warmth and devotion, it is the same.  Creating a work of art, cooking a meal, or cleaning house: any action of body, speech, or mind, when done in this spirit of complete devotion, without imagining anything else, and without the slightest separation between yourself and the task, is the same.  This is immaculate sexuality (page 121).

This is not the sexuality we see on TV in the ads, or in the movies, or soap operas.  This is the sex that was illustrated in this joke that I heard many years ago.  A young married couple is having sex and in the middle of her husband’s organism the woman opens her eyes, looks up and says, “hmmm.  I think we should paint the ceiling pink, don’t you?”

Today and everyday I see you dancing in perfect harmony with the rhythms of your sexual passion as you recognize your oneness with all there is.

Things to focus on this week:

  •  Step one: Begin by deciding how you will refrain from misusing sexuality this week.
  • Step two: Set your intention to do so before each possible encounter.
  • Step three: Remember to be mindful of being upright in all you do and do not misuse sexuality.
  • Step four: Finally, keep a journal on the precept and make note of how learning to embody it in thoughts, words, and actions is affecting your life. Good luck with that!

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