Sunday, November 19, 2017

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - November 19, 2017

We can't push away the world. We have to enter into life fully in order to become free. 

-  Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 11/19/17

“Selfless service is love in movement. Love doesn’t demand anything in return. It doesn’t wait for result; it just goes on giving.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Impermanence Must Be Felt

A sense of impermanence has to be felt and experienced. If we understand it truly, we will handle all our tribulations far better.

—Traleg Kyabgon, “Accepting the Unacceptable

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 11/18/17

“Seva or volunteer work for a master offers a very rare opportunity. It has the power to liberate the karmas that imprison us in suffering. To be able to serve selflessly is to open oneself to the experience of joy without cause. It is also our karma that actually gives us the chance to serve and if we are already serving, it’s because we deserve to be doing so. While we are doing seva, there are billions of people struggling to find the light, some sort of guidance - some way to go beyond suffering.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Finding a Genuine Teacher

If students really want to find a good teacher . . . they should find one who shows true interest in the student’s well-being, by which I mean to say they show interest in that student as a person.

—Lobsang Rapgay, “What Went Wrong

Friday, November 17, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 11/17/17

“When we truly become aware of what we are doing with ourselves and how we are mistakenly using the gifts and talents God has given you, pride and fear dissolve. We begin to move towards humility and trust. This opens space for love to manifest and, as a result, we are able to fulfill our purpose.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: What Is Freedom?

What is freedom? It is nothing more, and nothing less, than life lived awake.

—Ken McLeod, “Forget Happiness

Awaken Mantras



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Via Jake Sasseville‎ / The Largest Baha'i Facebook Group Ever: OPENLY BAHA’I, OPENLY GAY, OPENLY PROUD.


OPENLY BAHA’I,
OPENLY GAY,
OPENLY PROUD.

im editing this poem-essay
at the end of my second pilgrimage
at the Tel Aviv airport
in Israel.

i dedicate it
for my Atlanta friend,
a Baha’i recently back from pilgrimage
who shared it may be his last
because he’s gay
and doesn’t know
how much longer
he’ll be accepted
as an out, gay Baha’i.
he’s 26.

i write this poem-essay
for my Baha’i friend from Colorado
who I met in israel
who’s best friend serves the Faith
endlessly, with a pure and radiant heart—
all activities —
but doesn’t call himself Baha’i,
and won’t,
because he’s gay.

i write this poem-essay
for my dear friends fiancée in Europe
who wants to support her man
and his journey with Bahá’u’lláh
but texts me torn,
unable to reconcile why she’d ever
support a Religion
where she perceives gays
as unequal.

i write this poem-essay
for my friend in Germany,
who I met in israel,
who doesn’t understand
why her lesbian friends
can’t love Bahá’u’lláh
and be married, too.

the stories flowed
dozens, everywhere i go.
there are probably hundreds more.

it’s the conversation
beneath the conversation.
the whispers
beneath the deep love
for the Baha’i Faith.

this is for you
and
this is an invitation.

doesn’t matter
that you may not be
Baha’i
being gay and open
and — God forbid, proud —
without needing to be
flamboyant about it,
is rare in any organized Religion—
including the Baha’i Faith.

the teachings of the Baha’i Faith
include preserving unity at all costs,
independent investigation of truth,
the oneness of God, Humanity & Religion
and bringing oneself to account each day—
it’s all between You and God,
no one else.

it was hard as hell coming out
as an openly gay guy
who was also a Baha’i —
when almost no gays
are out, or comfortable taking.
and it’s taken almost a decade since
to become really proud of it.

there aren’t many openly gay Baha’is
that don’t feel shunned
or judged
or as if their beloved community
believes they’re wrong,
or sick,
or have some sort of illness.

i have heard the stories —
was invited to the secret
underground Facebook groups
and saw a fragmented group
of incredible humans,
doing God’s work,
who have allowed
a worldwide community’s
misunderstanding of gay
to dim their own light.

we need openly gay Bahai’s
and we need you now.

ive seen friends not know
how to talk about the gay thing
at feasts or devotionals,
or when sharing the Faith with others,
or who don’t know how to share
Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings on marriage
without appearing homophobic.

we can do better.

the world needs gay Bahai’s
who come on pilgrimage
who hold devotionals
who raise children
and help us continue to build
beautiful communities.

the world needs gay Baha’is
who talk as openly
as this.

this is an invitation.

come out of the closet
and be your best version of you,
serve humanity,
be kind
and know that your love
for Bahá’u’lláh
is more important
than anything else
in the world.

when I wrote my book in 2012
i talked very little about being gay
and very little about being Baha’i.

i was ashamed
and didn’t want to feel
different
or be told I was wrong.
or worse: be whispered about.

and i got emails
got called out big time —
from South America to Illinois
repressed or shamed bahais
or those serving on LSAs
that were critical of half-out gays
in their communities —

they were all asking me:
“How did you reconcile
being an openly gay Baha’i?”

like I somehow have the answer...

and it threw me into a tizzy
because I realized I had reconciled
nothing
and I don’t really even have the answer.

sure
i was openly gay
and love Bahá’u’lláh,
but I had buried dealing with this
as far in the closet as I once was
for 24 years.

i was angry
and lashing out
the world was against me
and no one else was openly gay
and Baha’i
and proud.

ive dealt with it
by talking about it
by living my life,
and not hiding.
by laughing
and consulting.
and not acting
like a victim
but as a strong
powerful
beautiful
human being.

these days
i live lightly,
don’t understand everything,
question way too much,
laugh way too loud,
date publicly,
and always turn my will
and my life
over to the care
of God.

that’s what being
an openly gay Baha’i
is like.

one cannot be shamed
unless one holds that shame already
(and if you hold it,
you can let it go).

one cannot hide
unless you feel
there is something
to hide
(being seen is healthy).

this is an invitation.

for the closeted gay Baha’is
know that you’re not alone
and I have been loved
since the first day
I said ‘I’m gay.’

id even say
being gay
has brought
a love
and a light
and an understanding
to the communities
ive been lucky enough
to be apart of.

you can be a beacon, too.
you’ll deal with some crap,
but all that crap,
it’s the pain of the Other —
or the Community —
the Others inability,
or the Community’s inability
to accept
who they really are,
in the face of you accepting
who you really are.

by the way,
if gays weren’t a natural occurrence
natural selection
would’ve ended it generations ago.

think about it.

1 in 12 in the animal kingdom
and humanity
gay gay gay.

whether or not they’ve been out,
gays have been bringing about
a more conscious,
sensitive,
vibrant,
artistic,
loving
world
forward.

there are too few gays
in the beautiful Baha’i Faith.

there are new studies
showing that after 3 boys
are in any one woman’s womb,
every boy after
has a 33% higher chance
of being gay.

science is starting
to catch up.

it’s a natural occurrence,
we are nature’s design
nature’s beauty,
community builders,
artistic expressers,
kindhearted listening ears,
and a whole bunch of beauty —
and while this might trigger some,
the science is emerging.

James O’Keefe’s Ted Talk
“Homosexuality:
It’s about survival not sex”
is a radical shift
in scientific explanation
and it will move you.

it’s time to get on with it
to come out the closet,
and for communities to make it
a safe celebration
when folks do come out.

it’s not enough to accept
communities must celebrate.

it’s hard to do any work —
especially bringing the world together —
like Bahai’s so earnestly are doing —
and I’ll let you in on a secret:
it’s about 10x harder
if you’re repressed
or the ones that are doing
the repressing.

let it go.
celebrate the gay bahais
that come out,
or those investigating
the Writings is Bahá’u’lláh.

celebrate them you people,
we haven’t done a good enough job
making it safe
for all types
to walk on through.

there are those
who will love Bahá’u’lláh
but who won’t conform,
where abidance will be an issue
and we need to show folks
they are welcomed
and they are welcomed now!

7 years since my last pilgrimage
praying at the most Holy Thresholds
in the most beautiful place on earth,
in gardens that are perfect,
that cause emotion from the deepest parts...
a once in a lifetime opportunity
twice in my 32 years.
blessed beyond measure.

folks
here’s to living,
loving and accepting
openly.

the time is now.
this is an invitation.

J. Sasseville.
Haifa, Israel.
November 5, 2017.

Via Lion's Roar / How to Practice Shamatha Meditation


Shamatha meditation—mindfulness or concentration—is the foundation of Buddhist practice. Lama Rod Owens teaches us a version from the Vajrayana tradition.

Shamatha means “peaceful abiding” or “tranquility.” Also called mindfulness or concentration meditation, shamatha is an important introductory practice that leads to the practice of vipashyana, or insight meditation.

The purpose of shamatha meditation is to stabilize the mind by cultivating a steady awareness of the object of meditation. The traditional practice of shamatha uses different kinds of supports or anchors for our practice. Eventually, this leads to practicing without supports and meditating on emptiness itself in an open awareness. For this particular practice, the instructions will be for shamatha meditation using the breath as the focus of our practice.

Shamatha mediation allows us to experience our mind as it is. When we practice shamatha, we are able to see that our mind is full of thoughts, some conducive to our happiness and further realization, and others not. It is not extraordinary that our minds are full of thoughts, and it is important to understand that it is natural to have so much happening in the mind.

Over time, practicing shamatha meditation calms our thoughts and emotions. We experience tranquility of mind and calmly abide with our thoughts as they are. Eventually, this leads to a decrease in unhelpful thoughts.

When we experience stable awareness, we are then ready to practice vipashyana, in which we develop insight into what “mind” is by investigating the nature of thoughts themselves. In the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism, the ultimate goal is to practice calm abiding and insight in union, which opens the door to realizing the true nature of mind.

Traditionally, shamatha practice is taught through instructions on the physical body and then looking at the meditation instructions themselves.

To read the full article and more click here

 

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 11/16/17

“We often think there is nothing to be improved in ourselves or in our lives, but in truth, we’re just stuck in our own comfort zone. Tricking ourselves into thinking everything is fine prevents us from becoming aware of what is keeping us paralyzed. We need to do the necessary healing work to move whatever is stuck, but it’s only possible to heal that which has been already diagnosed; it’s only possible to transform that which has already been identified.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Maturing through Hardship

We don’t wish for suffering, but once we understand how to be in relationship with it, it becomes the means through which we mature as loving and wise people.

—Thanissara, “The Grit That Becomes a Pearl

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - November 15, 2017


When we have the compassion that comes from understanding how it is, we don't lay a trip on anybody else as to how they ought to be. We don't say to our parents, "Why don't you understand about the spirit and why I'm a vegetarian?" We don't say to our husband or wife, "Why do you still want sex when all I want to do is read the Gospel of Ramakrishna?"

A conscious being does all that he or she can to create a space for being with God but does no violence to the existing karma to do it.

- Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 11/15/17

“We are prevented from gaining awareness of our life’s purpose and realizing our dharma by the many layers of unlove. These layers manifest in the form of hurts and resentments, pacts of revenge, fear and hatred. In order for us to realize our dharma, we must remove these layers because this lack of love blinds our perception of our purpose.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Karma Is Defined by Choice

Karma means that we are not defined by our situation but rather by the choices we make.

—Gyalwang Drukpa, “How to Combat Fear

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Via Daily Dharma: How Habits Stick

Sticking to the precepts requires constant self-monitoring, discernment, and effort, but there comes a point when the practicality, the boon, of the thing sinks into the organic body and saturates one’s actions. Violating the precepts gets harder to do.

—Mary Talbot, “The Joy of No Sex

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 11/14/17

“What prevents you from being aware of unity is an agitated mind. Compulsive thinking not only prevents the perception of beauty, but it also prevents you from producing beauty. An agitated mind can only reproduce agitation, even in the form of art. All ugliness is the result of a mind agitated by the ghosts of fear, hatred, suffering and ingratitude.”
Sri Prem Baba

Monday, November 13, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 11/13/17

“A friend is someone who wants to see the other shine - who wants to see the other happy, celebrating life without wanting anything in return. But this is very rare on this planet. Here, it is every man for himself. All the challenges we face today are because we don’t develop this dimension of love called friendship. Selfishness is in charge of life on this plane.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Seek Out Real Change

The validity of a teaching has nothing to do with the qualities of the teacher. All that matters is whether, when put into practice, it can effect a real change in the way you live.

—Stephen Batchelor, “Why I Quit Guru Devotion