It’s Cool To Be Kind

Enlightened beings are magnanimous givers, bestowing whatever they have with equanimity, without regret, without hoping for reward, without seeking honor, without coveting material benefits, but only to rescue and safeguard all living beings.
Buddhism. Garland Sutra 21
There are so many phrases that characterize these times such as, “Only the strong survive,” and, “People mistake kindness for stupidity”. “It is a dog eat dog world”. It seems that there has been a consistently growing trend against being nice. Today if one is too nice, they either need to join some religious order or seek a therapist’s couch.

When I was young, I was deeply affected by the emotional pain experienced by the people around me. I was especially sensitive to the fact that it was not inescapable pain but really self-inflicted. The greatest pain seemed to be caused by those we care for and sometimes even by those who care for us. My reaction to the pain of those around me and to my own, was to determine to live my life in a way which would focus on helping those in pain, and trying not to be the cause of pain for others. I was naive enough to want to see people happy. I grew up in an environment so devoid of trust and faith that I was going to carry enough for everyone. To me, it was so important to trust and to be trusted. Although I was often hurt or disappointed, it did not stop me from being true to the person that I believed I should be.

One day, in my early twenties, I was with a group of co-workers, speaking openly and honestly, when a friend pulled me aside and told me that everyone was not laughing with me they were laughing at me. She told me that I was kind and trusting, and people just saw it as stupid. She said that I had to change to protect myself.

A few years later, I had a friend who started calling me a weak ass. It bothered me but I wasn’t comfortable confronting her about it at first. I knew she thought I was too nice especially to people she didn’t feel deserved it. One day, I asked her why she called me that and she told me that if everyone in the world was like me—it would be a beautiful place, but since everyone was not, I was a weak ass. I respected her honesty and I also knew that in her way, it was a compliment. In the end, my being what she called, a weak ass was the reason she had chosen me as one of the few people that she really trusted.

During my early twenties, I did a great deal of soul searching. The truth was, that people were very difficult for me to deal with. I didn’t find it easy to make friends, because most people saw me as someone to take advantage of. Each group was somehow formed around its sense of superiority to other groups. I didn’t feel superior to anyone, and that affected my ability to fit in. At some point, probably during one of those painful times, I thought of the ways in which I could change and so avoid the endless hurts and disappointments that seemed to be a permanent part of my life. I realized that I could put up a cold wall, I could expect the worst from others, and take before I was taken. I could choose my friends based on how much they had to offer me, or how good it made me look to be with them. I could do those things that I had for so long been advised to do—or I could accept that who I was, was who I had always wanted to be. Because I realized that I was the person I would have wanted as a friend, and that, was the highest goal that I ever wanted to achieve within myself. I would rather have been who I was—alone—than to have allowed the experiences of my life to control me and to determine who I was as a person.

This is what is called dharma. It is living the life that is truly natural to your soul. It is really being your true self and living in accordance with that true self. There is a story of a Bodhisattva who was sitting by the water’s edge. A priest who was approaching him heard him saying “ouch” repeatedly. As he drew nearer, he noticed there was a scorpion that was drowning. As he watched the scorpion and the Bodhisattva he was astonished to see that each time the scorpion began to drown, the Bodhisattva reached into the water and pulled it out. And each time after each time it was being pulled out of the water the scorpion would sting the Bodhisattva’s hand. Afters it was pulled out the scorpion would return to the water and the scenario would be repeated.

The priest looked at the Bodhisattva in frustration and asked, “Master, you know that the scorpion is going to sting you, why do you repeatedly lift it out of the water?” The Bodhisattva responded, “It is the dharma of the scorpion to sting—and it is my dharma to save.” In this lifetime “to save” is not everyone’s dharma. There are even those humans whose dharma is to “sting”. Yet many, whose dharma it is to save, to help, and to love his fellow man—hold back out of fear of rejection or ridicule. So instead, they do what others do and, in acting against their dharma, they sadly create unnecessary karma.

It is my belief, and this is very personal, that it is the innate desire of each person to be loved unconditionally and to be allowed—regardless of past actions—to be the best one can be. I once read somewhere that loving is giving what you most need to receive. And this is why I say that this is personal, because it is what I would want to be given to me. So I chose to give others an opportunity to be trusted, even if they had not shown themselves to be trustworthy in the past, and to create a non-judgmental space for people to feel safe enough to change if they chose to do so. Perhaps, eight out of ten times this proved disastrous for me, but it wasn’t a personal loss because, having given something consciously, it was not taken from me. When I claimed my power, I claimed my right to give, to love, and to succeed in what I measured as success which was to be the best human being that I could. I no longer perceived myself as being a victim because I made the choice. I no longer perceived myself as being used or taken advantage of because I made a choice. Regardless of the perceptions of others, within myself I was becoming successful and that feeling was empowering.

Someone said that there are no bad people—only bad choices. I believe that because society is so fearful and so judgmental that some of us become forced into living out the persona of those bad choices in spite of an inner desire to rise above them. This is what happens to us during the Christmas season. It is a frozen moment in time when we may safely, without fear of loss or judgment, bring out what is best within us. We may experience the joy of giving and of sharing without feeling foolish, without fearing that we will be used or taken advantage of. The fears of our society have made those for whom giving and loving are the source of joy feel weak and defective. We have equated kindness not only with stupidity but with what this society considers to be the most detestable fault that one can have—that of weakness. My own father went to his grave fearing for my survival because of those exact traits that most endeared me to him.

For too long, people who do really care about the welfare of others have been made to feel ashamed of that feeling. They are either labeled, “Bleeding Heart Liberals”, or made to believe that they suffer from some form of inferiority complex. And to a large extent they do suffer from a complex. This is because there has been no place in the everyday world for good people. Even hearing the word in my head as I write makes me almost feel as those I am describing a leper. Good people have to find their own path and fight the world, their loved ones, and even themselves so as to stay on it. It has been very difficult after goodness lost favor with the general public in response to the sixties. So, unless one fits into the category of being an aged hippy, or a left over love child—good people have little or no support for their beliefs about life and the way to live it. I found that it is easy to feel confident when you believe in who you are. It was the believing that took some time, but it always does when you are swimming against the tide. The thing to remember is that it only takes one person to make a path—anywhere—and everyone else will eventually follow. It takes belief to develop confidence, and a willingness to walk alone to make that path, but once the path is made, you are not alone for long.

Now, it is time for all of the bleeding hearts to be proud that their hearts are not too cold, or too hard to bleed. It is time that we acknowledge that it is neither bad nor stupid to be good. It is spiritual. And one does not have to join an order to be spiritual and to live a life that exemplifies the spiritual principals taught by every Light that God has sent down to earth to lead us. For too long, we have bought into that dog eat dog world. We are not animals we are spiritual beings. We are meant to rise above survival of the fittest and that dog eat dog belief. We are meant to love, to care, and to be our brother’s keeper. We don’t have to wait until it becomes cool or in, to be good we have to be good long enough, and with enough courage and conviction that it becomes cool. There are no catchy phrases which praise being a good person. There are only phrases denigrating it. If someone is too good—then they are not true, or they are a stupid, a wimp, an easy mark, or a sucker. It actually amazes me that one can’t be too thin, or can’t be too rich, but one can be too good! We have gone so far down the wrong path that when someone does something right or is too decent, or humane, either their motives or their intelligence are immediately suspect.

It is time to lift ourselves out of the jungle where only the strong survive. It is time to leave the kingdom where dogs eat dogs and enter the kingdom where mankind can love and care for all living things. It is time for us to rise to the position that is befitting those who were created in the image of God, that image of the loving, caring, and forgiving caretaker that God is. How can we speak in His name, when we ourselves celebrate the animal in us and demean the God in us? God is goodness. If enough people find the courage to be proud of caring, proud of giving, and proud of trusting, then others will find it wise and cool to do the same. The world is in sore need of all the loving, giving, caring people it can support. And that does not mean confined in a religious order, but out in the world living an example that others can be encouraged to follow. There is an infinite distance between nowhere and the first step, but once that first step is taken, we find that the universe takes our hand the rest of the way.

In a Conscious Society Bling is the New Fur

I remember walking down the street in my fur coat a few years back and having someone ask me if I knew how many minks died for my fur. I stopped wearing fur. I stopped because I did not need it, it was a luxury, it was a sign that I had made it – it was ego food. I understood the question. Now, with the world so small, and the suffering so great – so unavoidable – I wonder if we should not feel the same sense of responsibility that we feel for helpless animals, for helpless humans.

There was a time when your choices were beautiful sparkling diamonds or dull glass. It made some sense, if even in a superficial way, to want a diamond. But today, there are faux diamonds that cost a fraction of the cost and sparkle with equal brilliance – so one has to ask oneself why buy the diamond? What is it’s value in our world today? What if you have a ten thousand dollar diamond, trade it in for a one thousand dollar cubic zirconium and give the nine thousand dollars that you have left to buy mosquito nets for children in Africa? Then your diamond would have value., it would show much more than what you can afford to have, it would show what you are willing to give. Wouldn’t it be cool, rather than wearing a five thousand dollar blouse that says you are filthy rich, wearing a five-dollar tee shirt that says, “The money I planned to spend on a blouse is feeding a village in India”. How cool would you be?

Bling says to the world, “I am wearing this because I can afford it and I have nothing better to do with it than waste it on show”. Yes, it just does. No one can watch the homeless and displaced, the diseased and dying in this country and around the world and then spend thousands of dollars on things, which announce, “It’s about me”. Not today. Today we don’t need to spend thousands, millions of dollars on precious gems in order to sparkle. We can spend a fraction of that on semi-precious gems, give the rest to those in desperate need and not only sparkle from the gems, but glow from the heart. I believe that today it would be much more satisfying to wear something that doesn’t say “I have made it because I can afford to drip in diamonds” but something that says, “I have made it because I can afford to feed a village”. The oohs and ahhs are much greater today and much more long lasting when you show what you give rather than what you wear.

If our success in a profession is measured by the amount of money that we are paid, that is ok, if we understand that our true worth is measured by what we give. The point is that there is no need for bling today, it doesn’t look better than faux bling, but trading that bling in for heart does look better. We cannot outlaw bling anymore than we can outlaw fur, but it would be nice to ask someone dripping in bling, “How many children’s bellies could be filled by those earrings?” “How many villages could be educated against AIDS with that ring?” And perhaps, while we are at it, we should ask ourselves how much does it cost to make a house a home, and how many children can we give a home to for the price of a ten million dollar house?

I am not advocating ego denial. I am advocating a sense of satisfaction that not only feeds the ego but also feeds the soul. Trust me, it feels better to give to give to children in Somalia than it does to give to salespeople in Harry Winston, Proving to a child that faith has reason, God is alive and that there are angels is so much more gratifying than the stares you get from sparkling down the street in jewels. And who could honestly say that a tour of a mansion you built could hold a candle to a tour of the hospital you built in a village that has not even seen a doctor. Save a mink, don’t buy fur, Save a child, don’t buy bling.

How The World Changes

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I have been looking for signs that would tell me how close we were to the Age of Aquarius, and certainly – what would build it. Then, the other day I had the television on as background noise and I heard a commentator speaking about something that the government had attempted to keep secret. The other person on the show remarked that they should have known better in this time of ‘transparency’ with cell phones and other recording devices always around. That conversation struck me as the ‘sign’ that I had been seeking. I could not find a better word to describe the undercurrent that I had been feeling from the people that I had been counseling over the past few years it was the need to live transparently. That saying, “The truth shall set you free” has been playing over and over in my head because over the past few years I have noticed so much of a sense that people were enslaved by the lies that they were living.

I did not grow up in the energetic environment of my parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents so I can’t say how they felt in their lives. I do know that their lives, at least until my parent’s generation, were ruled by the roles society had carved out for them. They seemed to have their ‘place’ and the ‘place’ that they could aspire to. I really can’t say whether or not they were happy once they arrived in their ‘place’. Were wives generally happy serving their husbands and catering to the needs of their children? Did they have needs of their own? If they did, did they believe that the sacrificing of those needs was a worthwhile price to pay for what they received in return? Did they honestly believe that the Church was an ordained pillar of righteousness and all who served were above reproach? Did they honestly believe that our elected officials were moral and honest leaders above and self-serving desires or ulterior motives? In the age of Pisces, illusion is real. And obviously the set up was all an illusion. With all of the rugs being overturned and all of the closets being opened today, it seemed that on the whole, they either closed their eyes, fooling themselves into believing what they were told, and not looking behind closed doors or asking too many questions, or, they told themselves that their lives would be better off if they just lived as if it were right. I imagine that the whole ‘person fit the mold’ thing, rather than, ‘the mold fit the person’, worked for generations.

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What I have noticed in people that I have counseled is a profound unhappiness within seemingly happy lives. In other words, I keep hearing people say that they have everything that others say should make them happy, everything that they believed would make them happy, but they are deeply unhappy. This unhappiness is compounded by the fact that they feel ungrateful because they have what others seem to want. So they feel ashamed of their pain and as a result, too guilty to seek help. If they do seek help, the help that they seek is help in fixing themselves so that they can find the happiness that they are supposed to have with the lives that they are living rather than finding the courage to look within their souls for keys to the true life that would contain their happiness. I am seeing people who either have what they believed would make them happy, or what they were told would make them happy but instead it is the cause of their pain. It is this widespread inner discontent that changes the world. This sense of dissatisfaction – this intense need for some kind of change grows within the collective unconscious until it reaches critical mass and something happens to force a change. We are accustomed to quick fixes, but we need a lasting resolution. Humanity is entering an age that is taking it from the surface to the heart, from the world to the soul, from a world of greater and lesser beings to a world of equality, honesty, freedom and brotherhood. All of the boxes are the same as they always have been, there are still the many ‘things’ out there, the many awards, achievements and ways to find self-gratification – and goodies to buy to advertise our personal greatness, so that we are not overlooked, but God moved the cheese - the happy – to another place.

Everyone wants the brass ring, but we are conditioned to want the brass ring that we can have. Everyone can’t be the queen of England, but some people can, for a time, be the queen of Broadway. So it is to that, which they aspire. Up until about seventy years ago, people were able to be happy because their expectations were very limited. If you were a woman – then you had your list of achievable goals. If your father was a coal miner, you had your list of achievable goals, if you were Black, you had your list of achievable goals and to get to the top of your list, or even close, left most people at least content and usually happy with their lives.

It seems to me that World War II pretty much blew that boat out to sea. Suddenly, people found themselves in strange new roles – roles that were believed and accepted as beyond their reach, or just plain unnatural for them. Women went out to work, formed sports teams, took over supervising positions, supported the country, brought home the bacon and cooked it. Whites had to fight with and often found their lives in the hands of Negro soldiers, all lines, including the color lines were temporarily but still irrevocably crossed. Factory workers became Sergeants, bosses became privates, all in all, everyone found themselves living somehow outside of the box that seemed before to be set in stone. Although the world expected everyone to return to their original roles -and most had to – the taste of the possible never left their palates. Soon, ‘Equality’ was to be the never-ending hum in the background of life from then on. The first key-word for Aquarius was ushered into the age.

Of course, the first harbingers of change are always met with violent opposition, so the shouts for equality were labeled Communist, and the McCarthy era showed that those in power would do anything to combat the massive changes that a movement towards freedom and equality would bring. The generation of children born during and after that war was, as would be required, the “Me” generation. If you think about it, this was the perfect and timely reaction to all of the “everything but me” generations that came before. It made sense because we had to come from ‘what is good for the whole is good for the parts’ to ‘what is good for the parts is good for the whole’ in order to get to our destination of ‘the whole is equal to the parts’ – Aquarius. Change – this kind of change – is not something that happens, like walking out of one room into another. We must transition. For more than two thousand years, power has been held by those who maintained the greatest secrecy. Sometimes it was the manipulation of the ignorant populace by the few who understood the workings and cycles of nature, to pretend to create miracles, such as eclipses, lightening, or droughts. Or, it was by the use of the fear of the gods or God to manipulate the people into submission. Today it is still done, but more through covert actions of institutions, governments, covert deals made with those who manipulate the world’s economies.

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The church has always governed in secrecy the Vatican contains vaults of secret writings, hidden documents etc. For so many years the perverted actions of the clergy went on, hidden and protected by the accepted secrecy so pervasive in this age. Government officials hid their true identities and true motives behind vast networks of cover-ups for as long as we can remember. Then suddenly, bit by bit, the truths have been unearthed, perhaps beginning with the Dead Sea Scrolls and the scrolls found at Nag Hammadi. This, followed by expository journalism, tabloid press, cell phones, hidden cameras, whistle blowers and the internet has made for a growing overall transparency. This is a time of revelations. Everything hidden is being revealed. It is this truth – this revelation – that will ultimately set us free of the shackles of deception and illusion. People said one thing and lived another. We idolized our celebrities as perfect and they had to maintain a public persona. When I was a child I heard the fear of one day having “Big Brother” watching our every move. Today, big Brother is watching us, but we are also watch Big Brother. Everything and everyone is being exposed, more and more. It will only continue to grow. We ourselves are being exposed to ourselves and any lives that we have been living that are not true to our hearts, and our souls, will cause more and more of us heightened levels of pain. I once looked at the supermarket counters loaded with tabloid papers as a part of the degeneration of our society. Until I saw a headline in one of those tabloids saying that two actors, renowned for their humanitarian efforts were going on a spending spree, flying doctors over continents, spending upwards of eight figures for a home and I realized that if we admire people if must be not just for what they do but also for how they live.

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Today, with the world as small as it is, it seems a bit obscene to live large, while others are struggling just to live. And living large is OK, for those who claim with all honesty and candor to be card carrying members of the greedy few. It’s honest. But if you profess a sense of responsibility to the world and the suffering within it, if you believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, and want your name in that book, then you must not just do charity but live a charitable life. It is time for us to be ourselves, live as ourselves, wear one face, and walk our talk.  The United States now has a Bi-racial President.  One whose father was a Muslim and mother was a Christian.  He is a reflection of the New Age – but more importantly, he is a reflection of the changing world in which we live.  I believe that man is evolving at a fast pace now.  It is a spiritual evolution.  The last time that the stars lined up as they will in 2012 was approximately 25,000 years ago.  At that time we had the extinction of a certain type of human called the “Neanderthal”.  I believe that the modern human that survived, did so because it had evolved intellectually in a way that better prepared it for survival in the following cycle.  I see this occurring now, in each generation there have been a small percentage of these new humans born.  Each generation increasing the number until these new spiritual humans will be all that are left.  It is the voice of these “new” humans that brought Barack Obama to the Presidency.  They are the ones who will be prepared to join together to build the New World.  They are in “Society” but not of it.  They believe in diversity, equality, and the best of humanity.  They have always felt different.  Some clearly struggle to make the swim upstream, others fake it, and still others lash out against the old with violence.  Then there are those who just check out.  But most of these new beings find each other and join together.   They embrace physical diversity and spiritual oneness.

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This is what the Age of Aquarius is all about. When everyone says, “This is who I am and I am proud of it”, tabloids will have nothing to expose. When we no longer put people on pedestals, we will no longer feel the need to knock them off. There are no pedestals in Aquarius. As we draw nearer and nearer to that Age we will learn that death is not the only great equalizer. God has moved the cheese. The power box is now empty, the material wealth box is now empty, the public adoration box is now empty. The sooner we figure out that God has put the cheese in the box of love given, time shared, selfless service and brotherhood, the sooner we will find the transition into the new Age a rewarding journey of gain, and not a painful succession of losses.  Someone once said that before a wheel can change direction it must stop.  When it stops everything falls apart.  But then it changes direction and moves in a new and better direction.  We are now on a wheel that has stopped.  But it has stopped only to change direction.  We are experiencing the end of the world as we know it, the end of the journey in one direction only to begin the journey in another.  This is a long process, I once heard a scientist say that science does not embrace a new direction until everyone who embraced the old direction dies.  We are in a time when those who want to repair and return to what was, still have power and are hanging on to the wheel in an effort to turn it back.  Those who want to change and move in a new direction, a more spiritual and holistic direction do not yet have the power to move the wheel forward, but they do have enough power to prevent the wheel from moving backwards.  And this is why the wheel is stopped.  There is equal force pulling in both directions.  This will change because of all that is being lost, the losses will weaken the resistance to change, and we will move openly, honestly and together into the New Age.

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Secrets require darkness. A life that cannot stand up under the Sun twenty-four hours a day is a painful life lived in fear and darkness. But sometimes we are more afraid of what will happen to us in the light than we are of the continued fear of the darkness. When we are here, then the Universe must intervene and expose us to the light that we have hidden from and regardless of what we lose from exposure to the light, it pales in comparison to the sense of joy and freedom that comes from not ever having to hide again. When no one has to hide, when no one wants to hide, when no one will hide – we will know that we have officially become a part of the Age of Aquarius.

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WORRYING

It is not as though constantly hitting the ground in our minds means that when it actually happens it doesn’t hurt.It only hurts again

When we worry we focus our attention on experiencing the worst that can happen over and over again. All of this rehearsal time spent experiencing the bad things does not in any way diminish the effect that these things have on us when and if they finally happen.

The most outstanding thing about this is that as often as not the bad things, the things we spend all of our time worrying about just never happen.I have a friend who every time he meets someone new, and sets up a date with that person, he starts playing the whole thing out.He builds each small piece of information that he may have about the person into a long story and compares it with his story and puts the two together and either it takes the entire relationship to the point where one of them has to end it.This is done before he even spends 10 minutes with the other person.Sometimes the date is canceled.Sometimes everything goes great, but never, does his scenario play out.If the date is a week away from the time that they meet, this is a week that my friend goes through the most torturous hell imaginable.

The fact that he suffered for a week is the best case scenario.The worst case scenario is that he leads the relationship through all of his preconceived disasters.When we worry, we accomplish nothing.Worrying does not have any effect what so ever upon the outcome of a situation, nor does it effect our ability to handle the outcome.It is not as though we having hit the ground so many times in our minds that when we finally do it won’t hurt.It only hurts again.

Once the ball leaves our hands anything can happen.Careful aim can narrow the margin of error, but the fact remains that anything can happen.When we feel ourselves entering into a state of worry, we must ask ourselves what we can do to make a difference or help guarantee the outcome that we want. If there is something that we can do, we should do it.If there is nothing that we can do, let it go and move on.What will be will be.And what will be is what is meant to be.Our part is throwing the ball and Gods part is hitting the right mark.Every time that we set a goal it is not necessarily to reach an end, it is to reach the next point in our journey.Even if we get to the exact point that we planned, there is no guarantee that it will be in any way where we want to stay.

The fact is that everything always works out for everyone in the end, if it didn’t we wouldn’t be able to move on. Sometimes everything falls apart at the same time, what a wonderful thing to be able to work them all out at the same time and get it over with.It is time to start eliminating from our lives some of the things that we do to ourselves.There are seasons in our lives there is a time to build and a time to break down.

Things are moving so fast that we really need to remove all of the distractions that we possibly can.It is time to be in a permanent state of awareness.It is as though God is throwing the ball to us and saying, “Heads up” twenty-four hours a day.We are sent enough curve balls from life not to have to imagine them.This is an important time in our history.Let’s live it as it is and really try to be where we are.There is really no time to worry.And if we do not worry, we won’t have anything to worry about.

Let us stop doing things to ourselves and start doing things for ourselves.Let us begin to live our lives as they are not as they could or should be.For every moment that we spend thinking about how something should be, we just missed living it as it is.If we do not worry, we do not have room for fear to grow.If we do not fear we do not have food for worry.

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Finding Peace, Finding Heaven, by feeling middle C

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. “ Genesis 1:6-8

Faith is knowledge, far greater than belief, it is the knowledge that we are no alone; that we are never  vulnerable, and that there exists no adversity greater than the power we have behind and within us to overcome.  This knowledge is imprinted in the soul.  It is the power that causes everything on earth to grow up, despite the enormous pull of gravity to prevent that.  Faith is the core of the soul.  Fear, is the knowledge of the ego that it is temporary, that it dies to the dreamer when the dreamer awakens.  The ego is not a bad thing, its connection with the material world keeps the body alive.

The soul does not fear nonexistence, because it knows that whether it is has solid form like ice, or flows like water, or even dissipates into the air, like steam, it always is itself.  The soul knows only faith, the ego knows only fear.  And we come in as vessels to learn from the interplay of both.  Every light, peaceful, steady, uplifting emotion emanates from faith; love emanates from faith.  Every painful, hateful, heavy emotion, including greed, judgment, selfishness and bigotry, comes from the survival mechanism of the ego which is fear.

We incarnate (enter meat) in a physical body with physical needs and physical proof that we will not be here long if we do not meet the needs of the physical vehicle.  Faith is intangible,

I know so many people who live their lives in a state of anguish. Drowning in emotions, in fear of never being happy, in sadness when life disappoints seeing disappointment as a sign that happiness is not to be hoped for. Most of the people I love are prisoners living behind invisible bars that no one can see. The bars consist of open wounds, which no one can see. Life is like an ocean, sometimes calm, and other times the waves are relentless.

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For many life feels like a walk at the edge of this ocean while it looks so beautiful,  the reality of it is more like waves of salt water on invisible open wounds . Those who live with these wounds, feel them to be safe. Just as a person who has spent most of his or her life in prison, finds it safe, becoming repeat offenders committing crimes to return to prison. A place others might find to be the equivalent of hell. They find safe because it is the hell that they know.

There is something else about emotional pain, it creates a strange sense of being fully alive. Living is feeling. Feeling reminds us that we exist. It really does not matter what we feel, but as long as we feel, whatever we feel, we know that we are alive. When I lost my store I went into the abyss of depression. I felt abandoned by everyone I had been there for. I felt alone, unloved, unimportant, and most of all invisible. The only thing that surrounded me, and in the strangest way, validated my existence was my suffering, and I grew to need my suffering. I forgot that I did not have to suffer to exist. I had not realized that I did not need to crumble under the weight of my life to be worthy enough, deserving enough…of help.

So, when Prozac came out, many people who lived in constant suffering whether it was sadness or anger took this miracle medication and initially felt thrilled that the dark cloud that seemed to hover over them was gone. Yet, eventually they missed that ability to feel. Some people called it their “edge”, others just felt numb. They did not really feel alive anymore. This made them stop the Prozac and eventually re-enter the depression battle. The thing with that antidepressant is that it veils the emotions in this dense fog. And frankly, when I thought about the middle way discussed by Buddhism, about being in the world and not of it,as mentioned in the Bible, I thought of Prozac. I thought of being without feelings.

Now, I have realized that the middle road does not mask feelings. I asked for something that I could equate it to, and what came to me was, the middle C on the piano, the “do” in, “do, re, ,me, fa, so, la ti” which has always been, to me, the richest note on the piano.  It is rich because it is where all the notes, all the feelings are equal in power, and equal in intensity. It is the point where high and low meet, even touch, but neither consumes the space. It is the point of pure balance. It is where sunrise and sunset are one., where the light sits on the deep.

At the lowest end of the keyboard, it is deep yet there is something unsteady about the notes, something rough.  At the highest end the notes are tinny they are weak.  The middle path, is full; it is not rising or falling, but knowing both.  It is walking on water not drowning in it, while still feeling the light of the Sun.  It is experiencing life while still being firmly planted in the Self.  It is middle C, where we begin and where we return.

Today we live in turbulent times, and they are not going to change.  We can allow ourselves to be thrown to and fro by the the rising and falling waves, or we can plant our feet firmly in the sand and allow the waves of life to pass through us, breathing them in and releasing them back out.  Life is out of our control, but living is not.  If we want to find joy, it is middle C.  We must travel the firmament – The Way, The Tao:

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

Tao Te Ching