Tag Archive | higher love

30 Days of Photos – Day 3 {Rule of Thirds}

IMG_14166998_1

I wrote this on August 3rd but couldn’t post til now(August 4th). 

Rule of thirds 

I’m not sure if my picture today (Aug. 3) follows the rule of thirds accurately but I like it!

I haven’t quite grasped the rule yet.
But at least my subject isn’t directly in the center of the picture, which is the point for Day 3. And my attempt is all that matters anyway!  
(I think this picture may also submit to the rule of negative space?)

This is my Buddha green aventurine bracelet.

It’s supposed to attract positive energy, optimism, amazing opportunities, increase confidence, help us connect more deeply with nature, help with depression, anxiety, be calming, good luck…and all kinds of other stuff.
Aventurine is considered by some to be the luckiest stone! 

My sister and me both have one. She loves stones and what they represent. 

Unlike my sister, I don’t believe that stones, real or fake, can really bring good luck and things but they can be symbolic and a great reminder! Also, this has a little Buddha head on it! Isn’t he cute?!

His expression is so calm like he hasn’t a care in the world and I feel so calm and peaceful just looking at his face on my bracelet. True calmness is within and not about our environment. We can be in the most hectic, distressing, painful environment but still stay peaceful and joyful. We may or may not naturally be calm & peaceful but whether or not we are, with practice we can develop and deepen and maintain a generally calm mind. 

All Buddha figures represent calmness & love but not all of them are crafted as well and look this good. Some Buddha statues and charms just creep me out. It’s a kind of heavy bracelet too, of great quality. I love it! 

Along with sharing my picture, I will share some of his sentiments. Buddha’s teachings can benefit everyone in some way, even just a few of his ideas put into practice can be life changing. 

Last night I had a Buddhist dream.

Did you ever have one of those experiences where you are dreaming and something happens in real life while you’re dreaming and the thing that happens gets incorporated into your dream? Like a dog barking for real then in your dream a dog appears and is barking in your dream but it’s the real one you hear and you awaken to the real dog barking.

I had an experience like this in the morning.
Only it wasn’t barking that was incorporated into my slumbering dream.
I was in class during a Buddhist ceremony and we were doing some ritual. The monk who teaches our class was, in my dream, performing a ritual and all of a sudden something wet and messy dropped on my head during class. I was drenched in liquid and chunks and slop and heard a retching noise and woke up! Unfortunately it wasn’t just a dream! My big pitbull was in my bed hanging over me throwing up! All over me! My head, my arm, my side… Lol She’s not sick; she just has a weak stomach, she always did.
What a way to wake up! 

1492135_10102250762725333_8067041647262679209_o

This is my pitbull, my fuzzy sausage girl, my furry soulmate, Isis Summerjo. How can anyone resist the cuteness?!

I had no idea what I was going to get a picture of today. I went out and forgot my phone then I had to go to work and at work I was thinking of what to get a pic of then I thought oh of course, my Buddha bracelet!” 

Then I remembered my Buddhist dream and that unfortunate experience! Lol 

So here are some of Buddha’s views.

Do not wish for gratitude. 

Help other living beings just to help, not to receive gratitude in return. Someone may be greatly helped or uplifted or inspired by what we do and that’s enough even if the person isn’t thankful to us. We don’t need people to gush over us for helping them or complimenting them and we don’t need credit or something tangible in return. Love to love, not just to be loved in return.

Do not be boastful – sometimes we will be really good at something that others suck at, we will do something great, we will have what someone else doesn’t, we will accomplish something good, we will learn and come to know things that are important that other people won’t seem to grasp, we will be wiser than some people. But let’s remain humble anyway and use our gifts and fortunes to benefit others. It’s ok to be confident in our abilities and gifts and be thankful but not good to act arrogantly with others or be proud at their expense. 

Rejoice in the fortunes and success of others –
 
Let’s not be jealous. Let’s be happy for others when something good happens to them. Remember how it feels to have something good happen to us then know that’s how they feel and take pleasure in it. It gets us nowhere to feel jealous and unhappy because someone else succeeds, it just feels unpleasant and can lead us to act in unpleasant ways to those around us. It generates negative energy. And remember there’s enough goodness for all of us. When one person wins, we all win. We can even let their happiness and success motivate us and inspire us to take action to better our selves. 

Do not retaliate – when someone does something to hurt us, whether physically or emotionally, or to hurt someone we know, we may feel like seeking revenge, lashing out, holding a grudge…this isn’t good for anyone. It’s detrimental to harbor anger and loathing for someone and it doesn’t usually make the situation better and it often worsens it. 
Act on compassion instead of anger, reach out to help and console the one hurt, not act on fury against the one who hurt the person/other sentient being. And if we are the one hurt, we can reach out to others in a similar situation or just be sure to never do to others what someone did to us. We know how it feels to be hurt, let’s try to avoid doing that to others when we can.

Use every occasion with a person who angers us, as an opportunity to practice patience and cultivating an attitude of compassion, instead of acting on anger. We don’t have to repress the anger, just take a few breaths, consciously, and imagine how acting angry just worsens things, often. It’s good for us and everyone around us to stay calm and loving no matter what. It doesn’t mean not speaking up, just not acting negatively. 

Don’t be consumed in guilt – guilt, when it’s excessive or delusional, does no good. Even if we really are guilty, we can be sorry, vow to try to never hurt someone or do something like it again, then move forward. Nearly everyone makes mistakes, acts unkindly, messes up, is wrong sometimes and there’s always hope, just keep going and help others along the way. 

Cherish others above the self.

Pay close attention to your mind and thoughts, attempt to have positive, loving thoughts.
When you catch unpleasant thoughts, redirect your mind.

Offer the victory to others and accept defeat upon our self. Let others be right even if they aren’t. It’s ok to speak up. But it’s more important to be loving & kind than to be right.

    Advice from Atisha’s Heart

143849334091761(4)

“Profit and respect are nooses of the maras, so brush them aside like stones on the path.” ~ Atisha

Let’s not be concerned with gaining material/monetary wealth or the respect of others. Do what you know is right deep inside.

“Avoid places that disturb your mind, and always remain where your virtues increase.” 

When we can, let’s avoid places that drain the life out of us, tempt us to do negative things, and are just not good for us. And visit places that nourish our goodness. But remember it’s mostly not about our physical environment but our attitude and perspective that lead to happiness or pain. 

“Avoid friends who cause you to increase delusions, and rely upon those who increase your virtue. This you should take to heart.”

Same with people. We can love them, wish them the best, and go our separate ways.

“Do not be jealous of others’ good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself.”

“Do not look for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself, and purge them like bad blood.”

“Do not contemplate your own good qualities, but contemplate the good qualities of others, and respect everyone as a servant would.”

“Always keep a smiling face and a loving mind, and speak truthfully without malice.”

“Generate compassion for lowly beings, and especially avoid despising or humiliating them.”

“Have no hatred for enemies and no attachment for friends.” 

Loving our friends is good, being attached is not. Let them go if they leave and not depend on them for our general happiness. Love them unconditionally. But keep in mind that the relationship as it now is will one day come to an end either through death or a breakup or drifting apart. Most things do not and cannot last forever. Acknowledging this and accepting it while cherishing those we currently have will help it be easier to cope with loss. 

See, these things can apply to everyone, not just Buddhist people. 

We may not always live up to these things but it’s good to try and each moment we display these qualities is amazing! Whenever we fall, we can just get back up and keep going, lifting others every step of the way. 

Much love to you!

Xoxo Kim 😀

Advertisements

Offering the Victory – Universal Love <3

image

“May I take defeat upon myself 
And offer them the victory”

Hello loves! ❤

I hope you’re having a beautiful day!

On Valentine’s Day this year I attended a Love retreat at a Buddhist Center here in Philadelphia. It was a series of four classes on Love, each class was 45 minutes long, a lecture and meditation on Love, compassion, and kindness. Universal Love was the topic; universal love is all encompassing love. Completely unconditional love. Love for our friends, family, pets, strangers,insects, rodents, flowers, all sentient beings,  enemies, assholes, difficult people…Love for everyone. Love can be an affective feeling, a warm, positive feeling for someone but it’s also just a selfless, genuine wish for someone else to be happy With or without us, even if that someone is a person we view as a difficult person who we don’t have a warm affection for or a positive opinion of. That’s universal love, a wish for everyone to be happy no matter what. We can still want people to be happy and well (in a way that is not at the expense of others in a negative way) even if we don’t like them. It’s not always easy. It can be extremely difficult. It may take much work, thought, reflection, practice, and meditation to get to that point that we generally want even people we don’t like or ones we’re angry at, even difficult people who want nothing more than to see us fall, to be happy. But it can be done. Sometimes those thoughts and feelings may come very easily to us but sometimes we really have to try hard.

image

Eventually it can become our general way of life. There may be setbacks, relapses, occasions now and then we want nothing more than to tell someone off, yell at someone, seek revenge, give someone a disgusted look to get a subtle point across without being too dramatic, or just hope bad things in our heads…but generally, with practice, we can cultivate an attitude of Universal Love. 

image

The Love we were lectured on and meditated upon is completely, pure, raw, selfless Love. Ultimate, unconditional Love. With absolutely no expectations of anything in return.

Even when someone else is being selfish, unkind, uncaring, rude, vicious…we can genuinely wish that person the best whether out loud or just in our heads, speak with a calm tone, be kind. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it seems near impossible but with practice, it can be our Way.

And even if we choose to terminate a relationship with someone, it can be in a positive/productive way. We can lovingly let go, end on positive terms even if that person is not being loving or positive. On our part, it can be loving. 

image

Some of the life lessons we learned during the retreat are:

1.) Offering the Victory and accepting defeat upon ourself (“ourself” as opposed to “ourselves” means people in general, like universally, as opposed to a specific group of multiple people such as a specific family or room full of people…- I just learned this! Lol :-O) even when we know we’re right and others are wrong, to be completely selfless and let go of self cherishing – self cherishing in this case means putting ourself, our own needs and desires(even seemingly reasonable needs and desires) above others.  Sometimes we know for a fact that someone else is wrong and being selfish, rude, unkind and we may have the urge to lash out, argue, be defensive, be rude back, give someone a dirty look or just think negatively in our heads…but it’s possible to get into the habit of offering those people the victory, show them love, let them be “right,” maybe even say sorry just to keep the peace and love around us. Not out of fear of confrontation or what they’ll think of or do to us if we don’t give in, or low self esteem or being weak or fake, but out of love, a genuine desire to make the world a better, more loving place. It takes a certain kind of strength to do this but it’s very worth it. It’s more important to be loving than to be right. 

It’s so tempting to meet someone’s negativity and rudeness with our own negativity and being rude back. It’s often temporarily satisfying to put people in their place or curse them in our heads or out loud but it accomplishes nothing in the long run. It just puts negative energy out into a world where there’s already enough. 

It’s important to keep in mind that just because you do, say, think selfish things does not make you a bad or even necessarily a selfish person. And it’s something that can be changed if you want to change it. If not, that’s ok too. The teachers of universal compassion and love and selflessness, Buddhists, and monks are not being negatively judgmental just as I am not being judgmental. Universal Love is about acceptance, even acceptance of people who are not being loving and people with drastically different views than our own, opposing views, polar opposite views. Some views and religions are incompatible with one another but the people who hold those views do not have to be incompatible with each other.  

We can not agree with people, not like what they think or do but still love them and show compassion and kindness.  

image

I’m putting this into practice more and more each day. I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes it’s so hard. Every single day I am faced with a situation, as are most of us probably, whether very trivial or more serious, where I can choose to put my own needs above someone else’s or accuse someone of being wrong. Sometimes the person really is wrong, sometimes it’s me who is really wrong, but no matter which of us is, I make it my ultimate goal to lovingly accept the defeat upon myself and offer the victory, each day.  

On many occasions, it’s hard and some occasions I suck at it and act selfishly, some moments I give into selfishness knowing I’m acting selfishly, other occasions I’m not aware right away that I’m being selfish, but on others it’s much easier. And the more I practice, the easier it becomes. I’m still not perfect at it, I may never be. But my ultimate intention is pure. 

image

For many people it’s difficult accepting defeat or admitting they’re wrong even when they are, so imagine how difficult it is accepting defeat, apologizing, letting others be “right” when you know you are right or they are definitely wrong, especially when they’re being rude and negative.  But it makes the world a better place. Imagine if we all, or even just many of us choose to accept defeat upon ourself and let them be right whether or not they really are! The world would be so loving! Totally worth it! And our actions and love will likely inspire others to become more loving. 

But it’s important to not let it wear you out, always letting yourself be defeated and others be right. You have to get your mind in the right state, train it to happily, lovingly accept defeat upon yourself and offer them the victory. Many people complain that they put others first constantly and it takes a toll on them, that they don’t get credit for the positive things they do, that they get walked all over, taken advantage of, give too much, are too kind and want to stop being so kind to those who “don’t deserve it….”

But that’s because they aren’t properly training their mind to do all this with no expectations in return, in a completely selfless way. They are being loving and kind but still expecting something of others or the world, that they aren’t getting, in return. They expect others to be sweet and friendly and helpful just because they are that way. But the world doesn’t work that way. And when their own loving compassion isn’t met with the compassion of others, they feel cheated, worn out, broken, like it’s unfair. But universal love, accepting defeat and offering the victory is about being loving, compassionate, and kind irrespective of whether we receive that in return. Love to love, not to be loved. It’s fantastic to be loved. But being loved isn’t the goal, the goal is to love. Whether the love is returned or not. To love is more important than to be loved. The solution isn’t to stop loving or caring for those who “don’t deserve it” but to build up our minds so we are not buffeted by the unpleasant circumstances we are in sometimes or the negativity of others. 

image

To accomplish this, we have to meditate, reflect, practice and get to the point where we can give, give, give, get nothing out of it, be kind and not receive kindness in return, but still not feel worn out and wronged. Instead we feel even more energized and exhilarated. And even if we don’t receive the love and kindness of others, our own love we unleash onto the world and in our own minds is enough.

Again, we love to love, not to be loved. For this to become our Way and not just happen occasionally, it takes a certain kind of meditation. It must be done properly to be effective and not mess up our minds. I’m going to share the information for the book on training the mind in this here post, later towards the end. I’m nowhere near qualified to teach people to train their minds and that’s not what I’m doing here. Not only am I not a teacher, I myself do not yet have my mind trained much. So I’m in no position to teach others. I’m in the process of training my mind, which unless I attain full enlightenment, will be an ongoing process. But even short of reaching full enlightenment, it is extremely beneficial to just reach some stages. I’m just giving suggestions and sharing my own stories and struggles and experiences. 

Sometimes I am so tempted to “self cherish” and want what I want above what someone else wants. Even “reasonable” selfishness is good to avoid.
 
Here is a real life example when I was so so so tempted to self cherish and be selfish and put my desires or needs above someone else’s. But I chose to offer the victory instead. 

Recently I was at home one night, on a wonderful cold, frigid, Winter night in Philadelphia, drinking hot tea, in my pink winter pj’s, warm on the sofa with a snowstorm going outside, all warm and cozy and sweet. I was sickly and in pain in my right kidney – something that happens quite frequently. I’m prone to kidney stones and what I think are (mild) infections.  But I was very content. My sister decided she wanted to go out for ice cream. I really did not want to but my sister wanted me to go. I was tempted to say no. To say I’m in my pj’s, in pain, I’m not going out. But I kept in mind the teachings of the Buddhist classes I been attending and my desire to more frequently put others first. I was never a horribly selfish girl, even before the classes and my interest in Buddhism, I often selflessly put others first, changing my plans, willingly putting myself out to the point I have been called a “fool” and “pushover” and other insults on multiple occasions by multiple people,  but who isn’t selfish every now and then? Especially when others are wrong or rude or selfish? We often react similarly to that person, reacting with less than kindness or putting our desires first even if we are usually very kind and selfless. So I said ok I’ll go. 

And at first I really wasn’t happy about it, I was reluctant. But determined to “fake it til I make it.” Keep practicing doing what I don’t want to do as long as it’s making others happy.
Not to be “a fake” but to practice acting more selfless to feel more selfless. To BE more selfless. Even if you aren’t happy putting yourself out to help someone else, as long as you aren’t helping just to get something in return, like a positive reputation or favor in return, you are still being selfless if it’s purely to help others be happy and help make the world a better place. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a bit disappointed once in a while. The fact that you put your own needs last even when it’s reluctant indicates that you are being selfless. Even though you are disappointed for you, you are still happy for others.

image

 

 I want to help people be happy. Even if it means not getting what I want in other ways. Just helping others be happy so often helps me be happy even when I’m not getting my own way and am disappointed about it. But sometimes it’s harder to be happy when I’m not getting my own way. But I’m trying to be better.  

I had to go to CVS to get a picture enlarged to give my friends of us in New York City together. We went for a fun trip a couple years ago and I bought the large photo. They did not want to spend the money. So they got pocket size ones. I got the larger one but lost it the next day. The other day I found the pocket size one I had and decided to get it enlarged as a gift for each of my friends. So I decided after getting ice cream with my little sister, we would go to CVS. And my sister said no! She said no! She wanted to just get ice cream and come home! I felt a pang of anger surge through me. I was so tempted to say “fucking seriously?! I’m agreeing to go out in a snow storm sick and in pain, getting all dressed for you and you can’t stop at CVS with me for two minutes just to scan a picture?!” I opened my mouth to speak then held my tongue. 

That’s not the kind of woman I want to be. I want to help others even when they are not being very agreeable, even when they’re being selfish and unreasonable. If I would have said what I wanted to, that wouldn’t be terribly selfish. It’s actually quite reasonable. I was doing her a favor and it would have took less than 5 minutes to stop at CVS. But she did not want to do me the favor, stopping there with me. Even though it was reasonable selfishness it was still selfishness, self cherishing. Putting what I wanted (going to cvs) over what my sister wanted (just coming home). And I still don’t believe I would have been wrong to respond saying I really want to go to cvs. 

And I wouldn’t negatively judge others who would say that. But I want to become completely selfless (like the Buddha) and always put others first but still being peaceful in my mind. I want to be this way because I want people to be happy, even those acting unkindly and selfishly, even ones who don’t return the favor. And I want the world to be better. 
Even though this is, generally, my ultimate goal and truest desire, on certain occasions, it’s hard to live up to, difficult to not get caught up in the negativity or emotions of that specific occasion. It takes practice. 

After I held my tongue I was still pissed. But I saw it as practice to become better and better. And I took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to practice. I thought about the Buddha’s teachings and the monk’s lessons in our classes and my meditations and the woman I aspire to be. And my anger eventually melted away. Even though I was still resentful for a while, at least the environment was still more peaceful and my sister was happy and everyone was happy. If I would have spoken up, expressed my displeasure, it may have relieved my own anger or annoyance a bit but she would have become infuriated or devastated (she’s very sensitive).

So holding my tongue was good even though I did not get what I wanted. And in the end, all the things I want won’t bring me as much peace and happiness as a peaceful, compassionate, selfless mind that puts others (family, friends, strangers, difficult people, even assholes….) first. My meditation and teachings help me so I can put everyone else first but not feel lowered, degraded, worn out. It’s a journey, a process, it will not always come easily. I will always have selfish intentions now and then but I will become a more selfless being with practice. Like I said, I have never been extremely selfish. But like many or most of us, I want what I want occasionally and I think it’s more important than what someone else wants sometimes and I try justify it by showing how it really is more important….but I intend to becomes less and less that way. I offered my sister the victory. I accepted defeat upon myself. 

I’m not bragging. I’m using my own real example because I believe when people are open and honest and share their own stories, they are easier to take seriously. If I’m going to preach or give suggestions, it’s good to use a real experience of my own, right?  And a genuine example, if I have one, is often better than an imaginary one I can make up in my head. 

You can practice Love and selflessness every single day in very simple but significant ways. For example, when you’re walking in back of slowpokes, instead of thinking unpleasant thoughts like “I wish these people would just move already!, How selfish walking so slow when they know people are in back of them!,  Assholes!” 

I’m not innocent of these thoughts occasionally. I thought all of them at some points. 
And actually during one of the breaks the very day of the retreat I found myself almost late for one of the classes in back of very slow people thinking “Move! Move! Move! I’m about to be late!” and not in a pleasant way. Lol And I caught myself and realized the irony of it.

We can instead think “I wish these people well, I hope they’re happy or become happy, I wish them health, joy, friendship, love…” it puts positive energy into the world and if nothing else, it gets you in a positive, loving habit and then you begin to act more lovingly also,  unconsciously and consciously. 

image

The Buddhist monk teaching our class most weeks, and the retreat, gave an example of someone going to Starbucks and asking for a latte and thinking how slow the worker is being and thinking “just hurry up with my coffee!” but instead we can think “Yeah! Pump it up! I hope he’s having fun pumping my coffee!” lol! Everyone burst out laughing! It’s funny but it’s true! Let’s hope the workers are having fun or are peaceful and happy or at the very least, not suffering.

And when our pet chews the sofa or our shoes, think how much we love him/her instead of being destructively furious. It can be so hard but with practice, it’s possible.  

For many of us, no matter how loving and positive we are even to strangers, we probably almost never even think to hope the person making our coffee is feeling happy pumping the coffee, or the person who cuts us off in traffic is well, or the pizza delivery man is healthy, or the person who writes us an incredibly rude comment online feels loved today and always….those are incredibly small (but significant) things we completely do not think to do no matter how loving we generally are. But they help significantly. Us and everyone around us.

Soon we begin to exude love and compassion and positivity.

image

Outside the Buddhist Center, after the classes, I saw a man crossing the street, walking a dog, and he was almost ran over by another man in a car. I don’t know which one was in the wrong, I wasn’t paying attention, but they both did not handle it well. The one man beeped the horn much longer than necessary. The one man yelled “watch where you’re going asshole!” and the other yelled “suck it you fucking asshole!” and the other responded “not on your life, asshole!”. And they both gave each other vicious looks and the one walking with the dog flipped the one in the car off. I couldn’t stop laughing because first of all, again with the irony, outside a Buddhist Center where they preach nothing but Love and on the day of a Universal love retreat! And because how they both just kept yelling “asshole!”

Lol I probably shouldn’t be so amused but I am! 
  
2.) Mindfully focusing on all the kindness and love we have been shown since we came into the world, the love and kindness shown by family, friends, teachers, animals, strangers…

We are alive today and much of where we are is because of the love and kindness of others either directly targeted at us or indirectly. Since we came into the world we have been shown kindness and love. Even in the simplest, smallest ways but are still significant.

The doctors and others who took care of you and your birth mother before you were born,  took care of you and your unborn children, your family who kept you alive and safe, your friends you had in and out of school growing up, who taught you things, your teachers, professors, instructors, the law enforcement officers who keep our communities safer, the people who grow/make our food, doctors and nurses, cashiers in stores, government workers, janitors who keep our buildings clean, fast food workers who serve us, strangers who showed us random acts of kindness throughout the years…

During the meditation, I was surprised at the emotions that welled up in me when we were meditating on this concept. While I felt warmth, love, gratitude, joy, happiness, inspiration, awe, I also experienced guilt, contrition, awkwardness, sadness, embarrassment, grief  about all I have been overlooking all these years, completely disregarding. As grateful and reflective as I often am, I still overlook, ignore, close my eyes to so much.  But this retreat awakened me even more.

 At some points during the meditation, it was difficult to focus, too painful, too awkward, too uncomfortable ,at some points, I felt so small,  but I once read that the best teachers bring us to ruin, instead of having his/her students clapping and cheering, s/he has them in silent awe, mouths gaping open in disbelief, astonishment, heads held low in embarrassment, remorse, guilt at all they have been ignorant of. These aren’t the words that I read but the same concept. I’m paraphrasing, capturing the sentiment. And it’s what I felt during the classes. 

I invite you to try this activity. Just sit or lay in a quiet place or listen to some gentle, wordless, music and reflect on and feel gratitude for all those who have shown you kindness and love, even the ones you never met, the people who grow/make the food to be sold in 
stores, your family and all the things they have done for you through the years, your friends, acquaintances, pets, neighbors, strangers you remember who showed you love in some way, the doctor who was your biological mom’s when she was pregnant with you, the persons who safely delivered or assisted in delivering you when you were born, your ancestors who all led to you, singers, celebrities who inspire you, all of the people in this life who help you or have helped you in any way no matter how seemingly simple or small.

We are also encouraged to think of and give thanks for those we haven’t yet met but will meet in the future. Future best friends, coworkers, family members, future children, strangers we’ll meet at a Busstop, walking up the street, a new neighbor who may move in near you and become like family to you, the employees in restaurants and cafes we will go to, future lover/s, there are infinite opportunities waiting to unfold for us to meet various kinds of beautiful people.  And experience many more beautiful things. This brought and still brings me so much hope. To think of all those people and all those experiences and opportunities that are still to come to me, tomorrow, next year, in twenty years and more….

Think of and give thanks for all these people and animal friends and experiences who bless and will bless your life.

And let us give thanks for all our blessings.

Also let’s remember to accept defeat upon ourself and offer the victory to them. Even when we know without a doubt that we are right and they are wrong. Love is more important than being right.

You may think “why should *I* be the one to give in?” We have control over our own selves, not others. It’s up to them to decide what to be and up to each one of us to decide for ourself. 
I hope you choose to be all that you can be in each moment. You probably won’t always live up to that goal but on many occasions you will and that’s fantastic. 

We will have setbacks and succumb to selfish ways again and again. We will expect things that others will not do for us, we will cherish ourself and ignore the needs and desires of others, we will be ungrateful, angry, and negative sometimes because we are not fully enlightened. And that’s ok. We can just be as loving as we can and when we fall, gently remind ourself that love is the Way. 

When we keep putting others first over and over and being kind to people being rude, we will very likely still feel annoyed or angry even if we don’t act on it. That’s ok. Eventually we will be better and better at putting others always first while still feeling happy and pleasant about it. 

3.) And remember to view each unpleasant encounter with someone as an opportunity to practice becoming more loving, more patient. It’s a habit that must be maintained to keep it going. It’s an ongoing journey. Practice, practice, practice. Challenging encounters are a good thing.

“No one ever learns to be a great driver by just driving upon a straight road.”

4.) “It is like a diamond, like the sun, and like a medicinal tree.”

That is to say that when we train our minds by following the instructions of Geshe Chekhawa’s text on being more compassionate, loving, kind, meditative, offering the victory, accepting defeat, any little thing we do is good. Even if it’s just a sliver of what he teaches. When a diamond is cut into little pieces, every fragment, even the most microscopic piece, is extremely valuable. Geshe Chekhawa’s text is best when practiced as a whole, but like a broken diamond, even the smallest part is extremely valuable. Priceless are his teachings, even when only part is followed. Sunlight completely dispels all darkness but even just a few beams of golden sun provide some light. If we practice his full text, we completely dispel all of our darkness of ignorance but just engaging in some parts of the practice is incredible. Even just one moment you choose kindness as opposed to lashing out, it is like a beam of sun. Beautiful. 
And just as every part of a medicinal tree (roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit) provides medicine, so every part of the instructions on training the mind provide insight, relief, invaluable information to us.
Every word of his is infinite wisdom. 

image

And you don’t have to be a Buddhist or plan on becoming one to incorporate some Buddhist views such as these, into your world. Even if you have another religion, universal love is compatible with it. 

I purchased a book at the retreat called “Universal Compassion” by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who is the teacher of the monk who teaches our class. I love his books and have many. This is the book I mentioned above on training the mind to be completely selfless but still completely happy and peaceful in general. It is a beautiful and practical book that helps us train our brains to be all that we can be. 
 Geshe Chekhawa’s teachings are mentioned there. It’s based on his wisdom. 

image

These are just some of the things I learned during the retreat and practice, meditate upon  in class every week and at home during my meditations and everywhere I go. I’m so thankful I attended and have awakened to so much wisdom and experienced amazing things during meditation and lectures. It’s amazing to be surrounded by people who have similar goals and interests as me. I hope I can remember and share bits of wisdom I learn each week/day and share it along with my own experiences and struggles, to help others.  

image

Links on Metta(universal love):

http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_in.htm

http://www.wildmind.org/metta/introduction/what-is-metta

Lovingkindness meditation: 

Desktop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=desktop

Mobile:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=m&persist_app=1

This page, below, has free mp3’s for songs and meditations/guided meditations about love & compassion.
 
http://www.buddhanet.net/audio-library.htm

May you be well.
May you be happy. 
May you be peaceful.
May you be loved.

image

Xoxo Kim ❤ ❤

On being humble

image

“When we embody love, we are the most powerful being in the universe.” ~ Emmanuel

I wasn’t always as developed as I am now. While I have always been empathetic, compassionate, loving, and understanding of others, not all of those qualities of mine were always as deep or as vast as they are today. I used to be more judgmental than I am now, sometimes criticizing people or things without thinking it completely through if it’s really necessary, sometimes overlooking the fact that I also do things that can, maybe even “should” be, judged critically.

“The praise that comes from love does not make us vain, but more humble.”
 ~James Matthew Barrie

I think for most of us, we evolve the longer we live, the more we experience even if we don’t realize we’re evolving. And when we do realize we are becoming wiser, more educated, more aware,  it’s possible to let it run away with us, let ourselves become a little bit too stuck up or arrogant, too proud, let our heads get too big.

Sometimes I feel so enlightened in some respects. I see things so much more clearly than I did before. I see how wrong I was in some ways about some things. And there have been occasions when I caught myself becoming too full of myself, arrogant, judgmental when I would have an encounter with someone who I perceived as not to be as “enlightened” or aware as I am.
Someone who still holds opinions that are not very evolved or opinions I disagree with or someone who handles those opinions in ways I don’t appreciate or wouldn’t do myself.

Like when I would meet someone who did not realize things or know things that I now know or realize.  And I would criticize the person for it, totally neglecting to realize that at one point I did not realize this or something else, either and that right now at this very moment there are things I don’t know or understand, that I am so less developed than I will be in years to come, with age and much more experience. I’m not the most enlightened being on Earth and likely never will be.  And that’s ok.

It reminds me of when I would take certain Logic and critical thinking classes in college. In the beginning of one class, our professor told us that in a few weeks we would already know so much more than the average person about reasoning, arguing, debating. He said we would begin to see all the flaws in people’s reasoning in everyday life. People around us, people on TV, commercials, everywhere. He said him, as a Logician with extremely advanced reasoning skills and nearly flawless logic, couldn’t turn off his ability to instantly detect flaws in reasoning even when he would be out with friends having a simple or trivial conversation, watching TV whether it was comedy movies or political or religious debates, reading, everywhere. His knowledge of Logic, fallacies, arguments…is so superior he can’t help but just see how everyone else’s logic is just so flawed. He often had to resist the urge to correct everyone everywhere. 

I had a few philosophy professors who told us, although probably mostly in jest, that we may soon regret taking the class because all of  a sudden everyone around us becomes so “stupid,” unenlightened, or unreasonable that it’s nauseating. Lol 

They said we may become arrogant, inpatient, intolerant of everyone who has never taken a logic or critical thinking class. And it was true. I did start to detect flaws in people’s reasoning everywhere I would go, even in simple, everyday conversations. I noticed how fallacious so many arguments really are. Sometimes it was so frustrating to know so much more than the average person about certain things.

And years later when I began to actively practice and meditate upon universal compassion and general tolerance more than ever before and realized it’s the best way for me to be, I started to sometimes catch myself judging others who weren’t that way.

Sometimes I would give myself a pat on the back for being “just so much more evolved” than most people I know or come in contact with.

When someone would get worked up during an argument, sling an explicit insult at an opponent, argue in flawed ways like I used to do, I would be critical of those people, praising myself for being “beyond that.”

Now I quickly correct myself if ever I catch myself doing that. I’m usually patient in the face of other people’s impatience, gentle with other people’s aggression, non judgmental of someone else’s judgments, tolerant of other people’s intolerance and accepting of someone else’s lack of acceptance. I understand that not everyone will be understanding and I have more compassion than I used to, for those who lack compassion. 

Constructive criticism is often a good thing but it can be delivered in a humble way. Assertiveness is necessary in some cases, firmness and unwavering confidence and strength in the face of some injustice.

Love & compassion & acceptance that I write or speak of, in no way means backing down and not speaking up. It doesn’t mean letting people get away with things they should not get away with. It simply means knowing bad things happen, injustice exists in the world, people have differing and horrible opinions and do horrible things but we don’t have to sink to the level of getting even, wishing horrific things on people as punishments, slinging insults and hurting others to seek retribution.

It’s possible to be firm, assertive, grounded, loud, opinionated but loving. 

image

It’s important to stand up for whatever our Truth is, to advocate for what we believe in, speak out against injustice, abuse, cruelty in any form, to defend those who need us, speak up for those who need supporters…but we can do this while promoting love instead of bashing those who disagree. “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.”

It’s not always easy but I believe it’s worth the struggle.

I’m very into Buddhism which teaches universal love and compassion. I’m not a Buddhist but I read about it everyday and practice many of their principles. There are more things I don’t know and understand about Buddhism than things I do know and understand. But I learn more and more each day.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to incorporate many of their virtues into your own life.
And it’s compatible with religions including Christianity, Judaism, and others. Some people disagree or don’t realize. But Buddhists don’t necessarily believe in any specific god and their principles can go along with the principles of various religions.

You can think of Buddhism as a philosophy or as a religion.

Monastic Buddhists are seriously dedicated, hardcore Buddhists who follow everything in the Lamrim, every principle in excruciating detail and lay Buddhists are looser in their views or lifestyles. They take Buddhism seriously but don’t necessarily follow every principle of Buddhism.

One of the things I love completely about genuine Buddhism and true Buddhists or pro Buddhists is that they teach and promote certain principles and ways of life but they do not enforce them or judge those who do not adopt those views, attitudes, and ways. They teach, guide, advocate for but fully accept that others will not and they embrace those people anyway. This way they remain peaceful within and allow others to be what they will.

I think sometimes when some of us become enlightened on something or think we have and realize we were wrong or utterly ignorant or clueless previously, it can instill embarrassment into us, embarrassment that we did not know or realize this all along, it’s now so obvious, how wasn’t it always this blatant? And the humiliation is so strong we want to avoid it, repress, deny it and run fast away instead of facing it. So what do we do in this case? What makes it easier to avoid confronting ourselves on how wrong or clueless we were before? What’s often easier than admitting I was wrong? Judging, criticizing others who are in the place I used to be in, those who know less about something I now know more about, those with an opinion I once shared but now converted to a “better” one. It’s easier than confessing that I was wrong before and now realize or have become enlightened or changed. It’s easier to verbally attack the me I see in someone else than the real me, my own flesh and blood.

image

I believe it’s important to stay humble no matter how much more I think I know. Or how right I think I am.

There will always be those who know more than me and those who know less. Those who are more primitive and those more evolved, people who are cruel and seem stupid and those whose intelligence is way out of the average person’s league, people with extreme compassion and deep understanding of others and ones who couldn’t care less to try to understand, open minded and narrow minded, educated and uneducated, enlightened and still in the dark….and to me, they all deserve compassion, empathy, and to be embraced in universal love even if they don’t display that same love or care to be embraced in it. I can still wish them the best and let them go their own way while going my way. That is true, pure, selfless love. At some point I have been and will be again, many of those things I mentioned above. 

image

~Hug the hurt
Kiss the broken
Befriend the lost
Love the lonely~ 

I believe in Universal Love, higher love, all encompassing love and compassion, being One with all that is. 
Not everyone will agree and that’s ok.

Tomorrow Is Today <3

image

(this isn’t my photo – I found it on Google images)

One of my favorite singers is Billy Joel. I love, love, LOVE his songs. Billy Joel is a very loving person, so many of his songs are about love, often romantic love. Not all of them are happy love songs but they’re still beautiful. Some seem to be about rejection or unrequited love.

His song, released in 1971, “Tomorrow Is Today” is his real suicide note that he decided to put music to and turn into a song.

YouTube video for the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=b9WAQHn_gmo

 It’s a beautiful song riddled with his pain and despair. He attempted suicide and fortunately lived. This song “Tomorrow Is Today” is about how every day is the same, nothing new, nothing good so there’s no point in living. I understand this deeply. There are many days I have felt every day is the same, bland, blah, full of pain, anguish, misery and so what’s the point. But there are many days I felt every day is the same but loved this beautiful life for it. Everyday is full of beauty, love, simplicity and I can’t wait to wake up each day to it. When every day is packed with joy, love, and beauty, it doesn’t matter if each day is identical. It’s enough. 

“I don’t care to know the hour
‘Cause it’s passing anyway
I don’t have to see tomorrow
‘Cause I saw it yesterday”

This line:

“Still I’m waiting for the morning
But it feels so far away
And you don’t need the love I’m giving
So tomorrow is today.”

Sometimes it seems we wait and wait and wait for something that just won’t come. It’s like an eternity away.

‘And you don’t need the love I’m giving so tomorrow is today.’

I know the feeling, as I think many/most people do, of wanting something I don’t have, attempting something and not succeeding, loving someone who doesn’t love me back…

Billy Joel sings that someone doesn’t need the love he’s giving and so tomorrow is today. Everyday is bland or painful because the target of his love shows no interest in receiving or returning it. This can feel so lifeless.

I think this is a common problem so many people know. Giving and giving only to not receive any appreciation. Loving and loving and not being loved in return. Wanting and wanting but never getting.

And while these things are excruciatingly painful, we can learn to cope with them and realize that we don’t need a specific target for our love. And we don’t need to give merely to receive. The mere feeling and act of giving and loving is satisfaction enough, rewarding enough with no expectation of getting something more for it. We can bask in and soak in the love deep inside, extending it to everything and everyone we can. It’s amazing to have specific people and things to love. But those aren’t the only things to love.

Just feel the love coursing through your veins every second of every day for each moment, even without a specific object. It’s just there. Living and breathing in you. Love for all living sentient beings, for this life itself, for the uncertainty and the beauty surrounding you. For heartbreak, hope & healing. This feeling of immense love can be masked by other feelings, painful emotions and thoughts, at some points but it can be summoned to the consciousness again and again.

We don’t need gratitude for our gratitude or appreciation for our appreciation, love for our love. We don’t need to receive to give.

The person Billy Joel loves in his song may not love him back or show any sense of reception of his love but he can take all that love he has and put it out into the world, lavish it on all those who do need it. Someone out there somewhere needs his love. He can turn it on himself and bask in the beauty of his own love. And it doesn’t matter if that person needs his love or not, he can still go on loving her/him….
It can be painful but also beautiful.
Rejection hurts. Abandonment hurts. Not being known hurts.
But Love heals.

It’s incredible that tomorrow is today and yesterday is tomorrow when every day is soaked in Love.

Loving someone who doesn’t know you exist or doesn’t return your love, wanting something you never seem to get, giving and not receiving can contribute to someone wanting to just lay down and die but we can take that loving energy and reverse it, let it fuel us to live instead. To live more, love more, give more. Shifting our perspective to view loving as more important than being loved, giving is more important than receiving, and appreciating is more important than being appreciated. 

Receiving love and appreciation are also great but if you don’t feel loved or appreciated for whatever reason you don’t have to lay down and die. Let your own love revive you and breathe in you.

When there’s so much deep love just bubbling in my core it’s often hard to feel anything else. It’s hard to loathe anyone or wish bad things for anyone, even those who do things I don’t like. 

I can still stand up for and speak out against things, constructively criticize things, disagree with and debate while still feeling/expressing love.

“Oh, my. Goin’ to the river
Gonna take a ride and the Lord will deliver me
Made my bed, now I’m gonna lie in it
If you don’t come, I’m sure gonna die in it
Too late. Too much given
I’ve seen a lot of life and I’m damn sick of livin’ it
I keep hopin’ that you will pass my way”

I get the feeling that when he falls hard for someone, gives someone all his love and it’s not returned to him, it really takes a toll, it depresses him, breaks him, even to the point of suicide contemplation and attempts. When he can’t have someone he wants in his life it drives him to just fall to pieces. But as I mentioned when this happens, we can take our love and direct it at ourselves and the universe as a whole. This is so healing. It won’t take away our pain completely or make us forget the ones we love who abandon or reject us but it can help us heal while helping others be/feel loved.

image

You can’t give too much love.

Sometimes people have an interest in developing a platonic friendship with someone who has no interest in being friends with the person, sometimes it’s a romantic love interest not returned, some days it’s doing extra work for someone who couldn’t seem to care less, writing blog posts or creating YouTube videos or posts on any social media that don’t get much attention or get negative attention, applying for schools or jobs and being rejected….all of these things can be devastating to different people in different ways, to different depths and degrees.

But don’t give up! Whatever you do, say, however you love will resonate with someone, somewhere,  someday, somehow. Maybe not today or tomorrow but someday. Hold on.  

Someone out there can and will love someone just like you and needs, desires, craves exactly what you have to offer whether it’s the kind of friend you can be, the kind of lover you are, the abilities and qualities you have that are perfect for some jobs, your writing, your ideas, your points of views and angles of looking at things. 

Your beauty is valuable to this world.

And someone out there somewhere needs you.

We all have different kinds of personalities that are compatible
With and appealing to certain other personalities but not other ones.

Some people will love you, want you, crave you, need you and some won’t. That goes for all of us.

“And some day if your dreams are leavin’ you
I’ll still believe in you.” 

This is a perfect example of love and loving someone unconditionally,  even when that someone may not love us back.

We can still believe in that person and wish the best for him/her. If I truly love someone I want the person to be happy even when I’m not the reason for that happiness. I will still believe in the person even when that person doesn’t believe in or love me Or her/himself.

As painful as it can be, it’s also quite liberating.

In 1985, Billy Joel had another song released  called “You’re Only Human (Second Wind).”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=3AG_ororx8E

It was written to remind people to never give up, that suicide isn’t the answer. Ever. It’s never the way to go. Sooner or later you’ll get your second wind. You may want to lay down and die now but later things will start looking up and it’s worth waiting for.

“It’s not always easy to be living in this world of pain
You’re gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again
It’s alright, it’s alright
Though you feel your heart break
You’re only human, you’re gonna have to deal with heartache.”

As long as we live we will experience pain, heartbreak, loneliness….and that’s ok.

“You’ve been keeping to yourself these days
Cause you’re thinking everything’s gone wrong
Sometimes you just want to lay down and die
That emotion can be so strong
But hold on
Till that old second wind comes along.”

No matter how bad things get or feel, how much it hurts, how much you want to die, things can get better if you just hold on.

Hold on til that second wind comes along!

Xoxo Kim

P.s. It’s so weird I’m listening to my old memory card with different songs on it and I forgot what songs are on it and as I was writing that above paragraph, the song randomly came on! The “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” song by Billy Joel!! 😀

Love <3

image

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

This is a beautiful quote for the sentiment. “Love” can be a warm affection, a feeling (platonic or romantic) whether or not it’s expressed and it can be an act, a verb, an expression. We can love strangers, enemies, everyone by reaching out to help, heal, bring comfort to, uplift, inspire…or just wish them the best. We don’t have to only love our own family and friends. I see and feel so much love in the media when there’s a tragedy or struggle that is publicized and strangers reach out in love to bring hope and comfort to those in need.

But there are people around us each and every day who we can lavish love upon (in what ever way we choose) in big and smalls ways. All love is great.

 I also love how he chooses the words “A purpose” Instead of “THE purpose.” There are so many writings, quotes, and people who try to tell people what “THE” purpose of life is or should be. But really there’s no “one purpose fits all” for everyone. What provokes a sense of strong purpose in me may not bring you the same sense.  I believe there’s no ultimate “purpose” or even a different individual one for all of us. To me, the purpose is just to live, to be. If I decide that something or someone brings me purpose and then I no longer have that something or someone or I’m no longer interested in or capable of some work or activity that once brought me a sense of purpose, I’m not now purposeless. Although it can feel that way sometimes for people who lose something that was very significant to them.

But for many people it’s important to them to create, discover, have….something that brings them a sense of purpose. Some people like the challenge of this, of discovering and creating but for others it’s a devastating struggle. To feel as if we have no purpose or are unsure what it may be, can be quite painful. But you don’t have to do anything extravagant to do something great. You don’t have to travel the world, have some big impressive career, be rich or famous or ridiculously, physically beautiful, have a college degree or education…or anything like that. While those things can be amazing, you don’t need them to have a purpose. 

You can do something as simple and as great as loving all who are around to be loved.

Xoxo
Kim