Tag Archive | peace

Keep Loving…❤

Keep Loving – Empty Hands

“Whether you’re different, same, ignorant, or intelligent
Whether you tell the truth, lie, or embellish it
Whether you live in gratitude or for the hell of it
It doesn’t really matter, we’re still one single fellowship
Whether you’ve been lustful or livin’ celibate-
Whether you’re an optimist or only see the negative-
Whether you’re dead broke or rich from inheritance
It doesn’t really matter, we’re made of the same sediments
Whether you got a family or single parentin’-
Or you’re Asian, African, European, or American
Whether you pray-to-God or atheist is irrelevant
Cuz what you got inside is the same as all your brethren
So keep loving,
It’ll change your heart; it’ll change your mind”❤

“May I be happy; May all beings be happy” ❤

Recently, on social media, I saw a thread where a single young mom, with multiple divorces, with five kids, and various dads, and a few pets, was being ridiculed, destructively criticized, mocked, slandered, judged…by complete strangers all because she had multiple kids when she was very young and has a history of failed romantic relationships, which she said broke her heart. By what she wrote, she clearly loves her kids and pets. The comments people were writing are vicious and mocking. They called her “trash” and other insults and were sarcastically calling her “a real winner.” They said she would always be single and no man would ever want her and many more insults. They mocked her because she made a couple spelling mistakes. They ridiculed her for her interests and activities she likes to do for fun(makeup & fashion are a couple). They even criticized her physical appearance! They talked about her hair and everything. And for every unkind comment, there were a bunch more people who “liked/loved” each toxic comment, even ones who did not comment themselves.

One person posted her picture on his account as a screen capture with some facts about her and him and his online friends all got together and began saying as many insults as they could about her. He blocked her account for the post so she wouldn’t see. There were over 100 comments. I’m in awe (and not in a pleasing way lol) that 30 something year old adults and older are still cyber(and maybe in person as well!) bullies! I can even understand just being unkind once in a while or even in general but actually mocking and ridiculing people just for laughs. There are better ways to heal and cope with our own pain than doing this to someone else.

The overwhelming majority of comments were this. Only a couple people commented with something positive to say about her or to come to her defense. Probably because they knew if they stepped in to defend her, they would be bashed too, like bullies in the schoolyard. Except here, we’re all adults. I can imagine there were probably other moms like her reading and maybe angry, crushed, feeling low about the comments, that can also apply to them. And people with bad spelling/grammar may have been reading and feeling inferior.

I can just imagine what all these people would say about me if they had the chance and knew things about me! For all I know they already are! This can happen to any of us! Imagine someone on your friends list or a follower of your account taking a screencap of your pic of yourself and posting it to that person’s own account so all the friends can roast you without you even knowing! There is a game called “roast me” where people put their own pic on so online friends can say as many insults as possible! lol! But this person has no idea she was subjected to this.

If we stop and think how this can be us or someone we know, it can deepen our compassion/empathy for those it happens to. This applies to anything good or “bad.” When something happens to a stranger, pleasant or not, imagine if it happened to us or someone we know and remember that stranger feels the same way we would were it us it happened to. And even if we wouldn’t care if it happened to us, others may be devastated or angry if it were them. So that’s another good thing to keep in mind, that we all handle things differently and have different reactions. And all are valid.

I think this is also a good example of how we can influence each other for better or worse. What if this young woman posted her own picture and facts about herself where all those same people would see? They probably would not have reacted the way they did. They saw the original poster of the screencaps and went along with him, probably to please him and have a feeling of “all in this together,” and have some laughs while coping with their own pain/unhappiness. I don’t believe any of those people have good self esteem or are happy or they would not have done that. Focusing on someone else’s mistakes, pain, misfortune…helps take our mind off our own but so does focusing on love, well wishes, happiness for others. Let us influence each other for the better! ❤

“…Now, many years later, I understand the power of loving-friendliness. It helps us swallow the bitterness of life.” (Loving-Kindness In Plain English – The Practice of Metta ❤)

I was so confused about all the destructive criticism. I couldn’t understand it. Why would we want to drag someone down like that? What provoked all this unkindness? Instead of seeing her as one of our sisters in life, a fellow sentient being, they saw her as a punching bag, an easy target, an opportunity to get out all their own pain by inflicting it upon someone else. My confusion lessened a bit when I remembered the saying:

“Hurt people, hurt people.”

I believe that is the reason people choose to try to make someone else hurt or suffer; those people are suffering themselves and do not quite know how to process it. The man who began the thread to ridicule this person, just the day before, admitted to being depressed, anxious, suicidal, and socially isolated, and in need of a friend. He admitted that his quality of work is suffering because of his poor mental health. Is this a justification for trying to inflict pain upon others? Absolutely not. But understanding this can help us help someone to heal.

Some of us turn our own pain to greater compassion for others and some of us turn our own pain into bitterness to try to hurt others. Anyone who does this can change it for the better. Choose kindness.

Let us remember to be kind even to those who are acting in an unkind manner; the ones we feel deserve it the least are probably many of the ones who need it the most. Loving them does not mean we condone what they do, just that we know kindness makes the whole world a better place. Love heals. Our Love for them may help them become more kind one day. Just keep loving even when it’s difficult.

“One who truly loves himself will not harm others. She who loves herself will tune in to the energy of loving-friendliness and understand how magnificent it would be if every heart in the world would share this feeling.”❤ (Loving-Kindness In Plain English – The Practice of Metta)

I want to share some love here and tell everyone it’s ok to have a difficult, messed up, unpleasant…past(and even present), ok to make mistakes and have a history of failed relationships, whether they are married ones, romantic and not married, or platonic friendships; it does not mean someone is a bad person or that the person will never be a good girlfriend/wife(or whatever gender/gender identity) or friend to someone else.

And yes, if you’re a single mom(or even not single) with five kids(or even just one kid), and love your kids, you ARE a winner no matter how young or old you were when you had them(or adopted), no matter how many different dads they have, and no matter how many failed relationships or breakups you have experienced. I know not all kids have a mom & a dad; that’s just the example I’m giving because the woman here was being criticized for having multiple dads for her kids.

And not everyone has good grammar/spelling skills. And some people are doing the best they can writing in a language that is not their native one. Some people have learning disabilities to some degree or just not very skilled at something. (I am terrible at basic math) And I think most of us on occasion slip up and spell something wrong or write something that is not correct in terms of grammar. I definitely do this myself. Sometimes it may be autocorrect or sometimes just me slipping up. It’s really no big thing.

Kindness is always good but especially these days when so many of us are struggling with depression, anxiety, stress of any sort, suicidal tendencies….In our society (U.S.), and maybe other societies, we are too judgmental and too critical of each other and our own self. One word of kindness or one word of cruelty can go a long way. If someone is already struggling, just one simple, brief compliment or wishing someone well, can possibly allay the person’s pain a bit or even if not, at least bring some love, joy, and comfort, to the person in the midst of the struggle.

And if someone is already suffering, callous remarks, or even just a cold tone, can add so much to the pain, even more than intended.

And even if we’re not struggling, we love acts of love!

“Metta is not ordinary love. It is the quality of love we experience in our whole being, a love that has no ulterior motive — and no opposite. It can never become hatred; the love-hate dichotomy simply does not apply.” (Loving-Kindness In Plain English – The Practice of Metta)

We’re not responsible for someone else’s suffering, feelings, choices, happiness…we’re responsible for our own. But we can still remember the impact our choice of words, comments, remarks, both in person and online, can have on others and choose to be kind or even just saying nothing when we just cannot bring ourself(this is a word lol) to feel or be kind. Sometimes holding our tongue is an act of kindness. Constructive criticism is good in many cases. But intentional destructive criticism is always toxic and unnecessary. I am not innocent of this and think most of us have room to grow.

Who cares if we’re financially rich or poor, working seven days a week or out of work, have ten kids or are childless(I prefer childless over childfree because “childfree” makes it seem like children are a burden as opposed to a gift. I never wanted kids; I just have no inclination, but still love them and know they are a gift! Many childless people are offended by the word “childless.” “Childfree” is what I find off-putting), single, happily taken, divorced more than once…whatever! Who cares if we are neat and organized or a total slob(me!), very educated or not much of an education, very intelligent or not so much, look like a supermodel or not society’s concept of beauty, and we all may have interests/activities someone else thinks are dumb(sometimes I play with virtual pets lol), whatever mistakes we have made and will make, doesn’t matter…We’re all the same underneath and all have things others can mock us for or criticize us for. And all have qualities someone, somewhere would love if the person/s knew us.

No matter what or who you are, I’m your safe space even if we disagree on something. 💚

“Though we all have the seed of loving-friendliness within us, we must make the effort to cultivate it. When we are rigid, uptight, tense, anxious, and full of worries and fears, our natural capacity for loving-friendliness cannot flourish. To nurture the seed of loving-friendliness, we must learn to relax. In a peaceful state of mind, such as we get from mindfulness meditation, we can forget our past differences with others and forgive their faults, weaknesses, and offenses. Then loving-friendliness naturally grows within us.” (Loving-Kindness In Plain English – The Practice of Metta)

Let us remember to always be a bit kinder than necessary to everyone we meet.

And “ourself” means all of us together, not any specific group. We learn that “ourselves” is the correct grammar and it is also. But a loving Buddhist Teacher taught me that “Ourself” implies Oneness and togetherness, including ALL, so I prefer that version!

Chants of Love:

The Chant of Metta

Om Mani Padme Hum

&

Loving-Kindness Meditation(13 minutes & 26 seconds)

May I be well
May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be loved

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

“Loving-friendliness motivates you to behave kindly to all beings at all times and to speak gently in their presence and in their absence.” (Loving-Kindness In Plain English – The Practice of Metta)

Much love & light, always,

Kim xoxo❤❤❤

Peace 🕉💞

Today, I was approached by an adorable & (most likely) FAKE Buddhist monk. Lol I saw these monks before and felt that there is something “off” about them but can’t say what for sure. For one thing, they don’t seem to be representing any specific Center, sect, spiritual guide, or organization (maybe this isn’t unusual but to me it seems like it) and they are a bit hasty in their encounters like quick to get people to take their jewelry & quick to get away. Monks are warm, loving, welcoming, and open to staying around for people to talk to. These ones ask us to take a vow to live in peace then they bolt!

These monks I see around the streets of Center City, Philadelphia approach random people and don’t talk much and they invade people’s personal space(I don’t mind this but some people don’t like people getting in their faces lol And Buddhist monks are good for acting according to people’s needs and desires. I saw a loving couple holding hands, recoil in fear one day as one of these monks approached them and he kept pressing forward even after seeing they wanted nothing to do with him) and not all but some are kind of pushy. He gave me a bracelet and golden card about peace. I knew automatically that he would want money so I pulled some out and he snatched it greedily. That is what confirmed my intuition that something is “off,” not the fact he was collecting money(genuine spiritual/religious people can collect money for their churches, temples, communities, fundraisers) but the greedy way in which he took it, almost as if he had to get it off me before I changed my mind and he was desperate for it. Even the average homeless people I encounter each day don’t snatch my money like this. Lol Because they aren’t doing anything shady. Greed should not be one of the things we sense when encountering a monk. If there is a greedy monk to the point he snatches money, he is corrupt or fake or not spirtually advanced enough to be a monk yet. While monks are human and still have human emotion/experiences, greed like that should have been purified or tamed by this point.

One of the things Buddhist people practice is accepting what is or whatever may happen, pleasant or not and another is practicing peace. There was nothing remotely peaceful or accepting about the way he took the money. A genuine monk would allow someone the opportunity to change her mind and not donate, without caring about the money.

I love these kinds of bracelets and especially love the gold card so it was worth handing over some cash (unless the money is going to something terrible!). Lol

After the encounter, I decided to look up the experience being approached by these cute little greedy monks. And well, sure enough, my intuition/gut was correct! They aren’t cute little monks at all; they are cute little scammers, dressed like monks(at least according to others who have encountered them!)! They walk around with a Mala and beaded bracelets and place one of the bracelets on the wrist of whoever they approach. The one who came up to me folded his hands in prayer and said “peace.”

The quality of the jewelry, at least the ones I saw, are good and they do seem to allow whatever amount of money someone wants to give, though someone wrote they get annoyed if someone gives a low amount. You still get to keep the beads though!

I think the scam here is that they are not monks at all and they lead people to believe they just had a special spiritual encounter and people probably think the money is going to some good cause and it’s probably not. Theyre probably just spending it on themselves. This “monk” asked me to vow to live in peace, which I find inspiring even if he’s a scammer.

They are not only in various cities but even different countries! So wherever you are, beware! They are approaching random unsuspecting people and convincing them to hand over money for cards & jewerly. This doesnt seem too bad; the jewerly is good; the golden cards are inspiring, and we can choose whether or not to give money and how much. But the immoral part is, they are not who they pretend to be. So our choice to hand over money may not be as voluntary as it seems. I love beads so I don’t care who sells me it but others may only buy it thinking it’s going to a good cause when it’s going who knows where and some may only buy the beads thinking they are special as they are given by a monk and here these are not monks, just little old men dressed as monks.

And the money may be going to something that is immoral or that the donor of the money does not support, who knows? Also, I don’t know where they get these bead bracelets, like do they make them themselves, steal them, have others make them?

Anyway, I’m a little bit “too” lighthearted and easily amused so I laughed at the idea of being scammed by a little old man in a monk costume. But others felt violated and deceived after.

I still love my beads & card! And I am taking my vow seriously to live even more peacefully. The pretty golden card is a beautiful reminder to act, speak, and think in peace. Even though it is intended as a scam, it can be used for good! I took the Bodhisattva vow in June 2016 and the card is a beautiful reminder!

Here are a few lessens:

1.) Be careful who we trust, even little old, innocent looking men and people who appear to be spiritual guides! Ask questions before doing anything and if there is no clear answer, walk away!

2.) Trust your gut! An old cliche but a wise one! My intuition told me something was not quite what it may have appeared to be.

3.) Make the best of a situation. We still have the pretty beads & card! They are reminders to live in peace! Take something that is used for bad and turn it good!

4.) Watch out for cute, little old men posing as Monks strolling through the city streets (of various cities & countries!)! Lol They are shady! Also, there have been reports of them following people, not taking no for and answer, and being physically aggressive and getting arrested!

Much love, light, & peace to you! And remember, be cautious & stay safe on those city streets!

Xoxo Kim ❤

Enduring LOVE <3

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“He drew a circle that shut me out – 
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in!” ❤

I don’t know who the original author of this lovely piece is but it’s so inspiring and full of Truth. 

“When they criticize you, love them for teaching you humility. 

When they heap scorn upon you, love them for helping you discover your resiliency. 

When they doubt you, love them for giving your dreams greater courage. 

When they point out your faults,
love them for their accuracy.

When they wound you, love them for showing you your capacity to forgive. 

When they try to stop you, love them for making your resolve even stronger. 

When they cast you into darkness, love them for helping you discover your inextinguishable light.

And when you stand victorious, when your love has conquered the impossible challenge, invite them to stand with you so they too can see love’s power and possibility.”

Love doesn’t exclude or seek revenge or resort to loathing. 

Let’s love, love, love, let love conquer the impossible, the negativity, the pain, the struggle, and include everyone into our circle of LOVE. ❤

Much love & light to you, always!

😀
xoxo Kim ❤

Do no harm <3

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“All beings tremble before violence.
All fear death. 
All love life.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do? 
He who seeks happiness 
By hurting those who seek happiness 
Will never find happiness.
For your brother is like you.
He wants to be happy.
Never harm him.”
(Dhammapada) 

❤ 😀
Much love & light,

xoxo Kim

Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

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“…Getting cards and letters from people I don’t even know
And offers comin’ over the phone
Well, I really don’t mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you’re down when you’re ridin’ the train
That’s takin’ the long way
And I dream of the things I’ll do
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe
There’ll be a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on me”

One of the best songs ever! So sweet & 
inspiring. We can always find our way to the place where the lights are shining on us, whether it’s an outside place like a job or lifestyle we’re longing for or an inside place of joy, simplicity, & inner peace.  

Even if we have next to nothing now, whether materially/financially or are feeling emotionally bankrupt, depressed, hopeless, despairing….with fierce determination, we can eventually see those glittering lights…. And just like in this song, there’s people we don’t even know personally who are or will/would be sending us love & well wishes if they knew of us, our goals, dreams, struggles.

Just look at all the love on social media, the acts of kindness all around us, and all the Earth angels we meet each day. ❤ 

Rhinestone Cowboy – Glen Campbell – mobile

Rhinestone Cowboy – desktop

😀

Much love & light to you now & for always,

Xoxo Kim 

Mala

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Recently, I got a new Mala!
Isn’t it lovely! 
I really love this one! 

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I don’t really care for the fact that it doesn’t have divider beads though! 😦

Oh well, I still love it!

The kind of red coloring is so pretty!

Malas are Buddhist prayer beads.

They are used for Mantra recitation, to generate positive energy and discipline the mind.

There are various mantras associated with different Buddhas.

It’s believed that when we touch the beads and say/think the mantra, the energy goes onto the Mala. 

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The way I practice Mala recitation is in a secular way, I don’t pray to a Buddha to actually answer me. It’s just a peaceful meditative activity that gets our mind in the habit or more in the habit of positive thinking or a positive, peaceful state.  Even if we are already positive and peaceful, it can help us to be calm even more frequently, even in very stressful, depressing, situations later, even when we are not engaging in recitation.

We don’t have to be Buddhists or religious or any specific kind of spiritual to practice Mala recitation and benefit.

The mantra can be recited once a day or all throughout the day, even walking up a street, at a restaurant, in line at a store…whenever we want, wherever we want(as long as it’s safe/appropriate to be concentrating on it, I don’t know about while driving or performing surgery, in a talk therapy session with a patient…). The point is to truly experience it though, not to absent-mindedly engage in it.

The mantra I chose for this Mala is the

Manjushri Mantra,
Om A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhih

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“This mantra is believed to enhance wisdom and improve one’s skills in debating, memory, writing, and other literary abilities. “Dhīḥ” is the seed syllable of the mantra and is chanted with greater emphasis and also repeated a number of times as a Decrescendo.”

“A leads to the insight that the essence of all things is unproduced.
RA leads to the insight that all things are pure and free of defilements.
PA leads to the insight that all dharmas have been “expounded in the ultimate sense.”
CA leads to the insight that the arising and ceasing of things cannot be apprehended because in reality there is no arising or ceasing.
NA leads to the insight that although the names for things change the nature of things behind their names cannot be gained or lost.”

Source: http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures/manjushri

Manjushri is a bodhisattva, depicted as a beautiful young prince of transcendent wisdom.

You can hear the mantra said over and over here (mobile) or here (desktop)... It’s so soothing.

Malas typically are strung with 108 beads and divider beads. A mantra session can be performed for all 108 beads at once or less. It’s believed by Buddhists that the energy for the mantra goes on the beads and each recitation session adds more energy. If a different mantra is used for the same Mala, the energy for the previous mantra clears and the new energy goes on. 

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I have five Malas.
I’m not yet in the habit of practicing everyday though like some who are very dedicated.
It can be overwhelming until we truly ingrain the habit.

People who have practiced for many years with the same Mala, often take great care not to have their Mala lost or damaged because there goes all that positive energy, years worth, down the drain! 

But Buddhism/Mala recitation  is all about inner  peace, and all those years of Mala recitation, hopefully, provides them with the strength to handle such misfortune. 

If you want to see about various mantras, check this out!
http://www.thebuddhacenter.org/buddhism/mantras/ 

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If you aren’t into Mala recitation and mantras, this is probably a boring post for you. 

And I love to mostly share things that can be appealing to people in general. 

Unlike what many people say about themselves and their blogs, I don’t mostly post for myself. I do post things for me but my main intention is to help uplift & inspire  others who may come across my content now or later. It will always be here (hopefully!)!
Of course everything I post is something I want to share so in that way it is for me. 

Even if I wanted to post something I thought no one else would care for, I still would post it. I already have but most of it got “likes” anyway! I’m so honored when people like my content.

But I always want to include something that may be more interesting to others.  

So if you opened this post and couldn’t care less, you’re in luck! Lol

Because I will share some fantastic quotes here as well! 

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?” ~
Charles M. Schulz

Lol I feel this way often, like I have no specific purpose, but not in a bad way, no need for a purpose, my purpose is just to be. It’s beautiful to feel that way. When I’m depressed sometimes I feel the opposite about it, like I have no purpose and it sucks! Lol It’s all about the attitude! 

“The universe was a vast machine yesterday, it is a hologram today. Who knows that intellectual rattle we’ll be shaking tomorrow. ” ~ R.D. Laing

“A rose is a rose is a rose.” ~ Gertrude Stein

Whaaattt??? Lol 😉

“The present moment is a powerful goddess.” ~ Goethe

“Life is a child playing around your feet, a tool you hold firmly in your grip, a bench you sit down upon in the evening, in your garden.” ~ Jean Anouilh

“The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman  of sorts. The day was green.
They said, ‘You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.’
The man replied, ‘Things as they are 
Are changed upon a blue guitar…'” ~ Wallace Stevens 

Such deep wisdom here. 

“Wind moving through grass so that the grass quivers. This moves me with an emotion I don’t even understand.” ~ Katherine Mansfield

This is one of the most beautiful experiences in the world! To witness something so mundane and so simple and be so inspired, filled with immense emotion that can’t even be described, like gratitude, love, beauty, happiness, joy, awe…I feel this often! ❤

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"No snowflake falls in an inappropriate place." ~ Zen saying 

"There is nothing useless in nature; not even uselessness itself." ~ Montaigne

"To the dull mind nature is leaden. To the illuminated mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light." ~ Emerson

Oh yes, it burns and sparkles with passion, light, love….

"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought." ~ Basho

Allow their wisdom to guide us but follow our own way.

"If we achieve satori and the satori shows, like a bit of dogshit stuck on the tip of our nose, that is not so good." ~ Taisen Deshimaru

Lol Don't flaunt that shit! Be humble. Just be.
;-D

So reading this post wasn't a total waste, right?…right?! 

😉

Much love & light to you! 

Xoxo Kim 

If love was the center of our being <3

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“What if our religion was each other,
If our practice was our life,
If prayer, our words? 
What if the temple was the Earth,
If forests were our church,
If holy waters___the rivers, lakes, and oceans.
What if meditation was our relationships, if the teacher was life,
If wisdom was self-knowledge,
If love was the center of our being.”
~ Ganga White

Sweet little message about how incredible it is to let our life be our message, live our truth, practice what we believe is right, lavish love onto others and the world, be mindful of the beauty of nature. We don’t have to go to churchs, temples, or practice any certain religion to practice love, to BE love. Treat the rivers, lakes, and oceans how people think of holy water, as something sacred, something to be cherished. Practice kindness, always. Allow life to teach us all it can.

❤ ❤ 😀

Xoxo Kim 

Retreat

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“There is no need to run outside
For better seeing,…
…Rather abide  
At the center of your being;
For the more you leave it, the less you learn.
Search your heart and see

The way to do is to be.” ~ Lao Tzu

I love this thought provoking quote!
(I think that irony inheres in certain quotes such as this one which is thought-provoking but about not thinking, not doing, not explaining, just being.)
Sometimes all we have to do is seek within, to the stillness and quiet at our center, deep inside, to find answers, to experience serenity and calm, to experience joy, wisdom, and peace. 

It dwells in your core even when you can’t feel it. It can be discovered.

I noticed that the more I meditate, the less I care about certain (often trivial) problems and the better I handle them. Even when I go days/weeks without meditation, the first day I begin again to meditate, I experience more calmness and if I’m depressed the night that I meditate, I often wake up with a sense of happiness and hope. Meditation really has an amazingly positive effect on the brain chemistry and a beautiful psychological effect.

Meditation doesn’t even have to be a deep guided meditation or a long meditation session. It can be just five minutes of sitting in a quiet place, eyes closed, wordless and gentle music as you focus on your breath. Your mind will wander and thoughts will take over. Wandering and thinking is the nature of the human mind. And that’s ok. Just gently bring it back to your breath and the sensations in your body. That’s a very simple meditative practice. You don’t have to know anything about meditation to engage in it. It doesn’t have to be scheduled or planned. It can be during your lunch break in your office, in your bed at night before sleep, when you wake up in the morning, anywhere….not driving though, obviously! lol Or in any other situation that would render it dangerous. 

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If we take a few moments each day to just BE, it can help greatly in situations that are distressing, even if we don’t realize right away.

Often, we are so wrapped up in doing, solving, working, worrying, planning, scheduling, explaining, thinking, wondering….that we forget just being.  

I hope you will take a few minutes to connect with your inner being and forget the world for a while. I’m wishing you much love and peace and happiness! ❤

Xoxo Kim

P.s. Thank You so much to the people who wrote me comments/messages!! I will get back to you very soon!! ❤ ❤

Happy New Year <3

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“And now let us welcome the New Year 
Full of things that have never been.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

In Sarah Ban Breathnach’s “Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy,” she writes:

“January, the month of new beginnings and cherished memories, beckons. Come, let winter weave her wondrous spell: cold, crisp, woolen-muffler days, long dark evenings of savory suppers, lively conversations, or solitary joys. Outside the temperature drops as the snow falls softly. All of nature is at peace. We should be, too. Draw hearthside. This is the month to dream, to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within.” 

Isn’t this a beautiful description?! We don’t need a new year to have new beginnings, new hope, and new goals. We can begin anywhere, any place, any time. But January is symbolic of new hope and beginnings. A new, clean, blank slate to be and do whatever you want!

She also writes, “…time is the New Year’s bountiful blessing: three hundred sixty-five bright mornings and starlit evenings; fifty-two promising weeks; twelve transformative months full of beautiful possibilities; and four splendid seasons. a simply abundant year to be savored.” 

I shared this last year here, and maybe the year before too! It’s beautiful and full of so much hope! Like I said, you don’t need the beginning of a new year to be hopeful and create a new life or a new you, all that’s changing is the date, it’s what has to change within and our actions that count, but it’s a beautiful symbol! 

And the magic of a new year is lovely! 

I wish you a happy New Year full of love (of all kinds including self love), success with your goals, happiness, joy, beauty & light! Remember we don’t need lots of money, material possessions, romantic love, a big happy family…to be happy and full of love. Those are great things to have but not necessary to be happy in general. All we need is the right attitude and we can be homeless, financially poor, living in a shack and still be happy. True happiness and joy is within. External things can add to it but we don’t need them.

 

Xoxo Kim 😀

On Empathy

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“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” ~ Henry David Thoreau ❤

I have thin, super thin, psychological boundaries but I have learned to handle it well and I see it as a true gift and pure strength. Thin psychological boundaries means I often have difficulty emotionally separating myself and others. When someone suffers either physically or emotionally or experiences pleasure or joy, I feel almost as if it’s happening to me. It literally hurts me, even physically when someone else hurts. And elates me or fills me with sheer joy when someone else is thrilled or elated.  Even if the person isn’t someone I like much or someone I don’t know or even on TV or a fictional character in a book. 

One day a psychic program on TV was on in my house.  I don’t believe in psychic abilities or that psychics are real but it can still be interesting. 
I was sitting on the sofa while it was on and saw parts of it. 
The psychic lady said a lady’s neck was snapped by a murderer in some room in a house somewhere that the psychic lady was standing in and the psychic lady got all worked up saying she has to get out of there because she was so disturbed over what she “saw” and she said she “saw” marks on this lady’s neck and she was holding her own neck and my neck started throbbing and felt all bruised and my head and face started throbbing on the one side, the side where I usually have the cluster-like headaches, and I was holding it the rest of the day off and on! And I felt the dead lady’s neck injury and the psychic’s emotional distress all day. I know it was “empathy pain,” not really something wrong with my neck. Not an actual headache. I was still happy that day, it doesn’t usually overly interfere with my own life.  And I don’t believe what the psychic lady was saying but I believe she may have believed it. Or believed it to some extent. Or is great at acting.

 I felt so connected to that psychic lady, deeply connected. Both of us did not have a neck injury at all but both of us experienced both physical sensation and emotional distress over someone else’s painful situation. I often get “empathy headaches” when someone has a headache. I usually keep it to myself so as not to or appear to be taking the attention or sympathy off of the true sufferer. 
 
There have been occasions I was so overwhelmed over someone else’s pain or sickness I succumbed to my bed for an hour or more. I can handle emotional pain better than serious physical pain so it’s often the physical pain that overwhelms me more when someone else experiences it. Both kinds of pain can be just as bad and painful, it’s just that severe physical pain is more difficult to me. 

It’s ridiculous and a bit uncalled for to have empathy to this extreme. I can still be empathetic without going to this extreme but it’s not my choice. I don’t have it like some people are said to have to the point they’re almost “psychic” like they feel an overwhelming sense of dread then something terrible happens. Or their chest hurts then someone in the room has a heart attack. It’s just when someone is already suffering that I see of or read/hear about, I feel it too. 

Also, unlike with some people similar to me in this way, such as my sister, I don’t feel overwhelmed in crowded places or have to retreat to a place of being physically alone to “recharge” or recover. I can handle crowded places and various people all around me. In fact, I usually prefer it to being alone. I am an extrovert even though I’m very shy around people I don’t know or don’t know well. And I can be around many people and not have to come home and rest afterwards.  I feel energized and uplifted in a room full of people, even if I don’t interact with them in anyway.  Just being physically near people lifts me.

I used to see my extreme empathy as a blessing as well as a curse but now I just view it as a gift. While it can be exhausting, annoying, ridiculous, painful, feeling as One with others can’t be a “curse.”

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I can usually sense people’s true emotions even when they are lying or pretending. I usually catch micro-expressions (the split second facial expression people reveal right before they show a different one – it’s the true feeling before they pretend to feel something else or try to cover it up. If they are angry, for example, anger will briefly flash across the face before they put on a fake smile) easily and can often sense people’s anxiety, elation, or anticipation. Sometimes when one person in a crowded room is extremely anxious I pick up on it even if I don’t know which one it is. I can often sense the overall mood in a room full of people. Whether most people are happy, thrilled, anxious, in a hurry, gloomy….not just see it on their faces but actually feel/sense the energy. 

I also understand situations really well even if I’m not involved or never have been. I can just clearly imagine things happening and why. I have a deep understanding.

I think authors of fiction books need a very developed empathetic ability. I’m not talking about being caring and compassionate but a deep, thorough understanding of how situations work even if they never been in a similar one. An incredibly deep imagination. They have to get in the heads of various kinds of people, even people who are so very unlike themselves, to bring their characters to life if they want them to be of substance, realistic, well developed, and believable. They have to imagine, deeply, how certain situations play out and conjure up the emotions of those who would be in those situations even if they themselves were never in those situations. They have to put themselves in that place. It’s absolutely amazing the skills fiction writers have! I love it! 

It seems that we often overlook their incredible empathy. We often acknowledge their incredible writing skills and even their amazing intelligence, maybe even the fantastic research they had to do for the book’s theme, but look at that empathy! They can write an entire book as if they are that character or in the character’s head! Mind blowing! I don’t see/hear people praising this enough! It’s the same for actors who have to play characters and not just act, but feel, literally (mentally)  become a whole other person! Incredible! 

Empathy. 

 It runs deeper than just caring and compassion. Someone can still be caring and compassionate but not really *feel* or understand someone else’s situation.

And someone can experience a kind of empathy but not feel concern or compassion. For example: I feel the pain of others even just watching movies that aren’t real. There are scenes in movies where a “bad” character is getting hurt like getting hit over the head or something by someone trying to protect themselves or others and I felt like my own body was being hit even when I wasn’t feeling much compassion for the character, even when I was happy when a character was getting revenge.
I have experienced empathy without compassion and compassion without empathy. They often go together but not always.

There are occasions I was empathetic and understanding enough to know something I wanted to say or write to someone would emotionally hurt or infuriate  that person and I said or wrote it to intentionally inflict pain or anger upon the person out of my own anger. I was empathetic in some way but not very compassionate in those moments. My empathy led me to know to some degree how the person would feel and I wanted the person to feel anger or sadness or pain. This isn’t usually a good thing and I think empathy is better used to help heal, not hurt. We also need compassion. 

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Most people have a basic ability to experience empathy; it’s a natural human trait we have that develops as we are growing up. It’s related to compassion. Certain experiences can deepen some people’s empathy. Some are naturally more in touch with theirs than others. And we can learn to deepen our basic empathy into something more. Paying more attention to people and all sentient beings, tuning into our own emotions, drawing on our own various experiences, meditation, trying to better understand, imagining what it must be like to experience something, focusing on the fact that when we suffer or hurt it’s a similar feeling to what others feel when they suffer and hurt…

Empathy isn’t just feeling someone else’s pain but also experiencing another’s joy, happiness, and pleasure.

I have known people who won the lottery, like 100 or 1000 dollars, and I felt like I just won. When I hear of someone getting a new job, job promotion, getting married or engaged, having or adopting a child, getting ready for vacation, I feel it too. The thrill, the anxiety, the anticipation, the sheer joy, the love. I can’t be feeling it exactly how they are as I have my own body and mind/mental/emotional experiences. But I can strongly and deeply sense it.

There’s a definite and deep connection. 

It’s hard for me to get jealous (although I have experienced jealousy and probably will again) of people when great things happen to them when I can bask in the joy and beauty of their experiences almost as if it’s my own. When one person wins, we all win.

I think about things like this often and was recently thinking about it again when I saw the news at work. 

It was startling to see on the news that in some countries people are dying of infectious diseases in the streets.  When they are sick or injured they are left for dead. 

One man of an African country, the man who inspired me to write this post here, was shown on the news laying outside dying of an infectious disease. He was writhing in pain and sickness and laying in a puddle of his own blood, a result of the disease’s progression. 

There were people standing around watching, sure to keep their distance so as not to contract the disease themselves. And then there was the person filming the horror. 

Some moments my empathy or feeling of connectedness is deeper and some moments I don’t feel as connected to what is before me.

The moment I saw the sick, dying man in excruciating pain and sickness, I felt more connected. I felt it with my whole body. A longing to take all the sick, hurting, dying people in my arms so they can feel my touch before they go or before they heal. So they can know someone cares, even if I contract the disease myself. What I felt was both empathy and compassion, a perfect combination. Empathy can inspire greater compassion. 

Imagine laying sick and in pain while people surround you at a safe distance and watch, you’re still so alone. No one will touch you. No one is coming for you, until after you die, to remove your infected, contagious body. Imagine them all staring at you, fear in their eyes, utter helplessness. For some of them, all they can probably think is that they’re glad it isn’t them. Truly, deeply imagine. 

But I felt an instant connection to a stranger across the world, briefly flashing across a TV screen. Someone of a different language, a different country, a different nationality, different culture, skin color, ethnicity.

I have never been deathly ill or left for dead. I never been to his country but still I know that underneath we’re the same.

Strip away all the outer layers of culture and language and color of skin, distance, financial status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and other experiences and underneath at a most basic, primitive level, we are One.

Our basic humanness exists the same underneath no matter the color of our skin, our level of education, career labels, class status, our location in the world, financial situations, our various experiences…..these things are important in some contexts, they contribute to different experiences and struggles for different people and it’s not always good or wise to overlook them, it’s important to acknowledge their circumstances(skin color, country, ethnicity, status in other contexts…) so we can get a better idea of their struggles and pain that may be different than our own, but in some cases they are completely irrelevant. Like in the case of raw pleasure and pain, sickness and health, living and dying. 

I’m not advocating for general “color blindness” or anything of that sort, like saying we should all literally ignore our differences such as skin color or class status. That isn’t good either because then we overlook the unique experiences and struggles that someone in a different situation than us may have. 

If we mentally block out or ignore the color of someone’s skin, ethnicity, or other factors or characteristics that are different than ours, in the name of compassion or “all getting along” then we automatically mentally block out or ignore the struggles that come along with those factors or characteristics.
People who say things like “I only have one race, the human race” or “forget skin color, we’re all human or all bleed red and that’s all that matters…” or something like that, probably have very good, loving, intentions but promoting that and living that way is NOT helpful. 
Ignorance in this way, is NOT helpful or wise or a good thing. 
This can contribute to lack of empathy and understanding of people’s situations pertaining to their own circumstances different than ours. 
It’s ok, even necessary to acknowledge diversity but accept it. But in some cases differences are irrelevant. 

Any one of us can be in the position that sick and dying man was in, our country and our money and our education or language or ethnicity won’t definitely protect us against diseases or death. For some people, truly understanding and realizing this in their heads, can deepen their empathy and compassion for others. And it’s just as bad when it’s someone else as if it were myself or someone I know. Just because I don’t know him doesn’t mean he’s a less important person than someone I do know. Or less important than me. It doesn’t mean it’s good to just go my own way ignoring his suffering. 

Some people are more at risk than others because of their location or discrimination they encounter and some have access to better health care but none of us are immune to suffering or pain and dying of disease or injury. And none of us are immune to being targets of cruelty or the indifference of others against our suffering or pain or sickness. 

Another thing I saw recently that disturbed and actually offended me(and I’m not easily offended at all) is people getting all happy over some podcast about *real* murder victims. They were talking about how thrilling it is to watch or listen, how they can’t wait for the next ones, how it’s so exciting, how fascinating! Not once did I see any one of these people expressing sympathy/empathy or compassion or sorrow for the victims and their friends/family. These are REAL murder victims, flesh and blood, like us, like people we know, some of them children, some adults, who were brutally murdered in cold blood, some tortured, raped/sexually assaulted, destroyed and discarded like they were nothing, not characters in a book or movie or story, real people. I understand taking interest in these stories but no one here displayed sympathy in even the most subtle way, not even an underlying hint of concern for those involved in the devastation, expressed in their tone. It was all just pure pleasure for their own benefit of sitting around listening to it and having fun while drinking coffee all warm and cozy at home. It made me cringe.  

I don’t believe for a second that these happy people who “can’t wait” for the next podcasts about homicide victims, these people who are “so thrilled” over victims murdered in cold blood, tortured and thrown away like trash on the side of the road, are horrible people or sadists, or that they aren’t generally loving and compassionate and empathetic. They may not be, generally, any less caring or empathetic than I am. I don’t believe they were taking pleasure in the pain itself that the victims endured.  It’s the mystery and thrill they get to experience, secure and embraced in the comfort of their own safe homes in their pj’s with their cups of coffee.

 But they were too “detached” in my opinion, in this, here, case. It’s complete thoughtlessness. They were too wrapped up in their own lives and pleasure they put up too much of a barrier. So much so, they are thrilled over real murder victims. It hurt me to witness and I know if it were their own friends and family members or themselves abducted, murdered, targets of rape and other sexual violence, it wouldn’t be so thrilling. They wouldn’t be so eager to see what’s next. I can just imagine a devastated person close to one of those poor victims reading that people are sitting around getting off of the violent, senseless deaths of the people they knew and love. It’s dangerous to let ourselves become numb to the real tragedy, suffering, and pain of others. Even when those are people we only see through a glass screen on a tv or voices we hear through a phone, radio, or words we read through a computer monitor. Even just distant echoes of pain that come to us through some invisible radio waves in the air. Those are real people. That is real suffering. 

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I think it’s important to always tune in to our empathy and compassion whether or not we have ever experienced something similar to what someone else has. And whether or not we know those people well or at all. We do know they are someone, someone just like us. 
Like us, they have/had a name, a story, a dream or goal, needs, and desires, love, joy, pain, sorrow, and happiness. 

Let us be happy for those who are well and happy and successful and full of joy and have compassion, concern, understanding, and empathy for those sick, injured, and in pain, dying, grieving, struggling in any way. But we don’t have to not allow ourselves to be happy because other people are struggling. It’s ok to be happy for our own blessings. Gratitude guilt is not necessary. It won’t help anyone or anything. Dragging ourselves down or not allowing ourselves joy, thankfulness, or happiness, just because others are not well will not contribute to overall goodness to the world, all it does is put more unhappiness or suffering into the world. 

And also, one day we may not be as fortunate in the ways we are now so there’s no need to feel guilty anyway just because we are well and others aren’t. As I said, none or us are immune to tragedy and pain. Next week my house can burn down, you may experience the break up of a close relationship, someone we know can die, we can be diagnosed with a terminal illness….But no matter what, there’s always something to be thankful for and happy about, even in pain, chaos, destruction, grief, depression, anxiety, homelessness… 

I think we do need some emotional boundaries but not too thick. A healthy kind of detachment is good to prevent burnout, exhaustion, being overwhelmed…. but not when it’s blocking our empathy and attempts at true understanding to some level. Not when we are so detached we forget the real suffering and pain of others. Not when we’re so detached, we feel pleasure associated with someone else’s horror or painful circumstances. 

It’s great to experience gratitude for our own happy circumstances and everything but not good, in my opinion, to get so wrapped up in it we forget about those who aren’t so fortunate now, in the ways we currently are, or tune out the depth or degree of their pain.

Empathy won’t always cure diseases or take away someone’s pain and it likely won’t help us in one country be able to immediately help someone dying in another country. But it can motivate us to reach out in some way, maybe to people physically near us who appear to be struggling or people we know online, or reach out to write to people with more power than us, like politicians or people in charge of something related to the issue at hand, or ones who have good things happening to them and we can share in their joy, letting them know how happy we are for them, how proud or thrilled for their accomplishments or fortunate situations, maybe to write a comforting message to someone in need, maybe just to share a link with info about a health condition or situation that needs awareness, to bring more awareness to it and help educate more people. And maybe someone with more resources can see what we share or post and help in ways that we cannot yet help. 

Instead of merely thinking “I’m glad it’s not me” or “that could have been me…” and just going about our own lives forgetting the pain of someone else, we can still feel gratitude for our own fortunate situations but extend our empathy and compassion and realize it’s just as bad when it happens to someone else. It’s realistic to expect people to be thankful some tragedy or unpleasant circumstance is not happening to them but everyone is someone just as important as ourselves and our own friends and family and they feel suffering and happiness the same way too.  We can shift our focus a bit – instead of just being thankful we, ourselves are ok, we can focus more on compassion for those who are struggling in any way.

~Hug the hurt
Comfort the sick

Kiss the broken
Befriend the lost
Love the lonely~ 

And when something amazing happens to someone, even if we wish it would happen to us, instead of resentment, we can bask in that person’s happiness. 

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Deeper empathy along with compassion can help decrease all kinds of things, bullying, cyber bullying, unjust discrimination, sexual violence, other forms of cruelty(against all sentient beings), apathy, even wars and stuff if enough people around the world including those in various governments would better tune into and develop their own empathy and compassion.

Empathy & compassion are great for practical purposes but they also are just amazing traits to possess. They make us better for them. I’m no better than someone who is less compassionate or with less developed empathy but I believe it’s better to have those abilities than not. I’m not better than a sadist, a murderer, a psycho or sociopath with no empathy, but I believe those people would be better people than they are now, in another way if they develop their empathy and compassion.

Not everything is just for practical purposes or actions. Sometimes it’s intentions or just what we are, our essence that counts for something and is beautiful. 

Empathy & compassion, especially a combination of both, can inspire and motivate us to act, reach out to others in some way whether just a simple act of comforting words or volunteering time or money for a specific cause or even just inspire us to hold our tongues when we feel like lashing out or motivating us to proactively speak out against someone else’s callousness, which can have a positive effect. 

Let us remember when we see someone suffering whether it’s emotional or physical pain that is the root of it, human or not, that it’s a very similar feeling that we would feel if it were us. This can make it more real to us and motivate us to reach out in some way, even in the most simplest way, a warm smile, a gentle touch, a kind word…even if it’s not similar to what we ourselves would feel, it’s still important to be empathetic and compassionate but realizing how similar we are underneath can help deepen our empathy. 

And let us not be overly jealous of those who are experiencing joy, happiness, and success even if we are not. Let their accomplishments and happiness inspire and motivate us, not contribute to us being depressed or jealous. It’s best for all of us when we are happy for and encouraging to one another. Let’s celebrate each other and bask in each other’s happiness and success and fortunes. 

There’s enough happiness to go around. 😀

Here are some links about Metta (universal love/compassion) & Empathy.

This explains what Metta is, the benefits, and the importance of cultivating an attitude or lifestyle which has Metta at its core.

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

Another explanation of Metta.

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

Here, the link below this, is fascinating research on the brain and empathy. Research reveals that when we are happy and things are going well, we are less likely to empathize with those not so happy or well. We are likely to perceive their pain or suffering as less than it really is. When we ourselves are not doing well, we better empathize with others. We are more likely to validate or realize the seriousness of someone else’s pain or low feelings. In fact, we’re more likely to evaluate someone else’s happiness as less than it really is when we ourselves are not happy. I suspected this before learning of this research. I saw evidence of this in certain situations including the happy people in warm, pj’s at home, drinking coffee while being thrilled over real murder mysteries and not expressing empathy, sympathy, or compassion for those involved.

There is good news. We don’t have to make ourselves suffer to empathize with others. Empathy & compassion are not fixed. 
Compassionate and empathetic people can become less compassionate and empathetic (so it’s important to regularly maintain our empathy and compassion) and those who are not very empathetic and compassionate can become more empathetic and compassionate. 
Some suggestions to maintain or develop empathy, compassion, and an attitude of kindness are meditation, routine mindfulness activities, volunteering to help others, meditating/imagining ourselves in pain and knowing others feel that too…

It’s also suggested that vigorous physical exercises can help deepen a person’s empathy. These exercises can feel physically uncomfortable and help us realize more what it’s like for others who are hurting in some way.
Let’s not go overboard and exercise so much it’s unhealthy but a reasonable dose of routine aggressive exercise can be quite healthy, both physically and emotionally. 

It’s important to do all we can to care for ourselves, be happy, be healthy, be grateful, but keep in touch with the suffering or pain of others.  

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/the-neuroscience-empathy

Desktop link to a video for a lovingkindness meditation.

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

Mobile version of the same video:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=m&persist_app=1
 
Even if you are already a very loving and kind person in general, you and the world can still benefit by practicing this meditation or ones like it. Meditation is calm and soothing and even if we are already or are naturally very compassionate and loving, we can still experience setbacks and it’s important to maintain whatever attitude or lifestyle we want to generally live. Like working out, we must keep up with it to keep it going strong. 
Even if we are naturally a certain way, we can strengthen it by making it more intentional and consciously applying it or deepening it.
It takes some practice and maintaining but is well worth it! 

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