Face to face...

By Vichara


There is an absolute insane need to be connected electronically. An obsessive compulsion to report on each movement regardless of its merit. Yes and I do realize that perhaps in this forum one would point the finger at me with these almost daily “thoughts”. But allow me to illuminate this one point. Not too long ago email was not in our daily vocabulary and the most direct and effective way of communication was either to pick up the phone or meet face to face. Our electronic sphere has of course made this somewhat easier but let’s be honest all of it is at an arm’s length distance. There is very little “kitchen table” conversation (for those who know what I am talking about). In this litigious world there is some need to communicate in electronic means but we are creating at break neck speed walls of avoidance and barriers of intimacy. Try not to isolate yourself anymore than you have already. Next time before you tweet, poke, IM, Skype of whatever call if needed or even better do the old school humanistic method of talking in the flesh. Break down some of these barriers of fear.

Truth...

By Vichara


What we need is a truth inspector. A new super hero for our day to reveal what truly is going on in the world. Now wouldn’t that be handy? You are at the mechanic with your car and this guy tells you need a whole bucket load of things to make your car run again. The truth inspector, let’s just call him Truth, zips in behind you, assesses the situation in a matter of seconds and declares that it is a single switch and some oil is all that is needed. Ok that may sound small but what if during some intense discussions between two countries that have been battling for years Truth makes an appearance. Suddenly the air shifts in the room and not only that these two leaders admit what truly is essential for peace but everybody else there admits what they can do and the waters become calm. I know this is a na├»ve thought but imagine the incredible opportunities and savings of time and frustration if the essential truth could be stated and acted upon with each breath in each moment of each day. Imagine…

Death to boredom...

By Vichara


Death to boredom! If you are bored you have your eyes closed both literally and figuratively. The “tapestry” that unfolds everyday is so rich and dense that unless you see this someone has blinded you. Through the repetition of our daily actions, some of them quite mundane, we can loose track of the simple beauty that ordinary things have. In the shower the steady stream of water reflects in the morning light can be a shower of featherweight diamonds cascading all around. The coolness of the morning air can hold nuances of fragrances that could unlock memories. Observing a couple of people in a crosswalk ignites the imagination and you wonder what they are talking about. Watching a flock of pigeons sweeping repeatedly in a pattern only known to them. Open your senses up to the cavalcade. It’s worth the price of admission.

Streams of compassion...

By Vichara


Water will flow and make its way to wherever it is accepted and needed, much like compassion and knowledge. You can open up the channels and release these but unless they can find a home in hearts and minds they will lay dormant and dry up. It is up to each one of us to open up our personal reservoirs and direct these streams to the arid regions of the hearts and minds that we meet.

What's left to do...

By Vichara


The sun is up, you’re breathing and you are probably one of the lucky ones that will have had some food this morning. What’s left to do? I’m not talking just in the figurative sense but in the literal sense as well. Is there what may seem an unreachable thing you can start to take a few steps forward with? Is there an extra ounce of forgiveness you can give to your self or someone else?

The currency of the heart...

By Vichara


There was this very popular movie where the lead actor stated that greed is good. Somehow amassing a large personal collection of metal coins and paper will solve and can solve whatever you may need. Why yes since our world is set up in a manner where this currency is the means to obtain goods and services no matter how large your collection it will only sustain you, it will not save you. If you are lying in a hospital bed with death nearby this coin and paper will only keep machines going, not you. A dear friend once told me that he had never seen a U-Haul truck behind a hearse. Use these coins and paper to sustain you within reason but remember the currency of the heart is far more valuable to the world. The more you spend of this currency through love, patience and compassion the more it will return on your investment.

The cautionary cloak...

By Vichara


It’s funny we will gauge from the weather outside what protection we will need for our physical bodies but there are many times that we blindly enter situations without protection for our heart. It may not be totally that reckless but there are times we do not button up the cautionary cloak. We can sometimes see things heading our way by certain emotional tremors that could be radiating but we may ignore them. In those cases you have nobody else to blame if there is emotional upset. You are solely responsible to make that trip to the emotional closet as you encounter situations that could have an impact. We all have experienced those for some reason that seek and exploit the weakness in others. Do not give them this opportunity or pleasure. It is in their deluded actions that will fracture their foundation and lead to their fall. If you wear the jacket of integrity and compassion it will protect you from the elements of emotional storms.

Raise the levels...

By Vichara


We all at one point in time or in our everyday activities have this irresistible urge to just run away from “it”. The urge to escape whatever is swirling about in front of us and impacting us directly or indirectly. We believe that if we change our physical location, our job, our relationships or even as drastic at it seems our physical appearance that it will change everything and in our minds for the better. In the end however the only thing that really changes is the scenery. What we need to encourage with each other is our perception and help each other deal with things internally in a rational compassionate manner. If you have that “safe harbor” where you can talk with someone to help you, treasure that. If not connect with someone who you can safely. Perhaps even someone on our little circle here reading these “thoughts”. We are put here to help each other out and raise the levels of love, hope and compassion.

A change in perception...

By Vichara


A slight change in perception will often lead you to discoveries that you would normally pass over. In our daily activities there are many elements of repetition and I bet you are nodding your head as you read this. But like a fine craftsman / woman repeatedly buffing a fine piece of metal or wood it will soon reveal a beauty that only comes from diligent and careful focus. While we may view some activities as plainly boring these movements of mind and body could reveal to you and those around you a hidden treasure that will help you and others. Reflect in the mundane and through diligence discover something that could change many perceptions.

The lit fuse...

By Vichara


I would like to take a moment to quote from one of my favorite spiritual writers, Eknath Easwaran. If you are not familiar with this wonderful professor I highly recommend him to you. “So much energy is spent on trying to rise above the fray in order to understand our place in our own lifetime. We are also bound by the limitations that time places on our body and mind. With the fuse lit when we are born we most of the time fail to see the lit fuse until there is very little of it left before we combust from this world to whatever is next”. I know it may seem difficult to do but try to recognize your fuse is lit. Not to create a heightened sense of urgency but to enhance the quality of each moment and elevate the presence of each day from a series of mundane moments to a cavalcade of joy.

The root...

By Vichara


So much time and energy is focused on the symptoms and side affects but there is sometimes a failure to look at the “root” of the situation. Is there an inability to understand the importance, an emotional disconnecting, a physical challenge, and a reluctance that would expose the inefficiencies of particular situations? We all dance around the causes in an effort not to be drawn into the turmoil but it is in the middle of the turmoil where the strong impetus will lay to initiate the change, the cure and the answers. If we do not address the root(s) of situations it will ultimately create more challenges that will compound on the existing ones and like a flock of sheep run away on you. Round up these sheep and shear them of these situational causes and effects and get to the root.

Keep curious!!!!...

By Vichara


For the sake of the future of mankind keep curious! Don’t be spoon-fed ideas, concepts and dreams. Remember the excitement when you would turn over a rock to see what was underneath? Use this same methodology for everyday. The mass media wants you to listen, buy, use and watch what they are showing you unconditionally. Don’t be a sucker to a traveling medicine show and be curious. Ask question and keep those sparks flying in your brain. Engage others, kids, friends and parents to use their brains for more than receptacle for someone else’s ideas, thoughts and stories.

Leave it behind...

By Vichara


Over the last number of years there has been an extreme blending of our work lives and our personal, much to the detriment of both. With the increased use of technology it allows those “little notes” that may seem like harmless work issues to follow us home. A wise man said “when we put a leash on our work and bring it home like a pet poodle yapping at our heels, we are neither here or there, neither at work nor at home which means we are not going to be at home anywhere.” Try to separate from it, turn it off. You tend to the poodle for roughly 8 hours a day which leaves maybe 4 hours for you and home before slumber. Leave the poodle at work.

Do something small that's big...

By Vichara


The world will keep turning no matter what happens. Unless George Lucas knows of a Death Star hovering nearby I believe we’ll go on spinning. So what do we do while on this ride? Bitch, complain, or whine that there is nothing we can do to help out the world condition? If you feel helpless stop and pull back from thinking on a large scale where we may not have all the tools to be effective and refocus on perhaps the smaller. From small gestures and compassionate acts you will build a foundation and see immediate results and a sense of purpose. Try a couple today. Send a sill postcard through the regular mail just to say hi to someone. Put a post-it note in someone’s sock with a message that you care. Call someone for no apparent reason just to let him or her know you were thinking of him or her. Call your brother, sister, whomever. Small things create big things for you and those around you.

Demarkation point...

By Vichara


If there is an acknowledgement within yourself for a desire to change, you are half way there. If your awareness of the world around you is heightened, the seed is already planted. If you find yourself talking about social and moral values, the shift has already happened. Sooner or later (and hopefully sooner) awareness arises inside you and creates the catalyst for change. It then moves your dialogue from internal to external. From this point you will be drawn to other voices that will encourage your steps and like kindred souls finally meeting will set down a demarcation point for change. Not only for you but the world around you. But please remember to be kind to yourself and move forward with patience, love and compassion.

Are you present?...

By Vichara


We tend not to notice “it” unless “it” doesn’t work. In this case the “it” is time we have been given…life. I was listening to a doctor discussing the many patients he deals with that have Alzheimer’s disease. With each hour, day and week for these people they lose parts of memory and recognition. For those of us who remember old analog tapes (cassettes and yes even 8-Tracks), it is like having complete or parts of songs erased…for good never to be returned or remembered. So yes this turning out to be a “being present” thought. That engagement of love given to you by your husband / wife / friend, be present with it now. That sense of joy of a new discovery, be present it with it now. That song that is connecting with your heart be present with it now. Be present now because this moment will not be here later.

Personal legacies...

By Vichara


All our daily actions are tempered by knowledge and guidance given to us by others who have helped or hindered us and of course what is read and seen. All of our senses ingesting and digesting the best and the worst of humanity. If one were given only violence, one would only know violence. If one were given compassion, one would only know compassion. Unfortunately and fortunately the world does not work that way. It is a collection of competing contrasts that present themselves to us and ask us to judge and act accordingly. How we act will be how the world sees us. How do you want to be seen and remembered? Our personal legacies may not be as large as people like Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Einstein and others but it is no less important. Each step, word and deed counts and will be counted.

More fear...

By Vichara


Perhaps you may feel like an island of sanity sometimes when some around you and the world behaves with a self-centered irrational manner. You are not alone. The revving and screaming tires of the car cutting you off today, the pompous self-entitlement look someone may give you and some erratic irrational act that has you shaking your head. All of these are based in fear. Fear that they have not being noticed, fear that they didn’t deserve things in life, fear that no one cares for them and numerous shades of fear. We all have fears in one way or another as the world spins in unpleasant and unpredictable ways. The antidote lies in first recognizing this fact and not over reacting when you witness acts of fear. Instead employ patience and compassion with yourself and others to help disperse fear. It will be with this engagement where the remedy and relief will be found.

Fear...

By Vichara


There are some days that I am truly frightened with our lives that exist on this tenuous thread. The fragility on many levels where something is here then gone in an instant. Of course this is the nature of life and the built-in impermanence of everything but I still have this fear. But what and how do we deal with this type of fear? Platitudes are merely balm and even if applied generously will still fade away to expose the fear again. Perhaps we take it by the hand and bring it closer and by this intimacy see the fragility in it and realize how small it really can be. It is a process that we sometimes need to enlist to expose that what needs attention and release. We all have this ability; we just need to ensure that we engage this as always with compassion for ourselves.

A guide post for today...

By Vichara


“What the outstanding person does, others will try to do. The standards such people create will be followed by the whole world”. Taken from the Bhagavad-Gita that dates back between the 5th and 2nd century B.C. These words have even more relevance considering the moral and political changes we are witnessing. There is a need and cry to cut away the obese malignant weeds of greed and excess and to form a new standard of fairness and compassion. “The ignorant work for their own profit, the wise work for the welfare of the world, without thought for themselves”. Again form the Gita. This short 18-chapter book was used, as the moral compass for M. Gandhi for most of his life and even today still can be one of the many texts to guide our lives. “Perform all work carefully, guided by compassion”.

Smoke and mirrors...

By Vichara


So much smoke and mirrors. We have been conditioned to believe most of what we see is the reality we need. But if we dare to look behind the curtain we will see the wizard(s) pushing buttons and pulling levers to manipulate how they want us to think and feel. For the most part we know this but there is a tendency to ignore this truth and shrug it off like someone shooing away a bothersome fly. The thing is the fly or flies will always come back. Now I’m not saying we should cloister ourselves but always keep in mind that for the most part what we see is someone else’s folly. What I am suggesting, if you are so inclined and up for the challenge, is to take of the day and put aside the smoke and mirrors. Shut it all off and anchor yourself with your own thoughts and feelings and breathe. Find a place, even for a little while, where you can be the “director” and not be controlled by the wizard.