By just walking around...

By Vichara


Just by walking around, we change the world. Our presence here is the culmination of a billion factors that has resulted in this living being that can take a thought and inspire. Take a hand and support those in need. Make someone laugh and turn around his or her day. Hold that one that is sad and make them feel wanted. So much riding on simple gestures but as you heard before, the simple can be so profound. In our compassionate wake we can change the world by just walking around.

Your own prescription...

By Vichara


When a doctor prescribes medication for what ails you the instructions ask that you take the required number of doses each day until the bottle is empty. For many of us we comply and we end up do feeling better. The same methodology should be used with our spiritual practice and those things that make us feel connected. If you have found a dose of meditation helpful, then why not take a daily dose of it. If you find yoga beneficial then get that mat out. If prayer injects some stability and perspective in your day, then why not create a spot and time for daily reflection. If we can be so diligent with the medication to make us feel better why can’t we create that opportunity and place to allow us to reap the benefits from activities that cost…nothing.

Get on board...

By Vichara


You can't fear getting on the bus. You can't just sit waiting at the bus stop for what you believe is the "right" bus.  Sometimes you just need to get on and go. The bus will sometimes stall and you may need to get off.  But there will be other times when the bus will connect with another one that will take you on a new adventure.  You cannot have fear hold you back from getting on board.  The bus may be a bit scary when it pulls up but it will be up to you to work together with others to change the ride from fear and trepidation to adventure and transcendence.  Get on board...we are waiting.

Shine...

By Vichara


When you’re alone and you think no one notices the changes happening to you, someone does. When you’re alone and you think no one sees when you are happy, someone does. When you’re alone and you think no one feels your anxiety and heartache, someone does. When you’re alone and you think no one wants to be around you, someone does. Of course that someone is you because any shift in your physical or mental being is first acknowledged by yourself, but here is the seed. Nurture this, honor this because these are the essential elements of change that not only affect your individual surroundings but also radiate out and change the world around you. Acknowledge the beacon that you are, shine and change the world. We all can.

Union of compassion...

By Vichara


There are some days I feel like saying I've seen enough and if what I have seen was recorded on some hard drive somewhere I would ask just to play back the good parts.  I know that this is not how it goes but it is just an exhausted wish not to see anymore violence, hatred, self-centeredness and the myriad forms of abuse that keeps getting re-invented.  What is it when it can be clearly seen but those that act out in destructive ways will do it anyway regardless that they know it will cause pain.  Is there some twisted delusional belief that this time the horrible act they are about to commit will be considered by those around them as ok and justified?  Those with a good decent moral nature will know that is not true but like water rushing over a rock surface eventually it wears down and breaks.  Let's not break! Let's not get worn down by what we see around us and try to retain a strong union of compassion that can be an example to those contemplating abusive acts that there is another way.  Yes it may seem that we keep seeing the same bad movie and TV shows but let's try to show with a compassionate union that there are more than one way to direct a scene in this movie of life.

What can you leave behind?...

By Vichara


All that we leave behind is the physical sum total of what we don't need. What truly is important? What truly is needed on this journey? What metaphorical baggage can be left behind as you go out your door today? You can leave it behind if you want to, there is plenty of room. Wait, don't think about later in the hope that it will sort itself out. Look at what you are carrying now. I can guarantee that there are a few things you can leave behind right now and make your load a little lighter. You'll feel better and create some room to pick up a few good souvenirs that will mean more and weigh less. See you on board the bus.

What matters...

By Vichara


Why do people mark the calendar to remember when someone close to them has died.  Each year it's the same "it's been 4 years since she passed away".  Par den me for not being sensitive but who really cares, what matters is remembering the years they existed with us and how they affected our hearts and minds.  The death date is the last thing I want to remember.  The look in their eyes as this life passes away from them into the presumed silence of whatever is next.  It is March 7th, June 30th, October 14th, December 18th, any day but that day that counts.  It is those random days of just living that should matter to you.  Those sometimes mundane, perhaps perceived insignificant days where the simplest observances happen that should matter.  Yes the accomplishments of life are great but while observing the colorful flowers in your garden don't forget the rest of your garden.  There are magical things happening there as well.

Igniting the day...

By Vichara


Breathe in the morning, exhale the night...breathe in the morning, exhale the night.  The alarm clock, cat, dog or whatever has just yanked us from slumberland and a sometimes surreal world.  Somedays it feels real harsh like entering the world for the first time from the womb.  Ok that may be a bit dramatic but you know what I mean.  The protective layer of the night and sleep shields us from the daily minutia that will sometimes trip us up.  We will feel compelled to return to slumberland to help quell any of the fears in dealing with the world around us but you know where that will get you?  Right, nowhere and even farther from answers and solutions.  Let's just face it folks the impermanence of the world will always have the elements that form challenges that we face everyday.  It is of course our approach to these challenges that will determine the outcome.  This is a bit simplistic and naive but this is the way it is and of course the simple things will sometimes be the most profound.  So how will your approach be today?  It will be different than yesterday because of this impermanence that sets the course of how things will go.  But if you retain a foundation of compassion, love and patience you ignite your engagement with life more effectively and there will not be a need to retreat into slumberland.

How much will you risk?...

By Vichara


How much are you willing to risk today?  I'm not talking about partaking in skydiving or an activity similar.  No I'm thinking more along the lines of opening up more to the world around you and deepening connections perhaps already established.  We tend to reside mostly in our comfort zones of familiarity.  The same people, same places, same roads we travel, same conversations ( with minor differences) and various similar repetitive activities.  I bet there are even times that you even see and recognize these facts yourself but you have created a zone of comfort that it would be scary to leave.  Now I'm not suggesting extreme behavior, that would be uncomfortable for 99% of many of us.  The risk I'm suggesting is slight deviations in our daily routines, perceptions and interactions that will crack open a new perspective.  That person in line with you getting coffee is human just like you and probably seeking the same answers.  Try a new route, make new discoveries and explore.  There is only a limited number of hours in a day, don't waste them sleeping or cowered in fear - engage! 

Off the menu...

By Vichara


Whether we acknowledge it or not we are given a grand menu to choose from for our day. Of course there will always be a few dishes that will remain the same, work and other daily chores. But there are many other items on the menu that will be new each day and you will have the choice of which items to choose. Some of these items on the menu given to you may feel like something from a fast food restaurant. A quick bite, a quick task - resolve an issue in a short period of time. A lot of various items waiting to be mixed, gathering items / notes - for a long term project. It may seem overwhelming at times and that you have been given a multitude of take-out menus that you must make a decision of what you may need. These are all fine and provide the variety needed to spice up the hours but there is one other place where choices can be made that people forget to tell you about. Its a place called "off the menu". This is a place that some will ignore because it requires some initiative and creativity and some would rather depend on pre-selected menus and those items that they are told what to do. Where do you find this "off the menu" place? It is found in that place between reflection and contemplation. Some call it meditation. Put aside all of the menus forced upon you and give yourself a slice of time where you will be able to find those exotic ingredients needed to create pies of possibilities, souffl├ęs of solutions and custards of compassion. So get your kitchen apron on, turn up some funky music and give yourself time "off the menu" to find another recipe to life.

Tick tock...

By Vichara


Tick tock, tick tock, there goes another part of your day.  Tick tock, tick tock, there goes the time you were going to spend in a worthwhile activity only to be side-tracked to "busy" work.  It is getting to the point that you can't even enjoy a good cup of coffee because even that is used to compliment even more activity.  You are not even given a moment to stare out at the world in front of you, unfocused without more nattering that takes you away from those moments to feel the warmth of the fluid inside you and to taste the smoky flavor and smooth texture.  Perhaps we need to allow ourselves say one afternoon, to do one activity at a time until finished.  To move away from the uber hyper multi-tasking ball that we spin most everyday and regain the sense of accomplishment in place of numerous things in various stages like spinning plates on the verge of crashing.  Tick, one thing done, tock, another thing done, tick, that's finished, tock (breathe), done.

Layers of protection...

By Vichara


For most of us we are very lucky to wake surrounded by a physical structure that protects us.  The wood, metal, paint, plaster and tiles that are skillfully layered to layer us with a barrier to the outside elements.  For some others, not so lucky.  In additions to these layers that protect us we also have another set.  Our skin, hair, bones, blood and nails provide the protection of an internal physical form.  All of these layers of protection to protect what?  This tangled, complicated collection of internal organs that we call me and you.  Is all the intricate latticework that make these miraculous things called me and you worth all of this?  Unless we are contributing even in a small positive way I am not sure.  Those of us who are older can look back and review the catalog of our lives to assess the net worth of our actions and determine our contribution.  Those who are younger can take stock of where they have been so far and make a commitment to integrity and compassion in the future.  Making a pact with themselves, as we all should no matter what our position in life, is to respect this opportunity we have been given with these bodies and minds.  No matter where you are on this planet let us try to do something today to help someone or something out in a positive way.  It sometimes seem so easy to be selfish and harder to give.  Easy to destroy, harder to create.  But let's try to reverse this even in a small way to justify all of this hard work it took to build these layers of protection.

2 choices...

By Vichara


When you get up this morning you have 2 choices. You can push “play” and repeat the previous day and sleepwalk through it as much as possible or…

Push “record” and engage, inspire and connect with the world and those you encounter. So that by the end of the day you have embraced and left an indelible mark around you that will be remembered for not what the world just did for you, but what you did for the world.

Guideposts...

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 Hindu sacred text called the Bhagavad Gita that dates back between the 5th and 2nd century BC, 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 from the Gita. The short 18 chapters of this document was used as a moral compass by 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”.

Something to believe in...

By Vichara


We are all asked to believe in something and it starts when we are very young.  Of course for the majority of us when we are young there is the big one - Santa Claus.  We are led to believe that if we are model children that eat all our veggies, do good in school, be kind and not fight with our siblings that this rotund man in a red jacket will reward us with the favorite  toys and things on Christmas morning.  We are supposed to believe that this one guy keeps track of every kid in the world and if they have been good or bad.  Then he manages to deliver to said number of kids all the gifts in one night with a sled being pulled by flying reindeers!?  Then of course there are the minor characters we are supposed to believe in.  Some rabbit that delivers chocolate eggs to us at Easter and for those who lose a tooth you get a quarter (I think because of inflation it must be a dollar now) from the tooth fairy.  But of course as we get older these specters of special occasions fade from intense obsession to a passing thought.  One of the most important things we are to believe in not only from our youth but even as we get older is believe in ourselves.  We are taught if we maintain strong self-confidence and be diligent with our studies that we will be able to rise to any occasion with our keen resourcefulness.  If you fail, stumble and fall down that is just part of the life process and you need to pull yourself up and keep going.  But in order to believe in ourselves we need to believe in where we are going.  Do you know where you are going?  Are you using the right tools to get there?  Is the foundation you are building yourself with made up with integrity and compassion?  If you are using deceit and manipulation it will only end up being more and more challenging as years go by with unfulfilling results.  And that is something no one can get behind and something no one can believe in. I know that we believe and see in the media that deception and manipulation seems to win but life will always reveal that integrity and compassion will always prevail and that is something I believe in.

Message in an Internet bottle...

By Vichara


As I wrote this "thought" this morning I felt in many ways like when I was in grade 5.  The desk I sat in was right next to a series of very tall windows that ran the length of the classroom.  For a kid with an active imagination it was both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing of course because if boredom decided to pay a visit I could discreetly cast my imagination out the window to the large oak tree as if it was the crow's nest of an explorers big ship. With the ocean roiling around us I could believe I was the scout keeping an eye out for new land and a new adventure.  The curse would be of course when I would be too far out to sea and be pulled back to the classroom by the crack of the ruler on my desk by the teacher noticing my mental absence.  I a very similar way when I am posting these thoughts I can see what countries in the world are reading them but of course not the individuals.  However that doesn't stop my imagination from casting myself over to where you are and wonder what you are thinking, dreaming or feeling and what your life is like where you live.  I wonder what you think when you read these thoughts and if they strike any chords ink your life. I of course feel very fortunate that anybody takes the time to read these things.  Gone are the days of sticking a note in a bottle and casting it into the sea not sure if it will ever reach someone.  But still, because that curious boy still lives inside of me, cast my imagination into the cyber-sea to what ever port you may live and thank you.  We may never meet but each one of you has made a difference in my life and I am grateful and humbled.  Thanks.  If you are in need of a bottle here it is...  dunkelcraiggie@gmail.com

Would you be happier?...

By Vichara


If we knew what tomorrow would bring, would we be happier? All of the events of our lives would be lined up and hold no mystery or adventure. We would know what we would encounter around every turn, know whom we would meet, love and laugh with before it happened. Take away any surprise or stress with each waking moment. While we would certainly enjoy some aspects of this mode of living would bring I believe that for the most part it would be boring. We would be living for a known future and not being present with each moment.

The man with two watches...

By Vichara


I once met a man that wore two watches, on each wrist. Whenever we encountered each other he was always quite pleasant and friendly but there was this feeling that something wasn’t settled. Even though he would smile and be congenial with others the front he gave us seemed to be an ill-fitting mask. As with all of us there is any number of things on our minds that we need to contend with but you push on through the day and search for the answers and truths that will relieve you so you can start taking off the masks that we all wear. One day I passed the gentleman with two watches except there were no watches. His face seemed to be a bit brighter and he had a bounce in his step. I said hi and of course with my curiosity I asked him about the absence of the watches. With great ease he said he wore one watch that did not work and it was stuck at 2:36. The other did work but was always set at least 20 minutes ahead. Exhausted and weary one morning he reached to put them on and he just walked away an out the door. He said the broken one was set at a time to remind him of an incident of great sadness. The other one was set ahead to remind him of things that were going to happen and not be late. But one morning he realized the great sadness was years old and while respecting what happened he cut the millstone because he was exhausted living in the past and left that watch behind. Anxious about a future that will happen regardless he left that watch behind as well. Of course he said with a smile you know what that left me right? The present and truly the only place you can be.

One spark...

By Vichara


There is a “spark” inside everyone that could ignite a revolution. I am not implying an uprising that would ignite violence and destruction. No, I’m suggesting a movement to change the course of our current lives from complacency to engagement. And with engagement responsibility for your actions and inertia with compassion.

Stop and smell the flowers...

By Vichara


I have a suggestion for a more enhanced cognition of the world around you in a very simple way.  Most of us may have heard at one time or another the phrase "stop and smell the flowers".  Meaning that in our clickable-multi-tasking world that we find ourselves in sometimes we need to walk away for a moment, take a break, avert your eyes from the computer screen or TV and breathe.  It is in this diversionary action where we might find an answer we have been looking for or by this respite gain a better perspective of the world around us.  But how do we know how to do it, when to do it or set the right conditions to do it.  Here is my suggestion.  In front of my house I have over a number of years have planted several rose bushes.  Whenever I exit my front door to retrieve the mail I pass several including this wonderful yellow rose bush.  When they are in bloom I make a point to literally stop and smell the flowers.  By creating this focal point I am encouraged to stop, shift my perspective from whatever worldly events that I may be experiencing and truly enjoy the fragrance of these roses bushes whole heartily and with focus.  So create the same for yourself in the office, house of place of study.  Place a fragrant favorite flower in a place for you where you can too literally stop, smell the flowers, refocus and approach things with a better perspective plus of course with the aroma of something from our green world.

One single memory...

By Vichara


The other day my wife and I were talking about the things that are important to our lives.  Of course the conversation drifted back and forth with the focus going from our families, our kids, our animals and what we feel we have accomplished with these years given to us.  She then posed this hypothetical question to me.  "If you knew that your memory was going to disappear in the next 5 minutes but you would have the ability to retain one memory, what would it be?".  I think I knew pretty much right away and answered, the first time I held her hand.  To me that was the moment I knew I had found the person I was meant to be with and the memory that I wanted to retain.  To me that was the igniting point of this adventure.  What about you?  What would be your one memory that you would retain?