Farmers of optimism...

By Vichara

The past plants bad seeds and the mind feeds them with fear and anger. Sift these bad seeds away from the seeds of growth and potentiality and be a “farmer” of optimism. Yes, it may seem that the acreage of life that you are tending is quite large but we are all given the tools and resources to manage. But if there is a need for help the Co-op of Compassion that has been set up is available to you. One rule: the help you receive you must pay back to help the other “farmers” just like you.

Maybe the other door...

By Vichara

You kick, you scream and it’s like trying to break down a heavy metal door wit it’s seams sealed with cement. It is frustrating and fruitless and will drain your energies. This may seem to describe some days we all have right? We travel along, doing our best solving things, trying to understand challenges in front of us. Then there is this one thing, one challenge, one big door that refuges to budge. Perhaps this door, this challenge that we assume we need to knock down just might be the wrong door. We might get stubborn and stand our ground but this will not help. Stop, breathe and don’t bloody your hands. The door you need could be right next to this one or just maybe someone else may have the key to this door and will open it up for you. Imagine that unification of effort resulting in solutions for all. Careful now, this could catch on.

Compass of truth...

By Vichara

You’re not pedaling fast enough! You’ll never get there like that! You need to keep up, push harder! But to where and from what starting point? Unless there is an understanding, the demarcation point and the desired goal even if it is a scratch, you will never have a clear vision of how to get there. While there is merit with planning and there are advantages in being malleable in the execution I do believe that no matter how you get there and the means you use to get there it is important to be guided by a tracking system of beliefs. A moral GPS that when confronted by a twist or a turn on the road it will safely guide you through the possible difficulties of the life terrain. However remember when you install your moral GPS system make sure that you leave room for “upgrades” that will allow for improvements in guidance from new sources. It is with enhancements that you will surely get “there” guided by the compass of truth.

Just unplug...

By Vichara

As I went to “sit” this morning I saw the moon sinking low off in the western sky. It was partly shrouded with a layer of milky white clouds almost like a scarf haphazardly tossed over it self in a tired reflected way. The stars just above were mutely twitching in a weak, sad farewell to their nighttime brethren. The night is almost drained of it’s power and in the east the sun is primping for it’s arrival to light our paths, help release energies in the soil and warm our chilled bodies. We sometimes fail to observe the subtleties of change as they happen. The time we get to ponder questions, observe and receive epiphanies has been slimmed by the expectations and schedules of the day. We are a society that is being driven by constant input. Try to “unplug” sometimes this week even if it is just for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing and observe and listen to just…you.

It's really "life-like"...

By Vichara

Today’s “thought” is presented in 3D! There is no special apparatus you need. No new technology, in fact you will be using a very old technology. As you read this take moments to turn your gaze out the window, across the room and to the people you are with. You see how amazing it is, it’s really life-like. You can almost reach out and touch everything, in fact you can! This is not just some projected illusionary world it is yours and it is real. There is no DVR reverse or pause, this is real time, real life and real emotions. As you step out in this amazing 3D world created for you take every opportunity to reach out and connect with the world. Don’t sequester yourself completely behind that Blackberry, laptop screen or TV. There is an amazing production going on all around you and it will never happen again. This is yours…don’t miss out.

Everyone is scared...

By Vichara

Everyone is scared. No matter how much confidence one shows. No matter what bravado is brandished about in order to retain some alpha-male or alpha-female position, they are all scared…just like you. In our working pods of life there will always be those individuals that will be compelled to be in control in varying degrees of success. It is unfortunate for those individuals that are in control fail to recognize the basic commonalities that we all share and work from a position of frenetic unfocused degrees. With these somewhat ingrained methods it is difficult to change with force from the outside. One of the keys is for us all is to step back, recognize fears (which by the way are mostly based in our impermanence) and attempt to make that connection based in calm understanding & compassion and find answers together. Calm rivers carry great weight and strength without constant churning.

Just say "hello"...

By Vichara

Sometimes leaving your mark in this world is a simple as saying “hello”. For some of us who live in places where we encounter hundreds of people in a day we, for the most part, never push outside our comfortable circles of people we deal with on a day-by-day basis. From entrenching ourselves in these routines and familiar encounters we will sometimes feel awkward with new faces and voices. Over time with this routine our ability to step out will become more and more uncomfortable and possibly debilitating. Here of course is the point of realization. While we are here in our entrenchment the person across from you, entering the same elevator or standing in the same line could be exactly where you are. In a comfortable way find the “bridge” and say hello. I’m not advocating forcing an immediate friendship on the spot just give a friendly hello. With this acknowledgement it recognizes the existence of another human being, just like you and you leave your mark by this simple act of kindness.

Red light meditation...

By Vichara

Keep your eyes & ears open as much as you can folks because what you see and hear in this second, this minute, this hour will never, ever happen again…ever. It is just part of he wonderful kaleidoscopic ephemeral universe that we all and I mean all, live in. At the core and the key to all of this and the basic element is to be cognizant of this with the simple act of mindfulness with each minute and hour. I know, I know easier said than done right? But even driving we can practice mindfulness and try to arrive peacefully. The wonderful meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanah suggests that even at a red light we can practice. The red light can be used as a signal, a reminder that there is tension in your body from possibly needing to get somewhere. Use the 10 seconds at the red light to practice some mindful breathing and release the tension in your body. And with the number of red lights we face we might even arrive peacefully.

Our "lens" to process...

By Vichara

It seems even more so these days we need to reach out farther with our hearts. Perhaps it’s that the images and TV news can go deeper and retrieve that which has never been seen before or our cognitive abilities have grown more sensitive. Regardless of how it’s presence is brought to our attention it is there and we need to make a choice. We can process what we see through the lens of indignation and see the injustices but just be reactionary without results. Do you ook through the lens of indifference and remain in a state of apathy and on the fence of indecision or process through the lens of inspiration “see” what is there and needed and make the steps forward to help change happen for the good. Even if they are small steps of assistance at least they are steps forward…with a clearer vision.

Compassion footprint...

By Vichara

These days there is a great deal of emphasis in recognizing our “carbon footprint” in this world and trying to reduce it. I think the same kind of principles can be applied to increase our “compassion footprint” in the world. As we do little things to lesson the carbon footprint (i.e. using reusable water bottles, florescent light bulbs, etc.) likewise we can do little things to increase our “compassion footprint”. Be more forgiving of yourself and others. Tell someone you love and care about him or her for no apparent reason. Help someone that looks lost and discover the answer together. Hold the door for one more person. Make a phone call to someone just to tell him or her how much they mean to you…you get the picture. Reduce carbon and increase compassion.

How you approach the day...

By Vichara

We all assume that when we lay down to sleep that we will reach the other shore and wake to a new day. What if this was not guaranteed? How would you approach the day that you just met? The coffee that you are drinking will be your last. The round of early morning bird singing will never be heard again. The warmth of the shower you had, never felt again. The embrace from your partner never will happen again. How will your eyes see this that has been given to you? Will, if you knew this fact, spend the day frenetically screaming and running around or would you breathe in, breathe out consume the moments with equanimity and reverence? This is not a “thought” created to scare you but to remind us all that this impermanence is a basic truth. Be conscious that this treadmill that can sometimes distract us and remember the importance of our lives we share together.

It's your book...

By Vichara

We trip over our insecurities and receive bruises from remarks from others, but we survive. We will stutter from heartbreak and bump into hard truths, but we survive. We may not see our limitations until it is too late, but we manage to survive. These encounters are just pages turning into chapters turning into bound experiences that create the library of our unique lives. Some of the pages may seem to be a bit ragged and tattered but we should not tear them out and throw them away. They are as important as the front and back covers and complete the story. Today starts a new chapter with fresh new pages that have just been given to you. It is up to you to illustrate them with as much candor and compassion as you can muster. Oh and by the way, it is ok to color outside the lines…it’s your book.

Speak less but say more...

By Vichara

We need so little, but want so much. We speak so much, but have so little to say. We can travel so far, but get much further just where we are. The pitfalls and pleasures of bring able to live in a time and place where opportunities and “things” are in abundance for those that can find the means and ways to obtain and can acquire. We revel in these items with their cleverness and ingenuity and even believe that we could not live without them. So many things, so much noise designed for a vision of someone we believe we are but this vision of ourselves is so far in the distance, we can never catch up with it. For those who want to, stop, pull back the reins a bit of perceived need and instead of using 10 things to get through a day, use 1 and use it well. Instead of speaking volumes without great substance, speak less but with clarity and compassion.

No, you go first...

By Vichara

“You go first!” “No, you go first” A lot of people don’t like being first, being the first in line, maybe even you…but you are going first. You may not think you so but you are right at the head of the line by just being you. You are first because there is only one of you. You are first with very unique qualities and things you do. You are first in the way you talk, walk and react. You may think that you are the same as others but even with what you perceive as the same, in the variations there will never, ever be another you…ever. So while you think you follow in step with others you blaze new trails, even in small ways, by just being you. Don’t discard this thought, use this to bolster the confidence you have and enhance the unique individuality you possess to step out first, like we do everyday.

Get on the bus...now...

By Vichara

Reflect for just a moment on how you are feeling right now, this very minute…don’t drift over to something you need to do next or what happened yesterday, stay here, right now, without drifting. Happy? sad? anxious? peaceful?...it doesn’t matter as long as it is right now. Far too much time is spent in the abstracts of past and future. Yes we do learn from our past and we plan for the concept of the future but by not being here, cognizant of this moment is like waiting at the bus stop and missing the bus. It only stops “now” for you. Get your ticket and don’t miss the bus, there is always a seat waiting for you…now.

Passing the baton...

By Vichara

In one great inhalation a few hundred thousand are born and in one great exhalation a couple hundred thousand die in one day. In one breath an idea is formed and on exhalation the idea is gone. In one inhalation love is found and in one exhalation it is gone. What matters here is not so much the igniting or the extinguishing of any of these, this will happen regardless. What is important is the in-between part. In one moment your heart is awakened to another heart and the freefall of events and experiences catapult you into years of heartache and joy. In a flicker of the moment the idea that you needed turns the corner and it greets you with a smile. With the manifestation of this idea hopefully many will be inspired by yours and ignite their idea. In one great moment a cry of life starts a journey that will hopefully ignite both love and ideas and then on the other side of the world the last breath occurs and the baton is passed. The objective: when the baton

is passed – just do your best.

A bump is just...

By Vichara

There is astrology, numerology, phrenology but what about commonsenseology? We will sometimes seek answers from sources that we are led to believe will put us on the path to the right answer. The trouble is that this can be circuitous and vague paths that may lead only back to more speculation. Sometimes the most obvious can be the right answer but that is where we will need to do the hard work of trusting in our intuitive nature more and less what people are telling to think and feel. I know this may not be easy but it will produce results that will exceed all the charts and speculation others will give you and definitely define the path that you walk more clearly. Sure try these other paths but I guarantee that coming back to yourself, your thoughts and your own path will be more fulfilling than trying to figure out if Mars is in retrograde with your sign or if that bump on your head will portent great fortune. Sometimes a bump is just a bump.

Extra! Extra! read all about...

By Vichara

Extra! Extra! Read all about it woman finds paradise in rush hour traffic! Man on commuter train finds peace in his own lifetime! Two kids find absolute pure joy in their own backyard! It’s all around us at any given moment. No matter what you do to ignore it, it will always be there like a shadow. It comes in many shapes and sizes, colors and tatstes. It is simple joys that will refresh and ignite a new way of seeing and feeling things. They are there right now in front of you. Did you just see that? It just happened again. Now over there! There’s another one!

The "canteen"...

By Vichara

Consider the minutes of the day like drops of water. Consider the day as a canteen that holds the minutes. Like a thirsty traveler who cannot afford to lose a single drop consider we should not want to waste a minute in devious and divisive conduct. Instead weigh the value of minutes given to you with the same measure of a dehydrated person. We are all under the delusion that there is an endless amount of minutes but like the water in a canteen they do run out. Drink wisely and attempt to make each minute count.

Binding our hearts together...

By Vichara

We have a very clever “universe”. At a certain time in our lives we all search for a bit of meaning of why we are “here”. In our faiths and religions we seek answers from the pages and voices that are around us from the past. One will tell you that their “path” is the one to follow. On will say that their knowledge is more direct and closer to the source than others. Another will ask you give up worldly possessions and others will advocate acquiring more. Each feels that they are right. What if…and I’m just thinking out loud here…that everyone is right. What if each branch, each faith, each doctrine, each path has the answers? What if each one was just a single page that fits into a much larger book? This book has never been put together before because each one has been holding on tightly to the single page of their faith. What if all of these could be bound together? I believe that if it could be done we would all find the key element that will bind all of these together is, Love. Yes that can sound a bit na├»ve and simple but you look at the faces of people when they are truly happy. No matter what the belief when Love is apparent all the walls and barriers of faiths and religions are transcended and love and compassion bind our hearts into on giant congregation.

It is always around...

By Vichara

While out for a walk yesterday I came across someone just staring at this rather impressive tree thick with these very large leaves. Not wanting to be intrusive but yet curious of what this person was looking at I slowly walked by and stated “what a lovely tree”. This person turned to me and with an easy smile said calmly “yes, but it has so many layers and stories it could tell”. Curious and yet not really knowing how to respond I just returned, “Yes, all the limbs seem to be reaching out to us”. His smile grew even more and he turned to me and said “quite right, indeed this tree is at least 100 year old and in this time there has been many wars, abundant change and joy. This deciduous friend has seen a cavalcade of generations and listened to all of their voices in pain and in happiness.” He pointed to the ground surrounding the tree and continued. “The soil is the knowledge, within the knowledge there is both hubris and reality. To retain its strong and solid integrity the tree, like a person, needs to filter through its system what is essential to fortify their existence and what to discard. The sun and rain, you could say are like love and encouragement, provides the needed elements to help in the growth forward and upward and from this comes the results and proceeds. For this tree it is the fruit and abundant growth. From us it is stories and knowledge. When both of these are imparted into the world they both go back to the soil, which of course again is knowledge and the cycle continues.” I asked this stranger his name and he said Mr. T. Ruth. I turned to leave and I said I hope to see you again. He smiled again and said as he walked away “I’m always around, you just need to look for me.”

The "bridge"...

By Vichara

Engage – disengage – engage – disengage – apathy – empathy – apathy – empathy. The line can be so thin and yet seem so vast. The perception we have of situations that cross our paths from moment to moment is of course determined by our resource of knowledge. If we have continued to fill the reservoir with enough variations and viewpoints we can hopefully evaluate and articulate a viewpoint based on moral values. Where we get into trouble is pure reaction. Reactionary decisions will be fraught with hues of miscommunication. Are we clear on this? I know, I know a little too wordy. Let’s make it real clear then. We are vessels of information calculated and disseminated by our brain. In order to engage the full spectrum of ideas we need to consume a field of information. While in prison Nelson Mandela observed, read and devoured information on the people that put him in that small cell of his. Not to seek revenge but to better understand his captors and find the bridges of understanding. Not to destroy the bridges but to meet them with unity on the bridge and shorten its length.

You CAN do it...

By Vichara

At what point do you just say “no”? At what level do you finally succumb to the weariness of trying to resolve issues that keep repeating and say “enough”? You want to believe and hope that you can stretch the basic understanding and patience but when you do you say, “stop”? It can be obvious and yet some around you will still be oblivious, so when you do you say, “wake up”? At what point does incompetence become acceptable and you loose you voice of basic reason in the din of apathy? At what point does chronic inability become so condoned that it elicits unwarranted sympathy? Tear the veil of enabling off and engage action with prompt results. A to B not A with a side trip that wanders to a diversion that labors and languishes with indecision. Move with determination and resolve tempered with heart that has conviction. You can do it and so can everyone else.