Karmacology: Mindful Living, Sacred Practice

It is Time for Me to Go, Mother

It is time for me to go, mother; I am going.

When in the paling darkness of the lonely dawn you stretch out your arms for your baby in the bed, I shall say, “Baby is not there!”- Mother, I am going.

I shall become a delicate drought of air and caress you; and I shall be ripples in the water when you bathe, and kiss you and kiss you again.

In the gusty night when the rain patters on the leaves you will hear my whisper in your bed, and my laughter will flash with the lightning through the open window into your room.

If you lie awake, thinking of your baby till late into the night, I shall sing to you from the stars, “Sleep, mother, sleep.”

On the straying moonbeams I shall steal over your bed, and lie upon your blossom while you sleep.

I shall become a dream, and through the little opening of your eyelids I shall slip into the depths of your sleep: and when you wake up and look round startled, like a twinkling firefly I shall flit out into the darkness.

When, on the great festival of puja, the neighbors’ children come and play about the house, I shall melt into the music of the flute and throb in your heart all day.

Dear auntie will come with puja presents and will ask, “Where is our baby, sister?” Mother, you will tell her softly, “He is in the pupils of my eyes, he is in my body and my soul.”
-- Rabindranath Tagore, The End

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Our True Home is in the Present Moment

Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. Peace is all around us -- in the world and in nature -- and within us -- in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice. We need only to find ways to bring our body and mind back to the present moment so we can touch what is refreshing, healing, and wondrous.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching Peace

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Believe in Your Strength

There are admirable potentialities in every human being. Believe in your strength and your youth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself, 'It all depends on me.'
-- Andre Gide (1869 - 1951)

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Karma and the Chinese Earthquake

A great deal of Internet buzz has been generated about actress Sharon Stone's comment about Karma's role in the devastating May 11th earthquake in China. From the sidelines at the Cannes Film Festival, she said:

Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I am not happy about the ways the Chinese were treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don’t like that. And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And all these earthquake and stuff happened and I thought: Is that Karma... when you are not nice that bad things happen to you?

See the YouTube clip here.

Celebrity gossip aside, there are now debates raging online over the nature of Karma, and if cosmic payback can take the form of natural disasters against an entire nation. This is not new; similar thoughts were voiced after the horrific December 2004 tsunami and 2005's Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Some people were quick to shout that this was God's wrath, Divine Justice, or the working of Karma on a massive scale. But as convenient as it is to place the blame in the realm of the supernatural, is there any basis for such thoughts?

The Bible has ample precedence for the "Wrath of God" crowd, including the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as described in Genesis. Because of the wickedness of the citizens, entire cities were wiped out by the "brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven."

Likewise, there is plenty of mention of collective Karma within both the modern and ancient Theravada, where there can be "family Karma," or a larger sociokarma such as "national Karma." Anand Gholap goes so far as to describe group Karma in the context of natural disasters:

The rise and fall of nations are brought about by collective karma... Seismic changes -- earthquakes, volcanoes, floods -- or national catastrophes like famine and plague, all are cases of collective karma, brought about by great streams of thoughts and actions of a collective rather than an individual character.

I am sure that there are many people that sincerely believe in this form of divine justice. I do not. It seems to me to be the height of self-centered egoism to believe that the Creator would move Earth, sky and ocean in collective punishment of human sin.

That's not to say that a collective Karma does not exist. Whatever action we take as individuals, families, communities and nations will certainly have its reaction. But I believe those reactions are most often a true consequence of the actions we take, and not an arbitrary punishment sent down from Heaven.

The natural world, Prakriti in the Vedanta philosophy, operates according to its own laws. Long before there were humans, and long after we are gone, the stars swirl in their cosmic dance, the Earth turns and tumbles, storms lash and fires burn. It is unconcerned with the fret and strut of men. As has been said, rain falls on the just and unjust alike. The Earth and sky care little if we have been "nice" or "not nice."

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Excellence and Intensity

The excellency of every art is in its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate.
-- Keats

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The Power of a Touch

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
-- Leo Buscaglia (1925 - 1998)

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Ideals are like Stars

Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.
-- Carl Schurz (1829 - 1906)

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The Divine is the Principle of Life

The Divine is present in everyone, in all beings, in everything. Like space it is everywhere, all pervading, all powerful, all knowing. The Divine is the principle of Life, the inner light of consciousness, and pure bliss. It is our very own Self.
-- Amma

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Trust in an Unfolding We Can't Design or Ordain

Any ordinary favor we do for someone or any compassionate reaching out may seem to be going nowhere at first, but may be planting a seed we can't see right now. Sometimes we need to just do the best we can and then trust in an unfolding we can't design or ordain.
-- Sharon Salzberg

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Merely Effects of Past Causes

Identifying himself with a shallow ego, man takes for granted that it is he who thinks, wills, feels, digests meals, and keeps himself alive, never admitting through reflection (only a little would suffice) that in his ordinary life he is naught but a puppet of past actions (karma) and of Nature or environment. Each man's intellectual reactions, feelings, moods, and habits are merely effects of past causes...
-- Paramhansa Yogananda

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Instant Karma

Instant karmas gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Everyone you meet

Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When youre everywhere
Come and get your share

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah we all shine on
Come on and on and on on on
-- John Lennon

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What Your Soul Sings

You are not a human being having a spiritual experience, but a spiritual being having a human experience.

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The Silent Mystery of Love

The sleep that flits on baby's eyes -- does anybody know from where it comes? Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling where, in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit with glow-worms, there hang two shy buds of enchantment. From there it comes to kiss baby's eyes.

The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps -- does anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the dream of a dew-washed morning -- the smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps.

The sweet, soft freshness that blooms on baby's limbs -- does anybody know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the mother was a young girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silent mystery of love -- the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on baby's limbs.
-- Rabindranath Tagore, The Source

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Everything Lies in the Intensity

It is not enough for an activity to satisfy your desire for knowledge, bring you joy, or make you calmer and more relaxed. In every activity you must look for an opportunity to perfect yourself and become free inside. Yet even the manner in which humans practise art and science, as well as religion, betrays the fact that they are not really looking for a means of self-perfection. You will ask, ‘But what does perfecting yourself mean, then? What must we do to succeed?’ Perfecting yourself means to change the quality of your vibrations, so that you make them more intense or, in other words, more spiritual.

Everything lies in the intensity of your thoughts, feelings and the life within you; that is what initiatic Science reveals to us. Once human beings manage to live this intense life, all their activities, physical as well as spiritual, will only contribute to their evolution.
-- Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

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Where Can I Find A Man Who Has Forgotten Words?

The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
-- Chuang Tzu

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Do, Every Day, Something No One Else Would...

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
-- Christopher Morley

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