Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wake Up Calls

Thanks in part to my friend Jason's near fatal fall (he is healing well now by the way - thanks for the vibes), I have come to realize more fully something about myself that I think may be of use to others. Given that I don't believe in accidents and that everything we encounter has some significance, I think that major events in our lives are that much more significant. We tend to get painful and sometimes nearly fatal messages in life, that are what some refer to as wake up calls (in my case it was a grand mal seizure). I think these major events in our lives are designed to tell us something about the direction our life is going, more specifically that we may be pursuing the wrong path. It seems like they have to be life altering events sometimes to adequately get our attention since we are resilient creatures that bounce back from minor occurrences.

A lot of us have been lucky enough to survive life's wake up calls and emerge on a totally different and more beneficial path. The key seems to be to look at these events from a different perspective and pay close attention to what was going on when the event took place. There are clues everywhere guiding us in the direction we need to be going, but if we don't pay attention to the little things, it may take something more significant to get our attention focused where it needs to be. I'm very grateful for everything I've been through since it all has helped shape who I am today. Maybe you should be too.
Take care,

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

World Peace Starts at Home

I just wanted to share some more information with you that you might like. As many of you know I have been doing a fair amount of research lately on life, consciousness, and things that might be considered more spiritual or metaphysical in nature (I've read that epilepsy does that to some people :) . What I have learned in the last year or so has just fascinated me enough to want to share it with others.

Since I come from an academic background, I have been approaching it all with some hesitation and skepticism, but have been pleasantly surprised at the consistency and coherence I am finding along the way (among scientific discoveries and a variety of spiritual philosophies). There obviously has not been such a major breakthrough that all of the skeptics have to agree, but I think there is always a way to find fault even with truth if you want to badly enough.

The conclusion I've come to so far is that it really doesn't matter if you believe what any of the major religions have said for hundreds of years. What does seem to be clear is that being a good person and taking responsibility for your actions leads to good things. Learning to be compassionate is a fundamental part of it all, no matter what your faith or scientific background, and is said to lead to happiness in your life if it's actively pursued. It also seems to be highly contagious which could have far reaching implications.

The problem is that it's not easy to be kind and compassionate to everyone we know, especially if they are not kind to us. This is where certain ideas come into play to help us out. For example, the quotes below summarize a great deal without going into much detail, but can also serve as potential building blocks to structuring a happier more peaceful existence. There's a lot more information out there that supports these ideas, as well as specific tools for fostering happiness (not all of which are reliant on the common theme illustrated below).

"Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world. How do you cultivate it? It's very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family."
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

"All mystics, sages, and saints have come to the conclusion that we are all one. The implications of this are profound and far reaching. Now we find that science (quantum physics) also is claiming the same thing - that we are all (at the quantum level) simply energy." - Christopher Westra

"Everything is an aspect of this infinite intelligence, every person, every animal, every tree, every star and every planet, and every micro-organism, however small, is ultimately an equal aspect of the very same energy. There is no separatedness except as an illusion created by the ego and five physical senses; we and the Universe without exception are one." - Adrian Cooper

Fostering Compassion

Recently I was invited to participate in an experiment that involved focusing on one thing and applying it all aspects of life. That one thing was compassion. Soon after two books entered my life through two different friends ("The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama and "The Lost Art of Compassion" by Lorne Ladner - both excellent books by the way). As it turns out, compassion is crucial to our happiness as human beings and I have become much more fulfilled as a result of my new focus.

I have now decided on a more effective way to allow others to share in my journey as I strive for unconditional compassion and would like to invite you to join me on the path and share your thoughts as we go.