Saturday, 31 January 2015

18 Spiritual Teachings that Blew my Mind Wide Open.

Via on Jul 5, 2014

cloud vast sky

I have been a grateful sojourner on the winding spiritual path for as long I can remember.

After rejecting the Catholic Church around age 10, I stumbled upon the love of my life—yoga-—at the critical age of 12-going-on-13.
I started reading New Age self-help books in college and met the Buddha in the San Francisco Bay area at 23.
Each stage along the way has been illuminating and necessary to move to a higher level of consciousness. I am thrilled to continue learning and practicing throughout this lifetime, at least.
At certain points in the past, I have wished for epiphanies, signals and sudden enlightenment. Of course, life doesn’t work that way. What we seek eludes us. Letting go allows newness to enter.
So, although I would like to gift you with these 18 teachings that have altered my mind and improved my life, they may not resonate with you. The most important teaching of all is that we are each where we need to be when we need to be there, learning the lessons that we need to learn.
1) Everything I need is already within me.
Authentic power comes from finding balance within; it is not imposed from external authorities.
2) I can (and do) create my life through creative visualization (to a certain extent).
Using the common sense techniques Shakti Gawain outlines in her books, I was able to realize my dream of living in California and becoming a full-time yoga instructor 11 years ago. I do not, however, subscribe to the “Secret.”  Reality is reality, and people and objects are not mere pawns in our manifestations.
3) All things must pass.
My first bout of depression in my early 20s was the worst, because I seriously believed it would never end. I thought, Okay, this terrible, listless, sad, anxious state is adulthood. This is what it means to grow up. Of course, I turned out to be wrong. The depression lifted (and came back and lifted again, over and over).
My dear friend Liz has a tattoo that reminds her, “This too shall pass.” Depression will pass, but so will joyous times. Our beloved pets and friends and family will pass, and so will we. Rather than hiding from this morbid truth, I now embrace it and live my life more fully because of it.
4. Beliefs separate.
Since absorbing this fundamental teaching via J. Krishnamurti, I have strived to let go of beliefs and labels. I am not a Catholic Buddhist liberal American yogini. I am a human. You are a human. Now we can relate.
5. Faith is letting go.
Faith is not holding on to a dogma, a promise, a future in heaven. Faith is letting go and letting in the ever-unfolding experience of life as it flows presently.
6. All meditation is good meditation.
And another thing: it is perfectly fine to meditate for 30 seconds. If I meditate for half a minute, then take a little break (because, damn, that was tough!), then start again—that is A-OK. Some days it may be 30 minutes, others 30 seconds. The key, I’ve found, is to pause regularly throughout the day. In this way, I integrate meditation into my life and not just as a part of my formal practice on the cushion.
7. Metta.
Learning the metta meditation technique at a spiritual conference in Palo Alto in 2004 was transformative. Metta is loving kindness. The basic technique is to send good wishes to ourselves, our loved ones, strangers, enemies and ultimately every sentient being without exception. I have introduced it to countless yoga students over the years. Metta is powerful and can be used in formal meditation as well as on-the-spot.
8. Each morning, I am born again. What I do today is what matters most.
Thanks, Buddha!
The past brought me here, but it is over. The future is totally uncertain. I aspire to concentrate as much of my attention and effort on the present moment, the current situation and the living relationships I cultivate with myself and others.
Shout out, also, to Eckhart Tolle and The Flaming Lips. Living in the moment, cliché as it has become to say, is truly liberating. The more I practice, the better I get.
9. Equanimity.
Attending two 10-day silent Vipassana retreats two summers in a row effectively branded the concept of equanimity in my mind. Balance of mind. Not allowing it to be swayed by every little (or big) feeling of pleasure and pain. Like all these lessons, it is a process that continues to unfold.
10. No self.
The separate “I” that I seem to be is merely an illusion, a fiction, a well-told story. Letting it go is a moment-to-moment practice, an utterly liberating one.
11. Suffering is the result of clinging.
Yesterday, we took a bus to Cali, Colombia. We were told it would take five hours. After eight hours had passed, I was hungry, tired, annoyed with the horrendous movies being shown in rapid succession on the bus and tearfully frustrated. I was clinging to my expectation that the trip would be five hours long. My young daughter, on the other hand, was just fine. She had no expectations. Whenever I cling, I suffer. So I strive not to cling.
12. Worry is useless.
I used to be a worry wart—even as a kid. At some point, I read that worrying is planning for a negative future. That blew my mind open in the best of ways. So I stopped.
13. Friendship is the highest form of love.
This teaching came from Osho. When I read that sentence, it stopped me in my tracks. It rang so true. Though at the time I struggled with romantic love, I have typically flourished in friendships. True friendship is founded on trust and respect. The best marriages are founded on genuine friendship.
14. Difficult people are the best teachers.
(Much gratitude to Pema for this one!)
15. Therefore, be grateful to everyone and everything.
Gratitude can be cultivated through appreciation of the lovely people—as well as the pain-in-the-ass people—and the unique details of our daily lives.
16. Don’t get on the train.
There are 1,001 great metaphors for meditation. One that really resonated with me came from Matthieu Ricard. I imagine sitting at a train station, watching the trains arrive and depart. My pure awareness is the station and my thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc. are the trains. If I am not mindful, I will hop on a train and take it to who knows where. But the moment I realize I am on the train, I am magically off of it, back at the station, just watching without judgment, with compassion.
17. Breath is life.
As Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdal says, if you’re aware of the breath, you’re aware of the present moment. Our breath is with us from the moment of birth until the moment of death. It is the one bodily function that we can consciously control. Deep breathing is calming. Awareness of breath is the most fundamental meditation technique—and one that I always return to no matter what.
18. Make your mind as vast as the sky.
When I read this line, also from Matthieu Ricard, my mind actually did feel like it blew wide open, in the best possible way. It felt spacious and vast and calm and just there. Now, when I am feeling small-minded and constricted in my thinking, I often remind myself to make my mind as vast as the sky and it inevitably helps.
May these teachings be of benefit!
What would you put on your list? Please share in the comments section if so inspired. Namaste.

11 Spiritual Books that Blew my Mind.

21 “Non-Spiritual” Things that make us Happy.

The Barking Blondes:Vet fees and a tribute

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

Gavin Gamby Boulger with Ricky Gervais 1024x766 The Barking Blondes:Vet fees and a tributeWhat price do you put on your pet’s health?

This is often a decision pet owner’s are forced to confront before making a trip to the vet.
We know that vets have their overheads to factor into pricing and, in most cases, you’re buying into years of knowledge and experience . However, for every visit, whether urgent or simply a check up, there is a hefty cost to pay.
In illness, the domestic pet is either reliant on health insurance or , as in our case, the finances  of the owner
Choosing the right insurer is so important. Many ‘all purpose’ insurers have caveats that mean a pet can only be treated for one ‘illness’. If a dog suffers from eye problems, the insurer would only pay out once for the dog’s eye. This has left many in the lurch as typically an eye problem might reoccur, but with many insurers can only be claimed for once.
Even choosing a dedicated pet insurance firm can in the long-term prove unsustainable.
With a British bulldog ( not the healthiest of breeds) and an ageing bull terrier in our household…the premiums on insurance means we now confront each trip to the vet with trepidation.  Insurance is not an option.
For the less well off there is the PDSA.
The PDSA (The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals) has worked tirelessly to help the pets of people in need. For 98 years the charity has provided veterinary services to sick and injured animals. It’s a life-line to thousands of pet owners either income support and unable to afford the extortionate ‘high street’ vet bills.
The PDSA is not publically funded and relies on legacies and donations to survive.
This week we met Phyliss Seymour. For 50 years, Phyliss has supported the PDSA and is the chairperson of the Croydon Guild PDSA. She is one of the dedicated volunteers who has organized charity events such as garden fetes, dog shows and raffles .
Her team has raised over £250,000 for PDSA’s vets and nurses to provide their life-saving care.
Recognised by the PDSA in a special presentation this week, Phyliss was hailed “London’s greatest pet lover”. Proving that perhaps we are a nation of animal lovers afterall.
In times of austerity, soaring vet bills have been blamed for hundreds of dogs being abandoned and up for re-homing in rescues around the country that are already bursting at the seams.
Therefore, it was a huge shock to the world of animal campaigners to learn of Gavin Gamby-Boulger’s  sudden death this week.
The founder of The Wet Nose Animal Aid, with this wife Andrea, the couple campaigned tirelessly to have the unsung voices of small animal rescuers across the globe heard loud and clear. We hope that their goal to unite animal rescues in a ‘WetNose’ day will be achieved. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and animals at this difficult time.
Barking Blondes by Jo Good & Anna Webb, published by Hamlyn, £

The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism & Fascism in two volumes by George Bernard Shaw
The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism & Fascism
in two volumes by George Bernard Shaw
It’s clear that when it comes to publishing, Penguin Books have the right idea and are on top of their game. Just check out their famously belovedvintage paperback covers, their fantastic series like the Great Food Series,or their brilliant designers like Coralie Bickford-Smith. Penguin always seems to keep the publishing world on its toes, bringing out more beautiful and unique books all the time. From the very beginning, when they set out to make books affordable and attractive, Penguin's finger has been on the pulse of the reader.

Pelican Books (not to be confused with the Pelican Publishing Company) is the non-fiction imprint of Penguin Books. While the Penguin umbrella may be best-known for fiction and for keen design, the Pelican imprint was brought about with an eye on education over entertainment.  The move toward academia and the creation of the Pelican imprint along with it occurred in May 1937, two years after Penguin's founding.

The first title published under the Pelican name was George Bernard Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism & Fascism, in two volumes. It had originally been published in 1928 by Constable & Co. in New York, but was put out as a Pelican paperback in 1937.  The early Pelican editions were highly recognisable and aligned with the now iconic vintage Penguin paperback design.

There were thousands of titles published under the Pelican name over nearly 50 years. The series tackled everything from political uprisings and scientific exploration to religion across the globe and sociological practices and taboos. After a slow decline, Penguin eventually discontinued the imprint in the late 80s. Then on May 1st, 2014 Pelican books took flight for a second time with the release of five new titles. Still minimalist blue and boasting the Pelican logo, the new series is sure to satisfy today's collectors and Penguin aficionados.
Explore countless Pelican titles, old and new, written by experts on everything from architecture to gardening, politics to literature, mathematics to astronomy, and beyond.

Vintage Pelicans

Practical Economics (1937) by G.D.H. Cole
Practical Economics(1937)
by G.D.H. Cole
The Limitations of Science (1938) by J.W.N. Sullivan
The Limitations of Science (1938)
by J.W.N. Sullivan
Film (1944) by Roger Manvell
Film (1944)
by Roger Manvell
Common Wild Flowers (1945) by John Hutchinson
Common Wild Flowers(1945)
by John Hutchinson
Islam (1954) by Alfred Guillaume
Islam (1954)
by Alfred Guillaume
The Exploration of Space (1958) by Arthur C. Clarke
The Exploration of Space (1958)
by Arthur C. Clarke
The Badger (1958) by Ernest G. Neal
The Badger (1958)
by Ernest G. Neal
The Stagnant Society (1962) by Michael Shanks
The Stagnant Society(1962)
by Michael Shanks
Male and Female (1962) by Margaret Mead
Male and Female (1962)
by Margaret Mead
From Dickens to Hardy (1963) The Pelican Guide to English Literature Volume 6
From Dickens to Hardy(1963)
The Pelican Guide to English Literature Volume 6
The Psychology of Study (1963) by C.A. Mace
The Psychology of Study (1963)
by C.A. Mace
Comparative Religion (1964) by A.C. Bouquet
Comparative Religion (1964)
by A.C. Bouquet
Logic and Sexual Morality (1965) by John Wilson
Logic and Sexual Morality (1965)
by John Wilson
The Greeks (1966) by H.D.F. Kitto
The Greeks (1966)
by H.D.F. Kitto
Human Groups (1967) by W.J.H. Sprott
Human Groups (1967)
by W.J.H. Sprott
The Family Life of Old People (1970) by Peter Townsend
The Family Life of Old People (1970)
by Peter Townsend
Electronic Computers (1970) by Stuart H. Hollingdale, G.C. Tootill
Electronic Computers(1970) 
by Stuart H. Hollingdale, G.C. Tootill
The Hidden Persuaders (1970) by Vance Packard
The Hidden Persuaders(1970)
by Vance Packard
Fundamentals of Psychology (1970) by C.J. Adcock
Fundamentals of Psychology (1970)
by C.J. Adcock
Glass Through the Ages (1970) by E. Barrington Haynes
Glass Through the Ages (1970)
by E. Barrington Haynes
Freedom and Beyond (1973) by John Holt
Freedom and Beyond(1973) 
by John Holt

The first five new Pelican books

Greek and Roman Political Ideas by Melissa Lane
Greek and Roman Political Ideas (2014)
by Melissa Lane
The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood
The Domesticated Brain(2014)
by Bruce Hood
Economics: The User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang
Economics: The User's Guide (2014)
by Ha-Joon Chang
The Russian Revolution by Orlando Figes
The Russian Revolution(2014)
by Orlando Figes
Human Evolution by Robin Dunbar
Human Evolution (2014)
by Robin Dunbar


Dr. Seuss Quotes to Brighten Your Day

The magical world of Dr. Seuss has fueled readers’ imaginations for years! From The Cat in the Hat to Green Eggs and Ham, there is no shortage of magic in Dr. Seuss’ words. He has offered generations of people advice. From children, to young graduates, to adults, his inspiring words have given readers new places to explore every time they turn the page.
A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
” Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.
You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!
You miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.