Tag Archives: quotes

Nelson Mandela

A really great being left this planet a few days ago. Nelson Mandela, in my opinion, is a mahatma. I a great soul who walked on the same ranks as Gandhiji, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King. Although I do not know much about his history except for all the great work he did in South Africa, I do know that he left an unforgettable mark on this world.

I found this article from USA Today on 15 of the greatest Nelson Mandela Quotes. Of course there are probably a million quotes by Nelson Mandela that stand out to every person. This particular quote stood out to me as I was reading this article:

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Nelson Mandela

The head and the heart are two of the most important governing factors in every decision we make. They are also the two factors that, if strong enough and in accordance with each other, can allow you to accomplish anything you desire. I

He was a great soul. And so are we; we just have to choose to be.

photo by patrice murciano

photo by patrice murciano

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daily encouragement: do something

And a lovely daily encouragement from one wise man that I love to read about, Mr. Ikeda:

“Rather than sitting around idly and rusting, we must act, give of ourselves and contribute something to the world. The French scholar Robert Arnauld (1588-1674) declared, “Have we not all eternity to rest in?” Why do you seek to rest while you are still alive? he asks. These are venerable words indeed. When young people make truly dedicated efforts, almost punishing themselves, their true brilliance will shine forth.”

Daisaku Ikeda

daily encouragement

“To possess both wisdom and compassion is the heart of our human revolution. If you have wisdom alone and lack compassion, it will be a cold, perverse wisdom. If you have compassion alone and lack wisdom, you cannot give happiness to others. You are even likely to lead them in the wrong direction, and you won’t be able to achieve your own happiness.”
Daisaku Ikeda

Book Review: Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources (part 2)

So, thus begins part 2 of my book review for Eknath Easwaran‘s Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources. In the first post, I talked about what the book is based off of. In this post, I want to explain his idea of original goodness via what he calls spiritual laws. These laws are the eight Beatitudes. Like I mentioned in part 1, there are some beatitudes that I want to discuss in detail, and I’ll get around to that at some point other than now.

Purity: We have put so many filters in our life, that we don’t see things as they really are. We see them through these filters, which is essentially distorting our view of the world and ourselves. We have to clean these panes, so that we are able to our true self, our core of goodness more clearly. These filters of feelings, memories, and desires have begun to dictate what we see, what we don’t see, and how we see it. We are basically creating images for ourselves that are not a true reflection of reality. What can we do to start cleansing ourselves mentally and spiritually so that we may become more pure, and truly have a vision filled with love? Meditation. Meditation is the first step to begin looking inward, and to see things as they really are. This will eventually give us the ability to “transform our personality from self-centered to selfless, from unconcerned to caring, eventually from human to divine.”

Humility: We have become so engrossed in doing things for ourselves. I have to go to school for my degree. This is my plan. This is my education, my job, my life, my family. Everything we talk about belongs to us apparently. Have we forgotten about the other individual? Are we essentially isolating ourselves from the rest of humanity by focusing on our personal needs all the time? Easwaran says yes, we are. “Asking life to make a selfish man happy is like asking a banana tree to give you mangoes.” We need to stop dwelling on our personal needs and benefits so that we can experience what true joy is. Here’s a reality check if I’ve ever heard one, “the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” Dang. How freaking true is this? I need to make my ego zero, because when it’s zero, God can fill that void with true love. How amazing does that sound? To be filled with pure love. How can I make myself zero? By losing myself in helping others, selflessly. That is the key here. Selfless vs. Selfish. “If you live today completely in love–hating no one, hurting no one, serving all–then tomorrow has to be good, whatever comes.”

Simplicity: Easwaran defines simplicity as “singling out what is worth living for, and then shaping our lives around what matters and letting go of everything else”. Do you have a list of things you are living for? If I had to think off the top of my head, my list would entail God, spirituality, family, and close friends that are basically family. Ask me if I’m willing to let go of everything else though. The answers no. Man, I have a lot of work to do still. He talks about how simple living is the art of using minimum means to attain maximum results; live gently. One way to do this is to realize that really nothing on this earth belongs to us personally, so we can look at things in a more simpler way. What is ours? “Simplifying your life then, does not mean cutting back on anything of value. It means learning the delicate artistry of making your every action count, taking notice of the needs of the whole.”

Patience: “Life is full of ups and downs. But you don’t have to go up and down with them. You can teach your mind to be calm and kind whatever comes.” Patience is something I’ve talked about before, and is a virtue that I need a lot of work in. Impatience can create a lot of negative energy in your life. Meditation is a tool that you can use to calm your mind, and truly create an inner peace. Impatience can bring stress into our lives, not that our lives can use any more of it. But, we have to learn to roll with what life gives us, and to remain calm in these situations. Again, something that I’m not always the best at. (No one’s perfect here!). Personally, after doing the 10-day vipassana course, I am trying to approach life in a very neutral manner, so that when I do act, my actions are coming from a truly pure and compassionate place. This is really important with patience, and I definitely agree with Easwaran that meditation is the key to creating a calm and patient mind and soul.

Love: “Love is a full-time occupation, a continuous state of mind.”  What kind of love is Easwaran talking about in this chapter? It’s really normal for us to separate love into different aspects. The love you have for your friend is different than the love you have for your family which is different than the love you have for your significant other. But, if we look at the root of all those relationships…what is the commonality in them? Love; the kind of love that we would be willing to do anything for those people because we truly love them. Easwaran points out that love is being able to still be kind to someone after they’ve blatantly been mean to us. Love is going through the rough times with another individual, and being that support during that period. Love takes endurance. But, I think the most profound thing that he points out, is that we claim to love God. But, how can we love this Being who is the epitome of selfless love, when we can’t even love another individual selflessly? We want to have a selfless relationship with God, but when do we go to him? When we want to pass a test, or make it through something. That’s anything but selfless. We have to first learn to love another individual in the purest definition of love before we can even begin to love God. Woah. Anyone else beginning to think that they have a lot to work on?

Mercy: I think that I can summarize this entire chapter into these words: “As we sow, so shall we reap.” Every action that we take, every thought that we think is accounted for. There is a popular modern saying, that isn’t my favorite, but it goes something like “karma is a b-word”. Well, it’s really easy for us to think this way when it doesn’t effect us. When someone else we don’t like or don’t get along with gets a bad card dealt to them, we’re so quick to say “karma is a b-word.” But, everyone gets what they sow. Why don’t we all just realize that it’s always better  to pick the side of mercy? In the end, we’re all fighting the same battle. So, why not help the other person win? “Mercy teaches that all of us in this world are on the same side.”

Peacemaking: “We must active cultivate peace as a virtue, trying to make it a permanent state of mind.” Why should we try to make peace a permanent state of mind? Because our thoughts become our actions, oh so quickly. Not only does this happen, but our perception is influenced by what is our mind is constantly dwelling on. If we are in a permanent state of negativity, consistently say my life sucks, my day sucks, I hate the people around me, then all of those things are going to come true. It’s all about attitude people. I think we all know the old saying, two wrongs don’t make a right. And it’s so true. If there is wrong done to us, we don’t need to fight it. Accept what happened, and move on. “Our children deserve to grow up in a peaceful world, and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to see that they get the chance.” Instead of spreading hate, why don’t we start spreading a little love? We need to personally take responsibility and be the example that those around us need to see.

Desire: The Upanishads say, “You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your deep, driving desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your dignity.” Take a minute to think about what your desires truly are. Are they worthy to be told to the world? Are the worthy enough to live by? To eventually be your dignity? The problem is, is that we let our desires dictate our lives. We’ve let them take control of our mind and intellect, when really, it should be our mind and intellect that control our senses. We shouldn’t run after every single thing that catches our attention. Training our mind though to become in control is a really tough task. Meditation is the tool to accomplish this. It trains your mind to stay in control, and to become unwavering, so that it won’t falter when we’re put in situations that can make our senses go gaga and want everything.

Holy moly that was a lot I feel like. And I didn’t even cover a lot of the stuff that I wanted to. Like I said, this book was dense material-wise. At the end of the day, I think that it is a great book which talks about real-life examples of how we can implement a daily meditation routine into our lives, so that we can truly live out these eight Beatitudes.

Easwaran is an incredible soul and an enlightened individual. Reading his books and understanding his perspective puts these huge philosophical, sometimes daunting, theories into such simple language, that it’s impossible not to grasp. I can only hope that my 2-post review did him and his writing justice.

Please check out this book! Think about ways you can implement these qualities into your life, after all spiritual laws are a good guide for anyone. I think everyone needs a good guide on this journey, and Easwaran is a fantastic pick.

For more information on Easwaran, his meditation technique and center, programs offered by his organization, or to just sign up for Thoughts of the Days, visit http://www.easwaran.org! This is a great resource for many spiritual needs.

just keep your heart open

In the beginning of February (it’s really weird to say that by the way, considering that this Friday will be March 1), I went to an Ayurveda seminar in New Mexico on spiritual healing through Vedic rituals. There was a lot I came back with after that weekend, and I could literally go on for a few posts about it. But that’s not what I want to do in this particular post.

In one of the first few sessions we had, Dr. Lad said something that caught my attention. And the reason I’m bringing it up now, is because I was going through my notes, and I saw it written down and underlined, highlighted, all caps, whatever, and it re-caught my attention, and brought back the things I was feeling and thinking at that moment.

“JUST KEEP YOUR HEART OPEN” (not read in a scream-like way, but in the sweetest, old man, loving, and sincere way). And, something about this just really resonated in me. I feel as though this journey I’m taking in life can be perfectly summed up into these 5 words. Everything that I’ve been experiencing these past 10-11, maybe even more, months was perfectly stated in these 5 words. It was as though these words, “just keep your heart open”, were meant for my ears, and quite seriously, my heart.

I can’t recall right now, any other sets of words that have moved me so much, that have really hit a chord for me. Just keep your heart open.

Just keep your heart open, and let the love that surrounds you to fill you. Let the positivity of this universe permeate your being, your essence. Just keep your heart open.

Just keep your heart open and let life happen. Don’t worry about the past or future, just be. Let your faith in whatever you have faith in take over, and truly surrender yourself to the will of the Ultimate.

It’s so hard to do just that though. To not keep a guard up, to not worry, to not micro and macro manage. For me it is at least. I have a problem with living in the moment. I have a problem of worrying too much, of trying to control everything in my life. But, I’m becoming more confident in myself and braver in who I am to witness these things happening, and not be ashamed or scared.

I feel as though you can truly live life to its fullest if we understand this idea of keeping our heart open. Be a lover, a dreamer, a well-wisher, a believer, and just keep your heart open. I think I’ve found my new mantra.

daily encouragement

“A life lived without purpose or value, the kind in which one doesn’t know the reason why one was born, is joyless and lackluster. To just live, eat and die without any real sense of purpose surely represents a life pervaded by the world of Animality. On the other hand, to do, create or contribute something that benefits others, society and ourselves and to dedicate ourselves as long as we live up to that challenge–that is a life of true satisfaction, a life of value. It is a humanistic and lofty way to live.”
Daisaku Ikeda

double dose of daily encouragement

In the mean time, here are two awesome daily encouragements to think about!
Faith and happiness: two things that lie hand in hand, and if we tend to them both, then our lives can be a little more enjoyable. Enjoy!

“When we plant the seed of happiness that is faith and carefully tend its growth, it will produce fruit without fail. We have to bear in mind, however, that we cannot plant a seed today and expect it to bear fruit tomorrow. That’s not reasonable and Buddhism is reason. If we persevere in the practice of “faith equals daily life” in accord with reason, then our prayers will definitely be answered.”

“Faith is light. The hearts of those with strong faith are filled with light. A radiance envelops their lives. People with unshakable conviction in faith enjoy a happiness that is as luminous as the full moon on a dark night, as dazzling as the sun on a clear day.”

Daisaku Ikeda

daily encouragement

There is a Russian proverb that says: “It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.” Likewise, one’s happiness or unhappiness is entirely the reflection of the balance of good and bad causes accumulated in one’s life. No one can blame others for his misfortunes. In the world of faith, it is necessary to realize this all the more clearly.

Daisaku Ikeda

 

a daily encouragement to go hand in hand with my last post.

intellect: dc3

Intellect will play a very important role in the coming age. By intellect I mean refined wisdom, clear reasoning, profound philosophy and broad-ranging knowledge. We are entering an age when people will develop their intelligence and wisdom, infusing society with their new outlook.”            –Daisaku Ikeda

 

I particularly like this daily encouragement because it shows the importance of what kind of education we need. We’ve become victims of specialized knowledge, learning things that will benefit us monetarily, and allow us to live a nice life. But, there is a need for “life knowledge” which will allow us to live a happy life filled with personal growth and fulfillment so that we are able to reach the Ultimate.

 

*taken from sgi.org