Bhutto Assassination Proof of Work to Be Done – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday December 27, 2007

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‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hate or find peace within.

‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell not on such thoughts shall be free from hate and find peace within.

For hate only feeds on itself; but love overcomes hate. This is an Eternal Law.

Few know that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony. Those who become aware of this cease their quarrels immediately.

~ Buddha (Dhammpada Chapter 1, verses 3-6)


benazir_bhutto.jpg‘The Buddha’s words are extremely timely today.

The news from Pakistan this morning is dire. Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated after a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This nuclear-armed nation is about to be thrown into chaos and turmoil. Many on both sides will likely call for armed conflict.

Unfornately, 2500 years after these words were uttered too many human beings still don’t “get it”. Our leaders don’t “get it”. Our media certainly does not “get it”. Our arms dealers don’t “get it”.  We clamor for war. We clamor for revenge. We support leaders as “strong” who feed our desire for revenge and war.

The “it” is that violence is the birth of hatred and chaos, not the solution to it.

Even in the western nations, we extoll the virtues of our military prowess and take pride in the fact that we are better able than others to wreak havoc on our enemies. We honor the warrior above the peacemaker and so we get more of what we reward.

Most of all, we promise with a straight face that we will stop killing “them” right after they stop killing “us”. It’s circular logic because there are two sides to the “we” and “them” equation and both sides promise to stop the killing as soon as the other side does. And thus, the killing never ends.

In these few simple verses (and others like them in many sacred texts), rests the solution to the problem. But, we must be willing to take the medicine, if we are to be healed. 

We are reminded incessantly by the purveyors of war and vengeance that this is “unrealistic”.  “Neville Chamberlain, Neville Chamberlain,” they shout. “Peacefulness is weakness.” “We must be strong or our enemies will destroy us.”

The “kill them before they kill us” method has enjoyed a 10,000 year trial run in human civilization. It has utterly failed to solve our problems, but it does line pockets and create jobs. No other product or idea has failed so miserably and yet lasted so long. It survives because it plays on our lowest instincts such as fear and selfishness.

Pakistan is a perfect look into our own future, if we fail to take the medicine. If we fail to understand, as the Buddha says, “that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony.” If we fail to grasp that the vengeance mindset that counts every offense against us and ignores our own faults, is a mindset dooming us to destruction; then we are sealing our fate.

The expiration date on that mindset is fast approaching. The weapons of mass destruction genie is out of the bottle and we are, in a very few decades, going to be faced with a stark choice. Adversaries the world over are going to stand nose-to-nose with nuclear, chemical, and biological weaponry.

The question is will we choose to change or race down the fast track to destruction? The force of habit is hard to stop. We are a world addicted to violence. Sometimes an addict cannot stop himself even at the cost of self-destruction.

Here is the challenge for those of us who “get it” in 2008. We must increase our efforts bring positive change in the world. We must first convince our fellow human beings that a better world is possible. Shockingly, many don’t believe that it is.

  • We must “be the change we want to see in the world.” We must work on our own thoughts and actions to stay positive and focused on a better future. 
  • We must make intelligent, self-interested arguments that counter fear-based and selfishness-based arguments by capitalizing on positive core human instincts.
  • We must be patient with our fellow human beings. They have been conditioned to accept this nonsense for a long time and it is going to take time for them to change. 
  • We must recognize that help is not coming any time soon from our leaders and media who thrive and profit on the conflict. These institutions will probably be the last to change. We will have to force the change by changing hearts and minds.
  • We must see through arguments, even highly emotional ones, that rest on logical fallacies.
  • We must call attention to those logical fallacies and challenge their validity at every turn.
  • We must create a clear vision of what the world will look like without the conflict.

There is hope. There is possibility. There is opportunity. The world need not suffer constant chaos and violence.  For that to come about, though, enough people must believe.

Think about it today. Do you believe a better world is possible or have you bought into the assumption that nothing more is possible and so you accept what is?

I hear people say things like, “I don’t like war, but there has always been war.” “I know our leaders are corrupt, but leaders have always been corrupt.” We need not accept these as immutable truths.

John F. Kennedy quoted George Bernard Shaw in his inaugural address in 1961, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not?”

Today as the chaos heats up in Pakistan and elsewhere around our tiny marble of a world. I’m asking you to think about a better world and ask, “Why not?”

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray 

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An Affirmation for 2008 – The Affirmation Spot for December 26, 2007

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As Christmas passes, our focus begins to move towards the new year. 2008 holds potential for anything at this point. There is not yet one fingerprint on its possibility.

Today’s affirmation is:

“Who I am is not for sale at any price! I am brilliant and beautiful and a best friend to everyone who knows me. I am peaceful and happy and more successful than ever before. I am relaxed and confident and trading in my old fears on new hopes.

2008 is going to be a wonderful year for me; a year of breakthrough, options, and opportunities for new paths to follow. I am excited and ready for the challenges and the triumphs that lie ahead.

No, my self-worth, my happiness, my freedom, my unbounded optimism about what is ahead is not for sale at any price!”

earthyear.gif

As another journey around our home star begins in the next few days, begin visualizing 2008 as your big year.

Read this affirmation to yourself a few times today. Begin envisioning the new year as you’d like to see it right now. As the door of 2007 begins to swing shut, the window that is 2008 is opening.

Every possibility, every option, every hope, dream, and goal are back on the table.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray
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A Little Christmas Inspiration – The Affirmation Spot for Christmas Day 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“My dreams, however big I make them, belong to me. No force on earth can keep me from achieving them.”

I was looking for an inspirational story for the Christmas Day post and I found one closer to home than I expected. Dreams and pursuing them are a frequent topic on this blog. Belief and confidence are powerful companions when pursuing dreams, but they are empty without action.

Sometimes we need a reminder, even from an eleven-year-old, that the best way to catch a dream is to stop talking and do something about it. The eleven year old, in this case, is my nephew, Dakota Zinn. He has a dream and he is taking action on it.

How about you? The new year is coming. What are your dreams for the new year? Are you willing to take action on yours the way Dakota has.

The following article and photo are copyright The Lawrence Journal-World. Article by Kristi Johnson and photo by Nick Krug.

Dakota Zinn, 11, of Lawrence, is a fan of the Topeka RoadRunners hockey team and is so inspired by the sport that he is working to try to get a ice rink built in Lawrence.

Dakota Zinn, 11, of Lawrence, is a fan of the Topeka RoadRunners hockey team and is so inspired by the sport that he is working to try to get a ice rink built in Lawrence.


What’s a boy to do when he wants to play hockey in Lawrence?He could go to Overland Park, where Kansas University’s ice hockey club plays. Or, if the weather would stay cold enough, long enough, he could play on a frozen pond.But, if he’s like 11-year-old Dakota Zinn, he might try to get an arena built here in town. Dakota, a sixth-grader at Langston Hughes School, envisions an ice arena where youths and adults could play ice hockey and where KU’s hockey team could play. He also would want to offer open skating hours for the community and facilities for parties.And Dakota’s adamant on one point: No alcohol allowed. He has seen fans act up at Topeka RoadRunners hockey games and he wouldn’t want to see the same at his arena.“I’d rather be safe than have people there being crazy,” Dakota said.And just because Dakota is 11, don’t let that fool you. He’s taking this idea seriously.“He’s making business cards and he’s making T-shirts for all his friends,” Dakota’s dad, Rod Zinn, said. “He’s already got businesses calling him up.”Dakota thinks his age actually helps him. When adults pitch an idea, he said, it’s easy to ignore them. But when a kid has an idea, he said people take notice.

“When kids do it, they say, aw, it’s so cute,” Dakota said.

Dakota’s plan to build the Extreme Ice arena has become a family affair. He has drawn up building plans with the help of his dad, who works for Landplan Engineering. Dakota also has written surveys and fliers to get the word out. Some of the help there has come from his mom.

“We’re behind him and we’re along for the ride,” Rod Zinn said.

Dakota and his dad estimate that the arena would cost about $3 million, a cost the family’s not planning to cover alone. So Dakota also has been working to attract donors. He has even worked out different tiers for donors. For instance, a donation between $1 and $50 would get a donor a free puck signed by a hockey player.

Dakota’s dream of an ice arena has consumed much of his time the past few weeks, Zinn said. He said Dakota was sick last week, which he attributed to late nights spent working on ice arena plans.

Dakota became a fan of hockey only recently, and he doesn’t even play the sport yet. He has played other sports, such as football and baseball. But he got hooked on hockey when his dad got tickets for the Topeka RoadRunners’ home opener in September.

They had so much fun that his dad wrote a letter to the team’s owner, Mary Magdalene Lorang. She was so touched by the letter, Zinn said, that she gave his family season tickets.

And now, Dakota wants to play hockey. But he doesn’t want to leave town to do so.

He thinks having an ice arena or some other youth sports center in town is essential to attracting families with children.

“I think it’s going to become a city for older people to retire unless we get more stuff for kids,” Dakota said.

Originally published at: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/dec/25/boy_looks_score_ice_rink/

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

 

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Is There A Santa Claus? – The Affirmation Spot for Christmas Eve 2007




santa.gif Is there a Santa Claus? This headline appeared in the September 21, 1897 editorial page of the New York Sun. The question was posed by eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. Her letter to the editor reads as follows:

“Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?”

~ Virgina O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

New York Sun editor Francis Pharcellus Church responded to Virginia’s letter with this now famous editorial.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowlege.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas how dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if their were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

110 years later we live in a world infinitely more skeptical than the one Church decried. Many view Santa as just another marketing device to feed our consumerist frenzy. He is real only in as far as he serves the bottom line and provides a small slice of innocence to an ever shrinking childhood.

In our world, one where knowledge is controlled by economists and scientists; if you cannot weigh something, measure it, or define it in objective terms, it’s not real. Santa doesn’t fit into this worldview. He cannot be observed or tested in a lab. Therefore, the reasoning goes, he is not real.

Santa represents one thing – The Possible. He cannot be conclusively proved. Neither can your dreams, determination, hope, compassion, or most of the other things that make life worth living. You cannot measure a dream or weigh determination or define hope. These concepts are not susceptible to the scientific method or measurable on a profit and loss statement. And, yet, can you deny their reality?

They, like Santa, are only observable indirectly by their effects on the world. What would the world be without dreams, determination, hope, or compassion? It would be devoid of The Possible the same as if there was no Santa. Even as adults, we must continue to believe in The Possible or risk being stuck in what is; unable to move forward.

So, Virginia, is there a Santa?  Yes, there is, but those looking for Santa in chimneys will never find him. He lives only in the hearts of determined, hopeful, compassionate dreamers willing to suspend disbelief long enough see what is possible.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

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Laughter Medicine – The Affirmation Spot for Friday December 21, 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I am experiencing complete joy by seeing the humor amid all the world’s seriousness.”smiley_face.jpg

They say laughter is the best medicine. Here’s an extra dose this Friday sure to make you smile, if not laugh out loud. There is nothing in this world more life-affirming than a hardy laugh. Be careful, though, for in humor there is sometimes also great wisdom.

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

~ Herm Albright

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

~ Douglas Adams

“The optimist claims we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimists fears this is true.”

~ James B. Cabell

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t.”

~ Erica Jong

“When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?”

~ Sydney J. Harris

“Genius may have limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

~ Elbert Hubbard

“What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.”

~ Richard Harkness

“Is there another word for synonym? And why is the word abbreviation so long?”

~ Anonymous

“If all the world’s a stage, where is the audience sitting?”

~ Anonymous

“There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.”

~ Will Rogers

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm.”

~ Winston Churchill

“If you want something in life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

~ Homer Simpson

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

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One in a Trillion Miracle – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday December 19, 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I recognize the miracle that is me and the other miracles all around me.”ggb_trafficjpg.gif

 Well it’s Wednesday and in case you were thinking it is the middle of “just another week” here are some things to ponder.

Someday we will all face the end of our walk in this form.

Sometimes during the course of “just another week” we don’t recognize how precious each moment is and how quickly all this is passing us by. We forget what a miracle it is that any of us are here at all.

Have you ever really considered just how many unlikely things had to happen for YOU to be here, or, for that matter, for HERE to be here?

Every single thing we see around us all day long every day was a one in a trillion shot. Each blade of grass, each cloud, each person, even the traffic jam you found yourself in on the way to work this morning – all are totally unlikely combinations that beat the long odds to burst into existence. That’s nothing short of a miracle.

grass1.gifSomeday when you do reach the end of this stage of your journey; this “just another week” may seem a lot more special than it does now. You may wish you had stopped to witness and marvel at the whole miraculous play.

Today, make a point to see the miracles. Tell the person you care most about in this world that you love them and remind them that they are a miracle.

And when you encounter the traffic jam on the way home this evening, breathe deeply and say, “Ah, yes. You are a miracle too.” It won’t get you home any faster, but it will make the ride more enjoyable.

Enjoy a miraculous Wednesday!!

 Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

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Moving Mountains Beginning with Mole Hills – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 18, 2007


Today’s affirmation is:

It is not the mountain I conquer, but myself. I am reaching for the top of the mountain and my day in the sun is here.”

mountain.gifThere is a famous quote variously attributed to several people that says, “Whether or not you believe you can do a thing, you’re right.”  In the Book of Matthew, Jesus audaciously states, “Had you the faith of a mustard seed, you could command a mountain to be moved from here to there and it would be so.”

Both statements clearly to remind us that we have within us an astonishging capacity to do what would ordinarily be considered miraculous. In both instances, the fuel for the miracles is our belief.

I have often pondered this statement of Jesus and thought, “Ok, I believe it. I command the mountain to move.”  Immediately, even before I can get the words out, “common sense” enters my mind and says, “This is nonsense. The world does not work that way.”  Doubt has entered the picture. That’s why Jesus started his statement with, “Had you the faith…”

In Buddhism, doubt is one of the “five hindrances” to wisdom and considered the most difficult to overcome. We live in a society that teaches us that doubt and mistrust are prerequisites for our own self-protection. I wonder if the doubt spread by this world view is hindering us, individually and collectively, as we pursue our goals.

Although easier said than done, if we could suspend our disbelief just long enough to allow a firm belief in ourselves and our potential to take root and flourish; we could begin bringing the miraculous into our lives.

Maybe we start with things smaller than mountains like succeeding in our career, or strengthening our friendships and relationships, or simply achieving peace of mind.  Then perhaps we can tackle the mountain.  But then as Edmund Hilary stated, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

How true!

Everyone have a great Thursday. Find a situation today to suspend your disbelief long enough to allow your miracle.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

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