Metta and The Monk – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday January 24, 2008

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Today’s affirmation is actually a version of a Buddhist meditation called Metta (loving-kindness). This meditation is practiced by directing the following words at yourself. Then spreading them to loved ones and people towards whom you have positive feelings. Then applying them to people that you are neutral towards. Finally, you direct the meditation towards people you view negatively – enemies or people who have hurt you in life.


In my own practice, I have also expanded it to include all people and living things on the Earth and all living things where ever they may exist in the universe. Back in my days as a sales professional, I also would direct this meditation particularly at the customers I planned to call on the next day. It had an uncanny way of opening doors where they appeared to be closed.


“May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be free from suffering.” “May (fill in the name) be happy. May (fill in the name) be peaceful. May (fill in the name) be free from suffering.”


cave.jpgToday’s post is a random meandering from a few years ago. During my own meditations, this image of a monk sitting in the entrance to a cave kept appearing. He just sat there playing this old flute and meditating on the sound. He seemed to be communicating with me without saying anything.

How wonderful to remember that there are people out there who spend every waking moment hoping and believing in what the rest of us are capable of becoming.


“The Monk”

Gongs echo in the darkness of the valley below;
one hour to sun up.
Against the mouth of a mountain cave sits a solitary monk;
meditating on the sound of his weathered flute.


Clothed in tattered robe that once was of yellow tint;
he owns nothing in this world
but the peace of mind
born of transcendent joy.


Each morning at this very time he prays with every breath;
that those of us in the world below
would give up our anger, greed, and hatred
and be transformed by the profound bliss he knows.



Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Inspiring Words for Your Day – The Affirmation Spot for Monday January 21, 2008

Occasionally, I have these momentary streams of profoundness that flow through me. The great thing about having a blog is that I can share them with the world and hope they make a difference in someone else’s day. Here are a few original thoughts to perk up your day.

Leave a comment and let me know if they hit the mark. Or, share your own. Maybe you have something profound that needs saying as well. Each image links to related audio affirmations on The Affirmation Spot.com.


empowering_mp3_affirmations“Dreams are what happens when your passion collides with reality. Find your passion. Make it part of your reality. Your dreams will follow closely behind.”



new_person_today_mp3_affirmation
“There is much darkness in the world, but I am starting to see signs of the dawn.”




the_affirmation_spot_affirmation_home_page“In the deepest, darkest moments of our lives; we are confronted by a light of unimaginable brilliance and are surprised to find it emanating from our very own hearts.”




my_world_audio_affirmations“How small the world we share. How great our foolishness not to recognize that fact.”




health_and_fitness_mp3_affirmationsFinally, a “poem” (it probably does not conform to poetic form) that I wrote a number of years ago. I was meditating and had this vision. I call it “Engaged!”. It ponders how small acts have universe changing impacts.

Engaged!

In profound contemplation

on a gray wind-swept beach at dusk.

Reaching for a stone, I hurl it into the sea.

Wondering, as I do, whose universe I’ve shuddered.

And, how my universe has been fundamentally altered by the act.

Then I watch a seagull feed her young and listen as the sun sinks beneath the waves.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 25 years studying personal development and especially writing, recording, and using affirmations to achieve his goals. His eBook – The Power to Be You – offers 416 life-changing and original quotes, ideas, and affirmations to take you to new levels of achievement and reflection.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation, Ray’s first novel,  is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leader seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

I Have a Dream – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 17, 2008

This coming Monday we celebrate the birthday of a great man. Like most great people he is either loved (by the overwhelming majority of people) or hated (by a small minority). Great people always inspire us to have an opinion about them. In the humble opinion of this writer, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man.

Regardless of whether or not you agreed with his politics he was somone who had conviction. He stood against tremendous injustice. There was a great hypocrisy in our land in his day. A hypocrisy that had gone on too long. He stood up to be a leader and he paid the ultimate price for it.

Few people had a greater influence on modern America than this man. Today, through the magic of YouTube, I am able to share his most famous and, I believe, his crowning moment.

The day is August 28, 1963. 250,000 Americans gathered on the mall in Washington D.C. to listen to Dr. King's speech. Little did they know they were about to hear perhaps the greatest speech ever.

Four and a half decades later his words still inspire. His dream is still an aspiration. His vision is still the future we can all share as soon as we choose that course.


Runtime is 17:57

Your challenges may not be as big, but remember that anything is possible when you "have a dream".

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Making The World A Better Place Today – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday January 16, 2008


Today’s affirmation is:

“I make my world. My world is what I make of it and I choose to make it a compassionate place to be.”

hands1.gifHas the world gone nuts? It seems so some days. Thankfully, you need not wait for change to occur in the world. You can start right now to create a more sane and compassionate world in the ways you touch it.

The simple things are still the recipe for greater happiness. Treat others with kindness even when they don’t return the favor. Only use what you need. Maintain a measure of mindfulness with regard to your thoughts and activities. Join with others  who share your hope for a better, more evolved world and take the first steps today. Smile, lighten up, have fun, and enjoy your life on this beautiful world and in this marvelous Universe.

Take the Ten Commandments, The Golden Rule, the Five Precepts of Buddhism, or other ageless tenets and try living by them. Not under the commandment of any God, religious organization, or out of fear of punishment, but out of a recognition that they make rational sense and create a better world.

The philosopy you hold – Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Muslim, Hindu – is not what is ultimately important. What is important is being the most ethical, compassionate Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, or Buddhist you can be and the world will be a better place for it.

During his 1989 visit to Los Angeles, The Dalai Lama said, “We don’t need temple, we don’t big Cathedral. We need warmth of heart. We, each of us, have a responsibility to shape the future of humanity. So let us try and contribute as much as we can.”

You have the power right now to do the good that you see needs doing in the world. Certainly, collective action by a group is important, but your actions or inactions in your life today affect the world around you in big ways.  Never underestimate yourself and the power to influence things.

If someone cuts you off in traffic, don’t respond with anger that puts negative energy out into the universe. That helps. Not giving in to your own prejudices and weaknesses that contribute the problems in the world. That helps. Going out of your way to be friendly to a stranger just because. That helps.  There is no end to what you can do that will make the world a better place.

The problems we face in the world are a result of our interpersonal conflicts and our own internal conflicts projected out onto the world. If you do not address the anger and fear you feel in your own hearts you will only be bandaging the problems of the world.

With just a little effort today, you can make all the difference!

 Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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If We Want Change, We Must First Question – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday January 15, 2008



Today’s affirmation is:

“I question assumptions and long-held beliefs to discover new and beneficial ways to live.”
 

If we are to have change in the world or in our lives, we must learn to question. Questioning is difficult. The group does not like to be questioned. So much so, that in many instances the questioner is ostracized or even put to death. Jesus, Martin Luther King,  and Gandhi are all examples of those who challenged the status quo and felt its wrath.

The ego is not much more forgiving. When we challenge its dominance the ego can be nearly as viscious as the group. Stress, depression, and self-destructive behavior are defense mechanisms used by the ego to maintain its control.So, questioning is scary. Nonetheless, a failure to question is an invitation to slavery, tyranny, and unhappiness. We must question so that fresh ideas can be aired and new possibilities created.

Questioning is not the same as not believing. In fact, questioning is really an empowered type of believing that takes belief to a whole new level by verifying it and testing it against reality.Today we have three very short stories. The first two illustrate the trap of failing to question. The final story offers one way to test the validity of our beliefs and assumptions and come out stronger because of it.

The Ham  ham.jpgThere is a story of a woman who was preparing a ham to be baked. Before placing it in the oven, she sliced an inch off the end of the ham.

Her daughter was watching her bake a ham for the first time. She asked, “mom, why did you cut an inch off the end of the ham before you placed it in the oven?”

“I don’t know,” replied the mother, “my mother always cut an inch off a ham before she put it in the oven.”

Curious, the mother picked up the phone and called the grandmother to ask why she cut the end off a ham before baking it.

The grandmother answered that she had no idea why she cut the end off hams before baking them. “My mother always did it,” she said.

Finally, the mother and the grandmother got the great-grandmother on the phone. The grandmother asked, “Mom, why did you cut an inch off the end of the ham before placing it in the oven?”

The great-grandmother replied, “I cut the end off the ham because my oven was too small to fit a full ham.”

We learn by watching and absorbing the thoughts, actions, and beliefs of those around us. Often we don’t even stop to question them. Two generations of this family always cut off the end of the ham. They never quetioned it. They did it because they had seen their mothers do it.

Nothing changed until the great-grandaughter finally asked, “Why?”

Blind Leading the Blind 

buddha_teaching2.jpgWe have generational blindness leaning on generational blindness.

The Buddha once spoke to a group of young Brahmins (priests) about their “belief” in Brahma (God). “Who among you has personally seen or spoke to Brahma,” asked The Buddha?

The Brahmins answered, “None of us has seen or spoken to Brahma.”

Buddha continued, “Well then, which of your teachers has seen or spoken to Brahma?” Again, the youths answered that none of their teachers had actually seen or spoken to Brahma.

Finally, Buddha asked, “Who in your lineage going back seven generations has seen or spoken to Brahma?” The young Brahmins admitted that no one even going back seven generations had actually seen or spoken to Brahma.

“Then,” said Buddha, “If not you, nor your teachers, nor their teachers going back seven generations has seen or spoken to Brahma, you are but the blind leading the blind.

Buddha was not attacking their beliefs. He was trying to get them to examine their beliefs and ideas and to become a fully awake and responsible human beings. 

Challenge Beliefs and Put Them to the Test

buddha_teaching.jpgDuring a visit to the town of the Kalamas, the Buddha was asked a crucial question.

“Reverend Gautama, many teachers enter our midst teaching that their way and their way alone is the path to salvation. They extol the virtues of their own doctrines while tearing down the doctrines of other teachers. This creates doubt in our minds about all their teachings. For how are we to know which speaks the truth and which speaks falsehood?”

Buddha replied, “Kalamas, you have doubt in circumstances where doubt is understandable. Where doubt thrives uncertainty is born.” The Buddha proposed a test against which to measure any teaching including his own.

  • Do not believe something because it has been passed down and believed for many generations.
  • Do not believe something merely because it is a traditional practice.
  • Do not believe something because everyone believes it.
  • Do not believe something because it is written in a book and has been recited over and over.
  • Do not believe something solely on the grounds of logical reasoning.
  • Do not believe something because it fits your preconceived notions.
  • Do not believe something because you trust who is saying it.
  • Do not believe something only because your teacher says it is so.

“Kalamas, when you yourselves know directly something is unskillful, unwholesome, blameworthy, rejected by the wise, harmful to yourselves or others, leads to poverty or unhappiness, you should give it up.”

“One the other hand, Kalamas, when you know directly that something is skilled, wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise, and leads to well-being, prosperity, and happiness, you should accept it and practice it.”

We all need to examine the beliefs that are driving our actions in this world. When we look at the state of the world we must conclude that there is more each of us can do to make a difference. It all begins with questioning age-old beliefs. Even beliefs based in truth can become clouded by generations of unexamined hatreds, fears, and prejudices.

Every change, personal or global, begins with the courage to question.



 Be peaceful Be prosperous!


Ray

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The Peaceful Divorce Advocate – The Affirmation Spot for Saturday January 12, 2008

The Affirmation Spot - Intelligent Optimism for the Real World.


Today’s affirmation is:

“Even as my marriage splits, I am finding ways to keep my life and my family together.”

There is always a positive side to every experience we have in life. Even the most stressful situations can be made better when we make empowered choices. Divorce, unfortunately, is pandemic in our society. While no one wants to advocate divorce, it is an unfortunate fact of life.

The adversarial legal system makes a bad situation worse. It is not designed to help the parting couple in their future role as partners in raising their children. In fact, it is designed to create adversity and animosity not beneficial to that process.

The peaceful divorce movement has grown up as a response to that problem. It offers an alternative to the angst of the traditional system. It provides many broken families hope for a peaceful, productive future. 

Today The Affirmation Spot welcomes an article from guest contributor and peaceful divorce advocate, Belinda Rachman Esq.

The Last Thing You Need Is A Divorce Lawyer!

belinda.gifWhy You Should Consider A Cooperative Divorce

The divorce process is so complicated most people just don’t want to deal with it on their own. Traditionally the process of getting a divorce has involved hiring lawyers, going to court and letting a judge or the lawyers decide and/or negotiate the outcome. The couple plays the most passive role in the legal drama. Because the decisions are coming from above instead of the couple themselves fashioning a result, it is often difficult for the couple to comfortably live with the final outcome.

Most people resent solutions that are imposed on them. It is natural that individuals are more satisfied when they get to decide for themselves instead of being told what to do. When the couple is more actively involved in creating the terms of their own divorce instead of having to put up with the “one size fits all” solution that the legal process gives them, there is a better fit and more of a commitment to make it work.

So here is the most important question, does it make sense to avoid the adversarial system for your divorce? If keeping out of court and saving money on legal fees while protecting your assets and co-parenting relationship sounds good to you, then you really ought to explore mediation. I am not saying mediation is for everyone, but if the two of you are decent people who just want out, no one is trying to hurt the other one and both of you are honest and reliable about money with enough honor to keep your word, then you are the perfect client for mediation.

What A Mediator Does

The attorney who acts as mediator does not represent either party but acts as a neutral facilitator who is a resource for both. The couple can ask the attorney/mediator legal questions and receive help in arriving at all the terms of their divorce. The mediator drafts the marital settlement agreement, which is the document that is attached to the Judgment. The judge signs the agreement without the couple ever going to court and the divorce becomes final 6 months from the day the initial papers were filed and served. When the mediator has a powerful intention to complete the divorce process instead of dragging it out, the results are miraculous.

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

Mediator fees vary depending on location and expertise so call around to make sure you are fully informed. In my own practice the whole process, on average, takes between 4-7 hours but there is certain homework that must be done prior to working with me. It is important to know the mediator’s success rate and how many meetings it usually takes. Mediation is a tiny fraction of the cost of litigation. In California where the average cost of a divorce is $20,000 per side, mediation will always be less. The financial benefits of mediation are obvious but more importantly, you will be comfortable enough with your spouse to co-parent your children. This is the best gift you can give to your children. I ought to know, I was one of those kids caught in the middle. This is why I do what I do. Using mediation instead of litigation brings some sanity back into the divorce process because the adversarial system destroys families. So ask yourself, what kind of divorce do you want? Peaceful divorce is an idea whose time has come.

How To Choose A Mediator

So let’s assume you want to proceed with mediation. You want to make sure the mediator you use has a great track record. The most important thing you want to know is how many couples have they worked with and what percentage settled. Once you find that out you can compare price, length of time it takes and other factors like personality and sex of the mediator before you make up your mind. The important thing is to have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Remember you only get one chance to have a “good divorce” so don’t go down the wrong road because you won’t like the destination.

Is Mediation Right For You

Divorce mediation works best with honest people who are not hiding assets and just want a result that is fair. Most couples who are in the initial stages of thinking about getting a divorce would do well to meet with a divorce mediator as opposed to hiring their own attorneys. You only get one chance at getting a divorce without acrimony. Once you start to go down that adversarial road, it is that much harder to get back to a place where you can function comfortably as co-parents.

Ms. Rachman has been a family law attorney since 1996 and is convinced our adversarial legal system destroys families. She left a successful adversarial law practice and now only does divorce mediation. To find out more information on how mediation differs from litigation, go to http://www.divorce-inaday.com.

Thank you, Belinda for your commitment to helping people in a difficult situation.

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Integrity of the Political System Prerequisite for Freedom – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 11, 2008

Touchscreen Voting MachineIt is not my intention to write on the subject of politics so regularly on this blog. The primary focus of The Affirmation Spot is positive thinking and motivation.

However, what is happening in our political system does have a huge impact on our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. To remain silent and not try be a voice for proactive positive change, seems not an option. 

The freedom to choose our own government representatives is a rare thing in human history. The process should be something we cherish, something motivating not demotivating.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich announced this morning his intention to call for a formal recount of the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. The Kucinich move follows that of Albert Howard, a minor but principled candidate on the Republican side, who initiated the process in that party yesterday.

Both men and a growing number of Americans are concerned about the integrity of the voting system and the specific results in Tuesday’s 2008 New Hampshire primary. After the 2000 election and the spectacle of hanging chads in Florida, the federal government funded a program to replace all non-electroinic voting methods with electronic machines. That program is still underway, but has been rolled out to most non-rural precincts nationwide.

Despite concerns by technology experts, privacy advocates, and other concerned citizens many of these machines are “paperless” meaning there is no non-electronic trail to confirm votes. Even the viability of a recount is questionable if there are problems.

Several technology experts have demonstrated that these machines can be hacked. This can happen without well-meaning poll watchers (our traditional method for ensuring the integrity of elections) even knowing it. Many of the people with the time to volunteer for poll observer positions are not familiar with the new technologies. This is a bad combination for open and transparent elections.

amflag2.jpg

There are several things driving this to a head in New Hampshire right now. First, is the apparent 10-15 point last minute shift away from Barack Obama towards Hillary Clinton. Second, is awareness (even vigilence) about this issue among Ron Paul supporters many of whom believe his numbers were skewed. Third, there is tremendous distrust out there among the electorate on voting system integrity after the 2000 and 2004 elections.

It is baffling how so many pre-primary and exit polls could be so wrong on the Democratic race. National pundits are at a loss to explain it other than to conclude that voters must have been lying to pollsters. CNN political analyst Bill Schneider did go so far as to include vote fraud as a third and reluctant possibility to explain the situation.

Logic dictates that it was Obama supporters, many of whom do not fall into traditional polling samples in such large numbers, would tend to skew polls more in Mrs. Clinton’s favor. Could so many people change their minds so dramatically so quickly?

On the Ron Paul side of the fence, many questions exist. One town – Sutton, NH – had to restate its vote totals after some local voters confronted them with what they knew to be faulty results. The town’s vote totals were turned in with zero votes for Paul. A family who had voted for Paul saw the results and contacted election officials. It turned out that Paul had actually received 31 votes and that there had been “an error” in transferring numbers over to the official tabulation sheet.

Anecdotally, there are numerous voting areas in the state with hundreds or thousands of voters where Paul received zero votes – something unlikely for a candidate consistently receiving around 10 percent of the vote.

There is also a huge discrepency for both Obama and Paul in parts of the state using countable paper ballots and those using electronic machines. Some of the disparity, no doubt, has to do with the “political geography” of the state. Nonetheless, it is discouraging that vote counts with verifiable means are so different from vote counts more difficult to verify.

kucinich2.jpgIn his  comments on a nationally broadcast radio show this afternoon, Mr. Kucinich stated that he was not calling for the recount to benefit his campaign. He admitted his results would probably not change significantly. He said he hears concern about vote integrity on the campaign trail, “more than any other domestic issue”.

I have personally been following this issue for several years and there is so much more to what is going on than there is time to share here.

Kucinich feels like the integrity of the voting system is paramount. I whole-heartedly concur. Democracy, real democracy, is a positive in global society. The ability of ordinary people to choose leaders and direct their own lives is the foundation for any citizen wishing to enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

It does not matter what candidate you support there must be integrity in the voting system. They say perception is reality. The perception on the part of millions of Americans (participants and non-participants in the system) is that our political system is broken.

Voices like Ron Paul’s, Dennis Kucinich’s, and it would appear Barack Obama’s are not very welcome in the circles of status quo. They enjoy broad support among people committed to reforming things. The status quo prefers things to remain, well, status quo.

Every positive stride we have made towards a more just, a more free, a more open nation and world is put at risk when we fail to question. Thank goodness there are some people still willing to do it.

Who knows what the recount will reveal? This is definitely an issue that needs to be in the consciousness of every American voter – Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent.

If there was even a chance your favorite sports team was being treated unfairly, you’d be upset. Why tolerate even the possibility or appearance of impropriety in our political system?

Every voter, whoever your candidate, has a right to be assured that your vote is counting in The United States of America.

I wish Barack Obama or Ron Paul had chosen to challenge this directly. Thank you, Dennis and Albert, for taking a stand for every American who wants to believe!

Be peaceful Be prosperous.

Ray

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