Simple Loving Kindness Meditation

Good morning, my friends. The esteemed Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. For the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful work to bring an end to the Vietnam War.

He called his work “Engaged Buddhism.” While older monks sought to remain above the fray in the the country’s civil war, Thay, as he’s known to his students today, led a group of younger monks who worked actively to stop the war. 

For his trouble, the victorious North Vietnamese exiled him from the country. Their loss was the West’s gain. He established his Plum Village Monastery in France and began sharing his message of peace and compassion with western readers.

My favorite book of his is Peace Is Every Step. The book is filled with wisdom and insight into our struggles as human beings and ways to release ourselves from them.

In that book, Hanh shares a simplified version of a Metta (Loving-Kindness) meditation that I have used off and in for many years. It’s a fantastic mantra for meditation, but is also a fantastic aspirational affirmation.

May I be happy.
May I be peaceful.
May I be free from suffering.

May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Ray

Let Love, Compassion, and Peace Decide You

Something will decide you. Let it be love, compassion, and peace.

If you allow the anger and the vitriol to win, you eventually become filled with it.

If you allow “Us” vs. “Them” to triumph, we’ll wind up with an unhappy cinder of a world.

Be open to change. Be open to new ideas. It’s the way of our Universe. Nothing, nothing, stays the same forever. Stopping change is impossible. We can only hope to mold it into something more productive and that helps more people.

A really famous guy counseled to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes today. If you do, I promise, you’ll find a sympathetic figure wanting most of the same things you want. If one mile doesn’t get tou there, walk two. If you’re still angry at the person, you haven’t walked far enough.

The sky is a big place for a narrow mind and a closed heart. Let yours be opened from horizon to horizon. See with new eyes.

Yes, something will decide you. Let it be love, compassion, and peace.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you’re awesome!

Ray

Anger Never Heals

As sure as 2+2 does not equal 5, anger + anger never equals peace, contentment, or healing.

We live in a world that’s too often filled with anger. Some have just causes for their anger. Others just have unresolved issues lingering in their lives that cause them to lash out at the world. Still others were never taught other tools for dealing with their feelings beyond anger.

The relative anonymity and distance of social media makes it simple to torch other people, their ideas, and their motives.

Whatever the reasons for the anger or the justifications, the equation still holds. Anger + anger never equals peace, contentment, or healing.

Yet, if you look at many of the forces trying to reshape the world, it is anger that drives them. In a world where facts morph and people need scapegoats for their paradigms to work, it’s easy to see to why.

But I tell you this and say it clearly. No solution to our challenges will be conceived anger or its allies blame, hatred, and violence. The belief that these mindsets can fix a world already drunk on them is delusional.

Because of the immutable equation above, angry mindsets, motives, and ideologies cannot mend and heal an angry world. They may believe their ends justify their means, but their success can only result in another version of an angry world.

All the great teachers from all the great faiths – living and dead – have spoken with one voice on this. It is love, it is compassion, it is peace that can remake this angry world. Despite thousands of years of these wise teachings, it’s still easier for many people to rise and live their days filled with anger, blame, and hatred. They speak of “those people” – whoever those people are to them. They point fingers and they scheme win the game by wiping alternative views off the board. They follow leaders and voices that stir their anger rather than their humanity.

General Omar N. Bradley aptly described our dilemma at the dawn of the nuclear age.

We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.

We must get it through our heads that we are ALL in this together. For better or worse, we are passengers on this tiny little blue marble spinning precariously through a vast dark cosmos.

Peace is the way forward. Love is the way forward. Compassion is the way forward. It’s that simple and that hard. There are no exceptions to the rule. Anger begets anger. Love begets love.

The choice, as it always has been, is ours.

Just in case no one has reminded you today, you ARE awesome!

Ray

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A Peace to End All Wars – Day 321 of 365 Days to a Better You

They called World War I “the war to end all wars.” This was a wrong-headed idea from the beginning. War can never and will never end war. One hundred years later our civilization still buys into the idea that conflict can end conflict. Time and again, this premise has been demonstrated to be false. Yet, we’re still at it.

The truth has forever stared us in the face. Buddha said it 2500 years ago.”For hatred never ceases by hatred. Hatred ceases by love.”

Five hundred years later Jesus counseled, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

Yet, here we are still trying quench hatred and violence with hatred and violence. Here we are still cursing each other as enemies.

President Kennedy made a bold and insightful statement nearly 60 years ago. Never has it been more apt than right now. “Mankind must put and end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”

We’ve talked multiple times during our journey together about the need for an empowering foundation and a nourishing environment. War, hatred, and violence are the antithesis of that environment. So, issues of war and peace are fundamental to any personal development we hope to pursue.

Our society is the result of the cumulative thinking of us all. If we have perpetual war, it’s because that’s the mindset that dominates our consciousness as a whole.

Understanding the beneficial nature of peace to our own development, it behooves us to break the conditioning and become tireless advocates for peace and the changed mindsets that can support it.

A peaceful world is more than a nice aspiration. It’s now a prerequisite for human survival and our next steps out into the galaxy. Let us all strive to create a peace to end all wars because that’s all that ever will.

In case no one else reminded you today, you’re awesome!

Ray

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Light Conquers Darkness – Day 312 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s Affirmation

I embody the triumph of light over darkness.

Do you believe good defeats evil, right vanquishes wring, light conquers darkness? There’s no missing the metaphor this time each year. As we approach Winter Solstice n the northern hemisphere, we are also experiencing the longest, darkest nights of the entire year. Then, just when it seems darkness will prevail, the cycle reverses. The days slowly begin to get longer and light is victorious.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, the Solstice, or are just a casual observer, you’ll note this time of year is celebrated as a “season of light” in celebration of this victory; whether you see it as literal or metaphorical.

It begs the question. What’s your life philosophy when it comes to the great battle between light and darkness that wages constantly in our hearts, our minds, and our world? Do you believe in the eventual triumph of light in the human spirit or have you bought into the long night of humanity’s past and given up hope?

Your answer informs your worldview to a large degree. It affects your thinking, your words, your actions, and how you interpret the world around you. All of those create your life experience and the collective belief of a critical mass of people literally creates our world.

We cannot afford to cede victory to the darkness, while claiming to seek a better us and a better world. Hard as it is some days, you’ve got to believe that light is winning and will win in the end.

When you’re firm on that, the cynicism drops away, your mission clarifies, and you become an active participant in ensuring that’s the outcome we’ll experience.

Wishing each of you a light-filled day. Just in case no one has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Ray

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