Aug 20 2014

The First Truth

Published by Cathie under Main

“I teach about suffering and the way to end it.” Buddha

Bear looked at the old man. Surely he had to be kidding. He had been atop this mountain for what seemed like eternity. He had mastered the poisons of the soul, or so he thought, and he was ready to go home.  “There’s something more to learn?” he asked.

The old man laughed. “There are always new things to learn. You will never stop learning during this lifetime or the next.” He gazed across the mountains. “It’s like hiking. When you get to the top of a mountain, there’s always another mountain off in the distance. These teachings will guide you toward enlightenment and the path to your true self.” He smiled. “You will survive your own identity, in spite of yourself. The flow of experience gradually sculpts your mind.” He gestured Bear over to a large rock and motioned for him to sit. “There are four noble truths that you need to understand, not as beliefs like the sun will come up, but as categories of experience. These truths drop the ideas of me/not me, and being/not being.”

Now Bear felt really confused. He remembered a line from a play he had been forced to read in school. “To be or not to be. That is the question….”

“You look perplexed,” the old man said. “When you think of one’s sense of “me” you are stuck with the ego and doomed to failure because the ego is inconstant and stressful.”

Bear scratched his head. “So what are these truths? I don’t understand.”

“The first truth is that life is suffering and when you suffer you are stressed. Cause and effect? Right?”

“But I don’t want to suffer,” Bear exclaimed. “I want peace.”

The old man smiled gently. “Of course you do. We all do. Life is filled with suffering. We experience illness, poverty, disease, old age, and death. We can’t keep what we like and avoid what we don’t like. If this is all we know then we will suffer.”

Bear thought for a moment. Yes, he had known his share of suffering. He had been sick. There were times they had no money or food. He had seen his grandparents grow old and die, and of course, there was his father’s death. “There are other ways of suffering, old man.”

The old man’s face brightened. “Yes. Can you think of some?”

“When I’m in pain I suffer. When I’m afraid I suffer. There are times that I’m happy and the feeling leaves me, and then I suffer because I’m not happy any longer. I’ve know people who suffered a great deal over something in their life and they killed themselves to ease their suffering.”

The old man shrugged. “That’s not a way to end suffering. Unfortunately, they will find themselves reborn in a different body which will also experience problems, and often they are the same problems they tried to escape.”

Bear made a face. “That’s cruel. They were in agony.”

“No. It is just the law of karma. Cause and effect, remember. Nothing else. In the end all of us are going to die. We’ll lose everything. Life is transitory.”

Bear thought this was very depressing. “So what is the point of this life, old man?”

“Haven’t you been listening to me? All is illusion. You must realize that the external world is an illusion. You must learn that you are your own worst enemy and the place you seek is inside.” The old man rubbed his belly. “Enough for today. Let’s pick some berries. I’m hungry.”

“Okay. Life is suffering, but that sucks.” Bear followed the old man, wondering why he had been born. If this was true, Life was a cruel joke.

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Aug 19 2014

Your Mind

Published by Cathie under Main

“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?” Buddha

It’s our minds. They get us into plenty of trouble. The ego, which rules our beings on the planet because we let it, wants to gossip, put others down, and gain superiority over others. But through the eyes of the soul all is one. We are all drops of water in a vast ocean of life, but our egos want us to remain separate. Did you realize that a sincere act of love or generosity can wipe the slate clean of a thousand dark sins? Talk about a way to clean off some karma and get that soul squeaky clean!

So why not try it today? Vow to silence your mind. Perform a sincere act of love or generosity. In other words, pay it forward. With meditation you can learn to silence your mind, which is a comprised of the voices of society and your own ego. Learn to see clearly. Recognize illusions. Keep your soul intact at all times. Look for God in the smallest details of your life. And remember that truth is a force of transformation and truth always causes change.

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Aug 18 2014

An Opportunity to Excel

Published by Cathie under Main

“We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.” Alexis de Tocqueville

Yesterday we were visiting some people who had purchased a motor home from us. The gentleman had been in the car and RV business for many years and often said how well our business ran. I admitted that we were having some problems, and without going into them asked him his opinion, which I value. He smiled gently and said, “Those aren’t problems. They are opportunities to excel.”

Hmm. He’s right. I just need to turn around my thinking, put up on the white board, Opportunities to Excel, and have our employees read that statement and make the decision to excel. So, today as I start this week I am looking at problems as opportunities to excel, to reach down into the depths of my soul and pull out my positive qualities and turn around my defects.

If you are a hiker, you realize that when you reach the top of a mountain there is another mountain off in the distance that challenges you. And so is life. It is one challenge after another.

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