الأربعاء، 30 سبتمبر، 2009

العوض


يقول إمامنا الشيخ الأكبر محيى الدين ابن عربى:

"عليك بمراقبة الله عز و جل فيما أخذ منك و فيما أعطاك فإنه تعالى ما أخذ منك إلا لتصبر فيحبك فإنه يحب الصابرين و إذا أحبك عاملك معاملة المحب محبوبه فكان لك حيث تريد اذا اقتضت إرادتك مصلحتك و إذا لم تقتض إرادتك مصلحتك فعل بحبه إياك معك ما تقتضيه المصلحة فى حقك و إن كنت تكره فى الحال فعلته معك فإنك تحمد بعد ذلك عاقبة أمرك. فميزانك فى حبه إياك أن تنظر إلى ما رزقك من الصبر على ما أخذه منك و ما من شيئ يزول عنك من المألوفات إلا و لك عوض منه عند الله إلا الله".

لكل شيئ إذا فارقته عوض

و ليس لله إن فارقت من عوض


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

شرين

الثلاثاء، 29 سبتمبر، 2009

الأنفاس


للإمام أبى العزائم رأى وجيه فى قول الله تعالى:


" و لا تبذر تبذيرا. إن المبذرين كانوا إخوان الشياطين "


قال إن أشد التبذير هنا هو التبذير فى الأنفاس. لأن المال يروح و يجيء. لكن النفس الذى يخرج لن يرجع مرة أخرى ، فإذا بذرت نفسا واحدا فى غفلة أو فى بعد عن الله فكيف يرجع هذا النفس مرة أخرى و كيف أتداركه؟ إذا هو أشد التبذير لأن أنفاسك نفائسك.


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله

شرين

السفر


يقول الإمام الغزالى :


"السفر سفران. سفر بظاهر البدن عن المستقر و الوطن إلى الصحارى و الفلوات. و سفر يسير القلب عن أسفل السافلين إلى ملكوت السموات. و أشرف السفرين السفر الباطن".


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله

شرين

الأحد، 27 سبتمبر، 2009

Being Alone


Loneliness is not the same as being alone. It is quite possible to be alone and to feel content, fulfilled and at peace. In this state solitude can be a joy and a blessing, allowing the individual time and space to explore their own inner life, to experience tranquillity and to spend time with themselves in al loving way. In a state of solitude you feel connected to others, even if they are not present. Solitude is without fear or distress and is a peaceful state.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

كل ما خلق الله جميل


كل ما خلق الله جميل يا صديقى.. و قى ذلك يقول الصوفية:

و إذا رأيت الكائنات بعينهم

فجميع ما يحوى الوجود مليح


إحتج منشدو هذا البيت بقوله تعالى:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم: الذى آحسن كل شيئ خلقه

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم: صنع الله الذى أتقن كل شيئ

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم: ما ترى فى خلق الله من تفاوت


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

شرين

السبت، 26 سبتمبر، 2009

قرآن كريم


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم:

و هدوا إلى الطيب من القول..


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم:

إليه يصعد الكلم الطيب..


صدق الله العظيم


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته..

شرين

الثلاثاء، 22 سبتمبر، 2009

Blank Slate


What is non-doing? To say it another way, this clean slate is who and what we are. Our practice is, if I use crude words, being bodily present, opening up to being this very moment that we are. So the instruction is to be: not what we think and believe, not cut our life off in holding to believed emotion-thought, but be this that we are. This that we are, is the original face right here coming forth.

Ch'an master Caoshan says, 'The Buddha's true Dharma body resembles empty space, responding to creatures it appears in physical form like the moon reflected in the water'. Moon reflected in water-this is our functioning. So, 'be an empty slate', is not to squash your mind, to force yourself to be something else. That is a misunderstanding-we may be adding mud to the mud that already confuses us. There is nothing lacking. Right this moment, your functioning is the functioning of this non-doing. And that is why each of us can and has to manifest our original face that is our life. Practice is to testify to what is so, not because we have figured it out, or because we know it as some sort of knowledge, but because this is our life. We testify by being who we are. This is what bows, who bows, who sits. Non-doing is not about abstractions, about some added knowledge or even insight. To quote Dogen, 'One's own self is neither existent nor non-existent. It is non-doing'.


By/Elihu Genmyo Smith



Salam,

Cherine

The Significance of Love


Love enriches the soul, brings gladness to the heart and affirms that life is sacred. There is no confusion with love. You experience it in your heart as the shared filament of life, the glow that brings pure ardour into our soul, supports our spirit and contributes understanding and tolerance to our lives. It is our connection to spirituality and holiness and our most powerful connection to one another. In order to create anything of value in your life, there needs to be a vibrant delight, and what delight is more compelling than love? There are times in life when you have more questions than answers. In order to find the right answers, you need to love the questions themselves. Pour love on them until they melt. Love also offers us the key to freedom. To be free is not to cast off one's restraints but to live in a way that respects, inspires and increases the freedom of others-in other words, to live a loving life. To do this, never accept an evil that you can't change and in all that you do in life, let love be its motivation. Treat everything and everyone with love-whether it be triumph, disaster, friend, enemy, problem or joy.

Meditation on Love:

Close your eyes. Give thanks for all the heartbreaks, hurts and difficulties in your life connected to love. Give thanks for all the uplifting and happy moments love has brought you. Then give thanks that you are able to give thanks. Now be as still as you can. Be aware of the space around you and of the heartbeat within you. Concentrate on your heartbeat, and with each beat of your heart see your body and your mind beginning to shine. Now see a light coming out of your body. As the light starts to become bright, turning from pearl white to transparent, it starts to sing, beginning with one clear, bell-like voice and progressing to a thousand bell-like voices. Listen closely, hear the song and then the words. Know that for each of us the melody, harmony and tune within the song are the same, but the words are different, bringing us a unique message. As you listen to the words, you will hear your own special message.

As you listen, start to sing along with the words, burning them into your soul. When you feel ready to stop, allow the song to merge with the world around you. Breathe in and then out slowly, and then clap your hands together with intent and force to energetically close the meditation and bring it into focus.

This meditation is simple yet full of revelation.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الاثنين، 21 سبتمبر، 2009

Being Joyful, Giving Yourself Away


Are you Joyful? 'My religion is happiness', says the Dalai Lama. Dogen Zenji calls Zazen 'the Dharma gate of joyful ease'.

Do we try to get the 'thing(s)' we believe will create or bring joy, or at least end discomfort? As a short-term strategy that might be appropriate; unfortunately, doing so may lead us to further misunderstand and even miss basic aspects of our life.

Joy is exactly this life. 'True Nature is joyous' states the Ten-Clause Kannon Sutra.

We believe specific conditions and circumstances are needed to be joyful. And believing this, believing right now is not enough, makes and insures that it is so. Then we are sure life is lacking, especially in the midst of ongoing difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, seeking joy in conditions can lead to being caught up in and attached to body-mind habits, especially those of greed, anger and confusion/ignorance. Dharma reveals joy in the midst of this dependent arising life, even in the midst of the physically and emotionally painful conditions.

Practice is living this moment as is, rather than limiting life by trying to force it into the various forms that we believe to be real-feelings, habits, words, ideas and ways of functioning. Practice is living as who we are-rather than being trapped by all sorts of dreams. Joy is in the very midst of the conditions of body-mind-world. Inhabiting this body-mind moment, we learn how to do this, how to notice where we are caught up and to open to what we are rather than look elsewhere. We give our self away. In Zazen we give our self away to sitting. Giving body away to the ground, giving eyes away to the wall we face, giving hearing away to the sound, giving breath away to the universe. Giving self away; this is nonthinking. When we sit we give self to this bodily moment, to this cushion. We give our self to the earth, to the air. In giving away self, we find that we are giving our self to our self. The Zendo is a lost and found: You lose your self; and if you lose self then you find your self. Finding self, practice is this moment losing your self. Over and over, lose and find.

Look at everyday activity. What is 'walking'? Even on a mechanical level, from a simple scientific perspective, it is an interconnected process of gravity and the forces of push and reaction going on among the parts of the body, the ground, the air and the whole universe.

Ordinary walking is our opportunity to walk the universe-we walk the ground, the ground walks us. From the scientific perspective Albert Einstein states 'A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affections for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty'.

So be a scientist, be an explorer, discover the life you are. Our sitting allows us to be, to see, this life that we are. Live your life. Each and every one of us receives and lives this universe-full life. We are one with the whole universe, yet we do not manifest it as the universe in the real sense. Practicing, we see how the believed thoughts, 'my' thoughts, batter us and keep us from manifesting who we are. When there is holding believed thoughts, the practice effort is seeing this and opening right here, being this ocean that we are from the beginning. Being so, we manifest this joyful functioning in this particular wave, this body-mind world moment. Joy is not an added ingredient, dependent on anything extra. Seeing and living this, we manifest the universe we are.

Please, en-joy, be joy living this moment.


By/Elihu Genmyo Smith



Salam,

Cherine

Looking For Love


So many people are searching for love, for that special connection with another person. For most of us, the ultimate goal is to find a companion who, simply by their presence, inspires us to be a better person.


But true love does not enter into our lives when we find the ideal lover-you can look for ever for the perfect person, for they do not exist. All people in the world are flawed, it is the mark of the human condition and true love is found when we become skilled at seeing a flawed person perfectly. How do you do this? By learning to live your life with love.

Life wants to give you everything that it can, but it can only respond if you express love.What many people need to learn in life is how to love people and make use of things instead of loving things and exploiting people. What matters is not how much or even what you do, but how much love you put into the doing. Everyone you meet, in every station in life, provides you with an opportunity for love. You can find it in an uncomplicated act of kindness toward someone who needs help. You can experience it in a casual conversation or in a moment of warmth from a stranger.

If you grow to be excessively overwhelmed or obsessed with love, you miss the reality that love can reveal to you. If you calmly and serenely acknowledge love, love will take refuge in your life and talk to you with soft, constant words offering wisdom and comfort. From this point you will be ready to find another human being with whom you will bond deeply and profoundly.

This intimate easiness of love between two human beings cannot be discovered by searching for it or by craving for it. Do not search for love. You already have it.

When you do find love, remember that you cannot look for guarantees. Only fear wants a guarantee, for from the perspective of fear, nothing is strong enough. From the stance of love, none are needed.

Finally, do not forget to love yourself. Love is the sighting of ourselves in others, and without loving yourself it is impossible to love another. Never look to others to make you feel whole, worthwhile or loveable for only you can do that. Be devoted to your own inner consciousness that exists in your heart, mind, speech, deeds and beliefs. By doing this, you become your own person and take charge of yourself.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

Love And Fear


Fear is what stands in the way of opening out hearts to love. Love is the choice of the brave, who wish to heal their fears. When we let our fear blend with our love, as often happens, it creates a painful pollution that derails the path of love and affects the way we receive and experience it. Let fear find its own path to healing and love its own path to fulfilment. Remember, when you are most fearful in your experience of love, that there is no antidote for love but to love more. You cannot turn love off ; you must let it follow itw own course. You must have faith in your love, to know love without having questions, to take a risk. To love in this brave way is to cut your attachments to fear.

When we are wounded in love, it often arouses our fear. Always try to feel affection for the heart that hurts you, and not to wound the heart that loves you. Sometimes this can be the same heart, and in that dwells a paradox: to love makes us vulnerable, yet it is a blessing to have the courage to trust this vulnerable state. For in this state a great purity and inner clarity is forged-a quality so indestructible that you will always be in the place of love infused with clarity. For in this vulnerability you are always protected by the power of the innocence that comes from this state of consciousness.

When you have finally conquered your fears and healed every vestige of them, then you enter into a state of normality, so in healing fear, you heal your life.

Always remember that there is one thing greater than fear, and that is love. Allow the love within you to conquer your fear.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الأحد، 20 سبتمبر، 2009

The Role Of Devotion


The prime energy of love is devotion, which is created from the heart. Devotion is the fire of love and is the essence of how love communicates. It awakens all of you, transforms all resistance of the mind and opens new dimensions of your heart, eventually teaching you the art and power of self-surrender.

Devotion is not a weak or passive energy, nor is it slavish obedience, it is focused, direct, insightful and questioning. It does not tolerate the ranting of fear and insecurity. Devotion teaches us the value of love, for if there is no devotion, there is no love.

Love that becomes fulfilled by devotion and is content unravels mysteries and perceives new meaning and higher reasons behind many of the things that have happened in the past in our lives. With this knowledge you can start to live from your heart.

Living from the heart is the only way of caring for yourself and others. Understanding this will take us past the age of technology into the age of intuitive living. If we seek to express love by utilising our inherent abilities to serve the world in whatever we do, we find the greatest prospect for our own maturity. This is devotion.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

Love And The Search For Meaning


A person of wisdom lives by doing, not by thinking about doing. Assumptions arrived at through analysis, reason and deliberation have very little influence in altering the course of our lives, whereas actions can move mountains.


In the turbulence of life the most influential actions of our life-those that will decide the whole course of our future-are often unthinking. We are so used to not trusting our inner selves that we allow life to dictate our path. Yet, while this is fine some of the time, in the truly important decisions of life we must take charge. By making the effort to do this, we not only make a conscious choice but we learn how to elevate our consciousness through the choices we make and thereby take full responsibility for them.

Look at every path your life has taken, with scrutiny and with intent, then ask yourself this fundamental question: has this path a spirit? If it has, then the path is skilful and true. If it has not, discard it with compassion and make a new choice. In this way you are doing the necessary work in the search for meaning.

Remember that in a world of rage, no person is significant enough to make you angry, if you choose not to be. Learn to move beyond anger to that place in you where everyone is heard. This is the start of a dialogue with love.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

السبت، 19 سبتمبر، 2009

What is Zen 1


Who are we really? What is really the meaning of life? How can we attain lasting happiness in the face of our seemingly endless troubles? These questions are basic to our lives, and it is from these questions that the practice of Zen has its birth.

Zen can be the compassionate scalpel that removes the layers of accrued opinions and frozen expectations that stand between us and true experience. Zen shows us that what we mistakenly call ourselves, our personal identity, is really no more than a mask over our true selves and natures. Opinions, prejudices, educational and cultural training, our family backgrounds: All these are merely accidental factors, if you will. They are necessary tools for survival and integration into the larger society, but they are not really who you are.

Who and what are we? If you lose your job, will you lose yourself? Despite all the changes, however, something remains the same. What and where is the thing upon which we can stand firm? If the outside is so unstable and prone to change, then it would make sense to look within-to ourselves. But what are we on the inside? What in the world are we?

Zen can help us answer these questions, although Zen itself is not an answer. Zen is, if anything, the biggest question of all. It is the question that becomes a wedge in the cracked shell of our true self, prying us open to a meaning and truth that will have relevance to ourselves alone. It is a dance and a tug-of-war with ourselves.

In Zen practice, the process of identifying and reducing our attachments to our own ideas and opinions is sometimes called 'putting them down'. Just as we would put down a load that has gotten too heavy for us, so too can we put down our heavy load of self, which we identify with our personal situations and ideas.

Zen is simply nothing more than paying attention to your life as it unfolds in this moment and in this world. The mindful, nonjudgmental perception of this process is the action of your true, original self, which exists before thinking and opinions arise and seek to name and divide experience. By becoming mindful of our original nature, we are able to lessen the grip of the denial that separates us from true experience. As we become more spontaneous and intuitive in our relationships with ourselves, others and the world, the world and our deepest selves start to act as one, and we come to realize that there's never been a problem except in our thinking.

Zen is the ultimate and original recovery program. It exposes our denial of true self and shows us how we've suffered because of our diseases of attachment, judgment and division. It suggests a program for recovering our original nature and teaches steps we can take immediately. It shows us how all our other diseases and discontents flow from our fundamental denial of unity with each other and the universe. Zen is there when you swerve out of the way of a speeding car without thinking. It is there when you cry at a movie, feeling deeply the suffering of another. It is there in the unconscious grace of your walk, the elegant flow of your thoughts, and the automatic breathing that keeps you alive. No, Zen never forgets about you. It is you who have forgotten about Zen. It is you who takes this moment for granted and believes that you are separable from all you survey, alone and unique in your suffering. It is you who search high and low for meaning, contentment, satisfaction or deliverance. To try to fill your emptiness with meaning from outside yourself is like pouring water into the ocean to make it wet.

The practice of Zen is the alarm clock that wakes us up to our lives and enables us to stop sleepwalking through reality. It is the friendly map that says: 'Right here is the place. You have always been here. Where else is there?' It is the calendar that says: 'Right now is the time. Who could want another?' Zen practice identifies the liars and thieves in the temples of our hearts and casts them out so that we may live as we are meant to live: whole, fearless, and rejoined with that for which we so desperately long.


'What is Zen?'

By/ Mel Ash



Salam,

Cherine

The Path To Love


The greatest thing that each of us will ever achieve is simply to love and be loved in return. It is compassion that brings us the opportunity to love, therefore if you wish to take the path towards love, it is necessary to know the nature of compassion. Compassion is not love, though the two are sometimes confused. Compassion is the absolute kindness of wisdom that knows the essence of all suffering, whereas love is the joy of life, just as it is. The power of compassion transforms fear. To know compassion requires the release of blame, including self-blame. When you release blame, you make a leap of inner trust and your heart opens, allowing you to know your true nature, which loves without fear or insecurity.

When you face troubles in life, remember that you are simply being initiated into the mysteries of love. Face your troubles calmly and with love each and every mystery will reveal itself.

When it comes to the time for us to die, the only thing that we shall be judged on is how we loved and why. When, in the innermost part of your heart, there live words of endless love that are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of rare flowers, you shall pause and know why you are here in this life. In that movement you will know this truth: real love is beyond falling in love with anyone or anything. It is a miracle and capable of creating miracles. Love is that path by which we shall return to our higher selves.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

Love


To love and be loved is to feel the warmth of serenity and the absence of fear. Love comes to us to reunite us with life and all its possibilities for a new way of being. When we love another person, it is the meeting of two energy systems, different from one another, yet at the same time attracted. As love arrives, both are transformed. When both experience love, the emotional and physical nature of each person is changed and raised to a higher level of being. To truly love is to receive a hint of bliss and awakening.

When we love, the happiness of another person becomes essential to our own. Love shows us the bravery of loving without wanting anything in return. Giving because we can. This takes courage, because most of us are scared of falling on our faces and looking silly, or leaving ourselves open to hurt. Yet to go through the process of loving and to follow the call of your heart is an initiation into being truly human.

When one human being loves another, the most challenging of all our lessons in life is experienced, that is that each of us can love and none of us is separate from love. Love is the ultimate expression of humanity and the path for which all other paths are but preparation.

Love gives us, in a blaze, the insight and understanding that would otherwise take years of inner work. Love touches the untouchable and heals that which cannot be healed. Love is like a beautiful bud, which cannot be forced into blossom, but whose eventual blossoming makes the garden a place of enchantment.

If love is true and real, it is the same whatever or whoever we love, whether that be a person or God. Love has no still point, it is like the sea and cannot be measured. It is an act of endless forgiveness and unbreakable tenderness that transforms habits.

And despite the common saying that love is blind, it is in fact not blind at all. Love sees everything, and because it sees all, it is willing and able to see without judgment-it sees things as they are.

Love is more than a feeling. It is essentially a choice to step into accelerated consciousness. If you want to experience love, make the decision to love and to be serene. Love cannot be earned or given; it exists in all things and can only be recognised and received. Authentic love is a state of communion with all things, and when it happens, there is no need for strategy, control or an outcome.

Yet love does have a strategy, and it is to make sure that eventually every living creature knows love and is supported by it. The greatest contentment of life is the certainty that we are loved for ourselves or, rather, loved regardless of the ways in which we obstruct ourselves.

When you allow yourself to love, your life will change. When we love, we soften and open. In this enchanted state you will see many aspects of your life differently, making wiser choices and choosing a path of greater serenity.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الجمعة، 18 سبتمبر، 2009

Five Points of Practice


Practice is being the Awakened Life that we are. Being the illumined one that we are from the beginning. Maintaining this life, ongoing practice is needed-especially because of the mischief that occurs in life as a result of 'self-centeredness', because of 'delusion and attachment'. To support our practice effort, here are five points to clarify this practice of sitting, of being as we are.




First point: the ideal of how we should be is the most poisonous thing in the whole world. 'Ideal' is about 'self'; ideal is about 'others'. Ideals poison life by killing it, cutting us off from who we are, right here, right now. Ideals say, 'this isn't ok, I am not ok'. Holding to ideals cuts off the fully manifesting, fully functioning life we always are, blinding this life we are. Especially poisonous is when we do this and call it practice. 'A good Zen student does this, doesn't do this'. Then we make practice into some rigid ideal that we attempt to stuff life into. These are dreams of self-centeredness, perpetuating suffering.




Second point: the thing that erodes self-centeredness [the mischief in our life] is the open experiencing of life at this moment. Instead of 'eroding', we could say 'transforms', 'makes transparent what seems solid', or even 'reveals as is'. There is no self-centeredness that we need to do anything about except as it arises. When it arises, when we see the mischief in our life, right here is the opportunity. Not to try to fix it-in fact, if we try to fix it, it results in the opposite, a 'more solid' self. The open experiencing of this moment, feeling this bodily sensory life, is where and how self-centeredness erodes, disappears. It erodes, becomes transparent, of itself, and yet it requires experiencing. Even as we sit, we notice ideals popping up. Some of you know about computers-the pop ups that appear on the internet screen. In the same way, self-centeredness pops up of itself in this universe that is our life. Our inter-being, inter-dependent life has pop ups. The more we fiddle with the pop ups of self-centeredness, the more we give them life. Fiddling feeds self-centeredness, makes it stronger. Practice is opening as this moment, experiencing this moment life, pop ups and all. This transforms the mischief and suffering of pop ups, of self-centeredness. And yet, even though experiencing, being present, is simple and straightforward, it often is exactly what we want to avoid.




Third point: the intelligent suffering of experiencing seems horrible from the usual self-centered point of view of most people. 'Experiencing' is one of many ways to say this-being this moment, being present-even when we don't want to feel this way. We do not want to feel this way-'because it's suffering', 'because it's painful', 'because it's not comfortable', 'because, because, because,..' These are reasons that I, self-centeredness, avoid this moment. And yet practice is 'intelligent suffering'. Life only transforms in experiencing. 'What if these thoughts or feelings are unpleasant, uncomfortable?' Just sit here. 'What? You just sit here and feel this? What if it starts hurting and aching and you have to move or go somewhere or do something?' Be still, be present-be just this moment. 'I don't want to do it. It's crazy'. All this is the self-centered point of view. Which is the ordinary point of view that most people, most of us base life on most of the time. In a way, self-centeredness, ego, is always about avoiding the straightforward simplicity of life. There is no ego, there is no self-centeredness and yet, the pop up of self-centered ego arises in the midst of ordinary life, of nothing special right now. The 'intelligent suffering', 'intelligent experiencing', simply being just this moment, sometimes seems horrible, especially when we are facing a 'difficult' situation: difficult physically, mentally, socially, which are the circumstances of being human, of impermanence, the flow of life. People we love do things that we do not want. We may need to be reminded that practice is being horribleness when horribleness arises. Horribleness might arise in sitting, even though nothing extra is happening.


Fourth point: practice is not thinking about life, it is bodily feeling the totality of life. Sometimes we turn practice into thinking about practice, thinking about life. Nothing wrong with thinking, but practice is not thinking about it. Practice is bodily feeling the totality of life, being bodily present, body-mind present - body-mind are not two. In thinking 'what I need', or 'how I am', and believing it, we manage to avoid being, we avoid stepping down on the ground, even when we can't miss the ground. So, practice is not thinking about life.


Fifth point: What is practice? A good practice is absolutely simple. In fact our life is absolutely simple, except when we don't want to be simple, ordinary. We notice it when making life something other than this simple ordinary moment. And this leads to the ideals that are held rather than be this simplicity of who we are, the functioning of life. The absolute simplicity of practice. Practice, sesshin, is absolutely simple. Being bodily experiencing this whole universe life that we are, notice when caught up in thoughts, emotions, reactions. Dogen Zenji says, 'practice is in realization'. Practice is, we are, awakened life from the beginning. We aren't anything else, ever. There is no ego, no self-centeredness to get rid of, and yet there is the eroding, transforming, seeing through self-centeredness as it arises, as it is held. There is ongoing practice effort of this moment. This moment contains all past, all present, all future; we don't have to worry about it. Life is this moment-our opportunity is right here, being just this. We don't have to worry about anything. Practice is not thinking about practice. Practice is not holding to the thinking, it is being the totality of life-the open experiencing of this, feeling this bodily sensory world, this functioning moment.


By/Elihu Genmyo Smith



Salam,

Cherine


الخميس، 17 سبتمبر، 2009

Life's Journey


All living creatures are part of a whole, called by us the 'cosmos'. We human beings experience ourselves as different and separate from the rest of life, but this is simply an illusion, a kind of misconstruction of our consciousness. This illusion confines and impedes us, keeping us attached to our personal desires and habits.


Our goal must be to free ourselves from the illusion of separateness by enlarging our experience of tolerance, compassion, wisdom and generosity to embrace all living creatures and the complete cycle of nature in all its beauty and ugliness. When we are able to do this, we become truly aware and truly alive and we begin to understand our life's journey.


The naturally occurring wisdom of our inner power understands that we are a part of the whole. This deep understanding, evolved from our original experience of being part of all things. When you are connected to your inner power and live in accordance with your own truth, knowing that you are a part of the whole of life, connected to every other living creature, you will find the purpose and adventure behind your life's journey.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الأربعاء، 16 سبتمبر، 2009

Optimism, Kindness, Beauty and Truth


Consistent optimism expands and amplifies your thoughts and will power, increases your inner power and teaches the benefits of self-control, for to be consistently optimistic requires conscious choice and effort. Optimism, like the season of spring, is about rebirth, regeneration and renewal, and if you are an optimist, then it makes all your dealings with people and events much easier. Optimism is infectious; it rubs off on others who respond warmly and find their own outlook becoming more optimistic. Optimism is about believing in the best possible outcome for any situation or course of action.


The little flower was afraid. The day came when the risk of remaining closed away from the world, as a bud, was more agonising than the risk of blossoming. The flower bloomed. It gasped and then gave out such perfume that it filled the air with its happiness. Suddenly, all the other flowers bloomed as well, inspired by the little flower. What had been a rocky, soulless place became for a short time a garden of wonder.

Life should not be measured in the number of years you have lived but rather in the quality of the life you have led.


As you travel through life, take with you these three ideals: kindness, beauty and truth. Allow them to light your way and to give you fresh courage to face life when obstacles and difficulties litter your path. We recognise that when you are kind to another, you spread kindness in the world, when you recognise beauty, you add to the beauty in the world, and when you seek and speak the truth, you add to the truthfulness in the world. Powerful in its simplicity, this recognition is a beacon to live by. Allow the kindness, beauty and truth in you to surface and to show you the way forward when times are difficult. Live your life for yourself but live it for others too. This will bring a new sense of value to your life and will bring you balance too.
'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'
Christopher Hansard
Salam,
Cherine

الثلاثاء، 15 سبتمبر، 2009

Prayer 1


Praying..


Connecting..


Legs in the water..I've finally reached the water inside my soul and others' soul..


My arms up connected to the sky..I am being absorbed by the sky..


It is sunset time..


While being well grounded..and purified in the water..


I let myself in the sky..


All of my being is now deeply absorbed in a mystic ascent.. Only I know.. Only me can experience this 'Haal' ( state ).




With Compliments to Doctor/Nagui




Salam,


Cherine




Habits, Intelligence and Opportunities


In order to support the release of your inner power and serenity, you need to change any habits that are holding you back or affecting you adversely. Releasing a bad habit is not simply a question of deciding to stop. Habits become very deeply ingrained and often have a physical effect on the body. So coax your habit out of your life a step at a time, supported by the one thing that is stronger than habit-the power of kindness to the self. Once you have made the decision to be kind to yourself, your unskilful habits will gladly change.


True intelligence is revolutionary and wondrous. It is not the mindless regurgitation of others' ideas, which often passes for education. It is not slyness, quickness or approval-seeking. Nor is it to be found in an over-active mind, which is simply a reactive mind, affected by all that comes to it, to the point that it becomes no mind at all but simply a mindless habit. Real intelligence is the capacity to fearlessly focus awareness on what is genuinely important. It is based on inner power, that is the ability to trust your own knowledge, beliefs and observations, and it is compassionate, unifying, decisive and relentless. Real intelligence is uncompromising in its challenge to the status quo. It questions everything and gazes into all the dimensions of life without fear. Such intelligence is immeasurable and illuminates the world by its radiance. According to the Tibetan tradition, it is the brilliant light of intelligence that generates our central nervous system and our brain waves. This intelligence moves not just in our brains but also beyond the confines of our bodies, affecting other people and our environment directly. Cultivate your own intelligence, and the inner power that supports it, by refusing to accept mindless reactivity. Ask questions, draw your own conclusions, know what you think and be brave in stating it.


For an opportunity to blossom into a successful outcome requires the right place, the right time and the right frame of mind. There are two kinds of opportunity-those we see and take advantage of and those we generate ourselves. Be aware of both and enjoy them. Allow your inner power to guide you towards the right opportunities in your life, as well as help you create them. Remember that the obstacles in your life are often only opportunities in a different guise. When we pause to doubt our inner power, we habitually miss opportunities. Use inner power in every activity in your daily life, taking part in that activity with conscious intent and a positive attitude, and you will attract increased good fortune and opportunities. And next time there is a crisis in your life, try to identify the opportunity that it offers, even if at first it is very hard to recognize. Do not be afraid, at certain times of your life, to walk alone. If you blindly follow the crowd, you will get no further than the crowd. When you trust your inner direction, you will find yourself discovering new places, your inner power will be awackened and your heart will be alive to new life. As you create and take the opportunities that come to you, do not be afraid to make mistakes. Each time we refuse to admit an error, we erode a little of our individuality and our inner power. Be brave, also, making decisions. To move forward with the opportunities in our lives, we must make decisions. The most clear and courageous you are about this, the more it will strengthen you inner power. Being indecisive erodes energy and simply returns you to the starting point-having to make the decision. To immerse yourself in your inner power, chase each one of your dreams. Look forward to everything, expect nothing, live from your heart and the world will give you what you want.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الاثنين، 14 سبتمبر، 2009

Positive Attitude


It takes determination to maintain a positive frame of mind and attitude in the face of what appears to be defeat, loss or hurt. Yet to cultivate inner power, it is important to remain positive, whatever your situation. If you can be cheerful and optimistic in the direst of circumstances, then you have indeed achieved inner power and you have understood that the greater part of your happiness or misery depends upon your temperament, not upon your circumstances. And temperament is something we have a choice in determining.


A strong positive mental attitude can bring about miracles, leading to both inner and outer healing for ourselves and for others around us. The great spiritual leaders of the past and present, in all religions and spiritual disciplines, have all had in common an attitude positive enough to find blessings in suffering and to maintain their beliefs and integrity in the face of doubt and dissent.


By altering your mental attitude, you can change your life. What will count most in achieving success is your mental attitude. If you believe you can do it, no matter what setbacks you meet, then you will do it. To transform your life, first transform your attitude and then watch out for miracles!


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

السبت، 12 سبتمبر، 2009

Inner Power



When you have command over your state of mind, you have great power. You are able to choose how to approach any situation in your life, for with inner power comes outer power-power over your behaviour and actions and thus influence over others.

On the path to success your decision to succeed is more important than anything else. But before you decide to chase success, be sure you understand what it is and why you want it. Success for its own sake is meaningless. It is far better to aim to become a person of honesty, spiritual awareness and humanity, for these are the ingredients of true success. It is possible to fail in many ways, while there is only one way to truly succeed-an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings. When you achieve this, every experience you have is successful.

The sure way to be unsuccessful is to try to please everybody. Avoid this and keep your focus on yourself and the purpose and meaning behind your actions. Know that you are a success if you can get up in the morning and go to bed at night having in between done what you wanted to do while bringing goodness to others. Material success in life is not wrong or distasteful if you approach it and manage it with the right attitude. If your success is not on your own terms, if it appears to the world attractive and glamorous but you do not trust it in your heart, it is not success at all. Success comes from self-knowledge, and the man or woman who makes a success of living is the one who perceives the ambition as having already taken place then steadily aims for it, gathering it in, as if it were a net. In life you have achieved success when you know in your soul that you have lived as well as you could, based on what you knew of yourself at the time, laughed often, showed kindness to all and loved much.

Good people are good because they have achieved wisdom through failure. They have learnt to accept that failure is an unavoidable part of life and need carry no sense of shame or loss, for to fail you must have tried. Failure is what happens when we need to learn faith in the world and ourselves. If we learn nothing from failure, then we continue to fail-and to chase perfection, believing that next time we will achieve it. But try as hard as we might to achieve perfection, the result of our labours is always an amazing variety of imperfections. We may see these imperfections as failures, but each of them holds divine lessons and brings us beauty, and if we are able to discover this, we grow in self-knowledge and move closer to the true success that is acceptance. People who consider themselves, or are considered by others, to be failures in life are simply those who did not become conscious of just how close they were to success when they gave up. Be brave in picking yourself up and carrying on after a failure, knowing that if you accept that failure as an unavoidable and valuable part of life, then you are a step closer to success.

In order to release yourself from worry on a daily basis, end each day in thanks and stillness and then release it, along with any worries it brought, knowing that during the day you have done your best. Some errors and absurdity no doubt presented themselves; learn from them and disregard them as soon as you can. Tomorrow will be a brand-new experience. Begin it well, serene and with your spirit full of energy, hope and courage, ready to do your best once more. When we lose confidence in life and in other people then we are going in a direction that is counter to the universe. This means that we make life harder for ourselves. To change this, start by insisting, kindly and firmly, to yourself and others, on being yourself. Under no circumstances try to be like anyone else. You are irreplaceable, rare and incomparable. You need not try to safeguard your integrity and dignity, for if your heart is strong, they will be safe and will protect you. By being yourself, you will access your inner power and develop self-respect and self-love, both vital aspects of real confidence.

Each person's thoughts connect them with all other people, and so the energy of thought is enormous. A thought is not just a small, private awareness that disappears, but a unit of energy, which remains present in the world and has an effect on everything around us. Therefore it is vital to choose your thoughts with care. Thoughts not only carry themselves to others, but they lead us to our behaviour and actions. So choose to let negative, unkind or self-defeating thoughts go. Concentrate on thoughts that support yourself and others in leading good lives and achieving peace and contentment. Nothing in the world is as sacred as the integrity of your own mind. When you truly experience this for yourself, you have achieved inner power. When we take time to see the influence of our thoughts, and subsequent actions, upon our loved ones, friends and even enemies, we understand that what has passed behind us and what may be before us are insignificant compared to what lies within us. Use the power of your thoughts to connect yourself to others, to achieve your dreams and to believe in yourself.
'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'
Christopher Hansard
Salam,
Cherine




Daily Challenge


The challenge of daily life is not to just overcome issues, problems and obstacles but to transform them into blessings. If your day is filled with problems, begin to make changes by looking at your own reactions to events. Are you problem-spotting instead of noticing the blessings that come your way? Do you take for granted all the things that happen easily and run smoothly and the little acts of kindness that you receive from others? They will be there if you are willing to spot them. And the more good things you notice, the less space in your day there will be for problems and difficulties. Choose to make the way you live your daily life an act of harmony and bring daily blessings into your life.


What do I do about other people and all their problems?

There are no other people. It is the separation within our own lives and from ourselves that creates the idea of other people being different. People are the same, and their cycles of experience are also the same. We must trust this. By becoming whole within ourselves, we claim back the differences and we claim back our lives. Then there are no others. We become real individuals who are a willing part of other people's shared experiences. We become connected through love and wisdom. All the fear goes and we are content with what we have. Our foundation is serenity. We are part of each other. We are responsible each to the other, and in that for ourselves.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الجمعة، 11 سبتمبر، 2009

Find your Path


Do not simply walk blindly along the path you are on. Pause to examine with discretion and with love where the path may lead and where the choices you have made in life have taken you. If you are brave, inspired by your inner love, set out where there is no path, make your own and leave a trace so that others may also find their own path. They need not step in your footsteps, but may walk alongside you with encouragement. In creating your own path through life, you bring about your own inner teaching and this leads to serenity. As we tread our paths, some of us succumb to fear and some of us fight back. Yet we often fight back with the energy of fear and not with the energy of love. Fighting back against the problems of life inspired by fear brings more fear into your life. If you can love your fear, then it transforms itself into a powerful, sometimes fierce, love that will help you overcome all obstacles, for when you bring love into your life, you have more love available at every moment of your life. The energy of love is the responsibility of your own individual path-making.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

Everything is Interdependent



To understand reality, I find the concept of dependent origination ( in Tibetan, ten del ), adopted by the Middle Way Buddhist school of philosophy, to be particularly helpful. All things and events arise in dependence on a complex web of interrelated causes and conditions. This suggests that no thing or event can be construed as capable of coming into, or remaining in, existence by itself. For example, if I take some clay and mould it, I can bring a pot into being. The pot exists as an effect of a myriad of other causes and conditions. These include the combination of clay and water to form its raw material. But beyond this, we can point to the coming together of the molecules, the atoms and other minute particles which form these constituents. Then there are the circumstances leading up to my decision to make a pot. And there are the cooperative conditions of my actions as I give shape to the clay. All these different factors make it clear that my pot cannot exist independently of its causes and conditions. Rather it is dependently originated.

Ten del can be also understood in terms of the mutual dependence which exists between parts and whole. Without parts, there can be no whole; without a whole, the concept of parts makes no sense.

All phenomena can be understood to be dependently originated because when we analyse them, we find that, ultimately, they lack independent identity.

What exactly is a clay pot? When we look for something we can describe as its final identity, we find that the pot's very existence - and by implication that of all other phenomena - is to some extent provisional and determined by convention. When we ask whether its identity is determined by its shape, its function, its specific parts ( that is, its being compounded of clay, water and so on ), we find that the term 'pot' is merely a verbal designation. There is no single characteristic which can be said to identify it. Nor indeed does the totality of its characteristics. We can imagine pots of different shapes that are not less pots. And because we can only really speak of its existing in relation to a complex nexus of causes and coditions, viewed from this perspective it has no one defining quality. In other words, it does not exist in and of itself, but rather it is dependently originated.

As far as mental phenomena are concerned, we see that again there is a dependence. Here it lies between perceiver and perceived. Take, for example, the perception of a flower. First, in order for a perception to arise, there must be a sense organ. Second, there must be a condition - in this case the flower itself. Third, in order for a perception to occur, there must be something which directs the focus of the perceiver to the object. Then, through the causal interaction of these conditions, a cognitive event occurs which we call the perception of a flower. Now let us examine what exactly constitutes this event. Is it only the operation of the sense faculty? Is it only the interaction between that faculty and the flower itself? Or is it something else? We find that in the end, we cannot understand the concept of perception except in the context of an indefinitely complex series of causes and conditions.
If we take consciousness itself as the object of our investigation, although we tend to think of it in terms of something intrinsic and unchangeable, we find that it, too, is better understood in terms of dependent origination. This is because apart from individual perceptual, cognitive and emotional experiences, it is difficult to posit an independently existing entity called mind or consciousness. Understood this way, consciousness is more like a construct which arises out of a spectrum of complex events.

Another way to understand the concept of dependent origination is to consider the phenomenon of time. Ordinarly, we suppose that there is an independently existing entity which we call time. We speak of time past, present, and future. However, when we look more closely, we see that again this concept is merely a convention. We find that the term 'present moment' is just a label denoting the interface between the tenses 'past' and 'future'. We cannot actually pinpoint the present. Just a fraction of a second before the supposed present moment lies the past; just a fraction of a second after lies the future. Yet if we say that the present moment is 'now', no sooner have we spoken the word than it lies in the past. If we were to maintain that nevertheless there must be a single moment which is indivisible into either past or future, we would, in fact, have no grounds for any separation into past, present and futura at all. If there is a single moment which is indivisible, then we would have only the present. But without a concept of the present, it becomes difficult to speak about the past and the future since clearly both depend on the present. Moereover, if we were to conclude from our analysis that the present does not then exist, we would have to deny not only worldly convention but also our own experience. Indeed, when we begin to analyse our experience of time, we find that here the past disappears and the future is yet to come. We experience only the present.
Where do these observations leave us? Certainly, things become somewhat more complex when we think along these lines. The more satisfactory conclusion is surely to say that the present does indeed exist. But we cannot conceive of it doing so inherently or objectively. The present comes into being in dependence on the past and the future.

How does this help us? What is the value of these observations? They have a number of important implications. First, when we come to see that everything we perceive and experience arises as a result of an indefinite series of interrelated causes and conditions, our whole perspective changes. We begin to see that the universe we inhabit can be understood in terms of a living organism where each cell works in balanced cooperation with every other cell to sustain the whole. If, then, just one of these cells is harmed, as when disease strikes, that balance is harmed and there is danger to the whole. This, in turn, suggests that our individual well-being is intimately connected both with that of all others and with the environment within which we live. It also becomes apparent that our every action, our every deed, word and thought, no matter how slight or inconsequential it may seem, has an implication not only for ourselves but for all others too.

Furthermore, when we view reality in terms of dependent origination, it draws us away from our usual tendency to see things and events in terms of solid, independent, discrete entities. This is helpful because it is this tendency which causes us to exaggerate one or two aspects of our experience and make them representative of the whole reality of a given situation while ignoring its wider complexities.

Such an understanding of reality as suggested by this concept of dependent origination also presents us with a significant challenge. It challenges us to see things and events less in terms of black and white and more in terms of a complex interlinking of relationships, which are hard to pin down. And it makes it difficult to speak in terms of absolutes. Moreover, if all phenomena are dependent on other phenomena, and if no phenomena can exist independently, even our most cherished selves must be considered not to exist in the way we normally assume. Indeed, we find that if we search for the identity of the self analytically, its apparent solidity dissolves even more readily than that of the clay pot or that of the present moment. We come to see that the habitual sharp distinction we make between 'self' and 'others' is to some extent an exaggeration. This is not to deny that every human being naturally and correctly has a strong sense of 'I'. Even though we might not be able to say why it is so, this sense of self is certainly there. But let us examine what constitutes the actual object we call self. Is it the mind? Sometimes it happens that an individual's mind becomes hyperactive, or it may become depressed. In either case, a doctor may prescribe medicine in order to improve that person's sense of well-being. This shows that generally we think of the mind as a possession of the self. Indeed when we think closely, statements such as 'my body', 'my speech', 'my mind' all have within them an implied notion of ownership. It is difficult, therefore, to see how mind can constitute self. The word 'self' does not denote an independent object. Rather it is a label we apply to a complex web of interrelated phenomena.
Here let us step back and review how we normally relate to this idea of self. We say, 'I did this; I did that', and nobody questions us. It is quite clear what we mean, and everybody is happy to accept the convention. Consider an instance where, in the dark, we mistake a coiled rope for a snake. We stop still and feel afraid. Although what we see is in reality a length of rope that we may have forgotten about, because of the lack of light and due to our misconception, we think it is a snake. Actually, the coil of rope possesses not the slightest property of a snake other than in its appearance. The snake itself is not there. We have imputed its existence onto something else. So it is with the notion of an independently existing self.
There is no single thing that can be found under analysis to identify the self. Just as when we try to find the ultimate identity of a solid object, it eludes us. Indeed, we are forced to conclude that this precious thing which we take such care of, which we go to such lengths to protect and make comfortable, is, in the end, no more substantial than a rainbow in the summer sky. The 'identitylessness' of phenomena points rather to the way in which things exist: not independently but in a sense interdependently.
'The Path To Freedom'
His Holiness / The Dalai Lama
Salam,
Cherine


الخميس، 10 سبتمبر، 2009

Love to Pervine 4


Love to Pervine 3


Love to Pervine 2


Love to Pervine 1


Prayer


May I become at all times, both now and forever

A protector for those without protection

A guide for those who have lost their way

A ship for those with oceans to cross

A bridge for those with rivers to cross

A sanctuary for those in danger

A lamp for those without light

A place of refuge for those who lack shelter

And a servant to all in need.


Dalai Lama


Salam,

Cherine

Praying Mantis 3


Praying Mantis 2


Praying Mantis 1


Sufi Serpent


Once my friend a group of Sufis were gathering in a garden to pray and make Zikr together. They had brought food. After a while they noticed that a bird came took a piece of food and went up a palm. This was repeated many times and the Sufis were amazed how a bird could eat all these quantities of food. One of them climbed up the palm and reaching its peak he found a blind serpent with his mouth open..waiting. The bird came and put a piece of food in his mouth.

The Sufis understood the secret..


Subhan Allah.


Cherine

Self-Esteem, Integrity and Forgiveness


People think that self-esteem is confidence or positive thinking or the ability to get on with life when things are tough. But these are only part of the story. True self-esteem knows how to be in the right place at the right time. This is not based on ego or seizing the moment for selfish ends but rather on a connection with love that moves in harmony with the natural cycles of life. This wise form of self-esteem is free from fear and enables you to be responsible for your thoughts, deeds and actions. It is not projection of the ego but the opposite-the acknowledgement of the soul and its effect upon the world as a real force. Such self-esteem is the sacredness of life, applied to the everyday events that we experience. Each of us has this self-esteem. It connects us all, brings us friends, gives us lovers. You can feel it in others when you allow your heart to be open to other people.


Our lives improve only when we take chances-and the truest and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves. When we are we create integrity, which is the direct action of the soul upon the world. Integrity is the energy behind change and the energy of change itself. Change has a huge emotional impact on the human consciousness. To the fearful, it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful, it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident, it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better. Integrity is the honourable and elegant use of change. By staying true to yourself as everything around you changes, you come through change without diminishing your inner knowledge of what is true, moral and natural.


Each time we truly forgive, a little more goodness comes into the world. Forgiveness takes courage, self-knowledge, self-love and serenity. The ability to forgive is the attribute of the truly strong. Forgiveness is the healing of wounds, however they may be caused. It does not always lead to healed relationships, but it does lead to healed lives. When you choose to let go of a past wrong and of blame and hatred, you choose to invite love and peace into your life.

It really does not matter whether the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself because when you forgive, you release yourself from a burden of pain and bitterness. When you forgive, you heal your fear, from that comes serenity, and in that lives contentment. If your life is affected by someone who refuses to forgive, or is not capable of forgiveness, wish them well and then let them go from your life, along with your anger.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine