الجمعة، 30 أكتوبر، 2009

Intimacy and Commitment


Practice is intimacy, intimacy as the whole universe, intimacy as our life, this moment. In ordinary language, in ordinary life, we use the word intimacy and think we know what it means. We use intimacy in terms of specific relationships, specific activities, or periods of activities, such as music, arts and sports. In fact, the enjoyable, nurturing and enlivening aspects of these activities are related to being intimate. Nevertheless, understanding intimacy only in this so-called ordinary way, especially in terms of the pleasurable and seductive quality of activity, may lead us to miss the most basic and underlying aspect of intimacy.

We feel intimate with another in relationship as long as they fit our expectations. What is expected, what is included or excluded? I am intimate with my parents except when they are critical of me, or demanding, or boring or needy. I am intimate with my partner except when they are troublesome, not enjoyable to be around, not the way I want, when it does not feel intimate. Do you cut off this moment, from your life? This 'cut off' maintains self-centered suffering. How is it when a person manifests habits that I don't like, is not doing what I want? What if they have terrible tastes in clothes, music, etc..? Intimacy is resting on the icy couch of this moment. Often I would rather run from this moment by reacting with anger, avoiding what seems to be painful to experience. Holding to emotion-thoughts and reacting from them cuts off the intimacy of life.

We often associate intimacy with certain pleasurable feelings of closeness of relationships. Do you say 'I like the intimacy of our relationship but don't ask for a commitment?' Do you want the relationship and intimacy when it feels good but not when it does not feel good or comfortable? Commitment is not dependent upon circumstances. And commitment comes from beyond self-centeredness. True commitment grows out of who we truly are, manifests who we are.

Commitment is vital to pracitce. All of us know this-if you want to learn to play a musical instrument, if you want to learn an art, a skill, a craft, a language, you must make a commitment. We make a commitment despite the fact that it gets hard, boring, dull, or unappetizing. Some do not commit, are not willing to experience what is hard, boring, dull. Commitment grows from what might be said to be 'deeper' than small self.

At times we believe intimacy is unpleasant, and is something to avoid, since it doesn't feed the rational 'I want, I like, I enjoy'. 'It is not exciting enough, deep enough, does not produce the results I want, is uncomfortable, does not go anywhere'-all sorts of reasons. Sitting is being just this 'does not suit me'. Sometimes we talk about intimacy, say all sorts of things, know all sorts of things about it but refuse to be so. We may talk about practice endlessly and yet, talk does not reach. Avoiding is refusing this intimacy that is life, avoiding this bodily moment.

Commiting to practice, to who we truly are, does not mean that at times it is not hard or that we do not feel like running; yet we commit. Intimacy is our life, it is not something added on, it is not something special to do. This is raising the illumined mind.

Illumined is who you are-it is only the clinging of attachments, self-habits, self-discomfort, self-thinking, that confuses, that cuts us off and blinds us. Being this bodily moment as is, forgetting self, life functioning manifests naturally, intimacy blooms.

Everyday functioning, morning to night, are opportunities of intimacy. The whole of our practice is nothing but intimacy. The whole of our life is nothing but intimacy.


By/ Elihu Genmyo Smith



Salam,

Cherine

الأحد، 25 أكتوبر، 2009

مفهوم السعادة




إن السعادة معنى لا يقاس بالكم، و لا تحويه الخزائن، إنها صفاء نفس و طمأنينة قلب و انشراح صدر، و راحة ضمير، و عمل يعقبه راحة و نجاح و سرور..قال ربنا سبحانه و تعالى: "من عمل صالحا من ذكر أو أنثى و هو مؤمن فلنحيينه حياة طيبة و لنجزينهم أجرهم بأحسن ما كانوا يعملون" ( سورة النحل - 97 ). و لا يمكن إدراكها بكثرة مال أو جاه أو سلطان و لا يأتى بها الحرص و الطمع بل الرضا فى جميع الأحوال و القناعة فى أسمى معانيها. قال سبحانه و تعالى : "ما يفتح الله للناس من رحمة فلا ممسك لها". ( سورة فاطر - 2 ). و لا يأتى بها الغضب و البطش بل العفو و الحلم، قال سبحانه و تعالى: "و لمن صبر و غفر إن ذلك لمن عزم الأمور".




إن السعادة لا يمكن الوصول إليها بكنوز الفضة و الذهب لأنها أغلى من كنوز الدنيا كلها، قال تعالى: "أفمن شرح الله صدره للإسلام فهو على نور من ربه". ( سورة الزمر - 22 ). و قال سبحانه: "و الذين جاهدوا فينا لنهدينهم سبلنا و إن الله لمع المحسنين". ( سورة العنكبوت - 69 )




إبحث فى داخلك، ففى أعماقك تجد كنزا ثمينا حين تكتشفه تعرف معنى الحياة، و طعم السعادة، و صدق الشاعر إذ يقول:


دواؤك فيك و لا تبصر..و داؤك منك و ما تشعر


و تزعم أنك جرم صغير..و فيك انطوى العالم الأكبر


إن السعادة لا تفتح بابها إلا لأهل الود و الإستقامة، و لا يشعر بها إلا المخلصون البررة. و الحق أن السعادة فى نظر الفضلاء هى تقوى الله، و مراقبته فى السر و العلن،هى الروح المهذبة، و القول الرشيد، و الصنعة الرفيعة. إن السعادة لا تأتى من فراغ إنما هى نتاج عمل دءوب، و مجاهدة نفس و حمل على المكاره، و من بين الأسباب الموصلة إليها:


عبادة الله :


أولا : أداء الفرائض :


يقول ربنا سبحانه و تعالى فى الحديث القدسى : "و ما تقرب إلى عبدى بشيئ أحب إلى مما افترضته عليه".


ثانيا : النوافل :


يقول سبحانه و تعالى فى الحديث القدسى : "و ما يزال عبدى يتقرب إلى بالنوافل حتى أحبه".


ثالثا : الذكر :


ذكر الله شفاء و دواء و يكفى الذاكر فخرا أن الله يذكره فى العالم العلوى ما دام الإنسان ذاكرا لربه قال تعالى : "فاذكرونى أذكركم" ( سورة البقرة - 152 ). كما أن ذكر الله فيه طمأنينة للقلوب و راحة للنفوس و انشراح للصدور، قال عز و جل: "ألا بذكر الله تطمئن القلوب" ( سورة الرعد - 28 ).


يقول ابن القيم رحمه الله حضرت شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية مرة فصلى الفجر ثم جلس يذكر الله إلى قريب من منتصف النهار، ثم التفت إلى و قال لى: "هذه غدوتى لو لم أتغذها لم تحملنى قواى".


رابعا : قراءة القرآن :


إن فى قراءة القرآن و العمل به شفاء للأبدان و النفوس، قال سبحانه و تعالى: "و ننزل من القرآن ما هو شفاء و رحمة للمؤمنين و لا يزيد الظالمين إلا خسارا". ( سورة الإسراء - 82 ).


خامسا : البر بأنواعه :


لا شيئ يورث الرضا و السعادة بقدر ما يورثها البر و الإحسان، قال سبحانه و تعالى : "إن الأبرار لفى نعيم". ( سورة الإنفطار - 13 ).


يقول ابن تيمية رحمه الله : ( إنه لتمر بالقلب ساعات يرقص فيها طربا، حتى إننى أقول: إن كان أهل الجنة فى مثل ما أنا فإنهم لفى عيش طيب ).


و يقول رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : " الإحسان أن تعبد الله كأنك تراه، فإن لم تكن تراه فإنه يراك".




الإيمان :


قال سبحانه و تعالى : "فمن اتبع هداى فلا يضل و لا يشقى". ( سورة طه - 123 ).




الرضا :


يحدثنا التاريخ أن سعد بن أبى وقاص رضى الله عنه كف بصره، و كان مجاب الدعوة، فربما جاءه الناس فدعا لهم فاستجاب الله دعاءه، فقال له قائل : لم لا تدعو لنفسك يا سعد؟ قال: يا بنى..قضاء الله عندى أحسن من بصرى.




السعادة و التعامل :


الإحسان إلى الناس من أعظم أبواب السعادة، و قديما قال الشاعر:

أحسن إلى الناس تستعبد قلوبهم..فطالما استعبد الإنسان إحسان

و يقول صلى الله عليه و سلم: "إن أحبكم إلى و أقربكم منى مجلسا يوم القيامة أحسنكم أخلاقا، الموطئون أكنافا، الذين يألفون و يؤلفون".

و قد روى عن بعض السلف أنه كان يقول : ( إنه لتكون بينى و بين الرجل الخصومة، فيلقانى فيلقى على السلام فيلين له قلبى ).

إن تخفيف النكبات على الآخرين و طلاقة و بشر الوجه و العفوية و التماس الأعذار و عدم البحث عن سلبيات الآخرين كلها تجلب السعادة، قال سبحانه و تعالى : "خذ العفو و أمر بالعرف و أعرض عن الجاهلين". ( سورة الأعراف - 199 ).

و فى الحديث الشريف : "أعط من حرمك، و اعف عمن ظلمك، و ابذل نداك، و كف أذاك، و تعاهد من وصلته بمعروف جديد، تجد السعادة فى عالمك".


السعادة و القناعة :

السعيد ليس من ينال كل ما يرغب، و إنما السعيد من يقنع بما أعطاه الله عز و جل. قال صلى الله عليه و سلم : " من أصبح منكم آمنا فى سربه، معافى فى بدنه، عنده قوت يومه، فكأنما حيزت له الدنيا".

و أخيرا الإستقامة، يقول سبحانه و تعالى: " و ألو استقاموا على الطريقة لأسقيناهم ماء غدقا". ( سورة الجن - 16 ).


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

شرين

الجمعة، 23 أكتوبر، 2009

من أحوال الصوفية : القبض و البسط




الحال عند الصوفية : ما يرد على ا لقلب من حزن و فرح ، أو قبض و بسط، و الأحوال مواهب، تأتى من عين الجود، و المقامات مكاسب، نحصل عليها ببذل المجهود.



و يقال إن أول من تكلم عن علوم التوحيد و المقامات أبو الحسن السرى السقطى، ببغداد. كما كان أول من تكلم فى اصطلاحات الصوفية، من صفاء الذكر، و جمع الهمة، و المحبة و العشق و القرب و الأنس، أبو حمزة محمد بن إبراهيم الصدفى البغدادى.



و من الإصطلاحات الصوفية، التى أثرت فى مجرى التصوف إلى حد بعيد، مصطلح "السكر" الذى وضعه "طيفور" البسطامى، كما ظهر مصطلح "الفناء" على يد أبى سعيد الحزاز و كان تلميذا لذى النون المصرى. أما مذهب الملامتية فقد ظهر على يد حمدون القصار.


ينطلق جمهور الصوفية فى تقرير حالى القبض و البسط من قوله تعالى : "و الله يقبض و يبسط" و هو جزء من الآية الكريمة الخامسة و الأربعين بعد المائتين من سورة البقرة. إن مفهوم حالى القبض و البسط لدى الصوفية يتصل بالمعانى الداخلية للسائرين فى طريق الحق. و قد عرف "القشيرى" هذين الحالين و هو من أوائل من تكلم فى هذه القضية فقال: "و اعلم أن القبض و البسط فى اصطلاح أهل المعرفة عبارة عن غلبة الخوف و الرجاء على العبد، فمن غلب على قلبه الخوف، كان من أهل القبض، و من غلب على قلبه الرجاء كان من أهل البسط".

و يربط الصوفية هنا بين هذين الحالين و بين الصفات الإلهية - صفات الجلال و الكمال - و يرون أن تجلى صفات الجلال على قلب السائر إلى الله تعالى، هو الذى يولد لديه حال القبض، و أن تجلى صفات الجمال هو الذى يولد لديه حال البسط، يقول القشيرى : "فإذا كاشف الله عبدا بنعت جلاله قبضه، و إذا كاشفه بنعت جماله بسطه".
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله
شرين

الخميس، 22 أكتوبر، 2009

إصنع من الليمونة الملحة شرابا حلوا


ربما كانت المتاعب التى تعانيها بابا إلى خير مجهول و رب ضارة نافعة و رب محنة فى طيها منحة. ربما لو أحسنا التصرف فى المتاعب لنفذنا منها إلى مستقبل أطيب. "بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.. و عسى أن تكرهوا شيئا و هو خير لكم و عسى أن تحبوا شيئا و هو شر لكم و الله يعلم و أنتم لا تعلمون.. صدق الله العظيم".إن المتاعب و الآلام هى التربة التى تنبت فيها بذور الرجولة. يمكن أن تحول ما أنت فيه من كدر و طين إلى ورود و رياحين.

من أين أتتنا الفكرة القائلة أن الحياة الرغدة المستقرة الهادئة الخالية من الصعاب و العقبات تخلق سعداء الرجال؟ إن الأمر على العكس. إن السعادة أسلمت قيادها لرجال من بيئات فيها الطيب و فيها الخبيث، و فيها التى لا تميز بين طيب و خبيث. و ليس كل امرىء يؤتى القدرة على تحويل قسمته المكروهة إلى حظ مستحب ذى جدوى، فإن عشاق الشكوى أفشل الناس فى إشراب حياتهم معنى السعادة إذا جفت منها، أو بتعبير أصح إذا لم تجيئ وفق ما يشتهون. أما أصحاب اليقين و أولو العزم فهم يلقون الحياة بما فى أنفسهم من رحابة قبل أن تلقاهم بما فيها من عنت. و كما يفرز الجسم عصارة معينة لمقاومة الجراثيم الهاجمة يفرز هؤلاء معانى خاصة تمتزج بأحوال الحياة و أغيارها فتعطيها موضوعا و عنوانا جديدين.

و اسمع إلى ابن تيمية و هو يقول - مستهينا بتنكيل خصومه:

إن سجنى خلوة..

و نفيى سياحة..

و قتلى شهادة..

من قديم عرف تفاوت الهمم باختلاف الطاقات فى الإفادة من الشدائد، و الكسب من الظروف الحرجة. و عندما فقد عبد الله بن عباس عينيه قال:

إن يأخذ الله من عينى نورهما ففى لسانى و سمعى منهما نور

قلبى ذكى و عقلى غير ذى دخل و فى فمى صارم كالسيف مأثور

و قال بشار بن برد:

إذا أبصر المرء المروءة و التقى فإن عمى العينين ليس يضير


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله

شرين

الأربعاء، 21 أكتوبر، 2009

Mazu is ill



I often say, be who you are. Practice is being who you are. Unfortunately, often who we think we are, who we act as if we are, what we believe this is, is made up of ideas, beliefs and habits-some are so-called our own, some from so-called others, some from so-called past. These seem 'natural', we believe and feel this is natural. If we hold onto them, react from them and to them, we get into all sorts of trouble. We miss who we truly are. This is never anywhere else, never anything special or extra. So, this is always being who you are-in the midst of these circumstances and conditions, responding to circumstances and conditions.


Last week I visited Joko for a few days. She is 92-and is recovering from some medical difficulties so she is weak and in some ways physically frail/limited. At the same time, she is present, teaching, working with people within the conditions of body-mind-world that we find ourselves in our practice-our practice opportunity. Joko is teaching at 92; another Zen teacher, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, is 102. He is wheeled into the Zendo in a wheelchair and helped up to his platform seat for talks. Being conditions includes states of mental functioning-forgetting things, with limited abilities; limited in the sense compared to some ideal or 'previous' state. An ideal is what we make up; practice is being in the midst of conditions as is, manifesting who and what we are.
Our practice is being this condition we are-so I brought up Joko and Sasaki Roshi. Our practice is not dependent upon the condition of body-mind-universe. Conditions are always changing; we are all in the midst of changing conditions. If we don't see that, we are going to be in trouble because we may think that our practice is going to make us better; we may even believe that there is something wrong with the way we are, the way things are. Yes, conditions change-and effort and intention create change. Our practice effort, presence, concentration, samadhi, create changes in body-mind functioning, in this universe. No doubt about it. But if our practice is in order to change conditions, rather than a change of conditions being a by-product of practice, of responding, then even as we are 'improving' conditions we are trapping our self-because we are reinforcing a belief that conditions determine who and how we are. We react to conditions, attaching to or rejecting them, rather than responding to them as this practice opportunity to manifest, to be the wisdom and compassion we are.
Our practice life is not to create some place where we avoid problems. Your life is this intimacy opportunity to manifest who you are-in the midst of the conditions arising, passing.
By/Elihu Genmyo Smith
Salam,
Cherine


الأحد، 18 أكتوبر، 2009

Entangling Not-knowing


Sitting is being not-knowing; practice is not knowing. Not-knowing is not the opposite of knowing-do not be fooled by words. Not-knowing is not a negative state, not lacking. Knowing and not-knowing are not separate, never two. We are the entanglement of this unknown, the entanglement of unconditioned. Often we don't see this , don't manifest this, because through holding to knowing, through self-centeredness, we have cut-off this entangling unconditioned. We are holding onto and attached to the condition, the form, what we think we know, what we think we see, who we think we are.

Often, we think-act-as if we live in an either/or universe. By that I mean we think either 'this is me' or 'this is not me'. An important aspect of practice, of zazen of just sitting is to discover that I am the universe that I call 'not-me'. Not as something opposite, even though we tend to think in that way. We tend to think that it is either form or empty. We miss that in the midst of form is emptiness.

Form and empty are not two. When we chant, when we do service, we are not doing service just by our self, just here, we are joining with all others doing service, with the service of the whole universe, which is just here now. Being not-knowing allows our action to manifest the reality that without our action ins't manifest for us-despite the fact that it is so. Knowing arises and disappears. Our practice is always being right here, giving self away to this moment. Though we are so from the beginning, it is our practice effort that allows us to be this at each moment. Being not-knowing supports us in giving away. Not-knowing takes away everything. So, not-knowing is most intimate.


by/Elihu Genmyo Smith



Salam,

Cherine

الخميس، 15 أكتوبر، 2009

Music by Pablo Picasso 3


Music by Pablo Picasso 2


Acupuncture Needle of Zazen




Practice is being this that we are. Of course we are all living this. And yet when we exclude, when we cling, we miss this life that we are. This fundamental practice of Zazen is not excluding, not clinging. It is not a practice to get somewhere else but being who we are. Practice enables and supports us in being who/what we are, this nonthinking. We are so-called body, so-called mind; body-mind not two. So, zazen is simple, being stable, still, grounded, upright.
One of my teachers, Soen Nakagawa Roshi, encouraged us to 'elongate your spine'-because sometimes we collapse our spine, collapse our body, collapse our self. Practice is not to make something extra. Unfortunately, sometimes we cling to ideas, thoughts, what we understand, want or know-and exclude what doesn't fit, what is uncomfortable or painful, thereby collapsing around clinging and excuding. So in zazen we allow this form body-mind to support this functioning that we are.
Hakuin Zenji said, 'Don't try to enter anywhere, just don't exclude'. Practice is this fundamental being who we are. Just don't exclude. And yet we have to make practice effort-even not to go anywhere, not to enter anywhere. Doing nondoing. We make our effort to be who, where, we are. Though this doesn't require anything extra, yet this may seem difficult in the midst of the usual 'I want', 'I don't want', 'I've got to figure it out', 'I'-strategies that we operate out of. This is why sitting and practice are so simple and straightforward; yet being simple may seem so difficult for us. We don't want to be simple, we have gotten used to operating as if simple is unnatural for us, acting as if all sorts of I/me/my strategies and habits are natural.
In acupuncture, the needle releases blockages and allows the flow of life energies, supporting natural functioning, appropriate functioning, of the body/mind energies of being human. Wanshi's image is of zazen as the acupuncture needle which allows us to be, to manifest this functioning life that we are. Dogen says, 'this is the comportment beyond sight and sound'. Beyond sight and sound doesn't mean somewhere else; it means beyond our limited understanding of what this sight and sound is, what we usually see/hear is. This sound, this symphony of the traffic on this corner here, trucks, cars, birds, silence. It is not elsewhere. This is who and what you are; if we look elsewhere we lose our body, lose our life. Zazen enables us to not lose our life-because, despite being this life, we can lose our life. Life and practice are not two; doing zazen, practicing, is not doing something extra-it is skillful appropriate functioning which enables us to manifest who and what we are. Manifest in zazen; manifest throughout our everyday life. Nothing else; nothing extra.
An ancestor's functional key, is knowing without relating to matters and is illumining without opposing to objects. Zazen isn't a way to get somewhere else, to do something else-zazen is being this functioning essence of your life.
'Knowing without relating to matters' can also be translated 'knows without touching things'. We know, not because we think about things. Knowing is not limited to our perceptions-though we often limit to what we know, what we trust, to what we directly perceive and understand or figure out. Even more, we limit our self to how we think and perceive, as if it is the whole truth-limiting our self to what we are 'aware' of cognitively, emotionally. Understanding is an artificial construct, even though most of us see it as the truth, natural. Nothing wrong with understanding except if we limit knowing to our understanding. Do you limit illumining, clarifying and seeing to what you specifically understand right here?
This illuminitive function is not limited to or dependent on what we 'relate'to externally or internally. If we limit zazen to what we know 'in advance', 'to what we perceive and think about our perceptions, that much we can't deepen who and what we are, we don't allow this deepening functioning to come forth-not that this comes from something or someone else-this is our self.
The acupuncture needle image implies allowing this that we are to come forth; this nonthinking is the ancestor' 'comportment beyond sight and sound'. This is not mysterious or hidden-unless we limit. We even dismiss the ordinary that we see or hear, 'oh, that's just traffic sounds'. That much we don't hear the voice of the self. We don't hear the sound of touching; we don't taste because we limit this comportment, we do not know beyond perception. Practice is functioning, to trust being. It is not mysterious in the sense of something hidden but it is mysterious in that this is not limited to what we know-we are not limited.
Touching or perception are phrases to enable and encourage us to be more than just phrases. This is expressing directly what is so; practice enables us to take a step further than our usual ways. Often, we are willing to do this because we have discovered that our usual ways are inadequate and have gotten us into all sorts of trouble. It is not about correct, not correct. It is never about that-never about theory-it is being who we are. Dogen says, 'live in such a way, and you will be such a person'.
'Its knowing is inherently subtle, it has never had the thought of discrimination'. Not that discrimination doesn't arise, but we are not limited by the discrimination. See? This knowing, this subtle, mysterious, we are this all the time, this is seeing, hearing, functioning. We see nothing but our own life, very directly; this is beyond what we know, and it requires of us to see beyond what we know-this is practice. Being so, our knowing is the intimacy of seeing, hearing, smelling.
We often look for words and rules, for what we have figured out. None of those are problems, except if we allow them to exclude, except if we allow them to become what we cling to. Then we miss what is right in front of us. This is always right in front of us, this functioning manifesting. Zazen is 'turning us' towards this, practice is 'enabling' us to be so.
Ever without a hair's breadth of sign. Its illumining comprehends without grasping. So that you can trust your own experiential insight when this arises. 'The water is pure, clear right to the bottom'-do you see this life? So how does it function? 'A fish swims slowly. The sky is vast and finds no boundary'..This is not a matter of hidden or manifest. Water has no boundary. The water is clear, no limits. This life is so. There is nothing to gauge, no need to gauge it. The fish swims slowly. The nature of who and what you are, flying, swimming, natural functioning.
See, whether we know it or not, your life, my life, our life, is manifesting the truth of the universe right here. The truth of the universe is right here, the whole universe is right this moment, not somewhere else. Of course, we talk about far and near, but if we are trapped by those categories, then we don't know who we are, then we are clinging to the perceptions and understandings-which are useful but not adequate, and are limited and therefore can only be used in those limited ways. Unfortunately, we try to use these in ways beyond their limitations.
I drink water from this cup. But if I try to put the ocean into this cup, it will not fit. Nevertheless, the water in this cup is exactly the water of the ocean. This is exactly our life. We are the cup of water and the whole ocean at this time. And there isn't water separate from the ocean, there isn't ocean separate from the water. This is who we are, our zazen. Drinking this water. It is not some person in this bag of skin. That is not zazen. Your zazen is the whole universe sitting zazen.
Some phrases may seem mysterious because we try to understand them through limited lenses. You don't have to do anything to change those lenses; just don't use them were they are not appropriate. Some of us need special reading glasses. If you are trying to drive with reading glasses, you are going to get into trouble. We try to do all sorts of things with inappropriate lenses.
Please do not add judgments and say, 'Oh, that is bad, this is good', or 'I did something wrong'. Practice is not about judging. Manifesting this essential functioning is ongoing practice. The functioning essence of Ancestors. Not two-this is our life.
Elihu Genmyo Smith
Salam,
Cherine

الثلاثاء، 13 أكتوبر، 2009

Walk to the Music of Your Heart


In experiencing and expressing serenity, be good in your heart but do not allow your heart to be overly moral and rigid, so that you miss the fire in life. Goodness and morality are two different things. Morality adheres to rigid instructions and rules, while goodness knows the nature and rightness of all things and acts accordingly. Goodness can frighten those bound by morals, for it is a hugely powerful force rooted in serenity and the greatest destroyer of fear. If you adhere to any rigid moral code without true goodness in your heart, you may cheat yourself of much of life.

Instead, rise above the two-faced morality of the world; to the unique inner code of your highest consciousness. Do not be good just for the sake of it; be good because serenity fills your life with compassion.

Do not rush to change others. If you wish to convince someone to change their life and see that they are unskilful in their thoughts and actions, then do not try to persuade them but rather practice skilful thoughts and actions yourself. People believe what they see with their hearts, and in this way you create serenity around you.

To live with peace of mind, ease and acceptance requires serenity in the living of your life from day to day.

Love and serenity go hand in hand, healing and transforming all obstacles, no matter what or who they are. In loving as much as you can, so serenity will increase. As the power of love heals all things, so the power of serenity brings complete and utter understanding of your own life and of other people's. In this understanding there are no obstacles. All things become complete.

Let yourself walk to the music of your heart, which you can always hear, when you are in the state of serenity, however far away it may appear to be. Remember that you were born knowing that you are the creator of your own delight and in that delight you will find kindness and know that kindness in the only investment that never fails.

Remember too that all things are, in their essence, at agreement and in harmony, with a unity and a bond of trust, regardless of how things may appear to be. All things are in accord.

In times of discord and frustration your serenity will show you how to release inner accord and trust, so that the hardship and discord will cease and contentment will take the place of negativity. When you are connected to your own serenity, you know how to reveal and release the harmony of things, even when others cannot see a way forward.

Ultimately the simple things in life will bring you happiness. These are the enduring things of life. They are the markers, the strong posts, to which you can tie the threads of serenity that you weave from your heart. They purify you. You will find that if you examine what they truly are, they will be few. They might include friendship, beautiful music, listening to the rain. They are yours and special to you. These are your important human experiences in which you can ground your serenity so that it will grow and stay strong. When the world seems demanding and everyone is on top of you, look to these markers of serenity to help you access the inner and endless serene state. In knowing serenity, life becomes simple.

Serenity is the body of love that makes life.

Do you have the courage to surrender to that body of love, so becoming the soul that inhabits life?


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

The Meaning of Life


If you do not know the meaning of life, do not worry, just live it, for this is the way to give life meaning. Knowing the meaning of life is not crucial to living it. Learn to get in touch with the serenity within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose, even if at first the purpose is hidden. Even if you do not know what the purpose is immediately, in your serenity you will find it and by doing so, discover your own. The purpose of life is not that a thing has a function but that it has a meaning, a meaning that inspires you to capture the impulse of life and have it burn within you, conscious and awake, for ever.

You will find, if you are willing, that you carry not just the questions about life but the answers inside you. You will find that profound serenity, which is understanding and acceptance, is all around you: in your home, at your place of employment, on the way to work, in the shower, in your garden and even in a time of conflict or hardship.

Serenity lives as a life force in all things, in a flower, rock, in the very atoms that make matter. It dwells in time, space and in all dimensions.

Serenity dwells within those whom you love and those whom you hate. In the presence of serenity, your soul finds the path to a clearer light, and all things that seem elusive or deceptive are reduced to the shining clarity of extreme gentleness.

Life is a fleeting and sometimes difficult search for meaning, serenity and understanding. Go with serenity in the discovery of your dreams. Live the life you have had the courage to dream of.

And know that in your search for meaning, as you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will become simpler in how they influence you and in what you understand about them.

Most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others. The challenge is to be serenely objective toward oneself and serenely subjective toward all others. The person who can stand alone in the world, only taking counsel from their conscience, lives in a natural state of serenity.

This aspect of serenity directs each of us to the deepest experience of life, an experience that gathers us up and smoothes out our fears, showing us the very consciousness that makes us. Life becomes our friend, and we know finally, once and for all, that life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced. Life has its own hidden forces, which you can only discover by living.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الاثنين، 12 أكتوبر، 2009

الحب فى الله


قال سبحانه و تعالى : "الأخلاء يومئذ بعضهم لبعض عدو إلا المتقين".

و قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : "إن لله تعالى عبادا يوضع لهم يوم القيامة المنابر يقعدون عليها، هم قوم لباسهم نور و وجوههم نور، ليسوا بأنبياء و لا شهداء، يغبطهم الأنبياء و الشهداء، فقالوا من هم يا رسول الله؟ قال المتحابون فى الله و المتزاورون فى الله و المتجالسون فى الله".

و قال عليه الصلاة و السلام : "إن الله يقول يوم القيامة: أين المتحابون فى، فوعزتى و جلالى اليوم أظلهم بظلى يوم لا ظل إلا ظلى".

و قال: "من زار أخاه المسلم فله بكل خطوة حتى يرجع عتق رقبة و يحط عنه بها ألف سيئة، و يكتب له ألف حسنة و يرفع له نور كنوز العرش عند ربه".

و قال : " إن فى الجنة غرفا يرى ظاهرها من باطنها و بالعكس أعدها الله للمتحابين و المتزاورين و المتباذلين فيه".

و قال صلى الله عليه و سلم : " ما من عبد يزور أخا له فى الله إلا قال الله تعالى فى ملكوت عرشه : عبدى زارنى و على قراه: أى ضيافته، لا أرضى لعبدى قرى دون الجنة".


" درة الناصحين فى الوعظ و الإرشاد "

تأليف / عثمان بن حسن الخويرى


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله

شرين

الجمعة، 9 أكتوبر، 2009

Serenity in Daily Living


Serenity is simple: it is contentment in all things and happiness with the small things of life, knowing that great and small are the same essential pulse of consciousness. This is serenity in action, in the quiet expression of life, in knowing your life's passage, in delighting in the great mystery and discovering that although in the end there is no mystery, the experience of serenity is both reverential and mysterious.

This is the place within us where beauty always grows, unstoppable and eternal. From this come great inner blessings. It is in the surrender to serenity that we become most human. Serenity is not so much a state of mind but more of a state of being. It is not dependent on knowing things but on being truly at ease with your heart, mind and body and all their interactions.

You are truly rich, having all that you need when simply, without fuss, you have peace of mind. You then discover the experience of doing nothing while doing everything. By experiencing serenity in small things, you know and understand that both fleeting and impermanent, all things are nothing without serenity.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

Finding Serenity


In all your activities seek the constant stream of serenity that supports the material cycles of this fragile world. Stop, be still and listen to the beauty that sings quietly in all material activities. As you do, give thanks for everything and to all things.

Know that all true prosperity comes to you through your thoughts and actions if you embrace serenity. The more people who are prosperous in this way, the greater the prosperity for everyone.

Conclude each day as serenely as you can and be finished with it. Leave it behind you as you walk towards the night. As the sun goes down, let your day and all that you have done fade away into the evening. Keep only the spirit of what you have created during the day and allow it to merge with your soul, so that as you rise in the morning, your mind has been imbued by the dynamic force of your own creativity.

Our lives are transient impulses of mental and physical energy, and if we learn how to assemble them, then we shall have neither failure or success, fear or lack of fear, but connection to serenity and ongoing, endless love.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الخميس، 8 أكتوبر، 2009

Achievement


If you have the ability and skill to get something done and the staying power to stick with your task, then you are on the path to achievement. The important thing in life is to decide what is worth achieving and what is not.

Many of life's greatest achievements are not material ones. For some, the height of achievement is to climb a mountain; for others, it is to overcome some kind of adversity or illness. Others achieve spiritual development, educational goals or a harmonious relationship. All of these and many more are life's wondrous achievements.

Always value your own achievements and applaud those of others, sharing in their sense of accomplishment and pride.

In our greatest achievements we push back the boundaries of what we believe we can do and find in ourselves strength of character, willpower and a courage we didn't know we possessed.

All true achievement is carried out with love. Achievement without love is empty and attracts fear. Love is the spark that ignites true achievement, and achievement is the fire that grows from love's spark.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الأربعاء، 7 أكتوبر، 2009

Accepting Failure and Success


When we achieve serenity, we accept both failure and success as part of life. Our failures do not bow us down, and our successes do not fool us. We know that both will come and go many times, weaving through the pattern of our lives. Serenity lifts us above both failure and success, so that we meet them both with love. When our inner life is rich and fulfilled, we are less dependent on outer successes and failures. They no longer define us, control us or dictate our path.

Love and hate, as well as success and failure, are simply two sides of the same coin. Witnessing consciousness is a way of rising above the thunderstorm of emotions, the extremes that love and hate, or failure and success can take us to-extremes of despair and pain.

Witnessing consciousness is learning how to observe the way your thoughts react to everything that you experience. It is not the observation of the deepest inner self but of the everyday mind and the way its reactions create fear. It can be done at any time, for it is simply trying to consciously observe the way you react to the world around you and to people and events. It is the study of your own reactions. All you do is examine how reactive you are. Look at what sparks your emotions, opinions and habits.

Your attitude to life and to success and failure is vitally important. A positive and encouraging mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug. By changing the inner attitude of your mind, you can change the outer aspects of your life far more effectively than by struggling only to make outer changes.

We all encounter difficulties and troubles, confusions and obstacles. When we meet them stubbornly and defiantly, attempting to break through them with the force of our will, we are ineffectual. However, when we learn to meet them gently and with compassion, without hurrying or forcing, we learn that in time they will bend.

A strong and optimistic mental attitude is part of the cycle of cause and effect. What you give out will define what comes back to you. So be gracious to everyone, good company to many, known to a few, companion to one, enemy to none.

A strong mental attitude acknowledges that nothing in life is certain. Uncertainty and impermanence are part of the fabric of life. Change is all around us, in the weather, in the seasons and in our lives. When we learn not to fear change but to recognise that it is fundamental to life, then we become strong, self-aware and able to cope with whatever change brings.

A positive mental attitude will engender in us the desire to be kind to others. And kindness has extraordinary power, in our individual lives and in the world around us. Kindness can conquer the pain of failure and the blindness made by fearful success. Share goodness with others, be kind to yourself and to those around you, and the darkness in the world, caused by belief in fear, will turn to the light of serenity.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الاثنين، 5 أكتوبر، 2009

The Value of Failure


Many people give up just before they achieve what they set out to do. They lose faith and cannot believe that they will really manage it. The result is that many people who feel they are failures are those who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.

Giving up just before attainment comes within your reach is a hard loss to carry. Yet there is no need to be depressed by failure, for it is actually a life-affirming experience. In fact, failure is what leads us on the road to success, because each detection of what is unskilful or false in our search for success leads us to seek more carefully for what is skilful and real.

Every time we falter, make a mistake or fall, we learn something new. Each dead end indicates a new direction, each mistake shows us what to avoid in the future. This occurrence that we call 'failure' is not the falling down but the staying down. If you believe that defeat is your destiny, then you allow yourself to fail. If you treat each failure as a stepping stone on the path to success, then success is yours. Failure tricks us into believing that we have been forced to climb down the ladder of success to the lowest rung. All too often we believe that our failure reflects our inner worth. The shadow of failure is the feeling of inferiority it can bring. While success is a hopeful energy, it can diminish in the face of failure, if we allow it to. Failure is not more than an expression of grief, while success is an abundant shaft of light that creates good things. When you fail, it is the failure of the unknowing part of you, the part that chooses ignorance over knowledge. When you succeed, it is because you refuse to allow failure to be all that you are and move forward with optimism and courage.

Failure strengthens our consciousness if we learn from it and heal the fear that makes us prone to failure. Success educates and supports us and makes us stronger only if we are thankful and respectful for it and share it with others.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

الأحد، 4 أكتوبر، 2009

Music by Pablo Picasso 1


The Blessings of Success and Failure



The successes and failures in our own lives have much to teach us. Success and failure can reveal serenity to you at the point when you come to realise your place in your own life. This happens in the quiet moments when success comes to you and you feel fulfilled or when failure teaches you acceptance.


We have endless opportunities for advancement and failure, and they are to be found in that opening of radiance when we look within and know ourselves to be the creators and destroyers of the impulse of our own lives.


True Success: Success is the benefit you will receive when you are able to just be yourself, without adornment or artifice, in your chosen area of activity. To perform any activity, whether paid or unpaid, wholeheartedly, with attention and pleasure, will result in success. Lasting success comes from the experience of expressing all you are and can be.


If your success is not based on your own skills and integrity, if it looks superficially good to the world but does not feel genuine and good to your inner self, it is not success at all but rather a false situation made by fear.


The secret of success is to experience unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings, every single day. If you can accept everything that comes to you, both good and bad, easy and difficult, with the same calm and positive attitude, then you have found success. If you have an open heart, you will know that however difficult your circumstances they still offer you opportunities for growth, learning and success.


Opportunity often comes in disguise to test your resolve and ability to adapt. Real success lies in finding the lifework that you feel is true to who you are and then being willing to overcome obstacles and preserve with whatever challenges you are given.


Success in any human activity requires preparation and instruction, self-control and effort. If you have these, the opportunities for healing your fears of success and the gloom of fear are instant.


Beware, though, of the search for perfection. To want to do something as well as you possibly can is admirable, but to insist on striving for perfection is ultimately destructive. The search for perfection becomes a fearful and consuming process, and perfection and success when mixed together bring suffering, for the possibility of material perfection is an illusion perpetuated by fear.


In your life's endeavours never strive for success. True success is that which comes as a by-product when you strive for awareness, compassion and love. In all your activities allow your goodness to direct your intention. The superficial world loves success as long as it fits into the narrow classification of what success should be. But true success is beyond labelling because it is as individual as every man, woman and child on this small planet.


Success for each of us can be many things, but the success we can all hope to attain is the ability to move from failure to failure with no loss of self-love. If you can do this, the path to success becomes a spiritual path in its own right, one that every human being must go through in his or her life, on the journey to self-knowledge.


Never accept the illusion that success is the achievement of all your dreams. It is not. Rather it lies in knowing how to dream, while discovering the serenity that enables you to deal with everything life throws at you, without losing the beauty of who you are.




'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'


Christopher Hansard




With Compliments to Mahmoud Momtaz..




Salam,


Cherine




الخميس، 1 أكتوبر، 2009

Failure And Success


We judge ourselves and others according to our ideas of what constitutes failure or success. When we decide that someone is a success, we applaud them and envy them. When we condemn another person as a failure, we avoid them and pity them. Yet our notions of failure and success are extremely limited and are inextricably linked with poverty and prosperity.

A man or woman who makes a great deal of money, owns many possessions and can wield power over others is considered a success, regardless of whether or not this person is happy, fulfilled, self-aware or kind to others. A person who is contented, at peace with themselves, generous and spiritually aware may still be considered a failure if he or she is poor and has few possessions.

How have we created such distorted notions? The answer is through fear. It is fear that drives us to believe that however much we have, it is still not enough.

When we narrow our vision in this way, we ignore so much that is good and valuable. We forget the joy that lies in our relationships with others, in meaningful endeavour, in being generous and in developing a strong inner life.

Unfortunately, people who earn a great deal of money are labelled as a 'success' automatically, no matter how grey and anxious their visages. Others, who do not fit in with society's rules by being ambitious or acquisitive, are labelled 'odd', 'failures', 'misfits', and 'dropouts'.

The path to finding true success and to banishing the fear of failure is to know your own inner worth. False success can swindle your soul. Inner worth liberates it. Inner worth knows your fears and uses them daily, transforming them into productive and useful energy and knowledge.

Failure presents itself to stop you in your tracks so that you may know yourself, this is its great value. It is through your failures that you can discover your inner worth. As your sense of inner worth becomes stronger, you will find that you deal with failure better, never allowing it to defeat you, and that you attract success and good fortune.

Meditation for Discovering and Strengthening Inner Worth: Inner worth is what you are born with. It is all your essential goodness, talents, compassion and self-discipline, plus the ability to love everyone spiritually because you recognise your inner worth in others and theirs in you. This meditation will help you to rediscover the inner worth you already have.

Sit still and close your eyes. Tune in to the emotions and energy of other people. Feel everything they feel. Do not judge or become involved in what you sense, feel or experience. Be observant, and as you do this, feel the impartial compassion within you rise up and allow it to surge through you, to others.

When you activate your inner worth, people will relate to you more easily and you will have a greater sense of completeness. You are becoming more human, discovering freedom and serenity. Obstacles will not seem so daunting, and you will become happier with yourself. Treat your life as a sacred treasure. Do not squander it or let anyone else destroy it. Those people who do not respect or acknowledge their inner worth may try to belittle yours-do not allow them to.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

Invocation to Awaken your Connection to Life


I live in celebration of all humankind..In love with the visionary..And the blind..The open heart and the closed one too..For I am alive in the throng and hue of all..The hum of the human race..For in the center..There lives a constant grace..For every heart That beats its beat..I love humanity..

In the anguish and the savagery..In the splendid and the morbid view..Human reason finds its way..In beauty and in light..Always there is the inner way..Covered often by the everyday..My joy is the joy of my fellow beings..The sparkle of all..Newborn dreams..I love the love that we all can know..The endless love that loves all..

Quiet, it will come..This inner love is all humankind..Receive it here in your heart..For this wisdom.. Of the human way..Endless from all time..Beyond all space..It seeks the human..To make its place..It opens the body to a newer world..It is love, and reason..Rhyme and beyond reason too..Before you leave..It's you, me, us and we..Enemy, friend..Them and us.. Matter, dust..It comes, it's here..It heals all..It lives through you..

Sit be still and know this love..For it is life..


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

Creating Self-Love


The unconscious mission of people everywhere is to escape the loneliness that they sense as they lose touch with the sacred soul energy of life. Yet the answer is not to escape loneliness but rather to embrace it by learning self-love. For you shall not be lonely if you are fond of the person you are alone with. Learn to love yourself and loneliness simply does not exist. Self-love is the first essential step to being able to take charge of your life and to make a life that is rewarding.

The creation of self-love also brings the confidence that helps you to open yourself to the world and to identify and connect with others. This aspect is important, for self-love with no regard for others is simply fear in another guise and will lead to the greatest loneliness of all.

At the core of all human loneliness is an intense and compelling craving for a coming together with one's lost self. We enter the world alone and we leave the world alone, but we do not enter the world in loneliness. At the beginning of life we are at peace with ourselves, connected and complete. Sadly, many people come to believe, over the years, that they are separate from their inner selves. The sense of inner connection disappears as fear takes a grip.

The truth is that none of us are separate from our inner selves; we simply become confused. As confusion clears we once again feel connected to ourselves, to life, love, and to other people.

Self-love is the heart of all inner value and balance. You can develop it by knowing how you live and the value of your life and its influence upon other people. Self-love drives out all feelings of separation and loneliness and connects you to everything; it encourages other people to love you and to want to be with you.

Meditation of Self-love: Sit quietly and close your eyes. See your body dissolve into a pile of ash and then see it remake itself. All your emotions and negativities from the past dissolve and you are filled with calmness, quiet and rest.


'The Tibetan Art of Serenity'

Christopher Hansard


Salam,

Cherine

فسيلة من النخيل


مر رجل على أبى الدرداء الصحابى الزاهد رضى الله عنه فوجده يغرس فسيلة من النخيل، و هو فى شيخوخته و هرمه، فقال له: أتغرس هذه الفسيلة و أنت شيخ كبير، و هى لا تثمر إلا بعد كذا و كذا عاما؟ فقال أبو الدرداء: و ما على أن يكون لى أجرها، و يأكل منها غيرى؟


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

شرين

فى طاعة الله


لقى القاضى عياض رضى الله عنه شيخا يستند على عصاه ، فقال له: كم بلغت من العمر يا رجل؟ قال الرجل: ستين سنة. قال القاضى: لك فى طاعة الله ستون عاما؟ توشك أن تصل. فبكى الرجل قائلا: لقد ضاعت فى المعصية، و لا أدرى ماذا يفعل الله بى؟ قال القاضى: ألا أدلك على الخلاص؟ : أصلح ما بقى يغفر لك ما مضى.


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

شرين