Monday, August 31, 2009

Interesting Dreams

Lately, I have had 3 or 4 very vivid dreams where my Father is alive and I am speaking with him. In these dreams, he is gentle and kind and very loving towards me. His birthday is on Labor Day, and my Father would have been 74 years old. I enjoy dreaming of my Dad. I miss him so very much. It is amazing to me that our dreams can be so real. It has been almost 8 months now since his death.

I have also been dreaming of losing my eyesight. After my recent diagnosis of Pre-Glaucoma, this is very understandable. Once again, I see the value of making peace with our demons and the shadow material we house in our subconscious and unconscious minds. Fears are dealt with as we sleep.


Zen Wisdom #14

Vow to offer JOY to one person in the morning.
Vow to offer relief to the grief of one person in the afternoon, and
peace to one person each evening.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Nirvana and Enlightenment #96

Ushin no Shin, "Mind conscious of itself."

With a conscious mind,
you want the things you want,
the way you want them.

You calculate.
You plan.
You devise a method for obtaining what you desire.

This is ego consciousness.
No matter how much modern society promises you will obtain from this
mindset, you shall never be fulfilled, because the ego is NOT eternal.
It is lost to the bounds of temporary lust and desire.

With mind focused upon mind,
life loses its naturalness and spontaneity.
Without naturalness, the perfection of the universe is hidden,
as desires overrule the unexplained.

With your mind focused upon you,
you can never let go of you.
Holding on to you, you may get what you think you want,
but, you will never find enlightenment.
Enlightenment can not be found in a mind focused upon itself.

Let go.

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #26

Quaker Testimonies

The word ‘testimony’ is used by Friends to describe a witness to the living truth within the human heart as it is acted out in everyday life. It is not a form of words, but a mode of life based on the realization that there is “that of God in everyone”, that all human beings are equal, and that all life is interconnected.
It is affirmative but may lead to action that runs counter to certain practices currently accepted in the society at large. Testimonies reflect the corporate beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends, however much individual Friends may interpret them differently according to their own light. They are not ‘optional extras’ but fruits that grow from the tree of faith.

Basic Quaker testimonies are: truth, equality, peace, simplicity and community.

The Art of Peace #43

Always practice The Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner.
It is necessary to develop a strategy that utilizes all the physical conditions and elements that are directly at hand.
The best strategy relies upon an unlimited set of responses.

Here With Me

HERE WITH ME Words and Music by MercyMe

I long for your embrace
Every single day
To meet You in this place
And see You face to face
Will you show me?
Reveal Yourself to me
Because of Your mercy
I fall down on my knees

And I can feel Your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within Your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of Your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to Your love

You're everywhere I go I am not alone
You call me as your own
To know You and be known
You are holy
And I fall down on my knees

I can feel Your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within Your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of Your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to Your love

I surrender to Your grace
I surrender to the One who took my place

I can feel Your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within Your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of Your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to Your love

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nirvana and Enlightenment #95

Existing in Mushin, "No-Mind", you do not care if you are right or wrong.
You do not care what the scriptures or a teacher says.
You exist, this you are.
Simply being, you embrace the perfection.

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #25

Worship sharing

A relatively new form of meeting is ‘worship sharing’, sometimes referred to as ‘creative listening’. German Friends choose the term ‘Gespr├Ąch aus der Stille’ (conversation out of the silence), which beautifully expresses how the worship sharing is ‘framed’ in silence.
Worship sharing can be very useful for sharing personal experiences and thoughts on a specific theme. Normally the size of the group is about eight to twelve Friends. The facilitator of a worship sharing group usually asks the attenders to observe some general rules, such as: speak for a second time only after everyone has had a chance to speak once; speak from your own experience only; leave silence between speakers; everything said in the group is confidential to the group; do not comment directly on what others have said; listen with attention and do not lapse into discussion.

The Art of Peace #42

The totally awakened warrior can freely utilize all elements centered in heaven and earth.
The true warrior learns how to correctly perceive the activity of the universe and how to transform martial techniques into vehicles of purity, goodness, and beauty.
A warrior's mind and body must be permeated with enlightened wisdom and DEEP CALM.

Sweetly Broken

SWEETLY BROKEN Words and Music by Jeremy Riddle

To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing
For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love
And God is just

(Chorus):
At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees,
and I am Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified
You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciled

In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness

Friday, August 28, 2009

Zen Wisdom #13

Student: "I have nothing."

Master: "Then throw it away."

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #24

Meeting for Clearness

A ‘meeting for clearness’ can be called to focus on a particular issue, to enable members of the meeting to become ‘clear’ about possible options and ways forward.
They can be held, for example: to prepare a couple for a marriage under the care of the meeting; to ‘test’ a concern of the meeting; to make decisions about an application for membership; to seek guidance at times of change or difficulty.
Meetings for clearness can also be of help and comfort to Friends who are confronted with difficult choices at turning points in their lives and to those that are ill.

Nirvana and Enlightenment #94

Thoughts place obstacles in your path to realization.
Why?
Because thoughts are beliefs.
From beliefs come the concept of right and wrong.
From right and wrong comes conflict.

"I know, and you do not."
"My way is the right way because the scriptures and my teacher say so.
That means your way is wrong."

Thoughts never lead to realization.
No thoughts; no conflict.
No conflicts; the path to NIRVANA is revealed.

( This post today is especially for Adam)

Shadowfeet

SHADOWFEET Words and Music by Brooke Fraser

Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet
Toward home, a land that I've never seen
I am changing Less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began
And I have sensed it all along
Fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in You, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You

There's distraction buzzing in my head
Saying in the shadows it's easier to stay
But I've heard rumours of true reality
Whispers of a well-lit way

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in You, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You

You make all things new

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in You, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You
When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in You, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You

The Art of Peace #41

The Art of Peace is the principle of nonresistance.
Because it is nonresistant, it is victorious from the very beginning.
Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished.
The Art of Peace is invincible because it contends with nothing.

There are no contests in The Art of Peace.
A true Warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing.
Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention that we harbour within.

To injure an opponent is to injure yourself.
To control aggression, without inflicting injury is The Art of Peace.

How Healthy Is your Water Bottle?

How Healthy Is Your Water Bottle?

Should you be uneasy about that refillable water bottle you’ve been using? Maybe. Health-news headlines are yelping about bisphenol A (BPA), a suddenly scary component of plastic that’s hiding in plain sight in polycarbonate water bottles, water pitchers, baby bottles -- even liners in canned foods. What’s so bad about BPA is that animal studies have linked it with cancer, miscarriage, fertility, obesity, immunity, and sexual-development problems. But that doesn’t mean you have to toss half the contents of your kitchen into a toxic-waste dump.

How to Recognize the Real Thing
Bisphenol A is found in clear, hard, shatterproof plastics. Often, the letters PC (for polycarbonate) and/or the number 7 will be stamped in the little recycling triangle on or near the bottom of the container. But not every plastic stamped with a 7 contains BPA; your biggest clue is to look for hard, see-through, unbreakable things. Disposable soft drink and water bottles and liquid-medicine containers (like cough syrup bottles) are not polycarbonate and do not contain BPA.

So while everyone is having a fit about disposable bottles for environmental reasons -- and rightly so -- it’s only the rigid refillable kind you need to worry about for health reasons. Make it easy by remembering the numbers: Only drink from those with numbers 4 and 2 in their triangles, or if need be, 5 and 1. You should avoid any with 3, 6, or 7 (not just for BPA reasons).

How Risky Is It, Really?
Not everyone agrees, even though low levels are estimated to be in the bodies of 9 out of 10 Americans. The FDA, the plastics industry, and the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis have all concluded that BPA levels are probably too low to be hazardous for adults. But some prominent BPA researchers say harmful effects begin at levels lower than those the government says are safe. What has people really freaking out is that babies and kids may be at higher risk, according to the U.S. National Toxicology Program.

BPA acts like a hormone in the body, and studies suggest that at the levels young children may be exposed to, there could be a danger of early puberty, hyperactivity, immune-system changes, and low sperm counts. Moms-to-be can protect their kids even before they’re born by not getting any mercury or composite dental fillings during pregnancy (use gold). Many experts believe these materials release high concentrations of mercury and BPA during application.

What's Being Done?
Retailers including Wal-Mart, Babies “R” Us, and Toys “R” Us have promised to phase out baby bottles containing BPAs. Canada has banned baby bottles containing BPA since June 2008. For adults, BPA-free water bottles, canned goods, and other products are beginning to show up in stores. Nalgene, maker of popular hard-plastic water bottles, is phasing out BPAs, too.

What You Can Do Right Now
Even if you can’t dodge exposure to this ubiquitous plastic the way you can dodge a playground ball, you can minimize your contact. Don’t heat anything that might have BPA in it. BPA is in plastics because it makes them lightweight, shatterproof, extremely clear, and heat resistant. But when these plastics are warmed up, BPA leaches out of them 55 times faster than it does at room temperature. Rates stay high even after the contents cool.

So, here's what you can do proactively right now:
-No microwaving in hard, clear, plastic containers -- use ceramic or glass.
- No heating cans of baked beans (or cans of anything) on the grill.
- No pouring hot tea into your polycarbonate water bottle.
- No preparing baby formula with hot water directly in a polycarbonate baby bottle
- Replace your clear, hard, refillable plastic containers.
- Serve hot foods and drinks in glass or ceramic containers.
- Get babies BPA-free plastic bottles (safer than glass).
- Get older kids and yourself BPA-free plastic water bottles -- more and more are in stores. Go with the stainless steel and aluminum bottles that are now available. For now, buy mainly fresh or frozen food.

Currently, as many as 80% of cans contain BPA. Some brands are BPA-free, which is good news if you don’t have time to make black beans from scratch tonight. But if cans aren’t labeled BPA-free, think twice. This is particularly true for the two types of canned foods that leach the most BPAs from their liners:
· Fatty foods, such as coconut milk, salmon, creamy soups, and tuna packed in oil
· Acidic foods, such as tomato products and some juices.

Go fresh whenever possible. This is always the best advice.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BREATHE

BREATHE Words and Music by Michael W. Smith

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread

This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I,- I'm desperate for you

And I,- I'm I'm lost without you

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread

This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me


And I'm, I'm desperate for you

And I'm, I'm lost without you
And I'm desperate for you

And I'm, I'm lost without you.
I'm lost without you.
I'm lost without you.
I'm desperate for you.

I'm desperate for you..
I'm lost, I'm lost, I'm lost without you..

I'm lost without you
I'm desperate for you

Zen Wisdom #12

To simply stop hanging on to what has been in the past
and the
longing for what might be in the future
is better than making a ten-year pilgrimage.

Lin-Chi

PC Ergonomics

Escape the Ergonomic Danger Zone

More than 90 percent of all office workers use a personal computer, but whether they use it correctly is debatable. By "correctly," I'm not referring to whether they know how to download files, format documents, troubleshoot error messages or prevent e-mail viruses from attacking. We're talking about having your computer monitor, keyboard, chair and workspace organized in a way that promotes productive, pain-free work and discourages repetitive-stress and ergonomic-related injuries.

Your Keyboard Height: When you are in a seated position and sitting up straight, the position of the keyboard should be at the height of your elbows or below. Most people will sit with a keyboard height approximately level with their abdomen. This forces the shoulders to remain in an elevated or shrugged position, which activates a large muscle in your back - the trapezius muscle - and can result in a great deal of pain if that position is held too long. Raising the height of your chair is the easy fix for this problem. Other situations may require a more aggressive approach, such as installation of a swing arm that allows for adjustable positioning of the keyboard. Keep in mind that the computer mouse should be at the same appropriate height of the keyboard.

Your Monitor Height: The top of your monitor should be at the level of your eyebrows or top of your head. Some individuals have to place their monitor on a stack of large books to maintain the appropriate height. If you are having trouble seeing your monitor and maintaining a forward position of your head, it is likely that you will end up suffering the consequences of poor postural position.

Your Chair Height and Sitting Position: Attempt to maintain flat-footed placement on the floor to help with overall balance while sitting. Your objective is to maintain proper posture while sitting by allowing as much contact between your body and the chair. It is important to try to sit back in the chair as far as possible and to maintain contact with your shoulders against the back of the chair. The backs of your upper legs and your buttocks should completely contact the base of the chair. It will also help a great deal if you learn to sit while holding in your lower abdomen for extended periods of time. This helps support the soft tissue of the lower back, which is actually under more strain in a seated position than when you are standing.It may seem like an oversimplification, but learning to sit up straight, suck your stomach and keep your keyboard at the level of your elbows and below are easy ways to minimize your risk of chronic and repetitive-stress injuries at the workplace. That's good news to you and your employer.

Nirvana and Enlightenment #93

Mushin no Shin, "Mind unconscious of itself."

Life teaches unconsciousness.
Zen teaches conscious unconsciousness.

The mind that believes itself to be conscious is, in fact,
the most unconscious.

It separates itself from the wholeness of interactive oneness.

Lock yourself into your mind
and you will lock yourself into your ego.
Locked in an ego, you see life as hostile;
full of unfulfilled desires,
objects you can't possess,
people you cannot control,
and deeds you must do,
because the ends justify the means.

Let go of all the justification nonsense.
Meet NIRVANA.

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #23

Meeting for worship

Quaker worship happens when two or more people feel the need to be still together and seek God’s presence. This can happen anywhere and anytime, but Friends usually refer to a ‘meeting for worship’ to indicate the meeting which takes place regularly at a meeting house or another fixed place. In attentive waiting together in silence, Friends can find peace of mind and a renewed sense of purpose for living and joy in wonder at God’s creation.

Silence is greatly valued by Friends. In removing pressure and hurry, it helps them to be aware of the inner and deeper meaning of their individual and corporate lives. It enables them to begin to accept themselves as they are and to find some release from fear, anxiety, emotional confusion and selfishness. This silence is more than an absence of sound: one can be aware of external sounds, such as a dog barking, a car passing, or a child calling. But these sounds are not distractions. They are absorbed, often unconsciously, as Friends try to be open to that of God within. An early Friend, Robert Barclay, described his experience during a meeting for worship as follows: “I found the evil in me weakening and the good raised up”.

The seating for a meeting for worship is usually arranged in a circle or a square to help people to be aware of one another, to be conscious of the fact that they are worshipping together. Those present settle quietly, and by corporately seeking God’s will, become open to one another. This may happen quickly, or it may take most of the meeting, usually an hour long.

The silence is different from that experienced in traditional, solitary meditation, which normally takes place deep inside oneself, as a devotional exercise for one’s own spiritual development. The listening and waiting in a meeting for worship is a shared experience in which worshippers seek to meet God.

Friends may worship entirely without words, but usually there will be some brief spoken contributions. This ‘ministry’ is intended to express aloud what is already present in the silence. Anyone may feel the call to speak, man, woman or child, Friend or first time visitor. There is a very wide variety of sources of spoken ministry and the acceptance of them is an important part of Quaker worship. Since the Religious Society of Friends is part of the Christian tradition, people may speak of the life and teachings of Jesus, use words from other sources, or refer to events in daily life.

Friends try to receive positively what is said and to look for the underlying truth, regardless of the words in which it is expressed. If Friends are impelled to respond to vocal ministry, they should be very cautious and try to build positively on what has gone before.

The Art of Peace #40

A true warrior is always well armed with the five things: the radiant sword of pacification, the mirror of bravery, wisdom, friendship, and the precious jewel of enlightenment.

The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice, always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Help Needed!

No one should have to choose between their family and their country.

Act now to urge Senator Schumer to include LGBT families in his immigration reform legislation! No one should have to choose between the person they love and their country. But discriminatory immigration policies do just that by denying LGBT couples the right to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration.
The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would remedy this injustice and allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for family-based immigration.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has been a strong supporter of this freestanding legislation to help these couples and their families. Right now, he and his staff are drafting comprehensive immigration reform legislation to be introduced this fall.

Act today to urge Senator Schumer to include LGBT families in comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate!

Nirvana and Enlightenment #92

People exchange their Present Moment Consciousness
for sensory gratification.

You can go after what you want and get it.
That is easy.

You can seek and find.
This is easy, too.

You can say, "I don't care about anything and I don't want anything or anybody,"
That is also easy.

Because all of these things are based in the realms of what you want for
whatever reason you desire it.

Letting go of all of what you want is the first step into understanding Zen.

Zen teaches Mushin, "No Minded-ness".

"No-Minded-ness" is the only place where NIRVANA can be found.

We Are Adventurers

We fear the unknown, perhaps more than we fear anything else, and yet we are, at heart, adventurers. We seek to expand our realm of knowledge and dominion. Perhaps we are attempting to overcome and crush the unknown, but our duel with the unknown is such a one-sided clash that we must know in our hearts that our adventure is no more than a child's game. Perhaps we hope that the unknown is like the darkness of a cave and that the brief light of our adventurer's candle can illuminate the entire cave. Nonetheless, the path of the adventurer is a path of joy, while the way of fear is one of suffering.

As Helen Keller said, "Let life be an adventure. Live your life to the fullest, unfettered by fear of the ghosts and goblins of what might occur. Calamity and death happen as well to those who hide from life as to those who squeeze every drop of zest from it".

Taking the Time to Stretch

Take Time To STRETCH

As we age, our muscles tighten and range of motion in our joints decreases. This can impact even the most active lifestyle and hinder your normal day-to-day activities. Tasks that used to be simple, like zipping up a dress or reaching for a can off the top shelf, may become extremely difficult.

A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily activities routine again. Stretching increases flexibility, which will help you perform daily activities and reduce the risk of muscle, joint and tendon injuries. Stretching also improves circulation, increasing blood flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow provides more nourishment to the muscles and gets rid of more waste by-products in the muscle tissue itself. Improved circulation can also help speed up recovery time if you suffer a muscle injury. What's more, stretching can help eliminate or decrease low back pain, one of the most common kinds of structural pain, affecting a large percentage of the population.

Muscle tightness in the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and low back muscles is a common cause of low back pain. Stretching these muscles will often eliminate the pain. Keep in mind that every joint is tied to another joint, so if one muscle is tight, it is going to affect another joint or muscle.

One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that you're able to increase your range of motion, which means your joints can move further before an injury occurs. Stretching after you exercise (at least after you've warmed up a bit) has proven to be much more effective than pre-workout stretches, because by the time you've completed your workout, the muscles are "warm." Post-exercise stretching also helps reduce soreness, improves workout recovery, and ensures muscle and tendons are working properly.

For more information, contact Dr. Crew at 880-2531, or make an appoitment at The Mind-Body Fitness Studio located at 1050 Hallock Avenue, Suite 3, Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #22

Sacraments and Liturgy

Friends believe that prayer and the love of God are of primary importance. This erases an artificial division between the secular and the religious, and makes all of life, when lived in the Spirit, sacramental.
Friends reject traditional, outward ceremonies and sacraments, sometimes characterised as ‘empty forms’, but without rejecting the spiritual reality they symbolise. Baptism, for example, means an inward or spiritual experience, not a ritual act. Communion is also of the Spirit, a conscious openness to, a communication with the Divine.
Although Friends may differ in their ways of observing the Sabbath and Christian festivals, these days are not regarded more holy than weekdays.

The Art of Peace #39

Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of The Art of Peace are brought to life.

The Way of the Warrior is based on humanity, love, and sincerity; the heart of mutual valor is true bravery, wisdom, love, and friendship.
Emphasis on the physical aspects of warriorship is futile, for the power of the body is always limited.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Please Be Aware of Unlicensed "Professionals"

W A R N I N G ! ! !

It has come to my attention that there are many people who are "so called" professionals advertising themselves as "Psychotherapists", "Hypnotherapists" and "Fitness Trainers" who are not licensed to do what they are stating they do. For example, I recently became aware of an Art Therapist who is advertising herself as a "Psychotherapist" on her business cards. I have heard of Nurse Practitioners and Chiropractors attempting these same claims.

Please be aware to ask them if they are licensed as a certified Psychotherapist and/or Hypnotherapist in New York State. This IS the definitive question as while they may be able to call themselves anything they wish to on their business card or advertisement by skirting the legalities of such, the fact remains that they are NOT licensed to provide these services.

By asking them if they are licensed, they will have to truthfully disclose their true identity and lack of a professional certification and/or licensure.

While you would think these people would have more self respect, please understand that ofttimes they do not. They have no shame as well. But of gall, dishonesty, and audacity, they have plenty.

Nirvana and Enlightenment #91

Thoughts equal ideas.
Ideas equal creations.
Creations cause things to happen.
Things happening equals Karma.

If you didn't have the thought which equaled the idea for the creation
of something, you would not have set its implementation into motion.
Thus, people would not have been affected by it and you would not hold
the Karma of all those people who were exposed to it in your hands.

In Zen, every day you step beyond thoughts.
With no thought, no new things are created.
With no new things created, there is no new Karma.
With no new Karma, you are whole unto yourself.
Whole unto yourself, the universe is peaceful as is as it should be.

You don't have to create to BE.

The Art of Peace #38

Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword.

Human beings develop in the same fashion.


From ancient times,
Deep learning and value
Have been the two pillars of the Path.
Through the virtue of training,
Enlighten both body and soul.

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #21

Creeds and Theology

The attitude of Friends to formal creeds and theological dogma is different from that of most Christians. Creeds do not form the basis for association in their fellowship. Friends are aware of the limitations of words to express one’s deepest experiences. Friends also realise that words may suitably express the personal convictions of someone at one time, but that they will almost certainly be unsuitable for the same person later in life. It is even more difficult to define the religious conviction of a group of people. Words and phrases often lend themselves to very different interpretations.
The absence of creeds does not mean that Friends feel that it does not matter what a person believes. They recognise that personal beliefs vitally affect behavior.


Friends are people of strong religious views, but they are quite clear that these views must be tested by the way in which they are expressed in action. Many Friends have hesitations about the value of theology, fearing that it too easily leads to speculation and argument. But all would agree that humans, as rational beings, must think about the nature of their religious experiences.

Friends are encouraged to seek for truth in all the opportunities that life presents to them. They are further encouraged to seek new light from whatever source it may arise. Their questing and open attitude to life has certainly contributed to the tolerance with which Friends try to approach people and problems of faith and conduct.

This may make it easier to understand how the Religious Society of Friends can accommodate such a range of religious outlooks among its members. Pretty well every color in the religious spectrum seems to be reflected in the views of Friends. There are Friends whose faith is most sincerely expressed in the traditional language of orthodox Christianity. Other Friends could justly be described as religious humanists.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Real Me

THE REAL ME Words and Music by Natalie Grant

Foolish heart
Looks like we're here again
Same old game of plastic smile
Don't let anybody in
Hiding my heartache
Will this glass house break?
How much will they take
Before I'm empty?
Do I let it show? Does anybody know?

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin
Broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Oh, Cause you see the real me

Painted on Life is behind a mask
Self-inflicted circus clown
I'm tired of the song and dance
Living a charade
Always on parade
What a mess I've made of my existence
But you love me even now
And still I see somehow

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, Broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Oh, Cause you see the real me

Bridge:
Wonderful, beautiful
Is what you see
When you look at me
You're turning the tattered fabric of my life into
A perfect tapestry
Oh, I just wanna be me
I wanna be me

Cause you see the real me
Hiding in my skin
Broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Oh, Cause you see the real me

And you love me Just as I am
Wonderful, beautiful Is what you see
When you look at me?

Zen Wisdom #11

There is only one Way--straight,
open, and utterly empty of all obstructions.

Yuan-Wu

This Is Your Life

This Is Your Life Words and Music by Switchfoot

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
Yesterday is a promise that you've broken
Don't close your eyes, don't close your eyes
This is your life and today is all you've got now
Yeah, and today is all you'll ever have
Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes

This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

Yesterday is a kid in the corner
Yesterday is dead and over

This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes

This is your life are you who you want to be?
This is your life are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose
And you had everything to lose

Nirvana and Enlightenment #90

Life happens.

The moment something seemingly negative occurs, people commonly
focus on all of their consciousness upon attempting to figure out what caused
the occurrence.

How many times have you inquired, "Why me?"

It is common to turn to the concept of Karma for a justification.

"Did this happen because I did that, then?"
"Maybe when I acted this way to that person?"
Or, "Why, I don't deserve this!"

You can sit around attempting to figure out why.
You can question the justification for it.
Or, you can accept that life is life,
that something did happen,
and move on.

Which way do you think will lead you to enlightenment?

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #20

Responding to God’s call

The rediscovery by ordinary men and women of a sense of the immediacy of God is one of the most distinctive aspects of Quakerism. The writings of early Friends are full of stories of “meetings with God” and of “being led by the Holy Spirit”. Sometimes these experiences helped their understanding. Sometimes it was an awareness of something that had to be done as part of God’s purpose on this earth. Friends began to use the term ‘concern’ to describe the experience of Friends who believe that God might be saying to them: “this is what needs to be done – and you are to help do it”.

This type of direct experience of God is not unique to Friends. It is common to both Judaism and Christianity. But the Religious Society of Friends is unusual in the way it tries to support its members in obedience to such calls. Friends have always encouraged in one another an approach to Christian discipline that stresses the need to be open to the Holy Spirit and the call of God.

The Art of Peace #37

The Way of a Warrior
Cannot be encompassed
By words or in letters
Grasp the essence
And move on toward realization!

The purpose of training is to tighten up
the slack, toughen up the body, and
polish the spirit.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mindful Changes

"Eliminate something superfluous from your life.
Break a habit.
Do something that makes you feel insecure.
Carry out an action with complete attention and intensity, as if it were your last."

Piero Ferrucci

"Right Here" : Words and Music by Jeremy Camp

RIGHT HERE Jeremy Camp

All the world is Watching
All the world does care
Even when the world weighs on my shoulder now,
These feelings I can bare
Because I know,
That you’re here,

(CHORUS:)
Everywhere I go,
I know your not far away,
You're right here
You're right here, yeah

All these thoughts I’ve wasted,
All these thoughts I fear,
Even when these thoughts have faded,
I still know that you’re here,
So I can rest my hope in you

(Repeat Chorus)

Many of times that I have felt alone,
Many of times that I have the
world was crashing down upon me,
You always stood here by my side,
You were always there …..

Everywhere I go,
I know your not far away,
You're right here
You're right here, yeah

Excellence as a Habit

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle

You choose what you are by what you do.
Are you pleased with the way you spend your time?
"Habit" and "diligent practice" both describe the frequent and predictable repetition of activities.
The difference lies in whether you consciously choose what you do every day, or you allow your circumstances to control you.

Zen Wisdom #10

Wherever I go,
there he is.
He is no other than my self,
but I am not him.


Dosan

Interesterified Fats

With healthy eating becoming such a priority in many people’s live, some food manufactures have started to eliminate or reduce the trans fat that is found in processed food. And in most cases, this is a giant step forward. However, don’t be fooled! Some manufacturers are using interesterified fat, a supposed “healthy alternative” to hydrogenated oils and trans fat. But in actuality this alternative is just as bad.

What are Interesterified Fats?
Interesterified fats have been used in the manufacture of food since the 1920s in Europe and here in the United States since the 1950s. While this “new” method has been touted by food manufacturers as a healthy alternative to trans fat, there is some concern in light of recent studies.

Interesterified fats are similar to hydrogenated oils and are made by combining natural vegetable oils with stearic acid and alkylinic catalysts. While this process does not produce trans fat, the end result does contain harmful chemical residues that can cause cell damage.

What are the Health Concerns?
The studies that have been performed on interesterified fats have had interesting results regarding the short-term health risks. The results of these tests seem to suggest that interesterified fats have more harmful health risks than trans fats, increasing both blood glucose levels and reducing the amount of insulin made naturally in the body by double of what is reported with trans fats. These fats tend to affect men and women differently, and it is not clear what the long-term effects might be. For men these fats increase the likelihood of heart disease and stroke by inflaming the arterial walls and causing plaque to form. Women are affected differently because interesterified fats attach to the fatty cells of the breast, increasing the risk of cancer.

How Can You Identify Foods with Interesterified Fats?
It can be difficult to know if the processed foods you are eating contain these fats, but a general rule of thumb is that if a food is processed it will either contain trans fats or interesterified fats. It is more likely you will find interesterified fat in foods that advertise “zero trans fats” on the label. It can be found in margarine, shortening, French fries, fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries, crackers, cereal, waffles, salad dressing, and even mayonnaise.

When reading the labels of processed items, look for the ingredients “high stearate” or “stearic-rich fats.” Also if the product contains fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil, or palm kernel oil there is a high probability that it contains interesterified fats or trans fats.

While consumers demand high quality processed foods that have increasingly longer shelf lives, they are putting themselves at risk because of the inherent processes of preservation. When you consume food that has been chemically altered, your body does not know what to do with the new substances. This can cause serious health risks for both men and women.

What is the Future of Interesterified Fats?
While it is still unclear what the long term affects of interesterified fats will be, remember it took three decades before scientists could prove that trans fats were bad for you. It is highly likely it could take another three decades or more to fully understand the health effects of this “healthier” alternative to hydrogenated oil.

To avoid both trans fat and interesterified fat, it’s best to avoid processed foods altogether. If you must, use butter instead of margarine and other spreads, and stay away from hydrogenated cooking oils. Coconut oil is actually a healthy alternative.

By paying attention to what you put in your body, you are taking an important step towards great health!

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #19

Friends and God

At the very center of the Quaker faith lies the concept of the Inner Light. This principle states that in every human soul there is implanted a certain element of God’s own Spirit and divine energy. This element, known to early Friends as “that of God in everyone”, “the seed of Christ”, or “the seed of Light”, means to Friends, in the words of John 1:9, “the true Light, which lightens every man that comes into the world”.

Friends generally believe that first-hand knowledge of God is only possible through that which is experienced, or inwardly revealed to the individual human being through the working of God’s quickening Spirit. This explains the attitude of Friends towards many things, including the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, the scriptures, the establishment and authority of the church, its use of ceremonies, symbols and sacraments, and especially the obligations felt by each individual.

Broadly speaking, the concept of the Inner Light is twofold. Firstly, the Inner Light discerns between good and evil. It reveals the presence of both in human beings, and through its guidance, offers the alternative of choice. Secondly, the Inner Light opens the unity of all human beings to our consciousness. Friends believe that the potential for good, as well as evil, are latent in everyone.

George Fox acknowledged that there is “an ocean of darkness and death” over the world. But he also saw that “an ocean of light and of love” flows over this ocean of darkness, revealing the infinite love of God. Friends believe that the power of God to overcome evil is available in the nature of anyone who truly wants to do the will of God. To a great extent, we are the arbiter of our own destiny, having the power of choice. Salvation, in the Quaker sense, lies in our power to ‘become’ children of God.

Although the Inner Light or the Divine Spirit has always been available, Friends generally accept that the fullness of God’s divine revelation is made manifest in the life of Jesus Christ – “made flesh and dwells among us, full of grace and truth”.

The Art of Peace #36

Practice the Art of Peace sincerely, and all evil thoughts and deeds will naturally disappear.
The only desire that should remain is the thirst for more and more training in the Way.
Those who are enlightened never stop forging themselves.
The realizations of such Masters cannot be expressed well in words or in theories.
The most perfect actions echo the patterns found in nature.

Day after day,
Train your heart out.
Refining your technique;
Use the ONE to strike the Many.
That is the discipline of a Warrior.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Facts About Friends(Quakers) #18

Quakers and the After-Life

Friends do not consider a life after death as a reward for virtue, or as a compensation for the suffering in their lives on earth. Neither has the fear or threat of damnation been used to induce Friends to live better lives. The Quaker view of what happens beyond death is firmly rooted in the experience of this life. Friends believe that life is good, and that an essential clue to its real nature is to be glimpsed in the love that people have for one another.

There is always an element of mystery about love which people cannot fully penetrate, but Friends are convinced that it has a timeless quality. Love cannot be destroyed by death and cannot be limited by time and space. This conviction is underlined by the experience of Quaker worship, and by the awareness that the personality of Jesus was not diminished by his death. His life was based on his profound trust that God is love. Friends respond to this love. They experience heaven here and now, and believe that whatever lies beyond death must be for our good.

Friends do not dogmatise about what happens after death. There are Friends who are convinced that there is an after-life, and those who are convinced that there is not. But all Friends feel that it is more important to get on with living this life, and seek to improve the conditions of humanity in this world, than to engage in speculations about the next.

Adaptation

I choose to adapt to the circumstances in which I find myself.
I choose to be flexible in my dealings with those around me.
I understand that my way is not the only way - that inner peace comes from respecting the ways of others, and that, if I am open, I may gain great insights and happiness from the ideas and traditions of others.

Zen Wisdom #9

"When everything is seen as ONE, we return to the Source
and stay where we have always been".

Seng-T'San