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Monday, May 28, 2012

Soundtrack For a Revolution

Aren't we all experiencing a revolution these days?  Everyday when we awaken, we have the choice of how to behave and react—how best to use our good hearts.

I'm watching and listening to "Soundtrack For a Revolution", a 2009 movie about the civil rights movement and the glorious music that fueled its energy.

"We Shall Overcome", "We Shall Not Be Moved", "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around". Songs like these were sung by protesters even in prison.  No one could make them stop singing. The songs kept fears at bay.

Unbelievable that at one point in our recent history, racism was systematically accepted and cultivated.

What segregation still exists?

What are we each willing to stand up against?

How do we practice non-violent means of changing things? What is effective?

Basic, highly personal questions.

I'm finishing some malas tonight and shipping them tomorrow, so glad to live in a society with as much freedom as we have. I'm looking forward to more freedoms in the future. Perhaps soon my gay friends can marry legally.

I'm all about people accepting each other, looking past differences, and seeing the equanimity of all beings. It might seem a jump from gay rights to say that, but in Buddhism, all lives are considered equally precious, even animal lives.

Watch the video.  It will lift your heart and remind you, as it does me, of what's possible.  Change does happen.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Lot of Dharma Bloomin' in San Diego!

It's been the most incredible few weeks here in San Diego. There's been a lot of Dharma bloomin'!

I may have told you that I got to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak at the University of San Diego recently, always a huge pleasure.  He just fills the heart.

My bookclub just finished reading his newest book, "Beyond Religion".  It was very good, very healing, and had lots of guidance about how to learn to catch negative emotions as they arise before they do any harm to ourselves or others.  His main focus now seems to be education; if we can pass on real, humane values to our children, then the world has a chance.  He is very optimistic.

He seems so relaxed and happy.  As an elder, he seems to be relaxing in his true nature, aware of all the problems in the world, but able to rest now.  I can't help but think that letting go of his governmental responsibilities was a good move for him, not that I can judge.  But he deserves to rest and now he can continue to inspire us.

Here's a link to "Beyond Religion".

And this week my Dharma group got to host a lecture and book signing by Tsoknyi Rinpoche.  I'd heard about him and know people who had heard him teach, but I'd never seen him live.  He is so young (yet old enough to have a twenty-year-old daughter) but sooooo wise.  And he has the cleverest, silliest, wackiest joke style of any lama I've seen.  They all have a good sense of humor, but his is downright off-beat.  He even said it was "edgy".  He had the audience laughing from their bellies.  Guffawing.  I was slapping my seat mate and crying.  That's how funny he was.

But at the same time, if you looked closely at this short, slightly rounded lama, you could see the lineage of his masters sitting with him — in him.  Such a wise, deep, and loving presence.  I really found it to be healing.  Lots of stress and patterns can be let go of when sitting with these accomplished meditators, as their light spreads into the hearts of those who listen.

His new book, "Open Heart, Open Mind", is proving to be very immediate, very personal, and full of the energy of his public talk.  He speaks about unknotting the parts of us that are stuck in negative patterns, like fear.  His example of his own battle with fear of heights and his compassionate conquering of it was very inspiring. I highly recommend the book.

I'm not a big Dharma book reader.  In my spare time I read lighter, more entertaining books.  But these two books are both backed by study and practice, yet light.  There is no feeling of intellectual Buddhism in them. For this reason, they work well for people like me who feel very busy and like to relax when they read.

What has come to me after seeing these two masters and reading their books this month, is an awareness of how stressed out we tend to become in this culture.  And it limits how good we can feel and blocks us from feeling good with and towards others.  Part of this has always been built into our lives, perhaps from the beginning of time, but part of it is, I think, resulting from the economic and political-cultural stresses of the past decade.  Since 9/11 we have felt under siege and unsafe.  And in 2008 we lost another kind of feeling of security; economic.  We've all dealt as well as we could with this— many of us have lost our homes, jobs, and belongings.  But all of us, collectively, have been scarred.

Following the advice of these great teachers can really help us, and help me, bounce back into our natural good humor and health.

That was a lot to say in one blog entry! I guess I'm saving up all my thoughts and doing twice a month blog-drops.  I hope you understand and enjoy some little bit of what I'm writing.

Namaste, may you be well!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Morning Note From Norway

Little Red Coral Mala on Norwegian Buddha

This morning I awoke at my usual California time, hours after most of the world has been awake.  There was an email from a customer in Norway saying that her malas had arrived and that she loved them.

She ordered two of the more unique malas in the shop: the bamboo coral with cinnabar guru bead mala and a rosewood mala that uses carved carnelian, red jasper, horn, brass, and even acrylic beads in an homage to joy and lightness.

This one:

My Norwegian customer said that she had loaned her coral mala to a Buddha to take the picture at the top, and he returned it to her.

I love the photo because it has a simple grace.

And that's what I wish for you, tonight and always: Simple Grace.

May your days be auspicious, may your nights be auspicious, may you be happy and well.

Thank you again for your patronage of Heart of Compassion Malas -  Compassionmalas on Etsy.
It means so much.