Archives for March 2017

Meditation : Perception of Reality

Is this new perception really important?

Lawrence LeShan agrees that the problem is truly complex. On the one hand, we can “operate” very efficiently in this world such as we know it. On the other, we know that a considerable number of people worthy of our trust, such as Gandhi, Teresa D’Avila, or Buddha, sought to perceive this reality in a distinct manner, and that this led them to take giant steps and change the destiny of humanity.

Just like at the gym, where a good teacher always has a series of different exercises for each type of student, there is no single technique for meditating, and anyone interested in the subject should try to discover his own way. However, there are a few elementary steps which are present in almost all religions and cultures which use meditation as a way of encountering inner peace, which I shall now describe (based on Lawrence LeShan’s highly interesting book, How to Meditate: a Guide to Self-Discovery)

The first thing is to be aware of one’s own breathing.

Counting the number of times we breathe every two minutes, helps us concentrate our attention on something we do automatically, and thus removes us from that which is normal. At first, this may seem very simple, but we mustn’t be fooled by this simplicity: whoever decides to try out this exercise in practice, notices that this requires considerable effort and large doses of patience. However, as we do so (and we can practice conscious breathing anywhere, before going to sleep, or on public transport on the way to work), we come into contact with an unknown part of ourselves, and feel the better for it.

Choosing the place:

The next step is to try and dedicate ten or fifteen minutes a day to sit in a quiet place, and repeat this conscious breathing, trying to remain still (like the Zen monks we have already talked about here). Thoughts will appear, against our will, and at this moment it is useful to recall the words of St. Teresa D’Avila about our mind: “it is a wild horse which goes anywhere, except where we want to take it.”

Silencing without violence:

Finally, as time passes (one should know that this requires two or three months of exercises), the mind has emptied itself naturally, bringing with it great serenity to our everyday lives. However great our problems appear, however stressful our lives, these fifteen minutes every day will make all the difference, and help us to overcome – generally in a subconscious manner – the difficulties we face.

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The cultural puzzle

2017: Manual for conserving paths

1] The path begins with a crossroads. There you can stop and think what direction to follow. But don’t spend too much time thinking or you’ll never leave the spot. Once you have taken the first step, forget the crossroads forever or you will always torture yourself with the useless question: “did I take the right path?”

2] The path doesn’t last for ever. It is a blessing to travel the path for some time, but one day it will come to an end, so always be prepared to leave it at any moment. Don’t get too used to anything. Neither to the hours of euphoria, nor to the endless days when everything seems so difficult and progress is so slow. Don’t forget that sooner or later an angel will appear and your journey will reach an end.

3] Honor your path. It was your choice, your decision, and just as you respect the ground you step on, that ground will respect your feet. Always do what is best to conserve and keep your path and it will do the same for you.

4] Be well equipped. Carry a small rake, a spade, a penknife. Understand that penknives are no use for dry leaves, and rakes are useless for herbs that are deep-rooted. Know also what tool to use at each moment.

5] The path goes forward and backward. At times you have to go back because something was lost, or else a message to be delivered was forgotten in your pocket. A well tended path enables you to go back without any great problems.

6] Take care of the path before you take care of what is around you. Don’t be distracted by the dry leaves at the edges or by the way that others are looking after their paths. Use your energy to tend and conserve the ground that accepts your steps.

7] Be patient. Sometimes the same tasks have to be repeated, like tearing up weeds or closing holes that appear after unexpected rain. Don’t let that annoy you – that is part of the journey.

8] Paths cross. People can tell what the weather is like. Listen to advice, and make your own decisions. You alone are responsible for the path that was entrusted to you.

9] Nature follows its own rules. In this way, you have to be prepared for sudden changes in the fall, slippery ice in winter, the temptations of flowers in spring, thirst and showers in the summer. Make the most of each of these seasons, and don’t complain about their characteristics.

10] Make your path a mirror of yourself. By no means let yourself be influenced by the way that others care for their paths. You have your soul to listen to, and the birds to tell what your soul is saying. Let your stories be beautiful and pleasant to everything around you. Above all, let the stories that your soul tells during the journey be echoed at each and every second of the path.

11] Love your path. This is the most important rule of all!

taken from “The book of manuals”

Forgiving in the same spirit

 

The Rabbi Nahum of Chernobyl was always being insulted by a shopkeeper. One day, the latter’s business began to go badly.

“It must be the Rabbi, who is asking for God’s revenge,” he thought. He went to ask Nahum’s forgiveness.

– I forgive you in the same spirit you ask for forgiveness – replied the Rabbi.

But the man’s losses just kept increasing, until he was reduced to misery. Nahum’s horrified disciples went to ask him what had happened.

– I forgave him, but he continued to hate me deep down in his heart – said the Rabbi – Therefore, his hatred contaminated everything he did, and God’s punishment became more and more severe.

Saint Joseph’s Day

St joseph I will be with my wife in a small village, and I will pray at 8:30 PM the prayer below. Plase fell free to join me in this prayer, or – what is better –  to find one in your mother tongue and to pray on your  time zone. Let’s cover this planet with positive energy!

You can go to the search here in my blog, and find the previous celebrations (and prayers)
May St. Joseph bless your family and your work

Glorious St. Joseph
model of all who are devoted to labor,
obtain for me the grace
to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations;
to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor
the gifts I have received from God,
to work methodically, peacefully,
in moderation and patience,
without ever shrinking from it through difficulty to work;
above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness,
having unceasingly before my eyes
the account I have to render of time lost,
talents unused, good not done,
and vain complacency in success.
St. Joseph, inspire and guide me for the time to come.
 

Paulo Coelho’s 5 Smartest Advices for Students

Capture

By Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter

When Paolo Coelho wrote and released “The Alchemist,” his first publisher dropped the book because the sales were bad. Fortunately, he found another publisher who had more faith in it and the rest became history. “The Alchemist” encourages a person to reconsider how he views life and helped establish Coleho as an inspirational writer. Here are some of the smartest advice from the book that will prove helpful how you view life not only as a student but in general.

Action is the first step to success

Success will not come if you don’t take a step first. Taking action is also the only way to learn. You can study more, read more, listen more but if you don’t take any action, all those knowledge remains a knowledge. On the other hand, success comes when you turn that knowledge into action.

Compensate your weakness with your strength

All of us have their own weaknesses and strengths. However, weaknesses should not stop you from being successful and earning the respect of others. Instead, focus on your strength instead of your weakness.

Persevere

In “The Alchemist,” there’s a quote there that says if you really want something, the universe conspires in helping you get that dream. There might be something you’ll encounter that will make you doubt your dream but yo have to keep your focus and be obsessed with your dream.

Rejection is normal

Paulo loved writing and believes in himself. He recounted a story where he passed some of his poetry in a reputable magazine but got humiliated in return. He took it personally at first but eventually got over the rejection. The experience encouraged him to make himself better.

Getting a corporate job does not necessarily mean success

Getting a job in the corporate world might pay you a lot of money but that does not necessarily mean success. Doing what you love doing is a gift that only a few enjoys but not impossible to achieve.

15 SEC READ: the search to be different

good-to-be-different-sheep-sticker-decal

 

Do you know exactly where you are now?

You are in a city, along with a lot of other people, and it is highly likely that, at this very moment, various people are sheltering in their hearts the same hopes and anxieties that you are sheltering in yours.

Let us go further: you are a microscopic speck on the surface of a ball. This ball spins around another ball, which, in turn, is located in one tiny corner of a galaxy along with millions of other similar balls.

This galaxy forms part of something called the Universe, full of vast star clusters. No one knows exactly where this Universe begins and ends.

This does not mean that you are not of vital importance; you struggle, you strive, you try to improve, you have dreams, you are made happy or sad by love. You are UNIQUE

If you were not alive, something would be missing.

3 MIN LEITURA: O processo criativo

Todo processo criativo, seja ele na literatura, na engenharia, na informática – e até mesmo no amor – respeita sempre um mesmo padrão: o ciclo da natureza. A seguir, listo as etapas deste processo:

a] aragem do campo: no momento em que o solo é revirado, o oxigênio penetra onde antes não conseguia. O campo ganha um novo rosto, a terra que estava em cima agora está embaixo, e o que estava embaixo transformou-se em superfície. Este processo de revolução interior é muito importante – porque, da mesma maneira que o novo rosto daquele campo irá ver a luz do sol pela primeira vez, e deslumbrar-se com ela, uma reavaliação dos nossos valores permitirá ver a vida com inocência, e sem ingenuidade. Assim, estaremos preparados para o milagre da inspiração. Um bom criador tem que saber estar sempre revirando seus valores, e jamais ficar contente com aquilo que julga entender.

b] a semeadura:  toda obra é fruto do contato com a vida. O homem criador não pode trancar-se em uma torre de marfim; precisa estar em contato com o próximo, e compartilhar sua condição humana. Nunca vai saber, de antemão, quais as coisas que serão importantes no futuro, de modo que, quanto mais intensa sua vida, mais possibilidades tem de encontrar uma linguagem original. Le Corbusier dizia que “enquanto o homem quis voar imitando os pássaros, nunca conseguiu.” O mesmo se passa com o artista: embora ele seja um tradutor de emoções, a linguagem que ele está traduzindo não é inteiramente conhecida por ele, e se tentar imitar ou controlar a inspiração, jamais chegará onde deseja. Ele precisa  permitir que a vida semeie o campo fértil do seu inconsciente.

c] a maturação: existe um tempo onde a obra se escreve sozinha, com liberdade, no fundo da alma do autor – antes que este se atreva a manifestá-la.  No caso da literatura, por exemplo, o livro está influenciando o escritor, e vice-versa. É sobre este momento que o poeta brasileiro Carlos Drummond de Andrade se refere, ao dizer que jamais devemos tentar recolher os versos que se perdem, pois eles não mereciam ver a luz do dia. Conheço gente que, durante a maturação, fica compulsivamente tomando notas de tudo que passa pela cabeça, sem respeitar aquilo que está sendo escrito no inconsciente. O resultado é que as notas, frutos da memória, terminam atrapalhando os frutos da inspiração. O criador precisa respeitar o tempo de gestação, embora saiba que – assim como o agricultor – ele só tem parcial controle do seu campo; está sujeito a seca, ou a inundações. Mas, se souber esperar, a planta mais forte, que resistiu às intempéries, virá à luz com toda sua força.

d] a colheita: é  o momento que o homem vai manifestar em um plano consciente aquilo que ele semeou e deixou maturar. Se colher antes, a fruta está verde, se colher depois, a fruta está podre. Todo artista sabe reconhecer a chegada deste momento; embora certas perguntas ainda não tenham maturado o suficiente, certas idéias ainda não estejam claras e cristalinas, elas irão se re-organizar à medida que a obra está sendo feita. Sem medo, e com disciplina, ele entende que é preciso trabalhar de sol a sol, até que seu trabalho esteja completo.

 E o que fazer com os resultados da colheita? De novo, olhamos a Mãe Natureza: ela compartilha tudo com todos. Um artista que quer guardar sua obra para si mesmo, não está sendo justo com o que recebeu do momento presente, nem com a herança e os ensinamentos de seus antepassados. Se deixarmos os grãos estocados no celeiro,eles terminarão apodrecendo, embora tenham sido colhidos no momento certo. Quando a colheita termina, chega o momento em que é preciso dividir, sem medo ou vergonha, a sua própria alma.

Essa é a missão do artista, por mais dolorosa ou gloriosa que seja.

10 SEC READ: the importance of the forest

‘All the teachers say that spiritual treasure is something one finds alone. So why are we all here together?’ asked a disciple of the Sufi master Nasrudin.

‘You are all here together because a forest is always stronger than a lone tree,’ replied Nasrudin.
‘The forest maintains the humidity in the air, it resists the hurricane, and it helps to make the soil fertile.
‘But what makes a tree strong is its root, and the root of one plant cannot help another plant to grow.

‘Working together towards the same end and allowing each one to grow in his own way, that is the path for those who wish to commune with God.’

 

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Hasn’t it been difficult for you to stay in Brasil after all the harm the Brasilian dictatorship has done to you in former times? What made you stay there although you have been imprisonned under very cruel circumstances from your own people?

It was impossible to live in Brazil, because after being in jail, you develop a kind of paranoia, you think that everybody is following you, listening to your conversations, etc. So, after being released, I went to London, but after three or four months, I realized that this was to scape to reality, to be a “strange in a strange land”for the rest of my life. So I decided to face my fears, and I returned to Brasil. It was better to die here than the be a living dead in a foreign place – I made this choice.

As for the second part of your question: I was not imprisioned by my own people, I was imprisioned by the military junta, that kept my people silent under the threat of weapons. My people was waiting, because there is no arguments against force. On the other hand, nobody can keep the pressure forever, so at the long run Freedom won, and here we are, with our problems, but also with the freedom to talk about them.

God and real life

selected by Paulo Coelho (feel free to share, by the way…)

Christian tradition
A protestant priest, having started a family, no longer had any peace for his prayers. One night, when he knelt down, he was disturbed by the children in the living room.
“Have the children keep quiet!” he shouted.
His startled wife obeyed. Thereafter, whenever the priest came home, they all maintained silence during prayers. But he realized that God was no longer listening.
One night, during his prayers, he asked the Lord: “what is going on? I have the necessary peace, and I cannot pray!”
An angel replied: “He hears words, but no longer hears the laughter. He notices the devotion, but can no longer see the joy.”
The priest stood and shouted once again to his wife: “Let the children play! They are part of praying!”
And his words were heard by God once again.

Muslim tradition
A blind man was begging on the road to Mecca, when a pious Moslem came over and asked whether the people were giving generously – as the Koran commands. The man showed him his little tin, which was almost empty. The traveler said:
– Let me write something on the card around your neck.
Hours later, the traveler returned. The beggar was surprised, for he had received a large amount of money.
– What did you write on the card? – he asked.
– All I wrote was: Today is a beautiful spring day, the sun is shining, and I am blind.

Jewish tradition
Dov Beer de Mezeritch was asked:
“Which example should one follow? That of pious men, who devote their lives to God? That of scholars, who seek to understand the will of the Almighty?
“The best example is that of the child,” he answered.
“A child knows nothing. It hasn’t yet learned what reality is,” people commented.
“You are all quite wrong, for a child possesses three qualities we should never forget,” said Dov Beer. “They are always joyful without reason. They are always busy. And when they want something, they know how to demand it firmly and with determination.”