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One Of The Three “Dharma Seals” That Buddha Taught & What The Human Race Can Learn From It

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

A large part of the appeal of Buddhism for an increasing number of people today is its practicality, as it has a relative lack of extraneous philosophical fluff to sort through. Buddhism focuses on practical truths that we can use and which make immediate sense.

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One of the key teachings of the Buddha is that the origin of suffering (dukkha) lies in desire or grasping (tanha, which means literally “thirst”). The Great Discourse on the Wheel of Dharma (the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) contains a succinct statement on the second Noble Truth, which is the origin of this teaching:

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And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion and delight, relishing now here and now there — that is, craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.

What Lies Beyond Space & Time?

I have read and heard time and again in recent years about a deeper reality that lies “beyond space and time,” often with some tie to modern physics to support this assertion. A Google search brings up many relevant examples. There is of course a similar tendency independent of the Buddhist tradition, with many Christian and scientific thinkers also trying to ascertain truths or hidden realities that are “beyond space and time,” that is, truly permanent, changeless.

This tendency seems to me to be a resurgence of the type of grasping that Buddha warned about in the second Noble Truth; in particular, the third type of craving, for “non-becoming.” That is, by trying to identify, or by placing one’s identity with, a supposed reality beyond space and time we perpetuate the grasping for permanence that Buddha pointed out was harmful for an accurate understanding of reality and for our well-being.300x250 ad

“Non-becoming” is permanence and the quest for permanence is a common form of grasping. But if we take not only Buddhism, but also modern science seriously, we see that all things are impermanent. This means that there is nothing beyond space and time. Some kind of existence beyond what we know of as space — our traditional three dimensions — is entirely conceivable, sure. But if all things are impermanent there is nothing beyond time. To be impermanent means to be in time, to change, to be in constant flux.

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The teaching of impermanence (anitya) was one of the three dharma seals that Buddha taught. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen teacher, writes of this teaching in his The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings: “The Buddha taught that everything is impermanent — flowers, tables, mountains, political regimes, bodies, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. We cannot find anything that is permanent.” If nothing is permanent, nothing is beyond time. All is flux. This key insight has many parallels in the West.

“Process philosophy” is a western school of thought that stretches back to Heraclitus in pre-Socratic Greece. As the name suggests, process philosophy is all about change/process/the passage of time. In Alfred North Whitehead’s version of process philosophy, which he developed into a detailed, profound yet speculative worldview, “events” are the basic units of reality. An event is a happening, a chunk of space and time. The universe is nothing but the collection of events in each moment, constantly fluxing and bending into the next moment as the future becomes the now and the now becomes memory. My book, Eco, Ego, Eros is a good introduction to Whitehead’s thought.

Focusing on the spiritual and ontological implications of this historical philosophical tradition, some modern thinkers have attempted to create a smooth combination of eastern and western ideas that directly matter to our lives — rather than being relegated to the halls of academia and dusty bookshelves. “Evolutionary panentheism” is one name for this relatively new approach, spearheaded by people like Mike Murphy, Ken Wilber, and Andrew Cohen. The name is a bit unwieldy but effectively descriptive, stressing both change (evolutionary) and the view that the universe is within God (panentheism) and not a separate creation.

Andrew Cohen suggests that his approach, an expansion of traditional Vedanta teaching that he received from his master H.W.L. Poonja, is a new teaching that incorporates a broader understanding of the nature of perpetual change. God, the ground of being, or whatever you prefer to call ultimate reality itself, does change. God evolves in a dance with the universe that flows from this ground of being. Cohen stated in an interview with me from 2011: “As touched as I had been by awakening to the unborn Self beyond time and space, I had never been able to accept the assertion that the world was an illusion. Not only did I believe that the world was real but I also came to give much greater value to Spirit’s power to affect change in the world than its power to liberate us from it.”

He adds that “the goal of traditional enlightenment, to put it simply, is about transcending the world and experiencing freedom from it. The goal of the new Evolutionary Enlightenment is about creating the future.”

Cohen himself may be a good example of evolutionary spirituality due to the controversy over his teaching style and conflicts with his students and colleagues, which prompted a recent public apology letter two years after he was asked to step down from his leadership role in the community that he began. Cohen, as with all of us, is a work in progress and has hopefully learned much from his own tribulations. (In another interview, with Carter Phipps, a former colleague of Cohen’s at EnlightenNext magazine, Phipps and I explore what it means to be an “evolutionary,” as Cohen describes himself.)

What Do We Do With The Understanding That All Things Are Impermanent?

As the Buddha himself emphasized, by understanding impermanence we automatically reduce grasping, which reduces suffering because of the frustrations that grasping inevitably brings. We accept that all things change and in this acceptance we learn to surf through life a bit more gracefully than is the case when we are constantly grasping for permanence, for solid foundations. The only solid foundation we can find is the truth of the lack of solid foundations. So, somewhat paradoxically, perhaps the only truth that won’t change over time is the fact that all things change over time.

The new conversation in spiritual circles is the degree to which our focus should be on an extra-physical reality — the “world is an illusion” conception of reality — or on a participatory universe in which we are all literally co-creating reality in each moment. Process philosophy and my own preferences fall squarely in the latter school of thought.

The balance we should aim for in our lives is to seek healthy goals (for ourselves and society more generally) but accompany that striving with the grace that understanding impermanence brings. Achieving anything in life requires effort and intention. Yet we can bring our efforts and intentions on worthy goals without unhealthy attachment and without grasping. Rather, we dance, we surf, we glide through life without the anger and suffering that are the more obvious manifestations of frustrated grasping. This is as good a definition of grace as any I know of.

The final irony perhaps is that by approaching life without grasping we are more likely to achieve those worthy goals that we do set for ourselves.

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Consciousness

How To Embrace New Ideas & Envision A Better World

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

In this video I explore how to look in our minds and bodies for resistance towards new solutions and ideas. If we are to create a more thriving world, what has to happen within us? How do we use new and emerging solutions in a pure form, without applying the old dominance or capitalistic stories to them?

It can, very understandably, be hard to imagine something different than what we’re doing now. Especially when we consider we don’t know HOW things would change or what will happen to the current life we’ve built.

What if real global solutions involve shifting our long term plans? How do we gain a sense of comfort and stability in challenges we seek to solve at their core?

Every time I’ve been faced with some pretty big changes I had to make in my life, if I ever sensed resistance in myself, I had to find it in my body as well as navigate it in my mind.  I explain more in the video below.

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Consciousness

Raising Our Vibration Through Compassion & Unconditional Love

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

An internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization, the Institute of HeartMath dedicates itself to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology, and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with that of their minds at home, school, work, and play.

It’s becoming clearer to many of us that working together with kindness, compassion and acceptance are the missing pieces for resetting humanity’s fast and furious trajectory into separation and division. It’s also becoming obvious that we cannot create solutions from the same consciousness level that’s creating the problems. Raising our consciousness vibration for drawing peaceful solutions is an undertaking that calls for kindness, forgiveness and an inclusive love that respects our differences.

A large portion of their research has investigated heart and brain interaction. Researchers have examined how the heart and brain communicate with each other and how that affects our consciousness and the way in which we perceive our world. For example, when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a certain message. Because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, it can yield significant data for researchers.

HeartMath has discovered that  emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.

This is very important work, as it shows how the heart plays an important role far beyond what is commonly known. For instance, did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions, or that the human heart has a magnetic field that can be measured up to several feet away from the human body? Did you know that positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body, and that you can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions? Did you know that negative emotions can create nervous system chaos, and that positive emotions do the complete opposite? Did you know that the heart has a system of neurons that have both short term and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences? Did you know that in fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed? Did you know that a mother’s brainwaves can synchronize to her baby’s heartbeats? Did you know that the heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa?

All of these facts, published research papers, and more can be accessed at heartmath.org.

I recently came across an article published by HeartMath titled “Raising Our Vibration Through Compassion & Unconditional Love” written by Sara Childre, Pres. of HeartMath Institute and Doc Childre, HeartMath Founder. I thought I would post it below for those who are interested.

Vibrations

HeartMath and many systems use the term vibration in reference to the quality of thoughts, feelings, emotions and attitudes that are generated and influenced by our beliefs, memories, choices, environmental stimuli and more. For example, you often hear people say, “I had to leave that office, the vibes were so low it was draining my energy, or, “I felt a lift from being in her positive vibration.”

The vibration of our moods, attitudes, thoughts and feelings can rise and fall throughout the day, based on our actions and reactions to others, ourselves, or to life’s issues. The vibes we emanate to others and to the environment vary, based on our resilience for balancing our mind, emotions and disposition – especially in today’s dynamic emotional climate.

Lower-level vibrations can occur at every turn in connection with frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness, judgment, comparisons and much more. These emotions are part of being human, but it is within our power to shift out of these debilitating feelings into higher vibrational attitudes and perceptions.

An easy way to maintain a higher vibration is to interweave the qualities of our heart in our connections and interactions. These heart qualities include love, care, compassion, kindness, appreciation, forgiveness, and more. Anyone who experiences these qualities knows their power to lift our feelings into a kinder and more stress-free outlook.

Raising Others’ Vibrations

For evidence that the heartfelt intentions of one individual can raise the heart vibration of others, HeartMath cites studies it has conducted. You may be familiar with the study in which a dog’s incoherent heart rhythms became coherently aligned with a boy’s heart rhythms as he radiated intentional love and care to his dog. Go to Josh and Mable to read more.

Science tells us that human beings and all creatures radiate an electromagnetic field produced by the heartbeat. Our feelings broadcast like radio waves through this field. When you are in the presence of a group of friends, family or others, everyone’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes are intermingling in your immediate area — which HeartMath calls the field environment.

Another study, with 40 participants, explored the effects of being in a coherent field environment. The participants were divided into 10 groups of four people who were seated around a table. They were all connected to equipment that simultaneously measured their level of heart rhythm coherence. Three of the participants had been previously trained in the Heart Lock-In technique and were instructed to get into a coherent state at random times unknown by the fourth untrained person. Overall, as the coherent vibration of the three HeartMath-trained participants increased, the untrained person’s coherence level also measurably increased from being in that more coherent field environment.

Poised in Higher Vibrations

When poised in our higher vibration, we experience many benefits. Decisions and solutions flow more easily due to increased access to our heart’s intuitive wisdom; our discernment becomes more inclusive and our choices become clearer and more effective; it gets much easier to deflect frustration, anxiety, impatience and other chronic stress producers that strain our critical thinking and reasoning.

Most all of us feel more self-secure when in our higher vibrational composure, yet it can be harder to maintain in the midst of challenges and ramped up stress. We can learn to lift our vibration to meet challenges by adding heart qualities of conscious care, kindness, gratitude or compassion in our interactions. As these qualities of love move through our system, it lifts our attitudes automatically for the highest way to deal with the situation at hand.

Unconditional love and compassion are among the highest vibrations of love and are not subject to preconditions, limitations, or requirements of others. They serve the greater interest and benefit of all sentient beings and the environment in which they exist. Many people are realizing that unconditional love and compassion are from our higher consciousness potentials with the capacity for healing and attracting solutions for social transformation.

Uncountable numbers of people have experienced the benefits of compassion and more individuals are resonating with this powerful expression of love in these times of robust change. Practicing compassion is something we can do that benefits all, yet it takes heartfelt commitment to anchor this responsibility to the whole of which we are a part.

Summary of Benefits From Raising Our Vibration Levels

  • Increased care and kindness flow more automatically in our connections.
  • We are more clear-minded and self-secure in our choices and actions.
  • Our mind and emotions interact more harmoniously to suit our needs.
  • We deflect common stress triggers – frustration, impatience, intolerance, etc.
  • We are much more resilient and resistant to fears and self-doubt.
  • Our heart’s deeper care is not overridden by our disruptive mind and emotions.
  • The lift in our attitude wards off anxiety, excessive worries and overwhelm.
  • We tend to lift others and the environment when our vibration is up.
  • We are less judgmental and intolerant with others and ourselves, which prevents mega stress accumulation.
  • Lifting our vibration amplifies our intuitive heart feelings for better choices and outcomes.

Simple Exercises to Raise Your Vibration

(Adapted from exercises in the Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart book.)

How to replace lower vibrational feelings, such as sadness, anger, insecurity, anxiety, self-judgment, rejection, etc.

1. Exercise: Find a quiet place where, for a few minutes, you can breathe easily, imagining with each breath that your mind, emotions and body are becoming still inside. In this stillness, desire the uplifting feeling you would like to have, and as you breathe, imagine breathing this new feeling into your being for a while. Imagine you are creating it with your breath.

2. Another Exercise: When feeling low, just sit quietly and imagine radiating love, compassion and stillness into your mental and emotional nature. Self-care is often allowing ourselves to have a low moment without compounding it with self-criticism. When our light is dim, it helps to give ourselves the feeling of compassionate heart warmth that we would give a child or a pet that is infirm. Even if it doesn’t stop the pain, we know it can help energetically. If we feel awkward while trying this, it helps to ask ourselves, “What’s the difference in nurturing ourselves with compassionate intention than taking the vitamins and health foods we consume for self-care?” Or, “Why do we teach kids to put their hand over a hurt area and radiate sunshine from their heart to help it feel better?” We do this because it’s a natural expression of self-compassion, with benefits to their mental, emotional and physical nature.

You can soon feel a difference when doing these exercises, unless extremely challenged. If it doesn’t work the first time, be patient and simply try again later. Being genuine makes a difference. This activates your heart energy. Practicing for a few days in a row strengthens your capacity to reset unwanted feelings and lower vibrations.

Simple exercises such as these can do more to lift your vibration than you may think. Make it fun to consciously reset your vibration throughout the day and watch your spirit lift and the stress accumulation diminish.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

Continue Reading

Consciousness

How To Have More Patience & Manage Uncertainty

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CE Staff Writer 6 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Many of us can relate to the fact that our world is chalked full of uncertainties right now. Whether it be in our careers, relationships, or state of the world, it’s normal to feel a sense of uncertainty. This can lead us to want to find solid ground quickly and surely, even if it means we make choices that are unclear or rushed.

Outside of uncertainty, we also tend to live in a culture that desires instant gratification. We want things right away, and if we can’t have them, we often start to lose interest or move onto something else that might bring that instant gratification. Just take a moment now to reflect on that idea alone: when was the last time you found yourself becoming inpatient about something? What thoughts did you have? How did you feel in your body?

I recall just the other day, opening up an article I wanted to read, it took about 4 seconds as it was loading, and my reaction was to hit the back button and look for a different article about the subject I was looking into. 4 seconds? I was 4 seconds into waiting for information that could have helped me and I moved on? Perhaps we should expect information in half a second these days, or perhaps we should be able to wait those 4 second – either way, it’s important we have the freedom to choose and not allow those reactions to be so automatic.

Why? Because today it might be about a website loading, but tomorrow it might be about much more important things that we simply don’t have the patience to properly assess because we have be trained into procedural memory by all the ‘smaller things’ in life.

For me, when I stopped and thought about why I rushed away from that website after only 4 seconds, I noted that my jaw was clenched, I was in my head and operating in a rush.

For us to be in a flow, create well, think clearly and make balanced decisions, it’s very helpful to be more present. When we find ourselves in our heads, rushed and impatient, we might note that we’re losing energy throughout the day, becoming more and more drained as time goes on. Yet when we are in our flow, we tend to have more energy for things, things don’t feel as ‘up and down’ and we experience a lot more joy.

This is primarily because we are more present and our body experiences greater synchronization between major systems and organs including the brain, nervous system, and heart. With greater synchrony comes more efficiency, and in essence our body isn’t in conflict with itself, but instead is moving in one direction. This creates rhythm and flow.

Think of the mother or father who loses their patience because of something their child is doing, what emotions tend to rise? Anger, frustration, or irritation perhaps. The energy of that person begins to change, as does body language, tone of voice and their decisions. In fact, sometimes people end up saying things they don’t mean or later regret as a result – why? This happens because the more we become irritated or frustrated, the more our physiological state changes and we begin to lose access to our higher thinking (prefrontal cortex) causing us to act more on procedure and emotion vs. based on connection, patience, and higher understanding.

Now, we’re always going to have moments where ‘we lose it’ from time to time, but how often does that have to be? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Perhaps it only needs to happen a few times a year? Why do some of us seems so cool and level headed in some situations, aka more patient, while others lose patience much more quickly? There are, most likely, many reasons, and each of us might have to ask ourselves that question based on our own experience to get an answer. But what we do know is we can all become more patient with simply practice and intention.

With more patience comes less frustration, less problematic choices, and less stress, while increasing flow and energy.

To build greater patience is not some magical skill you must find, it’s simply to become more present and self aware. It’s truly something that is within anyone’s grasp.

How To Build More Patience

Next time you are waiting for something or are in traffic and a sense of unease, bring your focus to your body. We’ve all felt the benefits of how a massage loosens up our muscles, in that same breath, take a moment and notice where there is tension in your body. Jaw, shoulders, hands, pelvis, and release it.

Make a forward facing effort to feel ease in your body. What does it feel like to feel ease? When was there a moment you can remember that you would describe as feeling ease? If you take some time to feel that ease, or even relive that moment of feeling ease, you are bringing that feeling to your body now and moving out of the automatic response of impatience.

You don’t have to ‘meditate’ or close your eyes or do anything special to do this, you simply are becoming aware of how you feel, what emotions might be playing out and the state of your body, and you are doing something to choose how you want to feel.

So to recap:

  1. Notice you are feeling impatient and how that feels. Accept it.
  2. Release tension in your body, take about 60 seconds to go through your body and do this.
  3. Notice what it feels like to feel a sense of ease and calm, feel that feeling in your body and let it grow.
  4.  Go on with the next few hours being in this state. Come back to this awareness and repeat if you have to.

Note, we are not running from any feelings of frustrations or irritation here. These aren’t “BAD” things that we don’t want to acknowledge. Instead, we are bringing ourselves to a state where we might be able to more closely examine why we felt this way to begin with. Was it something small, petty and not worth losing energy over? With simple awareness will this pattern of feeling this way diminish? Or perhaps you recognize something happened that made you feel irritation or frustration and you need to express something to take an action, either way, you are now in a clear space to asses and make effective decisions vs operating from a draining space where clarity is more difficult to come by.

The more this is practiced, the more it becomes your everyday state of being.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

Continue Reading
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