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Buddhist Teachers Response To Trump’s Presidential Win – A Different Perspective

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Trump’s presidential win left many people feeling let down by their fellow citizens. It came as a big surprise, particularly to many of the women of America, who saw a clear betrayal in the fact that not only did a woman not win the election, she was beat out by a sexist womanizer.

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Aside from that aspect, I think most people were just left in shock. How could this man have become president? At the beginning many people, myself included, thought this whole thing was a practical joke at best. Toward the end, I was thinking that he was put there just to make Clinton look better. And then he won.

It left many feeling hopeless for the future. If someone like Trump can become President of the United States of America, then we are doomed, right? Well, maybe not. There are more perspectives on this situation. And if you believe that everything happens for a reason, then surely, there is more to Trump winning the election than meets the eye…

A company called Lion’s Roar, which publishes a magazine on Buddhist wisdom for today, decided to reach out to some Buddhist teachers and hear their perspectives on what Trump’s presidency really means for America. Below is what the various teachers had to say about this presidential election and what it means for us.

Pema Chödrön

“During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, this is a chance to stay with the groundlessness. I’ve been meditating and getting in touch with a deep and profound sadness. It’s hard to stay with that much vulnerability but that’s what I’m doing. Groundlessness and tenderness and sadness have so much to teach us. I’m feeling that it’s a time to contact our hearts and to reach out and help in anyway we can.”

Norman Fischer, Everyday Zen Foundation

“I usually don’t completely believe what I think, so when Trump won the election I was, like everyone else, surprised, but not that surprised. Bodhisattvas are committed to their practice, which means to sit, to get up, and to sweep the garden — the whole world, close in and far away — every day, no matter what. They have always done this, they always will. Good times, bad times, they keep on going just the same. Bodhisattvas play the long game. They have confidence in the power of goodness over time. And they know that dark times bring out the heroic in us.

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For those older among us who hold liberal and progressive political views, let’s not forget we survived Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. It wasn’t pleasant but we survived. We will survive Trump. This is not to say that the policies of those presidents weren’t bad, and that they did not make any lasting impact. They were and they did. Still, we survived. We will survive Trump. As of today, we don’t really know what will happen under Trump because nothing he has said so far means much. He seems not to have much commitment to his own words.

We have been fortunate to have had eight years with a decent, intelligent, thoughtful and caring human being in the White House. This is more we would have expected. Lets not forget that the same people who elected Obama elected Trump.

It’s OK to freak out, grieve, and vent for a while. Holds each others’ hands. Then we can get back to work, as always, for the good.

Think of what the Dalai Lama has gone through in his lifetime. He maintains daily practice, he maintains kindness for everyone, though he has lost his country and his culture at the hands of a brutal regime. Yet he doesn’t hate the Chinese and finds redeeming features in them. He maintains his sense of humor. He has turned his tragedy into a teaching for the world.

Lets do the same.”

Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Village Zendo

“We are all reeling from the election news. For most of us, it is unexpected and frightening. Naturally, we ask ourselves what teaching can support us and empower us at this time. I think of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion who “hears the sounds of the world.”

And I realize how vital it is for all of us to listen to all the sounds of this unhappy nation. What suffering has led to the anger and hatred that has arisen?  And, why are so many of us surprised at this outpouring?  Perhaps we have not been listening to the cries of the world with ears of wisdom and determination.

This we must do, listen carefully, and while listening, we must move with determination to organize, to mobilize, and to find new ways to create change in civil rights, climate change, media ethics, and to inform and enlighten all the people, so that we can in fact relieve suffering and care for this planet, these peoples, all of us.”

Noah Levine, Against The Stream

“Here in the United States of Samsara ignorance is the status quo. The Buddha’s teachings guide us to go “against the stream” to develop wisdom and compassion through our own direct actions. As the path encourages, “Even amongst those who hate, we live with love in our hearts. Even amongst those who are blinded by greed and confusion, we practice generosity, kindness and clear seeing.”
Meditate and Destroy!”

Ethan Nichtern, Shambhala Meditation Center of New York

“When I was a child in New York City, I used to imagine that I lived in an island off the coast of America which was neither part of the continent nor the country. In the middle of the night last night, that childhood fantasy came back to me, but it was only wishful thinking. In fact, the source of all this disruption hails from the same city, which is a great reminder that we are all connected. I am a citizen of the mainland United States and I remain a very proud and patriotic one.

Right now my mindfulness practice is dedicated to my many friends who are expressing such unbearable hurt and fear at the hatred and abuse which this current version of America has directed at them. My many friends who are women, People of Color, members of the LGBT community, immigrants, and non-Christians are all rightfully expressing their fear and traumas right now, and I want to especially be there for them.

Soon, perhaps, I will try to make contact with those I know who voted for this outcome and do my best to listen to their fears and desires as well. I have no idea how that will go but I will do my best.

I also feel at least some optimism that this outcome sharpens and clarifies where humanity stands in the 21st-century.  All of us must come together with empathy and connection if we are going to survive this era.

Tomorrow I will try to follow the lead of those whose vision I trust to see how I can help move our world forward with compassion. But today, it is OK to grieve the fact that we have taken a massive emotional and spiritual step backwards. Please remember, the point of meditation is not to suppress your feelings. It is to make friends with yourself. On days like this, meditation is simply a way to remember a glimmer of your own basic goodness. Please remember it is OK to feel exactly what you feel.

In loving kindness and solidarity with the human race, Ethan.”

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center

“Today, after the 2016 elections in the U.S., we are living out the example of what happens when what goes unacknowledged surfaces and it feels like a new reality but you know in your heart it is not. To suffer based on expectations is to live haunted and hunted. But we are fortunate. There could be no other answer to our meditation and prayers in dissolving hatred than to be placed front and center with it and be exposed. When a shift in a system has occurred, especially one that causes fear and discomfort, it allows for something strikingly different to appear, furthering our evolution as people. We can only know where we are going when we get there.

Many of us have been practicing Buddha’s teachings or walking a spiritual journey forever and preparing for every moment of our existence. We are ready and have been waiting for this time. Our rage, pain, and anger are to be exposed if only for us to transform and mature with it. In Buddhist practice we say congratulations because now is the time we have been practicing for. No more just practicing the dance. We must now dance. And this is not a dress rehearsal.”

Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

“Standing at the edge of this election, it’s clear we have our work cut out for us. It is the work of love and wisdom in the face of the terrible suffering of war, environmental issues, racism, gender violence, and economic injustice. We have to work together to shift the tide toward what will benefit our children, the natural world, the future. Part of this means that we have to change the mind, move out of harsh negativity, eroding futility and fear, and build toward the good and the wise. We also have to work to shift the mood of the country and of the world through compassionate education, deep practice, and service to others.

Let’s reach through differences, listen deeply, and “give no fear.”

So please, stop and look deeply, and let’s work together in not building a contentious future, but a generative one. And let’s not pretend we know, but be open and learn; let’s bear witness to what is happening in our country, in our world, and take wise, compassionate, and courageous responsibility. Let’s reach through differences, listen deeply, and “give no fear.”

Here are the four great vows of the Bodhisattvas in community:

Creations are numberless, we vow to free them.

Delusions are inexhaustible, we vow to transform them.

Reality is Boundless, we vow to perceive it.

The awakened way is unsurpassable, we vow to embody it.

…. do not squander life!”

James Ishmael Ford, Boundless Way Zen

“I rather feel like I’ve awakened on the day after the apocalypse. As a member of the progressive community I am shocked and profoundly saddened by Trump’s campaign, which unapologetically appealed to fear of, if not outright hatred of pretty much all others. He casually insulted anyone not precisely like him, and frankly seemed to be little more than an incarnation of America’s Id. And, whatever I think of him and that campaign, while he in fact does not seem to have won a majority of America’s voters over, he did win the Electoral College and with that the election.

So, what now? I find a couple of emotions rising within my heart. One is to flee. I understand Canada’s immigration website crashed due to the number of visits to it last night. Of course that also represents all the privilege I bring along with being white and male and middle class. And beyond those immediate facts, I am cautioned by the Buddha’s “last temptation,” to take the peace and equanimity he found and to retire from the world. While he was a renunciant, he did not retire away from the world, but rather brought his monastic practice into the larger community, and continued to live and teach among people living in the world. The deeper point to this is that we are in fact made up of the world and there is no escape.

The other emotion racing over my heart has been to place blame, mostly on others, but also on myself. What would have been a better, or more skillful, simply put, more successful strategy? Who is responsible for this mess? And what shortcomings are at fault? These are in fact important things to consider, particularly those relevant to our own individual hearts, but to take a necessary step and make it what we’re about would be just one more mistake on a long list of mistakes. In this world we have to make decisions and some large percentage of them will be wrong. I’m ever mindful of our popular Western adaptation of something Eihei Dogen said, “one continuous mistake.”

So, what to do? What to do?

For me I find a couple of things are critical. One is to not forget my practice. Taking time and returning to the pillow is critical. For all sorts of reasons, but most of all to help me recall the fundamental matters of presence and intimacy.

The bottom line is recalling there is no separation.

Another is to recall all the suffering of the world. For me this starts with those who are terrorized by the event, the immigrant, the person of color, the GBLT person, women, everyone who seems themselves the target of Mr Trump’s campaign of purity. But, also, to recall the hurt and fear that led so many people to support him. To simply dismiss their emotions by cavalier broad struck condemnations, while it feels good, and I do like doing that, ultimately does no good. The Buddha was right in the great play of cause and effect we are all of us caught up in layer upon layer of grasping after things in flux.

For me the bottom line is recalling there is no separation. We have to act. There is no alternative. But, what will that action look like? More hate? More blame and condemnations? Or, can we genuinely recall there is in the last analysis no goal, but only the path? I think, feel, believe, if we can recall that last thing, we are all of us in this together, we are all of us, at the end, one; well, then ways through will appear.

We met the enemy and he is us. We met the friend and he is us. That is the secret that will win the ultimate victory.”

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

“On this cheerful unaffected glorious day of democracy playing itself out, I am as shocked as many of you are by the election results. But, as Americans, we must respect the democratic system that our country was built upon, and welcome its results. Trump has won, and now we must see what happens next. While firmly believing in, and defending, one’s values and principles, we must also give this new president-elect the benefit of the doubt, and be open to see what he and his new administration can do for the good of our country. We want to honor the voice of many and trust in the goodness of the country. We want to respect our differences and also believe that there is goodness in everyone. We cannot afford to fall into pessimism. We must continually see where we can unite and keep looking forward together as this new era unfolds, without fixed pre-concepts.”

To check out some more responses from Lion’s Roar, click HERE.

Much Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How The Education System Limits Your Consciousness

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Higher Education has come under fire lately as being expensive, and students wonder whether or not it's worth it, from a financial perspective, to get a degree.

  • Reflect On:

    Does the system of education truly educate us? We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn't allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it.

The debate around whether or not a college degree is worth it has become ever intensified over the last few months as people begin to beg answers to the question: when will students pay off their debt? How long does it take?

Further to that question, I believe “how many students end up in a job or career they actually enjoy?”

But economics seems to be the big question here, and that’s fair given our world always seems to push us to consider those numbers as the height of importance in society as opposed to creating a society filled with passionately acting individuals who do what they love.

It’s all too often we hear that thinking we could all do what we love is ‘a pipedream’ or ‘not thinking like an adult.’ In these responses, if we pay close attention, we are actually saying we’ve come to accept that the way the world is should simply be accepted. Sure, in some cases these days we are working towards making a difference in areas of society like equality and poverty, but are we truly changing our system radically enough to make it so humanity can thrive? Or are we accepting enslavement?

In a recent podcast about my philosophy on how shifting consciousness and understanding conspiracies theories are intimately connected, I explored the system of education and how that functions. The education system seems to be a learning tool for us to accept the world the way it is. While we think we are educating ourselves, and we are in some ways with specific skills, there is something more to the story we aren’t exploring. We essentially are taking an ever expansive consciousness, with full capability, and molding it into a tiny tight system of living and being that doesn’t even support our ability to truly BE.

I truly believe we need to begin dreaming bigger and imagining bigger about what we are capable of changing in our society. We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn’t allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it. What if we could learn about the technologies we truly had and were capable of without having to hold them back because of commerce? What if we learned medicine without the influence of pharmaceutical money and drugs? What if we learned about how we could act as a global community creating abundance for all instead of learning how we’re all separate and we need an economy to operate? Are any of these things real? Or just a story? Why are we being told these things as if they are facts?

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Check it out in the video and podcast below.

Subscribe to the CE Podcast on iTunes or via email.

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Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

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Consciousness

A New Study Suggests People’s Egos Get Bigger After Yoga & Meditation

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Study shows how Western practices of meditation and yoga can actually inflate the ego, rather than lower it — which is typically why people choose to do these practices in the first place.

  • Reflect On:

    What we do, no matter how spiritual it is, doesn't make you better than others. What is it that makes us want to feel or appear better than others?

In an attempt to try and limit our ego from running the show and move closer to our spirit and connection to the divine, many of us are on a path towards enlightenment.

This path generally includes a process of waking up to the reality around you, personal development books, plant medicine, yoga, and meditation can all be great tools along the way. We feel we are becoming wiser, more connected and sometimes even more evolved than those who are not on the same path as us.

A recently published study directly contradicts that approach and found that typical meditation and yoga practices can actually inflate your ego. Who knew?

We all know those spiritual types, that seem to have it all together, they are diligent in their daily practices and are the first to give you advice and explain what you are doing wrong and why you haven’t yet found peace within. Sure, these people generally have the best intentions, but the concept of being better, above or more enlightened than our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet is, believe it or not, pure ego! It is very easy to fall into this trap.

When I first “woke up” over a decade ago, I felt like I had so much information that no one else had yet awakened to, in this way I admittedly felt superior to many of my peers and put myself on a pedestal. This wasn’t an intentional action however, it’s just what happened.

Since, I have learned that the moment you think you have all the answers and have it all figured out is the exact moment that you need to take a step back and realize that in reality, you know nothing at all. What’s true to you may not be the truth for someone else. We are all on different paths, and different journeys, yes to the same place, but not a single one is better or superior to any other. No matter how off track others may appear to be.

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The Study

The paper was published online in the journal Psychological Science, researchers noted that Buddhism’s teachings that a meditation practice helps overcome the ego conflicts with the US psychologist William James’s argument that the practice of any skill at all ignites a sense of self-enhancement. So, the practice of bettering yourself does exactly that — makes you feel better, better than you were, but in many cases better than those around you.

There has already been a lot of evidence in support of James’s theory, but a team from Mannheim, Germany decided to test it specifically including the practice of yoga and meditation.

93 yoga students were recruited and over the course of 15 weeks, researchers evaluated their sense of self-enhancement. A few measures were used to monitor this. First, they asked the participants how they felt they compared to the average yoga student in their class. Next, participants completed an inventory that assesses narcissistic tendencies by asking them to rate how deeply phrases such as “I will be well-known for the good deeds I will have done” related to them. Lastly, they administered a sort of self-esteem scale asking the subjects if they agreed with statements such as, “At the moment I have high self-esteem.”

An hour after their yoga practice the participants showed significantly higher self-enhancement than when they hadn’t done yoga within a 24 hour period.

Another study examined 162 people who practiced meditation, they were scouted through meditation groups on Facebook. These participants proved to have a similar impact on self-enhancement as those from the yoga study. Participants were asked to evaluate themselves in relation to statements like “In comparison to the average participant of the study, I am free from bias.” The results showed that the participants had a higher self-enhancement in the hour following the meditation practice than when they hadn’t meditated for a 24-hour period.

Participants level of well-being was also measured using two measures — the satisfaction with life measure and the eudemonic well-being measure, which assesses satisfaction with autonomy, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, environmental mastery and self-acceptance. They found that the level of well-being increased with self-enhancement, this suggests that self-enhancement correlated with an increased sense of well-being.

Authors of the study concluded that “Ego-quieting is a central element of yoga philosophy and Buddhism alike. That element, and its presumed implications require some serious quieting is often called upon to explain mind-body practices’ well-being benefits. In contrast, we observed that mind-body practices boost self-enhancement and this boost — in turn — elevates well-being.”

Another Theory

An alternate explanation for this study suggests that the participants may be in fact doing meditation and yoga all wrong. The participants were all based out of Germany and many academics have theorized that the Westernized practices of Buddhism fail to include an eye towards selflessness that would otherwise characterize the goals of these efforts.

Westernized versions of yoga and meditation marginalize the acts when compared to the more ‘pure’ forms, if you will.

What Now?

Should you stop doing yoga and meditation or laugh at those who are committed to these practices? Absolutely not! This study serves as a powerful reminder that regardless of your practice or lack there-of, not one person is above anyone else, regardless of the activities they choose to do. Yoga and meditation can be great tools to assist us along our journey and find the clarity and insight that we may be needed, but just remember to always keep that ego in check. It is fine to have an ego — we all have one and I hate to break it to you, we can never get rid of it. But a good question to ask yourself is whether or not doing these practices makes you feel superior to others, and if so, why?

We are all on a path to self-discovery, and we are all just walking each other home. We all face challenges, and some of these practices can help us to handle ourselves differently in times of struggle, but in reality, we are all one anyways!

Much Love

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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Consciousness

6 Of The Most Asked Questions On Google & What They Say About Us

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Google is an incredible resource that helps us get the answers to many of life's questions at incredible speeds. But as our search habits suggest, we seem to be turning to it a bit too much for a number of unhealthy reasons.

  • Reflect On:

    What are you regularly turning to Google for? Are the answers you're getting actually of value, or are they instead rooted in a deeper issue?

The world is filled with a seemingly endless number of resources for us to tap into or seek out the council of. Yet, when it comes to finding the answers to some of our most important questions we all seem to go to one place: Google.

And while Google may be incredibly effective at providing us access to the answers of many of our questions at what seems like light-speed, it can also be quite damaging.

To illustrate this I’d like to present to you six of the most commonly asked questions that we as a collective tend to turn to Google for, what I believe they say about humanity, and why we need to stop turning to Google for the answers to them.

Please note that these are just six OF the most asked questions, and not the six most. These six are particular ones that stood out to me as troubling and worth commenting on. So here they are in ascending order based on how frequently they are searched per month globally. (All stats found on Mondovo

A written version of the video is available below as well.

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6. Which celebrity do I look like?

Search frequency: 14,800 times per month

While on the surface this search seems purely fun, what concerns me about it being searched with such frequency is that it really showcases how much our thoughts are rooted in comparison.

We all know that social media as a whole is a cesspool of comparison, where the vast majority of us post nothing but the highlight reel captures of our life rather than true snippets of our reality. The last thing we need is to even further compare ourselves to those we aren’t connected to on social media -especially those who for the most part work in an industry obsessed with physical appearances.

We need to keep in mind that the way Katy Perry looks on the red carpet is different from the way she looks upon waking up on a Friday morning. Let’s choose to embrace our uniqueness and spend our spare time being ourselves rather than comparing that person to who we think we need to be.

5. Why did I get married?

Search frequency: 49,500 times per month

With divorce rates being where they are, we all know that the institution of marriage is rapidly crumbling before our feet. And while whether that is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion, I still don’t think we should be turning to Google for reminders on why we opted to participate in it.

Rather than reading someone’s blog on why you should appreciate your partner, or another person’s rant on why we should all run from marriage like the plague, choose to spend that time instead of having an open conversation with your spouse.

Be honest about where you stand with things and come to a collective conclusion as to what you can and cannot do as the next steps.

4. Who unfollowed me on Instagram?

Search frequency: 74,000 times per month

This is my personal favourite on the list because there are few things that amuse me more than seeing the importance that so many of us put on our “Instagram ratio”.

Long gone are the days where we happily followed and liked everyone and everything, and here to stay are the days where we handpick who we follow to give off a “celebrity status” based on the seemingly much higher amount of people who have chosen to follow us.

If you care so much about your following count dropping from 714 to 713 that you need to look into who it was that you lost overnight (or even if you realize that the drop happened at all) you’ve got some serious self-worth issues that you need to address and work beyond.

3. How to make money online?

Search frequency: 135,000 times per month

As someone who has not only worked for various companies who have made substantial amounts of money online, and who has several initiatives to do so myself, I can tell you one thing: it doesn’t come easy!

It not only takes persistent and high-quality effort to build a YouTube subscriber base or to create a website that generates regular traffic, it also takes money to make money.

We need to debunk the belief that the internet is a great way to get rich quick. Realize that everyone who is advertising their online course, seminar, or book designed to help you do this, is doing that as their primary tactic to attain wealth -and they’re paying a hell of a lot of money to get their ad in your face. Those who have attained it have much bigger and better things to do.

2. How to lose weight fast?

Search frequency: 301,000 times per month

On the surface, this too seems well-intentioned since it’s great to see that a large portion of us are regularly searching for ways to improve our health. But what concerns me about this is largely the last word: fast.

We live in a world where we need instantaneous results (hence why we’re turning to Google in the first place) or we don’t bother. Long-term solutions exist but we have virtually no confidence in our ability to commit to anything, so we instead opt for ways to cheat the system.

If losing weight or gaining muscle is truly important to you, than focus on what you’ll need to do to keep yourself motivated to put the work in to get there rather than what can zap it away.

1. Any and all health advice

Search frequency: Unknown but seemingly infinite

We’ve all done it. We go to Google for advice on a persistent pimple and three minutes later we’re convinced that we are mere weeks away from being on our deathbed.

While there are plenty of great articles and medical journals scattered throughout the net, there is also a lot of “click-baity” crap with nothing to support much of what it suggests.

Please understand that this is NOT an attack against alternative media outlets, I firmly believe that even the most widely-accepted forms of media are ladened in questionable sourcing and ruled by greed. So rather than taking your chances, why not instead turn a trusted healthcare professional who can diagnose your unique circumstance?


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Facebook.

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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