Scripture: The Bhagavad Gita 3:33-34

Even the wise act within the limitations of their own nature.  Every creature is subject to prakriti: what is the use of repression? 
The senses have been conditioned by attraction to the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant.  Do not be ruled by them; they are obstacles in your path.

This could have been written last week rather than several thousand years ago because it is even more true today.  We seek out the pleasant and avoid the unpleasant without realizing that what is pleasant in a material world may be preventing our spiritual growth.  So we all have to decide which is more important to us: a few decades of fun and enjoyment in the material world followed by death, or eternal life in spirit.  That does not mean that we need to be ascetics and shun all pleasures, but we do have to give the spirit priority.

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A Random World?

    Is everything happening in the world just a bunch of random events or is it all planned?  Are the oak trees in my area producing a lot of acorns this year because they got a lot or rain in the spring, in preparation for a harsh winter, or for no reason at all?  Was the end of the USSR and the Berlin wall part of a growing movement toward a spiritual and peaceful world or just coincidence?  
    Personally, I thing the answer to these  questions is “both”.  Most major events that happen in the world are part of a plan and the result of forces and cycles that most of us are blissfully unaware of while minor events such as which pair of socks I were tomorrow are mostly random.  
    Even when events are somewhat random thought, I don’t think anything is ever totally random.  What socks I choose to wear today are determined by what socks I own (I can’t decide to wear purple socks if I don’t own any), what I’m planning to do today and my personal choices regarding style and color.
    In the field of Quantum Mechanics, some have theorized that events are completely random and cause and effect doesn’t exist.  That, since time is illusion, you don’t need to break eggs to make an omelet.  Of course, none of these scientists have ever actually made an omelet without breaking eggs, wore a green shirt without first buying or borrowing one, or sent a rocket to the moon without first building a rocket and I have yet to find myself getting dressed in the morning, then getting out of bed.  It may be true that if we could see all time at once, we would see the effect happening when the cause is happening, but the cause does happen (the rocket is built) or the effect (rocket goes to the moon) doesn’t.  
    It may be true that if we didn’t view time linearly, it would be hard to recognize the cause of various events, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.  Events do have causes and major events are almost always part of a plan, even if we don’t know what the plan is.

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Apologize

When we realize that we have offended or harmed another person, we will usually apologize for our behavior.  The person we harm the most when we make mistakes is ourself, so shouldn’t we apologize to ourself also?  Yes, we should.  We should apologize for doing things that makes out subconscious believe that we have done wrong and need to be punished.  We need to apologize to ourselves for doing thing that makes our subconscious believe we are not worthy of spiritual development.  We need to apologize for not doing what we should have done to help our spiritual growth.  We should apologize to ourself for boosting our ego by giving higher priority to materialistic pursuits rather than the care of our immortal soul.  By apologizing for our past behavior, we can get past it and move forward in the future.

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Sacred Scents: Sandalwood

    Sandalwood is one of the most valuable woods in the world, largely because of it’s rich and mysterious scent.  Sandalwood is used in incense, perfumes and soaps.  This scent is used in religious and magical ceremonies, usually in incense form.  It is said to be helpful for protection and healing and to help bring one closer to the divine.  In Hinduism, sandalwood paste is used to mark religious objects and icons.  Buddhists often use sandalwood incense and it is said to transform ones desires (I would assume from materialistic desires to more spiritual ones) during meditation.  Zoroastrians give sandalwood twigs to the fire priests to burn.  Sandalwood was used in the embalming formulas of ancient Egypt.  Aromatherapists recommend using sandalwood, especially during meditation, to induce relaxation and calm.
    In India, temples are often built from sandalwood because it is resistant to ants.  When mixed with rose, it makes attar, a traditional perfume.
    Medicinally, sandalwood is an antiseptic and stimulates growth of white blood cells.  It is one of the oils recommended in my book of traditional Chinese medicine to make a massage oil for the area around the eyes to treat glaucoma.

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