big heart, love wisdom, serve love, goodwill, heartbeat cycles, higher love Loving all

A Big Heart and an Open Mind Aids Spiritual Growth

“Let me urge you, my child, to enlarge your heart; or rather, suffer it to become enlarged by grace. This contraction shuts you up in yourself, and hinders an agreeable openness which we should ever maintain, even towards those who have no particular affinity with ourselves. An open, frank exterior wins confidence. Let it not appear that you have so much relish for yourself as not to think of others. What seems to be a virtue is sometimes regarded by God as a fault; and which we shall so perceive when we have clearer light. …

“I entreat you, pass beyond the narrow bounds of self; suffer yourself to be led out of self into the will and way of God. Thus you will be much more happy and useful.” ~Madam Guyon

Enlarge Your Heart

Madam Guyon is advising a friend (don’t let her term, “my child,” fool you) to have a big heart. Not literally, of course. She wants the friend to let more people into her heart. This is good advice for all of us. Having a limited number of friends is fine, but we don’t shut the rest of the world out entirely. We still have to let them into our hearts. We still have to love them all.

Some will argue “How can we love someone who is a murderer or a rapist?” The answer is that you love the real person hidden deep inside. You love the spirit and soul created by God and therefore perfect. The problems of the body and mind should be looked on as disease. You don’t hate a person because he has a disease. You can hate the things they do, but not the person themselves. Continue reading “A Big Heart and an Open Mind Aids Spiritual Growth”

present living, thought character

Present, Past, and Which We Should Live In

“Because it’s so easy to be caught in the past, it’s helpful to have a reminder to stay in the present. In Plum Village, we use a bell. When we hear the bell, we practice breathing in and out mindfully, and we say, “I listen to the bell. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.” My true home is in the here and now. The past is not my true home. You may want to say to the little one inside you, the past is not our home; our home is here, where we can really live our life. We can get all the nourishment and healing we need here in the present moment.

“Much of the fear, anxiety, and anguish that we experience is there because the inner child has not been liberated. That child is afraid to come out to the present moment, and so your mindfulness, your breath, can help this child to realize that she is safe and can be free.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Present and Past

To completely forget the past would be to become unable to function. We would never learn anything if we couldn’t remember the past. Possibly, we would keep getting burned by touching the hot stove. We would come out of the mall and not know which car in the parking lot was ours. Actually, we wouldn’t be able to walk out of the mall because walking is something we learned how to do in the past. We would be like an obsessive-compulsive person brushing his teeth every half hour. Or maybe not, because we wouldn’t know that we should brush our teeth at all.

So we can’t just forget the past. We learned a lot there. But we can’t get trapped in it either. We can’t let the things that happened in the past prevent us from acting now. We have to know that getting our fingers burned on a hot stove means we should always be careful around stoves. But we shouldn’t avoid all dogs because one bit us ten years ago.

Living in the Present

When I was a kid, I saw a horror movie where a monster was crawling out of street drains and grabbing people. For weeks after that, I tried to avoid getting close to storm drains in the street. That was the reaction of a child who doesn’t understand that a movie is (usually) not real.

I currently live in Nevada. I haven’t gone to a casino for over two years. When I did go, I sometimes heard people say things about slot machines like, “This one is due to pay off! I’ve been playing it for hours!” Others might say “Don’t use the push button, pull the arm. The odds are better.” I just shook my head when I heard such things.

Both of those statements are based on ancient slot machines from a century ago. Modern ones are controlled by internal computers. A random number generator is generating ten numbers a second. When you press the button, or pull the lever, a program running on another computer chip grabs the current random number. It uses that number to spin the wheels to the predetermined setting for that number. There is no such thing as “due” with these machines. But that is the kind of foolish thing people can think when they are trapped in the past. When we use such thinking to control our behavior, we make many mistakes. Continue reading “Present, Past, and Which We Should Live In”

Flexibility of mind

Flexibility and Rigidity, One Grows, One Dies

“Men are born soft and subtle;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.

“The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and subtle will prevail. …

“Noting in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart,
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.” ~Lao-tzu

Soft and Subtle

Have you noticed how children can do things without getting harmed, while those same things would break an older persons bones. Young children have bones that are still flexible, while the bones of an adult are hard, and those of the elderly are often very brittle.

I’ve read that in some sports like gymnastics, it is highly recommended that children start an early age before the bones get too hard. This not only prevents injury, but helps them keep the flexibility needed for the sport. I suspect that is the same reason ballet schools like to start students at a young age.

It is also true that the young tree can bend in a storm and not be broken, while the old one that has grown stiff will likely break. Continue reading “Flexibility and Rigidity, One Grows, One Dies”

Belief is double-edged

Belief is a Double-Edged Sword

“John Stuart Mill, the English philosopher, wrote, ‘One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests,’ This is precisely why beliefs open the door to excellence.
“Beliefs deliver a direct command to your nervous system. Handled effectively, beliefs can be the most powerful force for creating good in our lives. … Human history is a history of beliefs. … To change our behaviors, we have to start changing our beliefs.” ~Darrel Knoch

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things began to happen” ~Muhammad Ali

“The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.” ~Richard Bach

The Power of Belief

Belief can be a very powerful force, but not necessarily for good. I have written before about the necessity of ridding ourselves of false and limiting beliefs, but I haven’t mentioned the positive side.

Strong positive beliefs can be very powerful, very beneficial, when properly controlled. It is well known, for example, that many people will be cured of serious illnesses by giving them sugar pills if they believe that the pill is real and they believe in the power of drugs to heal. This is called “The Placebo Effect”. What is not as well known is this: in one study a group was given a placebo and told that it was a drug that had been shown to have remarkable results at healing the disease they had. A second group, with the same illness, was given the same placebo, but told it was an experimental drug and it’s results were unknown. There were a lot more cures by the placebo effect in the first group than in the second because they had been led to believe that it would work. Continue reading “Belief is a Double-Edged Sword”