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Archive for November, 2011

Learning Tranquility at Stanford

When I am happy, I see the happiness in others. When I am depressed, I notice that people’s eyes look sad. When I am weary, I see the world as boring and unattractive. — Steve Chandler

~~~~ Good News of the Day: Sixty-four Stanford students escape from the campus hustle and find tranquility for two hours a week in the lower level of a campus library. There, they might start class by telling the person next to them about a positive experience from the day, or by updating their gratitude journals. Or, they might simply close their eyes and sit silently, concentrating on relaxing tense muscles and breathing deeply. “These students are stressed,” course instructor Fred Luskin says. “They’re all high achievers, but they don’t know how to turn that drive off. The consequences are exhaustion, a sense of feeling older than your peers, and lack of relationships. This class helps them learn they can be productive without the wear and tear.” Students have often described this popular course as their “most valuable class”.

~~~~ Be The Change: Do an action suggested in the Stanford course — make a habit of sharing the highlights of your day with someone close to you.

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Quote of the Week | Become Familiar with the Running Away

Learn More | Books and Audio | The Pema Chödrön Foundation
November 30, 2011


Finding the courage to go to the places that scare us cannot happen without compassionate inquiry into the workings of ego. The Buddha taught that flexibility and openness bring strength and that running from groundlessness weakens us and brings pain. But do we understand that becoming familiar with the running away is the key? Openness doesnt come from resisting our fears but from getting to know them well.

Of Interest to Readers

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The Places That Scare You

The Places That
Scare You: A Guide
to Fearlessness in
Difficult Times
pages 10-11

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Teachings by Pema Chödrön, taken from works published by Shambhala Publications. Photo by ©Andrea Roth. Forwarded from a friend? You can subscribe to this e-mail emailList, and be sure to include both your old and new addresses. If you no longer wish to receive the Heart Advice e-mails, click here. If you can’t see the images, click here. Facebook




Year of Dancing with Life – Week 8

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Week 8:
Opening to Your Own Dukkha

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If You Want to Be a Rebel, Be Kind

If you want to be a rebel, be kind. — Pancho Ramos Stierle

~~~~ Good News of the Day: The night before, Pancho Ramos Stierle heard about growing tensions in the community and thought, “If police are stepping up their violence, we need to go and step up our nonviolence.” So on that Monday morning at 3:30AM, Pancho and his housemate Adelaja went to the site of the Occupy Oakland raid. With an upright back and half-lotus posture, they started meditating. The photos of Pancho meditating while being arrested by the police have become iconic. Yet that was just one blip in the story of an everyday hero with a truly remarkable tale.

~~~~ Be The Change: Take a stance on something that you deeply care about, with nothing but love for your “opponent.”

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InnerNet Weekly: A Spiritual Conspiracy

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InnerNet Weekly: Inspirations from
A Spiritual Conspiracy
by Author Unknown

[Listen to Audio!]

777.jpgOn the surface of the Earth exactly now there is war and violence and everything looks horrible. But, simultaneously, something quiet, calm and hidden is happening and certain people are being called by a higher light. A quiet revolution is settling from the inside out. From bottom to top. It is a global operation. A spiritual conspiracy. There are cells from this operation in every nation on the planet.

You will not watch us on TV. Or read about us in newspapers. Or hear our words on radios. We do not seek glory. We do not use uniforms. We arrive in several different shapes and sizes. We have costumes and different colors. Most work anonymously. Silently we work out of the scene. In every culture in the world. In large and small cities, in the mountains and valleys. In the farms, villages, tribes and remote islands.

We might cross paths on the streets. And not realize … We follow in disguise. We are behind the scenes. And we do not care about who wins the gold of the result, and Yes, that the work gets performed. And once in a while we will cross paths on the streets. We exchange looks of recognition and continue following our path. During the day many are disguised in their normal jobs. But at night behind the scenes, the real work begins.

Some call us army of consciousness. Slowly we are building a new world. With the power of our hearts and minds. We follow with joy and passion. Our orders reach us from the Central Spiritual Intelligence. We’re throwing soft bombs of love without anyone noticing; poems, Hugs, songs, photos, movies, fond words, meditations and prayers, dances, social activism, websites, blogs, acts of kindness …

We express ourselves in a unique and personal way. With our talents and gifts. Being the change we want to see in the world. This is the force that moves our hearts. We know that this is the only way to accomplish the transformation. We know that with the silence and humbleness we have the power of all oceans together. Our work is slow and meticulous. As in the formation of mountains.

Love will be the religion of the 21 century. Without educational prerequisites. Without ordering an exceptional knowledge for your understanding. Because it is born of the intelligence of the heart. Hidden for eternity in the evolutionary pulse of every human being.

Be the change you want to see happen in the world. Nobody else can make this work for you.

We’re recruiting. Perhaps you will join us. Or maybe you have already joined. All are welcome. The door is open.

–Author Unknown

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A Spiritual Conspiracy
Travis wrote: Great piece! I was at a dharma talk at Green Gulch once, and the speaker mentioned his faith in a secret conspiracy of coooperation and good. Maybe he’s the author of this piece! ;)I…
Conrad wrote: Thank you for the opportunity to respond. I am guessing the author is one or more of the Mehta’s or perhaps Somik. I think they have started a conspiracy of which I am part. I deeply feel what t…
Ricky wrote: I am sitting here, in front of my computer screen, remembering just 20 minutes ago running into one of my teen students at my favorite food co op, and getting and giving a marvelous hug, and here I am…
Edit Lak wrote: I saw the title of this passage and thought ‘Ohh yehhh’ I saw the ponder question in this passage and thought ‘Ohh what’ I read this passage and went ‘OHH WOW’ Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.. The f…
Smile wrote: Thank you. This makes me realise that every little thing i do or say to another with a good intention is helping me to accomplish a spiritual transformation. So its not true that i am not doing …
Ummed wrote: Very beautifully worded with all humbleness and highness both simaltaneously. It strengthens spirit of all silent workers, who work for love of it, as fulfilment of self. Love you writer….
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Wednesday Meditation:
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and later became “Wednesdays”, which now ripple out to living rooms around the world. To join, RSVP online.

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Audio Reflections

From last week’s Bay-Area circle on The Difference Between Natural and Unnatural

Some Good News

5 Reasons Why Meditation Beats an iPhone
Kindness Remembered 41 Years Later
Attitude of Gratitude

Video of the Week

I Give Thanks

Kindness Stories

Pocket Money in Tanzania
A Guide Dog for the Blind

Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple “meditation reminder” to a few friends. Soon after, “Wednesdays” started, CharityFocus blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you’d like to start a Wednesday style meditation gathering in your area, we’d be happy to help you get started.

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Kindness Daily: A Guide Dog for the Blind

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A Guide Dog for the Blind November 28, 2011 – Posted by RMB333
Many years ago I lived in a western country. My very first job saw me employed in the city and I was thrilled to commute to the office by public transport! I had never been employed before and my chances of travelling on a bus by myself had always been very remote.

So, I was very happy with my new lifestyle!

I left home each morning in time to catch the 8.05 bus from the main road. One Autumn morning I could see the bus approaching. I could also see an elderly lady walking with an adorable dog beside her. There were some youngsters behind her.

The bus arrived and we got on. Unlike in eastern countries only eight passengers were permitted to travel standing. I was inside the bus when the conducter called, "Only eight standing passengers! Could the last one to get on please get off?" I saw those youngsters inside, right in front of me, and it occured that they had skipped the queue!

I thought it was me who now had to get off. I turned and saw the elderly lady with her dog about to get off instead. I moved quickly to get in front of her. I encouraged her to stay and got off knowing very well I would be late that morning, but it didn’t bother me.

I hadn’t noticed at the bus stop. It was only as I moved past her to get off the bus that I realised – she was blind! Her adorable companion was her guide dog!

Well, I eventually got to the office. After the day’s work I went to the bus stand in front of my office to make the return journey. What a pleasant surprise! The lady and her dog were there! I was really pleased because I would get a better chance to speak with her. I opened the conversation and she recognised my asian accent! She asked if I was the same person who helped her that morning. Amazing! From there onwards it was one long happy conversation.

The bus arrived, we got on, and were able to choose any seat as the bus was empty. Knowing that it would make things easy for her I suggested we sat on the long sideway seats with her guide dog between us.

Our journey started, and so did her story.

She told me that her husband was a World War Two veteran. He had lost his left arm and part of his left leg in the war. She told me that 10% of the government jobs were reserved for disabled people (at that time) and prefferance was always to the spouses of war veterans. Because of this they were managing with her salary and his pension.

About half way through the journey the conducter called out again. "NO STANDING … GET OFF! GET OFF!" Now what?

I looked around only to see the very same youngsters being unruly again! Now it was their turn to be put off the bus!

We arrived at our destination, her special companion on one side and her new-found companion on the other. I helped her cross the road to where an elderly, broad shouldered gentleman with an artificial leg was waiting for her.

It really touched my heart to see how the three of them, helping each other, walked on into the distance. But before we parted I offered to be there every morning and evening to help her get on the bus. Her husband was very pleased with this as it was a real effort for him to walk that far.

Eventually I returned to my home country. Before that I always wondered how they would manage as she had gotten used to me being there? To my delight her retirement arrived just before my departure.

These beautiul memories are still fresh in my mind. When I walk back down memory lane encounters like this one fill my heart with peace and contentment!

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9 Ways to Serve through Communication

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. — William Arthur Ward

~~~~ Tip of the Day: “As I continue along the path of giving, I’m learning of the constant opportunity to act from a space of service. A recent personal insight in this space is how communicating with an intention to serve leads to markedly different behaviors. The behaviors themselves are simply manifestations of the inner desire to serve. Behaviors without the intention may fool people for a while, but in the end the inner motives are discovered. The funny thing is, as these behaviors come out from intention, more often than not, they are reciprocated. What we end up with is true communication – no giving or receiving but instead sharing at the deepest level.” Here are nine way to make communication an act of service.

~~~~ Be The Change: Make an effort today to make your communication an act of service.

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Smile Newsletter: A Blazer, Red Scarf, and Fifty Bucks
Nov 27, 2011
Even after all this time The sun never says to the earth, “You Owe Me.” Look what happens with A love like that, It lights the Whole Sky.
Idea of the Week
152.jpg“Today I printed Smile Cards to tag people. I remembered I had been picking Morning Glory seeds from my plants – beautiful flowers that I was thinking about using next Spring.

I had the idea to make envelopes from X-mas paper and put in the seeds and write on the card “Morning Glory Seeds To Brighten Your Spring”.

Tomorrow, I plan to tag as many people as I can. I can not believe the power of Help Others Smile Group. I would be home right now doing word search instead of having my whole life and attitude turned around.

Blessings to each & everyone of you.” — anonymous

[ share your story >> ]

Stories of the Week
You can also contribute comments on each story!
Pocket Money in Tanzania >>
The Journey of a Kindness Checkbook >>
A Blazer, Red Scarf, and Fifty Bucks >>
More Stories >>
Comment of the Week
“We can choose the type of people we want to be. I want to do my best to be the kind of person I would feel grateful for. On one of my darkest days, while in the grocery store picking up dinner, out of the blue this woman approached me. This beautiful gray haired women started a conversation with me about meats (we were in the frozen meat section), then she told me it was her birthday and told me what she had planned. I wished her a Happy Birthday and she said “Thank you baby” and asked me for a hug. I hope I never forget that woman. I cannot explain it but in those few moments she healed me and to this day I do not really know what I was so upset about. So why kindness: Kindness because I hope to one day to be like that woman.”–Kaddara
What is a “smile card”? It’s a game of kindness — do something nice for someone and leave a card behind asking them to pay it forward. To date, 983,117 cards have been shipped without any charge.

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Is This a Business or an Art Project?

Being ‘spiritual’ simply means being willing to look into the nature of life, to ask questions and to wonder, and to listen. It also means seeing art everywhere. — Quang Ho

~~~~ Good News of the Day: “To call Robert Fogarty an accidental entrepreneur is a bit of an understatement. If you haven’t heard of Fogarty’s Dear World, a venture that grew out of a not-for-profit fundraiser called Dear New Orleans, it’s likely to hit your radar screen soon. He’s a photographer whose striking portraits feature people with heartfelt messages written on their hands, arms, and faces in black marker. The images live primarily online, where they’re attracting more and more viral attention. And Fogarty has gone from collecting crumpled dollars in a bucket for his photos to getting large organizations to write big checks. So his dilemma is this: how to define his venture (art project or company?) and how to scale it without sacrificing the values he holds dear.” This Inc. Magazine article shares his story.

~~~~ Be The Change: Soak in some of Fogarty’s latest Dear World picture messages.

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Four Degrees of Separation

When people go within and connect with themselves, they realize they are connected to the universe and they are connected to all living things. — Armand Dimele

~~~~ Good News of the Day: In 1929, Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy proposed that there were six degrees of separation between any two people in the world. The theory was made popular by a play, movie and later a trivia game in which players try to link the actor Kevin Bacon to another Hollywood star within six steps. Yesterday, FaceBook announced that with its 721 million members, and 69 billion friendships between them, there are only 3.74 degrees of separation between any one FaceBook user and another. Researchers summarized it like this: “A friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friend.”

~~~~ Be The Change: Expand your sense of connection: engage meaningfully with a friend of a friend.

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