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#1717 - Wednesday-Thursday, February 25-26 2004

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  • Michael A. Read
    Archived issues of the NDHighlights are available online: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm ... The Self is nothing else but the knowledge that you are .
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2004
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      Archived issues of the NDHighlights are available online:   http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm  


      "The Self is nothing else but the knowledge that 'you are'. Meditate on that principle by which you know 'you are' and on account of which you experience the world. Meditate on this knowledge 'you are', which is the Consciousness, and abide therein.
       
      Nisargadatta: link to page further down in this edition
       

      If the graphics do not display in your email copy of this issue, read it online at the NDHighlights yahoogroups web: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/message/1716

       

       

      true self cartoon

      http://www.goma.demon.co.uk/yah/trueself.html


      #1717 - Wednesday-Thursday, February 25-26 2004 editor: michael


      A blast from the past: http://www.nonduality.com/hl276.htm

      MARK:

      You ask for forgiveness, I give thanks instead - an occasional nudge towards
      clarity is what I am here for. I participate in this
      list not as one who maintains an ongoing consciousness of nonduality, but as
      one who has glimpsed it, and remembers that it was more
      real than the ongoing experience of self as one of billions suffering from an
      identity. I may be totally wrong but (I'm a dancing
      fool...), my intuition suggests to me that what maintains my identity with the
      self, rather than Self is the defenses I have erected
      against the pain of this world. To step around, over, past them into all my
      fears, anger, greed, frustrations, helplessness, etc,
      etc, etc and just sit in those formidable obstacles until they lose their
      ooomph is where my practice is now. Now and then I sit in
      the wonder of "I am", but more often I experience fear that I may not be, or
      anger that I won't be, or confusion about what any of
      that means. I definitely have blocks and energy deposits in my body from
      traumas, etc, and I'm releasing them by experiencing them
      (finally). As anyone with a shtick, I like to talk about it and compare notes
      and even proselytize a bit. I dunno, I guess I
      expect that those who think they would benefit from comparing notes will do so
      and the rest will ignore me 'till I go away. I'm not
      really focused on what is real or unreal, so much as what seems to make me feel
      more loving and more at ease in my body, psyche,
      soul and spirit.


      Scott Morrison: AWAKENINGS

      Let go and let Love.

      an excerpt from: http://www.sentient.org/scottm.htm

      ed. note: Scott Morrison has joined the choir invisible, in his words we can find a clue to that peace of mind that is truth.

      Full awareness, peace, freedom, clarity and joy can, and do, only exist now. If any of us still find ourselves suffering from the symptoms of ignorance, divisiveness or competition, that is to say, fear, envy, anger, sorrow, frustration, disappointment, jealosy, self-loathing, guilt, depression, loneliness, despair, or confusion, it is because we are still negotiating with God, still negotiating with Truth, still negotiating with Love, still negotiating with Freedom, still negotiating with Serenity. The pain is none other than the agony of lying to ourselves about what we want more than anything else. It is like finally finding the lover we have always longed for, but holding back in terror of losing that love.

      Why put this moment off? That which you seek is That which you already are, and always have been - you are not separate, you cannot be separate from the Absolute, from Infinite Consciousness Itself. If you dare to stop pretending that you and your life are based on some mental version of things that arises out of memory, you will find out beyond any doubt! This is not some kind of wishful thinking or grandiose mental trick. Rather, with total and unflinching sincerity, with no psychological defense or self deception whatsoever, search your heart and find out what you permanently are, what you've been all along. Find out if there has ever been a separate "Other." If you discover there never has been an other, is there one now? Could there ever be? Why pretend anymore?

      If you dare to give your heart, your soul, your mind, your body, and your life, unconditionally, to what you discover to be true, you will know an infinitely deep and abiding peace that has never been even a breath away. This bliss, this tranquility depends on nothing, and It is not capable of ending. Furthermore, it doesn't make a bit of difference what you've ever done... or not done. You can put an end to the battle. Yes, that's correct, just walk right out of the war, right now. All you have to do is surrender, absolutely and completely, not to me, not to some authority figure, or some organization or institution, but surrender only to your own deepest Purity.

       


      http://www.otoons.com/eso/clown_chakra.html

      The Clown Chakra

      chakras

      The clown scientists have found that all our problems can be placed under one heading: Seriousness.

      Seriousness is the leading cause of everything from cancer to reincarnation.

      Scientists from the Clown Academy have discovered a new source of healng.
      It is a psychic energy point located between the heart chakra and the throat chakra.
      It is called the clown chakra.
      If people are feeling miserable; if they have financial problems; if their relatonship situation is the pits; if they are in ill health; if they constantly find fault with others; then obviously their clown chakra is closed.
      When this happens, the scientists have observed under a high-power microscope that the cells of every organ display a sad face.
      And when the clown chakra is open and funtioning normally, the cells display a happy face.
      The scientists realized that if a person is ill, it is because his/her mind has projected guilt onto the cells of his/her body and has forced out the love that is normally found within each cell of the body.
      The cells are therefore saying, "I lack love," or ILL, for short.
      The scientists also discovered that all disease is due to cells being out of ease or "dis-eased."
      When the clown chakra is open and working (or rather, playing) properly, the psychic mechanism sucks up misery, pain, anger, resentment, grievances, unhappiness, etc., and converts the energy into tiny red heart-shaped ballons.
      The red heart balloons contain love and joy and are directed to the "dis-eased" cell or situation, and a happy face appears instantly.
      Sometimes these red heart balloons are called endorphins because when anyone experiences them the feeling of separation ends, and they experience being back home with a loving father/mother and hence are no longer an orphan.
      This is the well-known "end orphan" effect.
      So if you think someone is attacking you, clown scientists recommend that you visualize sending that person red heart shaped balloons filled with love and joy.

      Remember to keep your clown chakra open, and remember to laugh.
      Seriousness causes ILL-ness and dis-ease.


      http://www.hipiers.com/newsletter.html

      Something for the Piers Anthony fans, from his online newsletter

      The Ogre's Den image

      :

      Recent TV--Dateline, I think--had a show that was an eye-opener for normal folk. It pointed out that people can miss the obvious when focusing on a particular thing. It proved it. There were six basketball players, three in white, three in black. The challenge was to count the number of passes the white players made. The group was all mixed up, moving around; it was tricky to catch them, and I did miss several, though my wife got the correct score. They showed it twice, so we could verify our answers. Then they pulled the surprise: we had missed the black gorilla that walked through the throng, mugged the camera, and moved on. It was absolutely obvious, impossible to miss--yet we had missed it, and I suspect most of the TV audience did. That makes me wonder how much else obvious I may be missing when I focus, as I often do. Autistics can really fo--now stop that!

       


      Cults of the '90s add materialistic spin

      Minneapolis Star Tribune, 07-25-1995, pp 03E
      When Randy Robins began chanting with a Buddhist sect nearly 20
      years ago the rewards came fast. His soul became syncopated with the
      rhythm of the universe, he says. He intuited global truths. He
      thrilled at his oneness with humanity.

      What's more, Robins found that with just a few more minutes in front of the altar each day, material orders could be registered, too. He found a gleaming new stereo at the pawn shop. And an apartment near work. And there, right on the side of the road, was a 1979 Toyota with a rebuilt engine for a mere $600. "What was really amazing was that I had been chanting for a Cadillac but I wound up with a much, much better car," explained Robins, a member of the North Carolina chapter of a Buddhist group called Soka Gakkai. "If I had gotten a Cadillac I would be making quite large payments. There is no doubt that my life is richer because of my Buddhist practices."

      more at: http://www.cebunet.com/minneapolis.htm


      http://www.the-covenant.net/

      This is Sandeep Chatterjee's web page. It is too large to include here, even in part.

      You may find items of interest in Sandeep's ramblings.

      His music section is well worth the peek.


      ed. note:I did a search on 'religious terror and found this interesting page:

      http://www.stanford.edu/group/ivfaculty/Essays/20030203JJ.shtml

       

      The Journey with Jesus: Notes to Myself

      Reflections By Dan Clendenin

      Essay for 3 February 2003


      an excerpt:

      The Old Testament is full of violence, much of it divinely sanctioned, at least according to the writers. In the New Testament, I can think of only two examples when the followers of Jesus wanted to use violent means for His cause—when James and John wanted to call down fire upon the Samaritans, and in the Garden of Gethsemane when his disciples tried to prevent His arrest. In both instances Jesus rebuked those who tried to show their allegiance to him through violent means. Rather, He told us to love even our enemies and to do good to those who persecute us, because in the end, according to Jesus, the ultimate measure of my love for God is my love for my neighbor.


      "The true guru knows you need nothing, not even him."
      -- Nisargadatta Maharaj


      THE DALAI LAMA’S PROCLAMATIONS ON
      SPIRITUAL TEACHERS WHO ABUSE THEIR POWER

      http://www.kashiashram.com/advice_dl.htm

      The following quotes are from the article "Toward A New Spiritual Ethic," by Kate Wheeler; March/April 1994 edition of Nexus. [The Dalai Lama’s own words are in bold.]

      "At a symposium with 22 Western Buddhist teachers, the Dalai Lama had strong words for teachers who abuse their power—and students who give theirs away."

      "A teacher who behaves unethically or asks students to do so can be judged as lacking in ultimate insight, His Holiness said. ‘As far as my own understanding goes, the two claims—that you are not subject to precepts and you are free—these are the result of incorrect understanding.’ No behavior is free from consequences. For this reason, true wisdom always includes compassion, the understanding that all things and beings are interconnected with (and vulnerable to) each other."

      Even though one’s realization may be higher than the high beings,’ His Holiness said, ‘one’s behavior should conform to the human way of life.’"

      "When teachers break the precepts, behaving in ways that are clearly damaging to themselves and others, students must face the situation, even though this can be challenging. ‘Criticize openly,’ His Holiness declared. ‘That’s the only way.’ If there is incontrovertible evidence of wrongdoing, teachers should be confronted with it. They should be allowed to admit their wrongs, make amends, and undergo a rehabilitation process. If a teacher won’t respond, students should publish the situation in a newspaper, not omitting the teacher’s name," His Holiness said. "The fact that the teacher may have done many other good things should not keep us silent."


       

      Sw. Flossananda

       

      http://www.otoons.com/eso/transcendental_flossing.html

      A new young monk arrives at the monastery.
      He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.
      He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.
      So, the new monk goes to the abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up.
      In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
      The head monk says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son".
      So, he goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscript is held in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years.
      Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot.
      So, the young monk gets worried and goes downstairs to look for him.
      He sees him banging his head against the wall.
      His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.
      The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?"
      With a choking voice, the old abbot replies, "The word is
      celebrate!!."


      http://www.almeidacartoons.com/Biz_toons2.html


      http://www.sentient.org/vicki.htm

      Vicki Woodyard

      Many who posit themselves as teachers view awakening as a goal in which a final escape occurs. Very few propose instead that awakening is a profoundly deep and complete immersion into everything, including the pain that is attendant on that which appears. After a life of seeking, Vicki discovered that artifice and pretense - the fundamental principles of all paths - can fall away when illness or tragedy remove all choice, and thrust one ever more deeply into reality.

      There is Only Everything

      Most of us on the spiritual path have been on it for longer than we care to admit. At least that is the case with me. Suffering, sorrow and struggle have taken their toll. I am now willing to admit something--there is only everything.

      Apparently I wasn't wise enough to come to this conclusion any earlier. Like Irina Tweedie, who wrote Daughter of Fire,my inner sheik has been holding my feelings to the fire for far too long. But I am now willing to admit it.....there is only everything.

      In spite of having mystical dreams and synchronistic situations, it just wasn't enough for me. I wanted cosmic visions and the rarity of sat-chit-ananda. It wasn't to be.

      Instead I got I-opening sorrow, self-searing introspection and many dark nights of the soul. Some got so dark I bumped into the universal furniture until my shins were blue.

      But just lately, I am opening up to a wider wisdom...there is only everything. And it seems that everything is enough. The Popsicle Man comes along the street with his truck full of colorful flavors and we think we must make a decision. Do I want lime or grape or cherry enlightenment? The mind must have its favorite flavor. So we let it do its thing. My advice: Pay the Popsicle Man and get on with your life.

      My life is currently breaking down and I am seeing that this is freeing. Like a little child, all the flavors of life have stained my white shirt and there seems to be little chance that I can get the stains out on my own....for there is no "my own". There is only everything.

      It didn't have to be so hard. I could have had my flavor of the day and every other flavor to boot. My choices were not mine anyway--they belonged to the mind which is now falling away as fast as I can allow it.

      The wisdom of life is inherent in unity and only in unity. But we can only arrive there when we understand that there never had to be a problem in deciding what flavor of life we wanted that day. Everything comes in an astonishing variety....and everything is all there really is.

       


      a group room in poona

      Nirvana, enlightenment, kaivalyam, moksha, all great experiences, are not to be proclaimed.
      People will recognize them just by your joy, by your playfulness, by your presence. - Osho

      http://www.otoons.com/eso/guru.htm


      http://www.sentient.org/ramesh.htm

      Ramesh S. Balsekar


      Right behind where Ramesh sits, in his house in Bombay, is a small cupboard with vase of flowers.
      Next to them is a Laminated board with these words written in Large Letters:

      Self-Realization or Enlightenment is nothing more than the deepest possible understanding that there is no individual doer of any action - neither you nor anyone else. Also you are not the thinker of any thoughts, nor the experiencer of any experiences - they happen. When IT happens, no bright lights are likely to flash in your head!

      Other quotes from Ramesh:

      The universe is uncaused, like a net of jewels in which each is only the reflection of all the others in a fantastic interrelated harmony without end.

      Self-Realization is effortless. What you are trying to find is what you already are.

      Enlightenment is total emptiness of mind. There is nothing you can do to get it. Any effort you make can only be an obstruction to it.

      If you but cease from useless conceptualizing, you will be what you are and what you have always been.

      Seeing truly is not merely a change in the direction of seeing, but a change at its very center, in which the seer himself disappears.

      The only ultimate understanding is that nothing is, not even he who understands.

      For enlightenment to happen the perceiver must turn right around and wake up to the fact that he is face to face with his own nature - that HE IS IT. The spiritual seeker ultimately finds that he was already at the destination, that he himself IS what he had been seeking and he was in fact already

      Concepts can at best only serve to negate one another, as one thorn is used to remove another, and then be thrown away. Only in deep silence do we leave concepts behind. Words and language deal only with concepts, and cannot approach Reality.

      Between pure Awareness and Awareness reflected as consciousness there is a gap which the mind cannot cross. The reflection of the sun in a drop of dew is not the sun itself.

      Ceasing to conceptualize means ceasing to perceive objectively, which means perceiving non- objectively. It is to see the universe without choice or judgement and without getting into subject- object relationship. What happens then? Nothing, except that you are what you were before you were born: everything.

      When the apparent but illusory identity called a person has disappeared into the awareness of total potentiality that it is and has always been, this is called enlightenment.

      Manifestation may adopt any number of forms but the substratum of all the myriad forms is Consciousness, without which there cannot be anything whatsoever.

      Nothing can have any meaning, or even any existence, except in terms of something else.

      The man of wisdom is devoid of ego even though he may appear to use it. His vacant or fasting mind is neither doing anything nor not doing anything. He is outside of volition, neither this nor that. He is everything and nothing.

      Your doubts will never be totally destroyed until perception has gone beyond mere phenomenality, and such perception is not a matter of will but of Grace.

      Only that which was prior to the appearance of this body-consciousness is your true identity. That is Reality. It is here and now, and there is no question of anyone being able to reach for it or grasp it.

      The same Consciousness prevails at rest as the Absolute and in motion as duality. When the sense of "me" disappears completely, duality vanishes in ecstasy.

      To any conceptual problem there cannot be any valid answer except to see the problem in

      perspective as an empty thought, and that there is no such thing as a "problem" which is other than merely conceptual.

      An experience is never factual but only conceptual. Whatever an experience may be, it is nonetheless only a happening in consciousness.

      The manifest phenomenal aspect of what we are and the unmanifest noumenal Absolute are not different. Phenomena are what we appear to be. Noumenon is what we ARE.

      The essential basis of self-realization is the total rejection of the individual as an independent entity, whether it comes about as a spontaneous understanding or through an utter surrender of one's individual existence.


      http://www.sentient.org/nis.htm

      Nisargadatta Maharaj


      Dates: 1897 - 1981, Bombay, India


      That which you are, your true self, you love it, and  whatever you do, you do for your own happiness. To find it,  to know it, to cherish it is your basic urge. Since time immemorial you loved yourself, but not wisely. Use your body and mind wisely in the service of the self, that is all.

      Be true to your own self, love your self absolutely. Do not pretend that you love others as yourself. Unless you have realized them as one with yourself, you cannot love them. Don't pretend to be what you are not, don't refuse to be what you are.

      Question:What is meditation?

      Maharaj: To be one with THAT because of which we know we exist is meditation. There are a number of names which have been given to Gods, all of them represent the same things - they represent this knowledge that one is, this beingness, consciousness. This knowledge does not refer to an individual, but to the sense of presence as a whole. Instead of accepting this knowledge as a total functioning, one wants to cut up the knowledge into bits and pieces, taking a part for himself, based on some concept. Any knowledge based on a concept is not true knowledge...

      When you are dwelling in this consciousness you see that you are not doing anything, it is all happening spontaneously. There is no question of your trying to do anyting. You cannot try to be your Self, because you are your Self.


      (22)Jesus saw children who where being suckled. He said to
      his disciples: These children who are being suckled
      are like those who enter the Kingdom.
      They said to Him: Shall we then, being children,
      enter the Kingdom? Jesus said to them:
      when you make the two one, and
      when you make the inner as the outer
      and the outer as the inner and the above
      as the below, and when
      you make the male and the female into a single one,
      so that the male will not be male and
      the female not be female, when you make
      eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand
      in the place of a hand, and a foot in the place
      of a foot, and an image in the place of an image,
      then shal you enter the Kingdom.

      http://www.sentient.org/jesus.htm


      http://www.sentient.org/ordinary.htm

      About the Ordinary

      Many of us seek the extraordinary. That magic, precious moment of heightened awareness, of total oneness with the All, of transcendence. It will never happen :-)

      Why? Because as we run our story of differentiation - of dividing the world into the mundane and the spiritual - we put our lives on hold. We are in wait and in lust for some future extraordinary event, hoping it will overtake the ordinary of every day living. But isn't it your own direct experience that in the gentle kiss of a lover, in the touch of the breeze, or in the thousand forgotten times of momentary relaxation... that there is a spontaneous gentleness and ease? Is it not your own direct experience that in these simple things, so easily and spontaneously experienced, striving and desire drop away.

      In the casual preparation of a meal while gently chatting with a friend, in a laughing sunlit romp with the family dog, in breathing the taste of wet rain, need is momentarily suspended. But that's all too ordinary. And it doesn't last. So off we go to gurus in distant lands, spend money on yet another holy book to read... doing everything imaginable to find something different, something special. Then, we think, we will awaken. And as we seek solace from the poverty, from hatred and anger, from illness, disease, difficult jobs, from relationship woes, or from whatever does not match our image of perfection, how we suffer. Is it not your own experience that this struggle to escape, to be special, to have a superlative awakening experience, to be permanently enlightened, to experience the extraordinary, is in fact very painful?

      So much easier to sit in the sunlight and enjoy the show whenever you can. To just be an ordinary person and live an ordinary life. No method or experience can bring you closer to or further from what you already are: you are nothing more, or less, than the ordinary stuff of life. How relaxing :-)

      "How extraordinary is the ordinary."
      -- anonymous

      "The miracle is not what you think, but that you are conscious at all"
      -- Galen Sharp

      "Look. This little finger covers the eye and prevents the whole world from being seen. In the same way this small mind covers the whole universe and prevents Reality from being seen."
      -- Ramana Maharshi


      http://www.sentient.org/afterwards.htm

      We think we know what the result of awakening will be - namely a lessening of pain. So we make up stories - a story that we must say 'yes' to everything, that acceptance will help us awaken. A story that things will be easier if we awaken, that we will love unconditionally if we awaken; that our lives will be smoother, happier. If we awaken. We make up a story that we are drawn to truth. We make up a story that our yearning is opening our hearts. Ha! All this thinking is just a mind crying out for a good therapist :-) If you are unhappy or unfulfilled or not at peace, then I would suggest you see such a person - she will probably be of far more help than some self-proclaimed teacher touring around giving 'satsang' and helping you dream nicer dreams :-) Awakened state, unawakened state ... such things are the storybooks of children. Look around - do the animals spend time wondering about an imagined God, a Nirvana, a state of happiness, a oneness with all? Have a little humility my dear friend - notice that you are not as clever as the gentle little field mouse who lives quietly in the grasses and never for a moment wonders about becoming one with the universe :-) She just lives and is. She does not need or think of the pretentions of evolving, of gain, of being something, or of attaining. For her this moment is it - everything and everyone appears and receeds into and out of her own quiet awareness. She just lives. Really - isn't all this talk and more talk of awakening just a small death you are giving yourself? Isn't this imagined answer to all your problems blinding you to what is here, now? If you are unhappy or lack peace, see a therapist :-) Or perhaps quiet and free, with pain or without it, just be.
      --Amber
       
      There really is little to be said - the thing that I used to call 'me' just went away. I was writing a letter to a friend and just as I was saying something about me, well, it wasn't there anymore. This was very confusing. Then that went away too :-) Other people? No such thing. Without a 'me' the concepts self and other just have no meaning. Certainly enlightened and unenlightened also have lost all meaning too. I hear talk of this and that, but interest in such things is gone. I find that I sit a lot watching the light in the trees. It shines in whatever I see or do. What else is there?
      --Anonymous
       

      When your standpoint becomes that of wisdom, you will find the world to be God.
      Ramana Maharshi

      The transcendence of suffering-and-pleasure is attained not by wallowing in both but by experiencing the inexistence of either.
      Wei Wu Wei


      more cartoons at: http://www.ucomics.com/cornered/2004/02/16/

       


      Thank you for everything....

      By Alan Cohen

      THE STORY IS TOLD ABOUT A WOMAN ZEN MASTER named Sono who taught one very simple method of enlightenment. She advised everyone who came to her to adopt an affirmation to be said many times a day, under all conditions. The affirmation was,

      "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

      Many people from all arenas of life came to Sono for healing. Some were in physical pain; others were emotionally distraught; others had financial troubles; some were seeking soul liberation.

      No matter what their distress or what question they asked her, her response was the same: "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

      Some people went away disappointed; others grew angry; others tried to argue with her. Yet some people took her suggestion to heart and began to practice it. Tradition tells that everyone who practiced Sono's mantra found peace and healing.

      Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.

      My friend Lisa, an attractive woman in her late 30's, came to one of my seminars after I had not seen her for a number of years. She informed the group that a year earlier she had been diagnosed with a brain disorder that required immediate surgery. The surgery was done, a steel plate was inserted in her head, and her doctor keeps her under close observation.

      Lisa reported that now she lives from day to day. Privately I told Lisa that I was sorry she had gone through this whole ordeal. "Oh, don't be sorry," she told me emphatically. "I'm not sorry at all. This was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It really got me to appreciate my life and relationships. I married a wonderful guy and we are thinking about having children. I wouldn't trade the experience if I could."

      Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.

      Can you imagine what your life would be like if you simply dropped your complaints? It's a radical proposal, since most of us have been trained to question, analyze, and criticize everything we see. But then we end up questioning, analyzing, and criticizing ourselves. Then we miss out on joy, the only true measure of success.

      The ecstatic mystic poet Hafiz proclaimed, "All a sane man can ever think about is giving love."

      One evening I received a phone call from my friend Cliff, a Jewish guy from Brooklyn who discovered A Course in Miracles and became a world-class love exuder. Cliff just went around finding good and beauty in everyone he met.

      On the phone, Cliff told me, "I just called to tell you how much I love and appreciate you."

      "Well, thank you Cliff," I answered, delighted. "I really appreciate that. . . What prompted you to call me at this moment?"

      "My knee was hurting me, and I knew that the only way I could feel better would be to give more love. So I began to think of the people in my life who I care about, and you came to mind."

      Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.

      As we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving, many of us will be getting together with our families. Perhaps family issues may come to the fore and we might be tempted to fall into a pattern of rehashing old resentments and arguments. Wouldn't it be fabulous if, as we sat with our relatives, we held in mind, "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

      Imagine what this Thanksgiving would be like if we decided that no matter how much Mom complained about Dad; how much Dad bugged us about getting a real job; or how unspiritual our ex is, we chose to be an unstoppable appreciation machine and found the good in our loved ones. Indeed this would be a triumphant Thanksgiving to remember!

      Yes, I know, there is a voice inside you objecting, "But if I did not complain, people would walk all over me and selfish opportunists would genetically manipulate my food and terrorists would keep crashing airplanes into buildings and... and..."

      Got it.

      Now if you went to Sono, her response would be, "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

      I am simply suggesting that we practice the mantra for an entire Thanksgiving day. And then maybe one day a week. Then we might start to feel so good and our lives will become so effective that we want to turn every day into Thanksgiving.

      In my book Handle with Prayer I state that the highest form of prayer is gratitude. Instead of asking God for stuff, start thanking God for stuff, and you will find that God has already given you everything you could want or need, including the adventure of discovering more riches every day. Life is a big treasure hunt.

      Eventually we grow weary of seeking treasures outside ourselves, and we begin to look within. There we discover that the gold we sought, we already are. The beauty we overlooked because we were focusing on what was missing, still lives and awaits us like an anxious lover.

      As T.S. Eliot nobly noted, The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

      Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.

      Have a great Thanksgiving.

      © 2002 Alan Cohen


      ed. note: I know it isn't Thanksgiving season...but who's complaining...grins and love - michael


      Sentient beings are in essence buddhas
      It is like water and ice.

      There is no ice without water,
      There are no buddhas outside sentient beings.

      What a shame, sentient beings seek afar,
      Not knowing what is at hand.

      It is like wailing from thirst
      In the midst of water.

      --Hakuin Ekaku, 1685-1768

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