Empath

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$2.99 on Amazon

This is a quick read on boundaries and learning to spiritually protect yourself from outside influences and the energy of other people. It’s been a good read, and taught me a few forms of meditation including shield body meditaiton and chakra meditation. If you tend to overburden yourself with others, this is definitely worth the three bucks to get a greater sense of peace of mind.

Grow with Age

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You can discover new talents and interests at any age. People who stay open to their inner inclinations and remain true to themselves commonly discover more about themselves throughout their life.

-“Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal With People Who Try to Control You” by Patricia Evans

“Comfort Food” – Kitty Thomas

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There was a time I would have questioned his smile, but our minds had worked to move in sync, thinking each other’s thoughts before the other had them. It was fitting that I should be reduced to this animalistic state once again. I’d been away too long in freedom, the ability to come and go as I pleased, to have privacy, to have modesty. Now it was being stripped away from me all at once.

But I don’t think he fully understood. He may have believed he knew, but he couldn’t possibly know what he’d unleashed within me. I was only free with him. He was the first person who’d seen me in every state imaginable and still wanted me. I’d never been so bare with anyone else.

Am I to be sane and miserable in a world of somebody else’s creation or am I to be crazy, and in my own strange way, free?

 

In the Palm of Your Hand: A Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit

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To write honestly means that you are willing to tell the truth about your feelings and perceptions, but that doesn’t mean you have to say anything about your own life that you wish not to. In the service of that honesty one may employ any devices, reach back into any memory, discuss any subject, call upon any emotion, and invent any fiction. You are not obliged to write raw autobiographical poems that reveal things you are not ready to have revealed. Honesty means, in part, to be able to feel one’s anger and grief and envy and frustration, to have the courage to look at one’s own life and thoughts so that one can tell the truth about how human beings think, feel and behave. It does not mean exposing yourself in ways that you do not find appropriate.

Alan Watts – “The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”

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“God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear. “Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it—just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self—the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.

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“You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.”

The Dhammapada

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Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one’s mind, that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened.

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Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self, as a smith blows off the impurities of silver one by one, little by little, and from time to time.

Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the fool becomes full of evil, even if he gather it little by little.

Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the wise man becomes full of good, even if he gather it little by little.

-The Dhammapada

What a gem this volume is! It’s a collection of sayings attributed to the Buddha, from the Theraveda tradition of Buddhism. It’s one of the least religious sutras I’ve read – it concentrates more of the philosophy of proper living in this world than theological matters.

Buddhism is a religion that recommends moderation in body, spirit, and mind, as well as detachment from emotions and day-to-day life. One goal of the Buddhism is to reduce suffering in this world, by promoting good deeds and a gentleness toward all living beings. The other aspects vary depending on which branch you’re studying, but another common goal is release from the cycle of reincarnation, the multiple rebirths experienced until a being has spiritually purified itself and obtained nirvana.

What I especially love about most forms of Buddhism is its focus on correct living in this world, rather than dogma. Gautama Buddha himself is generally not deified and is treated as a fellow traveler who could have released himself from the rebirth cycle but chose to teach and help others free themselves instead. Anyone can eventually become a buddha, with enough spiritual practice.

As someone who’s experienced chafing at Western religion, I adore the freedom of Buddhism’s flexibility on specific dogmas. I especially like that we’re all given endless chances to achieve heaven and cessation of being – there is no one great chance, instead we’re all fellow co-learners at different points of development…

There are many forms of Buddhism, and there are many deities-Mara, being the king of Hell, and others. For me, right now, I read it more these as a metaphor – a greedy person or addict who dies without is reborn as a hungry ghost in the hell realm to suffer eternal hunger.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested – you can read it as an ancient philosophy that ables to our modern world.