Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is this Karma?

I've always tried to be an honest and sincere person.
I never cheated at school or university, simply because I couldn't. I became nervous, very self conscious and got a terrible red head.

So why do people lie about me?

As a buddhist I should say it's Karma. Maybe I did something wrong in my past life and now it's time to pay for it.

A buddhist teacher had a good laugh a while ago when I said I had the feeling I was playing a role in the Karma of someone else. Without me, he could not make the choice he had to make.
This person made a huge mistake and I was the victim.

It was a strange experience, because I saw no cause at all why this person should speak bad about me.

Buddhists who are grown up in a buddhist culture are far more accepting of these situations than I am.
It's part of the suffering of life, they say.

Oh yes, suffering it is... but only because I long for the truth: that I'm OK.

How far should we go in accepting injustice?
Should we just accept that people destroy your family life because they think wrong?

Some say I just should bow my head and let happen whatever happens.
But the consequences are not right.

Some say I should stand up for the truth as long as I won't be violent and will be peaceful.
But the person who speaks ill of me feels it as a violation of his supremacy when I go against him.

So tell me, what would you do?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Martin Luther King Day

It's Martin Luther King Day.
I guess this year there's not a lot spend on bringing this to the attention of the public, because i saw far less blogposts about this special say than the years before.

Martin Luther King stood up against injustice and he changed the world.
He firmly believed that all people should fight for equal rights and justice for all and he would have just as hard a battle today as he had in his own days.

It's hard to say, but today there are many people who think their opinion is of more value than those of others, as many people who look down on others, and as many people who enforce their wants and needs on others.

We've experienced ourselves the past months what happens when people have lost their perspective and let their phantasies about others run freely. To feel dependent upon the judgments of others is a strange experience when you know for yourselves that you're a good family and good individuals.
It's also a very educational experience as we share these feelings with many people in the past and present, all over the world. Black people, Tibetans, Native Americans, Aboriginalsm and many more.

I feel lucky we were able to keep thing into perspective for ourselves. That we felt no need to take the role of underdog upon us.
But the idea that other people consider them better human beings is quite disturbing.

I believe that all people are equal.

And I dream that one day people gain the insight that they have to respect others, have to respect themselves and have to live more in the present to fully enjoy life.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Om mani padme hum

A long time ago I entered a tibetan shop and it was like entering a completely different world.
I was welcomed in a very kind way and immediately I felt at ease.

In the centre of the shop was a raised space and on the wall behind it the Dalai Lama smiled to me from a photo.

The music was soft, but ever so present.
3 hours after I left I was still singing the mantra inside myself.

It was this music which has become my favorite music and those of the children.
They often ask for it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The moon

Do you notice the moon when it's visible in the sky?
Have you ever taken the time to feel the moon?

Being silent and let nature speak to you is very empowering.

Dress yourself warm and sit down in the light of the moon and open your mind and heart....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A seperate "I"?

Buddhism states it's a misconception to think our mind and body are seperate from everything else.
The consequence is that this idea generates self-centeredness, because one thinks in terms of "I"and "mine".

Arising from this are 5 kinds of troubles:
  1. greed
  2. resentment 
  3. righteousness
  4. negligence and 
  5. doubtfulness
Practicing selflessness and becoming aware that we own nothing will end this.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How often?

How often do you ask
how do you do?

Do you wait for an answer,
or do you turn around
and forget about the question asked?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You speak a thousand languages.

You speak a thousand languages.

You're talking.
Your face creates a thousand people
and it's only you
who's speaking.

Gestures of your hands are loud,
as is the shrugging of your shoulders.

You speak a thousand languages.

I close my eyes,
and hear a thousand tones.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do you listen to gossip?

Do you listen to gossip?
Or are you a person who takes every lesson for the truth?

The Dalai Lama says:

"Believe nothing,
no matter where you read it,
or who said it,
no matter if I have said it,
unless it agrees with your own reason
and your own common sense."


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

meaning and reality

When I attach meaning to something I create my own reality.
Someone else might attach a completely different meaning to it...and creates his own reality.

A mailbox is positive for people who love mail. And the sound of it generates a pleasant feeling.

Those who have to pay far too many bills fear the sound of a mailbox. It might be another bill arriving.

Monday, January 10, 2011

You can't change? You can!

Today I was talking with someone who said every so many minutes: "people can't change, so I can't change." It was almost like a mantra. A destructive one.

When people say I can't change they mean: I don't want to change, and my automatic response is starting to search for the reason.
Is it fear? Do they gain by not changing?

I think everyone can change.

The Dalai Lama says:

"When we really feel that there is some need to change,
then our minds can change.
Wishing and praying alone will not transform your mind,
but with conviction and reason,
reason based ultimately on your own experience,
you can transform your mind.
Time is quite an important factor here,
and with time our mental attitudes can certainly change."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Impact of daily news on children

Again a shooting.

Again I wonder about the impatct daily news has on children.

There's so much negativity in the news and it comes from all parts of the world.

I fear that certain children might start to think that this world is all bad and negativity.
A few times a week it's in the news that children aren't safe, and men in neat suits look in the camera and state that they can't cope anymore.

Grown ups send so many mixed messages that children get aggressive or just don't care about the feelings of others anymore.
Or they close themselves for their own feelings.

What are your thoughts about this?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How do you game?

Interactive games show who you are as a person.
Not all intercative games offer the opportunity to learn to know yourself a bit more, but many do.

Are you a person who shares and gives? Or are you a person who takes?
Do you want to be better than others?
Or do you play for fun or to improve yourself?

I'm sure you can come up with more questions like these.

And I'm sure you can answer them. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Individuality, yes or no.

Isn't it interesting there's so often a tension in people between individuality and wanting to belong to a group, wanting to fit in and to be accepted?

People want to be seen, and at the same time they want to blend in.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mindfulness as the new trend

I've seen trend of therapies come and go during the past 40 years.
Very interesting to see what people need in certain times of cultural and economical development.

The past year step by step mindfulness became accepted in the psychological care in The Netherlands, even though people rather call it something else.
The idea that a good way to deal with life has been around for thousands of years and is a way of living for millions of people who would never ever be able to pay for one singles session of psychotherapy is almost unacceptable.

That we've here in the home have been able to cope with a complex family thanks to mindfulness is almost unbearable for those who earn their money...with...say...120 euros an hour.

I've taught so many parents the way I deal with autism that I lost count. Pity I didn't send them bills. I would have had a very large villa with pool, 3 vacations a year, a jaguar and a mercedes, and certainly a subscription to my favorite magazines. LOL!
I'm sure I wouldn't have had to look for the least expensive shoes or search to find donations and sponsoring for my girls to go with school to another country.
OK, wrong choice.

But I've reached far more people and certainly those who would never have been able to afford a psychologist teaching them.
And I would have felt a fraud because buddhism provides everything for free.
(Not our local buddhism organisation..alas!)

Today I stumbled across an article in the Guardian about mindfulness in the UK.
In case you're interested. It's here.

When it's not accesssible anymore, please let me know.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some thoughts on ego, empathy and choices.

"Being a buddhist is for a large part about being nice", said one of my children a while ago.


Care and compassion are the main ingredients of daily life and communication, and all sorts of good behaviour flows from that including forgiveness, understanding and being kind to people one initially doesn't like.
In fact...the "doesn't like" disappears as soon as the person is regarded with an open mind and compassion.
Most unwanted behaviour is caused by experiences people haven't made a choice for.
When we see that, we see a person who is hurt and in pain, and needs care and a friendly face.
That usually stops a chain of bad events and enables that person to heal, at least partially.

The last year we have encountered, as a family, some people who were guided by their willingness to do well.
They were so very willing to do good, that they lost the ability to perceive the good in people.
They wanted everything to fit in their picture and rather than checking their own perception they fitted everything in the matrix in their heads.

It's what happens when people think they have the ultimate truth in their hands.

It's one way of describing what we buddhists say: "Reality is the way we see it."

Teaching children to deal with people like that has been of the largest challenges of last year.
How to deal with people who speak bad about you, who paint a picture about you that's not how you are, who deny the plain facts?
How to deal with people who read into your words something completely different than you have intended?

Ofcourse I gave my children an insight in how people become that way.
People are products of their own history, of their own wants and needs, and of their own ego's.
But I also gave them the power to stay the person they are, to have faith in themselves, to stay pure and clean in their own intentions.
I can't say how often I told them to listen to their inner voice. I have learned these kids have a very clear intuition, and they should not be misguided by wants and needs, by misperceptions are anything else.

They said they didn't trust a person, and so I learned them how to deal with that.
Help came as a surprise by someone who said there was no need to deal directly with that person, they could write down what they had to say if they wanted too.
Help also came from time itself, as they had so much to do for school that they gladly wrote down what was on their hearts, instead of bicycling to town and lose lots of time.
They would have gone to the meeting otherwise.. with the risk of having their words turned again, like happened before and what happened with my own words and behaviour.
I think an ego was hurt a bit, but sometimes it's time for grown ups to grow up.

When talking with the children it was clear they missed something very important in the other person: empathy.
It's the ability to step out of your own frame of mind, your own wants and goals and perceive with an open mind the other person and to understand that person from the way he is, from his own life.

It was amazing to see what my children could do what the grown up couldn't do. Display empathy.
I think it's inborn and disappears when the ego takes over and grows to be a feeding force for the wellbeing of the person.
When we lose touch with our own inner being and strive for wealth and recognition the ego takes over. In certain jobs ego's are regarded to be of more importance than empathy. It's about being on top of other people, I think.

My children have learned that it's not always possible to keep oout of the way of people like that.
They've also seen how they mold their own reality into something they feel comfortable with, or can gain their own egofood with.

It's a kind of warning too.

When a person grows up he's faced with choices about his own person.
By making a choice for a profession it might be a choice for a certain behavioral climate which might go against the way you want to be.

It's a huge choice.

Young people are not always aware they have that choice.
Older people are not always able to face up to that choice.

How about you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Buddhist new year

The buddhist new year is celebrated at different dates in different countries and in different traditions.

In Mahayana countries new year is celebrated on the first full moon day of January.

Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese buddhists celebrate according to the lunar calendar, so late January or early February.
The Tibetans usually celebrate about one month later.

In Theravadin countries, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao, the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April.

Buddhists tend to adjust themselves to the people around them. So don't be surprised when they celebrate new year with you too.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Traditional resolution

I don't make resolutions.
I think I don't.

I try to stay in the present, live as intense as possible.

Doesn't that sound as a resolution?

Interesting is that very long ago I wrote down in a diary that I wanted to do something good for someone else at least once a day. Something I wouldn't have done otherwise, or to someone I wouldn't have done something for.

No, I wasn't a member of the scouts or something like that.
I just wanted to become a better person.

Little did I know that buddhism contains something that contains this: metta.

Wishing and doing the best to everyone, including the people one doesn't like.

It's one of the most difficult resolutions one can make, but also one of the easiest.

Difficult, because our society makes us hate people, judge people, criticise people until they're nothing.

Easy, because it makes us stay close to the people we really are: good, open people.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

An open year

Isn't it wonderful to mark the beginning of a new year with fireworks?
OK, it's not very good for the environment, and the animals simply hate it, but I'm thinking more of the old ways people marked new beginnings.

First they got rid of the bad spirits by making a lot of noise.
When they were gone, one could have an open look into the future.

Without realising that millions of people open the new year with a lot of noise.


Happy new year!
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