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Showing posts from July, 2011

Enlightenment.... A personal story...

There is a very good book by Jack Kornfield, titled: “After the enlightenment, the laundry.”

In this book, Jack shares stories of many masters and spiritual teachers, who describe their lives after their enlightenment occurred.

Despite common misbeliefs and skepticism, enlightenment is not as rare as you may think.
It happens to many more people than you would think, who devoted their hearts, minds and time to exploring the nature of reality.

I am writing this piece for my own reasons, to share what I experienced in my own life.

About a year a half ago, I experienced enlightenment.

I have been a spiritual student for most of my life.
I had experienced many “Aha!” moments, in which things get clarified in your mind, and suddenly abstract concepts make perfect sense.

These “Aha” moments are wonderful and they leave you high with happiness, but they are not enlightenment.

When I experienced what I can only call Enlightenment for lack of a better word, it was much more than a thousand Aha! moments…

My beef with Mother Teresa…

I loved mother Teresa for most of my life.... I still do... But now I see her in a different light.

She was a heroic figure who devoted her life to house, shelter and feed the homeless, sick and poor of Calcutta.

But.... after listening to a speech she made in front of thousands of people about how abortion was a sin and other subjects, I realized that after all was said and done... she was at her heart, a Catholic nun.... and NOT an enlightened master.

Which means, that I do not wish to follow her advice about sex, marriage, how to run a business, my purpose in life....or... if I dare say it... how to understand God and the world we live in.
After all, she adopted a belief system that I share very little in common with.

She was a great model for compassion, showed much care for others and had a great devotion to her beliefs.

We live in cultures that tend to idolize everything...
We make heroic figures and celebrities out of people we admire, and we imagine their qualities and ofte…

Thoughts about cycling in China....

On a quiet and narrow road, at the edge of the desert in China, we were cycling quietly.
It was a hot day and there was a band of green trees and plants on the side of the road, where it was irrigated, but beyond it was a large stretch of a flat dry desert.

Anyone who cycles long distances, knows that it can get very monotonous if there is no change in terrain or scenery.... You stay in the same gear and your legs just take over and pedal seemingly automatically and without thought.

We had our support vehicle behind us, carrying our language and provisions, but instead of asking them to follow closely behind us, we told them to find a nice shaded spot under a tree, and to meet us on the hour every hour, so we can replenish our water supply.
It was so hot that we were drinking two big bottles of water every hour.

We saw a huge eighteen wheeler truck parked in the middle of the road.
The shirtless driver was fixing his truck.
When it is extremely hot in China, even in the cities, many drivers …

Fun Memories of water-sport from Greece....

I visited the Greek Islands many times.
But only once, I traveled there with one of my girlfriends.
Both of us were recently divorced and in need of a change of scenery.

On the island of Crete, we booked a hotel room on the edge of the blue sea.
It had an impressive Greek island architecture with little round balconies on which we sunbathed and looked over the rocky beach below.

There were great looking Greek men to admire…. And even better looking girls from Finland and Sweden, on holiday to taste the magic of the Greek islands…..

One sunny day, I sat on the balcony and looked over the sea.
It was lunch time, and I’ve already downed some cold beers….

Through my sunglasses, I mentioned to my girlfriend, that the speedboat in the distant, towing the inner tube at high speed, looked like SO MUCH FUN…
After all, the people being towed were screaming for joy….

I suggested we try it….
We put on our skimpy bikinis and went down to the beach. (we were young and pretty…single and ready to mingle…)

I aske…

Loving where you live...

I look around my room, and I love everything I see in it.
I gaze out through the window and I see a vista of wild green grass, swaying in the wind.
I feel grateful that the neighbors do not mow it.
The wind makes patterns in it as it bends the grass, like a master playing a sweet violin.

In this area, nature reigns supreme.
The people who chose to live here, do not have perfectly manicured gardens, with neat trimmed hedges and beds of roses.

Here, a migrating herd of elks or deer, can trample your carefully attended garden should you be foolish enough to invest the time in cultivating one.....
Nobody around here is foolish enough...

Some raise horses, others plant some trees, or maybe plant some colorful annuals before their front door to add some color....the rest is left for nature.... And nature here is king.

A grove of oak trees are blocking my view of the Sweetwater creek, and a small bird is nesting above my front door.
The sound of the creek merge with the wind... Water and wind..... A…

A Leonardo Da Vinci Story

Believe it or not, but there is a famous story that some of you may not have heard before.
Some say it is fiction, others SWEAR it is the truth...
I will share it here anyway.....

The artist Leonardo Da Vinci, was commissioned to paint the Last Supper.
In it, he used live models to portray Jesus and the twelve disciples.

In order to convey the bodily postures and the facial features accurately, he spent a long time looking for each model.

It is thought that Da Vinci's painting, actually started the romantic notion of portraying Jesus wearing his hair long and with a beard, and that it is NOT true to historical form.

It is believed that Jesus never wore his hair and beard this way but it was painted this way because this was the way the Renaissance fashion forwards men wore their hair.

Da Vinci chose a handsome young man as his model for Jesus.
This young man was just engaged to be married and it was said that the artist like the spark shining in the man's eyes...that his whole being j…

One missing piece of the puzzle…

A woman named Simon, is having a conversation with a smiling master named Altius.
She came with many questions…. She is seeking clarity…

Simon: “Master, I have been a spiritual seeker for many years.
I already embraced many of the concepts of our spiritual existence with all my heart,
Yet it feels like I am stuck somewhere…. Just a step short of reaching it….

You see, despite all my willingness and eagerness to understand, things in my life are not really changing …. I am still not able to be fully happy ALL the time, and making a living is not effortless as I know it could be…..

I am still unable to lose weight and I see so much illness……life is still hard…. It seems as if it is all just wishful thinking…. But not really the truth….

On top of it all, my own partner, is unwilling to accept these concepts….of the spiritual path….
All these New ideas, especially any mentioning of the word God, just make people fall to their knees in blind and meaningless religious fervor, or it makes them so op…

Darwin theory of evolution, AND God's creation, can they BOTH be true?...

Those of us who follow the spiritual path, believe that God created us all as ONE beloved sonship, and endowed us with similar attributes to those that He/She has.

This Creation is pure love, pure energy and nothing can oppose it in reality.
This means that there is no danger, no death, no sickness, no lack of any kind.
Everything you want- is yours!
You are a Beloved Child of Life!
Entitled to it ALL!

So how do we experience life as merely mortal human beings?... A life so limited.... So filled with broken dreams?..... How do we imagine ourselves to be so limited, reaching for things, yet never quite getting them?....

You could say that a "Great Sleep" has fallen over our holy minds, (which are all united. All our minds are united) and that we started dreaming.

In this dream, we identify ourselves with our bodies, and believe that we are limited to what a body can do...
That we occupy a space and time that a body occupies...
And that we are doomed to circumstances that affect the …

A Prophecy For World Peace...

Do not despair
EVERYTHING works together for GOOD.

There will come a time, in which the earth will know much joy again.
States and countries will come to realize how unwise it is to draw a line in the ground and to declare their borders, thus viewing themselves as separated from other countries and with different interest from other countries around the earth.

Countries one day will unite into the "League of Nations."
A new brotherhood with a United Vision of sharing and peaceful combining of forces for the good and benefit of all.

Technology and resources will become global, and will be used for the benefit of all.
Wars will be obsolete, and crimes of rage, anger and discrimination will be no more.

We are now witnessing the destruction of the old order of things.
A new and stronger foundations are needed in order to build a new world.

Regardless of the fact that people's minds are preoccupied with other things, and some are unaware of the changes that are taking place, a new co…

The veil of dreams....

I just saw an interesting documentary named "Teenage Paparazzo," in which a question was posed to a large group of teenagers.
They were asked if they could choose one of these professions in their future, which would they choose to be:

- A CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
- A President of a major university like Yale or Harvard.
- A very successful lawyer or a doctor
- A United States Senator
- An ASSISTANT to a celebrity.

If you feel like me, you'd be floored to hear that 42% of the youth said they would rather be an assistant to a celebrity.

Mind you, that they did not choose to be a celebrity, just an ASSISTANT to a celebrity.
This is how much our culture is fascinated by being famous... Being a somebody...

In this world, "our dreams" are so small, that we end up asking for so little from Life....
after all...what do we ask for?
To work in a field we like?
To be married to a nice and lovely person that loves and respect us?
To get paid for our services and to live without st…

Moving beyond critics...

Recently, I got an invitation to listen to a lecture about "Silencing your inner critic."

I wrote before about this subject, because I believe that it is an important issue to contemplate, in order to live a productive and creative life.

In order to be a writer, or an artist, you have to be able to create...and in order to create continuously, you have to move beyond your self doubts, and ignore the voice of your harsh inner critic.

Constructive criticism, or an inner notion of what you can fix or do better, is important and even needed, in order to produce quality work.
But the harsh inner critic is not aiming at helping you... It is there to STOP you, and it is up to you to move beyond it.

The reason that I felt inspired to write about this subject again, is because an event last week reminded me that it actually goes beyond silencing your own INNER critic... It is important to silence the voices of harsh critics OUSIDE yourself as well...

When you create and continuously put y…

What do the things you truly want, look like?

This piece of writing, was inspired by a wonderful NZ movie that I saw.
It is called “BOY” and in it, two Maori brothers who lost their mother, were just reunited with their gangster irresponsible father who came back to look for money that he buried in the back yard.

The older brother, is very excited at the prospect of becoming rich….
The brothers are having a conversation:
(Not transcribed. This is the gist of what they said)

Boy:
“When we’ll be rich, we’ll get out of this dump.
We’ll live in the BIG city,
Swim in our own pool.”

Rocky:
“But I do not want to live in the city, and I can swim in the ocean…. here now….”

Boy:
“In the city, we’ll swim in OUR POOL,
We’ll ride dolphins ALL DAY…
We’ll drink ONLY cocktails.
We’ll probably wear Tuxedos ALL the time.”

After having a good laugh, I thought how true to life, this example is…
Most people have no idea how the things they want, look like, and how in practical manner they will enrich their lives.
This is one of the reasons, that they do not attract th…

The news and how we make ourselves sick...

When I tell people that I do not watch or read the news, they look at me sideway… As if I am an escapist, running away from the cruelness of “reality”, avoiding looking at the dark side of things… That even though it is not pleasant, still is there, and it is equally “real.”

But I do not see it this way.
What we focus on, we bring into our world, and make it a reality to us, by our fascination with it.

“THE NEWS”, varies from place to place, country to country and it does not even get reported in other parts of the world.

For those Kazakhs living in rural Xinjiang Province in China, the news about a husband that murdered his ex wife in England, holds no interest at all.
But the news that fascinates them may be about a new kind of plastic, that makes yurts more waterproof

What we focus on, and the reaction of aversion or attraction that we have towards it, generates a resonance in us, that can make us upset and even ill.

If you are focused on the murder trials on TV, it generates in you anxie…

Reading the Signs... the story of Ratana.

There are two ways of living in the world.
One is as if nothing is significant, and everything happen randomly and without meanings...

And the other way, is to understand that everything happen for a good reason, and to be open to sense, to see and to read events, as signs that are sent to us.
We can then learn to use them for our advancement and advantage.

In New Zealand, the Maori culture was always rich in tradition and almost everything was seen as a sign and was interpreted accordingly.

The sight of a wide eyed owl, on a window sill....... a leaping dolphin on a full moon........the cry of a female kiwi in the green forest....... These were all used by traditional faith healers to foretell and forecast events and changes, sent by the spirit world.

Visionaries, are people who did not achieve enlightenment or entered the door of greater understanding of the Divine, but instead got messages from beyond, about Spirit, about God, or about their mission here on earth.

One such visionary was…

Money Matters…. A conversation with a skeptic.

“Yo you!”

“Who me?”

“Yes you! Come over and sit down.”

“Why? What do you want?”

“You got some ‘esplaining to do Missy.”

“What? What do you what me to explain?”

“You go about telling people that if they believe that they are not bodies, but Spirits, that everything is gonna change. Right?”

“Well…. Yes. If they REALLY believe it and live accordingly.”

“What do you mean?
Now you REALLY make me angry…
How does believing that I am spirit, will pay my mortgage?
How is it going to cure my mother’s cancer?
And how is it going to help me find the perfect partner… You know, the love of my life?
Can you answer this Missy?
How do I make a terminal illness disappear?”

“You don’t.”

“What do you mean?
Are you playing with me?
You just said it will all heal and be different…. All rosy and good…”

“I did, but it is not YOU who makes cancer disappear, it is done FOR you.”

“But you said before, that all illnesses are cause by a lack of balance, a dis-ease in the body, brought about by MY wrong perceptions.
Now you’re telling…

The little neurosis that rob us of our joys.

One of the things that I've noticed while being away on a long trip, was that going on a major adventure, takes you out of your daily patterns of little obsessions on meaningless things that peppers your daily life.

We all have our beloved daily routines.
The cup of coffee you love to drink by the bird bath, while looking at how the wind plays with the trees..... The charming little Italian eatery on the end of the block that makes the best dessert....
The beautiful path between the trees that you take while you walk your dog.... Etc.

But unfortunately, we also have our patterns of preoccupations, and of obsessions with little things, that keep our minds too busy with too many minor concerns.

These "little concerns," keep us from recognizing the VAST amount of peace that is available to us.

While being away, I recognized that I felt peaceful, not carrying these small concerns with me.

The days were busy and full of sites, people, places and adventures, and I had no time to r…

The similarities between Macro and Micro, or how you crucify the Christ in you…

Everything that works on a micro level, can be applied on the macro level and the reverse.

This is true in economics, sociology, science, physiology, and more…
But above all, it applies to your interior world.

In order to understand the similarities between macro and micro, you need to reflect on the fact that both operate under the application of principles, that are either true or false.

If a principal is true, it is true across the board, no matter what you apply it to.
If it is false, then no matter how you use it, it is bound to fail.

In order to simplify these concepts, let us look at basic economical principles, that can be applied to a budget of a country, (macro), or to a budget of a household. (micro)

In order to HAVE money, you need to sell a product or to provide a service. (work at something you are skilled at or can do)
You need to exchange your services for money, (be employed, or sell your book, your art, your advice, teach, etc)
And you need to save some of this money, above y…

Appreciating old religions and the new Chinese Dragon.

While traveling in rural China along the Ancient Silk Road, it occurred to me that the most boring towns we saw along the road, were those which were populated by the Han majority of Chinese people, and were totally devoid of any art, and in which no religion was cherished.

These towns had nothing to offer the visitor, aside from grimy eateries.
No tea houses to relax and refresh your spirit, and nothing to look at, or enjoy.
The locals had no cherished customs, no traditional clothing, or anything to add beauty and color to their towns or lives.

In contrast to the many towns which were so rich in minorities, and filled with beautiful history, colorful traditions, and interesting sites, these were grimy towns in which the people lived in dingy houses, worked in all sorts of factories or small industries, and lived lives with almost no joys, comfort or pleasure.

I reflected upon what caused this in China…..
Chinese people lived with beautiful religions like Taoism and Buddhism for very long……

How buying a new bra, led me to my new art project…

Shanghai is changing faster than the speed of a bullet train…

Our favorite vegetarian restaurant in the whole world, is located in Shanghai.

We simply cannot forget how good the food is in “Jujube Tree” (also called “Vegetarian Life Style”)

They have a few locations around town.
The one we used to frequent, is located on “Fengxian Rd”, and the area around it, had changed beyond recognition in the past six years.

It used to be a dingy busy area, filled with cheesy stores selling wedding gowns and frilly tuxedos.
Now, it has fancy stores carrying brand global names, and showrooms of major fashion and accessory designers.

You will find Rolex stores, and Omega, a Marks and Spencer department store, and malls loaded with global names.

We walked dazed to find Jujube, which stayed blissfuly the same.
The menu had changed of course, but it is still great, fresh and unique, with superb cuisine which will satisfy and surprise many non vegetarians.

While in shopping heaven, I bought some new bras.
Trying o…

Nike, New Balance and Rural Chinese Teachers…

On one of the domestic flights in China, I read in the inflight magazine, a sad story about poor substitute teachers in rural China.

Instead of getting a permanent position, they are only assigned a “substitute teacher” status, even though they Do work full-time.

Their pay per month, is the unbelievably small amount of 40 Yuans. ($6.2 USD)
This translates to an hourly rate of 0.15 cents per hour.

It is such a small amount of money, even by Chinese standards.
To give you an idea, a Soy Latte in Starbucks, in Shanghai, is around 31 Yuans, or almost what a rural teacher earns per month.

In many restaurants in Shanghai (not even the high-end ones), you will pay this amount for an appetizer, and double than this for a main course.

Nike, the sport shoe company, manufactures all of its shoes in the third world, where they pay their workers a minuscule amount as salaries, no benefits and terrible working conditions.

Indonesian Nike Factory’s workers make $2.46 a day (or 0.30 cents per hour, still dou…

Finally Shanghai… such a stylish place…

We arrived in Shanghai late yesterday night.

Out hotel is so chic… I feel that I should’ve got my hair done, before I came down to breakfast.

The “Les Suites Orient” on the Bund, is a beautifully designed boutique hotel, with great modern furniture, the softest sheets and beds, stylish marble bathrooms, toto toilets and beautiful finishing details.

From our bedroom, we can see the length of the “Bund” (pronounced “band” and it means embankment, or river side)

The Bund runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, facing Pudong, in the eastern part of Huangpu District.

The Bund is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai.
You can walk on the boardwalk and admire the diverse architecture styles of these buildings on one side, and the river and boats on the other side, or you can walk on the street and enter some of these buildings which offer some of Shanghai fanciest dining options.

The Bund houses 52 buildings of various architectural styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Ren…

Flying back to China.

Flying business class on Thai Airlines… You wish the flight will never end……

Tali Landsman When we could not get into Tibet, we decided go go somewhere else instead…
Korea was close by, but it is summer there and way too hot.
So was Thailand, and other places, or some were just too long to fly to, or needed a pre arranged visa.

So we chose Nepal.
The only tickets we could secure were in Business class.

After ten wonderful days in Kathmandu, we came to the airport for our morning flight, and found that it got canceled.

They told us we can leave on the next flight which leaves in two days.
We said we already pre paid for hotels, transportations.. Another flight… And our bikes are stored in Chengdu China… We simply got to leave…

They said,….. well….. There is a flight on Air Thailand to Bangkok, and if you stay overnight in Bangkok, you could fly tomorrow to Chengdu.

We said we’ll take it.

We insisted they should compensate us, or fly us in business class, since we booked business class…

After phone…

So why are you here on earth?

Many people are not even aware of it, but our frame of reference to reality, is shaped from birth and early childhood.

What we see and believe so strongly to be “THE Reality,” is actually a “personal reality,” which is shaped and cherished by each of us, based on our core beliefs.

Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, teaches that in each lifetime, we develop our stream of consciousness, and that this continual stream of consciousness, goes with us from lifetime to lifetime.
It does not die with the body we leave behind, but instead it goes on to occupy our new mind in a new body, creating our new reality in each lifetime.

It gets refined with each lifetime, until the individual reaches purification, awakening and finally Liberation, Nirvana, and Enlightenment.

The personal reality we perceive, is largely shaped by the stories, myths and legends that we were told, when we grew up.
The POSSIBILITIES of a fluid reality, and not a solid, rigid one, is shaped by the culture we live in.

People who grow up…