Thursday, December 31, 2009


Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,No birth, identity, form – no object of the world.Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.Ample are time and space – ample the fields of Nature.The body, sluggish, aged, cold – the embers left from earlier fires,The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;To frozen clods ever the spring's invisible law returns,With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.

New Year's Blessings

A New Year Blessing
I hope for you in the new year:

That the single, most significant dimension of life is your relationship with the Source of Goodness who never ceases to sing love songs to your soul

That you find meaning, purpose, and vitality in what you do daily

That you treasure your loved ones and let them know how dear they are to you

That you make choices and decisions that reflect your truest self

That you look in the mirror at least once a day and smile in happy amazement

That you remember relationships are what count above all else - more than work or money, or all the material things we spend so much time tending

That you live in an uncluttered manner, enjoying the freedom to be content

That you keep your sense of humor when things don’t go the way you want

That you find adventure in each new day and marvel at the wonders of creation
which constantly present themselves to you

That you never give up on yourself when others turn away or do not understand

That you are attentive to the health of your body, mind and spirit

That you take risks and accept the growth-full challenges that come to you

That you draw on your inner strength and resiliency when you are in need

That you carry peace within yourself, allowing it to slip into the hearts of others
so our planet becomes a place where violence, division, and war are no more

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

9 Ways to Reduce Stress by Simplifying Your Style

- By Brad Paul

The desire to reduce stress is a common goal for most people. We are so entrenched in our routines, habits, and ways of doing things we rarely stop and consider new ways of dealing with the stresses of daily living.

By simplifying your style, you are setting up how you are going to respond to stress creating events in advance. In other words, you are making a decision based on your desire to reduce stress in your life.

Your goal is to set up new ways of handling issues that bring about stress because of the negative emotions that they create. Here are 9 areas where you can simplify your style and in doing so reduce stress.

1. Stop Arguing

Arguing is a waste of time. No one ever wins. If you win an argument, the other person feels slighted and annoyed by you. If you lose, you feel this way about them.

Simplify your style into being a person who does not argue. You do this because you recognize the senselessness of arguing and your desire to reduce stress in your life.

2. Stop Giving Your Unsolicited Opinion

Closely related to arguing is the compulsion to give your opinion when you haven't been asked for it. People instantly become resistant and defensive when someone gives their unsolicited opinion.

There's a fine line between giving your opinion and offering a suggestion in a situation where some serious damage might occur. In these situations, I have found that asking carefully worded questions about the issue of concern works best.

Simplify your style into being a person who doesn't give your opinion unless you're asked for it emphatically. You do this to improve your relationships and reduce stress in your body.

3. Stop Reacting When Others Speak Angrily

When people talk angrily about something, our tenancy is to react to their anger by getting tight, defensive, and stressed. Unless the anger is directed at us, there is no logical reason to react this way.

You are not responsible for the other person's anger, and no one else is responsible for causing or getting rid of your anger. If someone insists on vocalizing their anger about something, don't allow yourself to be drawn into it.

Modify your style into being a person who does not react to another person's anger. You do this because you know that it will reduce stress in your body and protect your health.

4. Stop Requiring Perfection of Yourself & Others

Perfection is an impossible objective. In reality, the drive for perfection gets in the way of creativity.

Giving up the need for perfection is a clear-cut way to reduce stress. Simplify your style into being a person who doesn't require perfection by knowing that it's a fool's quest.

5. Stop Trying to Please Everyone

Trying to please everyone is insanity. If you consider all the variations of personalities and likes and dislikes of people, it should be obvious that trying to please everyone is impossible and a waste of time.

If you were to just focus on pleasing yourself, the other people around you would reap the benefits because you'd be more fun to be around. If you are constantly in a frenzy trying to please everyone around you, it's unlikely that you'll be in good spirits.

Modify your style into being a person who does not try to please everyone. You do this because you know it will lift the weight of the world off your shoulders and reduce stress in many areas of your social life.

6. Stop Trying to Make Everyone Like You

Do you like everyone you meet? No one does. Knowing this, why should you expect everyone to like you?

Many of us have the most trouble with this when it comes to family and friends. The hard truth is that sometimes your relationship will certain individuals will never be as close as you want or need. What's the answer? Find other people to achieve the closest you desire.

When we join a group that participates in an area that we identify with strongly we expect to have an easier time of getting along with the members. In many respects, you will, but personality differences will still be factor. If you join an organization with broader objectives like a fitness club as opposed to a vegetarian group, you may find more people that you get along with well.

Simplify your style into being a person who does not try to make everyone like you, but rather a person who relies on just being yourself. You do this because you understand the impossibility of making everyone like you and to reduce stress in your social activities.

7. Stop Grieving About Past Mistakes

Grieving about mistakes you've made in the past is a clear waste of time. The only possible outcome is that you'll feel depressed in the present! And when you feel depressed, you greatly reduce your ability to take constructive action today that will improve your future.

If we hope to make the most of the present, we must be in the best possible state of mind. To do that we must keep our focus in the moment and on what we want to experience. When we think about the things we want, we bring about positive feelings that will energize us rather than depress us.

Adjust your style into being a person who doesn't grieve about mistakes in the past but rather rejoices in what you have today and what you intend to manifest in the future. You do this because you know that by not grieving about past mistakes you reduce stress and increase the likelihood of positive results in the future.

8. Stop Worrying About What Might Happen in the Future

By worrying about what might happen in the future, we actually create the conditions for manifesting it. Most things we worry about never come true. According to the Law of Attraction, it takes a lot more negative thoughts to bring about bad results than it does to manifest positive outcomes. This explains for me why most of what we worry about never comes true. Worry is a waste of time. It's also very damaging to your physical and mental health.

Simplify your style into being a person who doesn't worry about what might happen in the future, but rather a person who imagines living the future that they desire in the present. You do this because you know that according to the Law of Attraction, you bring about what you think about and it will reduce stress in your body and life.

9. Stop Researching & Analyzing So Much and Start Doing

Researching and analyzing things in order to make the best possible decision is a good practice if it leads to a timely decision to act! If the research and analysis goes too far and decisions are postponed, this is a stress-producing problem.

The person who does no research makes decisions blindly, so little courage is required. The person who researches and analyzes things to nth degree usually lacks the courage to make decisions. The person who does a predetermined amount of research and analysis, makes timely decisions based the information at hand and their gut feelings, which requires considerable courage. The best practice then is to model your style after the people in the center of the continuum.

Modify your style in being a person who does a predetermined amount of research and analysis and then makes a timely decision based on the information gathered, gut feelings, and courage! You do this because you know that it will reduce stress and improve your productivity.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Avoid These 7 Foods and You're Off To A Healthier New Year
Yesterday at 10:41pm
Avoid These 7 Foods and You're Off To A Healthier New Year
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
December 29 2009 | 10,883 views

1. Canned Tomatoes

The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Acidity -- a prominent characteristic of tomatoes -- causes BPA to leach into your food.

2. Corn-Fed Beef

The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of books on sustainable farming

Cattle were designed to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. A recent comprehensive study found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Microwave Popcorn

The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group

Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize -- and migrate into your popcorn.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes

The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting.

5. Farmed Salmon

The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany

Nature didn't intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

7. Conventional Apples

The expert: Mark Kastel, codirector of the Cornucopia Institute

If fall fruits held a "most doused in pesticides contest," apples would win. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides with Parkinson's disease.
as degenerative diseases become more prominent, the #4 killer in america is adverse drug reactions. deep in the Amazon there are no degenerative diseases. wouldn't you love to have Amazon energy in your blood stream?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Buddist Prayer

Traditional Buddhist prayer for blessing and healing.

This beautiful traditional Buddhist prayer reminds us of the power of every moment to bring us ease and inner peace. May it bring you healing.

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings–
those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,
may your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.


Adapted from Living Affinity, by Hsing Yun (Lantern Books, 2004).

Love certainly can be confusing: some kinds of love are “healthy,” others are “unhealthy;” some are “giving,” others are “possessive.” Love has its pluses and minuses.

Sometimes we could all use a little clarity around the whole issue of love. Find out what this wise Buddhist master has to say about it, and then pass it on to someone you love.

From the perspective of its minuses–

Love is like a piece of rope: it can be binding and restrictive.

Love is like a lock: it can shackle us and make us restless.

Love can be blinding: it can keep us in the dark without any awareness that we have compromised our principles and standards.

Love is like the honey on a sharp blade: it can entice us to lick the blade, even at the risk of cutting our tongues and risking our lives.

Love can be like a sea of suffering: its turbulent waves can trap us in its depths.

From the perspective of its pluses–

Love gives us the strength to make sacrifices, to give, to encourage, to connect and to be compassionate.

Love is like a road map: it gives our lives direction and we can see our destination with clear visibility.

Love is like a blanket: it provides us with warmth and security.

Love is like a box of chocolates: it is sweet and full of surprises.

When we love properly, we expand our love for a few to compassion for all. This love can help all beings to live with happiness and freedom, and it is anything but small and powerless–it is the reason for our existence!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Adapted from Silence, by Christina Feldman (Rodale Press, 2001).

There are times in our life when our worlds fall apart, when we are overwhelmed by the intensity of events, when we feel alienated from ourselves or others, and when our life seems to make no sense. In those moments when we feel most adrift and confused, there is still a way to find a sanctuary of renewal.

Here is a quiet, gentle way to deep inner peace:

Silence is a refuge, offering a sanctuary of renewal. In moments of confusion and complexity we are tempted to do more, to act, to find explanations, to speak. If we listen to our heart, we come to know the wisdom of being still. We calm the turmoil of our mind, feeling our feet on the earth, and connecting once more with a depth of inner silence that can guide us, heal us, and restore us.

Silence is an ever-present reality revealed to us in the moments when we remember to listen. Silence is revealed in moments of wholehearted attention, when we are fully present in this life. As a Christian mystic reminds us, “Absolute, unmixed attention is prayer.” The art of cultivating silence does not take us to a destination divorced from the present moment of reality in our life. Cultivating the art of silence, we learn to discover its richness in all moments and encounters. Treasuring its rich potential, we learn to discover what it means to live with silent heart, rich in vitality, creativity, energy, and life.

Silence is the ground of happiness, communion, and oneness. We can learn to find it in all moments and things; we discover it has never been lost but only hidden.

For more about the treasure of silence, read this wonderful book: Silence: How To Find Inner Peace in a Busy World, by Christine Feldman.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Meaning of Life

Have we come closer to answering the ultimate question, “What is the meaning of life?” Imagine for a moment that someone came up with an answer. Directly or indirectly, most of the traditional answers have crossed everyone’s path.

The meaning of life usually comes down to a higher purpose, such as: To glorify God; To glorify God’s creation; To love and be loved; To be true to oneself.

As with many other spiritual questions, I find it difficult to imagine how these answers could be tested. If someone holds down a good job, supports his or her family, pays taxes, and obeys the law, is that an example of glorifying God or of being true to oneself?

In times of great crisis, such as war, does the meaning of life change? Perhaps it is all one can do to stay alive and be reasonably happy in a crisis.

One way to test the answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?” would be to write it down, seal it in an envelope, and mail it to a thousand people picked at random. If the answer is right, anyone who opens the envelope would read what is written and say, “Yes, you’re right. That’s the meaning of life.”

This might seem like an impossible test, however, since there might be absolutely no answer that would satisfy everyone. But what if the piece of paper is blank, or if it said, “The meaning of life is everything”?

In the one reality, these aren’t trick answers but very close to each other in reading the truth. The blank piece of paper indicates that life is pure potential until someone shapes it into something.

The meaning of pure potential is that life is infinitely open. Similarly, to say that the meaning of life is everything indicates that life leaves nothing and no one out. “Everything” is just another way to embrace the infinite range of possibilities.

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be," Abraham Lincoln said. Is it really true? We're always told that we have to pursue happiness, but is that really under our control?

A new report says that finding happiness is a bit more complicated than making the decision to smile all the time, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The study shows a close link between happiness and quality of life; things like air quality and good schools apparently have a large influence on a person's mood.

As Tonic wrote recently, the report, which appeared in the journal Science, assesses how happy people are in states across the nation. This research, which surveyed more than 1 million people, was used to list the relative happiness of all the states (from Louisiana, the happiest, to New York, the least happy). Another important conclusion one can draw, however, is that there is "a close match between people’s subjective life-satisfaction scores and objectively-estimated quality of life,” as the report says. The states that ranked most highly in quality-of-life measures also reported the highest average self-reported happiness levels.

The research has its share of detractors. Author B.J. Gallagher points out that correlation doesn't mean causation, and it is impossible to tell what exactly is causing people to be happy in various places. Some important factors might not have been measured in the study.

"Louisiana is a case in point,” Gallagher told the Monitor. “This new study reports that the happiest people are those in Hawaii and in Louisiana. So is it the climate or the tight family structures and strong community ties? I would argue that it’s the latter, not the former."

THe heart of Love

The Heart of Love - By Glenn Berger

Where does love come from?

Contemporary science tells us that love is built into us. As the great researcher, Allan Schore, proves, we enter the world pre-wired to love the first person who takes care of us. Once an infant is born it works like this. When an infant sees his mother gazing at him with love in her eyes, happy neuro-chemicals flood the infant's brain. The child feels happy. He or she likes this feeling and wants more of it. This sets up an attachment to the source of this good feeling. Since the good feeling comes from mom, the kid starts to love mom. We are genetically set up so that when the brain gets a good dose of those happy-making chemicals, we grow neurons in our brain. These neurons form the basis of our feeling confident in the world. They enable us to create and sustain loving connections with other people.

As we grow into childhood, when we receive the proper emotional attunement from our loved ones, our brains continue to develop and we mature our natural propensity to love and be loved. It is when we get our emotional needs met that we grow the ability to love more and more people in deeper and deeper ways. John Bowlby makes a great case that this built in ability to love is evolutionarily adaptive. That is, it contributes to the survival of our species. Helpless infants and mothers need to be bonded because little babies can't survive without that protection and care. Without love, we do not thrive. Those neurons that grow from love also contribute to the development of our ability to think, feel, create, imagine, act and care for ourselves in the best possible way. Our ability to love and connect is what is natural and adaptive. Our destructive aggressiveness happens when our natural emotional needs for a loving relationship get frustrated.

When we understand that our love is innate, we realize that children are not bad without a moral basis and need to be "trained" and restrained to be obedient. This view that children are evil and need to be broken has justified all kinds of abuse. We now know that this kind of child rearing leaves permanent scars. Instead, if our task as parents is to cultivate the love that already exists in our child by giving love, it makes our job clear. Our children are precious with potentials that need to be nurtured, nourished and lovingly tended.

Our natural ability to love is our common human bond. Mencius, Confucius's disciple, said that every human heart is alike. When we realize this, this becomes our basis for living. Since we are all alike, we must live our lives according to the golden rule, which has been understood in every culture and religion, including the philosophy of Confucius. The Chinese character for this reciprocity, that is, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is shu, which is a combination of the characters for "heart" and "alike." Its common meaning is forgiveness.

Our central core of loving compassion is what Mencius called heart. This is what he believed defined what it meant to be truly human or humane. This natural empathy, or the ability to feel what others feel, is what Mencius used as the primary proof that man is essentially good. In order to be fully human, we need to cultivate and develop this heart of compassion.

If this is the case, then the best thing we can do for ourselves, the ones closest to us, and for the planet is to develop our ability to love. Certainly, as we understand the great chain of being, it is our love that helps grow love in our children. Though we understand this scientifically today, this wisdom was understood by Confucius and his follower, Mencius, 2500 years ago. Confucius's main concern was human relationship. He understood that we were in alignment with our intrinsic purpose on this planet when we were able to have the best relationship with others.

The Confucians believed that our whole society needed to be built on this principle. Our leaders needed to run the state so that relationships would be in greatest harmony and there would be the ultimate conditions for the realization of love. This is a great model for our own leaders and one we need to encourage them to embrace.

As part of this societal imperative, learning about love needs to be central to our education. 70 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt, after seeing the catastrophe of a world war, said that schools needed to expand from the three R's to four: reading, writing, arithmetic and relationships. He believed that the very survival of the world depended on us learning how better to love and connect through relationship and that it was the responsibility of society at large to provide this direction. In some ways we seem further from this educational goal almost a century later.

This common core of love also means that we do not need to look outside of ourselves for what we seek to become in life. Confucius also said, "the measure of man is man." What this means is that we can all begin where we are, and by developing our best attributes, we can become wise, strong, passionate and optimally loving.

Confucius's idea of this ideal person was captured by the Chinese character, Jen. This character is made up of the characters for "man" and "two," signifying that the measure of an individual is his or her ability for good relationship. The ideal person is one who can connect with others, who can love.

Within each of us is such a fine person, because we can become one, given the proper cultivation. This begins with how we are raised. But once we become grown ups, we need to take over the task of cultivation. We must self-cultivate.

How do we develop our capacity for love and compassion? This is an especially important question because not one of us received the optimal nurturance growing up.

Confucius would say that this begins with tireless self-education. We must explore our great cultural heritage to understand what the pilgrims who have gone before us have learned about love and how to achieve it. We must imagine this ideal, and continue to develop this image so that we have a goal to aim for. We must immerse ourselves in the arts, because this is the food of love.

Finally, our heart of love and compassion is cultivated through our actions, what we do every day. Each day we must practice living up to our highest vision of love. We become more humane - we find our hearts - through giving. To be what we are meant to be, we need to open ourselves and passionately risk all for the sake of loving others.

Science has now joined philosophy and spirituality in understanding that love is our root, answer, and what we are made of. Through a commitment and devotion to a lifetime of self exploration, you must travel within yourself to find the lost and hidden heart, because there you will discover that the source of love is within yourself. That's where love comes from.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Letting Go......

Because the mind holds on with an endless set of expectations, beliefs, and images, you could practice letting go every moment of your life. This is not feasible, yet strong signals will tell you when letting go is appropriate. Knowing when to let go is obvious, once you have awareness.

The crucial times to let go are when you feel the strongest urge not to. We all hold on tightest when our fear, anger, pride, and distrust take over. Yet these forces have no spiritual validity. At those moments when you are most afraid, angry, stubborn, or mistrustful, you are in the grip of unreality. Your ego is forcing you to react from the past, blinding you to new possibilities here and now.

A mind that is desperately holding on says things like: I hate this. It has to end; I can’t stand it anymore. If this keeps up I’ll die; I can’t go on. There’s nothing left; I have no choice. It has to be my way or else; You’re all wrong; None of you understands me; You always treat me this way; Why do you always have to do this?

There are infinite variations on these statements, but the underlying feelings are remarkably similar. You feel you can’t cope anymore. You feel boxed in. You feel you won’t survive. You feel that something bad always happens to you. These feelings give rise to the rigid, contracted state of resistance, disallowing the reality that good things can happen at any time.

Spirit has a good outcome for any situation, if you can open yourself to it.

A key word to holding on is always. As soon as your mind tells you that something always happens, you are in the grip of a false belief. “Always” is never true; reality isn’t a vast, fixed scheme trapping you without a choice. At any moment you have the choice to break out of what is really trapping you – your automatic reactions dredged up from the past.

Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Man's Best Friend

Man’s best friend.

It all started at Warrensburg, Missouri, in 1869 when a dog named Old Drum was shot dead by one Dick Ferguson, ward of Leonidas Hornsby, and a sheep

Hornsby had lost several sheep to dogs and he let it be known that he would shoot the next dog that came on his property. That dog was Old Drum, a prized hound well known throughout Johnson County for his keen nose and hunting prowess.

Charles Burden, brother-in-law and neighbor of Hornsby, owned old Drum. Burden demanded recompense for the loss of his skilled animal. Hornsby refused, contending he was justified in protecting his valuable sheep.
Burden went to the local justice of the peace seeking redress. He was informed that the maximum damages allowed for a dog was $50 -- about $200 in today's money.

Burden filed suit against Hornsby for that amount in Common Pleas Court.
There was no animosity between the two men-before or after a series of ensuing legal trials. Yet, the two men persisted in a costly battle to uphold their rights.

At trial, the judge found in favor of Hornsby. Burden appealed, lost, and appealed again. Finally the case reached the State Circuit Court at Warrensburg for jury judgment on Sept. 23, 1870.

Two prominent attorneys-well known for their persuasive skills-represented Hornsby. Col. Wells Blodgett and his partner, local attorneys, represented Burden
but was pessimistic about his chances against the high-powered defending team that had prevailed in the other trials. .

By chance that day, Vest was at the courthouse on another legal matter. He had been elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, but moved south to join the Confederacy during the Civil War a.k.a. War Between the States. After the war, Vest returned to lawyering and was recognized as an accomplished orator.

Burden implored Vest to come aboard as special counsel with his other two lawyers. Vest, a dog owner himself, agreed. It is said that he vowed "to apologize to every dog in Missouri" if he did not vindicate Old Drum.

Blodgett spoke first. Then the two defense attorneys asserted it was "ridiculous to make such an ado about a dog of small value." The jury seemed unimpressed with all arguments, pro or con.

Ignoring the plaintiff charges, and the defense testimony, Vest opened his summation with spontaneous remarks to the jury. It was comprised of men who probably had cherished hunting dogs also.

"Gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful.”
"Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith.”
"The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action.”
"The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.”
"The one, absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.”
"A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.”
"He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in an encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.”
"When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.”
"If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies.”
"And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all
other friends pursue their way, there, by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death."

Thomas Crittenden, lead attorney for Hornsby and later governor of Missouri, recalled the courtroom scene.

"Vest seemed to recall from history all the instances where dogs had displayed intelligence and fidelity to man. He quoted more lines of poetry about dogs than I had supposed had ever been written.”
"He capped the monument he had created by quoting from the Bible about the dog which soothed the sores of the beggar Lazarus as he sat at the rich man's gate.”

"It was as perfect a piece of oratory as was ever heard from pulpit or bar. Court, jury, lawyers and audience were entranced. I looked at the jury and saw all were in tears. The foreman wept like he had lost his dearest friend.”
"I said to Hornsby and my partner that we had better get out of the courthouse or we would be hanged."

The jury returned a unanimous verdict and recommended $550 in damages. When the judge collected his wits, he reduced the judgment to the legal limit of $50. Hornsby appealed the verdict to the Missouri Supreme Court but was denied.
It was Vest's "Eulogy to Old Drum" that originated the saying, "A man's best friend is his dog." It propelled Vest to U.S. Senator, the four-legged plaintiff to immortality and the city of Warrensburg to a national shrine.

My note: There is a statue of Old Drum on the front lawn of the Johnson County courthouse.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Four Aspects

Adapted from True Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Shambhala, 1997).

Love is one of the most confusing of feelings. What some people call “love” may be possessiveness, or simple desire, or some other lesser emotion.

According to Buddhism, there are four elements of true love. Read what this wise teacher has to say, and find out if what you feel is true love, here:

Here are the four aspects of true love.

1. Loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person, it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer. To be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly.

2. Compassion. This is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person, but the ability to do so. You must practice deep looking in order to gain a good understanding of the nature of the suffering of this person, in order to be able to help him or her to change.

3. Joy If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love–it is even the opposite. If there is no joy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love.

4. Freedom. In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. If the opposite is true, it is not true love. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free, not only outside but also inside. “Dear one, do you have enough space in your heart and all around you?” This is an intelligent question for testing whether your love is something real.

Images of Love

Adapted from Kama Sutra, by Deepak Chopra (Virgin Books, 2006).

The love you pray for is trying to reach you at every moment. So pray for the highest love. Then when it reaches you, your blessing will be infinite. Purity is the secret of fulfilling your desires. The purest heart brings the highest love.

To know what love really is, you must discover that you are love.

The force that makes life expand is desire.

When a desire follows the flow of love, it benefits all of life.

When desire is blocked, growth cannot happen naturally.

What does it mean to grow? It means letting life be new at any moment.

Desire is the heart’s way of reaching into the unknown.

When you cherish the unknown—in yourself and in others—you have become a lover.

For everyone love is the journey. Those we call lovers realize that this is true.

Love is constant. The journey is our way of experiencing an illusion: that love can change.

Love is everywhere and nowhere at the same time—like Being. Like God.

Today your love depends on how you feel and act. Tomorrow, if you are fortunate, it will depend on nothing.

When love comes, it feels as if it has found you. In truth you remembered to look for it.

Love isn’t fickle. It only comes and goes because we do.

Universal love is the expansion of personal love. Personal love is the concentration of universal love.

Loving someone else is the same as loving God. One person is a wave; God is the whole ocean.


Adapted from Living Affinity, by Hsing Yun (Lantern Books, 2004).

Love certainly can be confusing: some kinds of love are “healthy,” others are “unhealthy;” some are “giving,” others are “possessive.” Love has its pluses and minuses.

Sometimes we could all use a little clarity around the whole issue of love. Find out what this wise Buddhist master has to say about it, and then pass it on to someone you love.

From the perspective of its minuses–

Love is like a piece of rope: it can be binding and restrictive.

Love is like a lock: it can shackle us and make us restless.

Love can be blinding: it can keep us in the dark without any awareness that we have compromised our principles and standards.

Love is like the honey on a sharp blade: it can entice us to lick the blade, even at the risk of cutting our tongues and risking our lives.

Love can be like a sea of suffering: its turbulent waves can trap us in its depths.

From the perspective of its pluses–

Love gives us the strength to make sacrifices, to give, to encourage, to connect and to be compassionate.

Love is like a road map: it gives our lives direction and we can see our destination with clear visibility.

Love is like a blanket: it provides us with warmth and security.

Love is like a box of chocolates: it is sweet and full of surprises.

When we love properly, we expand our love for a few to compassion for all. This love can help all beings to live with happiness and freedom, and it is anything but small and powerless–it is the reason for our existence!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The present moment is really an opening, so it has no duration–you are in the now when time ceases to exist. Perhaps the best way to gain such an experience is to realize that the word present is linked to the word presence. When the present moment becomes filled with a presence that is all-absorbing, completely at peace, and totally satisfying, you are in the now.

Presence isn’t an experience. Presence is felt whenever awareness is open enough. The situation at hand doesn’t have to bear any responsibility. Paradoxically, someone can be in intense pain, only to find that in the middle of his suffering, the mind – unable to tolerate the body’s torment – suddenly decides to abandon it. This is particularly true of psychological pain – soldiers caught in the terror of battle report a moment of liberation when intense stress is replaced by a rush of ecstatic release.

Ecstasy changes everything. The body is no longer heavy and slow; the mind stops experiencing its background music of sadness and fear. There is a dropping away of personality, replaced by the sweetness of nectar. This sweetness can linger a long time in the heart – some people say it can be tasted like honey in the mouth – but when it leaves, you know beyond doubt that you have lost the now.

In the mind’s scrapbook, you can insert a picture of perfect bliss, and that becomes like the first taste of ice cream, an unattainable goal you keep running after, only to find that ecstasy remains out of reach.

The secret of ecstasy is that you have to throw it away once you’ve found it.

If we take away the vocabulary of sweetness and bliss and nectar, the quality that is missing in most people’s lives, the biggest thing that keeps them from being present, is sobriety. You have to be sober before you can be ecstatic. This isn’t a paradox. What you’re hunting for – call it presence, the now, or ecstasy – is totally out of reach.

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The soul is disguised when you are tired or stressed; you are pulled outside yourself; your attention is dominated by externals; you let others think for you; you act out of compulsion; you are influenced by fear and anxiety; you struggle and suffer.

Theses conditions have to change before the soul connection can be reestablished. Death provides access to the domain of the soul, but Vedanta declares that the soul has a great deal to offer before death. Life is conducted under the gaze of the soul.

Your portion of pure consciousness has certain universal qualities: It is constant; it never loses sight of you; it is connected to every other soul; it shares God’s omniscience; it is untouched by change; it lives beyond time and space.

So it isn’t only tender, loving, quiet moments that reveal the soul. Rather, it’s those moments when the soul’s own qualities come to the surface that are most important.

The soul is revealed when you feel centered; your mind is clear; you have the sensation that time has stopped; you suddenly feel free of boundaries; you are keenly self-aware; you feel merged with another person, either in love or silent communication; you feel untouched by aging and change; you feel blissful and ecstatic; you have an intuitive flash that turns out to be true; you somehow know what is going to happen; you sense the truth; you feel supremely loved or absolutely safe.

If there is only one reality, as the rishis declare, then life is not a struggle between good and evil, but a tangled web where all actions, good and bad, move us closer to reality or deeper into illusion. Karma spins the web. Hell, like every other location in consciousness, ultimately reflects the state of our own awareness, and freedom from hell is won, like every other achievement, by coming closer to the reality of the soul.

Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).