Archive for January, 2012

The Name of the Boat

January 31, 2012

Are you having trouble reconciling past experiences in which you either behaved poorly or others behaved poorly toward you? Are you weighed down with so much guilt, regret, anger or emotional pain that you’re having trouble moving on with your life? If so, this simple exercise may help.

Close your eyes and replay the incident in your mind, except this time watch it as an objective observer. While you watch events unfolding, bathe everyone involved as well as the situation itself in love, as if you were a parent sending unconditional love to your child.

If sending love to someone or something so hurtful is difficult for you, know this: You cannot (more…)

Nothing “Accidental” Is Possible

January 30, 2012

We’ve all experienced amazing coincidences that seem to defy the laws of physics, probability and reality itself. Yet when we take a closer look at the nature of reality and see the “oneness” of it all, the amazing becomes commonplace.

Here’s a nice scientific explanation for coincidences, courtesy of Dr. David R. Hawkins, author of the ground-breaking book, Power vs. Force. This is the January 5 entry in Hawkins’ book, Along the Path to Enlightenment: 365 Daily Reflections.

The infinite field of consciousness is All Present, All Powerful, and includes All of Existence. Thus, nothing can possibly happen outside its infinite domain because it is the Source of Existence. Within this infinite field of power, there are decreasing levels of energy fields. As they are expressed progressively in form (linearity), their relative power decreases all the way down to the individual.

The giant field could be compared to an immense (more…)

The Buddha on Happiness

January 29, 2012

Those who have found true happiness have discovered that it cannot be found through the ego or by the fulfillment of desires. This little anecdote is a clever way to convey that message.

A man said to the Buddha, “I want (more…)

Three Good Things

January 28, 2012

Is this statement true:

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

If it is, it doesn’t have to be. You can learn to consciously live with gratitude for what you have been blessed with. Starting right now.

Name three good things in your life:

• A prized possession

• Someone you love

• An aspect of (more…)

Little Drummer Boy

January 27, 2012

Tim Leitch and Mrs. Kamasz

What do you get when you cross a down-on-his-luck middle-age punk rock drummer with an eighty-two-year-old woman with dementia? What else? A beautiful love story!

Tim Leitch, aka Spit Stix from the nationally prominent (more…)

Sweetness in the Midst of Sorrow

January 26, 2012

I wanted to share the opening of this story by Alison Thompson of Miami from the February 2012 issue of Guideposts because it demonstrates that gentle sweetness and quiet beauty can exist even in the midst of chaos and horror. I believe that experiences like this are what Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis had in mind when he said, “You’ve got to look hard for the sparks of divinity in the ashes of atrocity.”


Alison Thompson

That morning I zoomed through another set of red lights on my Rollerblades, heading downtown in Manhattan. I had a pretty hefty first-aid kit and a small bottle of perfume in my backpack.

People streamed toward me, disoriented, their hair and clothes covered in soot, holding cell phones, trying to get a signal. I pushed forward. Soon I was alone in a blizzard of ash. The ground rumbled, and I dove under a UPS truck for cover.

The second tower of the World Trade Center had just collapsed.

I grew up in Australia, my dad a preacher, my mum a nurse. I had been a nurse’s aide at Mum’s hospital in my teens. More recently in New York I’d been a freelance filmmaker. That day, September 11, 2001, I skated downtown, thinking that I could help somehow.

Without really knowing it, I had also skated into a new role: passionate volunteer.

In the sooty darkness I said a prayer asking God for strength. I darted out from under the UPS truck. I took a whiff of perfume to ward off the stench of smoke then made my way into a store and commandeered a pair of (more…)

All the World’s a Stage

January 25, 2012

Imagine an actor playing a character who is plagued by terrible financial, relationship and career troubles. The actor must inhabit that character and let the character inhabit him—to the point that the character’s problems become so real to him that he considers them his problems. Only then will he be able to act authentically and give a credible performance. Yet when the movie wraps or the play ends, the actor drops the character’s problems at the stage door and returns to his real life.

So it is with your life. If you would but step back and look at the world through God’s eyes instead of your own, you would see that, like the actor playing a role before returning to reality, you (more…)

The Breath of Kindness

January 24, 2012

Nineteeth-century English novelist Dinah Maria Craik masterfully put into words the joy and beauty of friendship. Her description is spot-on. A real friend is on the same wavelength, so you need not guard your words; even if you do not say what you mean, your friend will know what you mean to say. May those you love and feel safe with be with you always.

Oh, the comfort—the inexpressible comfort of (more…)

Change for a Dollar

January 23, 2012

In this nine-minute film, Change for a Dollar, Sharon Wright reminds us that it doesn’t take much to make a big difference to others and that we are perpetually swimming in opportunities to serve others. All we need do is open our eyes.

Film critic Roger Ebert posted Change for a Dollar in (more…)

Jake Barnett: Proud to be Autistic

January 22, 2012

Jake Barnett

We know as little about genius as we do about autism. Yet there seems to be a razor-thin overlap between them in which the autistic is linked to the artistic. Case in point: Thirteen-year-old math prodigy Jake Barnett, who (more…)

Just Call Me Mr. Laughingstock

January 21, 2012

The cover of my book in Brazil. Note that the author's name is Philip Charles, my first and middle names.

While shopping in the produce department at Whole Foods today, a woman asked me if I knew anything about the odd-looking vegetable on display near us. It looked like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. While we were talking, another woman approached and joined the conversation. The second woman said she was from Brazil and was now living on the east coast with her husband and family.

Smiling, I told her that I had written a book that was translated into Portuguese, but that they couldn’t use my name on the cover in Brazil. Puzzled, she asked why. I said, “Because of my (more…)

The Blue Sweater

January 20, 2012

Jacqueline Novogratz

Jacqueline Novogratz

I painstakingly calculated the odds of Jacqueline Novogratz‘s “Blue Sweater” story and concluded that the chances of this story actually happening were 184 gazillion to one. Wow!

Thank goodness there are people like Novogratz in the world. She is the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture capital fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. As their website states:

Can you really touch the lives of tens of millions of people in just 10 years? Our companies have. From ambulances to electricity, we have $73 million of approved investments in 65 breakthrough enterprises that serve the poor.

In “Inspiring a Life of Immersion,” the eighteen-minute TED video below, Novogratz uses compelling, occasionally heartbreaking (more…)

Elves on a Ladder Truck

January 19, 2012

I love this heartwarming story by Thomas Horne of Maryland from HeroicStories, a free e-letter filled with wonderful accounts of human kindness. There are so many people in need of help and kindness. When life presents you with the opportunity to help, don’t hesitate to act. Even the smallest assistance can be life-changing.


December 24, 1988 our firehouse ambulance was racing in response to a baby being shaken out a window three stories in the air. Police were also en route. Dispatch relayed that the baby was being used to extort money from the mother. On arrival we indeed saw a baby being waved out a window by his feet three stories up.

As we ran up the stairs my partner said, “Distract the guy for a minute, I’ll get the baby.”

A crying 5-year-old child opened the door, “He’s hurting my brother!” I entered, speaking as calmly as I could. Wild-eyed, the assailant said, “Don’t touch me, cop, or I smash the (more…)

A Miracle in a Grassy Field Changes One Man’s Heart and the Destiny of Humankind

January 18, 2012

It is difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint the origin of a worldwide shift in consciousness. The following story accomplishes just that. It reveals how one man’s change of heart set in motion a series of events that led to the spiritual awakening of millions of people around the globe, a movement that may yet be in its infancy.

The man at the center of the story is Bhagabati Charan Ghosh, a railroad executive in Gorakhpur, India.


Abinash was Bhagabati’s subordinate officer in Gorakhpur. One day Abinash applied for a week’s leave. Because he had previously taken several leaves of five to seven days, Bhagabati refused. Work could not be kept current if employees took unnecessary time off. Talking the matter over with Abinash, Bhagabati asked him where he went on these leaves.

“I go to Banaras to see my guru,” Abinash replied.

Bhagabati upbraided Abinash: “So you are trying to acquire piety. Can you tell me what religion really is? Our nation is being ruined in the name of religion. My dear man, there is nothing in it. Don’t be a fanatic. If you want to get ahead in life, work. Work, and you will surely profit in the long run.”

Bhagabati hadn’t intended to be rude. His sarcasm reflected an undercurrent of sensitive frustration about his own unsatisfactory relationship with religion. He soon repented of having spoken so harshly. “After all,” he reasoned to himself, “each one has to make his own choices in life. Only then can he say for certain whether the decisions were good or bad. In any case, roughness in unbecoming.” Bhagabati decided to talk further with Abinash.

That afternoon he met Abinash on his way home from the office. Dismissing his palanquin, he walked with Abinash and tried to explain his reasoning. Abinash remained silent. Bhagabati could see that he was grieving, and also embarrassed because of the difference in their official positions at work. A junior officer would never contest an issue with his superior. At the time, Bhagabati didn’t know that Abinash was (more…)

How Are You?

January 17, 2012

The next time somebody you don’t know mechanically asks in passing, “How are you?”, forgo the typical, “Fine” or “Great.” Instead, boldly and happily exclaim:

Joyful and triumphant!


Spectacular, rapidly (more…)

Beyond the Body

January 16, 2012

Heidi von Beltz, a former championship skier and aspiring actor, was paralyzed from her earlobes down in a two-vehicle head-on collision while working as a stunt double in The Cannonball Run in 1980. Unbowed by her doctors’ prognosis that she had perhaps five years to live, von Beltz routinely endured a grueling regimen of physical therapy and muscle stimulation for up to ten hours a day. Nine years later, she was able to sit up on her own. Six years after that, outfitted with lightweight aluminum leg braces, she taught herself to stand.

Sixteen years after the crash, while promoting her memoir, My Soul Purpose, von Beltz, who had devoured countless books on philosophy and spirituality, said she considered herself lucky and wouldn’t have wanted to miss the experience of her paralysis for anything. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” she told Entertainment Weekly magazine. ‘‘I was always so active that I would never have sat down long enough to learn what I’ve learned. I can’t imagine going through this life and not knowing what I know now. I just had to break my neck to do it.’’

The following paragraph from page 97 of von Beltz’s memoir illustrates the start of her transition from body identification to a higher awareness of self:

After the crash, talking with good friends or “losing myself” watching a movie, I forgot about my physical body. This was a new experience for me because I am such a physical, active person. Other people always had reinforced the importance of my body because, even when I was growing up, they reacted to my appearance: I’m a tall and (more…)