Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

The Only Obstacle Between You and Peace

January 8, 2011

Just got back from a mile-long barefoot walk on the beach on a warm, sunny day in Encinitas. Funny how when the waves lap over your feet and then recede again how your heels drop deeper into the sand. Standing still as the water ebbed away, I felt like I was on a treadmill, moving backward, as if I were moonwalking without moving my feet. A little surreal, but a little cool too.

As the waves rolled in, I pulled my cap low to shield out the sun and gazed down the shoreline in both directions. Endless water. Pure blue sky. Cotton-candy clouds. I’ve been coming down to the ocean nearly every day for five weeks and I still can’t come close to drinking this all in. It’s all so overwhelmingly . . . majestic.

Soaking in this panoramic paradise, I thought how wonderful it would be if people could access the beauty of their inner world so easily. Some years back, I was sitting with (more…)

Follow the Trail of Beauty

December 5, 2010

Painting by Gabriel Marian





In an Easter Sunday service more than sixty years ago, Paramahansa Yogananda beautifully described the omnipresence of God:











 

In one sense, God hides Himself; and yet He advertises Himself in the flowers, in the gentle breeze, in the birds, and in all other lovely things. In every lily and (more…)

The Barn Burned Down

November 21, 2010

In her book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron wrote:

I have a friend dying of AIDS. Before I was leaving for a trip, we were talking. He said, “I didn’t want this, and I hated this, and I was terrified of this. But it turns out that this illness has been my greatest gift.” He said, “Now every moment is so precious to me. All the people in my life are so precious to me. My whole life means so much to me.” Something had really changed, and he felt ready for his death. Something that was horrifying and scary had turned into a gift.

I have heard this story in so many different forms over and over again. Heidi von Beltz, a former championship (more…)

Beauty and the Beast of Insecurity

October 18, 2010

Portia de Rossi

As a naive high schooler, I was in awe of pretty girls. I thought they were pretty much perfect creatures who could get lovestruck boys to satisfy their every whim just by batting their eyelashes. Did I mention I was naive? With a capital N?

As I grew older, I realized that good looks, like lots of money or superior intellectual or athletic ability, are no guarantee of happiness and offer no protection from psychological and emotional challenges. Indeed, those who seem to be “the chosen ones” often view their supposed advantages as more curse than blessing.

Case in point: Portia de Rossi—who now goes by her married name, Portia DeGeneres, in private life—an actress whom I, as a (more…)

The Little Joy of the Soul

October 12, 2010

Paramahansa Yogananda meditating

Meditation is not an emptying of the mind. It is the highest form of concentration in which the mind is focused entirely on God. What we call happiness is negligible compared to the inner peace and exultation of spirit we attain in meditation.

Happiness, the province of the ego, is fleeting. Joy, the (more…)

A Rich and Wonderful Reward!

September 30, 2010



In an earlier post about trying to resist yielding to my ego in social situations, I wrote:



It’s helpful to remind myself that the person I’m talking to is as much a child of God as I am. Focusing on their inner divinity snaps me out of my self-absorbed mindset and naturally produces feelings of empathy, compassion, and love.

While waiting for a routine blood draw today in a medical office, I decided to swat my ego away, take the initiative and transform the way I interact with people. Here was my two-part plan:

1) Go to my heart, so I could come from a loving place instead of from an intellectual point of view.
2) Silently say to the person in front of me, “Look how (more…)

When Peace Becomes Your Dearest Friend

July 18, 2010

You know you have made a quantum leap in consciousness when you look back at the life you had so recently led, and feel like you are watching somebody else’s life.





Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

As self-awareness grows, your mind and heart are purified. As your heart opens and your mind clears, you (more…)

The Pretense of Perfection

July 6, 2010



While you discern that life is unfolding perfectly as you walk your spiritual path, you do not make the egotistical, spiritually arrogant assumption that you yourself are perfect.

There is no worse sickness for the soul, o you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection.
Rumi



On a soul level, of course, you are indeed perfect, but your spiritual development in the physical world requires (more…)

Every Soul I See Is Beautiful

April 14, 2010

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been humbled by life time and time again . . . or because I’m getting older and wiser . . . or because I’ve been feeling more vulnerable lately . . . or because I am getting more adept at seeing the underlying unity of everyone and everything.

Whatever the reason, the first thing I’ve been noticing about people is not their strengths but their weaknesses . . . and their weaknesses are beautiful. Why? I now know that behind every flaw, every insecurity, every fragility lies the doorway to growth, understanding and enlightenment.

When you feel strong and in control, your attention is completely focused on the external world and your ego assumes command. When you feel weak and insecure, you’re more likely to think, (more…)

The Joy of Childhood Innocence

April 15, 2009

little-girl-picking-dandelionsPat, a high school friend of mine, sent me an e-mail today that made me smile:

I overheard Isabelle, the four-year-old little neighbor girl, who was finally able to climb up on the swingset and swing by herself, singing at the top of her lungs: ” I can swing by myself; it’s the best day ever. It is spring and it is beautiful; and I can swing by myself.”  So much joy! 

Ah, if only we all could find such joy in life’s ordinary moments! It reminds me of another little girl, my friend Leslye’s niece. Leslye said her little niece woke up, walked to the window, looked out, and gasped:

It’s a brand new day!

As a proud father, I’d like to add one more Cub Quote to the mix. When my daughter, Erin, was eight years old, (more…)

The Lion and the Gazelle

December 24, 2008

At a 1998 weekend workshop I attended, Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe, founder of the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism, shared a life-changing story with his students.

lion-eating-gazelle


Ibrahim said that after watching a TV nature program in which a lion savagely ripped apart a gazelle, he had been distraught. Retreating into meditation, he implored God, How could you allow such carnage and tragedy to exist? The response he received humbled him and restored his faith in divine intelligence. “I felt and saw through inner revelation how this incident was experienced from a higher level as pure love and that it was beautiful beyond description,” he told those of us in his class.

It all comes down to perspective. To our unenlightened eyes, this world may appear cruel and harsh, but even the brutality (more…)

A Virtuous Life Generates a Virtuous Circle

September 26, 2008

red-sunset-over-trees


Pursuing a spiritual life creates a virtuous circle. Your attitudes and behaviors become self-perpetuating. What does that look like? Here are four manifestations:






Thinking positively. Every loving thought you contribute to the universe incrementally raises your consciousness; the higher your consciousness, the greater the impact of your contribution and the likelier it becomes that your next thought will also be a positive one.


Consistent prayer. Every prayer elevates your consciousness, which brings you closer to God, which brings you (more…)

You Are Beautiful and You Are Loved

August 10, 2008

river-mountains-rocksImagine a kindly stranger approaching you, gazing into your eyes, and whispering, “You are beautiful and you are loved.” You may vigorously disagree, yet the truth and power of those seven words will resonate deep within your soul.

Your soul, your essence, that spark of God within you, is perfect and magnificent. You are indescribable beauty, you are boundless joy, you are inexhaustible love. That is who you are. That is your true nature.

There is more love in your heart than all the pain that can ever touch you. There is more joy in your heart than all the sadness you could ever face. There is more beauty (more…)