1 September  2015      

Hello, and welcome to the newest month of our lives!  We hope that this day
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make some very important moments of our lives!

Priceless Pearls of Happiness
Rebecca Clark

from Everyday Zen
Charlotte Joko Beck

tom walsh

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Rowing against the tide is hard and uncertain.  To go with the tide and thus take advantage of the workings of the great natural force is safe and easy.

Ralph Waldo Trine

Success often comes to those who dare and act; it seldom goes to the timid who are afraid of the consequences.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Continuous effort--not strength
or intelligence--is the key to
unlocking our potential.

Winston Churchill

We win half the battle when we
make up our minds to take the world
as we find it, including the thorns.

Orison Swett Marden


Priceless Pearls of Happiness
Rebecca Clark

It has been said that the one thing that can limit the expression of your happiness and the fulfillment of your sincere desires is your own non-application of the laws of life and the power of infinite mind in your life.  Priceless pearls of happiness are before you NOW to claim as yours.  Let's take a look at ten of them from the book Helping Yourself with Macrocosmic Mind by Rebecca Clark.

Know Who and What You Are.  Find Yourself.  Realize you are an important part of God's plan, a unique link in the human chain that extends from creation into the unknown future.  Not again will an "aggregate of magnificent atoms" just like you stand on this Earth.  Know this.  Be secure in your beingness as a child of God.  See yourself as God sees you--Glorious!

Count Your Blessings!  When problems loom and confusion and troubles mount, we sometimes forget the good already expressing in our life.  It has been said that every atom in the universe responds to praise and thanksgiving.  You really cannot afford not to count your blessings!

Act Maturely.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; I thought as a child; but when I became an adult, I put away childish things.

Grow up a little more each day.  Learn from life, but wear the learning lightly, remembering that we must put away the childish things.  However, we need not lose the childlike simplicity of those who are the "children of God."

Eliminate Fear.  Life may be so often filled with fear--of ourselves, of others, of unknown things, of what we regard as obstacles, of what we may feel as "being outside of God."  (As if we ever could be!)  Fear thwarts happiness.  Fear is the most destructive of emotions, surpassing even jealousy in its corrosiveness.  And it's totally unnecessary!

Give of Yourself.  No one can live happily solely unto him- or herself.  It is part of normal living to want to give of what we have--our love, service, devotion, help, praise, friendship, encouragement, or plain, ordinary kindness.  The more quickly we seek to respond to the inner core of our nature, the more quickly we may achieve happiness.

Value Simplicity.  It is important to rediscover simplicity.  Truth is simple.  Simple pleasures of life are often counted among the greatest, and the simple truth qualities of love and goodness--although not always the most sophisticated or highly valued in our so-called advanced technological society, are still great sources of happiness.

Welcome Changes.  One of Nature's immutable laws is that all things must either progress or perish.  Perhaps you may have heard the phrase:  "Nature abhors a vacuum and allows not the static."  This being so, it becomes important to our happiness to learn to flow like a gentle river through the changes that enter our life.  We can welcome changes with a knowing that it may be for the "better."  Label no new idea as impossible.  If life seems to hand you a lemon, then make lemonade!  Without changes, we might still be wearing skins and living in caves!

Exercise the Law of Unlimited Supply.  What goal would you set for yourself if you absolutely knew you could not fail?  What dreams would you manifest if you knew you had unlimited resources?  What exciting work would you choose if you absolutely knew you could acquire the skill necessary to perform this work?  What projects would you launch if you knew you had the wisdom and the power to remove all obstacles and be totally successful?

Pause to Enjoy Life!  Serenity is never in a rush, never impatient, or short of time.  Take the time to enjoy life to the fullest, to stand and stare at something beautiful.  A painting.  A tree.  Hug a tree!  Praise a glorious sunset, or sunrise.  Appreciate your child, your mate.

God First!  This is the best way!  God and you form a majority of one.  There is nothing that cannot be accomplished when you place your hand in God's care and keeping.  Perhaps happiness cannot be "prefect" or "total" on this earth plane, but we can come mighty close to expressing our inner light and obtaining as much peaceful happiness as possible.  Remember, a smile is the light in the window of your face that tells everyone that your heart is at home.

From her book, Macromind Power

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from Everyday Zen
Charlotte Joko Beck 

My dog doesn't worry about the meaning of life.  She may worry if she doesn't get her breakfast, but she doesn't sit around worrying about whether she will get fulfilled or liberated or enlightened.  As long as she gets some food and a little affection, her life is fine.  But we human beings are not like dogs.  We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble.  If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall.

To some degree we all find life difficult, perplexing, and oppressive.  Even when it goes well, as it may for a time, we worry that it probably won't keep on that way.  Depending on our personal history, we arrive at adulthood with very mixed feelings about this life.  If I were to tell you that your life is already perfect, whole, and complete just as it is, you would think I was crazy.  Nobody believes his or her life is perfect.  And yet there is something within each of us that basically knows we are boundless, limitless.  We are caught in the contradiction of finding life a rather perplexing puzzle which causes us a lot of misery, and at the same time being dimly aware of the boundless, limitless nature of life.  So we begin looking for an answer to the puzzle.

The first way of looking is to seek a solution outside ourselves. At first this may be on a very ordinary level. There are many people in the world who feel that if only they had a bigger car, a nicer house, better vacations, a more understanding boss, or a more interesting partner, then their life would work. We all go through that one. Slowly we wear out most of our "if onlies." "If only I had this, or that, then my life would work Not one of us isn't, to some degree, still wearing out our "if onlies." First of all we wear out those on the gross levels. Then we shift our search to more subtle levels. Finally, in looking for the thing outside of ourselves that we hope is going to complete us, we turn to a spiritual discipline. Unfortunately we tend to bring into this new search the same orientation as before.

Most people who come to the Zen Center don't think a Cadillac will do it, but they think that enlightenment will. Now they've got a new cookie, a new "if only." "If only I could understand what realization is all about, I would be happy." "If only I could have at least a little enlightenment experience, I would be happy." Coming into a practice like Zen, we bring our usual notions that we are going to get somewhere--become enlightened--and get all the cookies that have eluded us in the past.

Our whole life consists of this little subject looking outside itself for an object. But if you take something that is limited, like body and mind, and look for something outside it, that something becomes an object and must be limited too. So you have something limited looking for something limited and you just end up with more of the same folly that has made you miserable.

We have all spent many years building up a conditioned view of life. There is "me" and there is this "thing" out there that is either hurting me or pleasing me. We tend to run our whole life trying to avoid all that hurts or displeases us, noticing the objects, people, or situations that we think will give us pain or pleasure, avoiding one and pursuing the other. Without exception, we all do this. We remain separate from our life, looking at it, analyzing it, judging it, seeking to answer the questions, 'What am I going to get out of it? Is it going to give me pleasure or comfort or should I run away from it?" We do this from morning until night.

Underneath our nice, friendly facades there is great unease. If I were to scratch below the surface of anyone I would find fear, pain, and anxiety running amok.  We all have ways to cover them up.  We overeat, over-drink, overwork; we watch too much television.  We are always doing something to cover up our basic existential anxiety. Some people live that way until the day they die.

As the years go by, it gets worse and worse. What might not look so bad when you are twenty-five looks awful by the time you are fifty. We all know people who might as well be dead; they have so contracted into their limited viewpoints that it is as painful for those around them as it is for themselves. The flexibility and joy and flow of life are gone. And that rather grim possibility faces all of us, unless we wake up to the fact that we need to work with our life, we need to practice.

We have to see through the mirage that there is an "I" separate from "that." Our practice is to close the gap. Only in that instant when we and the object become one can we see what our life is.

Enlightenment is not something you achieve. It is the absence of something. All your life you have been going forward after something, pursuing some goal. Enlightenment is dropping all that. But to talk about it is of little use.

The practice has to be done by each individual. There is no substitute. We can read about it until we are a thousand years old and it won't do a thing for us. We all have to practice, and we have to practice with all of our might for the rest of our lives.

Charlotte Joko Beck
offers a warm, engaging,
uniquely American approach
to using Zen to deal with the
problems of daily living—
love, relationships, work, fear,
ambition, and suffering.
Everyday Zen shows us
how to live each moment
to the fullest.



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For years, the people of Canyon Bluff have shared the stories of the Nogglz, their own version of the monsters in the closet. "If you don't behave, the Nogglz will come and get you and carry you down into the mines," they've told their children. Of course, they were just stories. Nobody could have stayed alive in an old mine for six decades. But when one of their own is brutally murdered one cold November night, it may be time to come to terms with the sins of their fathers and their own ties to the town's dreadful past. And for the sheriff and his deputy and the state troopers who are called to the town to deal with the murder, an ordinary day becomes an extraordinary battle for simple survival.
Sometimes I write things just to tell a story, but I just can't help mentioning some life lessons, even in a novel about creatures running amok in an old mining town in the Colorado mountains.  Nogglz is available in print by clicking here, or as a Kindle e-book by using the link to the left.  Using the mining town as the setting is a tribute to my mother, who grew up in a tiny mining town herself, and who has never left there in her heart.


Despite all the doom and gloom that constantly assaults our senses, there
is a way for us to ransom our lives and reclaim our futures:  it consists in
turning away from the world to recognize what in life makes us truly happy.
For each of us, what that is will be different. But once we obtain this inner
knowledge, we will possess the ability to transform our outer world.  "You
can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than
you know about yourself," the pilot and writer Beryl Markham
reminds us.  We cannot let this continue to occur.

Sarah Ban Breathnach




We just had a storm roll through.  It started with the wind picking up, then very soon the rain started falling heavily.  There was thunder and lightning, and for a while it seemed that we were in for a long, heavy storm.  Then the rain lightened, the wind slowed, and the clouds started moving away from us rather than toward us.  It was just a typical summer storm, short-lived but intense, quick but fruitful.

So many of the storms of my life have been just like this one.  While they make me think that they're going to be severe and long-lasting, they end up being much less to worry about than I've initially thought.  Arguments, conflicts, loss, worry, illness, financial woes--they've all turned out to be very real, but not nearly as disastrous as I thought they would be.

In truth, it's very difficult to tell the future--when we see storm clouds on the horizon, it's hard to tell if we're in for a ten-minute storm or a ten-day storm.  This was especially true many years ago, before weather forecasting became so advanced.  Forecasters depend on the past to predict the future, though--their forecasts are based on what has happened in the past when weather conditions were similar.  In our daily lives we have the ability to apply past experience to present conditions to predict what's going to happen, but we don't always use it.


Adversity is like the period of the rain. . . cold, comfortless, unfriendly
to people and to animals; yet from that season have their birth the flower,
the fruit, the date, the rose and the pomegranate.

Walter Scott

We tend to be pretty good at it when little children are involved.  If a child started crying when someone took his toy away, we can predict pretty well that a similar action would make him or her cry again.  Yet somehow we find it difficult to believe that our spouse is upset because of something inconsiderate that we did again, or that someone at work has the nerve to be offended because we did the same thing they asked us not to do before.  These small "storms"--people getting upset and conflict rearing its head--are part of what makes life so difficult for so many people, yet many of them are completely avoidable.

And even if they aren't avoidable, it would be good if we were to recognize that "this, too, shall pass."  No storm is forever.  First of all, they don't stay in the same place for long--they move along and become a storm elsewhere.  As they move, though, they also dissipate, losing their strength as they go and eventually ceasing to exist.  This storm that we're going through today is not going to be here long, and we can either try to fix it or let it pass.

Of course, if we opt to let it pass, it's important that we make sure that if we had anything to do with its creation--if it happened because of something we said or did--then we need to be more careful in the future so that we don't cause more storms in the same way.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it
through, how you managed to survive.  You won’t even be sure,
whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain.  When you
come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who
walked in.  That’s what this storm’s all about.

Haruki Murakami

And once a storm comes up, it's important that we remember that even though it may seem to be fierce and destructive, it's also providing needed water for the plants and waterways.  Though it looks like nothing good can come of a storm, they serve a necessary purpose in the overall scheme of things in life.

Likewise, some of the storms in our lives also bear important messages and lessons for us.  Our times of struggle and trial help us to learn about many things, such as patience, compassion, peace, love, hope, and many other things.  If we look at the storms of our lives in this way, we can appreciate them more even when they're very difficult for us to get through.  Even if things seem dark and tempestuous, we can be sure that something good will result as long as we persevere and make our ways through the storms.

Only when the winds of adversity blow can you tell
whether an individual or a country has steadfastness.

John F. Kennedy

When your storms come, try to keep your perspective and look for the positive within them.  If you can't find the positive, then remember that this, too, shall pass--the storm will blow over and leave you a stronger and more resilient person.  Try to be like a tree that bends with the wind so that it doesn't break; give a little bit and make yourself less rigid and less breakable.  If you can learn to forecast storms, then by all means do so--it will be a valuable skill to have and it will save a lot of hurt feelings.  But no matter what, remember that the storms are necessary and inevitable, and since you can't hide from them the rest of your life, you might as well make the most of them.

More on adversity.


One of the most important elements
of living life fully is awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively. In the twelve years of livinglifefully.com's existence, this essay series has been a mainstay of the weekly e-zine--a series that has explored not just the things that exist and that happen around us, but also our reactions to those things. The first five years of the column are now available exclusively on Kindle.



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As difficult as it can be to find genuine inner calm, it is the key to creating peace in the world as we know it.  The world will not change until we do, and there is nothing the world can deliver to us that will give us the peace we crave.  Peace comes not from the world, but from God.

Marianne Williamson

I have walked 25,000 miles as a penniless pilgrim.  I own only what I wear and what I carry in my small pockets.  I belong to no organization.  I have said that I will walk until given shelter and fast until given food, remaining a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace.  And I can truthfully tell you that without ever asking for anything, I have been supplied with everything needed for my journey, which shows you how good people really are.

With me I carry always my peace message:  This is the way of peace:  Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.  There is nothing new about this message, except the practice of it.  And the practice of it is required not only in the international situation but also in the personal situation.  I believe that the situation in the world is a reflection of our own immaturity.  If we were mature, harmonious people, war would be no problem whatever--it would be impossible.

All of us can work for peace.  We can work right where we are, right within ourselves, because the more peace we have within our own lives, the more we can reflect into the outer situation.  In fact, I believe that the wish to survive will push us into some kind of uneasy world peace which will then need to be supported by a great inner awakening if it is to endure.

Peace Pilgrim

Blessed are they who have learned to admire but not envy, to follow but
not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.

William Arthur Ward


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