I Have a Dream – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 17, 2008

This coming Monday we celebrate the birthday of a great man. Like most great people he is either loved (by the overwhelming majority of people) or hated (by a small minority). Great people always inspire us to have an opinion about them. In the humble opinion of this writer, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man.

Regardless of whether or not you agreed with his politics he was somone who had conviction. He stood against tremendous injustice. There was a great hypocrisy in our land in his day. A hypocrisy that had gone on too long. He stood up to be a leader and he paid the ultimate price for it.

Few people had a greater influence on modern America than this man. Today, through the magic of YouTube, I am able to share his most famous and, I believe, his crowning moment.

The day is August 28, 1963. 250,000 Americans gathered on the mall in Washington D.C. to listen to Dr. King's speech. Little did they know they were about to hear perhaps the greatest speech ever.

Four and a half decades later his words still inspire. His dream is still an aspiration. His vision is still the future we can all share as soon as we choose that course.


Runtime is 17:57

Your challenges may not be as big, but remember that anything is possible when you "have a dream".

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Making The World A Better Place Today – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday January 16, 2008


Today’s affirmation is:

“I make my world. My world is what I make of it and I choose to make it a compassionate place to be.”

hands1.gifHas the world gone nuts? It seems so some days. Thankfully, you need not wait for change to occur in the world. You can start right now to create a more sane and compassionate world in the ways you touch it.

The simple things are still the recipe for greater happiness. Treat others with kindness even when they don’t return the favor. Only use what you need. Maintain a measure of mindfulness with regard to your thoughts and activities. Join with others  who share your hope for a better, more evolved world and take the first steps today. Smile, lighten up, have fun, and enjoy your life on this beautiful world and in this marvelous Universe.

Take the Ten Commandments, The Golden Rule, the Five Precepts of Buddhism, or other ageless tenets and try living by them. Not under the commandment of any God, religious organization, or out of fear of punishment, but out of a recognition that they make rational sense and create a better world.

The philosopy you hold - Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Muslim, Hindu – is not what is ultimately important. What is important is being the most ethical, compassionate Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, or Buddhist you can be and the world will be a better place for it.

During his 1989 visit to Los Angeles, The Dalai Lama said, “We don’t need temple, we don’t big Cathedral. We need warmth of heart. We, each of us, have a responsibility to shape the future of humanity. So let us try and contribute as much as we can.”

You have the power right now to do the good that you see needs doing in the world. Certainly, collective action by a group is important, but your actions or inactions in your life today affect the world around you in big ways.  Never underestimate yourself and the power to influence things.

If someone cuts you off in traffic, don’t respond with anger that puts negative energy out into the universe. That helps. Not giving in to your own prejudices and weaknesses that contribute the problems in the world. That helps. Going out of your way to be friendly to a stranger just because. That helps.  There is no end to what you can do that will make the world a better place.

The problems we face in the world are a result of our interpersonal conflicts and our own internal conflicts projected out onto the world. If you do not address the anger and fear you feel in your own hearts you will only be bandaging the problems of the world.

With just a little effort today, you can make all the difference!

 Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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A World About to Be Born – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday January 9, 2008

sun.gifThe sun is rising; the clouds have passed away. And in the minds of at least a few, a greater consciousness has arisen.

Tradition is no more. There is only awareness: an awareness of radiant possibilities and transcendent hopes for a world about to be born.

A world in which our fondest dreams shall come to pass. Where the greatest potentiality of humanity is realized: that each member of the human family will awaken to the inner light that opens one’s heart and frees one’s mind to look across culture, race, gender, religion and vast distance and see oneself.

When human beings can join together in this moment, free of all constraints and limits; simply experiencing their existence and connecting to the life force that flows through the universe in the most real and sincere way —THAT IS NIRVANA.

I speak not of a mystical experience to be had by a select few, but rather of the courage of anyone to remain completely present in this moment without attachment to outcomes or results. So I call myself a dreamer resolved to stay with this moment, where my heart may express tenderness and appreciation for all that is. For my heart is the birthplace of compassion for myself and this world.

Be of good cheer, o patient ones, for this new day dawns; a day of wonder and hope. A day, when filled with joy, all people shall attain their full potential. Long has been the night of toil and pain. Too long have brothers and sisters lived according to their fear of each other rather than their love for each other. But no more, the blinders have come off.

Finally and forever the Human Race will stand in the radiance of the truths that have lived within each of us all along. Truths that can no longer be ignored or distorted. The truth of our UNITY and our place in this planet’s web of life and in the greater cosmos beyond.


Be peaceful Be prosperous



Ray

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Bhutto Assassination Proof of Work to Be Done – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday December 27, 2007

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‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hate or find peace within.

‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell not on such thoughts shall be free from hate and find peace within.

For hate only feeds on itself; but love overcomes hate. This is an Eternal Law.

Few know that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony. Those who become aware of this cease their quarrels immediately.

~ Buddha (Dhammpada Chapter 1, verses 3-6)



benazir_bhutto.jpg‘The Buddha’s words are extremely timely today.

The news from Pakistan this morning is dire. Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated after a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This nuclear-armed nation is about to be thrown into chaos and turmoil. Many on both sides will likely call for armed conflict.

Unfornately, 2500 years after these words were uttered too many human beings still don’t “get it”. Our leaders don’t “get it”. Our media certainly does not “get it”. Our arms dealers don’t “get it”.  We clamor for war. We clamor for revenge. We support leaders as “strong” who feed our desire for revenge and war.

The “it” is that violence is the birth of hatred and chaos, not the solution to it.

Even in the western nations, we extoll the virtues of our military prowess and take pride in the fact that we are better able than others to wreak havoc on our enemies. We honor the warrior above the peacemaker and so we get more of what we reward.

Most of all, we promise with a straight face that we will stop killing “them” right after they stop killing “us”. It’s circular logic because there are two sides to the “we” and “them” equation and both sides promise to stop the killing as soon as the other side does. And thus, the killing never ends.

In these few simple verses (and others like them in many sacred texts), rests the solution to the problem. But, we must be willing to take the medicine, if we are to be healed. 

We are reminded incessantly by the purveyors of war and vengeance that this is “unrealistic”.  “Neville Chamberlain, Neville Chamberlain,” they shout. “Peacefulness is weakness.” “We must be strong or our enemies will destroy us.”

The “kill them before they kill us” method has enjoyed a 10,000 year trial run in human civilization. It has utterly failed to solve our problems, but it does line pockets and create jobs. No other product or idea has failed so miserably and yet lasted so long. It survives because it plays on our lowest instincts such as fear and selfishness.

Pakistan is a perfect look into our own future, if we fail to take the medicine. If we fail to understand, as the Buddha says, “that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony.” If we fail to grasp that the vengeance mindset that counts every offense against us and ignores our own faults, is a mindset dooming us to destruction; then we are sealing our fate.

The expiration date on that mindset is fast approaching. The weapons of mass destruction genie is out of the bottle and we are, in a very few decades, going to be faced with a stark choice. Adversaries the world over are going to stand nose-to-nose with nuclear, chemical, and biological weaponry.

The question is will we choose to change or race down the fast track to destruction? The force of habit is hard to stop. We are a world addicted to violence. Sometimes an addict cannot stop himself even at the cost of self-destruction.

Here is the challenge for those of us who “get it” in 2008. We must increase our efforts bring positive change in the world. We must first convince our fellow human beings that a better world is possible. Shockingly, many don’t believe that it is.

  • We must “be the change we want to see in the world.” We must work on our own thoughts and actions to stay positive and focused on a better future. 
  • We must make intelligent, self-interested arguments that counter fear-based and selfishness-based arguments by capitalizing on positive core human instincts.
  • We must be patient with our fellow human beings. They have been conditioned to accept this nonsense for a long time and it is going to take time for them to change. 
  • We must recognize that help is not coming any time soon from our leaders and media who thrive and profit on the conflict. These institutions will probably be the last to change. We will have to force the change by changing hearts and minds.
  • We must see through arguments, even highly emotional ones, that rest on logical fallacies.
  • We must call attention to those logical fallacies and challenge their validity at every turn.
  • We must create a clear vision of what the world will look like without the conflict.

There is hope. There is possibility. There is opportunity. The world need not suffer constant chaos and violence.  For that to come about, though, enough people must believe.

Think about it today. Do you believe a better world is possible or have you bought into the assumption that nothing more is possible and so you accept what is?

I hear people say things like, “I don’t like war, but there has always been war.” “I know our leaders are corrupt, but leaders have always been corrupt.” We need not accept these as immutable truths.

John F. Kennedy quoted George Bernard Shaw in his inaugural address in 1961, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not?”

Today as the chaos heats up in Pakistan and elsewhere around our tiny marble of a world. I’m asking you to think about a better world and ask, “Why not?”

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray 

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An Affirmation for 2008 – The Affirmation Spot for December 26, 2007

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As Christmas passes, our focus begins to move towards the new year. 2008 holds potential for anything at this point. There is not yet one fingerprint on its possibility.

Today’s affirmation is:

“Who I am is not for sale at any price! I am brilliant and beautiful and a best friend to everyone who knows me. I am peaceful and happy and more successful than ever before. I am relaxed and confident and trading in my old fears on new hopes.

2008 is going to be a wonderful year for me; a year of breakthrough, options, and opportunities for new paths to follow. I am excited and ready for the challenges and the triumphs that lie ahead.

No, my self-worth, my happiness, my freedom, my unbounded optimism about what is ahead is not for sale at any price!”

earthyear.gif

As another journey around our home star begins in the next few days, begin visualizing 2008 as your big year.

Read this affirmation to yourself a few times today. Begin envisioning the new year as you’d like to see it right now. As the door of 2007 begins to swing shut, the window that is 2008 is opening.

Every possibility, every option, every hope, dream, and goal are back on the table.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray
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One in a Trillion Miracle – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday December 19, 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I recognize the miracle that is me and the other miracles all around me.”ggb_trafficjpg.gif

 Well it’s Wednesday and in case you were thinking it is the middle of “just another week” here are some things to ponder.

Someday we will all face the end of our walk in this form.

Sometimes during the course of “just another week” we don’t recognize how precious each moment is and how quickly all this is passing us by. We forget what a miracle it is that any of us are here at all.

Have you ever really considered just how many unlikely things had to happen for YOU to be here, or, for that matter, for HERE to be here?

Every single thing we see around us all day long every day was a one in a trillion shot. Each blade of grass, each cloud, each person, even the traffic jam you found yourself in on the way to work this morning – all are totally unlikely combinations that beat the long odds to burst into existence. That’s nothing short of a miracle.

grass1.gifSomeday when you do reach the end of this stage of your journey; this “just another week” may seem a lot more special than it does now. You may wish you had stopped to witness and marvel at the whole miraculous play.

Today, make a point to see the miracles. Tell the person you care most about in this world that you love them and remind them that they are a miracle.

And when you encounter the traffic jam on the way home this evening, breathe deeply and say, “Ah, yes. You are a miracle too.” It won’t get you home any faster, but it will make the ride more enjoyable.

Enjoy a miraculous Wednesday!!

 Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

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The Promise of New Life – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 11, 2007

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grass_through_snow.jpgToday’s affirmation is:

 

“Difficulities are doorways to something better than I had planned.”

“The entire cosmos is made up of clashing forces and polarities, yet without this seeming conflict, the universe itself could not exist. Life is a dance of opposites that involves destruction, rebirth, pain, and joy.”

~ David Fideler

The powerful symbology is important in Fideler’s quote. We have many of familiar aphorisms that confirm this idea such as, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn,” or even that famous gym affirmation “no pain, no gain.”

It is certainly a very old and very common human concept that out of pain, difficulty, and death comes new life. The Hindus recognize this interplay in their personification of Shiva, “The God of Destruction,” who is also recognized as the “Bringer of New Birth.” The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh talks about the cycle of the beautiful rose that dies, becomes garbage, and then can be used as fertilizer to grow a new rose.

For whatever reason, adversity is often the birthplace of the best things in our lives. Think about your own past. Even though you dread the pain and struggle that comes with tough times, were those times not the seeds of some of your greatest triumphs?

So, am I extolling the virtues of pain and suffering? Suggesting that you should go looking for difficulty as a kind of initiation experience leading the greater joy? No.

As the saying goes, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” We all face the proverbial winter in our lives. Things seem bleak, lifeless, maybe even hopeless. Yet, even on the coldest day of winter, the signs of new life are only inches below the surface waiting to emerge.

This is just a reminder – in case you are experiencing one of those times right now or for when you experience it in the future – to always be looking for the spring sprouts of new life. You can count on them always being there, if only you look closely enough.  For as surely as the seasons come and go in nature, they come and go in our lives.

Hope everyone is enjoying spring in their lives today, but if not be looking for its signs.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray
The Affirmation Spot

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