Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MAHATMA -- It's Time to Allow Your MAHATMA to Shine!

MAHATMA means spiritual person, or person of GREAT SPIRIT.
Without a doubt Mahatma Ghandi falls in this category.
And without a doubt we all harbour that greatness within our souls.
The purpose of our life is to discover our greatness.
We were placed here to implement an impact of goodness.
My hope for humanity is that WE ALL discover our MAHATMA.
And that we leave that impression upon all who cross our path.

PEACE

Positive Thought
Education
Advancement
Collaboration
Entrepreneurship






Friday, November 18, 2011

Thoughtless Versus Thoughtful

Unfocused emotion is like a drive-by shooting;
Intent is sprayed haphazardly outwards in random action.

This creates words that harm and hurt,
Words that cause pain, humiliation, heartbreak, sadness, illness, hardship and agony.

Do not allow thoughtless words to escape an unguarded mouth;
Words that will maim another's spirit.
Instead, take the time to create thoughtful words that leave your mouth gracefully;
Words that will build up the collective spirit,
Both of other's and of your own.

Let the WILL of Our Creator,
Which lives within you
Exist in your beat, your breath, your blood, your bones -- in your entire being
Be ever aware that the WILL is alive within
It only requires your conscious say-so to awaken fully

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saying Hello From the Ground Level Cafe in Toronto

Connectivity is available at the GROUND LEVEL CAFE!
Checking in from the GROUND LEVEL CAFE in Toronto. I am a fortunate soul I must say. Totally by surprise I was offered a trip to Ottawa to visit a friend I have not seen since 1984 -- she has the sweetest children who arranged a surprise birthday party and sent me a ticket so I could be there as the "gift". How loving is that?
I decided to return to Vancouver via Toronto so I could visit my eldest daughter -- how could you travel clear across the country and not stop to visit?

And while in Toronto, how could you not arrange to meet with local members of the WAY-FINDER WEEKLY of CANADA group that you have been connecting with for the past year or so? What a fabulous opportunity!
So last night GRACE LAROZA, newly-published author of the novel, SIMON SAYS, and I met in the same neighbourhood as this cafe and we joyfully connected in person for the first time. I seized on the chance to conduct an interview of this up-an-coming new writer (she's already working on her second novel) while we did coffee! Grace is a fabulous example of one who persisted until she was successful in FINDING her WAY.

I have yet to meet with ROXANNE SPEARS who created the enterprise called, SDG CRAFTS on Eglington Avenue. I will also be conducting an in-store interview with Roxanne. I am very interested in how she claimed the courage to take that leap in faith that allowed her to make the decision that set her firmly on the path to FINDING her WAY to achieving her vision and dream. I am proud of both these young ladies who persisted gracefully until they had the prize in hand -- kudos to them both!

And last, but certainly not least, I have an invite from SWARN LATA, another local WAY-FINDER WEEKLY member who has offered to cook up some genuine Indian food for us to partake in together. Lata immigrated from India and persisted in her intention to create a music school which specializes in teaching the sitar -- an instrument that has always resonated with my soul -- the notes that are coaxed from its strings have always held a mystical quality for me. I look forward to the meal, and also to viewing the music studio/school she has created in the heart of Toronto. I hope that Lata will also grace me with an interview that describes the journey she has taken to FINDING her WAY.

Look for the interviews on this site in the very near future :)

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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RESIST NOT EVIL


My Pop's Drawing
This 1951 sketch was his perception
of himself as the young warrior
 setting out to conquer his world.
He taught me a lot about
being self-aware

I just love it when Divinity reaches down into my life and makes itself SO evident. No sooner had I posted a Facebook comment that FEAR is a SHADOW , I walked into my dining room and picked up an open book off the table called THE THIRD JESUS by Deepak Chopra and I my eyes fell upon this passage (p. 155-7):

RESIST NOT EVIL

Applying the teaching: Evil is the collective and personal shadow.

Here are a few paraphrased excerpts from this passage:

  • Evil should not be resisted -- once you fully examine your "shadow" you will find that it is the hidden parts of self, expressing outwardly what you haven't resolved inwardly
  • If you don't learn to understand your shadow it will continuously find new ways to bring back the things you hate and fear
  • Shadows are your inner hidey-holes where you store your negative traits -- the forbidden feelings: anger, revenge, jealousy, prejudice, rampant desires, murderous rage
  • The shadow contains all that we feel is unacceptable about ourselves: the things that will jeopardize our standing in the eyes of others, the things that will cause us to "lose face"
  • Only by wresting the shadow's power away, can we learn to overcome the shame, the harsh self-judgement, the guilt; and this only occurs if we learn to bring the shadow into the light -- expose it, admit it exists, come to terms with it, forgive yourself and put it behind you
  • The shadow only has power over you if you give it power -- you have to "rehabilitate" your shadow, because you can not get rid of it (the sun will shine and there it will always be, the shadow of you); this is the duality of life -- in order for there to be good, there must be evil

Chopra writes:

As you begin to re-examine your history in a new light, you can rehabilitate the shadow. It poses as your enemy largely in reaction to your own guilt and fear. The shadow can't be abolished, so don't try. It's this fact, the eternal play of good and evil, that Jesus wants people to see, in order that they can rise to a higher plane of existence. He doesn't ask us to conquer evil. Struggling against evil only brings more energy into its grasp. But if you stop resisting evil and come to terms with it instead, you will be taking steps toward the ultimate realization that evil is a wound inflicted in separation and healed in unity.




Monday, September 12, 2011

THE MANDALA: Seeking the Sacred -- Sacred Art



Rangoli * Photo Credit: Simona Rich Site Link
Back in May, while cruising the on-line  travel photo albums of my Facebook contacts, I came across a pic that caught my eye and stayed in my head. Simona Rich (an internet e-book marketer, personal development coach and fellow blogger) posted a photo she took at an ashram (a spiritual centre where people gather to meditate and pray) in Surat, India. The picture portrayed an intricate circular design created out of coloured sand. I asked her if she knew of it's specific meaning and purpose...she did not, but another of her blog FOLLOWER's, Anupriya Singh of India (who attends Massachusettes U. in Lowell MA), posted a link for me and offered her expertise and knowledge of anything Indian (thank you Anupriya). Her link took me to the Wikipedia page for rangoli -- traditional Indian folk art. Constructed on living-room floors and in the courtyards of Indian homes, they are believed to attract and welcome deities and to bring good fortune. They are considered sacred. The symbology used in the designs  is ancient, passed down through the generations. These designs are created on a daily basis, as they are swept away at the end the day and thrown into a body of water, in recognition of the fact that all in physical life is impermanent.

Intrigued, I continued to dig around on the internet to research this spiritual practice. I believe now that Simona's picture triggered something intuitive in me, some primordial knowledge I was not consciously aware of, that added fuel to the flames of my soul-fire. From link to link I kept looking until I came to some sites that were related to mandala's...

The Pocket Oxford Dictionary (1996, 9th Ed.: Oxford U. Press) defines a mandala to be a circular figure used as a religious symbol of the universe. It is a Sanskrit word -- of the ancient and sacred Hindu language. On the Exotic India Art site (Site Link) the newsletter archives revealed that the root word is manda -- meaning essence; to which la was added -- meaning container. So a mandala is an artistic expression of a container of essence.

Further research informed me that the ancient use of mandala's was spiritual in nature and is historically credited to the Bhuddist belief system, and adapted into use by the Hindu belief. Spiritually, it is associated with both the universe and the soul -- or the outer and the inner beings.

As representative of the outer dimensions the mandala portrays not only our planet, our solar system and our universe, but also the minutest particles that we now understand all is composed of -- the atom -- pure energy.

The mandala as representative of the inner dimension shows our human condition -- from it's outer circumference into it's middle start-point (a dot -- an infintesimally small circle) it portrays our struggle to understand ourselves in relation to our origin; and from that origin point to the outer circumference it portrays our struggle to relate to and understand all else that exists.

Segmented into quadrants the mandala leads to an understanding of our duality in both dimensions (and without doubt the Taoist mandala, the Yin Yang symbol of duality, is the most universally recognized symbol of the dualist tradition). There is above and below, before and behind which can be related to birth and death, male and female, good and evil, rich and poor, infinity and impermanance -- each a reflection of the other. Without this duality there is nothingness, none...a void.



Fibonacci images downloaded
from Wikipedia

Sacred geometry or mathematics, within the circumference of the circle, is an integral element of the traditional mandala. In the Yin Yang symbol the sacred Fibonacci number sequence is in evidence in it's dual spirals. The spiral, which follows a proven mathematical sequence, occurs throughout the natural world. It is a repetitive pattern of life. It is interesting to note that although this number sequence and the equivalent spiral is named after Leonardo Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician from Pisa, it was actually a sequence that was recognized through the application of a Hindu-Arabic number system that had been developed between the 1st and 5th centuries. It was considered to be a Sacred Sanskrit number system. Recognizing the ease of use of this 0-9 number system, over the Roman number system in use in the Western world at the time, Fibonacci spent considerable time and energy learning this system by travelling throughout the Meditarranenan region, and points east, to seek out the Eastern mathemeticians who could teach him what they knew. He then introduced this superior system to the Western world, and it eventually replaced the Roman numeral system. In his book Liber Abaci (published in 1202) Fibonacci explained that the sequence begins with 0 and 1. Added together it equals 1, when the last number is added to the number before it in the sequence it adds up to the next sequential number, in this case 2. The sequence of Fibonacci numbers continues in that order:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987...........

The Fibonacci Spiral
Fibonacci explained how this sequence can be related to the spiral symbol by tiling the sequence numbers and then connecting each tile using a curve on the opposite corner of each square. In this orderly fashioning of squares and curves the spiral emerges.

He also showed how this pattern of life occurs in the natural world:
                                    
Pineapple images downloaded
 from Wikipedia


As in the pineapple: one can see where a repetitive 5-parallel sequence spirals around the pineapple. As well as an 8-parallel sequence spiral (not shown), and finally a 13 parallel sequence spiral. Hereby, the Fibonacci number sequence comes into natural play and order with the Fibonacci numbers of 5, 8 and 13.


Daisy image downloaded from Wikipedia
 Or in the daisy: here you can visually see the spirals created by the naturally occuring inner parts of a simple daisy...but is it really so simple? Or is it evidence of the intricate Divine in the grand scheme of nature? Did these mathematical thoughts just occur in the human mind? Or is it intuitive primordial knowledge that each and every one of us is born with and which is contained, deeply rooted, in our own "container of essence"....our higher consciousness....our soul? What inner whisperings did the earlier creators of the Sanskrit number system of 0-9 listen to in order to develop their system and then to take notice of the numerical sequence; and furthermore to then notice that this sequence occurs naturally throughout the world around us -- not only in flowers and fruit, but in shells, in geological formations, in water waves, in sound waves, in light refraction and even in snowflakes and ice crystals. And what inner whisperings did Fibonacci listen to in order to so enthusiastically pursue that knowledge, in what one could only imagine would be difficult travel scenarios in the late 1100's? And to then introduce that system as the mathematical knowledge the world now uses in every facet of living? Gives some pause for thought doesn't it?

Geometric shapes other than circles and spirals, such as triangles and squares are also extensively incorporated into most mandala designs. The purpose of these spiritual mandala's was to use them to focus one's thoughts; to quiet the mind, to reach an inner space of stillness wherein one could seek God. Rather than allowing the mind to jump around erractically (like a crazed monkey, as Buddha said), focusing on the repetitive patterns within the Sacred Circle of the mandala can bring one to a state of anxiety-free quietude; a space where it is possible to just listen...listen for that inner voice....listen for that intuitve knowledge....listen for that current of Infinity.
 
At the Sayyida Rouqqaya Mosque in Damascus, Syria
Photo Credit: Jaqueline Mulders, 2011
My cousin (right), an extensive traveller;
 Jacqueline wanders this world and posts pictures of
places that inspire wonder and awe
Is the religious use of mandala's restricted to Eastern spiritual beliefs, rituals and practices? Certainly not. Almost all religions and faith systems make use of the mandala in one form or another.

Muslim worshippers of Allah reverently offer their devotions under mosque domes decorated in beautifully rendered sacred mandala's. Known by the Islamic art form of arabesque the stylized use of geometrical and vegetal repetitive patterns is said to be indicative of the nature of God: unified, transcendent and infinite. Not only is the use of this sacred art form applied in religious settings, but it also appears in other areas of everyday life: in rug-making, pottery, carving, stonework, etc. It seems that mandala's are pervasive in every-day Islamic life.

In Christian renderings, sacred mandala art can be found in many variations. Thousands of Catholic Cathedrals, as well as other Christian churches and chapels world-wide, carry this form of sacred art in the beautifully pieced-together stained-glass images that are most often wrought in some form of mandala.
 
The beautiful Rose Window at
Notre Dame. Downloaded from Wikipedia.

Devotees walking the
Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth, France
Downloaded from Wikipedia.
There are other Christian symbols that can be related to the mandala: the halo, the Host (or the communion wafer) and the Celtic cross.  All are circular, or have a circular element, and all represent divinity.

The medieval Christian prayer paths, also known as labyrinths, are also  found on many cathedral floors and/or church-grounds. The labyrinths are large -- often as big as a good-sized room. The paths are walked by devotees who use them to focus their prayers and meditations. It is said that it is helpful to walk the path from it's outer edge to the centre, that it brings one closer to one's inner being, closer to God. A path walker enters the labyrinth and follows the path around and around, with each circuit leading closer to the center. Once in the centre, there is room to sit in contemplation. One leaves the circle by following the path back out. Modern marketing has seen the development of personal labyrinths one can trace with a finger, a sort of desk-top version. Again, it is meant as a focussing tool to bring the mind into spiritual focus, to help find the inner peace required for contemplation of the Divine.


The same use of the circular representation for the physical and spiritual dimensions can be found in most native cultures and spiritual beliefs around the world. In Bighorn, Wyoming the ancient medicine wheel, or sacred hoop, was constructed on the ground using rocks and stones by the Objiwa and the Assinniboine nations. In locations throughout the US there are remains and indications of other medicine wheels. These sacred circles had less to do with biological healing, and were more focussed on spiritual healing. They were in use possibly as far back as 7,000 years, and perhaps even dated back to pre-historic times -- or since the dawn of time. The Hopi people, of northeastern Arizona, also adhere to the spiritual practice of dedicated medicine wheels. Their traditional meaning represents the four directions (north, east, south and west), the four basic elements of life (air, water, fire and earth), the four colours of humanity (red, white, yellow and black), and also include specific animal totems. Indiginous peoples in Australia make use of a circle that is associated with the creator-spirit, Baiame, of their belief system. It is called a  Bora Ring, and it is especially significant in the initiation rights of a boy's passage into manhood.

These same sacred hoops are found in Canada, most notably in Alberta where it is said the highest documented remains of ancient medicine wheels are located: over seventy individual wheels. It is reported that outside of Brooks, Alberta there is a sacred hoop that has been dated to over 5,000 years old, which was specifically aligned with the movement of the sun and the summer/winter soltices. Dubbed Canada's Stonehenge by author Gordon Freeman, it purpotedly predates the Egyptian pyraminds.

And then of course there are the Mayan and Aztec calendar rounds; remarkably similar in design to all the other mandala's world-wide. And let's not forget the wheel of the zodiac, a mandala most people are aware of and have seen all their lives....the representation of the celestial universe and all that moves within it, in Divine order, including humanity.

Carl Jung 1875 - 1961
Image downloaded from Wikipedia
Outside of mankind's spiritual use of these sacred circles,
Carl Jung, the renown pioneer of psycho-analysis treatment, conducted extensive research into the use of mandala's as a form of art therapy.

Coming from a childhood rooted in dysfunction, Jung grew up seeking inner stability to create a balance within himself. As a young lad he implemented certain personal rituals that gave him peace of mind. One such ritual involved a tiny wooden figure he had carved himself, a stone he had painted in upper and lower halves, and small written messages he would bundle together and stash in a secure, secret hiding place. Whenever his disruptive external life would threaten to unhinge his personal equilibrium he would retreat to his secret space to find the inner peace that would allow him to shake off the anxieties created by the outer turmoil.

Later, when Jung began to study psychiatry he realized that his personal childhood ceremony was , in fact, an archetypical response rooted in the collective unconscious of human experience. For millenia, long before he stashed his little power bundle of peace in its secret hidey-hole in the attic, both individually and communally, mankind had practiced similar rituals and ceremonies to calm the storm within, in order to relate rationally with the external. As a little boy, Jung had no way of having gained any information about prior use of such a talisman; it was just something that occurred to him from deep within. And that calling from within, led him within, to where he found peace.

Jung's life-long thirst for knowledge and understanding of the human condition led him on a study of world religions. He felt that, deep down inside, people can not ignore the calling of a Divine voice: that to do so works against the psyche. He delved into Christianity, Hinduism, Bhuddhism, Gnosticism and Taoism and became aware of the mandala. Another archetype, Jung thought it to be symbology that somehow filters its way into the sub-conscious to be utilized by humanity throughout the ages. Jung felt a deep kinship with the use of the mandala. He had begun drawing his own personal mandala's, after dreaming of one, and found it to be another useful tool to create an inner space of peace. He suggested to his colleagues that mandala's be introduced into their psychiatric practices as a form of art therapy.  He himself made use of art therapy and mandala colouring extensively in his practice. He felt it had real power to alleviate psychic pain, to bring one inside oneself, and heal the wounds of emotional and mental abuse.


In the begining of this article I wrote that I believed Simona's picture of the rangoli awoke some primordial knowledge in me. So I shall end this piece with what I think is proof of that assumption:

In October of 2010, the 11th day of that month to be exact (Thanksgiving Day, here in Canada), I sat at my dining room table doodling a logo for one of the Serene Promotions (TM) business ideas under development. Once the WAY-FINDER WEEKLY publication is up and running (hopefully by end September), and the Single-Parent Re-entry Student Grocery support fund is operational....the next business move will be to open up an internet-cafe/study-hall. It is to be called OPEN YOUR EYES CAFE or the OYE CAFE for short. As I was uploading the mandala pictures for this piece, the bright light went off in my head and I remembered that logo. Inadvertently, six months before Simona's picture sparked a little quest for knowledge about that rangoli, I had somehow utilized that primordial knowledge in the creation of that logo, and without realizing it (until just now as I am finishing this article) I had created a mandala of my own. I now see that I had acknowledged, deep within my spirit, the path that was chosen for me -- "a path that will prosper me and not harm me, a path that gives me hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11)...a path that will allow me to be of service to my community and my fellow man.




A final point: after I began this little mandala quest I found three discarded copies of a magazine (still in their plastic shipping wrap) in an apartment move-out pile, in my building's basement (often times, when foreign students complete their studies they just board a plane and return home, leaving their Canadian belongings behind, which the maintenance crew has to clear out. I up-cycle a lot of excellent stuff out of those piles!). You'll never guess what the name of the magazine was......MANDALA: The Official Publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition....LOL, just a little synchronicity....but that is another article altogether...SYNCHRONICITY: The Sacred, Crossing Your Path


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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

IS IT TABOO TO TALK ABOUT TALKING TO GOD?

During Oprah's final monologue on the Oprah Show she deviated from her prepared talk and mentioned God and His importance in her life and to her success.

She did so with a wry grin and immediately acknowledged , "I know, I know, there's going to be people that get their back's up because I mentioned God. Oooohhh, not God, don't bring God into it."

And she is right. Mainstream society doesn't want to hear it; it's almost taboo. Don't bring up God or prayer at work, you'll be labeled a freak or a Bible thumper. Don't bring up God at your PTA meeting or you will be given strange looks as other parents move away from you as if they may become infected with religiosity. In some situations people will even become angered if the subject is brought up.

It seems that for many people  God and prayer is only acceptable in church, synagogue or temple, weddings and funerals, or when one is experiencing moments of profound misery so great that it causes an involuntary outcry for mercy. And yet, there are multitudes of people who have a personal, spiritual relationship.with God that they maintain and deepen through an active and meaningful practice of prayer.

Recently I borrowed a book called, TALKING TO GOD: Portrait of a World at Prayer (2006, Stone Creek Publications) and the truth of this was brought home to my soul in a most profound manner. I believe in God and I converse with Him on a daily basis, but I am one of those people who hedge their bets in public in order to avoid controversy. I skirt around the God issue in conversation or with my pen  and keyboard as if He were taboo. I refer to God as the Universe, or the One, or the Source, or the Absolute  -- not an outright denial, but certainly couched in terminology that I think would be more acceptable to others who do not think of God on a daily basis, and to whom the practice of prayer would seem alien. And I wonder in my inner space what God thinks of this. It certainly is a bit stand-offish. If my son or daughters were to refer to me as "that woman of my origin" or "she who raised me" instead of Mom, I would be hurt and offended.

The fifteen essays that are gathered together in TALKING TO GOD contain wisdom and spiritual knowledge. Of the six prayers sandwiched in between the essays, I was only familiar with one -- the other five were beautiful prose offering praise and glory to God that filled my cup and my soul to overflowing. And accompanying the text are vibrant, beautiful, soulful photographs that display the worship, prayers and faith of all the world's major religions. Uplifting and enlightening, the book is a blessing. Here is a selection of the inspiring quotes, blessings and prayers from its' pages:




He who is in the sun,
and in the fire,
and in the heart of man
is One.
He who knows this
is one with the One.

The Upanishads






Photographic Credit:  Mark Downey - Lowell Thomas Award for Photography
In Nara, Japan a man stops to offer prayer outside  the Todai Temple





God's answers
are wiser
than our prayers.

Unknown





Photographic Credit: Richard Nowitz - 1996 Travel Photography Award
Russian Orthodox Nuns, Easter Celebration in Jerusalem







Prayer does not change God
but it changes he who prays.








Photographic Credit: Alison Wright -- Freelance, 1993 Dorothea Lange Award
Prayer bridges the generations. Tibetan Buddhist's at Sarnath, India




Beauty is before me
And Beauty is behind me
Above and below me
Hovers the Beautiful
I am surrounded by it!
I am immersed in it!
In my youth I am aware of it..
And in old age I shall walk quietly
The Beautiful trail.

Navajo Blessing Way



Photographic Credit: Stephen Trimble - Ansel Adams Award for Photography
An Apache Sunrise Ceremony Initiate - covered in cornmeal and earth
Honouring the Elements



The world is holy.
We are holy.
Daily prayers are delivered on
The lips of breaking waves,
The whisperings of grasses,
The shimmering of leaves.

Terry Tempest Williams





Photographic Credit: Louise Gubb - Images of  the Apartheid Struggle
Mass at Christ King Cathedral, Johannesburg, South Africa


Oh God, help us in this darkened period of human history to remember once again who we are and what the purpose of our existence is here on earth. We have become usurpers of the human state, parading as human beings without full awareness of what it really means to be human. Rather than being a channel of Thy grace for Thy creation, we have decimated the harmony of life on earth, pushing many of the species (including ours) to the verge of extinction.

Oh God, awaken us at the begining of this new era from the dream of negligence and help us to fulfill our responsibilities as representatives of Thy sovereignty here on earth with essential duties toward each other and toward the whole of creation. Help us to remember our true nature, to recall whence we came and wither we shall go. Aid us in the journey of life to do Thy will and to act as the bridge between Heaven and earth, thus fulfilling the role for which Thou didst create us. Shower Thy grace upon us to be a beacon of light rather than a dark cloud for the ambience that surrounds us. Only with Thy aid can we create the peace within and harmony with the outer environment, both natural and social, for which our souls yearn. Only awareness of Thy oneness can prevent us from idolatry and dispersive multiplicity that destroy all that our inner being seeks. We pray Thee to help us remain true to our inner selves, to that primordial nature which we still carry in the deep recesses of our souls.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr


The holiest Name in the world,
the name of the Creator
Is the sound of your own breathing

Lawrence Kushner


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MORAL EDUCATION: A Series of Articles on Moral Literature for Children

ARTICLE 1
About Influencing Young Minds

In Plato's Republic, he asked, "Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales, which may be devised by casual persons; and to receive into their minds ideas, for the most part, the very opposite of those we should wish them to have when they are grown up?"

An excellent question parents should ponder.

A daily barrage of influences, both good and bad, bombards children, in today's society. From birth, their sponge-like minds begin to absorb the things they feel and see, and once their language skills take hold, what they hear. Parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and family friends all influence what that absorption includes. The media is another source of influence, and a frightening one at that. Plato would be mortified at all the "casual tales" we as parents today allow out children to absorb through television, videos and other forms of media.

Greek mythology and the ancient Greek philosophers gave the world a treasure-trove of "moral-lessons" literature. Their intent? To advance culture and to assist the commom-man to attain a higher level of understanding in order that humanity would strive to live right.

Aesop's Fables are a wonderful compilation of short little narratives that touch on, and teach about, many moral issues. They are ancient tales, and may seem out-of-date, but can be tweaked and revised into modern anecdotes that teach valuable lessons of good character. The Roman poet Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, wrote about the need for parents to guide their children.

Many modern-day educators and parents have cast away the old moral tales as too violent, too horrific and an inducer of nightmares in small children. To some extent this may be true, but to my mind, these tales were not meant as a bedtime story to delay lights out -- "just one more story, pleeeeassssse!" I think they were written as a teaching tool: to be read together -- parent and child, or teacher and child -- and then discussed. How can this concept be applied to the child's life? These valuable tales were meant for the education and training of  the young mind -- to turn the light on -- not off!

If you like this article, or if you have an opposing opinion, please leave a comment below. We invite you to browse the site to see what else may interest you. And we would love to see you support our site and the concepts we encourage and promote by having you join as a FOLLOWER, or by SHARE-ing this article with your FRIENDS on Facebook, or by adding your email address to our mail-list. WAY-FINDER WEEKLY is scheduled to be launched end-September and its purpose is to assist single-parent re-enty students feed their families during the duration of their studies. This program is not intented to provide stop-gap food-bank type assistance, but rather meaningful, dependable assistance they can rely on without a loss of dignity. These striving individuals are attempting to improve their lot in life and to give their children a better foundation. They are deserving of help. Your moral support will help make this worthwhile program happen!

The New Paradigm: Shifting Us Into A New World Order

By Serena Aubrey (Copyright, 2011 -- All Rights Reserved)

ABOUT REGIONAL & INDIVIDUAL AWAKENINGS

It starts as a whisper, and if you don't hear it, it builds a little louder. And if you still manage to ignore it, it becomes a SHOUT! And out of that SHOUT comes CHAOS.
THEO

What is this thing that starts out quietly, and builds until it creates mayhem? Who hears this whisper, this SHOUT?

It is UNREST this thing that starts out as a whisper. It starts as a whisper in the hearts of men and women who have, for far too long, lived under conditions that do not allow them personal freedom. They have lived under the regimes of mad men, wrong men, powerful men, men who are ruled by greed, men who have no compassion, men who have no love. They have lived under the rule of men who have forgotten how to be human.

When it builds up into a SHOUT, this unrest becomes a movement, a revolt, an uprising. This is an awakening of a regional proportion. This kind of awakening gathers momentum as each individual adds their voice to the SHOUT. It moves with an energy and vibration that can not be stopped. The thoughts of many join forces and the vibration strengthens. Finally the SHOUT erupts into CHAOS, and out of that CHAOS comes ORDER. And out of that ORDER there emerges a NEW WAY. One where rulers are forced to hear the words of the ruled. One where voices have more strength than firepower.

Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya in 2011..........the voices overpowered the fear of reprisal or swift punishment. The governments were weakened and the will of the people has, or will, prevail. It  is time for the world to SHIFT into a new paradigm. One which will bring PEACE to all people.




In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage -- to know who we are and where we come from. Without this enriching knowledge there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainment in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and a most disquieting loneliness.

Alex Haley


Caroline Myss, in her book, Entering the Castle (2007), writes that from the time of our infancy we live our physical life based on the need to gather up what is required for survival -- be that goods, services or attention.


WHAT'S MINE?

From birth we compete for our share. And yet as we get older, most of us feel as if there is something missing -- an empty void -- and we still have questions; deeper questions. Only the focus of the questions tends to change. We stop wondering how much more can be amassed -- maybe because we already have enough, or perhaps because it does not seem to be filling that void any way. Our thoughts begin to turn to more spiritual questions:
  • Isn't there more than this?

  • For what reason was I born?

  • What is the greater purpose and meaning of my life?

  • How can I be of service to others?
And this is an inner turning point. This is what the Universe is waiting for. When an individual starts to ask these questions, the FORCE of the SOURCE begins to send answers.

This is the individual awakening. It is your "soul" asking your "self" to allow it some freedom. Just like the awakening of a region, the soul starts with a small whisper. But it will eventually begin to SHOUT as well. Just like an oppressed people will eventually begin to strengthen their combined voices until their leaders can not ignore them, so too will your soul commence the inner CACOPHONY that will make you pay attention to the questions that beg to be answered. Your soul will engage your mind in the search for truth. And then the seeking begins...........



Positive Thought
Education
Advancement
Collaboration
Entrepreneurship




Peace......what does it mean to you? When you think about peace, about living a peaceful existence, about having peace of mind, how do you picture that for you yourself, personally?


My vision of peace means that I have CHOICE. It means I can choose:
  • where to live
  • where to work
  • where to travel
  • whom to associate with
  • whom to socialize with
  • whom to love
  • what to think and express
  • what to read
  • what to eat and drink
  • how much to spend
  • how much to save
  • who to help
In other words, PEACE for me, means freedom. I live in Canada, and for the most part I live in peace. I do not experience war, I do not experience suppression, I do not experience abuses. I come and go as I please, I express myself as I see fit, there are no external rules regarding what I eat or drink, and my income is mine to spend as I see fit. And these days I am thinking I need to choose something, or some one to help. For these freedoms I so enjoy as an integral part of my life, are not shared by all. And why not?

Are we not all created equally? Are we not all a part of one Great Creation? Is it right for me to enjoy my freedom, and my choices, while others do not? Is there not something I can do, as an individual to help foster a Peace For All? Is it that incredibly difficult to help my fellow beings on this earth? It can't be, it just simply can't be.






MORAL EDUCATION -- A Series of Articles on Moral Literature for Children

By Serena Aubrey -- Copyright 2011 by Serene Promotions (TM) * All Rights Reserved

Based on the thought-provoking books by William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues (1993) and The Moral Compass (1995), amongst other sources, this series of articles presented by Serene Promotions (TM) strives to provide food for thought. It is hoped that you, dear reader, will give pause to thought: about how you, as a parent, grand-parent, aunt or uncle, or family friend have an opportunity to influence our young people who struggle to grow into admirable adults through the ever-increasing morass of today's whirlwind society.

An African proverb reminds us, "it takes a village to raise a child", and we should all take this message to heart. Today's youngsters are tomorrow's leaders. It behoves as parents, educators and members of our communities to raise children with high moral standards. The Fourth Nobel Truth of the Buddhist belief -- similar to the belief's in every one of the world's main religions -- says that right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration leads to a life lived with high standards: ultimately leading to happiness and the cessation of suffering. Each week, articles on this topic and others, will be featured on this blog as well as various publications produced through Serene Promotions (TM). We hope you enjoy the various stories, links, quotes and messages from our sponsors and partners.

Don't miss any of the articles in this series. Be sure to sign up as a FOLLOWER of the Serene Promotions blog by any of the various means available to you (on the left hand panel) to receive notification of when a new post is submitted. We hope you become a member of this community and help us to promote PEACE for all.


to read

Article 1

Moral Education:
 About Influencing Young Minds

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

After A Hiatus -- I Return With A Message of Tolerance

LOL! It has been a bit difficult to get back into the swing of things......I took off a few weeks to spend some quality days with my far-flung family who all managed to be in the same place for the first time since 1998 -- all except for my youngest daughter, Erika, whose absence was keenly felt by us all. Maybe next time we will ALL be together....maybe for Christmas, 2011?????

As a special re-introductory video I present my blog friends with:

OUTER COVERS: How Can You Tell Who & What I Am?



video

Audio Track:

Looking For It (Finding Heaven)
by Jann Arden
(Used with artist's permission -- Thank you Jann!)

from the CD:
living under june

Copyright, 1994
A&M Records

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Beauty of Human Movement (As In Travel) and Creativity

By Serena Aubrey (Copyright, 2011)

This morning my daily digging around unearthed some photos and videos that blow me away. I began today's internet searching on Facebook, where I clicked on my friend, Tracy Fischer's, travel phlogs. She updated her Wall with a comment about her current travels to Greece. It led me to check out her previous photo albums from her trip last year to Jordan, where she was involved in an archealogical dig in the Wadi Faynan. While there the archeaological group took the opportunity to visit the ancient ruins of Petra. I met Tracy in my Creative Writing: Fiction class, at North Island College  (instructor, Steve Schoenhoff).

Tracy is a beautiful young lady with an intense desire to see and experience the world up-close and personal. She works at a local bar in Cumberland, BC on Vancouver Island, just outside of Courtney, BC. Her daily grind, serving alcohol, belies her vast inner life and desires. I greatly admire her enthusiasm for life and her dedication to travel and the exploration of this amazing planet. I cheat these days. I used to travel extensively, but I see the world now through the lenses of other people's cameras and the pictures they so graciously post on their internet pages so I too may explore, albeit from my desk. Here are some of Tracy's pics from Jordan

downloaded from Tracey's album titled:

 RESIST THE DONKEY

 (click on the images to see them in a larger format)

 Tracy in the Petra ruins

The Pillar of Tracy

Tracy on the Rocks

 An Amazing Feat - Built Right Into the Side of the Mountain

Awesome Ancient Architecture

Tracey's Archeological Group Dwarfed by the Height and Width of This Massive Stone Structure

Tracy's online album made me curious about Petra, so I went on to find out more about this ancient site through a Google search and I ended up on Wikipedia where to my great pleasure I found some videos that I want to share with my readers. They show, in a most awesome way, the creativity of the human mind. Using the resource at hand - SAND - these artists have developed talents that creatively honour their land, their beliefs, their being. The apparent ease with which they create these awesome masterpieces can in no way tell the tale of the many, many hours they must have practised to perfect the style and skill they draw forth from their souls. I am sure you will agree:





If you want to see more of these wonderful demonstrations of art expressed in the sand medium there are countless other videos posted on YouTube. ENJOY!

Photo Credits:
Resist The Donkey Album by Tracy Fischer, Copyright 2010 - All Rights Reserved

Video Credits:
 No. 1, Copyright Sept, 12, 2008 - All Rights Reserved
Sand Bottle Demonstration, Petra, Jordan by daddyliu/YouTube

No. 2, Copyright Jan. 15, 2009 - All Rights Reserved
Sand Art by World Renown Sand Artist David Alcala by sandartist1/YouTube
(Music copyright from Musicshakedotcom - associated with YouTube)

No. 3, Copyright Aug. 26, 2007 - All Rights Reserved
Sand Art Worship Painting by bigjr7769/YouTube
Featuring the art and skill of Mauricio Palacio
(Music copyright info not available)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Wonder of Consciousness

The YouTube channel The Cosmic Law, uploads some pretty interesting and thought-provoking videos. Watch this one to understand what the Serene Promotions (TM) vision and mission is all about:

POSITIVE THOUGHT being the first step in The New PEACE Paradigm


The Fibonnaci Number concept also says that the spiral pattern repeats itself throughout nature.
CLICK HERE

To learn more about the Fibonnaci number sequence and the spiral concept on Wikipedia.

It will fascinate you! Here is an illustration of the Fibonnaci Spiral in nature:


The Fibonnaci Chrysanthenum

from the Wikipedia article

downloaded from Wikipedia May 29th, 2011