Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Multi-Vitamin: You’re Daily Dose of Dis-ease?

My Candidiasis healing process has been very intuitive.

Every time something discomforting has come up, I have stated my willingness to release the pattern in my consciousness that created it and my willingness to change. I have repeatedly requested God’s help in revealing to me what is required, internally or externally, for healing. Everything necessary has come. As such, most every healing action I’ve taken has felt “good” in some way; has felt “right.”

Vitamin and mineral (V&M) supplementation, however, has a different story…

I’d read on a number of Candida-related websites, mostly alternative and/or holistic healing ones, that vitamin supplementation is very important to healing.

This made sense to me. After the majority of symptoms hit me around September, my weight went from about 155 to 135. I was feeling depressed and fatigued and my intestines were all out of whack, unable to properly absorb nutrients (among several other difficulties). It seemed sensible to me that one in such a position would want to supplement food intake with added V&M’s.

(For those of you who know I’ve been a 5-year vegetarian, I did reintroduce seafood and poultry. I don’t think there’s any way around the inclusion of meat when having Candida overgrowth, since all fruits, potatoes, beans, etc.—anything sugary or breaking down into a sugar—must be removed from the diet.)

So, off I went to the grocery store with a few items in mind:
  • Multi-vitamin (Take one a day for good health, right?)
  • Calcium (Oxalates were destroying my teeth.)
  • Multi-B vitamin (Valuable, but can’t recall my reasoning.)
  • Vitamin C (Supposedly supports immune health.)
Like any processed ingestible, I’d known that V&M’s on the grocery store shelf aren’t always the best. I’d known that their filler ingredients can be less-than-desirable. But I was also of the mind that others who have been through the Candida ordeal were recommending V&M’s, and I knew I would do well to compensate for my malabsorption issues.

As I said, intuition has remained clear throughout this process. (Continually more clear than ever in my life, actually.) Yet, even though I basically knew what I wanted, I spent 15 minutes in the supplement aisle. Something didn’t feel “right.” I’m not sure I want to say it felt “wrong,” per se, but I certainly hadn’t felt any warm and fuzzy feelings, either.

As it happened, I ended up purchasing a container of each of the above mentioned V&M’s…

Which, in the end, I took sporadically until throwing most of them in the garbage.

Here’s what I found on my journey:

What Is This Stuff, Anyway?
What must be understood up front is that the vitamins and minerals found in capsule form (and in "fortified" foods) are rarely the same as the stuff found in nature. The majority of supplements are derived from artificial sources such as coal tars, petroleum, and rock salts which are typically processed using toxic acids.

Furthermore, the fact that a supplement’s label uses words like “natural” or “vegetarian” means nothing. For example, the only thing “vegetarian” means is that a supplement's contents are non-meat-derived. The notion that "vegetarian" implies a plant food-based source is a (false) belief, not an industry regulation.

Understandably, the human body processes and reacts to lab-created “V&M’s” very differently than their truly natural, or food-derived, counterparts—usually to the extent of causing dis-ease rather than preventing it.

Resources:
The Truth about Vitamins in Nutritional Supplements
http://doctorsresearch.com/articles4.html

The Truth about Minerals in Nutritional Supplements
http://doctorsresearch.com/articles3.html

The FDA’s Role
Hence, one of the reasons why supplements always have the marking on them stating that the statements on the bottle about improved health have not been approved by the FDA: Because the compounds in the capsules (example: Not “Vitamin C,” but “Vitamin C [as Ascorbic Acid]”) are not only artificial but even dangerous. (See the two links above for two heavily researched documents revealing this.)

There’s also the reasoning that if the FDA were able to approve these supplements as completely safe and healthy there would result an “unbearable” profit loss to Big Business and the pharmaceutical industry. So, the FDA just avoids the research.

…But that’s okay, because the supplements are labeled as “USP-Verified”… Which means that whatever that stuff is in the bottle has been verified according to the "stringent testing and auditing criteria" of the United States Pharmacopeia as exactly what they want it to be…

…I’m not really sure what “what they want it to be” is (artificial, perhaps?), but research shows clearly that it’s neither food-based nor healthy.

Percent Daily Value (%DV)
More often than not, the %DV as prescribed by the FDA for any given vitamin, mineral, etc. is for the chemical concoction only, as noted on the supplement’s ingredient label (i.e.: “Vitamin E” vs “Vitamin E [as dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate]”).

This is not to say that even we’re we to have pure supplements we can recklessly ignore every %DV the FDA has suggested as though there will be no unhealthy side effects, but to acknowledge that the %DV is highly misleading. In the last several years, I’ve come upon a number of accounts of people who take certain pure, food vitamins in astronomically high quantities only to become healthier. To take amounts even remotely close via a true vitamin’s chemical “equivalent” would be suicide.

Resources
The Top 10 Myths about Eating Fruit
http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/blog/?p=173
(See Point 4.)

Food Matters (Documentary)
http://foodmatters.tv/
(If I remember correctly, the account is given where a man was administered daily quantities of Vitamin C that were exorbitantly higher than the FDA’s %DV for “the same thing.” This resulted in the man’s cancer dramatically subsiding.)

What's All This Non-Vitamin Stuff?
Be wary of filler ingredients.

Even the supplements that put words in their brand names like “nature” and “pure” are still commonly toxified with fillers and additives. "Magnesium stearate" is probably the best example: although it is known to prevent nutrient absorption and suppresses immune function (among other things), it remains in heavy usage only because of it's ability to reduce production costs.

Resources
Magnesium Stearate – Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
https://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927217

Six Crucial Things to Watch Out for When Buying Vitamins and Supplements
http://www.naturalnews.com/039271_vitamins_supplements_magnesium_stearate.html

Does Your Supplement Contain this Potentially Hazardous Ingredient?
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/23/whole-food-supplement-dangers.aspx

4 Dangerous (and Common) Vitamin Fillers You Must Avoid
http://www.draxe.com/4-dangerous-and-common-vitamin-fillers-you-must-avoid/

I Can’t Poop!
One day it dawned on me after having chronic and severe constipation and regularly taking a few different supplements: Hey, wait a minute. Doesn’t iron cause constipation?

Indeed it does, and indeed it was in my multi-vitamin—100%DV.*

Shit. And what about the other stuff?

As my Candida experience came along with both Leaky Gut Syndrome (which disables proper nutrient processing by the intestines) and a hyper-reactivity to the oxalate content of plant-based foods (oxalates bind with tooth-calcium which leads to dental decay), I thought it couldn’t hurt to take supplemental calcium.**

The recommendation on the label was to take 2 pills per day, each having 50%DV calcium. Well, thought I, if my calcium is what is being leeched from my teeth and I’m not absorbing it properly to begin with, then I’ll try 2 caps per day and see what happens.

Bad idea! The container says really big: CALCIUM. Then, in a small note on the side bottom, the label says, with D3.”

Well… Guess what, folks? While one capsule of calcium—you know, calcium, the big word on the label that tells me what I’m buying—provides a 50%DV... one capsule of this same supplement provides 100%DV of D3.

Son of a bitch! Talk about false advertising… And, so I learned, both calcium and D3 cause constipation! So, if one ingests the suggested daily dosage of 2 caps per day, that’s:

(50% + 100%) + (50% + 100%) = 300% Daily Value of Constipation!

[*Iron’s natural food “equivalent” doesn’t cause constipation; only the supplemental form.

**Majorly misguided was this move. The belief that teeth need calcium, nearly to the exclusion of any other V&M, is completely false. All V&M’s must work both in tandem with a number of other V&M’s and with their nature-sourced attachments (meaning the V&M’s are in non-isolate form) or the body will perceive them as toxins… which results in the body’s immune response kicking in unnecessarily and possible dis-ease.]

In Conclusion
I was played for a fool.

But I’ve learned. I’ve learned a lot.

Hopefully you have, too.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Letting Go and Moving On

“Sometimes in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself.”
--Katherine Sharp

Alright, folks. Here’s the latest and greatest:

My candida odyssey is still ongoing, but I have much reason to believe that I’ve seen the worst of it—by far.

Healing is a slow process. Since my yeast infection came on about 9 months ago… well, once I realized there was a major issue, anyway… intuition has been an ever-trustworthy sidekick. I’ve never gone to the doctor. I’ve stated my willingness and intention to change, I’ve done the research, I’ve “read into myself” and done the self-help work, and I’ve done the affirmations. All the guidance I’ve needed for healing has come to me—sometimes by miraculous means, and sometimes through average, everyday people who may have stated things that I didn’t originally want to hear (because it was different or new or ego-filled) but found to be incredibly useful advice once I decided to listen unconditionally (that is: to audibly pay attention without judgment).

Furthermore, the knowledge, life lessons, and insights I’ve so far gathered have been wonderful.

However, the human inclination for stubbornness to face discomfort and release old ways as well as the body’s extended time requirement for rebalancing after a yeast infection has resulted in a rather lengthy healing time.

The redness in my eyes (as I’ve brought up in earlier posts), which can be a sign of intestinal inflammation, is definitely receding. I can now spend several hours per day at a computer with minimal issue, whereas at one recent point I couldn’t look at a screen for five minutes without great irritation. Otherwise, most other symptoms have passed. The real bitch now is candida die-off, as it floods the body with toxins and adds some added discomfort (usually moderate to severe fatigue) to a body already weak and skeletally thin.

So… That’s the candida update for now.

In other news…

I am “letting go” of this blog.

For one thing, the past year of 2013 has been the most difficult of my life and has brought a lot of imbalance to my attention which, now seen so clearly, can no longer go unhealed. I need time to focus on healing these issues.

The out-of-the-blue realization that I could write and the wisdom and insights I’ve intuitively gained in the last few years have shown me that I can use an outlet such as blogging as a means of reaching out to others—not me offering help only because others were a reflection of my own need for help but me offering assistance from a soul level calling.

Nonetheless, although I’ve learned from healing some major life issues and consequently been able to unlock within myself aspects previously unimagined, I have not cleared everything. Especially now, as the yeast infection has shown me, I’ve got a major life issue or two which have surfaced and must be fully resolved.

If I cannot help myself, how can I help another?
How can I give what I do not have?

Along these lines, the personal services page will be pulled. If you would still like to contact me, feel free. Even if I don’t update for 2 or 3 months at a shot, I’ll still be around.

Secondly, I’ve been out of work for a while.

This blog has proven very useful for me during this time, both as a means of self-expression and as a learning experience. Hopefully it has been useful for you, also.

As of late I’ve been feeling much more inclined to return to a more hands-on approach to life, learning, and connecting with others. I desire to get back to working on another passion of mine which is fabricating and assembling things; preferably, automated machinery. In this role I will be able to do what I love while also having more person-to-person interaction… And I’ll get paid, too. After taking time off, that’s a pretty big deal.

As I write this, I don’t intend to close the blog, yet updates will be sparse.

As I see it, writing may still be in my future. One thing I would like to do is make a post about my candida odyssey once it is completed. It’s clear to me that if I would have been exacting in my actions with the awareness I’ve gained in regard to the dis-ease, I could have been done with it in a few months. This was not the case and so it lingers.

(This lingering can be stressful at times, but I must acknowledge that it’s a damn good way the Universe has used to show me what is still out of whack at a mental-emotional level. There are some aspects of myself I wish to no longer carry, but I sure wouldn’t have acknowledged them, and so continued my blind suffering, without being forced to step beyond my own stubborn unwillingness to see the truth.)

I hope to offer a post with information; links; low-cost, alternative healing methods; and the like that can offer those who suffer from candida overgrowth an easier way out than what modern Western medicine can provide. (So I say based on every account—usually multi-year horror stories—I’ve read where people visit traditional Western doctors only for their conditions to worsen. Plus, as I’ve experienced myself, failure to address the metaphysical cause which brought on the illness is also a significant factor in its continuance.)

Lastly, if you’ve followed me on Twitter, know that my account is going bye-bye. I created it mostly for blog post sharing, but, as I never became a traffic-funneling Twitter mastermind and it causes my blog to get about 90 percent more spam than actual human beings, I plan to close the account.

All that said… I’ll update when and if I update… and I won’t update when and if I don’t!

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Missing In Action

Back in July I made the comment near the end of a blog post that I didn’t think I’d be writing as much for the foreseeable future. I thought I’d still be posting regularly, just less. What I didn’t expect, and as things have turned out, is that I would end up posting next to nothing for several months straight.

With that same comment, I stated that my life was turning up after a springtime Dark Night of the Soul experience. Although this appeared to be true (at least in an emotional sense), I was quite blind to the events that would soon follow... and take me back down into a prolonged state of dis-ease.

Around summertime I began experiencing symptoms of what I now know to be Candidiasis paralleled with what I’m terming an Oxalate Overdose. I’ve been working toward healing, physically and metaphysically, for a few months now. To say these issues are persistent is an understatement. It seems that nearly every time I feel I’ve cleared something up or made an advancement, I am either proven wrong, I slip up in my diet and supplement regimen, or another aspect of the complete picture rears its ugly head.

Basically, this is where I’ve been and this is where I’m at right now. I’ve learned a great deal in the process, so for that reason it’s been a blessing in disguise. Yet what an ordeal it has been…

As for this blog, it’s anyone’s guess when I’ll be back to writing regularly. I’ve had minimal inspiration to write in the last few months and that was only a few weeks ago. Even there, however, both because my sickness makes my eyes particularly prone to strain when using a computer (this seems to be improving) and because my body is often in a state of mild depression and fatigue, I have had little desire to type up or publish any of my works-in-progress.

Anyway… That’s it for now.

May you have a joyful holiday.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Self-Sabotage – Part 1: The Unwitting Destroyer

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Fair enough. And what about the fearful? When the going gets tough, what happens to them?

They create stories.

Stories about how things should be different. Stories about how they don’t want to be involved. Stories about how they're afraid of their own power. Stories about how they are afraid of their situation and possible outcomes. Stories about how they would do anything to not be in their current position.

For most fearful people these stories may not seem all that big of a deal. After all, they’re just imagining fanciful hopes about how they would prefer their experience to play out… Aren’t they?

Empowered Creation
By nature, we are all creating at some level all the time.

Generally speaking, most of us are creating unconsciously. We have no awareness of our true capacity to create, and we have little if any control over or focus in our thoughts. Thus it seems for us that, although we can make a few “creative” choices like what we eat for dinner or what kind of car we buy, life otherwise just seems to happen.

Others of us, a relative few, are more conscious of our ability to create with our thoughts. We are aware we are co-creators and we have developed some greater degree of thought and focus management. This allows us to consciously direct our lives toward the experiences that will aid us in attaining our higher good.

Regardless of the amount of awareness we have in co-creating our life experience, however, it is the most empowered of us who are the most likely to get what we want. For it is the empowerment—the emotional power—behind our thoughts that determines how readily our thoughts (etheric energy) take on form (physical energy). Good intention, bad intention, conscious intention, and unconscious intention all being irrelevant.

For the average I’m-unconscious-I’m-a-co-creator Joe, this is not usually a good thing.

Setting the Foundation for Self-Sabotage
There we are out on the soccer field at seven years of age.

My parents are forcing me to play this sport. I hate it. I-HATE-IT-I-HATE-IT-I-HATE-IT! ANYTHING would be better than being here. I just want it to be OVER. NOW. I NEVER want to play sports EVER AGAIN!

And then something unexpected happens…

As we’re dribbling the soccerball, when an opponent tries to kick the ball away he kicks us in the ankle instead. Down we go with a compound fracture.

Emotionally powered co-creation, thank you very much. You’ve shown me that dreams do come true. You’ve revealed to me one of the invisible yet ever-present laws of the universe: “Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Okay. So we’re probably not feeling much gratitude, and we probably have no conscious awareness that we were just given exactly what we asked for. But our request did manifest, did it not?


…Fifteen years pass by…

This is frickin' bullshit! Every sport I ever play, no matter when in my life—it always goes to shit! What the hell is wrong with me!?


At a time out of memory our ability to co-create had served us well.

We’d made the empowered assertions that, “ANYTHING would be better than being here,” and, “I NEVER want to play sports EVER AGAIN!” Aside from the annoyance of the broken ankle that followed, we had gotten what we’d desired. Rather than unhappily having to wake up early on cold fall mornings to play a stupid, dreadful sport, we could wake up late and sit in front of the fireplace while playing Super Mario Brothers all day.

Pretty great, huh?

What’s not so great is that, unknown to us, our empowered assertions had created within us a program relating to a profound animosity for sports and the need for a reason to never have to be involved in them again.

In other words, we’d created a subconscious program for self-sabotage.

This essentially means that until the program is resolved, because subconscious thought, and thus unconscious action, typically take priority over the conscious, we will continually and involuntarily sabotage ourselves when taking part in sports—sometimes even before they begin.

Later on in college, for example, we will not be able to simply say, “I want to play rugby now,” and expect all to be well. We will actually have to see the subconscious programming and release it in order to cease the unconsciously manifested self-sabotage action which results of it.

Equal Opportunity Programming
These self-sabotage programs can be created by anyone about anything. For whatever reason(s), we feel fear about following through on an experience and choose to focus our empowered mind on what we would rather have.

I love writing and playing music, but I NEVER want to make it big. Fame makes people puppets and turns lives into hell. I REALLY DON’T WANT that.

Good luck if you change only your conscious mind...

Why do people give me gifts? I DO NOT deserve them. I am NOT worthy of any of this—not the gifts, not the attention, not the honor, none of it. What I DO WANT is to be LEFT ALONE!

Good luck if you change only your conscious mind...

I would love to make arts and crafts for a living… But no—Oh NO!—What would the parents think? I could NEVER do that. They would NEVER show me respect or support me. I’d be judged as WORTHLESS and IRRESPONSIBLE. I’d feel so TERRIBLE. NO, I must do something more practical or otherwise be a FAILURE.

Good luck if you change only your conscious mind...

Recurrent Catastrophe = Red Flag
Because we’re unaware that we are co-creators and because our manifest reality often unfolds with different timing and characteristics than we’d fantasized about, little do we realize that we ourselves create the subconscious ground rules by which it may appear our life is cursed.

We will unwittingly create programs for self-sabotage, yet once their useful lives are over, we will fail to remove them.

Hence, seeming fate. Hence, self-fulfilling prophecy. Hence, the repetition of life and history.

If things we do break down (especially of recurring themes), not naturally but in suffering and catastrophe, this is an excellent indicator of there being a self-sabotage program running under the surface. Such cyclic experiential difficulty doesn’t just happen. It is not in the nature of the universe to create suffering. It is we who must first choose to create it for ourselves.

A Wider Perspective
Look at life as a whole. Look at Mother Nature. Look out into the cosmos on a starry night…

Indeed, as Life does its thing, there is pain to be experienced . Yet it is only the unnecessary, destructive stories we humans create within which cause suffering. All else throughout the vast cosmic expanse is in harmony.

…Unless, of course, there are other beings who are also creating stories! But we’ll worry about that some other time. For now let’s focus on ourselves. Each of us has the keys to personal healing within ourselves, and so it is only we as individuals who can begin the process of healing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pain and Suffering: What Is and What Is Not

Common Understanding
What is pain? What is suffering?

Generally, we think of pain and suffering as the same thing. Or, maybe with a small variation, that pain is more so what an original instance of hurt results in—ex: the physical hurt of a broken leg—while suffering is the sustained hurt that may come after—ex: physical hurt of a mending leg or the inability to be active during the healing process.

By definition, the dictionary describes each word using the other, and the thesaurus shows them as synonyms.

For the average person this understanding may be sufficient.

In the world of self-help or self-improvement, of spiritual growth, however, this understanding is no longer suitable. It becomes very necessary to draw a clearly defined line between the answers to, “What is pain?” and, “What is suffering?”

Drawing a Line
As the saying goes, We are not physical beings having an occasional spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a temporary physical experience.

We are already spiritual. It is our inherent nature. It’s just that we cannot readily see this because physical life as we know it requires us to experience with veiled awareness.

The holder of this veil is ego.

The ego is important because it offers each of us, as spiritual beings who’re never truly disconnected from the One or each “other,” a sense of self, a unique personality. Where things get rough is when the ego goes untamed and sees itself, and thus the person sees his- or herself, as separate from everything.

The ego does this by creating all sorts of definitions or stories—beliefs—about life, the universe, and everything and holds them all as “true.” But, remember, What we believe we perceive. By the nature of belief and the Law of Non-Interference, Life will not force us to perceive what we do not believe. If we choose to believe something, our perception will always make it appear as such, no matter how ridiculous our rationalization, even were the truth to be right before us.

Back to the veil, then… It is our personal beliefs which keep the veil in place. We choose to believe a story that is not real and so reality cannot reveal itself to us. Said simply: Our beliefs prevent us from experiencing what is.

It’s at the seam between what is and what is not is where we must draw our line between, “What is pain?” and, “What is suffering?”

Should we never make this distinction, we will never really be able to decipher reality from illusion, between what is a fact of now-moment existence and what is a fabrication of the mind which needs not exist and exponentiates the hurt in our lives. This distinction is a requirement should we choose to step beyond the veil of physical existence and truly expand our conscious awareness into the realm of Inner Self or Spirit where neither illusion nor suffering exist.

Pain and Suffering
So… What is pain? What is suffering?

Pain is physical, bio-electric, now-moment hurt.

The body, the vehicle of the mind and soul, is always existing in this physical now-moment. When a leg breaks, the nerves at the point of trauma send their bio-electric signal to the brain, and the brain makes conscious the physical sensation known as pain. If the physical hurt remains in the leg for the next few months until healed, although drawn out, the hurt is still the result of a continuous stream of always now-moment bio-electric signals and so it is still only pain which is experienced.

Suffering, on the other hand, is a function of the mind. Suffering can be the result of two things:
  1. A story/belief (or more) about any physical hurt we may feel.
  2. A story/belief (or more) about any emotions which arise.
To the first point:

When we break a leg in this now-moment we have a choice: Do we accept what is, or do we create a story about what is which causes us to perceive what is not?

We can say: “My leg is broken. There is great physical pain and a lot of blood. I think I see the bone sticking through my flesh.”

Or we can say: “Oh-God!-Oh-God!-Oh-God! I’m going to die! This is the—Ahhhhhhh!—the absolute worst pain I’ve ever been in; the absolute worst day of my life! That bastard shouldn’t have been speeding! He’s over there talking to the police officer like nothing happened, and I’ve got this bone sticking out of my leg! This hospital visit is going to suck! There goes my basketball career! Right down the drain! This should never have happened to me! I've always known this was a dangerous intersection!”

(Wow… How exhausting…)

The former instance is acceptance. It’s an acknowledgement of what is in this physical now-moment. The latter scenario is a perception-clouding illusory tale relating the now-moment experience to prior beliefs and using them to color the present and future. The latter is a mental drama having no bearing in reality, or what is.

The second manner in which suffering can arise is in the rejection of emotion.

Emotion, no matter what that emotion is, is a natural part of the human experience. The only reason any of it appears “wrong” is because suppression-oriented “authoritative” institutions have told us it is so and we have believed them. (It’s easier to control people this way and to have them blindly give away all their power and money.)

If we want to say emotion is ever “wrong,” then it would only be in our rejection and suppression of it and the intensity of harmful, emotionally fueled action that may result when finally vented.

Like when we feel frustrated. We can just feel the frustration and let it go. Or... We can feel frustrated about feeling frustrated, which we “shouldn’t” ever feel, and so hang on to it rather than allowing it to pass through us... And perhaps then allow that frustration to evolve into anger, at which time we feel angry that we've become angry... And possibly follow up that by going into rage. But we "should never" feel rage, so we feel outrage that we feel rage at all... And then maybe, just maybe, our rage takes us into an utter berserk-mode frenzy of extreme violence... All because we refused to fully feel our initial bout of frustration under the mistaken belief that it was "wrong."

But just as we can experience and express “positive” emotion in a healthy manner, so too, with proper education and self-acceptance, can we express “negative” emotion in a healthy manner. This is possible because emotion is neutral. It’s not until we create a prior belief-based mental story in regard to the emotion we feel about a now-moment experience that an emotion becomes “positive” or “negative.”

If our car accident and broken leg fill us with anger, we have the option to use that anger either to talk to our city officials about improving the conditions at that intersection which we’d always known was dangerous or as fuel to drop into rage and hire a hitman to kill the speeder.

The Summing Up
Pain is a bio-electric, always-in-this-physical-what-is-now-moment experience fact of life. Suffering, although seemingly a fact of life, is not. Instead, it is the product of a now-moment experience overlaid by a fantasy story about that experience which exists only within the mind.

Since spiritual growth requires that we break down the veil of ego, we must draw a line between, “What is pain?” and, “What is suffering?”—or, “What is physically now? and, “What is the mind’s illusory tale about what is physically now?” This leads us to clearing out all that creates suffering: that which is false, fear-centered, suppressive, past-based, and future-projected—not of this now-moment.

It is then with continued healing that Spirit can truly reveal itself from within us, that reality can clarify within our perception, and suffering can gradually come to an end.

Forever.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Architect’s Mansion

[As I do not desire to be labeled a thief, I must mention that I am unsure when or by whom the following parable was written, or what the original title was. I’d read once it a few years ago but cannot recall any other details. No matter, this is my best effort to recreate it. I hope you enjoy it.]

-----

The Architect’s Mansion
Once upon a time there was a master craftsman.

Although always working under an architect, this craftsman was well-known for his skill in building houses. Far and wide it was known that when this craftsman was building the result was always top quality. No secret was it that he poured his heart and soul into every aspect of his labors.

Yet, what people didn’t know of was the resentment which burned within the craftsman toward his boss. The man loved his work, he was always smiling, and never said a distasteful word about the architect.

When the architect was nearing retirement, he went to the craftsman and said: “Before I leave this company, I have one last project for you. I would like you to build me a mansion. Big and beautiful, the best of all things.

“Of course,” said the craftsman.

But in the back of the craftsman’s mind were other thoughts: A mansion. Big and beautiful. The best. Right… So after all the suffering you’ve caused me over the years, you can retire into a mansion while I’m stuck in the same old shack… I’ll build you a mansion all right…”

And so, fueled by resentment, the craftsman moved forward building the new house.

Without proper ground testing, he laid low-grade cement for the mansion’s foundation. For the frame he used cheap wood and skimped on the hardware. The electrical and plumbing systems were wired and piped carelessly.

Over top of all this, the craftsman took great care to make sure that all was painted cleanly, that all exterior facades were deftly installed.

To the eye the finished mansion was, indeed, big and beautiful, having all the amenities one could ever desire. Yet, through and through, all that could be hidden was of the lowest quality work the craftsman had ever done.

On the day of the mansion’s completion the architect came to see the craftsman.

As the craftsman handed the architect the keys, with spite in his heart he said: “Your mansion is finished. I hope you enjoy it.”

On taking the keys, the architect said:

“My friend… I know we haven’t had the best relationship. I know I was often unfair to you. But through it all you’ve never disrespected me. Time and time again you’ve poured your heart and soul into each project I’ve set before you. The quality is superior to anything I’ve ever seen. Certainly my business would not have succeeded, would not have flourished, without you.

“So, before we part ways, I just want to say thank you. Thank you so very much.

“…And, here… Take these keys back. They’re yours now.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

An Empty Cup

There was once a university professor who visited with a Zen master to talk of Zen-related matters. As they talked, it became clear to the Zen master that the professor, often talking at great length, already deemed himself quite astute in the subjects of Buddhism and Zen.

After listening for a time, the Zen master offered tea. On acceptance, the Zen master left the room and came back with a teapot and cup.

As the professor again began talking from where he’d left off, the Zen master poured the professor’s tea. When it reached the brim of the cup, the Zen master continued pouring. Tea spilled down the side of the cup, all over the table, and even onto the floor.

“Whoa! Whoa!” shouted the professor. “What in the world are you doing? Can’t you see it’s full?”

“You are like this cup,” the Zen master said. “You are already so full that nothing more can get in. You came here requesting to discuss Zen. How can I show you what Zen is if you do not first empty your cup?”

The professor was stunned into silence.

“Please,” said the Zen master, “go away and come back when you are capable of receiving.”