Saturday, 30 April 2011

USA Hunger Facts

Hunger Facts

In many ways, America is the land of plenty. But for 1 in 6 Americans, hunger is a reality. Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different.

Right now, millions of Americans are struggling with hunger.  These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days.

It’s time to educate ourselves about the causes of hunger in America.

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

I used to procrastinate now I just put things off - BRILLIANT video & student resources

Click o link to see Dr Shulman's site

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

"What is mysticism?" - a view by Dr Laura Ellen Shulman

What is Mysticism?

  • Handout and Review: definition and characteristics of mysticism

  • Popular religion believes in gods and goddesses worshipped through ritual practices

  • Mystical religion moves beyond popular deities to an abstract, philosophical conception of Higher Reality, moves beyond ritual and devotion to direct, experiential knowledge of divinity and the presence of such in one’s own being/self

  • theology = indirect, intellectual knowledge about God; Mysticism = direct, experiential knowledge of God (c.f.: knowing about someone famous [from afar] vs. knowing him as a personal friend)

Dr Shulman has the skill to present in a simple and clear way this subject area that can so easily obfuscate.

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

What is Universalism? - Ans: It is the perennial wisdom of the inter-spiritual, inter-mystic

Major points of agreement developed by 15 spiritual leaders from nine different religious traditions, including: 

Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Native American, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, and Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

These guidelines are not presented as definitive, but they offer a useful starting point for interfaith religious dialogue. They were written by the SnowMass Ecumenical Conference, convened by Fr. Thomas Keating, 1984 -89.

1. The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality, to which they give various names: Brahman, Allah, (the) Absolute, God, Great Spirit.

2. Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept.

3. Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.

4. Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.

5. The potential for human wholeness—or in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transformation, blessedness, nirvana—is present in every human person.

6. Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service of others.

7. As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance, illusion, weakness and suffering.

8. Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness (unity) with Ultimate Reality.

9. Prayer is communion with Ultimate Reality, whether it is regarded as personal, impersonal (transpersonal), or beyond them both.

The participants in the Snowmass Conference who discovered these areas of agreement were all long-term practitioners of their respective spiritual paths, to the point of embodying their respective traditions in a remarkable way. Although these guidelines point to certain truths that appear to be common to all religions, they do not imply that all religions are the same. The guidelines in no way contradict the spiritual uniqueness and richness of any one tradition.

During the Snowmass Conference, which met in annual week-long retreats for several years, various areas of disagreement were also discovered and explored. The participants became very honest with each other in stating exactly what they believed, but they did not try to convince the others of their respective positions. To their delight, they found that discussing their points of disagreement actually increased the bonding of the group even more than discovering their points of agreement.

Interfaith spirituality is a growing movement toward a universal spirituality world wide, as practitioners from different faiths discover how their own spiritual lives are enriched by learning from other traditions. Interfaith spirituality has a profound role to play in healing the religious divisions and conflicts in the world.

For an excellent introduction to interfaith spirituality, see “The Mystic Heart” by Wayne Teasdale (New World, 2001).


Alternative version

The Snowmass Conference's Guidelines for Interreligious Understanding

  1. The world religions bear witness to the experience of the Ultimate Reality to which they give various names: Brahman, the Absolute, God, Allah, (the) Great Spirit, the Transcendent. 

  2. The Ultimate Reality surpasses any name or concept that can be given to It. 

  3. The Ultimate Reality is the source (ground of being) of all existence. 

  4. Faith is opening, surrendering, and responding to the Ultimate Reality. This relationship precedes every belief system. 

  5. The potential for human wholeness -- or in other frames of reference, liberation, self-transcendence, enlightenment, salvation, transforming union, moksha, nirvana, fana -- is present in every human person. 

  6. The Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships and service to others. 

  7. The differences among belief systems should be presented as facts that distinguish them, not as points of superiority. 

  8. In the light of the globalization of life and culture now in process, the personal and social ethical principles proposed by the world religions in the past need to be re-thought and re-expressed.

from Speaking of Silence: Christian and Buddhists on the Contemplative Way by Thomas Keating


Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous



This section treats Ultimate Reality as a mystery, not a thing that can be defined by form or a concept of being. In the monotheistic religions, God is beyond any human concept, hidden, and inscrutable: 'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.' The prohibition of images is a statement about the utter transcendence of God, for to make an idol to represent God is to reduce the infinite to finitude. Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism affirm the ineffability of Ultimate Reality in their assertions that no words or intellection can properly convey its nature. It is beyond all duality, e.g., all attempts to think of it as a "thing" separate from other things. Its nature is emptiness.

Emptiness in the eastern religions should never be misunderstood as a cognitive statement about Reality--such a statement or its referent is a "thing" and cannot itself be empty. Rather, as the Buddhist scholar Edward Conze writes,

Emptiness is not a theory, but a ladder that reaches out into the infinite. A ladder is not there to be discussed, but to be climbed.... It is a practical concept, and it embodies an aspiration, not a view. Its only use is to help us to get rid of this world and of the ignorance which binds us to it. It has not only one meaning, but several, which can unfold themselves on the successive stages of the actual process of transcending the world through wisdom. Not everyone, of course, is meant to understand what emptiness means. In that case it is better to pass on to something else.1

Truly Thou art a God who hidest Thyself.

1. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 45.15

Invent not similitudes for God; for God knows, and you know not.

2. Islam. Qur'an 16.74

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

3. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 55.8-9

No vision can grasp Him,
But His grasp is over all vision;
He is above all comprehension,
Yet is acquainted with all things.

Click on link to go to this vast anthology

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

"Happiness is the very opposite of selfishness." says Anthony Seldon

Anthony Seldon, leading British educationalist and political historian, has been the head of Wellington College since 2006, where he has replaced the GCSEs by his own curriculum, including lessons in happiness.

In the BBC programme 'Five Things I have learnt", he says: "Happiness is the very opposite of selfishness. It involves conscious choice every second of every day. Much of my life has been spent either unhappy or in a kind of neutral state and I now realise that one can make a conscious decision to be happy. Happiness follows from a sense of living in harmony with oneself and with others, and turning one's mind to the present and away from one's own self-centred thoughts. (...)

It is now an obsession with me as a head master that young people are encouraged to make their own choices and learn how to live. Happiness lessons help here - we have them at my school. They learn that making mistakes can often be a good thing. Learning to meditate and do yoga helped me enormously." More on

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

'Dr Ambedkar a hero of India written out of history because of the accursed caste system' - see also Guardian editorial

File:Ambedkar speech at Yeola.gif

Sick of the sycophancy around the 'Royal Wedding'?  We can trust the Guardian to remind us of reality.  Here is what they said

Among the most tiresome of all observations made about the royal wedding was that it represented some kind of triumph of social mobility. 

The new Duchess of Cambridge is the great-great-granddaughter of a coalminer, runs this story, and her mother worked as an air hostess. ....... she also went to Marlborough College. 

Such cant brings to mind a more potent example of social mobility – and of that mobility being put to significant purpose. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in 1891, an untouchable in an India run by the British – that is to say a subaltern twice over, subjugated by an imperial government and by high-caste Indians. 

He died in 1956, with doctorates from Columbia University and the LSE. Most importantly, he will be remembered as the emancipator of other untouchables and the jurist in charge of drafting the constitution of the Indian republic. 

Ambedkar fought for a free India, and for the freedom of all castes within that state. He sought advancement not just for himself, nor for those like him, but also for Brahmins, Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists. His time at the bar in London and at the LSE, but most of all his sterling example, surely make him more than deserving of public memorial here. 

"How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life?" asked Ambedkar. "If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril." 

His message, intended for 20th-century India, is just as relevant for 21st-century Britain.

It's not only time that Dr Ambedkar had a fitting memorial here in the UK but it is much more to the point that India should put right the appalling consequences of its caste system - far worse that the treatment of black Americans in the 20thC or South African apartheid - it is a vileness that the greatness of the Indian spirit should expunge from the whole continent.

Source HERE 

Photo - WikiPedia

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Thursday, 28 April 2011

'Forgiveness: Stories of Our Time' - Documentary DVD - review by Mary Northrup

Forgiveness: Stories of Our Time 

Mary says;

How can forgiveness occur in the face of unspeakable acts of horror? The stories of this film, told by the survivors, attest to the place of forgiveness even after the most horrible of crimes.

The main part of this film consists of these survivors relating their stories directly to the camera. A Canadian mother tells how her daughter was raped and strangled. A husband tells how his wife was killed by a bomb blast perpetrated by the IRA in Ireland. A mother relates the story of her daughter who was killed by an al Qaida bombing of a subway in London. A daughter tells of her father’s death at the hands of a schizophrenic neighbor in Newfoundland.

They speak of the facts of the crimes, and they talk candidly of their overwhelming anger. And then they speak of forgiveness: not a shallow forgiveness of “It’s okay,” but a forgiveness that allows them to move forward.

........... Despite the subject matter, the director has fashioned a film that is longer on hope than on depression. Each of these survivors had a moment where he or she found a new place, one of forgiveness and reconciliation, and this is what comes through clearly in the film.

While the subject matter may seem grisly to some—and there are scenes that may be too graphic for the squeamish—this film would be an interesting springboard for discussion for religious studies and criminal justice classes, as well as other interested adult groups.

Forgiveness takes the viewer inside the lives of those who some may argue deserve to nurse their anger, but who have found a way instead to set themselves free.

Click HERE for full details

Available on Amazon - UK and USA

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Happiness is a Political Issue - from Happy Ltd

A real focus on happiness is not politically neutral. We know that the most happy societies are the most equal. That is why Scandinavian countries tend to come top of international happiness surveys. And the recent survey that found only 6% of the Chinese population was happy, in their now very unequal society, led to the Chinese government banning references to it. (Denmark came top with 72% happy.)

Inequality makes people unhappy. Poverty makes people unhappy. Consumerism makes people unhappy. A real focus on increasing happiness would lead to very radical change in society. Bring it on!

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Some Powerful Quotes by Eckhart Tolle from The Power of Now

Having access to that formless realm is truly liberating. It frees you from bondage to form and identification with form. It is life in its undifferentiated state prior to its fragmentation into multiplicity. We may call it the Unmanifested, the invisible Source of all things, the Being within all beings. It is a realm of deep stillness and peace, but also of joy and intense aliveness. Whenever you are present, you become "transparent" to some extent to the light, the pure consciousness that emanates from this Source. You also realize that the light is not separate from who you are but constitutes your very essence.

Click on link to read other quotes

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Range of articles on mindfulness in Psychology Today

There are a range of articles in Psychology Today HERE

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

I love this - 'Shambhala Sun - In the Pure Land of the Present Moment (May 2011)'

In the Pure Land of the Present Moment

A discourse by the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, as told by his disciple SISTER DANG NGHIEM.

This is what I heard. Thich Nhat Hanh came to Hollywood to announce that his book, Old Path White Clouds, would be made into a movie. At that time, Thay had with him a number of monastic disciples—monks and nuns from Deer Park Monastery and Plum Village—a number of lay disciples, and many movie stars, directors, and producers from Hollywood and Tokyo.

A movie star in her exquisite outfit stood up, bowed her head gracefully, and asked a question:

Dear Thay, we belong to the entertainment world. We are fortunate to have become very successful and popular in society. However, many of us feel lonely, worried, fearful, and desolate. We try to find relief in drugs, sex, and consumption. We have heard of a place called the Pure Land, where people live happily and peacefully. Dear Thay, please be kind and tell us about that land. How can the people in that land live so happily and peacefully, and how can we get there?

Thay smiled, invited her to sit down, and answered gently:

There is indeed a place like that, called the Pure Land of the Present Moment. That land is not limited in space or time. Speaking in Buddhist terminology, that land is outside of space and time. Speaking in terminology of quantum physics, it is nonlocal and nontemporal. Anyone who carries the passport of mindfulness, concentration, and insight can enter that land.

Dear friends, why is that place called the Pure Land of the Present Moment? It is because the people who live there have the opportunity to practice living happily right in the present moment. In that land, there are pine trees singing and flowers rich in colors and forms. The moon and the stars shine brightly, and there are myriads of other wonders, which the people who live there have the capacity to be in touch with and enjoy at every moment of their daily lives. They know how to keep their minds free and calm and to establish their bodies and minds in the present moment.

Not only wonders such as the moon and the stars, the pine trees, and the flowers belong to the Pure Land—the people themselves belong to the Pure Land. The Pure Land is always available to them, and they practice to be present for the Pure Land twenty-four hours a day. That is why it is called the Pure Land of the Present Moment.

Furthermore, dear friends, each morning the people in that land wake up smiling, aware that they have twenty-four brand new hours to practice living fully and cultivating compassion for all living beings. They take their first steps in mindfulness and freedom, aware of the living creatures underneath their feet, so that they may walk with love and the commitment to protect life. The people who live there gather flowers of mindfulness with every action of mind, body, and speech. Whether they are doing walking meditation, sitting meditation, cooking, washing, or gardening, they enjoy peace and happiness. The people there do not need to travel by air out of their land, and yet they can make offerings to the buddhas of countless other lands with the flowers of mindfulness they collect.

In the Pure Land of the Present Moment, dear friends, the people know how to listen to many different kinds of bells—the great temple bell, the meditation bell, the church bell, the clock chimes, and the telephone rings—in order to return to their in-breath and out-breath. With mindful breathing, they become calm, and they can be in touch with the wonders of life available in the present moment.

The people in that land are aware that their true presence is the most valuable gift they can offer to those they love and appreciate. All day long, they know how to raise the quality of their fresh and loving presence, whether they are shopping, working, using the toilet, washing, or eating. Dear friends, the people in that land know how to be present for themselves and for others.

What is more, dear friends, you can see in the Pure Land of the Present Moment different species of birds, such as blue jays, hummingbirds, sparrows, and orioles. These birds sing with harmonious, sweet sounds throughout six periods of the day, and their songs are also bells of mindfulness. When the people of this land hear these joyous and clear sounds, they know to come back to their breathing and to practice the mindfulness of Buddha, dharma, and sangha that is present within themselves and all around them.

Dear friends, do not think that the birds in the Pure Land of the Present Moment have been born as the result of past negative actions. Why? Because when the conditions are sufficient, they manifest. Safe from harm and free to soar, these birds also belong to the Pure Land, and their songs are skillful means to bring the hearers back to the present moment. Because the people of this land have right mindfulness and right concentration, whenever they hear the birds singing or the light breeze fluttering the leaves of the trees, they also hear teachings on different dharma doors, such as the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, the five faculties, the five powers, interbeing, impermanence, nonself, signlessness, and aimlessness.

Dear friends, do not think that the people of the Pure Land of the Present Moment do not know what suffering is about. If they did not know about suffering, how could they cultivate understanding and love in order to build the foundation of their true happiness? Many among the people of the Pure Land have had the experience of living in the world of money and fame, competing ruthlessly and causing suffering to themselves and many others. However, since they came in contact with the practice of mindfulness, concentration, and insight, they have been able to change their lifestyle and find the Pure Land of the Present Moment. They know how to live more simply and to consume less. Aware that their environment affects their mind, body, and speech, leading them to either happiness or suffering, the people of that land come together to build communities of mindful living based on the five mindfulness trainings. Precepts, concentration, and insight help the people see what is happening and know what they should do and should not do. Therefore, they are no longer pulled into the three lower realms of hells, hungry ghosts, and animals.

Furthermore, the people of that land know how to take refuge in mindful walking and mindful breathing in order to remain in the Pure Land. They also know how to recognize their own unmindfulness and the unmindfulness of others around them in order to wake themselves up and to come back to the Pure Land. Dear friends, the Pure Land of the Present Moment has brotherhood, sisterhood, and concrete practices like that.

Dear friends, the people of the Pure Land of the Present Moment live with freshness like that of flowers, and each person is a flower in the garden of humanity. Surrounding them are innumerable species of flowers, variant in colors and textures and forms. There are flowers blooming on the ground, flowers on the surface of the water, and flowers on the faces of the people. The refreshing smiles and the compassionate eyes of the people in the Pure Land of the Present Moment are truly flowers. What is more, in the Pure Land of the Present Moment, there are lakes full of colorful lotus flowers. The white lotuses give out a halo of white light, the pink lotuses a halo of pink light, the yellow lotuses a halo of yellow light, and the blue lotuses a halo of blue light. The fragrance of the lotuses is subtle, wonderful, sweet, and pure. Yet every lotus has sprung from mud.

Dear friends, we cannot plant lotuses on marble; we have to plant them in mud. Similarly, peace, joy, happiness, and freedom are flowers cultivated by understanding, acceptance, and love. Only when there is understanding of suffering can there be acceptance and love. If there were no suffering, then how could we understand our own suffering and the suffering of others in order to accept and truly love them? Dear friends, in the Pure Land of the Present Moment, we can see the presence of suffering. However, suffering is the skilful means for us to learn; it is not an obstacle to our happiness. The people of the Pure Land of the Present Moment see clearly the inter-being of the lotus and the mud. Thus, they never have the inclination to run away from suffering. They know how to embrace their pain and suffering in order to learn from them and to transform them. Consequently, with the capacity to accept, understand, and love, they can generate great happiness for themselves and others. That great happiness is also seen as flowers reflected in their eyes and their smiles. Dear friends, in the Pure Land of the Present Moment, it is because the people know how to recognize, embrace, and learn from their suffering that together they generate abundant peace and happiness to adorn their land.

Dear friends, in the Pure Land of the Present Moment, people know how to use the appropriate dosage of suffering—just enough to cultivate their understanding and love. Every person living there knows how to recognize and embrace suffering in order to learn from it and transform and heal himself/herself. The people are no longer afraid of suffering. On the other hand, they do not allow suffering to overwhelm them or to paralyze their bodies and minds. Dear friends, that is how wonderful the Pure Land of the Present Moment is.

Furthermore, dear friends, every person of that land carries in him or herself the energy of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. They know how to live with their true humanity. They do not reject their five aggregates. On the contrary, the people there know how to walk on the land of reality and to radiate light with each step, each breath, and each position of walking, standing, sitting, and lying down in mindfulness. Mindfulness is the infinite light that illuminates all the comings and goings of the mind, and its radiance never comes to an end. That is why every person of that land is said to carry in him or her self the energy of the buddhas and bodhisattvas.

What is more, the life span of the people of that land is limitless, because every minute of their daily life truly encompasses the three times: past, present, and future. They have the capacity to live life deeply, and that life is continued beautifully. The number of the people of that land is also limitless. It is not possible to calculate them, so great is their number. People who know how to wake up and to live in the Pure Land of the Present Moment always have a great impact on their family, friends, and society. Their faith and happiness open the upward path for the young generations to follow. Furthermore, the instant they enter the Pure Land of the Present Moment, they carry along with them all their blood and spiritual ancestors. They are able to develop the seeds of talents, understanding, and love of their ancestors and to transform their seeds of violence, hatred, and suffering. The Pure Land of the Present Moment is made of such extraordinary merits and virtues as these.

Dear friends, in the Pure Land of the Present Moment, the most beautiful image is that of the many noble practitioners coming together in communities. These communities are called sanghas. Those who are newly born into the Pure Land of the Present Moment come to take refuge in these sanghas, so that they may further cultivate their insights, compassion, and capacity to live happily and peacefully. How beautiful is the image of a throng of people of different races, religions, nationalities, and ages meditating together, listening to dharma talks together, having dharma discussions together, and enjoying meals in silence together. Brotherhood and sisterhood are the nutrients nourishing them. Brotherhood and sisterhood show them the path and give them such great happiness that they no longer wish to pursue fame, money, power, and sex. Coming to these sanghas, everyone will recognize the presence of many noble practitioners.

At this point, the movie actress asked:

Respected Thay, is there a relationship between the Pure Land of the Present Moment, which has much peace and happiness, and the world of samsara, which is full of busyness, anxiety, and affliction?”

Thay said:

Although the two worlds are different from each other, they inter-are, just as the lotus and the mud do. When our minds have awareness, understanding, and compassion, and when we know how to dwell in the present moment, then the Pure Land of the Present Moment manifests. On the other hand, if our minds are pulled by forgetfulness, straying into the past or the future and becoming dispersed by busyness, anxiety, and affliction, then we are back in the samsaric world. Therefore, if we practice mindful breathing and mindful walking, we can return to the Pure Land of the Present Moment in that very space and time. Dear friends, the Pure Land of the Present Moment is portable. Wherever you go, there the Pure Land is.

Dear friends, while I am sharing with you the Pure Land of the Present Moment, innumerable noble practitioners all over the world are also sharing the Pure Land of the Present Moment with their friends—business people, politicians, educators, scientists, parents, farmers, students, prisoners. At any point in time and space, there are always noble practitioners who have direct experience in living in the Pure Land of the Present Moment. These practitioners see that their friends are drowning in the world of forgetfulness, anxiety, and affliction. Thus, they find new dharma practices and skilful means to show their friends the path to the Pure Land of the Present Moment.

Dear friends, those who have felt worried, anxious, fearful, and desolate from living in forgetfulness all have the capacity to awaken and to give rise to confidence in the Pure Land of the Present Moment. This faith is not blind; it is based on the direct experience of their own past and present, which means that it is based on their own enlightenment. The process of awakening to the path and being born in the Pure Land of the Present Moment may take place right in the present moment, without having to pass through any difficulties. If a person knows to practice mindfulness, then with only one to seven mindful breaths, only with one to seven mindful steps, she can already be born in the Pure Land with her own five aggregates. Therefore, practicing to enjoy the Pure Land of the Present Moment is appropriate for people of all different capacities and backgrounds. Everyone can practice and succeed easily.

Thay had finished speaking. The movie actress, as well as all the monks, nuns, lay friends, movie stars, directors, and producers from Hollywood and Tokyo, all had faith in what Thay had shared. They joyously accepted it and made the commitment to practice in order to enter the Pure Land of the Present Moment.


Excerpted from the May 2011 issue of the Shambhala Sun. See the complete article in the magazine, or click here to browse the entire issue online.

Illustration (detail) by Tomi Um.

I love this.

Click on link to go to Shambhala Sun

This is what magazine ads should really be like!

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Winner of the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2011


The winner of the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2011 has just been announced as Jim Goldberg.

He was presented the £30,000 award by broadcaster and critic Miranda Sawyer at a special ceremony at Ambika P3.

The three other shortlisted artists - Thomas Demand, Roe Ethridge and Elad Lassry - have each been awarded £3,000.

Visit the exhibition until 1 May at Ambika P3 at the University of Westminster.

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sufism - what's that? - a challenging 10thC definition

File:Mevlana Konya.jpg

Mawlānā Rumi's tomb, Konya, Turkey - WikiPedia

“What’s in your head — throw it away! 

What’s in your hand — give it up! 

Whatever happens — don’t turn away from it.”

As defined by Abu Said ibn Abil-Khair 10th-century Persian spiritual master

Source article HOLLAND COTTER NYT June 11, 2009

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Art Review - 'Light of the Sufis'

Religions and spiritual movements are complicated things, and accurate descriptions of them are bound to be contradictory. Sufism, like Islam, is both mystical and practical, embracing and exclusionary, pacific and assertive, ascetic and sensual, free form and discipline bound. Such oppositions aren’t a problem. They generate the unifying friction that makes culture tick.

But complexity also makes us nervous. We have an itch to neaten it up, flatten it out. So we do. The West tends to see all Islam as fundamentalist, bellicose and puritanical, and Sufism as a sexy, proto-New Agey, un-Islamic departure. At the same time a fundamentalist Muslim minority rejects Sufism, with its world-touring dervishes, tippler poets and pop stars, as a Western-pandering perversion of Islamic tradition.

Click on link to read this interesting review

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

The Ego Strikes Back by Alan Cohen

In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas we are told, “If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.” This means that your greatest gift to yourself — and everyone is self-expression. Others may judge your self-expression to be egotistical, but maybe a good strong ego is a powerful vehicle to do what you came to do. 

So long as the self is Self not ego!

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

The Ego Strikes Back by Alan Cohen

Shakespeare declared, “Self-loving is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.”


Is it that the root of all harming of others is self hatred?

Mature self-love is not self-obsession. Self-obsession is often deriving from self-loathing.

Mature self-love enables a flow of energy that can serve the needs of others.

Click on link to read Alan Cohen's article

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

for Rahner, all persons are capable of mystical experience, and “the Christians of the future will be mystics,”

for Rahner, all persons are capable of mystical experience, and “the Christians of the future will be mystics,

Amen - if that includes Jews, Moslems, Christians, Baha'is, Hindus etc

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Everyday Mysticism an article by Christopher West

Everyday Mysticism

For nearly two years I’ve been reflecting on something I read in an article by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household.  I can’t get it out of my head.  The article was provocatively titled “The ‘Atheism’ of Mother Theresa” (National Catholic Register Sep 9-15, 2007).  It explored the meaning of  Mother Theresa’s extended “dark night” of union with Christ in his cry of abandonment from the cross.

Cantalamessa wrote of a modern phenomenon he called “atheists in good faith” – people who feel abandoned by God.  Perhaps they would believe if they encountered God, but they encounter only “the silence of God.”  And he observed that the mystics, like Mother Theresa, “exist above all for them; they are their travel and table companions. Like Jesus, they ‘sat down at the table of sinners and ate with them’ (see Luke 15:2).”  In other words, Mother Theresa lived in solidarity with those who don’t believe.  All the while believing, she “felt” in

Click on link to read Christopher's article.

I like the point about solidarity with the radically different - but it's a very narrow definition of atheism!

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Stopping violence in schools what works? - UNESCO report

Stopping violence in schools  what works? - UNESCO report

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

How to Do (Almost) Everything With a Kindle 3 by Tim Carmody

Photo of third-generation Kindle. Courtesy

Amazon’s Kindle can do a lot more than just buy and read Amazon-sold e-books. This is often a surprise. I usually wind up in conversations where someone says “I’d like to try a Kindle, but it can’t _______.” Usually, it can.

I was actually surprised when I bought my Kindle not just by how much it could do, but by how well it did it. The Kindle suffers from two things: 1) it’s never going to do everything that a full-fledged computer or even a color touchscreen tablet can do; and 2) the Kindle 3 has improved on a whole slew of features that were either poorly implemented in or entirely absent from earlier iterations of the Kindle.

Here I want to gather up knowledge generated from and circulated by many of my favorite e-reader blogs, just to try to give you an inkling of all the things that a new Kindle can do. For organizational purposes, I’m going to do it as a Q&A. Most of these questions I’ve actually been asked (some of them frequently); others are rhetorical. (There are many features you wouldn’t even think to ask about.)

Q. Can the Kindle read PDFs?

A. Yes — and it actually handles them very well. You don’t need to email yourself copies; you can hook up your Kindle to your computer through a USB cable, mount the Kindle’s drive, and drag-and-drop.

One big suggestion. Just because of its screen size, viewing PDFs on the Kindle is much better if they’re oriented in portrait rather than landscape, and if they’re single-page documents rather than spreads (i.e., where a book is scanned/photocopied two pages at a time). Printed office documents, downloaded journal articles, maps, etc., all look great. They’re monochrome, obviously, but they read as well as an e-book. You can even highlight and annotate them just like you can Kindle books — that is, assuming they’re real text PDFs, not just bundled images.

Click on link to read Tim's article

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Friday, 22 April 2011

HAPPINESS & FULFILLMENT: If we summarize the heart-teaching of spiritual traditions which 3 words do we get?

I suggest -  'WAKE: DETACH: SERVE'



Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the

individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the

selfsame tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the

tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the

divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he

recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his

glory, he grieves no more.”

(From the Bhagavad Gita)



The birds have vanished into the sky,

and now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountains and me,

until only the mountains remain.

Li Po (701-762)



Start in the simple here and now - The Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn teaches us;

'Smile, Breathe and go slowly'

When we are much stronger we can be like

Father Michael

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Who are you if your ego gets out of the way for a bit?

File:Human eye real.jpg

"You can’t see the Seer who does the seeing. 
You can’t hear the Hearer who does the hearing; 
you can’t think with the Thinker who does the thinking; and 
you can’t perceive the Perceiver who does the perceiving."    

(By Yajnavalkya, Indian sage.  see p 28/29 Armstrong Twelve Steps)

Eckhart  Tolle in the short video I recently blogged HERE wittily points out that

'I am' is the 1st per sing of the verb to be - it isn't two things, 
and neither are we, except when we inhabit our ego,  
there's just one reality - there isn't I and me - except when we inhabit our ego!.

Being precedes doing.  

Nowness is gently re-asserting being.

When we can get our ego to be quiet we can see clearly now.

We can see with 'the eye (I?) of God.

Successful mindfulness is nowness.

Mindfulness is technique for nowness.

"Well I'll be.......

damned - well we will be

if we stay away from now too long.

For as Tolle also says; 

'Lost in thought; the human condition.'

Being is now; now is being.

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Monday, 18 April 2011

SunWALK a new humanistic model for Holistic Education and Social Development

holistic education 1 overview - as taught by Dr Andrew Jackson

Dr Marsha Lucas - set of articles in Psychology today

Marsha Lucas, Ph.D.

Marsha Lucas, PhD

Marsha Lucas, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and neuropsychologist, and has been practicing psychotherapy and studying the brain-behavior relationship for nearly twenty years. Prior to entering private practice, she was a neuropsychologist on the faculty at the Emory University School of Medicine.

She has a special interest in the practice of mindfulness, especially in how it stimulates the brain to grow new, more integrated circuits ~ which may be at the heart of well-being, including emotional balance and resilience, enhanced relationships and friendships, and greater empathy and connectedness.

Dr. Lucas currently practices in Washington, DC. She is the author of an upcoming book about mindfulness, the brain, and relationships. For more information, click on the web links at the lower right of the page.

Go HERE to read Dr Marsha's articles

Her own website is HERE

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Educating the Whole Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce

Education Through Music

About Institute of HeartMath, mission, team, alliances

About Us

About IHM

The Institute of HeartMath is an internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with their minds at home, school, work and pla

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Educational Kinesiology & Brain Gym

Educational Kinesiology & Brain Gym®
in the UK & Ireland

Our Mission:

We are committed to the principle that moving with intention leads to optimal learning. Through our outstanding instructors and movement-based programmes, we empower all ages to reclaim the joy of living.

Mission Goals:

We utilise the Brain Gym® educational model to:

  • promote play and the joy of learning
  • draw out and honour innate intelligence
  • build awareness regarding the value of movement in daily life
  • emphasise the ability to notice and respond to movement-based needs
  • encourage self-responsibility
  • leave each participant appreciated and valued
  • empower each participant to better take charge their own learning
  • encourage creativity and self expression
  • inspire an appreciation of music, physical education and the fine arts

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

To have the truth & then squander it in exclusivity - sad?

Do doctrinal differences between various sects have any relevance since, according to some belief systems, we are all headed for the same Ultimate Destiny anyway?

I believe that the sum of all the information we have covered in this book creates a serious theological hurdle for those who believe ‘all religions are one.’ At this juncture, most likely, we are in full agreement that ONLY ONE of the following two conclusions can be embraced:

(1) A person’s religious belief system is relatively unimportant (because all the varied doctrines and rituals are just shadowy representations, often misrepresentations, of some Ultimate Reality into which all will eventually be absorbed anyway),


(2) A person’s religious belief system is of absolute importance (because there is only one correct interpretation of truth, one path that leads from this present existence into that Ultimate Destiny which is eternal and glorious).

If the former is true, it would be impossible for the adherents of various sects to place their complete trust in any religious book: the Qur’an of Islam, the Bible of Christianity, the Torah of Judaism, the Adi Granth of Sikhism, the Avesta of Zoroastrianism, the Tao Te Ching of Taoism or the Vedas of Hinduism. None of these ‘holy writings’ can be taken literally anyway. There is no standard by which to judge the truthfulness of the doctrinal claims of any religious group. Totally contradictory beliefs can all be blended together into one homogenous whole. Exploring different religious theories may satisfy the intellectual curiosity of the ‘seeker for truth,’ but no dependable, lasting conclusions can ever be reached.

If the latter is true, it is absolutely essential to discover that unchanging standard of unquestionable truth that grants a successful passage from time into eternity. Yes, the vital essence of life is to identify the "True Light" and walk in its brilliance all the days of our earthly sojourn. The next section in this book will help you do that very thing.

Massive but old-fashioned site, brilliantly assembled and well-argued. You need to click on link and dive in. My sadness is that he had enlightenment and then squandered it on the 'cross' of exclusivity.

See what you think - or feel.

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Friday, 15 April 2011

Lesley Hazleton on reading the Quran - compassionate, humane & witty!

Spirit Rock Meditation Centre

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

is intended to be a place that always looks in two directions: inward and outward.

Inwardly, as human beings we need settings where we can renew our connection to ourselves, to nature, and to life itself through silence and mindful attention. Outwardly, the modern world is in crisis on many fronts: environmental, economic, political, and psychological. Today, as always, the world needs more voices of understanding, more acts of generosity, and more of the spirit of peace. The purpose of Spirit Rock is to help each individual find within himself or herself peace, compassion, and wisdom, through the practice of mindfulness and insight meditation (vipassana), and to support the individual in taking those qualities into the world.

We see Spirit Rock as a living mandala (a circle) whose central inspiration is the dharma, the deepest truth of life, beyond words and concepts. The outer expressions of the mandala are both reflections of the dharma and paths leading back to the dharma. The outer expressions, which are interdependent and support one another, include our programs and trainings in retreats, wise relationship, study, hermitage, service, and spiritual practices, in the world.

Click on link to se this beautiful looking centre.

I've started saving up!

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Coming to Our Senses

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Please watch this beautiful account of Islam - & reject the false ones - so that we might have peace

Kabir Helminski discusses the Sufi tradition and its relation to Islam. He offers insight into the role of doctrine in Sufism as a useful means of finding coherence among Muslims of different traditions.

For Helminski, contemplative practice stills the mind and move us to a transformative perception of divine reality. Kabir Helminski is a founder and director of the Threshold Society.

He has been working within the Mevlevi tradition of Sufism for about thirty years and is the author/translator of several books of Sufi poetry. He talks with Rob Gabriel, Chief Operating Officer of the Garrison Institute.


For more information about Shaikh Kabir Helminski go HERE -

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Guess who doesn't want you to VOTE YES on 5th May



On May 5th, we'll have a once in a lifetime chance to change the way MPs get their jobs and to fix and outdated system. 

The old guard don't want this because it will mean an end to their safe seats and cushy lifestyles. 

A yes vote will mean that MPs will have to aim for 50% of the vote; so they'll have to listen to us and they'll have to work harder for us.

This is the vote that will make all of your votes more powerful. 

So say YES on May 5th because, let's face it, they're not going to.


Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

'A widening circle of compassion', Albert Einstein and the Charter of Compassion

"A human being is part of the whole,
called by us Universe,
a part limited in time and space.

He experiences himself,
his thoughts and feelings,

as something separated from the rest -

a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us,

restricting us to our personal desires and

affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison

by widening our circle of compassion -

to embrace all living creatures and
the whole of nature in its beauty.

Nobody is able to achieve this completely,

but the striving for such achievement is, in itself,

a part of the liberation and a
foundation for 
inner security."


Charter for Compassion

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.


NB I suggest that Karen Armstrong's initiative is 

a) To help us find ways to build bridges of out-reach - including in inter-faith work
b) To help us find ways to support the widening of the circle of compassion-centred people
c) To help publicize and promote having the Golden Rule centre-placed - in both personal & group relationships 

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Sunday, 10 April 2011

'The higher Self understands while the lower self experiences.' - intriguing but is it true?

St Francis of Assisi (WikiPedia)

"There's the higher Self
and the lower self.

The higher Self understands
while the lower self experiences."

I think this rings true with me.  The higher Self witnesses - OK.  But suppose a saint somewhere achieves egolessness does s/he no longer experience anything?

What do you think?


This quotation is part of a wonderful presentation by Sharon Janis HERE

See & hear also her wonderful chanting of the Bhagavad Gita and other central texts HERE

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

Enlightenment is simply our natural state of "felt" oneness with Being and a state of "feeling-realization.”

In your book, you mentioned that "enlightenment is simply our natural state of "felt" oneness with Being and a state of "feeling-realization.”

Is enlightenment based on feeling rather than thinking? Help us understand who feels it and where it is felt.

Yes, well it is certainly closer to feeling than thinking. There is no word to describe the state of connectedness with Being. 

I am putting together two words in the book: feeling and realization hyphenated. Because there is not a correct word that I can use. Language doesn't have a word for that. So I can only use something that gets relatively close but that's not it either. Realization sounds a little bit as if it were a "mental" thing. "Oh, I know." Feeling sounds as if it were an "emotion " But it is not an emotion. And it is not a mental recognition of anything. 

Perhaps the word that is closest to it is the realization of stillness, which is when the mental noise that we call thinking, subsides. There is a gap in the stream of thought, but there is absolutely no loss of consciousness. In that ''gap" there is full and intense consciousness, but it has not taken on form.

Eckhart Tolle in a Daily Telegraph interview by John Parker (around the turn of the century?) - see HERE

The Book referred to is The Power of Now

Posted via email from sunwalking's posterous

About Me

My photo
My focus is inter-spiritual living