Intolerance: A Curable Disease

Intolerance: A Curable Disease

Author:   Kestryl Angell 

For some years now, I have been in solitary practice and have purposely placed myself in a position that allows me to observe the growth of the modern Pagan movement in the United States. One very significant thing has come to bother me through those observations. One that leaves me, to say the least, perturbed with my fellow human beings of every belief system, but assuredly of some that call themselves Pagan, as well.

Now, I realize that everyone on this planet is here for his or her own reasons, as well as for cosmic ones. I also realize that everyone grows, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually at his/her own individual pace. But some things, to my mind, are basic points of human respect and are sadly and sorely missing from a society that is supposed to be “the most advanced society history has ever known, ” as some would phrase it.

Though there are many points of human weakness that are causing overall weakening ripples throughout the newer generations when it comes to ethics, I feel that there are a few that are particularly problematic and need to be addressed at every opportunity. I hope to write about several of these in the coming weeks, as I feel that discourse is where all solutions may be found. With that in mind, I’d like to begin with a personal favorite.

Let’s begin with intolerance.

What, really, is the point of going through a life-changing, spiritual awakening, a “rebirth” as many coming to their Paganism as adults from other more mainstream backgrounds often state they go through, if all they come to be is not Pagan at all, but really could be better characterized as “anti-Christian?”

Coming to a new spiritual path does not automatically make the one you came from innately “wrong.” It simply makes it wrong for you.

Perhaps you did have experiences with the darker side of human nature packaged as harmful behavior, selfishness, egotistical preaching, the use of fear as a control and all the bad things that are written about in the news every day. That does not automatically make every single person that practices that belief system wrong, evil, awful, stupid or deluded.

Therefore, it is just as wrong to condemn others in a blanket fashion as it was for them to condemn the various Pagan paths throughout the course of history. In other words, coming to Paganism just so you can feel justified in Christian- (or other belief systems including alternate paths of Paganism from your own) -bashing is as hypocritical as the day is long! Get real and lose the excuses!

Allowing something to exist and realizing it is different from yourself doesn’t give you the right to pass judgment on it’s correctness for another soul’s growth or it’s validity in the Universal scheme of things! You are not their Creator/Creatrix. You are not here to live their path. In fact, you have no idea what is going on in their karmic path, in their personal development that might be assisting them to be learning lessons you don’t even have the strength to recognize, much less deal with yourself.

If you consider those who follow “younger” faiths than your own to be “deluded, ” it is you that does not understand the growth of the soul. It is you that is still struggling with the idea that the Universe has bigger plans than your little human eyes and mind can fully comprehend and it is you that is making a fool of yourself by stomping your proverbial feet and saying you KNOW better!

For yourself, yes – you may know that what you left behind isn’t what you need. For others? That is theirs to choose and theirs to choose free from your judgment and condemnation of that choice – just as your choice to become Pagan was your own and was equally as worthy of not being judged negatively by their fears or ignorance.

Just because you yourself happen to be in “spiritual middle school” doesn’t mean you have the right to pick on the “spiritual kindergartners.”

Furthermore, spiritual middle-schoolers don’t have anything on the spiritual college students and PhD s, but nearly every single time you will see them shining loudly in their personal struggle with their own ego by the way they attempt to play children’s one-upsmanship-games with their Elders, while showing glaring examples of their own ignorance by their complete lack of basic respect for the efforts, knowledge base and wisdom of the Elders they’ve been honored to come to know and learn from.

They would rather argue entomology of a specific word of a specific dialect than seek out the fullness of all meanings of the given word to more fully explore its meanings before making a decision as it applies to their own cause.

They would rather see other’s ignorance as “proof” of their own self-proclaimed greatness while never realizing that those things greatest in this world don’t need human declarations to make them great.

It was said by the writer, John G. Neihardt, “Humility is bowing before Truth. Humiliation is bowing before people.” Humility, Tolerance and Compassion are the internal partnership that should come to a truly spiritually awakened being – not their old set of personal and world grievances packaged in a new dogmatic format.

There are those under the Pagan umbrella who will say, “Well, I don’t believe in karma like that.” or “Respect is earned, not just given willy-nilly.” or “Well, in my belief system the world runs on the eye for an eye principle so if someone screws me over or makes me feel stupid, I can do whatever it takes to level that playing field.”

You don’t have to believe in karma to understand that what goes around comes around.

Universal principles exist and show themselves, with or without your belief in them or your petty arguments on terminology for said events. The seasons, the life/death cycle, “acts of God” weather and other Universal events will soon show you differently if you truly feel you’re the one in control of the entire world’s development!

The only thing that glaringly, embarrassingly shows, like a run in your brand new stockings, is your own overblown ego if you refuse to understand there are forces larger than yourself at work in the Universe as a whole.

Respect should indeed be earned within specific arenas such as professions and education, to name but a few. However, there should also be a basic, human respect of one living being to another, without the need to prove anything other than that they too are a person living on this planet with the same basic needs and desires as every other human being on the planet – good, nutritional food, clean water, community, family and the like. Even if their needs and desires don’t immediately meet or match your own doesn’t make yours or theirs any more or less vital or valid than the other.

As for the “eye for an eye” folks, all that happens when you take out the eye of another based on that principle is that you end up going blind, in one way or another, yourself.

I am not saying forgiveness is always the answer or that “turn the other cheek” is the answer in all situations either. But more often than not, when a human being thinks his or her own bruised ego, knee-jerk, forceful, violent ways are the answer; it is the opposite answer that is usually the one that would actually solve the problem for good.

Differences in personal dogma have been call and cause for the culling of our world populations for centuries, since the beginning of known, current history. Do we really need to continue to prove to ourselves that human beings can find constantly new and more awful ways to be horrendous to one another?

Furthermore, why are we still actually entertained by such violence or allow something as petty as big business concerns to be the reason our fellow human beings proudly go off to die by the hundreds of thousands in service to their country – with a very few that make it home alive only to find that they have no home to come back to?

This is not to say that I am all the “Light, Love and Happiness, Rainbows and Pretty Unicorns All Day Every Day!” kind of dreamer. I simply feel that the Universe itself already has chaos and death and violence in its own makeup without human beings adding to the mix out of basic ignorance, ego, selfishness and intolerance.

Mother Nature has that whole destruction thing down pat, people! She doesn’t need our scum covered little human toddler hands muddling up the works by trying to “help!”

Like kids in the playground sandbox, we’re still caught up, after all these centuries in basic Intolerance-based border skirmishes! Pagan communities are just as guilty of this issue as many Christian organizations and many of the “problems” that I hear bantered about in mainstream organizations are just as rampant in Pagan ones because we still aren’t addressing Intolerance actively as individuals, much less as a community! You cannot claim to be better than the thing you abhor and left behind if you’re guilty of the same crimes against humanity after you change sides.

Border skirmishes based on differences of dogma were a good portion of the basis of the Middle Eastern conflict since long before the US ever became interested enough in the business aspects that finally rooted our entry into the wars in the Middle East.

Border skirmishes based on intolerance, racial differences, religious differences are at the root basis of much of the gang violence rampant in Los Angeles and many other parts of the US and have even gone so far as to spawn their own subculture out of the necessities of their living circumstances rather than strengthening as a community to truly fight the issues that took them to that point of de-evolution that effects gang neighborhoods.

Border skirmishes based on Intolerance, lies and violence were what displaced every Native American in this country when the English, French, Spanish and others all came to a land the Natives had already figured out how to live harmoniously upon.

Did those people who were new here listen to those that had lived there for generations?

Oh no, they were seen as “ignorant savages” who knew nothing of community elderly and child care, community health care, balanced inter-tribal politics and trade or even the simplest necessities for making it through the winter alive.

Yet, here we are still stuck in wars where body counts, gun counts, missile counts and cash numbers, advertising and fear tactics, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction threaten the supposedly “enlightened” peoples of this day and age? Seriously?

Can’t we just get out of the sand box, stop fighting over who brought the coolest toys or who can do the most damage and have some dang milk and cookies like good little spiritual brothers and sisters here?

Intolerance should have no place in the modern human mind.

Look to the simpler, tribal times of our ancient ancestors and to those who are still living in those harmonious ways in many places in the world today that we spoiled Americans call “third world, undeveloped” countries. Perhaps they don’t have our amenities in their homes, our advertising and fast and un-nutritious foods on every corner of their city streets or even have motorized vehicles.

But when women group together to gather the water for entire streets and neighborhoods while singing, serving more than just their own family’s needs every single day, it is we who could learn something from their joyful song and service.

When villages in South America that have disagreed for generations can work together to build pipelines for water for both villages’ benefit, we have something to learn from those “savages.”

When doctors and shamans in Tibet still ride donkeys or walk, sometimes for days, to treat the ill in body, mind and spirit and the community comes together to see to the needs of that doctor if the patient cannot pay for services themselves, it is our “modern physicians” and spiritual healers that could learn something about true caring compassionate healing for a patient and our community’s selfishly spoiled upper crust could learn what it means to make sure that all are cared for instead of arguing over whether or not our individual choices can remain as cushy as we’re selfishly accustomed to as we begin to explore a National Health care system in the US.

Get a clue, people! In the United States, our biggest sign of malnutrition is the over 65% of our citizens suffering from obesity! There are currently over 154, 000 US veterans – those that fought for our right to be this freely spoiled rotten – living on the streets, homeless!

Our ignorance, gluttony and selfishness is written all over us in our own fat flesh and high blood pressure ratings while these other “uncivilized” peoples starve from lack of food and clean water, but have us completely beaten on how to treat each other as human beings!

How can that be acceptable to educated, aware, community members? ANY community, much less ones who supposedly WORSHIP Nature’s balance and bounty?

Let’s also be keeping in mind that most of the other major countries of the world have already gotten some of these questions, such as National Health care, answered successfully decades ago and it is the US that is catching up and griping all the way about rises in taxes to help the overall common good of all Americans, top to bottom of the food chain.

Canadians are thrilled to only be paying 10% taxes right now, down from the 18-20% its been in the past to help pay for their health care system and other social amenities currently underdeveloped and desperately needed in the US.

Those in the UK have paid the English equivalent of anywhere from $10-20 per gallon for gasoline for years and yet Americans were having fits over gas hitting $4 per gallon within the last year? Who is it really that needs to get real, learn some Tolerance for people and for change and learn to attune as citizens of the world’s needs instead of for their own selfish, individualized gains and stunted, silent caste systems of bigoted intolerance so obviously still active in many places in our country?

How can it not be seen that intolerance is at the root of all of these issues…and that it is a curable state of being that, if taken on by the whole of a community, doesn’t really weigh all that hard on the individual?

As a student of the Universe, I do not look for a time when all people will “believe as one.” I do not believe that Harmony requires everything be alike, as that in itself would also be an imbalance. Diversity is a necessity of life. If sameness were the truth of how things should be, music wouldn’t have different notes that make up the chords that sing the songs of the Universe through orchestrations. Harmony is created when notes co-exist on different lines for their own sake and in their own timing to a rhythm that is greater than each individual note.

Therefore, what I look forward to is the day when individuals can learn from and about other’s beliefs without their own being threatened in any way, without fear or disgust. I look forward to the day when those that do not believe the same way can simply agree to disagree and still work for the common good of all living beings on the planet. I look forward to the time when tolerance and compassion is as common a pair of qualities in human beings as ego, laziness, selfishness and desire.

I look forward to the awakening of human beings to the idea that tolerance is not acceptance nor is it automatically an admission of support of the differing idea or practice presented. I look forward to the day humans sing in beautiful, diversified harmony, the song of the planet’s common good.

Tolerance is simply the ability to allow all things to exist, as the Universe would have them, not as you would have them. Tolerance means allowing even those things that you do not agree with personally to exist for those who do believe in them.

Tolerance is difficult, however, as it requires a type of fearful and fearless faith in the patterns of the Universe to be “correct, ” whether we human beings see that correctness, the fullness of the pattern or not. This is not a concept that many human beings find easy to comprehend, much less practice inside themselves or in their daily lives. However, if goals such as this were easy, there would be no need for the inner battles that make each of us better people.

I believe Tolerance is a worthy and attainable goal for every individual that can have the bettering ripple effect of creating a harmony as yet unseen by modern history.

Care to join the experiment?

Grab Bag for the Holiday Season Or, Survival Tips for the Homeward Bound

Grab Bag for the Holiday Season

Or, Survival Tips for the Homeward Bound

by Erika Ginnis

 

I thought that for this article I would  touch on a couple of ideas and techniques that I have found useful during  the holiday season. This is the time of  year when the light seems like a  memory (even as it begins to change  and return), and the dark is ever around  us. It is a powerful time for inner  searching and deep magick. It is a time  of cycles both within us and outside  of us. In some ways, this is the time of  year when it seems like everyone, pagan or not, is bound up in the cyclic  sweep of the turning of the year and  the seasons.

Whatever your own personal opinions about the many traditions that  are celebrated during this time of year  (I personally love the holidays regardless of the name they go by — but  then again I have also been told I am  rather strange!) it is hard to dismiss  all that it brings up in us. All our childhood experiences good or bad are  there with us. All the hopes and  dreams, realized or not, come crowding back on us at this time of year. We  get together with family members  (many of which have little understanding of our particular spirituality), and  sometimes it seems like we become  someone we once were, or never were  but thought we were supposed to be.  It can also be that we love the festivities at this time of year, but those  around us are glum and depressed.  Perhaps we ourselves like this dark  time of inner reflection and long for  its quiet wisdom, but are annoyed by  all the revelers around us and feel the  need to go hibernate under a rock till  spring.

Anything sound familiar yet? Well,  you are not alone. I have personally  found that this period of time right  around Yule to be a great opportunity  for growth and change. The way I look  at it, “If my stuff is going to be up and  strewn all around me anyway, I might  as well take this opportunity to work  on some of it!”

One of the things that I become  increasingly aware of in relation to all  of this, is something that I call a “growth  period.” To define this very simply: “A  growth period is the time it takes the  body to adjust and process the  changes that we make as spirit.” The  holiday season is a time ripe for periods of accelerated growth. We are  confronted with our pasts, with family  issues, with the cyclic and therefore  mortal aspects of ourselves. Adding  this to the fact that it is already a time  of darkness and cold (at least in this  part of the world) can inspire some  pretty intense stuff.

Have you ever taken a class in  some kind of personal development  or spiritual work, and felt like you were  riding an amazing high, only to find  yourself a week or two later getting  sick, or wanting to hide from the world?  This is an example of a growth period. First of all, you make some kind  of change or work on something as  spirit. This happens very quickly, since  spirit isn’t bound by time and space.  Great, no problem, you can make all  these changes and wheeeee! Right?  Well, only partially; you are spirit, you  can change in an instant; however, you  have a body, and that body has to  operate in time and space. So what  happens is that your body needs to  integrate what you have changed. It  needs time to process the new energy.

While you are in this process, it  can feel a little odd. I think of it sometimes like a plant getting a new leaf.  When the leaf is just beginning to unfold, it is a lighter green and is a lot  more tender, more easily bruised. It  hasn’t developed the more waxy finish that the other leaves have.

This is analogous to how we can  feel when we are in a state of flux.  Over time, the leaf grows out and unfolds and becomes just like the others, and the plant is that much larger.  It is the process by which growth occurs. We are not so very different from  the plants. We don’t normally sprout  leaves, but our changes are just as  real and every bit as observable if you  know how to look.

Growth periods can be experienced in a number of ways. You may  want to sleep much more than usual  or not need as much sleep as you are  used to. You may want to have a lot  of sex or want to go out dancing a lot,  or maybe want to hibernate at home  all of a sudden. Maybe you want to  eat a lot of chocolate, or you may  catch a cold, or just feel generally unsettled. It may also be that you feel  better than you ever have and you feel  like the whole world is opening up to  you. These are all growth periods. A  growth period does not have to be  uncomfortable! It is simply the time it  takes the body to process the  changes that you make as spirit.

What is important, especially when  it feels more challenging, is to remember “This is a normal, natural and necessary part of learning and growing.”  Many of us like to try and skip this  part, or try and ignore it. We may feel  more fragile at this time and want to  protect ourselves by denying our  changes. Unfortunately, one of the  things that denial can do is to prolong  the process. If you acknowledge your  growth period, you can then begin to  communicate with your body about  what’s happening and what your body  needs. This will make it all go more  smoothly.

Sometimes all it takes is that conscious recognition that you are indeed  in a growth period. It can make it all  make more sense. Another thing to  remember is that  growth periods are  cyclic…. they have a  beginning, a middle  and an end! They  don’t go on forever; you  will adjust to the changes,  and you will have grown. A  former teacher of mine  used to use the adage: “When  you are up to your ass in alligators,  it’s hard to remember that you set out  to drain the swamp!”

As long as you are in a body, you  will have growth periods; it’s part of  the package. If you are into growing  spiritually, well, guess what, you will go  out of your way to have growth periods! I find that meditation really helps  to keep everything flowing. It may be  that the time that you want to meditate the least is when you need it the  most.

So this brings me back to this particular season. This would be a fabulous time to commit to meditating  daily. This is one of the times of the  year when we all are aware of the cyclic nature of our lives. It is coming up  on the New Year, we are running headlong into our childhood memories, we  are seeing people we might not have  seen since last year. We become very  aware of our own changes or lack  thereof, and it can be pretty intense.  It will very likely put us into a growth  period.

One of the techniques that I suggest people use for getting a handle  on where they are, in their growth, is  as follows: Find a quiet place where  you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes. (Sure, you say, with all my relatives in my house, how will this happen? If all else fails, go into the bathroom, lock the door and say you’re  taking a bath.) Take a few minutes to  ground and center.

Let yourself become aware of what  your current growth period is; let the  information flow to you from your stillness. Ask yourself the question: “What  are the spiritual changes I have recently made, and how am I responding to them?” Let the answers flow.  Maybe you have been feeling odd and  unsettled and not wanted to look at  it, so have been on the run as much  as possible to avoid it all. Take this  opportunity to stop running and simply look at what’s happening and why,  and give yourself permission to not  take it all so seriously. Laugh a little at  the huge growth period you are in (if  this is the case) and realize that it will  pass and you will have grown. Even if  the issue that you are working on is  serious, treating it with just a little  amusement can help the energy move  and change more easily.

The next exercise can give you  more insight into what you are working on and can also be a wonderful  way to get in touch with your own  changes.

Take two sheets of paper and a  pen. On the first sheet, start the heading of a letter that  says “Dear  Spirit…”  and at the  end of the  sheet of  paper write  “… love, Body.”  Next, take  the other  sheet of  paper and at the top write “Dear  Body….” and at the end of the paper  write “…love, Spirit.”

If you haven’t already guessed,  you are going to write two letters. Let  your mind relax and let your body have  a voice; let it talk to you and let you  know what’s up, what it feels, what it  needs. Write it down in the first letter.  This is your body communicating to  you, the spiritual being. Don’t judge  what you write, just write. It may say  things like, “Dear Spirit, you haven’t  been paying any attention to me, I need  more exercise, I need more sleep,  please buy me some flowers.” Or perhaps, “I am trying as best as I can, but  I don’t know what we are doing or  where we are going, so I am afraid;  please let me know what’s going on.”  Or even, “I am starting to get a cold,  please  drink a lot  of water so  I won’t be  sick for the  holidays.”

Whatever the  communication, it is  a valuable  tool for staying in touch with the wisdom of the body and for knowing how  your body actually feels in this sometimes hectic season. Now realize you  don’t have to do everything the body  asks for. It may say, “I want to go escape to Hawaii until February,” but  what you as Spirit may decide to do is  go spend 10 minutes tanning and take  a walk in a conservatory of tropical  plants. What you may find is that the  very act of being listened to is enough  to totally change how your body feels.

Next up is the second letter. This  is a letter from you as Spirit to your  body. Take a minute and breathe and  relax. Get in touch with yourself and  you own inner voice. I highly recommend meditating as part of writing  both these letters if it is at all possible. This is the letter that begins  “Dear Body….” You may be surprised  at what you write. Let go of your expectations as you write and let it flow.  It may sound like, “Dear Body, I love  you, but I am not always good at communicating, but I am working on changing that. I want to work on prosperity  for the holidays, and so I have stimulated all the memories from our childhood so I can put them to rest. Sorry  I didn’t mention this to you before I  started….” Or, “I am really proud of  the way you didn’t get enough sleep  for a few days so that I could create  that wonderful holiday dinner. I am  going to make sure there is time now  to relax and enjoy the next week.”

It may also sound totally different than these examples, which is the  point. It is your own voice as spirit  communicating into this physical reality to your body so that you can begin  to work in harmony with each other. It  is all part of the same thing, but it has  different aspects and different voices,  which are each valid and valuable. I  often say that one of our most important relationships, one that colors all  our others, is the one we have as spirit  with our body. If we can begin to harmonize that one, the others are much  more likely to be successful.

Hopefully now that you have some  tools to use during this time of change  and renewal, you can let yourself enjoy what comes to you and be able to  learn from it. If nothing else, you can  know  what  is going on  when  you want nothing  better than  to  stay in  bed and eat chocolate until Spring  Equinox. It is just a growth period! Next  week, most likely, you’ll be planning  what new plants you want to add to  your garden when it thaws out, or beginning that new class you wanted to  take.

I will end with another saying I  heard a lot when I was a student. “Running your energy will get you into a  growth period, and running your energy will get you out!” Meditate, meditate, meditate, and I’ll see you next  year.

Blessed be.

Review of Grounding and Centering

Close your eyes, and turn within.

Take three nice, deep breaths,  breathe down into your belly and  soften it  as you  breathe.  Notice  how you  feel, how  your body  feels.

Be  aware of  your first  chakra. This is simply an energy center (vortex) that is located in the general area near the base of the spine.  For women, the center (vortex) that is  located in the general area near the  base of the spine. For women the center is usually near the area between  the ovaries (note: the chakra positioning doesn’t change if you have had to  have your ovaries removed for any reason). For men the location is slightly  lower in the body because the chakra  placement is associated with the testicles.

Be aware of this area, and allow a  cord of energy to flow downward  from your body…

through the chair you are sitting  in…

through the floor and  down through  the building you  are in…

through the  foundation and  into the deep  earth beneath.

Allow your grounding to flow down  into the earth past all the rocks and  layers of the planet, past the water,  deep into the earth into the heart of  the Mother. Until it reaches the center  of the earth.

Allow your grounding cord to connect securely into the center of  the planet.

Be aware of your grounding  cord being securely connected  also to your first chakra. Allow this  connection, breathe and release energy and tension down your grounding.

Now that you are grounded you  can take the next step and center yourself. Take a nice deep breath and bring  your awareness into the center of your  head. That safe neutral place behind  your eyes and back a bit.

Notice how you body responds. It  might have a reaction to you being centered. Let that reaction simply be, notice it. If you experience any discomfort, release it down your grounding.

Be aware of what the center of  your head is like right now. Is it light?  Is it dark? Is it crowded, or empty?  Cold or warm, big or small? Are you  aware of sensations, sounds, images,  scents? Relax and breathe yourself  into the center of your head. Get comfortable and begin to own this safe  neutral place.

Continue to use your grounding to  release energy from this space so that  you can make more room for you to  focus there in the present moment.

Crystal of the Day for Jan. 30 – Amber

Crystal of the Day

Amber

 

 

 

 

  • Common Name: Amber
  • Appearance: Light yellow to orange, sometimes found in shades of green
  • Element(s): Fire
  • Planetary connection: Sun
  • Healing powers: Used to treat eyesight disorders, afflictions of the throat
  • Magical uses: Provides clarity and confidence, strength and protection
  • Other Info: Amber is not truly a stone, but a resin

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for 4/4

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

62: Attention to Detail

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Hexagram 62

General Meaning: Ambitious undertakings are not in order now, but attention to small matters brings progress. Such is the case of a person whose resources are meager, but who, through modesty and perseverance, rises to accomplish great things.

The key to success when small potential influences the larger scene is to avoid pretentious ambitions and grandiose goals. The power of the small is served by slow and steady advancement, and succeeds through an honest awareness of its own limitations, without reservation.

Modesty stemming from recognizing your limitations is a fine quality, but it can be seen as weakness if it is not accompanied by conscientiousness. It is important to understand the demands of your situation, and not to expect success in big things right now. The wise person recognizes the nature of the time. So, know your own role, carefully attend to details and act with humility, and you can achieve your goal even with few resources.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for 4/1

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

52: Keeping Still

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Hexagram 52
 
General Meaning: Regular periods of keeping still are an important aspect of personal development and forward motion. The most restful person may not be the one who sleeps twelve hours a day, but the one able to grab catnaps while cruising 600 miles-per-hour at 35,000 ft. Learning to act when it is time to act, and to keep still when it is time to keep still, is the key to obtaining the peace of mind which helps you stay focused when clear focus is needed.

Consider the spine, which serves as a switchboard for all the nerves of the body that mediate movement. When the spine is kept flexible and healthy through proper rest and relaxation, active movement can always be undertaken without strain. When the spine is held erect in a balanced sitting posture, the inner balancing of meditation can take place.

Treat your innate spark of energetic vitality like a candle in the wind you are protecting, as your only light in a dark forest on a moonless night. Avoid external conditions that threaten to snuff out the flame, and be careful not to suffocate it with your own ambitions of worries.

Time out. Relax now, take your shoes off and sit a spell. Let go of thinking. Breathe and meditate on the breathing.