Friday, March 31, 2017

Via Trump Strips LGBT People of Workplace Protections, Then Erases Them from Census

This week, President Trump quietly nullified an order that required companies receiving large federal contracts to show that they have complied with various federal laws, many of which relate to discrimination in the workplace.

Below is what happened on Trump's 47th day in office. You can find out what damage was done every other day so far on the Saddest Calendar on the Internet.
Not even two weeks after the US Department of Health and Human Services eliminated questions about LGBT people on two crucial national surveys on the elderly and the disabled, the Trump administration extended their erasure of LGBT Americans yesterday when they announced they would not include the option to declare sexual orientation and gender identity on the 2020 US Census. Earlier in the morning, LGBT advocates thought they had a triumph, as the Census Bureau released a list of proposed subjects for 2020 that included questions relating to the above, which were new additions that LGBT rights advocates have been pushing for. But then the Census Bureau made a follow-up announcement.

"The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix," the Census Bureau said in a statement. "This topic is not being proposed to Congress for the 2020 Census or American Community Survey."

The mistake was more than just a gaffe, as advocates have been stressing the need for the Census to acknowledge the gender and sexuality of those from whom its collecting data to ensure that LGBT people are getting equal access to the rights and protections granted to heterosexual and cisgender individuals. In a statement from the National LGBTQ Task Force, Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director Meghan Maury expressed her organization's disappointment.

Continue reading on Broadly.

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/31/17

“Purpose is like a fragrance of the Being. If we are not aware of who we are, then it is not possible to manifest our purpose. We discover who we are to the degree we attune with our inner silence. When we are able to quiet the voices of the of the false selves that insist we go off in different directions with the objective of pleasing others, we become capable to hear the voice of our heart, which is our true self.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Ike's Man-Cave / FB:

Via Daily Dharma / Finding a New Kind of Connection

As a student of the dharma, I believe that what we call difference in the negative sense of the word is only a perceived lack of connection, and that difference offers the potential to create or manifest connection in a new and fulfilling way.

—Patricia Mushim Ikeda, "Not What I Thought"

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/30/17

“Purpose is love in action. Love expresses itself in different ways through each of us. A eucalyptus tree can only express itself as a eucalyptus tree. A shrub can only express itself as a shrub. Neither is better. Problems come when we are not aware of who we are and we try to act like the other. It’s like a shrub trying to be a eucalyptus tree or vice-versa. Like this, we betray our own essence and are unable to manifest love.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Managing Your Corner of the Universe

Zen practice, however, teaches you to completely be yourself—if you don’t, who will? Someone’s got to hold down your corner of the universe, and no one else is qualified.

—Shozan Jack Haubner, "Middle Way Manager"

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Via ThinkProgress: Trump revokes executive order, weakens protections for LGBT workers

LET ME BE CLEAR: if you voted for Donald Trump, you voted to attack me and people like me. 

You voted to roll back our civil and human rights, allow discrimination against us, and relegate us once again to second-class status. You voted to allow this evil man and his monstrous administration to come after LGBT people, our families, our lives, our jobs, and our love. We warned you, we tried to reason with you, some of us even pleaded with you... but you did it anyway, and then you had the gall to gaslight us, telling us we were wrong to worry about Trump because he managed to spit out the letters "LGBTQ" at his convention and grabbed a rainbow flag onstage once. But whaddya know -- we were right after all, and the destruction of our basic civil liberties that your vote has enabled is unfolding now before our very eyes.

We will defeat this evil because we will outlive and outlast and outfight it, but we will *never* forget the way you voted to oppress and degrade and dehumanize us. 

SHAME on you.


An executive order President Trump signed Monday rescinded an executive order President Obama implemented that would have required companies that contract with the federal government to provide documentation about their compliance with various federal laws. Some have argued that this will make it harder to enforce the LGBT protections President Obama implemented for employees of federal contractors — as well as many other protections those workers enjoyed.

Trump rescinded the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, also known as Executive Order 13673, that President Obama issued in 2014. That order required companies wishing to contract with the federal government to show that they’ve complied with various federal laws and other executive orders. 

Notably, Obama issued that order in tandem with Executive Order 13672, which prohibited contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Executive Order 13673 was enjoined by a federal judge in Texas back in October, but had it been implemented, it would have improved accountability for businesses that contract with the federal government. Enforcement of 13672, the LGBT protections, does not require this order, but would have been stronger with it. Whatever its fate in court may have been, it’s now gone forever.

LGBT people are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, even with 13672 still in place. Obama’s LGBT executive order amended previous presidential orders that also protected the employees of contractors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age, but all of those other categories are also afforded protection under various federal laws (the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act). Sexual orientation and gender identity are the only identity categories without explicit nondiscrimination protections under federal law, and fewer than half the states offer LGBT protections at the state level. 

That means Obama’s executive order is the only legal force protecting over a million workers.

Camilla Taylor, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, was the first to raise concerns that this change would impact the LGBT community. As she explained to Keen News Service, “It’s sending a message to these companies…that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether or not they violate the law.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell also said in a statement, “President Trump’s quiet take-down yesterday of federal safeguards against employment discrimination for millions of LGBT Americans is yet another example of why our elected officials, advocates, and our community must remain vigilant and continue working together to stop this administration’s regressive and harmful policies.”

When a draft of a “religious freedom” executive order that would have licensed discrimination against LGBT people was circulating, the White House tried to stir up some positive press by promising that it would “leave in place” Obama’s 2014 order protecting LGBT workers.

“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights,” the statement read. 

The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters fell over himself to praise the statement for using “stronger language than any Republican president has before in favor of equal legal protections for gay lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.”

It’s not a surprise, however, that Trump is walking back other executive orders that weaken the LGBT protections. Trump promised to undo all of Obama’s executive orders.

That “religious freedom” executive order hasn’t gone away either. 

A month after the draft leaked and the White House assured LGBT people it wasn’t signing it at that time, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal that it was still coming. “I think we’ve discussed executive orders in the past, and for the most part we’re not going to get into discussing what may or may not come until we’re ready to announce it,” he said at the time. “So I’m sure as we move forward we’ll have something.”

Via Towleroad: Trump Administration Erases LGBT People from Key 2020 Census Survey

An announcement of Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey put out by the Census Bureau which included Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity on its list was scrubbed and revised on Tuesday, reappearing without LGBT people as a designated group.

RELATED: Trump Administration Erases LGBT People from Key Annual HHS Survey of Older and Disabled Americans

The Washington Blade reports:

With days before its deadline, the U.S. Census delivered to Congress its report on planned subjects for the survey, including gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship and homeownership status. Under law, the report is due three years before Census Day, with the next one is set to occur April 1, 2020….

…The report outlines the importance of including these questions in either the decennial U.S. Census or the newer and more detailed annual American Community Survey, which was established in 1985 and seeks to ascertain socio-economic and housing statistics.

But apparently an initial version of this report went too far. The U.S. Census issued a notice shortly afterward indicating the report was corrected because the initial appendix “inadvertently” included LGBT categories.

“The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix,” the statement says. “The report has been corrected.”

The National LGBTQ Task Force posted an image (above) of the erasure on its website.
Said Meghan Maury, Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force, in a statement:

“Today, the Trump Administration has taken yet another step to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice, and equity, by choosing to exclude us from the 2020 Census and American Community Survey. LGBTQ people are not counted on the Census—no data is collected on sexual orientation or gender identity. Information from these surveys helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act and to determine how to allocate resources like housing supports and food stamps. If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?”

Last week, the Trump administration erased LGBT people from a key annual Health and Human Services survey of older and disabled Americans.

Via Ram Dass

and I have become
like two giant fat people living
in a tiny

keep bumping into
each other
and laughing.

- Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/29/17

“Our purpose is the program that leads to our soul’s fulfillment. It is the meaning of existence. The soul is fulfilled when it can manifest its essence which is love. The soul’s program is simply the manner in which love will express through it. Therefore, it is love that actually fulfills our purpose. The form through which the soul fulfills its purpose has to do with the gifts and talents of each one of us. When love is put in action through gifts and talents, our soul feels fulfilled. It feels like it fits in and belongs to something greater, connected to the source of life. Our soul feels enthusiastic and motivated to wake up in the morning to do what needs to be done. It feels there is meaning to life.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Nature's Perspective

Animals are people, too. As are plants. And water. And soil. This is the fundamental insight at the heart of all eco-spiritual work. But to get that insight, we have to get with the big picture. To get that insight, we have to climb a tree.

—Clark Strand, "Trees, Butterflies, and the Buddhist Moral Life"

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/28/17

“We are progressing on our evolutionary journey when we can honestly recognize our mistakes and evils. Recognizing insanity is the first step towards sanity. How can we turn on a light if we don't realize its dark? On the path of sell-knowledge, the greatest measure of success is the capacity to recognize one’s destructive impulses. Once we recognize them, we have the chance to transform them.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Understanding Across Difference

Understanding across difference, whatever the difference, lies at the center of spiritual life and aspiration.

—Henry Shukman, "The Meeting"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Freedom to Marry

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/27/17

“The lack of love has always played a part of our past through acts of cruelty and revenge. Consequently, the majority of human beings have been conditioned to feel pleasure in suffering. For many, this is very difficult to recognize because it is so subtle. Many times, we are able to see the pleasure we feel when we see the other suffering, but we are unable to perceive the pleasure we derive from making ourselves suffer. This is the most subtle aspect of negatively oriented pleasure. Due to this kind of pleasure, suffering perpetuates here on planet Earth.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Free Time vs. Freedom

Free time is of a different order than free-dom. Freedom, at least in the dharmic sense, depends on the quality of attention that we bring to our interactions. Only to the extent that we can be fully present in our relationships with ourselves, with our children, and with each other, are we free.

—Soren Gordhamer, "Finding What’s Right in Front of Us"

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 26, 2017

You learn not to act out your emotions, but just to appreciate and acknowledge them. That’s part of the way you can use them spiritually. You don’t deny them, you don’t push them down. You acknowledge that, “I’m angry,” but you don’t have to say, “Hey, I’m angry!” You acknowledge it; you don’t deny it. That’s the key.

So, the way you would use emotions in devotional practices is aiming them towards God. For the other kinds of emotional realms, you witness them and you sit with them, and you watch them change and come and go, and you don’t deny them, you allow them; because that’s part of your human condition.

When you talk about service, you’ll see that it awakens intense emotions, and you have to let your heart break. But you’ve cultivated another plane of reality, which is the one that notices and allows it. A quality of equanimity that lies with it.

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/26/17

“Revenge is a classic example of negatively oriented pleasure. It is perhaps the easiest way to identify the connection between pleasure and suffering. Unconsciously, you feel pleasure in hurting others and being hurt. This keeps you locked in destructive patterns that make negative situations repeat throughout your life. You can't hurt another without hurting yourself because there is a correlation between everything that manifests on this plane of existence. Suffering generates more suffering, and only forgiveness can break this circle void of love.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / The Importance of You

Dharma is what the Buddha taught. It is the way of understanding and love—how to understand, how to love, how to make understanding and love into real things.

—Thich Nhat Hanh, "The Three Gems"


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Home(less) [Short Film] - Full Movie

FiveFilms4freedom 2017: In conversation with Jonny Ruff

Via Tiny Buddha / FB:

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/25/17

“In order to fulfill the greater goal of existence, which is to become spiritually enlightened, it is necessary to love. This includes stopping to hurt both ourselves and the other. But we don’t love and we go against the flow of life, moving towards darkness. Instead of using our greatest power, which is to love, we end up trying to kill ourselves and the other.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Facing Pain

You don’t have to be afraid of pain. If it’s going to be there, you can let it be there—but don’t let the mind be in pain with it.

—Upasika Kee Nanayon, "Tough Teachings to Ease the Mind"

Friday, March 24, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/24/17

“What keeps us caught in the past? Unfinished actions, which is another way to define karma. For example, you want to ask your father for forgiveness, but you don’t. Then your father dies and you keep this locked up inside of you. You feel love for someone, but you don’t live this love. Then a time comes when this person dies or leaves your life for good and you remain carrying the feeling that you could have lived something that you didn’t. You are left with open accounts, leaving behind a trail of unfinished business.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharam / The Value of Inexperience

Unlike a subject like, say, carpentry, where we learn from the experience of those who have gone before us, meditation is defined by spontaneity, by not knowing.

—Barry Evans, "The Myth of the Experienced Meditator"

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Via FB: Dorothy Day

"No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless.
There is too much work to do.

~~ Dorothy Day (Catholic social activist)

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/23/17

“Self-realization or enlightenment is like awakening from a dream in which we believe we are our story or a character from this story. In order to de-identify from this story it is necessary to awaken the virtues of the soul that are dormant within us. These virtues contain the aspects of love that have the capacity to release all the shackles that bind us to the past.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Joining in a Common Effort:

We can be true to our own basic insight of what we see as true, but we can embrace other people, knowing that they also may have their truth too, and we try to find where we can join together in common effort.

—Alfred Bloom, "Beyond Religion"

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 22, 2017

It’s a very delicate task to interpret things like ego and fear because we tend to interpret from where we’re sitting, and we’ve developed these structures around it.

The root of fear is the feeling of separateness that can exist within oneself. The root of fear is within the model one has of oneself. That’s where fear starts. Once that feeling of separation exists, then you process everything from either inside or outside in terms of that model. Then it keeps reinforcing the feeling of vulnerability, because there are incredibly powerful forces moving both inside and outside of you.

The transformative process of spiritual work is reawakening to the innocence of going behind that model of separation that one has, that cuts you off, that made you a tiny little fragile somebody. A lot of the power comes from a freeing of our own fragility.

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/22/17

“We are at the height of a profound planetary transformation that has been marked by a major environmental crisis. Within this context, the waters have been our greatest messenger. The waters of the world have shown us where we are on this evolutionary journey as well as the next steps that should be taken. Although many people are awakening as individuals, in collective terms, we are still very primitive. Our awareness is very low, so we do not hear the message that the waters have been trying to give us through droughts, storms, floods and tsunamis. Archetypically, the waters, like all of nature, represent the Universal Mother; which also includes our biological mother. What causes us to destroy nature and treat it as an object to be exploited? What happens when we don't see the spirit that inhabits all living beings? Behind this blindness lies a deep hatred for the mother.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Sri Prem Baba: Dia mundial da Água - Blog - Como você pode fazer a sua parte


Como você pode fazer a sua parte no processo de despoluição das águas
Acredito que somente uma pessoa espiritual de fato, ou seja, uma pessoa com um coração verdadeiramente amoroso, é capaz de promover mudanças significativas no mundo, já que todas as atitudes que nascem do medo geram mais reações negativas, enquanto as ações que nascem de um coração amoroso podem contribuir para uma transição rumo à união e ao amor. Por isso mesmo, não posso falar de sustentabilidade sem falar sobre a cura da dor que você ainda carrega e mantém o seu coração fechado, porque é ela quem está destruindo o planeta. Melhor ainda: é a inconsciência dessa dor que está destruindo o planeta.

Via Daily Dharma / The Joy of Problems

People get stuck for decades with the same problems over and over. Focusing expands you. Then you live in more ways and have new problems. Somebody once asked me what I thought mental health was. I said, “New problems!”

—Eugene T. Gendlin, "Focusing"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Via Thinking People / FB: Ignorance

Via FB / Shared brilliance from an anonymous source:

"Why should coal miners pay for PBS"? This was an actual question asked by the Trump administration yesterday. Obviously a blatantly stupid question. We have questions too. Why should a poor black family in Detroit pay for the President to go golfing? Why should a single mother of 3 who's working 2 jobs in Louisiana be denied health-care so that the CEO of Aetna can get a tax-break? Why is the guy washing dishes in Baton Rouge paying for the President's wife's secret service protection so she can live comfortably in NYC? We could do this all day. But here's the real question the Trump administration and the Republicans who empower him need to answer: Do you have a heart? Did no one teach you to care about your neighbors? Do you know what "empathy" means? Did no one ever teach you to "share" when you were in kindergarten? Have you never heard the phrase "do unto others"? I can't think of a group of people who need to watch Sesame Street MORE than the Republican party. Perhaps they would learn some common decency." 

Not sure whose brilliance this is but I was instructed to copy and paste.

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/21/17

“Many times, the compulsion for sexual variety, contrary to what it may appear, is a symptom of isolation. Even though you may be relating with many different people, you remain isolated. You only relate superficially because there are pages from your book of life you prefer not to show. There are pages that even you have not yet read. In this case, what is sustaining lust is fear in the form of shame. This is the wall that prevents you from going deeper in your intimate relationships.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Reality Check

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

—Philip K. Dick, "Drowning in Narcissism"

Monday, March 20, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/20/17

“The compulsion for food, just like any other addiction, creates resistant neural webs that transform into deeply-rooted patterns of behavior that are difficult to transform. Oftentimes after undergoing a healing in which we are able to liberate denied feelings that were feeding a destructive behavior, we are able to free ourselves from some symptoms. But when we least expect it, often during moments of stress and emotional vulnerability, gluttony comes back in through the back door and we fall again. Certain neural webs need more time to be deprogrammed. In this case, it is necessary to use the sword of willpower. When gluttony comes back to get you in the same way, you affirm: ‘Enough! I am in charge of this body! I will no longer feed this addicted self inside of me.’ ”
ViaSri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / The Right Way to Cling:

The only permanence is the permanence that I cling to in my mind: my ideals of how to live; how to be happy; how to raise my children; how to furnish my home; how to better the world; how to fill my time.

—Judith Hertog, "Circling Lhasa"

Via FB: Adulting 101 and self-care

Recently, I've noticed an uptick in the number of people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress. Many people are experiencing fear, anger, sadness, guilt, shame, and grief. Some of these negative feelings and emotions can be attributed to Trump, Republicans, and our geo-political situation. A variety of factors contribute to our mental health and it is important that we employ daily self-care. 

I'm not qualified to give anyone advice with respect to mental or emotional health and well-being. However, I do validate you as an individual, and I can empathize with your situation. 

To date, I'm angry (at Trump et al). I'm ashamed of my fellow countrymen. I'm anxious about the future, and I feel grief and sadness for what could've been. 

Here are some rudimentary coping mechanisms that I incorporate to keep myself sane, healthy, productive, and happy. We all know the benefits of the following and sometimes a reminder helps. 

You may or may not agree with my wellness philosophy, which is fine. Please share your wellness philosophy. 

Sleep - "Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke." - National Institute of Health. Naps are wonderful! 

Exercise - The Mayo Clinic reports that regular exercise combats diseases, controls weight, improves mood, boosts energy, better sleep, better sex... Health conditions can limit or inhibit exercise. (Talk to your medical health professional).

Stress Reduction - Mayo Clinic: Meditate, breathe deeply, be present in the here and now, slow down, reach out and talk to others, laugh, listen to music, exercise, enjoy nature and the environment, unplug, yoga, join a community, create ART, get a massage, take daily walks, journal... 

Eating well - "Eating vegetables provides health benefits – people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. 

Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body." US Government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Balanced diet.

Alcohol & Tobacco - Be smart with the substances and chemicals that you put into your body. Moderation. 

Vitamins - I take a multivitamin daily. I see my doctor regularly and keep my vaccinations up to date.
Hydrate - I drink at least 1 gallon per day. 

Massage - Get a regular massage if this is possible.

Support - We all need a supportive community of family and or friends. I consider myself a life-long learner, and I'm always enrolled in courses continuing education. 

Professional help - if you find yourself suicidal or depressed, seek out help from medical professionals who are qualified to help you heal. If medical help is not possible, talk to someone.
Avoid the temporary diet-mentality - we must strive to do these thing for life. When we fall, and we will, get back in the saddle at your earliest convenience. 

What would you add or do differently?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

So when you have a rough day, or when "He who's name shall not be mentioned" passes a new tweet... there is always: Psalm 109

Psalm 109

My God, whom I praise,
    do not remain silent,
for people who are wicked and deceitful
    have opened their mouths against me;
    they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me;
    they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me,
    but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good,
    and hatred for my friendship.

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
    and may his prayers condemn him.
May his days be few;
    may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;
    may they be driven[a] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
    or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
    their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
    may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord,
    that he may blot out their name from the earth.

16 For he never thought of doing a kindness,
    but hounded to death the poor
    and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse—
    may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing—
    may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment;
    it entered into his body like water,
    into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
    like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers,
    to those who speak evil of me.

21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
    help me for your name’s sake;
    out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

26 Help me, Lord my God;
    save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
    that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
    may those who attack me be put to shame,
    but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
    and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
    in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
    to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
The question is, how do you awaken out of the illusion that you are separate?

The doorway out of that is through the heart. We say, “My heart goes out to you.” The heart keeps a doorway into the unitive nature of the universe, and it’s the love that flows through it. Love doesn’t know boundaries. The mind creates the boundary of separation between me and you. The heart just keeps embracing and opening out, so that when you open your heart you open into the universe to experience the preciousness, the grace, the sweetness, and the thick interconnectedness of it all.

It’s even more than interconnected. It’s all one thing, and it just keeps changing its flow and patterns, and you’re just a part of it.

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love // Flower of the Day: 03/19/17

“Gluttony is the psychological matrix of the ego that manifests through voracity. It manifests not only through the compulsion for food but for any other addiction including sex, money, shopping and so on. These compulsions serve to numb our awareness. Voracity serves to buffer pain created by negative feelings that arise from the unconscious mind. There is an intimate connection between anything oral and the muladhara chakra, the subtle energy center situated at the base of the spine. This energetic center, commonly known as the root chakra, works in relationship with the sexual glands. As such, gluttony is always showing us signs of an issue related to sexuality.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / On Diligence

Each step may seem to take forever, but no matter how uninspired you feel, continue to follow your practice schedule precisely and consistently. This is how we can use our greatest enemy, habit, against itself.

—Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, "Tortoise Steps"

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love // Flower of the Day: 03/18/17

“The body is an alchemical lab where we can experiment with expanding our consciousness. This is why it is of great value to study the relationship between the subtle and physical bodies as well as the deeper role of the endocrine glands in the relationship between the nervous system and the chakras. It is important to understand how the psycho-emotional and physical processes are triggered by these relationships. Nowadays science has begun to prove what the yogis have long known and practiced. It is only through pranayamas (breathing exercises), asanas (physical postures) and meditation that it is possible to completely transform an unfavorable energetic or physical condition and to even cure diseases. This is the ancient knowledge of yoga.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Internal Enemy

Usually we define our enemy as a person, an external agent, whom we believe is causing harm to us or to someone we hold dear. But such an enemy is relative and impermanent. One moment, the person may act as an enemy; at yet another moment, he or she may become your best friend. This is a truth that we often experience in our own lives. But negative thoughts and emotions, the inner enemy, will always remain the enemy.

—Dalai Lama, "The Enemy Within"

Friday, March 17, 2017

2CELLOS - Now We Are Free - Gladiator [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/17/17

“Being able to recognize our incapacity to love is a great measure of success on the evolutionary journey. It gives us reason to raise our arms to the heavens and give thanks! This recognition means that a layer of illusion has begun to dissolve. In other words, we realize that we don't know who we truly are. What we are really saying is, ‘I am not living. I am completely lost, walking in circles of ignorance, driven by the death impulse.’ Love is the breath of life. If we are not loving, we are not living either.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Learning from the Birds

I stand in the middle of perfection. There is no one else around me. The cries of the geese are beautiful. They hold only joy, not a trace of fear.

—Rick Bass, "A Great Migration"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 03/16/17

“The river flows towards the sea, but in order to do so, it first needs to start somewhere. At a certain point, the water springs from the earth and begins its journey towards the sea. A long journey ensues until its ultimate goal can be reached. Certain groups of souls are at the beginning of this journey, while other groups are nearing the moment where the river merges into the ocean. Outwardly these groups have different purposes and they express themselves in varying ways in the world, but no one purpose is better than another. The higher purpose is always the same: to express love. What differs is the form through which this love is expressed.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Receiving Love

That’s exactly what happens in sitting in stillness in Zen. You’re simply soaked in that divine love that is beyond words, and you allow it to fill you, inundate you, and move you so that you can live a life grounded on that, offering yourself to others.

—Jane Lancaster Patterson, "Other Fingers Pointing to the Moon"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Via Ram Dass


You can’t say, “I’m not going to have anything to do with politics.” You can say it, but you’ve got to watch where you’re saying it from. You may say, “I’m not going to get involved with politics because I am so busy with something else, and I’ll vote, but I’m not going to put my time into campaigning for candidates and things like that, or issues, because my energies are best used here.” That’s fine. If you’ve thought it through and felt that way and can look somebody in the eye and say, “This is the way it is.” If you’re saying, “I’m not having anything to do with politics because it’s too dirty and because I don’t approve of it,” forget it – you are abdicating your responsibility to society. It’s as simple as that.

We’re at an interesting moment within the shift of collective consciousness, specifically around the way in which we’re integrating the changes in power structures. Now business holds sway over government, over religion, in terms of social power. And business is like pirates on the high seas – the question is, do you control it from the outside, or does it control itself? Does the whole process have a meta-game that’s controlling itself, and can you stand back far enough to see how it’s playing out? How is the shift in collective consciousness going to evolve and what part do you play?

Part of the curriculum is looking at the systems that you are a part of and being able to say, “That system needs work.” It’s important to be able to shift your game so that you’re not simply pushing the system away and saying “I don’t think about that stuff, because it’s too complicated. Let somebody else worry about it.” Because as long as you get really frustrated with the system, you may be standing in the way of everybody’s survival.

- Ram Dass

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love // Flower of the Day: 03/15/17

“Often, unknowingly, we are haunted by the terrors suffered by our ancestors. We are influenced by the wounds of humiliation, exclusion, and abandonment they endured. The pain created by these shocks reverberate for generations. So, sometimes, we suffer without even understanding why. We can not understand nor can we make the relationship between cause and effect. This dimension of our psyche is called the ‘transpersonal’ because it is beyond our own ego and story, but it still strongly influences us. Frequently, our ancestors are trapped in quadrants of consciousness, suffering and waiting to be healed through us. They are hoping that someone in their family lineage will reach the level of maturity sufficient enough to illuminate the dimension of love that has the capacity to break the chains that imprison them.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Dialy Dharma / Your Inner Buddha

Any Buddha or Bodhisattva is merely a symbol of the best of our own inner processes, and we are all universal beings in touch with the universal flow.

—Glenn Mullin, "Prayer: Glenn Mullin"

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love // Flower of the Day: 03/14/17

“The process of self-realization includes the need for coherence between thought, word and action. This means that we need to eliminate any trace of contradiction from our internal world. Incoherence or contradictions are based on ancestral wounds that we  have not yet been able to heal because we lack the maturity needed to do so. We haven't been able to put all the pieces of the puzzle back together. In this case, it is necessary to continue to process of self-knowledge through self-inquiry until we are ready to free ourselves from the past.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Total Freedom

You start with freedom from thirst, hunger, disease, the basic freedoms that the state has to help its citizens achieve. Then you go beyond that to social freedom, from discrimination, inequality, from crime, and lawlessness, and insecurity, which the state also has to provide. Then ultimately you find further up the ladder political freedom, the freedom from authority and tyranny. And then Buddhism brings you even past that, to seek freedom from internal bondage.

—Matthieu Ricard, "Bhutan on the Brink"

Monday, March 13, 2017

Via JMG: AIDS Memorial Museum Planned For San Francisco

The New York Times reports:
The National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park here is a somber glen of plants, trees, walks, grass and cairn, with thousands of names etched in stones and pavement. Visitors’ emotions run high, but the details of exactly how AIDS devastated and transformed the world are not found here. “The story of AIDS is more than a disease,” said John Cunningham, executive director of the grove. “The real underpinnings of that story are about humanity, social justice, human rights and what it means to be a citizen of the world. Somehow there needs to be a keeper of the story.”
Now there is a move to create just that: a place to chronicle the AIDS tragedy more comprehensively, to explore the pandemic’s many facets in a permanent national exhibition and repository. It would be similar to institutions commemorating other cataclysmic events: the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Manhattan and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan.
The effort is in its nascent stages, being discreetly explored by the staff and board of the grove, which Congress designated a National Memorial in 1996. (It is the only AIDS-related monument to receive such status.) So far, the grove has engaged consultants, some with a history of fund-raising for museums, to begin gauging the interest of wealthy donors, especially those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Hit the link for much more about the planning. Wilton Manors is already home to the World AIDS Museum. (Tipped by JMG reader Lisa)