Sunday, March 31, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 31, 2019 💌

The interesting question is, how do you put yourself in a position so that you can allow ‘what is’ to be. The enemy turns out to be the creation of mind. Because when you are just in the moment, doing what you are doing, there is no fear. The fear is when you stand back to think about it. The fear is not in the actions. The fear is in the thought about the actions. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: A Celebration of Joy

Sympathetic joy is a heartfelt gratification that accompanies the awareness of another’s well-being. It’s a joy entirely devoid of expectations. Instead, it carries one of life’s greatest pleasures: celebrating the happiness of others.

—Ellen Agler, “In the Spirit of Service

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: How To Save Ourselves

Changing ourselves involves learning how to develop those states, behaviors, and dispositions that are healthy, while allowing the unhealthy ones to atrophy from neglect… Generosity, kindness, and wisdom can save us from ourselves.

—Andrew Olendzki, “Turning the Corner

Friday, March 29, 2019


I worked on the equal marriage campaign and came across many homophobes in the process; dealing with homophobes will similarly come into account with this campaign. Thus, how do you handle bigotry? If it’s a question of psychology, you get to the facts and personal experiences (if you have them as an lgbtq individual or family/friend-of), if it’s religion you trade bible verses.
If anyone has anything to add be sure to do so in the comments.
First determine if the person is coming from a psychological or religious point of view.
History: Same-sex attraction was ORIGINALLY considered a mental illness. However, due to further scientific and psychological studies the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared in 1973 that it NOT a mental illness. Since then, the top psychiatric institutes in the United States agree.
Can it be changed: No. Conversion therapy has not been found to work since one cannot change their sexual orientation. A person with same-sex attraction cannot turn straight any more than a straight person can become someone with same-sex attraction. This form of therapy has only been found to cause suicidal and at-risk behavior due to ingraining self-hate.
Do people choose it: Never. People with same-sex attraction are born that way. Many with same-sex attraction initially try to deny it and “pray it away” due to knowing the stigmas and lack of acceptance that it will bring to their life. Nobody chooses to lose their friends and family.
History: Right-Wing love to fall back on religion when it comes to same-sex attraction. Their favorite bible verse is “You shall not lie with a male as with women; it is an abomination” Leviticus 18 and 20.
Here’s some bible verses for you to use:
“Christ is all, and is in all.” Colossians 3:11-13
“Let no doubt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8-10
“I grieve for you, Jonathan, my brother; you were dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” Samuel 1:26 (yep, that’s right – the biblical story of Goliath slayer David and King Saul’s son may have purposeful same-sex attraction undertones).
Here’s a scene from ‘Shameless’ that you can use for inspiration:
In addition, the biblical phrases that the Right-Wing point to are historically unfounded. All of these lines are not about love – they’re all about historic overindulgence and over-sexualization rather than about the love that two men share. Their lines lack historical context.
For more information visit this articles:
No, there isn’t; but you might come across somebody who thinks Pete is just another piece in their mythologized “gay agenda” so let’s break it down.
Do LGBTQ people want special rights? No, we just want equal rights - it’d help to know some of the statistics concerning LGBT discrimination which can be found here:
What is this “gay agenda” - well, it’s the belief that we in the LGBTQ community want to turn everyone gay, that we’re teaching our ways in schools, and that we’re taking over the media.
If the person says we want to turn everyone gay - remind them that people are born with same-sex attraction and that people can’t be turned.
If the person says we are in charge of schools and education - remind them of the discrimination LGBTQ students still face at school - the simple act of coming out could lead to being kicked out and many can’t attend prom with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
If the person says we’re taking over the media - remind them that there is still very little LGBTQ representation in film and on TV. It was ONLY in 2018 that one of the big film studios WIDELY released a teenage gay romantic film - it’s notable because it’s the only one of its kind. There are no shows on public TV today (at least to my knowledge) with an LGBTQ protagonist. If anything, the LGBTQ community is noticeably underrepresented.
Interesting side note “the Gay Agenda” is the Right-Wing blaming the LGBTQ community for everything they do to us: Conversion therapy, kicking out and banning LGBTQ students, and an overwhelming majority of media characters are 100% straight.
In other words, this is an easy notion to combat just by asking for examples.
“One shouldn’t care what one does in their bedrooms” – saying this simply could accidentally imply that you agree with the other person’s homophobic views and you just don’t think those views are important as the person that you’re discussing with.
“Love the sinner, hate the sin” – this is a more controversial statement: many in the LGBTQ community, myself included do not like this phrase since it indicates the person still thinks we’re in the wrong rather than acting in accordance to how God made us.

Via FB: Happy Birthday to poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti who turns 100 today. Pity the nation whose breath is money . . .

Via Daily Dharma: A Light Touch

Discovering emptiness brings a lightness of heart, flexibility, and an ease that rests in all things. The more solidly we grasp our identity, the more solid our problems become.

—Jack Kornfield, “No Self or True Self?

Via Tricycle: RAIN - Getting started on a spiritual path takes guts.

R stands for recognizing what is happening in this moment. Someone just walked too close to you on the sidewalk or didn’t give you what you feel is your “right of way,” and boom, you’re angry. The “R” is simply to notice what is happening, to be present enough to know that something is happening. This is not a small thing. Many people are immediately reactive—and worse, they blame the other person for causing their reaction. The point is to be awake, to pay attention.

A stands for accepting. This does not mean that you wanted what just happened to happen. It simply means that you acknowledge that it did. You name it: for example, “anger is here.” The idea is that although you are not going to indulge the emotion or thought with further thinking or righteousness or another emotion, neither do you resist or avert or distract yourself from what’s happening. You simply acknowledge and name what is happening. You are willing to be open to whatever it is.

I stands for investigating the sensations in the body. This step is primarily a physical noticing. What does anger feel like? The heart beats faster, there can be a flush of energy and heat and a tightening of certain muscles. These physical events are what we label as “anger.” This energetic emotional component has to be willingly and thoroughly felt until the body returns to open relaxation. You breathe and wait and breathe and feel the body, at first tight and then slowly changing, relaxing and opening, letting go. If this is not thoroughly done, then we haven’t really felt the emotion that was triggered by the initial thought, and that energy gets stuck in the body and adds to the conditioned structure that was triggered in the first place. This openness to the physical event is what integrates the energy, dissipates it, and—if it is practiced over and over— eventually dissolves that particular egoic structure, which has no concrete core. The realization that the egoic system will eventually dissolve if we don’t add more thought or energy to it is a wonderful one when first experienced, and a real taste of the potential freedom to come if we continue with practice.

N stands for not identifying. There’s no need to identify a “me’” in what just happened. It was just a passing mental and emotional event, like watching a scene in a movie or the clouds as they move through the sky. We don’t have to build and rebuild a “me” on the passing content of the body-mind. Instead, we can stand as the observer. This not-identifying is tricky, but when the first change of identity shifts from the content of mind to the observer, we can see that the content is not who we are. This is the first real shift of freedom. Eventually identification as “the observer” drops away as well, but to simply make the shift is a good place to start.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Starve the Negative, Feed the Positive

By gently robbing negative emotional patterns of their power and by practicing positive modes of thought and action, we bring balance to our inner lives, and our minds will gradually become habituated to remaining calm, stable, and clear.

—Lawrence Levy, “Balancing Emotions


The problem is that homosexuality and effeminacy are virtually synonymous in the modern public’s mind. All men who love men are stigmatized as being intrinsically effeminate. Men who engage in homosexual sex are expected to embrace gay culture and are believed, especially by other homosexuals, to be ‘girls on the inside’—no matter how they look and behave, or what their interests may be. As I mentioned above, a sense of manhood is important to most men. Yet, simply by acknowledging same-sex desire, men are expected to relinquish their manhood. They must submit to psychological castration.

While this may seem like no great loss to effeminate men who never put much stock in manhood, what of those who do hold masculinity in high regard? What of those androphiles who love men and love being men, for whom masculinity is a thing of beauty and value? I don’t love men because I see myself as girlish; I love men because I’ve developed a deep-seated appreciation for men and for masculinity itself. Men fascinate and inspire me. I love them in their finest moments, but also in the midst of struggle. 

Just watching men is a pleasure; I see in them innumerable qualities that women often fail to appreciate. I appreciate these things precisely because I am a man, because their masculinity is a reflection of my own. And yet, for this, in some perverse twist of reason, I must give up my own manhood? For this, I am regarded as effeminate and expected to entertain myself with girly things? 

Fuck that.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Releasing Fear

Being free of fear is not a matter of never feeling it, but of not being flattened when we do. We can feel it and know it is a natural phenomenon, also an impermanent one, which will have its say and be gone.

—David Guy, “Trying to Speak: A Personal History of Stage Fright

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 27, 2019 💌

As you get more conscious, every act you perform increases the amount of consciousness in the universe, because the act itself conveys the consciousness. In other words, I could tell you the greatest truths of the world but if I don’t understand them inside myself, forget it - because I’m not giving you the key that allows you to use it, which is the “faith” in it, which I can only convey through my own success in whatever I’m doing. 

- Ram Dass -

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Via Kick the Ick / FB: We have been here a long, long time

Via spirituallyminded

We don’t need to do anything at all. Just allow yourself to be seated; let the sitting take place. If you don’t strive to sit, relaxation will come. And you know something? When there is relaxation, healing begins to take place. There is no healing without relaxation. Relaxation means doing nothing, not trying.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Via Daily Dharma: Love Without Reason

Generosity might be strategically effective or virtuous, but that’s not important. The point is that there is no good reason to love life or each other, yet we do.

—John Tarrant, “The Erotic Life of Emptiness

Monday, March 25, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: What We All Want

Human beings—rich or poor, East or West, educated or uneducated, man or woman—all have one thing in common: we all want joy and happiness in our life.

— Interview with Lobsang Phuntsok by Andrew Hinton, “The Uninvited Guest of this Universe

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 24, 2019 💌

It's very hard to grow, because it's difficult to let go of the models of ourselves in which we've invested so heavily.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Courage to Seek the Truth

Getting started on a spiritual path takes guts. We usually don’t know it in the beginning, but if we keep going on it—if we really want to know the truth of what it means to be human or if we are deeply finished with our suffering—we will learn that walking the path of freedom takes a humble courage.

—Teah Strozer, “RAIN

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Spaciousness of Mind

Simply imagine that everything is just like the vast, open sky, like empty space, and let your mind blend into the space so that it becomes just as vast and open.

—Phakchok Rinpoche, “Creating Space

Friday, March 22, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Taking Mindfulness Online

In spite of the ways in which technology can lure us into delusion, paying close attention to the mental and physical sensations that arise when using social media can be an effective way to avoid becoming either overly attached or defensive regarding one’s virtual self.

— Chris Towery, “Social Media Dharma

Via FB

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: What’s Under the Darkness

Inner light is unceasing—forever luminous and clear. Even in the darkest of circumstances, you can trust that it is always there.

—Tenzin Wangyal, “The Light Is Always There

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

From the Church I was raised in in Oregon this

All Are Welcome

Young, old, poor, inked, weak, rich, pierced, tourist, local, sick, seeker, powerful, doubter, brown skin, black skin, white skin any color skin, married, single, gay, straight, healthy, transgender, male, female…… you get the point. You are welcome here!

Church is community. Church is family. 
Join us as we continue to become this church.

We invite you to walk with us as we follow Jesus on a journey of love.

Via Daily Dharma: Get Out of the Rut

It is only when accustomed routines are infused by vision that they become springboards to discovery rather than deadening ruts.

—Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, “Vision and Routine

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 20, 2019 💌

Krishna, Christ, Hanuman - all of them are the same. The ocean made manifest in different forms. Different strokes for different folks. Each a form we need, if we need form. 

- Ram Dass -

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: No-Self Intelligence

What is the point of letting go of identity? Freedom from identity is what allows and enables us to be truly human—to be an ongoing response to the challenges, demands, and needs of life.

—Ken McLeod, “Forget About Being A Buddhist. Be A Human.

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 17, 2019 💌

Meditation helps other parts of your life become more simple. As you enter quieter spaces you will see how clinging to desires has made your life complicated. Your clinging drags you from desire to desire, whim to whim, creating more and more complex entanglements. Meditation helps you cut through this clinging.

If, for example, you run around filling your mind with this and that, you will discover that your entire meditation is spent letting go of the stuff you just finished collecting in the past few hours. You also notice that your meditations are clearer when you come into them from a simpler space. This encourages you to simplify your life.

- Ram Dass -

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: The Mind’s Surprises

The mind can do wonderful and unexpected things. Meditators who are having a difficult time achieving a peaceful state of mind sometimes start thinking, “Here we go again, another hour of frustration.” But often something strange happens; although they are anticipating failure, they reach a very peaceful meditative state.

—Ajahn Brahm, “Stepping Towards Enlightenment

Friday, March 15, 2019

Via Tricycle: Shimmering Zen

Artist and Las Vegas native James Stanford finds Zen in the neon lights of Sin City.

Via Daily Dharma: Mindfulness Pause

Coming back to conscious breathing will give you a nourishing break. It will also make your mindfulness stronger, so when you want to look into your anxiety or other emotions you’ll have the calm and concentration to be able to do so.

—Thich Nhat Hanh, “Fear of Silence

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Via Them: Sober Queer Spaces Are Giving LGBTQ+ People a Place to Just Be

Across the country, queer cafés, mixers, and stores are providing options that aren't gay bars — and that's revolutionary.

On any given day in Los Angeles, LGBTQ+ locals and tourists have few choices when it comes to finding other queer and trans people — at least, in a space that’s not a bar. The go-tos, especially for cisgender gay men of legal drinking age, are gay bars, largely found in the tony city of West Hollywood. But for everyone else who identifies as LGBTQ+, such spaces are less than ideal, and for youth and those who are sober or in recovery, they aren’t an option at all.
That's one reason Virginia Bauman and her business partner Iris Bainum-Houle opened Cuties, a queer-owned, operated, and focused café in East Hollywood. 

Open daily from mornings into late afternoons, with events often hosted in the evenings, Cuties is an accessible, alcohol-free spot for LGBTQ+ people to just be — something Bauman says doesn't exist much elsewhere in the city.

"There's no comfort in loitering at the LGBT Center," Bauman says. "There's no reason that you need to have to be at Cuties; you don't. And that's one of the magic things about coffee — it's incredibly accessible."

Via Daily Dharma: Open to It All

Become still, quiet the mind, sit like the mountain and sky—stable and undivided in the face of everything that comes up. Open to the unpleasant part, the down-in-the-dumps part, the making-mistakes part, the prolonged-aching-in-the-heart part. The not knowing and the bouts of joy. Become one in the same as yourself, or “one with” your life.

—Diane Musho Hamilton, “Practice Is the Way

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Via Lions Roar / Thich Nhat Hanh answers a retreatant’s question on what to do in the face of suffering.

Imagine a Pine Tree

Question: Dear Thay, I suffer a lot and I know that suffering is part of my practice. My suffering comes from two main things. One is that I have a chronic illness, which causes me a lot of physical pain. The other is that I am an activist and I care very deeply for the world. Sometimes I feel a lot of despair about what’s happening in the world around us, in terms of violence, poverty, and environmental destruction. What practices would you recommend for those of us who are living with physical pain or are in despair about the suffering of the world?

Thich Nhat Hanh: As activists we want to do something to help the world to suffer less. But we know that when we’re not peaceful, when we don’t have enough compassion in us, we can’t do much to help the world. We ourselves are at the center. We have to make peace and reduce the suffering in ourselves first, because we represent the world. Peace, love, and happiness must always begin here, with ourselves. There is suffering, fear, and anger inside of us, and when we take care of it, we are taking care of the world.

Imagine a pine tree standing in the yard. If that pine tree were to ask us what it should do, what the maximum is a pine tree can do to help the world, our answer would be very clear: “You should be a beautiful, healthy pine tree. You help the world by being your best.” That is true for humans also. The basic thing we can do to help the world is to be healthy, solid, loving, and gentle to ourselves. Then when people look at us, they will gain confidence. They will say, “If she can do that, I can do that too!”
Don’t think that you and the world are two separate things.
So anything you do for yourself, you do for the world. Don’t think that you and the world are two separate things. When you breathe in mindfully and gently, when you feel the wonder of being alive, remember that you’re also doing this for the world. Practicing with that kind of insight, you will succeed in helping the world. You don’t even have to wait until tomorrow. You can do it right now, today.

The Buddha proposed so many ways to practice to reduce the pain in your body and in your emotions, and to reconcile with yourself. We have learned in this retreat that you can reduce physical pain through the practice of releasing tension in the body. Pain increases as a function of tension, and it can be reduced if we release the tension. You can practice relaxation in the lying or sitting position. You can also practice relaxation when you walk, and with every step you can help release the tension. Walk like a free person. Put things down, don’t carry anything, and feel light. There is a burden we always carry with us. The skill we need is how to lay down our burden in order to be light. If you sit, walk, or lie down like that, it’s very easy to release the tension and reduce the pain.

The Buddha said that you shouldn’t amplify your pain by exaggerating the situation. He used the image of someone who has just been hit by an arrow. A few minutes later, a second arrow strikes him in exactly the same spot. When the second arrow hits, the pain is not just doubled; it is many times more painful and intense.

So when you experience pain, whether it’s physical or mental, you have to recognize it just as it is and not exaggerate it. You can say to yourself, “Breathing in, I know this is only a minor physical pain. I can very well make friends and peace with it. I can still smile to it.”

If you recognize the pain as it is and don’t exaggerate it, then you can make peace with it, and you won’t suffer as much. But if you get angry and revolt against it, if you worry too much and imagine that you’re going to die very quickly, then the pain will be multiplied one hundred times. That is the second arrow, the extra suffering that comes from exaggeration. You should not allow it to arise. This is very important. It was recommended by the Buddha: Don’t exaggerate and amplify the pain.




Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 13, 2019 💌

What I have come to understand is that my path involves my heart. It can't come after the fact. It has to be the leading edge of my method. And in a devotional path, we work with forms in order to transform our own identities. And, in the process, we break the habits we've held as our realities and our own self-definitions. And the new realities, the new concepts we take on, because they were taken on intentionally, don't have the same hold over us that the old ones had. It's using a skillful means to get rid of one thing when later we will get rid of that aid as well.

- Ram Dass -

Monday, March 11, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 10, 2019 💌

When you say, "I am," then add anything after it, you are already trying to stand somewhere. There's nowhere to stand in this whole dance. You can't stand somewhere when you say, "I am good." There is stuff in you that isn't so good. You say, "I am young," yet get old. "I am alive," you will be dead. Every definition of yourself is a prison you put yourself in, seemingly to protect yourself. But it ends up creating anxiety and fear. Most of the behavior that our society performs is motivated by fear. And it is the fear of what is. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: The Key to Happiness

Generosity takes many forms—we may give our time, our energy, our material possessions, our love. All are expressions of caring, of compassion, of connection, and of renunciation—the ability to let go.The beauty of generosity is that it not only brings us happiness in the moment—we feel good when we give—but it is also the cause for happiness to arise in the future.

—Joseph Goldstein, “The Evolution of Happiness

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Tune In to Perfection

When we numb out from our suffering, we numb out from our experience of joy. That’s why we train our mind in meditation: to help ourselves and others see that we are alive in each moment. We are complete and perfect, just as we are, in the midst of our suffering.

—Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, “Turn Into the Skid

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Cameron Hawthorn: Dancing in the Living Room

Via Daily Dharma: Our Ephemeral Existence

Normally we operate under the deluded assumption that everything has some sort of true, substantial reality. But when we look more carefully, we find that the phenomenal world is like a rainbow—vivid and colorful, but without any tangible existence.

Normalmente, operamos sob a suposição ilusória de que tudo tem algum tipo de realidade verdadeira e substancial. Mas quando olhamos com mais cuidado, descobrimos que o mundo fenomenal é como um arco-íris - vívido e colorido, mas sem existência tangível.

—Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, “Teachings on the Nature of Mind and Practice

Friday, March 8, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Take This Moment to Relax

Every single moment provides an opportunity to relax the tendency to create tension in the body and unconscious thought patterns in the mind.

—Will Johnson, “Full Body, Empty Mind

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Planting Seeds of Change

We may be powerless to change the past, but we do have the power to shape the present and the future by what we do, moment to moment, right now.

—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “What We’ve Been Practicing For

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 6, 2019 💌

It's all purification from here on out. A conscious being recognizes that he or she has taken birth and the purpose of their incarnation is to relieve suffering. 

-  Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Strong Enough to Forgive

The process of forgiveness demands courage and a continual remembering of where our deepest happiness lies.

—Sharon Salzberg, “Three Ways to Practice Forgiveness

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: The Gift of an Open Mind

Buddhism’s true gift is that it teaches us to learn and experience the true characteristics and the nature of our mind and the world, as they are.

—Tulku Thondup, “Don’t Get Stuck in Neutral

Monday, March 4, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: An Incomparable Encounter

Beyond the internal mess is clear space, a clear mind. And there’s no better place—indeed, no other place—to meet your true self.

—Joan Duncan Oliver, “The Sound of Silence

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - March 3, 2019 💌

The essence of my relationship with Maharajji is to love him, to open myself to his presence, to surrender to him. That's my bhakti practice, a practice of Guru Kripa. But those qualities of love and openness and surrender are the essence of every bhakti practice. We find some being that draws our heart: it could be Maharajji or Anandamayi Ma, Christ or Krishna, Allah or G-d. You pick the name.
Then we invite that being in. We install that being in our hearts, and we offer ourselves to it: We sing to it, we chant to it, we pray to it, we bring it flowers. We love and we love, and we open and we open. And then we watch, as slowly, slowly, but surely, surely, we love our way into becoming it.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: The Unshakeable Mind

For a well-trained mind, when sudden distractions arise, they do not interrupt your practice, but reinforce it.

—Judy Lief, “Train Your Mind: If You Can Practice Even When Distracted, You Are Well Trained

Friday, March 1, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Freedom from the Mundane

Meditation helps us break free of habitual patterns and unleash the original and creative power of thought.

—Martine Batchelor, “Meditation, Mental Habits, and Creative Imagination