Solar Eclipse ~ Monday August 21, 2017 is at 29° Leo ~ CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING

By now you’ve probably heard about the major August 21 total solar eclipse at the Leo new moon. You know, the first one to be visible in North America since 1991? The one with sold-out viewing parties and all-night dance festivals and $2,000-plus per night Airbnbs in the Oregon Outback? No joke, kids, it’s going to be an event.

For a brief window of time this August 21, those savvy enough to have reserved a campsite will see the Moon basically block out the Sun. Before this, the heavens will also deliver a lunar (full moon) eclipse on August 7. Alas, that one arrives at 2:10 p.m. EDT, so not so much a spectacle to behold in the skies.

Astrologically speaking, we’ll feel the impact of both of these eclipses—no goggles required. These lunar events, which always take place during a new moon (solar eclipse) or a full moon (lunar eclipse) shake up the status quo and reveal things that are obscured from our view.

What’s an eclipse, exactly?

In astrology, the moon represents the feminine archetype of the mother. It also governs what we as humans need to feel safe and comfortable; it is the astro-arbiter of our emotions. (For some stunning self-revelations, we suggest running a natal chart to look up your moon sign and discover your emotional blueprint.)

The Sun, on the other hand, is classically associated with the masculine realm and the father. It also rules the ego (it’s the center of the solar system that everything revolves around, after all). In a birth chart, the Sun reveals the sources from which we draw our power and energy.

At a lunar eclipse, Earth is exactly between the Sun and the Moon, casting a shadow on the full moon. During a solar eclipse, the moon is exactly in front of the Sun, throwing shade on el Sol.

Feminine (Moon) versus masculine (Sun): How eclipses rebalance power.

At 2:30 p.m. EDT on August 21, the feminine Moon will block out the patriarchal Sun, like, “Nevertheless she persisted!” In a year that will no doubt be immortalized as The Patriarchy Gone Wild, this is insanely significant. Could it be another prompt from the cosmos for the divine feminine to rise? (Like a Women’s March on the solar system, if you will.)

Leo and Aquarius eclipses: Ego versus unity.

We also have to consider the zodiac signs that the eclipses fall in. From February 2017 until January 2019, these lunar events will fall on the Aquarius-Leo axis, illuminating the tug o’ war between these two opposing signs.

Leo rules the ego and the urge to express ourselves—”I have arrived!” On the other side, communal Aquarius is the sign of groups and teamwork. Balancing self-serving agendas with the needs of the masses will be a huge theme for 2017 and 2018.

The Aquarius Lunar Eclipse: Power to the people?

The lunar (full moon) eclipse on August 7 falls in “power to the people” Aquarius, a community-minded energy that can be radically progressive or straight-up populist, depending on how it’s used.

This eclipse could mobilize the masses and potentially deepen the divide that’s already been cleaved between left and right. Or it could also serve as a unifying wake-up call, reminding the humans of Planet Earth that we need to band together for survival’s sake, especially given the alarming realities of climate change.

Aquarius governs technology, the internet, and science. Will this full moon’s beams expose the cybercriminals behind the election hacking and Russia scandals?

Be sure to protect all your sensitive data—and maybe switch up your personal server to a VPN (virtual private network) to keep your web browsing and preferences away from hackers and data miners.

New developments could spring forth in the areas of renewable energy and space travel. Elon Musk just announced that his SpaceX program will send its rocket Falcon Heavy on its first flight this November. Anyone wanna bid on a condo on Mars?

The August 21 Leo Solar eclipse: A call for leadership, airing emotions.

The solar (new moon) eclipse on August 21 arrives in Leo, the sign of glamour and the gilded royal. In 2017, we’ve seen the many ways the power corrupts as authoritarian leaders rise to prominence around the globe.

We’re also seeing a new breed of conscious leaders step forward to shift the tide. And given the feminine moon’s very visible appearance, this eclipse could be the wake-up call for women to step into leadership roles or for governments to adopt legislation that protects and serves the female population.

Deeply Freudian and buried feelings will be on blast during these eclipses, especially the total solar eclipse on the 21st since the moon will be on parade. Did you even have a clue you were upset about that situation? Nope. But eclipses have a funny way of ripping up the rugs where we’ve buried our pain.

During the lunar eclipse on the 7th, we can lean in to Aquarius’ high-minded cool: What is the cosmic lesson in the pain? Doesn’t everything happen for a reason? It’s all karmic growth!

The Leo eclipse on the 21st will be a bit less enlightened. A primal scream—or a karaoke marathon—could be better therapy than reflective journaling or meditation.

What your sign needs to balance during August’s eclipses:

Aries: Keeping your maverick spirit alive while still being a team player.

Taurus: Pursuing major goals without losing heart and soul.

Gemini: Speaking your truth without drowning out other perspectives.

Cancer: Keeping things straightforward and simple instead of getting lost in the complex weeds.

Leo: Curbing people-pleasing and looking for win-wins instead.

Virgo: Becoming curious about people who think differently instead of judging them.

Libra: Standing your ground in the face of groupthink.

Scorpio: Learning to be competitive AND compassionate—love thy “enemies.”

Sagittarius: Learning to enjoy the process instead of fixating on the grand goal.

Capricorn: Exploring the shadows instead of judging by the surface.

Aquarius: Remaining grounded in your own life, even while in relationship.

Pisces: Trusting your intuition instead of giving the wrong people “one more chance.”

 

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Will Russ Jr. @ Angelica’s, Redwood City Thursday August 24, 7:30

 

 

William has often been compared to some the greatest soul singers for his unique interpretations and soulful delivery, such as Donny Hathaway, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Peabo Bryson and Bill Withers.

With his positive attitude, energy and charming personality, William is destined to bring the audience to the dance floor!!

His voice is soothing as a cool summer breeze and as comforting as a loving embrace, you will be gently glided from song to song by a voice that is incredibly smooth as it is inviting.

Will’s CD “Force Of Will” is a seduction of his soulful interpretations and brilliant vocal arrangements that will hypnotically caress you and have you falling in Love over and over again.

Joiful Music admires Will for his distinctive performance and his welcoming personality that engages the audience. Will is only back in the State side for a short while with only a few performances.  Take this opportunity to Experience the Force Of Will!

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Sneak Preview Of Love Jet ~ A Project Levi Seacer Jr. Is Spear Heading

 

This Friday 11 August,  Throw on some comfy shoes and head on over to 19 Broadway, Fairfax  9p and join me on the dance floor!!!

Love Jet will take us on a musical ride featuring 3 different vocalist,  various geners, and a strong band lead by Levi Seacer Jr. / formerly with Prince, on guitar,  keys and vocals,  Derick Hughes  vocals /tours with  Roberta Flack, Rusty Allen from Sly Stone band on bass, Chris  Tabaro vocals,   Prince on keys, Morgan Day guitar from The Purple Ones, Michael Seacer on drums and Malina on vocals.

Be prepared to Get on the Love Jet.

 

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Dancing…Offers So Much To Those Who Dare

Dance floors tend to be sweaty places for a reason. All of those shimmies and shakes burn energy like you wouldn’t believe—and come with many other surprising health benefits, too.

When you cut a rug, you can expend more than 300 calories every half-hour, according to a report from the University of Brighton in the UK. That meets or exceeds the amount of energy you burn during an easy run or swim, the report shows. Even relatively tame forms of dance burn about the same number of calories as cycling.

Dancing demands a lot of energy output because it involves “movement in all directions,” says Nick Smeeton, a principal lecturer at the University of Brighton and coauthor of that report. While running, swimming and other propulsive forms of physical activity use rhythm and momentum to keep you moving, “there is a lot of accelerating and decelerating in dancing, which the body is less able to do in an energy efficient way,” Smeeton says.

If running is like driving on a freeway, dancing is more like motoring through a busy city, he says. All of that starting, stopping and changing directions burns a ton of fuel even though you’re not covering a lot of ground.

Of course, the amount of energy you expend has a lot to do with how hard you’re pushing yourself. A gentle two-step isn’t going to measure up to an intense, hilly run. But torching calories isn’t the only upside to dancing. Just as trail running and hiking better engage your lower-body joints and muscles than straight-ahead, level-ground locomotion, the up-and-down and side-to-side movements of dance may likewise activate and train many of your body’s little support muscles and tendons.

Like other forms of cardio exercise, dancing also seems to have mood and mind benefits. A 2007 study found that  dancing improved energy, buoyed mood and lowered stress in ways similar to aerobic exercise.

A more recent study, published earlier this year in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, linked dancing to improved “white matter” integrity in the brains of older adults. Your brain’s white matter can be thought of as its connective tissue. That tissue tends to break down gradually as we age, which leads to a loss of processing speed and the thinking and memory problems that arise later in life, says Agnieszka Burzynska, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Colorado State University and that study’s first author.

MORE: The Hidden Health Benefits of Dance  

Burzynska and her colleagues looked at white matter changes among older adults engaged in regular walking, stretching or dancing programs. White matter integrity declined among the walkers and stretchers, but improved among those who danced three days a week for six months. “We saw this benefit in one area of the brain, not everywhere, and our findings are preliminary,” she says. But the early results are promising.

The psychological benefits are also impressive. For decades, some therapists have prescribed dancing as an effective therapy for those who suffer from social anxiety or fear of public speaking. The idea: if you can loosen up enough to boogie in front of strangers, you’re a lot less likely to feel self-conscious when hanging out or speaking in front of an audience. Research dating back to the 1980s supports the idea that dancing can curb anxiety.

Dancing also seems to encourage social bonding and what psychologists call “self-other merging.” Like chatting with a stranger and finding out you both attended the same school or grew up in the same neighborhood, moving and grooving in rhythm with others lights up brain pathways that blur the barriers your mind erects between yourself and a stranger, and so helps you feel a sense of connection and sameness, suggests a study from the University of Oxford.

Finally, the touch aspect of dancing with a partner may offer some special perks. Touch is the first sense that emerges during infancy, and the more experts examine the benefits of massage, holding hands and other forms of human-to-human physical contact, the more they find that touching improves well-being and reduces stress and anxiety. Basically, dancing with someone else is like exercise and a hug rolled together.

Put all this together, and it’s clear we could all use more samba, salsa or boot scootin’ in our lives.

Written by: Markham Heid

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Illusions We Live

               “In prison, illusions can offer comfort.”                           Nelson Mandela

For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the deceptive act is committed, and for the fool, reality then becomes inexplicably built upon on a lie. That is, until the fool wakes up and recognizes the truth in the fact that he has been duped.

Maintaining the suspension of disbelief in the illusion, however, is often more comforting than acknowledging the magician’s secrets.

We live in a world of illusion. So many of the concerns that occupy the mind and the tasks that fill the calendar arise from planted impulses to become someone or something that we are not. This is no accident. As we are indoctrinated into this authoritarian-corporate-consumer culture that now dominates the human race, we are trained that certain aspects of our society are untouchable truths, and that particular ways of being and behaving are preferred.

Psychopaths disempower people in this way. They blind us with never ceasing barrages of suggestions and absolutes that are aimed at shattering self-confidence and confidence in the future.

Bansky, the revered and elusive revolutionary street artist, once commented:

“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.” – Banksy

Advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. When we look further we see that the overall organization of life is centered around the pursuit of illusions and automatic obedience to institutions and ideas which are not at all what they seem. We are in a very real sense enslaved. Many call this somewhat intangible feeling of oppression ‘the matrix,’ a system of total control that invades the mind, programming individuals to pattern themselves in accordance with a mainstream conformist version of reality, no matter how wicked it gets.

The grandest of the illusions which keep us enslaved to the matrix, the ones that have so many of us still entranced, are outlined below for your consideration.

1. The Illusion of Law, Order and Authority

For so many of us, following the law is considered a moral obligation, and many of us gladly do so even though corruption, scandal, and wickedness repeatedly demonstrate that the law is plenty flexible for those who have the muscle to bend it. Police brutality and police criminality is rampant in the US, the courts favor the wealthy, and we can longer even lead our lives privately thanks to the intrusion of state surveillance. And all the while the illegal and immoral Orwellian permanent war rages on in the background of life, murdering and destroying whole nations and cultures.

The social order is not what it seems, for it is entirely predicated on conformity, obedience and acquiescence which are enforced by fear of violence. History teaches us again and again that the law is just as often as not used as an instrument of oppression, social control and plunder, and any so-called authority in this regard is false, hypocritical, and unjust.

When the law itself does not follow the law, there is no law, there is no order, and there is no justice. The pomp and trappings of authority are merely a concealment of the truth that the current world order is predicated on control, not consent.

2. The Illusion of Prosperity and Happiness

Adorning oneself in expensive clothes and trinkets, and amassing collections of material possessions that would be the envy of any 19th century monarch has become a substitute for genuine prosperity. Maintaining the illusion of prosperity, though, is critical to our economy as it is, because its foundation is built on consumption, fraud, credit and debt. The banking system itself has been engineered from the top down to create unlimited wealth for some while taxing the eternity out of the rest of us.

True prosperity is a vibrant environment and an abundance of health, happiness, love, and relationships. As more people come to perceive material goods as the form of self-identification in this culture, we slip farther and farther away from the experience of true prosperity.

3. The Illusion of Choice and Freedom

Read between the lines and look at the fine print, we are not free, not by any intelligent standard. Freedom is about having choice, yet in today’s world, choice has come to mean a selection between available options, always from within the confines of a corrupt legal and taxation system and within the boundaries of culturally accepted and enforced norms.

Just look no further than the phony institution of modern democracy to find a shining example of false choices appearing real. Two entrenched, corrupt, archaic political parties are paraded as the pride and hope of the nation, yet third party and independent voices are intentionally blocked, ridiculed and plowed under.

The illusion of choice and freedom is a powerful oppressor because it fools us into accepting chains and short leashes as though they were the hallmarks of liberty.

Multiple choice is different than freedom, it is easy servitude.

4. The Illusion of Truth

Truth has become a touchy subject in our culture, and we’ve been programmed to believe that ‘the‘ truth comes from the demigods of media, celebrity, and government. If the TV declares something to be true, then we are heretics to believe otherwise.

In order to maintain order, the powers that be depend our acquiescence to their version of the truth. While independent thinkers and journalists continually blow holes in the official versions of reality, the illusion of truth is so very powerful that it takes a serious personal upheaval to shun the cognitive dissonance needed to function in a society that openly chases false realities.

5. The Illusion of Time

They say that time is money, but this is a lie. Time is your life. Your life is an ever-evolving manifestation of the now. Looking beyond the five sense world, where we have been trained to move in accordance with the clock and the calendar, we find that the spirit is eternal, and that the each individual soul is part of this eternity.

The big deception here is the reinforcement of the idea that the present moment is of little to no value, that the past is something we cannot undo or ever forget, and that the future is intrinsically more important than both the past and the present. This carries our attention away from what is actually happening right now and directs it toward the future. Once completely focused on what is to come rather than what is, we are easy prey to advertisers and fear-pimps who muddy our vision of the future with every possible worry and concern imaginable.

We are happiest when life doesn’t box us in, when spontaneity and randomness gives us the chance to find out more about ourselves. Forfeiting the present moment in order to fantasize about the future is a trap. The immense, timeless moments of spiritual joy that are found in quiet meditation are proof that time is a construct of the mind of humankind, and not necessarily mandatory for the human experience.

If time is money, then life can be measured in dollars. When dollars are worth less, so is life. This is total deception, because life is, in truth, absolutely priceless.

6. The Illusion of Separateness

On a strategic level, the tactic of divide and conquer is standard operating procedure for authoritarians and invading armies, but the illusion of separateness runs even deeper than this.

We are programmed to believe that as individuals we are in competition with everyone and everything around us, including our neighbors and even mother nature. Us vs. them to the extreme. This flatly denies the truth that life on this planet is infinitely inter-connected. Without clean air, clean water, healthy soil, and a vibrant global sense of community we cannot survive here.

While the illusion of separateness comforts us by gratifying the ego and and offering a sense of control, in reality it only serves to enslave and isolate us.

Conclusion

The grand illusions mentioned here have been staged before us as a campaign to encourage blind acquiescence to the machinations of the matrix. In an attempt to dis-empower us, they demand our conformity and obedience, but we must not forget that all of this is merely an elaborate sales pitch. They can’t sell what we don’t care to buy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he indulges in the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for mankind.

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Solfeggio Sound Frequencies

A sensational series of musical composition based on ancient mathematical scales and legendary frequencies…

The Solfeggio Sounds frequencies were often used in Gregorian Chants.  The special tone of the chants imparted enormous spiritual blessing when sung and heard.

The six original Solfeggio frequencies and 4 additional solfeggio frequencies have been analysed by physicists and musicians.  All agree that they constitute a uniquely interrelated series of mathematically derived electromagnetic sound frequencies. They do not correlate directly with any conventional notes within known musical scales.  This has led some to suggest that the Solfeggio Sounds are derived from the mystical “Music of the Spheres” and is the basis of the legend of the “Lost Chord”.

All ten Solfeggio frequencies have specific healing associations as they interact with the vibrational energies of the human body. Some theorists have considered the possibility that these electromagnetic frequencies are involved in the alchemical process of transmutation.

Benefits of 396Hz Solfeggio Frequency ( Also Known as Tone UT )

UT – 396 Hz

Intent: turning grief into joy, liberating guilt & fear

This frequency liberates the energy and has beneficial effects on feelings of guilt. It cleanses the feeling of guilt, which often represents one of the basic obstacles to realization, enabling achievement of goals in the most direct way. The ‘Ut’ tone releases you from the feeling of guilt and fear by bringing down the defense mechanisms. 396 Hz frequency searches out hidden blockages, subconscious negative beliefs, and ideas that have led to your present situations.

✓ It gives Power to Your Goals
✓ It eradicates feeling of guilt, even the guilt residing deep in subconscious mind
✓ It helps you to overcome the fear. Which is usually the main obstacle in realizing our dreams and goals.
✓ Liberates from subconscious negative beliefs and thoughts.

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Vitamin D: Nature’s Medicine Chest

 

Did you know Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and autism? Vitamin D isn’t really a “true” vitamin, as we don’t need food to attain it. Natural sunlight allows our body to create vitamin D and even destroys excessive amounts. How does that happen? When the sun’s ultraviolet B (“UVB”) rays hit your skin, they trigger a precholesterol molecule (7-dehydrocholesterol), which is then turned into Vitamin D3 (aka “cholecalciferol”).

 

The mechanisms by which vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer are fairly well understood. They include enhancing calcium absorption, inducing cell differentiation, increasing apoptosis (programmed cell death), reducing metastasis and proliferation, and reducing angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels).

Research studies have shown a direct connection between Vitamin D deficiency and heart disease. The authors of a 2006 article in the American Journal of Public Health state, after a review of more than 60 studies on Vitamin D and Cancer, that cancer occurrence and death could be reduced with improved levels of Vitamin D in the body. The incidence of breast cancer could be reduced by 50% and colon cancer by 80%!

 

And a June 2007 Creighton University School of Medicine study indicated that appropriate levels of vitamin D3 (and calcium) reduced the risk of cancer by a staggering 77%! A 2009 study by a group of Leeds University researchers actually found that higher levels of vitamin D were linked to improved skin cancer survival odds, while other studies have found that vitamin D has a connection to a strong immune response in the body.

 

Does Sunscreen Prevent Skin Cancer?

Don’t fall for the “sunscreen myth.” The idea that sunscreen prevents cancer is a myth promoted by a greedy “tag-team” effort between the “cancer industry” and the sunscreen industry. Sunlight is actually good for you (especially the UVB rays), and sunscreens filter out UVB! The main chemical used in sunscreens to filter out UVB is octyl methoxycinnamate (aka “OMC”) which has been shown to kill mouse cells even at low doses. Plus, it was also shown to be particularly toxic when exposed to sunshine. And guess what? OMC is present in 90% of sunscreen brands!

 

The most popular brands of sunscreens also contain other toxic chemicals (such as dioxybenzone and oxybenzone) that are absorbed through the skin where they enter the bloodstream, generate free radicals, wreak havoc on the immune system, damage the liver and the heart, and even promote systemic cancer. Titanium dioxide, another common ingredient in sunscreens, has been classified as “a potential occupational carcinogen” by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. If you want to use a natural sunscreen, try aloe vera gel. Also, we use Dr. Mercola’s “Natural Sunscreen with Green Tea” for the kiddos if we are going to be out in the sun for prolonged periods of time.

 

vitamin-d

*NOT* saying that you should sit out in the sun until you’re red and crisp like a lobster! Burning will damage cellular DNA, which leads to cancer. If you’re pale as a ghost, you probably want to start out with just a few minutes in the sun each day.You need to understand that antioxidants (in fruits and vegetables) and proper nutrition (specifically the B vitamins) will *prevent* sunburn.

 

Here’s a little trivia: the term “Red Neck” actually originated from the early American colonists (in the South) who would get sunburned necks during the summer. But their “red necks” were not just a result of being in the sun all day. They were a result of a nutritional deficiency. You see, the colonists didn’t understand how to properly process corn like the American Indians did. The Indians processed corn using potash (which is highly alkaline) that makes the B vitamins in corn available for assimilation during digestion. But the American settlers (too arrogant to follow the food preparation ways of the Indian “savages”) would simply grind up their corn and consume it as corn flour (corn meal).

 

This resulted in vitamin B deficiencies, which (when coupled with too much sun exposure) would result in their “red necks.” By the way, the nutritional deficiency link to sunburn has been supported with multiple studies, including a study published in the 2004 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In light of the fact that the best place to get vitamin D is natural sunlight *AND* the fact that vitamin D deficiency can lead to cancer, diabetes, and numerous other life threatening diseases, the warning to “stay out of the sun” is completely irrational! And despite the importance of vitamin D, it’s estimated that over 50% of the US population is vitamin D deficient. During the summer, my family tries to lie out in the sun for at least 30 minutes, four to five times per week, to obtain sufficient vitamin D to stay healthy and strong.

 

However, in the winter time, you’ll need a good vitamin D3 supplement. But take note that most vitamin D supplements are virtually worthless. Here’s why: The vitamin D in milk and in most vitamin supplements is vitamin D2 and is synthetic. Vitamin D2 is also called “ergocalciferol.” It is not the form of vitamin D that you need to prevent cancer and degenerative diseases. The form of vitamin D which you need is vitamin D3 (“cholecalciferol”) and, as mentioned above, it is produced from the UVB rays in sunlight. Sunshine is the “most affordable cancer-fighting nutrient in the world.” Think about it, you can get a lifetime supply for FREE!

Sourced from Truth About Cancer

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WOMEN LISTEN UP….3 Myths About MEN

You Must Be Accommodating So that He’ll Think Your Easy Going and Fun…

But that doesn’t work because it actually trains him to think you’re willing to do whatever he wants. And what makes this so bad is that he’ll just assume all you care about is his needs, his happiness with nothing left for you.

Kind of like you’re his mother… doting on him… caring only about his needs… with your sole purpose focused on making sure he’s happy.

 

 

You’ve Been Told to Never Get Angry with a Man Because it’s Such a Turn Off….

But the truth is that never getting angry with a man actually makes him get bored with you. The reason is this: Men live by this motto –

“If you can’t handle me when I’m rude or disrespectful, then you’re too weak for me to ever trust you when I’m scared.”

And the Worst Thing You’ve Been Told:The More You Give to a Man the Deeper He’ll Love You.

 

I’m sorry to tell you but doing that will only lead to my deepest fear for you…
that he’ll take you for granted by:

  • Only calling you when he’s in the mood.
  • Having his desire for you go hot and cold, for no apparent reason.
  • Expecting you to be positive and upbeat…all the time.

Sourced from Bob Grant

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The Zen Of Love

 Eastern vs. Western Culture

Eastern people live in time, which means that they follow the natural order of time to do things step by step, not wanting to veer from a set schedule, whereas Western people live in space – often following their dreams to do what they desire, but sometimes missing some of the important steps along the way which help to define our paths as human beings living an earthly experience.

One of the most important ‘steps’ along the way is love, but to experience it, we must ‘dream’ it and this is where East meets West.

Zen teaches, or rather points the way, so that we may learn to love better. In classic Buddhist teachings – informed largely by the sentiment of the East, we learn loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and a particular form of equanimity – all forms of love. In the West, we learn by happenstance. We meet someone, we long for them, we fumble, and fall, and hopefully, through experiencing a bruised heart, and a wounded ego we seek other ways to love another more profoundly.

We don’t know how to love correctly. This is the sentiment expressed by one of the most quoted contemporary Zen Buddhist teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh. The Zen master states that, “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.” What does Hanh mean by this? Essentially, if love is missing one of the four qualities discussed in Buddhism (as well as many other ancient teachings) then it probably isn’t love. It is something we call love, but it is more than likely a projection of our egoic needs. As Zen teacher, D.T. Suzuki once argued, “We are too ego-centered. The ego-shell in which we live is the hardest thing to outgrow… We are, however, given many chances to break through this shell, and the first and greatest of them is when we reach adolescence.” Is it not also in this time when we first, as both Westerners and Easterners alike, face our earliest broken hearts and shattered egos?

Zen offers some very salient points once we seek to love better than we have before, whether we arrive at that desire from an Eastern or Western set of societal norms. Here are four of them:

 

“The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable… Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

  1. Maitri, Loving-Kindness – Maitri is derived from Sanskrit, meaning friend. Foremost, we should be-friend all those we wish to love. Consider your romantic relationships. If you merely desire another, with a need to conquer them, you aren’t being their friend. This first precept also encourages us to look at our relationship with ourselves. Are we ‘friendly’ to ourselves? If not, how can we befriend another if we are at war within?

As Guy Finley describes, the way to win the war against yourself is to realize that:

Freedom from what is unwanted by you begins with awakening to what is unseen within you.

Finley further asserts that the ‘enemy’ behind all the problems you face isn’t outside of you, but dwells within your present mind. Without your conscious knowledge, psychological characteristics built up over time and experience, inhibit your inner being, and make choices FOR YOU. Only by learning to uncover that inner silent architect of your life, can you “expose and dismiss these self-compromising characters and reveal the truth about who you really are. The freedom you’ve longed for follows. You’ll learn to align yourself with life’s secret direction, which invites the greatest power in the universe to take your side.”

 

  1. Karuna, Compassion – Compassion is defined as an active sympathy or willingness to share the burdens of others. In the Pali language, the word is panna. It means ‘insight’, ‘discernment’, or ‘consciousness’. Truly, if we have not reached a certain level of insight or consciousness, we still see another’s wounds as separate from our own, and have no desire to bear another’s burden. This doesn’t mean that we allow people to walk all over us, as we all must take full responsibility for our own choices, but it does mean that we have compassion for another’s ‘cross to bare’ to use Christian terminology.

When you look into someone’s eyes, do you see your own soul?

Hanh says that “Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.”

 

  1. Mudita, Sympathetic Joy – Sharon Salzburg of the Upaya Zen Clinic says that instead of “relishing another’s misfortunes,” we should look at their joyous moments in life as our own. Mudita builds on the previous tenant of Karuna. Salzburg says, “One doorway to sympathetic joy is compassion. Life is so fragile, with its volcanic shifts from pleasure to pain, from ease to difficult confrontations, from getting what we want to watching what we just got begin to fade away. We go up and down, all of us. Vulnerability in the face of constant change is what we share, whatever our present condition. If we remember that even people who have more than we do suffer, we will feel closer to them.”

When someone else is lucky in life, instead of feeling envious, rejoice that they have experienced a fortuitous moment.

 

  1. Upeksha, Equanimity – Equanimity is the balanced, calm approach we should take to all things in life, including love. Though romantic love has its roller coater moments, as can familial love, or even love among friends, all REAL love is balanced in its utmost aspect.

Without upeksha, our love can become possessive. Hanh uses the analogy of trying to put a refreshing summer breeze in a tin can. If it is left to be free, it stays a breeze, in the can, it dies. Love is like the breeze, or a cloud, or a flower. Hanh says that many people rob others of their liberty until they can no longer be themselves. “They live to satisfy themselves and use their loved one to help them fulfill that. That is not loving; it is destroying,” says Hanh.

Upeksha contains samatajñana, “the wisdom of equality,” the ability to see everyone as our equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others, states the Zen master.

By developing true equanimity, and staying in balance, we can hold our loves sacred but not hold them so tightly that they begin to wilt.

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