Posts Tagged ‘buddhism’

Death and Life

Posted: August 2, 2015 in Awake, Rocks in my path
Tags: ,

Rumi Quote

 

Death and Life. One does not exist without the other. Many are afraid of, or try to slow a pending death. I have done this and sometimes I still do. I’m not perfect. I also discovered I can’t stop death. Of course I knew this but it didn’t stop me from trying at times. If death is my next step, my next pathway, there is nothing I can do to slow the progression and metamorphosis of me into whatever I will become or not become. I don’t know if I’ll exist in a different form or just cease to exist. I don’t have the answers. Thing is, I don’t believe any of the religious leaders or deities or Gods have the answers either. If they did, there’s be clearer messages and less man-written texts about how to live, how to behave, etc. I believe we are given free will and free thought for a reason. What’s the reason? Well, for us to use our brains, our souls, our instincts to create, to build, to do, to love, to live, and so much more!

I believe in spirituality and in a higher power. However, I don’t believe that an enlightened being, or higher power is immersed in, or frankly, gives a damn about what we as humans are doing with our everyday lives and whether we are wealthy or sick or poor or angry or happy. I also don’t believe that when some material wealth or some heath “miracle” or good fortune befalls us, that God is being good to us. Because if I believe that, I may be asked to believe that those who don’t worship the same way or the same God, are being punished. And well, I don’t want to worship a petty or vindictive God. Working for some people in positions of power is stressful enough. Why would I want to have that type of narcissistic fool dictating my every move?

I challenge those who feel that way to remove the man-written verses out of a holy book and consider the options. Oh, and no, I’m not asking you to stop believing what you do, I’m simply asking you to just think about life without religion as a foundation. Can you? Is that even possible for you? Is your religious belief so intrinsic to who you are as a human being? How does this enrich our society, or rather, does it? If so, then please continue to practice and share the beliefs with your loved ones. For those who use religion a crutch to tell others what they are doing incorrectly, to shun others for their beliefs because they’re different than yours, and for those who read their holy books but still judge others, then I hope you take a minute to think about what I’m saying. If you don’t get it, let me say it clearly.
RELIGION AND YOUR BELIEFS DO NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO BE A JUDGMENTAL ASSHOLE. It also does not give you permission to behave badly towards other human beings when the humans do not share your belief system.

There. Got it? Good. 🙂

I have a lot of work to do on myself. That’s why I’m reading, learning, sharing and discussing my opinions. I have many moments when it takes a lot of work to calm down when someone or a situation irritates me. Sure, I am easier to calm now as I’ve progressed a bit but it is still hard work.

Summary:

Buddhism and other Eastern-based ways of life, habits and cultural aspects such as yoga, etc. have become fads for many. This makes me question whether many are simply imitating without understanding or whether they are applying Western-based undertones and principles that are ingrained to the learned Eastern principles.

Why?

Granted, some believe they’re “doing it right” by studying and practicing, and will gladly announce their successes, titles acquired and upward movement in the chosen way of life. Hint: Yogis do not announce, a Sensei is not a preacher and spirituality is not a tangible thing with a title in many Eastern beliefs. Look it up. While you’re at it, don’t read a Western version of what you’re seeking. Go to the truth, to the source.

From a capitalist perspective, I’m not mad at anyone hocking yoga mats, yoga socks, yoga pants – not to mention the see through pants that show fully formed asses, etc. I’m also happy to know that humans across the world are finally appreciating the benefits of yoga.

So:

Yes, go get all trendy bendy in your see through yoga pants if that empowers you or your ass!

Yes, read a reliable source or ten on Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. They’re wonderful ways of life.

Yes, please appreciate what those outside of the so-called First World/ Western World have to offer. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.

But please:

Please understand that while I cannot judge you, I also cannot respect you when you make a mockery of my rich cultured history.

Enjoy your journey. May you find the happiness and fulfilment you crave without destroying or “westernizing” my culture and heritage. You cannot buy a way of life.

Spank me! My torpedo’s smoky excellence coupled with two fingers of speyside is what Sunday afternoons of relaxation are made of… Happy weekend, wonderful folks! If you understand this post, I raise a glass in your honor.

Scotch and whiskey (or of you’re being particular, scotch whisky) lovers unite! If you happen to be an introvert, like recent memes suggest, unite separately, in your homes, with me. If you’re an extrovert, enjoy the Spring somewhere out as you rejuvenate the soul. If you don’t have Spring where you are, just go on ahead and enjoy the weather you’ve always had.

I’m one of those weirdos who don’t hate winter, provided I don’t have to drive in ice. Even then, it feels like a fun adventure most days. I find winter a good time to slow down, reflect, write more, read more, binge watch more, yoga more, and most of all, snuggle more.

But of course I’m happy to have warmer days where in the 50s I can chill with a few of my favorite things outdoors. What’s my point? I’m practicing being grateful for every day, everything and every breath. Are you?

Natasha as a kid with ugly doll

Natasha Ramsey ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Ugly doll that creeped me out as illustrated by the expression on my face!

Welcome to “Awake“. Being awake is how I want to live, and what I fought so hard to become. I hope you join me on this journey of sharing my awakened state and I truly hope that you share your journey(s) with me as well! Life’s more interesting when we live it with others.

This is the first in a series of (mostly) thoughts about life that will be short and to the point. Who has time for nonsense and extra wordery, anyway?

Part 1:

As a child, I would scribble on napkins, the backs of school books and sometimes inside of them (don’t worry, we purchased our school books so this was not being a delinquent), on the white envelopes that letters and bills were mailed in, and unfortunately, sometimes on the return envelopes that you’re supposed to use when you mail those bill payments back.I would also be known to stick my head into books and let my mind run away on adventure after adventure and forget to do homework, chores, or practice my piano and guitar playing. Truthfully, I may not have really forgotten…but that’s not important right now. Writing and already written books were my escapes out of everyday life.

There were so many people and thoughts and random stuff in my head that I needed a way to get them out. Every now and again I’d try and purge it all by doing a brain dump of all of my thoughts onto paper. Back then, I never wrote for others to read. In fact, I destroyed most of it so that it wouldn’t be found. Trust me, if a parent or teacher read some of the stuff I wrote as a kid, I may not be lucid or alive today to write anything!

Besides, as a child (when T-Rexes roamed the earth and a “selfie” meant something very different than it does today!) my teachers and parents never suggested or spoke of being a writer or a professional reader (i.e. an editor, etc.) as actual jobs. It’s as if all of the books in my house and on school shelves were written by mystical creatures and that writing and editing and copywriting, etc. weren’t actual jobs. What’s even odder is the importance that was placed on reading. I was allowed to read almost anything I wanted as books were good. However, TV shows were in limited supply. Maybe it explains my obsession with written words in any medium and always craved being a writer but again, that’s not important right now.

The main point of sharing this, is because in my Island home with a relatively comfortable life, it was a well known fact. If you were not striving to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a business owner, you really weren’t striving.

-end

Today’s good vibe share is “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. Thank you for stopping by. What’s your journey? What’s your good vibe share? 

Happy New Year to those celebrating a new calendar year starting January 1st! To those who celebrated the start of a new year at a different time, I would like to wish you a wonderful new year as well!

Here I am pondering the start of a new year but to be honest it doesn’t feel much different than a week ago or hell, a few months ago. Maybe because it’s not a cornerstone for me? For example I don’t really celebrate the Christmas holiday season and I don’t make new year resolutions. Maybe it’s the inability to carry them through or maybe because I feel like I make enough promises to myself throughout the year. Either way, no resolutions are made and no desire to make a resolution has surfaced in quite some time.

I will, however, continue to be kind to those I meet and most of all, myself. This was a promise made awhile back most likely after getting pissed in some bar after a family outing or interaction and lots of whisky. So far I’ve kept the promise but like many humans, I’ve also failed at times. However, I’ve been able to put the questionable days into perspective and tried to learn from them. 

This has been especially helpful when dealing with this past year’s great times as well as the horrible moments. It has helped me to truly understand that love and gratefulness are the only saving graces, so to speak, so if I’m alive and loved I can choose to be thankful for all of my experiences or wallow in my stinkin’ shit pile and let’s face it, it’s tough to find or sustain love when you’re busy feeling sorry for yourself. It ain’t cute. It ain’t sexy. And I don’t know about you, sad sex is just, well, sad and unfulfilling. Who needs that??

So until I can find the positive aspects of everything, I will continue to be grateful and continue to love those who despise me (from a distance of course because I’m not a sadomasochist!). Oh, and full disclosure, please don’t let this post fool ya. On several occasions I have wished those who have hurled vile and hurtful comments a lifetime full of itchy butts coupled with constant odiferous anal leakage. Yes, finally I got back in check and realized that life serves up learning highs and lows so I rescinded the thoughts. After all, I’d never want someone to wish that upon me. Not that I think they will, but I sometimes wonder if karma is blind or directionally challenged.

Admittedly, the efforts towards forgiveness can be draining and daunting. So until I get it right, I’ll just continue to try and be loving towards everyone I meet. Sure, it will be met with suspicion as it has been at times, but suspicious eyebrow-raising moments beat cruel, hurtful moments any day.

Therefore, I hope that everyone reading this will have THE best fuckin’ year EVER and not just because of tangible wealth or lack of adversity and obstacles, but because they are appreciated and most of all, loved.

As I was listening to “Radio Nowhere” by Bruce Springsteen, and for those who will judge me by this opening sentence, shove it because I love the storytelling from the Boss and his ability to make me happy, mellow, reflective, etc. Anyway, as I was listening to this, I had the sudden urge to call my dad. It wasn’t because he introduced me to Bruce’s music or because he lives in Jersey, it was as a result of the memory of my dad recounting stories about the famous people he’s met, one of whom is Bruce Springsteen, and of how nice or spoiled or horrible they were, and about how some of the staff who work for the celebrities use their jobs to get what they want – sometimes good, sometimes bad.

While that may sound all high class and well-connected, it isn’t one of those stories. My dad has a grueling full-time job but chose to get a part time job because he considers laziness a sin (keep reading and you’ll see the irony with using the word “sin”), and that a mind and body that is not in motion is not living up to its potential. So to those who know me, yes, maybe that’s where I get it from. Anyway, for my dad, fame or a celebrity status does not affect him the way it affects or make a mark on most people. The funny part is that when he first immigrated to the U.S., he had no clue as to who many of the people were, and whenever he told me about his day at work, he’d casually mention the name or, back then, butcher the name in a crazy way. In his description of the workday, he’d almost have a snippet about someone offering him cash tips, tickets, future favors, etc. but he always refused. Hi belief is that by treating everyone the same, he will be afforded the same good treatment. For him, that’s karma. Once, when he said to someone rich and famous, “I can’t. It’s not right for my job and it’s not good karma” with regard to a $500 tip being offered, the rich’s response was, “Well I guess that’s how the poor stay poor”, to which he replied, “I am not, nor was I ever poor” and smiled. When he told me that I remember thinking, “Take the money! You have bills to pay!”. He must have known what I was thinking because he said, “There’s always going to be bills. It just is.”

Interestingly enough, internally screaming, “Take the money!” is not how I was raised but there I was, thinking that bills and a comfortable way of living was a necessity. Around that time is when I realized that I’d strayed a little form my  paths to truth. I remember having ferocious internal conflicts between my desire to be and do good and several of my jobs, which over the years have been in very fast-paced and competitive for profit environments. Why? I believe it’s because I was living (for most of my life at that point) in a culture where giving is not as easily or handsomely rewarded as receiving and fighting for self. Yet, everything in me used to, and now recently, once again reminds that in order to be happy, I need to give happiness; in order to receive wealth and peace, I have to give wealth and peace to others who need it and to those who may not know they need it. Granted, this may not be as easy to do as one would hope because in order for me to give away good vibes, happiness, love in any form, etc., I must already have these things.

So that’s where I am, honing and gathering so that I can give it away as needed – love, happiness, good vibes, etc. How am I doing that? Well, for starters I’ve returned to the basics. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Yoga and sticking to a consistent workout regimen.
  • Meditation (but still falling short of being able to focus fully)
  • Eating healthier and sticking to my food plan regardless of my job’s demands to skip lunch, eat on the run, etc.
  • Battling my demons. This one in particular is hard because I’m now becoming friends with the things I once called, demonic bastards. In so doing, I also realize that my demons aren’t that bad. (Sorry guys…you were a part of me all along and just ’cause I was told you were bad, I cast you out and called you names. I won’t anymore. Promise!)
    In hiding my true self – in all forms – I was hiding myself, my full self. There is no such thing as sin in my world, just aspects of humans that are…therefore, I will stop this ‘beating me down” type of thinking and embrace all that is me. I will love me. And I will be kind to me. When I fall, I will pick me up, examine my body, heart and soul for bruises and broken parts, and I will give me all that I need to get better.
  • Giving love in all forms. This includes looking at every good and bad situation as just that – a situation that we are in at the moment. Also, I will remind myself that good and bad are different aspects of the same thing.
  • Stress free thoughts and life in general. This is another tough venture. My fast paced, drive-me-crazy-at-times career is something I’ve honed over the years and am good at (yes, I said it). However, to be good at something doesn’t mean that you’re doing it in the best way. Therefore, I am working on not getting anxious or upset when I’m given deadlines that are unrealistic and unattainable. I have found ways to calmly explain in the acceptable forms of communication (Executive Summary to ROI/Cost Benefit Analysis) why the deadlines may not be met and let the chips fall where they may. After all, I can only be the vessel and the builder and the dreamer and the designer, and so on. I cannot control the person asking for a product, item, etc. and I surely cannot control that person’s expectations. However, I can mold the perceptions as well as my responses and reactions – therein lies the remedy for a more stress free life!

What are some of the things that make you happy in life? What makes you less stressed? What keeps you grounded and focused on your goals? What makes you tick? What makes you who you are?

Oh, and for those who want to know why I love “Radio Nowhere” by Bruce Springsteen, here’s a link to one of his live performances (the best way to experience Springsteen) of the song in NYC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUI6Eq50y-g