Site Update

Hello,

Kenric here. Just a small note to say I have been made co-administrator of Paul’s blog and will be helping him manage it.

A major thing to note is the new ‘Subscribe’ feature on the right. If you have an account here you can now easily follow Paul and his writings by clicking the “Follow” button. If you do not have a WordPress Account, enter your email address and then click “Follow” to just get notifications without having to sign up to WordPress. Either way, doing this will give you a notification of any new post right to your email box!

Email

You can now search for posts and sort through them easier using the “Categories” Menu. Simply leave your mouse over it to get the drop down and then click the type of post you want to filter by.

Categories

In case you thought someone else would be interested in the site, or a post in particular, there are now handy sharing buttons to your favorite social media sites down at the bottom of a post. If you would prefer, you can also share the post via the email button too.

SocialMedia

If there are any questions or you have some feedback, feel free to comment on this post.

Peace!

Posted in Updates | 2 Comments

He or she who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. Lao-Tzu (6th Century B.C.)

In Hello Dolly, Dolly Levi is heard to say, “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure, it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.” This is a very succinct way of saying that wealth that is not shared may begin to rot and destroy our lives. And the important thing is not to give our wealth away indiscriminately, but rather it is shared “encouraging young things to grow.” Wealth is not given away to rescue or enable people, keep them co-dependent and give us a feeling that we have done something noble and good.

Living with enough is not limited to material things but extends most especially to the religious and spiritual. As we grow in our relationship with the Divine Essence we realize that more is less and less is more. We appreciate the wisdom of the unknown author who says, “He who buys what he does not need steals from himself.” As we give away material things that are superfluous we begin to give away religious and spiritual practices that we no longer need. We claim once again the wisdom, simplicity and freedom of a child. The life of a little child embodies Leela, the Sanskrit word that is often translated as play. A little child is a reflection of all reality and the cosmos which is the creative Leela of the Divine Essence. As we allow ourselves to participate in the dance of the Divine Leela, our lives become simple and mystical. We experience deep inner peace and freedom in every circumstance of our lives.

 

Posted in Inspiration | 14 Comments

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment,

Not seeking, not expecting,

She is present, and can welcome all things.

 

Lao Tzu

 

When our lives get stressed and chaotic or when unwanted troubles and pain overwhelm us, the more we struggle the more we get entangled into the web of anxiety, anger or depression. During these times we learn the lesson from muddy waters. If left alone, the mud slowly but surely settles down to the bottom bringing more and more clarity as we look into that water. We begin to see the reflection of the sun, the moon, the stars and the whole of creation in all its divine grandeur. We see ourselves in our essence, just as we are, as the Divine Image and Likeness, the Divine Breath! We experience the Divine Presence in every fiber of our being and every moment of our lives.

Stress has tremendous gifts. It is an invitation to be centered and become more resilient. During these stressful times our inner being is drawn to connect with people who care about us and/or reach out to others in their pain. When we allow ourselves to feel part of broken humanity we begin to live more peacefully, effectively and even our bodies begin to rejuvenate. They say that stress never harms us but our attitude toward stress does!

Carl Jung believed, “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order” (Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious). Chaos, therefore, is an invitation to live a more authentic life, becoming more and more our true selves. We realize that we are part of the cosmos and the cosmos is in our essence. Imitating the sage, we detach ourselves from the outcome of our chaotic life and welcome all things just as they are. We stand back, surrender our chaos to the Universe and watch “muddy water become clear” and give birth to a dancing star.

 

 

Posted in Inspiration | 9 Comments

“Doing nothing is better than being ‘busy’ doing nothing”: Lao Tzu

How often after a very busy day do we find ourselves wondering if we achieved anything significant at all? By the end of such days we feel tired, frustrated and empty. It seems like we were ‘busy’ doing nothing.

Doing nothing is the art of flowing with life and living the way of nature. When we plan our day and then let the Great Spirit be the rudder that navigates our day, the life force that flows out of our being inadvertently gets things done. This is when singers stop singing and let the song come out from the depth of their being; the painting that flows out of an artist and when the dancer and the dance become one.

Children live this natural way of flowing with the rhythm of life. So do Indian villagers who do not have birth certificates, they focus on the mystery of the moment. These are a living testimony of Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years.” Native tribes in different parts of the world are also closely connected with nature and also flow with the rhythm of life just like the 90 year old man who prayed to God to find out the purpose of the rest of his life. The response he received was intriguing: “Your life will have a purpose but you will not know it and you will fulfill that purpose without knowing it!”

Posted in Inspiration | 21 Comments

Formless Nameless Essence

Naming something gives you power over what you name, assigns a particular character to it and reflects your relationship with that which you have named. But as soon as you name anything you begin to cut back its essence. When we name God we diminish God.

Hinduism has 330 million names of god; 330 million ways of minimizing the Divine Essence. But the 330 million gods are only an expression of experiences of that which is beyond; 330 million disposable images of God until one experiences God as ‘TAT’ or THAT – God beyond all names – just Being or Essence! Buddhists experience the Essence in the breath, which is part of the universal and eternal essence. This breath is formless and nameless; it just IS. Islam forbids the creation of images of any sentient being and most especially any image of God or the Prophet Muhammad. In the Old Testament God is YHWH, a name that cannot be pronounced. A God who revealed Essence as, “I AM THAT, I AM” (Ex 3:14 – 15).

Adam and Eve had a momentary glimpse into Essence in the Garden of Eden, when they ate the forbidden fruit of knowledge and consciousness. Their eyes were opened and they realized that they were naked. They were enlightened and were able to able to experience their own Essence in the Ultimate Essence – THAT! The gods in the Garden of Eden then proceed to put on skins to cover THAT! These skins now become our reality – we define ourselves by our gender, culture, religion. We continue to put skins on everything by naming people, places, things, animals, birds, plants and different parts of creation. If we begin to learn to look beyond the skins, beyond names, we will begin to experience the Essence once again as the FORMLESS THAT! We begin to live in the realm of the Spirit.

Jesus proclaimed THAT as Spirit and Truth and not worshiped on any mountain or temple (John 4). He invited us to experience THAT in the birds of the air and the lilies of the field until we experience all of life in THAT like the vine and the branches (John 15). St. Paul will exclaim in THAT there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, male and female! (Gal 3:28). Through the process of kenosis, the Jesus of St. Paul sheds the skins put on by the gods in the Garden of Eden, and realizes That.

 

Posted in Inspiration | 8 Comments

Physical Distance for Spiritual Intimacy

Physical distance and spiritual intimacy seems like a paradox but is key to happy and growth relationships. The way to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of a mountain is to look at it from a distance. The most beautiful paintings of a sunset are those that are absorbed from a distance and in silence. The silence between the notes makes the music of our lives. To develop and experience deep intimacy we need physical distance and moments of silence – between spouses, parents and children, friends, teachers and students – and above all, with God.

Physical distance and silence helps us realize that a tree is not just a tree but a miracle; so is a mountain; every person and all of creation is an epiphany of the Divine Essence. St. Ignatius will insist on reverential distance in the spiritual life. You may kiss the places where persons you are contemplating were, but you do not touch the persons. As we mature in the spiritual life, Ignatius believes, we will realize the Divine power, presence and essence in every creature (Spiritual Exercises 39). Physical distance and silence foster spiritual intimacy.

The Middle Eastern mystic, Kahlil Gibran, writes in The Prophet, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love.” The only way we can be in a meaningful loving relationship with anyone especially those who are close to us – our family, friends and God, is by creating a sacred distance or space. Without this sacred distance love becomes a bondage. Kahlil Gibran continues, “Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.” This will help us not to suffer in times of rejection, betrayal or death of a loved one.

We depend on others but we cannot be dependent on anyone, not even God, if we want to grow in intimacy. A famous Zen master, Tozan would say, “Blue Mountain is father of White Cloud. White Cloud is son of Blue Mountain. All day long they depend on each other, without being dependent on each other. White Cloud is always White Cloud, Blue Mountain is always Blue Mountain.”

Posted in Inspiration | 12 Comments

A Gentle Reminder

Mark your calendars for the next 4 sessions on an Eastern Approach to Hope and Healing. I believe that these sessions might help us find a better understanding and a more meaningful expression of our own personal faith.

Pass the word around and of course bring as many people who might be interested. If for some reason you cannot attend send us your peace energy.

Peace and Abundant Blessings,

Paul

PAUL COUTINHO flyer2 2015

Posted in Updates | 6 Comments