The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Faith and Belief

 

I was watching a brief clip of the interview that Oprah conducted with one of my favorite teachers/authors of  a subject near and dear to my heart:  “life, the Universe and everything.’. His birth name is Richard Alpert, but he is known as Ram Dass (which is Sanskrit for ‘servent of God’).  A nearly life long student of exploring both the outer reaches and inner well of the Divine, his books have titles such as “Be Here Now”, “Grist For The Mill”, “How Can I Help?”  His spiritual journey brought him from his birth religion of Judaism, to Atheism, to Hinduism and the teachings of his guru Neem Karoli Baba. His experiences and friendship with Timothy Leary and psychedelics-to-acheive-enlightenment are legendary, but these days, he is embraced as a man who has used his spiritual wisdom to move through a life changing experience that occurred in 1997 when he was, as he poetically phrases it “stroked by God” and immersed in what he has come to refer to as ‘fierce grace’ and made a movie by that name to catalogue his journey.

I have had the extreme blessing of interviewing Ram Dass three times in the past twenty some years and he holds a special place in my heart, since I met my husband Michael at a lecture Ram Dass gave in Philadelphia in 1986 in a rendezvous that seemed pre-ordained.

In this interview with the queen of daytime tv, Ram Dass shares what he perceives as the difference between belief and faith. To illustrate; he points to his head for the former and his heart for the latter. My perspective is the same. So many times in my life, when I have faced struggles  and pain, I have questioned my beliefs, but never my faith. That has held steady. I challenge my beliefs daily, actually.  I ask myself “What would someone have to believe in order to be having the experiences I am having?” The answers then line up in front of me….”Oh there you are, self doubt. Hello, fear, what are you trying to tell me?” An inner dialogue then ensues. Even in the midst of the seemingly darkest times in my life, with the illnesses and subsequent deaths of my husband and my parents, I knew for certain that God/Goddess/All That Is had my back.  Never did I ask “why me?” since it was a laughable question and I could hear the munchkin voices singing in my ear “because, because, because, because, because…”

The most profound line for me in the clip you are about to watch is this : “In the moment is where you see God.” When I immerse myself in the here and now, present moment, regardless of how stunningly beautiful or painful, I am feeling that connection. It is always there; in my perspective, God doesn’t go anywhere. I have been the one who had taken a step away from the awareness of the Source of Love.

 

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=b30LSiFVxPM&feature=youtube_gdatawww.youtube.com/watch?v=b30LSiFVxPM&feature=youtube_gdata Ram Dass and Oprah

http://ramdasstapes.org/articles_final.htm

Interview with Ram Dass New Visions Magazine  “Still Here Now” 2002

Name It And Claim It

Messages come to me from an impeccable Source at all hours of the day and night. This one emerged as I did, from peaceful sleep. I have been facing some major life choices lately and stepping into the spotlight with my work. As a result, I have been called to ‘practice what I preach’ and ‘teach what I need to learn.’ Since much of what I do focuses on transformation and attracting our hearts’ desires, for the Highest Good, these words were nothing less than sheer perfection as my marching orders for the day.  “Name it and claim it.” came whispering through in the wee hours of dark o’clock.  And so, I began to run through my drowsy mind, the experiences I chose to encounter and the ways I desired for my day to flow.

An easy commute to my day job at a psychiatric hospital.  Graceful happenings at work. Smooth sailing in my individual interactions with people throughout the next 24 hours. Fun and playful experiences. Opportunities to do creative work that I love~

Throughout the day, whenever I was faced with challenging situations, I recalled these words and the outcome was far better than even my vivid imagination could conjure. It took 15 minutes less than usual to drive to work, an amazing turn of events occurred with one particular case that could have been a plot for a made for tv movie, celebrated my son’s 25th birthday on Monday night with friends who are family of choice, enjoying a shared around the table Chinese dinner (is there a better way to experience that cuisine?) and was invited to do more speaking events and writing gigs.

We are told “Ask and you shall receive.”, but how often do we truly engage in that practice? It isn’t just about requesting things, although there are times when money and objects come in handy. Mine are sometimes about qualities such as resilience, strength, creativity, wisdom, stamina. I ask to be drawn to certain people and they to me for our mutual benefit.  There are times when we hesitate to ask because of feelings of unworthiness or a sense of  ‘what if it doesn’t happen?’  I counter with ‘what if it does?’ How cool is that?

From this very moment, I invite you to speak and write the words that represent what you most desire in your life. Name it and claim.  You’ll see it when you believe it! Gather these treasures each day, for your own benefit and that of all life.

http://youtu.be/nuKklYvceOE 101 Power Thoughts by Louise Hay

 

The Six Fix

There is a saying attributed to Albert Einstein:  “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.”  It seems that this is the spark that percolated in the brain of author, ordained rabbi, speaker and former Madison Avenue ad-man, Michael Shevack. I have known Michael for more than 15 years and find him to be an inquisitive visionary, whose mind is nearly always formulating questions that challenge the status quo, knowing that there is always a positive solution. He has found what he perceives to be a means of resolving the challenges that afflict our country and by extension, the world. He calls it The Six Fix: A  Simple Spiritual Guide To Restoring America’s Goodness.  According to Shevack, there are six  simple concepts that all revolve around a four letter word….GOOD.

The six goodness principles are concrete enough that a kindergartner could undertand them (think Robert Fulghum, a fellow clergyman):

1. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for yourself.

2. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for an other.

3. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for all others.

4. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for future generations.

5. In everything you think, say and do, seek good for all Life and Creation.

6. In everything you think, say and do, seek good by continuously improving.

The book begins with the idea that there is room at the table for everyone and their spiritual and politcal beliefs, since at their core, they come from the same Source, which is Love itself. Folks from all traditions have endorsed this book, including an Evangelical Christian CEO , a liberal Rabbi, a Gay Social Worker, a Muslim chaplain, a Native American motivational speaker and author, a Jewish, Lesbian, African-American speaker, a Republican committee member and an African-American Interfaith Minister. The book contends that instead of shouting over each other to be heard, we would all benefit by truly listening and desiring the best for each other as we would for ourselves and our own families. He lays the groundwork with the t-shirt logo phrase : “Life is Good.”; which is not to say that everything that happens in life is desireable, but at the heart of it, is beneficial.

“That Life is Good implies that there’s an Order to Life. We Americans (and all human beings) don’t just live and act in a vacuum. There’s a spiritual way Life operates. It operates for good. Everything in Life takes place for good, for the purpose of creating and expanding good.”

He then proceeds to focus on the idea that we need Life Centered Priorities. Things that would fall into the category of its antithesis:  dumping chemical wastes, waging war expediently, careless sexual interactions, and driving under the influence of substances.  The next step is to outline what he refers to as Value Priorities:

Health

Peace

Freedom

Wisdom

Full Potential

Prosperity

 

Interdependence is a key factor; the truth is WE NEED EACH OTHER. Although we are unique individuals with our own ideas and values; joining together, we can be a greater force for good. This book can provide a catalyst to move from blame, finger pointing and divisiveness, to stretch ourselves beyond what we were indoctrinated to believe to acceptance, cooperation and shared purpose. We are all on the same side.

 

www.thesixfix.com

 

It reminds me of:

Prayer of the Four Immeasurable Minds

Through the working of Great Compassion in their hearts,

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness,

May all be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow;

May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless;

May all come to peace without too much attachment and too much aversion,

And live believing in the equality of all beings.

 

Juicy Joy

From the first word to the last, Juicy Joy: 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gustsy Self is a tropical fruit smoothie treat penned by Florida based colorfully creative author, Lisa McCourt. She invites the reader to travel along with her as she sets the ground work by declaring that she ‘wants more'; meaning peeling away, letting go of, releasing what no longer served in her life, to begin anew. Having done that, she now has the tools and life experience to teach readers with her grow-along exercises that she calls JuicyFeels. Each one beckons a diving deeper into the subtle and obvious things that may have kept us stuck in the muck and frees us to dance into, leap into, levitate into a life that is truly worthy of the beautiful beings that we are. I found myself laughing at the familiarity of Lisa’s words since they seemed as if they came from a “Vulcan Mind Meld”; so aligned they are with my own, even though our life experiences are different. That is one of the appeals of the book; readers from all walks of life will relate. Some are of the ‘hippy-dippy’ sort (I am proud to be one of ‘em:) and some more mainstream; but Lisa is adept at bridging those two seemingly disparate worlds.

The 7 steps she espouses are:

Emotion-Mixing

Filter-Fixing

Judgement-Flipping

Story-Stripping

Taco-Filling

Gut- Dripping

God-Dipping

 

I enjoyed the exercises; many of them what she calls NakedWriting. Yes, you can keep your clothes on, but imagine peeling off the layers of your psyche whilst buck nekkid in the privacy of wherever you might be! Meditation, movement, time in nature and with loved ones, as well as mirror exercises are doorways to the life altering world of Juicy Joy!

Slurp from the top to the bottom of this literary glass with a silly straw!  Yum!

www.lisamccourt.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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