Saturday, May 28, 2016

 The next few blogs will take extracts from the recent talk on Gratitude. 

Gratitude can be equated with well being, happiness, joy, equanimity, ecstasy (quiet or overt.)
Gratitude is spiritual practice.  Positive psychology and neuroscience are now confirming its attributes and are coming into alignment with the teachings of ancient wisdom.

Seligman summarizes his work in the acronym PERMA which stands for...
If we add some ancient wisdom and Carol Ryff's teachings which have a more spiritual bias and include virtue we come up with...
Environmental mastery here has to do with the "place" where we live. We should add nature to that and what wilderness psychologists have called the "accessible green." There is abundant research to show that exposure to nature causes equanimity and hence gratitude.

Meaning or purpose in life are key and are most associated with doing things for others or the planet rather than oneself. Buddhism also teaches that this is the road to true happiness and Albert Schweitzer said; "I do not know what your destiny will be but I do know that the only ones among you who will be truly happy will be those who have found and sought how to serve."

Seligman the father of positive psychology stresses that accomplishment (fame, material wealth) are ok but should not be pursued if meaningless. Ryff seems to favor autonomy over accomplishment.
In next week's blog we will focus on what neuroscience has to offer in its research on Gratitude (ROBERT EVANS and MICHAEL McCULLOUGH)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

More quotes and caveats to help us with forgiveness

Shame and guilt have no place in healing or spiritual growth. 
Shame is a contracting emotional force which can harm the spirit and cause soul loss or sickness. Shame is even more debilitating than guilt and leads to an increased lack of self worth!

Ezekiel implies that our unskillfulness on the path of life have a somatic effect. This may be why we need to translate our spiritual practice and our forgiveness also into our bodies.

Forgiveness can release us from our karmic blemishes ...
...even if we are not forgiven in our attempts

Ancient wisdom can help us see we are all one though not the same and all made in the image of the Divine - "namaste - I see the God in you."
It pays to have a sense of humor

Saturday, May 14, 2016

More on Forgiveness with quotes from the last lecture

What we do to others we do to ourselves and to the Divine since we are made in the image of the Creator

The bad we do to others requires that we ask forgiveness - whether given or not - it will help cleanse our karmic record.  Completing unfinished business before death makes reconciliation on the other side much easier.
These are the steps to be taken.

Giving forgiveness is healthful and more important for ourselves even than to the one who is forgiven

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Highlights from the recent talk on Forgiveness vs. Guilt

Forgiveness has positive health and spiritual effects 
- Shame and Guilt - the opposite. 
Shame and Guilt increase pro-inflammatory factors such as C Reactive protein which have been incriminated in atherosclerosis, certain cancers and some autoimmune diseases. Shame is more pernicious than guilt and can damage the psyche. With either we  feel bad about who we are as against remorse where we feel bad about what we did. Poor self concept leads to more bad behavior and less control so we should substitute remorse for shame or guilt. 
Forgiveness enhances our immune system and our spirituality.
Self compassion creates self worth and has been called Universal Self Acceptance (U.S.A.) and Unconditional Positive Regard. We are all worthy of U.S.A.
“To err is human, to forgive Divine
We all do bad things but that does not make us bad. Its best to judge the action and not the person.
Besides U.S.A. and spiritual practice to modulate ego and monkey mind there are other caveats that can help.
What can one learn from the event?
Pain is inevitable, suffering optional!
Do not enable and admit to the unskillfulness. - let go of remorse soon, talk it out with someone you trust and treat yourself like a good friend. Suppression aggravates. It helps to know if it was intentional  or related to a unique cultural issue and an apology should be healing.
Forgiveness is expansive and heroic - being a victim causes contraction and loss of power.
Self righteous indignation rarely helps and its better to be effective with the challenge rather than right.
Revenge or vengeance is very bad karma!
Resolve all unfinished business before death and take the skeletons of failed relationships with loved ones out of the closet. Forgiveness is even more important for the one who is doing the forgiving.
Remember that at the end of the day karma will reconcile all grievances  so have compassion. 

These are the steps required to wipe one's karmic slate clean when asking for forgiveness.