In Honor And Respect of All Mother’s… Happy Mother’s Day


Mothering as a Spiritual Path

So you’re sitting in your living room on Saturday morning, drinking your first cup of coffee, trying to get your eyes open. What a night! Pick one: your baby was up for six feedings; your toddler cried all night with his zillionth earache of the season; your house looks like ground zero from your kids going nuts last night with their friends; your teenager finally came home three long hours after her curfew.

Through the fog inside your head, you wonder why you’re a mother. You dream about being with a gorgeous lover, childless, on a warm and sunny beach in Tahiti….

A knock on the front door jerks your out of your reverie. You pull your frayed bathrobe shut and cautiously get up and open the front door. The woman at the door steps into your house and offers you a once-in-a- lifetime deal, a spiritual path unconditionally guaranteed to deepen your spirituality in ways you’ve always dreamed of.

It’s yours, she says, if only you agree to a few conditions: *No time off: you’ll wake up to this path, go to sleep with it, even spend entire nights practicing it; *There will be little external confirmation or praise, no one to pat your back and tell you how well you’re doing; *You will have higher highs on this path, but you will also have lower lows than you’ve probably ever experienced before; *You will HAVE to put your spiritual principles to work on a daily basis in order to survive the rigors of this path. Would you take it? Would you sign on the dotted line? If you’re a mother, you’ve probably guessed that you’ve already said “yes.”

This path is that of the mother: mothering as a spiritual path. A chasm yawns in our culture between “spirituality” in all of its forms, and “mothering,” that daily round of diapering, carpooling, homeworking, playing. Polly Berends, an author who writes extensively on parenting and spirituality, dreamt once that she and a man were waiting to be officially recognized as “spiritual beings.”

The man wore beautiful “spiritual” robes, was named Guruswamiananda Something-or-other, and carried an armload of degrees certifying his spirituality. All he had to do was to step forward and be recognized.

When it was Berends’ turn, however, she saw with dismay that in order for her to step forward to be recognized as a “spiritual being,” she had to climb over an enormous mountain of kid’s laundry. I remember when I suspected I was pregnant for the first time.

I was on a three-day silent retreat. My body felt swollen, my head stuffed with cotton wool. I couldn’t concentrate enough to meditate. Oh no, I thought, is THIS what it means to be a mother? Do I have to give up my spiritual life for the next twenty years? I found out through talking with many mothers, reading, and allowing myself to sink deeply into these questions, the answer is “no.”

Contrary to what our culture and our religions tell us, mothering and spirituality are meant to dance with each other. In fact, mothering, like the offer above, can become one of the most rewarding of all spiritual paths, if we only learn how to let this happen.

Reflect for a moment on what the word “spiritual” means to you in your life. Ask yourself, “What difference would it make for me to integrate my mothering with my spirituality?

How would a typical day with my children, with all its joys and frustrations, look and feel different if the two were integrated?” I define spirituality in two ways: first, keeping one’s heart open to oneself and whatever life brings; and second, staying rooted in the ground of one’s being, the sacredness of life, while going about one’s daily routine.

Such simple things, really, but such a challenge to work with amid the daily repetitive tasks of feeding, bathing, wiping runny noses, and all the other punctuations of a mother’s life. There are four important components to mothering as a spiritual path: keeping one’s heart open; slowing down and opening to Now; letting go; and saying “Yes.” *Opening the Heart*

This is the primary practice of mothering as a spiritual path, and the most challenging. It’s difficult, to say the least, to be an openhearted mother in this culture. Mothers are assaulted with injunctions to be a “perfect mother” through the media, families, churches, and parenting books; they are reminded that any mistakes they make will be told to a therapist twenty years hence. What a challenge it is to open one’s heart, especially to oneself, under these circumstances, and yet how necessary.

When we as mother listen to these messages, we often feel anxious, afraid, and woefully inadequate. We then contract, both emotionally and physically, and lose a heart-full connection both with ourselves and our children. We can let ourselves off the critical hook, open and soften our hearts to ourselves.

We can learn to cradle our own self-judgment and discomfort on bad days with our kids as we would a sick or grieving child. We can let go of pursuing perfection as mothers and instead open to aliveness. When we let ourselves into our own hearts, there will automatically be plenty of room for our children as well.

Openheartedness does not mean “idiot compassion,” to use Chogyan Trungpa’s phrase. We as mothers can be openhearted while we say “no” to our children, set limits, and discipline. Openheartedness is something we may practice at any time.

All it takes is to stop, breathe gently and deeply, and let our hearts soften and open. When we stop, breathe, and soften our hearts, we open ourselves tothe ordinary grace of this world, grace and energy and aliveness available simply for the asking.

As someone once said, the winds of grace are always blowing: all we need to do is raise our sails. We don’t have to mother alone. This support, this energy, this greater love in which we live is always there for us. When we open our hearts, this grace can move through us and out into the world of our children, blessing us greatly on its way.

I remember one of those afternoons-without-end with my daughter when the house was a disaster and both of us were tired and cranky, one of those afternoons where I wasn’t sure we’d both survive until dinnertime. By late afternoon, after I shouted at her for knocking the cat food dish over, I remembered: I stopped, sat down, and breathed. I remembered that I was not alone.

The image came of letting myself be a hollow tube, allowing that larger grace and love to flow through me and touch myself and my daughter. I relaxed. I can’t say that the afternoon was transformed into The Perfect Day With My Daughter, but we were both able to laugh and be with each other in a new way.

I raised my sails, and grace blew in. *Slowing Down* Eknath Easwaren considers slowing down to be one of the cornerstones of a spiritual life. Why? A clue lies in the Chinese ideograph for “busy,” combined from two other ideographs: “heart” and “killing.” When we become too busy, we lose touch with our hearts, with our bodies, with the present moment. Life lived in fast forward means no time for either ourselves or our children in any meaningful way.

Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face. ~ George Eliot

There may not be much we can do as mothers to slow down our outer lives, but we do have choices to make about our own inner busyness. Imagine driving in heavy traffic, taking your child to soccer practice. You hunker down over the steering wheel, frown, mutter imprecations about the jerk who cut in front of you, hold your breath. Your heart and your stomach are tight and hard. You can’t hear what your child is saying to you (“Mommy…Mommy….MOMMY!”) over the din of your own thoughts. Stop.

Change channels. Gently remind yourself to slow down and breathe from your belly, let your heart soften, loosen your grip on the steering wheel. You now notice the blue-gray of the winter clouds above the freeway, the sounds and smells and sights around you. You listen to what your child is saying, or sit with them gently in silence as you drive. By slowing down internally, you allow heartfulness, “grace-space,” to fill your body, your car, and your relationship with your child.

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, “chronos” and “kairos.” Chronos is clock time, linear time. Kairos is sacred time, spirit blazing within matter, the “eternal present” of saints, animals, children. We are trained to believe that only certain times are sacred, but any time may be kairos.

As I ask in my book, “If Only I Were A Better Mother,” “What if all moments are sacred moments? What if we are all priestesses of the present? What if all ground is holy? What if ALL bushes are burning, as well as trees, stones, creatures, our children, ourselves, and all the spaces between?” Kairos is always there within and around us, no matter what we may be doing with our children.

All it takes is an inner slowing down. I have found two simple ways to cultivate inner slowness, “grace- space,” throughout the day. The first way is to get up a half hour earlier, giving yourself some quiet time before the day with your children begins. Do whatever centers you: watch the sky change colors with the sunrise, meditate, drink your first cup of coffee in peace and quiet.

The effects will stay with you throughout the day. Second, practice taking two minute “quiet breaks.” Go into the bathroom, if that is the only refuge you can find. Give yourself permission to slow down, breathe quietly, come back to your body and your heart. Slow down and gently touch the Ground of your being. Both you and your kids will enjoy the benefits. A. H.

Almaas considers the single most important spiritual question to be: “Are you here?” When we slow down, open our senses and our hearts to the richness of the present moment, to the sacred Now, to ourselves and our children, we may answer, “Yes.” *Letting Go* A client who was a mother and practicing Buddhist said to me once: “Teachers have always told me the importance of letting go, of opening to the impermanence of everything around me, but I never really got it until I had children.” So true.

In many ways, the primary task of mothering is learning to let go. We start learning to let go of our children at their birth, their first leavetaking of us, and the learning never stops. Contracting around the endless repetition of daily tasks is so easy to do as a mother. We become myopic, diminished.

When we open up our vision just a little, we can see how quickly this daily round of mothering passes, and how precious this time is with our children, all of it. Opening to the fleetingness of each moment allows us to see the grace, the sweetness, the fragility of everything we do with our kids, from cleaning their rooms with them to listening to the same knock-knock joke for the fourteenth time.

I sat on a back porch with my mother and daughter in Montgomery, Alabama, one humid southern evening last summer and realized that just one breath, one heartbeat ago, I was in my young daughter’s place, sitting with my own mother and grandmother in the damp and fragrant heat.

In yet just another breath, another heartbeat, I realized as well, I would be in my mother’s place, rocking with my own daughter and granddaughter. How quickly time passes; how quickly the chance to practice openhearted mothering slips through our hands. How precious this brief time we are given with our children truly is.

Ask yourself: “If I were to go through one typical day with my children with this tender, bittersweet awareness of the fleetness and fragility of time in my heart, how would it change my life as a mother?” Try it. *Saying Yes* I remember so many times when I have said “No” to my daughter, not out loud, but an inner No. “No, I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night anymore.” “No, I don’t want to grit my teeth through another long temper tantrum.” “No, I simply can’t be a mom anymore.”

For All Those Stand -up SINGLE fATHERS … May You ALSO Be Blessed on This Mother’s Day … Respect to You

I struggle against the rigors of this path, the frustrations, the challenges. So much changes when I can stop, take a deep breath, and find that final, heart-full “Yes” which lies beneath what seemed to be a final “No.” When I reach deep and find an unconditional “Yes” to mothering, when I quit resisting what life brings my way in the form of my small child, my mother-life opens up. The present moment with my child becomes more spacious and sacred, no matter what is happening between us. I have learned that I can set limits with my child, say “no” to her around specific issues, and at the same time stay open, non-contracted, and soft, breathing “Yes” to the larger space that cradles us both.

Someone, I have forgotten who, said that when we find this initial Yes, “We realize that ‘Yes’ is the answer to every ‘why?’ and suddenly everything makes sense. In saying this ‘Yes’ we become what we are. Our true self is ‘Yes.’ ” Such a gift, both to ourselves and our children, to practice Yes. This Yes is the password that opens the sacred door, reconnects us with our own hearts, our own children, and reweaves us once more into the great and sacred Web of Life.

Some final, practical tips for integrating these suggestions into your life. First and foremost, breathe. Practice soft-bellied breathing, when you’re waiting at a stoplight, when you’re playing with your children or putting them in time out.

The more you practice breathing at non-stressful moments, the more you will be able instinctively to breathe deeply, instead of contracting, when a difficult moment happens with your children. Next, practice softening. Soften your belly. Soften your eyes and your visual focus. Soften your heart. When you’re holding your baby, when your child is sitting on your lap, or when you give your teenager a hug, soften into them.

See what a difference it makes. Again, the more you practice softening in easy times, the easier it will be to soften when the going gets rough. Post reminders to yourself in your house and car to practice the aforementioned.

Tell yourself that whenever you see the stove, or the window above the sofa, or any object in your environment, you’ll remember to breathe and soften. Finally, see your time with your children as a precious opportunity to practice mothering as a spiritual path. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance that passes very quickly. Open to the wonders and gifts that this path brings your way, and breathe Spirit into your daily life with your children.

Mothers are the beginning of all things.
It is they who first understand Life’s meaning,
And none ever so well as they.
Mothers are the rightful heirs of Love,
For it is they who give of themselves,
That new souls might have a path to walk….
The joys, courage, peace and pain that is hers,
Is the legacy of the Great Mother Goddess,
For whom all Her daughters are most sacred,
And forever blessed with this secret wisdom:
The wonder and magick of Life.

The magick of your motherhood
is deeply honored, loved and celebrated.

Blessed Mother’s Day to all the mothers, surrogates, fosters, fathers who must be both parents to their children, every nurturing, loving soul who has made it their life’s work to care for others as if they were their own. The Goddess lives in you!

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Meaning of life [about piece of life]


This article is about the philosophical concept. For other uses, see Meaning of life (disambiguation).

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

The meaning of life is a philosophical question concerning the significance of life or existence in general. It can also be expressed in different forms, such as “Why are we here?“, “What is life all about?”, and “What is the purpose of existence?” It has been the subject of much philosophical, scientific, and theologicalspeculation throughout history. There have been a large number of proposed answers to these questions from many different cultural and ideological backgrounds.

The meaning of life is in the philosophical and religious conceptions of existencesocial tiesconsciousness, and happiness, and borders on many other issues, such as symbolic meaningontologyvalue, purpose,ethicsgood and evilfree will, the existence of a or multiple Godsconceptions of God, the soul, and theafterlife. Scientific contributions focus primarily on describing related empirical facts about the universe, exploring the context and parameters concerning the ‘how’ of life. Science also studies and can provide recommendations for the pursuit of well-being and a related conception of morality. An alternative, humanisticapproach poses the question “What is the meaning of my life?” The value of the question pertaining to the purpose of life may coincide with the achievement of ultimate reality, or a feeling of oneness, or even a feeling of sacredness.

Perhaps you think I’ve set myself an impossible challenge here?

Not so. The meaning of life is pretty straightforward to state. Your life has whatever meaning you give to it. So the question becomes: what do people say gives their lives meaning? That’s easy enough to measure and psychologists have done exactly that.

Baumeister and Vohs (2002) have synthesised four factors. When people are asked, the more they report each of these four factors being fulfilled, the more meaningful their lives feel:

  1. Purpose – this could be living happily ever after, going to heaven or even (whisper it) found at work. Whatever it is, meaning in life comes from reaching goals and feeling fulfilled. Even though fulfilment is hard to achieve because the state fades, people need purpose.
  2. Values – people need a moral structure to work out what is right and what is wrong. There are plenty to choose from: some come from religion, others from philosophy and still others from your friends and family.
  3. Efficacy – people want to make a difference and have some control over their environment. Without that, the meaning of life is reduced.
  4. Self-worth – we all want to feel we’re good and worthwhile people. We can do this individually or by hitching ourselves to a worthy cause. Either way we need to be able to view ourselves in a positive light.

So, there you have it: the meaning of life in under 300 words.

Two words of warning. Firstly, it can be difficult to get all these things in the same place, although not impossible. We use family, work, hobbies and other things to fulfil our need for meaning. Secondly, a meaningful life is probably necessary to be happy, but it isn’t sufficient.

What meaning do you give to your life?

 

Jogja, 19th 2012

No past..no future..no problem..just; this present

 

notes; 

kadang, kita ditinggalkan karena menjadi diri sendiri…
karena kita bukan zombie yang harus mengikuti cara orang lain, yang terbaik adalah diri sendiri.
tapi jika ada orang-orang yang pergi karena menginginkan kita menjadi sama dengan kebanyakan orang, maka lihatlah yang tertinggal. itulah yang disebut teman, bukan mereka yang pergi 🙂

 

Jogjakarta, day by day with freezing breath July 2012


A few weeks that’s has been passed, just left a high lonesome breath. Oh, that’ s so awfull, it’s not pain, just being more speechless.

Jogjakarta, day by day with freezing breath July 2012

“AUFKLÄRUNG ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbstverschuldeten Unmündigkeit. Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen, sich seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit, wenn die Ursache derselben nicht am Mangel des Verstandes, sondern der Entschließung und des Mutes liegt, sich seiner ohne Leitung eines andern zu bedienen. Sapere aude! Habe Mut, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen! ist also der Wahlspruch der Aufklärung.”

Immanuel Kant

 

The Self.

The self has been something that has been a major issue all year especially during our unit on identity. It’s all comes down to the question of who am I. The fact that my body is trillions of atoms that come together to sustain something bigger, which ultimately leads them towards the creation of a greater the state of mind I call me, Matt DiMarco. Not only that though, they all interact and integrate in ways to sustain me. Why? What makes life into life? They don’t know I exist and don’t really gain anything special for sustaining me. Those atoms don’t even know they themselves exist. Yet I, Matt DiMarco, some mysterious result of those atoms cooperating in one of the most mysterious ways that this universe has ever seen, know they exist. Why is that? What happens when you give a point of view to something that shouldn’t have one? The answer: me. But who am I really?

Who Am I?

Supposedly there are three answers. You are either your thoughts, your body, or a soul. These are more formally known as psychological criterion, body criterion, or single soul hypothesis. The issue arises in one occurrence. The Ship of Theseus is a wooden boat each day gets a plank replaced, but after all its planks are replaced is it still the same ship? Another example arises in teleportation. Your body is disintegrated inside a teleporter after its information is saved and sent and then the information is almost instantly sent to somewhere else to rebuild you exactly as you were. Yet the question is did you die, is a twin created, will it remember your/its past, and will that be you?

I don’t get why they arise as such opposite answers. I feel confident to say I am body, its thoughts, and a soul somehow attached. The soul is unique idea because it lives through death. And according to the bodily criterion even if there was a soul that wouldn’t be me. And I think of my psychological states as part of my body. But the atoms of my body don’t know about me or the thoughts I have. Yet if I rebuilt my exact brain and memory into a new body “I” would have two bodies according to psychological criterion. They aren’t so different. And I can only say I am all three if I hope and believe my soul is something physical. I hope and believe my soul is physical but not made of matter but of energy. Since matter can take the form of life then I don’t see why energy can’t, since matter is technically a form of energy as said by Einstein. And I hope and believe this unique undiscovered energy exists with the body and remains after it dies and goes on to fulfill other roles in the universe, possibly eventually to work its way to other become new bodies for new things. Perhaps human bodies are merely USB ports for these souls. Who Am I? I am my body, thoughts, and soul all at once!