Tag Archives: law of attraction

is tweeting about omid reza misayafi a negative thing?

the other day, an interesting discussion took place on twitter. i tweeted a link to the death in prison of omid reza misayafi, the iranian blogger who had been sentenced to three years in prison for blogging in ways that the iranian government found threatening.

one of my fellow tweeters found that this was a negative tweet.

“do you think unpleasant events that you can’t do anything about is worthy of your attention and thought process?”

the way i understand it, this tweeter feels that i can be of best service by using social media in ways that are encouraging and bring positive news.

let me get some of my objections out of the way before i turn to how this discussion was helpful.

  • the vast majority of societal improvements, from the end to slavery to gandhi’s salt walk to the 5-day weekend, happened because people got really loud about what was wrong
  • bad things that are ignored have a tendency to fester
  • “bad”, “negative” and “wrong” can be moral judgments, and as such may or may not be helpful; but they can also be descriptions of undesirable, unhealthy or unhelpful aspects of situations or people (e.g. george bush is not a bad man but his tolerance of waterboarding is wrong). in that approach, so-called negativity loses much of its toxicity
  • the criticism of paying attention to negative news stems, i believe, from the idea in the law of attraction of “what you focus on expands”. there is a lot of truth to that but a) it’s not a straightforward line (there is no law that states that as you focus on X to the power of 3, it expands – whatever that means – to the power of 3) and b) the quality and type of focus also plays a role
  • i think it’s useful to give more “positive” messages than “negative” ones – but 100% positive and 0% negative seems a bit unbalanced
  • and jung says “ignore the shadow at your own risk!”

ok. now. here’s what i found helpful in the discussion.

i do want to be encouraging and uplifting, and i do want my messages to bring good news. if that’s what i want, i need to continuously hone my language and my message.

the buddhist concept of right speech is important to me, and my twitter friend’s comments made me think of that. does what i tweet improve on silence?  alas, i believe that often it does not. it is just idle chatter. now some part of idle chatter is probably important for greasing human interactions. but it’s easy for it to become too idle and too chattery. this is especially true for “negative” tweets.

i do find it useful to muse on the question: what if i/we/the world focused only on what’s good, kind, healing? or, to make it a bit more manageable, i feel encouraged by this conversation to try again to follow what i believe is a suggestion by napoleon hill: see what happens if i work for a stretch of time – an hour? a day? a week?- to “cancel out” every negative thought i encounter. (eg, “oh, isabella, what a dumb thing to do” cancelled out by “oops, that came out differently than you expected isabella. thanks for trying. move on.”)

a buddhist carnival – first 2009 edition!

camelswelcome to the buddhist blog carnival! sometimes, rather than a carnival, i would like to call it a caravan. i’ve always liked camels, what can i say …

poem: man is not our enemy
we always start off with a poem. here is one by thich nhat hanh, presented by change the dream

promise me,
promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:

even as they
strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you
like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember brother, remember:
man is not our enemy.

the only thing worthy of you is compassion –
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
hatred will never let you face
the beast in man.

you can read the rest of this poem here.

emptiness, buddhism and monotheism
ben offers nothing in its essence. i hadn’t met ben before but really enjoyed his careful insights and obvious knowledge of theology. this post draws interesting connections between how buddhism, christianity and the jewish tradition deal with the idea of “nothing” or emptiness.

buddhism is one means of liberation from what william blake called “the mind-forg’d manacles.” within the monotheist tradition one can find echoes of the same refrain, for what else is idolatry but the worship of that which behind appearances is not real?

lazy!
zen habits has a great post, the lazy manifesto: do less.  then, do even less. the post itself is quite inspiring (love the saying, “lazy people never started a war”), and some of the comments are interesting, too. for example, here is one by tara:

in the introduction of the tibetan book of living and dying by sogyal rinpoche, the author (i think) discusses laziness. he describes what he calls the laziness in the east, where people lounge around and smoke hookahs all day (i’m paraphrasing). but in the west, he says that people are lazy by being busy – filling their days with unnecessary movement and busywork. i always thought that was an interesting take on laziness.

boring?
genkaku was the first buddhist online writer i ever followed, even before i started blogging.  what do you think of his take on the proliferation of buddhist sites?

last night, when there was little work to be done … i went snooping the internet for topics on buddhism. there were a lot of sites and i skimmed them as i might pop another potato chip in my mouth while watching a football game — without much attention.there were diatribes against e-sangha and there were descriptions of NKT and there were general outlines of one kind of buddhist approach and another. what caught my attention was how little interest i had in any of it. it was like chewing a piece of gum … the jaws kept moving, but the flavor had disappeared …

too many buddhas. maybe that is more frightening than too few. but it does remind me of a calligraphy a monk friend once gave me: it said, “not one buddha.” and it also reminds me of an ill-remembered ikkyu — cranky as i imagined him — complaining about those who badgered and informed others about “buddha” … “stop being a goddamned pest!” he said more or less.

yoga mind, beginners mind

day after day, month after month, year after year, practice can grow stale and arrogant if i don’t re-invigorate mind and body in what zen master, suzuki roshi refers to as beginner’s mind. in yoga asana practice i need to remind myself to approach the physical aspect of any pose with “beginner’s body.”

this is an excerpt from the laughing yogini’s beginner’s mind and body: one-legged yoga.

“yes we can!” – who can?
praveen points to an article in the latest edition of oneness – the quarterly newsletter of the bright dawn institute for american buddhism.

this article by the rev. koyo kubose, called “yes we can!” started out by commenting on the excitement around the recent historical u.s. presidential election, and how it has rekindled hope and optimism about america.

but then, the article took a very interesting turn, and offered the reader a very profound exercise:

imagine that you are a “nation” and have just been elected “president”. can you translate all your new wishes and hopes into hard work and action? can you stop dwelling on and making excuses for past failures? can you overcome apathy? can you avoid “wars” with others?

buddhism, desire and the law of attraction
abraham-hicks, the guru of the law of attraction, discusses desire at you are truly loved. i think it’s useful  for this type of conversation and cross-reference to take place, especially since buddhism and the law of attraction seem to be very much at cross purposes when it comes to the topic of desire. let’s hear what they have to say.

in buddhism it is taught that the source of all suffering lies in both desire and ignorance. the ignorance stems from not knowing who we are and not perceiving the world as it actually is. by desire, buddhists refer to craving pleasure, material goods, and immortality, all of which are wants that can never be satisfied. as a result, desiring them can only bring suffering and so desire is, in a sense, considered a ‘bad’ thing.

as fellow spiritual blogger tom stine points out, it’s not truly the desire that’s the issue, but rather the attachment to and identification with desire by the separate self. this attachment is sometimes called ‘clinging.’ it is the clinging that is what needs to be let go of, not the literal dropping of desires altogether to become some sort of celibate monk. desires that arise are like anything else that arises within the field of awareness. they’re inherently neutral. just an object of awareness.

good people, bad people
you gotta go to wise curve’s post and look at the image! please! especially if you like to see george bush happy 🙂

and even though wise curve doesn’t talk about buddhism, there are some good ideas here. labelling people “good” or “bad” isn’t very useful.

in our life, there’s a small percentage of “good” people who always support us and a certain percentage of “bad” people who always trouble us. the rest are majority who are relatively “neutral”. this should be our rational expectation toward people around us. it’s too optimistic to expect everyone to be “perfect” and if we really have this expectation, we will live miserably because we will meet “bad” people who break our perfect expectation from time to time. this is the same as meeting “bad” people in life. there will be “good” people coming in to your life so we don’t need to focus too much on the “bad” apples and neglect the positive aspect of social life.

in reality, there’s no such thing as good or bad people. people only make “good” or “bad” decision or action in a specific time. someone may do good deeds 10 minutes ago and commit crime on the next day.

finally, two more submissions: from richard about consciousness and awareness and from jon, containing a poem called nirvana.

that’s it the january buddhist carnival. if you have any submissions for next month’s carnival (february 15, 2009), please send them to me here, or, if you have a hard time connecting to blog carnival, drop me a line.

image by wildxplorer

buddhist carnival – december 2008 edition, part 1

zen calligraphy of the rinzai school; kyoto, japanmerry christmas!

you know what’s funny? by 1992, i had pretty much foresworn elaborate christmas celebrations, and was quite happy with it. that’s the year i met my husband. now he grew up in a buddhist household. “yay, a bonus!” i thought. and yes, definitely, i’m very lucky to have married into that family. but – they go crazy around christmas! it’s one celebration after the other. it’s one of the amusing ironies of life that this old chick, who grew up surrounded by lutheran theologians, would marry into a buddhist family to experience in-your-face christmas. my in-laws celebrating christmas with such abandon is also a sign of their generous religious tolerance, fostered, for sure, by their buddhist background.

so once again – merry christmas to all my buddhist friends!

it’s the 15th of the month and buddhist carnival time again. loden jinpa was going to host it but something came up, so it’s here again. enjoy a smorgasbord of buddhist posts, completely free of eggnog, shortbread and yule logs!

“who prattles of illusion or nirvana?”
you know i always like to start with a poem. this one is from a post at buddhist torrents, about a book of zen poems by lucien stryk.

this anthology, jointly translated by a japanese scholar and an american poet, is the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind to appear in english. their collaboration has rendered translations both precise and sublime, and their selection, which span 1,500 years, from the early t’ang dynasty to the present day, includes many poems that have never before been translated into english. stryk and ikemoto offer us zen poetry in all its diversity: chinese poems of enlightenment and death, poems of the japanese masters, many haiku ” the quintessential zen art ” and an impressive selection of poems by shinkichi takahashi, japan’s greatest contemporary zen poet.

here is an example, by ryokan

without a jot of ambition left
i let my nature flow where it will.
there are ten days of rice in my bag
and by the hearth, a bundle of firewood.
who prattles of “illusion” or “nirvana?”
forgetting the equal dusts of fame and fortune,
listening to the night rain on the roof of my hut,
i sit at ease, both legs stretched out.

biography of a ch’an master
while we’re talking about books: brian schell, one of my buddhist twitter friends who patiently withstood my pestering to get him to submit something here, rewarded us well with a book review of footprints in the snow, by chan master sheng yen. one of his books, zen wisdom, is one of my buddhist book mainstays. brian makes my mouth water with his review; i think i’ll go and order it and the zen poetry book after i’m done writing this post. here’s what brian has to say:

i found this book hard to put down …his easygoing writing style and obvious love of what he does makes every page enjoyable. along with the story, the author explains a bit of buddhist philosophy in a comfortable, jargon-free style ….

my favorite parts of the book, however, are his interactions with the monks and abbots of the various monasteries. far from being the altruistic teachers and devoted worshippers we usually envision, he shows us the real picture. many of the chinese monks sell their services for money, they get into trouble with alcohol and women, there is “office politics” in the hierarchies, and so forth …

he goes from poor farm boy to a monk, to a soldier, to an abbott, to a monk again, eventually becoming homeless and rising back to the top. all the way, he refines his teaching style and is attached to nothing. it’s a dramatic story, and there are some good educational bits on buddhism scattered throughout. if you ever wanted to know about monastery life, this is a must-read.

the law of attraction – all about stuff? more prattling?
wayne c allen presents 6 ideas for zen mind, where he talks about the power of attraction (“POA”), which is also known as the law of attraction (LOA), saying

the irony here is that POA and karma pretty much say the same thing. in other words, karma is all about reaping what you sow”if you “put out” fear and insecurity, you’ll get more of it from others, and the world. if you act as zorba the buddha, (an osho idea-that one could be both fully engaged in the world, and fully spiritual) then the world is both a playground and a classroom.

the problem i see with people getting hooked on poa is that it tends to use “stuff” as a marker-get your thinking straight, and you’ll make money, attract houses and cars, and you’ll “be happy.”

as we endlessly say, having such markers is actually the problem. as soon as i measure my “success” by the height of the pile of crap i surround myself with, i get caught in the addiction to stuff.

and this post here is on the other end of “stuff” – axel talks about simplicity.

***

this is it for part 1 of the last buddhist carnival for december.  i’ll post part 2 some time within the week.

in the meantime, if you have a buddhist blog post you’d like to contribute, please send it to me here, or, if you have a hard time connecting to blog carnival, drop me a line.

image by jpellgen

weight loss and the law of attraction: a dialogue

yesterday, we had a guest post by david about using the law of attraction to lose weight. since david’s and my views are a bit different, i promised you a dialogue about it. so here we go. i will start with some of the ideas with which i agree:

i completely agree that our expectations are an important part of how we each create our own unique worlds. there is a lot of research that supports that, e.g. on self-fulfilling prophecies and other expectancy beliefs such as self-efficacy beliefs (the “i can do it” factor).

introducing more self-love into our lives and stopping harmful self-judgment are very important; personally i believe that they are a significant ingredient in not only improving our personal lives but also in improving the lives of those around us (hence my tagline: making lives better, making better lives).

appreciating and loving our bodies is a crucial element of this. currently, denise wilfley at washington university is working on finding out whether improved body image can have an effect on weight. it is well-known that a disturbed body image is connected to low self esteem.

lastly, i also agree that paying attention only to negative statements (“if i eat that, i’ll get fat”) is counterproductive. we shape our reality according to our attentional biases.

now let me point outwhere i don’t share david’s point of view.

we can’t deny that eating certain things on a consistent basis will make most people fat; that’s one of the main reasons for the obesity epidemic in north america. i doubt there was a big change to the negative in terms of body image in the last 60 years; but we know that the arrival of fast food and an insane amount of choice of overly fatty, sweet and salty food coincides with the rise of obesity.

also, research points to the fact that obesity does have a genetic component, and most people who’ve tried would say that “it’s hard to lose weight” is a statement of fact. i think it’s important to keep these things in mind (without dwelling on them) because they can help with weight loss. e.g. it’s useful to know that 2 cups of carrots have the caloric equivalent of one slice of bread.

david says, “when you love your body, then naturally your body will feel better and will become healthier. as this happens your body will naturally shift to fit the image that you are holding in your mind: a healthier, thinner body.” i am not sure how that mechanism is supposed to work. has it worked for you?

existing research does not show that a better relationship with one’s body results in weight loss (maybe ms. wilfley’s work will change that; we’ll have to see). also, the experience of fat acceptance people would refute the claim; people who are part of the fat acceptance movement often put much effort into having a positive, loving relationship with their body, without a resulting weight loss.

finally, david writes, “you will never lose weight while you judge yourself fat. that is rule number 1.” unfortunately, that is not true at all. the people who arguably have the worst problem with body image – people who struggle with anorexia or bulimia – do precisely that. so does just about every other person who diets.

summarizing all of this, i’d say that when aiming towards a healthy body weight, it’s useful to pay attention to how our minds shape our uniquely experienced version of reality, and to love our bodies. it is also important to keep in mind that a positive body image does not equal a weight that your doctor would be happy with; and that body weight is correlated with caloric intake, exercise, metabolic rate and genetics.

and of course, let’s not forget that much of this is very individual. i don’t doubt for a minute that improving one’s body image can be the solution to someone’s weight issues (which is different from saying that it is the solution for everyone).

it is interesting to note that a large-scale study on the effectiveness of various treatments for obesity recommends intensive counselling as the best approach. since the best counselling is counselling that is tailored to the individual’s need, i would hope that those for whom improved body image holds the most promise will receive exactly that type of intervention.

over to you, david and of course you, dear reader – what do you think? what’s your experience?

(this article was included in the 50 best blog posts on the law of attraction

losing weight using the law of attraction

today we have a guest post by david hooper. it is an excerpt from his book ask, believe, receive and fits right in with the theme of men with weight issues we were talking about last week.

david’s and my views on this overlap in some areas, and they don’t in others. tomorrow i will present my thinking about this approach. dialogue is good! so first, heeeeere goes david:

body imagea very popular question about the law of attraction is “can it be used for weight loss?” the answer is a definitive yes! however there are a few steps you should take to ensure success.

first, you need to become aware of the negative thoughts surrounding us about weight. “if you eat that, you’ll get fat.” “obesity is genetic and can’t be controlled.” “it’s hard to lose weight.” now, these extremely common statements and regularly accepted “facts” are part of the root cause of our obesity problems. what we accept, we allow. what we believe, is.

if you have accepted that eating certain foods will make you fat, and then proceed to eat them because you like them, you may expect to grow fat. if you accept that obesity is genetic, you will not attempt to lose weight. you won’t even try. and if you accept that losing weight is difficult, as almost anyone will happily tell you, then you are agreeing that your path to losing weight must be difficult, if not impossible.

however, step back and take a good hard look at your beliefs about diet, exercise, and weight. do you believe that because you are a couch potato or a computer geek, your lack of exercise will cause you to become fat? then don’t be surprised when it happens. do you believe that eating the large fries instead of small is going to probably make you fat? you’re probably already gaining weight. our beliefs, thoughts and expectations firmly dictate our reality. so if you want to change your reality, first you need to change your thoughts.

man in the mirror; about body imagethis world of solid matter is not nearly as solid as it appears. it is in fact woven from a maelstrom of subatomic particles, whizzing and whirling around, inhabiting less than 1% of all space. these particles can simply blink in and out of existence and teleport from one spot to another. that’s not science fiction – that’s science fact.

bring it up a few levels, and you have the human cells. most of the cells in your body die and are replaced fairly frequently. these cells grow according to what you place in your body and what nutrients they are given or deprived of. if you begin a healthy lifestyle now, the potential for fast bodily change is very real, but you must be aware that this is possible, otherwise you are going to fall back onto the old stockpile belief of “losing weight is hard”.

your thoughts can easily manipulate your reality, and what could you possibly have more control over than your own physical body, the one apparatus in the physical world with which you do not appear to have a disconnect? (all disconnection from the external world is false, but appears to be real).

but the most important thing in weight loss is your mental bodily image. every day you look at yourself in the mirror. you snarl at your weight. you groan that you do not look the way you want to. you twist, turn and contort yourself and look with disgust at the part or parts of your body that you are unhappy with. this is feeding negative energy into your bodily image, and that’s exactly what you will attract – more things to feel disgusted with about your body.

when you see yourself in the mirror, stop judging yourself and begin loving yourself. that body carries you around, and you should be grateful that you have one at all! fully accept your body as it is right now, and decide that you would like to change it in order to give yourself a happier, healthier existence. again, accept your body in the mirror, and stop snarling and judging yourself. when you love your body, then naturally your body will feel better and will become healthier. as this happens your body will naturally shift to fit the image that you are holding in your mind: a healthier, thinner body. you will never lose weight while you judge yourself fat. that is rule number 1, and unfortunately that is the rule that 99% of people break from the get-go.

i hope this has shed some light on how you can readjust your thinking to allow yourself to develop a thinner, healthier body using the law of attraction. good luck to you!

(images by christi nielsen and prettywar-stl)