Feb 012017

Acceleration! We can feel it.
Not only the elderly and the adult – kids are feeling it as well.
The rate in which everything changes, is accelerating. Just like in a whirlpool, getting closer to the center faster and faster.

There seems to be a constant stream of bad news wherever we look. News, speculations, fear mongering, threats and the likes. It seems as if this stream too, is accelerating. Reactions in the form of confusion, anger, fear, panic, depression, hope, caution and the like, are so natural in the reality in which we live, and they often go in cycles of confusion changing into anger, changing into depression, changing into hope, in this order or any other.

Our need for security, stability and comfort has been continuously and increasingly challenged for many years now. And yet now it feels different – as if everything has moved up to a higher gear.
Of course we are free to act, each one according to our individual capabilities and available resources, and at the same time there’s a powerful nagging feeling that the real picture is much bigger than this. Which means that even when we succeed in righting a wrong, the number of wrongs as well as their degree seems to multiply. One can easily become ironic, feeling that for every wrong that they have righted, five more wrongs appeared, perhaps even (and strangely so due to) using their power to act. This is of course debatable but unimportant as it can be neither proved nor disproved.

Of course, some of us have much more power than others. Just like leaves on a tree in the fall, a mild wind will tear-off some of the leaves but not others. A strong enough gust will tear-off every single leaf, perhaps even the entire tree.

To me, this reality that we are part of, is trying to teach us something. It may be that there’s a different lesson meant for different individuals. I personally hear a calm voice saying: “Do not resist“. It’s tone is knowing and loving. It doesn’t say that I will not be adversely affected in the unfolding of the coming torrent of events, but it suggests that the more I will resist, the more I will be suffering.

I know that my own life is going to change. And in accordance with this ongoing acceleration, these changes could become more and more extreme. Yet, at the same time I feel as if we are in the process of shifting from a reality that we are familiar with, to a new reality which we do not know and don’t even have the capability to imagine. It feels like being in a narrow tunnel, being pushed through it by some great invisible force. It is frightening and uncomfortable. There’s no way to know how long it will last and it may well be that some of us may not survive this transition. But it is leading us into a new reality.
I’m not a prophet, and I cannot prove anything, but this understanding is somehow given to me and I’m sharing it.

Those of us who are fully entrenched in the physical three-dimensional reality, are likely to be affected the most by what’s happening, and worse, by their own speculations on what is coming next. Please remember – our ideas and thoughts about what’s happening are incapable of knowing the truth. Everything that we know, and everything that we are capable of speculating, is based on a reality that has passed. Also, being able to see one single tree, can easily be made into a conclusion that the world is a forrest. Being able to get our information from the media, can easily become a conclusion that the world is going towards self destruction. There’s much that we cannot see and what we CAN see may be insignificant in its scope compared with the true magnitude of our reality.

We are each here for a reason. Perhaps the reason is to win, or to lose, or to experience, or to observe, or to learn. But it may be very different from what we BELIEVE that it is. I find great solace in accepting my own insignificance. In moments of sudden clarity, a voice says to me, amused: “You are taking yourself too seriously”. And then I see it and become amused myself. Every time that my mind becomes set in a new picture of what reality is, I lose my inner peace, forgetting that reality is NOT that. I am blessed to receive these ongoing reminders. They are very humbling and soothing.

One thing that I can put my finger on, as something concrete that helped me get to “that special place”, is the practice of Qigong, which I began ten years ago and realized it was saving me. On the outside it looks too benign to completely change a person’s life in a most profound way, but perhaps that is its special power. It is said that the best kept secrets lie out in the open. Qigong is my anchor, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and for good health. That’s why I have not skipped a single day of Qigong practice in the past ten years. It’s precious.

I will be giving a four-class Qigong workshop at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center. Here’s a link with all the information for anyone wishing to participate.

For closing words, please consider the following:
1) The mainstream media serves as a tool in the hands of the powers that are in control.

2) It’s obvious that the news are mostly bad, upsetting and elicit anxiety and fear.

3) It’s also obvious – if one stops to think clearly for a moment – that most of what’s actually happening is being filtered out, because it’s impossible and further – improbable – that what’s actually happening is what’s portrayed by the media.

The point that I wish to make is that the masses (that’s you and I) can only be kept under control via the use of fear. Once the masses have no fear from the powers in control, there’s loss of control. The media is a tool to keep the masses in fear (under the guise of both entertainment and education).
It may be better for our own wellbeing, to unplug and live life with much less fear and anxiety. If something’s going to hit us, it will. Of that I’m sure.

The wonderful Mark Twain said:
“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed.
If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

Be well.
Have fun.
Know peace.

~ Oded

Oct 182014

A job, a house, a family, faith, a steady relationship, knowledge, a field of specialty . . .   these and many others serve as our measuring stick for what we call “security” or “stability”.
Many of us regard the words “security” and “stability” in the particular context of “something that is good, beneficial, preferable, desirable and which should be sought and pursued”.

This view ignores one very important thing: Reality and the Truth. The Truth is that a job, family and all the others, are temporary. We have some of them some of the time, and then they are gone. At the same time, we use our labels of “stability” and “security” in an attempt to find everlasting happiness. We confuse our own labels of “stability” and “security” which are impermanent, with happiness which we’d like to experience constantly. We confuse happiness, which can only come from within, with a long list of items that come from the outside: a job, relationships, occupation etc’.

All on our own, we create this powerful illusion and perpetuate it day after day, year after year, one thought at a time – constantly.

The Truth is this;
There’s nothing wrong with having money.
There’s also nothing wrong with not having money.
Happiness has nothing to do with either.
There’s nothing wrong with having a relationship.
There’s nothing wrong with not having a relationship.
Happiness has nothing to do with either.

Happiness has nothing to do with anything. It is a natural product of inner peace. It is our natural state of being (prior to our own interfering) and does not depend on any circumstances – not even health. We use our thoughts, ideas, words, emotions and habits to create an illusion of reality, which we then believe. These thoughts, words, emotions, habits and ideas are akin to throwing pebbles into a still lake, disturbing its surface – without realizing that we do – and then waiting for this lake to become still. Only when we stop, can we finally see through our own self-created illusion / self-deception, and realize that we don’t need anything in order to become happy right now, regardless of whatever the circumstances may be. Not because “it could be worse”, but because everything simply IS, beyond good and bad, seeking and rejecting, and whatever other labels we attach to life and the world. As long as we don’t experience inner peace, the illusion still exists.

When we have a job we could lose it, we could lose our house in a fire or storm, we could lose a loved one and we could lose our health or body parts. All the things that we regard as secure and stable are an illusion. Just like a statue made of salt that would melt with the next rain.

And somewhere deep inside we know that all these things are perishable. This is why we are anxious – we struggle to keep this false stability in place, knowing very well that destruction could be waiting just around the corner. We create contradiction inside of ourselves and perpetuate it. It takes tremendous amounts of energy to live in self deception moment by moment for one’s entire life, and we can only stop once we begin to see through our own self-created, self perpetuated illusion.

Unhappiness, anxiety, bitterness, anger, confusion, disappointment, shame, cynicism, doubt, blame – these and many more are a wonderful indication that we live and believe the illusion. When there’s no illusion, all that there is left, is peace. Happiness is a natural byproduct of peace.

Jun 122014

There are two kinds of arrogance. In the first, we are aware of our being arrogant, while in the second we have no such awareness. We can begin to see the unaware kind of arrogance through any of the following, which belong in this category:

  • Making assumptions
  • Taking for granted anything at all (our body, health, relationships, home, abilities, capabilities, disabilities)
  • Having any expectations
  • Believing that we truly know anything (including knowing ourselves)

I can understand anyone who would resent reading the above; most of us don’t like to think of ourselves, or be thought of as being arrogant and according to the above, 99% of us are arrogant. But if we consider “humility” to be the opposite of “arrogance”, and try to find where exactly the dividing line between these two polar terms cross, we may find ourselves continuously pushing the line towards “humility”.

Suffering is not a standalone phenomena. Imagine a pendulum swinging from one side to the next; On one side is suffering – on the other is pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. When the pendulum is stabilized in the center, that’s where there’s inner peace, a sense of wellbeing, relief and stillness.

Arrogance is instrumental in pushing the pendulum further to the suffering side, giving it more momentum and preventing its rest at the center. The reason for this is that we unknowingly use aware/unaware arrogance to protect ourselves against the truthfulness of reality, which is always unknown. We create an illusion of stability that is non existent and at some point the inevitable happens – reality strikes and we break down along with our illusion.

Looking again at the list above we can see that making assumptions, taking anything for granted, having expectations etc’ are all prone do surprise and disappointment. Those result in suffering to one degree on another. The stronger the expectation, assumption etc’, the stronger the surprise. If the surprise is pleasant, the pendulum is pushed to the “happiness side” and if the surprise is unpleasant, the pendulum is pushed to the “suffering side”. Either way, the pendulum is given momentum and the peace and wellbeing that’s in the still center escapes us.

Some of you may think that arrogance is better avoided but that happiness, satisfaction and pleasure on the other hand, should actually be sought. But again, one cannot exist without the other. True peace and equanimity exist beyond good and bad, pleasant or unpleasant. It is the same in the face of turmoil, loss, grief and illness as it is in the face of pleasure, satisfaction and happiness. It is the liberation from circumstances. When we are no longer in the graces of what the next moment brings – which is always unknown – we become free.

Apr 062014

It is easy and very natural to look at the immensity of the world, its vastness, the seemingly infinite number of people and then look in the mirror and feel infinitely small and practically non-existent. At the same time, there is much around us that we feel is wrong and wish we could change.

These two forces create tension within us, which becomes the source of much frustration, anger, sadness, hopelessness, depression and other feelings, that span far beyond the very issues which created them in the first place.
Many get stuck at this point, thinking: “That’s simply the way things are and I need to learn to live with that.”

It is possible to understand things this way from a limited point of view. But please remember: Whenever you feel that you’ve hit a dead end – this should be a reminder to you that you are not seeing the bigger picture. The world is much more than its physical aspect. What we perceive through our five senses and the faculty of thought, is just a drop in a bucket.

Be the change that you wish to have.

If you want world peace, practice peace in your daily life through meditation, conquering your anger, apologizing freely, living humbly and forgiving.

If you want a world without toxicity, you can avoid using regular chemical detergents, avoid buying food that contains food preservatives, flavoring substances and colors, and avoid using a mobile phone, wifi or microwave oven.

If you want a world without pain, become a friend to a lonely person who receives little attention. Show them that YOU care.

This list is endless, but you may be wondering why I am saying that these tiny actions can change the world.

Numbers are meaningless. How could one invisible virus destroy a big strong human being? There are millions of cells in the body whose sole function is to destroy viruses, yet people and animals do die from viruses. Had the virus been thinking: “It’s hopeless. I don’t stand a chance”, this attitude would have destroyed the virus itself.

How could a tiny seed become a giant tree? Had the seed been thinking: “Look at all these huge trees all around. I’m just a tiny seed. I won’t even try.”, then the seed would have simply decompose.

In the above examples, both the seed and the virus are not invested in any particular outcome. Instead they do all that they can towards achieving their goal, and allow the powers of the universe to work. When we invest ourselves in our actions without getting attached to any given outcome, that’s when we achieve the most. That’s when miracles happen.

If we allow our little candle to shine, we can gradually light up the candles of those around us, and they in turn, can light up the candles of those around them, and we spread the light until there is no more darkness. We don’t need to personally light every candle in the world. By lighting the candles of just those few who are close to us – through love, compassion and care for the common good – we create resonating feelings within them. In turn, they begin to feel a need to share further. That’s why the number of changes that needs to be made is not as critical as the intensity of our own intentions and actions.

But it has to start right here, with me. As long as I look around and wait for somebody else to initiate and to do for me and the world, I may not live to see the change that I wish to have. Once I initiate, and do the little that I can do, I set something in motion.
After lighting the candles of those around me, I can no longer see that more candles are being lit all the time – but they are; the light in the world grows exponentially.

Your true power goes way beyond the capacity of your thought and imagination. No one is stopping you from creating beauty, love and happiness for yourself and for the whole world; only you are.

Yes – you can change the world. Don’t let your light burn out; share it.