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My Beliefs and Practices that lead to a Good Life


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Showing 176-200 of 263 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 1:20:09 AM PST
AxeGrrl says:
Albert R. Rustebakke wrote: "I agree Paul, love can lead to sadness. If it's real love they're tied together."
~~~~

Beautifully said, Albert :) especially the truth you express in your 2nd sentence.

Why are love (especially if it's 'real') and sadness tied together? for the very simple reason that having great love means great hurt when it's lost.

I have suffered heartbreak of the worst kind ~ of the 'i'm not sure i can survive this' variety..........but I will always, ALWAYS be more grateful for _having had_ that completely life-changing love and intimacy than I will ever regret it because of the extreme pain its absence causes.

But isn't that 'the' lesson of life? learning how to deal with loss. Accepting it and living on.......and continuining to love others.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 10:35:11 AM PST
Astrocat says:
I began a Review on Light last week. The questions are below, taken one each day and meditated on. I try to keep the question in my mind throughout the 24 hours until I take up the next question, so that I'm reflecting (no pun intended) on it the whole day and then take it with me into sleep.

REVIEW ON LIGHT

1. What constitutes a review:
a. What, in my estimation, would constitute a reviewing of my day with the idea of Light predominating?
b. In a review, am I asked to redo or re-experience, or should I assume the attitude of the Onlooker, who stands "steady in the light?"

2. Am I capable of learning to walk in the light of my soul and so I know the meaning of steady reflection?

3. Can I see myself mentally as standing in the light of my soul and do I know the meaning of steady reflection?

4. If I use this review on light as it should be used, what will be the effect in my life, and what will be the effect in the life of the group I serve?

5. Can I honestly say that I know how to stand aside as a personality and turn the light upon the problems of my daily life?

6. For what reason do I want to walk in the light?
a. Because I seek personal illumination? or
b. Because I want to help in enlightening those around me?

7. If this review work is a definitely scientific method of bringing about subjective results with objective changes, what will these results and changes be?

8. What basis can I find in my study work which would indicate that I could be illumined and thus intensify my capacity for service and my increased usefulness upon the Path?

9. Is my progress upon the Path of importance? Why?

10. If it is true that the blind must advance by touching, but that those with sight move by seeing, and by keeping free and unattached, why then, having sight, do I not walk more definitely in the light?

11. Is my mind the organ of vision for the spiritual man, and am I offering this organ to the higher self to use?

12. Can I hold the mind steady in the light?

13. As I review my day, what part has illumination played?

14. How do I define the phrase "light of the Soul"?

15. Light is a quality of the soul. In that light,
a. Can I forget the fragmentary personal self?
b. Can I recognize the one self in all selves?

16. We are told that there is an archetype, a pattern, a ray, a goal and a light which shines from the Path. Realizing this, do I know anything of the freedom from worry which should enlighten my way?

17. In what manner is the light reflected in my life?

18. Do I recognize my fellow pilgrims on the way of light?

19. Can I draw consciously upon the light when others need it?

20. I am the redeemer of the lower nature. In what manner does light aid this redemption?

21. Has there been one moment this day in which the light has poured through me?

22. The nature of the soul is light. Experience of this light is achieved through mind control. What does mind control signify to me?

23. By what problems and on what occasions is the light in me most easily evoked?

24. Have I brought light to others today?

25. If I did demonstrate light, did I do it consciously or it just pour through me?

26. What activities and qualities of my lower nature need to be eliminated if the light is to lighten my way?

27. What is the main hindrance to my enlightenment?

28. In what manner can I use the light in order to help my fellowmen?

29. In what way can I most truly serve my fellowmen?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 10:47:15 AM PST
Couldn't agree more with every word in your post, Nancy. And I hope AxeGirl gets an answer from Paul. She may if he isn't too frightened by her name. I wonder. AxeGirl is your intent to frighten people here?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 5:09:12 PM PST
Yes, AxeGirl. there's no choice, we do live on after losses, whether we accept or not. I lost my wife of 29 years and live in partner of 8 before that about 2 and a half years ago. I grieved perhaps 7 months during her process of dying and shed the last tear 3 months after she stopped breathing. How recent was your loss?

And Nancy, 29 day long self questionings!! I'm impressed. Although in my attempt at day long breathing awareness, I question myself frequently, it's mostly a more mundane, "What do I want to do next?"

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 5:36:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2012 6:04:38 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Hi, Albert -

AxeGrrl has explained elsewhere that the "Axe" in her Amazon handle actually refers to a guitar. It's apparently a common slang term among musicians for an electric guitar.

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2012 12:56:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2012 1:00:00 AM PST
AxeGrrl says:
Albert R.Rustebakke wrote: "And I hope AxeGirl gets an answer from Paul. She may if he isn't too frightened by her name. I wonder. AxeGirl is your intent to frighten people here?"
~~~~

About my name.....hehe, no, my intent isn't to frighten people (if i wanted to do that, I'd post a pic of the current state of my bedroom:)

probabilist has been kind enough to explain the 'origin' of my nick :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2012 12:56:28 AM PST
AxeGrrl says:
:) thanks prob

Posted on Dec 11, 2012 8:01:48 AM PST
Thanks, prob and AxeGril. I'm wondering if it's possible I might get back in what most consider the real world by reading and posting in this not terribly narrow topic. Probably not. I consider my real world far more interesting. A reasonable and well controlled chunk of it is spent writing for the internet. Unless I'm searching for something, actual time on the internet I try to keep as small a part of life as possible. I may get around to a formal post here that I'll put on Voices.Yahoo as well. But frrst, I have to enjoy an hour's massage at 9:30.

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 4:17:27 AM PST
12//7/12: I believe beliefs do little to move us toward the good life. Practicing is what is effective. So the ever present question is practice what? How can I practice that? We can turn to all kinds of other people. The people willing to give advice are myriad. Many even get paid for doing it. Preachers, priests, all of the various higher ups in any and all religions. Much of it is presumably free, but usually some kind of contribution is expected, demanded, even paid for in advance. Psychiatists, psychologists, unless employees of an organization, usually submit a bill after an advice session.

My question has now become, how can I know someone is qualified to give me advice? Certificates on walls, certain kinds of dress are meant to impress customers. I have found, having consulted numerous professional, highly educated, consultants that the appurtenances of ability, while of slight use, tell me little of whether the advice they give is sound or not. Recommenations from people you know are somewhat better, but often wrong for you. The final judge is each individual, and it pays to be cautious, especially if money involved.

Of course, if it gives you pleasure to give money to people already obviously rich, feel free. Each to his own pleasures.

In other cultures, advice givers have frequently been poor. Their religion or culture told them too be so. The Christian Bible, and, I believe Jesus gives this advice. Not many in our so-called Christian nation follow this advice.

Many people in ragged robes have wandered the streets of Asian countries holding out their begging bowls. All the pay they want or wanted was enough food for the day Some religions suggest they eat as little as possible. They were and are known to be the most likely to be qualified to give good advice. Here, they would be likely to be jailed if they wandered into a rich neighborhood with their ragged robes and begging bowls.

Total contrast to our culture where the rich and often corpulent are felt to be the best advisors.

I believe the above to be idle speculation, but possibly interesting to a few readers. If you started reading this expecting advice, I'll stop by giving some. Count as many breaths a day as you can. Make them deep healthy ones. You'll start feeling better and be moving yourself towards a better life.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 11:25:42 AM PST
Astrocat says:
Albert, I don't talk about beliefs, because I think of them as unfounded, baseless, wishful thinking. I don't have to "believe" the Sun will "rise" tomorrow, I know it will. I don't have to "believe" it's raining, all I need to do is look outside to see that it's a fact. I accept as hypothetical those things I can't prove through my own observations and experiences, and so yes, "practicing" is the key to everything I've learned throughout this entire life. My practice begins with meditation, morning and night, and in between I use what I've gained through the meditation in service to my fellow human beings.

There are a number of meditations that I use during the week, all of them some kind of service. On Tuesday there's the meditation of "Group Radiation of Energy". On Wednesday it's meditation promoting "Goodwill" throughout the world. On Thursday it's about the Reappearance of the Christ, and on Sunday we do the work of attracting the energy of money to the groups we see as fulfilling the spiritual plan for humanity. On the other days there are meditations helping to dissipate the glamours (illusion on the emotional plane) that have bedeviled humanity for aeons. The glamours we're currently working on are the Glamour of the Ideal of Freedom (that is, that we can do whatever we like because of 'free will'), and the Glamour of Materialism, which can also be seen, in this time, as "scientism".

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 4:38:27 PM PST
Nancy, our differences are only in terminology. Go to it! Having watched the sunset on my mountains, I'm thinking about writing what I call a "formal post" but am a bit lazy. Will put it off til tomorrow. I know I'll start it with my idea of what "healthy breathing" is. I see far too little of it in the world.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 4:44:10 PM PST
Astrocat says:
Albert, it's good to know there are people who are conscious of more than just what's on television, or what team is playing in what bowl game. The sunset on the mountain has more value than all the bowl games and all the "financial cliffs" of all time. I'm seeing it through your eyes, my friend, and it's a welcome sight, since we've entered our very rainy season here, and may not see a sunset for weeks at a time.

Posted on Dec 16, 2012 8:53:25 AM PST
12/15/12: I suggested counting "deep healthy breaths" in my last "formal post.". Watching people breathe, the vast majority never take a single healthy breath in my presence. Their unawareness of their breathing habits, and of many of their other habits, keeps their early conditioning and training functioning and affecting their life.

Whether all this unconscious behavior, thinking etc. is for good or evil, whether it is a sin, to use a Christian term, they pay no attention to. It goes on and on and on. The extent to which all of us are.. automatons,not in charge of what we do, are and think, is an interesting question. Looking at myself, I'd say I'm probably 50-60% automaton, perhaps more because I have a tendency to flatter myself.

I'd suggest everyone should try to estimate the percentage of their life, or of any given day, even 15 minutes that they are controlled by old conditioning, parental and other training (or perhaps habitual rebellion against that training) and the percentage they are in charge of themselves.

Old automatic habits can be useful. I'd hate to try typing this without the automatic habits a lifetime of training and typing has put into my hands, arms, fingers, and brain. Other of my habits not only do me no good, but are either harmful or potentially harmful to myself and other. Harmful to self and others is a legal phrase, but is based on the moral precepts of most of the world's religions. Christianity calls them sins.

But back to breathing. A healthy breath starts with completely expelling all the air, poisons, waste products, etc. from the lungs. Most people do not think of expelling their breath as completely as possible is more important to their health than "regularity." If the drug industry could only figure out an advertising campaign, and a drug to sell, that would promote healthy breathing, we would all be much more aware whether our most vital function was healthy or not. We live for days and days without being "regular." I'm one of them. If we stop breathing for just a few minutes we're dead. Unhealthy breathing is a slow killer.

There probably is no research on how many years habitual healthy breathing would add to our lives. There is a lot of research on how many years regular exercise adds. Exercise more or less forces healthy breathing while it is going on. It is recommended there be a slow down, cool off period during which the breath returns to normal. What is "normal "is not specified.

"Normal" and healthy are not the same thing, far from it. Once it was normal and habitual for most people to smoke. I did for years. Now it's against the law in many settings.

Most people cooling down after exercise, return to their habitual unhealthy breathing habits. They stop expelling all the air and poisons from their lungs as they did while exercising and stop getting the health benefits of getting rid of all that unhealthy stuff with each breath.

If exercise recommendations suggested continuing exhaling completely, then the cool. down period would be improving health and longevity, probably by a substantial amount over simply going back to habitual normal breathing." I have read that the normal statistcal average rate of breathing is 16 breaths a minute. Healthy breathing is much slower, near the bottom of the range, say 5-8 breaths a minute for most individuals

To do this would require that the exerciser pay attenion while cooling down. By staying conscious of his breathing and keeping it slow and deep and healthy, his cool down period would be working on establishing a healthy breathing habit to replace what is highly likely to be an unhealthy one.

Paying attention during the cool down to completely relaxing would be working on establishing a habit of staying as relaxed as possible in all situations. It might even help some of the hyper, continually tense, go getters to slow down a bit. Every individual who slows down a bit would be helping what many call "this mad speeding world" slow down.

To finish off: Use one of the 3 methods of breath awareness I've touted in previous dated formal posts here: counting breaths, inging, or staying aware of breathing without verbal cues It may take a bit of time, but I believe the benefits will kick in at least as fast as the benefits of regular exercise.

I feel strange, touting what I believe should be universal information and recommendations. Maybe some high gov't official will get wind of what I've just written, and improve the vast majority of exercise recommendations put out. Perhaps even some of the many exercise sites on the internet might improve. No, Rusty. Don't get grandiose. Many must disagree with what you just wrote. I'd love to hear from them. We might even be able to discuss our ideas, and improve on them.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 9:37:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 9:40:23 AM PST
Bubba says:
For breathing exercises; one should breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, one should also breath from the belly, not from the chest. One's belly should expand and contract, not one's chest.

Another good breathing exercise is to combine it with brisk purposeful walking; taking long, stretched strides, and swinging one's arms straight; raising them high in the front and extending, stretching when they go back. It takes concentration and practice to combine deep breathing with purposeful walking.

If you wear shiny spandex and white earbuds, nobody will notice your strange walk.

Posted on Dec 16, 2012 10:27:06 AM PST
Buddha: You recommend only the belly moving, not the chest and shoulders. Do you really believe it's healthy to not expel as much of the waste products and poisons in the lungs as possible?

Yes it does take concentration, paying attention, to maintain healthy breathing.

Spandex and white ear buds? Walking the way evolution designed us to walk---fox walking---pad of the little toe down first, then the pad behind the big toe and finally the heel, looks a little strange, but once you get used to it, no one notices, and it starts to feel natural.

Where did you get your information? Or do you think what you said is just common sense? I rely a great deal on my common sense.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 10:43:45 AM PST
Bubba says:
Belly breathing is deep breathing, you empty and fill your lungs more completely when you breath from your belly than from your chest. I learned about deep breathing and combining deep breathing and walking from my yoga training. I have also read about proper deep breathing from both yoga and medical sources.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaphragmatic_breathing

http://cmhc.utexas.edu/stressrecess/Level_Two/breathing.html

http://cmhc.utexas.edu/stressrecess/animations/diaphramatic_breathing/diaphragmatic_breathing.html

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 11:26:53 AM PST
Astrocat says:
I disagree that we should breathe into the belly. That exacerbates the solar plexus, which is the seat of the emotions. Instead, fill the lungs and keep the stomach muscles tightened so there's no activity below the diaphragm.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 2:28:06 PM PST
Bubba: once again, do you think not moving your chest and shoulders, but only moving your belly, expels all the wastes, poisons etc. completely from your lungs>? Do you think only moving the belly, completely fills the lungs? It is not an either or question. It is easily possible to do belly, chest, and shoulders all in a single breath. I look forward to your answers.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 2:34:02 PM PST
Ah, Nancy. We run into a disagreement. I don't believe that tightening stomach muscles or any others is good for our health. I strongly believe relaxation is better for us than tightening or tensing any more than is required to keep breathing and doing what we want to do.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 2:50:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 3:35:51 PM PST
Astrocat says:
We don't have that many disagreements, Albert. My understanding is that meditation is not about relaxation, but about connecting the lower and the higher minds, the personality and the soul. To do that the focus needs to be on the mental plane, and the breath to be visualized coming in the nostrils, filling the lungs, and then moving upward. For that reason the solar plexus needs to not receive any energies, which is why the stomach muscles should be kept tight, so that the breath doesn't go that far down.

That, of course, is how I've been taught and that's been my practice. Yours is different, and may work just as well for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 4:19:01 PM PST
Bubba says:
From all of the literature I have read, for breathing exercises, belly breathing is the proper way to breathe for breathing exercises. The yoga instructors I have had were also into chakras, it is also supposed to be good for chakras -- I am not interested in chakras so I didn't pay any attention to that part.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 4:27:13 PM PST
Bubba says:
Belly breathing is supposed to be better for completely deflating and inflating the lungs, and I don't really care to discuss it; it is the way that I breathe when I do breathing exercises. I have read about it in several sources, both from yoga practitioner and from medical sources, and I provided a link to a University of Texas stress reduction web site that described belly breathing in my previous post.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 4:27:25 PM PST
Astrocat says:
I suppose there are some teachers who talk about breathing into the belly. The teaching I follow is found here, and I thank you for reminding me to look it up again and refresh my memory as to why I gave up breathing exercises many years ago.

"I would like here to sound a word of warning. Avoid those schools and methods which combine forms of breathing exercises with meditation, which teach different types of physical postures, and teach their students to centre their attention upon physical organs or centres. Those who follow these methods are heading towards disaster, and apart from the physical dangers involved, and the risk of insanity and nervous disorders, they are occupying themselves with the form, which is limitation,and not with the spirit, which is life. The goal will not be achieved that way."

"The Consciousness of the Atom", Alice A.Bailey, page 112.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 4:28:47 PM PST
Bubba says:
I agree with you, when I do breathing exercises, I do it for relaxation. Unless I am doing it while I am walking, I try to relax as much much as possible.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 4:32:35 PM PST
Bubba says:
I don't do breathing exercises or any sort of deep breathing while I am meditating because I find it distracting. I usually do breathing exercises prior to meditation.
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