Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Confessions of Captain Ego (USCG Licensed)

Actually, besides Captain, I have had a couple of other ego-enhancing titles ASCP (American Society of Clinical Pathologists)and MFT (Marriage Family Therapist). I went sailing between those two "careers". I used to get off on walking around a hospital in a white lab coat, then I enjoyed having a "practice" as a "Therapist" in my last career. Besides ego, testosterone had a big part in my obtaining these three "prestigious" licences. I am a admitted bikini-chasing hedonist for many years - still my head gets turned.
Actually, it has been a humbling relief to get older and have my testosterone levels drop (lower normal now - just got tested). However, I still have a very healthy ego. I am now on the "wise old philosopher/counselor/teacher" track. I enjoy showing off my knowledge, although wish it was more wisdom.
My preferred meditation - Vipassana - is admittedly humbling. I could never be a "teacher" and probably not even an "assistant teacher". There is no "teacher training", and there is only one teacher. Assistant teachers are appointed by "transmission" and many hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours of silent still meditation.
I have pretty much given up on the idea of "losing my ego" while in this body (maybe the "next"?). I just want to keep aware of the ego, while keeping it healthy and balanced. I think most of the problems are with unaware egotistical (egoist thinking), not with one that is balanced and fairly conscious. Who would have steered my boat? Who would have done the lab tests accurately? Who would have tried to help families and couples, although I admit being a failure with my own. One of the biggest mistakes I made was to move back to Carolina from saner California to "save" my family.
Freud invented the ego as the middle part of his triad mental system as the "conscious connection" between the id (our instinctual "snake" brain) and the Superego (our higher self). Gary Zukav has wisely called it our "earth guide". The ego, you get rid of it, I will just keep trying to minimize it. I recommend The Buddhas' Vipassana Meditation with a lot of metta & mystical Christian Affirmative prayer.

The most important thing is that I have never been more peaceful. "The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes." Frank Lloyd Wright
May all Beings be happy and free!

Anatoly Petrenko I enjoyed very much this inquiry into what was this life. Now as your awareness shifts, the meaning shifts in unison. And practice of Vipassiana is the method outlined by Buddha in dismantling self-grasping fueled by the conceptual belief of its existence.
Vipassiana is not only a therapeutic technique, it is a tested method of contemplative inquiry into whether ego has inherent existence.
Keep practicing with intent and take a fresh look at Four Noble Truths: there is direct path to freedom.
As I write this, I recognize that I am reminding it all to myself.
Vipassiana is very powerful: it assisted me in recognition of what this "I" is — single present moment thinking only — luminous awareness in the space of the mind.
Funny thing is it appears that mind is a loaded storage and could be distracting. Nevertheless with practice its nature is going to be revealed as that — freedom with immeasurable generosity, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. Perhaps all qualities you would like to assign to a healthy way of being (even though you call it ego).
Above all I appreciate jewels of inspiration your "confession" presented!

s.a.m. said...
You were the best captain ever!!!
I was searching International Field Studies and wow!

(Brought students to you twice!!!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Prayer for Gail

Penny Masland Smith:
My prayers for Gail & her family. Gail & Gina are true lights in my life.
There are those who feel such fulfillment of life and such Connection to Source Energy, who understand that there is no separation between what is physical and Non-Physical; who understand that there is not even a lapse in consciousness, that "death" is a matter of closing one's eyes in this dimension and literally opening one's eyes in the other dimension.The re-emergence into Source Energy is always a delightful thing.

I agree wholeheartedly with Penny about Gail (& Gina). I will visit hospital this afternoon and looking forward to being in their Loving Presence!

Loving Kindness to Myself and All Other Beings

Ron Alexander:
One of those "need do nothing" enjoying just Being days after blissful timeless meditation early this AM. I choose to be happy & let go of all guilt & judgements today! May all Beings be happy and free, Loving Kindness to All, we are ONE, ron

And believe me, I had a tough night with negative judgements, self-criticism nightmares before I meditated. Afterwards, I went back to sleep with beautiful dreams until guilt about laziness (sleeping after 8AM)set in, then I woke up and fixed some breakfast, and decided to let go of the guilt self-criticism and enjoy the day by reflecting on the remaining feelings of bliss of the meditation.
Bobby Hinkle:
All struggling disappears when you accept yourself just as you are; you have thereby entered the temple of peace, and drowned in the sea of love; for when you truly love yourself, you cannot help but love everyone; for it is the same energy.

It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others. ....Sidney J. Harris

Craig Clark Shelly, I have said for years, how can you love anybody else if you don't love yourself, as well as how can anyone love you if you don't love yourself. It is something most people don't think about but often when you make friends or fall in love, it is durring times in your life where your attitude towards yourself are the greatest. ;-)

Subodh Kumar Misra:
The going deep into ourselves is also, at the same time, a going deep into anything in the world. To know ourselves is to know all people, all things – the whole world, as the whole man can be seen in one cell of his body. Everyone belongs to the universe; every event is a cosmic event. One cannot be the object of possession and enjoyment of another. Everything belongs to one single centre of operation, the government of the cosmos. ……Aum! ago

Anatoly Petrenko: What a sweetly poetic description of interdependent origination — it requires deep care for oneself and all to refine scattered attention to stand still and notice that NOTHING exists completely independent from all else!

Monday, August 29, 2011

You are the Lighthouse

We know that it's difficult when you are in the middle of something that seems like a maelstrom, to recognize how much you are being uplifted by the cumulative effects of your positive thought. But it's actually a matter of contrast.

And ultimately you should be able to see, with greater assurance, the effects of your positive intentions and focus upon positive outcomes. You just have to be persistent in very much the same manner the lighthouse stands on the rock and shines through the middle of a storm. You see, you are the lighthouse.

When you relegate your thoughts to mere regurgitation of what is happening around you, then you lose your focus. You’ve got to realize that you and Source are a team that cannot be moved by mere circumstances. You are the light-house, and Source is the light that shines through you.

In a lighthouse they have those giant lenses that focus and direct the beam that shines outward. Your thoughts are like those giant lenses, directing Source Energy outward into your world, and calling to you by law of attraction the content of thought that you have chosen. Your thoughts do not change your world so much as they reorganize it. Experience reorders itself according to the predominant nature of your thinking.

And so to get through this time of upheaval, redouble your efforts at visualizing happy outcomes. And be vigilant to not allow your thinking to be directed by the unrest and upheaval that is going on in your world. You are the rock upon which future creation stands. Even through the maelstrom, Source Energy calls to you all of the things and delightful life experiences you desire.



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Practicing the Presence - Developing a Pure Mind!

Rob Jackson:"oh, my mind ! If you could only learn that everything is non-substantial and transitory; if you could only learn not to grasp after things, not to covet things, not to give way to greed, and anger and foolishness; then we might journey in quietness. Then, by severing the the bond of desires with the sword of wisdom, being undisturbed by changing circumstances - advantage or disadvantage, good or bad, loss or gain, praise or abuse - we might dwell in peace." ~ Teachings of Buddha
Ron Alexander: Thanks Rob for your wise post:Anicca, Annica - the Pali word for changes, constant changes! The Buddha says to observe them with equanimity - both good and bad - taking a middle road not attaching to either to "develop a Pure Mind" which in my words is the same as "Practicing the Presence of God(LOVE)".

What the World Needs Now!

Ron Alexander: What the whold world needs, Love, sweet Love, All we need Now!

Love is the first ingredient in the relief of suffering.
Padre Pio

Bobby Hinkle:
All struggling disappears when you accept yourself just as you are; you have thereby entered the temple of peace, and drowned in the sea of love; for when you truly love yourself, you cannot help but love everyone; for it is the same energy.

.*☆。*。☆。☆。*。☆。 There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. - Kahlil Gibran ¨`*•ʚįɞ✿ღ•*¨`*•.•ʚįɞ✿ღ•* ☮*´¨(✿◠‿◠)❀ ♫❤ ☼ ☾*´☮¨

Ron Alexander
"Love sweet Love, all we need now, Love sweet Love, All we need Now, It is One Thing" we cannot have too much of...Sung beautifully today at Unity of Charleston by Nefesh Chaya!

Ron Alexander: thanks Suchi, I changed "we get too little of" to "we cannot have too much of" - Sweet Love to Ya and All!

Jeanne Porter Ashley: She has a voice, doesn't she? It was a high energy kind of day...glad to share it! I believe we can find a broadcast on the web of it all...♥
Ron Alexander: ‎"What the world needs now, Love sweet Love, all we need now..."
Dionne Warwick?

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me."
Erma Bombeck (
(This goes along with the Scriptural admonishment "don't bury your talents.")
Patricia Arnold: Love it! If we remembered that we stand before God ALWAYS, just think how conscious we'd be of our divine accomplishments at the end of each day!

'The Human Dream' - Living in Oneness Love

We can live in "harmony with earth, peace with each other, in perfect balance with the cosmos." We can remember our "Divine Essence" again. We can let go of our "own fear and fear can disappear from the world." We are the "power in everyon...e, the tide is turning, the viel is being lift, our true self is starting to shine." "It's Love - to remember our Divine Oneness. We will not forget this time - we will love the world into the paradise. May the Light shine on you."

“A person experiences life, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion, to find the reality of Oneness.”
~ Albert Einstein

Friday, August 26, 2011

Issac Bailey | King’s forgotten message

Issac Bailey | King’s forgotten message - Today's News -
Ron:The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my favorite heros for Non-violent movement (he even surpassed Gandhi from my point of view), and I appreciate this column. His book COURAGE TO LOVE is one of the most inspiring books I have read...

"King stood for many things, and at the time he was standing for them, he unabashedly challenged those in power and comfort, be they racist white Southern sheriffs, middle-class blacks who wanted their station in life protected more than they wanted a level playing field for all, or fellow pastors who insisted he accept his lot in this life for gifts that would be awaiting in the next."

Read more:

Native American - Amazing Grace (in cherokee)

Imagine that Cherokee Drummers in Australia: Thanks so much for sharing dear friend Robyn. Yes, the Cherokees are from the Carolinas originally where I live. They would live in the mountains in the warmer months and then make a long trek down to the coast here where I live in the cold months.
Lotsalove, ron

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Andrew Harvey - renowned and distinguished mystical scholar

Andrew Harvey is a renowned and distinguished mystical scholar, Rumi translator and explicator, poet, novelist, spiritual teacher and writer, and architect of
Sacred Activism

"I walked down the hill, sceptical and amazed at what Ananda had said. He called after me, 'Be happy! Be happy!' and I turned and saw him high on his rock, a small orange bird." Andrew Harvey from A JOURNEY IN LADAKH

How many gifts and graces You have given me! How many favors You have fed me from your hand! I look for your love in all directions, then suddenly its blessing burns in me.
Rabia Al-Adawiyya
translated by Andrew Harvey

Jeeni Zucchini: Thanx for the recommendation... you've piqued my interest.

Ron Alexander: Hi Jeeni, yes I am glad, being an "Old Student" of Buddha's meditation you will like it plus Harvey's eloquent poetic descriptions of his responses to the Rinpoche's and Lama's that he meets...

Ra Divakar: Thanks Ron, I agree especially the Mystical experience upon meeting Thuksey Rinpoche - "The Man who shined like a sun."

Anatoly Petrenko: Journey In Ladakh is on my favorites list. It conveys eloquently the whole meaning of travel. Thank you for sharing it!

Ra Divakar: You are very welcome Anatoly! I am about half through the second reading now, and in no hurry to finish. Andrew Harvey helps me to understand that some cultures put spirituality FIRST!

Ra Divakar: You are very welcome Anatoly! I am about half through the second reading now. Andrew Harvey helps me to understand that some cultures put spirituality FIRST!

Anatoly Petrenko Indeed, those cultures are so advanced that they cultivate a full vision of infinity of life, which results in a very different quality of experience — that of fuller presence and genuine happiness.
It cheers me up a lot!

Do Your Eyes Really See NOW?

Cease using the present as a vehicle to the future and the eternal will appear in you... ♥ Bobby Hinkle (Thanks Bobby & Effie)
God always provides what we need, but we must be ready to open our eyes and see it.The Midrash (
Ron Alexander: ‎"Have your eyes really seen? Do you know what I mean?"
‎"Love is all we came here for, Love is the open-ended door. Have your eyes really seen?..." ‎"Love is the key we must turn..."Do you know what I mean, have your eyes really seen?"
Elton John

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From Peace or Egoic "Control"?

Gene Yakub:
I find that the weak link in many "spiritual" people is their assumption that they understand more than others, and that therefore others are ignorant and need to be taught by them. This is pure egoism, the highest taboo in spirituality. Yo...u know virtually nothing about me nor are you interested in knowing more about me, probably because you are so satisfied with yourself, and therefore have no idea about my experiences, knowledge, practices or how far I may have gone towards self-realisation. Perhaps I am more of a "peace Giver" than you are and have been for many more years than you have? So you could well be preaching to the converted, a rather unspiritual and unrealised thing to do. I find Facebook provides many people wiith a podium from which to preach and gather camp followers who "oohh" and "aahh" on cue but who really have no desire whatsoever to be "friends". I had thought that you and your group might be different but regret that you are not and so we come to a parting of our ways with best wishes for greater sincerity and humility on your part. Ignore all this if it's too uncomfortable, or you yourself learn from it for your own good.

Ron Alexander: Wow, you sure told Ra off, Gene! I am sure you are righteously pure and more, it sounds like you have some issues yourself! Aum Shanti, aum shanti! I am sure Ra will be humbled by all of this.....

Hi Ron! No, I'm not pure, righteously or otherwise, and I definitely have many issues to resolve, which is why I wouldn't take it upon myself to tell other people to be or not be something or other in a spiritual or other context in the pretext of being a great Knower. For me, only God who sees all past, present and future and is unconditional love can know who is or knows more than another. I hope that I only offer suggestions from support, encourgement and fellowship in our struggle to overcome challenges and move back to becoming divine again but I also do my best not to overdo that too. What I wrote about FB I do find unfortunately to be so, again not for everyone but I regret that instead of actually turning out to be a tool with which to share ourselves and others and offer that support and encouragement, we may again be losing a great opportunity to achieve great things for our universe and instead are remaining locked in egoism and the need to control again. What do you think? However, I have been telling myself since this incident that I too am judging and condemning so, as the great Master Sathya Sai Baba said: "when you point one finger, there are three pointing back at you". Om Shanti Shanti Shanti...Gene Yakub
17 minutes agoRon Alexander
Agree, wonderful response, Gene. Thank you for wise feedback! I hope to remain your friend! namaste', ron..
Bobby Hinkle
Hell is not geographical; it is mind poisoned by anger, jealousy, envy and all such rumblings of the ego, while heaven is mind, having transcended ego, uniting with the spiritual heart, which is from God, of God, and is God.
Ra Divakar: Thanks Bobby, agree' however for me it is a process - sometimes that feels long and painful and other times Now feels Eternaly Blissful. I prefer the latter however when I attach to the Bliss, something - a thought or a judgement or a criticism appears that takes me out of it. I don't know about you but I need alot of tools like meditation, prayer, time in silence, alonetime, support and inspiration from someone else like you. That is what I love about my fb friends - inspirational support. I am gratefully as One, ra

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Row Row Row Your Boat Gently & Merrily

Row, row your boat gently gently down the stream.
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily life is but a dream.
Gently, gently, merrily, merrily life is but a dream.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Earthnauts, All of Non-physical Life is Cheering you on - You are like us.

Twelve Insight Journal
August 21, 2011

Afterlife – what’s it like for you? for us?

Do you remember any of your past lives? and how has it influenced you from life to life? Is there a gain? Do you change?

Well first of all, we are living a life now. And so, just like you, we benefit from all of the experience that comes flowing to us and through us. Our lives are different from your lives in a few peculiar ways. First of all is this business of not being physical, so we are not focused as intently in that particular area.

We choose from a broader range of ideas and experiences then you have currently available to you. And again, the only difference is the focus that is involved. When you allow yourself to defocus from your physical life experience, such as in a state of expansive creativity, or in a deep meditation, you have access to all the things that we have access to. You could think of us as being always immersed in a state of creative meditation.

And we continue to grow and benefit from all of the life experience that is available to us. We grow and benefit from your life experience. We are like the guys back in mission control when you send your astronauts out into space. We are here cheering you on, while you are on the adventure of a lifetime in physical time space reality. And we are soaking it in, gathering data, learning new things, expanding ourselves as a result of your physical life experience.

We do remember all of our lives that we have lived. It’s part of that broader range of ideas and experience that we have. The only difference there is that you are choosing to focus intently on physical life experience, and so you do not remember, for the most part, your previous lives.

So we are all always gaining, always growing, always expanding. You are like us. For us, it’s a bit like watching all 400 of your TV cable channels all at once, and being able to make sense at all. For you, you are tuned in to the channel called planet Earth. And when you are ready, you will rejoin us in the living room, watching the widescreen view.

Earthnauts, all of nonphysical life is cheering you on.

We invite your questions for the Twelve. They love the diversity and we're sure you will too! Just reply to this journal. For intensive, one on one, couples or small group sessions with the Twelve see "Our Offerings" at


Sensory Awareness, Love & Vipassana Meditation

You are so right dear Eva, "To thine own self be kind." (on my dieticians wall yesterday)
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy..
Eva Tzouma:
Love, Ron, has many faces. As we sail the vast ocean of living energy, some of us realize that God is none other than the living energy that flows in our bodies, gives us life and breath to exist. I find it very important now to feel and to experience in practice this living love, here on Earth rather than seeking it in some imaginary place (in or out of me) where nobody has gone, Who or what is this God that all of us are seeking for? What else than being able to wake up in the morning and feel happy for your own existence, when you draw strength from yourself and getting your own decisions, staying stable and hitting the ground with all your senses? When you smell the scents of flowers, overlooking the sea as the sun sparkles on it, when you embrace sexually your partner feeling his body on yours, when tasting the food made with love and care when the mother embraces her newborn child and in his eyes she sees all the beauty of the world? With all this I mean that God is here on Earth, we see, live, feel, smell, taste him. And yet we are looking for him somewhere in the vast universe. You know what I mean; It's the same feeling when you once were sailing the seas and felt the salty wind in your face. But many people have forgotten how to feel alive through the five senses, perhaps fearing the reality here on Earth, and try to find ways to escape from a reality that creates pain, resentment, anger instead of fighting to create a reality that is based in here and now.
Anyway those are some of my thoughts lately and I wish the best for all of us in the path we have chosen.
Tell me about you, how is your health? How things going into your life?
Love and joy to you!!!..

Ron Alexander:
That is profound beautiful writing about love within and with the senses Eva. Interestingly I just returned from another ten day silent retreat and the Vipassana meditation is about developing a pure mind through the senses which pass quickly through our body is we don't attach to them - either toxic or pleasurable - the middle road. Sitting meditating that way - paying attention to the whole body is very healing. Then the last 5 minutes after about an hour of meditation is a Metta Prayer. Metta means loving kindness, compassion and wishing all beings to be happy, peaceful and free, so it goes along with your Onedafull writing. I am so grateful to have you as a friend. I am back to normal PLUS - the best meditation ever this morning - "free flowing ecstasy" - sat for an extra half hour without knowing it. Eva in joy life, you deserve the best!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Interview with Jenny Phillips, director of documentary The Dhamma Brothers; 07/07 |

Interview with Jenny Phillips, director of documentary The Dhamma Brothers; 07/07 |

0.Men sit cross-legged on meditation mats, wrapped in navy blue blankets, with eyes closed. They seem to be sleeping but a second glance shows a latent energy that proves them to be very much awake. These meditators are not Buddhists or yogis; they are inmates at the Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison.

"I don't want people to think I'm naïve in thinking that all prisoners can be transformed," said Jenny Phillips, founder of Freedom Behind Bars Productions. "But a large number of people are just so hungry for solutions."

The company's first film, Dhamma Brothers, is a documentary following the lives of 36 prison inmates who are at the end of the line in Alabama's correctional system and whose lives are seemingly changed after being introduced to an intensive 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. "In prison, it's so much about outer strength," she said. "But when you learn to meditate, you find a different kind of strength, an inner strength."

The title of the film derives from a name the prisoners call themselves -- Dhamma -- meaning "natural law" in Pali.

Donaldson Correctional Facility is located on the Alabama countryside near Birmingham and houses 1,500 men considered to be some of the state's most dangerous criminals. In the fall of 1999, Phillips, a licensed psychotherapist and cultural anthropologist, was researching meditation within Massachusetts prisons when she heard about a group of men at Donaldson who gathered on a regular basis to meditate. "I'm not sure why I went down there," she said. "But I did."

After an examination of the prisoners, through observation of their meditation as well as one-on-one interviews, Phillips found their lives to be filled with apprehension and danger and, even though many of these men were serving life sentences, they were still searching for some sort of meaning in their lives. "There was such a sense of misery and hopelessness there, but also such a sense of survival of the human spirit," she said.

Phillips returned to her home in Concord, MA where she contacted the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne Falls. After a year of planning between the prison and the Vipassana staff, in January 2002, Donaldson became the first prison in North America to hold a 10-day Vipassana retreat. The teachers' stay with the prisoners was most likely the first time non-inmates have ever lived among inmates inside a prison.

Vipassana, which means "to see things as they really are" in Pali, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It focuses on self-transformation through self-observation. Phillips, a meditator herself, knew that meditation could offer the prisoners relief from suffering. "If you can find peaceful ways to live in prison, you're going to be much happier there," she said.

Getting a camera inside the prison proved difficult. "Prisons like to do what they do quietly and be left alone," Phillips said.

But, after pulling some strings with Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, director of treatment at Donaldson, Phillips was able to capture the transformation of the prisoners on film. "I think it was the only medium," she said. "The written word can't quite capture them -- and I think film is the most powerful medium anyway."

For 10 days, the inmates' lives consisted solely of meditation, interrupted only by eating and sleeping, which may not allow very much excitement for film, but the camera crew was not only permitted to film the meditation, but also the daily lives of the prisoners and staff as well as interviews with the inmates, their families and members of the community. The Dhamma Brothers also combines real-life media footage of the inmates' crimes and includes archival television reports, which appeared at the time of the crimes.

Inmates such as Grady, a prisoner serving life without parole, discusses his crime of standing by while two men he had just met that day slaughtered a third man. He describes being frozen with fear while he witnessed the brutal attack, and then 20 years of guilt and remorse for being afraid to intervene.

The film's website offers a reflection on the results of the meditation: "Has the retreat been genuinely transformative for the men? Or, as the Warden suggests, could they just be faking these changes to look good to the parole board? Is the transformation sustaining?"

Those questions may not have an answer just yet, but so far, the meditation is catching on. The Alabama prison is planning to have back-to-back courses in meditation in the fall and it's even spread to other prisons in the United States. "Word is getting out in the prisons that these men have changed," Phillips said.

In addition to the documentary, Phillips compiled diary entries and letters from the prisoners over the last four years to create the book, Letters from the Dhamma Brothers: Freedom Behind Bars in an Alabama Prisons which is due out this year.

Phillips says she hopes both the book and film will challenge the idea of prisons as places of punishment rather than rehabilitation. "Just locking them up isn't going to help," she said.
When the first ten-day Vipassana meditation course came to a close at Alabama's Donaldson Prison in 2002, twenty men were faced with the possibility of a new chapter in their lives. Many have life sentences and most have been deeply acculturated to the life of violence and abuse that is all too common in prisons. In letters written during a four-year period after this course, 15 inmate-meditators offer direct and intimate access to their thoughts, struggles, dreams and triumphs after taking part in this intensive, voluntary program. Corrections officers, wardens, judges and others ask: "Can this program really reform such hardened inmates? Will the changes last?" These ....

Read More
letters will help you decide for yourself if their transformations are real or not.
The Dhamma Brothers, a documentary film about the program at Donaldson, was released in April 2008 and shown at numerous theaters and film festivals in the United States. The film aired on many public television stations in the U.S. in 2010. You can hear Oprah Winfrey talk with author Jenny Phillips and two inmate-meditators, and read from this book on the web at, Soul Series.

Review By: John Lewis, U.S. Representative, Georgia - February 10, 2008
"The Dhamma Brothers have taken their own passage to India and discovered a practice of meditation that guides them down their inner path toward freedom. Those of us who accept the philosophy of non-violence believe there is a spark of divinity within all of us. This book makes it plain that no human being--no matter how troubled his beginning, regardless of his race, color, nationality, or creed--should be considered beyond the reach of redemption. No one should be tossed away in a jail cell and forgotten as though his life means nothing. This book demonstrates that all some people need--even those we might consider the worst among us--is to be led toward their path to recovery, and when they are restored, their contribution to our society and the world is limitless."
Review By: Will Marston, School Library Journal - September 1, 2008
Vipassana is an ancient nondenominational meditation technique that was revived by Gotama the Buddha 2600 years ago. These letters are a testament to the power that this practice has had on the lives of a handful of men in a high-security prison in Alabama. Many of them are serving life sentences, and all of them have struggled to find peace with themselves. The course has worked wonders for prisoners in India, where it was developed. For 10 days, the men meditated with three teachers, isolated from the rest of the prison population. They began by focusing on their own breath as a way of breaking down the barrier between mind and body. Out of the silence of meditation came an awareness that was transformative for these troubled men and that has lasted for years, even in the midst of the anguish of daily prison life.
Teens in trouble or at risk would certainly find this book illuminating. So, too, would those trying to fathom how to lead a sane and peaceful life in a world that can be hard to comprehend. This book offers a chance to develop an understanding of how we can share a commonality with something as simple and as vital as a breath.

Review By: Gerald Hannon, Toronto Globe & Mail - August 11, 2008

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Think before you Speak

"Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself, 'Is it true?'
At the second ask, 'Is it necessary?'
At the third gate ask 'Is it kind?'"

-Sufi saying- Gurinder Singh Choudhar(thanks)

Bunni Vaughan Healy: Gate 4: Is it funny. (This one has gotten me in some trouble)

Oh No, Not the Ego

Oh No, Not the Ego! (Again!)
Yes, ultimately we don't need our egos OR OUR BODIES. However, as long as we are in our bodies, we need the ego. Gary Zukav calls the ego our "earth guide". St. Francis said, "it is in dying to our 'self' (ego) that we are born to eternal Life." To me, that means dying to our bodies also, and that is meaning we are completely in Spirit! And that is ONEDAFULL!

Patricia Arnold: I can't imagine how boring it would be for the Divine to simply hang out, doing nothing. Why not put on billions of costumes and stage millions of dramas and comedies. Sure, they're not real. But who cares, when you have all eternity to just BE?
Yes, as Shakespeare said, "the whole world is a stage and we are merely actors on it."
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. Will Shakespeare
Patricia Arnold: Ah, yes, Ra (Ron's favorite twin - sometimes)! That quote opens my book, "EARTH Is the MOTHER of All Drama Queens"--a fitting title, given to me by Spirit.
Unity Walker: And as we all know, the "play" is nothing but a script with sets and costumes and MASKS (one side dark, one side light, polar opposites) that cover who we really are. The play is ego strutting and calling itself savior. The entire quotation about the world being a stage is about how we keep recycling through finite matter and its costumes....He was an awakened, illumined soul who knew the falsity of the world and used his own plays to show us the futility of life on ego's stage. He was not describing reality, but rather was aptly describing illusion and its inauthentic role-playing.Yoshara like this..Unity Walker: To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
...No more; and by a sleep to say we end
*The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd.* To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
*For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have SHUFFLED OFF this MORTAL COIL.*

Degree (amount or unbalanced)of ego important - Example of egotistical vs. humble: Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.

Albert Einstein

Monday, August 15, 2011

Random Thoughts of Love, Gratitude & Delite

Tapping into something beyond ourselves is something we are all able to do, and which has the capacity to evoke gratefulness within us.
Johanna Glaser Despair, Self-Deception, and Authentic Possibilities
I would add that It is also within OurSelves!, Ra
The "extra eye" is proof that we have It All within also!
Bent Kim Lundberg: Beautifully expressed and true for me ♥ Whether you call it channeling, listening to your inner voice, using your intuition, speaking with god, trusting your heart or whatever, our connection to source is always there, and we cannot be disconnected, but only hard of hearing. We are totally equal as the ONE being we are, so we can all do it ♥ Thank you for sharing this beauty Ron ♥ I LOVE you ♥♥♥

"Only if one knows the truth of love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only love, which is seeing only love, hearing only love, feeling only love, tasting only love and smelling only love, which is bliss."Sri Ramana Maharshi

Patti Chevallier:
Life and Love are adventures.
Be ready for the unexpected and make the most of all opportunities that come your way
Gratitude makes us feel bursting with delight, just to remember the gifts we have received. Thus we are doubly blessed when we receive something: for the gift itself and later, in recall, for the miracle of having been given it.
M.J. Ryan

When we begin to believe that there is greater joy in working with and for others, rather than just for ourselves, then our society will truly become a place of celebration. Jean Vanier

‎"Joy is the simplest form of gratitude."Karl Barth (

The grateful heart sits at a continuous feast. Proverbs 15:15

Keep inviolate an area of light and peace within you.
Corazon Aquino (an inner retreat)

Prayer is an act of love, words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.St. Teresa of Avila The Way of Perfection

Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. Why? Because it is all we ever have.Pema Chödrön

Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate department of life, the penthouse of existence. But rightly understood, it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being. Brother David Steindl-Rast
If you see good in people, you radiate a harmonious loving energy which uplifts those who are around you. If you can maintain this habit, this energy will turn into a steady flow of love. Annamalai Swami

May the warm winds of Heaven blow softly upon your lodge,
May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there,
May your mocassins make happy tracks in many snows,
and may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.~
Cherokee Blessing Prayer ~

"No matter what age you are and what you have been and done in your LIFE, you are so fully and totally LOVED, and that cannot change. You can choose to believe that you are not worthy of gods LOVE, but you cannot make god not LOVE you. Should you have forgotten how magnificently ONEderful you are, then please remember it. The world need your totally unique qualities and your beautiful LIGHT"~
Bent Kim Lundberg

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is Vipassana Meditation?

Vipassana means insight in Buddha's Pali language - I am headed to a ten day silent Vipassana Retreat today. Meditating ten hours per day with 2 hours of Discourse by the teacher in the evening. See the post below about "Pariyatta".
Jeanne Duvall-Orr: Just back from a sattipattana course... I thought about you and Jeanne throughout the course... and thinking about students around the world... all doing the same practice and timetable. This was a powerful course... HubB said it was his best yet. My heart is overflowing with joy. Much metta.
Ron Alexander: Hey dear Jeanne, this ten dayer was a big eye-opener for me. This time I got into the subtle senses which I did not even experience the first time. Also, I really enjoyed and learned so much more from Goenkiji! Several old-time Vipassana st...udents from India were there, and very supportive and invited us to come to their one dayer in Atlanta where two of them live. The third trip (3 dayer in between) placed me solidly on the Dhamma Path - looking forward to more, and staying regularly in meditation adding 5 minute Metta ending. Congratulations to you and your HubB - tell him hello. Bhavatu Sahha Melange!? May All Beings Be Happy and free.
Ray Loewenau: If it's a Goinka retreat, my wife and I are going in two weeks in Illinois.
Ron Alexander: Yes Ray, it is Goenkaji's - my fav. meditation teacher! Just got back - bootcamp - worn out yet well worthit! It is the Art of Life - The Dhamma (Darhma) Path - after 3 silent retreats of this meditation - I am on the Path finally. Now if I can regularly meditate 2 hours per day, I can stay on it. One hour fairly easy, however 2 hours have been hard so far. Ironically, with the longer hours eventually life gets much easier! Metta - May All Beings Be Happy and Free!Ray Loewenau: Ron, I consider myself on the path doing one half hour most days. If you can do an hour a day, I wouldn't waste any time beating yourself up. If you are not attached to any one form of meditation, my teacher has phone retreats at nominal costs on a regular basis. He teaches meditation on the subjective self which includes thoughts (both auditory and visual), in addition to feeling. His teaching has allowed me to cease thinking as soon as I sit, so the object of meditation becomes feeling by default. if you're interested.Shinzen Young The Science of Meditation in Action
The Science of Meditation in Action. The basic theory of vipassana meditation, a...lso known as mindfulness or insight meditation. Articles and tapes from Shinzen Young.

Ron Alexander: Gratitude, Ray, however, once (or twice or more...) you experience I think you will not care for any other meditation?? Are you still going with your wife! I am glad Jeanne Porter Ashley went with me, being on a path with a loved one makes life much sweeter - more loving and peaceful. Equanamity is a Major Key - the Middle Road! Hope you and your wife are feeling Happy, Free & Peaceful! ron
Ray Loewenau: Ron, I attended a Goinka meditation in California 10 or so years ago. I prefer Shinzen's style because I never get bored with watching my "self" arise whichever sense it chooses to arise in. Although Shinzen teaches Vipassana, his teacher is a 103 year old Zen teacher, the same one that Leonard Cohen studied with. I tend to doubt that Shinzen would even think of himself as a Buddhist anymore although he spent many years in a Zen monastery in japan. He is eclectic in that he encourages his students to go to any retreat available and to use that teachers technique when there.
Ray Loewenau: Yes, Seishen and I are going together.
Ray Loewenau: Ron, what city was your retreat at? Also, Seishin is concerned with strictness. She would appreciate any comments you might have about that. I told her that she would be allowed fruit at dinner, but I may only be allowed tea because it is my second Goinka retreat.
Ron Alexander: Great & gratitude, Ray! here is a quote on equanimity you may like:
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. Carl Jung

Ray Loewenau: As Ram Dass said, "It's all grist for the mill."
Jeanne Porter Ashley: Ray, our place is in jesup, Georgia...the idea is to be living the life of a monk or nun on someone else's charity...that is why no payment or donations until the end of the 10 days. This period is to take you further eye talking...and, to give you a start on the technique of mind-body awareness...they are not...were not horribly must understand what is being signed up was great! Big breakfast and lunch...5PM is the evening tea break and there is fruit and tea and rice/soy/cow milk. Honestly, after meditating and not being active all day - it was too, too hot to walk - we meditated and napped ll day and were not hungry in the PM. I can only speak for my experience...they are there to help each succeed...only real no-no is the breaking of the Noble Silence..I was called to the teacher for smiling at someone, acknowledgement of someone outside of myself, disturbing a fellow meditator. Oh, well, once a rebel... Any other questions, I'll be happy to answer. Metta

Ray Loewenau: Jeanne, thank you for the information. It sounds wonderful. I go on a one week retreat a couple of times a year with my teacher. My only complaint with his retreats is that the noble silence is less than pristine. My recollection when I went on a Goinka retreat ten years ago was that the food was excellent. Fruit and rice for dinner is a feast compared to what we had then.
Ron Alexander: Thanks for answering Jeanne. Ray, as an "Old Student", since you had one ten day course, you can only have something to drink in the evening meal. They make a delicious unsweetened lemonade for us, and you can drink tea or juice. I did not miss the meal, and feel much healthier now. As for discipline, I did not care for it until in the 80's I realized the root word is "disciple"! I word a baseball hat to help keep my eyes down and into myself, and it worked very well. in loving kindness, ro
Ray Loewenau:
“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”David Jay Brown
Ron Alexander: Isn't insight Grand? Sometimes, it can be painful, however growth comes from Truth! During my just finished ten day retreat, I got in touch with much samskara, however the good news is that it was not nearly as much as my first ten day silent Meditation Retreat! Metta, thanks for sharing Ray! & will share the synchronistic quote!

Marcel Proust
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In Vipassana Meditation Training - Goenka teaches that we are responsible for our own salvation:
By oneself the evil is done, by oneself the evil is undone, no one can purify another. The Buddha from the DHAMMAPADA

"We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us."
Marcel Proust
When? "Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. Why? Because it is all we ever have." Pema Chödrön
How? Goenka's approach embodies the essence of the teaching of the Buddha. 1. Sila - Having good morales. 2. Samhadi - developing concentration through the breath (anapanna). 3. Pinna - developing a pure mind mainly by Vipassana (Insight) Meditation. This is not Buddhism - as the Buddha was basically meditation teacher! He learned how to move from suffering to Liberation (Nibbana = Nirvana) - a Pure Mind!
‎"But in fact the universe exists for each of us when we experience it with body and mind. It is never elsewhere., it is always here and now. By exploring the here and now of ourselves we can explore the world. Unless we can investigate the world within we can never know reality--we will only know our beliefs about it, or our intellectual conceptions of it. By observing ourselves, however, we can come to know reality directly, and learn to deal with it in a positive, creative way." Williiam Hart in VIPASSANA MEDITATION

anne Porter Ashley: "Parayatti": roughly meaning the intellectual background or theoretical understanding of the teachings of the Buddha....Vipassana Research Institute Ron Alexander: Thanks Jeanne for your research - I love the "intellectual & theoretical" however I know Vipassana emphasizes the EXPERENTIAL - learning by actually meditating The Buddha's Way! Jeannie Zuchini: The Pariyatti Bookstore and VRI are advancing the intellectual understanding of the evolution of consciousness... which seems to be a major theme these days. I agree that experiential learning is necessary to full understanding... but the i...ntellect can be the field that grows the interest and urge... and brings the new understandings to a pragmatic level. Seems it all works together... It is prolly not a cosmic accident that the current consciousness explosion included Goenka

Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate department of life, the penthouse of existence. But rightly understood, it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being. Brother David Steindl-Ras

Travis E. Duke: If you can't find it when you clean the toliet or do the might never see it...Ron Alexander: At Vipassana Meditation, we "older" (returning) students are put in charge of cleaning the showers and toilets. Quite humbling serving the new students, and grateful for the experience.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

FollowYour Heart yet take your Brain With You

"Logic is only the beginning of wisdom." Dr, Spock (Yet it is a beginning.)

But my brain is too lazy, doesn't want to come with my heart...LOL:))
Christina Esau-Whitmer: Well, Effie, at least you're aware of this & perhaps a good balance, a good harmonic balance is all your soul is really after anyhow ♥

Effie Aghili: You said it beautifully sweetheart... Most of the time I try to use my brain but always my heart says the last word... I love you♥:)
Kell Kearns: Dr. King used to say "have a soft heart and a firm mind."

Peace Within - Vipassana Meditation (& Black Elk)

Ron Alexander
In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred,
we have the privileged vocation to be living signs
of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.

Henri Nouwen ·

Ron Alexander: So hard with the political storm going on here - posted this for myself - I need to be reminded with all the anger I have against the less compassionate party - their way or the highway!
Orandon Marie: Being at peace with yourself at a CORE level is the way! xo!
Thanks Orandon - just what I needed to hear - starting ten day Silent Meditation retreat - Vipassana (Buddha's) Meditation tomorrow - good timing!

anne Porter Ashley: "Parayatti": roughly meaning the intellectual background or theoretical understanding of the teachings of the Buddha....Vipassana Research Institute
Ron Alexander: Thanks Jeanne for your research - I love the "intellectual & theoretical" however I know Vipassana emphasizes the EXPERENTIAL - learning by actually meditating The Buddha's Way!
Jeannie Zuchini: The Pariyatti Bookstore and VRI are advancing the intellectual understanding of the evolution of consciousness... which seems to be a major theme these days. I agree that experiential learning is necessary to full understanding... but the i...ntellect can be the field that grows the interest and urge... and brings the new understandings to a pragmatic level. Seems it all works together... It is prolly not a cosmic accident that the current consciousness explosion included Goenka.Ra Divakar: “Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their oneness with the universe” Black Elk

Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate department of life, the penthouse of existence. But rightly understood, it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being.Brother David Steindl-Rast (

Jeanne Porter Ashley: Go, Be. Need do nothing. :-)3 hours Ron Alexander: Human BEING instead of a Human doing! Thanks dear Jeanne!