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Showing posts from May, 2012

The Power of Concentration

"Mindfulness brings out the fourth power ... of concentration" says Hanh.  The power of concentration can lead to a breakthrough, to see deeply into the object of your focus. If we are suffering some ill-health, say a back ache, we can concentrate on that pain and perhaps link it to an emotional event that we have brushed aside.  Someone told me once that back ache is a sign of needing support, a lack of support. When I think of those who have suffered back pain I wonder if their active independent personality keeps them from seeking the support they need.

I often get headaches that rob me of my energy.  Would these aches be telling me that my head is resisting the work I plan to do, to concentrate on?  Or are they telling me I should concentrate on the thoughts I am having in regards to the way I  respond to the outer world? Are they telling me to stop living in my head and have some faith in action?

If someone gets angry with me my first response is to move out of ear rang…

The Power of Mindfulness

This is the third of the Five Spiritual PowersHanh says "Mindfulness is the energy of being aware of what is happening in the present moment. When we have the energy of mindfulness in us, we are fully present, we are fully alive, and we live deeply every moment of our daily life."

The challenge for me is that I think a lot about what is happening globally in terms of peace and social justice.  I think about the reservist, Trevor Greene, who was severely injured during his term  fighting in Afghanistan and how the government has cut back on services to soldiers who return needing health care.

This is not considered mindfulness or is it?  Reaching out in empathy (and outrage) to someone who puts himself on the front line for his country but who believes he doesn't get the medical care he needs.

The trick is that no matter what discipline I practice there are so many things I have no control over. So is awareness going to make me more powerful in this regard?

Moving fur…

The Power of Diligence

Hanh says we are capable of going back to our best selves but we must maintain this practice of diligence.

He says there are two kinds of consciousness - the open consciousness (the living room) and store consciousness (the basement).  But the store consciousness is described also as the land where seeds lay underground that we don't pay much attention to until something happens to remind us of those seeds.

In most people's lives, there have been times when we have felt threatened, angry, victimized and in despair - not knowing where to turn next. These feelings are seeds, hidden underground, when we are happy and life is good, but when fears arise we feel those seeds lying there, and must decide whether to water them or let them dry up.

There are four aspects of diligence: first - when negative emotions haven't manifested in your mind, you don't give them a chance to manifest; second - is calming and replacing negative seeds (anger, hate, fear, despair) in your consc…

The Power of Faith

Thich Nhat Hanh translates the word faith into confidence and trust "because it is something inside you and not directed toward something external".

So I shift into a place of confidence that I am a being of integrity and that I have a right to be here.

Working through the night and the following day with this particular power enabled me to give up anxiety, to second guess and question everything I do and say.  What is that about? And - what was that?

After spending so many years looking to the external world for assessment of what is good and what is troubling, I can see how moving to a place of faith in my ability to create some goodness in a changing and unpredictable world, I can bring my focus back to my own energy.

For a start I told myself that I had faith that I could sleep through the night so that I could get up early the next morning to do what I had promised to do. It worked and I felt less like a creature oppressed by the whims of fate.

During the waking hours…

The Five Spiritual Powers

In Thich Nhat Hanh's book The Art of Power he lays out five spiritual powers he teaches to  ground us in the power from within that many would not associate with power.

They are:
The Power of FaithThe Power of DiligenceThe Power of MindfulnessThe Power of ConcentrationThe Power of Insight Over the next few days I plan to write about these individually in the hope that I will learn how to access my own spiritual powers.

Not wanting to simply plagiarize Hanh's work, I feel it necessary to focus on my responses to what he teaches.

If I can’t rule the world I shall destroy it.

Who said that? Was it Hitler or Richard III? Is it the bad guy in any (pick one) action movie? Or the familiar fantasy of every child who can’t get her own way but which is soon forgotten when met with a suitable diversion?

The trouble is there are adults in positions of power, who I suspect operate as though control is a kind of revenge.

When our government eschews the professional knowledge of corrections workers and creates more tension within prisons by cutting programs and demanding prisoners pay more room and board; when they plan to shut down 10 of the 22 Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres, which provide rescue and emergency services for boats; when they silence thousands of federal science workers for Environment Canada, because their research contradict Federal Government plans for economic growth particularly with shipping bitumen from the oil sands; when Jim Stanford creates a graph that shows "that in the last decade, Canadian petroleum exports grew…

Community or Asylum

In Chris Hedges article "Welcome to the asylum" he spells out the ways in which civilizations dissolve into madness.


"The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide."

The Western…