From a recent walk to Cape Brett

From a recent walk to Cape Brett

Often we don’t have the opportunity to create the circumstances of our lives. But we always have the opportunity to create our response to our life circumstances.

Equanimity is a quality at the heart of our ability to feel peaceful no matter what is happening around us.

When one rests in equanimity it doesn’t mean we don’t care about the world. We just accept it as it is. We rest in our own peaceful centre, knowing all is perfect just as it is, even if outer appearances would seem otherwise.

I’m reminded of the Chinese story of the prosperous man. Part of his prosperity is that he owns a horse.

One day his horse runs away. The man is devastated by his loss. He practically tears his hair our looking for his horse. What poor fortune, he thinks.

After a few weeks the horse returns with a wild horse. So now the man has two horses. What great fortune!

The man’s son tries to train the new horse. He rides it for a short time before falling off and breaking his leg. He may always limp. Terrible fortune for my boy, bemoans the man.

Then along comes the army through town, recruiting all the able-bodied young men for a war against the ‘barbarians’. Of course the son can’t go. Oh, what great fortune, thinks the man.

If one could always see the big picture and recognize the interconnectedness of all events one might not be so emotionally entangled with apparent outer circumstances. What may at first appear unfortunate may turn out otherwise. Just because you don’t always see the sun doesn’t stop it from shining. Just because you don’t always feel your heart doesn’t stop it from beating.

Appearances can indeed be deceiving. Thomas Merton encourages us to see the beauty in another. ‘To see the eagle in the egg, the butterfly in the caterpillar and beauty in the sinner.’

Does joy not naturally arise when we recognize the preciousness of life? The French philosopher Andre Guide asserts that we must ‘embrace joy as a moral obligation.’

I was listening the other day to Jack Kornfield. He relayed the following story.

Zorba was walking along and saw an old man planting an almond tree. As we know an almond tree is slow to grow and bear nuts. Zorba asked the old man why he was planting the tree. “I carry on as though I will never die,” answered the old man. “And I live,” said Zorba, “as though I might die at any moment.” They are both right, don’t you think?

A friend told us recently of a practice given her by her Essene teacher: What would you do if this was the last day of your life?

What would you do? Could you treat each day that way?

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

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Sendai in Brighter Days Before the Quake

Here’s a beautiful message that arrived in my inbox the other day. Thanks to my dear friend Nevi for sharing. There is so much beauty in adversity and in the nature of the Japanese people. Prepare to be inspired.

John

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out a sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.

 

Sendai After the Quake

 

It’s utterly amazing that where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.”

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are, first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains around Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that is much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,

With Love in return to you all,

Anne

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to inspire the spirit and touch the heart. 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor’s bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”  

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a  scuffing noise. Nothing.  She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound  she  could muster. No good.  Finally she took a quarter from her  jar and banged  it on the glass counter.  That did it!

     “And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages”, he said without waiting for a reply to his question. 

     “Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.  “He’s really, really sick … and I want to buy a   miracle.” 

     “I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist. 

     “His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

     “We don’t sell miracles here, little girl.  “I’m sorry but I can’t help you”, the pharmacist said, softening a little.

     “Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?” 

     “I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money”.

     “How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

     “One dollar and eleven cents”, Tess answered barely audibly.  “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

     “Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents—the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.”

     He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents.  Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

     That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neurosurgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Tess’s mother and father were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.  “That surgery”, her mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”  Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost … one dollar and eleven cents … plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not ALWAYS the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law. This is a true story I received by email 7 years ago.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Steve Jobs is the co-founder of Apple and Apple is now the largest tech company in the world in many people’s eyes if you include Pixar and ipods and iphones and itunes and all the rest. He never graduated from college but the following need-to-watched speech was made in 2005 to a class of Stanford graduates. The speech is comprised of just three stories from his life.

After coming back from pancreatic cancer he had this to say, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single greatest invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

The following are a few other brief quotes gleaned from his inspiring address.

You can only connect the dots looking backwards.

Being fired from Apple was one of the best thing that ever happened to me.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.

If you live each day as if was your last, one day you’ll be right.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap that you have something to lose.

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

Thank you Steve Jobs for inspiring me with a little of the story of your life. I hope you all enjoy, folks.

John

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews