|Flowers from sown seeds...|
| Wisechoices Newsletter- July 2010|
|A message passed on by Mari|
Dressed in Gentleness
(Henri Nouwen Society)
Once in a while we get to meet a truly gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue that is hard to find in a society that admires toughness, strength, speed, roughness, and forcefulness. We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even if other people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and high productivity count the most. But the cost (in unintended peripheral damage) can be very high indeed. There is no place for true gentleness in such a milieu - in fact, it is often discouraged, ignored, even rebuked. Gentle is the one who does "not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick" (Matthew 12:20). Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together purposefully more than accomplishing something great, singlehandedly. A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks upon tenderly, and touches another or a situation with pure reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires acceptance, caring, and nurturing, not forcefulness. Let's dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.
Light the Fire of Friendship
"Once upon a time, there was a poor but very brave man called Ali. He worked
for Ammar, a rich old merchant. One winter's night Ammar said, "Nobody can
spend a night like this on top of the mountain without a blanket or food. But you
need money, and if you can manage to do that you will receive a great reward.
If you don't, you will work for thirty days without pay". Ali answered, "Tomorrow
I shall do this test." But when he left the shop, he saw that a really icy wind was
blowing and became scared, so he decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if it was
crazy of him to accept that bet. After reflecting a while, Aydi answered, "I shall
help you. Tomorrow, when you are at the top of the mountain, look ahead. I will
be on the top of the mountain next to yours, where I will spend the whole night
with a bonfire lit for you. You look at the fire and think about our friendship, that
will keep you warm. You will manage, and later on I shall ask you something in
return." Ali won the test, got the money, and went to his friend's house, "You told
me you wanted some payment." Aydi grabbed him by the shoulders, "Yes, but it
isn't money. Promise that if at any time a cold wind passes through my life,
you will light the fire of friendship for me."
"Over the course of one year, give a coin to each person who offends or upsets you," instructed the abbot of a young man who wanted people to follow a spiritual path.
For the next twelve months, a boy gave a coin to each person who offended or upset him, as he was instructed. At the end of the year, he returned to the abbot to find out what the next steps were.
"Go into town and buy food for me," the abbot responded.
Once the boy left, the abbot changed his clothes, and disguised himself as a beggar and went to the gate. When the boy approached, he began to insult him.
"Good!" said the boy, "for a whole year I had to pay the people who upset or offended me, and now I can be attacked for free, without spending anything!"
Hearing this, the abbot removed his disguise.
"He who does not take insults seriously, is on the path to wisdom."
Responsibility and Risk
The Latin root of the word "responsibility" reveals its meaning: the capacity to respond, to react.
A responsible warrior was capable of observing and training.
He was even capable of being "irresponsible":
sometimes he lets himself be carried away by the situation, and did not react. But he learned his lessons; he took an attitude,
listened to some advice, and was humble enough to accept help.
A responsible warrior is not the one who places the weight of the world on his shoulders, but rather he who manages to deal with the challenges
of the present moment.
Of course, at times he gets scared when faced with important decisions.
"This is too big for you," says a friend.
"Go ahead, be brave," says another.
And his doubts grow all the more intense.
After a few days of anguish, he retires to the corner of his tent, where
he usually sits to meditate and pray. He sees himself in the future. He
sees the people who will be benefited and hurt by his attitude. He does
not want to cause pointless suffering,
but neither does he want to abandon the path.
The warrior then lets the decision manifest itself. If he needs to say yes,
he will say it with courage. If he has to say no, he will say it without
cowardice. When the warrior assumes responsibility, he keeps his word.
Those who make promises they fail to keep lose self-respect and feel
ashamed of their acts. The lives of such people consist in running away.
They spend far more energy dishonoring their word than the
Warrior of Light uses to keep his promises.
Sometimes too he takes on a silly responsibility that will end up in jeopardy.
He does not repeat that particular attitude - but even so he honors his word
and pays the price for being impulsive.
Of course, he ends up hearing unfavorable opinions. But before he takes heed
of anything, he always tries to find out whether the person giving these opinions
has ever done work better than his. Generally speaking, those who criticize have
never fulfilled their own dream; only the winners are tolerant and generous.
Why do they criticize?
Because for every step the warrior moves forward, the critic remains one
step behind. It is hard for him to accept that others are attaining something
that he thought was unattainable.
This does not mean that he takes the wrong steps: he will make many mistakes,
and that does not matter. Making mistakes is part of the path,
correcting mistakes is part of his responsibility.
In order to make fewer mistakes, the warrior rests from time to time and feels
happy with the simple things of life. He knows that strings that are always tight
eventually become out of tune. Horses that keep on jumping over hurdles eventually break a leg.
Bows that bend every day do not fire their arrows with the same strength.
A Time to Receive and a Time to Give
(Henri Nouwen Society)
It is important to know when we can (and choose to) give attention and when we need (or choose to receive) attention. Often we are inclined to give, give, and give without ever asking anything in return. We may think that this is a sign of generosity or even heroism. But it might be little else than a proud attitude that says: "I don't need help from others. I only want to give." When we keep giving without receiving we burn out quickly. Only when we pay careful attention to our own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs can we be, and remain, joyful givers. There is a time to give and a time to receive. We need equal time for both if we want to live healthy lives.
Reiki One - Houston, July 31, 2010
Reiki One and Two- Houston, September 25 and 26, 2010
Reiki One and Two, November 7 and 8, 2010
"A poet has written, 'The need to feel loved in the world
is the last illusion; let go of that and you are home free.'"
-- Brennan Manning, in The Ragamuffin Gospel
"But let there be empty spaces in your togetherness and let the
winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but
make not an oppressive bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea
between the shores of your souls."
"There is a sacred space between self and other where the boundaries actually melt
- where being myself means being attuned to and one
with the other - where being in sync with the other includes finding
myself of real value and worth. This transformative experience is
something so powerful that it cannot be taken away, even if and
when the other leaves."
-- Monica Diaz
The most powerful thing you can do to change the world, is to change your own beliefs abut the nature of life,
people, and reality to something more positive..... And begin to act accordingly.
-- Shakti Gawain
You are invited to join with other Reiki practitioners on August 15th to celebrate
Usui's birthday in the Usui 21-Day Virtual Retreat that starts at that time.
This Retreat is not limited to one location, but takes place wherever you may be.
It lasts for 21 days during which time we (mutually) intend that the highest good
of all concerned will be served, and that our community experience will generate a deep,
very nurturing ocean of shared Reiki.
The focus of our meditations will be on compassion. The retreat will be facilitated by
Frank Arjava Petter
I had the pleasure of being with both Arjava and Tadao this past Spring in Bogata, Columbia for two weeks.
I experienced them both as men who walk the talk and exemplfy Compassion in action.
"If awareness is the seed of spiritual development, compassion is the flowering. But compassion has been misunderstood as something focused and projected onto the other. The fact is that compassion like anything else begins at home, with your own self "
To join the Retreat and receive the focus meditations in our newletters Join Here For more information please contact Mari Hall
6103 Alden Street, Houston, TX 77084