The Happiest Man in the World

Long ago in what is now Kazakhstan, a man named Jameel reached middle age. His children were grown. He had some land and a little home; he was doing well by the standards of the time. But he wasn’t happy.

He felt there must be more, so he sought help from a series of teachers. He studied yoga, practiced meditation, learned philosophy, but he still wasn’t happy. Finally, he traveled over the mountains to see a renowned guru.

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Seeing People Right

Last week I went to a playground with my granddaughter Anaya on a rare sunny day in San Francisco. A mother came in with her seriously disabled nine or ten year old son. He had cerebral palsy, and his mother held him up with her hands lifting his underarms. That way he could take a few struggling steps at a time.

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The River of Creation

Look around the Web. Do you see the rushing river of visual art, impassioned writing, humor, and new ideas pouring out and spreading around social media and other sites?  True, a lot of garbage and poison comes with it, but there is still enough good work to keep anyone with access intrigued and uplifted.

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The Story of Your Life

Say you are a movie director shooting a film of your own life. How do you see the story unfolding? Is it a biopic, perhaps starting when your parents got together, and ending with a touching funeral?  Do you star in every scene?

Most of us see our lives that way. It’s all about us: “I did this; that happened to me, then this person came along, then I did that. I made these mistakes, and I did these other good things. I grew in such and such ways. All in all, I guess it’s been pretty OK.”
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Prepare to be Amazed

“To be awake is to live in a constant state of amazement.” – Jack Kornfield, paraphrasing the Buddha

Last month I was lucky enough to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was a family event; there were eight of us ranging in age from 2 to 90. Tickets and motel were pricey but more than worth it.

We went for the new exhibit called “Tentacles,” displays of octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus.  I hope you get to see them. They absorb your attention; they are beautiful and intelligent, but I spent most of the visit watching the jellyfish instead. These creatures are so simple that they have no brain at all, but they show how wonderful life can be.

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Giving It Away

“Live for yourself, you will live in vain. Live for others, you will live again.” – Bob Marley, “Pass It On”

There is something magical about giving from the heart. When freed from worrying about compensation, people create amazing things. They make the world better in undeniable ways. They often find themselves richly rewarded in ways they couldn’t have expected or even imagined.  Here are a few such stories. For some reason, most of them involve trees.

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The Power of Nonjudgement

“The highest form of intelligence is to observe without evaluating.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

I quote that a lot, but the meaning of it keeps growing on me. I belong to a men’s group that meets too rarely, and at one meeting I shared Krishnamurti’s quote. We were sitting outside on a sunny weekend on the nearly-deserted San Francisco State campus during spring break. I was having a lovely time.

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All is Well

A poor town in India had a night watchman. Every night he would walk through the streets singing “All is Well.”  People hearing him would feel reassured; he helped them sleep. The watchman went to bed before most people came out for the day, so few ever saw him.

This went on for years and years. Then one night, there was a robbery in the town, and the watchman said nothing. The next day the people went looking for him and discovered that the watchman was blind. – From the Bollywood movie “3 Idiots” Raj Kumari director

This deep story came to me when I most needed it. I was in crisis. Here’s the backstory and how it resolved. I hope it rings some bells for you.

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You Can Go Home Again

After 29 years, Marlon is going home. If he can figure out where and what home is. Prison “never felt like home. You have to be thinking, be aware of your surroundings and the people you are around at all times,” he says. “You really have to bob and weave in here to miss the madness.”

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Weekend in Nirvana

Why wait until you die to go to Heaven? It just might be all around you right now.  Many people claim to have gone to places of wholeness, love, and safety, where there is no fear, no separation from the rest of the universe, no birth, no death and no sense of time. Some claim they go frequently. They come back happier and more at peace.

Too good to be true?  Let’s hear what they have to say.

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