Greet Your Day and Your Life

One of the hearts of shamanic practice is the practice of blessing all things.

To understand that all things are Sacred is the key to understanding that we are Sacred and that our lives, and everything in it, is sacred as well. Sacredness deserves gratitude and respect, and in a sense, love and preservation. It is like Osho when he said,

If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.

Because if you pick it up it dies and ceases to be what you love.

So if you love a flower, let it be.

Love is not about possession.

Love is about appreciation.

The beauty about Shamanism is that it comes from the heart center and what I fondly refer to as the Heart Gate. Shamanism is a practice which we can comfortably assimilate into our lives regardless of the origin of our beliefs. It’s a practice of love, of spirit, and of weaving; creation and manifestation.

Greeting your day with blessings is one way to pay tribute to your life, everything in it, and especially, to yourself.

And it’s no more difficult than stepping outside when you first wake up.

(Or standing before an open window if weather prohibits one from enjoying the outdoors!)

Open your arms to your world and take a deep breath.

Let all you hear and all that you perceive fill you for a moment and close your eyes so you can sense it in all the ways that you can.

It’s easy to say ‘let the sun and the nature fill your being’ but the reality is, that many of us live in the suburbs or the city which may not be as pleasant as a backyard forest. So, take in the reality of your life, even if it’s in the smoggy sects of downtown New York. No matter where you are, there is always something to love.

To have true content in your world, is to love it as it is. 

Look at people, the way that the skyscrapers look in the evening sun or at night when all the lights are on, or the way that the skies turn gray before it storms. Maybe its a rundown ball court, a skate park covered in graffiti, a particular painting, or flower stand, coffee shop, or bookstore.

Send blessings to the first thing that comes into your mind when you tune into your reality; no matter how positive or negative it might be.

Once you truly bless that first thing, then bless your home, all of the people around you (friends, colleagues, family, distant acquaintances, perfect strangers), and move outward until you’ve blessed not just your town or city, but all the world and all the events that need our love, attention, and healing.

Then, bless yourself.

Because you are beautiful and deserve love.

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you’ve come from.

You deserve love too.

After you’ve made your round, close the moment however you please.

Personally, I would bring my hands together over my heart, tip my head down, and would simply say “Thank you”.

Every day is a new day that deserves starting off in gratitude.

When we each begin to greet our day with gratitude, only then (I believe) can we begin mending and making the changes that we need right now.

When Others Are Wrong I am in the Wrong

When others are wrong I am in the wrong. When I have transgressed I alone am to blame.

Sixth Patriarch Huineng

Philip Kapleau says, ” With the spiritually developed it is otherwise. It would be hard, I think, to find a higher ethical principle than that enunciated by the sixth patriarch of Zen, who said, ‘When others are wrong I am in the wrong. When I have transgressed I alone am to blame.’ Such a deep sense of personal responsibility could come only from one who truly understood the law of causation at a profound level. Such a person would know that the network of interrelationships between all forms of life is so vast and complex that we cannot, in a cosmic sense, disavow responsibility for whatever happens anywhere–least of all for the repercussions, on our own and others’ lives, of our thoughts, speech, and actions.

Someone once came to me for help in resolving the angry feelings he had for a former girlfriend. I asked him what he had been doing to this end and he replied that he had been directing loving thoughts toward her. I suggested he start reciting a repentance verse and begin directing feelings of contrition toward her. He was taken aback. ‘Why should I apologize to her?’ he insisted. ‘She was the one who hurt me.’ ‘But,’ I told him, ‘the fact that you felt pain means you did something to earn it; no doubt you caused her pain as well. You equally share responsibility for this situation.'”

Professor Garma C.C. Chang

Karma is essentially a doctrine of the intricate reciprocation between forces and actions that push forward the turning wheel of samsara. When expressed on a cosmological scale this force-action complex is a stupendous power that propels the universe and life; when expressed in the ethical sense, it is an unfailing, impersonal law that effectuates the moral order, “dispensing” natural rewards and retributions. Metaphysically, karma is a creative energy brought forth by the collective actions of certain groups; it sustains the order and function of a particular universe in which those groups reside…

We Die As We Have Lived

For the way we die reflects the way we have lived. A good death puts the stamp on a good life. “Just as a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well used brings happy death.” But if we have lived a life of emotional turmoil and conflict, or a selfish and inane existence, our dying will be troubled and painful. Instead of seeking ways to prolong our lives through medical technology, we would better serve ourselves and society by dedicating ourselves to improving the spiritual and moral quality of what life we have.

The Wheel of Life and Death by Philip Kapleau