Medley

Can Meditation Make You a More Compassionate Person?

Scientists have mostly focused on the benefits of meditation for the brain and the body, but a recent study by Northeastern University's David DeSteno, published in Psychological Science, takes a look at what impacts meditation has on interpersonal harmony and compassion.

Read more: Can Meditation Make You a More Compassionate Person?

Focus

Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction

Part three

The beauty of disconnection

“Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”
Pablo Picasso

There are days when I wake up and refuse to turn on the Internet, and sit still with my cup of coffee in the hush that fills the hours just before dawn. I’ll listen to the quiet. I’ll reflect on life. I’ll lose myself in a novel. Some days I’ll sit down and write, just my thoughts and the quiet and the gentle tapping of the keyboard. And it's beautiful!

 

Read more: Focus

Abortion and the Reincarnation of the Soul

James Colbert – USA

The place was a bank building. It had a meeting room on the second floor, a room of the kind some banks make available to nonprofit or spiritual groups for their meetings. The location was Laguna Beach, nesting along the California coast. The meeting was a Theosophical one. The topic was abortion. The tone was decidedly against abortion. Fifty people were in the audience. After the presentation, a young woman came up. I had given the talk.

 

Read more: Abortion and the Reincarnation of the Soul

Our Closeness is This

Tim Boyd – USA

[This article was the "Viewpoint" for the Quest magazine in Fall 2012.]

There is a principle that functions as a sort of touchstone for many of us. It is an understanding that we are intimately connected in some way to a greater life – an abiding presence that, when allowed, informs our awareness in profound ways, heightening our understanding and quieting our obsessive thinking process. A great deal of what constitutes our “spiritual life” is involved in creating conditions for a fuller experience of this inner richness. To call this experience addictive would inaccurate, but, once experienced, everything else seems to pale in comparison.


Closeness

Read more: Our Closeness is This

A Hawaiian Story

Making a difference [courtesy of Robert Zuk]

Once upon a time, there was a wise kupuna (elder), who went to the sea to contemplate. One day while walking along the shore, the kupuna looked down the beach, and saw a gracefully dancing human figure. The kupuna wondered out loud, "who would so joyfully greet this day with hula?" and began to walk faster to catch up. Getting closer the kupuna saw that the dancer was a keiki (child), who was not dancing at all. The keiki was reaching down to the sand to pick up something, and was gently throwing it into the sea. The kupuna called out to the keiki, "Aloha! What are you doing?" The keiki paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the sea." Surprised, the kupuna sputtered, "I guess I should have asked, "Why are you throwing starfish into the sea?" The keiki smiled brightly, pointed upward and, with exquisite simplicity, replied "The sun is up, the tide is going out, if I don't throw them in they will die." "But don't you realize," asked the kupuna, "that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You can't possibly make a difference!" The keiki listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it gently into the sea, just beyond the breaking waves, and exuberantly declared, "It made a difference for that one."     -- Ka Hôkû Kai

Principles of the Ancient Wisdom and the Spiritual Path

Gary Kidgell – Scotland

The classical teachings of Ancient Wisdom describe humanity as the Fourth kingdom of nature, being preceded by the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. When we tread the spiritual path we are seeking entry to what is referred to as the Fifth Kingdom of Souls where spiritual masters reside. We are endeavouring here to attain a considerably higher form of consciousness and level of being. This process relates not only to us developing a far greater degree of sensitivity, perception and understanding of the world around us, but also that life and our relationship to other beings and the universe is seen from an entirely different perspective. This may only occur through a metamorphosis of our consciousness.

The famous Hermetic axiom of ‘As Above So Below’ relates to the fact that the divine life, which pervades our entire universe, tends to display similar qualities in the various forms which it activates and expresses itself through. We therefore witness analogies in the lower kingdoms of nature which represent the archetypal process of spiritual transformation.

Read more: Principles of the Ancient Wisdom and the Spiritual Path

Focus

Leo Babauta – USA 

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction

Part two


“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you
can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more
tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this
necessary?”
Marcus Aurelius

If you’re someone who creates, in any way, focus should be important to you.

Read more: Focus

Changing Perspectives and Converging Values (plus a response by Edi Bilimoria)

R. C. Tampi – India

[Prof. R. C. Tampi is a former president of the Kerala Federation and a national lecturer of the Theosophical Society in India. He has been organizing School of the Wisdom classes in Adyar for several years. Prof. Tampi’s article was published in the Theosophist 133.9 (June, 2012): 12-16. A few editorial changes have been made in accordance with Theosophy Forward style.]

Perspectives and Values: If we just cast a glance around, we would be shaken by the sickening sights of pain and penury, war and violence — the result of the perverted perception of man. Surprisingly, the US astronauts and the Soviet cosmonauts who had a view of Earth from space were alike struck not only by the beauty of the continents but also by their closeness to one another and their essential unity. An astronaut who saw Earth from space as a shining blue pearl in the surrounding vastness confessed to a spiritually transforming experience. The broader the perspective, the higher will be the values it engenders.

Read more: Changing Perspectives and Converging Values (plus a response by Edi Bilimoria)

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