Achieving Nirvana

Do you know your purpose in life? Are you living your life with the intention of getting to Heaven or reaching the highest form of consciousness labeled “Nirvana” in the Buddhist tradition? The Buddhists believe that achieving enlightenment is the goal of living and they believe that we live and are reborn to learn the lessons that will lead to enlightenment. The concept of rebirth and reincarnation is known as “Samsara.”

In researching this concept I came across the following definition in Wikipedia:
“Samsara is uncontrollably recurring rebirth, filled with suffering and problems (according to Kalacakra tantra as explained by Dr. A. Berzin). In this sense, Samsara may be translated as ‘Wheel of Suffering.’ The Buddha taught that there are six realms that one can go to through this cycle of Samsara, though Buddhists differ as to whether the realms are actual places or figurative states of mind. Many believe that when one goes through the process of rebirth that they are the exact same person when they are reborn, but this however is not true according to the teachings of Buddha. Beings bear many similarities with their former selves but they are not the same person: this is why many Buddhists use the term rebirth instead of reincarnation. The term reincarnation implies that there is a transfer of one’s soul to the new life, but Buddhists believe this is not the case in Samsara, rebirth is generally considered to be a stream of evolving consciousness. A good example to better understand the transfer of consciousness is like a billiard ball hitting another billiard ball. While nothing physical transfers, the speed and direction of the second ball relate directly to the first. This explains how the previous life has a direct impact on the next life”

So, where are you in your evolution of higher consciousness? Are you living your life in preparation for achieving Nirvana? If this is your life’s purpose, how are you going about this?

Not everyone chooses to follow Buddhism or to meditate daily. Can we all connect with a deeper spirit of consciousness on whatever path we choose? We can learn to trust our intuition and do “right” by others with the highest level of tolerance and without the fear death. We can practice acceptance and offer unconditional love, with no strings attached, to other people struggling to learn the lessons of life. We can choose to volunteer and look for the good in others rather than, through fear and distrust, looking for the things that may divide us. How prepared are you to accept the ultimate transition that we must all face of death (and then face the possible return to learn more lessons in a future life?)

My sister asked me to read a book, The Instruction by Ainsley Macleod. He offers an interesting perspective on living your purpose and developing higher consciousness. It is a basic guide with information and exercises that can assist in the process of spiritual development without subscribing to religious dogma.

No matter how you choose to find and embody your life’s purpose, I support your efforts. Along the way, I encourage you to reach out and assist others in their quest for awakening as we may all reach the end point together. My wish for you is that you may bask in the light of unconditional love and acceptance. Here’s to knowing you in Nirvana!

My colleague and I are founding a new community of support for all who seek higher consciousness through non-denominational spiritual development. We have chosen the name “Masters of the Journey” because we are all Masters with insights to share and experiences that can be valuable learning tools for others on this Journey. This is a Transformational Community welcoming the participation of open-minded members who wish to share wisdom and unconditional love. Please share this blog and join us if you wish the support of this community on YOUR Journey.

Masters of the Journey

Have you ever considered your consciousness and wondered whether you could learn techniques to increase your awareness? Or, have you ever considered connecting with the “higher power,” knowing the “oneness” that we have heard about?

We are bringing together experiences that will allow you to develop deeper insights and “connection” with the Source of your Spirit. Learning lessons from loved ones who have transitioned and studying the stories of those who have reported NDE’s (Near Death Experiences,) we have found tools that can assist you on your journey toward higher conscious living. We intend to create a community which will support mutual growth and provide a forum to increase awareness for the participants.

Among the many lessons and experiences that I have been blessed to encounter was a very clear meditation that I had in my early 20’s. During my meditation I was shown the “River of Life” which was flowing golden from my right to my left. It was moving in a slow, deliberate way from the mountains to the sea. It was golden because it was made up of molecules of water that represented all living things. It swirled down to form the Circle of Life. I experienced myself as a single molecule of water surrounded and connected to all other living things. I felt myself bathed in “unconditional love” and acceptance. I knew that I was a part of the much larger Universe and yet I was not alone. I knew that I was a part of the Source of all knowledge and wisdom… or Pure Consciousness. I loved this feeling and can remember the sensation and image as if I were having the vision right now.

Our purpose is to be of service. We intend to build community through connecting with other like-minded people to mutually learn lessons and to raise consciousness. Please consider joining us in this process of acknowledging that we are all “Masters of the Journey,” and in creating a “Transformational Community.” With all that we must do in our busy lives, we encourage you to take time to be present: take a slow, deep breath and find the best way to connect with your own soul/spirit. Know that you are never alone and that you can tap into the pure Source of unconditional love.

Find the Divine Within You!

Find the Divine within you! Honor this Divine. Find a way to live your Divine Purpose!

Some very “conscious” people in the world have told me that we are all part of the large and all encompassing Divine. We are all connected and evolving in consciousness with all other beings of light and touched by unconditional love. We all have our lessons and our purpose. We are all in search of enhancing ourselves and, in so doing, enhancing all of consciousness. We are all “a miracle in motion.” For the evolution of our consciousness to happen clearly and cleanly, it helps to be present and shed the filters that cloud our experience (and vision) of the moment. Easier said than done, because this is one of the major lessons of learning to live in the “light.”

It is my belief that we all have the source of pure consciousness within us and tapping into this source is the underlying purpose of our lives. When we do find this source, we connect, or re-connect, with all of pure consciousness which is at the source and deep in the heart of our soul/spirit. Sharing this is the ultimate service we can provide. Touching the soul of others without our own filters and offering a pure reflection can be of the greatest service to the person who we are connected to in that moment. Saying what is intuitively coming through you, from your partner, can be a lesson of great learning both for your partner and for you. To be a clear “channel” of this reflection comes easily for some people and requires significant preparation for most of us. It is worth the effort to polish this mirror of deep, selfless reflection.

There are times when I feel closer to this ability to be clear. There are times in my life when I find that the efforts of self-care through a healthy diet, exercise, and meditation make this an easier and possibly a more clear reflection. There are times when I can feel the connection without the burden of my own “baggage” and then the intuitive reflections are the most astute (and accurate.) I celebrate these moments of connection as one of the most important activities in my work and my life. I bless these moments as if they are the best thing that I can “offer” or participate within in my life.

Consider those times from the past when you have felt the deepest bonds of connection. Celebrate them and find ways to enhance your abilities to be the clearest of all possible reflections.

Be present and be open to the Divine. And, when possible, bask in the light and warmth of shared unconditional love!

Basking in the Afternoon Sunlight

In celebration of an experience from April, 2012 – Posted by L. John Mason –

I live in the Northwest on an Island North of Seattle, WA. The region is famous for gray cool days that often have some sort of precipitation. In my nine year history, I have discovered that the sunny, warm times (and warm is relative) are August and September, also considered Summer. In Seattle and Portland, from October to July when the sunshine breaks through the clouds, people will stop what they are doing and rush outdoors for what is known locally as a “sun break.” You should also know that people who live, and the ones who thrive, in the Northwest are a hardy group who function decently in the cool dampness. People will not be stopped by rain when working or exercising because this “just comes with the territory.” I tell you this because there is a special appreciation that can be found in the Northwest for being touched by the warmth of the sun, BUT, this can hold true for many people outside the Northwest as well.

So I had an experience Sunday, last, that makes me pause and think of appreciation for some of things that can easily be overlooked or taken for granted. I went further North to visit a new friend in the city of Bellingham. For me, it was a chance to learn some of the secrets of this pleasant town which has plenty of charm, history, and a population of people who are influenced by the colleges found in town. We walked and talked as we strolled down the special trails that line the waterfront. We drifted into shops and chatted with shop owners and fellow pedestrians. We found many delightful things which made our quest enjoyable.

Later in the afternoon, I experienced that wonderful moment that makes a day memorable. I found myself sharing this large chair on the sunporch of my host. The warmth of the sunlight was streaming through the large windows and I felt myself peacefully melting into this chair. My eyes closed and I soaked up the warming, relaxing rays of sunshine. To make this better, I was sharing this with my wonderful new friend who allowed me to feel safe and most comfortable. Perhaps you have experienced moments like this and you can remember these as pleasant, healing experiences.

Having shared this image, I now have a significant memory to use when I pull up my visualizations of an ideal time of warmth and peace. So, if you find yourself needing a moment of relaxation consider sitting back comfortably in a safe, hopefully peaceful environment, and start by taking several deep slow breaths. Perhaps you feel cool air as you inhale and warm breath as you slowly exhale. You might even imagine that as the warm breath flows from you it seems to carry away unnecessary thoughts or energy. Continue breathing slowly and naturally allowing every slow breath to let you sink deeper into a state of peaceful relaxation. Perhaps, you can feel the relaxation beginning in your arms and legs. You may even be able to feel yourself slowly sinking back into whatever you are sitting or lying upon. Imagine that you can feel the warmth from the sun gently and safely shining down on you. Perhaps you can imagine that you can soak up this warmth and light, and this allows you to drift deeper into a peaceful dreamlike state of calmness. As you breathe slowly and gently, perhaps you can imagine that you can breathe in the sunlight and warmth, and allow this energy to bathe every cell in your body with healing energy. Every cell can soak up the perfect amount of this healing energy and unconditional love to allow the cells to heal and recharge. You can even begin to feel the feelings of joy and health and happiness welling up inside you. Perhaps you can celebrate this perfect moment of health and happiness and see yourself in perfect health, being active.

Enjoy those moments of your life when you can bask in the radiance of warmth and unconditional love. Hold these memories and feelings within your heart so you can pull these forward to heal and recharge yourself, when needed. AND, if you find yourself sharing a large chair, on the perfect sunporch, with a person who allows you to feel safe and comfortable, honor this moment as a special treasure.

As with other articles from this blog, if you require any additional support consider the information and services provided through the Stress Education Center and visit the website at www.dstress.com

Please take good care of yourself and bask in warmth and light, as often as you can.

Dilemma of the Caregiver

What are you supposed to do? When you are a caregiver for a person with a terminal illness and you want to provide assistance no matter what the patient wants. At some point, a choice will be made to end treatment and begin “end of life” hospice support. If you are family to a terminally ill person, you may not want them to die but you may have to support the decision to prepare for the “end.” This can be the definition of ambivalence. And, to what extremes do you decide to participate??? 100% 50% or what??? How can you LIVE with yourself and the extent of your participation? Do you want to feel like you did everything possible for your loved one, or, for yourself? “Yourself” may have different requirements of 100% participation… A true conflict….

It is hard to know what is expected and to what degree you will feel OK in participation. When my father lay dying from a CVA (stroke), I sat by his bed and told him not to be afraid, to let go, and to embrace the dying experience. He needed this comforting because he was afraid to let go. As a son, I felt horrible about losing my father and yet I was the only person available to support him in “letting go.” (At least, that is how I felt.) My personal loss and pain was “trumped” by the need to serve and support my father.

Almost everyone, who lives long enough, will lose a family member or friend. It is an experience in life that we are often poorly prepared for. Everyone is unique and every situation of personal loss is different. For me, I find myself on a roller coaster with many dimensions. As I write this blog, my wife has been living with a terminal illness for 7 years. The doctors gave her a maximum life expectancy of 5 years at the first diagnosis. We have lived with the nightmare of losing a precious life well before she is prepared to go. She has done everything she could afford (mental, emotionally, spiritually, financially) to do to maintain her life. We are beginning to lose this battle. Her cancer is beginning to wear us down and to win. I have very little control and I do not want to lose my bride and my life partner. I want to do my part of supporting her as well as I can. The dilemma for me is what am I supposed to do? Do I tell her to fight or, do I assist her to “let go”? How will I be able to live with myself, no matter which way I go??? So far, I have tried to follow her lead and to help her to do what she has done in the first 7 years which is to fight the cancer, but there are emotional and spiritual changes beginning. She is not avoiding the discussion regarding the “end of life” choices that we may need to make. Though, intellectually I knew that this time would come, it is very difficult for me to transition to fully, 100%, support her process of letting go.

I know that I will do what is necessary, but the ambivalence is confusing me and this roller coaster ride is not the kind of fun that I would easily recommend. The learning from this process is intense and I know that I am not the first person to move through the caregivers’ dilemma. I am not the first man to be in the process of losing his wife, but this is the first time I have ever lost a partner of all these years. A lesson to be learned, and relearned, is to appreciate everyday and live every moment as if it might be the last….

Hug your family and friends… Tell them that you love them.

This blog was written in 2010 about 15 months before my wife passed. The dilemma for others who find themselves in the role of a caregiver to a friend or family member is not unique to my situation. Please take good care of yourself and enjoy every minute you can share…

More information and articles at www.dstress.com

Proof of Heaven

While travelling to California in March of 2013, my friend Dan gave me a new book to read. “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, MD. Great reading for me as an update on the research I had done in the late 1980’s regarding interviews with people who had experience Near Death Experiences (NDE) in the writings of Ken Ring and Raymond Moody. In his recent book, Eben Alexander tells his personal story regarding his own near death experience. With the death of my wife in January of 2012, I have been reflecting on the life after death that is discussed in many philosophies and religions. Eben speaks about the feelings of “Unconditional Love” and the message he received from his “guide” that “you can do no wrong in heaven.” What freedom you must experience!

Personally, I have strong feelings that the Buddhist philosophy of life after death may be correct. How do you feel? This way of thinking can free you to live a better life because you have less fear of the unknown, and scary thoughts of what happens after this life has completed… My father feared change and he feared death. He lived in a quiet desperation where he feared making mistakes or taking risks because he feared a possible mortal outcome of any new change.

Since the death of my wife, I was asking (maybe pleading) for information regarding her status, hoping that she was “in a better place.” I had a feeling that she was not suffering any more from her struggle with cancer but I wanted to know that she was happy, surrounded by unconditional love, with access to the wisdom of higher consciousness. In my travels after exposure to Eben ALexander’s book, I had experiences that lead me to believe that I did NOT have to worry, for my wife, Barbara, WAS in a better place. It gives me some peace of mind and my heart feels better.

My question, which has no answer, is who will greet me and guide me when my turn to pass comes??? In the writings of NDE’s and even in Eben Alexander’s book, “Proof of Heaven,” it is often stated that a guide (or guides) step forward to greet you and to show you around (for lack of a better phrase) and to assist you with the awkward transition into this new existence. Often, the guide will be someone familiar who you loved or knew who has passed on before you… So recently I pondered who this entity might be for me…??? My mom or dad, friends from the past, or family??? I realize that this is not the most important consideration I have to deal with in my present life, but the question came to mind. Who do you think will be there to greet you when your time to pass on occurs? In Eben’s story, he asked this question and did not receive the answer that he expected which was both surprising and, for me, a highlight of his book.

Most importantly to me as I write this blog is to ask you what awareness do you have regarding the process that happens at the end of life AND will this belief give you assistance in living your life more fully and with less fear. In my second book, “Stress Passages: Surviving Life’s Transitions Gracefully,” I tried to address the anxiety that people have as they face their mortality (death and dying) and I offered strategies for managing this anxiety so that life can be experienced with greater peace and less distraction from the fear of the unknown. I want to write more about this in the coming months.

Please live with grace and awareness.

If you have questions that you believe that I can assist you to better understand that death and dying are not as scary as our fear and anxiety creates of the unknown, contact me through the Stress Education Center at www.dstress.com. AND, please take good care of yourself.