Host: Sheryl Glick R.M.T.
Special Guest: Rose Elliot
In today’s episode of Healing From Within, your host Sheryl Glick, author of The Living Spirit, which is a book that shares through stories and miracles a look at Universal Energy Healing, Spiritual Communication offering a way to awaken to one’s true human and divine potential and today welcomes special guest Rose Elliot, author of I Met A Monk. Rose hosted a Buddhist Monk and 15 other novice mediators at her home for a meditation course and describes the many benefits derived from mindful meditation that became central to her ability to survive a tragic family situation.
Rose Elliot will describe the monk’s teachings and the group’s reactions to them and includes in her book short meditations quick reviews and practices designed for those struggling or new to the practices and techniques of meditation which has been scientifically proven to be a means to relaxation, greater health, peace and self-discovery.
Rose is asked by Sheryl to think back to her childhood for a moment and remembers a person or event that may have been a sign even early on as to the talents and values that were important to her then and how this has influenced her to become the person she is today. Rose tells us, “I am indebted to my grandmother Grace Cooke for her vision and courage and together with grandfather Ivan Cooke for creating the spiritual environment into which I was born and my parents for their wisdom and my Aunt Ylana who played an important part in my early life and my sister Jenny and my cousins who were more like brothers and grew up with us at the retreat center….I thank Ian Gordon Brown and Barbara Somers for their Transpersonal Psychology courses and writers Louise Hay Doreen Virtue and Wayne Dyer.”
Rose tells us about the first group meeting at her house and writes.. “There was “Tim, Suzi, Sam, Dan ,Nikki, Maurice, Pa m, Rodney and Joan, Ed, Maggie, and Gwyn and Debbie and then there were 15 pairs of shoes and sandals at the doorway. It became a time of peace and inner replenishment, an oasis away from the pressures of daily life…We began with chanting the words in Pali the ancient language from India..a bit like Thai..the words express gratitude to the Buddha and his disciples who have brought it down to us over the centuries…I do not feel so comfortable with the chanting but the monks voice is pleasant and melodious…We bow our heads at certain poins..We introduce ourselves and tell our hopes for the course…The Monk begins…He tells us his name is Venerable Bhante and he has been a Buddhist Monk for over 30 years and a Zen Buddhist for 15 years before he moved to the Theravada school of Buddhism. He mentions that there is a branch of Tibetan Buddhism headed by the Dalai Lama.”
Theravada Buddhism we find out is the oldest form given directly by the Buddha to his disciples in repetitive almost poetic form learned by hearing and saying them over and over and handed down generation to generation until it was written down about 300 years after the Buddha died. The Tibetan and Zen Schools of Buddhism developed later but shared the same roots.
Some declare Buddhism is the fourth largest religion after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism…Buddhism does not have many of the things that normally constitute a religion. There is no deity to be worshipped—the Buddha always insisted he was a teacher you listen to and follow if his words make sense. He wanted people to test his teaching and try it out for themselves….He told his followers not to believe anything that was told to them nor written in holy scripture or handed down by previous generations: only believe in things that seem and feel right and helpful to you and those around you….
Sheryl Says, “Buddhism as any spiritual journey is for the refinement of the soul which is the divine spark or aspect of Universal Source connected to eternal energy and life but still a unique independent entity with free will to discover life on its’ own terms….Rose, I think you like so many thoughtful people wished to discover the Universe and the Divine on their own terms and have veered away from the structure and restrictiveness of ancient religious dogma and systems which have not changed or taken into account that the times we live in are quite different than the past and for this very reason…many people nowadays seek a personal connection to a Universal Source that brings unity oneness peace harmony balance compassion and love and not separation or fear or the concept of suffering and sin or a loss of personal choice as so many religions suggest is the way or the only way to God. How utterly unrealistic it is to believe God expects his divine children to be limited in any way by rules and regulations that are ancient Manmade and with attachments and control factors…”
In Sheryl’s book The Living Spirit, she wrote “I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are all part of God’s spiritual energy and that the most ennobled and enlightened souls walk with us, sharing messages of love and joy to all who are ready to hear them. The first and arguably the ultimate goal for those committed to spiritual growth is to feel complete love for themselves and then extend this love to other human beings….this unconditional love requires surrendering the false realities offered from a limited material view of the world. But it is this ability to find love everywhere and in everyone which allows the soul to connect to a higher knowing, namely that all that exists on this and other dimensions are miraculous and infinite.”
The Buddha’s essential teaching how to find happiness freedom and peace through mindfulness and meditation has remained the same and is freely available to everyone..man woman or child and experiencing the benefits It can bring allows for relaxing and improving life on all levels: health, relationships, and the development of our talents and interests because we can free ourselves from the fears of unfounded beliefs that no longer work for us.
The word meditation means many different things to different people. To meditate can simply mean to ponder or reflect and it can also refer to a wide variety of techniques including relaxation, guided visualization mantra meditation where you repeat a word or sound to help you achieve a state of peace, as in Transcendental Meditation but the type the Buddha taught and the one we are discussing here is mindfulness meditation.
Rose describes Mindfulness or being mindful which simply means being completely aware of this present moment—really noticing how we are feeling, what we are looking at, seeing hearing and accepting it exactly as it is without judging, comparing, criticizing, or wishing that it were different. The monk said that may not seem like much but practicing mindfulness is one of the most helpful and empowering things you can ever do. The medical profession has recognized its value more and more and it is being used in an increasing number of therapies..
DISTRACTIONS FROM MINDFULNESS MAY INCLUDE:
1. When we let our thoughts wander we are not being present in the moment…our thoughts may be in the past or far into the future pondering on things that have happened or things that might happen
2. Our thoughts are all over the place
3. Our bodies become tense
4. We may miss the joy of the present moment because we are sad about how much we will miss it when it passes.
Buddhist philosophy has discovered with clear reasoning the origin of Suffering and ways to eradicate suffering if we make that choice.
We are told the origin of suffering is attachment to desire and the Buddha identified 3 kinds of desire:
1. Desire for sensual pleasure
2. Desire to become something
3. Desire to get rid of something
These correspond to greed hatred and delusion and what it is all really about is wanting or craving for something or not wanting—detesting hating something or wanting things to be different than from what they are and not being satisfied with what is….We may experience more than one of these desires at once While cravings are part of being human, these thoughts do not make you suffer if you think of things in a mild happy way…it might bring a vague feeling of sadness or dissatisfaction of worry or tension but not much suffering.
No one judges you for wanting hating and being deluded and you are the only one who knows how much you are suffering…mildly wanting something is quite different in terms of suffering to desperately desiring something and not being able to have it…. It is the degree of wanting and not wanting that fuels the emotional charge. Of course when we love something or something makes us happy we want it to continue and we want more of it… but we cannot stop change…nothing stays the same..Life is constantly changing so the Buddha referred to the changing quality of life as impermanence. Whatever we become attached to changes over time and that is when suffering arises.
Sheryl reads a portion of I Met A Monk in regard to acceptance which is a key to avoid suffering …. “But the monk goes on to say a great truth and to give us the key to our success for accepting ourselves others and all changes in life and you wrote…”But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can’t change life but we can change ourselves and the way we look at things. We can free ourselves from suffering; we have the power within us. It takes practice and resolution, but it can be done. And that is the key to peace personal success and knowing All is Well…So resisting anything brings pain whereas accepting and embracing things brings peace.”
Rose tells us something about a walking meditation. Find a place where you can walk in a straight line…Stand still before you begin head straight and chin slightly tucked in. Arms rest by your side Look ahead about six feet and soften your gaze. Take a few mindful breaths and walk in a steady but natural way..Keep your mind focused on the present moment and notice how you are feeling. Feel the sun and breeze on your face the sound of birds the scent of flowers or any other sensation. Then continue to walk notice the steadiness of your paces. If little worries creep in let them be and just gently return to watching your breathing…find a mode and a rhythm that feels natural to you. Many people meditate in a seated position and both a walking meditation or seated meditation allow for the mind to relax and empty and to connect to the breathe.
Sheryl relates to Rose that she usually has coincidences with her guests as of course being energy beings we are all connected and life for each of us is a journey of experiences and refining our souls so we may know greater love compassion and kindness…In Rose’s book, Kalil Gibran’s poem “The Prophet” is given and Sheryl tells how this poem and his words about the relationship between parents and children really resonates strongly with her. When Sheryl teaches a Reiki 1 healing workshop, she always includes that poem in the material she gives out for while Reiki Healers work with hand movements, music and creating a light meditative state so the body can be calm and achieve a release of blockages to encourage self healing Reiki like the Buddhist path is a complete lifestyle expressed in gentle terms for embracing Self and for moving towards enlightenment and higher Consciousness.
Sheryl reads the poem Rose includes in her book:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, But seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
In conjunction with the thoughts in that poem we may realize that when we cling to or get attached to anything in this physical world, whether it’s our lover our children the latest mobile phone our pet our parents, our income, our life style, our favorite kind of bread, a restaurant we love, our car, that holiday we’ve looked forward to, we know that it is subject to change and eventually cessation..That which arises ceases…When we become mindful, notice suffering, notice the attachments to desire that is causing it and then lay aside this desire instead of grasping it, the suffering ceases. We are in control of our own observations and choices for good will and the development of our best version of ourselves.
Rose and her merry group of interested people in her mindful meditation group opened their hearts and minds to an ancient Buddhist way of looking at life and its many challenges in search of ways to master our own emotions and develop our inner and outer worlds to experience greater happiness joy and a clearer view of suffering which as we now know is a self endorsed state when we fail to realize change is a necessary part of growth and development. Attachment on the other hand to things, people and events, sets up the conditions for being unable to allow accept and surrender to the “Impermanence” of all things in the physical realm. By mindfulness and meditation it is possible to train our minds to accept the realities of a physically changing world and of changes to our own being and with this clearer thinking we are able to make choices which benefit us and others as we move through life as the hero of our story and not the victim.”
Rose wrote “So always go back to this and to mindfulness. Be in awareness. Find that place of No-self. All is peace, clarity love and joy there. That is your true home. That is who you truly are. That is where you come from and to where you will return, as will any living being—though in reality we’ve never left it….We have just forgotten our true self…the more you get into this state of awareness, the clearer things become. Go there—be there—often and you will find that apparent contradictions fade away into the wholeness of life.”
Rose and Sheryl would have you know that in a material world sometimes the choices are not clear or perfect but when you begin to look within your heart and see things from a spiritual viewpoint you will begin to honor your own thoughts and remembrances of Self and life will become filled with a new level of kindness and respect for all. Find the path that leads you to this discovery.