The wise man makes his own heaven while the foolish man creates his own hell here and hereafter. – Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda
Ancient Roman Bath
I am starting to understand the concept “live in the present moment.” The present moment is all that we have. There is no past or future – only the present moment. I admire people who live each day as if it’s their last.
There needs to be some qualities to living in the present moment. Mindfulness is one of the most important qualities. Be mindful of your thoughts, words, and actions. Also, ritual should be a something created in the present moment. Life is sacred, so we need to honor it. Remember “ritual” is part of “spiritual.”
Each religion has its own rituals, but you can create your own. I do my rituals in the morning and in the evening before I go to bed. In the morning, I do yoga and meditate. I light a candle and burn incense to create sacred space. In the evening, I recite mantras while I sit or lay in bed.
Here is a ritual that I created for one of my classes in the Holistic Health Studies masters program at St. Catherine University in Minnesota:
Personal Healing Ritual: Spiritual Bath
2. Choose the type of bath that you want:
3. How to create the spiritual bath:
God be with me.
This week I brought the concept of God back into my life. I think that there can be a middle road. Even the Buddha teaches us to follow the Middle Way. The belief in God is a personal decision. In India, they say there are thousands of Gods (millions now). That’s because everyone has their own personal God.
I remember the quote, “We are living proof that God exists.” Human beings are amazing. We are intelligent and creative. We are too good to be true, so there must be a God. We have a beautiful, mystical world, so there must be a God.
Every day I silently say to myself, “God be with me.” I seek support and guidance. I feel secure when I know that a master being exists. This week I tried to substitute different words instead of God. I said, “Universal energy be with me,” “May the force be with me,” and “May Reiki energy be with me.” Nothing could substitute for the word God. Like I said in my previous blog post, the concept of God is hard-wired in my brain.
I hear a lot of people say, “Whatever God wants” or “God will lead me.” We tend to put our lives in God’s hands. But then we are not taking responsibility for our own lives. We are always looking for someone to tell us what to do instead of following our own heart and mind. Going forward, I want to find the middle ground with my concept of God. I want to embrace the mystery of God and yet empower myself.
I have one hospice patient who is 88-years-old. She has bright blue eyes like the sky. When I was visiting with her, she kept looking out the window saying how beautiful the trees looked. I asked her about God. She said, “If we don’t trust God, then who can we trust?” Who can we trust? Who is in our corner? Who cares about us? Again, I want to take the middle road. We can trust what is in the present moment. We can trust ourselves, the people around us, the sun, the trees, and the animals. God is all around us.
Human beings have consciousness. We are creators of our own lives. Therefore, God lives within us. God can be the universal field, too, because God can be anything and can be anywhere.
I plan to keep an open mind and an open heart. I plant these seeds of thoughts in my mind. My thoughts will grow and evolve as my life travels down the path of wisdom.
For the past week, I lived every day without the concept of God in my mind. I am a Buddhist, and most Buddhists do not believe there is a God somewhere in heaven or up in the sky. They believe we are truly on our own. Buddhist monk K. Sri Dhammananda says, “Salvation in Buddhism is an individual affair. You have to save yourself just as you eat, drink, and sleep by yourself.” You are responsible for your mind, body, actions, speech, and energy.
The concept of God is hard-wired in my brain. I was raised Catholic and taught that God created everything. So, what do you mean there is no God? It seems impossible. But for the past week, I took God out of my mind and out of my life. I wanted to see how I would feel when I was responsible for my salvation.
After contemplation, I know how I feel. When there is no God, I feel like there is no one watching me. I am free to be myself. I no longer look to God, I look to myself. My life belongs to me, not to God. My thoughts and actions are my responsibility, and I am the judge of my own life. There is a shift in my consciousness.
The concept of God is fuzzy. Who is God? I have held this concept in my mind, but nothing to show for it except for my imagination. Most Catholics believe God is our father and looks just like a human being. According to K. Sri Dhammananda, “For more than 2,500 years, all over the world, Buddhists have practiced and introduced Buddhism very peacefully without the necessity of sustaining the concept of a creator God.”
This past week I felt a lot of gratitude for my life. Since I am the only one who can save myself, it puts everything into perspective. I want to live my life! I want to be kind, loving, calm, and wise. I want to meditate every day to make my mind strong.
Going forward, I want to enjoy my life…with or without God.