Easy Homemade Naturally Sweetened Granola

This easy to make healthy granola recipe is naturally, lightly sweetened with coconut sugar or granulated monkfruit. It’s made with oats, coconut oil or vegan butter and you can add your choice of nuts and fruit. This one is a Chai-Almond but you can add almost anything. Go wild~ try chopped macadamia nuts, decadent dried cherries etc. Make a new flavor every week and get creative!

Ingredients

  • 6 cups old-fashioned uncut whole grain rolled oats
  • ½ cup of raw almonds
  • ½ cup of chopped hazelnuts
  • ½ cup (one stick) of melted better, vegan butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt if not using salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
  • ½ cup coconut sugar, monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey
  • ⅔ cup of your choice of dried/ cut fruit like cranberries, coconut flakes, carob chips (all optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and fruit, salt and cinnamon.
    Stir to blend.
  3. Pour in the melted butter/oil.
  4. Mix well, spread the granola onto cookie sheet evenly.
  5. Bake until lightly golden toasted about 20 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through.
  6. Let cool before serving and store in an air-tight container.

granola ingredients
home made granola

 

natural granola

Easy Homemade Naturally Sweetened Granola

This easy to make healthy granola recipe is naturally sweetened with coconut sugar or granulated monkfruit. It’s made with oats, coconut oil or vegan butter and you can add your choice of nuts and fruit.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cups old-fashioned uncut whole grain rolled oats
  • ½ cup of almonds
  • ½ cup of hazelnuts
  • ½ cup one stick of melted better, vegan butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt if not using salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
  • ½ cup coconut sugar monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey
  • cup of your choice of dried/ cut fruit like cranberries coconut flakes, carob chips (all optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and fruit, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
  • Pour in the melted butter/oil. Mix well, spread the granola onto cookie sheet evenly.
  • Bake until lightly golden toasted about 20 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through.
  • Let cool before serving and store in an air-tight container.

Last year, I met with the number of noted Buddhist teachers here in Crestone Colorado, including Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Thrangu Rinpoche about the future of our Dharma practice after some of the concerns of the #metoo movement and many scandals were exposed. We had heartfelt, forthright discussions concerning misconduct, abuse, authoritarian power, cults and cult-think and how, if at all possible, to move forward as a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner. Here is my recollection of their personal advice to me and us all, musings from retreat.

 

direct link https://youtu.be/uxdZQz64Ooc

 

 

apple pastry

Easy, Healthy Apple Custard Puff Pastry, Ready in 1 hour!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb frozen puff pastry thawed (2 sheets)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar/honey/ brown rice syrup
  • 1 T sugar or granulated monkfruit sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large apples washed and unpeeled thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 organic egg
  • ½ tsp powdered sugar for topping
  • 4T butter or vegan butter (1T melted to brush)
  • 1 packet of vanilla pudding and oat/soy/cows milk

apples warm

custard

apple tart

puff

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven 400° F.
  • Roll puff pastry out into a 10″ square and put on greased cookie sheet.
  • Add 1 T sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon to the apple slices and heat until soft in a saucepan with 1/3 c. water and butter
  • Heat the pudding with 1/2 the milk from instructions and add one whole egg, whisk briskly
  • Spread the custard onto the lower puff pastry
  • Pile the apple filling in the center of the puff pastry leaving 1″ around the edge free.
  • Sprinkle almonds on top
  • Place the second pastry on top folding the pastry as needed and pinching together gatherings of pastry.
  • Melt 1T of butter. Brush it on the pastry, and use a knife to poke steam holes.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp powdered sugar.
  • Serve warm or cold.
  • Serves 4-6.

Optional:

Vegan ice cream on the side

Author:

dawn

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg Wellness Coach
apple pastry

Apple Custard Puff Pastry

Easy, Healthy Apple Custard Puff Pastry, Ready in 1 hour!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ lb frozen butter puff pastry thawed 2 sheets
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar/honey/ brown rice syrup
  • 1 Tbsp sugar or granulated monkfruit sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large apples washed and unpeeled thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sugar for topping
  • 4 T butter or vegan butter 1T melted
  • 1 packet of vanilla pudding and oat/soy/cows milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven 400° F.
  • Roll puff pastry out into a 10" square and put on greased cookie sheet.
  • Add 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon to the apple slices and heat until soft in a saucepan with 1/3 c. water and butter
  • Heat the pudding with 1/2 the milk from instructions and add one whole egg, whisk briskly
  • Spread the custard onto the lower puff pastry
  • Pile the apple filling in the center of the puff pastry leaving 1" around the edge free.
  • Sprinkle almonds on top
  • Place the second pastry on top folding the pastry as needed and pinching together gatherings of pastry.
  • Melt 1T of butter. Brush it on the pastry, and use a knife to poke steam holes.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp powdered sugar.
  • Serve warm or cold.
  • Serves 4-6.

Notes

Vegan ice cream on the side

Dear friends-

Did you know that I design Buddhist mala rosary prayer beads here in Boulder and Crestone Colorado? This company started in 2005 and we have over 500 different full size prayer beads and then also many gemstone bracelet malas. We are in the process of redesigning our website now,  going for a mod zenny, minimal thing, so feedback is warmly welcome! If you don’t see something that you like or need a particular design for your meditation practice we can also design one for you, we love to make custom orders! These make perfect mindfulness gifts the holidays.

My company, Sakura Designs is an artisan company of inspired, mala bead makers, who practice mantra, meditation and yoga. We are based mainly in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, USA. We have over 500 different Buddhist Malas, Mala Necklaces, Tibetan Malas and Yoga Prayer Beads, as well as imported and hand made mala bracelets, crafted from a rainbow of natural gemstones. Each of our designs have a 30 day craftsmanship guarantee, and come with a free brocade mala bag. We have thankfully stayed strong during the pandemic. It was bumpy there for awhile, and rest assured, we craft all malas with safety protocols. Stay well and safe everyone!

Warmly, Dawn

buddhist-mala

keto scones

Low Carb, High Protein Healthy Chocolate Raspberry Muffins/ Scones

These are high protein low carb and highly nutritive, so we can feel good about offering these to our family. I’ve been experimenting with keto and paleo baking and found that I like to add organic white flour for 1/3 of the recipe. I know it’s considered a sin in the keto community but when we use exclusively almond or paleo flour (rice and almond), baked recipes come out very dense and hard (feedback… from the family.) A little bit of the organic white flour adds a lightness to our baking that is important. This recipe follows the keto/paleo rules by about two thirds, that much better for you than normal ordinary muffins/scones! If you really can’t stand using the half a cup of organic white flour you can substitute it with soy flour or coconut flour. These are a lightly sweet, densely filling chocolate muffins, great to pack on a hike or picnic!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of paleo or almond flour
1/2 cup organic white flour
1/4 cup cold coconut oil – or any cold vegan butter
1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar, maple syrup or honey
2 Tbs water or vegan milk
2 organic eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dry cocoa powder
1/2 c melted dark chocolate
1 pinch of salt
1 12oz pack of sliced raspberries

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
3. In another bowl combine eggs, melted chocolate water
4. Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
5. Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly like a scone
6. Scoop into greased muffin tin, fill tin 3/4 way
7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned

chocolate scones

Low Carb Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

These are high protein low carb and highly nutritive, so we can feel good about offering these to our family.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups of paleo or almond flour
  • 1/2 cup organic white flour
  • 1/4 cup cold coconut oil – or any cold vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey
  • 2 Tbs water or vegan milk
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dry cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c melted dark chocolate
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 12 oz pack of sliced raspberries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375*
  • In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
  • In another bowl combine eggs, melted chocolate water
  • Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
  • Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly like a scone
  • Scoop into greased muffin tin, fill tin 3/4 way
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned

Notes

These are high protein low carb and highly nutritive, so we can feel good about offering these to our family. I've been experimenting with keto and paleo baking and found that I like to add organic white flour for 1/3 of the recipe. I know it's considered a sin in the keto community but when we use exclusively almond or paleo flour (rice and almond), baked recipes come out very dense and hard (feedback... from the family.) A little bit of the organic white flour adds a lightness to our baking that is important. This recipe follows the keto/paleo rules by about two thirds, that much better for you than normal ordinary muffins/scones! If you really can't stand using the half a cup of organic white flour you can substitute it with soy flour or coconut flour. These are a lightly sweet, densely filling chocolate muffins, great to pack on a hike or picnic!
golden milk

turmeric golden tea

What is Golden Moon Milk Calming Tea?

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? When I start to feel a bit anxious, I immediately take that as a sign to take it easy and go into self care. One of the very first things I do, is make Golden Milk, it’s essentially Turmeric and Ashwandangha powder tea. Golden Moon Milk is an ancient Indian ayurvedic remedy of a Warm Milk Drink that you drink before bed (at moontime) to calm the nerves, and helps to settle internal inflammation.

Ashwagandha:Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing. It is classified as a rasayana i.e. rejuvenation in Ayurveda and expected to promote physical and mental health, restore the body and increase longevity.”

Turmeric: A form of ginger that, according to The Mindfulness Dojo, has “remarkable anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and helping the body’s defense system against lethal diseases, turmeric has gained immense importance as a superfood.”

1-2 Servings

Ingredients:

1T. Ashwagandha Powder

1 tsp. Turmeric Powder

2 cups Milk –  I prefer extra creamy oat milk but you can use any milk: hemp, almond, cashew, or cow’s.

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Cardamom

1 tsp.- 1T. Sweetener – Honey, maple syrup, sugar, granulated monkfruit or stevia.

Directions:

 

Needed: Saucepan, whisk, cup.

  • Heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat, watch to prevent foaming, do not heavy boil.
  • Add all the ingredients and whisk together.
  • Let the spices low simmer for a few minutes.
  • Transfer to cup and enjoy warm, before bed or anytime.

Enjoy this powerful, deeply nutritive, Golden Calming Milk.

 

golden milk

Golden Moon Milk Calming Tea

Golden Moon Milk is an ancient Indian ayurvedic Warm Milk Drink that you drink before bed (at moontime) to calm the nerves, and helps to settle internal inflammation.
Ashwagandha: "Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing. It is classified as a rasayana i.e. rejuvenation in Ayurveda and expected to promote physical and mental health, restore the body and increase longevity.
Turmeric: A form of ginger that, according to The Mindfulness Dojo, has "remarkable anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and helping the body’s defense system against lethal diseases, turmeric has gained immense importance as a superfood."
1-2 Servings

Equipment

  • Needed: Saucepan, whisk, cup.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 T. Ashwagandha Powder
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 2 cups Milk – I prefer extra creamy oat milk but you can use any milk: hemp, almond, cashew, or cow's.
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1 tsp.- 1T. Sweetener – Honey maple syrup, sugar, granulated monkfruit or stevia.

Instructions
 

  • Heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat, watch to prevent foaming, do not heavy boil.
  • Add all the ingredients and whisk together.
  • Let the spices low simmer for a few minutes.
  • Transfer to cup and enjoy warm, before bed or anytime.

Notes

Enjoy this powerful, deeply nutritive, Golden Calming Milk.

 

Image ID : 95032260
Media Type : Stock Photo
Copyright : Maksim Shebeko

Narcissistic/ Borderline Abuse is much more ubiquitous than we know. Any contact with unfeeling, abusive people can be some of the most heartbreaking and damaging relationships we ever encounter and without education, can literally destroy lives, careers, health and families. Every one of us, most likely at some stage of life, has had some contact with a disordered person. According to the DSM-5, “one in 25 people will have the disorders associated with ‘no conscience’ which include anti-social personality disorder, sociopath, and psychopath.”

With the days of predatory social media and online dating, these numbers are ever increasing, as social media and dating apps provide access to unsuspecting, well intended and open people, who naturally trust. We believe that others act with good intentions, integrity and would not break unspoken social norms. The problem is… that a certain percentage of our population has no conscience and simply cannot love, all they can do sadly is use others to boost their inflated ego as narcissistic supply, and extract whatever they can from those willing to offer. When they see no more use or are confronted, it causes dangerous, narcissistic injury and the target is discarded and useless to them. All attempts from the victim to heal, resolve, understand, problem solve or at least have basic human closure are “ghosted” or denied. Often the disordered person who forged intimacy, trust and “trauma bonds” will turn on their targets when they plead for resolve as if they themselves are the victims. We talked a lot about D.A.R.V.O. where the offender acts and believes they are now the victim and can become callously vengeful. Idealize, devalue and… discard, it’s formulaic and always the same.

I speak of this process often because I see so many people including myself have been deeply hurt or devastated by conscienceless predatory people. The harm can be quiet and insidious, and you can become easily emotionally addicted to an abuser. It’s not easy to leave them at all, and often friends say “just forget them and get over it.” I have a girlfriend that’s been on dating sites for a few years and the very moment that she does something wrong or the person loses interest and finds someone who they consider to be better, oftentimes if not all, the men don’t even so much as reply to text even after a relationship had been forged for weeks or even months. Ghosting- no reply, they are gone, you mean nothing, see ya. I guess this is the world we are living in right now, people are just treated like ego’s fodder and we live to collect as many Facebook and Instagram likes as we can. I can’t imagine now, the daily heartbreak and damage that happens on dating apps. These electronic relating worlds seem to be birthing more and more narcissists by the moment, replacing love addiction, predatory games and trauma bonds for real love.

What can we do to protect ourselves, is there a solution?

It’s very difficult to heal from relationships with disordered people. In my case I was born into a family with a full spectrum narcissist, so I didn’t have the grace of learning about red flags and what people to accept and what people to avoid. I had no choice but to relate with this person for the greater part of my life. However right before I had a child, in order to not recreate unhealthy family patterns, I sought a deep therapeutic help to understand the dynamics of the long term insidious soul crushing abuse. Through a lot of therapy, journaling, self-awareness and self care, turned the corner to find a sense of self value and self-love, despite the many years of being minimized and devalued, which still sadly continues to this day.

I’ve come to a point where I can accept and understand, that it’s built into the type of mental illness and disorder that a narcissistic person cannot, *ever,* self reflect, apologize and see their fault. All that a narc/ borderline is capable of doing is projecting that onto others what’s called “object other or splitting.” This process is complex and you can read about it if you ever find yourself in contact with one of these people. For me, the beginning of the healing process is simply knowledge and awareness and separating out myself from the disordered person. Once I can see their state of mind and m.o., I could begin to heal and I stopped blaming myself for everything they wanted to blame me for, and most of all stopped any type of codependent attempt to try to fix or heal them. Fixing is untenable, you simply can’t have a healthy relationship with an untreated disordered person ever, it’s a zero sum game.

N.O.R.P. Thinking

We can’t underestimate the power of transparency and having these types of discussions, education and knowledge is absolute power. I have volunteered to teach meditation in prisons, and every year we would have to renew our training and safety protocols for entering into the prison milieu. One of the things that they told us is that there’s a difference between the way that normal ordinary rational people thinking and criminal minds. They actually created an acronym for that called N.O.R.P. vs. the criminal minds of the “offenders.” They told us that people like us, come into the prison population as missionaries or trying to teach meditation or some type of trauma support. The people that teach these programs have all of the best intentions and are open hearted and altruistic. The security guards who were running the training would warn us that prisoners did not share the same type of thinking. These are people that are ok with breaking boundaries, laws and social norms. They cautioned us that the prisoners would be looking to see if they could find a psychological or emotional vulnerability so that we would feel sorry for them and maybe take pity on them them and help them in some way either financially or maybe when they got out, or to get out. They would tell us that they would be looking at our jewelry to assess how much money we had etc. In sum, their mindset vs the N.O.R.P. was really different. We were coming in to try to help and oftentimes people with criminal minds would be looking in a predatory way, looking to how to game us and the situation. The trainers wanted to make us really highly aware of how the criminal mind operates without there being a sense of conscience.

Untreatable?

Once I got into the prison population even with this awareness and engaged with everyone more deeply, I did see many many moments of genuine grief and regret. I saw cruel, unhealthy issues with our penal system that have to do with race and oppression, but this is a complex social topic that is for another article altogether. It is relevant to this discussion in trying to heal from narcissistic or borderline abuse, because we need to understand that there are certain people that simply see the world in a generally conscienceless, predatory way. Is there any hope or treatment, well, stats say that some personality disorders are treatable, especially borderline, as the heightened emotionality and anxiety very often leads way to self reflection and great regret. I would give up on no one if the pain and their fundamental aloneness prompted them to treatment, but we can’t hold out for that. As someone who deeply loves a full spectrum narcissist, and full spectrum is defined as un-treatable, holding out hope is unhealthy, codependent, life wasting and delusional. The soul damage done to a child raised by a narcissist or BPD can have lifelong impacts, and they in adulthood are very vulnerable to recreating familiar patterns and subconsciously seek out what’s called trauma reenactment. In the past few years, survivors have thankfully created a powerful social movement of bringing tremendous awareness to the narcissist’s destructive capacity, and through healing and solidarity we can protect ourselves and each other.

I discovered a woman Maria Consiglio, who is going very deep into her own healing and writing a book on narcissistic abuse recovery. I wanted to share some of her top insightful, heartbreaking and inspiring thoughts and healing suggestions, you can follow her on Instagram. All of the below content is credited to her. *Trigger Warning…*

 

“Kill the part of yourself that still wants to save someone after they walked away while your were drowning.” Maria Consiglio

Trauma Bond

Victims often feel like they are addicted to their abusers. When a person goes back and forth between being nice and then being abusive and rejecting, it causes the victim to become highly addicted and bonded to the narcissist. This creates a Trauma Bond. These bonds are powerful and extremely difficult to break. Victims become addicted to the relief they feel when the narcissist shows them love, or gives them any form of positive attention. This starts a cycle where victims feel anxiety and uncomfortable until the next time the narcissist is less abusive or nicer. This creates an addictive pattern where you literally get addicted to those small moments of relief when the abuser is being nicer or more pleasant. This cycling of back and forth behavior of being good and being bad ensures the narcissist that you become addicted and less likely to leave them. This gives them tremendous power over you.

The After Effects Of Narcissistic Abuse

Even if you are over the narcissist, you still experience so much psychological trauma. Your brain is affected, your functioning is affected, and the way you see the world is affected. There is so much damage in these relationships, the stress alone has dire affects on your health. Your body can not constantly be in hyper-vigilance mode and not be affected. Your cortisol levels are high and you are exhausted, mentally, emotionally and physically. You feel different like you don’t fit in the world anymore. You feel broken and like no one understands. How could they, when you didn’t even know the extent of the damage that was ensuing. You come out of this relationship scared, bruised and completely lost. Not knowing if you will ever feel the same again. Feeling like you will never fit into the world again. They break you down in a way that there are no words that could accurately explain or describe.

 

“Don’t expect a narcissist to be there for you. Not only wont they be there, but they get mad that you even expect them to be.”
“INSANITY IS WHEN YOU LOVE SOMEONE SO MUCH, YOU HELP THEM DESTROY YOU BY TRYING TO SAVE THEM”
“Some narcissists believe their own delusions. They believe their own mask, they actually think they are good people, no matter what horrible things they do. Narcissists can justify anything they do. Remember that, when you keep hoping for some accountability from them.”

Her suggestions for healing:

Important Things To Do When Going “No Contact”

  • Block Narcissist on all social media, telephone or what ever else connected you to them.
  • Do not look on their social media page to see what they are doing, or if they have a new supply.
  • Do not respond, if they find a way to connect with you. Stay firm in your convictions.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. You may be grieving a false person, but you still need to get that grief out of your system.
  • Do not obsess about the good times or think about the fond memories with the narcissist. Remind yourself of the horrible abuse. And why you are no longer together.
  • Join a support group. It is a very difficult process to go through alone.
  • Have friends available to help talk you out of calling the narcissist.
  • Focus on yourself, practice extreme self care.
  • Look for a therapist to help you heal from all the trauma, you experienced. (either a trauma therapist, or a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse)
  • Have faith in yourself, believe for the best, and have faith for a better future.

https://www.instagram.com/understandingthenarc/?hl=en

-Maria Consiglio

 

image of woman free use from pexels

 

Decadent and Healthy Vegetarian Loaded Nacho Casserole with Melted Cheddar

Yield
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

◦ 1 and 1/2 bags  (15 oz) of organic tortilla chips
◦ 1 can of organic vegetarian re-fried beans
◦ 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin or taco seasoning
◦ 1/4 cup sliced black olives
◦ 3 tablespoons jalapeño slices fresh or canned
◦ 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
◦ 1 can (15 oz) of nacho cheese sauce or make your own
◦ 1/2 – 2/3  (8oz) package of vegetarian meat crumbles
◦ 2 organic roma tomatoes, chopped
◦ 1/2 cup chopped onion
◦ cooking oil
◦ salsa as a condiment (with optional hot sauce)
◦  guacamole as a condiment

organic chips

Preparation

Heat oven to 425°F.

Cut onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and black olives.

Shred cheese.

Use a glass casserole dish, spread 1/2 of chips evenly on sheet.

In a frying pan, saute 1/2 of the onions in oil and then add the veg. meat, re-fried beans and taco spice.

Spoon bean mixture, vegetables and both cheeses over chips, layer the remaining chips repeat again.

Bake until cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes.

Serve nachos with salsa and guacamole, and if desired, hot sauce! Cheers!

 

Vegetarian Loaded Nacho Casserole with Melted Cheddar

Yield Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • ◦ 1 and 1/2 bags 15 oz of organic tortilla chips
  • ◦ 1 can of organic vegetarian re-fried beans
  • ◦ 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin or taco seasoning
  • ◦ 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • ◦ 3 tablespoons jalapeño slices fresh or canned
  • ◦ 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • ◦ 1 can 15 oz of nacho cheese sauce or make your own
  • ◦ 1/2 - 2/3 8oz package of vegetarian meat crumbles
  • ◦ 2 organic roma tomatoes chopped
  • ◦ 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • ◦ cooking oil
  • ◦ salsa as a condiment with optional hot sauce
  • ◦ guacamole as a condiment

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 425°F.
  • Cut onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and black olives.
  • Shred cheese.
  • Use a glass casserole dish, spread 1/2 of chips evenly on sheet.
  • In a frying pan, saute 1/2 of the onions in oil and then add the veg. meat, re-fried beans and taco spice.
  • Spoon bean mixture, vegetables and both cheeses over chips, layer the remaining chips repeat again.
  • Bake until cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Serve nachos with salsa and guacamole, and if desired, hot sauce! Cheers!

 

The Tantric Consort: Awakening Through Relationship

In our semi-apocalyptic time, it seems like many of us are going very deeply into introspection now. Very profound reflection is occurring on a global scale and our very species is on the precipice of survival. I believe that sometimes things have to get very dark before we have the impetus to change, akin to the alcoholic’s need to hit bottom before there’s a sufficient wake-up call and his or her survival instinct is triggered. I really believe with everything within me that this is a healing crisis of our planet, our human relationship to the planet and how we live out of balance with so much greed, our needs, desire and using of the earth’s and human resources in an imbalanced way. But, in order to make this change we have to go deep into our self reflection look at patterns of who we are, why we feel the need to be so predatory and desire to live way beyond our means and way beyond what’s allocated to us to live in a harmonious, sustainable way.

So what’s been happening is I feel, is that the living quality of Gaia, our Mother Earth has put us all in a timeout now we have to simplify and go inward and really look and reflect who we are, what we want to create and how we can collectively survive. It seems like a lot of us have been catapulted into a fast-track of spiritual development that we weren’t necessarily prepared for. One of the most powerful ways that we can learn and grow, heal some of the deepest, darkest karmic propensities is through relationship with each other.

This is why a lot of us have been experiencing very intense relationships with ourselves, family, friends and a lot have met what is traditionally known as our twin flame. The image of a flame is the power to burn impurities, transform and re-arise like a phoenix. Meeting this person is rare, and they are supposed to be the mirror of a similar energetic signature. The meeting can be a nuclear, cataclysmic, transformative process. What happens when you look in a mirror? You see your own reflection as it is, without alteration, as the adage goes “the mirror doesn’t lie.”

Generally what happens immediately, is that one person runs away and the other person chases the other, like two flickering flames. However through this painful process of longing and heartbreak and misalignment, we begin to realize that both the running and the chasing are both forms of running away from the feeling our own union. Through the claustrophobia of the process and abject, inconsolable pain, we actually begin to see our own inner strength by reeling in the projection and grasping. My teacher told me that there’s nothing more painful than this dynamic between and man and a woman, and that could “drop kick” you into enlightenment. In the Indo-Tibetan Tantras a similar process of evolution occurs when meeting your spiritual consort. Other traditions refer to this as meeting the Beloved. A lot of us have a lot of adolescent, media infused notions of what it would be like to meet our twin flame or spiritual consort. There’s a lot of fantastic talk about union and bliss and Tantric sex and secret tantric sex practices called Karmamudra, but this real world process of growth has very little to do with that.

A Tutelary Relationship

When you meet the person that could best act as a tutelary relationship, that connection is exceedingly powerful and can help you to grow in ways that you never thought possible. Often times, if not every time, one meets this twin flame, a person’s life goes into crisis. Very, very deep dark karmic things immediately come to the surface in an almost uncanny way and causes conflict. Because of that, you attribute your own karmic baggage, blocks and pain to the relationship. This begins the infamous running away from each other process, as the two consider the relationship itself as being toxic. However in reality it’s the complete opposite of toxicity, it’s more akin to healing crisis, shedding light on what needs to be looked at so that we actually have the opportunity to heal.

However in reality it’s the complete opposite of toxicity, it’s more akin to healing crisis, shedding light on what needs to be looked at so that we actually have the opportunity to heal.

Patterns of feeling that we’re unworthy, unlovable, guilty, past issues from childhood wounding, all get stirred up and immediately rise to the surface when you meet what is considered to be a divine friend. You have a choice at that point, you can turn away from this process and try to go back to sleep which is somewhat impossible because the feeling of tapping at your shoulder and the invitation to go further into your own development becomes very loud, obsessive and almost impossible to turn away from. Or, you can recognize what’s happening you can see that indeed, the greatest gift one could encounter in life, is the spiritual consort. However, the encounter is not for the frail-hearted. If you read the history of our Tantric Buddhist Saints, the consort appears in our life and becomes a powerful method to help us open these very deep karmic blocks that we never even knew we had, and now they become accessible.

These three videos below talk about some of the basic conflict, shock and outright consternation that comes if you’ve met your twin flame. They explain the process and  how to handle the energy and survive the intensity of this powerful evolutionary process. A lot of it comes down just simplifying, and feeling that we are really rooted in our own self-love, wholeness and well-being. It invites us to look at our codependency, grasping and how we use people as we try to make ourselves feel better and indeed social media doesn’t help, but rather exacerbates this serious type of addiction and codependency. The invitation is to begin to feel and reconnect to our own internal brightness and well-being. In tantra, this internal union, warmth free from grasping is called the Mahamudra or the Great Seal.

If you have the good fortune of having met your twin flame or your spiritual consort, you should celebrate because you’ve done sufficient work and are ready for real, core level evolution in this life. I have great faith in our species and the intelligence of the life force of this planet, and can trust the process that we will not allow ourselves to destroy ourselves and we will do this required internal work. Through this ascension into our human potential, we can help each other to live more simply, feel more real love and take care of each other and our planet and evolve into a sustainable and compassionate species that live in harmony with each other. They’ll always be hardship; human beings will have moments of pride and greed and divisive things like nationalism, but that I think the fundamental harshness and what is broken this within us must heal in our species in order to survive. The personal affects the collective, so the efficacy of this work can’t be underestimated. Relationship is the most powerful, transformative gateway toward genuine healing and collective social evolution. If we have the fortune of taking time to process grief and really heal our broken spirit, the culmination is that we once again, feel warm and whole, our birthright. This can indeed, even change society. My teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche once said:

“One person can harm the whole world, one person can help it.”

How magical of a new world we could create, from there~

 

 


Image from Pixabay
Lighted Match With Smoke on Black Background
Uploaded at March 03, 2016 and Closeup Photography of Pink Rose Flower

If I could only write my raw heart སྙིང་ཐིག་ out uncensored, I’d blow the e-roof off of this metal box. There are one hundred thousand plus subterranean words still hidden by cast out firm mandate. Someday, I’ll bravely bust out and publish it all, just wait and see. We say goodbye to a dear beat sister today. To my beat family, I’ve written poems since I was old enough to feel, it keeps me right. To you all, fellow first thought word-heart smiths, for whom editing and punctuation matter not- we speak the same language, I owe you it all. So few left now, Diane adieu.

Diane Di Prima (1934–2020)

 

An Exercise in Love

for Jackson Allen

My friend wears my scarf at his waist
I give him moonstones
He gives me shell & seaweeds
He comes from a distant city & I meet him
We will plant eggplants & celery together
He weaves me cloth
                   Many have brought the gifts
                   I use for his pleasure
                   silk, & green hills
                   & heron the color of dawn
My friend walks soft as a weaving on the wind
He backlights my dreams
He has built altars beside my bed
I awake in the smell of his hair & cannot remember
his name, or my own.

___________________________________

Feminist Beat poet Diane di Prima was born in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Swarthmore College for two years before moving to Greenwich Village in Manhattan and becoming a writer in the emerging Beat movement. There, she developed friendships with poets Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Frank O’Hara, and Audre Lorde. After joining Timothy Leary’s intentional community in upstate New York, she moved to San Francisco in 1968.

Di Prima’s poetry mixes stream-of-consciousness with attention to form and joins politics to spiritual practice. In an interview with Jacket magazine, di Prima spoke about her life as a writer, a mother, and an activist. “I wanted everything—very earnestly and totally—I wanted to have every experience I could have, I wanted everything that was possible to a person in a female body, and that meant that I wanted to be mother.… So my feeling was, ‘Well’—as I had many times had the feeling—‘Well, nobody’s done it quite this way before but fuck it, that’s what I’m doing, I’m going to risk it.’”

Di Prima has published more than 40 books. Her poetry collections include This Kind of Bird Flies Backward (1958), the long poem Loba (1978, expanded 1998), and Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems (2001). She is also the author of the short story collection Dinners and Nightmares (1960), the semi-autobiographical Memoirs of a Beatnik (1968), and the memoir Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years (2001).


Beloved friend & fiercest poet Diane Di Prima has died––Diane was here for the start of the 100 year project that is Naropa, and even more crucially a decisive voice in American poetry & poetics, a voice in which poetry & poetics always implies political commitment to revolution––– we owe her a debt that can never be repaid, which is to say we owe her the debt of love and study and solidarity / memory eternal––––
 
Reposts linked back to OP.
photo: Diane Di Prima recites poems in the Gas Light Cafe, New York, 1969Photography by Fred W. McDarrah
shell photo, creative commons: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/334805

These Yogi Bhajan mantras sooth my soul when it hurts. All of my love with everything I ever was, everything I am and everything I ever will be to everyone, without exception. May the stars of our inner light together, shine so brightly to illuminate the darkening skies of this time.

Long Time Sun – Snatam Kaur

May the longtime sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure, pure light that’s within you
Guide your way on


 

I am Bountiful, Blissful, Beautiful

We are Bountiful, Blissful, Beautiful

Love is Bountiful, Blissful, Beautiful


Image from https://www.3ho.org

Keto Chocolate Walnut Brownies
How to make easy low carb keto brownies with paleo or almond flour.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 8 – 10 brownies

Ingredients:

• 1 cup paleo or almond flour
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder or 80 grams of unsweetened chocolate
• 2 tbsp raw cocoa nibs (optional)
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/3 tsp salt
• 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
• 3 tbsp water
• 2 organic eggs, or 2 flax eggs, (mix 1tsp ground flax meal, 3tsp water per “egg”)
• 2/3 cup granulated erythritol or monk fruit sugar or honey
• 1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
• 2/3 cup of roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch pan. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil and honey if used on low heat. Mix all dry ingredients well, then gently combine the wet and dry. Spread evenly into your greased pan. Smooth down and even out with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes on the center rack, then let cool completely for 15 minutes to firm up before cutting. Brownies will firm up even more if you refrigerate them overnight. Brownies are great with or without frosting, and a perfect compliment with vegan ice cream!

 

Keto Chocolate Walnut Brownies

How to make easy low carb keto brownies with paleo or almond flour.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup paleo or almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder or 80g of unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tbsp raw cocoa nibs optional
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 organic eggs or 2 flax eggs, (mix 1tsp ground flax meal, 3tsp water per “egg”)
  • 2/3 cup granulated erythritol or monk fruit sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
  • 2/3 cup of roughly chopped walnuts optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch pan. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil and honey if used on low heat. Mix all dry ingredients well, then gently combine the wet and dry. Spread evenly into your greased pan. Smooth down and even out with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes on the center rack, then let cool completely for 15 minutes to firm up before cutting. Brownies will firm up even more if you refrigerate them overnight. Brownies are great with or without frosting, and a perfect compliment with vegan ice cream!

Notes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 8 – 10 brownies
Photo by Dima Valkov from Pexels
“My religion is to live and die without remorse”
– Milarepa –
“Mi religión es vivir y morir sin remordimientos”

Yes, the final breath, to die at peace with your life with no regrets. We are the choices we make, and we will leave an imprint of who we were and what we did, into the next generations when we pass. Think of the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,”  so many lives were touched by one, that is the closest to real “reincarnation” that we can prove to have, our karmic legacy.  People remember us for our warmth, conduct, love or… harm. To live a life without regret, requires that now when we are alive, to sit back and reflect, and think about what’s most meaningful to us. Meaning must come from within, not from what our society, family or even our religion or what those in religious authority, tells us is our value.

I’ve worked with a lot of seniors and heard when people are dying, the most important thing to them at the end of life are the people that they loved, the quality of their relationships, and regret for people they hurt and didn’t resolve conflict with. You’d think it would be about their faith, the promise of some afterlife, God, heaven, angels, Buddhas or the next life, but people’s minds are really focused on love and relationship. For most at the end, it’s all about the depth of our awakened heart and love.

 

One of my teachers Chokyi Nyima said “if you can fix it with someone you must, you will feel better and they will feel better.” This is in our traditional 37 Practices of a Buddhist Bodhisattava as well, the practices of compassion, forgiveness and non-harming. Sometimes we don’t want to have contact with someone anymore if we think that they’ve hurt or betrayed us. Sometimes it’s hard to face how we treated others and we’d just rather forget and ignore our mistakes. The problem is, is that these moments of pain and conflict stay in our mindstreams and hearts we don’t really forget, even by silencing another or being in no contact. People just polarize, hold resentment, and each one blames the other. These are the seeds of human warfare, even hatred, so we must do better. We really don’t always have skills for conflict resolution, problem-solving, dealing with pain and misunderstandings and finding way to learn from each other to have resolve. Many of us just let relationships with family, friends or associates go by the wayside and hold a life of eternal resentment rather than venturing into the bravery of really healing.

The 12 Nidanas- Actively Cutting Karma

In our Buddhist Tradition, we often refer to a teaching called the 12 Nidanas. It’s a complex deconstructed system that literally means the chains or links of interdependent origination, that result in us creating a karmic circle. Imagine Jacob Marley’s hard forged chain in the afterlife. Basically in layman’s terms it’s a map of how people re-create patterns of suffering and how we stay in these patterns. We find it really difficult to cut the momentum and redirect ourselves into a more open, karma free way of relating to our lives. If we meditate and become more mindful, we can catch ourselves before we get upset, react or create a moment of karma. It’s particularly destructive to have negative karma and hurt the hearts of others and cause damage to ourselves or to our world. In order to remedy this process, we have to take a rigorous and honest look at ourselves and train ourselves to not act on impulse, to take a deep breath before we do something that we might regret.

Of course everyone makes mistakes, conflicts arise, feelings get hurt, misunderstandings are part of what it is to be in existence with people with different views and emotional propensities. So the compilation of these deeds that we’ve done, out of passion, aggression or ignorance become the building blocks of us being unenlightened and hurting others. If we reflect through our lives we can see that maybe we burned a bridge or two, estranged a friend or family member and done and myriad of things that we really regret. This is a similar process to the fifth step in Alcoholics Anonymous, you admit to yourself and to another, anyone that you harmed and you make amends to them wherever possible. A lot of the times we think too much time has gone by and it’s better to not bring up an old wound but in this system, if the person is still alive, we should make every effort to clear and heal any and all of our negative karma.

I wanted to tell you a story about clearing karma from two personal relationships that I’ve had that are going pretty well. The first is an exceedingly difficult relationship I have with my mother. It’s always been a struggle between us for various personal reasons, but I’ve never given up on her no matter what has transpired.  Many people had dissuaded me from having her in my life, but I know her traumatic past and when you love someone, you understand and forgive. We have moments of great pain, difficulty and conflict. Even if I believe that I was in the right and she was in the wrong, I often will put my pride aside, reach out to her and tell her that I always care about her and I want to learn and move forward.

Her personality type is not one that’s great for self reflection and apology so I have to create a workaround in order to have relationship with her. We have learned to take a deep breath when triggered, set boundaries if things get heated, redirecting and quelling any type of negativity before it escalates. My mother has cancer that it is currently in remission so I would regret if I allowed the conflict to put a wedge between us such that I never get to see her or tell her that I love her for this entire life. Even though the relationship has been difficult ever since I was born, I don’t want to sever the ties with a primary relationship and me continuing to reach out and forgive and yet, still set boundaries has worked really well.

I have another situation with a Dharma friend who I’ve known for 30 years. We’ve gotten into a number of conflicts about various issues over the years and at times we were not speaking to each other because of that. Most recently, I felt really brave and decided to discuss with him exactly the root of why we have this conflict and in the simple way, touched a few of the key issues. I did not blame or confront him perse, I used the traditional I messages” and spoke from the heart in a very clear and not particularly emotionally heated way. Like my mother, I told him that I cared about him and that we had decades of a long and close friendship and I really valued him always. I’m happy (even joyous) to report that in both of these instances with a high conflict propensity and emotionality, these powerful steps of clearing up hurt and negative karma have been successful!

I think we all feel so much better when we have harmonious relationships and if we make mistakes we correct them as soon as we see what we’ve done. In this way I think our lives can be meaningful and we can understand how to love ourselves and others in a real and genuine way and with hope, even have this life be of benefit to others. The Buddhist analogy says that people are fundamentally good, like the sun always shining behind the clouds. The clouds (our flaws and mistakes) are temporary and do not define us.

5 Powerful Steps to Clear Negative Karma

  1. Honestly reflect on anyone you have harmed with body, speech or mind.
  2. Make a list of those names of friends or family from your past who you have hurt, and be honest about what your part was in the difficulty.
  3. If they are still alive even if 1, 2 or 20 years have gone by, contact them in a gentle and noninvasive way. Reach out to them and communicate by phone or email and just tell them that you regret what happened and you wish them well, or if it’s a family member, be brave and tell them that you love them. If they have passed, forgive yourself and them mentally.
  4. This process is not to be a rescuer, codependent or doormat toward people who’ve been abusive to you. If you try to make excuses for someone who has been abusive, then you’ve enabled that karmic seed to be re-created in them and that’s not helpful. If you need to explain why you got angry or hurt or what you think caused a disconnect, explain it without blaming, just use “I Messages” and tell the person in an honest and authentic way what you felt and what you think you both might be able to do differently next time.
  5. I think we are hardwired to want to forgive each other and learn and grow in this life. We are all imperfect and make mistakes and hurt each other, but we can also grow, grow up and heal even when very difficult things arose.

Live and End Without Regret

If you’ve hurt someone that you care about, we can correct it today, reach out to someone who you held grudges for- release and heal all karma you can. And for our family and friends, tell them and show them that you really love them, listen to them and be there for them. For me, clearing karma whenever possible has made all the difference in the world.  Sometimes, people will not forgive you, we can only do our best. If we take these steps, I think our life will be profound and meaningful. It’s not about hours and years of renunciation and arduous meditation practice, value for me, is about becoming a really kind, present, authentic and loving person.

If we clear our karma, heal conflicts and love well, we will have no regret today, in our future, or our very last precious moment.

 

 

*Jetsun Milarepa was a famous Tibetan Buddhist Saint that, with great tearful regret, attained enlightenment, even after he had caused the deaths of others.

image:

Photo by Lola Russian from Pexels

 

“Embodiment to the cycle of rupture and repair is what allows the relationship to unfold, deepen, and disclose it’s secret essence.”

In any close relationship (where we take the risk of allowing another to matter) we open ourselves to the two primary archetypal energies of abandonment and fusion. At a deep level there may always be some hesitancy in stepping all the way in, which is valid and worthy of our exploration.

We come into relationship with a living template of past relational experiences – will I be safe? Can I be fully as I am? What about all of my eccentricities, sensitivities, and essence-vulnerabilities? Will I need to become different in order to be held and known? Will I lose myself? Is this all going to be worth it?

Inevitably, ruptures will occur within the relational field, in that tender intersection between ourselves and another. But these ruptures are natural, organic, and quantum, and portals of wholeness and integration.

A healthy relationship is not one in which there is never any conflict, but one in which rupture is repaired. Through our shared, holy resonance circuitry and by way of right-brain attunement, we honor our connectedness as well as our own autonomy and integrity which, too, is sacred. The invitation is into the aliveness of paradox and contradiction, not unconscious merging into some homogenized leaky middle.

Embodiment to the cycle of rupture and repair is what allows the relationship to unfold, deepen, and disclose its secret essence.

Each of us arrives in the emerging we-space with biographical, cultural, and archetypal patterning, schemas, and implicit worlds of meaning and imagination. These intertwine to weave the interactional field, along with the companionship, play, and shepherding of the mysterious Other, the third who also appears.

Through co-illumination, co-articulation, and making sense of our experience together the templates reveal their transparency and become ripe for revisioning. But in the core of that ripening it is tender and sensitive, and will ask everything of us.

This is why, in part, close personal relationships can be so achingly painful, on the one hand… while simultaneously being the most majestic and transmutative temple on the other.

befriendingyourself.com

http://www.mattlicataphd.com/

Photo by Valiphotos

Reposted with permission of Matt Licata Phd. ©2020

How to completely heal from narcissistic abuse, loss of one’s faith and become a light in a darkening world.

 

I grew up in a rough culture on the east coast of the United States, in Newport, Rhode Island. I was raised by a teenage mother who didn’t really have any capacity to love me. My dad left when I was 3 and the environment before then was riddled with fighting, alcoholism and violence. She remarried right away but I think due to the trauma, she was always preoccupied with herself. She seemed always in fear, very controlling, involved with vanity, how she looked, how she appeared to the world and everything centered around her and her needs. She was emotionally somewhat histrionic and the whole family walked on eggshells in fear of her temper and her hostile reaction toward us. There was no room for me and in the home, I was considered a nuisance. I was then spanked by my stepfather weekly, criticized often and spent most of my time alone in my room. I cried untold tears. I was told I was ugly, devalued and ignored and oftentimes my mother said that she wish that she never had me.

I went to school always thinking that I was a misfit and there’s something deeply wrong with me and I really wasn’t worthy of love. So I started to read a lot of books and I studied really well and I always tried to make the teachers happy with me because that was the only sense of appreciation from anyone in authority that I had. I was really close with my teachers, got the perfect grades and one time my teacher even said to my mom that I was really bright, so much so that I should go to a special school for the gifted. The teacher was concerned because I was also really sensitive and I would get bullied and beaten up and teased a lot. This all now makes sense how I grew up because if I didn’t feel a sense of worth and confidence, small children could pick up on that weakness and I’ve always been targeted for my vulnerability.

Because of the teenage pregnancy and the pain my mother suffered and her fear, she was somewhat dissociated and unwell. I would try to spend time with her and she would send me away. I realized later that she had developed into becoming a full spectrum narcissist that was not capable of loving anyone other than thinking of herself. There was no way that we could ever resolve it as mother and daughter, since part of the narcissistic mindset denies it’s own hostility and projects all negative qualities onto other people. Narcissists, as well as other personality disorders, often must have a target of their shadow and blame. For my entire life for her, I was the chosen one. Thanks Mom!

I was fortunate in my later years to discover a book called Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, and sought counseling with the author Dr. Karyl McBride, a co-survivor. What I realized is that narcissism at it’s root, is the healthy longing for a person to take care of themselves, gone awry. What I realized is that, if we actually feel a sense of inner love and well-being, from there we can love others. The narcissists attempt to pay attention to something that’s broken inside is at it core, correct. Where it goes wrong is that the foundation of real healing and self-love is not there and in fact it’s often an emotional vacuum, devoid of compassion. From that vacuum, you begin to see others as something that you can use to fill up that hollowness and heal a core of fundamental self hatred.

Part of the fallout in this life was of course in my adulthood, to  recreate the pattern of feeling broken and bullied and looking for other friends, lovers and organizations to make everything right. This is the quintessential codependent  person that likewise feels broken and unwell and uses other people like a drug to put a giant Band-Aid on their loneliness. I would follow rock stars and then cult-like spiritual groups and none of this was super healthy because it was predicated on me feeling hollow, and unworthy looking for something, anything outside of myself to fill the void.

journaling

A NEW DAY… uncover bulletproof self love and genuine warmth for others

There’s a Buddhist slogan that says “be grateful to everyone.” I am not angry or bitter that anyone hurt me in this life, they probably had a harder time than I did, and maybe suffer even more. My spiritual community who I used to find solace and meaning in, recency dismantled in the wake of #metoo. I discovered later that guru worship had a lot of covert, exploitative narcissists, it figures that these communities felt somehow familiar. I found myself adrift, really, palpably alone. I decided to take a genuine honest look at my life, who I really am rawly and what matters to me. I feel like I gained my identity through this spiritual community and my friends there and without that, I felt devastated. I have my family but everything was starting to fall apart into an abyss and I wondered, what really has any meaning?

So from there, I decided to really go inward and not depend upon anything or anyone to make me feel better. I began to shutdown social media for longer lengths of time as to not depend upon people liking my posts to faux-foster self-esteem. I took some time to go into solitary retreat as much as I could. I was away from my husband and daughter and taking silence from some friends. I began to journal, meditate and begin the most rigorous process of self inquiry I could muster.

Then, something dawned upon me, a basic truism that I guess everyone else at figured out, but it’s taken me 50 years to realize…

I can’t love another person in a healthy way unless I have strong core of real self-love and self well-being to rely on.

This was my Aha! moment. I asked myself- how to have this life feel meaningful, how to love others and with hope, be of benefit? I can’t be codependent and broken and needing other people or religion or paltry social media to define who I am and make me feel better. I knew that was never going to work, so I decided- let’s start at square one, go into radical self-care and have a love affair with… myself… saucy. It’s a perfect time because all of us are on somewhat of a social timeout with the pandemic so it’s a great time to go inward.

A NEW RETREAT INTO JOY

I decided to get up in the morning and do some stretching or some cardio, enjoy sipping dark coffee and take warm essential oil baths. During my retreats over the years I use to meditate 8 to 10 hours a day and do a lot of chanting and complex visualizations. This time, I decided to just take time for me without any schedule or agenda, and just let life talk to me about what is fun and reconnect the sense of magic and wonder that maybe I’ve never even had in childhood. I decided to take a week or so and have absolutely no schedule (and I do feel grateful for the privilege to be able to take this time). I did whatever I wanted to do, if I wanted to journal on my blog, I would write, if I wanted to go for a walk I’d go for a walk, if I want to bake something special for myself I would. If I wanted to cry, I’d cry, whatever was there was listened to and honored, nothing repressed. It’s actually kind of outrageous to take even a day, a weekend, a week or a month to just feel alive, go outside and feel grass under your feet, feel sun on your cheeks, lay on a hammock and see a cloudless sky, and just feel like this life is yours, rather than always having to do something for work or for someone else.

This is where a little tiny light inside my heart started to shine and turn on. I could see it in my eyes when I looked at myself in the mirror, I began to feel the sense of self-love and self appreciation and gratitude for this life. I don’t think I really had this before, it’s taken more than half of my life to finally feel this, and it required that I let go of my tradition, every spiritual, ego prop and support.

 

self care

 

I begin to see how real love and real well-being works since it’s never been modeled to me before. If we have this inner spark of warmth, the power and efficacy of that can’t be underestimated. The cultivation of inner warmth can give us so much strength to be able to handle these darkening times. If we can take refuge in our own inner love and well-being in real way, we can’t be narcissistic or codependent, these facets of the same brokenness dissolve. In Buddhism, we call this maitri and and it’s considered a wish fulfilling jewel or diamond. Inner warmth is like a diamond because if you think about it for a minute, if someone criticizes you it may hurt but it doesn’t stick because you know yourself and are grounded in your own well-being. Likewise, if someone complements you or likes your social media, it doesn’t get used as ego’s fodder. We consider this process of compliment and criticism to be one of the worldly dharmas. Things are always arising in duality, both positive and negative, we have both floods and rainbows, love and loss, everything is always changing. Behind that, there’s an inner mountain of real strength that we can access, that we can have our own backs, even up unto our last breath. Through taking time for this deep self care, a love affair firstly with ourselves, we can finally uncover this real, bulletproof inner warmth and joy. You’ve heard the cliche, “you can’t love anyone if you can’t love yourself.” If the relationship with ourselves is caring with positive self talk, we can then create healthy interactions with others, with qualities of real compassion, listening, patience and problem solving.

“Tune in, turn on” and shine your light into these dark times my dear friends, it can help to change our very world. ☀️

________________________________

 

Photo by Joshua Abner from Pexels

Confessions from a female dharma practitioner insider who dared to express ethical concerns.

We’ve talked a lot about this over the years with, for example, the discrediting of Christine Blasey Ford during the #metoo movement and her very public, histrionic, mistreatment by Brett Kavanaugh. Men in positions of power, once again taking advantage of others, namely women, harming them and others and then turning around to discredit them and suggesting they’re lying or unstable. It’s called D.A.R.V.O., the acronym means: deny, attack reverse victim and offender. This is the quintessence of misogyny and many of my fellow sisters are still reaping the fallout from the #metoo movement. Men in power and an occasional woman, still continue to be cruel, exploit and then silence so many of us, it’s far from resolved in our society.

I’ve had a few years of direct experience of this in a Buddhist Community that borrows from tried and true cult-like tactics, where the dynamics of power and control, sexual misconduct, sexual violence and covert abuse is rampant to this day. It’s not only the Catholics that are guilty of clergy abuse, and coverups by crony “clothed” insiders; other religions have it as well, and it is still not yet wholly exposed, sadly. The type of abuse that happens under the auspices of one’s trusted religion is particularly egregious because those people in power, generally men, take advantage of people’s longing, vulnerability, trust and faith. My friends who left, both men and women, have lifetime, deep scars from what’s known as spiritual betrayal. Here’s a powerful excerpt from a whistleblower’s document from a woman who served a noted Buddhist spiritual teacher and community that I was involved in. When the teacher’s misconduct and alcoholism was exposed, people like her were counter blamed or forced to exit from the community.

 

“A community I came to that seemed warm and understanding and offered the promise of a healthy culture. As I moved closer and closer to the leadership and Mr. Mukpo himself, it became clear that instead a culture of abuse and rampant sexism trickles down from Mr. Mukpo to all below him. Along the way I expressed concerns to my peers and the leadership and was dismissed, insulted or placated every time. Dismissing me as an angry, hysterical person, who doesn’t see clearly, is a time-honored way to silence a woman. From much of my previous leaders and peers, I expect that I will get the same reactions now. But, I hope that some of you out there may hear this and find, reflected in my stories, truths long silenced in Shambhala.” Laura Leslie

https://cdn.tricycle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/An-Open-Letter-Statements-16-Feb-2019.pdf

 

I have been one of the people that brought up concerns for over 10 years against religious abuse, clergy abuse, child sexual abuse and problems with the division of power and control in these organizations. It did not work to bring up issues from within, people who expressed valid concerns were considered “evil, demonic, enemies and non-loyalists.”  We were not permitted to question spiritual authority. These teachers, we were told to regard as divine, with magical powers and we are to do whatever they asked. It breaks my very heart to have been involved with something that has precious, ancient teachings but in part, hurts so many people and children. By speaking out, I’ve been defamed, projected upon and counter-blamed by abusers and orthodoxers, even those who I thought were close, trusted, lifelong “dharma friends” and still continue to be so.

I’ve feared for my well-being legally and even at times, for my very life. After 20 years, deeply involved with a Buddhist community that became increasingly more unhealthy, I had to leave. It was by my own choice, but I had this clear feeling that people were questioning what they called my “loyalty” to our leader as I began to question him and those in control. It was really painful, devastating actually, to have to leave a community that I devoted so much time and money, and fostered very deep lifelong friends with. I was not alone, people began to leave as they saw the same problems. We could see that the way that the community was organized was contracting, hurting and estranging people and upheld what’s called structural violence.

Buddhists don’t tell too many people this but later on, when you begin to study Buddhism and if you are involved with Tibetan Buddhism or Tantric Buddhism, they tell you that we actually have 17 Hells, and one of these hells is for people that speak out against their teacher or community. For sure, if you’re one of these #metoo women you have a one-way ticket there. So much anxiety and many tears were shed and in my departure: I doubted myself, I blamed myself and I actually bought into the thought I was “evil, bad or cursed” for having seen the problems with the organization that were very clear. I actually had to seek two years of spiritual counseling to begin to heal from the decades of cult-like infused psychological harm. I’ve been so grateful over the past few years with the women’s empowerment movement, of being able to expose the dark dystopian undercurrent of a lot of these religious organizations that harm women, children and men, with unethical power and control, under the threat of spiritual retribution.

I think that a lot of these organizations have been around for hundreds or thousands of years, and and these men in positions of power or clergy, that exploit others, will take some time to culture deconstruct, bring transparency and awareness to and to heal. I wish no harm on any of these abusers, I simply wish for them to stop the arrogance, ego and misconduct, relinquish their power and their titles and develop some type of conscience and sensitivity toward people that they’ve exploited and hurt. With regret, we can make the needed changes to form healthier communities. How harm, control and sexual exploitation ever became facets of these religions that posit ethics and compassion is beyond me.

Some people suggested that asking narcissistic men in power (and in these traditions, narcissists are ubiquitous) who behave in inappropriate ways to all of a sudden have some contrition is idealistic and naïve. I’ve even been insulted and  verbally attacked by the whistleblowers and revolutionists for being cult-complicit with the belief that we could learn and correct misconduct. I’ve been a persona-non-grata by both sides, sadly since I took a moderate, restorative view. I sent a few “love letters” to this spiritual teacher pleading him to make real amends and heal the community as it is now dismantling, and he and his board doubled down with power and control and were not interested in any feedback, from any of us.

Somewhere, however naïve, I have faith in the power of the dormant human conscience; how can these men live with themselves? I believe that we can support each other to clean up misconduct even if centuries old, and learn grow and heal as a society. It’s been predicted that these unethical men, who use the dharma to hurt others will cause it’s downfall. I for one, with many other brave and ethical friends are trying to stop this momentum, as the genuine, simple dharma of self awareness, free of commoditization and institutionalization, is of so much benefit and needs to be preserved and upheld. Those who have devoted their lives to a structurally violent, “command and control”, unhealthy teacher or spiritual community and left have become my sangha, my refuge and my most trusted and treasured friends. A number of powerful and ethical teachers have bravely spoken out against harm too, thankfully. Maybe these religious organizations can create something new, a culture that is truly helpful, sacred and ethical could arise from the ashes of these times and after our pandemic where all is in question. I do have so much faith in the power and integrity of the human conscience, that cannot forever be covered when light is shed on it.

 

Here are some ideas for organizational change in these spiritual communities:

Here was a threefold solution that could provide a format to fix most of these problems, to modernize Dharma organizations, both Lay and Monastic communities… and beyond. After the many scandals of the past few years, many communities have begun to implement some of these ideas.

1. ETHICS/ SEXUAL SAFETY TRAININGS: Every non-profit/ religious structure should have mandatory sexual harassment and ethics training, like we do in the workplace, that the teachers, staff and participants abide by. Each community will create a reasonable and thorough code of conduct policy. (No tantric free passes!)

2. GRIEVANCE BOARD: Like Thich Nhat Hanh’s sangha, they reportedly have a powerful “peacemaking” listening council/ grievance board when there are inherent sangha conflicts or problems. It’s best if this can be elected or created by the sangha, rather than appointed. We listen, value each other and agree to work out our differences of opinions, even if they are with the teacher, to create a much more healthy, democratic structure. (No more victim blaming, accusing people of being “vow breakers” and suggesting they are hell bound if they were hurt. Furthermore, no shunning, silencing and excluding.) 🙄

3. TRANSPARENCY & CONSEQUENCES: Religion is not above the law, and we do not permit “secret conduct.” We have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment, coverups, abuse or any type of harm to children. Any current laws broken are subject to due process. Repeat offenders will have to seek help, treatment and if untreatable, may be banned from community to protect safety of members and children.

If we implement these three things, we can clean up so much of the harm, heal and move forward during this time of seeming crisis.

With so much hope, aspirations for growth and forward thinking,

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

________________________

1st Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

2nd Photo by Min An from Pexels

 

“Drive All Blames Into Oneself”

Humans, throughout time immemorial have been capable of committing the most cruelest crimes imaginable, some intentional, some based on self defense, emotional reaction or ignorance. However, there is always hope for regret and personal change if we really desire to do so. We cannot have contrition and heal negative karmic patterns, as long as we constantly blame others for our wrong views, misconduct and wrongdoings. Oftentimes, those who we blame and perceive as “evil” and “enemies” are just mirrors of our own unseen bad behavior and karmic traces. I’ve done some work in the prisons, and with war veterans with complex PTSD, who have a hard time recovering from the pain and trauma of what’s called “moral injury,” from the actions and experiences during wartime. However, there’s a tried and true method of healing from even the most egregious negative patterns and past, even that of unforgivable war crimes.

We had a famous Buddhist Saint named Milarepa, who in his past, had reportedly practiced black magic and out of vindication, caused the death of many people. He later, sincerely regretted his dark past, turned over a new leaf and used the rest of his life to be a tremendous benefit to others to ultimately attain full enlightenment. In order to begin this process of getting on the right track and healing, we have to be honest with ourselves about who we are, what we’ve done and like in any 12 Step program, take the first step and admit with all humility, that we have committed wrongdoing. We no longer justify our bad behavior nor blame others. The Dharma offers the powerful Four Powers as a remedy for unwholesome actions, to forgive oneself, make deep personal change and ultimately be free of guilt, blame and shame:

 

THE FOUR POWERS

1. The power of REGRET – of a negative activity or pattern.

2. The power of REFUGE – re-establishing of the right attitude of non-harming, compassion and benefit.

3. The power of RESOLUTION – decision never to repeat the negative action again.

4. The power of REMEDY – applying the antidotes, purifying action, making amends to any who you have harmed.

 

*Lojong Training Slogan
https://www.lamayeshe.com/article/purifying-four-powers

If we’ve even committed any of the heinous crimes which are considered truly unforgivable~ like killing an enlightened being or causing the downfall of the Dharma, there are purification methods which involve powerful transformative rituals. With the Mindfulness Peace Project they work with war veterans that have a hard time forgiving themselves and integrating back into normal society after having been involved with unforgivable actions. What is done, is you take the root of the person’s faith if they have any, and create some type of ritual process of contrition, forgiveness and absolution. One might imagine God or Jesus or all the Buddhas or the Sun, in front of you and you and “confess.” You speak out exactly what you’ve done wrong, and then you imagine that whomever or whatever you have faith in, even if it’s just our “higher self,” completely forgives you and with great sincere regret, you vow to never do those actions again. It turns out that these rituals can be very powerful in liberating the negative guilt and unhealed karmic seeds that we hold within us that wind up re-creating patterns of depression, self-doubt and social harm.

None of us, no action is irredeemable; each of us have within us a human conscience, however dormant. I think we all have an innate longing to live our best life possible, even people with damage, trauma and personality disorders. Through causes and conditions, wrong views and unresolved wounding from our past, we can commit heinous deeds. In contrast, we can also turn our lives around and completely heal if we have the foundation of the willingness to be honest and make the deep personal changes required to really learn and grow. This premise of radical compassion even in the face of war veterans, or hardened criminals, is the root of all possible prison reform and restorative justice that our society is sorely lacking.

This amazing organization called The Compassion Prison Project, understands that at the root within all human hearts, is goodness that cannot forever be covered. Their premise is that each of us could take a wrong turn in life and the people that commit crimes are usually responding to early child abuse and neglect and unresolved trauma, and should be treated with exceeding understanding and therapeutic compassion, rather than reifying the notion that they are criminals and should be punished. I foresee an entire new day dawning with our understanding of human nature, the importance of self forgiveness and healing on personal level and how this can become the building blocks of healing society as a whole.

Step Inside the Circle from Fritzi Horstman on Vimeo.

 

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Buffalo Cauliflower Hot Wings

I think this is hands down, our family’s all time favorite vegetarian dinner. You can use butter and blue cheese dressing or substitute vegan options for these two. We make these for watching sports or for special occasions and it’s amazing how flavorful the cauliflower is with the hot red chili pepper sauce. It’s very decadent as everything’s baked in butter but not deep-fried. I make some healthier sliced french fried potatoes, wedged with the skin on, and some organic carrots and celery to dip in the blue cheese.

Ingredients:

2 heads of organic cauliflower approx. 6 cups of florets
1/2 cup milk for vegan: use water or alt unsweetened milk
2 organic eggs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs can sub gluten-free rice crumbs
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup red hot pepper sauce like Tabasco or Cholula
1 1/2 sticks butter- can sub. vegan butter or olive oil
1 cup cut organic carrot sticks
1 cup cut organic celery sticks
1/2 cup chunky blue cheese dressing or vegan blue cheese
3T ketchup
5 medium organic baking potatoes washed and scrubbed with skin on.

Needed: 2 cookie sheets, 2 large mixing bowls, whisk, aluminum foil

Instructions

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or grease very well with oil.
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Slice potatoes thin and lengthwise.
Please on a single layer on cookie sheet and pour 1/4 c butter sprinkle salt on them.
Put them into oven to cook while you prepare the cauliflower, potatoes need an extra 10 minutes.
Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces/florets.
Whisk  the milk and eggs together in a large bowl.
Mix the breadcrumbs and cornmeal and 1/2t of salt in a large mixing bowl.
Coat the cauliflower in the egg mixture then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
Shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet.
Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, turning them over so that all sides golden brown and crispy.
While the cauliflower is baking, prepare buffalo wing sauce.
Melt 1/2 cup of butter.
Take ‘wings’ out and pour butter and hotsauce on wings, coat well. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Take out fries and salt, serve with ketchup.
Serve wings with cut carrots, celery and blue cheese. Cheers!

Buffalo Cauliflower Hot Wings

I think this is hands down, our family's all time favorite vegetarian dinner. You can use butter and blue cheese dressing or substitute vegan options for these two. We make these for watching sports or for special occasions and it's amazing how flavorful the cauliflower is with the red chili pepper. It's very decadent as everything baked in butter but not deep-fried. I make some healthier sliced french fried potatoes, wedged with the skin on, and some organic carrots and celery to dip in the blue cheese.

Equipment

  • 2 cookie sheets
  • 2 large mixing bows
  • aluminum foil

Ingredients
  

  • 2 heads of organic cauliflower approx. 6 cups of florets
  • 1/2 cup milk for vegan: use water or alt unsweetened milk
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs can sub gluten-free rice crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup red hot pepper sauce like Tabasco or Cholula
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter- can sub. vegan butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup cut organic carrot sticks
  • 1 cup cut organic celery sticks
  • 1/2 cup chunky blue cheese dressing or vegan blue cheese
  • 3 T ketchup
  • 5 medium organic baking potatoes washed and scrubbed with skin on

Instructions
 

  • Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or grease very well with oil.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  • Slice potatoes thin and lengthwise.
  • Please on a single layer on cookie sheet and pour 1/4 c butter sprinkle salt on them.
  • Put them into oven to cook while you prepare the cauliflower, potatoes need an extra 10 minutes.
  • Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces/florets.
  • Whisk  the milk and eggs together in a large bowl.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs and cornmeal and 1/2t of salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Coat the cauliflower in the egg mixture then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
  • Shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet.
  • Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, turning them over so that all sides golden brown and crispy.
  • While the cauliflower is baking, prepare buffalo wing sauce ready.
  • Melt 1/2 cup of butter.
  • Take wings out and pour butter and hotsauce on wings, coat well. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Take out fries and salt, serve with ketchup.
  • Serve wings with cut carrots, celery and blue cheese. Cheers!

 

I wanted to repost this revealing article in full below because it exemplifies how a lot of us spiritual seekers came from broken families and/or addiction, and in an infantile way, were admittedly just looking for someone to re-parent us, find security in someone or something that we can take refuge in. The level of need is often par the level of rewarded “devotion” and ability to become used, exploited in terms of power, control, money, sexuality and administrative roles. If the ends justify the means and all of us were having amazing spiritual qualities after a lifetime of devotion I would say sure, but so many of my friends have invested decades under some teacher or community, and still are showing no signs of real compassion, decency, ethics but rather have used their spiritual tradition to build up the ego or to escape. I think it’s time to really grow up and call this out, in ourselves firstly and then toward any community where at it’s heart, behind the scenes, is structural violence. With honesty and transparency, we can grow up, and forge a new day of real earth/science based spirituality, altruism and compassion.

 

The guru doesn’t lead them to enlightenment, but to infantile narcissism. They may feel a sense of oneness or bliss in the company of the guru, but his isn’t genuine enlightenment. It’s more akin to the sense of oneness that a baby feels with their mother. In this way, the guru syndrome is a classic case of what Ken Wilber referred to as the ‘pre/trans fallacy’ — the mistaking of transpersonal spiritual states for regressive pre-personal states (or vice-versa). Steve Taylor Ph.D.

 

Repost: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201904/the-guru-syndrome

Many years ago, I attended some meetings of a spiritual group whose ideas interested me. I liked the teacher and author who had started the group. I thought his theories were very clear and intelligent, encompassing a vast range of topics into an integrated whole.

But what I found strange was the attitude of other members of the group. Although the teacher had died many years ago, they worshipped him as an omnipotent god-like being. They believed that he had performed miracles and that he still controlled their lives.

I was also disturbed by their attitude towards me. They disapproved of the fact that I was interested in other approaches. When I mentioned to one member of the group that I also attended a local Buddhist group, he looked at me sternly and said, “Why do you need to go there? This group should be enough for you.” After a while, the group’s unconditional worship of their leader and their exclusivist attitude made me feel so uneasy that I stopped attending their meetings.

This was my first encounter with the “guru syndrome.” The guru tradition has been a part of Indian culture since time immemorial. In that context, it is seen as an important way of transmitting spiritual teachings, and a way of supporting aspirants along the spiritual path. Spiritual development can be a tricky process, with all kinds of pitfalls and dangers, so the guidance of a guru is helpful. According to Indian tradition, the guru can also “transmit” his spiritual radiance to his followers, providing them with spiritual sustenance. In addition, the devotion of the disciple to the guru has an important role. Indian spirituality places a high value on bhakti (devotion) as a way of transcending self-centeredness.

Gurus in Western Culture

However, when the guru tradition is transplanted into Western culture, it often becomes problematic. (I’m sure it is sometimes problematic in Indian culture too, but probably not to the same extent.) There are countless reports of American or European-based spiritual leaders who have exploited and abused their followers, had promiscuous sex with their female followers, become addicted to alcohol or drugs, and so on. In fact, there are so many cases of “gurus gone wrong” that it is not easy (at least outside traditional Indian culture) to find examples of “good gurus” who have avoided excess and immorality.

I don’t think this is wholly the fault of gurus themselves. There’s no doubt that some gurus have bad intentions from the beginning. As I explain in my book The Leap, some gurus may be narcissists who are attracted to the power and privilege (and perhaps the money and sex) that guru status brings. Others may be self-deluded individuals who believe that they are spiritually awakened, when in fact they are psychologically damaged — and who leave a trail of further psychological damage behind them.

But some gurus do seem to start off with good intentions. Perhaps they don’t even intend to become gurus. However. followers gradually gather around them, and eventually they become the center of a “spiritual community.”

And this — the formation of a spiritual community — is usually the stage when things really go awry. Even if they weren’t corrupt to begin with, the gurus become corrupted by the power of their position and the unconditional devotion of their disciples.

The Need to Worship Gurus

The key to understanding the guru syndrome is the psychological need of disciples. Although many disciples (at least initially) may have a genuine need for spiritual growth, this is usually combined with a much more unhealthy impulse: a regression to a childlike state of unconditional devotion and irresponsibility.

This is a very appealing state to be in. Think of how wonderful it felt as a young child, to believe that your parents were in complete control of the world, and could protect you from everything. There was nothing to worry about; your parents had it all covered. And you worshipped them so devotedly that you unquestioningly accepted everything they said and did.

Guru worship takes worshipers back to that infant state. As long as the disciple is in the care of the guru, all is well in the world. They feel safe and secure, just as children do in the presence of their parents. They give up responsibility for their own lives and pass it on to the guru, just as children do.

And the guru is a perfect being, who cannot behave unethically. He can accumulate millions of dollars, own 93 Rolls Royces, have his own armed security team, and regularly humiliate his followers, but they will always find some excuse for this appalling behaviour, in the same way that children will refuse to believe that their parents can do wrong. The disciples will claim that the guru’s abuse and cruelty is a form of “divine play” or a way of testing their followers.

Any initial impulse that the disciples may have felt to spiritually awaken is usually subsumed by this regression. The guru doesn’t lead them to enlightenment, but to infantile narcissism. They may feel a sense of oneness or bliss in the company of the guru, but his isn’t genuine enlightenment. It’s more akin to the sense of oneness that a baby feels with their mother. In this way, the guru syndrome is a classic case of what Ken Wilber referred to as the ‘pre/trans fallacy’ — the mistaking of transpersonal spiritual states for regressive pre-personal states (or vice-versa).

And for the guru, this mindless devotion usually leads to disaster. Once they are surrounded by hundreds of adoring disciples, they begin to suffer from ego-inflation. They really believe that they are perfect, even that they are divine. They lose their moral compass, believing that the most unethical behaviour is acceptable. In the midst of unlimited power — and sexual temptation — they lose any sense of restraint.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all gurus. Certainly, in the Indian tradition, there have been many examples of gurus — such as Ramana Maharshi and Ramakrishna — who have behaved with integrity, and supported the development of thousands of followers. This also doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with spiritual teachers per se. It is perfectly possible to be a spiritual teacher without being a guru — that is, without having a community of disciples around you, offering you unconditional devotion.

In fact, the best thing a spiritual teacher can do is to avoid guru worship. And the best thing a spiritual seeker can do is to avoid gurus.

If you liked this, check out my book The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening

 

 

Reposted with permission of

Steve Taylor Ph.D.

Out of the Darkness

image source: Source: markocki/flickr

Chai Spiced Paleo Scones with Berry Compote
A best friend visited one summer morning and I made her some super easy and healthy Chai Spiced Paleo Scones: wheatless, sugarless, flour-less, high protein, and densely nutritive. Now I’m making them again for the fall, when a warm oven is welcome. They are perfect topped with spreadable vegan butter and a warm berry compote!

Ingredients:

2 cups of Paleo or almond flour
3 T coconut flour – if using almond flour
3 T of flaxseed meal (optional)
1/4 cup coconut oil – or any vegan butter, reserve some for basting
1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar, maple syrup or honey, more for sprinkling and compote
3 Tbs water
2 organic eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp clove powder
1 pinch of salt
1 12oz pack or 2cups of fresh or frozen berries

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
3. In another bowl combine eggs, vanilla and water
4. Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
5. Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly (if necessary you may need to add a few drops more of water if your mixture seems too dry)
6. Form into an 8″ x 2″ round circle and place on parchment paper
7. Cut into 8ths and separate with a spatula
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly browned
9. While scones are cooking heat frozen or fresh berries in a saucepan and add 3T of sweetener
10. Brush scones with a bit of melted vegan butter, sprinkle with a little monkfruit sugar and top with berry compote, serve warm!

Tools Needed:

Cookie Sheet
Parchment Paper
Spoon and Spatula
1 Large and 1 Small Mixing Bowl
Basting Brush

berry scone

berry scone

Chai Spiced Paleo Scones with Berry Compote

A best friend visited one summer morning and I made her some super easy and healthy Chai Spiced Paleo Scones: wheatless, sugarless, flour-less, high protein, and densely nutritive. Now I'm making them again for the fall, when a warm oven is welcome. They are perfect topped with spreadable vegan butter and a warm berry compote!

Equipment

  • Tools Needed:
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Spoon and Spatula
  • 1 Large and 1 small mixing bowl
  • Basting Brush

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups of Paleo or almond flour
  • 3 T coconut flour - if using almond flour
  • 3 T of flaxseed meal optional
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil - or any vegan butter reserve some for basting
  • 1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey, more for sprinkling and compote
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp clove powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 12 oz pack or 2 cups of fresh or frozen berries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375*
  • In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
  • In another bowl combine eggs, vanilla and water
  • Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
  • Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly (if necessary you may need to add a few drops more of water if your mixture seems too dry)
  • Form into an 8" x 2" round circle and place on parchment paper
  • Cut into 8ths and separate with a spatula
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly browned
  • While scones are cooking heat frozen or fresh berries in a saucepan and add 3T of sweetener
  • Brush scones with a bit of melted vegan butter, sprinkle with a little monkfruit sugar and top with berry compote, serve warm!

This Comforting Spiced Kitchari Dal Bhat, is a modified version of the nutritive, cleansing Kitchari from the spiritual community of Shoshoni, and a shoutout to a lifetime yogi friend for his cooking instructions. Dal Bhat which means lentils and rice, is a staple the food served daily in Nepal and India. When you combine the rice and red lentils, you have a complex protein. Kitchari is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cleansing food as it’s very easy to digest and is nutritive. In the Ayurvedic tradition, kitchari is one of the foods that is considered sattvic. Sattvic is calming to your digestion and digestive track, and includes vegetables, oils or ghee (clarified butter), fruits, beans, and whole grains. In fact, I regularly follow the at home cleanse suggested by LifeSpa where you eat only this. You can make a big batch of it while you are doing the cleanse or on a solitary retreat doing self-care. It’s so spicy and comforting and inexpensive, the staff at Shoshoni always say that it’s their favorite thing for them to eat!

• 2 C dried yellow or red split peas (Moong Dal)
• 5 C water
• 2 T ghee, coconut or olive oil
• 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed
• 1 tsp chopped ginger root
• 1 T black mustard seeds
• 1 T cumin seeds
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tsp. turmeric
• 1 tsp. chili paste, or a pinch of cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1 tsp. ground coriander

(or sub the above 4 with Quality Curry Powder)

• 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped onions
• 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
• 1T monkfruit or cane sugar
• 2 cups spinach
• 1/2 cup sliced carrots
Rice: Long Grain Organic Basmati Rice, Cooked on the side
Condiments: Plain Greek Yogurt, Mango Lime Pickle and Chutney on the side


Directions:

1. Rinse split peas. Bring water to boil in a large pot, and add peas. Return to boil, stir, then lower heat, and simmer 1 hour until tender.

2. In a skillet, heat oil and sauté, mustard seeds until they “pop” and turn grey. Add cumin seeds and fry until golden. Make sure to cover the pan when cooking seeds, or they’ll “pop” all over your kitchen! Add garlic,
ginger, onions, turmeric, chili paste or cayenne, ground cumin, and coriander (or curry powder).
Sauté, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté, until the tomato is mushy (about 3-5 minutes).

3. Add mixture to Dal, salt, and vegetables cook another 20 minutes, adding 1c water. Warm rice and condiments are served on the side.

 

Comforting Spiced Kitchari Dal Bhat

This Comforting Spiced Kitchari Dal Bhat, is a modified version of the nutritive, cleansing Kitchari from the spiritual community of Shoshoni, and a shoutout to a lifetime yogi friend for his cooking instructions. Dal Bhat which means lentils and rice, is a staple the food served daily in Nepal and India. When you combine the rice and red lentils, you have a complex protein. Kitchari is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cleansing food as it's very easy to digest and is nutritive. In the Ayurvedic tradition, kitchari is one of the foods that is considered sattvic. Sattvic is calming to your digestion and digestive track, and includes vegetables, oils or ghee (clarified butter), fruits, beans, and whole grains. In fact, I regularly follow the at home cleanse suggested by LifeSpa where you eat only this. You can make a big batch of it while you are doing the cleanse or on a solitary retreat doing self-care. It's so spicy and comforting and inexpensive, the staff at Shoshoni always say that it's their favorite thing for them to eat!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 C dried yellow or red split peas Moong Dal
  • 5 C water
  • 2 T ghee, coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger root
  • 1 T black mustard seeds
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. chili paste or a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • or sub the above 4 with Quality Curry Powder
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 T monkfruit or cane sugar
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • Rice: Long Grain Organic Basmati Rice Cooked on the side
  • Condiments: Plain Greek Yogurt Mango Lime Pickle and Chutney on the side

Instructions
 

  • Rinse split peas. Bring water to boil in a large pot, and add peas. Return to boil, stir, then lower heat, and simmer 1 hour until tender.
  • In a skillet, heat oil and sauté, mustard seeds until they "pop" and turn grey. Add cumin seeds and fry until golden. Make sure to cover the pan when cooking seeds, or they'll "pop" all over your kitchen! Add garlic,
  • ginger, onions, turmeric, chili paste or cayenne, ground cumin, and coriander (or curry powder).
  • Sauté, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté, until the tomato is mushy (about 3-5 minutes).
  • Add mixture to Dal, salt, and cook with vegetables another 20 minutes, adding 1c water. Warm rice and condiments are served on the side.

photo: Emily Kate Roemer

Welcome the fall and harvest! A perfect easy, healthy cookie sheet dinner with colorful oven roasted root vegetables and baked tofu. Vegan, gluten-free and kosher.

Ingredients

• 1 lb tofu sliced lengthwise
• 1 large yam or sweet potato washed with skin on
• 3/4 pounds brussel sprouts cut in half
• 1/2 pound beets (red or golden), trimmed and scrubbed clean
• 1/2 pounds large carrots washed and sliced
• 1/2 red or white onion peeled (optional)
• 12 whole garlic cloves large sized
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 tsp cracked pepper or more to taste

Recipe Notes

Note: Some people prefer to peel their veggies. I buy organic veggies and scrub them well. When using red beets your other veggies may take on a bit of reddish color. You can use golden beets instead, or roast the red beets on one side of roasting pan.

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Slice all veggies into about 1-1/2 inches square. The more similar in size, the more evenly they’ll roast.
3. Put cut veggies into a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Spread the veggies out evenly on the baking sheet. Add 3 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir until all veggies are evenly coated with oil, spice and herbs.
4. On a second cookie sheet, spread 2T olive oil, and please tofu slices.
5. 



Roast the veggies in the oven for fifteen minutes. Stir the veggies and turn over the tofu, return baking sheet to oven and continue to roast until the largest ones are tender and the borders are starting to turn golden/dark, another 15-25 minutes.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Baked Tofu

Welcome the fall and harvest! A perfect easy, healthy cookie sheet dinner with colorful oven roasted root vegetables and baked tofu. Vegan, gluten-free and kosher.
Prep Time 1 hr

Equipment

  • 2 cookie sheets or shallow roasting pans

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb tofu sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large yam or sweet potato washed with skin on
  • 3/4 pounds brussel sprouts cut in half
  • 1/2 pound beets red or golden, trimmed and scrubbed clean
  • 1/2 pounds large carrots washed and sliced
  • 1/2 red or white onion peeled optional
  • 12 whole garlic cloves large sized
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper or more to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Slice all veggies into about 1-1/2 inches square. The more similar in size, the more evenly they'll roast.
  • Put cut veggies into a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Spread the veggies out evenly on the baking sheet. Add 3 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir until all veggies are evenly coated with oil, spice and herbs.
  • On a second cookie sheet, spread 2T olive oil, and please tofu slices.
  • Roast the veggies in the oven for fifteen minutes. Stir the veggies and turn over the tofu, return baking sheet to oven and continue to roast until the largest ones are tender and the borders are starting to turn golden/dark, another 15-25 minutes.

Notes

Note: Some people prefer to peel their veggies. I buy organic veggies and scrub them well. When using red beets your other veggies may take on a bit of reddish color. You can use golden beets instead, or roast the red beets on one side of roasting pan.

akashic

Questions About Our Future

I think every single person at some point in life is curious about their future and would love to have some clarity about what’s happening with them now. We often we stay stuck in not knowing what choices to make, how to proceed and what’s best for us. When we’re in college we might consult with a career counselor, at different stages of life we might ask friends for support, we might journal and try to go inward and find out what our truth is. Throughout human history people have relied upon oracles and divinations to try to access deeper wisdom and some insight about our future.

Now, I come from a tradition where we adhere to evidenced-based-science and I’m not easily wooed and enticed by new age magic, magical thinking, conspiracies, gods, angels or spirits or things that are not directly perceived by our five senses. However I have a degree in psychology with the focus on Buddhist studies and we studied things in college such as Gestalt Therapy and Carl Jung’s notion of the collective unconscious. Let’s take a minute out and look at what the collective unconscious would really mean. Think about that very word for a moment; it’s pretty intense when you break it down… COLLECTIVE unconscious. That means that all of us share some type of similar base operating system within our species, a collective. You could imagine an analogy to a computer or even a cyborg. There’s one central operating computer that is electronically connected to everyone else’s personal computers and the Internet of Things. This collective unconscious would be something that would be part of our birthright and what we were all privy to, when we came into our life as a facet of our species.

The Bee’s Know

I imagine the collective unconscious as something like this, imagine that a honeybee is born. That bee, just by taking birth already has hardwired into his mindstream a template of how to make a honeycomb, the acknowledgment of his role as a worker bee, the respect and reverence and relationship he would have to a queen bee. The worker bee will know that it has a task to go out and collect pollen and how to process that within the honeycomb and work together cooperatively to have an entire complex, productive social milieu. No parent taught that bee how to make a honeycomb what it’s role was, what the queen was how to make the architectural template of the geometry of honeycomb, it was hardwired into his knowing as a bee, part of his birthright. You could say that his mindstream was connected with his biological DNA as a bee and he inherited that whole entire complex understanding, just by being born.

How and Why Divinations Work

If a far more complex being comes into existence like a human being, and we have some natural, basic understanding of the bio-complexity of our social, organizational structure. That’s where you get the entire pantheon of the archetypes like the queen, the minister and all of the things that are talked about in star maps, astrology, Tarot, the Taoist I-Ching and a lot of ancient divinations. This body of collective wisdom that we are all privy to on a very subtle archetypal level, defines the collective unconscious. That collective unconscious holds with in it, this body of information that is not limited to only a one-dimensional linear time. It’s more of like a consensual conglomerate of intelligence that’s a natural facet of our universe. When we are in our waking consciousness, we are distracted with a lot of business and things that we have to do in our own individual lives. We turn away from our ability to access the complexity of this archetypal wisdom within us. When we do certain things like consult a valid oracle, or look at Tarot or read from the collective unconscious which is also part of what’s known as the akashic records, we begin to tap into a generally dormant but yet subtly existing part of ourselves.

This is why throughout human history, some people could be clear-seeing. What was it that they’re actually seeing? They see the collective unconscious or seeing the wisdom of the interconnectedness of all of these archetypes and how they influence our lives in human society. As far as I understand, the akashic records are part of the collective unconscious, they are series of personal stories and propensities of our own archetypal template. When you open up your akashic records and you read, if you’d like to call it reading, it’s actually just more of a matter of allowing,  you can begin to see how to live your life in a way that is meant for you and serves your highest good. This wisdom is our birthright and is always operating with in us, but oftentimes because of concepts, unprocessed grief, confusion or just stupor,  we turn away from that and we make choices that don’t necessarily serve are our highest good. If we can access these methods like reading our own akashic records or Tarot, we can open and clear the doors of perception to be able to access Carl Jung’s collective unconscious and within there, is this amazingly colorful body of wisdom, intelligence and clear seeing.

This only seems supernatural and spooky to the untrained eye, par with for example, an indigenous, isolated native from the Brazilian rain forest seeing an airplane and thinks it’s a God. There’s actually nothing particularly fantastic or supernatural happening. You could say that this faculty of going inward and perceiving the ground of our collective unconscious would be something that would be exceedingly natural. Anyway, this is my own personal experience. Instead of relying on other people to tell me how to live or what my highest truth is, I found an amazing an immediate way of accessing our own akashic records and it works like a charm every single time and it’s free!

The Lineage of Edgar Casey, Rudolph Steiner and Linda Howe

How to make the collective unconscious- conscious. I read a book from Linda Howe called How to Read The Askashic Records and got trained on how to read these, which is a facet of the community of Rudolf Steiner, Edgar Casey and the Theosophical Society.  I am grateful to her for empowering us all on how to access our highest selves. It costs nothing other than time and a sincere desire to look at ourselves and our lives, honestly, with a willingness to change and grow. The scholarly history of this process isn’t super important for now. I think each of us, if we happen to be at a crossroads of our life and are questioning about career, love or what would serve our highest good, I invite everyone of us to try to do this. I’m going to offer some exceedingly simple instructions that have been proven to work for me.

How to Read Your Records

So basically you sit in a very quiet place alone with yourself and you feel a sense of inner stillness calm. Then you read the prayer below, called the Pathway Prayer Process© which is a nondenominational prayer that opens to what Linda Howe calls the forces of light. She mentions God, I don’t happen to believe in God but I say it anyway and imagine it as a facet of the collective unconscious wisdom. Then, I recorded myself on the computer with QuickTime audio and I ask the question into the space that I’m wanting to understand. Then, I go into a moment of silence. When I feel a sense of everything completely settling down and inner silence, and the body being grounded without there being any mental pictures, at that moment I consider the “records” to be opened. From there, I begin to answer my own question and it’s really interesting what happens at that moment. It’s almost like you access this undercurrent of interdimensional wisdom and… it works every single time. You don’t have to be particularly psychic, or an oracle because we have access to that wisdom within us. It’s almost like every moment, it’s tapping on our shoulder wanting to come to the surface. So we don’t need to spend any money on divinations or other people to see what our highest truth is. This highest truth is often chomping at the bit to come out!

So go ahead, take about half an hour with yourself and download this prayer and just read it. I light candles and incense and ensure that I will not be interrupted by pets, phone and family. There’s one part that you want to do after you finish the prayer, before you say “The Records are Now Open.” You actually want to say your name three times out loud and that opens up the records of your own particular karmic propensities, archetypes and life template. You’d be surprised at how much wisdom is within you!

We Can All Wake Up!

I invite each of us, whenever there’s a question or something that’s confusing or something that’s really painful, to open up our own records and listen to what the universe has to say to us. I’ve even done it such that you can “open up the records” for someone else, and ask for wisdom and insight for something that can be unclear. It works every time it’s really amazing. Virtually any person with basic faculties can do this. I have absolutely no spiritual propensities or talent and didn’t believe in it all, and it still works. If you’d like to confirm what you might be feeling or any residual questions I will sometimes back that up with an official divination from my Buddhist teacher friends. I work for an organization called the Breeze of Delight, where you can ask spiritual questions and they’ll do a similar process and then come back to you with their support and suggestions for where you’re at. However they can take weeks or months, and this works even better.

Have fun with this process and I encourage everyone to really, just try it and you be surprised by the depth of wisdom from what arises!

Download it here:

https://lindahowe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pathway-Prayer-Process.pdf


Images: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AkashiographicESpell.jpg

thieves

The History of Thieves Oil

In times of plague, pandemic and now Covid, humans have relied on powerful essential oils to utilize their anti-bacterial qualities. The historic folklore of this famous Thieves remedy is quite intriguing. The use of thieves oil dates back to the year 1413, at the time, the notorious Bubonic Plague was devastating a large portion of France. The black plague spread like wild fire among the citizens, and the doctors equally. It seemed impossible to be in the area without contracting it, and in the time, the illness resulted in an ultimate, gruesome death. Contracting this illness, very similar to our current pandemic, resulted in severe influenza symptoms with a bacteria infecting the blood system, ending in death.
In this time, however, four burglars were captured and accused of stealing from the ill and dying. The thieves never contracted the plague, despite the close contact with the Black Death victims. During this time, the offenses of theft were punishable by burning alive. The judge was so intrigued by how the thieves had stayed immune to this dreadful disease, that he told them if they shared their secret he’d spare them of their dire fate. The thieves told the judge their secret: they wore a perfume prepared with an essential oil and spice recipe that whenever applied to their hands, temples, ears, feet & a mask over their mouths, kept them safe from infection. They blended cloves, lemon, cinnamon, lavender, and rosemary and applied the mix to their body and a mask that they wore over their own mouth. The judge stayed true to his word. The men weren’t burned alive, but instead they were hanged for their crimes. The Black Death Doctors later adopted this formula, and wore a pointed mask, filled with these spices and oils that looked like a beak. This was the inception of the name for medical “quackery.”
I however, happen to appreciate this powerful formula, and stand by it’s amazing scent and antibacterial properties. Today, I made my own at home “Thieves” essential oil blend and made a diluted powerful non-toxic antibacterial home spray cleanser too, the home smells like lemon, clove and eucalyptus. This is amazingly spicy, like to have a home filled with chai tea, much more appealing than citronella bug spray, and does repel bugs too! A few drops of this blend can be put in an atomizer or warm vapo bath to help to open up respiration and detoxify your home. It’s very powerful though so make sure to… Dilute! Dilute! I was able to make about 20 ounces of it and it’s really strong with an apricot carrier oil for under $30. One bottle of Young Living Thieves if you can get it as it sells out now, is about $45 for 1 ounce.

The Alchemy of Making Oils

In the tradition of wild-crafting essential oils, inspired by pagans and Steinerian schools of thought as exemplified with Dr. Hauschka, the oils are best if wild-crafted. These oils I use are 100% pure essential oils, but not wildcrafted or organic, they are moderately priced and good for cleaning. Some alchemists are sensitive to the “energy” of crafting oils, even going to far as to place the oils back outside to absorb the essences from moonlight. We wont go that far since we are just blending ready made oils. However, I like to have the kitchen very clean before, play some heartwarming music and set my intention to heal as I’m blending these. Yes we too can be modern day, energy sensitive alchemists, that help to heal our world, starting right at home!

Ingredients:

1 oz. Pure Clove Oil
1 oz. Pure Rosemary Oil
1 oz. Pure Cinnamon Oil
.5 oz. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
16 oz Apricot Oil (Any neutral base carrier oil)

Tools:

bottles to replace oil
funnel
pot or plastic bowl to stir
metal stirring spoon
2 bpa free plastic or glass spray bottles

Directions:

Pour all oils into a pan and stir until well blended
Use a funnel liquid pouring container and re-pour into bottles
To use as a cleaner, pour .5oz into a spray bottle, add 2T of castile soap and shake, shake every time before use as the oil will separate
thieves

D.I.Y. Thieves Essential Oil and Cleaner

The Alchemy of Making Oils
In the tradition of wild-crafting essential oils, inspired by pagans and Steinerian schools of thought as exemplified with Dr. Hauschka, the oils are best if wild-crafted. These oils I use are 100% pure essential oils, but not wildcrafted or organic, they are moderately priced and good for cleaning. Some alchemists are sensitive to the "energy" of crafting oils, even going to far as to place the oils back outside to absorb the essences from moonlight. We wont go that far since we are just blending ready made oils. However, I like to have the kitchen very clean before, play some heartwarming music and set my intentional to heal as I'm blending these. Yes we too can be modern day, energy sensitive alchemists, that help to heal our world, starting right at home!

Equipment

  • bottles to replace oil
  • funnel
  • pot or plastic bowl to stir
  • metal stirring spoon
  • 2 bpa free plastic or glass spray bottles

Ingredients
  

  • 1 oz. Pure Clove Oil
  • 1 oz. Pure Rosemary Oil
  • 1 oz. Pure Cinnamon Oil
  • .5 oz. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
  • 16 oz. Apricot Oil Any neutral base carrier oil

Instructions
 

  • Pour all oils into a pan and stir until well blended
  • Use a funnel liquid pouring container and re-pour into bottles
  • To use as a cleaner, pour .5oz into a spray bottle, add 2T of castile soap and shake, shake every time before use as the oil will separate

There was a lovely write-up about the Mindfulness Peace Project, an excellent meditation and wellness based organization that I’ve supported for years. See it here:

https://www.buddhistmala.com/malas-for-prisoners-the-mindfulness-peace-project/

The original Facebook post:

https://www.facebook.com/Ratna.Peace.Initiative/

veg loaf

As you all know, cutting out/ eating less meat is a great way to decrease our carbon footprint- this healthy, veggie infused semi-gourmet Mediterranean Vegetarian Meat Loaf comes out really well- do try it! Its great with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower and a roasted red pepper sauce as a condiment.

2 packs (800g) of Beyond Burger/ Lightlife ground veg. “meat”
1/2 diced organic onion
1 diced organic red and green pepper
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs or panko
2 eggs (best from our organic backyard city chickens 😉 )
1 c. sliced kalamata olives
3/4 brick of feta cheese
1/3 c olive oil
salt, black and white pepper and Italian seasoning to taste!

Form into a loaf and place on parchment paper and lay on cookie sheet.

Cook 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

Modified veg recipe thanks to aunt Ulla Broander Ödahl, who lived on Cyprus!

veg loaf

Mediterranean Vegetarian Meat Loaf

As you all know, cutting out/ eating less meat is a great way to decrease our carbon footprint- this semi-gourmet Mediterranean Vegetarian Meat Loaf came out really well- do try it!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr

Equipment

  • Cookie Sheet
  • Parchment Paper (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 packs 800g of Beyond Burger/ Lightlife ground veg. "meat"
  • 1/2 diced organic onion
  • 1 diced organic red and green pepper
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs or panko
  • 2 eggs best if you have organic backyard chickens
  • 1 c. sliced kalamata olives
  • 3/4 brick of feta cheese
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt black and white pepper and Italian seasoning to taste!

Instructions
 

  • Cook 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Notes

Modified veg recipe thanks to aunt Ulla Broander Ödahl, who lived on Cyprus!

 

Tomoe Gozen
A Ronin is a Japanese Samurai Warrior that has lost his (or her) master and yet wanders boldly and bravely into their life. Many of us are taking a hard look at religion, a “religious path” and longing to make real personal, spiritual progress before this life is over. The problem is, that often people follow these religions with great devotion and expense, and yet find after many years that all of the amazing qualities promised, are just not occurring. Why? They promised us that if we do these practices and did everything that they said, that we would be free of pain and evolve into something greater, even magnificent. For example, in the yoga community, they have a famous quote:
“Practice and it’s all coming.”
Anyone who’s ever been involved with a high demand group, or a very controlling semi-cultist religion might want to read this book immediately. It’s called Cults in our Midst by Margaret Singer of Colorado. She discusses basic, standard tenets of spiritual/ religious abuse and control, it’s always the same, formulaic. For 25 years, I was closely involved with some Tibetan Buddhist communities and could see the same problems recur: power, control, hierarchy, people fighting to be close to the teacher and people in power, treating others unwell as they maintained their positions. They used subtle threats of spiritual punishment had no grievance board or place to work out issues or offer feedback. For years as an insider, I thought that the valid concerns I kept seeing were “me”, well…
After the exposures of #metoo movement, a lot of these organizations are now being questioned and some of them are even dismantling. Many have fallen apart with some pretty painful, scandalous hemorrhaging, and it was really hard for me to process. We have some very deep personal vows that we take with our guru, an authoritarian teacher. I was told if we ever break them or speak ill of anyone or anything that we would become ill, or have serious personal life obstacles and then be born in some type of torturous compassion-less hell in an afterlife.
Even though I’m married to an evidence-based scientist and was educated and went to some of the best schools, I actually really believed in this stuff on a deep level and was frightened. I sought out help from people who understand religious dynamics and that brought me to an organization called Recovering From Religion, which offers a community support group and even a 1-800 number/ 24 hour chat, if people find themselves in a spiritual crisis! I went to some of their meetings in Denver, and I wanted to share with you some of the wisdom about how people can be harmed by religions.
Here were their healing suggestions for those who wanted to deconstruct their acquired belief system and heal. There were people there who grew up as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, some very heavy-handed religions that made people feel bad about themselves, period. We, together, tried to heal the pain and confusion from our religion or organization. It can be so incredibly hard, especially if you’re born into a religion that’s hardwired to see the world from that lense and oftentimes people’s entire families, relationships and entire milieu are part of the constructs of these heavy handed, black and white, spiritually retributive religions.
cults

RECOVERING FROM RELIGION

  • We do not talk anymore in terms of “magical thinking,” things that are not based in consensual evidence-based reality for example: imagining all of the different fantastic reward and punishment things that could happen in some afterlife, any afterlife or previous life, devils, angels, Buddhas or gods influencing us from another dimension. We do not point to there being some type of unseen, righteous moral authority that’s calibrating our good and bad deeds and judging us from a place that we can’t perceive. We do not talk in terms of any type of magical thinking as being real. In sum, we take a full stop to- archaic beliefs, religious crazy and conspiracy theories. Even if any of this afterlife, interdimensionality or other-worldliness is true, we remain in consensual, earth based reality.

 

  • We decide that we no longer want to participate in any type of religious tradition or paradigm or organization that is incapable of questioning itself and learning to grow beyond it’s structure. It’s religious rites and tenets cannot be so fixed that it creates a closed contracted, limited belief system. Oftentimes, High Demand Groups, cult-like communities or very closed fixed religions will suppress, defame, invalidate, attack and even modern-day shun, anybody that merely questions it’s values, formula, beliefs and ethics. This closed, contracted system simply can’t benefit human evolution in a genuine path of questioning learning and growing. The Buddha himself, said “don’t take anything I’ve taught on faith, please question everything I said, your own experience is what matters and be a lamp unto yourself.”

 

  • Avoid destabilizing traditions that make you feel like you doubt yourself, that you are bad that you’re evil, or that you’re going to hell, or that you’re sick. It happens all too often, that religions try to co-opt and monetize some type of purification, absolution or spiritual evolutionary process. Oftentimes the whole thing becomes a business and all of the amazing qualities promised never really occur, even after following their practices and paying with a lifetime of devotion. One of the most debilitating conflicts of interest is spiritual codependency, taking complete trust and refuge and someone or something outside of yourself, to help you to grow and to fix all of your problems. This quest is perilous and keeps us looking outward and it’s nearly impossible to grow with the mind turned in the wrong direction.

SPIRITUAL CODEPENDENCY

This is the best quote from an article called How Cults Work by Julia Layton. It summarizes the type of control and induced dependency in the spiritual communities: Induced Dependency– Cults demand absolute, unquestioning devotion, loyalty and submission. A cult member’s sense of self is systematically destroyed. Ultimately, feelings of worthlessness and “evil” become associated with independence and critical thinking, and feelings of warmth and love become associated with unquestioning submission.” This pretty much sums up my religion also known as Lamaism, or at least the exploitative parts of it.
I actually had the good fortune of studying with a powerful, old, ancient wisdom Buddhist Yogi. I would fly over to Nepal every year and climb the top of the mountain and stay with him. There was one time where I think I asked for too many teachings and practices and it was clear that I wasn’t even putting to practice the ones that he’d given me before. I asked for some blessing, and empowerment and some high spiritual this and that, he said:
“I’ve already told you all that you need to know, I want you to go out and practice what I taught you.” Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
He never asked me for money or commanded me to do any type of administrative work, only to practice. There was never any sexual impropriety, any type of manipulation on his part and he did not want to use me for anything in any way. He simply gave me some very powerful meditation instructions that were simple and subtle and required quite a bit of time to go pretty deeply and hopefully, establish some type of quality of simple clarity and compassion in my being. There was one time he even taught us a practice called Guru Yoga where you imagine all of the ancestral qualities of an enlightened, powerful teacher above your head. Even as he was giving this instruction, he was very very careful to not attribute all our openness and sacredness to him personally. He said “you can imagine it’s me but it’s not me.” What you are connecting to is, beyond me.
I’m so grateful that my spiritual teacher worked with us in a very personal way and had so much integrity. With any trace of this spiritual codependency or grasping arising, he would gently redirect us back to our own strength and heart. In this way, eventually we can grow up and stand alone in our power. This was the essence of a healthy relationship with a real master, guru or spiritual teacher, and I feel fortunate. In retrospect, I’ve seen many religions, yoga and spiritual communities become these giant monstrosities of control and commoditization, and I’m not altogether sad that a lot of them are dissolving. My teacher passed in 1996. Many of us, Ronin like spiritual refugees, hold the hope that something ethical, transparent and beneficial will arise in their wake. Genuine rock real, raw, falsity-free spirituality.
The master-less Ronin uncovers her own deep power. Look for what is healthy and empowers and strengthens you, rather than makes you dependent upon a priest, teacher or their methods, to be absolved to heal to grow or to learn anything.

 Sloughing off any traces of spiritual codependency, allowing ourselves to think critically about what is helpful to us verses what is just the socialization of religion and spirituality, is such a powerful and first step in finding a way to really grow and to develop into the best people we can be. We might then, from our own wisdom, find true spirituality and release any limitations from the bounds of constrictive religion.

Cults in Our Midst - Wikipedia

Cults in Our Midst

Image of Tomoe Gozen was a onna-bugeisha, who appeared in 14th century Japanese literature. According to lore, she served Minamoto no Yoshinaka during the Genpei War and was a part of the conflict that led to the first shogunate. Her family had strong affiliations with Yoshinaka. Wikipedia

healthy love

I think in these days of speed and trauma and a lot of us living in the Internet, I think we’ve learned maladaptive patterns of what it is to be in a healthy relationship. If we’ve grown up with a dysfunctional family, we may not even know what that is. Oftentimes love is just a series of manipulations and games, based on our brokenness and our unhealed wounding. We’re so afraid of getting hurt that we wind up withdrawing and hurting the other person first. Love can be just become a sad strategic game of power and control. Psychological and emotional abuse can be some of the only ways that people know how to relate. Unhealthy dynamics of narcissism and codependency, where you have a push me-pull you based on our co/core brokenness can become the norm.

I have the good fortune of being married for 20 years and have a healthy family and daughter, but it was hard forged. I came from a dysfunctional family and had myriads of abusive relationships before meeting my husband in my late 20s. Before him, I was even attacked a few times, once it was sadly close to deadly. I wasn’t able to see the red flags and from my naïveté and lack of experience, I didn’t know what types of men to stay away from and what types to accept. Thankfully, I did learn and I chose a very stable, grounded and clear person that has said that he would stay with me for my entire life.

However, no marriage is perfect and no person is perfect. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, personality flaws and capacities. The greatest danger in a long-term marriage is you can stop listening to each other, take each other for granted and you stop learning and growing. It happens all too often that the relationship over many years begins to flatline. I believe at this point, that marriages can fail. I think we’re hardwired two want to learn, to grow, to better ourselves and evolve through honest self reflection and introspection. I think it’s important for us to examine what real healthy love looks like versus unhealthy patterns.

I have always felt that relationship *is* the path, so the quality of love and how we are with those close to us, is our spiritual teacher, is everything. I’ve heard time and time again, from people on their deathbed, that the only thing that they say really mattered to them was the people that they love and any regrets that they have for anyone that they’ve hurt. Even people who have great devotion in some faith very rarely talk about the afterlife or their religious beliefs, it always comes down to the people who we treasured and who love us.

The first step I find in being able to be in healthy relationship is to be in a healthy relationship with myself. Do I talk to myself with a sense of gratitude, appreciation, forgiveness and kindness? Do I do the things that involve self-care like eating well, exercise, meditating and living my life’s calling as best as I can? Our romantic relationships will be a reflection of how we love, talk to and treat ourselves. From there, I think we naturally choose people that are capable of loving in a healthy way, are able to problem solve if difficulties arise and most importantly, people who can apologize and make personal change if they happen to make a mistake.

This is the single most key that differentiates a person with solid, closed, defensive narcissistic tendencies, from someone that is on some type of spiritual path of self awakening. This list above is a very simple and good guideline for us to examine the difference between genuine healthy love and love that is codependent based on our wounding and our trauma. I always say just like Jung’s image of the shadow, the moment you shine a light on a shadow, it disappears. I believe the no matter what happen to us in this life, no matter how much pain we are in, no matter how much trauma, all of us with some effort, deserve to love well and to be loved well. I don’t think any of us are cursed to be doomed to live a life of lonely solitude because of the things that happen to us. Once again, looking at how we can create the greatest love within and without is to me, the essence of the entire, truly brave, spiritual path.

BOULDER, CO – June 23: U.S. Representative Jared Polis gets scarves placed over his shoulders by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Eight Verses of the Mind event at the Coors Events Center June 23, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

I just wanted to share this little moment of inspiration that became one of my most treasured repositories of strength. I was working for a congressman who wanted to leave his congressional seat and run for governor. This was Jared Polis, I worked for him two times, once for his reelection campaign as an incumbent in 2016, and then when he wanted to become the governor of Colorado.

I got started volunteering actively for the Democratic Party because of him a number of years ago. The Dalai Lama was teaching in Denver and Jared was asked to introduce him. Jared offered him a white offering scarf called a khata and bowed beautifully. Jared talked so much about peace and social action, and said that to have the privilege of meeting the Dalai Lama and speaking was one of the most treasured of his career. There had been a recent gruesome school shooting the very night before and he was going to leave from the event to go to DC, to protest gun laws on the house floor to do some type of sit in. I was more moved by these words, and they stayed with me, even in light of hearing His Holiness, as I felt a burning, strong desire to fulfill our vows to help the world like Jared was doing. I was ready to follow him to DC and protest right along with him and it turned out, that at that moment, I began to do just that.

After a child massacre, as a mother of a young teenage daughter, the only child I have, you have a particular grief and desire to protect them from any harm. The love is so strong that, indeed hell hath no fury. I cried and I was so appreciative of his civic duty. Jared, a native Boulderite, a person that was inspired by our Buddhist tradition and yet completely utterly fearlessly engaged with our world. He was trying was to make social change to benefit our lives, in a world that was becoming darker, more violent and broken. Jared grew up with wealth and privilege and I always felt that his heart and motivation was in the right place, he had integrity and could be trusted.

Since I was 12, I had been involved with some type of activism. I went to a New England boarding school, and during summers, worked for Greenpeace and Ralph Nader’s PIRG. I worked on a couple of democratic campaigns and my mother worked for the United Nations in New York. She worked for UNICEF, and helped to bring awareness to the global exploitation of young girls who had no human rights: child brides, sexual and physical abuse, and often sold, trafficked and had no voice. Our family wasn’t wealthy or privileged, but I had some interesting exposure to some changemakers, ethics and progressive ideas. My family imparted to me, a lot of political and social awareness, mostly concerns about our environment and clean energy. As soon as I heard Jared say that he was going to go and do a sit-in help our children, at that moment I knew I wanted to work even harder as an activist in my civic duty and social engagement. He became one of my role models of compassion and efficacy, and I am inspired by him and forever grateful.

Congressman Jared Polis and Dawn Boiani at NoLabels Conference 2017

So this brings me to the small story. His gubernatorial bid was very very close. He was running against a very powerful, cheerful and progressive female candidate who was really loved, who won most delegates at our statewide caucuses and who was our previous Colorado State Treasurer. I had the privilege of speaking for Jared on his behalf at our caucus and county assembly and was elected to be a state delegate for him. However he was in the minority, and we were all so sad and disappointed that it didn’t seem like he’d have any chance. I, at that point was working as a legislative intern for the Colorado State Capitol for very progressive, green energy senator. The word around the capitol concurred that Jared had absolutely no chance of winning a purple state with a lot of gun advocates, conservative Christians and people would not approve of his sexual preference. Jared is very publicly gay, being married, in a long term relationship with a man and they have two children. Jared is the kindest of parents and he is devoted to his children and a listening, compassionate friend to everyone he meets. However, for those that were working in state politics, we were very worried about political backlash and losing the state to his republican opponent Walker Stapleton.

These amazing, benevolent people I’ve met in public service now in Colorado and DC, some of them are so fearless, they work to help our world tirelessly and there’s no sense of selfishness. I think politicians can go one way or the other, they can do it as some type of self-aggrandizement for money, power and control and then there are others that really truly work tirelessly and make personal sacrifices to benefit our world. Jared is undoubtedly, one of those people in the latter.

So, Jared was giving this talk in Boulder and there was a kind of quiet unspoken solemnness around the community of his supporters. We felt from the caucus results where he barely made the ballot, and other controversial things about his energy policy, that he didn’t really have that strong of a chance to win. Even with him being powerful, with name recognition and money, to try to go up against some who have closed minds in our state, to consider a gay gentleman in Colorado, seemed like an untenable task. So I remember one day, he’s at a fundraising event and standing up on a deck and he looks out to us and with great sincerity says:

 

“I’m going to try
I might fail but
I’m guaranteed to fail
if I don’t try.”
Jared Polis

 

Ever since he said that, this quote and aspiration completely struck my heart and has forever stayed with me. Sometimes, something might happen to you where all odds are against you, everyone dissuades you and all you have left is your own internal voice of strength and knowing the truth of what your heart is telling you to do. Sure, we can give up, feel powerless and take the easy path of escapism, putting our hands up and not believing in our ability to manifest something, it happens to us all the time.

But maybe once or twice in this life, if something pulls you so strongly that you can’t ignore your heart screaming out to what you would like to create. You have to go beyond your fear, beyond what you ever thought your limitations were and at least try. Sure we might fall, we might fail, we might get hurt, we might get crushed but we’re guaranteed to fail if we don’t listen to our heart and at least try. Thank you Jared for that moment of intense wisdom and strength and I live by it now.

May we all manifest fully, visualize a better world and potential in the future, and create the absolute best lives that we’re capable of. I think we must listen and follow our heart’s call no matter who says it’s impossible or who dissuades you, or how many seeming obstacles and naysayers. It would be amazing to find this voice of deep knowing and sometimes you’re the only one that really has your back and sees what you could be!

Jared did win our governorship and he’s done an amazing job in this difficult time and we’re so grateful to him. I know he had a good support system and powerful mom behind him that told him no matter his sexual preference he could burst through whatever social limitations that society and our time  and culture put upon him. He’s a groundbreaker; maybe if we all similarly follow the truth in our hearts, we can be that too. Thank you Jared for your faith in yourself, in me, the privilege to volunteer on campaigns for you, your leadership in our nation and state, and may your work and heart inspire us all.

 


Image: https://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/23/dalai-lama-boulder-visit/

I was a hopeful spiritual seeker and found the exotic and colorful, Tibetan Buddhism when I was 19. I recall when I started on this Buddhist path and went to Naropa, a Buddhist inspired university, they gave me all types of warnings, saying “think twice before you embark upon this path.” They said it was powerful, transformative and even dangerous. I went over and lived in Nepal and studied with a very powerful yogic master and one of my other teachers said “well the further into it you get the more committed to it you’ll have to be.” I didn’t really pay attention or understand what he meant at the time.

I must admit I was kind of mesmerized because we have different levels and different teachings that are considered advanced and secret, and the moment I heard the word secret I had the feeling that just I had to have *all* of the teachings. 25 years later, I actually had the good fortune (or burden) of going pretty deep and collecting almost the entire wide breath of the Tibetan Buddhist Tantric path. Indeed I had now, a one way ticket to blissful enlightenment, or so I thought.

Some of the fundamental teachings say that ‘Life is Suffering’ but we could, if we meditated and implement these practices, actually find a way out of suffering. What they don’t tell you however when you come through the doors and you start meditating and having all the warm fuzzy feeling of a blessed environment and friends, is that you’re ready to embark upon a path that’s going to go deeper and overturn and break you like you’ve never known before.

The Dharma centers never really put that type of “warning” information of what’s really going happen to you on the advertising brochures. So for many years, I did simple sitting meditation and then compassion practices and then some pretty fruitional  powerful yogic practices. I remember doing my preliminary practices, you have to basically throw your body to the ground hundred thousand times like a reverent squat thrust in namaste.

I would often find myself crying and I didn’t quite understand why. I think doing these practices shook up dormant grief and while it was happening, it was painful but then after the practice session, I would always feel really cleansed and bright. The Buddhist saints of old, that created these Buddhist foundational practices have perfected a mind-transformation technology that knows how to cultivate us, so that we become open conduits for more wisdom and evolution.

The further into this path I got, it sometimes feels like it’s like two steps forward and one step back. Last year I did a month long meditation retreat and I was feeling super joyous and positive. Every morning waking up, roasted coffee and doing yoga with sunshine, silence in a lovely retreat home. I was actually a little bit spiritually prideful and smug, feeling that I had really achieved the state of complete peace where all of my anxiety, desire and deep-seated fears had now, completely subsided.

Then… something happened where I had a strange confluence of meeting someone, a catalyst “twin flame” type, that triggered the deepest and darkest stuff that I had no idea was still within me. I went from feeling completely enlightened, on a crystalline rainbow cloud, to some of the darkest night of the soul sludge, you could possibly imagine. I’ve spent the last year crying about stuff that I don’t even have a name for. Things like early memories of being neglected in the crib, child abuse, regret for my mistakes and hurting people, looking at moments where I feel that I am not lovable or good. I was having really deep self reflections about whatever obstacles prevent me from having self-love, self forgiveness and loving others with real compassion and clarity. OMFG.

I’ve had to spend a good part of the year going inward and journaling and seeking tons of professional grief counseling and meditating and mostly just crying pretty much sometimes one or more hours per day. My family has looked at me and wondered “what is happening to her how can she be so incredibly heartbroken what is going on?” Was she abused, hormones, no one and nothing could help me, but me. However I know myself, there were a few deep healing crises before, and I trusted that this is a just giant karmic chunk arising and with sufficient time and care and patience, I could see it all clearing and dissipating.

I’m actually so grateful to have this dark stuff come up, it’s like the healing crisis of Ebenezer Scrooge in the book A Christmas Carol, where at some point you really have to face your own patterns, karma, personality, your own obstacles and your own blocks and make a decision about who you want to be at a crossroads in your life. I’ve now reevaluated what feels false in me, in my life, in my marriage and in my career; pretty much every single thing I’m reflecting on now. So this is been an excruciatingly painful, deep healing insight, going into the muck of tears and fears, and plunging out gnarly, dark stuff that I was previously unwilling to look at.

It’s not yoga mats, candles, bells and phurbas… our most powerful spiritual implement:

Some of my new age friends have judged me for not being “love and lighty” enough and even some dharma friends for seeming stuck or “dramatic” (😡(*&*%!!), but I know that the way out is through. I must endure facing whatever karmic baggage that I’ve been carrying around for this or many lifetimes. Some of these friends in both the city and country, sadly, are clearly suppressing and bypassing and only acting “spiritual,” you can see and feel that they haven’t done this deep soul work yet. So with the painful confluence of meeting this dear Dharma catalyst friend that caused this whole healing crisis to be set into motion, I’m really grateful for this process because now I have a chance to really grow up spiritually.

One of the greatest solaces is that I have found some strength to be able to go deep into the dark shadow and know that whatever we experience will pass. If you’re crying out great amounts of grief or anxiety you can always tell yourself this, “how I’m feeling right now is just a temporary state,” so therefore you can experience it fully without any type of blocks or resistance. Just let all of the stuff that’s there come up and out, like purging venom from a bite. It’s really a privilege to have the time and space to go deeply in this life. A lot of us have to work full time and rarely get any retreat time and healing time or time for grief that really needs to be processed. So, I invite all of us as much as we can, even take a whole weekend, take time with yourself and give a voice and space to whatever is there- sadness anxiety, personality shortcomings and really self reflect. This is the very essence of the genuine spiritual path and it’s not at all calm and peaceful, it’s more akin to acute anguish, consternation at times, until these deep blocks clear. My teacher Tenzin Wangyal always says:

“The way to find the light within you is to face the darkness”

May all of us really take the time needed, to uncover the powerful and radiant light that already exists within us.

 

Written By Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

Owner of Buddhistmala.com

Photo by Oluremi Adebayo from Pexels

“Don’t look outside
outside happiness
outside love is great
we need it
but without essence love…

we might not be able
to receive love
because we are
receiving
from our hollowness
we must receive love
from the basis of
this okay-ness

we must give love
from this wellbeing
to others…

Please expand this love…
gradually the essence love
will express it’s own
expression
as loving kindness

it carries a wish for
everyone to be happy…

and this essence love
expresses as compassion
may all beings be free
from suffering…

the guts will arise
the courage
Bodhisattva courage
will arise
from this essence love

you need nothing
for yourself
you are fulfilled by the
essence love…

and now
you are no more hungry
for love

you are the love

the only thing is that
you give love now

and this kind of confidence
courage
will emerge out of
acknowledgment of
essence love”

Short excerpt from Sept, 2020 Zoom Retreat on Essence Love (Tib.) ཐིག་ལེ


Photo: https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/rinpoche/

Tsoknyi Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist Teacher who lives in Nepal. Widely recognized as an outstanding meditation teacher, he is the author of three books: Open Heart Open Mind, Carefree Dignity, and Fearless Simplicity.

Video by: Melanie Tonia Evans

The way to heal from relationships with these people is to firstly be aware of the dynamics. Narcissistic abuse is a very serious, insidious and destructive type of emotional and psychological harm. It can be done in a more subtle, covert way, so it can be very very confusing for the recipient and  if unhealed, can cause lifelong damage. We must take the first step and be acutely aware of these personality types and gain strength by knowledge and self protection. #KnowledgeisPower

This video even though it seems kind of cartoonish, is exceedingly insightful and eloquent in it’s understanding of this dynamic, and has helped me a lot to recover.

8 Signs You Are Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse

1. Your relationship is not caring kind, or sane.
2. You are dealing with immature behavior and give up pieces of yourself to comply.
3. You are angry, disjointed and behaving in ways that you normally don’t.
4. Trying to prove that you are a good person.*
5. You are mopping up the messes.
6. Your boundaries are being disintegrated.
7. You feel addicted, disjointed and manic (perverse addiction/ trauma bonding)
8. You are suffering from abuse symptoms. (the mind and body can break down)

 

*Because the narcissist is regularly accusing you of all the things they are and do such as: lacking integrity and love and care for people, being unfaithful, lying and making it all about yourself, wanting to use people for your own gain and more. **Naturally you’d be incensed and try extremely hard to prove and convince them otherwise.** This is another deadly hook that narcissists can get you enmeshed with them on.

I grew up in the east coast of United States where this Trumpian type of arrogance, the parasitic using of people and cruel narcissism is rampant and ubiquitous and wholly ingrained in the culture there. I think with the rise of self centered, impersonal, online dating sites and social media, people can also foster this type of personality where, with access to so many people, one can become callous and unfeeling. In the first moment that there’s difficulty, people can be disposed of. People themselves, become ego’s fodder/narcissistic supply, it’s not love, nor healthy.

I’ve even had the repeated experience of a subtle form of narcissistic sadism, where after the basic process of the idealization, devaluation and discard, they actually seek some type of power and pleasure, knowing that you’re in pain and you’ve been silenced. This will happen especially if you confronted them and set boundaries, it’s called narcissistic injury and can be intense for the victim. The discard is somehow darkly empowering for a narcissist, also often referred to a dark empath. People are actually capable of gaining power and pleasure by knowingly hurting and then blaming their victims. This must be no less than the seeds of what we define as human evil.

One of the narcissists famous counter projections after they hurt you is to say “you are being dramatic.” When you try to set boundaries, you are “criticized, rejected, abandoned and punished.”

I even have a direct experience of entire organizations being run by a controlling, careless narcissist, where the structural violence is encoded into the entire community. If anyone dare speaks out they are blamed, dismissed, and even threatened, and they become unfortunate recipients of an entire culture of unhealthy narcissistic abuse.

If you grew up in one of these dysfunctional families you may have a tendency to seek out other organizations that create these familiar patterns. I recently exited from a very unhealthy cult-like organization where a lot of people are to this day, used abused and harmed. All I can say is that I’m grateful to begin to see more clearly. I’m disheartened that a lot of close friends are complicit, and still support these structurally violent organizations, that harm society so very much under the guise of benefit.

So very sad, sometimes I ponder, are we are just disposable trash to these people, are they really irreparably damaged and truly soul-less and without conscience? Is there ever hope? I somehow feel, that these people must indeed somewhere, feel truly alone. I wonder if they ever seek support treatment, or have ever any contrition. How do these personality disorders/ dysfunctional families and organizations arise, is it cultural, developmental or neurological or both? If anyone wanted to seek help, which is rare, since the disorder is predicated on projecting one’s shadow onto others, there is a well regarded treatment program that is nationally recognized.

For those of us who are the recipients of narcissistic abuse, once again, education is the key to understanding the complex emotional and psychological dynamics. We start with self care, pulling our strength back and energy away from the enmeshment of this person and trying to fix it. This can be very hard and then later, grieve the loss of the love and relationship you hoped to have. We can recover and rediscover deep love within, that the narcissists could never take away from us. From a healed place, we will never again seek out toxic relationships but rather naturally gravitate toward people that love us in a respectful, appreciative, deep and healthy way.

Video Credits
Writer: Melanie Tonia Evans
Script Editor: Kelly Soong
VO: Amanda Silvera
Animator: Faye Miravalles
YouTube Manager: Cindy Cheong

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~Rumi

 

Spiritual Bypassing, Using Religion to Build Up Ego

As westerners who chose to be involved with eastern religion, it’s safe to say, we were looking for something greater. Tibetan Buddhism took root in the United States during the 1960s where people were spiritual seekers and often involved in the psychedelic movement. A lot of us came from a great amount of curiosity, disappointment and loss. A large portion of us came from dysfunctional families, divorce or even outright abuse. We were told that if we were to take complete refuge in this religion that all of our cares would cease. We could follow a very tried and true graduated path that would bring meaning to our lives, quell our emotional, spiritual and psychological problems and result in us attaining enlightenment, if we devoted ourselves to it sufficiently.

The problem is, is that unless we come into the spiritual path with having a basis of feeling well, a basic sense of warmth, well-being, groundedness, and the harsh barbs of our trauma being resolved, there’s a tendency for ego to slip in and use even positive methods of liberation for it’s own constructs. If we use the dharma to feel superior, pretend that we are more knowledgeable, spiritually evolved than others, hide, cower and escape from our vulnerability, our fears or our deep karmic wounding, the dharma itself becomes a method to spiritually bypass and therefore itself, a worldly dharma. Spiritual bypassing is akin to hopping over our issues, our deep karmic blocks by denying, projecting them into others or ignoring, and then using one’s religion or spirituality as a faux front.

We will have devoted our lives to something wheres it’s impossible to make any progress because the fundamental obstacles have never been touched, opened and routed out. Chögyam Trungpa clearly explains this process in his book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. It’s like my teacher would say-

“If we don’t practice properly and really use these methods to evolve, it’s like going to an island of diamonds and coming back empty-handed.” Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

84000 Methods Can Be Absconded By Ego

Ego is very slippery, like a shapeshifter, and can use these methods in the dharma to build itself up. We often see fluctuation between pompous credential or an opiated escape, neither are enlightened. For example, if the way that you hide from pain is that you have some type of avoidant personality disorder and withdraw, will you find a particular part of the vast body of Buddhist teachings to confirm your propensity. You will then withdraw from society and hide and consider yourself really spiritual and in concurrence with the scriptures.

If you happen have a propensity for hedonism or sexual addiction, we have a controversial Saint named Drukpa Kunley who would unhesitatingly sleep with whomever he wanted to. You could use Dharma teachings to say that “morality is relative” and everything is part of the absolute manifestation of sacredness, and thereby justify sexual misconduct. How can this be spiritual? Both are sides of the same type of spiritual ego, and none of these propensities, I believe, can make any progress in this life until they breakdown the constructs of what they’re using to cover. Sadly, for many I see no sign of hope as of yet, it’s all about “virtue signaling,” being “spiritualistas” or “spiritual slactivists.”

Guru Devotion as a Weapon

One western Tibetan reincarnated teacher called a “tulku” recently said to me:

“The intense mind control and hierarchical culture of obedience is something I’m really uncomfortable with now. I actually think more people got hurt through that than from sexual abuse itself.”

Yes we have a religion where we offer the guru absolute control and blind obeisance. You can imagine if anyone has seen the miniseries Wild Wild Country, how well that works out. We have this unbreakable vow that we take with the teacher, that if we break or leave the teacher or community or speak ill of them or even have a negative thought, we’re supposed to go to this terrible mind torture hell in the afterlife, and/or be riddled with personal obstacles and punishments. This vow which is supposed to help us to make spiritual progress is often used as a weapon of control and ownership of students. This does nothing but create cult-like communities and spiritual, psychological and emotional harm to so very many.

Toxic Masculinity

We can credit a lot of this social dysfunction to the term toxic masculinity. Human society has a very long history of the suppression of the feminine, considering emotionality to be weak and women to be subordinate, unstable, second class citizens or even, in some cultures, property.  Many men to this day, often believe that they are far superior to women with an undercurrent of continued social misogyny that exists in all cultures. I personally practice in a very male-dominated religion in Tibetan Buddhism where we are instructed to worship these men as divine. In that culture they have a word for women which literally translates as lesser human. Very few women have any power or real voice and it’s disheartening to see this panel of colored robed, throned men telling us how to live. Many know that behind the scenes there are volumes of power, control, sexual misconduct, financial and ethics issues galore. I say it’s high time for women to take leadership roles in both religion, spirituality and politics, to clean up a lot of this toxicity and corruption.

A study in the Journal of School of Psychology uses the following definition to explain toxic masculinity: “the constellation of socially regressive [masculine] traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia, and wanton violence.”

In modern society, people often use the term toxic masculinity to describe exaggerated masculine traits that many cultures have widely accepted or glorified.

This harmful concept of masculinity also places significant importance on ‘manliness’ based on:

  • strength
  • lack of emotion
  • self-sufficiency
  • dominance
  • sexual virility”

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/toxic-masculinity#what-it-is

Real Spiritual Work Is Dirty

Karmic knots, emotional issues that we hold keep us stuck, however there is hope. By touching the wounds, our tears and fears, we can wholly liberate them. This is the crack of light that is possible. People come in to a tradition with trauma, loss, in pain and longing and are instructed to apply these high eastern yogic methods. It’s not working; we need a new way of real liberation which includes deep fundamental trauma work and the base of healing before embarking on any spiritual path.

My Teacher’s Advice

I was practicing meditation in Denmark and really reflecting about my life. I’ve mentioned before, that I came from pretty serious child abuse and neglect, and I was crying about how it would ever be possible for me to feel happy and healed in this life at all, ever. Then, during my meditation practice an insight came to me. I could take the foundation of this pain and the abuse that I experienced early on, and try to heal from it and then use it later on in life as a way of deepening compassion for others that might have experienced something similar. That was the impetus for why I started to teach meditation in prisons, and learned so much about human growth, regret and real hands-on spirituality. I think if anyone wants to do any type of real spiritual work you have to get down and dirty, here are 4 steps to get started:

  1. Spend time with yourself in a very raw and honest way and feel where you’re stuck.
  2. We can journal about where our strengths and weaknesses are and look at ourselves with tremendous honesty.
  3. If we notice that we have some type of these dormant fears and wounding and pain, take the time to honor stuck places.
  4. We can use the retreat time that we have to face our fears head-on, cry out all the tears until there are no more, like a sponge ringing out dirty water.

It’s so helpful to make the effort to cleanse these psycho-spiritual and emotional blocks built up from our lifetime or more. In this way, we can truly become a clear vessel that’s capable of wisdom. Without having gone through this messy, difficult dark night of the soul process, there’s a strong possibility that we are using our spirituality or religion in a deluded way, to cover the deep-seated blocks that we’re unwilling to face.

East Meets.. West

I think these Indo-Tibetan methods used 2500 years ago in India and in Tibet, were exceedingly valid and powerful methods of transformation and spiritual development. In our materialistic west, which allows no time for grief, we have often a lot of gross trauma and imbalances to heal before we can even start sitting meditation. If we don’t do the trauma work and we just sit alone with ourselves, let alone do any of the higher tantras which involve powerful methods of yogic practice ritual, those methods become ways to make us further imbalanced and can be actually dangerous. So this trauma work, taking time to delve deep into what has been hurtful, processing fears, going very deeply to core childhood or karmic wounding, is an essential step before we embark upon any more lofty spiritual path. Many often benefit from personal or professional support for this healing process. We could say that this is the basic foundation of the spiritual path. Real human strength and evolution is forged through bravely facing fears, heartbreak and tears, not bypassing or some renunciant escape. So go ahead, get curious about the cracks in our deepest, hidden wounds. Our hearts long to emerge from the shadows and see what type of welcome light can eventually come in. I have faith that with effort, we all have a capacity to learn, grow and heal, no matter what we have experienced. The human heart is forever fundamentally bright, and sometimes, the accumulated tarnish, just needs a bit of polishing. 🖤

Written By Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

Owner Buddhistmala.com

 


image from pexels

This hot sauce is amazingly flavorful and versatile. It’s like Tibetan Momo (dumpling) sauce, called Sepen, but it’s oil and chili based rather than tomato. The recipe is highly coveted. I begged for my Buddhist Shambhala friends to disclose the most profound secret teaching, my friend claimed that it’s the “most important” wisdom we hold. It is, of course, the highly desired recipe for… this Tibetan Hot Sauce famous at Shambhala Mountain Center formally known as RMDC. This transmission is highly guarded by our Buddhist military called the Dorje Kasung, (non-Shambhalians, don’t ask). After they accomplish secret such and such, they were rewarded with this recipe. Well, safe to say, no one would dare leak this vow protected info, so I was forced to uncover my own “inner wisdom,” and sure enough, was able to make a very close replica! I’m sharing my gnostic, guru-less discovery below. It’s really great, its like a dense chili sambal, and much better than the store bought Chinese dragon siracha we all use. You can put it on Tibetan Momo dumplings, stir fry’s, eggs, Mexican food, anything. It’s well worth making~ download this recipe, ok here goes….

Spontaneously Arisen Tibetan Hot Sauce Transmission

Dawn Lhamo’s Recipe

1/2c olive oil
1.5c water
1/3c hemp oil (or sesame)
45g red chili flakes
45g of chili power
1tsp cayenne pepper
3T dried onions (or fresh)
3T fresh minced garlic (or powder)
2T puréed ginger (or powder)
2g 5 star anise
1T salt
1 tsp sugar

Choose a heavy bottom sauté pot. I sautéed minced onions and garlic and ginger in oil then put all other ingredients in with water and let it cook lightly about 10 min med. heat. Let cool and store in air tight containers or jar. Makes about 2 full medium jam jars. Svaha!

 


And when I was asking around for these well kept secrets, two other recipes arose from whistleblowers, I haven’t tried these the third, but they might be closer to the original. If you start heating herbs and spices BE CAREFUL, they can burn, and it wastes the whole batch, yes I did that. The secret in these two below is that you heat the oil, and carefully pour the hot oil onto the spices, so they never get cooked on the stove and therefore don’t burn. I may have a cook-off and try all three to see which one is best, let us know if you have any experience or try!

Tibetan Hot Sauce

Kathy Locke’s Recipe

1 pint peanut oil
1/2 c ginger
1/4 c garlic
1 c onions
1/4 c chopped red chili (fresh more)
3-5 star anise
1/4 to 1/2 c toasted sesame oil
chop everything fine
place in large pot
then separately heat to smoking the peanut oil
then pour in to large pot (will smoke)
mix
then add
3-5 star anise
1/4 to 1/2 c toasted sesame oil
good luck.


Tibetan Hot Sauce

By Hudson Shotwell

Ingredients:
3 Large Onions
22-25 good sized cloves of garlic, about two large heads worth
Ginger root, peeled, to match the amount of garlic cloves in quantity
2 oz Thai dried red crushed chili pepper with seeds
5 star anise, whole
2 level, measured teaspoons of salt, or less if you wish.
4 cups of vegetable oil

A food processor is a great way to make this beautifully hot sauce.

1. Peel and quarter the onions, process them very fine; don’t leave big pieces.
Put in the bowl.

2. Hit the garlic cloves with the flat of a large knife to release them from their skins.

3. Peel and chop the ginger and two garlic size chunks. Make your pile of ginger the same size as your pile of garlic.

4. Process the garlic and ginger together, very fine. Put them in the bowl.

5. Empty the package of crushed chili into the bowl.

6. Put the six anise seeds into the bowl.

7. Mix it all together.

8. In a separate sauce pan, heat the oil to very hot, 400 degrees, smoking, or a little hotter.

Attention! Do not leave the oil, or forget about it, or you will have a fire on your hands!

9. Take the stainless-steel bowl with all the ingredients in it, a mixing spoon, and the pan of boiling oil, outside, never mind the weather. Carefully pour the oil a little at a time onto the vegetables, stirring with a wooden spoon as the sauce should boil up, then quickly cool down.

10. Add the salt to your taste.

11. Allow the sauce to sit overnight to allow the star anise two releases flavor. Decant to smaller vessels in enjoy it with many kinds of food and friends.

tibetan hot sauce oil

pour hot oil cook

finished hot sauce

mamas fire hot sauce

 

Spontaneously Arisen Tibetan Hot Sauce Transmission

Dawn Lhamo’s Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1.5 c water
  • 1/3 c hemp oil or sesame
  • 45 g red chili flakes
  • 45 g of chili power
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 T dried onions or fresh
  • 3 T fresh minced garlic or powder
  • 2 T puréed ginger or powder
  • 2 g star anise 5 stars
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
 

  • Choose heavy bottom sauté pot. I sautéed minced onions and garlic and ginger in oil then put all other ingredients in with water and let it cook lightly about 10 min med. heat. Let cool and store in air tight containers or jar. Makes about 2 full medium jam jars. Svaha!

 

I was amazed to discover the very best natural face cream and now use it every.single.day. I would say it’s no less than the fountain of youth. I was taught how to make this by my flower-child neighbor who uses only the best organic and well sourced ingredients that she buys in bulk from various homemade beauty care and natural cosmetics suppliers. I know it might seem tedious to have to craft your own face cream, but it is well worth it. If you make a batch which lasts for an entire year, you can store it in the refrigerator. I swear by this, I have used the best face care products known to man like Dr. Hauschka and Evan Healy, but this is truly incomparable. It is the perfect weight and smells like citrus and vanilla. Let us know in the comments if you try this and how it feels on your skin and if indeed, all of your wrinkles magically disappear forever!

COCOA BUTTER CREAMY LOTION FOR FACE AND BODY

This nongreasy, deeply moisturizing and hydrating cream doubles as a fabulous after-sun cream. It leaves skin very soft and silky with a light, velvety “orangesicle” scent.

7 tablespoons soybean, almond, apricot kernel, or macadamia nut base oil

2 tablespoons beeswax

2 tablespoons coconut base oil (extra-virgin, unrefined)

3 tablespoon cocoa butter

1 teaspoon anhydrous lanolin

9 tablespoons distilled water

2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin

1/2 teaspoon borax x 30

20 drops sweet orange essential oil drops tangerine or sweet orange essential oil

20 drops vanilla essential oil

Recommended for: normal, dry, dehydrated, sensitive, sunburned, windburned, mature, or environmentally damaged skin (especially for dehydrated oily and combination skin in cooler, less humid seasons)

USE: Daily

PREP TIME: 1 hour approximate! 20 to 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to set up and cool

BLENDING TOOLS: blender; long-handled, slender spatula

STORE IN:  glass or plastic jars or squeeze bottle (if storage area is very warm)

YIELD: approximately 1-1/3 cups

HEAT: In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the base oils, beeswax, coco butter, and lanolin, until the cocoa butter and beeswax are just melted. In another pan, warm the water and vegetable glycerin, add the borax, and stir until the borax is incorporated.

COOL: Remove both pans from heat and allow their contents to cool almost to body temperature until the oils/wax/butter/lanolin mixture just begins to thicken and becomes slightly opaque. It will be like a soft, loose salve. This will take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the oils/wax/butter.

BLEND: Immediately pour oil/wax/lanolin/butter mixture into into the blender, scraping the sides of the saucepan to remove every and remove every last trace. Place the lid on the blender and remove the lids plastic piece. Turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle the water/Glycerin/Borax mixture through the center of the lid into the vortex of swirling fats below. Closely watch what happens: almost immediately, the lotion will begin to thicken. Blend for 5 to 10 seconds more. turn off the blender and check the consistency. It should have a smooth texture. If the mixtures are not combining properly, turn off the blender and give the lotion a few manual stirs with a spatula to free up the blender blades. Then replace the lid and blend on medium for another 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat process as needed.

Turn off the blender and add the essential oils, stirring a few times to mix them in, then blend completely on medium another 5 to 10 seconds, until the lotion is smooth and pale yellow

Note: If the temperature of your kitchen is above 76°F. the lotion will maintain a softer consistency. (Coconut oil turns from solid to liquid at 76°F.) If the temperature is below 76°F. the lotion will be firmer more like  a cream.

PACKAGE AND COOL: Pour the finished lotion into storage container(s). Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the lotion to cool for 30 minutes before capping. If you notice after a few hours or days, that water begins to separate from the lotion, don’t worry. The mixture can separate if the fat temperature and water temperature are not relatively equal and cool enough when the two portions are blended. Keep trying — crafting perfect lotions is an art form!

No refrigeration of this product is required if it’s used within 30 days. If stored in the refrigerator, please use it within 3 to 6 months. (You may notice a change in the formula’s texture if it’s stored in the refrigerator, but this won’t affect the quality of the product.)

APPLICATION TIPS: Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to cover the entire face, throat, and décolleté and more as necessary for the body.

natural face cream

Homemade Cocoa Butter Face Cream

Recommended for: normal, dry, dehydrated, sensitive, sunburned, windburned, mature, or environmentally damaged skin (especially for dehydrated oily and combination skin in cooler, less humid seasons)
Prep Time 1 hr

Equipment

  • BLENDING TOOLS: blender; long-handled, slender spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 7 tablespoons soybean, almond, apricot kernel, or macadamia nut base oil
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons coconut base oil extra-virgin. unrefined
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa butter
  • 1 teaspoon anhydrous lanolin
  • 9 tablespoons distilled water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
  • 1/2 teaspoon borax x 30
  • 20 drops drops sweet orange essential oil drops tangerine or sweet orange essential oil
  • 20 drops drops vanilla essential oil

Instructions
 

  • USE: Daily
    PREP TIME: 1 hour approximate!, 20 to 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to set up and cool
    STORE IN:  glass or plastic jars or squeeze bottle (if storage area is very warm)
    YIELD: approximately 1-1/3 cups
    HEAT: In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the base oils, beeswax, coco butter, and lanolin, until the cocoa butter and beeswax are just melted. In another pan, warm the water and vegetable glycerin, add the borax, and stir until the borax is incorporated.
    COOL: Remove both pans from heat and allow their contents to cool almost to body temperature until the oils/wax/butter/lanolin mixture just begins to thicken and becomes slightly opaque. It will he like a soft, loose salve. This will take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the oils/wax/butter/
    BLEND: Immediately pour oil/wax/lanolin/butter mixture into into the blender, scraping the sides of the saucepan to remove every and remove every last trace. Place the lid on the blender and remove the lids plastic piece. Turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle the water/Glycerin/Borax mixture through the center of the lid into the vortex of swirling fats below. Closely watch what happens: almost immediately, the lotion will begin to thicken. Blend for 5 to 10 seconds more. turn off the blender and check the consistency. It should have a smooth texture. If the mixtures are not combining properly, turn off the blender and give the lotion a few manual stirs with a spatula to free up the blender blades. Then replace the lid and blend on medium for another 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat process as needed.
    Turn off the blender and add the essential oils, stirring a few times to mix them in, then blend completely on medium another 5 to 10 seconds, until the lotion is smooth and pale yellow
    Note: If the temperature of your kitchen is above 76°F. the lotion will maintain a softer consistency. (Coconut oil turns from solid to liquid at 76°F.) If the temperature is below 76°F. the lotion will be firmer more like  a cream.
    PACKAGE AND COOL: Pour the finished lotion into storage container(s). Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the lotion to cool for 30 minutes before capping. If you notice after a few hours or days, that water begins to separate from the lotion, don't worry. The mixture can separate if the fat temperature and water temperature are not relatively equal and cool enough when the two portions are blended. Keep trying — crafting perfect lotions is an art form!
    No refrigeration of this product is required if it's used within 30 days. If stored in the refrigerator, please use it within 3 to 6 months. (You may notice a change in the formula's texture if it's stored in the refrigerator, but this won't affect the quality of the product.)
    APPLICATION TIPS: Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to cover the entire face, throat, and décolleté and more as necessary for the body.
Keyword cocoa butter face cream, homemade face cream

 

Photo by Dana Tentis from Pexels

What Is a Whole Foods, Plant Based Diet?

A whole foods, plant based diet uses plant sourced whole foods and avoids animal products. The plant based diet isn’t necessarily a set diet, it’s more of a lifestyle. We consume whole, minimally processed foods, and limit or avoid most animal products. We focus on plants, such as: veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which makes up the majority of what we consume.

This diet excludes refined foods, such as added sugar, white bread, gmo’s and processed oils. We pay special attention to food grade, with advocates of this whole foods diet promoting locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.

It’s Not Vegan

People who follow strict vegan diets refrain from consuming any animal products, including dairy, poultry, meat, seafood, eggs and honey. Vegetarians exclude all poultry and meat from their diets, however a few vegetarians eat eggs, seafood or dairy. This plant based diet (also called WFPBD) on the other hand, it’s more flexible.

Followers eat mostly plants, but animal products are not completely off limits. While one person on the vegan diet might eat no animal product, one who follows a whole foods diet can eat modest quantities of poultry, eggs, seafood, meat or dairy. For example, pork production is one of the worst environmental pollutants of all of the factory farm industries. Once a year for Christmas, our family will purchase an organic ham, locally sourced and with great respect for that animal’s life. We are willing to pay much more for these occasional meats consumed, and found a few local farms right in the neighborhood!

For instance, we have 6 chickens, and feed them organic grains and food scraps, and they produce eggs for us every day! Our family eats well sourced, locally sourced or organic meats about once a week. It’s hard, we feel bad about it, especially when you raise animals, but the complex nutrients for growing children are recommended on occasion. Most nights, I use egg based dishes and well crafted, vegetarian meat substitutes.

This mainly plant based diet also can really help us lose weight and improve our overall health. Obesity is a problem of epidemic proportions. In fact, more than 69% of US adults are overweight or obese. Fortunately, with these simple food and lifestyle modifications we can facilitate weight reduction and have a lasting impact on health. Here are the 7 main reasons to consider:

1. A Plant Based Diet Can Be Richer in Nutrients

If you switch to a plant-based diet from a typical American diet, you’ll eliminate most animal and meat products.
We eat whole-foods, like whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.

2. It Can Help You Lose Excess Weight

An escalating number of people are turning to plant-based diets in the hope of losing excess fat.
This is perhaps for valid reason, several observational researches show that vegans have a tendency to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared to non-vegans.

3. It Appears to Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Improve Immune Function

Going plant-based may also have benefits for hypoglycemia, type 2 diabetes and declining kidney function.

4. A Plant Based Diet May Protect Against Certain Cancers

In accordance with the World Health Organization, about 1/3rd of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet. For example, eating legumes on a regular basis might lessen your risk of colon cancer.

5. It’s Connected to a Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Eating fresh fruits, legumes, vegetables and fiber is linked to a lower chance of heart disease.

6. A Plant Based Diet Can Reduce Pain from Arthritis

Some research has reported that a plant-based diet has positive consequences in people with various kinds of arthritis.

7. Plant Based Diets Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

There is a substantial decrease in water consumption, food production and transport costs and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with a plant-based diet. Of course, this also is much more humane for living animals, as the animal suffering, conditions and general atrocities in our factory farms is unconscionable. A WFPBD is good for you, good for mother earth! This is the easiest way you can “Go Green” and substantially decrease your carbon footprint, by up to 73%!

I offer a simple to get started, downloadable PDF, and ongoing free recipes, ones that I actually make, so please bookmark our site!

Written By Dawn Boiani, Wellness Coach. Owner of Buddhistmala.com

image: Daria Shevtsova pexels dariashevtsova.com

If I can quote Al Gore “every day when you turn on the news, it’s like a page from the Book of Revelations.” If we aren’t sad and anxious a bit now, there might be something dampened with our sensitivity! However, I’m living proof that the old that adage is true that “the darkest hour is indeed right before the dawn,” and I’d like to share my story. A series of very challenging things happened to me a few years ago: an exceedingly painful conflict with a friend, some hormonal changes and some possible legal issue happened right before getting on a plane for a family vacation in Europe. It was like a perfect storm. It was intense, emotional, I was frightened and nothing was settled.

When I arrived in Europe I had the normal jet lag, but at that point my mind and heart were spinning about all these personal issues. I had to leave with them still being unresolved. My nervous system and and my internal circadian clock became seriously out of whack. I spent my family vacation in Europe trying to meditate and sleep, but all of the problems circled around in my mind.

When I got back to the United States, I had reverse jet lag again and the problems were still painful. That set into motion about 6 months of intense anxiety, resulting in seemingly unsolvable insomnia. It was bad, I was sleeping only a few hours a week, and had terrible nightmares and existential fears when I did. I have a funny religion that believes in hells, obstacles, curses and punishments and that definitely exacerbated this internal struggle. It was like the dark night of the soul, akin to Ebenezer Scrooge, but it went on for 6 months instead of only three nights! It took all strength in me to overcome this.

I realized later, that the root of anxiety is actually heartbreak, a person can withstand a few painful, dramatic things and recover from them quite well. However, if a number of things occur at the same time, the heart reaches an overload and can’t process so much grief and stress all at once. Your nervous system goes on overload. It could be considered the infamous nervous breakdown. I reached out to everyone to try to help: doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. I kid you not, I was so desperate I even has a soul retrieval done by a shaman! Medical doctors tried to put me on sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medicine, whatever could help me. I was only sleeping a few hours a week, and couldn’t function in my daily life well. I was so worried that my health, mind, heart and marriage were going to be irrevocably damaged. The biggest fear was that this would be forever, would I lose everything, even my life?

So what I did, is that I was not going to take this laying down. I did not want to go on any type of allopathic medicine. They all have side effects and do strange things to your mind. Oftentimes these toxic, addictive sleeping pills stop working after awhile. You have to take more over time, and I didn’t want to be addicted to anything ever. This was not the right path for me, but I’m not suggesting that anyone stop taking their doctor prescribed medicines, as that too, can be dangerous.

What I did is, I created a holistic approach to healing anxiety and depression and getting my body back into order. I started to eat really well, exercise, journal and breathe deeply. I sought counseling to do very very deep trauma work and tried to resolve the original issue with my friend. I sought the help of friends, professionals, and more than anything believed that I could get through this difficult time. I found a good Functional Medicine doctor who was not a proponent of any type of sleeping pills or medicine for depression. He rather, put me on a protocol of fresh foods, greens and natural supplements that you could get at the health food store, to support the nervous system. For about three months, I took a very heavy protocol of herbs and over the counter supplements like: 5HTP, Gaba, Inositol, and started to take some type of very simple herb and spice based Tibetan Medicine as well. I found an amazing book, if people are having trouble sleeping called the Effortless Sleep Method that you can buy for $5 as a Kindle book on Amazon.

This all completely conquered my insomnia through a natural way, and got me sleeping deeper than ever. I realized that my anxiety was not an enemy but it was a friend. It’s the body’s light handed warning signal saying that you’ve taken on too much. It’s intention is not to be a burden for you, but it’s to remind you that it’s time to go deeply into self-care, simplify and helps to ultimately *prevent* disease.

So now, if I ever feel that I’m taking on too much and the “winds” are getting disturbed, or I’m feeling a lot of sadness or overwhelm, I take that as a sign to go immediately into calmness, meditation, and simplify my life and then restart. If you have been battling with anxiety, depression or insomnia, I’m living proof then you can recover from these imbalances go deeper into self care, form a very deep relationship with your own energetic system and come through the other side and flourish better than ever. No matter what’s happening on the “outside,” there is a strength of real self love and balance, that we can uncover. Nothing at this point, seems to be able shake that from me now, and I’m so very grateful that I went through this. We all can shine again and completely overcome anxiety and depression, with some holistic effort.

Written by Dawn Boiani, owner Sakura Designs

 

 


 


Image from pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/yellow-flowers-917076/

 

Somehow, I had the good fortune to practice meditation in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition which offers many yogic powerful methods of developing oneself on retreat. Many Tibetan teachers called Lamas offer a simple fruitional three step practice instruction. For instance, we have Tenzin Wangyal’s Stillness, Silence, and Spaciousness. Then we have Garab Dorje’s Three Words the Strike the Vital Point, Tulku Urgyen’s: Look, See, Rest; these  powerful three points make it easy to remember how to practice, and distill volumes and years of wisdom down into something we can implement.

I was on my annual retreat for one month a few years back, and these three instructions arose, that I used every day. I’d like to share this for those interested in these practices and methods. If you don’t practice Dzogchen meditation, they may not make sense, it’s called “self secret,” so in that case, it’s recommended to find an authentic teacher, learn sitting practice and after time, receive introduction to mind nature, from there we practice:

 

1. Sustain the recognition of no-self

2. Open all karmic knots and offer everything, completely die into space

3. The world will appear as the pristine celestial rainbow mandala, that is how it is

 

Here’s a brief explanation. The first is that we train in the root instruction from the teacher, of seeing no self, egolessness. It begins to feel rather than you sitting there, it’s like a light that’s been turned on, a self existing bulb, bright but no one really inside. Keep a light sustained recognition, establish it for awhile as how you see the world.

The second, notice if there is any holding inside, fear, tightness, blocks, attachments, longing, anything at all. Imagine that you offer it all into space, holding nothing back for yourself. There may be fear or grief that arises when our deep “knots” open. This is a sign of the blocked channels clearing, and not to be confused with having a disturbing emotion or meltdown, it’s more akin to a healing crisis.

In Tibetan tantric preliminary practice, we use a brass or copper or even gold plate, with gems and grains and perform something called a mandala offering 100,000 times. In this gesture, we keep nothing for ourselves, we offer it all into space. This completely undos attachment and grasping, and helps us to let every single thing go, almost as if we are preparing for our very death. This is not a physical death, but the death of your unenlightened self, karmic debris that no longer serves us. The masters say, practice dying into space, many times. This is the deepest of healing possible.

The third, I will not comment on, because this experience should not be covered by concept of fabrication, and is considered highly personal and “secret.” However, if you commit for a month, doing 4 sessions a day, and follow the first two instructions under the close supervision of an authentic teacher,* you may well have some powerful experience of a glimpse of what it feels to see the world as it is, simple pristine and light. One could say, we are well on our way to enlightenment! This requires the “98% perspiration” by taking the time to really practice, and learn how to really open and let go.

Well wishes, and may everyone experience reality as it is. This will help us so much to be strong when challenges arise, and finally, when we pass away, we can let go, with warmth and peace.


*Find an authentic teacher. These days, some of these teachers have sadly gone astray: power, control, exploitation and ownership of students, so please be careful. Some of these communities are like “Gurus Gone Wild,” and can’t really help us to attain enlightenment. Find one who keeps to deep practice, who will work with you directly and personally who you can really trust. I would not get too involved with administrative tasks and community conflict, we need retreat, time to go deeply, and from there, aspire to help the world.


This post was originally published in 2014 and edited August, 2020

Bhutanese (American) Tri Color Pepper and Cheese Ema Datshi

Vegetarian (not vegan) main course~ with rice, the best one yet! I was in the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan for a week in 1992, and we camped out in a small remote town called Paro, it was amazing and utterly magical. Everyone should visit Bhutan someday if they can. Ema Datshi is the country’s national dish as they grow many red peppers and dry them on rooftops. Most nights we had this for dinner. It transports me back there, this does call for cheese, I will explore some vegan cheese options soon and review the best ones for melting.

12 jalapeño peppers seeded and sliced lengthwise
1 each red, green yellow pepper sliced
12 dried red chilies
2T butter
2T olive oil
1t salt
1 large shallot or onion sliced
1 8oz block of Gorgonzola approx
4 oz goat cheese (not feta)
1/2 block cream cheese
sautée shallot/onion in butter
add all peppers and olive oil sautée
add 1 cup of water and salt cover and boil until peppers are soft
add cheese and melt stirring often like a fondue
serve with basmati rice 🙏🏼

Bhutanese Tri Color Pepper and Cheese Ema Datshi

12 jalapeño peppers seeded and sliced lengthwise 1 each red, green yellow pepper sliced 12 dried red chilies 2T butter 2T olive oil 1t salt 1 large shallot or onion sliced 1 8oz block of gorgonzola approx 4 oz goat cheese (not feta) 1/2 block cream cheese sautée shallot/onion in butter add all peppers and olive oil sautée add 1 cup of water and salt cover and boil until peppers are soft add cheese and melt stirring often like a fondue serve with basmati rice
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Sautee pot with lid

Ingredients
  

  • 12 jalapeño peppers seeded and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 each red, green, yellow pepper sliced
  • 12 dried red chilies
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 large shallot or onion sliced
  • 1 8oz block of gorgonzola approx
  • 1 4oz goat cheese not feta
  • 1/2 block block cream cheese

Instructions
 

  • Sautée shallot/onion in butter
    add all peppers and olive oil sautée
    add 1 cup of water and salt cover and boil until peppers are soft
    add cheese and melt stirring often like a fondue
    serve with basmati or Bhutanese red rice.

There’s an amazingly powerful, loving and gentle teacher you might have heard of named Mingyur Rinpoche. I am a close student of his father and brother and “grew up” with this family while I was living in Nepal for many years. I lived at his brother Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s monastery in Swayambhunath, and had the good fortune to spend a lot of time with them personally. I began reading Mingyur’s book, In Love with the World. It’s about himself, Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk-yogi teacher who took to the streets with no money and no provisions, to bravely do a three year retreat and trust that he’d survive. He didn’t tell anyone that he was going do this; it was an old yogic masters practice to just “enter in to the action” and have no defined place to go.

Rinpoche was set up to do a three-year retreat in a cabin with attendants and had simplified his whole life and administrative roles to prepare. On the first day the attendant came and they found a note on his meditation cushion explaining that he was going to go into the streets to wander and just experience the rawness of life and trust that he would come back to us in three years after his retreat is completed, and for us to not worry. We that knew him, were so very worried. His mother, reportedly cried without console. He has a large worldwide organization called Tergar, and indeed his students were concerned.

We found out later that at times, he came close to starving and despair. He met up with his attendant named Tashi when begging in Boudhanath Nepal, around the Stupa (Buddhist Monument). Tashi recognized him even as an unkempt beggar, and they traveled together for a bit. He slept on the street and in caves and sometimes begged enough for hotels. He was used to being revered and grew up with servants, wealth and privilege and was heartbroken when people passed right by him, when he was close to starving. He came back after these three years with more depth, more alive and with more  profound compassion than ever. Someday, when they let us travel again, I want to go back to Nepal for a simple cave retreat again, where these great masters practiced in simplicity. I highly recommend his book of you haven’t yet read it. Rinpoche we are glad you came back safely and your bravery inspires us all.

I’m thinking a lot these days about yogis and yoginis and being the most wholesome we can be in these dark times. My dharma and yoga practice has graciously strengthened since we’ve had to stay home more. No matter how apocalyptically dark, no matter how much pain and despair, there is always a core of calm and warmth that we can access. The media, news and social media do not define us. I feel a new evolution and renaissance within and without that we can co-create, emerging. We must do away with old ways, male dominated greed and corruption, and the monetizing and institutionalizing of, not only the tantric Buddhist tradition that Rinpoche was trained in, but everything. Change happens through honesty and transparency and brave voices that demand a revolution and a new human way must emerge for us all to survive. A new day of Goddess and Sage, real yogic wisdom is dawning, and I’m happy to live in this time. I feel more than ever, like Rinpoche suggests, In Love with the World.

Here are some heart warming yogini line drawings from artist, Ally Kitowski to inspire our meditation and yoga practice. I just found them this morning and they visually embody this feeling of being in love with our world.

Ally Kitkowski

Another Day Another Dala ❁
Fineliner and Digital Art ☽
Creating in Breck, Colorado ❅
DM for Prints & Inquiries © www.redbubble.com/people/mandallyart

https://www.instagram.com/mandally.art/

 

Go to "In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying" page

About Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, Secrecy, Misconduct and Purity

Here is a powerful repost of a teaching from my teacher Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Yes, we need to see the world as fundamentally pure, this is how it is and how we are. This however, can not be misconstrued for people using their spirituality to scare or harm others, or stay silent if students, women or children are exploited or hurt. There is a nuance here that many of us need to reevaluate. I’d like to discuss what he is saying here in terms of the direct request we have from the Dalai Lama, that we need to have a revolution from “Lama corruption.” Tulku Urgyen’s son Mingyur Rinpoche says that sexual misconduct and violence are never used as teaching methods, no matter the stories of the Buddhist saints of old. It’s been predicted that during these dark ages, that Lama misconduct and wrong views would cause the downfall of the genuine dharma, and all that care, must try to stop it. Furthermore, scholar Holly Gayley also talks about the old tantric practices such as “secret consort” that can never be used anymore in the days of ethics and transparency.

So, can we hold both views, seeing each other as pure, and yet call out what is obscured? If we continue to stay silent in the face of falsity and harm, that silence has caused the beginning of this downfall of the tradition as a whole. We don’t want to destroy the powerful methods that help us to heal, have compassion, learn grow and evolve, we want to prune what hinders that. We can’t use religion to hurt each other and call it pure, the Buddha would be mortified to see this.

The pure view comes from us being rooted in knowing that our misconduct, obstructions are in fact not who we are. We can look honestly at who we are, what we have done, feel regret and uncover the real Buddha, wisdom that so longs to emerge. This is the four powers of correcting karmic patterns and very powerful. We can see that we possess already natural ethics and expression of our natural purity. The light is there, always on, always bright, despite the appearance of stain. Seeing this is keeping our vows, we forgive ourselves and each other, but we are not covering, complicit, deluded and silencing. I hope we can all see this point clearly.


Dharma Friends & Pure Perception by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Be respectful, kind, beneficial and affectionate to all Dharma friends. Never harbor bad intentions, anger or deceit towards them, nor inflict harm upon them. Regard Dharma friends as your vajra brothers and sisters. Do not slander them. Do not gossip divisively about either your Dharma friends or other practitioners and teachers. Do not harm your own practice by indulging in impure perception. Extend pure perception as much as you can. A genuine yogi or yogini has unrestricted pure perception. Do not restrict your pure perception to your own root-guru alone. Acknowledge the timeless enlightened quality in each and every being.

Vajrayana in general is training in pure perception—Dzogchen is even much more so. How can you call yourself a practitioner of Dzogchen if you spend your time defaming, finding fault with or criticizing others? Maintain the view of pure sight, sound and awareness. This is how samsara and nirvana actually are, pervaded by the three kayas or three vajras. Sentient beings might not be aware of their Buddha Nature, but they are nevertheless endowed with the three kayas.

You need to train in pure perception by accepting and respecting the three kayas in everyone. Great masters do perceive all sights, sound and cognitive activity as infinite purity. Once recognition of awareness is stabilized, there is no more impurity to be perceived. Train in this by thinking: “As the Buddha Nature pervades all beings, not a single being is unsuitable.” The more you respect Buddha Nature in others and train in pure perception, the more your own practice will progress.

Slandering beings is slandering buddha nature; stop doing that. If due to your own impurity you perceive mistakes in other beings, at least do not voice them. If your awareness practice is too weak to sustain pure perception naturally, try to develop a rapport within an intellectual understanding of Buddha Nature in others. Know that your impure perception of others only happens either because you have not recognized genuine awareness, or because that recognition is not developed. Criticizing and slandering others puts you out of tune with the enlightened essence.

You mainly harm yourself. The most unrealized so-called practitioner of Dzogchen can at least keep his or her mouth shut, even if he can not actually maintain the view.

A deceitful person sees everybody with suspicion and finds many mistakes in others. A pure person naturally perceives others to be good. How much more so does a perfect yogin or yogini. He or she has the perception of infinite purity. They will actually perceive all forms as the bodies of the deities, all sounds as mantra, and all thoughts and emotions as the display of awareness. In their perception of pure sight, sound and awareness there is no attachment to friends, or aversion to enemies. Awareness itself being free from concepts of good and bad, proper and improper, they perceive everything as great equanimity. They do not accept or reject friends or foes. They perceive not the tiniest speck of impurity. As is said, “Arriving at a golden island, one cannot find ordinary earth or stones even if one searches for them.” In general, good and bad are your own perception, so you cannot possibly see faults in others when your own are purified.

–from a teaching by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

 

Repost from: https://www.buddhistmala.com/pure_perception.html

I’ve spent my entire life involved with Tibetan Buddhism, which essentially considers the teacher to be divine, superhuman and worthy of worship and reverence. They have a very highly socially encoded system with the religious tenets being that we have a graduated, spiritual evolutionary path, starting from a beginning meditator, up to an enlightened person. That person is supposed to possess supernatural powers, like profound compassion and clairvoyance. The relationship with this divine being is an essential component to the student being able to make progress. They have a well-formulated training and yogic path, which involves a series of private empowerments and transmissions that are thought to expedite one’s progress. I had the good fortune to have met a very pure, ethical and simple Buddhist teacher when living in Nepal, who really did have all of these qualities. He gave us very helpful teachings, was warm, and we sat often alone in his bedroom, where he was on lifetime retreat. I never felt from him that he regarded himself as being something particularly special or better than me. There was never any sense of abuse, sexual exploitation, division of power or any lofty religious pomp and circumstance between us. Even when I think of him today it’s my primary relationship, and my devotion for him even though he passed away in 1996 has never waned.

However, at the same time, Tibetan Buddhism, most likely because the culture was isolated and the country was closed for the most part for centuries, still holds a social structure based on a feudal system. That feudal system is based on a king that is an absolute monarch, and everyone within his milieu is there to serve, obey and worship him. We all know of the human problems that can occur when you combine religious and secular social systems and when you give any man absolute power. We’ve seen a lot of recent scandals in spiritual traditions, the Catholic priests, Hindu gurus and now Tibetan Buddhist teachers being accused for taking liberties with students in terms of sex, money, violence and power differentials. The culture and community leads way to this type of unfortunate human corruption. This all is now changing.

Another problem comes up with this tiered system of spiritual titles and perceived accomplishment, is that people really do feel that they are endowed with some type of spiritual superiority. Unfortunately in this situation it’s not really a facet of human development or compassion or altruism, it’s just spiritual ego and particularly unsavory. We see it often people using their tiles or their religious robes to harm others in countless ways. People who do this are not capable of making any real progress on the spiritual path and they spend their entire lives trying to gain some type of narcissistic supply, an ego boost from other people regarding them as divine. Oftentimes, the whole thing is a complete spiritual con that uses people financially, sexually, emotionally and with power and control. This can to do nothing but uphold the constructs of one’s ego. People can spend their entire lives on social media posting pictures of how spiritual they are, how insightful they are, who they’ve hobnobbed with and who their amazing spiritual teachers are. And for an entire life this can work, the person can feel a sense of self as being a virtuous and pious person, but if you look closely all that has been forged is dense, indestructible ego. This is where religion and spirituality can go very wrong, and I think it’s important that we in a very honest way, look at the difference between someone like the humbleness and gentleness of my authentic teacher and those who use their spirituality for  something wholly different. Dr. Ramani talks so eloquently about virtue-signaling spiritual narcissists and the harm they do to so many. I can only hope that the voices of things like the #metoo movement can put a firm stop to these harmful people’s conduct. Narcissists and people in power generally do not have insight nor desire to change, so all we can hope for is social awareness.

 

 

https://www.lionsroar.com/dzongsar-khyentses-social-media-guidelines-for-so-called-vajrayana-practitioners/
Social Media Guidelines for So-Called Vajrayana Practitioners

by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche| January 18, 2013

Image from pexels

The Natural Dharma Fellowship

Two noted western women, Lama Willa Miller, and Lama Elizabeth Monson who did the traditional Buddhist three year retreat and identify as survivors of Lama abuse/ misconduct have started their own ethics based community called the Natural Dharma Fellowship. I’m overjoyed to see these wisdom women rising, and voices *not silenced,* and yet still keep our tradition in a more updated, modern, transparent way. They hold strict codes of conduct and emphasize deep personal and social change. Our Dharma tradition, any religion like the Catholics, can’t be used anymore to cloak sexual misconduct, abuse of women and children or a vehicle for control and violence under some excuse of “crazy purifying wisdom.” We see these women-empowered, goddess rising groups everywhere now. I heard it was predicted that in the future, women would save the dharma and have the most accomplishment. It’s amazing, it heals and warms my heart to live to see this!

Secular Dharma

Evidence based Dharma, Dharma based on rational thought, not magical thinking, check it out: https://secularbuddhism.com/books/

Repost from Reddit about Shambhala/ Lamaism

We were told by the Shambhala administration that the dharma community was intended not for the students, but to support the teachers and lineage, exclusively. We are having an international cold ground war now of power and control, lead by the voices of women who have exposed the exploitation of women, children and control under the trust and auspices of religion. These orthodox, exploitative powers that be are unwilling to change and grow into modern times, and clean up ethics and misconduct issues, and rather, counter blame and ‘shun’ the whistle blowers, classic #metoo mistreatment. In this age of transparency and change, many of us have had quite enough abuse and silencing.

People come to practice generally, because they are in pain and long for something deeper. Once we learn these powerful techniques like calm abiding, forgiveness, real open heart, they really truly can have an impact on society, child raising, politics, the pure Dharma for me is invaluable.

Furthermore, now that it’s all been exposed, no one is going to “sign up” for an unbreakable vow based, “dangerous” path where you are firstly magnetized by the warmth of a teacher or community and later told well now, you are oath bound and can never leave, or speak out, even with abuse, and if you do, there are 16 hells and one special hell for you. It’s grooming, entrapment and clear established cult tactics, no matter what the tantras say, it’s ludicrous, and its not in accord with my understanding of reality as a rationalist or a person thats done a lot of retreat. This concern extends to any Vajrayana community, no student should feel owned and afraid to leave, lest they are spirituality punished.

However, we are all still here and many of us were lied to. I think we all as westerners are deeply questioning some of the tenets we ascribed to and for me, I’m exploring Secular Buddhism more. There is no afterlife punishment, no binding to a Guru, its rational, evidence based science Dharma, insight and gnosis that comes from our own personal experiences over doctrine, the way I believe the Buddha originally intended. I came for simplicity, leaving behind heavy handed morally punitive, hell based religion, and in Tibetan Buddhism, eventually found, even more harshness and punishment. We traded one hell for 18! It’s insane really and time to go back to basics. This is the very Revolution from the misogynistic “Lama Corruption” that the Dalai Lama himself is asking for, he calls out how we are *NOT* owned by a teacher. We should question them and reincarnation, Tulkus etc., and I think concurs with everything said here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wP4rsM7AZQ&feature=emb_logo

I propose that those of us left, who still want to practice, the refugees, consider exploring Secular Buddhism, and maybe we can reform a better way with these tenets? I foresee the closing or rebranding of Dharma Centers being replaced with a truly secular, inclusive, expanding and open community, the way that the vision of benefit, was imparted to us.

From Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_Buddhism

Secular Buddhism—sometimes also referred to as agnostic Buddhism, Buddhist agnosticism, agnostic Buddhism, atheistic Buddhism, pragmatic Buddhism, Buddhist atheism, or Buddhist secularism—is a broad term for an emerging form of Buddhism and secular spirituality that is based on humanist, skeptical, and/or agnostic values, as well as pragmatism and naturalism, rather than religious beliefs. Secular Buddhists interpret the teachings of the Buddha and the Buddhist texts in a rationalist and often evidentialist manner, considering the historical and cultural contexts of the times in which the Buddha lived and the various suttas, sutras and tantras were written. Within the framework of secular Buddhism, Buddhist doctrine may be stripped of any unspecified combination of various traditional beliefs that could be considered superstitious, or that cannot be tested through empirical research, namely: supernatural beings, merit and its transference, rebirth, and karma, Buddhist cosmology, etc.”

New Rules

We must be able to belong to a religion that can question itself and grow beyond it’s tenets.
We don’t entrap and curse people with punitive vows.
We don’t scare people with frightening talk of 17 torturous Hells.
We don’t remove, silence, shun and stonewall people who speak out against harm.
We don’t blame women for the misconduct and even violence of some Lamas.
We don’t threaten that people will go to hell or get sick if they ever leave a teacher or community.
We don’t mandate pure perception, when what is happening is harm.
We don’t wear the dharma as a robed ornament of spiritual pride.
We don’t support and defend teachers that are unwell and hurt students and society.
We don’t sexually or physically abuse children, ever.

I was even told yesterday that a few “yogi” friends proudly claim to try to use black magic to try to harm people, people that bring to light, these very actions.

How could we have taken something so simple, open, benevolent, well intended and used it for such darkness?
We can and must do better and listen to the Dalai Lama’s insistence on a full-on revolution, returning back to the raw basics of practice and decency.

A new dawning of real kindness, ethics, that empowers people, not teachers or institutions, is emerging. That day is being led by the warmth and power, of women.


Photos: https://www.pexels.com/@eternalhappiness

plant butter

The Top Three Plant Based Butters

I don’t know about you, but I for one can’t cook or barely survive for that matter, without butter. I tried a high fat Keto diet and it sent my bad cholesterol, triglycerides etc. through the roof. Now, I’m dairy free (except whey) and feeling great. I’ve been recently discovering dairy free alternatives as part of my wellness coaching program. Not only is going dairy-free good for your health and heart, but it stops horrendous animal cruelty to lactating milk cows. Plant based diets are much better for sustainability and our ecosystem, even with them being more machine processed and food transport costs. A lot of us don’t realize that cheese, especially hard cheese and imported cheeses have a much higher carbon footprint than even meat. So, this brought me to become quite a vegan-butter connoisseur, and I wanted to share with you the top three dairy free, vegan alternatives:
I’ll tell you a little bit about the pros and cons of each:

#1 European Style Cultured Vegan Butter *SALTED*

https://miyokos.com/collections/vegan-butter

Thus was the most expensive, it was about $5.99 for only 8oz.- 1/2lb. at the time, worth every penny. This was my favorite all around, the texture and most like real butter, it cost a bit more, but organic, and “nothing bad,” so well worth it. You can use it 1-1 for real butter, and it has a lovely melt-able base of coconut oil which is great for high temperature cooking. It has a hard, whitish texture like the imported Irish butter blocks.

The best overall.


Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

This song was written and produced by my dear friend from Naropa, and it has stayed with me for a whole life. All about how we galz often get treated by the bad boyz we often love. When she first played it at Penny Lane Beat Poetry and Coffee House in Boulder Circa 1990, I was so moved, I had to go outside and cry for a brief sec. She’s indeed a powerhouse, and for sure, deserves a permanent place on my fem-Goddess-voice blog.


Crying

Written By: Libby Kirkpatrick

it was a sweet success
i took off my dress
and i made a mess
and just because you thought that i was lonely
i’d be your only one
you expected nothing less
you took the dim light
right from my eyes
with your criticizing
it was so amazing
stole the wind
right from my sails
and you turned to leave me
but i caught you – i nailed you
you should be crying
for your shame
for your lying
and your blaming me
and you ought to be begging
for forgiveness
for lighting the flame in me
if you didn’t mean
to get involved with me
to babydoll me
you shouldn’t have called me
it was in the light
you looked so nice
but your dark side
shone twice as boldly baby
don’t try to tell me
in your sneaky way
how you’ll love me tomorrow
like you should have today
it won’t matter
by the break of dawn
i’ll be gone
i’ll be well on my way
don’t you come around here boy
and ask me what im doing
doing what i do
doin’ it without you
and if you are wondering
where i am tonite
well keep it right
don’t you leave the light on for me
darlin’
i suppose u think i’m joking
if you could look into my eyes
you’ll see
i’m not jokin’
sit there slanty eyes and smokin’
practically choking on your own lies
i can see it in your eyes
you should be crying
down on your knees
and grieve for me
liar
fool
beggar
thief
weep for me
darlin’
you should be crying
for your shame
for your lying
for your blaming me
you ought to be begging
for forgiveness
for lighting the flame in me

 


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG-FPv8T_DlVpC1BAauboYg

Songs From The Ether

℗ 2003 2002 Libby Kirkpatrick

Released on: 2003-01-01

Part of the new wellness life is to not eat any dairy, sugar or any gluten, or at least much less. I’ve seen a lot of my friends live that way but never really jumped on that restrictive bandwagon until I became a wellness coach, and it feels…great! I am however permitted to have well sourced whey powder in the morning for green smoothies and it can be used as a coffee creamer. Since I can’t use any heavy cream anymore, I’ve created a Keto version of an at-home coffee lightener that works really well and that’s nutritive, fat burning, energizing and good for your health and nervous system. There is a little bit of a problem when using a whey powder base in that if you try to put it directly in warm coffee or even cold drinks it doesn’t blend and coagulates, some floats on the top, but, there is a remedy to that. Use one heaping tablespoon of the coffee lightener in about 3 tablespoons of water and quickly whisk it together before pouring in the coffee and voilà!… it will blend beautifully.

Make a big batch and keep on hand, this is about a one month’s supply:

You will need a canister, like an oatmeal carton with lid, or an empty protein powder canister with lid, that can hold about 5 cups, and whisk.

3 cups of grass fed whey powder
1 cup of coconut MCT powder or if you use dairy, you can substitute nonfat, dry milk
1/2 cup organic collagen* powder
3T organic ashwaghanda powder

Optional: If you like your coffee sweet, you can use Monkfruit or Stevia to taste.

Blend all dry ingredients in a canister by shaking, and remember to whisk creamer in water in coffee cup, before pouring coffee.

Home Made Keto Coffee Creamer

Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 30 2 tablespoons or 1 scoop
Calories 75 kcal

Equipment

  • 5 Cup Container with Lid

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Blend all dry ingredients in a canister by shaking, and remember to whisk creamer in water in coffee cup, before pouring coffee.
Keyword keto coffee, keto creamer

*collagen is an animal product, so for vegetarians, please omit


Coffee Image: Decha Huayyai
www.freepik.com/user6739663
Visit my portfolio for more free picture

Two new free wellness videos here:

Here is a short, simple an exceedingly powerful, 3 step daily meditation practice, inspired by the transformative teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

https://dawnlhamo.com/spirit/

Enjoy a 5 minute guided meditation with affirmations to rediscover our inner strength.

https://dawnlhamo.com/mind/

Love (again) in the Age of Corona

With our recent days of social isolation, we have looked more and more online and to social media for connection, to work, and stay in touch with family and friends. A lot of us now live in these virtual worlds a good part of the day. What we always must remember is that the founders of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter researched and utilized methods to make these platforms become as addictive as possible to users. They carefully researched the stimulus response design from slot machines and the baiting of time delayed, anticipation-reward, that has been used to have people become highly addicted to gambling.

So, if one already has any propensity for addiction or loneliness or simply too much time on their hands, any of us can fall prey to becoming addicted to the internet namely, any social media platform. I’ve seen friends spend countless hours per day, even myself, online having long discussions with people about political or philosophical things or posting things to become attention seeking. I fear that a lot of our healthy relationships are being traded for wanting these Facebook or Instagram “likes” where we get, a Pavlovian chemical bump of confirmation, in a time where all of us feel estranged and alone. I’m concerned about the healthiness of this trajectory in our society and with our children; we all spend way too much time in social media or on computer games or “working.” I feel that our overall general health flourishing and welfare is affected by these electronic milieus. One of my Facebook friends said “on my deathbed I’m sure I’m going to regret not having spent enough time on Facebook.” So I’d like to consider really looking at the addictiveness of the internet and social media, and how it can exacerbate any propensity that we have for addiction especially attention seeking and love addiction.

The Internet Exacerbates Love Addiction, Codependency and Unhealthy Attachments

It’s natural and healthy to long for intimate connections. Oftentimes, because of unprocessed grief, hurt in past relationships and lingering childhood wounds, many find healthy, sustainable relationships to be a difficult and daunting task. Perhaps we have some kind of deep trauma or betrayal in our past, like parents involved with a traumatic divorce, or neglect, and these wounds are to this day, unresolved. Memory doesn’t really have a time limit, therefore we keep acting out of broken patterns. As adults we can choose individuals who are emotionally unavailable or people that we have to “fix,” a mirror resonant with our own broken hearts. It happens unconsciously, we seek to correct the pain of these unresolved past wounds, that occurred if we were young, often pre-concept, so they are by nature, hard to access. Some of us may even have been abused  physically, emotionally or verbally, and therefore have difficulty discriminating. We can choose unreliable people and can not sustain any trust. If we felt undesired, unloved as children and teens, we can recreate a rejection propensity called “trauma reenactment,” and wind up feeling rejected, yet again, by these inaccessible partners.

Painful experiences that are unhealed become repeated pessimistic thoughts, negative emotions and then behaviors, which become the constructs of a poorly functioning self. Abandonment or neglect, early on, can result in codependency and addiction to, well, anything. Love addiction is highly seductive, because we really do flourish in relationship, and long to connect as part of our emotional, human, survival. There are strong chemicals released in the brain that encourages passionate love, like endorphins, oxytocin and phenylethylalanine. When we fall in love, there is a spike of phenylethylalanine, (a.k.a. the ‘love molecule’) you could say we get addicted to our own brain chemistry. The same is triggered in social media when someone “likes” what you post. We can be unconsciously driven into cycles of obsession and pursuing the object of our desire, one person obsessively, or Facebook “friends,” but you see, none of this love is real or healthy. This toxic pattern of love and internet addiction pushes real people, family and healthy relationships away, and we isolate more, and become sadly more lonely, even with tremendous effort to remedy it. Ah, the tragic face of addiction, and this one, internet and social media addiction is rampant and ubiquitous these days.

We can continue this unhealthy cycle over and over again, which generates the exact same painful emotions we may have had in youth: abandonment, fear, anger, pain, emptiness and notably loneliness. Love addicts often exacerbate this, by choosing someone who’s emotionally unavailable. Another facet of love addiction is actually, someone who is love avoidant. Yes, cue the noble Buddhist renunciation “path.” According to Pia Mellody, author of Facing Love Addiction, love avoidance is the systematic use of blocking and escape techniques to prevent intimacy. We can prevent vulnerability and intimacy by creating intensity outside the relationship, normally with a few other unhealthy addictions, like sex, gambling, alcohol or drugs. The term codependency is used so often and many of us don’t really understand what that means. It means basically that people are your drug of choice. We feel broken, unwell and lonely, and we look to someone outside of ourselves to make us feel better and to define our self worth.

Love avoidants were frequently enmeshed with a clinging parent of the opposite gender. The love avoidant has an intense fear of being suffocated, overwhelmed or engulfed. They are inclined to stay in relationships usually from obligation or guilt rather than love. The love addict’s neediness, joined together with the love avoidant’s core wound, would cause that relationship to be dysfunctional and break down. There is often a perfect toxic pairing of an addict with a codependent, a push me-pull you, runner, chaser and fixer. Each person is, covertly wounded and unwell, and in need of real self care and healing, independent of the relationship, or even the internet for that matter! This dynamic can repeat again and again, and make having a sustainable connection with another nearly impossible. The problem is, if we are either addicted or avoidant neither one has well-adjusted relationship skills that result in becoming a well functioning, happy person. We can put a huge amount of effort, days, weeks, years or an entire lifetime, into becoming happy through these maladaptive ways, like searching for internet likes and e-connections, and windup having a fragmented, broken, lonely and a fundamentally unsatisfactory life.

Mindfulness tips to assist us to create real, healthy, loving relationships:

1. Health– make a choice to become as happy and healthy as we can be, in mind, body and spirit. That inner and outer shine as well authentic mental and emotional health, is a genuine love magnet! Walk outside, fresh air and sunshine, they say 10,000 steps a day!

2. Conscious Eating– The right foods, exercises and supplements may go a considerable way in promoting the healthful new you! Find out about possible food sensitivities and have your blood sugar checked. Food sensitivities, gluten intolerance, vitamin deficiencies and insulin resistance lead to mood swings and/or nervousness.

3. Feed your Heart and Soul. Limit internet and social media time to no more than 1-2 hours a day! A spiritual practice like mantra, prayer, inspiring reading, poetry or yoga soothes us to be at peace. Silent sitting and mindfulness meditation has been shown to bring calmness and can alter our brain waves and decrease hypertension and heart strain. Healthy, loving relationships provide relaxation, comfort and needed healthy chemicals like oxytocin from touch. Cherish people that care, really listen and want the best for us. Discriminating who is healthy for us and letting go of those who are not, is extremely healing and also an essential step towards being fulfilled and intimate, in a rewarding way with others.

4. Bring light to our Self Doubt. Negative self talk and pessimistic thoughts could be hindering our whole life. These are negative programs which have been running subconsciously since we were young, and can be very deep, and hard to access. Such beliefs as, “I am not lovable, I am not important, or I am unattractive” affect what we will manifest into our lives. Pay honest attention and write down all negative self beliefs and guilt about past actions on a paper. Then, burn that paper with a candle, releasing old patterns that no longer serve. You can use an affirmation, like “I am lovable, I am whole, I forgive myself for all past mistakes.”

5. Lastly and above all, learn to really love yourself. Addiction and maladaptive patterns just can’t survive with the power and efficacy of true self care, warmth and self respect. We cannot expect others to love us if we do not love ourselves, nor can we love anyone in excess of our self love. Hold our heart, hug a pillow and cry, release any old painful “knots.” We may find it necessary to get support. I have sought help many times, and challenge to myself to go as deep as I can, explore some of the hidden patterns from a wounded past and youth. Very deep things can clear like a cloud vanishing, and it doesn’t have to take years.

There are also free, online meet ups and support groups like: CODA, Love Addicts Anonymous, AlAnon, and Adult Children that can help with codependency, love, media or any addiction. We also might consider mindfulness awareness programs. Programs like mindfulness based relapse prevention shows a lot of promise with negative pattern redirection. In addition, web and app based mindfulness recovery programs work well. For instance, the Craving to Quit app provides an excellent mindfulness training which was developed at Yale University, and offers a connection to virtual community where individuals may get peer and expert support.  Let’s all take this downtime to unplug more, feel whole, refresh, shine light on shadow patterns and restart life anew, to find real love and healthy, meaningful relationships. That would indeed be, something to “like.”

Warmth and wellness to all, always,
Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

Owner Buddhistmala.com


Meditation woman photo: https://pixabay.com/users/leninscape-2892621/

https://www.instagram.com/understandingthenarc/?hl=en

Narcissistic abuse is a very serious type of emotional abuse that can take years to recover from, and if unseen, can do lifelong damage. The more we can understand about this type of covert, callous cruelty, the better we can protect ourselves, learn, heal and eventually help others.

Repost:

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-narcissist-relationships-can-cause-trauma
Image by Evgenij Yulkin / Stocksy

Leaving a narcissist doesn’t end with simply physically leaving, packing up your belongings, and building a new life. Women, for instance, go back to their abuser an average of seven times, even if she was the one who initiated the termination. During one of these times, she may lose her life.

Even after a person has permanently ended their relationship with the narcissist, oftentimes they can find themselves still shackled by the trauma of what happened. As a psychologist who works with survivors of narcissistic abuse regularly, I’ve seen the way a past relationship with a narcissist can continue to haunt someone and hold them back considerably even years down the line.

The lingering trauma of being in a relationship with a narcissist.

If you’re fresh out of that relationship, you’ll blame yourself and fall prey to their requests to meet because they’d love to apologize and thank you—during which they’ll hook you back. They’ll intermittently appear and disappear from your life, especially when you’re starting to live better again, because they don’t want you having a good life without them. Sometimes, you’ll miss them and want to reach out. Or you continue keeping in touch because you think that’s the polite thing to do, and that’s how the narcissist continues to subtly poison you, impeding your healing.

But the effects of having dated a narcissist can continue to linger even after you’ve cut off all contact and your legal entanglements with them are over.

The thing about trauma is that our brains need closure. And so sometimes we end up in similar relationships, or what we call “repetition compulsion” in psychology. It feels like a bad magic spell, and we feel more helpless and hopeless with time.

Or, fast-forward decades. You can be in an amazing relationship with someone who loves you, but you’re always looking over your shoulder. You’re haunted by the trauma and anxiety, which you may manage by medicating yourself with work, overthinking, or praying, but it’s always in the background. You wonder why people hurt you and why you can’t trust most humans. And one fine day, the trauma catches up with you, and you break down.

This trauma can even pass on to your next generations—some evidence suggests that unresolved trauma passes on genetically and energetically within the family line so that it can be resolved by one’s descendants eventually. In the case of narcissistic abuse, that means people later in your family line could end up being involved in relationships with abusers, or become abusers themselves. In spiritual circles, the saying that the same lessons will present themselves over and over again until we’ve learned them.

Leaving is the first step; it’s staying gone that’s the real legwork of healing from a narcissistic relationship. Gone from them in your head, body, and soul.

How to heal from your experience with a narcissist.

Let’s use an analogy we all understand. There is a wound, and we cannot merely slap on Band-Aids. We have to go deep and clean it and harness our natural ability to heal and rejuvenate. At the same time, we’ll ensure that the surface of the skin strengthens and beautifies. In other words, we work on both the roots and symptoms at the same time.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Don’t do this alone.

You can pick up books and articles about breaking up with a narcissist, but chances are, you’ll be fumbling with the DIY process and losing heart. When it comes to this type of trauma, working with a professional who can help guide you through is extremely important.

2. No or minimal contact.

If you do not have any more entanglements with them, keep it that way. Do not even dream of staying friends. Keep accountable to someone you can contact when you want to communicate with the narcissist. If you have joined responsibilities and assets, engage professionals and intermediaries. This applies even to going to your previously shared property to collect your belongings.

Co-parenting with a narcissist can be more difficult than parenting on your own; they’ll use your children as puppets to hurt you further and undo the parenting you do. If you are fighting legal battles with your narcissistic ex, they’ll use the court as their new playground for abuse. Remember, they know which buttons to push to discredit you; so do your part by engaging trusted lawyers and therapists who truly understand narcissistic abuse, have your back, and support you to be in an emotionally stable place. It takes a village to reclaim true freedom.

3. Don’t bypass the healing process.

One thing that infuriates me is the myth that trauma and mental health problems can at best be managed your entire life. That is not true. Make sure that the professional you engage is trauma-trained and understands the specific struggles you are experiencing and knows all the traps to look out for and the way the human brain can sabotage your healing. For instance, panic attacks are common when you’ve been with an abuser, so your professional must know how to treat them.

It’s not enough to simply talk and bypass the pain intellectually or spiritually; trauma is stored in your body, and you have to actively rewire the fear center and timekeeper in your brain. Nor is it enough to simply “work on the future” or tell yourself mantras you don’t believe. You cannot bypass processing what you’ve gone through. Otherwise your past will haunt you with a vengeance eventually

And remember, your job isn’t to forgive your narcissist; it’s to forgive yourself.

4. Build strong foundations.

You’ll need to have a present and future to look forward to. You’ll need to learn to reclaim the things you loved and the parts of you that were wrestled away from you during the relationship. Your goals must sync with creating strong foundations in who you are and across different aspects of your life—such as your body and health, mind, relationships, money, and career. Bad things happen in life, but they don’t last forever. When you build strong foundations, you actively grow and practice resilience. You become unshakable and learn to ride the waves of life.

5. Keep practicing boundaries, and know you have permission to have them.

We didn’t go to school and learn how to identify dark personality types or what boundaries are, so it’s not your fault. What you do with this experience henceforth, however, is your responsibility.

There are likely relationships in your life where your boundaries are eroded or poor, mirroring your relationship with the narcissist. Start by creating a list of your personal boundaries—the Hell No’s—in your life. Take boundaries as your litmus test—respectful people who’ve unwittingly violated your boundaries will be apologetic and not do it again, whereas toxic people won’t. Write scripts for what you’ll say in certain situations. You’ll sound awkward at first. Just as it’s painful when you start training your muscles, you’ll get stronger and feel so proud of yourself.

6. Don’t tell everyone.

You don’t have to explain to everyone about what’s going on in your life, what you’re doing, and why you ended up in a toxic relationship. People will pry, some out of concern, others out of nosiness, and then a few because they want to signal superiority because they never landed in your predicament. Difficult people will force their opinions and prescriptions for your future down your throat. Not everyone is on your side—take this as an opportunity to streamline your relationships.

For those who have your back who you don’t want to talk to about this, you can simply say, “I’m working on this with a trained professional, so let’s keep our time to what we can both enjoy.”

7. Stop bullying yourself.

You may be physically removed from the narcissist, but they can often live in your head. Abuse trains us to blame ourselves. You may realize that you’re angry with yourself for everything—not recognizing the abuse, falling in love, staying too long, or for even leaving. You’ll blame yourself for many things you continue to do.

To truly exorcise the narcissist, you have to commit to growing the muscles of forgiving yourself and taking good care of yourself. That means whenever you catch yourself lapsing into self-blame, you notice it without judging yourself and then do something to break that vicious cycle.

8. Make new memories.

Perhaps you’ve had tons of memories in a place you used to frequent with your ex. And you really enjoy that place. You don’t need to taint that solely with the past. Make new memories in activities and places with yourself or people you trust.

This may seem overwhelming at first. In psychology, we call this a behavioral experiment—we practice experiencing that our nervous system can regulate itself, and then we know we can prevail. And then these things you once held dear to you start becoming a part of your life again.

9. Make empathy your superpower.

Many clients I work with despise their empathy because they believe it got them into trouble. That’s not necessarily true. Empathy may be your Achilles heel because you aren’t selective of who you give that precious resource to; it’s also part of your identity, and you don’t want to be cynical and jaded. You can practice discerningly diverting this empathy to yourself and those who deserve it. This way, it works for you rather than against you.

10. Know that we believe you.

The intricacies of an abusive relationship are such that it’s hard for someone who’s never been in one to truly understand. There’ll be a lot of doubt cast on you, making you wonder if you are truly silly for having fallen for one. You’ll also doubt yourself if your narcissist was “that bad,” or if you’re being dramatic, because gaslighting erodes your sense of reality. Moreover, no relationship is 100% bad. There were good times, whether or not the narcissist’s intentions were real.

You don’t need everyone to believe you. Know that I believe you. There’s a whole bunch of us out there who believe you.

The bottom line.

Truly healing from a narcissist takes effort, as with anything. But the steps you can slowly gain proficiency in are fundamentally simple. What you have to watch out for is how we’ll always talk ourselves out of it.

Ask yourself: How do you want to see your future self—do you want to respect this person, or would you like to see them calcified into a worse version of what they are today? And then ask yourself: What legacy would you like to leave behind? By healing, you inspire the people around you, your future generations, and other survivors of narcissistic abuse to believe that they have a future.

We can choose to whitewash our past by pretending it doesn’t exist, but secrets make us sick. Instead, I choose to live by this—I want my past to pay dividends, and I want my demons to work for me.

Writing from the other side, it is my deepest prayer for you that you’ll get there too.

Wellness Centers and Community, maybe “the New Dharma” and a viable way forward? https://www.buddhistmala.com/dharma-centers-offering-holistic-healing-and-wellness-retreats/

To my Dharma and spiritual seeker family who are now questioning Gurus, what is real and how to move forward.


I love you all still
some teachers and their
minions hurt many,
if not all of us
men women and children
in very deep ways.
Spiritual criminality
is the gravest of crimes.

Our vows to our
unconditioned hearts
are not a curse.

Absolute power corrupts
they never really truly
cared about us,
never wanted or could hold
the burden
I’m sorry to say
it was a one way take.

We now have degraded
into battle
where does the Kingdom lie,
in a deified man or woman?

I say it’s within us.
Spiritual codependency
keeps us unwell.
Salvage what we can
evolve like a phoenix
into a better day forward.

We must look within
to the voice
of our ethical hearts
and trust ourselves.

That’s what the Buddha wanted
there we will,
for the first time see

uncover

the real hidden
magical kingdom
and know what to do.

All of these many words now
range from blistering rage to
longing and
waning devotion
all suggest the powerful
voice of an
overdue revolution,
an inner sun
where we all
are growing up
spiritually.

A life not owned by
any one or any culture,
it hurts I know
growing pains always do.

Sloughing off old
comfortable skins,
and I have still so
very much faith in us.


Photo by Thierry Ollivier/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY
Kingdom of Shambhala and the Final Battle, Mongolia, nineteenth century

https://allthatsinteresting.com/beatniks-new-york#1

Lineage fathers,
I supplicate your sordid
AH divinity.


 

I had the privilege of meeting Burroughs at the Naropa Institute in the early 90’s, I recall him being very stoic, and indeed no one could prevent him from smoking inside. He smoked slowly intentionally, and the oddly disturbing and reverent imprint of him, never left my mind.

I also had the further privilege of taking a class during the Naropa Summer Writing Program with Allen Ginsberg. All of the living Beats would, and still convene there annually. I remember the first time rising to read my poetry in front of him, and he being a tad misogynistic, asked me firmly to sit down, but I remained standing to read.

He gave me one transmission that always stayed, but I tend to not follow, as my process is to write exactly the words as they appear with almost no editing.

He said that that a poet should use words that communicate feeling that appeals to our direct, consensual senses: sight, sound, taste, touch. He told me to refrain from interpretative words like the base, subjective word “beautiful.” He suggested rather to evoke the experience of beauty as a wordsmith,  “the yellow of morning forsythia bursts forth,” the scent of Christmas cinnamon, pine and solitude.”

 

Thank you, to my rawly human, base and indeed beautiful, lineage fathers, may the wisdom muse forever imbue my soul.

 
 
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

 

 
Mary Oliver

 

 

In the future, the “Shambhala Warriors” *must be involved with politics, engaged Dharma, and social action* to help our world. This is not a time in human society for retreat and ignoring or losing heart. This is what Joanna’s teacher said:

“There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. At that time great powers have arisen, barbarian powers, and although they waste their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common. Among the things these barbarians have in common are weapons of unfathomable devastation and death and technologies that lay wast to the world. And it is just at this point in our history, when the future of all beings seems to hang by the frailest of threads, that the Kingdom of Shambhala emerges. Now, you can’t go there because it is not a place. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala Warriors….
.
“Now the time is coming when great courage is required of the Shambhala Warriors: moral courage and physical courage, and that’s because they are going to go right into the heart of the barbarian powers to dismantle their weapons. They are going to go into the pits and citadels where the weapons are made and deployed. They are going to go into the corridors of power where the decisions are made, to dismantle the weapons in every sense of the word. The Shambahla Warriors know that these weapons can be dismantled because they are made by the human mind. They can be unmade by the human mind. The dangers that face us are not brought upon us by some satanic deity, or some evil extraterrestial force or some unchangeable preordained fate. They arise out of our relationships and habits, out of our priorities. They are made by the human mind; they can be unmade by the human mind.
.
“Now is the time the Shambhala Warriors go into training. They train in the use of two implements. One is compassion and the other is insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena. You need both. You need the compassion because that provides the fuel to move you out where you need to be to do what you need to do. That means not being afraid of the suffering of your world. When you’re not afraid to be with that pain, then nothing can stop you. You can be and do what you’re meant to.
.
“But by itself that implement is very hot – it can burn you out. So you need that other tool – you need the insight into the radical interconnectivity at the heart of existence, the web of live, our deep ecology. When you have that, then you know that this is not a battle between good guys and bad guys. You know that the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. And you know that we are so interwoven in the web of life that even the smallest act, with clear intention, has repercussions through the whole web beyond your capacity to see. But that’s a little cool; maybe even a little abstract. You need the heat of the compassion – the interplay between compassion and wisdom.”
“But insight alone,” he said, “can seem too cool to keep us going. So we need as well the heat of compassion, our openness to the world’s pain. Both weapons or tools are necessary to the Shambhala warrior.”

— Joanna Macy

Excerpts and paraphrases from an open letter to Rigpa and Shambhala:

We might lose almost everything after a very short time if we don’t stop this.

I’m just wondering if there’s any possible way to have a global clarification of what’s been happening to us. I have done extensive research and I no longer concur with the suggestion that our communities and all of us, are simply cults and complicit with cult thought. Yes, it is clear, that Tibetan Buddhism used, to this day uses, basic religious control theory and cult-like tenets to keep people and their institutions controlled and devoted. This is part of the organizational structure, and this revelation is very clear to us now and must change.

I’ve been studying religious control theory for two years and am being trained to be a religious trauma counselor though: https://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/. I have been in dialogue with many fellow survivors, read Cults in our Midst by Margaret Singer and the Guru Papers, Masks of Authoritarian Power and met in person and online with some of the foremost religious trauma experts like Steve Hassan. It has been a really hard time for us all, as I identify as a “survivor,”  one who has come full circle, and now speaks for healing, education and restorative justice.

I no longer believe that our Dharma community members are actual complicit cultists. I think that there’s still, so much beauty and power in our Buddhist community, practices and these teachers. Even though they have at times, severe misconduct, they have the power to confer, be a conduit for warmth, blessing and exceedingly helpful teachings, and I’m still devoted to them, personally and in essence. We ask simply that the conduct be seen and corrected, like HHDL suggested, as re-quoted below.

I just can’t stand to see it all crumble because of this covert misconduct of a few. I suggest that a Vajrayana council of western Buddhist organizations with one rep. from each, at least from we two Rigpa and Shambhala, should be formed immediately and meet, in person.

Our global centers as you well know, some of them provide solace, community and practice for people who might have even given up hope. To be introduced to sitting practice and community and these teachings of forgiveness and kindness,  I believe, we know, have helped exponentially more people than were ever harmed. I have received 10,000 gifts of kindness and help over 25 years, even with the few instances of harm.

I think we need to examine how this all happened, the fault of importing Tibetan feudal culture and unquestioning, ancient traditions over here. We must help to heal and support students, who including me, definitely got used and exploited. I feel I was one of them and left membership to a primary sangha for this reason. I felt that all communities were structured in unhealthy ways and people were often unkind due to hierarchy, wanting to maintain proximity to a teacher, and lack of grievance boards and transparency, and no one would ever listen to my and others pleas. Anyone who spoke out were simply deemed “vow breakers” and troublemakers, and often sadly, shunned.

It’s a tricky and delicate thing though because anything we say now, sounds like we’re not advocating for the “victims are survivors” or aren’t hearing the gravity of people’s lives that were impacted by harm, so this is indeed not an easy task but, worthwhile. Tibetans usually don’t get involved with this kind of raw honesty and openly talking about difficult issues but I think the whole “let the snake uncoil” itself and be silent, it’s not a good method here. If that’s their counsel to you, personally I wouldn’t listen to it. We need action and we need it now.

These teachers have been conducting themselves this way, I suspect for over 1500 years since the time of Gampopa where we began the monastic institutions, and they also have as part of their ancient culture,  the practice of what they consider to be courtesans. The guru’s consorts were then considered an honorific position rather than sordid “clergy abuse” and abuse of power, we can study ancient court history, or see the film, The Last Emperor.

What we’re seeing, as I’m sure you already have gathered, is a culture and time clash of what was the norm 1500- 2000 years ago versus what’s happening with #metoo movement of the West, 2017-2019. Tibet was isolated both physically and with media, and did not modernize into a democratic environment. They didn’t keep up with the times and modern professional workplace ethics in terms of us determining in the late 90’s, that it’s not OK for a position of power to have affairs with their students.

This was not always the case in human history and men in power, as we can see with the kings and emperors in the courts of Japan and China, India and Tibet.  This is, in 2019, the severe culture clash causing what we now consider control, abuse and exploitation of the king’s entrusted servants. This process is then furthermore sealed by religious punitive vows and rites that prevent questioning and ensure that absolute power and control are maintained. This will not continue in the west.

This is probably the heart of what DKR is unsuccessfully, trying to explain, this is it really not a dharma or a vow, demon or dark age problem it’s at it’s root, a cultural problem of two cultures in time, clashing.

I think we have to understand sociologically what happened and why. If we can understand that I don’t think we would consensually look at everything as simply abuse of power, and scandal, and people run away and remove dues and look at everything we created in the darkest possible light. It’s more like, due to Tibet’s isolation, the exile created a portal where they attempted to implant both powerful and wholly dated social tenets, like as if their cult-ure accelerated 1000 years into the future.

I think for me, and I keep writing this on social media and fighting for this for over 10 years now, nothing has really changed and I can’t seem to get through to anyone, so all I do is send people letters, blog and write on Facebook. The cultural conflict and actions these few dated leaders and their unquestioning supporters, who simply need to update into modern times and conduct, should not destroy everything we all built. We should not passively witness it falling, like a house of cards.

To lose this tradition in our society, as I can see, it is one of the brightest lights in our human treasury, that is in real danger of exhausting itself. I think that would be the greatest crime, well exceeding any of these teacher’s personal sex lives or attachment to power.

We can and should take very seriously each and every report of hurt, harm abuse and confusion, even I have my own painful story, still unresolved, and with attention, care, listening, ethics and if needed, professional legal help, work to heal and correct any damage collectively. The apologies cannot be perfunctory, we have to see and admit what really happened here over 45 years.

We should work so very hard to preserve community, and personally, when this finally all came out, I actually started paying dues again to Shambhala, and am very close to going back into the buildings to be part of the co-recreation process, long overdue. I’d much rather meet in small groups, there were unseen reasons why deleks are essential, and a few of us been lobbying to recreate them, since 2008.

It is so dangerous for so many to be calling the entire traditions and all communities cults, even though some of the social control tenants like a misused abuse of “samaya and vajra hell” are still used today, and do qualify for clear cult status. Buddhism is one of the major world religions that is filled with so many very good and well intended people that are not just broken and complicit, nor something that’s just wholly predatory and awful.

This dark framing of a 2,500 year old tradition with some very helpful methods, just needs to stop, now that was what wrong has been exposed. These voices of complete destruction are getting louder, they are now publishing books, lawyers and mediators spending $57,000 bills in wake of our pain, this is bottom-feeding profiteering, even well intended, is egregious.

If we let people profit from our destruction and define who we are, then indeed our decisions to stay silent and not protest, and not work really hard to fix and save and reinvent ourselves, will once again, contribute to one of the gravest losses in human society.

I have many teachers, they have given me so much, even though there has been pain. The other day, I was very upset on retreat and Tsoknyi Rinpoche helped me. Occasional contact with a compassionate teacher that really cares for us personally, can help so much when we have obstacles, or are sick or passing away, and I just can’t imagine a life with out them or community. We can’t let the voices that call this culture clash to reduce us all to cultists, and destroy all. In solidarity, we need to present a clear counter voice and action plan, please.

With so much love and hope and forward thinking,
Dawn Boiani

If one presents the teachings clearly, others benefit. But if someone is supposed to propagate the Dharma and their behavior is harmful, it is our responsibility to criticize this with a good motivation. This isconstructive criticism, and you do not need to feel uncomfortable doing it. In “The Twenty Verses on the Bodhisattvas’ Vows,” it says that there is no fault in whatever action you engage in with pure motivation. Buddhist teachers who abuse sex, power, money, alcohol, or drugs, and who, when faced with legitimate complaints from their own students, do not correct their behavior, should be criticized openly and by name. This may embarrass them and cause them to regret and stop their abusive behavior. Exposing the negative allows space for the positive side to increase. When publicizing such misconduct, it should be made clear that such teachers have disregarded the Buddha’s advice. However, when making public the ethical misconduct of a Buddhist teacher, it is only fair to mention their good qualities as well.

The Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, India March 1993

 

“We have to connect with and find strength in our own Buddha Nature,
This is not copyrighted by any Lama or Buddha or Bodhisattva
There are many great things within us and in our world,
qualities of warmth, wisdom

even the Buddha’s monks
from the onset, had misconduct here and there
don’t fixate and reify the negative, impure things

relax and have compassion
stay with what is light
the bad things, we work to change them

don’t let all of this shake you deep down
we all have Buddha Nature
keep what is positive, light

take in to our heart, identify with all good qualities
the bad you see shouldn’t ruin your life or Dharma practice

The Bodhisattvas never get pulled down into
depression or hopelessness, they keep their vows

if we are wrecked and upset by the darkness we see
it ruins our life, depression and our core practice

we can’t help the world if we are broken
stay with positive qualities within us and in our world

when things seem dark
always stay with and train in

“the light.” 🌞🙏


Formatted transcript/ excerpts of a personal teaching to me from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, when I was feeling sad and overwhelmed.

Before His Holiness Chatral Rinpoche passed away (at age between 103 -105 years), a disciple asked him,

“How will the rise and fall of the Dharma be like in the future?”



Chatral Rinpoche replied,

“Support and take refuge in those spiritual masters who focus their practice in solitary retreat. Before one attains enlightenment, one should also enter into solitary retreat to focus on one’s practice under his or her close guidance and mentorship.

If not, it will be just like now, where everywhere is flooded with Khenpos who give empty talks.

Those ignorant ones, who run after fame and fortune, and establish their own factions, will cause people to have aversion for Buddhism and lead to the extinction of Buddhism sooner or later.

Hence, it is said that the authentic Dharma is not in the monasteries, it is not in the books and not in the material world, but within the mind. There is a need to awaken it through practice and to realized (actualized) it, in order to be called the continuation or preservation of the Dharma.”

His Holiness himself left two messages as his final testament. He said, “First there is no need to search for my reincarnation after I have passed. Second, don’t be sad.”

Even though we’ve all been recently reevaluating our relationship with spiritual teachers and after the #metoo movement, there’s been a lot of scandals exposed, I wanted to share my appreciation for my Dharma teachers to whom I’ve devoted most of my adult life to, and them to us. I understand that there are a lot of problems with “Lamaism” and spiritual codependency, but I still treasure in my heart all of the wisdom and gifts that were imparted to me. One or so has been called out for clergy abuse and misconduct, and things do need to change, but I’m still grateful for whatever was positive and helped me to learn and grow. Here’s the list of my closest teachers, to them I will always be indebted and grateful.


Trungpa Rinpoche- I never met you, but you drew me, a brokenhearted pilgrim, to Boulder when I was 19. Through you, I found the precious holy Dharma and meditation practice. My life now has meaning.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche- You first showed me my mind, and thank you for upholding your Father’s vision, even in these dark times.

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche- My Dear Root Guru, your profound oral instruction and blazing blessing and I are never separate.

Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche- You love us all without partiality, I constantly aspire to emulate your warmth. You hug everyone, and smile, no matter the status, it’s always hard to leave you.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche- My friend, brother, Vajra Master, who raised me in this life, any good qualities or fortune I have, I owe to you.

Khenpo Jigme- A true Bodhisattva, who’s kindness helped me during a dark time, and is still there for me. Love always.

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche- I cry when I even say your name, and appreciate you and your work so!  Amazingly powerful, your skillful activity is beyond words, and you are no less than a Buddha.

Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche- So kind and gentle, so humble and bright- your ability to teach us such subtle terms in English is incomparable. You once actually served me tea, and expressed real appreciation, which moved me to tears. I am utterly grateful that you are now overseeing my solitary retreats and now, with you, my life and teachings are fully complete.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

With unspeakable love and gratitude to all of my dear teachers. May this life be of benefit.