Although goodness should be our greatest priority, we often live our lives preoccupied with earning more money than we need, or obsessed with being invited to prestigious social events or knowing prominent people. - Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Traditional Jewish teachings establishes kindness as a higher virtue than the giving of charity. Here's how that teaching is explained in the Babylonia Talmud, a text regarded as the 'soul' of Jewish theology:
Acts of kindness are greater than charity in three ways:
1. Charity is done with one's money, while kindness may be done with one's money or with one's person (Example: visiting a sick person)
2. Charity is given only to the poor, while kindness may be done for both the poor and the rich (Example: spending time and comforting a mourner or depressed person)
3. Charity is given only to the living, while kindness may be shown to both the living and the dead (Example: arranging the burial of a person who died indigent)
(cited in Rabbi Joseph Teluskin book A Book of Jewish Values)
Every thought shapes our lives. There is no such thing as a little thought, no such thing as an unimportant thought. It may be heavy, it may be light, but it always should be well-directed with precision. - Eknath Easwaran
The Spanish bishops’ conference said that the “mindfulness” movement and other eastern meditation techniques cannot be considered “properly Christian”. Recognizing that humans are seeking spiritual pathways in the 21st century as a balance to secularism and materialism, the Bishops however offer their caution and concern:
"we are witnessing the resurgence of a spirituality that is presented in response to the growing ‘demand’ for emotional well-being, personal balance, enjoyment of life or serenity to face challenges.” That spirituality, they said, is too often “understood as the cultivation of one's own interiority so that man finds himself, and which often does not lead to God.”
To this effect, many people—even those who grew up in a Christian environment—resort to meditation, prayer techniques and methods that have their origin in religious traditions outside Christianity and the rich spiritual heritage of the Church.”
“In some cases, this is accompanied by the abandonment of the Catholic faith, even inadvertently. In other cases, people try to incorporate these methods as a ‘supplement’ of their faith to achieve a more intense experience of it. This assimilation is frequently done without proper discernment about its compatibility with the Christian faith, the anthropology that derives from it and with the Christian message of salvation,” the bishops warned.
The idea of inferiority or superiority brings trouble and worries. Ideas of superiority and
inferiority are mental creations only they are illusory. - Swami Sivananda
Fear is a great human curse. It is your worst enemy. Fear assumes many forms and blights many lives. But a calm mind brings courage. - Swami Sivananda
A disciplined person who has studied and contemplated is able to practice meditation.
Recent research done by psychologists at the University of Kansas reveals that even a "forced" or "fake" smile decreases stress significantly. Those in the study were provided with a chopstick and divided into two groups. One group was instructed to hold the chopstick in their mouth at the tip of their lips, like a cigarette. This created a facial scowl. The other group was instructed to place the chopstick horizontally between the teeth creating an unknowing smile. Additionally, both groups were asked to place a hand into ice cold liquid which incites the stress response in humans. Saliva samples were taken to measure the levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Those with a forced smile had significantly lower stress levels than did those whose facial feature was that of a scowl. Researchers concluded that when humans are in a stressful situation, their facial expression significantly affects stress levels they experience.
Put yourself in the place of others. Learn this great secret. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. - Swami Sivananda
"The one occasion on which people generally appreciate that the highest priority is goodness is a funeral. Every eulogist knows that no one wishes to hear a description of the deceased's luxurious swimming pool and tennis court, or how he kept his car so well polished that you could see your reflection in it. What matters most when we depart this world is the legacy of goodness that we leave behind. Were we loyal friends and fair employers? Did we extend ourselves when others needed help? Were we loving and kind to our spouse? Did we leave our children with a feeling of being loved and appreciated? Did we inspire them to want to do good? " - Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Victor M. Parachin ...is a
Vedic educator, yoga instructor, Buddhist meditation teacher and author of a dozen books. Buy his books at amazon or your local bookstore.