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The doc who would save Haiti

Friday, January 22, 2010

DO WATCH THIS -- this is TRUE genius:

Dr. Paul Farmer says, "EVERYONE should have access to medical care."

His Haitian friends and patients say, when he is away, "We miss him like dry earth misses the rain."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAZZYR 1/23/2010 3:00PM

    Oh, Maha, this video sure takes your breath away.

EVERYONE should have access to medical care.

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COLIBRI930 1/23/2010 8:09AM

    Partners in Health is a wonderful organization, and Dr. Farmer is an inspiration. Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN has been amazing as well in bringing media attention to the health issues of the quake survivors in Haiti. These are good folks!

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GINABUG 1/23/2010 7:54AM

    Thanks, Maha. There is so much to learn here -- about ourselves, about love and compassion, about the world and how we want to "be" in the world. Dr. Farmer's life (and those who work with him) is a beacon reminding us to do what we are meant to do with joy!

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STARRY-EYEDGIRL 1/23/2010 6:47AM

    "The only real nation is humanity". Paul Farmer.

I just watched the video and I write this with tears in my eyes (again). Maya, that quote from his Haitian friends and patients is so poignant. This isn't just a job, it's his life's work.

More quotes from Paul Farmer:

"Health care is a human right".

"Everybody should have access to medical care, it shouldn't be such a big deal".

"If you set your sights high and if you stick with it, you can make real progress"

Now that is pure inspiration!

Thank you for posting this Maya,

emoticon Margaret

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BRIGHTSPARK7 1/22/2010 10:36PM

    Healthcare for everyone who needs it. It can be done. And I agree with you, Mahalakshmi, true genius ... an alignment of head, hands and heart in answer to so many prayers.
xo Usha.

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VALERIEMAHA 1/22/2010 3:38PM

    From a friend who is not a member of SparkPeople:

"I enjoyed your blog. I tried to post this but it seems you have to join to be able to post? I have to filter stuff so much now I don’t join anything unless at gunpoint.

"Here’s my comment:

"I saw several interviews with Dr. Farmer and some other American doctors who have spent a lot of time in Haiti trying to improve the health care for them. Several of them are back down there now doing all they can. Several groups from Arkansas have been going to Haiti for years volunteering with medical and dental missions and helping to build health care clinics in areas that previously had none. It is great to see those who are fortunate enough to enjoy a high quality of health care and who are willing to share it with others."


Comment edited on: 1/22/2010 11:11:45 PM

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CARLI_MAE 1/22/2010 2:16PM

    Now tell me again why the U.S. Congress won't pass healthcare reform that guarantees "healthcare for everyone" as Dr. Farmer says ... we need more people like this, and I think I may send this link to some of our "representatives" as they are called.

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WILDHONEYPIE1 1/22/2010 12:59PM

    Thank you , thank you, for sharing such a beautiful story. emoticon

(I always look forward to your blogs. : )

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WANT2CHNG17 1/22/2010 11:02AM

    What an amazing man - we would do well to learn from Dr. Farmer's attitude. The world needs more people like him. Thank you for sharing!

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CRAFTYC 1/22/2010 9:58AM

    I think this man would be far more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than another who recently received it...

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

OK now, this is a long-shot...that the mind of any of my SparkFriends is as warped and malleable as mine. But just in case, you'll have to stay with this piece of Rob Brezny's to the end to reap the benefit!

Although we are all born geniuses, said Buckminster Fuller, the grind of day-to-day living tends to *de-genius* us. That's the bad news. The good news is that you have the power to *re-genius* yourself.

Below is a ritual you can use to jump-start the process.

The Greek philosopher Plato long ago recognized that in addition to eating, drinking, sleeping, breathing, and loving, every creature has an instinctual need to periodically leap up into the air for no other reason than because it feels so good.

Face south, leap up in the air, and say these words: "From the south, I purify, electrify, beautify, and fructify this sacred space."

When I was a kid I used to love to go out in the middle of a meadow and whirl around in spirals until I got so dizzy I fell down. As I lay on the ground, the earth and sky and sun kept reeling madly, and I was no longer just a pinpoint of awareness lodged inside my body, but rather an ecstatically undulating swirl in the kaleidoscopic web of life. I invite you to feel that way right now.

Spin yourself around until you topple over. While lying on the ground, face west and say these words: "From the west, I sanctify, unify, clarify, and intensify this sacred space."

The people I trust the most are those who are always tenderly wrestling and negotiating with their own shadows, making preemptive strikes on their personal share of the world's evil, fighting the good fight to keep from spewing their darkness on those around them. I aspire to be like that, which is why I regularly kick my own ass. Will you try that right now?

Jump off the ground and snap your heels up against your butt. Then face north and say these words: "From the north, I immunize, psychoanalyze, satirize, and exorcise this sacred space."

In one sense each of us is an intriguing, intricately unique individual, justifiably proud of and in love with our own personal story. In another sense, we are all one body, descended from the same primordial mother and made of identical stuff -- the calcium in all of our bones and the iron in all of our blood originally forged in a red giant star that died billions of years ago.

Rotating slowly in a clockwise direction, look down at your belly and breathe deeply five times as you imagine that at this moment, everyone in the world is breathing along with you. Then face east and say: "From the east, I lubricate, pollinate, consecrate, and emancipate this sacred space."

Now it's time to confess the truth about who you really are.

Gaze upward and stretch your arms out high. Say the following: "I am a genius."

Put your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground with palms up, and say this: "I am a lucky, plucky genius."

Swing your arms back and forth from behind you to in front of you as you say this: "I am a lucky, plucky, good-willing genius."

Thank you for finally confessing the truth. It's about time you admitted that you are a miraculous work of art.

You came into this world as a radiant bundle of exuberant riddles. You slipped into this dimension as a shimmering burst of spiral hallelujahs. You blasted into this realm as a lush explosion of ecstatic gratitude. And it is your birthright to fulfill those promises.

I'm not pandering to your egotism by telling you these things. When I say, "Be yourself," I don't mean you should be the self that wants to win every game and use up every resource and stand alone at the end of time on top of a Mt. Everest-sized pile of pretty garbage.

When I say, "Be yourself," I mean the self that says "Thank you!" to the wild irises and the windy rain and the people who grow your food. I mean the rebel creator who's longing to make the whole universe your home and sanctuary. I mean the dissident bodhisattva who's joyfully struggling to germinate the seeds of divine love that are packed inside every moment.

When I say, "Be yourself," I mean the spiritual freedom fighter who's scrambling and finagling and conspiring to relieve your fellow messiahs from their suffering and shower them with rowdy blessings.

Let's move on to the next stage of your confession.

Squat. While patting and massaging the ground or floor in front of you, say this: "I am insane."

Still squatting, thrust your arms out sideways, palms down, and intone this oath: "I am an insane hurricane."

Move from a squat to a pose in which you're on your knees. Bow your head as you stretch your arms out and touch the ground or floor. Say this: "I am a highly trained, entertainingly insane hurricane."

Thank you for finally confessing the truth, which is that you are constitutionally incapable of adapting nicely to the sour and crippled mass hallucination that is mistakenly called "reality." You're too amazingly, blazingly insane for that.

You're too crazy-smart to lust after the stupidest secrets of the game of life. You're too seriously delirious to wander sobbing through the sterile, perfumed labyrinth looking in vain for the most ultra-perfect mirror. Thank the Goddess that you are a fiercely tender throb of sublimely berserk abracadabra.

You'll never get crammed in a neat little niche in the middle of the road at the end of a nightmare. You refuse to allow your soul's bones to get ground down into dust and used to fertilize the killing fields that proudly dot the ice cream empire of monumentally demeaning luxuries. You're too brilliantly cracked for that. You're too ingeniously whacked. You're too ineffably God-smacked.

Stand up and make a series of small jumps, rotating a quarter turn in a clockwise direction with each jump. As you do, say this: "I am a lucky, plucky, good-willing genius and a highly trained, entertainingly insane hurricane."

(excerpted from Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, Revised and Expanded: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, by Rob Brezsny)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 1/22/2010 8:11AM

    Right.....awedishized this would be:
"Jag r ett godigt, modigt, vlsignat geni och en vltrnad, galen, spontan orkan" ... close as I could get with the "magic" melody kept and I had to invent the work godig... an alternative would be solig, rolig but then I would miss out the brave part.

Love you

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SLASALLE 1/21/2010 9:23PM

    You are twisted - Brezny is twisted - And these exercises can truly twist you!!!! LOL

Today's world takes being twisted to survive - I love it!! Warped and twisted is what attracts me to you, my friend. he he he

As always, a mind-bending experience to read your blogs (THIS, my friend, is a compliment)!

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WILDHONEYPIE1 1/21/2010 1:58PM

    I'm doing it right now. (as in as soon as I hit, Post Comment) I wonder what my 3 y/o will think of me? emoticon

(update: let's just say there was a lot of laughing.)

Comment edited on: 1/21/2010 2:07:04 PM

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DAWNO64 1/21/2010 12:37PM

    Fantastic!! I never heard of Rob before, but I'll be seeking him out! This is my kind of hilarity

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BECOMINGONE 1/21/2010 9:20AM

    Insanely wonderful!


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STARRY-EYEDGIRL 1/21/2010 12:44AM

    emoticon.....Now that made me feel good - um, I think.

Margaret x - just being myself - well, most of the time!

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GINABUG 1/20/2010 11:14PM! Really wow! I mean really! I may actually do all this stuff!




Comment edited on: 1/20/2010 11:19:37 PM

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/20/2010 8:27PM

    emoticon I soooooooooooooooo needed that! Thank you for sharing! OMGosh, did I laugh at myself! That was great! I wish the spinning and laying down was the last part of the ritual... bahaha! Found it hard to read what I was suppose to do for a while!!!


I am a lucky, plucky, (ducky), good-willing genius and a highly trained, entertainingly INSANE hurricane!!!

Parts I liked in the 4 page ritual:

"The people I trust the most are those who are always tenderly wrestling and negotiating with their own shadows, making preemptive strikes on their personal share of the world's evil, fighting the good fight to keep from spewing their darkness on those around them."

" are constitutionally incapable of adapting nicely to the sour and crippled mass hallucination that is mistakenly called 'reality'. YOU'RE TOO AMAZINGLY, BLAZINGLY INSANE FOR THAT."

"You're to brilliantly craked for that. You're too ingeniously whacked. You're too ineffably God-smacked."

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WATERMELLEN 1/20/2010 8:15PM

    Don't know if I can kick myself in the butt -- do know I am grateful for wild irises -- wish they grew in Ontario in January!!

This is very entertaining and fun, and the concept of re-geniusing yourself is --- GENIUS!

(was practising my jive steps with my ipod at the gym between the machines this a.m. -- should count, doncha think?)

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STLRZGRRL 1/20/2010 7:42PM

    Francesca, thank you for finding the words that have escaped me these many... pinpricks of time... Maha IS spastically genius...

It would have taken me years to come up with it...

Spastically, genetically, compulsively genius... even without the twirling and kicking of herself in the butt...

which I plan to do the minute I can achieve a little more lift...

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LISANANCY 1/20/2010 6:58PM

    OK, you had me right up to "Jump off the ground and snap your heels up against your butt.
Your blog didn't say anything about killing yourself.
Love it, does making snow angels in your sister's driveway with her neighbor looking on, count?
Thank you for helping each of us. emoticon

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FRANCESCANAZ 1/20/2010 6:21PM

    I just ordered this book (It's a big one) after your last blog on Brezsny. Muchisimas gracias por making me aware of this read. It is, as you are, really spastically genius. emoticon A mi me encanta. I spun a lot in my Middle Eastern Dancing days and never got dizzy once I learned to spot properly, but I am more of a bouncer for certain. I could just stand with softened knees and bounce for an hour or more to the drum. emoticonHasta luego...

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MAZZYR 1/20/2010 4:36PM

    Smiling, I did it! This ritual was fun! And I'm so glad I did it before DH came home, lol.

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CARLI_MAE 1/20/2010 12:01PM

    I am also most definitely "warped," but I think I'll take the purpose behind this little exercise and leave the jumping and twirling to the rest of you ... I really don't want to end up in a Dr's office trying to explain "how did you do this to yourself, anyway?" ... LOL

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PEACEFULONE 1/20/2010 11:41AM

    Perhaps did we all love twirling when we were children? The phrase that really struck me was "joyfully struggling to germinate the seeds of divine love that are packed inside every moment". Oh if we could only do that what a different world it would be. Thank you again dear Maha for sharing from your vast world of wisdom! Peace, blessings and love always and all ways, Elaine

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DOKEYOKEY 1/20/2010 11:10AM

    Ha ha! Beautiful! "I am a highly trained, entertainingly insane hurricane." Love this whole post. Thanks, Maha.

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WANT2CHNG17 1/20/2010 10:02AM

    I'm so happy I stumbled across your blog! I have buried my genius under the extra weight I'm carrying, shoving it down further and further.

Thank you for reminding me that I am "a fiercely tender throb of sublimely berserk abracadabra." I needed that today.

Oh, and I used to LOVE twirling and swirling around - what a nice memory!

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AZIMAT 1/20/2010 9:19AM

    Interesting article. I'm seeing more and more exercises like this, designed to shake one out of routine habitual perceptions. Whirling is one ancient method.

The Sufi dervishes have been turning in ceremonies for centuries. Why? To help remember that we are microcosms of the macrocosm. Rumi was a dervish.

"Whirling dervish" in common parlance has a connotation of a being who is out of control with wild energy. Actually, the opposite is true. The dervish is like the pole of a little planet, with left hand lifted to the celestial, right hand channeling downward, left foot turning around a stationary point, right foot tracing the circumference of the turning circle. The head tilts to the left. Energy rises upward in the body as the dervish turns. Some dervishes turn for a long period of time without dizziness at all, only stronger and stronger perceptions of unity with Oneness.

Just a little FYI.

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GBOOMER 1/20/2010 8:42AM

    My mind is definitely as warped and malleable as yours. I remember spinning around outside as a young one. I'll do it again next chance I get. (Right now, being inside, there really isn't the space in this small house.)


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MISS_VIV 1/20/2010 8:26AM

    You truly are a lucky, plucky Genius. And know how to enjoy the day, the week and your life.

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A Psalm for Martin Luther King Day

Monday, January 18, 2010


Lord, who can be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched as their family
and the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people's trust.
Their compassion lights up the whole earth,
and their kindness endures forever.

-- A Book of Psalms, translations by Stephen Mitchell

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEACEFULONE 1/19/2010 2:22AM

    Not only is your blog wonderful, but the comments are exceptionally insightful. Love it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/19/2010 2:27:08 AM

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/18/2010 11:58PM

    In my humble opinion, and ignorant though I am... the translation speaks much more clearer to me! I have a really hard time grasping what the bible 'really' intends to say... of course I get certain things, but I am much better at understanding more modern day language... lol!

emoticon emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 1/18/2010 4:06PM

    "Christ gave me the message and Gandhi gave me the means."
Have seen an MLK quote something like this at our local ML KIng library in downtown San Jose.

LOVING this, Mahalakshmi. Mitchell's translation is a message for our times.


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CARLI_MAE 1/18/2010 1:09PM

    I must be psychic ... yesterday I thought perhaps of writing a blog for MLK day, then said ... "go to bed, Maha will take care of it" ... and you DID!!! Splendidly, I might add. And wow that AZIMAT sure has me out-read ... as I plod thru another thousand page tome on more geek-headed stuff & wonder if my brain has been reduced to 0's and 1's.
Anyway, to answer your question on my feed, I had a nice Sunday ... just doing a few things, taking care of my skin and watching some TV, and cooking ... a bit of this and that. Today it's back to business. I must get the groceries done [what kind of mush can I get that's nutritious for bloody post-molar pulling tomorrow??? ... oh, just occurred to me I might not have the stomach for anything ... yecch] Seeing your feed I was sorely tempted to call you, spoiler that I am, and interrupt your productivity ... hahahaha ... but I will restrain myself.
Well, now that I've gone entirely off of the subject, as usual ...
Fanciulla binaria (Binary gal)

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WILDHONEYPIE1 1/18/2010 1:00PM

    I really enjoyed this translation. Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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AZIMAT 1/18/2010 12:03PM

    Yes, Stephen Mitchell is highly regarded for his translations from many languages, as well as his adaptations.

If you would like to see the actual transliteration of Psalm 15 from the Hebrew, it is here:


I'm an constant student of the worlds' wisdom traditions, and find this type of thing interesting and enlightening....


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FRANCESCANAZ 1/18/2010 11:59AM

    BOTH writings are beautiful beyond words and oh so comforting! emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 1/18/2010 8:46AM

    Thanks for the New International Version of the Psalm. The "actual" Psalm would likely have been written in Hebrew. And for all I know, Mitchell went back to original texts, translating them into contemporary English.

This is what I love about Easwaran's translation of the ancient Bhagavad Gita, written in Sanskrit. Easwaran is a scholar of both Sanskrit and English language, and so, to me, his contemporary translation of the Gita is particularly potent, as is Mitchell's translation of this Psalm.

Comment edited on: 1/18/2010 8:57:23 AM

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AZIMAT 1/18/2010 8:36AM

    Thanks, Valerie for commerating this important day.

I was curious to see the actual Bible verse. This is it: (New International Version)

Psalm 15
A psalm of David.
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

2 He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,

4 who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,

5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Comment edited on: 1/18/2010 8:37:06 AM

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/18/2010 8:04AM

    emoticonfor sharing!!!

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BECOMINGONE 1/18/2010 7:18AM

    I love the picture with MLK standing in front of a photo of Mahatma Ghandi -- such an inspiring lineage! Thanks for sharing


Comment edited on: 1/18/2010 7:24:48 AM

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A Prayer

Friday, January 15, 2010

Max Ehrmann lived September 26, 1872 - September 9, 1945. He was an American spiritual writer and attorney, having studied philosophy and law at Harvard. I know the name because of his prose poem DESIDERATA (Latin: "things desired"), which I have posted on my bedroom door. It begins --

"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself to others you may become vair and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." It ends, "With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." And it is a philosophy of life that I deeply subscribe to.

So you can imagine my joy when I saw his name ascribed to this morning's Panhala offering. Each and every phrase of A PRAYER speaks deeply to me and sets the stage for my meditation practice this morning and then for facing this day with contentment.

It's a miracle how what I need is so bountifully offered to me when my heart is open. The Buddha says, " If we could see the miracle of a single flower, our whole life would change."


Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may I
not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on the
margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly
with myself.

Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time's olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening's
twilight find me gentle still.

-- Max Ehrmann , The Desiderata of Happiness

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CORPUSANNIE 1/16/2010 2:22PM

    when that light glowed within me......constantly striving to hold that light in my heart
montie emoticon emoticon

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SANTANDERE 1/15/2010 11:59PM


Thanks so much for sharing with me. I have copied the poem, and it's going on my journal tonight.


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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/15/2010 9:21PM

    Beautiful Blog!

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COLIBRI930 1/15/2010 9:17PM

    Loved it! Thanks for passing it on.

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WILDHONEYPIE1 1/15/2010 5:57PM

    Thank you for sharing, as always.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 1/15/2010 2:25PM

    Wow! Thank you Ehrmann, and thank you Mahalakshmi! There is so much truth in Desiderata, it feels fresh every time I read it.

I like where you have led us this morning.
xo Usha.

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SIMPLYLIVING 1/15/2010 11:33AM

    Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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SWDOTB2 1/15/2010 9:49AM

    Maha, count me in as "a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars" and one who loves and would keep ever burning the kindly light of hope, for I made a courage promise long ago as well.

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SLASALLE 1/15/2010 9:27AM

    This is totally new to me and I REALLY like it . Amen!! Maha, as always, your blogs are so meaningful ...

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STILLPOINT 1/15/2010 8:32AM

    ....and mine is posted on my yoga room door :) I received it from my first boyfriend in the early 1980's. Best thing I have ever read and still relevant to my life every single time I read it.

Thank you for the additional prose...never read that before :)

Blessings and thank you for sharing dear Maha

Comment edited on: 1/15/2010 8:33:58 AM

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JMSURPRENANT 1/15/2010 8:24AM

    What a wonderful prayer and meditation as I begin my work day with an eye towards a weekend.

Blessings to you for sharing.


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MAZZYR 1/15/2010 8:03AM

    Hugs, dear Maha. Prayer and meditation practice and loving words are the same... yes?

Thank you for leading me towards a loving-kindness practice. May you and everyone you love (and not) have physical happiness, and may you (and them) be filled with loving-kindness.

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BECOMINGONE 1/15/2010 7:59AM

    "Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly
in my path." My prayer for the day.

Thank you


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GINABUG 1/15/2010 7:50AM

    Thanks, Maha! May your day be gentle still!



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GBOOMER 1/15/2010 7:05AM

    I like. emoticon

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Stuff vs. Simplicity

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Though I've moved significantly away from a possession-laden life over the last 20 years, while making other life-changing decisions as well, I find that *things* continue to torment me and keep me prisoner. To be honest, the battle with *things* actually affects every part of my life, including my quest to be in harmony with my body.

I'm reading an amazing memoir right now, _A Thousand Days in Tuscany_ by Marlena deBlasi. Here's the end of the chapter, "Perhaps, as a Genus, Olives Know Too Much:"

"When you were a little girl didn't you ever want to be a rock star or a ballerina or at least Catherine of Siena? Didn't you ever want to be rich?

"I always thought I *was* rich. And when I was older, I knew it was true. But most of all, I wanted to matter. You know, really *matter* to someone. Once. Just once. But still I feel sad that most of us will never, not even for one of the suppers of our lives, dine as Mathilde and Gerard did, feel the nourishment of their food and their wine and their love as they did.

"Do you know why that's true, why most people will never have that?

"Probably because simplicity is the last thing a person considers as he's madly searching for the secret to life. Mathilde and Gerard had so much because they had so little."

Loss of discrimination is the greatest source of danger.
-- Sanskrit proverb

The greatest source of danger to a human being is loss of discrimination, and this is the main malady in our modern civilization, where we have lost our capacity to differentiate between what is necessary and useful, and what is unnecessary and harmful.

How often do we stop and ask, "What is really important? What matters most to me?"

If every one of us starts asking this simple question, it will transform our daily lives and even the world in which we live. After all, we need clean air and water more than we need microwave ovens. Doing work that is meaningful and of service to others is more important than owning luxury cars. We need loving human relationships more than we need home entertainment systems.

Many modern conveniences make life more pleasant and can save time. We needn't live without them, but when we begin to think such things are not merely useful but prized possessions, we may gradually lose our discrimination.

In order to understand what is important in life, what our real priorities are, discrimination is essential.
-- Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 1/18/2010 3:38PM

    Hi dear Maha..what a beautiful and insightful blog. Something I think the whole world should read. I turned down a luncheon invitation today...I probably shouldn't have for the sake of politeness..I turned down one from the same people just last week. I just couldn't enjoy the lunch with the beautiful people today...I just couldn't sit there and listen to them blather on and on about what they have, where they are next traveling, and the new paint colors that are now popular. WHO CARES!?! I've had these friends for 20+ years when I grumble to DH and tell him how much they have changed he laughs at me and says..."you want to see the one who has changed...walk into the bathroom and look in the mirror!" Wowsa...I know I married that wonderful man for all the RIGHT reasons...he was patient with me when I was just as superficial and full of myself as these girls...I have changed...and I'm DARN proud of the person I'm finally evolving into! Hugs to you my wise and wonderful friend it makes me puff out my chest with pride that I can say I'm YOUR friend! emoticon You teach me the lessons worth learning...and I'm not talking about the da##@@ paint colors to repaint on your walls that are currently popular! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/18/2010 3:40:07 PM

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PEACEFULONE 1/15/2010 10:36AM

    I had a poster quite a few years back of a beautiful hot air balloon floating over lovely scenery. The saying at the bottom was "Travel light in life, but take enough to drink, for thirst is a terrible thing." The travel light part was all about simplicity. But sometimes I read it as "take enough to think". Because while floating over beautiful scenery is a pleasant enough activity in itself, we need/must keep our minds engaged in challenging and deep thoughts on occasion to satisfy the thirst of the soul. Thank you for all your wonderful blogs which help to satisfy the thirst of my soul. You should collect them into a book with the working title of "Shared Thoughts from a Seeker".

Blessings to you dear Maha!

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BECOMINGONE 1/15/2010 8:06AM

    So well said ....

It is so easy to define ourselves by our things -- not just possessions but also degrees, knowledge, wisdom, titles, places visited, books read, friends -- and the list goes on. If we define ourselves by things external, then our life is cluttered and simplicity eludes us.


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CARLI_MAE 1/14/2010 4:36PM

    You have no idea how much this hits home with me, as I so often encounter people who claim to live a "simple life" and then contradict themselves with statements that show so clearly their quest to hoard even more for themselves, and along with it their underlying sense of self-loathing and increasing unhappiness.

In gratitude for you and others who continue on with the practice of true awareness and a discriminating sense of what is (essential) and what is not.

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WILDHONEYPIE1 1/14/2010 11:24AM

    Wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing.

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FRANCESCANAZ 1/14/2010 10:54AM

    Amen! emoticon Good share emoticon

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/14/2010 9:46AM

    I struggled HUGELY with this concept last year! I had awakened to a better way of living a fulfilled sense of purpose, but couldn't quite merge my secondary purposes with it! I had a hard time justifying my husband buying me a Yukon Denali... as much as I wanted one, it seemed materialistic and well, somewhat undeserved! But, I have come to realize now, that sure, it's a nice vehicle, it looks good, but it is also dependable, reliable, and enjoyable! It keeps us warm, and gets us where we have to go! Our vehicle before that would break down, or not start, or this or that! My husband wanted me to have a good, dependable vehicle so that when he was out of town, for extensive periods, that he wouldn't have to worry about us! Once he sunk that into my head, I have grown to really love my Denali... not so much for the way it looks, or perhaps what it may represent in the egoic world, but that me and my family are as safe as we can possibly be while driving down the road! This is one example of many obstacles I allowed myself to struggle with last year! But, I think I am starting to get it, and have merged my outer purpose with my inner purpose, for today anyways!

Hugz Maha! Yet another insightful blog! I look forward each morning to what you might have to say each day!

Comment edited on: 1/14/2010 9:48:26 AM

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GINABUG 1/14/2010 9:42AM

    Simply written, eloquently shared!

I am a fan of simplicity. I have always sought it. But, I learned a while ago that simplicity is not something for me to seek, but rather something for me to "be." It is one thing to divest of my possessions and live in sparseness, but quite another to walk through life with love/compassion and joy! I found for me, simplicity comes from within. And guess what? My possessions have begun to mean less. They have begun to disappear as well (and I'm collecting far fewer as well). It was not the seeking, but the doing that caused this. Oh, the great teachers around and within us! I have so much to learn. Thanks for being my teacher, Maha!


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CARISSA81 1/14/2010 8:54AM

    What a nice blog - truly thoughtful!

I'm going to have to think about how to simplify my life and seek out what is important to me.

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LIZZYP609 1/14/2010 8:40AM

    What a beautifully written blog! Thanks for sharing. I struggle with thoughts like this. I have to ask myself.."Is this something I NEED or something I WANT?" It is ok to have things that we want but it is important to know the difference.

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