Archive for February 2018

Jealousy, Envy & Why We Love to Watch Others Lose ll By Lora Cheadle

Jealousy, Envy & Why We Love to Watch Others Lose
…and how to FLIP it around for our own benefit
By: Lora Cheadle

Much of the rhetoric around the Superbowl consisted of football fans saying they “wanted the Eagles to win because they were tired of the Patriots winning.”  OMG! How terrible is that?!?! In a culture that celebrates winning, and often times even encourages people to win at all costs, where does a statement like that come from, and psychologically, what does it mean? How can we want to win so badly, yet at the same time, condemn and despise those who do win routinely?

Even in our own lives, are we truly happy for our friends when they win a promotion or get a new car, or find a new love interest, or buy a new house? Are we honestly and completely thrilled for them, or are we a little bit envious too? What about when two of our friends really hit it off, leaving us in the dust? Jealous much?

At its core, jealousy and envy are nothing more than triggers, which have pointed out something within ourselves that we are trying not to acknowledge. But with a little bit of knowledge and understanding, we can tame the green-eyed monster and learn how to better ourselves thought the success of others.

The Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

Jealousy and envy are different! Jealousy involves three people and takes place when someone else is threatening to disrupt a situation between us and another person. Whether it’s a new hot-shot at work, coming in to woo our boss, another person flirting with our significant other or someone coming between us and our friends, jealousy involves some sort of triangulation.

Envy only involves two people. Envy is where something wonderful happens to someone else, and we have a hard time being happy for them. Either we want that thing to have happened to us instead, or we feel they didn’t deserve it, but we do! Envy is the experience of not being able to celebrate another’s good fortune because we have reverted to self, and to our desire to get what we want.

Jealousy Triggers and How to Overcome Them

We will not be provoked unless we feel threatened. Stop and re-read that sentence. We will not be provoked, unless we feel threatened in some way. Notice I didn’t say unless we are threatened. Actual threat doesn’t matter. What matters is our feeling of being threatened.

Which leads to the next questions; why do we feel threatened?

In the case of jealousy, it’s easy to put the blame on the third person, but really, the emotion is about us, not them. Whenever we perceive a third party as coming in and destabilizing our relationship, it means that we are afraid of change. It doesn’t matter if that change is good or bad, it only means that we will have to change, and to our subconscious mind, all change is perceived as a threat.

The best thing to do to manage jealousy is to first acknowledge that you are feeling jealous. Then, you can ask yourself who is making you jealous and why. Once you have the who and the why, ask yourself what you are going to do about it. Don’t lament the fact that change is on the horizon. Change is perpetually on the horizon! Instead, cycle through all the possible options you have, from the absurd to the rational, and begin figuring out what you are going to choose to do. Getting comfortable with your choice empowers you to lead the changes in your life, instead of getting swept up in a current of change.

For example, when a hot-shot comes in a work and threatens your position as a top producer, it means you will have to change. You can choose to learn from them, seek out other sources and to better yourself. Notice I did not say “beat them”. You may or may not beat them, and that’s not the point. The point is, you accept that change is inevitable and you embrace that change for yourself. You can choose to stay the same, to stay in your comfort zone, and learn how to come to terms with not being the top sales person. But the focus needs to stay on you and the fact that everything takes place in you, because of you, and not a result of the other person.

Done right, experiencing jealousy empowers you, because it allows you to take stock of, and to manage your life proactively!

Envy Triggers and How to Overcome Them

Whenever we see another person receive something that we want, it points out that which we find to be lacking in ourselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s something that is actually lacking in us or not, it’s our perception of lack that triggers us. It forces us to confront some sort of scarcity within us. Even if it’s just the perceived scarcity of something as elusive as good luck.

One of the best ways to manage envy, like jealousy, is to first acknowledge that the emotion is coming up. Then, ask yourself what you perceive to be missing from your own life? It doesn’t matter if it’s silly or not. Be honest with yourself. Next, ask yourself what you can do about it.

If you are envious of your best friend’s new relationship, even though you are happily married, what is that showing you? Could it be that date nights are lacking in your marriage? Could it be you are lacking a certain freshness and excitement that you wish you could recapture? Then make those changes! If you are envious that your best friend just had her first grandchild, and your kids claim they don’t want kids, what is that bringing up for you?

Although you can’t force other people to give you what you want, you can figure out the root cause of your desire for grandkids. Is it because you don’t feel you can retire unless there is a reason? Is it because you miss being with kids? Is it due to latent feelings of guilt that you weren’t a better parent, and you somehow made your children not want to parent? Is it simply the fact that you haven’t come to terms with your children’s decision, or perhaps you felt forced into having children? Whatever it is, once addressed, it allows you to make positive change in your life. It points out, that which is missing within, giving us the opportunity to acknowledge and address our own fears and needs.

Envy can also challenge us to acknowledge our own negative thinking habits, allowing us to become more positive people. For instance, in regards to the Superbowl, instead of negatively saying, “I want the Eagles to win because I’m sick of the Patriots winning.” flip it around to “I want the Eagles to win because they’ve never won before and I love sharing the love with teams who have never had that kind of an honor.”

Go deep within the feelings of both of those statements. They will be different!

What do they bring up for you, and what are you going to do about it?


Change or Starve: Cracking Patriarchal Buddhism ll Rev. Mary Coday Edwards

Change or Starve: Cracking Patriarchal Buddhism
By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA

In the days of the Buddha, in the Indian village of Kosambi, two Buddhist monks came to blows over a petty latrine infraction when one of the monks left water in the bathroom’s dipper. The dissension grew, with the law breaker being excommunicated—unfairly in his opinion, as well as in the opinion of his followers. Two factions formed around these monks, creating more discord.

Word of their animosity reached the Buddha, and he sent emissaries encouraging them to be united, and twice the emissaries reported back saying, “They refuse to be reconciled.”

The Buddha himself came to mediate, and was told by the two monks to mind his own business. The Buddha then left to go on retreat.

Due to the monks’ enmity, the spiritual needs of the community began to suffer.

Now, Buddhist traditions require the community to support the monastics through alms giving.

“This is ridiculous,” they decided. “We’re feeding these leaders for what reason?”

Halting the giving of alms, the community members told the two dissenting monks, “Change or starve.” And so the lay people accomplished what the Buddha couldn’t, and the monks resolved their differences (1).

A First Step: Full Ordination of Women

Buddhism’s foundation was built upon a political past of hierarchy, patriarchy, and authoritarianism. Buddhist theologian Rita M. Gross asks whether,

“… stripped of sexist privilege to men, patriarchal hierarchies, and androcentric interpretations of key texts and concepts, anything remains of the religion” (2).

In other words, can this religion be saved? Under this patriarchal veneer, do core truths exist that are fundamentally democratic and liberating for both men and women? Gross concludes there are, as does retired Vipassana Buddhist teacher Eric Kolvig (3), encapsulated through the Four Noble Truths (4).

Gross says that institutionalized and mandated full ordination of women is an obvious first step, granting women full participation in Buddhist institutions.

“Ordain them or starve!” said Vipassana Buddhist Teacher Eric Kolvig.

Kolvig told me the opening Kosambi story in connection with the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

“Monastics in the Theravada tradition depend for their survival entirely on support from laypeople,” he said. “The laypeople of Kosambi withdrew their support from the battling monastics and forced the antagonists to make peace.  It was the first recorded organized boycott in human history.

“The patriarchal establishment in Theravada monasticism today steadfastly refuses to grant women full ordination,” Kolvig continued.

“Because these contemporary monastics, like the ones in the Buddha’s time, depend entirely on support from laypeople in order to survive, we can be inspired by that boycott 2,500-plus years ago.  We laypeople today can withdraw our support from those who will not grant women full ordination, saying, ‘ordain them or starve!’”

Historical Precedents

Within the three Buddhist traditions of Zen, Tibetan, and Vipassana/Theravada, sub-groups exist which have in the past and continue to ordain bhikkhuni, but not necessarily granting full ordination. Elements of unfairness still remain across countries and within these three traditions. For example, women may have obligatory extra vows, called The Eight Garudharmas, subordinating them to the bhikkhus. In some countries, women end up neither bhikkhuni nor lay people, but somewhere in the middle. Not fully ordained, they are not entitled to the same recognition, status, or financial support as their bhikkhu brethren.

But within Buddhism, precedents exist justifying female ordination. Historians say that after Prince Siddhartha became the Buddha, he denied his aunt’s request, Mahapajapati Gotami—the woman who had raised him—for admission into his monastic community.

But Gotami persisted. Eventually the Buddha relented and ordained Gotami as a bhikkhuni (fully ordained Buddhist nun; male monastics are called bhikkhus), along with other women including his wife Yaśodharā. This order lasted for a thousand years, dying out through what Gross believes was institutionalized neglect as well as the discouragement of women from leaving their traditional, domestic roles behind for their own spiritual quest.

Bowing to Outdated Cultural Constructs?

Do Westerners want to give up their civil rights—legal rights guaranteed to them—such as the rights imparted to U.S. citizens through the U.S. Constitution, which include the basic right of freedom from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics, such as gender, race, or disability?

Do these same individuals want to live divided/dualistic lives, where in the political and economic spheres women can lead governments and corporations, but in their religious communities, they are subject to the whims of a male dictatorship? Where men keep half the world’s adult population as children, determining what’s “best” for them? Do we want to return to that oppression/suppression?

I left my Christian church years ago. I’d been in dialogue with the male pastors over their suppression of women’s rights when it dawned on me: “Hey! This is a volunteer organization—what am I doing? I don’t have to be a part of this.” I was a leader in my professional life, but in the church I was a child whose speech and conduct were directed by the male moral arbiters, who couldn’t—and wouldn’t—explain this dichotomy.  I withdrew my energy to direct it toward life-affirming endeavors vs. life-denying.

Ordain them or starve (5). It’s simple and powerful.

______

Notes & Sources:

1.) https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/English-Texts/Buddhist-Legends/01-05.htm

2.) Buddhist theologian Rita M. Gross’, “Buddhism After Patriarchy,” in After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World Religions, eds. Paula M. Cooey, William R. Eakin, and Jay B. McDonald; 1998; Orbis Books, New York. (This question could be asked of all the world’s major religions.)

3.) Personal interview with retired Vipassana Buddhist teacher Eric Kolvig, February 2018.

4.) Many Buddhist resources exist on line and in print explaining The Four Noble Truths.

5.) Change IS happening: https://www.lionsroar.com/enlightenment-has-no-gender/; https://www.lionsroar.com/love-and-justice-the-radical-buddhism-of-rev-angel-kyodo-williams/; http://theweek.com/captured/721705/thailands-female-rebel-monks

_______

About the Author: Rev. Mary Coday Edwards is a Spiritual Growth Facilitator and People House Minister. A life-long student of spirituality, Mary spent almost 20 years living, working and sojourning abroad in Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America before finding her People House “tribe” and completing its Ministerial Program. Past studies include postgraduate studies from the University of South Africa in Theological Ethics/Ecological Justice, focusing on the spiritual and physical interconnectedness of all things. With her MA in Environmental Studies from Boston University, abroad she worked and wrote on environmental sustainability issues at both global and local levels, in addition to working in refugee repatriation

Abiding in Stillness ll Dorothy Wallis

Abiding in Stillness
by Dorothy Wallis

     Is the turmoil and chaos around the world impinging upon your life?  Is your level of anxiety increasing?  Do you desire relief from uncertainty and stress?  The world is rapidly changing and it may seem overwhelming to constantly experience so much change.  You may want life to be simpler, easier, and less complicated.  You may have a strong desire for peace and serenity, for all of the turbulence, disorder and conflict to stop.  You want to enter into the “good times” where life is pleasurable and you look forward to each day without worrying about anything.  You want space to breathe and relax.  You want the “noise” to stop.

When life brings you stillness…those times when nothing is happening, everything is quiet, you have time to spare without anything to do, your loved ones and friends are fine, there is no drama or concern, when there is only space and time, what happens inside of you?  Do you relish these moments?  Do enjoy the stillness?  Do you stop and just Be with the spaciousness?  Do you pause and breathe into a state of relaxation?

Does it take you some time to unwind?  Do you find your body fidgety, restless and buzzing with energy?  When you stop doing, do you find yourself thinking about all that “needs” to get done or feel guilty for not being productive?  Certainly, when your life is filled up with tasks and responsibilities, there are always more things that “need to get done.”  Yet when your chores are done and you actually have time without anything “to do” or when circumstances create time where you “can’t do”, what happens to you in those moments?  As strange as it may seem, stillness is one of the hardest states to be in.  Think about it for a moment.  What happens when you have nothing to do?  Do you feel at peace?  What happens when you are waiting in line or sitting in a meeting?  Do you take the time to be present right where you are without it needing to be different or do you become anxious, annoyed, impatient, or irritated?  Do you need others to “hurry up” and “get on with it?”

Movement is Natural and Habitual
There is a natural tendency to keep moving.  Life is movement.  Every atom, molecule and cell in your body is vibrating with energy.  Stillness can be scary or at the very least uncomfortable.  Movement is innate.  The life force propels you to develop, grow, and unfold the distinctive gifts and wisdom that are the result of the blending together of your ancestry and the accumulation of your spirit’s journey.  The body has limits and from human experience, it has an expiration date.  There is a remembrance of the body’s impermanence and an instinctive urge to make this life count, to have meaning, purpose and fulfillment.  There is a sense that “time is of the essence” along with societal admonitions of “do not put off tomorrow what can be done today.”  In other words, action and movement are built into our biology and also culturally encouraged.

Distracting from What Ails You
You may not be taking advantage of times when you could be still simply from a conditioned habit of “non-stop doing” or preoccupation with drama and external events.  At a deeper level, you might use distractions to stop yourself from taking time to be still, which may indicate an avoidance of personal issues, thoughts, behaviors or emotions that you do not want to face.
​Intolerable feelings of heartbreak, loss, disappointment, trauma, difficult life decisions and transitions may stop you from going within and being with stillness.  You may rush to be engaged with anything that will keep you from feeling hurt, the emptiness of loneliness and despair, or from knowing that you have a health issue or an insurmountable problem.  A loss of relationship and connection with another may amplify the void within.  When you are not receiving love and nurturing from others, your feelings of loneliness and pain may serve as a reflection of your inability to love and nurture yourself.  It can be very difficult to turn within and become aware of what is lacking, what has caused you pain or loss, or to see unhealthy beliefs and habits you have held.

“Nature Abhors a Vacuum”  ~ Aristotle

What is Here that Wants to be Present?
Stillness evokes a sense of emptiness, of the unknown and the void.  Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, postulated, “nature abhors a vacuum.”  He observed that whenever there was empty space, it would be filled even if it were filled with air.  You can see this phenomenon in the aftermath of a forest fire.  Rain and floods are often prevalent in the following years and very quickly dormant seeds germinate, weeds take hold, and new trees are birthed.  Before long, flora and fauna return.  We too, abhor a vacuum.  We want to quickly “fill the space and emptiness.”  Just think what happens when there is silence at a dinner party or at a seminar?  Does it feel uncomfortable?  A friend that attended an Eckhart Tolle workshop mentioned how Eckhart sat in front of the group in silence for a very long time before speaking.  His message was one of “Presence in the Heart” and by physically “Being Present” he modeled the vibration and message more powerfully than speaking about it.  Do you imagine that the participants sat peacefully in the Darshan of stillness?  Most likely, the stillness began to bring up emotion.  Perhaps some of the people experienced anticipation looking around the room to see the response of others, and maybe they responded with nervous movement or laughter.

“It is in the Stillness that you Hear the Longings of Your Soul.”

Emotion is aroused in stillness.  It wants to be felt, to be seen, and for you to listen to what needs to be heard.  It is in the stillness that you hear the longings of your soul.  It is in the stillness where your guidance offers you counsel and healing.  The emptiness is filled and it is filled with your essence.  It is where your true nature is found.  Emotions are an elegant expression of energy offering you vital information about your well-being, your passions and desires, and guidance toward your highest growth.

Stillness Balances, Heals and Revitalizes Your Body
After a person has been through a lot of stress and chaos, the natural state is for the body to enter a time of stillness and emptiness in order for the body to rebalance.  It can show up as needing a lot of sleep.  You may want to withdraw from the outside world for a while.  You may be sensitive to noise and just want to “zone out.”  Your body does its best to carry out your desires, yet physically, mentally and emotionally, it needs to rest and rejuvenate to remain balanced and energized.
Abiding in stillness will help you revitalize your physical body.  Stillness gives brain cells time and space to regenerate, with less sensory input silence and stillness replenish your brain and body’s energy and resources, it gives your pre-frontal cortex rest from the burden of processing, organizing, decision making and higher order thinking, and taps into an alternate mode where creativity and intuition reside.  Stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and heart rates are reduced and people sleep better when balance is achieved through silent stillness.
Free and Integrate Your Emotions
A free flow of emotions allowing them to resolve, integrate and dissipate occurs, instead of being “stuck” inside of your body, when you touch them in stillness.  It is the build up of suppressed and bottled up emotion, which becomes destructive.  Emotion is energy and when it accumulates, the pressure cannot be contained without outwardly exploding or internally damaging your physical body causing illness and disease.  Mental disturbances and cognitive dissonance may occur resulting in a breakdown of mental health.

Feel Safe Exploring Stillness
     If you have been avoiding or are fearful of stillness, you might invite a friend or a person you enjoy and trust to sit together in stillness.  Sit in an energy or place that you love and where you feel safe.  Allow yourself to be a bit uncomfortable as you experience the feelings and sensations that arise.  If difficult emotions arise, breathe and relax into the sensations.  Take a break if needed.  If you feel they are too intense for you to process, find a therapist to help.  Know that you are in control.  Sit for as short or as long as you desire.  Take your time; you do not need to rush the process.  Begin to trust yourself and your body.  Allow yourself to experience stillness as an interesting and even exciting destination that you have not experienced before.  It is not empty.  This place of stillness is actually filled with life.  The fountain of creation is found within the void.  Find the richness of texture, sensation, feeling and subtle nuances of being and consciousness contained here.  Meet your essence, receive guidance, and discover yourself.  You will be rewarded with a newfound sense of trust, stability and confidence in the world and yourself.


Nature inherently organizes towards homeostasis and balance.  After a heightened period of chaos when everything is thrown “up in the air” a new structure will be established that adapts to the changes that have occurred.  A time of Stillness ensues as the new form stabilizes.  Developing Patience allows a person to slow down and comfortably move into Stillness.  Refer to “Dancing with Chaos” and “The Lost Art of Patience.”

Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is an International Spiritual Teacher at the forefront of the consciousness movement for over thirty years grounded in practices of meditation, family systems, relationships, and emotional growth.  Her work reflects efficacious modalities of alternative approaches to healing based upon the latest research in science, human energy fields, psychology, and spirituality.
www.TheDorWay.com and www.Heartfulnesspath.com

Trusting, Confidence and Inner Peace ll Kate Heartsong

Trusting, Confidence and Inner Peace 

Trusting ourselves and that all is well in our lives is a big one for many people.  It certainly has been for me!  I have gratefully become more trusting over time, trusting myself, others, and that all really is in divine right order in my life.  Of course, we all can’t go around trusting everything, but that’s where discretion and self-trust comes in.   As you increase self-trust, your self-confidence grows!  It has a wonderful cumulative effect.

Here are two simple techniques on increasing your self-trust:

1.) Create a special altar in your home that is specific to your heart’s desires. This altar can consist of special mementos that bring a sense of peace and joy. It could include such items as a sentimental family photo, a unique rock from a place that brought you joy on vacation, a poem, or picture that ignites a certain pleasant memory; anything that brings you a feeling of love and warmth can be put on your alter.

Once you have this alter, sit next to it and just be with the essence of it and set an intention to be more trusting. As you are with these objects, choose to have positive thoughts, and choose to relax and trust all is well.

2.) You can carry with you a small cherished object that warms your heart and reminds you that all is well for you. Touch this object during the day as often as you like.

As you touch the object, you can feel in your heart and say any of the following words to help build trust:

–  I am a child of The Creator and this inherently means I am indeed taken care of on all levels. All my needs are easily met.

–  It is The Creator whom I am always with and therefore I trust that all is well in my life.

– I fully know and believe that all I need is provided for me now and always. I deeply breathe this truth into my soul.

– The Creator, You and I are one, and therefore abundance of joy, peace, and harmony are mine. I easily receive these blessings.

As I have greater trust, I have more self-confidence, and also inner peace.  This in turn contributes to more peace in the world through our collective consciousness, since we are all one connected !  Oneness !  Isn’t it grand to know you can make a positive difference?

In what ways do you create more trust within yourself?

Here’s to your confidence, joy, empowerment and fun!


Kate Heartsong is the “Confidence Coach”, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, author and Reiki Master/Teacher.  Her passion to serve others comes from her personal journey of transformation.  Kate’s audiences and clients gain self-confidence and new heights of self-appreciation and also reduce their stress, through her deep wisdom, expertise, caring, and the Psychology and Business degrees she holds.

Kate Heartsong
303.549.0546
Kate@JoyfulRadiance.com
Website:  JoyfulRadiance.com

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth