Tag Archive: Faith


oshoOn occasion I like to expand on some of my spiritual and philosophical influences which include the likes of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and the Dalai Lama; among many other writers and spiritual leaders. One such influence is Chandra Mohan Jain (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh); also known simply as Osho.

“Spirituality is rebellion; religiousness is orthodoxy. Spirituality is individuality; religiousness is just remaining part of the crowd psychology. Religiousness keeps you a sheep, and spirituality is a lion’s roar.”

Osho (Born December 11th, 1931 – died January 19th, 1990) was an Indian mystic, guru and spiritual teacher who travelled throughout India during the 1960s as a public speaker. A professor of philosophy, he relocated to the United States; only to be deported in the 1980s due to some serious legal ramifications.

“Go inwards. Find your inner space, and suddenly, you will find an explosion of light, of beauty, of ecstasy -as if suddenly thousands of roses have blossomed within you and you are full of their fragrance.”

Controversy aside, Osho is known for his open attitude towards sexuality and his unorthodox teaching methods that were interwoven with humor and rhetoric; revealing paradox and contradiction, thus making his work somewhat difficult to summarize.  Osho was skilful in merging eastern philosophy with western ideals; formulating a fundamental understanding of ego and mind: According to Osho, every human being exhibits Buddha nature with the capacity for enlightenment. In his teachings he surmises that it is the ego that usually blocks the road to enlightenment. The art in life is identifying and then separating ourselves from social conditioning and false needs and conflicts which create this illusory sense of identity which is a barrier to man’s inner gift to self-evolve.

“Nothing kills the ego like playfulness, like laughter. When you start taking life as fun, the ego has to die, it cannot exist anymore.”

I have always been drawn to his teachings on meditation. Osho taught that meditation is not only a practice but also a state of awareness to be maintained in every moment; a total awareness awakening the individual from the sleep of mechanical responses conditioned by beliefs and expectations. That idea resonates well with me and is reflected in my writing.

“Meditation is nothing but a bridge between you and light.”

No stranger to controversy and opinion, Oshos legacy is certainly up for debate and criticism. When you read about the history of his life you see an imperfect person preaching enlightenment and wisdom.  That is the burden of a spiritual leader: To be held to this higher moral standard.  I suppose a good question is whether or not his poignant quotes and philosophical contributions seem to stand above any short falls that history may present. Like many great writers and teachers like Alan Watts or Hemingway, the burden is heavy and the final toll is equally intense for some.  The skill in how we walk through life is extracting the positive from the negative and moving forward as best as possible with grace, energy and wisdom. As I continue to learn more about this controversial spiritual leader, I am becoming more convinced his legacy is in question.

“Spirituality is your original face; it is the discovery of your intrinsic nature.”

 

SIDE NOTE: I have received several messages from very knowledgeable people who have expressed their discord with the troubling side of Osho: A person who is known for his wisdom (as seen in so many FB and Twitter quotes) and also the train wreck of legal issues including drug addiction, financial and social misconduct,sexual abuse/harassment and other lawsuits. I must admit, though I did do research on his past; seeing much of the controversy; it still interested me that so many people were drawn to his wisdom (including me!) – maybe unaware of the sick parallel world he lived. I want to be clear that this is not a ringing endorsement but merely a snap shot of a person whose credibility may be in question more than his wisdom. Hind sight is always 20/20 –  I have since pulled a couple lines and added a couple lines of copy for amendment purposes – JCB

 

John C. Bader

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mantraofthemonthIn this new 2014 blog series titled, Mantra of the Month, we will be focusing on our first meditative incantation. A “mantra” is a word or group of words designed to evoke a mindful response. This word or phrase is meant to act as a trigger to help focus on a specific topic or thought. Born from ancient Hindu Vedic literature and common in Buddhist circles our Mantra of the Month is:

“Breathe in Positive Energy, Breathe out Negativity….”

Remember, in a Responsive Universe what we think we can create if we exhibit the right confidence and intent. As a meditative exercise, take a couple of moments out of your busy day and focus on this mantra. But first, what is positive energy? Well, it is everything tangible and intangible that surrounds us and constitutes us… At the most basic sub atomic and cellular level, humans are made up of atoms and molecules composed of energy. Quantum energy is the basis for all matter both seen and unseen. In a Universe of light, energy and vibration, humans are connected to this dynamism that links instinctual wisdom and consciousness; a common dominator for human existence. Through meditation and mindfulness we can imagine and visualize this energy passing through or entering our body – its basis is pure, unadulterated and indestructible. It is the opposite of ego and all that is negative within our lives. As social creatures we are constantly inundated with negative energy in the form of fear, jealousy, anger and false-confidence – some more so than others. The key is to center our energy and connect more with that True Nature within.

For a helpful exercise, pause for a moment and breathe in deeply 5 to 7 times. First, take a deep breath and feel your chest inflate with oxygen. Hold this breath for a couple of moments and then exhale, expelling all that is negative from your body and aura. Simply, visualize negativity, disease and addiction leaving your body with the out breath. Repeat this exercise several times.

Breathe in positive energy and breathe out negativity….

Breathe in all that is positive: Energy, light, love and wisdom… Hold your breath and then slowly exhale allowing all that is negative to leave your body: Negative thoughts, feelings of anxiety, or bad experiences; let anything negative leave your body on exhalation allowing only your True Nature to remain; steadfast and unshaken. Think of negativity as clouds obscuring the sun. As you slowly breathe in and out imagine the sun breaking through these clouds casting warm, healing illumination down on top of you. Do this several times and be mindful of this shift in energy. How do you feel now? Centered? Lighter?

Try this several times a day and notice the difference. Do you feel more relaxed, positive, inspired or revitalized?  Use this exercise when you are feeling a little rushed, stressed or overwhelmed… This is a great exercise right before a sit down meditation session!

“Breathe in Positive Energy, Breathe out Negativity….”

 

John C. Bader

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beamlight

Happy New Years to all of you reading this…

For those of you that are returning visitors to the Responsive Universe – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly appreciate your energy, time and consideration. It means a lot to me!

For those of you new to the Responsive Universe – Welcome!

2014 is going to be an exciting year as there is change in the air. Change is good as it is intrinsic to our being. The more adaptable we are to change the more we will evolve and advance in this grand and amazing Responsive Universe.

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I am excited to announce the soon to be published Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas: To be edited, published and released by Wisdom Moon Publishing in 2014. This new version of the RU will be bigger, better and more in tune with our ongoing journey to self-discovery and illumination. More details to come!

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On the Responsive Universe Blog get ready for my new blog series titled: The Mantra of the Month.  I am also excited to exhibit the wisdom and energy of several select guest bloggers and writers throughout the New Year. Our “Guest Blog” focus in 2014 will be on Meditation and Mindfulness. I look forward to all the new and inspiring contributions!

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On my official Twitter page we will be continuing with the popular Blog Share Friday which includes like-minded content including healthy recipes, travel, and literary wisdom from fellow bloggers. I am so reverent for the 41,500 followers on Twitter – thanks so much!

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Join me on Face book for updates and inspirational shares as we all disembark on this much-anticipated journey in 2014.

mandala

Again, with much appreciation, energy and reverence,

I thank all my followers, friends and fellow writers. Best of luck in 2014!

Sincerely,

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

2014 rocks!

newyearsA couple of years ago I wrote an article for MindBodyGreen entitled “10 Steps to Living a Positive Existence in 2012”.  I think it was a helpful piece and it was well received on social media like Twitter and especially Facebook.

With 2014 upon us, I thought I would revisit some important facets to betterment and self-improvement that mean a lot to me personally. As we all work toward illumination on our very own paths to self-discovery, our needs, wants and desires change; as does the root of intent that drives such personal growth. We are evolving and with any personal or social evolution births change. Everything I wrote in that MBG article still rings true, but since then I have been able to fine tune certain attributes to push my process of self-discovery forward.

This is a disclaimer of sorts: In the self-help world it is easy to watch some of the so-called self-improvement gurus (and there are many) sitting high and pious on their soap boxes, preaching compassion and conviction. They make this path to self-discovery sometimes look easy. Well it is not… and these New Years tips below are a good example of that. As I write this blog, I am fully aware that I am also working toward self-improvement. The burden is on me to live out my own destiny with the utmost determination and credibility possible. I am not perfect and I also slip and fall as we all do. This list is to be shared by us all – myself included. My goal in 2014 is to live closer and more intimately to my True Nature and this small list of resolutions is that gateway to more positive energy and wellness. I hope you find it helpful:

Credibility: As I continue to mature and evolve, I am realizing that credibility is a huge factor. Granted we should not care what others think about us in most facets – it simply feeds the ego. Still, we need to be sure our doorways to communication and expression are pure. This includes practicing what we preach, watching what we say and how we act in social situations. Every action we make creates a reaction and it is from this chain of events that builds and forms our credibility both inward and outward (how we perceive ourselves and also how our friends and family perceive us). This includes how we judge others verbally and nonverbally and how we act and react during times of challenge and conflict. This is an ongoing process and as a self-help writer and meditation advisor, the burden to be credible falls on my shoulders too.

Meditation: I have come to the personal conclusion that meditation is one of the best vehicles for wellness in my life. Seems obvious right? I have been enjoying a meditative practice for over a decade. Like exercise or anything else that requires effort, my meditation practice ebbs and flows like the tide. Sometimes we are very connected and clear, and sometimes the static of life disconnects us a bit. This is normal and simply requires mindfulness. Still, looking back on my past, it is easy to pinpoint that highs and lows and when I was more engaged and mindful. From this clarity and awareness has manifested better memories, luck and happiness. All of this can be directly rooted to meditation. The more I am rooted to the present moment, the easier it is to connect to success and wellness. The key is to get creative with meditation and incorporate it in all facets of life.

Letting Go: “Letting go” seems like a simple concept but it is a process: We need to let go of our negative past. We need to let go of the anger and conflict we feel for our enemies. We need let go of the sorrow and angst from the loss of love ones. We need to let go of the grip this material world wields over our wants and desires. We need to let go of the ego that controls our destiny; many times unknowingly. We need to let go of our fears. All of this is a purge of what is not real. Everything I listed above is not linked or aligned to our True Nature. Everything we cling to is a projection; societal conditioning; lies and false-self. This is an incredibly difficult concept to grasp and is an ongoing process of mindfulness, space, clarity and responsiveness. Trust me, this something I still struggle with daily myself – and that is okay. None of us are perfect and we never will be. Still, each little step forward out of the haze is a giant leap into the warm light of self-discovery.

New Years is actually my favorite time of year. Winter is upon us, and understanding the Mandala of life we are akin to; from winter comes spring (from death springs life): A renewal of energy, wisdom; even hope and anticipation. Remember, we live in a Responsive Universe: Self-discovery and the hard work to self-evolve might seem like a daunting task. Still, every small step forward; every small shift in perspective creates a growing footprint of energy. We are all connected and every move in the right direction, no matter how small, contributes to this glowing footprint of illumination.

2014 is going to be a good year. We have in our hand the key to happiness and betterment. We are the stewards of our own destiny. Believe this and it will manifest…  Shall we seize the day; seize the year? Let’s do it together!

Happy New Year!

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

christmas tree

I will keep this short because some of you probably need to get back to wrapping presents…

So what does Christmas mean to a Buddhist… Hmmm… maybe I should rephrase that: What does Christmas mean to me; a guy raised in a Christian household but his suffering and wisdom understood with more clarity and insight through eastern philosophy.  I meditate daily, watch my Karma and really see no internal or external connection to western based religious dogma. I am not a proponent of organized faith but Buddhism speaks to me…

From an American perspective, what is this thing we call Christmas? We see advertising for it in October.  Some want the Christ back in Christmas! I guess I don’t blame them… Most of the big retail corporations only what your money in their coffers… You have got Santa competing against Jesus and Target competing against Walmart. It is a stressful time of year and I think a lot of us caught in the cross fire are thankful when it is all over.

…still, you know what? I love Christmas!

I love the twinkling little lights, the decorations and yes, the food! I love how everyone is in a good mood and people give like no other season. The energy is alive and flowing during Christmas and there is something special about that moment when the dawn illuminates freshly fallen snow and the unmistakable glisten of excitement we see in the eyes of our children. For a moment it seems like everything is perfect in the world. I even like Christmas songs.. even the religious ones like “Silent Night” 🙂

Do I thank Jesus for that feeling?

Yes, we celebrate Christmas. We strings lights, hang holly and buy our friends and family gifts. Still, Christmas for me is not about religious dogma. It is about winter solstice, light, energy and love. Winter is part of the celebration of the Mandala of life. In autumn we see the trees turn as fall takes the hand of summer. Then it is winter that casts its cold gaze over our world. Yet, there is faith that spring will come. Yes, for me, Christmas and New Years is a time to celebrate our lives, be reverent,  to give and center ourselves in the energy of illumination, love and wisdom. A celebration of the past, present and yes… the future!

My Birthday is the day after so do not get mad if I say Happy Holidays to you all!

Ah, hell with it…. Merry Christmas!

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

Meditation alters our genes?

secondgirlmeditationA new study conducted by researchers working in the US, France and Spain has shown that mindfulness can affect your genes; especially in regard to limiting or suppressing the expression genes associated with inflammation. “Mindfulness Meditation” is the practice of centering your thoughts and energy in the present moment. This is the same type of meditation I outline in my upcoming book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas. Mindfulness Meditation is about our thoughts… A mind awash with thoughts of fear, dread, anxiety and ego related thought trails lives in the past and future – never the present moment. It is here in the present moment where authentic space, clarity and responsiveness can wellspring from our inner being; our True Nature.

This new research has shown that this type of meditation can actually suppress protein manufacturing associated with inflammation. Through a controlled patient study, results showed that meditation can actually turn down inflammation like it was a proverbial volume switch. Why is this important?  It is just one of many steps forward in understanding how mindfulness can alter the human condition and physiology down to our basic atoms and molecules. We are connected in ways with the Universe that science is just now beginning to explain. Meditation has long been thought to be the bridge to spirituality, wellness and self-discovery. This study is just another example of how mindfulness is a step forward into the sublime.

John C. Bader

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Less is more?

Roll-of-moneyLess is more?

When I was much younger my father would use the term “Less is More” in regard to lifestyle and the job market… To be honest it used to tick me off (especially in my early twenties)… I would quip, “well, why did I slave in college to get a degree and be saddled down with student loans if less was indeed more?” I was probably missing his point… As a side note, he moved to Hawaii to live the simple life after I graduated high school. Even still, as a young adult, growing up in Orange County, CA – I was inundated with images and real life examples of monetary success. Growing up in the eighties and living in a wealthy area near the beach only perpetuated this vision of success; setting this benchmark for self-esteem and accomplishment that carried me well into my early thirties.  Like many others, I was conditioned to base a large facet of my happiness on things that were not permanent. All I wanted to do was own a big home, drive a luxury car and have the money that was dangled like a golden carrot over my soft and impressionable ego.

Ironically, I got everything I yearned for – careful what you wish for!

…but when the economy dropped out and took stocks and home prices with it – I learned by biggest life lesson about wealth and how we attach ourselves to it… Damn it.. My old man was right all along… and guess what, it still ticked me off… LOL.

Attaching myself to materialistic objects and symbols of wealth; attaching my happiness to what others thought of my successes only dug me deeper into the pit of ego and false-self – the end result was suffering in every magnitude. It was an epiphany of sorts that jolted me out of my fantasy world. That and having to rebuild my self-esteem and investments one penny at a time.

Fast forward thirty plus years from that young and dumb kid in the OC and you have a completely different person. It has taken a boat load of life lessons and suffering over the years to see the bigger picture. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making lots of money. It is how we as individuals attach ourselves to it that is the defining factor.

So what was the point of this blog post? Well, first and foremost, my father was right… I concede…

Secondly, life is but a bundle of many variables. It is never prudent to base our happiness and wellness on variables like ego, money, stocks and big homes. Such things come and go like the wind and when they are gone so goes that happiness that was many times unknowingly attached to it. The only permanent facet to life is our True Nature within – this instinctual and intimate connection to the space, clarity and sensitivity that defines this grand, Responsive Universe. Our happiness is driven by the heart wish within that projects only gratitude and compassion; positive energy and good karma.

Now, that is something that money cannot buy… 🙂

John C. Bader

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Fellow blogger Dave (Go Groovy) asked an interesting question about our purpose in life and how meditation may connect us to this purpose:

Meditation

 

Interesting question Dave and I am not sure I have the full answer. Here it goes….

At birth we are born without an ego… yet, through social evolution the ego is what defines us at an early age. As we mature and see this rift between True Nature and Ego, we are left with a choice: Connect more to our True Nature (this energy, love and wisdom that arises from the within and without – the essence of God as it relates to the Universe) or we can continue to be led by blind reactions and blind faith; fear, materialism and false-self – all facets of the ego. Meditation slows down the thoughts within our head. Over time, meditation stretches those gaps between thoughts. It is there within those gaps that a beautiful silence arises from within; the ego is then powerless. From that silence wells our inner wisdom – our True Nature. That authentic energy and insight should be our guiding light to self-discovery and illumination. I think our purpose in this Universe is to live closer to our True Nature and live farther away from ego. I think we tend to over think our purpose in life (me included!) when everything we need is already there in the palm of our hand. Formal meditation is great but think of our entire daily life as a meditation – let that energy that arises from formal meditation transcend all thoughts, actions and reactions all day long! It is not a perfect process, but the more mindful you are at work, with family, friends (and enemies) and during your own meditative silence; the more you will grow and prosper. We gain credibility and our energy footprint grows as we evolve. New doors will open and your actions and reactions will be born from compassion, love and gratitude – there lies the gift in life… possibly our purpose too?

This blog including Facebook and Twitter is an open forum for any questions relating to life – please feel free to forward your questions – I may not have the answer, but I will try my best to shed some perspective – after all, we are all in this together!

 

John C. Bader

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Who is Ralph Waldo Emerson?

 

ralphwaldo

“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”

–          Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am always intrigued and  interested in writers and philosophers of the near and distant past and their undeniable illumination and wisdom; wisdom and insight that rises above the threshold of dogma and ignorance that besieges much of our more recent history. Take the dark ages for instance: The intellectual gains of ancient Greece and the contributions of great thinkers like Plato and Aristotle were blurred and forsaken when Christianity inherited Europe. Even Galileo was accused of blasphemy for his theories in astronomy. Imagine where science and technology would be today if we continued to build from where ancient Greece left off, instead of backsliding into blind faith and stifled forward thinking for hundreds of years.

One such writer and poet that continues to intrigue me is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Born in 1803, Emerson is considered one of the great transcendentalist writers of his time.  His literary influences were seen as a reflection of individualism and a steward for challenging the dominant and dogmatic pressures of society:

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

“Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.”

His essays and quotes talk about God not as a man but other things. His connection with nature was also interesting:

“There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God”

Fellow blogger, Kirk McElhearn offered this insight: “He understood that the world is not simply that which is outside of man, but also that the world is something that we create from our own experiences and feelings, a concept which the great Zen teachers have espoused for centuries.”

I find it empowering that in a close minded world, there are visionaries from our past that have awakened and it is reflected in their writings. Ralph Waldo Emerson saw the world as something special beyond just pulpits and scripture. He saw a world where energy and nature are the paying currency; mans actions and thoughts, its driving force:

“Man is the creator of his world.”

God enters by a private door into every individual.”

When you read deeper into Emerson’s contributions you see a man bathed under the illumination of clarity and awareness. Nature was his meditative sanctuary where he found further insight and healing energy. Within his writing you see this connection with the universe, but also a connection with himself – there is almost a Buddhist quality to his message and his writing shows us that serenity, silence and inner wisdom are paths to enlightenment.

John C. Bader

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Sources:

Kirk McElhearn

gratitudeGratitude: The quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful (dictionary.com)

Seems like a simple definition; yet, there is a lot to be said about gratitude. Much of the wellness and happiness in my life can be attributed to gratitude. Trust me, it will always be an evolving practice but the results are fascinating and very empowering.  In fact, I think the quality of gratitude (in many facets) is really the key to self-discovery. From gratitude comes compassion for yourself and others; from gratitude wells credibility, positive energy and karma – these are the bridges to wellness and happiness!

Over the last 10 years I have been slowly taking power away from my ego and false-self through continued mindfulness.  It has been a gauged process with many triumphs and setbacks along the way.  I am speaking for myself here, but I think we all tend to learn the hard way when it comes to life lessons. This road to self-discovery is long and challenging; and knowing this, we also should understand that life is not perfect and either are you and I; ….and trust me; I am okay with that notion…. Still, through the pitfalls and successes, a measurable quality of passive narcissism and shallow self-confidence has been disappearing from my actions and reactions.  Again, it took time, but I am far more mindful and aware than I was a decade ago. Proof tends to be in the experience. As an example, the materialistic things that pleased me years ago no longer govern my happiness and wellness today. I am more reverent for what I have and not what I don’t have. This change in personal philosophy is a defining benchmark in my life as I continue to walk toward the light.

We all gain our energy from inward and outward qualities. Energy is gained by how we interact with others in society and our environment. This energy can be positive or negative depending on its source and our most basic perceived and conditioned needs. When we react through ego (many times unknowingly), we care what other people think and base our self-esteem on elements in life that are not fixed or permanent (like money, objects and effluent friends). The common result is suffering. Yet, when we exhibit all facets of gratitude in our lives, there is only room for true authentic energy and dynamism to spring forth. Every act of gratitude is projected out into this Responsive Universe; only to return as positive energy and karma. Every act of gratitude pushes the ego and its influences farther away from intention – the result is genuine, clear concise actions in life that allow us to live under the warm and healing illumination of self-discovery.

I get comments from time to time on twitter and Facebook stating things like: “it is not as easy as it sounds”. Yeah, I get that… but nothing good in life is easy. The road to self-discovery is an uphill path that requires continued mindfulness. Even in my journey, I slip and fall on occasion… that is life…

…but a life full of gratitude is a life rich with promise with a destiny more in the hand of optimism and less in the shadow of ego and false-self.

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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