Showing posts with label Enlightenment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Enlightenment. Show all posts

December 29, 2020

Buddha Happy


This was a great big Buddha by the cashier in the vegetarian restaurant. 

He is, so to say, "fat and happy" (come on you can't miss that belly)!

I think that's the message the eatery is trying to get across. 

The only problem is that fat does not make happy; it just makes you want to lose weight. 

Then again, no really hungry person was ever that happy either.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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November 29, 2020

Mastering Cheerfulness

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Mastering Cheerfulness." 
During Covid-19, it is easy to get down about all the people getting sick (many dying) and for the rest of us the intense feelings of isolation. However, during this time (and particularly this week of Thanksgiving), I am learning the importance of staying positive and appreciating all G-d’s blessings that we do have. More broadly, I am coming to understand that inside a person, G-d exists amidst love, kindness and cheerfulness: these are elements that nourish the flame of our soul and wherein G-d happily coexists with us. It makes a lot of sense that when we are angry, jealous, or sad, the holy Shechinah (presence of G-d) cannot fully reside inside us. Because G-d Himself is gracious, kind, and loving and created us from this, so His spirit within us (our soul) flourishes amidst these feelings, but diminishes within us like a flame without oxygen when we distance ourselves emotionally and spiritually.

Just like one candlelight extinguishes the darkness around it, so also the light that we nurture within ourselves can extinguish the darkness that we occasionally feel inside.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 20, 2020

Modeh Ani - Thank you G-d

Beautiful song after the prayer, Modeh Ani that Jews say every morning immediately when we wake up. 
I give thanks to You, living and eternal King for you have restored my soul within me with mercy; Your faithfulness is great.

Thank you G-d for everything you do for us.

Your mercy endures forever!  

As Sholom Aleichem say: we should not know the taste of hunger.  ;-)

(Credit Video: Omer Adam עומר אדם)

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November 8, 2020

From Creation to the End of Times

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "From Creation to the End of Times."
 
As Jews, we travel through history to our destiny along an arc of birth, growth, decline and the learning from our mistakes, to ultimately the fulfillment of our divine mission for world enlightenment. Jewish history can be broken down in a couple of amazing ways: first by every two millennium from creation forward, and second, starting with Abraham, in 400-500 year increments.

We have an incredible history that takes us along a clear trajectory from our founding of monotheism and special relationship with G-d as His "chosen" in the receiving the Torah and its transmission, to our many weaknesses and failures in going astray from our mission, and ultimately to our redemption and achievement of G-d's purpose for us in bringing his teachings and glory to all the world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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October 1, 2020

Beautiful Japanese Pagoda

Japanese pagoda signifying the elements of earth, air/sky, fire and water.

Beautiful integration of stone into natural surroundings. 

Centered, self-reflection, mindfulness, enlightenment, peace. 

You can see this at Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden in Delray Beach, Florida. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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August 27, 2020

Rope Light

This rope light is sort of frightening. 

Looks like a noose and it's hanging from the ceiling. 

I don't think this light is too enlightened!  

There are no ropes needed.

We need to cast light not darkness in this world. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2020

Anger, Faith, and Growth

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Anger, Faith, and Growth."

We live in an unpredictable world and I have made more than one bad decision recently. Fortunately, it was nothing too terrible, but I was still angry about it, and my gut reaction was to somehow blame G-d, and to feel angry at Him, because I thought somehow I didn't deserve what had happened. However, I asked myself how can you be angry at G-d if you believe that everything he does is for your ultimate good? It took me a little time, but I realized that I wasn't really angry at G-d, but at myself; It was my fault, I did deserve what happened, and my mistakes aren't G-d's.

Maybe this is what life is really all about--searching and finding G-d even among all the multitude of mistakes we make in life. We have to own our mistakes, learn from them, and thereby become stronger and better people.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 3, 2020

We Impact Each Other's Souls

Finishing Natan Sharansky's book Fear No Evil

And I rarely write twice on a book or movie, but this was so impactful. 

First on our souls, Sharansky writes:
The law of attraction, interconnection, and interdependence of human souls...there is a universal gravitational pull of souls, of the bond between them and influence of one soul on the other. 

Wow, Sharansky understood the deeper meaning of the soul and how they all emanate and are pieces from G-d and they are all connected to their source and each other, and what one person says or does impacts all the others (and thereby G-d himself). 

Literally, I experienced this the other day...when I personally made amends on something I felt that I had done wrong, and I could literally feel somehow righting a wrong in the universe and G-d, Himself, smiling down on me. 

It was the best feeling I think I have ever had in my life. 

Second on fear, Sharansky writes:

My inner freedom [is] more powerful than the external bondage...[and] fear of the L-rd...is a necessary prerequisite for man's achieving inner freedom, and is also the prerequisite for spiritual resolve, the fear of the L-rd is the only thing that can conquer human fear.

Wow again. Sharansky through his nine years of suffering and hardships in Soviet prisons and labor camps found his deep inner strength to resist the tyranny of the KGB worldly masters and overcame them with his finding his fear and faith in G-d and was able to overcome. 

These are two amazing heavenly lessons that Sharansky shares with us from enduring and overcoming his incredible worldly hardships.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this and am with G-d's help continuing to quench my thirst for this type of wisdom and true enlightenment.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 1, 2020

Shabbat Shalom and Stay Healthy!

Beautiful Shabbat is almost here again. 

A time for rest and rejuvenation. 

Each of us has to take care of and nourish our body, mind, and soul. 

Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom!

Please stay safe and healthy. ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 16, 2020

Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End."
Despite our redemption from slavery in Egypt (1312 BCE), we continue through cycle after cycle of enslavement and exile.

In Kabbalah, we learn that the Jewish soul reincarnates until it reaches its spiritual enlightenment and fulfills all the mitzvot. Similarly, the soul of the Jewish people is reincarnated and relives painful destruction, slavery, and exile until we learn, grow, and finally become what we are destined to be as servants only of Hashem and as a light unto the nations. This has been our fate, but also it is one that we are finally nearing the end of with the return to the Promised Land and perhaps even the arrival soon of Mashiach.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

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February 20, 2019

Simple And Beautiful

Thought this was a nice touch on the table. 

Just a simple drinking glass with a little water on the bottom and these three beautiful flowers inside. 

Pink, Yellow, Orange. 

So simple, yet so beautiful.

Maybe that's the point. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 17, 2019

You Can't See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 

But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can't see yourself. 

It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 

And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 

When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  

No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it's like a ghost out there--we are blind to it. 

To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 

That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 

To change, learn, grow--to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  

You can't see yourself until you can.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 18, 2018

Everything Is 4 The Best

So it's easy to get down on life when bad things happen. 

But it's funny how when we just take a little perspective or in retrospect...

We realize that everything G-d does is really for our best!

It may not look and feel that way at the moment. 

But there comes an inner awakening about things when we see the bigger picture. 

And then we sort of nod our heads knowingly:
"Ah, that's why that happened!"

There are many reasons, G-d may be directing something: 

- Opening new and better opportunities for us. 

- Teaching us important life lessons.

- Putting us someplace we need to be to help someone else. 

- Even saving us from some worse catastrophe. 

For G-d, there is no time or space--He supersedes all of these. 

He puts us where we need to be when we need to be for His bigger plan for our good. 

Also, when you think you have a problem, remember to look at what others may be going through.

Because there are problems and then there are problems!

As my dad used to say:

"The guy complained he had no shoes, until he saw the guy without any feet!"

Is your problem really so bad--maybe yes, maybe no.

Try for a second to think of others you know and what they are going through. 

Imagine for a moment--what does really bad look like, feels like. 

G-d works in what seems like mysterious ways.

But we can uncover the mystery and discover the holiness and grand plan of it all--if we just look beyond ourselves and towards the heavens.

Oh G-d, thank you for all that you do for us--your wisdom is glorious; your lessons are to teach me to be a better me; and your mercy endures forever. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2018

It's For Us

I love this saying from one of my colleagues:
"G-d doesn't do it to us. 
He does it for us!"

Instead of asking with anger and resentment "why me?" -- perhaps we can try to see the larger picture and be grateful for all the blessings and opportunities that G-d does give us. 

While certainly there is pain and suffering in this world, there is also the chance to learn, grow, and become stronger and better people. 

We are here to hopefully leave the world a better place than before we got here. 

The perspective that the challenges and obstacles are not meant to really harm us, but to help us is not an easy pill to swallow.

But maybe it really is the enlightened view of faith that we all need to fight on and overcome. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 8, 2018

Yearning For Redemption


Just an impression from my recent trip to Israel. 

There is such a yearning for people to do good and to merit the coming of Mashiach (Messiah) towards the ultimate redemption for mankind. 

It's on every street corner and light post.  

Whether it's eyes gazed on the righteousness of Rabbi Nachman or The Rebbe--as we used to sing as kids in NCSY:
"We want Mashiach now!"

Whether Mashiach is an actual person or a spiritual revelation in the world leading to redemption--it represents an unprecedented enlightenment, holiness and a spiritual healing, and love and peace for mankind. 

While we strive to earn our daily bread, it's nice to have a part of us that also seeks a greater good and achieving betterment for the world. 

Any small or big things we can do in our lives to contribute to Tikkun Olam ("fixing the world"), it's purposeful, hopeful, and uplifting to try. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2017

DC Lights It Up - Just Physical or More








Wanted to share these beautiful lights from around Washington, D.C. 

They are all sort of magnificent!

But even while I am marveling at them, my mind is tearing another way...

I am thinking, there is physical light, yet in so many ways the world seems dark. 

We have lots technological progress to be proud of, and yet there are big problems all over the horizon.

- Nuclear and missile proliferation, and rising cyber threats.

- Rising global terrorism and potential for military conflicts

- Spiraling national debt and the trust funds for social entitlements running out

- Rising discrimination and associated hate crimes

- Family strains and the decline of marriage

- Challenges in confidence with organized religion 

- World leadership at a crossroads. 

We need light--but not just the physical type. 

Transparency, enlightenment to solve big problems and a spiritual awakening to ensure good wins out over evil are all on order. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 22, 2017

Ambassador of Redemption and Peace

Thought this was so cool...

One of my friends from synagogue has an amazing replica of the letter From President Harry S. Truman recognizing the the State of Israel (with the President's last-minute hand-written edits on it):

It reads: 
"This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.  
The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel." 
Harry Truman 
Approved May 14, 1948"
 And hence the Jewish people went from almost 2,000 years in exile and persecution--culminating in the genocidal Holocaust that wiped out 6,000,000 Jews--to be followed by the founding of the State of Israel and the keeping of G-d's promise in the Bible:
Genesis 15:18: 
"On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."
Deuteronomy 30:3 
"Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you."
We are living through historic times!

Now the Headquarters of the State Department is named the Harry S. Truman building...how fitting for all our diplomacy to be called for the President that recognized the State of Israel, as the Bible said. 

Then this weekend, I was truly surprised and humbled when another friend from synagogue said that he thinks with all my passion and caring for the United States, Israel and G-d that I could be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel...I couldn't have be more moved by these lovely sentiments.

As a child of Holocaust survivors and a person of faith who believes deeply that we are witnessing the prophecies of the Bible literally being fulfilled and that we are in the time of the great redemption, I have a vision that we are ushering in the coming of the Messiah and that there will be peace in our lands and enlightenment of G-d upon the Earth. 

I hope and pray every day for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 25, 2016

What Is Peace + Happiness?

I loved this piece of art work with the colorful Buddhas.

It got me thinking about peace and happiness--is it the same for everyone?

To one person, career, achievement, and money seems to make happy--as one of my friends told me about one of his extremely successful bosses who heads a large corporation and has not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 mansions on the water, in the mountains, and overlooking Central Park in NYC.

To another person, it's being able to do what they want to in life--doing what makes you emotionally happy instead of what you have to do; the freedom to choose and to be passionate about what you do and how you spend you time every day--whether it's a profession, an activity or sport, or even exploration and travel.

Yet others, find peace and satisfaction in spiritual and religious pursuits--joining the clergy or learning about G-d and philosophy, doing G-d's commandments or helping his creations by doing good deeds. 

Many of course, find peace and get nachas from their families, the loves of their life, their beautiful children and grandchildren, and helping the next generation to grow and prosper after us. 

That can also extend to friends, community, and even colleagues--when we surround ourselves with other good people, those who we enjoy their company and have things in common, then we can find happiness with each other.

Being here in Florida for the holidays, I'm reminded of all the sun, beauty, and body-worshippers, those people who love their physique and good health, working out, looking good, being with others that look good, and even designing and making things that are beautiful. 

And at the other end of the spectrum again are the intellectual nerdy nerds who get their energy from being brainiacs like one of my friend's nephews who is one of silicon valley's serial innovators.

Whatever you love, have, and do that makes you happy is something to be extremely grateful for.

Nothing is forever, and nothing is owed to us.

Use the gifts that G-d has given you with the wisdom to reach enlightenment by being good and generous to others and so that you truly merit these beautiful things and thank the creator who blessed you. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 7, 2016

We All Have It In Us

So this is a very cool sweat jacket with the Superman and all look. 

We all like to think of ourselves as possible superheroes. 

Whether we dress the role or not, the most important thing is acting it. 

Every day, we face circumstances and decisions and we have to decide whether we rise up to the occasion as the superhero or we acquiesce to what's easy or lucrative and do the villain thing. 

From the time we are kids, we glorify the superheros not just for the awesome cool powers they have, but for doing something amazing to help people and the world with it. 

Somewhere from being a kid to a grown-up, many people end up letting go of that superhero dream as they face the harsh realities of life everyday. 

But deep down inside all of us is that superhero!

Good over evil is not just a story for children's bedtime or imagination, but it is our battle to be fought and won--that's what a good life is for those that never lose their fundamental beliefs. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2016

One Mean Election

Three cheers for one of the worst elections ever.

American politics sinking to new lows.

This poster yesterday plastered all over Washington D.C. 

"Bully Culprit"

Denigrating, bashing, hurting, and humiliating other people whether we like them or not is wrong. 

- What happened to agreeing to disagree?

- What happened to being civil and mannered?

- What happened to "when they go low, we go high"?  

Power is such a motivator. 

Greed, according to the Buddhists is one of the "three poisons," along with ignorance and hate. 

These lead to evil and suffering and prevent the attainment of enlightenment. 

Desire and wanting something so much that you will do anything for it, thinking you deserve it, and being overconfident that you will get are a weakness of character and leadership. 

Yesterday, Putin said about our election hysteria, "Is America some kind of banana republic?

Is this really the type of darkness (and not light) to the world we want to show ourselves as.

We are continuing to go in the wrong direction and away from enlightenment and good--especially when there is so much work for us to still be done. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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