Renewal is in the air during this time of spring and Easter. I hope that all of you are well and thriving, and always like to hear back about your thoughts and good works. Many in the Christian faiths will be focusing on Jesus raising from the "dead" during this time. While contemplating this, I felt that
Happy Valentine's Day to you from the Universe!
Photo compliments of the Reflection Nebula NGC and the Hubble telescope.
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more divine love this Valentine's Day.
A Valentine's Day Story :
In this excerpt from the still-in-progress 2nd edition of Never to Return: A Modern Quest for Eternal Truth, you can read about what must have been my most intriguing Valentine's Day to date. This event took place several years after I'd left the monastery and moved to Los Angeles. It was early in the morning on Valentine's Day. I'd recently finished co-producing and editing a feature film with Arnold Schwarzenegger's best friend Franco Columbu, and was at the local gym, running on a treadmill next to my Italian actress friend, Jo.
It was Valentines Day, and as we ran on the treadmills, Jo was telling me about all that she was going to do to celebrate the day with her wealthy, studio executive boyfriend. Now, I'd never had much interest in relationships or Valentine's Day, which had made ten years of monastic life quite natural and agreeable. Nevertheless, this move from from ten years of monastic life right into the middle of Hollywood definitely gave me a chance to see how easy it is for our interests to be swayed by the interests of others.
While running on the treadmill and listening to Jo's romantic plans for the day, I started to feel a little sad about being alone on Valentines Day. Now, this is coming from someone who very much enjoys solitude. A new idea was being born in my mind. I was at a crossroad of what could have become a new pattern of intention and life direction for me -- a wish, a prayer, a decision. One strong thought or intention can sometimes change the whole direction of our life. Just imagine how many people have spent decades in unhappy relationships due to what may have been a strong, perhaps hormone-based reaction to someone's physical appearance or attracting smells (and you know that some perfume companies have no qualms about screwing around with your instincts by adding sex smells from various animals to their nice little bottles of fragrance -- a strange lot we human beings are!) In this case, the power of company was sparking new thoughts about wanting to have a partner for Valentine's Day, bringing me to the precipace of possibly wishing for something for the wrong reasons.
Maybe the universe or God had to go out of its way to come up with something drastic to pull me back from getting off track. At that very moment, I looked forward into the mirrored wall in front of our treadmills, and saw that Arnold had entered the gym. We'd met many times before, and had spent the previous Thanksgiving chatting together at Franco's house. Arnold and I had hit it off, and he always seemed very enthusiastic to see me when we happened to run into one another at a restaurant or gym. This time also, he entered the gym, saw Jo and I running on the treadmills, and headed straight toward us. As I continued to jog, Arnold walked up behind me and checked my gluteus maximus muscles, or in other words, he grabbed my butt, while commenting on how well I was running. Anyway, I didn't really mind -- he was, after all, Mr. Universe (this was more than a decade before he became the Governator).
After Arnold walked away, I remembered how I'd been feeling left out of having any action on Valentines Day, and thought, "Okay God, that worked!"
Years later, when all the accusations about his groping came up during Arnold's gubernatorial campaign, I remembered this and a few other incidents, and -- while I understood how some women might not appreciate the "boys club" mentality of Arnold, Franco, and some of the other body builders -- I had also seen that body builders tend to have a very different concept of the physical body than most of us do. Touching one another is part of their work -- like running your hands on a classic car to check the wax job. But yes, I suppose that you could technically say that I was officially groped on that Valentine's Day.
CLICK HERE to visit a webpage of "Photos and Videos from a Monastic Life to Hollywood"
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Secrets of Spiritual Happiness guides readers to dive into an unshakable contentment and joy that exists beneath all the ups and downs of life. With spiritual happiness, you can be ecstatic even when you're miserable! You can feel complete even while grieving the loss of something or someone of great value.
Spiritual happiness transforms your fear into faith, and your anger into compassion and blessings. Secrets of Spiritual Happiness guides you to think and act in ways that continually refresh you and the world around you -- from changing outer circumstances that block your joy, to realizing how your own views and interpretations ultimately create your unhappiness as well as your happiness.
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Join me on a walk to the ocean
On a somewhat stormy day in December, 2005, a creative friend from the same New York ashram where I'd lived for many years, came for a visit with his brand new video camera. This friend filmed my daily walk to the ocean, and, in his own good-hearted and Felliniesque style, edited a very sweet and uplifting video with music and his imagined narration of what I might be thinking during the walk. Not bad for his first video!
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