Tag Archives: Dharma

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra

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I needed a skinny book and Deepak Chopra’s distillation of his tome on Creating Abundance was sitting there just waiting to be read. Success and abundance are desirable commodities in the post-apocalyptic urban dystopia we inhabit so I settled in for a quick perusal of ancient teachings. Not that quick, actually. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is a pocket-size fusion of Eastern wisdom and Western affirmation. Chopra’s laws have been around for a while but he does have a knack for explaining the esoteric in accessible language and this book has plenty of both. So I contemplated it rather than plowed through it and it took longer to read. Which was okay as it was as calming as a meditation on intention and manifestation — a written guided meditation.

Here are the laws:

1. Pure Potentiality – we are pure consciousness and when we recognize this we can tap into the universal energy field and create anything. But, to reach that state of awareness, we have to transcend the ego, leaving behind fear, the need for external approval and personal control, and our “social masks”.  

2. Giving – in order to receive, give what you want to get–affection, support, money–life is about a dynamic exchange, the free flow of energy. 

 3. Karma, or Cause and Effect – every action generates an energetic response. You create your reality and your past shapes your present, your present designs your future. Tricky. But an optimistic way to view this is to find the opportunity in each challenge and transform your old, crummy karma into choices for positive–and rewarding–activity going forward. 

 4. Least Effort – don’t push the river. Put your intention out there and turn your attention to getting on with your life. The good stuff bubbles up in its own time. Type-A Westerners have a lot of trouble with this one.

 5. Intention and Desire – the quantum energy field is influenced by intention and desire. Yours, actually. Lavish your intention on something and it becomes more important in your life. Neglect it and the thing withers. Intention is pure desire without attachment and you can activate it to manifest whatever you want by stating an intention clearly and then infusing it with the stillness and pure potential you experience in meditation. Guaranteed to remove struggle. Someone should bottle this.

 6. Detachment – let go of your insecure, fear-based need to see the result you imagine. Note to control freaks: you will not be good at this. Attachment is scarcity-consciousness, implying no real belief in your own infinite self and your limitless potential to create. Detachment celebrates ambiguity and can tolerate insecurity. Detachment delivers, oh ye of little faith. 

 7.  Dharma, or Purpose in Life  – your talent is unique in all the world and no one but you can express it. Your purpose in life is not to run out of milk and socks; it is to soar. When you share what is yours to give, you are richly rewarded. The catch is, you don’t do it for the rewards. You do it to do it. The material rewards are a bonus.

I like these ideas. I suck at many of them. Probably why I am putting in so many hours as a hack writer that I have to find skinny books to read. Chopra adds step-by-step applications to each of the seven laws and, at the risk of spoiling things, I’ll share an observation. Meditation figures prominently in many of them. Clearing your cluttered mind on a daily basis makes space for what you imagine to live and breathe.  However you define success, you may get within striking distance of it by following the formula of these seven timeless spiritual laws. So, off to the meditation cushion and the world of infinite possibility I have yet to conquer.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams   Deepak Chopra | New World Library   1994

Open Heart, Open Mind – Tsoknyi Rinpoche

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Open Heart, Open Mind is a how-to manual–how to prepare for and practice as a bodhisattva–one who lives to bring enlightenment to all people. In practical terms, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche is a very practical Buddhist, that means learning to access the deep wells of peace and knowing within us and sharing what we have achieved with gratitude and generosity. 

Rinpoche was born in Nepal to a Tibetan Buddhist family with a distinguished line of meditation teachers. At age eight, he was identified as a tulku, a reincarnation of an important teacher. By the time he was twelve, he had traveled from his family home in a small village in Nepal to Tashi Jong monastery for training. During his intensive studies, the boy discovered that his calling was not to monkhood but to the life of a householder and teacher of the Dharma. Today he is a highly-regarded international Buddhist teacher who uses prosaic examples to deliver esoteric knowledge that is accessible to both serious and curious seekers.

The book takes you through the simplest teachings about the mind and the heart and goes deeply into mindfulness practice and the ways to approach it. Rinpoche details the personal benefits from the growing mastery of mindfulness, a slowing down and a paying attention that makes space for inner peace and the discovery of who we really are. I particularly liked the examples that explained some of the workings of the mind. Anyone who has ever meditated knows that the chatter of our minds is relentless, filling our consciousness and sometimes our unconcious with thought after thought–most of it just junk messages and old tapes on an endless loop. Try to clear the mind, to make it perfectly still, and the thoughts rally like a third-rate street parade band, discordant, noisy and confusing.

But you can contemplate clouds scudding across a blue sky to put those thoughts in context. Different people may see clouds as a sign of impending rain that will flood a river or rescue parched crops. Clouds can give shade and they can soak you–when it is cold enough they can cover you in snow. But the sky is just empty space and it doesn’t change. Whatever you think of the clouds, the thoughts, the sky-mind stays the same.  Too often we fail to notice the sky and focus on the clouds.

The message in Open Heart… is that we can and must awaken the power of love to inform and illuminate our lives and Rinpoche gives pragmatic exercises to put the teachings into action. From listening to the wisdom of the body to connecting with our essential joyous nature, this is a compassionate primer that urges you to be kind to yourself as you begin the great work of uncovering the truth about life and your real purpose in this world. It is anecdotal, funny, historic, meticulous in its depiction of Tibetan Buddhist teachings and inspirational enough to send you to your meditation cushion and the beginning of a great bodhisattva adventure.   

Open Heart, Open Mind: Awakening the Power of Essence Love   Tsoknyi Rinpoche with Eric Swanson | Harmony Books   2012