Goodbye

Posted October 13, 2014 by Adolfo Quezada
Categories: Uncategorized

This is my last post.

Everything has a lifespan and Of Mind and Spirit is no exception. I am very grateful to you for your continued interest in the words I’ve offered over the lifetime of this blog. The time has come, however, for me to let go of this venture in order to begin another.

Some of you have been regular followers of this blog, others have visited from time to time; some of you I know personally, others have clicked into this blog from dozens of countries around the world. I greatly appreciate all of you who have taken the time and effort to read and comment on the various posts. Thank you.

I have compiled many of my reflections from this blog into a book entitled Of Mind and Spirit: Reflections on Living and Loving. It will soon be available through Amazon.com in paperback or as an e-book.

I wish you peace and well-being.

Sincerely,

Adolfo Quezada

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Sadness

Posted August 22, 2014 by Adolfo Quezada
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Let us give voice to our sadness.

Who of us has not experienced grief or disappointment, discouragement or sorrow? Sometimes our heart is broken because of unrealized dreams or unmet expectations. We may be saddened by the death of a loved one; or we may experience sorrow for the plight of others. We may lament what we have done or failed to do, and our heart is exceedingly heavy. There are times when our sadness is beyond words and all we can do is weep.

As long as we are alive and sensitive to what happens in our life and in the world around us, we are bound to feel sadness sooner or later. Any effort on our part to avoid feeling sadness when circumstances warrant it risks the blockage of all emotions, including enthusiasm, joy, and love.

Sadness is a healthy and necessary emotion. It is not the same as depression. Depression is the inability to experience joy, sadness, or any other emotion. It is an emotional drought, except for self-depreciation. Someone who is sad may feel deprived of what has been lost, and may pine for what is no more; yet, will not feel worthless or self-deprecating. Sadness is a natural response to grievous circumstances; depression, on the other hand, is a major emotional imbalance that forebodes darkness and danger.

Unlike self-pity, which places us in a victim role, sadness cleanses the soul. It is not the opposite of happiness; actually, our heart is capable of feeling sadness and happiness at the same time. Sadness is one of the many ways in which we respond to what life brings.

Sadness can be a relieving and healing experience if we allow it to be acknowledged, felt, and expressed. It is the first step on our path through sorrowful experiences. As our energy and enthusiasm for life diminish, our sadness gives us an opportunity to withdraw into a place of healing and introspection. It prompts us to weep, sob, and cry out loud, releasing pent up energy from our heart.

Sadness is one of many colors on our palette of cathartic emotions. We honor it when it comes, we allow it to overwhelm us, and we stay with it for as long as necessary. We give voice to our sadness, whether in the form of the words that we share with others or write in our journal, or with the tears that fall from our eyes.

Legacy

Posted August 15, 2014 by Adolfo Quezada
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My legacy will not consist of a book I’ve written, a tree I’ve planted, or even a child to whom I’ve given life. Instead, it will be the seeds I’ve planted in the hearts of the disenchanted, the words I’ve spoken or kept from speaking in the name of peace and justice; and the way in which I’ve treated my family and friends with loving kindness. My legacy will be the totality of my life and how it has impacted or will impact those whose lives I have touched.

In the grand scheme of things my life will have come and gone in the blink of an eye; and I will be remembered for about as long. But that’s all right because my legacy does not need to be about posthumous tributes or perpetual remembrances for any particular contributions I may have made. Rather, it has to do with the world I will have left behind in the aftermath of my life. You see, every life makes a difference in large or small measure.

The legacy I leave need not be grandiose. In fact, it will consist of the small and ordinary ways in which I behaved toward others daily. It will be the love that I converted into action, the kindness with which I touched strangers, and the mercy I offered the culpable. It will be the compassionate hand that I offered to the suffering, the sharing of my bounty with those in need, and the stand I took on behalf of the vulnerable.

My legacy will include how I treated those whom I loved and those whom I detested, how I used the skills and talents with which I was endowed, how I received the legacy of others and passed it forward with my personal imprint, and how I commended and appreciated others for the life they lived and the good they did. It will include how present I was to divine essence and, consequently, to every soul I ever met.

I may never know the full extent of my influence on human history, but at the end of my life I will be sure of one thing: whether for good or bad, my existence in the world will have affected the lives of others. Hopefully, my legacy will be a gift to posterity; and a gift requires no compensation, except perhaps the experience of having lived and loved.

Like a pebble dropped into a pond, my life, and the life of every person who has ever lived, creates ripples that undulate until the end of time.

Encountering the Sacred

Posted August 8, 2014 by Adolfo Quezada
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I had walked this way many times before and had noticed these tall, majestic trees, but apparently they had not made a significant impact on me. This time they did.

I came to an abrupt stop in front of a grove of beautiful, giant elm trees that reached into the sky as if in supplication on behalf of a hurting world. As I beheld with awe the grandeur before me, the words of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore echoed in my mind:

Trees are the earth’s effort

to speak to the listening heaven.

The light of the morning sun glimmered through the leaves, adding to the splendor. I was frozen in place and remained there silently praying in concert with the trees. There was no question in my mind, I had encountered the sacred.

What was so sacred about those trees; and why were they sacred to me now and not before? The answer is that they were always sacred; the variable was me. Until that encounter, I had not been aligned with the sacredness of their nature.

Our human heart is instinctively drawn to the sacred, but sometimes our fast-paced, preoccupied lifestyle blinds us to the sacred for which we yearn so desperately. When we slow our pace and abide in the moment before us, we are sometimes surprised by the sacred.

Our encounter with the sacred is both an outer and inner experience. It is a rare alignment of our receptive perception with that which we perceive; a synchronicity that awakens our heart to a sacred dimension. In that moment our awakened heart becomes our sacred heart.

Our encounter with the sacred is often ineffable. It is a mystical experience in the sense that even if we want to convey our experience to others, we cannot find the words that describe it adequately. But that’s all right because it is meant for our heart alone.

I realize more and more that everything and everyone is sacred. That is, all of creation is hallowed and deserves our respect and reverence. Trees and ants, pebbles and dogs are sacred. Women and men, children and stars are sacred. They are inherently sacred by virtue of their existence, yet unless we experience them with our heart, we are oblivious of their sanctity.

When we deem all of creation sacred; whether in the form of human beings, animals, nature, or the universe; we also deem it inviolable. It is ours to care for and protect. It is ours to cherish and appreciate. Above all, it is ours to recognize, acknowledge, and experience. The sacred is always there to intrigue us, inspire us, and incite us to live our life wholeheartedly.

 

 

Doing What Comes of Love

Posted August 1, 2014 by Adolfo Quezada
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Never mind right or wrong; just do what comes of love.

These are the words I tell myself many times a day. It’s not that I have forgotten the difference between right and wrong which I learned as a child. Rather, it’s that I have come to believe that love – the love that emanates from my heart of hearts – is more powerful than conventional notions of what is right and what is wrong.

I no longer ask what the right thing to do is, but instead, what the loving thing to do is. I no longer let my conscience be my guide because it dictates to me through guilt and expectation. Instead, I return, through prayer and meditation, to the Source of all love. There; in this state of authenticity, where the angels and the demons of right and wrong are not allowed; I am infused with the love of God. Immediately, what I must do or desist from doing becomes crystal clear to me.

Being what comes of love results in doing what comes of love. It is a force that affects how I treat myself, others, and all of creation. It manifests as compassion, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, respect, and courage. Love also shows up as presence and attention. Above all, love seeks the welfare of the beloved.

To do what comes of love is to be the force of God in the world. But this force is not always sweet and sentimental. Sometimes love manifests as the tough and uncompromising stances I take. As a parent I have learned that love sometimes means saying no. Sometimes love denies me of what I think I prefer. Sometimes it prompts me to do what I don’t want to do or to go where I don’t want to go. Sometimes love makes me vulnerable or it compels me to defy authority and to suffer the consequences.

Doing what comes of love may be simpler than having to refer to lists of do’s and don’ts, but it is not easier. It requires constant presence of mind and keen vigilance of my thoughts, my speech, and my behavior. Like a hummingbird that must return to its source of energy regularly and frequently, I too must return to my Source of love regularly and frequently. Otherwise, I forget that my heart is a vessel that carries the love of God into the world. 

Parent to Parent

Posted July 27, 2014 by Adolfo Quezada
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Dear bereaved parent,

Actually, to address you as a “bereaved parent” sounds like a euphemism in light of what you must be going through this moment. Even “devastated,” “anguished,” or “destroyed” are not strong enough words to describe the condition of your heart. Your sweet, innocent children have been killed by the bombs of hate, prejudice, and fear. They have paid the ultimate price for the pride and vengeance that men hold in their hearts.

I lost a child to a careless driver many years ago. I know the agony of having a child ripped from my life, never to hold in my arms again. But I cannot even imagine the darkness of your life now. You have lost your children, not as a result of an accident or an illness, but because of grown men who play war games without regard for the precious children they slaughter along the way.

I do not make light of the death of my child, but at least it was not the result of hatred in action. At least my child was not cavalierly referred to in the aftermath as “collateral damage.” At least my child’s death was not viciously perpetrated.

They call them holy wars but, in fact, they are instigated by heartless, unholy men who care more about their political survival or their fanatical ideologies than they do about the welfare of little ones in their midst. They call them wars of necessity but, in fact, the only necessity is the peace that allows children to live and thrive, grow and prosper. They call them wars of retaliation, even as they profess a belief  that vengeance does not belong to them.

Even now you flee in search of refuge from their weapons, but there is no place left to hide. The missiles of death continue to rain down upon you. And even if you dodge the explosions, the cruel and unjust death of your children has already blown your heart into a million pieces. 

There is no consolation for your horrendous loss, this I know; and no words can possibly ease your tortured soul. I have nothing to offer you to assuage your immeasurable pain or diminish your overwhelming grief. My heart aches for you and for your children. I am so utterly and profoundly sorry that this ultimate torment has descended on you. May the blood of your children, which was shed purposelessly, awaken us to our barbarity.

Wisdom

Posted July 25, 2014 by Adolfo Quezada
Categories: Uncategorized

There is wisdom within each one of us that is available to serve us and the world if only we awaken to it.

Wisdom is not an omniscient genie that we evoke from our imagination, and it is not a reservoir of knowledge from which we can draw at will. Rather, it is inner knowing that emanates from our true and unadulterated being. It is clarity of vision that penetrates the veil of our illusions and the wall of our preconceptions. 

Wisdom is a way of knowing that transcends our intelligence, our inclination, and our intuition. It is our surrendered heart opening and listening to a higher consciousness. It is our quiet mind that fathoms the truth that is hidden from the sagacious and the shrewd.

Because wisdom demands authenticity, it exposes the falseness of our ego-self; encourages genuine living; and promotes reality-based perception. 

We do not awaken to the wisdom within by accumulating years of experience or by studying the wisdom writings of the ancient sages. We do it by yielding our whole self to the equivocal state of unknowing. In the state of unknowing our illusions are dispelled and our preconceptions dissipate. In the state of unknowing we are open to learn, including from the most unlikely sources; and we are willing to consider options we would not have before. Paradoxically, it is by letting go of what we think we know that we discover what we know by heart.

We awaken to the wisdom within not by thinking more conscientiously, but by daring to stay present to the reality before us at any given moment. Reality abides in the present and wisdom is rooted in reality. The insight of wisdom is based on discernment of what is, not on what was or what will be. Our immediate presence in body, mind, and spirit avails us of the big picture and the intricate details of a given situation, which can help us in our decision-making.

We awaken to the wisdom within by regularly and frequently entering into the stillness of contemplation where our body, mind, and spirit are one; and where we can experience wholeness. It is here at the core of our true being that we receive the fruits of wisdom: love, understanding, mercy and compassion.

Inwardly, wisdom is the mind of God; the font of divine intelligence; outwardly, wisdom manifests as joy, integrity, equanimity and enlightened presence.