Volume One, Issue Three October 15, 2002
Home Descriptions of All Classes Quotations Becoming a Teacher What is CLF? Bulletin Board
Welcome to the third issue of Conscious Living, our newsletter designed to share our current activities and growth, along with articles and information that we hope will be supportive and encouraging in your efforts to live each moment with more joy and satisfaction.
The theme of this issue is an exploration of suffering, compassion and service
To subscribe to this newsletter, please click and then "Send" the email. It is not necessary to include any message. Please be assured that your email address will not be sold, rented or given to any other organization or individual.
News: Classes Continuing, Moving and More Beginning!
Several of our classes have begun are others are beginning at various locations around the Los Angeles area including South Pasadena, Glendale, Pasadena, Reseda, Studio City and West Los Angeles. For more information on the subject matter of a particular class, click on its Class Title. If you're interested in a class that has already begun, contact us by email at . Some of our classes are ongoing and are designed to accommodate new students joining after the start of the class. Others have a limited admittance once they have begun, but a new class series will be beginning soon.
Fee Per Class
|Fridays 8 to 10 p.m.||Fun and Awareness Through Improvisation||Enrollment||Burbank||$30|
|Saturdays, 6 to 8 p.m.||Love in Action: Practical Ways to End the Cycle of Violence||Enrollment||Studio City||$25|
|Saturdays, 8 to 9:30 p.m.||Personal Story Telling||Enrollment||Studio City||$25|
|Saturdays, 8:30 to 10 a.m.||Exploratory Watercolors for Parent and Child||Enrollment||Pasadena||$25|
|Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.||Watercolor Play for Adults||Enrollment||Pasadena||$25|
|Saturdays 1 to 3 p.m.||Learning to Really See by Drawing||Enrollment||Pasadena||$25|
|Saturdays 10 a.m. to Noon through October 26||Walking - The Complete Exercise||Enrollment||Burbank||$25|
|Mondays 8 to 10 p.m. starting October 28||Walking - The Complete Exercise||Enrollment||South Pasadena||$25|
|Mondays, 7 to 9 p.m.||A Little Bit of Music||Enrollment||Glendale||$25|
|Tuesdays 7 to 8:30 p.m.||Reclaiming Your Singing Voice||Enrollment||Reseda||$25|
|Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m.||Developing a Spiritual Lifestyle: The Fundamentals of Conscious Living||Enrollment||Glendale||$25|
|October 19 & 26, Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.||Learner Centered Teaching: Designing Effective Workshops for Adults||Enrollment||Burbank||$30|
|October 21, Monday, 6:30 to 8 p.m.||Changing Your Life Through Visualization and Affirmation||Enrollment||South Pasadena||$25|
|October 25, Friday, 6:30 to 8 p.m.||Embracing the Unknown in Each Moment||Enrollment||Burbank||$25|
|November 2, Saturday 1 to 4 p.m.||Enrollment||Pasadena||$30|
|We encourage you to visit other pages of our web site to learn more about the Conscious Living Foundation and to peruse the wide variety of other classes that will be available soon.||CLF's Classes CLF's Discounts|
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|Quotations: On Suffering and Compassion||.|
Let nothing upset you;
Saint Teresa of Avila
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
It is for a man to take everything that comes as if he had asked for it; nay, as if he had prayed for it.
What is to give light must endure burning.
A fire comes with God and from God, surrounding all that is disagreeable to Him and unlike Him and burning it up.
Why is there suffering? To thicken the plot.
For each ecstatic instant We must an anguish pay In keen and quivering ratio To the ecstasy.
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened.
Whatever you do, make it an offering to me – the food you eat, the sacrifices you make, the help you give, even your suffering.
You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation...and that is called loving. Well then, love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is only your aversion to it that hurts, nothing else.
Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, perhaps we would endure our sadness with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown. Our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, almost everything within us withdraws, a stillness emerges, and the new, which no-one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent
Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9% of everything you think, and of everything you do, is for yourself, And there isn't one.
Suffering? Why are you suffering? Because you are a case of mistaken identity.
Wei Wu Wei
Be patient. The path of self-discipline that leads to God-realization is not an easy path: obstacles and sufferings are on the path; the latter you must bear, and the former overcome – all by His help. His help comes only through concentration. Repetition of God’s name helps concentration.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.
But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.
There never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate.
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Another Poem: by Rabindranath Tagore
Light, my light, the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!
Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the centre of my life; the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love; the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.
The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.
The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.
Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure. The heaven's river has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad.
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|Article: The Paradox of Feeling Stable in an Unstable World by Bill Simpson|
This is the second in a series of articles taken from the class outline for Developing a Spiritual lifestyle: The Fundamentals of Conscious Living, one of the ongoing workshops offered by the Conscious Living Foundation. In this series we will explore a variety of questions related toward the goal of developing a life lived more consciously.
Ovid says, “All things change, nothing is extinguished.... There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement.”
In this article we will investigate more deeply into how each of us accommodates consistency and change in our daily lives – and whether our current life paradigm supports our desire to grow.
Let’s take a quick survey:
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how stable does your life feel? 10 means your life feels totally stable, 1 means you life is pure chaos.
2. How predictable does your life feel? (1 to 10)
3. What percentage of your life feels like it is the same from day to day? 100% means your life feels exactly the same from day to day.
In offering this survey in our workshops, the usual answers are in the 7 to 9 (or 70% to 90%) range
How did you answer? How predictable and stable does your life feel, when you answer the question with the first thought that comes to your mind?
Why we feel a sense of “sameness”
What are the specific items in our daily life that are the same each day? What are the elements of your life that give it a sense of “sameness”?
What about the “Locations” associated with your daily life? Do you live in the same home, work at the same location? Do you drive the same streets, pass the same billboards, stop at the same gas stations? Do these repeatedly experienced locations give you a sense of sameness in your life?
What about the “Things” in your life? Are you sleeping in the same bed, eating off of the same dishes, sitting in the same furniture, driving the same car? Wearing the same range of clothing?
What about the “People” in your life – are they generally the same? Same spouse, same friends, same boss, same coworkers, same father, mother, brothers, sisters and children?
And finally, what about our “Patterns of Behavior”? Are they frequently the same? Do you eat the same range of foods, do you bathe the same way? (Do you wash your body in the same pattern – starting here, then moving there?) Do you speak with the same specific word patterns – “Hi, how are you”, “Have a good day”, “Take care”. Do you perform the same pattern of dressing in the morning? (Do you put the shoe on the same foot first?) Do you take the same route to work every day?
Routines. Morning routines, work routines, evening routines – entertainment routines (same range of restaurants, movie theaters, hiking trails, vacation locations).
If you imagine that each pattern, habit or routine is a handhold as you move through your life - a stability point – then what effect do these have on your perception of the nature of life?
Stop reading for a moment, and look inside. Try to discover how these repeated patterns of behavior and interaction make you feel.
Do they make you feel safe or secure? Do they give you a sense that everything remains the same?
I’m often left with the feeling that they are dependable, stable, repeatable, unchanging, reliable, and fixed. When the pieces of your life feel familiar, how does that effect your feelings?
Somehow, to be comfortable in our world and our life perhaps we convince ourselves that there are things we can depend on; that there is something predictable and stable about our lives.
We get up from the same bed each morning in the same bedroom, have breakfast at the same table, perhaps with the same people. We take the same car or bus down the same streets to the same job or school or other activity.
We meet the same people and say “hello” and “how are you” nearly the same way each day. We do the same tasks, eat lunch with someone from the same group of choices at some place from the same group of choices and then we perform more activities that are quite similar to what we performed yesterday and will perform tomorrow.
We drive the same car back down the same familiar streets to the same familiar home and the same familiar evening activities.
And finally, we go to sleep in the same familiar bed to eventually awaken and begin the “familiarity game” again the next day.
How were these stability points created?
Was there ever choice involved when you created all of your stability points?
Perhaps with some there was. I consciously chose to find the most efficient route to work and then I decided to continue to use that route.
I don’t know if I consciously chose the salutations and greetings that I often use or that I start brushing my teeth on the left lower side.
Which repeating parts of your life did you chose?
Did you chose to brush your hair before you brush your teeth? If not you, who did?
Perhaps in some instances, we were raised by our parents with certain choices made for us – perhaps they are passing on what they learned from their parents.
In other instances, perhaps our behaviors and choices are patterned by our society, by what we see on television and in the movies. Perhaps, sometimes, our culture as a whole makes our choices. Why in the world do the British drive on the “wrong” side of the road?
Sometimes, the organizations to which we belong make our choices for us – the church, the dress code at work, the fraternity, or the military.
These familiar behaviors are created by an initial choice by someone (perhaps us, perhaps our parents or someone else), either consciously or unconsciously, that has been repeated sufficiently to become a habit. And now, we repeat these habits over and over creating deep habit grooves in the record of our mind.
And this repetition of behavioral habits gives us the impression that there is predictability and stability in our world and in our life.
As we see change dramatized on TV and in books and movies – do the events you see portrayed make you think that they could happen to you – or do you believe there’s an underlying feeling that “it can’t happen to me”? For myself, I always see the turmoil, adventure and chaos expressed in my entertainment as something different than myself – when I look closely, I don’t for a minute imagine that it could really happen to me. Why would I feel that way ?
Experiences that remind us that change can happen.
Despite our feeling to the contrary, there are times when change imposes itself on us, whether we expect it or not.
What are the factors in your life that remind you that things change? Have you ever been in a car accident? Have you ever changed employment? Have you ever moved a long distance? Changed countries?
Have you ever been married, or divorced?
Have you ever been hospitalized or battled death? Have you ever been in a war? Have you ever experienced a death in the family?
How did you feel during those tumultuous times? Were you scared? Did you have a sense of being lost? A feeling of hopelessness? Was there a sensation of being cast out of the familiar?
Did you feel secure? Stable? Did life feel Predictable?
“Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast. If a man habituated to a narrow circle of cares and pleasures, out of which he seldom travels, step beyond it, though for never so brief a space, his departure from the monotonous scene on which he has been an actor of importance would seem to be the signal for instant confusion.... The mine which Time has slowly dug beneath familiar objects is sprung in an instant; and what was rock before, becomes but sand and dust.
When we have these habit shattering experiences, we suddenly feel like we have been cast out of all that is familiar; that somehow we’ve been transported to a new place that feels dangerous and scary. Our reliance on habit has been significantly reduced.
What happened, after the emergency was over? Did you start to feel secure again? How long did it take? What happened that caused the sense of security to return? Is that feeling of security real?
But, of course, as quickly as possible, we build new habits (consciously or unconsciously) and within a few days, or weeks or months, or years, we start to feel secure again.
These were examples of large, sometimes catastrophic changes in our lives; are there smaller experiences that also show us that change is occurring in our lives?
Look at the clouds in the wind, the movement of the waves, the change of the seasons, the wind chimes in the breeze. Where ever we look we get messages that everything is changing.
Are you really secure in this world?
Heraclitus, a couple of thousand years ago said, "Nothing is permanent but change."
Yet, we “feel” secure. This is the “rub”, the paradox, the contradiction. When it is so obvious to our minds and logic that change is everywhere and that it has struck us in the past and will strike us again – still, most of the time, we feel safe, secure and with a sense that the elements of our lives are permanent.
How do we penetrate the contradiction?
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Bible: New Testament, Matthew 18:3
What are the benefits or gains from even considering this paradox? What might we lose from thinking about this?
“Proverbial wisdom counsels against risk and change. But sitting ducks fare worst of all.”
How do we bridge the gap from our reliance on habits and conditioning to perceive the actual state of constantly changing reality? What can we do on a daily basis to awaken to the real state of change in our lives?
“What, then, is the true Gospel of consistency? Change. Who is the really consistent man? The man who changes. Since change is the law of his being, he cannot be consistent if he stick in a rut.”
Beginning to experience the reality of change.
Try consciously to choose different locations, people and things in your life. (break habits, patterns and routines)
a. Vary your driving routes. Go a different way even if it takes longer.
b. Try eating food you don't usually eat.
c. Visit new restaurants, parks, neighborhoods.
d. Change the sequence of putting your shoes on.
e. Modify your speech patterns; try saying "hello".
f. Hang your towels differently, turn the toilet paper the other direction..
g. Wear some clothing you don't usually wear.
Some Buddhist and yoga groups used to individually go to grave yards at night and meditate. Even imagining such an experience can produce surprising effects.
Create a "doing it differently" partner. Cooperate with others and permit them the freedom to experiment with change with the agreement that they will allow you the same freedom. (cooperative role redefinition) Practice doing things differently with a friend or spouse who is willing to experiment with reducing the number of stability points in their life.
Would meditation and prayer help with this experiment? How?
How about practicing a mantram, chanting, or repeating an affirmation? How would they help?
“I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever changing, ever dying, there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves, and re-creates. That informing power of spirit is God. And since nothing else that I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is.”
If you want to share your thoughts or answers to the questions ask in this article, please email me at , or post your comments on the CLF bulletin board.
(To be continued.)
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|A Letter: Pilgrims Together by Fra Giovanni|
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|A Letter: Desiderata by Anonymous|
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News: Additions To Our Web Site
We have made two important additions to our web site since our last newsletter:
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|News: Saturday Afternoon Public Lecture Series Coming Soon|
Beginning in the near future, CLF will be offering a 1 hour public lecture series on Saturday afternoons in Pasadena. The topics will be wide-ranging, informative, inspirational and entertaining.
Admission will be on a donation basis.
Although some of our speakers for the series are also teachers within CLF, we are inviting all others who are interested in giving a talk appropriate to our organization to contact us at .
Please check our web site regularly for more information.
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|News: Audio Products Available on our Web Site Now|
CLF's first Audio Book is now available on our web site - "As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen, read by Bill Simpson, the founder of the Conscious Living Foundation. Beginning within the next few weeks, CLF will be offering several additional audio recordings.
A wide assortment of content will be offered including recordings of some of the upcoming Saturday afternoon public lecture series, other talks by CLF teachers, music CDs with inspirational content and additional audio books from our "Masters Series" including "Practicing the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence, "The Tao Te Ching" by Lao Tzu, "The Game of Life" by Florence Scovel Shinn and additional titles by James Allen..
It is our intention to sell the recordings at very competitive rates (usually $9.99 per CD) in order to provide as many people as possible with access to the experience of participating in CLF classes and events and to share some of the fundamental concepts that we believe are the foundation of living more consciously.
In addition, our first video products are in the final stages of development.
We will provide more specifics on the home page of our web site as they become available.
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|News: Steve Hamlin Starts a Second Class - "Relieving Computer Related Distress"|
As indicated in the class schedule, listed above in this newsletter, Steve's "Walking the Complete Exercise" class is moving from Burbank on Saturdays to South Pasadena on Monday evenings, 8 to 10 p.m..
In addition, Steve is starting a new class entitled "Relieving Computer Related Distress", which will meet at the Pasadena Church of Religious Science, 277 No. El Molino Ave., in Pasadena on Saturday mornings from 10:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m.. The class begins on October 26th.
As a society, we are sitting in front of our computers for longer and longer periods of time, and the harm that can be caused to the body is also increasing. Some of the most obvious areas of harm include: eye strain, stiff neck, lower back pain, general fatigue and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sitting itself is a dynamic process. Most of us think of sitting as a static event, and that the correct sitting posture involves holding ourselves in a certain position.
Unfortunately, this belief and other apparently obvious notions about posture and the body’s movement and the use of the eyes, are not founded on fact or good health principles, but in fact, may have been the source of our current pain, stiffness and discomfort.
There is no correct posture, there is no ideal chair. The human nervous system evolved to adapt to change and challenge -- not to just be made comfortable. Through this class, by learning and applying the dynamics of functional sitting and movement, our eyestrain, aches and pains related to working with computers should quickly disappear.
Through intelligent, aware, skillful movement, creativity and choice can be introduced into our daily life. Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) has long been recognized as a powerful way to heal, re-organize, and transform the body, mind, and emotions.
Steve Hamlin has been in private practice as a Feldenkrais Practitioner for over 9 years and has worked at several Physical Therapy centers in Southern California. He has an outstanding record of success in relieving such common complaints as low back pain, carpal tunnel, neck pain, poor posture, knee pain, compromised balance and hip pain.
In addition to his professional career, he has been meditating for nearly 30 years and continues to deepen his own learning through teaching and serving others.
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News: Free Demonstration Classes at Fund-Raiser & Enrollment Drive
Sunday, October 20th, 12:30 p.m. till 3 p.m.
As you know, the Conscious Living Foundation is offering classes in various locations throughout the Los Angeles area that are designed to increase your personal growth and knowledge while providing a new opportunity for inspiration, better health, a calmer mind and a chance to have fun in the process.
During our “Growing Together” event, being held at the Unity Church of Burbank, we will be offering short demonstrations (approximately 15 minutes each) of our current classes, at no charge. For directions, please click Here.
In addition to a chance to socialize with interesting, creative people, this event will give you an opportunity to meet each teacher in the actual class setting, become aware of the subject matter of each class and get a personal sense of whether the class is right for you. Based on our prior experience, the atmosphere is relaxed, comfortable, informal and fun!
As always, healthy and tasty refreshments will be served (the oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies tend to disappear first).
In the event you decide to enroll for a class, Fifty Percent of your payment made during the event will go to Unity Church of Burbank. This is a great opportunity to start taking a class that will support your growth, while providing support to Unity Church at the same time.
Also, as a special discount for this event only, if you enroll during this event, you are entitled to a 50% discount on each class you attend in which you bring a friend to join you who pays the usual course fee. For details on the discounts, please click Here.
Our class demonstration schedule is as follows:
For directions, please click here. We look forward to sharing the afternoon with you.
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Copyright 2002 The Conscious Living Foundation (all rights reserved)