Bhutanese Folktale: Meme Haylay Haylay and his Turquoise

Once upon a time there lived a poor old man called Meme Haylay Haylay. He liked his life, and was not unhappy. One day, while he was digging in a field where the soil was hard, he uncovered a large, round piece of turquoise. The stone shined a bright light into his eyes. Even through it was so heavy he could hardly lift it, Meme Hayley Hayley placed the treasure in a cane basket and set off for home.

On the way, he met a man leading a horse with a rope. The man asked him, “Where are you going, Meme Haylay Haylay?” The old man replied, “Meme’s fortune is burning today. As I was digging in a meadow, I found a turquoise.”

Before the horseman saw the jewel, the old man made a proposal. “Will you exchange your horse for this precious stone?”

The horseman thought, Who in the world would barter a turquoise for a horse? Meme Haylay Haylay put down his basket and revealed the jewel of great fortune. The horseman was speechless. He was happy for the poor old man.

Meme Haylay Haylay persevered. “Will you not exchange your horse for this turquoise?”

“Don’t joke, Meme Haylay! Your turquoise is priceless. My horse is worthless!”

The old man spoke earnestly. “Priceless or worthless, are you for the trade? Take this stone and hand over the horse’s rope to me!”

The horseman lost no time in giving the rope to Meme Haylay Haylay, and then went his way with the precious turquoise. He considered himself the happiest and luckiest man in the world. Meme Haylay went his way as well, feeling even happier than the horseman.

Then Meme met a man with an ox. He exchanged the horse for the ox. Then, he bartered the ox for a sheep, and swapped the sheep for a goat. In each exchange, the people he traded with thought Meme Haylay Haylay was a fool.

Then he traded the goat for a rooster. With each barter, Meme Haylay Haylay grew more and more joyful.

As he neared his home, carrying the rooster under his arm, the old man heard someone singing in the distance. The closer he walked to the singer, and the louder the song became, the more joyous he felt. As he listened, tears of happiness swelled in Meme Haylay Haylay’s eyes.

He thought, I am content hearing this song. How much happier I would be if I knew how to sing it myself.

Suddenly he found himself face to face with the singer.

“Where are you going?” the singer asked.

The old man smiled. “I am going home. Today, Meme’s fortune is burning. As I was digging in a meadow, I found a precious turquoise. I exchanged it for a horse, the horse for an ox, the ox for a sheep, the sheep for a goat, and the goat for this rooster. Now, please take this rooster and teach me how to sing.”

The singer could not believe his ears. He thought it was unlikely that this foolish man had found a precious turquoise. Only the richest, most powerful, meritorious, and lucky persons ever found such a jewel. Then he thought, Supposing this man was lucky? Even the most foolish person would not exchange a precious turquoise for a horse, the horse for an ox, the ox for a sheep, the sheep for a goat, and the goat for a rooster. One mistake would be enough to sharpen the mind of the most stupid person!

The singer also knew that Meme Haylay Haylay had the worst voice in his village. A foolish trader and a bad voice! he thought.

Finally, after much discussion, the singer became convinced that the old man was serious. So he taught Meme Hayley Hayley the song. When the old man departed from the rooster and the man who had taught him the song, he walked home singing.

Meme Haylay Haylay felt like the most successful trader in the the village, the richest man in Bhutan –and, most importantly, the happiest person in the world.

 

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This tale was collected by Dorji Penjore in Bhumtang, Bhutan. It is a retelling of one of the most popular tales in Bhutan.

Who Am I?

The question is an eternal one. If you don’t answer it, you may never be able to distinguish between what your essential self wants and what other people manipulate you to want. Each of us may do best to answer it for himself or herself. Yet the answers given by others do affect the way we approach (or avoid) this question. Several general types of answers have been offered.

The most traditional answer in Western culture is that you are a creature, a creation of God, a creation that is flawed in vital ways. Conceived and born in original sin, you are someone who must continually struggle to obey the rules laid down by that God, lest you be damned. It is an answer that appears depressing in some ways. One the one hand, it can lead to low self-worth and the expectation of failure. On the other, it can lead to the rigid arrogance of being one of the “elect.” Further, this view doesn’t much encourage you to think about who you really are, as the answer has already been given from a “higher” source.

The more modern answer to “Who am I?” is that you are a meaningless accident. Contemporary science is largely associated with a view of reality that sees the entire universe as totally material, governed only by fixed physical laws and blind chance. It just happened that, in a huge universe, the right chemicals came together under the right conditions so that the chemical reaction we call life formed and eventually evolved into you. But there’s no inherent meaning in that accident, no spiritual side to existence.

I believe that this view is not really good science, but rather what we believe to be scientific and factual. More important, it’s a view that has strong psychological consequences. After all, if you’re just a mixture of meaningless chemicals, your ultimate fate – death and nonexistence – is clear. Don’t worry too much about other people, as they are just meaningless mixtures of chemicals, too. In this view, it doesn’t really matter if you think about who you really are – whatever conclusions you arrive at are just subjective fantasies, of no particular relevance in the real physical world.

Psychologically speaking, this materialist view of our ultimate nature leaves as much to be desired as does the born-into-original-sin view. As a psychologist, I stress the psychological consequences of these two views of your ultimate identity, because your beliefs play an important role in shaping your reality. Modern research has shown that, in many ways, what we believe affects the way our brain constructs the world we experience. Some of these beliefs are conscious. You know you have them. Yet many are implicit – you act on them, but don’t even know you have them.

If you think life in general is a meaningless accident, your perceptions of the complex world around you will likely be biased toward seeing the meaningless and absurd. Seeing this will in turn reinforce your belief in the meaninglessness of things. If you believe in original sin and the great difficulties of finding salvation, your perceptions will likely be biased toward seeing your own and others’ failures, again reinforcing your belief in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our beliefs about who we are and what our world is like are not mere beliefs – they strongly control our perceptions. So we can gain more control by finding out what we believe and how those beliefs affect us.

Between the traditional religious and materialistic views of who you are, there are a variety of ideas that embrace elements of each which include rich possibilities for personal and social growth. The common element in these other views is that life and the universe do have some meaning and that each of us shares in some form of spiritual nature. Yet they also recognize that something has gone wrong somewhere. We have “temporarily” lost our way. We have forgotten the essential divine element within us and have become psychologically locked into a narrow, traditional, religious or materialist views.

There is an old Eastern teaching story that illustrates this – the story of the Mad King. Although he is actually the ruler of vast dominions, the Mad King has forgotten this. Years ago he descended into the pits of the dankest cellar of his great palace, where he lives in the dark amongst rags and rats, continually brooding on his many misfortunes. The king’s ministers try valiantly to persuade him to come upstairs into the light, where life is beautiful. But the Mad King is convinced these are madmen and will not listen. He will not be taken in by fairy tales of noble kings and beautiful palaces!

We have a lot of evidence in modern psychology to show how little of our natural potential we use and how much of our suffering is self-created, clasped tightly to our bosoms in crazed fear and ignorance. Yet the ministers do carry a light with them when they come down into the cellar, and they do bring the food which keeps the king alive. Even in his madness, he must sometimes notice this. In the real world, events keep occurring that don’t fit into our narrow views, no matter how tightly we may hold them, and sometimes these events catch our attention.

So-called psychic phenomena are like that. They certainly don’t fit a materialistic view, just as they challenge the traditional religious view held by many that this kind of phenomena only happened thousands of years ago, and are thus to be believed, but not pondered.

Psychic phenomena are disturbing to both the traditional religious and materialistic views of who we are. It is one thing to consider abstractly that our true identity may be more than we conceive, or that our universe may be populated with other non-material intelligences. It is quite another thing, with channeling for instance, when the ordinary looking person sitting across from you seems to go to sleep, but suddenly begins speaking to you in a different voice, announcing that he is a spiritual entity who has temporarily taken over the channel’s body to teach you something!

Now you have to really look at what’s going on. Who is that so-called “entity?” Who is that person who channels? If someone else can have his or her apparent identity change so drastically, do we really know who they are? Can I even be sure about who I am? If you have been conditioned to believe that who you are is meaningless or inherently bad or sinful, you might not welcome this stimulation that the phenomena of channeling gives to the question “Who am I?”

We have many ways of psychologically defending ourselves against dealing with things that don’t fit into our organized and defended world. You could just say, “This person is crazy, or maybe even deliberately faking this stuff.” It’s a good defense, for of course there are some people known as channels who are probably just crazy or deliberately faking it. The best lies usually contain a very high proportion of truth.

You could also just naively accept whatever the ostensible channeled entity says. “Yes, you are Master Shananangans from the 17th planet of the central divine galaxy Ottenwelt. Teach me Master, I hear and obey.” This overenthusiastic acceptance can be just as much of a defense against deeper thinking and questioning as overenthusiastic rejection.

Channeling and other psychic phenomena are having a great impact on our culture today. We can use this impact for personal and social growth if we are willing to think about the deeper implications, and examine the things we take for granted about our inherent nature.

If we just believe or disbelieve without really looking, this opportunity will be lost. Read, reflect, examine your own beliefs, argue, go meet some psychics or channels. Perhaps you will decide that they are “real.” Perhaps you will decide they are not “real” in the ordinary sense of the word, but are somehow psychologically or spiritually real or important. Perhaps you will decide that some (or most or all) of this stuff is really crazy. But in the process, you will learn a lot about who you are, and who we are.

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Author: Prof. Charles Tart

The Art of Life – Creating Through Chaos

There is an art to life and living, if we learn how to live it from the inside out instead of from the outside in. It requires the willingness to open our minds and hearts to our own unique, creative gifts. But, more importantly, it allows us the freedom to see through the matrix of boxes and squares and detach ourselves from controlled illusion of our reality. Then, looking from the inside out, we find that the reality of creation is actually beautifully chaotic.

Down The Rabbit Hole

As human Beings, we can become attached to all kinds of ideas of what we think we need to be happy – comfort, security, career, social circles. But when we look deep within ourselves, we realize these needs are mostly of a material and external nature. Although they can be alluring, the happiness we find in these attachments and identifications is usually temporary, as they reflect our relationship to the chaotic outside world, not our personal, peaceful inner world. Of course, when our happiness depends on conditions outside ourselves and our control, we search for completion from the outside in. Then, when those external conditions are taken away, so too is our sense of peace and fulfilment. We have lost control over our emotional being.

But everything is upside down in this beautifully chaotic rabbit hole. In our attempt to find happiness in the outside world, we often perceive external chaos as our lives “falling apart”, when really, circumstances are just starting to come together in our lives in ways we can’t comprehend.

There’s terms for this state of being and several come to mind – rock bottom, crisis, despair, and/or finding the Spirit within (a process that will crack you wide open, but that’s another article in itself). In these times, whether we can see it or not, our external attachments and identifications are stripped from us, and it is only within ourselves that we can create comfort in the chaos.

The Life Force

What we learn about love is backwards. We are raised believing we must search for love outside ourselves, find someone to love us, and find someone to love. We learn that we are alone, incomplete and loveless without the love of another.

In reality, we ARE love, in its purest form. But we are conditioned to feel separated from that true nature of love, valuing only the love we receive from outside ourselves. This leaves us open to fear, as we believe that love itself can be taken away.

Love and hate (fear) are like oil and water, so when they interact on an energetic and emotional level we often find chaos in the polarity – an allergic reaction if you will. Our loving nature and our fearful conditioning can’t co-exist. Something has to give. And in that dark and confusing place, we find rock bottom; the inky black energy of the aether, where our training and our truth collide. But, it’s also the place where we find our greatest opportunity – the creative “spark” to light our way out of the dark.

Even in our darkest and most painful times, we always have that opportunity; that choice. It’s harder to make that choice when we are in an emotional state of change because change can feel like we’re losing something, and in uncertainty, we fear what may yet be. But as we shed our external attachments, the way forward – that creative spark – can only be found in the emotion of the moment, right now, not in feelings of loss (past) or fear (future). The only way out is through.

As the old makes room for the new, our overwhelming emotions can sometimes make us feel like we can’t go on. Fear, loss and grief are all common. But what we’re feeling in those rock-bottom moments is actually the stale old toxic energy dying, not our life force! It’s no vacation, but at the end of it, we are left with new circumstances, new energy, a new perspective. On a micro level, these old energy patterns are being felt and released by individuals, while on a macro level, humanity is currently reflecting the same process — we’re at rock-bottom, feeling the chaos of this energetic clash, and using that spark to light creative new ways forward.

When we go into darkness, it’s no vacation. It helps to remember: when emotional chaos takes hold, the best remedy is simplicity. When we simplify our lives and remove subjective distractions, it brings us closer to alignment and objectivity. We become more sensitive in our perceptions. We can be still with our thoughts and feelings, while also exploring the opportunities they create. This will tell you everything you need to know – even if it feels upside down (you’re in the rabbit hole, remember?)

The Big Move

First, it helps to know that we’ve done this before even if we can’t see it, or forgot how. Through the process of shedding old energy and creating ‘the new’, we’re changing, morphing, evolving, and moving energy – the emotional kind of energy that comes with great weight, which is why the process of releasing it is called enlightenment (light bulb moment!) Although the ego part of us may attach to the feeling of loss, and resist letting go of old comfortable energy, this process of unpacking our emotional baggage Lightens our emotional load and helps us to align our energetic being to what our heart and soul essence is really searching for — change and the fear that comes with it. The whole gamut of conscious experience.

It can feel daunting, looking into our own personal rabbit hole, but don’t be scared. The darkness is part of the great aether which is the spiritual energy of creation. The aehter is the “place” and the mindset where illusions are shattered, perspectives are changed, new dreams are forged, and something beautiful and honest is born – seemingly from “nothing”.

Remember though, the “nothingness” you may experience is still something, because there is no such thing as nothing. In the heart-felt stillness of the dark, we find the presence, openness and creative spark we need to truly see our reality and consciously invigorate our lives, aligning our outer world to our inner reality and desires.

So honor the darkness for the experience that it is and the lessons it offers your heart and mind – and most of all, know that it is temporary.

To make ‘the big move’ is basically a 2-step process. First, we have to identify and connect with the fearful energy that wants to be expressed – or released. Most of us have an awareness of our fears and the patterns they create in our lives, even if we’re unsure how to process them and/or persuade them to move out. This is the process that we don’t necessarily like so much because it’s uncomfortable at best. The key is realizing that we need something to replace the fear in our heart.

When fear keeps us “stuck”, the reason we find it so hard to move is because we stop supporting the Universe to support us, by focusing our consciousness on the “what if’s” — what we don’t have, what we can’t do, what may go wrong, and often, what other people think. The ego’s perception becomes about “loss” and “want” and “fear” of the potential future; and so we lose touch with our natural sense of gratitude for now — which is a necessary ingredient for co-creating with conscious intention. But that sense of fear is not real, it is the ego trying to protect itself from the worst case “what if’s” that may or may not happen in the future, and redirecting our attention back to familiar patterns of behavior that may gratify the ego in the short term but do not serve the Self in the long term.

Then, when ego/fear prevents us from trying, or even dreaming, nothing happens at all! Today or in the future…

… and so, this is where we get “stuck”, going round and round trying to solve fearful problems in our heads, trying to resolve our fears with the same mentality that created them… more fear. It’s the emotional equivalent of banging our heads against a proverbial brick wall.

Ego is the antithesis of Oneness. Inherently fearful of the unknown, ego is hard wired into our biological flight-or-fight/fear response. It views reality in terms of separation and comparison to others, blind to the bigger picture that exists beyond its own self-oriented awareness.

The best way to resolve the fear of doing is to DO. Go ahead and prove your fearful ego wrong.

Sure, it can take great courage, discipline and self-understanding to honestly explore the dark recesses of our fears and ego. But the truth is, there is no other real option. As we continue down this path of collective and personal awakening, our unresolved ego/fears and their effects are becoming increasingly obvious in our lives, and like any other unsustainable practice, we can no longer put them aside without consequence.

It’s time we cleared the space, start a fresh canvass, and show those around us they can do the same too.

Grab a Pallette!

Our emotions ultimately tell us everything we need to know about what’s working and not working for us in our lives. When things aren’t “right”, we experience discomfort or discontent in various areas of our life. If we don’t allow these feelings to surface, and more importantly to guide our mind’s decisions, the unresolved emotional energy will always find a way to be expressed, whether the ego likes it or not. For many, the ongoing denial and apathy to such challenging feelings can culminate in a ‘dark night of the soul’, where the emotional veil suddenly drops and the full range of emotional energies demand that we feel them, and heal them, at once.

In these times, we may not like what we see when we look at the canvas of our life. Reflecting on our fears and most painful experiences forces us to be aware of the fearful, unloving, or desperate decisions we’ve made in our lives. We may not like the landscape we’ve painted, or the details in the background, or the truth about what we’ve emulated from our fear but we can change it, move it, enhance it, and color it in. First we need to step back and really see the canvas objectively – without ego – and feel the message within it. Our pain, discontent, anger and regret are all perfect indicators that we are settling for something in our lives that is not aligned with our true Being. Exploring and acknowledging the whole spectrum of our feelings is the first (and most difficult) step to healing them, and starting over, creating through the chaos.

In order to unravel the effects of our feelings and experiences in ego and fear have caused on our energetic landscape, it’s a case of going back through the darkness in order to see the Light. That’s the duality – Light doesn’t exist without dark, and the only way out is through. Follow the light.  Sometimes that means we have to stop, look, and listen in order to find a heartfelt stillness enabling us to truly see what our heart, and the universe by extension, is trying to show us.

Then, when we confront our true human and spiritual nature head on and “survive” the truth of our dark side (even though our ego feared we would perish!) we emerge with a new clearer perspective — ready to create a more honest, simple, joyful, meaningful, enriching, experiential kind of life. The kind of life that is perfectly aligned to the inner Being we have come to know so well. The kind of life that is impossible to create while the ego has us convinced that what we want for ourselves is always somehow out of our reach.

Color in the Dark

Let’s be honest, our darker feelings of fear and chaos aren’t exactly easy to look at up close and personal. We learn to keep our fear hidden just beyond the periphery of our conscious awareness in order to stay “sane and functioning”. The ego’s mode of operation is like a secret agent in stealth mode encouraging the turbulence of our fear. Its very purpose is to make us aware of our own fears and/or limitations taking us into the darkness of the aether.  But the darkness only obscures our view, hiding a blank canvass of infinite potential. We have something the ego doesn’t though — color, light and shade which equates to every imaginable outcome.

Creating something *NEW* is the best way to release emotional baggage and re-color our lives into a canvas we can’t wait to claim as our own and share with the world. If we allow ourselves to fully experience the dark side of our emotional existence, we can use that experience as both a motivation and a tool to create new experiences, new relationships, and new outcomes.

Our creative juices move in synchronicity with the universal flow of creation when we allow ourselves to be guided by our hearts. As we release our fears and overcome the urges of the short-sighted ego, we learn to listen to our heart and to our inner guidance. The dreamer’s dream comes to life before our very eyes and it mirrors back to us all that we truly are – beautiful, colorful, and unique Beings of light, consciously co-creating our own canvas, and transcending the darkness of the aether. Fun and rewarding, our existence suddenly becomes a vibrant colorful life when we make the choice to embody the art of life, with all its light and shade, and open ourselves to experience its endless, beautifully chaotic possibilities.

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Author: Jennifer Deisher / Wake up World

The Matrix of Four Forms of Meditative Breath

Breath is the basis of all life. Breath is also the basis of all meditation and meditative movement. Breath is the primary manner in which we all obtain life energy. The other three in metaphysical understanding are water, food and prana or chi. The most important concept to understand about breath and meditative movement is that one moves in coordination with the breath. One moves in and out of postures with the breath and one deepens and lengthens postures in coordination with the breath. Inhalations equate to tension whereas exhalations equate to relaxation and release.

There are four important aspects of meditative breath. It is important to breathe slowly, deeply, steadily and consciously. It’s said most people breathe wrong. Most people breathe either from high, mid or low points. A complete yogi breath is a cyclical movement beginning from low point moving like a wave. Meditative movement leads to proper cyclical, complete breath.

Balanced breathing is utilized most frequently. Balanced breathing means the four parts to one breath cycle are equalized. The inhalations and exhalations are the same length of time to each other and the pause full and pause empty are the same length of time to each other too. For example 8 seconds in, 2 second pause, 8 seconds out, 2 second pause is an example of steady balanced breath. Meditation practitioners from long ago would count the breath not in seconds, but heartbeats.

There are innumerable variations of meditative breath, however in most all meditations awareness of the matrix of meditative breath is a primarily important perception. Some more developed meditation practitioners move beyond focus on the breath, however even masters come back to and start with the breath. For the rest of us focus on the matrix of breath can calm the distracted monkey mind that swings from vine to vine, thought to thought. Trouble in meditation equates to, in general having a full mind, perceiving the breath allows one to be alternatively mindful so as to begin and develop meditation.

Balanced breath is beneficial to balancing one’s energy, often all we need. As one masters balanced breath one can implement new patterns to enhance energy movement in four basic patterns beyond balanced breathing similar conceptually to the depiction of the Yin Yang mandala. Unlike balanced breath these forms build and release energy in specific ways. There is the enhancement and lengthening of the pause full, in/pause/out patter for building Yin energy. There is the enhancement of pause empty, in/out/pause for Yang energy. Then a pause is inserted midway between either the inhale or exhale for energy movement, in/pause/in/out for Yin and lastly in/out/pause/out for Yang.

Meditation is mindfulness – the fullness of mind of the present. Whether distracted or focused, whether in still or moving meditation or in daily life, simply being mindful of the breath can connect mind and body. It is especially important to simply realize the four parts to every breath cycle and the four aspects of meditative breath.

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Author: Ethan Indigo Smith / Wake up World

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