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Opening the Loving Heart, Welcoming 2012

Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.

Last year, a Mayan shaman from Guatamala, who is the 13th lineage holder, broke the five hundred year silence in regard to 2012. He sought the help of a westerner, Drunvalo Melchizedek, to announce the Mayan prophecies for this time. The Mayans predicted that this is a time for the earth to undergo a dramatic change, and hope that more people will be prepared in order to minimize harm and fear. Their culture preserved the memories of their ancestors from 26,000 years ago.  They believe that we need to know the past in order to know the future. These ancient ancestors have been waiting for people from this generation to connect with their wisdom and experience.
According to the Mayans, every thirteen thousand years the north and south poles of the earth will shift their axis. Science has documented that the earth’s poles have shifted hundreds of times. The scientific explanation is that the earth’s magnetic fields will first weaken then become zero. At this time, the rocks beneath the earth’s crust would melt and the crust could then rotate, shifting the two poles. According to the history of the Mayan culture, it takes 30 hours for the magnetic field to become zero. During this time, the earth will become completely dark.  People will not be able to see the light of the stars, moon, or sun.

After the change in the equator’s position, the climate for each region will change. It is important to observe the new climate conditions and make suitable adjustments to avoid being overly cold or hot.
According to the Mayans, 2012 marks the end of two cycles of 26,000 years. Before December 21, 2012, the two poles of the earth will definitely shift. This is consistent with the observations of scientists who have been observing the diminishing magnetic fields of the earth.  They also warned of the impending shift of the north and south poles.

On November 24, 2007, a comet exploded in outer space, creating a blue star that is larger than the sun. According to American Indian’s prophecy, this signifies that the earth is approaching the end of a cycle, and that this will be followed by tumultuous changes. The human consciousness will elevate and enter into a higher level. Most importantly, people must embrace loving kindness to survive this dimensional shift. The earth will enter the Fifth World (there are nine worlds in total). The Fifth World is the balancing point for the meeting of all the worlds. Mankind will no longer be addicted to material things, but will live freely in loving kindness.

The Mayan prophecy had predicted that when technology reached its apex, it is also the time when our consciousness would transform. After this transformation, people will no longer need these technological “toys”. The Mayans also have other predictions. Man will fly in metallic boxes, and will be obsessed with technological toys.

Currently, new technological products abound and progress at an astronomical rate, especially developments in telecommunication and electronic games. Adults and children are obsessed with these new toys. Unfortunately, these toys tend to harm both humans and nature. The detrimental effects of electricity on man’s health have been noted for about a century, with the negative effects exacerbated in recent years. For the last ten years I have been discussing these issues in the Lapis Lazuli Light magazine (e.g., see May 2001 issue; August/November 2006 issues, etc). In the past few years, there have been more research reports on the harmful effects of electricity. In 2007, a group of experts summarized over 2000 research reports, and published a report on the negative effects of electromagnetic and wireless radiation on human health.

EMF, microwaves and radio waves can interfere with the human body in the following ways:

  1. interfering gene and protein expression.
  2. damaging our genes.
  3. create stress reaction, and cause cells to produce stress proteins.
  4. interfering  our immune system.
  5. interrupt our nervous system, behavior and attitude.
  6. cause cancer such as leukemia in children (see www.bioinitiative.org)

There is an association between exposure to electrical sources and common modern-day illnesses such as brain tumor, malignant skin cancer, asthma, heart problems, weakened immune system, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, sleep disorders, headaches, dementia, and hyperactivity. The harm caused to children and youths are generally more serious. A Swedish research report indicated that the incidence of brain tumor is five times higher among users mobile phones who started in their teens compared to those who started in their adult l.

Exposure to electromagnetic and wireless radiation is relative new for living systems.  The defense mechanism of living cells will immediately cause the microtubules (channels through which nutrients and toxins enter or leave the cell) to close, preventing nutrients from entering and toxins from leaving. This invasion to the living systems occurs 24 hours, and the cells have no way to recover their normal functions. In the long run, this will cause diseases to occur. Research studies showed that cells produced stress proteins in response to this harm.  This can lead to many illnesses such as high blood pressure and stroke.

Electromagnetic radiation can also damage the molecular structures of water, interfering with its solubility and transporting functions. In the November 2006 issue of Lapis Lazuli Light magazine (“Water: Source of Life, Source of Illnesses”), I mentioned that Mr. Masaru Emoto took photographs of frozen water crystal structures and showed that pollution and mobile phone exposure can damage these crystalline structures. When the function of water is interfered with in our bodies, our cells will lack water and toxins cannot be discharged.  Dehydration is one reason for signs of aging.
Living in these times, we can take protective steps against this radiation, starting with our sleep environment. The field of building biology makes the following recommendations:
1. use battery-operated alarm clocks instead of electric clocks.
2. turn off the electric power to the bedroom where we sleep at night.
3. avoid the use of metals in bedding, such as box spring mattresses.
4. check to see that the electromagnetic radiation in the bedroom is low (it is best that the bedroom is furthest away from the sources of electromagnetic radiation);  turn off and unplug all electrical appliances, other than the refrigerator, especially stereo systems, television, and the computer, to avoid remnant radiation from them.

After the 1970s, many new electrical appliances such as the television, fax machines, and stereo systems caused electrical wires to carry “dirty electricity” of the frequency above 1 kilohertz. The adverse effects of electricity on our health generally come from this “dirty electricity”. For instance, some types of diabetes and hypertension are related to this. Sleep is a critical way by which our body repairs itself, and hence, minimizing interference from electromagnetic and microwave radiation during sleep is very important. Many people have discovered that turning off the electrical mains at night improved their quality of sleep. They slept less and wake up feeling refreshed and happy. Their dream were also more lucid.  Even their digestive systems and bowel movements improved.

In the past few years, other than suggesting that people reduce the use of electrical appliances and locate a safe sleeping area, we have also introduced many other ways of protecting ourselves from radiation: use of peat moss, cobalt blue color films or cobalt blue glass bottles, numbers, electrical energizers, mantras of compassion, crystal mineral stones, etc. Recently, I have a new inspiration—perhaps, as prophesized by the Mayans, we will soon enter a higher-consciousness world, and methods originating from outside our three-dimensional world would appear.
All of us can try the following experiment to see if it is effective. Take photographs of cell phone towers, electrical cable poles, and buildings with WI-FI. Place Om Mani Padme Hum writings on these photographs. Write the mantra in the triangular formation. It is best to use blue ink to write the mantra; the more the better. If you have a prayer wheel with many mantras, put the photographs beneath the prayer wheel; every photograph should have a mantra. My initial experimentation produced very satisfactory outcomes.

The Mayan culture believes that the world is a creation of our consciousness. Hence, loving kindness can change the unsatisfactory aspects of our world. The mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, is the switch that turn on the loving kindness in the universe. We should use it more often.

Regardless of whether the Mayan prophecy will happen, it is clear that the world will benefit if we open our hearts to loving kindness, and elevate our consciousness.


Translated by Singapore Lapis Lazuli Light.
Article originally published in Chinese in Lapis Lazuli Light magazine (May 2010 issue); available at http://www.lapislazuli.org/TradCh/magazine/201005/20100501.html

Letting Go of Sorrow, Reconnect with the Joy of Life

Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.

I first met Ted, a musician, two years ago. He was still grieving the death of his beloved daughter who committed suicide. His two sisters also passed away one after the other. I told him about Dr. Steiner’s writings on the importance of staying connected with our loved ones after they pass away, in particular sending love and blessing to them. I met Ted again recently and he appeared happier. He related that he was doing well personally and financially.

How did he emerge from his grief and sorrow? I asked him curiously. He said he discovered messages that came from the Spiritual realm. As a result he understood the continuity of Life, thinking and the Law of Attraction. He practiced it in his life, focusing his attention on positive thinking and on what he wanted. He freed himself of sadness, fear and anger. He had close encounters with death many times during the Vietnam War, and reacted with anger. At that time he did not understand that we live in a multi-dimensional world. He never considered the existence of life beyond our 3-dimensional perception. Since the death of his daughter, he has been communicating with the non-physical dimension, especially when he performs on stage. He consciously invites musicians from the Spiritual realm to perform with him, and he discovers a different experience in his fingers when he plays the guitar.

I asked him to provide a few examples to illustrate the law of attraction with thoughts. He said there was a person who borrowed a large sum of money from him and refused to return. Every time he thought of this, he became angry and even thought of harming the other person. When he understood the principle of negative thinking attracting more negative events, he swiftly shifted his attention. He thanked this person for helping him to realize the need to transform his thoughts in order to attract what he wanted. Consequently, this person returned the sum of money.

Every day, he wakes up thinking that each day is a new beginning, and he can choose to put his attention on what he envisions and what he wants. Happiness is a choice; life is meant to be joyous. “My happiness does not depend on others, it depends on me.” He chooses not to watch the news, neither does he follow the economic situation. Ever since he transformed his habitual ways of thinking, placing his attention on the positive and optimistic, his life improved in many different ways. He upgraded his house; his wealth improved; he made new friends, and most importantly, he is happy every single day. He feels love for people and situations, and only wishes to contribute to make a better world. It is a miraculous breakthrough for someone who used to be addicted to alcohol and drugs. The songs he composes also reflects his joyful attitude towards life.

There are steps to follow for us to move from sorrow to joy. It requires our commitment to improve step by step – from despair to sorrow, sorrow to rage, rage to acceptance, acceptance to hope, and finally, joy. He advised against resistance and resentment because this would only reinforce what is being resisted and resented. Mother Teresa once remarked, “I will not participate in any anti-war demonstrations… but if there is a peace rally, I’ll be there.”

If we focus on dissatisfaction, we will attract more of what’s dissatisfactory. Those who like to complain will have endless things to complain about. One who has gratitude will attract more conditions to be grateful for. People commonly pay attention to obstacles, misfortunes and dissatisfactions. Even the news mirrors our inner world. What usually get reported in the news are catastrophes, criminals and misdeeds. As a result, mass-consciousness is reinforced with all that is undesirable. We can change this when we shift our focus to what’s positive and optimistic.

It works the same way in our body. We tend to focus on areas in our body that are uncomfortable, painful and diseased. If we shift our focus to promote and improve health, the body will naturally heal itself of pain and disease. We need time to overcome our mental habits. As the first step, we have to understand we attract what we feel, experience and encounter, just like trauma creates traumas. If we wish to change this, we need to release trauma.

Contemplate on what we truly want. What do we want to attract into our lives? What kind of feelings do we want to have? Emotions are the greatest attractive force; positive emotional feelings attract more situations for us to feel positive – gratefulness and rejoicing are the best feelings to practice. Decide upon awakening that today, no matter what happens, I will be grateful. Rejoice all that we have, including people whom we dislike and consider our enemies. Rejoice whatever good that happens to them.

Dr. Mitchell May mentioned once about someone who always said ‘Thank you’. This person was full of joy and had the ability to heal. Even a handshake with him healed sick people. Many years ago, one meditation teacher of mine also said ‘Thank you’ at all times, even when she accidentally dropped a bowl of soup onto the floor. Jack Schwarz emphasized that we are able to heal ourselves when we are in a happy, excited state. In our modern time, we can work together to transform our adversities to favorable conditions. The way Ted said it “I live in an amazing world, an amazing place. Life is beautiful! I can decide to improve my life, I feel abundance, I feel blessed.”

Original Chinese article was published in Lapis magazine (November 2009 issue);
Available online at: http://www.lapislazuli.org/TradCh/magazine/200911/20091101.html

If Life is Like a Dream, How to change Our Dreams

Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.

Ten years ago, a group of us went to Mount Wutai. One of our friends, a poetess, saw the following poem titled “The Dream Poem” on the wall of the Zhulin Monastery. This poem was written by Master Danxu when he was 82 years of age:

Life is a dream
Everything is like a dream
What can be experienced is but a dream
Dream is even more so a dream
Closing our eyes is a dream
Opening our eyes is also a dream
Although dreams can be long or brief
They are dreams no less
Creating various karma in dream
Will similarly experience karmic outcomes in the dream
For the enjoyment of a moment
Leads to suffering of immeasurable eons
We are all the same in the dream
No distinction in wisdom or status

The mind rises and dream arises
The mind ceases and dream ceases
Recognizing dream as dream
The realization awakens us from the dream
Both the dreamer and dream cease
The clear mind is not a dream

I appreciated this poem very much when I first read it.  Even now I still feel that it is a poem worth reading again and again, especially as a reminder and a solution to physical and mental difficulties we face in our lives. If life is a dream, it can be changed; there is also a time of awakening. Consequently, when we encounter difficulties, we won’t be obsessed and sink deeper into the situation.

Begin by learning how to alter our dreams when we sleep. Once we have this experience, we will have the confidence to alter our dreams when we are awake. Many years ago, Stanford University had a laboratory that undertook research on dreaming. Stephen LaBerge described some of these research findings in the book “Lucid Dreaming”. For instance, a person dreaming of watching a table-tennis match will move his eyes from left to right. Researchers  fortuitously discovered a way to communicate with a person in the dream state. Before the dreamer  performed a pre-determined activity, he would move his eyes left and right to communicate. The researchers found that activities in dream state produced the same reactions in brain waves, muscle and heart as they do when the person is awake.  In the dream, singing a song activated the right brain, counting activated the left brain, and running increased the heart beat.

This dream research laboratory also counseled people who frequently have nightmares. They were trained such that when they realized they were dreaming, they could alter their dreams. A lady had nightmares for many years that she was being chased. Once she became aware that she was dreaming, she changed her past reaction in the dream. In her dream, instead of running away, she turned around to face her pursuer. In the end, the pursuer vaporized into smoke in her dream, and she never had these nightmares again. Stephen LaBerge through training himself to be lucid in dreams eliminated many of his fears. He also had many breakthroughs in his consciousness and his daytime experiences also began to change.

There are a few methods to train ourselves to be aware that we are dreaming. One of these methods is to tell ourselves before we sleep: “One I am dreaming, two I am dreaming, three I am dreaming, four I am dreaming, five I am dreaming, six I am dreaming,  seven I am dreaming …” until we fall asleep. The second method is to frequently tap our body during the day and think: “I am dreaming”. When this becomes a habit, we will also learn to tap ourselves to remind ourselves that we are dreaming. Once we know we are dreaming, we can change our habitual responses in the dream and have a breakthrough. For example, we can face what is fearful but not be frightened, or face what brings anger but not be angry. In this way, the negative energies hidden in our subconscious will dissolve away. What we encounter in our dreams all appear and feel so real, but when we wake up, we realize that all these are creations of our mind. Similarly, the dreams we have with our eyes open are also creations of our mind. They are projections of the cumulative energies stored in our consciousness arising from our thoughts, speech and actions from beginningless time. Some of these projections come from messages we received in our mothers’ wombs,  from our birth or our childhood. If we hold the view that our life’s experiences are real and unchangeable, we will not think of changing and will accept things in a fatalistic way. Mr. Yuan Liaofan of the Ming dynasty had this fatalistic view of life during the earlier part of his life, and hence, he had no aspirations. Later, he met a Zen master who taught him the way to change his dreams. As a result, he later had a son, enjoyed long life, and was promoted to as a government official. He documented his entire life’s experiences in altering his dreams and therefore changing his fortunes. His book “Liaofan‘s Four Lessons” is still popular even after all this time, and has benefitted many people. This is a good book that is worth re-reading in great detail.

To change our daytime dreams, we need to first see everything as illusory, just like what the Diamond Sutra says: “Everything that is conditional is like a dream, a bubble, a dew, a flash of lightning. One should observe this way.” In this way, we can reduce our greed, and aversion, and hatred. These mental states will only cause our nightmares to perpetuate. We have to first realize we are dreaming before we can change our dreams and stop dreaming.

If we understand that what we see, hear and feel all arises from our mind, we can easily grasp the key to changing our dreams and not blindly seek help from external sources, blame others or not accept our own responsibilities. In actual fact, the root cause of our happiness and suffering springs from our mind. Many years ago, when Ethiopia encountered a drought, a strange thing occurred. When originally good water was transported to the drought area, it turned bad. This is because the victims’ minds were all projecting a common dream of a drought, and this blocked the delivery of good water. The same drop of water can be experienced differently by beings of different merits—hungry ghosts do not see water, devas see it as  nector, and completely enlightened Buddhas also see it as nectar.

People around us can be those who are fortunate or unfortunate in whatever they do. The two persons may go to the same place, the same restaurant or meet the same person, but they will have different experiences. There is an ancient Chinese saying that connotes the message: “Lovers see a striking beauty in their partners”. This is a very accurate description—ten people who encounter a person or an incident will have ten different viewpoints. Who is right? Who is wrong? They are both right and wrong.

Altering the dreams when we are awake or sleeping is the same. If our thoughts, speech and actions arise from loving kindness and the wish to benefit others, we experience happiness, fortune and bliss in our dream states. If our thoughts, speech and actions arise from selfishness or intentions to harm others, we experience suffering and difficulties in our dream states. When we encounter obstacles and undesirable situations, we need to both repent our past unwholesome thoughts and actions, and also develop our compassion and wish to benefit others. In this way, our dreams can be altered.

Repentance and purification are methods shared in common by all spiritual practices. The key is to sincerely repent and resolve not to harm others with our body, speech and mind. From beginningless time, we have developed all kinds of unwholesome thoughts and performed unwholesome deeds. These negative energies can be activated anytime and cause us to have nightmares. In Buddhism, practices such as prostrations to the 88 Buddhas, 35 Buddhas, the Great Repetence and the Emperor Liang Repentence are all methods to dispel our mental poisons and change our dreams.

In his discourses, the enlightened practitioner Lama Zopa Rinpoche clearly explains ways to alter our dreams, and how to use a positive mindset to face illnesses and obstacles in our lives. In this way, we can have breakthroughs. In his book “Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion”, he emphasizes how to use our precious gem: our pristine and luminous mind. He tells us to use illnesses to practice compassion, wisdom and awakening. Every word and phrase in his book can be used as a meditative tool for reflection. Some examples include: “Ignorance is the root of all illnesses and all suffering”, and “The medicine we use is the awakened consciousness—our innate nature that understands the ultimate reality”. Chapter 12 of the book touches on how to benefit from setbacks in our lives, and the first page teaches us how to have positive reflections: “What is termed “obstacles” are actually opportunities that force us to meditate and develop our mind. Because of suffering and the associated afflictions, we can eliminate our pride, and develop compassion for beings in cyclic existence. Illnesses are like brooms because they help clear our bad karma and ignorance. During such times, we should contemplate that our setbacks do not mean anything as other innumerable sentient beings suffer more than us. If they can liberate themselves from this suffering, how good it would be. I aspire to free them from their sufferings.”

In addition, he quotes the words of a Kadampa practitioner: “Receiving praise can only lead us to inflate the ego and develop greater pride. In contrast, receiving insults and humiliation will immediately eliminate our past wrongdoings.” Obstacles can develop our loving kindness, compassion, patience, wisdom and other virtues, as well as realize emptiness.

When we can accept the suffering of sickness with joy, we attain freedom. In the case of certain practitioners who have successfully trained their mental consciousness, they can still be happy even when they encounter what people commonly regard as suffering.  Geshe Lama Konchog, who has passed away, had spent 25-year in meditation retreat. He mentioned that he had once fallen down and experienced physical pain. However, at the moment when he hit the ground, his mind was very happy because his wish to take on the suffering of sentient beings had been fulfilled. Another example is Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, who passed away early this year in Los Angeles. Last October, he found out that his stomach cancer had spread to his liver, and elected to undergo chemotherapy treatment. One of his ordained students who was very close to him immediately went to take care of him. In particular, in Geshe’s final 2.5 months, he was literally by his side all the time. He observed that although Geshe  La was very ill and hospitalized, he never paid attention to himself but kept caring about other people—the doctors, nurses, and janitors. He always appeared to be happy. One day, this student couldn’t resist asking Geshe how he kept himself so happy. Geshe replied: there are two verses in his daily practice that are very helpful:

The first is “Compassionate gurus, may all sentient beings’ karmic debts, difficulties, and sufferings be borne by me. Let me give them happiness and merits. May all sentient beings be happy.”

The second verse that enabled Geshe La to maintain his joy is: “Should the fruits of karma of the surrounding and its sentient beings within ripen, and unwanted sufferings fall down like rain, I seek your blessings to let me bear these sufferings and transform them into my dharma path, and realize that because of these sufferings I can exhaust all the karmic consequences of unwholesome deeds.”

The heart that wishes to benefit others is the cause of all mundane and supramundane happiness. Lama Zopa Rinpoche taught many methods of transforming our minds that will allow us to change our dreams.

Rejoicing in the happiness of others is very easy to do. We rejoice whenever we see or hear  others perform virtuous actions or meet with good fortune. We rejoice in the virtuous actions of our past, present and future, and rejoice even more in the past, present and future virtuous actions of enlightened beings. In our hearts, we think: how wonderful, and feel great joy! In this way, we will very easily open our hearts, quickly change our fortunes, as well as counter our tendencies to be envious.

When we wake up in the morning, we can think: “May all living beings be free from suffering and attain ultimate bliss.”
When we put on our clothes, we can contemplate: “May all living beings be warm.”
When we open the door, we can think: “May all living beings enter the door of wisdom and liberation.”
When we close the door, we can think: “May the doors of the three lower realms be closed.”
When we walk, we can think: “May all beings quickly reach the shore of liberation.”
When it rains, we can think: “Rain water is like nectar that washes away all suffering, and satisfy the needs of all living beings.”

When we eat, be appreciative of the hard work that went into preparing the meal, and all the life forms that have sacrificed their lives. Agricultural production necessarily involves harm to many lives. Once you realize the emptiness of food, visualize the food as nectar that fills the entire space and offer it to all enlightened beings in the universe, especially the Compassionate Buddha Avalokiteshsvara, Medicine Buddha who helps to avert all calamities and extend life, and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha with his great vows. Also offer the nectar to sentient beings in the six realms so that they can be liberated from suffering and attain ultimate bliss. Before we go to sleep, we can chant the names of the 35 Buddhas 35 times, even better with prostration, and this can raise our consciousness and eliminate many of our obstacles. Also think: “May all living beings attain the dharmakaya (pure mind). We can also think about our spiritual teachers, Amitabha, Avalokiteshsvara, God, etc. In this way, our dreams at night will become blessed and auspicious. One day, we will awaken from our day and night dreams, and will no longer be dreaming. Then, we will realize our true luminous nature.

Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion” by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Published by Lapis Lazuli Light