Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great
inspiration to me! In August of 1998, about four months after my
father passed away, I read about one of Carol's
workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and
synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the
bookstore. The themes of her teachings were
familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts
and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before
his passing. Her books and workshops ignited my
spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path,
which led to the very creation of
SoulfulLiving.com! Carol's participation has been
an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul
level! Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com
"Change Yourself, Change the World"
I am excited to tell you about a very
practical and inspirational book that, I believe, if followed,
really will change your life and change the world. It’s
called The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Strategies for
Managing Your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael
Roach, a Princeton graduate, business man, ordained Tibetan
Buddhist monk, and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism.
In this fascinating book, Geshe
Michael tells us the story of how he applied the ancient
wisdom of Buddhism to the everyday, practical demands of the
diamond business, and exactly what we can do to create
similar success in our own lives. "One rule my Tibetan
Lama had given me about going to work in a normal business
office was that I keep quiet about being a Buddhist. I was to
wear my hair at normal length (rather than shaved), and dress
in normal clothes. Whatever Buddhist principles I used in my
work had to be applied quietly, without any announcement or
fanfare. I was to be a Buddhist sage on the inside, and a
normal American businessman on the outside." The company
for which he worked, Andin International, grew from a $50,000
loan to annual sales in excess of one hundred million dollars.
Geshe Michael’s real life anecdotes
and observations during his work in the diamond industry in
New York City illuminate exactly what the Buddha was trying to
teach his students 2500 years ago about the nature of reality.
Most of us are familiar with the idea that we create our own
reality, but even so we’re not always sure how it works. We
still look out at our world and believe that we are being
impacted by things we don’t want, didn’t ask for, and
judge to be bad. We feel helpless in the moment when someone
is yelling at us, or when we watch TV and see an onslaught of
dangerous situations and events. Did we create those
explosions in the Middle East? Did we create cancer? What is
going on here?
In my own life and studies I have had
a hard time trying to understand the idea of
"formlessness" or "emptiness" that
Buddhism teaches. Now I get it.
There are two key points in the book,
which are central to the whole philosophy: hidden potential
and mental imprints.
- Hidden potential. Things and
people and events are neutral.
There are no inherent qualities in anything. Any thing or
event is, in reality, empty. Anything, such as, for example,
the purchase of a new building, appears to be good for those
who benefit from it, and appears to be bad from those who are
hurt by it. Everything offers, therefore, only hidden
potential. Things could go either way. Sometimes people will
do something to you that seems bad, but another person looking
on might see this action as okay or even good. It all
depends on how you are looking at it. This reminds me of
my favorite Zen story about the farmer who lost his horse and
runs up to the Zen master to tell him about the horse running
away. The master says, "It could be good. It could be
bad." The story goes along with several other happenings
that could be good and could be bad, ending with a supposed
"bad" outcome saving the life of the farmer’s son.
- How we look at it depends on our
past mental imprints.
This is another way of saying that we create our own reality.
If your boss is angry and blaming you, you are forced to see
this reality because in the past you have burned an imprint of
anger and blame into your mind (where it lives and grows in
the subconscious until it pops out in various situations like
this one). Everything in our present moment is there because
we are forced to see it that way based on our past experience,
beliefs, and imprints.
- We can change our future
by not burning more imprints of blame, criticism, and anger
into our minds in the present.
Once an event is rolling, it’s very hard to change
the momentum that has built up and is unfolding. The only way
we can change the future is by not responding with anger in
the moment, so that we do not create any future occurrences of
anger. We use the present moment to become aware, and learn
how to shift our choices away from the habitual patterns that
are creating our present. This takes time!
Geshe Michael writes, "Think
about the people…who irritate you the most. They seem to
have a quality or nature of being irritating, from their own
side. ‘Irritating-ness’ seems to be emanating or flowing
from them toward you. Think about it though. Someone (perhaps
another employee, perhaps someone in their family…) finds
them very loving and lovable people…. Apparently there is no
‘irritating-ness’ flowing from these people to them—which
very simply proves that this is not a quality within the
people themselves….they are, rather, like blank screens,
neutral, and different people see different things in them.
This is a very simple and undeniable proof of emptiness, or
hidden potential. And everything else in the world is the
I have given you just a taste of the
applicable wisdom in this book, and I hope that you will be
moved to read it and see what you think. Synchronistically
this morning, I received a request for a consultation from a
young woman I’ll call Vera. She had the following question: "The
thing is I get so upset when I see all the injustice in the
world and it seems to affect me more than others."
How would you help her to see this differently now? What kind
of mental imprints is she perpetuating?
Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an
internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose
books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her
books include The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place
in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon
Sense; The Purpose of Your Life Experiential Guide, and The
Numerology Kit. She also co-authored with James Redfield, The
Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide and The Tenth
Insight: Holding the Vision--An Experiential Guide.
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