The Trilogy of Harmony

Graceful Harmony
by Sara Goodnough

Those interested in spirituality—what it is and how to become a spiritual person—sooner or later come across the notion of harmony between spirit, mind, and body . What exactly does it mean and how do you get there? To get there one has to cultivate each of its three aspects of being. Achievement of this Trilogy of Harmony leads to sustained peace, joy, and equanimity.

A healthy, physically fit body is one of the pillars of attaining harmony between spirit, mind, and body. As an example, if we don’t feel well, or we’re weak, frail, or sick it is difficult to think clearly. Likely we are concerned about our health which takes a further toll on our mind.

In turn our spirit is also affected. We may be unable to experience lasting joy and happiness. Our worries, guilt, and regret prevent us from finding peace and equanimity.

Mental products such as our attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and actions can either feed and elevate the spirit or damage and debilitate it. This is governed by the Law of Cause and Effect. The health of our spirit is determined in large part by the way we treat other people. One should always strive to live a life characterized by honesty, integrity, compassion, and ethical behavior.

We can cultivate the mind by meditation, striving to be wholly present through mindfulness and working to stop the constant train of useless thoughts so many of us experience. It is also important to allow only wholesome thoughts, and to maintain a positive and virtuous outlook.

A cultivated mind and body naturally leads to a greater expression of our spirit in everyday life. Buddha’s Four Immeasurables well illustrate the essence of spiritual expression and the results of the Trilogy of Harmony. The Immeasurables are: love, compassion, equanimity, and empathetic joy. These four are also known as the four sublime or extraordinary states of mind, which to me, illustrate the affect the spirit can have on the mind.

I hope from this discussion you begin to see the importance of achieving the Trilogy of Harmony for a happy, healthy, rewarding, and productive life, and how the spirit, mind, and body support and interact with each other. If any one of these three pillars of harmony is not in a healthy, positive state, then the trilogy is broken. As we all know, each of the three components can function independently, but without the elevated state of being (especially of the spirit) that the Trilogy of Harmony brings. You cannot give yourself a gift greater than the fulfillment, happiness, joy, and peace that achieving this harmony will create.

You might like to see the following related articles:

A Path from Darkness
How Does One Sustain a Spiritual Outlook?

Advertisements

The Gift of Presence

Seeing Deeply
From http://www.1zoom.net

Being present in the moment is a big thing these days, as it should be. It is something with which I struggle on a daily basis. Intellectually we can appreciate the value of being present, but putting it into practice is difficult; old habits of the mind are hard to change. And what can we really expect should we achieve the holy grail of Presence anyway?

But then I recently had a remarkable experience that gave me a taste of just how wonderful and transforming complete, unwavering presence can be. As I walked out of a movie theater I inexplicably stopped dead in my tracks. There before me was the most mundane and superficially insipid scene you could imagine. I was looking out across a large parking lot…but somehow it was so much more than that at this particular moment.

I became totally immersed in the clouds along the horizon and the tall royal palm trees lining the street. The golden hour was approaching making the green and grey of the trees glow with a seemingly heavenly light. I studied the shapes of the clouds and the lines of the tree trunks. My eyes were transfixed on the scene. I felt a deep appreciation and affection for each element of the scene—the trees, the sky, and clouds. I felt exceedingly alive and happy. So much so that I stood there for quite some time scanning the scene. I didn’t want to take even one step and lose these feelings of joy.

As I drove home, my mind continued to seek presence in what I saw along the way, but sadly I was forced to keep my eyes on the road and attend to my driving. I had hoped that I would re-enter the mystical state of awareness I had experienced when I got home but it was not to be—not then, the next day, or the days to follow. I was left disappointed and wondering just what it was that I experienced and how to get back there again.

During that short span of presence I saw the beauty and wonder of simple things around me in great detail. What usually was a mind busy with useless thoughts was totally focused on what was before me. It showed me that when we are truly present in the moment, we see things we didn’t notice before. We see the beauty in things that previously scarcely caught our attention. We see things as they really are.

When present and interacting with others, we perceive beyond the superficiality of appearance and words. As Thich Nhat Hanh has suggested, we hear and see people deeply with greater understanding and compassion.

Achieving presence is well worth the effort because it can lead to an elevated state of being and awareness which in turn will lead to greater happiness and joy. The simplest things can be seen as they really are: beautiful and fascinating. This is the gift of presence.

You might like to see the following related articles:

Spirits Calling

The Scientific Aesthetic

 

It’s Been a While

Indian Summer by Sergey Lutsenko httpwww.picture-russia.ruenpicture46977

 

#weekendcoffeeshare

It’s been a while since I last joined you for coffee. I have been busy preparing my new book for publication in paperback and as an eBook. It was a substantial project that is now complete. Yay!

Hopefully, I will find my way back into writing again soon. After completing a book project, there is often a concern as to whether you still have more to write about. It’s kind of like when you have been engaged in a long conversation with someone about something and you both suddenly find yourselves in an uncomfortable, awkward silence wondering where the conversation should go next.

Anyway, it’s good to be free of major projects so my mind is free to wander. I look forward to seeing what you guys have been up to.

Number to Treat

#weekendcoffeeshare

Source: misterimmortal.com

Source: misterimmortal.com

It’s been a while since we had coffee together. I would like to share with you something surprising about the effectiveness of prescription drugs discussed in the four-minute video below.

It has to do with the total number of prescriptions that must be given out for a particular drug in order to find one patient for whom the drug actually works. Said another way, it is the proportion of patients treated with a drug that will experience its benefits.

Here, let’s watch the video

Why is this important? When a physician prescribes a drug, many patients assume that it is necessary to mange their condition and that it will have positive effects since the drug was ostensibly designed to treat their particular ailment. Therefore, they believe that they must follow doctor’s orders and keep taking the drug even though it may not actually be having beneficial effects for them.

What should patients do? When a drug is prescribed, ask your doctor what percentage of patients treated with the drug benefit from it. Ask what you should be looking for to know that the drug is effective in treating your condition. Discuss side effects and any risks if you stop taking the drug because it does not work for you.

There is so much we don’t know about health issues and the myriad angles used by pharmaceutical companies to boost sales. I hope the video was valuable to you. Hope to see you again soon!

The Scientific Aesthetic

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon
Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

#weekendcoffeeshare 9/17/16

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I wanted to be a scientist since about the age of ten or eleven. Unlike most children who declare a vocation at such a young age, I never lost sight of the goal and did indeed become a scientist (now retired).

But the other day I was thinking about what it was that kept my dream alive from childhood to fruition as an adult. I mean how many young kids who say they want to be a fireman actually do it? What I realized was that I had an abiding wonder and fascination with all of the mysteries of nature. Science was a tool to reveal its secrets.

As a young boy, I wanted to explore many and varied aspects of the natural world and science. For a time I was an avid mineralogist. I made many expeditions into the creek bed behind the apartments where I lived. My holy grail was to find a geode; I never found one but found some petrified wood instead. I was disappointed at the time, but years later realized how cool and unusual that find was.

I had an inexpensive microscope and peered into the previously unseen details of all sorts of things from hair to bugs and leaves. When the Russians launched Sputnick in 1957, the first satellite, I became fascinated with rockets and space travel. Yes…of course, I fabricated my own rocket. It was a unique home design made from an aluminum pipe with balsa wood tail fins and a crude fuel made with chemicals in my chemistry set. Back then the sets included the components needed to make gun powder—oops.

I realized in retrospect that my design was badly flawed— more like a dangerous firework than a rocket— but it did manage a few flights of maybe 50 feet up before the aluminum could no longer withstand the blast. Thank God my brother and I had the good sense to run like hell when the fuse was lit!

As time went on, I began to develop a pantheistic view of the world. My vision moved beyond practical, objective aspects of my surroundings to a more aesthetic appreciation.

Into middle age, my relationship with science and nature became more inspirational and spiritual, and less investigative. Rather than study and analyze nature, I wanted to experience it. Rather than simply being a refuge from daily life, the natural world became a celebration of the diversity of life—something sacred to be revered, loved, and protected.

Thus, I have come full circle; once again I have that innocent sense of wonder and I am amazed and thrilled by the incredible beauty and complexity of the natural world around me, just as I was as a young boy growing up.

You might like to see the following related articles:

Just So…

The Golden Morning

Nature: A More Expansive Spirituality

Sentinels of Peace

Forest Sanctuary Source: discovertheforest.org

Forest Sanctuary
Source: discovertheforest.org

#weekendcoffeeshare 6/18/16

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you how much I have been feeling the need to get out among a forest of trees. Nature and wilderness have been calling to me for sometime now.

When I visited my daughter in Colorado last year, we went up to Lookout Mountain. What I really liked most about it was sitting under the trees while eating our lunch. It felt so welcoming and comforting. I could have sat there for hours and just listen to the breeze in the branches.

It was like a homecoming and having the love of family all around you. With all of the branches overhead and the tree trunks all around, I felt safe and protected. I had found sanctuary and tranquility. When it was time to go, my spirit protested, reluctant to leave a place of such beauty, serenity, and unconditional love.

Now the forest land beckons me once again. My heart yearns for reunion with my stalwart sentinels of peace.

You might like to see the following related article:

Nature: A More Expansive Spirituality

Hybrid Car Test Drive: The Zen of Hybrid Electric Technology

Zen Garden From wallsave.com

Zen Garden
From wallsave.com

#weekendcoffeeshare 6/10/16

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the story of my first day driving a hybrid car. It took place six years ago at a time when seeing a hybrid car in my neighborhood was relatively rare.

In the crazy, noisy, busy world in which we live, it is difficult to relax, de-stress, and clear our minds. I found a space that could help me do that.

The moment I got in the car and closed the door, I felt like I had entered sanctuary. When I pressed the start button, I did a double take—no motor noise. I put the car in gear and pressed the accelerator only to glide forward silently and weightlessly as if floating on a cloud. The tinted windows added to the effect by giving the feeling that I was in meditation experiencing the nothingness of the Self and oneness with all of creation. What a wonderful feeling!

Then I was suddenly jolted out of my serene state by the sound of horns blowing. I found myself to be a little disoriented like when you wake suddenly from a dream sleep (but I had been fully awake.) The traffic light had changed and the guy behind me had gotten impatient.

I pressed the gas pedal and slowly accelerated to maximize fuel efficiency. Well that didn’t go over well with the cars behind me. Then there was more horn blowing followed by angry faces, the mouthing of unpleasantries that I couldn’t hear, and unseemly gestures from drivers racing past me and cutting in front of me dangerously close to a crash.

On another day, I might have responded in kind—but not today. Perhaps it was ozone from the electric motor or the strong electromagnetic field from the high voltage batteries but I didn’t react and just looked back with a blank stare, puzzled by their misplaced frustration.

By the time all of the cars around me were distant lights in a faraway galaxy, I had reached the speed limit. I felt an inexplicable urge to not go any faster and settled back into my quiet place. Oh how wonderful to be free of stress once more!

Then I saw a car approaching from behind. I expected another round of vitriol but to my surprise the driver pulled up alongside and gave me a thumbs up. This reminded me that by driving a hybrid car I live by the beat of a different drum; that I am on the high road; that I should not allow anyone to disrupt the serenity of my sanctuary; that Zen is possible amidst the stress and cacophony of the world around me.