Life and Love

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Life and Love are not two; they are one.

To love means to see and feel life in everything.

Life is here, life is there, life is everywhere.

There is nothing but life and there is also nothing but love.

-Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Ki

Passing the test

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Often when we pursue spiritual growth we pay attention on how we react, how we feel and how we progress.

After a while of continuing state of balance or comfort, our ego finds a way to trick us again into believing we are great at what we’re doing, things that bothered us before no longer do and we become more calm and selfless. But spiritual growth just like life is a path and not a destination, we never cease to learn and to face challenges. We don’t know it all.

Even in periods of comfort we must not stop our efforts to persevere in our spiritual path, we must practice it every day with every little thing we can, we have planted the seed of love in our heart and if it’s growing healthy we must keep watering it, keep allowing the sun to shine and enter, keep nurturing it, cleaning it and strengthen it.

Then the real tests begging to happen, when you are ready for them, you face situations that you didn’t see coming. You face the hurt that you have suffered before and it comes back strong. You are presented with a situation where you do not know what the right thing is to do. And what do you do? How do you react?

Do you go back to your usual ways and let ego take control?

You realize that a life without ego is an amazing human achievement worthy of saints. You understand you can’t eradicate your ego and you make peace with yourself knowing you are trying your best. And there you are in front a very important test.

A test that will move your feelings, thoughts, beliefs and the summary of your progress so far.

You face the truth of knowing that not everybody loves you, in fact some people despise you and have felt very negative things towards you, you are blamed for whatever choices you have made and you understand there is people that wish you harm instead of good.

The same people you have supported and loved, and cared for and appreciated, that presented to you as a friend and didn’t take long to reveal their true intentions.

What do you do? In the split second you have to choose your reaction, do you allow this negative tendencies to enter your heart?

Keep your heart strong and persevere, do not give in, a test is not supposed to be easy.

Accept what comes your way and be thankful for those who want to hurt you because the more they try, the less they can. The more they hurt themselves. You are protected. Trust in God, give your best effort and if you need help, just remember you are not alone.

 

Divine Help

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Many times people report the feeling of divine help and strength when they come close to a breaking point. Actually divine help is always there, but I am usually so busy doing things in my own little way that I only look for it when I face absolute defeat.

The tranquil nature of enlightened souls comes from their ability to take God’s help constantly. A state of true surrender will lead to the feeling of victory in everything I do.

 

Tulum from a different perspective

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Revisiting Tulum after 12 years was an amazing experience, the first time I went there I was 15 years old and ready to explore the world, Tulum always called for me and I had to answer, I remember I took all of my savings went to the bus station and set out for adventure. My sister was 10 at the time and she was sad I would leave her so I took her with me. We didn’t even have a camera and I was just carrying a bag.

I remember she was kind of scared, we almost missed the bus and had barely enough money to pay for it. We ran for the bus station and catched the last call for it, in that time the bus went from Cancun all the way to the mayan town corridor and stopped in Tulum, we drove for more than a couple of hours, in those years the roads were very precarious in Cancun, there were no bridges or even nice pavement, it was a one lane road from Playa del Carmen on to the rest of the state.

Unlike in Cancun, the bus didn’t stop in a station, it just stopped in a bumper in the middle of the road and the driver shouted “Tulum” so we rushed to get off otherwise we would end up having to wait for the next town and with no way of coming back.

We got off and we were just there in the middle of the road, a couple of handcraft stores and a couple of restaurants. We walked to look for the sign indicating the ruins, we found it and our journey started, walking the dirt road unaware of what we would find.

That is one of the beauties of Tulum, it makes you walk up and starts to unveil it’s magic in front of you.

Nowadays as you get to the site there are a lot of restaurants and handcraft stores, bathrooms, and many services.

On this visit I brought my camera with me and tried to look at Tulum from a different perspective. Without the comfort of my zoom lens, I just took my 50mm attached and threw my camera in my beach bag.

As you go in, the place starts to appear as you move forward.

I loved seeing that some of its original fauna still lives there, a lot of Iguanas lay around in all sizes trying to blend with the soft grey stone.

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As you keep walking you can feel this sacred place was dedicated to Venus and something just vibrates with mysticism. First temples and signs of gods begin to appear.

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The architecture is very particular, lovely and amazingly well preserved, it stands there in front of you without losing it’s essence.

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As you continue to walk you start climbing as the ground goes up, it’s an amazing moment because you can’t really see much, until you get to the highest part of the ground only to unveil the heart of this magical city

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The view is absolutely breathtaking, I remember the first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t have a camera so I just stared at it trying ti keep that image in my mind, then I went down for a swim, and tried to blend with the place. I just wanted to stay there forever.

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The ancient mayan city was originally named Zamá (Dawn) probably because of its beachside location.

In ancient times it was a very important city for commerce and for religious ceremonies to honor Kukulkan the descending god.

Tulum was still an active city inhabited by mayans when the spaniards arrived to Yucatan and Quintana Roo, but due to the heavy epidemic diseases they brought, the city was abandoned shortly after.

Due it’s amazing landscapes it has been one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico and because of this, the heirs of the mayan culture that still visited Tulum as a sacred ceremonial place in the XXth Century, have decreased their spiritual activities at the site.

Nonetheless, Tulum in itself both the site and the city have a very clear mystic quality that attracts people from all over the world.

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This wonderful city protected by the high rocks of the coast and the marine reef was one of the most beautiful cities in mayan culture and a very important reference for sailors and traders in the sea, who took the Castle as a reference to avoid getting caught in the reef.

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The castle also served as a lighthouse, because of the way it was built, the sun would come across a couple of windows protecting the light into the ocean and guiding mayan traders on their canoes.

They also had a hurricane warning system, on the top of a temple there’s a hollow rock they carved facing the ocean, when the wind speed would become hurricane like, the hollow rock acted like a whistle warning everyone.

Thanks to Ina and Pazit for sharing it with me and allowing me to visit Tulum again.

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Go with the flow

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Sometimes we just have to be wise enough to go with the flow. 

We have to put our trust in life and let the current carry us.

That doesn’t mean we should take our focus off where we’re going.

-Brahma Kumaris

 

The Color of Flowers

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Leave worries aside and you will be surprised by the beauty of the sky and the color of flowers, of the freshness of the breeze and the generosity of the sun.

You will feel you are part of creation, and life will start to make sense.

The greatest wealth is to appreciate what we have and what we are.

-Brahma Kumaris

 

Look for Goodness

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“In everything, goodness is there, our goal is to find it. In every person, the best is there, our job is to recognize it.

In every situation, the positive is there, our opportunity is to see it. In every problem the solution is there, our responsibility is to provide it.

In every setback, the success is there, our adventure is to discover it.

In every crisis the reason is there, our challenge is to understand it.

By seeing the goodness, we’ll be very enthusiastic and our lives will be richer.”

– Brahma Kumaris

Becoming my best friend

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The mind is one of the most powerful tools for human beings.

It can help to build and create great things but it can also become one person’s worst enemy.

It’s such an interesting practice to observe how you own mind works, step outside the routine for a little and listen to what that inner voice tells you with everything you do…is it encouraging me? is it bringing me down?

Most of the time we treat others with respect and love but we don’t treat ourselves like that, our mind is extreme and not balanced, either it treats your self with a lack of love and trust producing negative thoughts such as “I can’t do this”, “I’m so dumb”, “I hate this”, “why me?”, and all sorts of cursing or it can go to the other extreme where in order to abstract from reality the mind produces thoughts like “I am never wrong”, “Everything I do is perfect”, “If people don’t agree with me that’s their problem, they’re wrong, I’m always right”.

Treating ourselves with love is more work than it appears to be, it starts with the recognition of our true being: We are just us, without any titles, degrees or bank accounts.

When we are in love we tend to give the person we love everything, we pay attention, we take them out, buy them gifts, ask how they are, how they feel, tell them we love them, but we don’t often do that with ourselves.

Whenever people get lonely (and it happens a lot) it’s not because other people don’t show love, appreciation or support, it’s because we need to become our best friend, we need to recognize the qualities and values in ourselves, love ourselves, be proud of ourselves without having to win anything, listen to ourselves, take care of ourselves.

How often do we find ourselves living a life we didn’t want? Like I wish I was healthier but I can’t, I try and I can’t. We need to support ourselves and be teach that voice in our head to love, respect, give and serve.

 

Self Sovereignity

Just sharing a thought for today from Brahma Kumaris and a picture of how my inner kingdom would look like:

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“Subservience to my negativity is a very precarious existence as I can never be sure how well I will handle a difficult situation. With practice it is possible to create appreciative and compassionate thoughts; then I no longer need to indulge in resentment, bitterness or dislike. Training myself to react calmly and wisely offers enormous dividends. Let me talk to myself silently with love and encouragement, balanced with firmness, and like the wise old sovereigns of fairy stories, let me rule the inner kingdom of my mind with benevolence.”

Quote: Brahma Kumaris

Photo: KristinaG