Astrology for 8/17/2017

8/17/2017 Thursday by Norma

Still eating? At a certain moment you will wonder why, and this represents a turning point. Examine the underlying situation and the eating will stop. Something has triggered a surge of emotion: people and things from the past flood your mind, bringing all the joy and sorrow of life back for review. Retrograde Mercury is doing the job! Fix things that need fixing, skip things that don’t, and then move on with your life. Christina Rosetti said, “Better by far you should forget and smile, than that you should remember and be sad.” A major push is underway and parties, celebrations and friends are in the mix. Participate, talk and express yourself.
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Avoiding the Path to Happiness

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The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “AA & Buddhism”

Now, many of us also are not very happy. We just don’t seem to be able to master happiness. We are filled with longing, filled sometimes with anguish of different kinds—you know, loneliness, unhappiness, anger. Anger seems to be our constant companion. Just can’t seem to shake it, you know. It comes back again, again and again. Loneliness comes back again and again and again. So we don’t feel that we are particularly happy. Even in this beautiful country and these beautiful places that we find ourselves sitting in, we still find that we are terribly unhappy. And then what to think about those who are in different places, different countries, different life forms that are miserably unhappy?

Happy or unhappy, we know that life is impermanent. We know that it is brought about by habitual tendency, which is scary. Have you looked at your habitual tendencies lately? Doesn’t that make you just a little squeamish? I mean if you think about it. So if life is brought about by habitual tendency, and cause and effect is definitely what’s happening here, we have to really sit down and study what we call in the Buddhadharma the faults of cyclic existence. Now it’s considered in Dharma teaching and in Buddhist thought that without thoroughly examining the faults of cyclic existence, honestly and courageously…  And I have to underline the word courageously because this is where most people fade out. So don’t! Have courage here! You have to examine yourself honestly and courageously the way an addict does. You have to see your habitual tendencies. You have to see your pride. You have to see your anger and hatred. You have to come to terms with your clinging and grasping. You must be able to look at it and recognize it in the same way an addict does. Because according to the Buddha’s teaching, until we do that we are going nowhere.

I’m telling you that this is true. I know it is because I have many well-meaning students come here to study. And when they come here to study their idea is well, you know, I’ve been the spiritual route, and I’ve even taught a few things. And I’ve done this and I’ve done that. And I’ve read Maha somebody and blah-blah who-who. And I’ve been through it all. And I’ve even sat at the feet of Big Chief Somebody-or-Other. And we all think that because of that, you know, we’re coming in here and we’re just listening to this lady in the yellow jacket, and ‘I’m just not that impressed.’ So, come on, I can read minds. Doesn’t it just scare you? Anyway, let’s say that happens.  There are students who come to just about every kind of spiritual gathering in that way, with that kind of arrogant posture, completely avoiding the issue that it would be useful, beneficial, and just logical, when you’re in any situation like that, to pick up a mirror and really, honestly look at yourself. Really, honestly look at yourself. That would be the normal thing to do, if you consider normal healthy. That would be the healthy thing to do. Maybe that’s not the normal thing to do, but it would be the healthy thing to do. It would be the right thing to do. But instead we seem to hold ourselves in a posture that makes everything that we’re all about kind of up there in an unreachable place. You can’t talk about it. You can’t think about it. You can’t argue with it. You just basically can’t do anything with it.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

Astrology for 8/16/2017

8/16/2017 Wednesday by Norma

The urge to tell everyone everything keeps you chattering away non-stop, but be careful, you’ll say things you ‘ll need to retract later. At the same time the urge to eat everything in sight keeps you munching throughout the day. Rick Stein said, “I love the Chinese words for greeting; not strictly ‘Hello’ but ‘Have you eaten yet?'” You’ll know the answer to this question. This is a great day to push forward with a partnership or social event, provided it has been previously discussed. Confidence makes you impervious to mistakes or gaffes, you’ll laugh them off as you plow ahead cheerfully, talking and eating the whole time. Got a problem? Food is the answer!
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Rebirth?

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The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “AA & Buddhism”

Now why am I worrying about this? Am I thinking that maybe most of you in this room are alcoholics? Yes! Yes, I am. But maybe you don’t drink. Let’s see how that works.

In samsara, we have the same condition. According to the Buddha’s teaching, we are actually taking rebirth again and again and again, unfortunately, not with the prevailing idea that one finds in new age metaphysical thought these days. Most new age metaphysical thought says that we choose our parents and we choose our circumstances and we’re all in a learning situation, and that sort of thing. The Buddha teaches us that, in fact, we experience rebirth due to ego clinging, due to desire. It isn’t like a conscious choice where somewhere up in heaven, wherever that might be, or wherever these little unborn creatures are, we look down, parting the clouds of course, and pick a couple of parents out of the 4.8 billion thinking: ‘Those would be nice,’ or, ‘I think I’d like to beat them up today,’ or whatever our particular situation, ‘I’d like to go hungry so I’ll choose those.’

The Buddha doesn’t indicate to us that that is the way it actually is. The Buddha indicates to us that we experience desire, and that desire is the cause of all suffering; and the suffering takes the form of experiencing rebirth under certain conditions. In effect, it is our addiction to samsara that causes us to be reborn under certain conditions. It is true that we tend to come to parents with whom we have a very strong karma, or previous cause and effect relationship. Vibrationally, the parents will be somewhat like us. Now before you all attack me with clubs and sticks, it’s true. I know that you have spent years and years blaming your parents for everything, and I hate to tell you it’s true. We are like our parents in some way.

Now, it’s true our parents might have beaten us to a bloody pulp, and maybe we don’t do that to our children. And our parents might have been judgers and blamers and things like that or cold people, and perhaps we work very hard not to be like that with our children. But if we are really honest and really look at ourselves, we will find ourselves somewhat, in some way, vibrationally like our parents. You cannot be born of a mother with whom you do not have a common vibration. It simply wouldn’t work. Metaphysically, you would dissolve in the womb. It would never happen in the first place. So there is a likeness there. And there is no point in blaming your parents for what happened to you. The best thing to do is to look at the condition and content of your own mind, and learn something that way.

Now, what has led us to be reborn as we are is a series of cause and effect relationships based on the assumption of self nature as being inherently real. With that assumption, automatically and at the same instance that assumption takes place, we distinguish self from other. In distinguishing self from other, we automatically react toward self, toward other, with attraction, repulsion, or neutrality. Now, neutrality sounds like the best way to go, of course. But in samsara, neutrality comes about after this goes on; which means to say you weigh out attraction, you weigh out repulsion, and somewhere in the middle of it, you’re just like eh, who cares. But it’s still part of the same coin. In a sense, attraction is one side of the coin. Repulsion is the opposite side of the coin. And neutrality may be the coin on its side, if you’ll think of that. But they are part of the same thing. They are reactive.

Since time out of mind, we have always been reacting with attraction, repulsion or neutrality due to attraction and repulsion. And it all has, as its root, one of the three poisons. And that poison is grasping or desire or greediness. Desire. We take rebirth due to ego-clinging. We experience continuum; and you can only experience continuum as a self because self is that which seems to move through linear time, and that is the experience of continuum. That’s what we have. We have that condition and it underlies everything, every internal subtle and gross process, every single one. It is that grasping that causes rebirth. Simply that.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology by Norma: Retrograde Mercury

 

The planet Mercury appears to go retrograde, to turn around and travel backwards, for three weeks approximately four times a year. “Don’t sign, don’t buy,” is the usual warning for the retrograde Mercury period.

“Don’t sign” refers to contracts of all kinds: a home purchase, rental agreement, lease, marriage document, etc, anything that you hope will work out. Contracts or agreements “Come to nothing,” under retrograde mercury.

“Don’t buy” refers specifically to any kind of machine you expect to be operational- a car, computer, television, you name it.  Machines won’t work, they are lemons.  The tricky troublemaker will get you if you ignore this warning.  “It doesn’t matter,” a woman said as she bought a blender that ended up not working!  If you must buy, save the receipt!

What can you do if you want to sign a contract or make a purchase during retrograde Mercury? There are two options:  first, you may sign or buy if you negotiated the deal previously, if you considered the matter seriously in the past.  Next, you can stall until Mercury goes direct.

Relationships that begin during retrograde Mercury “Come to nothing.” You meet your dream person, everything is perfect, then learn he/she is married, newly escaped from prison, moving to Saudi Arabia or something else that’s a deal breaker.

What’s good about Mercury retrograde?  You’re cautioned to avoid brand new undertakings, but you have a second chance to handle something that didn’t work the first time around.  You get a “do-over” where you need one: you can go back and clean up a mess, fix something from the past. It isn’t often we get a second chance in life, but retrograde Mercury presents that opportunity on a platter! It’s a great time to fix things, repair problems, relationships, to make amends for the past.

Watch for the retrograde Mercury dates, avoid new beginnings and clean up past mistakes and you will be happy with the results.

Mercury will be retrograde two more times in 2017. Mark your calendar!

August 13 to September 5, 2017

December 3 to December 23, 2017

Astrology for 8/15/2017

8/15/2017 Tuesday by Norma

A disagreement is best solved by a third party, one that is both respected and neutral. Pay particular attention to the advice of the one who has been down this road before. Anonymous said, “Take advice from a person who has succeeded in what he/she is advising, not others who lack experience.” You’ll need to ignore your personal feelings today, they are somewhat faulty and will lead you astray. Self confidence is the gift of the times; no matter what you do, you’ll think you’re wonderful! Stick with pre-planned projects, tend to itemized, detailed and long lists of plans, and it’ll be a wonderful day.
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Astrology by Norma THE ECLIPSE!

People are talking about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21 which will be visible in the United States as it sweeps across the country between Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and South Carolina.  Thousands are reserving rooms and buying viewing glasses and souvenir items:  t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. in anticipation of the event.

But apart from the carnival-like atmosphere, the “Be there or be square” vibe, how will the eclipse affect your life?  We know what the physical eclipse means for people but what does the eclipse mean for you personally?
In astrology an eclipse operates like a spotlight that shines a light on a specific area of life, one that will be of special importance for you until the next eclipse of the same kind.  The Solar Eclipse- the eclipse of the Sun- on August 21, 2017 occurs at 28 degrees 53 minutes in the constellation of Leo.  People born on or near August 21, November 21, February 21 or May 21 of any year will be strongly impacted by the eclipse as it contacts your natal Sun. Expect changes in your status, health and relationship with important men in your life, and plan on a new life direction.

The effects of the eclipse will be apparent between August 21, 2017 and February 15, 2018, when the next eclipse changes your focus.
If as you drive down the highway you turn onto highway 405, your direction changes and this determines where you’ll go and what you’ll see next.  A Solar Eclipse changes the direction of your life in the same way.  You head in a new direction and focus on different scenery. Using solar charts, here is the new focus of attention for each of the twelve signs.

 

ARIES:  Your thoughts turn to love, children, sports and self expression.  Fun is a major focus and you’ll make a definite effort to improve your game in these areas.
TAURUS:  Your attention turns to home and family.  A move, buying a new house, making home improvements or spending special time with family members is promised.
GEMINI:  Learning is on the menu.  You’ll sign up for classes, begin a teaching regimen,
buy a new car and have a new focus on neighbors or siblings.
CANCER:  Money is on your mind.  How to make it, spend it, take care of it. You’ll spend time planning ways to improve your income, possibly finding a new source of income.
LEO:  The spotlight is on you, so make sure you’re ready to be seen. Pay attention to how you look, dress and present yourself.  Fix anything about your body or personality that needs fixing.
VIRGO:  The urge to withdraw and contemplate is strong and it’s important to spend time on your own, thinking about your life and possibly healing from an injury. Circumstances encourage inward time, and helping those less fortunate is highlighted.
LIBRA:  Friends, groups and goal setting are important now. How well do you fit into groups, who are your new friends and what you would like for the future? These things engage your mind. Set goals!
SCORPIO:  You become a public figure in a way that’s unusual for private Scorpio.  How do you present yourself, what is your reputation, how will you function as a leader? You are considering these issues nowadays.
SAGITTARIUS: Higher education, foreign travel, publishing and increased communication with others is highlighted.  Legal matters come to the forefront.  You may go back to school!
CAPRICORN:  Hidden matters, death, support from others, investments and recuperation from a setback are important.  Estate planning and helping others round out the mix.
AQUARIUS: Partnership, marriage and how you connect with others is most important now.  Dealing with the public is highlighted during this time, and your social and diplomatic skills are on display.  Brush up!
PISCES:  Health matters and the work you do occupies your time. Your work skills are important, and a brand new skillset comes into being.  Employees make a strong impact on your life, as do pets.  A new dietary or health regimen is important.

Let’s Get Practical

christmasshopping

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered during a “Good Heart Retreat”

How can we possibly move in the direction of encouraging spiritual centers, churches, whatever, to take responsibility for the community around them without prejudice and without distinction? Let’s say, as Buddhists, we would be interested in the welfare of the Baptists in Poolesville, or the Catholics or the Jews, or anybody, or the people that don’t have religion. What kind of plan would it take? What would we have to implement to encourage that? What kind of power could you wield to get the attention of other spiritual organizations to ask them to join you in participating? Relatively speaking, we’re the new kids on the block. I mean who’s going to listen to us? If they were going to listen to anybody, they’d probably listen to the big religious names in this country, whatever they are. So why would they listen to us? Well, actually, I think about the worst thing that we could do is preach about it. I think that if we do that we’ll never be able to accomplish our goal. It seems to me that the best way to try something like that is quietly and humbly, and maybe even invisibly. Slowly, slowly, slowly. Simply finding ways to take care of your community.

I found out a couple of years ago that there was a family in Poolesville, just two people that one of my sons told me about, a mother and a son; and they had nothing to share with each other for Christmas. They were the kind of family where they have money for the electric bill and a certain amount for groceries, a certain amount for rent; and beyond that there is no discretionary income. So there was no way to save up for Christmas, which here is so abundant. You know, we’re not even Christians and we’re so abundant with Christmas. We love it. We think it’s a beautiful holiday, and we love the spirit of it, and we give each other gifts, and that sort of thing. But here were people who couldn’t even celebrate their own religious holiday, except in a spiritual way, I guess, for they had literally nothing to give one another. And so, actually, I’m not saying this to pin any medals on myself, but the reason why I’m telling you this is because it was easy for me to do. It was like no big deal. I had a bunch of stuff. One thing I’ve got a lot of is stuff. Stuff comes to me. I don’t know how stuff comes to me, but it comes to me a lot. Particularly, the little crystal candy dishes. For some reason, for years and years and years, my Sangha would give me crystal candy dishes. I have enough crystal candy dishes to supply an entire crystal store. So I have stuff, and I’m deeply appreciative of all the gifts that I get and I say thank you very much, put it away for somebody else, because someday I’m able to share some of that with others. It doesn’t mean you don’t get the merit. You all still get the merit, don’t worry. In fact, you get more merit.

So I put together a package of stuff for this family, and I was able to share some of the gifts that we had that we didn’t really need. And it just also so happens that this woman was the same size as I am, so I gave her a lot of clothes. So that was really great, and what happened was these people came and they spent some time with us. The karma’s not there for them to become Buddhist, but I was never expecting that. I don’t care. What I do care about was for them to be touched by a little bit of love and to look at our community and say, ‘Wow!’ Now that’s something, isn’t it? That’s something—to take care of a family in your community because they don’t have something and you do. That’s a powerful statement. You don’t have to talk about it. You certainly don’t have to preach about it. You simply have to do it.

Not all of us have a lot of stuff like me. You may not have that glorious karma that invites all those candy dishes or ducks into your house. I used to get ducks a lot, too. One of my teachers used to call me Duckie. So I got ducks you wouldn’t believe. All kinds of ducks. You may not be fortunate enough to have stuff like that, but supposing you knew how to get it. Supposing you had friends that had stuff. Or supposing you had connections with stuff. Or supposing you had an abundance of courage to where you could walk around to people that have more and say, ‘Would you share with the people that have less? Would you help us with this? We’d like you to know that your neighbor a few doors away is not having such an easy time. Would you help us with this?’ Just a simple request, yes or no. All they have to say is no if they don’t want to do it. What if we thought that way as a community? And what if we made no secret of the fact that we intend to take care of this piece of the world? You know, we could start a trend. It’s interesting to me that if you look at the media now and you look at films, you look at books, you look at what’s in the news, what’s noteworthy, Buddhism actually has become quite a fad. Who’d a thunk it! It’s become quite popular. The movie stars and the musicians are liking it now. You know what that means! We’re in.

What if this idea became a trend? It’s not so unthinkable that this could happen. Being not at all practical, being a little dumb about how things work in the world, I don’t see any reason why not. Don’t bust my bubble. I don’t want to hear that ‘no way to get there from here’ crap. What if our community could be a visible presence, like a visible good heart, that all could partake of? We’re talking about overcoming the poisons in our own mind-stream. We’re talking about demonstrating the Buddha’s teachings, the Buddha’s statement of the equality of all that lives, of the need for all beings to be happy, of their difficulty in attaining happiness. What would be so tragic about walking our talk? Why couldn’t we do this?

It seems to me that people of another faith might not be interested in giving to a Buddhist temple. Why should they? They’re doing their thing, and we’re doing our thing. Everybody’s so separate. Wouldn’t it be something if a number of community churches and temples could gather together and make some kind of non-profit organization through which funds could be funneled to mutually benefit and blanket the entire community without regard to race or religion? I don’t think it’s so impossible. The thing is there have already been studies that have shown us that in this country alone, there’s enough money to feed the world. Poverty doesn’t have to exist. We have the power now, immediately. What if the Buddhists in this country became available, really available to their community? And what if it started a trend? And what if it continued and grew?

I’d like to see that happen. And what I would like to do is to have some of you who are inclined to perhaps think of some different plans, ways to work stuff like this out. Let’s start toying with the idea. Let’s start playing with it a little bit, just to see what we can come up with. Let’s find ways that we can be available to our community without discrimination, and without ever requiring of anyone that they change their religion or anything like that. Let’s just think that as a spiritual people, as a spiritual community, the buck stops here. To me that is one of the most outrageous and gorgeous dreams that we could aspire to together. I think it’s really cool. If there’s any reason why it can’t be done, please don’t tell me, because I want to fly just like the bumblebee. I don’t want to hear it.

So let’s start tossing that idea around as a spiritual community. We have smart people here. How many of you are professional smart people in this group? Come on, don’t be shy. Okay, so you professional smart people, I’m kind of dumb. I don’t know anything very much. I don’t know too much about this world, so you’re going to have to find a way for dumb little old me to express this dream. You people who know about organizing stuff, which if any of you looked at my closets, you know I don’t know anything about it. You know about organizing stuff and you know about making foundations and you know about talking to other people, and you know about what kinds of formats we could use to spread this idea. So as part of your good heart effort on a communal level, why don’t we start thinking like this? Start pushing this idea around; start playing with it a little bit. Let’s build a big fantasy about this, and let’s do it. What could happen except we go broke? We’ve been broke for so long we wouldn’t even notice. Hey, I’ll sell my candy dishes. But I’m just dumb enough to not know why we can’t do this. And so I think that, as usual, I have the dumb, impractical, unrealistic idea and you get to make it happen.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

Astrology for 8/14/2017

8/14/2017 Monday by Norma

Shopping is excellent today, provided you focus on things you really need- a new drainage system, a well, or anything involving heavy machinery. Avoid glamour items, you’ll overpay, but you can always return them later! Sentimental gestures are highly valued and effective today: a special gift for a special person is very welcome. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “The happiness of life is made up minute fractions- a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, genial feelings.” Steady progress is being made, provided you remember that Mercury is retrograde and it’s best to stick with your previously formulated game plan.

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