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When Nothing Expands or Opens (a side note) June 1, 2022

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Books, Changing Perspectives, Faith, Healing Stories, Hope, Life, Loss, Mantra, Mysticism, One Hoop, Pain, Peace, Philosophy, Suffering, Tragedy, Wisdom.
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Nobly humble and grateful.

Trigger Warning: I reference very current events in this post.

“If you have spoken to another and your words did not help, it is proof you did not speak with him, but with yourself. Your words may be the words you wanted to say, the words you believe, but they are not the words he needed to hear.


If you would speak to him and speak his words, then certainly he would hear.”


– quoted from the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

During the Wednesday afternoon (4:30) class, there was yet another mass shooting here in the United States. This one was in a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The practice I was in the middle of teaching (and the subsequent practice) revolved around the truly devastating and tragic events that also took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921. It’s an important story and even though (as I referenced in the link above) I sometimes skip items on my pedagogical calendar, I probably would have still told the story. However, I  probably would have told it in a different way had I been aware of the shooting.

Years and years ago, a teacher offered me the mantra “Jai Jai Guru Dev” (or some variation of “Jai Jai Guru Deva”). This mantra can be translated in different, but related, ways. The way it was first explained to me was “victory to the big mind” (or “big brain”). It is a healing mantra that I often offer when friends are ill. It can be a reminder that there is something bigger than ourselves and bigger than our egos. It can be also a reminder that we can play around all we want and get really excited about how we’re winning, but eventual the Universe (i.e., the House) always wins – which is itself a reminder that there is wisdom bigger than our ego-driven opinions.

At the end of the day, we may have different opinions about why we, here in the USA, have a problem – but we really can’t deny that there is a problem. We also can’t afford to deny or ignore the fact that it’s a problem no one else in the world is having. Neither can we deny or ignore the fact that if we keep speaking with ourselves, instead of with each other, than we will keep having this problem.

“‘It is a difficult question, my friends, for any young man– that question I had to grapple with, and which thousands are weighing at the present moment in these uprising times– whether to follow uncritically the track he finds himself in, without considering his aptness for it, or to consider what his aptness or bent may be, and re-shape his course accordingly. I tried to do the latter, and I failed. But I don’t admit that my failure proved my view to be a wrong one, or that my success would have made it a right one; though that’s how we appraise such attempts nowadays–I mean, not by their essential soundness, but by their accidental outcomes.’”


– quoted from Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (b. 06/02/1840)

If you’re interested in a short 2020 post about Thomas Hardy, please click here.


If you are thinking about suicide, worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also call the TALK line if you are struggling with addiction or involved in an abusive relationship. The Lifeline network is free, confidential, and available to all 24/7. YOU CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING. 

If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgement-free place to talk, call the TrevorLifeline (which is staffed 24/7 with trained counselors).

Jai Jai Gurudeva Jai Jai ###


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