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ANDREW SHUGYO DAIJO BONNICI, PH.D.
Applied Zen Meditation & Core Mindfulness Based Therapy

Email: Dr@ZenDoctor.Org


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ALIGNING YOUR LIFE TO ENLIGHTENMENT
Applied Meditation Therapy Questions
Based Upon A Hopi Elder's Talk

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THE HOPI INDIANS

In the southwestern United States, perched high above northern Arizona, are three isolated mesas (flat-topped hills with three steep sides) populated by the Hopi Indians. The word "Hopi" means "good, peaceful, or wise human beings". The archaeological record shows that agriculture was introduced to the Hopi Southwest from Mesoamerica as early as 1500 B.C. The Hopi village of Old Oraibi is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Below is a Spiritual Calling by a Hopi Elder which has profound significance for understanding the life practice of meditation therapy. My extrapolations of the respected Elder's calling are entirely my own and do not necessarily represent the Hopi Life PracticeTradition.



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A HOPI ELDER SPEAKS

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the
Hour. And there are things to be considered...

1) Where are you living?
2) What are you doing?
3) What are your relationships?
4) Are you in right relation?
5) Where is your water?
6) Know your garden.
7) It is time to speak your Truth.
8) Create your community.
9) Be good to each other.
10) And do not look outside
yourself for the leader."

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said,"This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona USA




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Dr. Bonnici's Exploratory Comments And Questions
Regarding The Hopi Elder's Spiritual Calling

Below are my Applied Meditation Therapy questions and comments that naturally emerged from the Hopi Elder's compassionate Calling. I will address the Elder's ten life considerations individually in order to arouse your own curiosity, reflection, and inner wisdom. I hope that the comments and questions provided here will continue to inspire your own thoughtful inquiry into the Elder's Spiritual Calling and Life Considerations. May this Applied Meditation Therapy inquiry into the Elder's words also encourage your wonderment and appreciation regarding the nature of your humanity, your true self, your relationships, and the meaning and purpose of your life.


IMPORTANT NOTE

I realize that I have given you much to reflect upon here. These questions were not meant to be answered quickly or all at once. As our life experiences unfold, our relation to each individual question needs to be explored and contemplated anew. The way of applied meditation therapy is an endless and wondrous journey. Our way is to live the path with sincerity and honestly explore the questions ceaselessly, not to attain perfection or exhaust the answers. Just pick one question to set the contemplative tone for the day or for the week. You do not need to worry about getting anywhere other than to be completely where you are with self-compassion, wakefulness, and child-like curiosity.

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1) WHERE ARE YOU LIVING?    Where does your mind live? What thoughts are you attached to? Where does your heart live? Do you live in Truth? Does the place where you live, no matter how humble, reflect beauty, care, order, and warmth? How can you create a place where you live that is designed from within yourself so that it reveals your true self? What does the condition of your abode say about you to yourself? Is the place where you are living a good place to die? Does it nourish you? Make it a good place to die and you make it a good place to live. Nothing limits you to do this, no matter where you are, except the limitations you create in your own mind.

2) WHAT ARE YOU DOING?    How does what you are doing or not doing continue to hold you and your life in a condition of stagnation, meaninglessness, worry, fear, or despair? How does your doing or not doing effect your health and the well being of others? Can you have Faith in yourself to find other more healthy ways of doing and not doing? Are you being honest about what you are doing or not doing? Do you take time to be honestly and authentically alone with yourself and truthfully clarify the harmful or beneficial effects of your doing or not doing? Can you arouse the faith and courage to do what needs to be done? Can you listen with your whole body and surrender to Vast Wisdom, knowing that this is exactly honoring not doing in doing?

3) WHAT ARE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?    What is your relationship to your life? Do you find yourself bodily present in each moment? Are you showing up for your whole life or are you grasping parts of your life and pushing away others? What is your mind's relationship toward you and your behavior? What is your mind's relationship toward others? In either case, is it judging, argumentative, critical, gentle, blaming, accepting, demeaning, compassionate, controlling? Are you aware of the emotional content that energizes your thinking and your speech toward others? How much of your relationship and behavioral interaction with others is based on mental pre-judgment or held prejudice from past experiences? Can you practice being with others without without placing them in absolute mental categories? Do you try to listen from your mind or from your heart? Can you practice not attaching to your thoughts when someone is trying to communicate a feeling in themselves? Do you listen to both the words and their emotional content while listening to another? Can you remain open to the other's emotional feeling even when your heart becomes uncomfortable and ill at ease? What does your mind do when your heart is ill at ease or uncomfortable with the emotional feeling of another? Does your mind try to protect your heart from feeling the painful or uncomfortable emotion in another person? Do you have a spiritual relationship with yourself? Does your relationship to yourself evidence a deep commitment to embody the Truth before your pride, hurt, beliefs, judgments, and personal preferences? Do you nourish a grateful and appreciative relationship with the simplest and most mundane things that support your life? Do you have a relationship with Nature no matter whether you are in an office, on a mountain, or in a forest? Do you have a relationship with the Whole Universe in every place you find yourself?

4) ARE YOU IN RIGHT RELATION?    Why are you in an intimate relationship? Is it authentic, sincere, truthful, and upright? Does the relationship evidence a mutual respect and caring? Do you consciously manipulate your intimate relationship for your benefit? Do you treat the intimate other with a seeming kindness to relieve your own guilt or shame? Can you forgive yourself and practice speaking and behaving from truth and authentic being? Do you make time to listen with your whole body to the feeling life of your intimate other? Do you practice not taking each other for granted? Do you feel worthy in the relationship? Do you feel equal in the relationship? Is your intimate relationship with yourself based upon self integrity and truth or upon denial, illusion, conceit, self negation, dishonesty, or self-rationalizations? Do you evaluate "right relation to people and circumstances" based upon your practice of sincerity, authenticity, mindfulness, honesty and willingness to see things as they are before your personal preferences or expectations? Is your relationship with the Spiritual Integrity of the Whole Universe based upon a bartering system i.e.. (If you take care of this or that in my life I will pray or mediate more often)? Or, is your Spiritual Relationship with the Whole Universe based on unconditional faith that there is a Vast Wisdom beyond your personal beliefs, preferences, expectations, and comprehension? Do you have an idealized conception of how you would like to be or an idealized image you want others to see you as? Do you keep failing to measure up to these idealized images of yourself, alone and with others? When you see yourself as failing to measure up to these images, does it discourage you from practicing right relations to truth, spirituality, and integrity in each moment of your life. Can you explore a healthier and more realistic relationship to these idealized images? Can you compassionately accept yourself as you are (with all your limitations) and still practice the endless refinement of right or authentic and compassionate relation to self and all sentient and insentient beings and circumstances.

5) WHERE IS YOUR WATER?    What truly can quench the endless fires of your desire and wanting? Is there a well within yourself that can satisfy your perpetual thirst? Do you feel that the well from within has to be filled from without? Will it ever be filled that way? Is it really empty? Can you drink emptiness and be fulfilled? Can you walk faithfully in a desert barren of all beliefs and recognize that this is the exactly the satisfaction of your thirst? What is the original water nature of your heart/mind? Is it clear or muddy? Is muddiness a natural condition of our heart/mind flowing against the banks of life? Does this mean that muddy waters are a natural condition of living? Can you trust that muddy waters are clear by nature? Sitting down and following breath, can you allow muddy water to be muddy water, thereby releasing heart/mind to reveal its originally clear nature? Even in clearness, muddy waters flow as muddy waters? Remember, as branching streams flow in the darkness, the still moon is graciously reflected even in rippling waters. Drinking from that flowing reflection of light in the darkness, be at ease and peace within yourself--knowing that your soul's thirst is endlessly quenched from the unfathomable waters within.

6) KNOW YOUR GARDEN.   What is the garden of you life? Can you see a garden in your family relationships? Can you cultivate your character and allow it to bloom? Can you become intimate with your mind/heart and know the weeds that flourish there? Are you willing to be a true gardener who practices the endless, joyful care of his/her garden? Can you endlessly and compassionately practice not giving energy to your mind/heart weeds? Remember that your mental and emotional weeds make good spiritual fertilizer. What kind of manure do you find in yourself that can function as fertilizer for wisdom, growth, and compassion? If your inner garden was cut off from the dirt, would it continue to grow? Remember that the pure white lotus has roots embedded in mud. Without the mud, no lotus can bloom. Can you live your life as just one flower? Nothing special, yet quite extra-ordinary.

7) IT IS TIME TO SPEAK YOUR TRUTH.   What does it mean to be straightforward in speech with sensitivity and compassion for others? Can you speak modestly and practice not using words which would make others feel unworthy, demeaned, belittled, or humiliated? Can you abstain from words of slander, hypocrisy, and gossip. Can you openly express your concerns regarding the behavior of another while communicating a deep respect and an unconditional regard for their humanness. Do you practice speaking to others with integrity, uprightness, honesty, kindness, modesty, truthfulness, and authenticity? Do you speak with genuine feeling, sincerity, and natural expression without hidden intent? Can you practice not making promises lightly and fulfill all promises made to self and others? What does it mean to diminish the use of idle or frivolous speaking by speaking with a mindful appreciation and gratitude for this Only Moment of life and death? Can you allow an Empty Silence to speak Its truth and wisdom while diminishing your urgency to fill the void with sounds, words, or thoughts? Does your speaking practice reflect a genuine interest and sympathetic feeling for both the joys and suffering of others?

8) CREATE YOUR COMMUNITY.    Now is the time for you to reach out and weave the compassionate texture of your life relationships. What qualities do you want your social community of friends to have? Do you practice the qualities you are looking for in others? What people are in your life right now? Are they sincere, genuine, direct, simple, honest, trustworthy, loyal, and generous? Is your community inclusive or exclusive? Does your community have a deep appreciation for its founding goals, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors while respecting and honoring all other social and spiritual communities through the Shared Body of One Global Family? Does the security of your community depend on changing others to believe as you do? Is the purpose of a social, spiritual, or religious community to keep people within the confines of its own exclusive beliefs and perceptions? Is it to nurture the moral and ethical behavior of individuals living together on One World? Can you create a community that nurtures spiritual values and ethical behaviors while encouraging individual members to transcend the unique beliefs, symbols, and perceptions they hold in common? Can you be an example in your religious community of one who honors, embraces, and practices its core beliefs while nurturing an openness and acceptance of dialogue and shared experiences with religious or spiritual communities of differing beliefs and devotional behaviors?

9) BE GOOD TO EACH OTHER.    Learn to treat each other as One Family. Remember all human beings share the same feeling potential together. Remember that compassion for others begins with honesty and compassion for yourself. Judgement is a two edged sword. It will cut you in two as you cut someone else in two. Be gentle with yourself. Watch how you inflict injury and aggression on yourself. Does this negativity toward yourself affect how you treat others? This is not a time for greed, hoarding, or aggression. It is a time to know how to be gentle and strong. A time to realize satisfaction and completion while moving ahead together. It is a time to share more abundantly with each other. It is a time to come back to our senses together so that we may know the truth and act on it together. This is called being good to one's self while being good to each other. We have to have faith on the good within before we can express it to each other. Without an honest intimacy with our own humanity, we will only cause more separation and distrust between our self and others. Can you relax your hold on those absolute opinions, judgements, and one-sided views that cause dissension, abuse, and exclusiveness. Can you be good to yourself in this way? Can you be good to each other in this Way?

10) DO NOT LOOK OUTSIDE YOURSELF FOR THE LEADER.   Do you rely only on what you have heard proclaimed, or on custom, rumor, belief, scripture or other readings? Do you readily accept without question established cultural principles, passing fads, stylish ways, clever reasoning, or group ideas? Are you easily convinced by someone else's apparent intelligence, vocabulary or social status? Do you hold an unquestioning awe and exclusive reverence for your religion or spiritual teacher? Can you trust yourself and know through your own body the Truth of each Moment? Can you trust, knowing through your own senses, feelings, reason, and intuition? When you yourself know what is wrong, foolish, dishonest, and unworthy, do you stop doing it? When you realize yourself what leads to harm, dis-ease, suffering, and discontent, do you abandon it? And when you yourself know what is right, healthy, and of benefit for yourself, all other beings, living creatures, and Mother Nature, do you develop and sustain it with passionate resolve and complete commitment? And finally, as you come to understand the True Leader within, do you remember to nurture and support others in the expression of their inner leadership so that the world will be filled with genuine leaders that have the common spiritual goal to actualize goodness, happiness, and inner confidence for all sentient beings.

Again, your conscientious reflection and honest answers to these ten Hopi considerations and meditation life therapy commentaries will reveal the training focus and practice direction of your personal, interpersonal, and spiritual growth for the mutual benefit of self and others.

with blessings and encouragement,
Dr. Bonnici


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