“All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi
Editorial - by Piotr Rajski
The Small Stuff (Roche Miette Expedition 2007) - by Randy Iwanciwski
The Trauma of the Place - by Piotr Rajski.
God and a scientist - a joke.
China tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate - by Jane Macartney (The Times)
The Art of Not Being Offended - by Dr. Jodi Prinzivalli
"How We All Care" - Interfaith End of Life Conference (announcement)
One God Notes
What is Roche Miette Association
Call for Papers
For whatever reasons - last minute change of heart, indispositions, plumbing emergencies, etc. - the Roche Miette Hike was much smaller this year. The main group, which summitted Roche Miette, consisted of only four persons, and the Sulphur Skyline group of just two. By what a quality people they were! It looked that we would have an event of a cosmic proportion at some point - three female psychologists on the slopes of Roche Miette!!! Marlena's sickness reduced it a bit to an almost cosmic event - two female psychologist (Barbara and Judy)! This gave our guides Randy and Rod a difficult task - how to take the brave women to the top and back to safety without being analyzed at the same time. Although Barbara reassured the men that she was not going to work after hours, at least not for free, they were naturally nervous. Eventually the scree at the upper part of the hike, where you have no choice but carefully watch your every step, put their minds at ease. The experience was so positive for all parties involved (see their reports below) that it caused them to suggest a new form - hiking the mountain in pairs! Theoretically sound concept, but not without certain dangers. It seems that this innovative idea may bring us many interested participants in 2008.
As the three "Polish sirens" (Marianna, Marlena and Teresa) opted at the last moment to stay in Miette Hot Springs pools, to expose their bodies to sun rays and "covetous glances of men," I hiked Sulphur Skyline with Roy. We had a really good time. Roy is the first person who actually joined me in meditation. We found it so easy to meditate on the Beauty of Things when exposed to these wonderful mountains around. I have recently observed difficulty when meditating in the city - my mind being somehow clouded, confused, impatient. Not so on Sulphur Skyline! Twenty minutes passed like one moment bringing peacefulness and joy. We noted with Roy that even "ants getting into our pants" were unable to distract us from our concentration.
Things got a bit more complicated when we came back to the pools. "Polish sirens" challenged me and Roy to prove that we are true men. By definition only those who make it to the top of Roche Miette qualify as such. As a part of the test we had to jump into the pool with very cold water. (For whatever reason this seems to make women somehow happier when they can get men to "jump.") All men probably know that there is no good defense against such challenge. We had no choice with Roy but to jump into this pool again and again, quickly achieving the level of catharsis. I wonder what would happen to us if it was not for the return of the Roche Miette summiteers.
Things got even more out of hand during the supper we had in Miette Hot Springs Restaurant. A day long exposure to "relentless sun" and wonderful air, combined with a beer or two, translated into a very lively, if not slightly frivolous, conversation. Everybody agreed that through the hike we achieved a wonderful state of the "empty mind." You know, this moment after you are safely back, when your mind does not operate normally, refuses to make any decisions, and is capable of only the simplest perceptions. Then, for a moment, we see things as they are. Normally it takes serious practitioners many years of meditation, prayer and austerities to reach this point. With us you can achieve this in one day!
Someone questioned however how long this state of "empty mind" could be maintained. It was a general conclusion that this would depend only on a number of beers drunk! Another person compared the experience on Roche Miette to a "spiritual orgasm." Barbara, although agreeing in principle, argued however that the traditional orgasm should not be undervalued. This put Polish sirens on another offensive. They required that with Roy we are "re-certified" as true men. It seems that all the male participants next year, unless they make it to the top of Roche Miette, will have to jump naked over a fire!
So it surely looks quite interesting for the next year. You better reserve a spot in the 2008 Roche Miette Expedition right away. And gentlemen, make sure that your socks match the color of your pubic hair!
The Small Stuff - Roche Miette Expedition 2007
By Randy Iwanciwski.
A small group this year, four actually, but that did not stop the enthusiasm and excitement.
Barbara, Judy, Rod and I started out at 6 AM at the trail head. Always I sense the anticipation of this trip. Our picture was taken for the record and off we went.
|The Assault Team: Rod Sedgwick, Judy Haig, Barbara Walter and Randy Iwanciwski.|
This is to be my 21st trek up this mountain and again I'm back for more. I spent most of the trip trying to sell why I enjoy this mountain to the others.
Rod made the pilgrimage last year and joined this year for technical support. Barbara and Judy both psychologists decided to take on the challenge of this climb. Both ladies left their work at the office and promised not to "Work" during this trip. I found that this was an opportunity for both to talk and express their thoughts.
This mountain brings out many emotions as one continues the journey skyward. Again and again it is the journey up the mountain that I find is so important; not the final result. We did stop to see the sights, flowers and rock formations. Weather was on our side so far with strong wind gusts helping us up the trail. I knew that the weather is always a factor; it must be heeded, respected for it has the strength to stop a person in their tracks.
The trip up, gives you great rewards very soon. The view from on high always gives me joy. Within the hour one can look back to the river and valley beneath; the highway sounds fade as the wind fills your ears with song.
Clouds were nearby but not gathering together to form any threat. Still I am very conscious of weather and how fast it could change. We pressed on sharing stories, laughter and memories from other hikes we had done in the past. The question was asked, "How will we get up there?” the answer, "One step at a time,” a comment on life itself.
To see this whole mountain at once is overwhelming; yet as you see small parts of it step by step it allows itself to be revealed. Tiny mountain flowers growing out of rock clinging to life. To see this gives one hope that our own day to day struggles are not so bad. The natural world competes everyday for survival but we have it so much easier. This is why we must take care of those less fortunate than ourselves, it is a natural thing to do.
At the base of the saw blades or dinosaur backs as they are also called, we stopped to catch our breath and look up in awe. This was one time the wind was fierce, so up we went being lifted by the natural strength of air. On this part of the climb you find your own pace or rhythm of your body. The steepness of this section is duly classified as a Grunt! Judy gave me that definition as she has encountered "Grunts" on other hikes. This section has four steps to it so once you conquer the first the other three aren’t so bad. At least that is what I tell everybody anyway! This exertion allows focus on every step, opportunity for prayer and persistence.
At this time I wonder where God is in all of this as I am fighting the wind, dust and steep vertical of the trail. Then it happened, the wind gust stopped, just for a moment, I looked back and saw the faces of my new found friends and smiled. Thanks God for reminding me why I am here. I enjoy sharing this beautiful place with others and hopefully help them in some way with their life journey
Nearing the saddle we went through some large rock formations, just a bit of a scramble then to the saddle. Again making it to the saddle area I feel is an immense accomplishment. We dropped our packs, rested and replenished ourselves. Peering up at the sheer face of Roche Miette, this is the place one must decide to stop or continue.
The human likeness of this mountain appears as a sleeping giant, one now has time to reflect at this peaceful spot. We must seek out these places during our lifetime and listen to the silence so God can speak to us. Also the saddle is a gathering point of climbers. We saw people ahead of us and those following, all stopping to chat. This is similar in life as you meet many people, some may lead and some may follow.
Refreshed, the sky was quite clear so up we started with our relentless assault. A steep ascent and scramble in every sense of the word. One gains elevation very quickly as you travel skyward. "I don't think I can do this," was one comment at the scree. Later upon questioning that statement I discovered that gong up was not so bad, it was the descent later that was the worry. I assured that all of us would get down safely.
Slowly and steadily we moved up, taking careful steps up scree and rock. Then sooner that you think it is over the top edge to the sky, we arrive on top! A look back at the accomplished scramble brings feelings satisfaction and peace that we are safe.
Towards the mountain's summit is a gradual climb, the adrenaline is still flowing, anticipation is great. We reached the summit at 12 noon; I thanked God once again that we made it safely.
|Happy Summiteers: Randy, Judy, Barbara and Rod. "Zwangla" forming in the background.|
Photos were taken to show our victory, we signed the summit log, rested and rejoiced. All smiles at the top! With this smaller group I had planned to explore more of the summit area but this did not happen. A trip to the human feature "the nose" of this great rock would not happen today. To the west a veil of clouds carrying rain was moving in. In the mountains weather is known for its quick changes. We were witnessing this for ourselves. Rain can make the descent treacherous so we packed up and headed down. More excitement, perhaps disappointment but I know when God says it is time to go!
The storm’s speed was so great that we realized that soon it would be right over us. Downhill from the storm on the descent may work for or against us. Again another opportunity for Prayer! A few drops did fall, we pressed on. I counted rain drops as they fell on each rock face trying to see if density was going to cause us trouble. It is amazing how little things like the number of raindrops per square meter can become so important in one's life.
Stepping down, assisting the others, keeping focused, the descent continued. Thanks to God the rain held off, God's face shined upon us, we arrived safely back at the saddle. To look back up again and to say thanks to this mountain as it revealed a little more of itself.
One must respect the mountains because the mountain will win. One must respect one's self as that is all you have to get through this life; it is the one thing that you can count on. This trek helps locate a person's limits, the challenge varies from person to person, but all are changed, all are different after this climb.
A rest at the saddle celebrated with words of joy and thanksgiving. It was time to continue down to the trailhead and complete this Endeavor.
To wind up the day we had a soak in Miette Hot Springs, supper at the resort’s restaurant with all those who had come to enjoy the mountain. To complete this climb gives me the appreciation of small things, things we take for granted, so I thank God always for giving me an opportunity to live this experience again!
Many, many thanks to those who planned, prepared, participated, assisted and shared this day.
Next year is not far off, Peace to you all until then!
Technical Director, Roche Miette Association.
The Trauma of the Place.
By Piotr Rajski.
When my beloved dog, Azor, was hit by a car many years ago, and miraculously survived, I observed that for a long time he avoided the place where the accident happened. Initially he would refuse to go in that direction, or later, would sneak against the building's wall with his tail between his legs. Although this would eventually subside, he was showing some nervousness around that place for the rest of his canine existence.
The same applies, I believe, to people. We avoid places where we were somehow traumatized. This is recognized as one of the signs of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. At the same time, it is also acknowledged in psychology, that going to these places, so called "in-vivo" exposure, can be quite therapeutic. The exact mechanism may not be understood. One theory maintains that it is based on so called "Morita's principle" - when you expose yourself to a fearful stimuli and nothing happens, you eventually decide that it is safe to relax.
These ideas were behind my recent decision to go to Hidden Valley on the Western slopes of Roche Miette - the place of my rock climbing accident in 2005 (see RMN #5). I had a chance to get close to the place in the summer of 2003. Traveling from BC to Edmonton with my wife and sister, I stopped briefly at the parking where I was lowered by the rescue helicopter. It brought back memories and it was not pleasant.
So I wondered how it would be to actually see the place again? I entered the valley rather nervous, chanting my favorite mantras. It was helping me to calm down and also to alert all the possible wildlife about my coming. I quickly recognized the place of the accident. To my surprise it looked much smaller than in my recollection. I don't think I could have fallen more than 2 meters. I could still see the empty space on the rock from which the boulder detached before hitting my right foot. At the bottom of the wall I found a few boulders that looked like the one that hurt me. And yet exposed to all these sights I did not experience any strong emotions.
I found it surprising. On the way to Hinton, around Stony Plain, I saw the place of my car accident in 2006, and it was unpleasant. To this day I deeply dislike when another car approaches me from behind, especially when it does it on a high speed. This does not want to heal regardless a number of therapy sessions.
On July 1st of this year, while touring Montreal with my choir, I had a chance to visit that part of the city where I lived after my immigration to Canada. Seeing this neighborhood, its poverty, places that witnessed my struggles to adapt to the new society made me emotional. When I saw the playgrounds where my little boys played, the spot from which they were taken to school for the first time, etc., I couldn't contain my tears. I wondered how I survived all these humble beginnings, separation from family, hard, physical labor, and so on.
So reviving this immigration trauma was hard. Even coming to Hinton, which was the place of my unsuccessful professional relationship, gives me some heartache from time to time. And yet, standing under the rock, which almost cost me my right foot, I felt nothing. I went further. I found the spot where I laid down after the accident, keeping my foot above the head level, trying to somehow slow down the blood outpouring from my hiking shoe. I laid down again in this spot, and I saw the same sky as when I was traumatized. I could recall my thoughts and my prayers, and yet could not recall my fear. Did I suppress it so deep that it is beyond my reach? Or did I heal it in the meantime?
Eventually, when I was waiting in the place of my traumatization for something to happen, a strong, cold wind brought me back to the "here-and-now." Perhaps, in my case, the Lord "was in the wind!" I thanked Him for allowing my foot to heal and for this wonderful privilege of having two feet. I walked down the mountain with the sense of completion. I don't think I need to go to Hidden Valley again.
God and a scientist - a joke.
God is sitting in Heaven when a scientist says to Him,
"Lord, we don't need you anymore. Science has finally
figured out a way to create life out of nothing. In other
words, we can now do what you did in the 'beginning'."
"Oh, is that so? Tell me..." replies God.
"Well", says the scientist, "we can take dirt & form it into the likeness of you & breathe life into it, thus creating man."
"Well, that's interesting. Show Me. "
So the scientist bends down to the earth & starts to mold the soil.
"Oh no, no, no..." interrupts God. "Get your own dirt."
Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.
“The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1.
The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing.
It is the latest in a series of measures by the Communist authorities to tighten their grip over Tibet. Reincarnate lamas, known as tulkus, often lead religious communities and oversee the training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in the Himalayan region. Anyone outside China is banned from taking part in the process of seeking and recognizing a living Buddha, effectively excluding the Dalai Lama, who traditionally can play an important role in giving recognition to candidate reincarnates.
For the first time China has given the Government the power to ensure that no new living Buddha can be identified, sounding a possible death knell to a mystical system that dates back at least as far as the 12th century.
China already insists that only the Government can approve the appointments of Tibet’s two most important monks, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama’s announcement in May 1995 that a search inside Tibet — and with the co- operation of a prominent abbot — had identified the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, enraged Beijing. That prompted the Communist authorities to restart the search and to send a senior Politburo member to Lhasa to oversee the final choice. This resulted in top Communist officials presiding over a ceremony at the main Jokhang temple in Lhasa in which names of three boys inscribed on ivory sticks were placed inside a golden urn and a lot was then drawn to find the true reincarnation.
The boy chosen by the Dalai Lama has disappeared. The abbot who worked with the Dalai Lama was jailed and has since vanished. Several sets of rules on seeking out “soul boys” were promulgated in 1995, but were effectively in abeyance and hundreds of living Buddhas are now believed to live inside and outside China.
All Tibetans believe in reincarnation, but only the holiest or most outstanding individuals are believed to be recognizable — a tulku, or apparent body. One Tibetan monk told The Times: “In the past there was no such regulation. The management of living Buddhas is becoming more strict.”
The search for a reincarnation is a mystical process involving clues left by the deceased and visions among leading monks on where to look. The current Dalai Lama, the fourteenth of the line, was identified in 1937 when monks came to his village.
China has long insisted that it must have the final say over the appointment of the most senior lamas. Tibet experts said that the new regulations may also be aimed at limiting the influence of new lamas.
Art of Not Being Offended
By Dr. Jodi Prinzivalli
There is an ancient and well-kept secret to happiness which the Great Ones have known for centuries. They rarely talk about it, but they use it all the time, and it is fundamental to good mental health. This secret is called The Fine Art of Not Being Offended. In order to truly be a master of this art, one must be able to see that every statement, action and reaction of another human being is the sum result of their total life experience to date.
In other words, the majority of people in our world say and do what they do from their own set of fears, conclusions, defenses and attempts to survive. Most of it, even when aimed directly at us, has nothing to do with us. Usually, it has more to do with all the other times, and in particular the first few times, that this person experienced a similar situation, usually when they were young.
Yes, this is psychodynamic. But let’s face it, we live in a world where psychodynamics are what make the world go around. An individual who wishes to live successfully in the world as a spiritual person really needs to understand that psychology is as spiritual as prayer. In fact, the word psychology literally means the study of the soul.
All of that said, almost nothing is personal. Even with our closest loved ones, our beloved partners, our children and our friends. We are all swimming in the projections and filters of each other’s life experiences and often we are just the stand-ins, the chess pieces of life to which our loved ones have their own built-in reactions. This is not to dehumanize life or take away the intimacy from our relationships, but mainly for us to know that almost every time we get offended, we are actually just in a misunderstanding.
A true embodiment of this idea actually allows for more intimacy and less suffering throughout all of our relationships. When we know that we are just the one who happens to be standing in the right place at the right psychodynamic time for someone to say or do what they are doing—we don’t have to take life personally. If it weren’t us, it would likely be someone else.
This frees us to be a little more detached from the reactions of people around us. How often do we react to a statement of another by being offended rather than seeing that the other might actually be hurting? In fact, every time we get offended, it is actually an opportunity to extend kindness to one who may be suffering—even if they themselves do not appear that way on the surface. All anger, all acting out, all harshness, all criticism, is in truth a form of suffering. When we provide no Velcro for it to stick, something changes in the world. We do not even have to say a thing. In fact, it is usually better not to say a thing.
People who are suffering on the inside, but not showing it on the outside, are usually not keen on someone pointing out to them that they are suffering. We do not have to be our loved one’s therapist. We need only understand the situation and move on. In the least, we ourselves experience less suffering and at best, we have a chance to make the world a better place.
This is also not to be confused with allowing ourselves to be hurt, neglected or taken advantage of. True compassion does not allow harm to ourselves either. But when we know that nothing is personal, a magical thing happens. Many of the seeming abusers of the world start to leave our lives. Once we are conscious, so-called abuse can only happen if we believe what the other is saying. When we know nothing is personal, we also do not end up feeling abused. We can say, “Thank you for sharing,” and move on. We are not hooked by what another does or says, since we know it is not about us.
When we know that our inherent worth is not determined by what another says, does or believes, we can take the world a little less seriously. And if necessary, we can just walk away without creating more misery for ourselves or having to convince the other person that we are good and worthy people.
The great challenge of our world is to live a life of contentment, regardless of what other people do, say, think or believe. The fine art of not being offended is one of the many skills for being a practical mystic. Though it may take a lifetime of practice, it is truly one of the best kept secrets for living a happy life.
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Friday, August 24th 7pm - 9:30pm, Saturday, August 25th 9am - 4:30pm
This free Edmonton public event is to understand, respect, and honour end of life rituals and practices of various faith traditions. Representatives from 15 faith and spiritual traditions organized in three interfaith panels, interspersed in the conference program, will present from their specific faith perspectives. Lighting of candles and joining hands in interfaith togetherness will be in witness at this first of a kind event in Edmonton. As well, the following eminent guest speakers will address this very important and timely topic.
Keynote Speakers Include:
Grounds of The Chin Yin Buddhist Temple, 12688 - 148 Avenue, Edmonton. (Tents, seating and plenty of parking available on site). Complementary lunch and refreshments will be provided. FREE ADMISSION but registration is required. Register Early by visiting our website at www.interfaithendoflifecare.com or call 485-3058
One God Notes
"One God Notes" consist of quotations from spiritual writings of many religious traditions. The purpose is to inspire, to open hearts, so people perceive God's Presence in and around them. In this way I hope to create a sense of human and religious unity.
To see the previous "One God Notes" visit http://www.onegodsite.net/archives.html. To learn more about the philosophy behind these notes, please, visit http://www.onegodsite.net/ If you would like to go further and add "One God Notes" to your web site, please, copy and paste the button below and use it to create a link to http://www.onegodsite.net/onegodnotes.html
In Truth, Simplicity and Love, Pritam.
What is Roche Miette Association?
Roche Miette Association is an informal group of people who try to achieve the ideals of human unity as expressed in the Roche Miette Rule. One of the characteristics of this group of enthusiasts is love of Nature and willingness to love God through His Creation. In particular, we are drawn by the beauty of Roche Miette Mountain, near Hinton, Alberta, and organize once a year a non-denominational hike/pilgrimage to this mountain. People of all religious and cultural backgrounds are invited to participate with us in this auspicious event.
If these ideals appeal to you, you may want to support them through a financial donation. Please, send checks for "Roche Miette Association" to:
Roche Miette Association
576, Lessard Drive
Edmonton, AB, T6M 1B2
Call for Papers
Would you like to contribute to the Roche Miette Newsletter? Please, send your text in Microsoft Word or HTML format to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of special interests are stories, reflections on the following subjects:
Human and religious unity.
Harmony between different religions, cooperation between religious groups.
Examples of interfaith dialogue, tolerance, forgiveness.
Love of Nature (especially mountains).
Meditation, Contemplative Prayer.
Religious life, especially Practice of the Presence of God, pilgrimage.
Mysticism, especially in the context of the mountains.
Poetry, art, music, photographs related to the mountains.
Manuscripts to be considered should be original articles (not published elsewhere). Some previously published materials may also be considered if submitted with the info and consent of the publisher. Some promotional materials, such excerpts from books, can also be considered if related to the above topics. Announcements of interest for wider audiences are also occasionally accepted.
The Roche Miette Newsletter has a circulation of approximately 400 recipients. Copies of the newsletter are sent to National Library of Canada for research purposes. To see the previous issues you can visit http://www.piotrrajski.com/newsletter.html
Presently there is no remuneration for the submitted materials.
The deadline for the next issue is: November 30, 2007.
Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and acquaintances. They may subscribe to the newsletter at: http://www.piotrrajski.com/newslettersubscriptionemail.html