Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Buddhists believe strongly that people must immerse themselves in feeling others' pain in order to gain the compassion that heals the world. When your heart is full of love for your fellow man, you can reach out and actually change people's lives.

One day when my son Jack was eight-years old and in third grade, he came home from school with a notice from the principal that a ten-year-old boy in our school, a fifth grader, had accidentally died overnight from a high fever. We had never met this boy or his family, but I felt the mother's pain so deeply it shattered me. I could not stop crying. My own son had been home in bed all week suffering from a similar fever. I searched for the family name in the school directory to see if they had any other children. They had one other son in ninth grade at our local high school.

I prayed so deeply for this mother I lost all sense of time — pouring compassion out to her, holding her in my heart with love that passes all understanding. Maybe that's what prayer is — the invisible transfer of love to another. And then my tears stopped. It was exactly four o'clock in the afternoon.
I felt a sudden, urgent need to get in my car and find this woman. All I knew was that she lived in a large apartment building on Rexford Drive, a few blocks away. The car literally seemed to drive itself down the street. At the end of the block, I saw an unusually tall Asian woman in a bathrobe pacing the sidewalk, looking shell-shocked. I veered into a driveway and stopped the car. She looked at me with a depth of sadness I will never forget. “Are you Benjamin's mother?” I asked as I stepped out of the car. At that moment something surreal happened. The woman began running toward me, and I began running toward her. She rushed into my arms and we just stood there in the middle of the sidewalk, holding each other. She was sobbing. Finally she looked at me and asked, “Did God send you?”

The woman was Korean-American, and explained in broken English that she had just come outside to search for her husband, who had disappeared in grief earlier that day. She asked if I would come inside and have some tea. She asked me if I would look at some pictures of her son.
We went inside and she showed me her son's “room,” which was just a corner of the living room that he shared with his older brother. Though this was Beverly Hills, they lived modestly in a one-bedroom apartment. She showed me Benjamin's report card, schoolwork, baseball trophies, and his collection of “Yugioh” cards — which were just like my son's. She poured tea and told me all the wonderful things about Benjamin.

I silently asked the universe to give me the right words to say, and out of my mouth came some memories formed into words I cannot not take credit for. I told her about my precious brother Paul and how he had come to me in a vision a few days after his death. I'll never forget this because I was driving my car and literally had to pull over and stop. On the radio they were playing the song from the Disney movie “Pocahontas” when the lyrics about the Sycamore tree came on: “Who knows how high the Sycamore grows, if you cut it down you'll never know.” This struck me because we had Paul's memorial service beneath a giant Sycamore tree in Franklin Canyon. Overcome by grief, my head collapsed onto the steering wheel. Now I have never experienced anything like this in my life, and it may sound completely loony — but suddenly, out of nowhere, a surge of warmth and light filled my body and I bolted upright in my seat. I saw my brother's face smiling at me, beaming at me, so broadly I had never seen him like this before. It was an inner vision, but it was as if he was right there talking to me. He told me not to cry, that he'd “see me later,” and that “there is no death.” Then, he said “I love you Lydia.” This was on the third day after I had found his body after the drug overdose. I felt at peace about him from that point on.

I kept a picture of my brother Paul by my bedside, with a candle burning next to it. One morning three days after his death, my one and a half-year-old toddler Jack woke up, giggled, pointed to the picture and exclaimed, “Paul happy!” This gives me chills even now when I remember it. To this day I can't even believe he could speak this well or even say these words - or even remember who Paul was! He had only met him a few times and most the time Paul was wearing sunglasses!

On the day we scattered his ashes at sea, before we left for the boat, three white doves alighted on our lawn, and these were not doves for hire. What is it with the number three?

As I sat with this woman, I told her that her son Benjamin was a blessing and a gift she got to keep for ten years — and now God needed him back home for bigger things. I told her “our children are on loan to us.” I have no idea where I got this, as I had never even thought about it that way before.
As she walked me out she said she felt a wave of peace come over her. “I was so sad before you came. Do you believe in angels? ” It dawned on me that we can all be 'angels' and comforters for each other when we open up and begin to really care about others. It's amazing how love uses us when we make ourselves available.

Our entire school attended Benjamin's funeral. During the eulogy, the minister read a letter written by this mother, which said: “Benjamin was a gift to us for ten years, and now God needs him back home.”
Maybe God is only to be explained through acts of human kindness, benevolence and comedy. Maybe that's all we need to know. There are so many times I've received a nudge to extend myself to help someone, but out of laziness or fear, I've ignored the call. Often I didn't feel equipped to help others because I was such a mess myself - and I wasn't able to get out of my self-centered fear.
But in the twelve steps there's a saying, “The answers will come when your own house is in order.”

One day I was working on a Pirates of the Caribbean puzzle with my son. At the very same time I was succeeding at putting the puzzle pieces together, my life was somehow quietly, behind my back, slipping into place, into a sort of divine alignment. How did it happen? This journey has swept me into Hollywood and brought me to my knees. It also uncovered immense spiritual resources I never knew I had. Sometimes I think life is a tapestry and we are underneath with the long yarn, holding on for dear life, holding onto the threads and fibers unraveling, winding, knotting chaotically — but all the time being woven into something orderly and magnificent from the other angle, from above — if we would just let go and not hold the strings so tight. We just can't see the beauty of the tapestry from the other side, from God’s viewpoint.

Why do people talk so much about whether or not God exists, when God is simply love? Who can argue with love — or kindness, unselfishness, compassion, sharing, forgiveness? Asking someone to prove God's existence is like asking him to prove he loves his kids. How do you prove love exists except by watching it in action? Religion often gets in the way of God's simple purpose: to love one another. I have the profound sense that we can touch God everyday when we are loving to others, especially those who offend us and disturb us, and especially those less fortunate. Have you seen someone's face light up with just one kind word?

“Compassion for others is impossible when we are filled with a belief that we are separate and distinct from other human beings,” says Wayne Dyer. "The only response to hatred is love."

 Love really does heal everything. But 'faith without works is dead,” and we are all called to get out of ourselves and help each other, like the Good Samaritan. We must be peacemakers and take care of the poor, the meek, and the outcasts, the widows and orphans.

Einstein said it beautifully here:

A human being is a part of the whole called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.



This video changed my life.

 Please take 4 minutes to watch this and read the ideas below.  It is from CBS NEWS

This is not what you think Please watch this. It's under 5 minutes. Please watch the video before reading any further.

This is how the law of life works: when you give, you receive. And the more you give, the more you receive.

It is wonderful the way love created a full circle of gifts. The one thing in the world the cab driver wanted, he received — as a result of his kindness and generosity.

Here's what's interesting. The woman was obnoxious and bitchy to the cab driver. She presented herself as a bitter, unhappy woman who complained a lot.

What is amazing about this is that the cab driver did not REACT. He did not return hate for hate. He did not spew anger or bark back at the woman. 

He quietly persisted in trying to first understand her behavior. He tried to understand ("Seek first to understand, rather than to be understood," says the St. Francis prayer) -- and wondered why she was so bitchy and mean-spirited. "A soft answer turns away wrath."

Question: If the cab driver had angrily cursed at her or been equally rude to the woman — if he had retaliated in an "eye for an eye" way — would he have been the perfect donor match for this woman?

I don't think so, but we would never know anyway, because an angry person would never have gone to the clinic to get the blood work done to see if his kidney was the match for a total stranger. And an angry stranger at that! 

Interesting question: did his loving attitude CREATE the match? Did his act of being loving and generous and compassionate and going against the grain of retaliating and "fighting fire with fire" actually foment a healthy breeding ground for miracles and create the synchronicty of the highest order -- love, healing, life? After all, love and love making actually unite people in creating babies -- LIFE! 

Obviously he would not have been open-hearted enough to even offer his kidney — but let's take it a step further. If he were a miserly, hateful, angry person — would he have had the right chemistry, the correct DNA, or even have a healthy kidney to give her?  Would he have been the perfect match if his nature had been reactive, volatile, resentful, negative, withholding, conservative (fear based) or "quick to anger?" 

What do you think? Did the cab driver's generous, loving compassion — his peaceful, non-reactive attitude — actually CREATE the right match for her kidney? Or was it all predestined? 

Quantum physics says that the observer affects the object (wave) making it collapse into a particle at a certain moment in time. 

Quantum Physics says that everything exists in waves of infinite possibility, until we turn around and lock it in or "particularize" it with our "judgment, observation or opinion." (This is why it's important not to make negative assumptions about people or to judge them, for you get whatever you choose to see -- and you can therefore experience negative events that were never objectively there before you "locked them in" with your weighted observation or judgment.  

I believe his open-hearted attitude toward the rude woman — and his gentle persistence in trying to understand her pain — was the compassion that created the donor match. Anyone can be loving to someone who is loving to them first, but when we are loving to those who hate us and persecute us, we disarm them. We conquer our enemies. (By the way, that is the mark of a true Christian; the one who turns the other cheek and loves his enemies and his neighbor as himself.

Love is creative. It creates life. The cab driver's loving compassion actually made his kidney the right donor match.

Love in the face of hatred is the law of attraction. Like attracts like; hence, the kidney match. I know this may sound difficult to wrap your mind around, but with an understanding of Quantum Physics, it is simple to understand.

If the cab driver had returned hate for hate -- if he had been her equal in jerkiness -- which is so easy and common, in fact most of us behave very badly on a daily basis with others. Most of us take the easy, lazy way out and we don't extend ourselves beyond our own nose -- we have no interest in experiencing life from another's point of view, especially a bitchy old woman. Maybe a sad person will elicit some sympathy but how often do we actually stop to consider WHY someone is so ornery or mean? Not very often, which makes me think this cabbie was a very special human being to be able to "turn the other cheek and quest for anwers inside this woman's crotchety old soul.  

It's so ordinary and easy and common for us in everyday life to instantly react with hurt pride or to lash out when insulted or attacked. It seems to be the way of the world - tit for tat, you insult me, I insult you back. In our American TV shows and comedies we are so snarky and sarcastic and mean to each other. We get annoyed and resentful so easily. 

But if this cab driver had been as much a jerk as his passenger was to him, there would not have been a healing. There would have been no story, no gift, no miracle. 

There would have just been two hollow, hateful people passing like ships in the night. Maybe the cabbie would have had to learn his lesson in another way.

But two jerks usually cancel each other out. So it's our job, each of us, to go out into the world and do what we can to make someone happy. Here's how simple it is: Love creates life. When we express love, no matter how someone else is behaving, everyone involved in an argument is healed.

I don't mean to repeat myself but this is an important point, and a major discovery. Love heals. it is a creative force. Hate is a destructive force; it does not create life — it kills life. Just as darkness is the absence of light, and coldness is the absence of warmth, hatred is the absence of love. Hatred, darkness and cold have no power of their own. They are not self-starters.

This man took a bad situation and shined love on it. By his generosity, he enabled his kidney to be the right one as a donor match.

How is this possible?

In Quantum physics, scientists have proven that our loving attention to an object actually changes the object in the physical universe.

We have been conditioned to believe that the external world is more real than the internal world. Quantum Physics says just the opposite: what’s happening on the inside determines what’s happening on the outside. Our world is shaped by our thoughts. So your loving attention to something, literally alters the physical universe. This is scientific, but it is not easily understood.

Energy consists of sub-atomic particles that in turn make up atoms and finally matter. This energy exists as waves spread out over space and time. They have discovered that down to the tiniest atom, there is only empty space. There is no solid matter. Everything is energy. Everything exists in waves of infinite possibility. Only when we focus our attention on an object does that object become a particle. We "particularize" an object by our attention to it.

So thoughts really are things. And 85% of all disease is caused by stress -- which means worry, fear or misplaced thoughts that become ingrained habits of negativity. There is now scientific proof that loving thoughts actually create a thicker brain cortex. Monks who meditate on love regularly have no disease.

Dr. Christine Northrup says "Hope is a biochemical state in the body that promotes healing."

Laughter heals. And we know that love heals everything. Love is the actual definition of God. (If only the hateful Christian and Muslim fundamentalists knew that; they seem to omit Christ's teachings form their form of Christianity. Very bizarre.

Love is an interactive force. The Creator needs playmates to show off for. God needs our cooperation and belief in order to manifest miracles in our lives.  

To experience magic, miracles and wonder, we need to adopt a childlike wonder at all the beauty around us. We need to appreciate it, so it can show off for us. We need to "act as if" we believe in a power greater than ourselves -- participate, conspire, and cooperate with the LOVE (which is God and Goodness (they all mean the same thing.) 

By our loving, selfless action, we create harmony and goodwill. By being loving and giving, this man became the perfect match.

In this case, the Universe kept putting the cabbie and the woman together because the woman needed to be "driven" into submission by the cab driver's gentleness. This is the method used by the Great Peacemaker when he healed so-called "sinners."  He leaned on Divine Love with revolutionary softness. Christ didn't condemn the adulterer or the thief; his unconditional love made them want to walk in the light, and transformed their hearts. Whether you believe the healing miracles or not, loving your enemies actually works. "A soft answer turns away wrath."

In any case, fate/the universe/God or whatever you call your higher power — kept putting the cab driver and the bitch together because they each had a missing piece that created the whole; the full circle.

It is wonderful the way love created a full circle of gifts. The one thing in the world the cab driver wanted, he received — as a result of his generosity. The antidote to poverty and depression is generosity. This cab driver acted exactly as the Great Peacemaker would; he gave freely without thought of self. And he received everything.

And what was the catalyst? Returning love for hate. The cab driver persisted in being loving to his enemy.

~ Love, Lydia