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Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Our Universal Obsessions & Our Power of Attorney

About 12 years ago, I discovered Light of Consciousness magazine and ever since I’ve been a fan. The magazine’s staff is volunteer and they work in a place called the Desert Ashram in Tucson. Founded 22 years ago by a guru named Swami Amar Jyoti, Light of Consciousness publishes quarterly and is sold at newsstands. And in case you’re assuming that a magazine made by volunteers in an ashram follows some kind of doctrine or is even cultish, I’d like to assure you that this is not the case.

Light of Consciousness offers the most diverse, expansive, open-minded array of inspiring information you can imagine, mostly culled from books and other publications, because they have no budget for editorial content. And for the last few months, I’ve been reading the Winter 2009 issue. It takes me months because I read, re-read, contemplate, re-read, and finally digest. During this process, there are two articles that have digested like good medicine, and I thought I’d share some bits from them. If the bits help you, I’m glad. (I’m sure the Swami — he’s dead now — would be happy also.)

From an article called “Gratitude and Blessings: Practices for Greater Giving and Receiving” excerpted from Gratitude: The Essential Practice for Happiness and Fulfillment by Angeles Arrien (an audio series available at Sounds True), there’s this:

Apparently there are four universal human addictions, each with a positive flip side possibility. The idea is, if you can acknowledge your addiction, then you have access to its flip side. They are —
(1) an addiction to intensity, lest life be too dull (see my blog, “The Pleasure of a Good Upset”). The positive possibility is having a passionate heart that can be filled with gratitude, acknowledging all the good in your life.

(2) an addiction to a fixation on what is NOT working. The positive is the gift of vision and the ability to see the whole as well as the parts.

(3) an addiction to needing to know. The positive is wisdom, which is connected to patience, trust, and flexibility.

(4) an addiction to perfection. The positive is the commitment to excellence and growing.

And from another article called “Girish Chandra Ghosh: A Bohemian Devotee of Sri Ramakrishna,” came a wonderful idea:
Giving your “power of attorney” to whatever you aspire to surrender to (God, the Universe, All That Is, Christ, a person who represents spiritual truth).

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