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Alan Davidson: My Reading List August 31, 2013

By body mind spirit, Conscious Living, Fun and Fabulous, Health & Wellbeing, Human Rights/Justice, Moral Intelligence, Spiritual Intelligence One Comment

Hey happy Saturday.

This week I did a deep dive into a couple of great books. I thought I’d share the focus of my attention and the broad net I’m casting for wisdom…

Joe Hirsch, my friend and long-time ThroughYourBody Mastery member, and I are co-leading a five week book study of Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself.

Michael’s book is an excellent map for the spiritual journey. I like The Untethered Soul because it distills the wisdom of eastern enlightenment in plain, simple English. Michael also gives excellent techniques for freeing ourselves from a demanding world, freeing ourselves from a fearful mind, and freeing ourselves from a troubled heart.

Last night we covered section three in The Untethered Soul, Freeing Yourself. Here’s a quote for Chapter 8:

The purpose of spiritual evolution is to remove the blockages is the cause your fear. The alternative is to protect your blockages so that you don’t have to feel fear. To do this, however, you will have to try to control everything in order to avoid your inner issues. It’s hard to understand how we decide that avoiding our inner issues is an intelligent thing to do, but everybody’s doing it. Everybody is saying, “I will do every single thing I can to keep my stuff. If you say anything that disturbs me, I will defend myself. I’ll yell at you and make you take it back. If you cause any disturbance inside of me, I will make you so sorry.” In other words, if somebody does something that stimulates fear, you think they did something wrong. You didn’t do everything you can to make sure they never do it again. First you defend yourself, and then you protect yourself. You do whatever you can to keep from feeling disturbance.

Eventually, you become wise enough to realize that you do not want that stuff inside of you. It doesn’t matter who stimulates it. It doesn’t matter what situation hits it. It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense, whether it seems fair or not. Unfortunately, most of us are not that wise. Were really not trying to be free of our stuff; were trying to justify keeping it.

What I like most about co-leading a book study group is the chance to immerse myself in the wisdom of the author, devouring not only his words, but following the bread crumbs to the sources that inspired him. In addition to reading the book, I’m listening to a ten-CD set of Michael’s lectures. Several times in those audio lectures Michael quotes the Bhagavad-Gita.

One of the Gita’s most effective methods of teaching is its portrait of the sage, the person who has completely let go. This portrait is among the finest in world literature.

Hearing these quick quotes from the Gita inspired me to do a survey of the qualities, characteristics, and attributes of the wise and free soul. My survey took me from the Bhagavad-Gita and the Tao to Ching to writers like Emerson, Thoreau, Rilke, and Hesse.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell

The wise man lets go of all

results, whether good or bad,

and is focused on the action alone.

Yoga is skill inaction.

He wise man whose insight is firm,

relinquishing the fruits of action,

is freed from the bondage of rebirth

and attains the place beyond sorrow.

When your understanding has passed

Beyond the thicket of delusions,

there is nothing you need to learn

from even the most sacred scripture.

Indifferent to scriptures, your mind

stands by itself, unmoving,

absorbed in deep meditation.

This is the essence of yoga.

I’m a huge fan of Stephen Mitchell’s translations. He has such a way of grasping the ancient wisdom and yet translating it into beautiful, poetic English. Here is one of my favorite passages from Stephen’s Tao Te Ching: A New English Translation

Chapter 15:

The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.

Their wisdom was unfathomable.

There is no way to describe it;

all we can describe is their appearance.

They were careful

as someone crossing an iced-over stream.

Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.

Courteous as a guest.

Fluid as melting ice.

Shapable as a block of wood.

Receptive as a valley.

Clear as a glass of water.

Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving

till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.

Not seeking, not expecting,

she is present, and can welcome all things.

My final reading this week is a book by my friend I lovingly call Judge Susan. 20+ years ago when I was teaching massage therapy, Susan was my most unusual student. You see Susan was a practicing federal immigration judge by day and by night, she was training to be a massage therapist.

Susan has since retired from the bench and written a wise and deeply moving account of five Asylum cases that she heard while sitting on the bench. I never imagined I would read someone who tapped the spiritual dimensions of what it means to live with an open and passionate heart. Susan has achieved that and written a slim, but powerful book. Here are a couple of my favorite passages from Bench-Pressed: A Judge Recounts the Many Blessings and Heavy Lessons of Hearing Immigration Asylum Cases by Susan L. Yarbrough.

Immediately after I granted any asylum application and extended welcome and good wishes to the person who had been persecuted, I would rush out of the courtroom and into my office, lock the door, and cry for about a half hour. The two words that would always form underneath my tears were thank you—to the Creator for bringing me to that day, for ears to hear, and for a painful and heartbreaking job that nevertheless gave me the power to spare someone’s life. But it wasn’t until I retired from day-to-day physical hearing of the cases that I began to really hear and feel the sounds and echoes and the harmonics and overtones of the blessings they brought and are still bringing to my life.”

Besides the act of saying a heartfelt “I love you” to another sentient being, my greatest interpersonal pleasure in life has come from being able to into someone’s eyes while holding their face or their hands in my own hands and to say, “I am a better person because of you.”

It’s Labor Day here in the states. We get a long three-day holiday to rest, relax, and celebrate the efforts of our labors. Since waking up is the universal imperative of every human being, it’s also our greatest labor, our greatest labor of love.

What are you reading that is inspiring to wake-up and live your highest universal good? What are you reading that was teaching to live with a fierce, wide-open heart? Do let me know.

Have a fab Labor Day…

Alan Davidson

Copyright © 2013


Diane Musho Hamilton: Conflict – A Way to Awaken

By body mind spirit, Classes & Seminars, Conscious Living, Human Rights/Justice, Interviews, Spiritual Intelligence No Comments

To download this fabulous interview, Right click & Save As

Big Ming/Enlightened Tapping Experience w Diane & Alan
Thursday  September 12th, 2013 7 PM Details TBA

Diane Hamilton in Houston 3 Day Training –
The Next Stage Facilitation – September 13-15, 2013

The fabulous Diane Musho Hamilton

About Diane Musho Hamilton

Diane Musho Hamilton is an accomplished expert on what to do when understanding has breaks down. She has decades of experience as an award-winning mediator working both privately and in the judicial system in the state of Utah. Her teaching comes from “being in the trenches” with people from all walks of life.

Diane was the first Director of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Utah Judiciary. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards for her work in creating mediation programs throughout the Utah court system.

Diane has been a practitioner of meditation for almost 30 years. She began her studies at Naropa University in 1983 with Choygam Trungpa Rinpoche, and became a Zen student of Genpo Roshi’s in 1997. In 2003, she received ordination as a Zen monk with her husband Michael Zimmerman, and received dharma transmission in 2006.

Diane is a recognized world-wide as a master facilitator the Big Mind Big Heart. Big Mind is the revolutionary process developed by Genpo Roshi.

Genpo and I were in Austin once and he said, “Diane was born for the Big Mind Big Heart work” and “she’s an even better Big Mind facilitator than I am…and I created the process.”

Diane has also worked with Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute since 2004. She has co-created many programs with the leading Integral teachers and students of Ken’s work.

Diane is an exceptionally gifted mediator, group facilitator, and one of the authentic contemporary spiritual teachers of our time.

Her new book – Everything Is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution – December 3, 2013 – On Amazon NOW!



Dalai Lama: Twenty Steps to Good Karma

By body mind spirit, Conscious Living, Health & Wellbeing, Human Rights/Justice, Moral Intelligence, Spiritual Intelligence 2 Comments

 Instructions for Life by The Dalai Lama


  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three R’s:
    –  Respect for self,
    –  Respect for others and
    –  Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
    think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
  20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.


His Holiness The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso, is a revered, internationally known spiritual leader. He is considered to be both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. With the invasion of Tibet by China in 1949, the Dalai Lama has consistently campaigned for his country’s freedom, tirelessly traveling and speaking on this subject as well as aspects of Buddhism and how it contributes to peace. For this, the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have chosen to be reborn, postponing their own nirvana, in order to serve humanity. This the 14th Dalai Lama has done in droves.

Born on July 6, 1935, to a farming family in northeastern Tibet, he was named Lhamo Dhondup. At the age of two, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, and he began his monastic education at age six. He had a rigorous educational program, with five major and five minor subjects, covering Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine, and Buddhist philosophy, as well as poetry, music and drama, and astrology, to name only some of the subjects. At 23 he passed his final examinations at Lhasa with honors and was awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree, which is equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.

The Dalai Lama assumed full political power in 1950, after China’s invasion of Tibet. He pursued a peaceful solution to the invasion until 1959, when he was forced into exile. Since then he has lived in Dharamsala, in northern India, which serves as the seat of the Tibetan political government in exile. The Dalai Lama has repeatedly appealed to the United Nations for resolutions on Tibet, and also been successful in swaying world opinion to his cause. He proposed the Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet in 1987, viewing it as an initial step to a worsening Tibetan solution.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consistently and tirelessly been a champion for non-violence, not only in his own country, but in the larger world. This has made him an inspiration to millions. He has traveled to more than 62 countries on 6 continents, along the way meeting with presidents, premieres, heads of state, and royalty. He has also enjoyed dialogues with scientists and every day people. He has won over 84 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes, and he is known for his writing, authoring over 72 books, many of which reach bestseller status. His books include, My Land and My People, A Simple Path, How to Practice, The Art of Happiness, and The Universe in a Single Atom.

His Holiness adheres to the Three Main Commitments in Life. His first commitment is the promotion of human values such compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. His second is the promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religions. The third is his commitment to the Tibetan issue. He will act as a spokesman for the Tibetans struggle for freedom until a solution is reached. His Holiness says he will carry on with the first two commitments until his last breath.

Lori Leyden: Project Light Rwanda

By body mind spirit, Conscious Living, Emotional Intelligence, Health & Wellbeing, Human Rights/Justice, Interviews, Moral Intelligence, Podcasts, Spiritual Intelligence No Comments

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Lori Leyden - founder of Project Light RwandaLori Leyden, PhD, MBA – Inspired by her life-changing experience working with widow and orphan head of households in Rwanda in the fall of 2007, Lori and her organization are committed to raising consciousness for personal and global healing. She is a former psychotherapist, public speaker, workshop leader, and now facilitator of The Grace Process, a spiritual practice for joyful living. With over 30 years experience in the fields of psychotherapy, business and spiritual growth, Lori holds a PhD in Health & Human Services and an MBA in Management. As a Diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association, she was the first Spirituality Columnist for the Association’s professional journal, Annals. She is the author of The Grace Process Guidebook: A practical guide for transcending your ego and engaging the wisdom of your heart to harness grace and receive the healing you yearn for and The Stress Management Handbook: Strategies for Health and Inner Peace available in English, Spanish, Arabic and Korean.

“Project LIGHT gives birth to a much-needed model of humanitarian aid that addresses basic survival needs, emotional healing, and economic self-sustainability. By developing heart-centered healing and leadership programs for traumatized youth, students, and humanitarians, we seek to shine LIGHT on one of the greatest human gifts that can unite us all—the power and resilience of the human spirit.”


They were young children in 1994 when Rwanda experienced the genocide that left 800,000 of them orphaned. In the wake of the violence, Rwanda’s social structure collapsed, severely affecting schools, health care, and the economy. Meeting the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and education overshadowed the daunting task of healing the orphaned children’s traumatic memories, injuries, illnesses, and fears. UNICEF estimates that 96% of the children witnessed the massacres, and many children who survived were mutilated and raped, resulting in an unprecedented level of trauma among children.

In 2007, Lori Leyden, Ph.D., traveled to Rwanda with her team to work with orphaned genocide survivors and orphaned heads of household (children caring for other children). After Lori worked with the kids using energy psychology techniques, their trauma outbreaks were reduced by 90%, a significant relief in a situation where 200+ teenagers share a one-room dormitory. Lori uses a “train the trainer” model. She has now worked with over 550 orphans and other genocide survivors, and those young people have trained hundreds of others.

In Lori’s work, trauma healing is the first priority. There were times, though, when she wondered if it would even be possible to heal the depths of the traumas, the intrusive memories, nightmares, and sense of hopelessness that have been the daily reality since 1994 of these young people. Looking back, what struck Lori and members of her team most clearly was the resiliency and human dignity they witnessed in the kids. Lori realized that if these kids, with all the horrors they had endured, were willing to try to forgive, then there truly was a potential within all human hearts for world peace.

“Now we have hope and we know this is not our burden alone to carry. Forgiveness is so hard but we are willing now because we know we need each other.” –Celestin,
Student Leader representing orphan genocide survivors.

In 2008, Lori and her team decided to include celebrations in their work. They started with birthdays. With all the kids in a big circle, Lori called out “January” and all the kids with birthdays in January were to enter the center of the circle to be sung to and celebrated. Nobody moved. “February,” called Lori . . . again, nobody moved. Month after month went by until finally at “September,” with the center still empty, Lori and the team realized that these kids literally did not know their birthdays. Having grown up with no loving families to mark their birthdays as important events to celebrate, “Happy Birthday” was not part of their reality.

Lori’s vision extends far beyond healing the trauma, as critical and foundational as that work is. The orphans, now ages 16 to 25, are graduating high school in a country still not fully on its feet, and they find themselves with a diploma but few options for employment. Hope is still scarce. Thus, economic sustainability comes next—the young people need to be able to earn a living. Lori’s model of “hand-up, not hand-out,” is evolving as the first 12 young people, called “Ambassadors,” have graduated her Project LIGHT program. Two Ambassadors are in college, and two have obtained driver’s licenses (hard to do in Rwanda), so will be employable in professions that require driving. And all the Ambassadors are learning entrepreneurship, having launched a soap-making business. The lush landscape of Rwanda provides ample ingredients for making soap, and all 12 Ambassadors are learning all aspects of the business.

“Before I did not believe I could be an entrepreneur. Now I can start businesses in order to help myself, my community, my country and our world.”
–Desire, Project LIGHT Ambassador

Lori is teaching the kids to become heart-centered leaders, with the ultimate goal of having the kids themselves take ownership of the project. Lori shares her vision:
“Imagine an international youth healing center where young people receive emotional healing and training, real opportunities for economic independence and the freedom to become heart-centered leaders. With advanced technology to have real-time interactions between these young people, students, donors and our visionary Resource Partners in the fields of education, healing arts, business and entrepreneurship.”

Ultimately, Lori’s vision includes Youth Healing Centers like this all over the world, easily linked with communications made possible by today’s technology.

Lori’s vision has captured the hearts of American children who want to help. Middle school students in Santa Barbara, California, raised money for essential humanitarian projects at the orphanage such as water storage tanks and electricity. And one young man recently gave his Bar Mitzvah gifts to Project LIGHT, a total of $6,450! Asked how Project LIGHT had inspired him, this 13-year-old related, “Genocide is one of the worst things that can happen to people. We should have already learned “never again” but it is still happening. What you are doing is helping to prevent it by helping people understand each other better and giving young people a chance to be leaders and make their way in the world. More people should know about this program because it will help a lot of people. It should be bigger than it is. That’s why we need people to donate…”

Lori believes we are all “connected through our hearts’ desires to love, to be loved, to live a meaningful life and to have a bright and peaceful future. When we honor our oneness and act as One Heart we can accomplish anything.”

The beautiful teaching of the Dhammapada, that each person carries the light of the world within themselves, is echoed by Yvette: “You taught us to love ourselves. These lessons helped me realize I can make a difference. Happiness is for everyone. We are ready to become the Light of the World.”
Lori calls them Ambassadors. As they go about their volunteer work of teaching what they’ve learned in Project LIGHT, their community now calls them “HOPEMAKERS.”
Learn more about Project LIGHT, Lori’s vision, and how you can help:

Dr. Daw Aung San Su Kyi – Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

By Conscious Living, Human Rights/Justice, Moral Intelligence, Spiritual Intelligence No Comments

Burmese peace activist Dr. Daw Aung San Su Kyi joins Dr Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Teresa as the heroes of peace and human rights.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Under house arrest by the military junta in charge of Burma, she was not allowed to leave her home, much less Burma, to accept her award.

Twenty-one years later, in June of 2012, Dr. Daw Aung San Su Kyi traveled to the Nobel headquarters to accept her award. Here is her belated acceptance speech. (Starts at 9.00 minutes)

Belatedly, Dr. Daw Aung San Su Kyi accepts her Nobel Peace Price