With most problematic states of mind, and certainly with depression, we often have a tendency to maintain the problem by self-confirmation. What I mean with that is often repeating to oneself things like "I am depressed", "I feel miserable", "Life sucks", "They are bad", "I hate myself", "I can't do it". The problem is that when we repeat this often enough, it will all come true! These kind of self-obsessive thoughts blind us to the needs of our family and friends, and we do nothing to help them. As a result, we receive less positive feedback and love from them, and also less simple satisfaction and joy of making them happy.

In Buddhism, we use meditation to improve our state of mind by habituating ourselves to a positive state of mind, but repeating the above sort of tantrums throughout the day will only keep us in the same negative state. Just imagine what happens if a perfectly happy woman suddenly starts saying to herself "I feel miserable, I hate myself" once every five minutes... 

Instead, positive affirmations can have a strong therapeutic effect; "I love my family", "I don't need to grow hungry", "Other people are much worse off than me", "I can help others", "I am OK".
So a simple technique is to forbid yourself using the word 'depressed' and your standard negative expressions, but replace them with more positive phrases. It takes quite a bit of mindfulness in the beginning, but with a bit of persistence you can talk yourself into a better mood!
"Should you flush your Valium and Prozac down the toilet? No, not yet. Begin with small actions to help others - empty the garbage can without being asked, clean up your own mess in the kitchen, polish the shoes of others. Smile occasionally. Gradually build up the courage and determination to confront your self-cherishing mind and declare yourself a slave and friend of all living beings. Then you will extract more joy from cleaning up somebody else's mess in the kitchen than you will ever get from watching television. Not only will this lift your depression, it will place you on the path to bliss."
"In Western cities nowadays, you can see, the older you are the more problems you have. When we are young, not so many problems, but then there are drugs and sex, and eventually they become dissatisfying, then more depression, more depression. So, as your body becomes bigger and your brain becomes wider, you have more and more problems and become more and more depressed. The more money you have the more problems come. You can see this. 

You only take care of your body, you never take care of your mind, and the result of this imbalance is depression. For most western people this is the case: only the body is reality and they don't care about the existence of the mind, the soul, the consciousness. They don't believe they can change their minds. They can change their nose through an operation, but they don't believe they can change their mind. And when you believe this, then no way can you resolve your depression.

Our thoughts, our mind or consciousness are mental energy and cannot be localised in the body. It cannot be touched; it has no form and does not travel in time and space. We cannot touch it or grasp it. 

What is important to understand is that the view you have of yourself and the view you have of your environment are based on your own mind; they are the projection of your mind and that is why they are not reality."

Depression Does Not Cause Misery, Depression is Misery

Depression is a state of extreme unhappiness, described by sufferers in a recent BBC radio program as a black, dismal, dungeon of despair; as a stifling hot room with no means of escape; as a heavy overcoat of pain with the buttons soldered together; and as like walking through treacle. It is characterised by a sense of loss of control over one’s life, a loss of enthusiasm, and the inability to enjoy pleasure. One may know what to do, but cannot summon the energy to do it.

Depression may be precipitated by bereavement, illness, unemployment, and perhaps sometimes a neurological abnormality. According to Buddhism, however, the overriding cause of depression is self-cherishing - seeing one’s own physical and mental pleasure as more important than anybody else’s. Self-cherishing is irritability when our spouse asks us to do something that interrupts our own enjoyment, such as watching television, playing sport, or talking with our friends. It is the desire to get the best food for oneself, the best seat in the cinema, the best result in an examination, and the most praise from someone of influence.

How can a small thing such as selfishness, which we all have, be the cause of such a major illness as depression? There are two main reasons. The first is that unhappiness arising from selfishness is cumulative. When we do not obtain what we want, or are stopped from doing what we want, we often over-react to a ridiculous extent. Examine your own experience - how many domestic arguments have exploded out of incredibly petty causes? Even though we chastise ourselves for our stupid behaviour, we repeat the same thing again and again. At home, at work, at the club, wherever we go to relax, our selfish behaviour isolates us from others. The accumulation of small failures in life erodes our self-confidence, we are unable to be happy, and we spiral into depression.

The second reason why selfishness causes depression is because it prevents us from doing the one thing that is guaranteed to bring happiness - cherishing others. Self-obsession smothers consideration for the needs of others and we stop giving love. The constant whirl of self-centred thoughts in our heads, “I am so sad, I need to be happy,” blinds us to the needs of our family and friends, and we do nothing to help them. Our self-confidence takes a further battering because we no longer receive the feedback of love from them, or the pure satisfaction and joy of making them happy. The joy of making others happy is pure because we do not crave it again and again, unlike the joy of self-indulgence which is impure because it never brings satisfaction. Cut off from the world, we sink into unhappiness, self-doubt, and the thought that we are going insane. This is depression.

Buddha’s diagnosis of the cause of depression is not petty or discriminative. We all have self-cherishing, and if we allow it to take over our lives and block our love and compassion for others, we will be in danger of following that awful path into depression. Depression does not cause misery, depression is misery, at its worst. In the human realm anyway. Depressives may not believe this, but it can get far worse in other realms of rebirth.

To indicate our own part in the development of depression is not to point the finger of blame and cause guilt. If we can see that the cause is in our own mind, we will understand that the cure is also in our own mind.

Seeing the shattered self-confidence of depressed people, many new-age creeds attempt to cure the problem with the philosophy of “love yourself first.” But this is the cause, not the cure. The great Indian Bodhisattva, Shantideva, said, “If you want to be happy, you should never seek to please yourself.” Instead, we should seek to please others.

If we ask, “But, don’t I have to protect myself from suffering?”

Shantideva replies, “If you wish to be protected, you should constantly protect all others.” Buddha’s prescription for happiness is to forget yourself and love others. The more we look after our family and friends, the more they will care for us. It is so simple, so obvious, but we have to do it. Not just our family and friends; our purpose in life should be to protect every living being from suffering. When this attitude is supported by wisdom, we will never know unhappiness.

Should you flush your Valium and Prozac down the toilet? No, not yet. Begin with small actions to help others - empty the garbage can without being asked, clean up your own mess in the kitchen, polish the shoes of others. Smile occasionally.

Gradually build up the courage and determination to confront your self-cherishing mind and declare yourself a slave and friend of all living beings. Then you will extract more joy from cleaning up somebody else’s mess in the kitchen than you will ever get from watching the football on television. Not only will this lift your depression, it will place you on the path to bliss.

Jesus and Buddha as Brothers

The dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity has not gone very far, in my opinion, because we have not been able to set up a solid ground for such dialogue. This is a reflection of the present situation. 

Buddhists believe in reincarnation, the possibility for human beings to live several lives. In Buddhist circles, we do not use the word incarnation very much: we use the word rebirth. After you die, you can be reborn and can have another life. In Christianity, your life is unique, your only chance for salvation. If you spoil it, then you will never get salvation. You have only one life. 

Buddhism teaches that there is non-self, anatta. Christianity clearly teaches that a Christian is a personalist. Not only are you a person, self, but God is a person, and He has a self. The Buddhist teaching of emptiness and no substance sounds like the teaching of no being. Christianity speaks of being, of existence. The teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the philosophy of being, la philisophie de l'etre, the confirmation that the world is. 

There is compassion and loving-kindness in Buddhism, which many Christians believe to be different from the charity and love in Christianity. Charity has two aspects: your love directed to God, and your love directed to humankind. You have to learn how to love your enemy. 

Our Christian friends have a tendency to remind us that the motivation of love is different for Christians and Buddhists. There are theologians who say that Buddhists practice compassion just because they want liberation; that Buddhists don't really care about the suffering of people and other living beings; that they are only motivated by the desire to be liberated. In Christianity, your love is grounded in God. You love God, and because God said that you must love your neighbor, so you love your neighbor. Your love of your neighbor springs from the ground of your love of God. 

Many people, especially in Christian circles, say that there are things in common between Christianity and Buddhism. But many find that the philosophical foundations of Christianity and Buddhism are quite different. Buddhism teaches rebirth, many lives. Christianity teaches that only this one life is available to you. Buddhism teaches that there is no self, but in Christianity there is a real self. Buddhism teaches emptiness, no substance, while Christianity confirms the fact of existence. 

If the philosophical ground is so different, the practice of compassion and loving kindness in Buddhism and of charity and love in Christianity is different. All that seems to be a very superficial way of seeing. If we have time and if we practice our own tradition well enough and deeply enough, we will see that these issues are not real.

First of all, there are many forms of Buddhism, many ways of understanding Buddhism. If you have one hundred people practicing Buddhism, you may have one hundred forms of Buddhism. The same is true in Christianity. If there are one hundred thousand people practicing Christianity, there may be one hundred thousand ways of understanding Christianity.

In Plum Village, where many people from different religious backgrounds come to practice, it is not difficult to see that sometimes a Buddhist recognizes a Christian as being more Buddhist than another Buddhist. I see a Buddhist, but the way he understands Buddhism is quite different from the way I do. However, when I look at a Christian, I see that the way he understands Christianity and practices love and charity is closer to the way I practice them than this man who is called a Buddhist. The same thing is true in Christianity. From time to time, you feel that you are very far away from your Christian brother. 

You feel that the brother who practices in the Buddhist tradition is much closer to you as a Christian. So Buddhism is not Buddhism and Christianity is not Christianity. There are many forms of Buddhism and many ways of understanding Buddhism. There are many ways of understanding Christianity. Therefore, let us forget the idea that Christianity must be like this, and that Buddhism can only be like that.
We don't want to say that Buddhism is a kind of Christianity and Christianity is a kind of Buddhism. 

A mango can not be an orange. I cannot accept the fact that a mango is an orange. They are two different things. Vive la difference. But when you look deeply into the mango and into the orange, you see that although they are different they are both fruits. If you analyze the mango and the orange deeply enough, you will see small elements are in both, like the sunshine, the clouds, the sugar, and the acid. If you spend time looking deeply enough, you will discover that the only difference between them lies in the degree, in the emphasis. At first you see the difference between the orange and the mango. But if you look a little deeper, you discover many things in common. In the orange you find acid and sugar which is in the mango too. Even two oranges taste different; one can be very sour and one can be very sweet.

From "Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers" by Thich Nhat Hanh, Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1999. Thich Nhat Hanh, a rare combination of mystic, scholar, and activist, is a Vietnamese monk and one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers alive today. Poet, Zen master and chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation during the Vietnam War, he was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the author of many books, and lives in France.

THE LOVE OF THE LOTUS : Pisces, Cancer, Taurus

There are so many debates on happiness that might make you wonder if it exists in the real world, especially now that so many entities entered the sign of Scorpio. To begin our quest, we obviously need to embrace the fact that old and obsolete things have to end, so that new, refreshing experiences may begin. Our biggest trouble in the process of reaching for personal fulfillment seems to hide in our inability to let go and allow the past to stay where it needs to stay – in the past.


The Moon represents our Soul and the way we treat ourselves every day. It is the point of all habits we collected in our primal family, and all those fragile emotions we carry in our DNA code. The Moon is the treasure of reflections, relating, and sensitivity we were once able to embrace, standing for the potential we create to truly be happy. When the Moon in one’s horoscope is weak, we can expect the person to have trouble accepting their own feelings, finding it impossible to cope with them, and failing to see them as a sign of strength instead of weakness. Only when we connect with the pace and the depth of importance our heart really has, can we become receivers for good things that enrich our lives.

We may speak about happiness or the overall state of satisfaction, but no matter the terminology, there is always a similar set of planetary influences that make our soul young, our lives beautiful, and turn our frowning faces into a smile. It is the dance of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter around the Sun. Each one of these celestial bodies brings its own set of values to our inner bliss.

Venus has its two faces, one coming our way from the sign of Taurus, and the other from the sign of Libra. To find balance, it must flow from ways of expression and relating to other people, to personal satisfaction on a physical plane, and back. The role of Venus is to give us a touch of beauty and inspiration, show us where love hides on planet Earth, ad teach us about gratitude we are to feel for every meal, emotion, and touch we share with another human being.

Jupiter is often described as the lord of all distances, but it is the aim we shoot for, and nothing less. If you imagine a target in your mind, you will reach it only if you are certain that you will do so and practically speaking, this is pure belief. Without this inner state of truth, nothing ever turns out to be in sync with expectations and desires a person has. This is the planet of hope, the planet of tomorrow, and brings heaven in all its forms right into our lives.

The Sun is the creative ruler in all of us, the king of the jungle and the king of the zodiac. Its role is more significant than we often realize, for its gravity cannot be compared to any planet. Standing as the center of order that gives us life, giving us life with light itself, there is no other entity in our entire system that gets our force to act in sync with our primal character. The Sun is the greatest of all deities and allows us to connect with ultimate power we carry through existence and the energetic composition we are built from.


We can see that Venus is exalted in the sign of Pisces, traditionally ruled by Jupiter. To follow, Jupiter exalts in Cancer, ruled by the Moon. This trinity ends as a potent “circle” when the Moon exalts in the first sign ruled by Venus – Taurus. This is the primary basis for every Lotus composition in one’s chart that speaks of the beauty we evoke in our everyday lives, and all those beliefs that lead us towards love, joy, and fulfillment.

Lotus is an alignment of entities, two of which form a trine, while the third one stands in the middle, in sextile with each of the two. We will notice that people whose planets combine in a Lotus in their natal chart have a talent for evoking happiness, usually wearing a big smile on their face as a reminder. Even when the rest of their horoscope is set as a challenge or their planetary dignities are weak in some way, this composition gives them the ability to find beauty in the world and have faith that the future will only make them happier. In the end, this approach to life leads them on a path of living out their most potent futures.


Although the joy attracted shows to be there for every Lotus setting no matter the signs or planets involved, it is the first one, the combination of Pisces, Taurus and Cancer, that shows us the way to reach the point of absolute bliss. The key seems to lie in emotional connecting, primarily with our family and our roots, until we reach connectivity as a way of expression in the outer world. Pisces will speak of the wires that bring us closer to heaven, of all ideals that may be reached, as we resolve our emotional spasms and any restlessness in our hearts. Taurus gives grounding to everything that flows inside us as we feel the world openly and without fear.

The Sun rules the third energy center, found between the sacral and the heart chakra, as if it was set between Venus and the Moon. As our emotions come to balance, we give our Sun the opportunity to shine instead of giving its energy on ways to resolve emotional problems in these two realms. Material satisfaction and the pleasure we take out of life needs to be in sync with the need of our Soul and the gratitude we feel for the life we were given. In the end, this is really the only thing that matters, for the sense of absolute gratitude has the power to heal any problem we might stumble upon, making us gentler than gentle and open to receive all the love that our world has to offer.

What Every Empath Needs to Know About The Dark Side of Sensitive

When I started writing for the Empath, back in 2011, there was very little material available on the subject, and this is what drove my compilation of  the ‘Traits of an Empath’. I wanted to help other Empaths understand who they were and discover why they felt all they did. I also wanted to share what had helped me.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that the word ‘Empath’ was a rarely mentioned term. But we can see how that’s changed in recent years. Thousands, if not millions, have discovered who they are as Empaths with all the information now available.

However, with this Empath uprising there also seems to have been an upsurge with the ‘dark side of sensitive’. This can be observed with the rise of the narcissist and those encompassing narcissistic traits.

What Makes a Narcissist?

Although the term narcissism originally stemmed from having extreme vanity, today it represents so much more:
The definition of a narcissist is: a psychological condition characterised by self-preoccupation, high self-esteem, a distinct lack of empathy, excessive self-admiration and a tendency towards selfish or resentful behaviours. But there are many more dark traits associated with this type of disposition such as: one-sidedness, a manipulative nature, unrealistic expectations of others, excess need for control, and a huge sympathy deficiency. In some cases, the traits of a narcissist match up with a psychopath.

The Empath Connection

Where you find an Empath, you often find a narcissist nearby… or at least those who display several narcissistic tendencies.
In fact, if an Empath takes a look into their past they normally see a pattern of people displaying the above traits appearing throughout their lives.
There are some who would argue that an Empath and narcissist are two sides of the same coin. And although I certainly agree they both have heightened levels of sensitivity they are expressed in opposite ways.
An Empath’s sensitive side may breed and feed their emotional pain but it also contributes to their consideration, compassion, and abundance of empathy.
The narcissist’s sensitive side also contributes to their inner-pain but, in many cases, their wounds bred bitter, resentful and vengeful tendencies.
And when a narcissist has been offended it is often the result of a wounded ego as opposed to a pained soul — as in the Empath’s case.
It may make you wonder why Empaths have a lifelong history of run-ins with those who display narcissistic tendencies…
  • Could it be nature’s way of finding balance with opposing forces being drawn together?
  • Might it simply be due to the increase in hypersensitive behaviours?
  • Or is the law of attraction at work?
Although there are plausibility’s for all three suggestions, the latter is something we need to be aware of:
Like attracts like: sensitive attracts Sensitive.
There is no doubt that the two types are both sensitive. But although the Empath and narcissist fall under the “umbrella of sensitive” they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
I first recognized similarities between an Empath and a narcissist when I happened across a post on covert narcissism. Which I wrote about here.
I previously believed an Empath and a narcissist couldn’t be more dissimilar. But the article allowed me to discover how a sensitive streak can splinter out into diverse behaviours.
(This is a reason why when I write about the Sensitive Empath I capitalize the S… To differentiate sensitive and Sensitive.)
There is no doubt about the fact that an Empath and a narcissist are both highly reactive, sensitive people, but it is how they portray and integrate their sensitivities that set them apart.
A sensitive nature can be seen in kindness, compassion, and empathy, but it can also be seen in bitterness, resentments, and jealousy. And it doesn’t take much working out to figure which traits belong to which type.

The Family Connection

Another observation is that sensitivity tends to run in families. And this, I believe, is why we witness Empaths and narcissists within the same bloodline and even between siblings.
This is where we see the ‘sensitive splinters’ at work.
It is also through blood ties that the Empath finds themselves bound to toxic or narcissistic relationships.

The Silver Lining

Although narcissistic types often play the part of an antagonist in the Empath’s life, causing distress and even heartache, there is normally always a significant reason.
The further I travel down this road, the more I see the higher purpose served behind the dark behaviours displayed in individuals.
When we endure difficulties, by experiencing challenging situations or relationships, we eventually come to realise what we need to change for our own growth and development.
We can learn so much from the bad behaviour of others. Even if it’s as simple as developing the courage to walk away, say no, believe in one’s own self-worth, or let go of the need to be in control.
[A word of advice: Avoid doing battle with a narcissist or point out their wrongdoings unless you want to open yourself up for a character assassination. They will lie and lie and lie some more. It doesn’t matter how ‘right’ you are. A narcissist does not want to hear what you say if it makes them in any way wrong. It’s always best to walk away.]
Although difficult to accept, it is often the case that the more an Empath suffers the stronger and wiser they become.
I am not suggesting that continuous suffering is the recipe for the perfect life, far from it. But we come to a point when we understand why we endured such difficulties and see how they shaped us into becoming better people.
The time when we won’t benefit from suffering is if we become embroiled in bitterness and resentments and allow our thoughts to become vengeful. If this happens it will only serve in causing more inner-pain.
Narcissists work as catalysts on an Empath’s journey. They may cause insecurities, emotional injuries, trigger victim mentality and personal challenges but all of which push an Empath towards great transformation.
In our need to escape the shackles of emotional pain we are often pushed towards personal empowerment.
We came here into this life for a reason to experience both light and dark. I believe we were born to have certain encounters and everything we endure is for a purpose, both good and bad.
Empaths are meant to uncover and unleash their inner-light. There may be hurdles to overcome and dark experiences to be endured. If we keep working towards it, our reason and purpose is gradually revealed, often in small increments, and the objective behind the ‘dark side of sensitive’ eventually becomes clear.

5 Signs You’re In A Relationship With An Enlightened Individual

Some might say that it’s difficult, or even rare, to find people who are enlightened in the world today. But, when you do find one, you’ll know it. Enlightened individuals see the world differently. They’re confident, yet humble, and have an air about them that suggests they’ve got this life thing down.

Dating an enlightened individual is an experience everyone should have at some point in their life. Want to find out if your partner is enlightened? Here are five signs:


Enlightened people know how important it is for them to spend time each day reconnecting with themselves.
Whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or simply going for a long hike in the woods, they love disconnecting from the fast-paced world of work and friends in order to tune into the world that exists within their heart and soul.


Enlightened folks, being highly aware of who they are, know exactly what they want out of life, and they really don’t care if anyone disagrees with their desires.
This is not to say that they will completely ignore a person’s sound advice or ideas; they’ll listen respectfully, but at the end of the day, they’re going to continue believing in themselves, regardless of what others have to say.


Enlightened people recognize that their lifestyle may not be the most popular choice or something that everyone else wants to do, but they prefer it that way. They gain validation from within, rather than through what the masses are doing or saying people should be doing.
If they can live a life that is true to them, that’s all they concerned about.


Even when enlightened people are interacting with a person they’re not particularly fond of, they still choose to exhibit kindness and genuine respect. This is because they understand that everyone on this planet is different.
Each one of us has been carving a path that is unique to us, so there’s no sense in judging others for the way they live their life.


Most of the time, stepping out of one’s comfort zone and confronting change is one of the hardest things a person will ever have to do. Enlightened folks see change as a good thing, because with change comes opportunity and growth.
They also recognize that there’s no sense in trying to predict where you will be in the future, so you can’t try to control it either.
Each obstacle we overcome or poor situation we find ourselves in comes with a lesson to be learned.

How Souls Choose Their Parents and Families

Long before my daughter was born I had a dream that I had a baby girl. She came near me and gave me a tight hug. She told me that I was her mother and also told me her name was Evelyn. This dream got imprinted in my memory and also in my heart. And, as a result, when I found out that I was pregnant, I knew it was a girl and her name would be Evelyn. Nothing can be more true than this, which means wish for a child!

Our souls visit this Earth more than once to evolve. More I have learnt about soul contracts and reincarnation I have learnt it more definitely. My thoughts as well as my beliefs naturally graduated to this notion as I grew up. People who are still undecided about reincarnation, can come and explore with me the fact that souls are born into a different body for many times.
I strongly believe that when a soul decides to have another worldly incarnation, it chooses to have a life on the earth. This depends on the lessons they wish to learn here. So, they choose their set of parents entirely depending on their purpose and wish that will let them learn the specific lessons and enjoy the particular lifestyle.
For instance, if two souls had been in this earth as a mother and daughter, they may wish to experience the emotions again or maybe reverse the roles, when the mother becomes the daughter and the daughter becomes the mother. Also, if the soul wishes to come to the earth in a particular region, its choice to have parents may become less specific. Just like different people around us, souls also have different persona and they are reborn depending entirely on their wish and experience.
The soul first develops the connection with the set of parents and the right energy and then waits for the most opportune moment to arrive as their baby. During my sessions with my clients on intuitive readings I have often seen souls waiting to become their children. I can see them if they are a boy or a girl and find out what they wish to experience with their parents in this life
If you read the book, Spirit Babies: How to Communicate with the Child You’re Meant to Have you will find stories narrated by an intuitive man who had spent his entire life in linking parents with their unborn kids. Though I cannot guarantee that I would be able to tell you about your future offspring, but generally I can see them during my intuitive sessions, if there are souls waiting for them to be their parents.
Parents also have a significant role to play in bringing the soul in their family. Their thoughts, wishes and purposes create the beacon for the right soul that would respond to the energies. This is more true for the mother. Edgar Cayce says in his readings that it is a woman’s activities and thoughts during the period of gestation that creates some sort of ‘magnetic field’ in which the right soul get attracted to fulfill the life’s opportunity.
In families having more than one child, souls also make sort of contract or agreement with their possible siblings. It is the energy and wish of the mother that creates the incarnate to decide on the order in which they are to be born. I often imagine myself and my sisters floating in the heavens or the ‘Other Side’ and find myself deciding to appear first! In case of miscarriage, I have often seen the soul to reappear at a later pregnancy and in one instance, the soul went on to be born into the mother’s best friend’s family.
I have also seen with various combinations of people how same group of souls have appeared in their past lives as closely related individuals, siblings, parents or children. With hundreds of such readings I can definitely say that souls certainly choose their parents, their place of birth and the events in their lives that would take place. Isn’t it wonderful to know that I and my family members have chosen to be together? I am especially honored to find that my daughter has chosen me. This is the most precious gift she has for me in this lifetime.