Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Miracle of Life

I am pleased to announce to the world that my wife Shelby and I are expecting. By that I mean that she’s pregnant with our first child, who has an ETA of April 17, 2011. Needless to say, this a very exciting time for both of us. A miracle is unfolding as we speak :)

To be honest, I never really had any interest in kids up until a year or two ago. Before that, I thought all of my friends were crazy for wanting them. I saw procreation as something that people were just programmed to do, and I didn’t feel that same software running in me. But, as I started realizing that the secret to life’s beauty and perfection lay in the eyes of innocence, I started paying more attention to children, especially infants, and how they view this world. That was the kindling that started the flame of interest.

When you look at a wide-eyed baby staring at everything around them for the first time ever, it can give you an appreciation for the miracle of being present only to this moment, in all its glory. They see everything without a story, without judgments. They are born free from preconceived notions and beliefs, and completely open to what life has to offer (that doesn’t necessarily mean they like everything it has to offer). Infants have no fear of gaping at other people, or doing other things that adults tend to be embarrassed by, because they are ego-less beings. Babies are like little Buddhas, staring through untainted eyes, inviting us to do the same if we are willing.

As my appreciation for infants deepened, my desire to have a baby increased as well. It was like my biological clock had finally started ticking, and my wife and I started seriously talking about having a baby for the first time in our almost 20 year relationship. It was finally time.

Once the magic stick appeared with a pink plus sign, we were both excited, but it didn’t seem real until our first real Doctor’s appointment, where we got to see a little dancing being on the computer screen. Here was this tiny little organism that would one day be a human being.

That’s when I started visualizing holding our child for the first time, staring into its all knowing eyes, while I cry tears of joy at what a beautiful miracle this Life is. How magical it is to be able to create life. It’s something I always took for granted until it dawned on me how magnificent it really is. Life has been giving birth to Life since the beginning of time, and I never really appreciated it until now. I now understand why they refer to babies as little Bundles of Joy, because that’s exactly what they are. I tear up just thinking about seeing him or her smiling for the first time :)

It may seem to go without saying, but everyone you see around you was a tiny little Bundle of Joy at one point (technically we all started as tadpoles, but that’s neither here nor there). Imagine that! Every person that you meet is still that same innocent baby all dressed up in a mask. We start weaving our identity masks at young ages, and have them well crafted by adulthood, but nothing underneath has really changed since the day we were born. If you really take a close look at a stranger or a loved one, you can see the child in them, hiding under that mask. When you set aside your own mask, and look at the world through the eyes of the child you once were (and still are), you can see the innocence of others reflected back at you. It’s almost as if our mask creates theirs.

I’m ready for little baby Boo (our nick name for him/her) to show me the way to unmasked Love, though it’s hard to imagine not breaking down into tears of joy each time I look into those eyes. As you can probably tell, I am very excited about being a father (it still sounds kinda weird to say that), and I’m glad we waited until we were older to have a child because I needed to feel this sense of gratitude in order to be the best possible parent.

I could write for hours on this subject, but let me just end by saying, “Here’s to the miracle we call Life and all the Love it has to bring.” <3

In Peace and Love,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Your Body as an Antenna

Close your eyes and visualize your body as an antenna, picking up invisible waves of energy from the environment around you. Feel the vibrational frequencies permeating your body. Do you experience a tingling sensation? Listen as your ears pick up sound waves coming in from all directions. Feel those same sound waves entering your body as well. Bask in the vibrations.

Feel the aliveness in your body as it breathes in air and expels it. Feel the body where it touches the chair you are sitting in. Stay with the sensations that are constantly being felt in the body. Give your full attention to the bodily sensations.

Do you notice that the mind goes quiet as you do this? Many people say they wish there was an off switch for the mind. Well this is it. You can’t give your full attention to your bodily senses and think at the same time.

Check back in with the sensations being received by the body. The head is the part of the body that receives the most sensations, like the top of an antenna. It hears, sees, smells, tastes, as well as feels.

Close your eyes again and check in with your head, the most sensitive part of the antenna. Listen to the sounds ~ Feel the face ~ “Look” at the empty space between your ears where the brain is located. Do you feel the alive emptiness of your head? It’s quiet in there even as it takes in sounds.

Focus on that silent, empty space inside your head. Focus on the silence underneath the sounds. If thoughts interrupt this silence, focus your attention on the silence underneath the thoughts, and on the silence which exists before and after the thoughts. Does this empty space in your head have any boarders? Keep your eyes closed and notice if that empty silence actually expands beyond the space between your ears. It’s all around the body, as well as within.

With your eyes open, look around and receive the visual input of the things around you. As you look around, wonder to yourself what it is that’s looking through these eyes. Look at the words on this page as if they are nothing more than shapes. These black characters are being seen by something. What is that something? Is it that same empty space behind your eyes? Focus your attention on that space as you read the following:

Space is behind my eyes.
Emptiness is looking at these words.
Is this what I am?
These words are being experienced, rather than read.
They are being felt as they enter the body through my eyes.
One ~ word ~ at ~ a ~ time.
With eyes closed, experiencing continues.
There is only this.
Silent experiencing.

Enjoy the peace that is available simply by paying attention to the experience.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Inescapable Here

I’ve always been here.
Never to be anywhere else.
I can’t get away from here.
I try to be somewhere else, but I’m still here.
I leave and yet here follows.
I’m momentarily lost. Where am I?
I’m still here I just wasn’t looking.
I can’t get out of here. I can’t escape here. I’m eternally here.

I always thought I was going somewhere.
Now I know I’ll never get there.
Here is the only place on earth, and everything happens here.
Where else would I want to be?
Where else could I be?

We’re in the same here.
Together and here.
That’s where we’ve always been.
You seem to be way over there, but you’re still here.
Even when you’re not around, you’re still here.
My here, your here, our here, only one here.

Where is here?
Here is where I am laying in bed.
Later, here is at the market.
Then, here becomes a dentist’s office.
Here seems to be changing constantly.
Here I’m sitting cross-legged, here I am standing, here I am walking.
Every moment here seems to be somewhere else, but here never really changes.

Here, present, now.
Nothing not here.
Just here.
Just this.
Only here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Trying to Make Sense of It All

Hey Guys,

For many of us, Autumn is approaching as the northern half of the planet begins to seemingly tilt away from the sun. The Fall Equinox is about a week away, and change is much more noticeable as days shorten, temperatures cool and leaves begin to fall. Change is constant, but one thing remains the same, and that reliable constancy is what most of us are all looking for in order to feel safe and secure.

I’ve written a bit about how we tend to go about finding that one constant truth a bit before, but this writing came out of a recent discussion regarding the analytical approach to truth seeking. Being a very analytical person myself, it was fairly easy to analyze the process of analysis ;)

Reduction - Latin - To lead back, or bring down the size, quantity, value or intensity of something

Deduction - Latin - To move away from, or infer from a general principle

Words at their very basic level are vibrations of the vocal chords that we ascribe meaning to. Each vibratory noise has a definition, typically one that has been agreed upon by those in a given society who speak a common language. If you believe in evolution, then it’s safe to say that millions of years ago words began to form as a necessary part of human survival and development. As the human species began to migrate, so did different languages. I have no idea how the evolution of languages (much less dialects) really happened, but it is certainly a fascinating area to explore.

An interesting thing about language is that most words not only have an accepted dictionary definition, but are also accompanied by a mental image. That mental image usually varies from person to person, and is unique to his or her upbringing – cultural, parental, educational, etc. From that perspective it could be said that no two people “see” anything the same way since everything we see or experience is filtered through, and interpreted by, our personal grasp of language. For example, say the word “tree” and a mental image pops up of something, whether it is a generic tree or a specific tree, its setting is going to look different from the image that comes to mind for anyone else. As far as I can tell, the same is true for most words in our language.

So, what does this mean? It means that we are all seeing the world as one big run on definition, which we tend to assume is the same as everyone else’s run on definition. Then, when we encounter someone who has a different definition of something, we think they are wrong. Why wouldn’t we? After all, we have spent our entire lives determining which definitions are true and which aren’t by using language to define the world and ourselves.

How did we determine what’s true and what’s not? How did we go about figuring out this whole ball of wax? I would suggest it’s been through a process of reduction and deduction. First, we reduce the Universe into manageable concepts. It seems too much to take in as it is, so we organize it using words and categories, which formulate the foundation of our beliefs about the world. Instead of seeing shapes and colors, we learn to see things as distinct objects with names and characteristics. This starts when we are very young as our parents introduce us to the world we inhabit, and it is absolutely necessary for our growth and survival.

As we reduce the world out there into digestible ideas, we use those ideas to learn more about how the world works, and how we fit into it. In order to do that, we make deductions based on a combination of our acquired concepts and experiences (i.e. everything we have ever said, done, read, heard, seen, etc.). We combine our definitions with our experiences, and use them to determine what the world is really about. It would seem we are hard wired to desire knowing the truth, even if it’s only a relative truth.

Therefore, we reduce the whole into parts, then deduce or infer from our knowledge of those parts in an attempt to know the whole. So what happened to the whole that we had to reduce to find out what’s true and what’s not? We stripped it of its wholeness, then rebuilt it using words that someone handed us with attached definitions, which we assumed to be accurate. It’s still whole, we’re just not seeing it that way any more. We’re stuck seeing our interpretations of it.

So, if our desire to know the truth is indeed instinctual, we go about trying to find the whole again (i.e. truth) with our filtered and diluted deductions about the world. We’ve broken it down, then built it back up, but can never completely rebuild it. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle of the Universe where pieces are missing – we are constantly running into gaps as we try to rebuild it.
When we run across an area where a piece is missing, we either fill it in by deduction (cutting a piece to fit), or just forget about it and leave it blank. But, no matter how hard we try, we’ll never get an accurate view by using what we’ve learned. That’s why it’s said that discovering the truth involves unlearning what we think we know, and a surrendering of our preconceived ideas, beliefs, and opinions.

Our ability to parse environmental data and extrapolate that information to reach certain conclusions about the inner workings of the world is a wonderful gift. The mind is a very powerful tool, and all you have to do is look around to see examples of how well it has served the evolution of the world we live in. All of the modern technology we take for granted (i.e. the wheel, indoor plumbing, electricity, atom bombs, iPods, etc.), we owe to the incredible power of the mind. But it’s important to realize that it has an equally destructive side to it that has resulted in hundreds of years of war and suffering.

However, if you look you will see that most of the mind’s energy is wasted on trivial matters: dwelling on past conversations, speculating on future encounters, wondering what others think of us, passing judgment, singing a song you can’t get out of your head, etc. Here’s a quote from Gina Lake’s book “Radical Happiness.”

“We need the mind to function, but it is also full of useless and incorrect information – conditioning – that passes as facts. We need the aspect of the mind that allows us to do mental work, but we don’t actually need the egoic mind to function. Self-realization entails a certain mastery of the mind that includes being aware of our thoughts and being able to discriminate between ones that have some truth and usefulness and ones that don’t.”

Finding the truth involves finding who we were before we “knew” everything. That’s why the present moment is the key. Without past everything becomes new again, just like when we were infants looking at this world in a state of awe. Katie Davis says it well in her book “Awake Joy” – “When you are free of past mental images, you recognize that the world is created new every moment that you become aware of it.”

That new and mysterious world is staring you in the face 24 hours a day, and has been all along. Do you want to see it for what it truly is? You have to be willing to set aside everything you hold true. Drop all of your labels and look at what’s in front of you right now.


Here’s a parting quote from Eckhart Tolle’s book “Stillness Speaks” – “When you perceive without interpretation, you can then sense what it is that is perceiving. The most we can say in language is that there is a field of alert stillness in which the perception happens. Through “you,” formless consciousness has become aware of itself.”

Friday, July 30, 2010

Spiritual Correctness

I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the Summer heat. Enjoy it while it lasts ;)

I've been sitting on this blog post for a while now. It's created a bottle neck effect on the other ones that want to push through and be shared, so I had to get it off my chest, so to speak.

I have found myself at a bit of a crossroads lately. I’ve written quite a bit on the subject of “enlightenment” over the last few years, much of it representing where I envisioned readers to be on their own path, which has also reflected where I have been on mine. However, I have tried to avoid certain ideas that might turn some people off. As I ran across quotes and insights, each one was instantly judged based on how useful it would be for my projected audience. As time went on, I found myself revising my writing more and more to make the message more palatable for the potential readers in my mind. All of this has become much more noticeable of late, which makes me think I used to be less concerned about how my message was received than I am now.

The Internet has increased the exposure of my writing, and its potential circle of influence and exposure. The potential audience has now diversified and left me a bit uncertain as to who will be reading these words. Will it be spiritual adepts, teachers, critics, or will it be the curious and beginning seekers (which seems to be mainly who I have had in mind when I write)? Is it possible to write something that resonates with everyone? Whose needs am I trying to appeal to anyway?

Up until now, I have had a “known” audience of about 90 people on an email list comprised of friends, family, and acquaintances, plus a blog. So, I have written with many of those people in mind. Now, there are online discussion groups popping up all over for Truth seeking people and those interested in enlightenment. There are a lot of people out there, such as myself, who have a very firm grasp on the ideas surrounding enlightenment. They have it all figured out on an intellectual level, have had a few awakening experiences, and want to tell people how it is. I’m no different, but I am not one to debate another on what’s true and what’s not (at least not openly ;), but that’s what I have seen in some of these online discussion forums.

There are those people drawn to these discussion groups wanting more insights from fellow seekers or teachers. Then there are others who seem to have all the answers, while others who disagree and point out inconsistencies in what someone else has said. Ultimately they are all saying what’s true for them and disagreeing with someone else who doesn’t see things the same way. In many cases it’s a philosophical debate over semantics among egos about Oneness.

After seeing this a couple of times, I decided these groups weren’t for me. Obviously there is no harm in a friendly debate, which is what these tend to be. But if I don’t resonate with what’s being said on a deep level, then it’s just brain candy and fodder for the ego. Having said that, I have benefitted from this ego fodder because it has pointed out my own judgments I have about people, but that’s a different story.

I have found online discussion forums that are a bit more structured, which involve an actual teacher answering questions, that serves members well. A spiritual teacher who is willing to foster and facilitate online discussions is a wonderful thing. Not only is it enlightening, but it prevents endless debates from arising, and actually points readers toward what lies underneath the words.

As for me, there is nothing I can say that is actually true (except for maybe what I just said). However, I am finding myself projecting out my own insecurities, being careful not to say something that an imaginary spiritual critic might take issue with. Basically, my ego is trying to protect itself from criticism by censoring what it says. The increasing tendency to revise is how its desire for praise is manifested. This is very interesting to notice and acknowledge, so I felt compelled to share it.

Of course, this idea filtering has been going on all along, I just happen to be noticing it more and more these days. Much of what I have written has been written with specific people (or types of people) in mind, and my perception of how my message would be received by those people based on my story of them. I have avoided using many terms and phrases that I thought might alienate those with only a mild curiosity, or those who still have firm beliefs. I would prefer to tone it down a bit rather than cause a mind to close down by stepping on a sacred cow (so to speak).

My intention has always been to spark interest in those who have accepted simply being content with life, rather than search for that unadulterated joy that’s at their fingertips. That joy is what we are all searching for, and I want everyone to know that it is attainable at this very moment. This is something that everyone should know.

Now that I am becoming connected with more and more people via Facebook, I am feeling a bit more pressured to watch what I say. There is great potential here to reach hundreds of people with tiny bits of wisdom that might resonate with someone who had no interest in the idea of enlightenment before. I think the key is not to make broad sweeping statements as an authority figure (i.e. “This is how it is.”), but instead scatter ideas or questions that might spark interest.

It’s yet another example of how I have been living my life. I find my actions governed by what I think “so and so” will think about such actions or words. It’s been that way all along and I’m seeing it for what it is more clearly now – protection of the ego. At this point I feel it’s time to be a bit more free with my words, with less concern about how the imagined world perceives them to be. I can learn more about myself by seeing the “me” in “you” anyway ;)


Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Dream Come True

Here's something I invite you to ponder.

What if this moment was what you had been hoping and praying for all of your life? No matter what you are doing, whether it be taxes or walking the dog or looking at a computer screen, imagine what it would be like if this was your dream come true. Don’t get hung up on the skeptical thoughts, just feel what it feels like to have your hopes and prayers finally be answered. What does that feel like? Experience it fully and deeply – This is it! I finally made it! It’s what I have always needed! Allow yourself to smile :-)

Pause to feel it........

I suggest you do this periodically throughout the day. When you are feeling a bit bored or frustrated, stop and imagine that you have finally achieved your life’s purpose. Sit with the feeling for a minute – This negative situation is actually what I have always wanted, but I decided to call it negative for some reason. This situation is the perfection I’ve been seeking all of my life. My life is now completely fulfilled.

Notice how the mind says, “Yes, but I don’t want this. This is a lie.” It may think what you’re experiencing is painful, or wrong, or mundane, but what if your mind is actually what’s wrong? See what happens if you ignore your doubts and concentrate on the feeling of, “Yes! This is what I have always wanted! My whole life has led up to this incredible moment!” Remember to smile and breath a sigh of relief. Laugh if you feel like it :-D

Pause to feel it........

That feeling you feel of fulfillment and joy and peace is actually available to you at anytime. What brings it about is not the situation, but the acceptance of the situation as being the necessary unraveling of your life situation. This peace sets in when you finally give up your desire to be at peace. You are always at peace, but you’re too busy searching for it to notice.

When the seeking subsides, peace and joy can finally shine through. This is actually your true nature, and you can experience it every moment of everyday if you are open to it. All you have to do is realize that all of your dreams have come true. As you do this more and more, the gratitude that comes from that realization will begin to creep into your daily routine because it wants to be free. It wants you to notice. It wants you to realize the joy that you already are, and have always been.

In gratitude,

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why Ask Why?

Over the past few years (since around 2006 or so), I have been in an off and on state of mentally describing my discoveries on the topic of enlightenment, or awakening, or self-realization, or whatever word turns you on the most. I have found that as I begin to see through the illusory nature of the world, I begin to mentally talk about it. The mental movement comes from the idea or feeling that “This must be shared,” which is something I’m sure I’ve shared with you before.

This compulsion to share can be frustrating if looked as a mental distraction that perpetuates the ego, or it can be seen as a gift in disguise. Something has been driving me, to share these things with everyone I know. Mental notes to describe insights happen anyway, so why not just accept it and share them? They obviously want to be shared.

On some level, this sharing has been my life’s purpose for some time now. However, I’m not really the one doing the sharing and they’re not really my words. I am a pawn in the game of life being used to help other pawns realize their true nature. But that’s easy to loose sight of when you are still grappling with ego, and so the story of being the doer continues.

Recently it occurred to me that my desire to share insights with others might actually be a veiled form of resistence, or a desire for things to be different from the way they are. My desire would be for “my” words to intensify “your” desire to awaken. “I” desire for “you” to be different from the way “you” are (i.e. more enlightened). However, by doing The Work on this idea it becomes obvious that it’s actually “me” that I want to be different. After all, “you” are a mirror of what’s going on in “me” and are reflecting my own non-acceptance of who I am.

From that perspective there seems to be two movements going on – there is the desire for you/me to be different, as well as a compulsion to share things that might make a difference. Which comes first? Is it possible that the compulsion is always happening and that I am imposing the idea that it might be happening out of a desire for change? Or, do I want change so badly that I am driven to pass on pertinent information in hopes of bringing about that change? Are they really separate? Does it matter? Either way Life is living me and this mental dialogue is another way in which the mind likes to do what it does best – analyze the hell out of things.

I can spend my time trying to find answers, or I can spend my time trying to find the truth. The truth is that which has no answers. The truth is that which can’t be put into words. It’s the desireless state of full acceptance of what is. It’s unconditional love. What’s going on in our lives is exactly what needs to be going on in our lives. The life situation is an ongoing invitation for us to wake up out of the dream of being trapped inside a body with all of the problems that go with being trapped inside a body. Acceptance, not analysis, is key to self-realization.

With the idea in mind that everything happens a reason, there is a natural tendency to look at things that happen and search for specifics as to what it is life is actually trying to tell me. The situation can be looked at under a microscope for traces of answers that will satisfy the mind, or simply accepted as part of the play of life. So, why ask why, when you can ask who am I?