12/17/2015 – 01/27/2016
- 12/17/2015 — Lao Tzu called it “the Tao.”
Carl Jung called it “Synchronicity.”
I call it “Grace.”
Call it what you will,
It is an experience of an encounter
With more than words can say.
That means more than can be explained:
”The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao”—
and reflects a Reality
and all of life,
inviting us to trust ourselves to it
relax ourselves in it,
and allow it to carry us into an unfolding wonder
beyond belief and denial. What is beyond belief and denial?
We know too easily, too quickly,
What is good and what is bad,
What is right and what is wrong,
What is preferred and what is disdained.
Who is the Devil,
and who is the Christ.
We draw our lines
and peer out at them,
as though they are the enemy,
And we are the Chosen People Of God. Lao Tzu said, “All others are clear and bright,
I alone am cloudy and confused.”
Something is to be said for seeing
the validity of all sides,
of understanding the value of opposites,
and being able to stand
in the tension between extremes,
and befriend both meaning and meaninglessness,
sense and nonsense,
laughing and dancing with all of life. To live at the center
is to join the extremes
so that all become one in our heart.
Rumi said, “One glimpse of a true human being,
and we are in love.”
We carry within a sense of the ideal we are to be—
The ideal everything—
And, when we see it in someone else,
we are in love.
We are powerfully attracted to the ideal,
to that which we are yet to be,
in all those who reflect it. Even though, we are projecting it onto them
we cannot project it onto just anyone.
Only certain people are capable of reflecting
our projections back to us,
enabling us to see in them,
who we are asked to be,
so that they become carriers of the ideal us. When we fail to understand
what is happening,
we think they are ideal,
when they are only carrying/reflecting
the ideal we are capable of being.
When we think it is about them,
and not about us,
we confuse the roles
and try to possess them
instead of allowing them to serve as the model
of our own becoming. We worship them,
all the while misinterpreting the symbol
and fail to develop in ourselves
the qualities lying latent within us
that call to us from the other.
The work of being a True Human Being
is the work of authenticity,
and completion. It is the work of being who we are,
which is who we ought to be—
not in some moral sense,
but in the practical sense
of being exactly who we are capable of being
in responding appropriately to each situation as it arises. It is the work of being exactly
what the situation calls for
and exactly who we are,
by bringing ourselves
and our gifts
forth to meet our life,
regardless of the implications
for us personally. We do not exploit our gifts for our own good.
We are burdened by the gifts we carry
for the good of the situation—
for the good of the whole—
the whole world.
”We come not to be served, but to serve,
And to give our life in the service of freeing others
to live in the service of their own gifts.” One True Human Being
sparks the ignition of others,
starting fires of True Human Being-hood
throughout the species,
transforming the world.
A meaningful life is a life lived
with integrity and authenticity.
Integrity is living in ways that are integral
with the center—the core—of what is important to us.
When we live aligned with that center,
our life is meaningful. When our life is meaningless, aimless and empty,
it is because we have lost connection
with the center of what is important to us,
and are living out of accord
with the life that is truly our life to live.
We are living inauthentically,
cut off from what is deepest, best and truest about us.
We have forgotten who we are,
and what our business is. When we do not know what we mean with our life,
our life is meaningless.
To live with meaning and purpose,
we have to find our way back to our heart,
remember what is of central importance to us,
and live in ways that reflect our connection
with what means the most to us.
The art of letting things happen
requires us to be open at all times
to what needs to happen—
to what is trying to happen—
and to allow that to take precedent over
what we want to happen. It is the art of stepping back,
of standing aside,
of acquiescing to,
and living in the service of,
the shape of things to come,
regardless of the implications
that might have for us personally. It is living in a
“Thy will, not mine, be done”
kind of way—
as a servant of grace
at work in our life.
Grace is a gift of perception
that allows us to see the good in all things.
The source of anger and frustration in our life
can also be the source of compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and love—
can also be the source of creativity, good humor, patience and resiliency—
can also be the source of our growing up, awakening, enlightenment and peace—
can be what is needed to deepen, expand and enlarge us. No one ever became a True Human Being
with everything going his, or her, way.
Grace may go our way,
or transcend our way,
transform our way,
enabling us to see the good
in a multitude of ways.
We do it for the love of the game.
If you don’t love the game,
you are playing the wrong game.
You have to get in THE game!
Not knowing what game we are playing
is the easiest thing—
thinking we are playing one game,
when we are actually playing another,
is not knowing what game we are playing. What game are you playing?
That’s the question all the gurus and masters ask us.
Jesus came asking it.
The Buddha asked it.
Rumi asked it.
The Prophet asked it.
Gandhi asked it. All of them were into playing the right game.
Too many play a different game.
Call it “the getting ahead game.”
buying, spending, amassing, consuming,
in the service of wealth and privilege,
fortune and glory.
Others play “the survival game.”
just getting by
desperate and consumed, themselves, by desperation
in an “eat or be eaten” world,
to be hated,
or borne with resignation and hopelessness
until death takes them away. The gurus and masters rejected wealth
and were poor without hating it.
They played a different game—
and they did it for the love of the game,
whether or not things went their way
(And they never go anyone’s way for long). Call it, Being Alive.
Be Alive in the time and place of your living
regardless of your context and circumstances.
Do it for the love of that game.
Our work generally consists of two things: 1) Putting ourselves in accord with
(Coming to terms with,
Making our peace with,
Being in right relationship with):
The context, nature and circumstances
Of the “here and now”
Of our living conditions. 2) Aligning ourselves with who we are
so that the life we live reflects
our own nature and qualities,
gifts, passions and interests,
and is a transparent expression
of the truth of the person who is living it—
in each situation as it arises. That’s it.
What do you need to do The Two Things?
Answering that question
Is The Third Thing. Your mission is to spend the rest of your life
in the service of these three things.
We are responsible for the response
we make to the experience of being alive.
We can talk about the poor quality
of our parenting and upbringing,
and wail about the lack
of opportunities and possibilities,
and write ourselves excuse after excuse
for being unable to do anything
with this sorry old life,
and shirk all responsibility for doing anything
with the miserable hand
we were dealt
and the shoddy lot that befell us, We are responsible for that response.
Other people have done more with less.
Where does that leave us?
With squaring ourselves up with ourselves,
looking our life in the eye,
living transparent to ourselves
from this point on,
and doing what can yet be done
with the life that waits for us
to get out of bed in the morning,
just as it is,
every day that we get out of bed.
If you are going to judge people,
extend to them the grace
of looking at them with the unbiased eye
of an actual judge,
and not an audience. Too many people look without seeing,
listen without hearing,
and talk without saying anything. Too many people live as unconscious
extensions of the culture,
with an opinion about everything
and knowledge of nothing. See what you look at.
hear what you listen to
and what you are saying.
know whereof you speak
before you say anything.
Become what you seek.
Be what you need.
This is all there is to it.
We have everything we need
to live transparent to ourselves,
aligned with ourselves,
at one with ourselves,
integrated with ourselves,
true to ourselves,
and so be True Human Beings
within the context and circumstances of our life,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long. All it takes is getting out of the way,
knowing what we know,
and understanding that we are
just along for the ride.
We cannot be true to ourselves
without contradicting ourselves.
Being true to ourselves
requires us to “live a lie.”
The lie is a necessary aspect of the truth. For example (You’ve heard it before):
the Dalai Lama’s bodyguards carry automatic weapons.
You can’t be more contradictory than that.
We all have to be at least that contradictory.
There has to be more to each of us than meets the eye—
even our own eye!
We cannot hide that from ourselves,
lie to ourselves,
pretend to ourselves that we are
only who we say we are. Living transparent to ourselves
allows us to be necessarily antithetical
in the one life we have to live
and always open to the possibility
of surprising ourselves
with something we never saw coming.
The way things are is not the way
we have been told that they would be.
This is the primary realization
leading the way to all the ones that follow.
How we follow it is crucial to our development.
The way things are is not the way
we have been told that they would be—
What? Where do we go from here?
Everything hangs on our answer to:
Here, we are at the swing point
to a number of possible futures.
How we answer the question
leads us further away from, or ever closer to,
the Self at the center of the “I.”
Everything hangs on what we say. ”What a slippery slope this is!”
You can’t pare it down.
There are no shortcuts.
Our whole life is our practice.
We live to be transparent to ourselves,
reading our nighttime dreams,
and our daytime flights of fantasy,
reflecting on our drifts of mood and mind,
for insight into the ways
and workings of our inner world,
in order to relate that world to our life
In the outer world of normal, apparent, reality. We bridge the worlds!
Connect the worlds!
Harmonize the worlds!
So that inner and outer are one world—
and who we are,
that we might be fully,
alive in the life we are living. We cannot do that on the side,
in our spare time,
while we tend the important matters
with the full focus of our complete attention.
Our life is the only thing that matters.
We live to bring ourselves to life
in the time left for living.
Good religion doesn’t kill anyone.
Doesn’t hate anyone.
Doesn’t condemn anyone.
Doesn’t focus on converting anyone.
Doesn’t spend its time talking about anyone.
Doesn’t care who is saved and who isn’t.
Isn’t obsessed with sin and sinners.
Isn’t interested in proving it is the only religion.
Has no time for debates or discussions about theology, doctrine and dogma.
Thinks it is enough to know what your own business is and mind it, tend it, do it, and let that be enough.
Our inner world has a stake
in the life we are living in the outer world—
in the life we are living. Soul isn’t interested in spectating,
and strives to make itself real—
vital, not virtual—
in the way we go about living
in the world of normal, apparent, reality. How soulfully do we live?
How much playing time do we grant Soul each day?
How seriously to we take Soul’s need for self-expression?
When is the last time we listened to Soul?
Invited Soul’s guidance through the daily maze? Soul is sometimes called Psyche,
and sometimes called the Unconscious
because we are unconscious of Soul’s, Psyche’s,
reality, nature, aims and ways. Yet, Soul speaks to us in our nighttime dreams,
and our daytime flights of fantasy—
through our symptoms,
and sensations. We are all psychic,
as Psyche’s children should be,
and have only to learn the language of Soul,
and align ourselves with Soul’s leanings,
to enter the partnership that seeks our participation,
transforming and revitalizing what’s left to be lived.
Listen to your body.
Your body will tell you how it is with you.
Move away from people who make you uncomfortable.
This is Fortune Cookie wisdom. You wouldn’t eat a rancid Fortune Cookie.
Why do you stay in the company of a rancid personality?
Your body tells you, “Don’t eat this cookie!”
”Don’t stay in the proximity of this person!”
Why would you override your body’s instruction?
Why would you allow social convention to overrule
your body’s wisdom?
You have to be the champion of your own cause!
The hero of your own princess-held-hostage!
To The Rescue! On Guard! To Arms! To Arms!
Do not eat the rancid cookie!
We are in charge of our own salvation.
Salvation is restoration.
We are responsible for restoring ourselves
to ends worthy of us—
to a life that is worthy of us.
We are responsible for finding our way
to the life that is our life to live—
that only WE can live. We cannot be satisfied with a life anyone could live.
Our life cannot be like that of one cow following another
from the barn to the pasture back to the barn.
Our life has to be uniquely our own,
reflecting and expressing who we are
and what means the most to us. We are charged with bringing ourselves forth,
and gifting US to the world.
We save ourselves by restoring ourselves to our life
and living at-one with who we are
in the deepest sense of the word
in the time left for living. We start by listening to our dreams and fantasies,
We already know what we need to know.
We only need to know what we know,
and have the courage to live it into being.
We ground ourselves,
give shape and form to ourselves,
through the work of our hands and body
in the outer world of normal, apparent, reality. If we are lost,
on the inside,
it is important that we work with stones,
or dig in the earth (the ground),
or rearrange the furniture in our house
with a specific design in mind,
in order to settle the unsettled nature of our inner world. We bring ourselves into focus—
integrate the disparate aspects of our Psyche—
and restore our souls,
by physically moving things into place
In the outer world. We live ourselves into place
by consciously applying the metaphor,
Thou Art That,
to our life in specific ways,
so that Inner reflects Outer,
and we become still by being busy
with the work of our hands and body,
arranging things “in here”
by arranging things “out there.”
We participate as full partners
in our own reclamation,
restoration, And hell is not something
that happens when we die,
but what happens in our life
when we refuse the invitation
to collaborate in the work
of becoming who we are. We cooperate with ourselves—
with our Self at the center of the “I” —
when we seek the Self at the center of the “I,”
and move from the known to the unknown,
from what we are conscious of about ourselves
to what we are unconscious of about ourselves. We enter a new world—
the world of inner reality—
and find there amazing resources—
not to use as we will in the service of the “I”—
but to equip
and enable our work,
in the service of the Self
at the center of the “I.” We have to give up our idea of our life
in order to find and live our LIFE.
And that’s the catch that keeps things as they are.
We cannot live without dying to all we think of as life.
You see the problem.
This is what it means to bear our own cross.
Crucifixion and resurrection in real time everyday.
We are afraid of pain.
The pain of loneliness,
.. Our life consists of denying the pain,
running from the pain,
hiding from the pain,
escaping the pain.
We have to bear the pain.
We have to face it,
and wait it out. Waiting the pain out
is the key to reconciling
ourselves to it,
and putting it in its place. It will always be with us, but.
In waiting it out,
we know it isn’t the final word.
comes to life—
or will if we are waiting out the pain
and not nurturing, nourishing it forever,
refusing to let it go. If that’s our story, we cannot be helped, but
if we are waiting it out,
a shift will occur,
a light flickers,
something catches our eye,
hope and courage ignite,
and before you know it,
we are coming back to life. Amazing.
Grace in the darkness,
birthing us again.
We are a lazy lot,
and have a lot of inertia to overcome
in taking up the work
of the spiritual journey. My friend Ogi was talking about his friends in AA
when he said, “All we ever wanted was smooth and easy,”
but he could have been talking about all of us,
and all of our ancestors and progeny. “Smooth and easy” about raps it up.
We like the idea of the spiritual journey,
but the word “practice” puts us off.
We don’t what to have to actually DO anything to be spiritual.
Taking up the practice of mindful meditation
is asking too much. We hear about “tools for the Journey,”
and we have an immediate affinity
with the guy who said,
”Just tell us what to believe, Preacher,
and don’t meddle with our lives!” Smooth and Easy
Are the Scylla and Charybdis of the Journey,
and keep us from ever making the trip.
What needs to happen, here, now, next?
That is our question to answer in each here, now, of our life. We answer it in light of our present situation,
and in light of all that has happened up to this point,
and in light of what needs to happen from this point on. We answer it in light of what has been done to us,
and in light of what we have done in response.
In light of what we have done,
and in light of what has been done in response.
In light of our values,
and the character we live to express in,
even as it is shaped by,
the circumstances in which we live. Taking all of this,
and the context and circumstances
what needs to happen, here, now, next? It helps me to be still
and quiet for a while,
and see what occurs to me.
I recommend that procedure
to all who have the luxury
of time and silence.
What would have helped me
Would have been some early, middle, and late
Lessons in mindfulness. Or, just living with mindful people. Being with people who were
.. Who weren’t afraid to ask questions.
Who were reading, and writing, poetry.
Who were creative and imaginative.
Who were self-reflective,
and capable of examining everything they saw,
In light of everything else they saw,
and thought. Who believed more in the value of hypotheses
than in the value of rules.
Who knew the importance of music beyond hymns.
Who danced and laughed,
and indulged regularly in joy for no reason. I would have been a lot better off
with a different set of people in my life,
Maybe, you know what I mean.
The problem is time. We don’t realize how precious it is early enough.
Whave to be intensely aware of each moment,
And how we might use it
to bring forth the life that is ours to bring forth—
giving birth to new ideas,
.. How to make the most of each day
includes being quiet,
in order to see
what needs us to do it each day—
and to take our time with doing it,
so that we do it
the way it needs to be done. There is no time to lose.
What needs to be done
cannot be hurried.
It is like yeast in the dough,
and seeds in the earth,
and six eggs hatching under a sitting hen.
We spend our life
trying to get together
It would help to know
that from the start.
And be given tips and suggestions
for how we might go about it. We are told nothing about the things that matter.
They leave it up to us
to figure it out on our own
Over long stretches of time. It starts out with our not knowing
what’s wrong with us.
It’s like we are never quite satisfied,
no matter how much we have.
It’s like we are looking for something,
we don’t know what.
But we think it might be
found in the eyes of strangers,
0r on the other side of the sea.
Somewhere far away
and difficult to get to.
All we know is we are dissatisfied
and troubled by a nagging sense
that there is something more.
Something we are unconscious of
is trying to become conscious. Our Self is seeking us!
Whispering our name.
Winking at us in a multitude of ways.
Appearing as a mirage in the desert,
a ghost in the night.
Flirting with us, What we seek is as near as our next breath,
But it may as well be in a deep cave
in a high mountain
on the backside of Tibet,
for all the good being close does. We were separated at birth
from our antenatal best friend,
and almost remember what we lost—
almost know how good life would be
with him, with her, to collaborate with,
enjoying the wonder of Two being One
for the rest of our life.
Our Other Self is always
trying to get our attention.
things that occur to us out of nowhere,
things we find ourselves doing without intending to,
saying without meaning to… All are visitations from our invisible Other—
Invitations to sit down,
and be fully available
to that which is always present with us,
yet unknown to us. How can this be?
How can we not know our Other Self?
How can we be as old as we are
and know as little as we do
about the world within? We were enlisted to bring that world
with us when we came forth from the womb,
and to bring it to life
in the world of space and time. But there were none to help us
remember our mission
reconnect with our purpose,
and live the life that was prepared for us
before we were born—
the life that only we can live—
and can still live yet,
if we only realize the irrepressible truth
of the Inner Other
as one who is full available
to that which has been
forever present with us,
and say something on the order of,
“Help me help you
become as real as I am
in the time we have left to live.” And mean it.
Kobe Brant, in talking about his team,
the Los Angeles Lakers, said,
“You aren’t going to make a cat bark.
And yelling at it isn’t going to help.
At some point, you just have to sit back
and enjoy what can be enjoyed about the ride”
(Or words to that effect). We think our Other Self can be taught to bark,
and agree to sign on with it
with the understanding—
all on our part—
that our Other Self will do things our way. Thinking this way gives us “The Prayer of Jabez”
and “The Law of Attraction,”
wherein if we do things a certain way,
we’ll get a barking cat,
and everything will be just rosy. Jesus put it this way:
“Those who seek to save their life
will lose it, and those who lose their life
in the service of that which is greater than they are
will gain it” (Or words to that effect). Our Other Side will eat our old life—
and the life of our happy fantasies—alive.
When we sign on with our Other Side,
we get the life that only we can live,
pouring out, We have to give up our idea of life
in order to come to life
and be fully, wholly, alive. Always.
The trade off.
If you can square up with that,
you have it made.
And can sit back and enjoy
all that is to be enjoyed
about the ride.
And, it will be quite a ride. But the cat won’t be barking.
Our Other Self possesses
full working knowledge
of the blueprint that is ours
to bring forth in our life. We each have a life that is as unique to us
as our fingerprints or the patterns of our irises.
There is no one like us,
What do we mean,
trying to fit in,
by looking like them
and doing it like they would do it?
The idea is to be who we are,
living the life that is our life to live,
serving the good of ourselves
and the good of humankind.
By being true to ourselves,
we bring forth what is most needed
in service to the whole.
The individual realizing herself,
as a true human being
is the hope of the world.
And our Other Self has in hand
the template that is ours
to effect and implement.
It is our place to get together
with our Other Self,
enter into full collaboration with our Other Self,
and live the life that is
our joint life to live
in the time left for living. You might say our sole responsibility
is to our soul throughout what remains of our life.
Inside and outside compliment each other,
dance with one another,
become one with the other. We take this as confirmation
of being on the beam,
in the zone,
at one with the flow of our life. If an opportunity arises
without sparking our
interest and enthusiasm,
let it go. If what we are interested in
and enthusiastic about
finds nothing but
locked doors and dead ends,
don’t keep insisting on being a rock star,
or the next Michael Jordan. Read the outer signs and the inner signals.
Seek resonance and ratification.
Just because something invites you
doesn’t make it inviting.
Just because you want something
doesn’t mean it’s right for you. But when outer clicks with inner,
Smile to yourself,
And see where it goes.
To live in conscious relationship
with the present moment
is to be aware of whatever is happening now.
Our awareness contains everything
we are capable of being aware of.
It is all here, now.
It is all contained in awareness.
Receive it well,
See how long you can be aware
of being aware of the moment
that is eternally now.
We cannot rest in the full awareness of the moment
and be embroiled in the moment.
We cannot be alive to the moment
and be directed by the moment,
controlled by the moment.
We are not the moment.
We live in the moment,
choosing in the moment of our living
how best that is to be done. Some ways of living are better than others.
Some ways of living are much worse than others.
Living as those who are owned by the moment
forfeits the option of seeing what is happening,
knowing what is needed,
and responding in ways
that take the allness of the moment
into account. Seeing things as they are
avoids rote responses,
rushes neither to judgment
nor to solution,
listens carefully to what
is being said
and not being said,
recognizes that what is on the line
in any situation
may not be what appears
to be on the line—
and responds to what is on the line.
Everything relating to our growth and development
as individuals and True Human Beings
is grounded upon,
and flows from,
our living out of,
our own personal authority. We have to live the life
we say is worth living.
We have to live in the service
of what we declare to be of value.
We have to express,
incarnate who we know ourselves to be.
We have to make our own calls
regarding what we say yes to
and no to. All of this hinges
upon our achieving
the right kind of compassionate
with the other people in our life.
It’s important that they matter to us,
but not so much that they stand in our way.
A life worthy of us
comes down to our ability
to work out the ratios,
and know where to draw the lines
separating who we are
from who others would have us be.
If we could live
any aspect of our experience,
so that each situation
were transparent to us,
and we were transparent to ourselves,
we would be able
to live there with superhuman powers
of comprehension and integrity,
seeing and doing what needed to be done
in the service of the highest/deepest values
and the good of the entire world. Mindfulness leads the way.
If you are going to practice anything,
attentive to and aware of,
without evaluation or opinion,
what is present with you
in each situation as it arises—
doing so will transform your life and the world.
We cannot live with integrity without living mindfully.
We cannot live mindfully without living with integrity.
Integrity is the alignment of inner with outer,
so that we are who we are.
Integrity is the essential characteristic of God:
”Tell them ‘I Am Who I Am’ sent you!”
When we are mindful enough to know who we are,
we have no excuse for failing to be who we are.
How can we face ourselves in living contrary to ourselves,
Our fundamental responsibility is to be who we are
in each situation as it arises
for the good of the situation—
in an “I came not to be served, but to serve”
kind of way.
It is our place—
the place of individuals
to raise the level of authenticity,
and integrity in the world. We live these things into being.
We raise the level of authenticity by being authentic.
We raise the level of genuineness by being genuine.
We raise the level of integrity by being integrated—
by living in ways that are integral with that which
is deepest, best and truest about us,
in ways that are at one with our Best Self,
which would be our Other Self,
the Inner Self we also are. We raise the level of authenticity,
by being mindfully,
of how things are with us and about us,
and how they also are—
without evaluation or opinion. Just knowing how things are (and also are),
changes how things are (and also are).
Knowing what we are dismissing,
changes our relationship with those things,
and enables us to know better what we are doing.
Knowing better what we are doing
is all that is necessary
to change what we are doing
in ways that are beneficial
to ourselves and others,
and the world will be better off for it.
There is no plan.
Life unfolds according to its own purpose,
in its own time.
are not yours and mine
to do with as we please
at a time
in a manner
that is pleasing to us. We wait for the propitious time,
the fullness of time,
when the time is right,
and our life unfolds before us
and the way opens to us
and it is as though
this is the moment we have been waiting for,
all that time we were
wondering what we were doing
and what we are here for. We are all caterpillars
waiting to fly.
Do you think when caterpillars
have their conventions,
and weekend retreats,
anybody ever talks of flying?
We are all caterpillars
waiting to fly.
I see my place in your life
as being that of putting you
in touch with your life—
in touch with the idea
that you have a life—
not the one you are living,
the one that is yours to live. I’m here to goad you into considering
what you are doing
and how you feel about
what you are doing.
How do you feel about the life you are living?
How well does it fit you?
Is there any sense of being out of place somehow,
of this being not quite it, somehow? I’m here to nag you into squaring up with
how it is with you,
and into wondering how it
might be even yet.
I’m here to throw questions at you
until one strikes a cord, hits home,
and you look at what you are doing,
and what you might do in addition,
or instead. I’m here to deepen,
your awareness of you
and your possibilities for life—
your awareness of what is struggling
to come to life in your life,
and how you might be alive
in the life you are living. I trust you’re getting your money’s worth.
In each situation,
there exist possibilities f
or the unique,
the unheard of,
the blasphemous… All available for consideration and implementation
for those with eyes that see,
ears that hear, and hearts that are courageous
and capable of doing what cries out to be done. Jesus said, “Those of you with eyes,
dare to open them!
And see what is before you!
Those of you with ears, dare to unstop them!
And hear what is begging for your attention!”
(Or, words to that effect.) What needs to be seen is waiting to be seen.
What needs to be heard is waiting to be heard.
What is keeping the seeing from happening?
The hearing from being done?
We can’t say, “Give God the Glory!” when things go our way
Without understanding the importance of saying,
“Give God the Glory” when things do not go our way.
What does having our way have to do with praising
What is sometimes called “God”? God,
is the source of all things great and small,
good and bad.
It is all Grace to eyes that see.
Everything is a step on the way to being who we are.
What do we need to be who we are?
We already have it!
It came with us from the womb!
Under what conditions
would it be impossible to be who we are? All theology is bad theology.
All theologians are bad theologians.
We cannot talk about what we know
in terms of what we don’t know.
All theology is hearsay. All theology is heresy—
and the rock solid truth—
in that it exposes the absurdity
Of saying, “This is absolute and final truth!”
about what we don’t know. Darkness is necessary for seeing the light.
Too much light is as bad for seeing
As too little light.
Too much light is as darkness. Darkness and light are one thing, not two.
Move to the center.
Avoid the extremes.
Live from the heart and let things take their course.
The hardest things are remembering who we are
and what we are about—
staying on track,
living aligned with our life,
in sync with our Other Self,
at one with who we are and also are
in each situation as it arises,
keeping our balance,
maintaining our focus,
remaining grounded in what is important,
centered in the heart of what matters most. The Buddha under the Bo Tree,
the Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane,
stayed true to themselves
and are models for all regarding how to do it.
But the way is straight and the gate is narrow,
and what a slippery slope it traverses!
Thus the necessity of the practice,
and the helping community,
and the connection with our Other Self,
all along The Way.
- 01/03/2016We change our relationship with our experience
by being mindfully, compassionately, aware of it,
without evaluation or opinion. When we change our relationship with our experience,
we change its impact on us.
when we change the impact our experience has on us,
we reshape our life. Being compassionately mindful of our experience,
transcends evaluation, opinion,
and the emotional reaction that accompanies them,
softens the impact of our experience,
and enables us to be emotionally balanced in our relationship to it. Jon Kabat-Zinn says,
“Mindfulness is moment-to-moment
cultivated by paying attention
to what is happening now.” Mindfulness simply requires us to see what is happening,
internally and externally,
as it is happening,
without evaluation or opinion. As we take up the practice of mindfulness,
we transform our life
and our Umwelt (Our lived environment as we experience it),
and restructure the world—
merely by being aware of it. Nothing alters things like being mindful of them
moment-to-moment. Give it a spin.
paying attention to the moment.
into your awareness,
and let your experience
be your experience.
Remain there for as long
as you are able.
And return as often
as you can.
Lets say you are a woman and I am a man,
and we fall in love with each other.
Or one of us falls in love with the other. The experience of falling in love
is not far from the experience of idolization,
wherein we idolize the other as The Perfect One,
all imperfections being unrecognized,
denied, This does not mean we
are well-suited for each other,
and should marry,
have many children
and live happily ever after. And it does not matter
if you actually possess the qualities
I ascribe to you
(or you to me).
You may not be courageous and kind at all,
but the meanest coward who ever cut and ran.
It is how I see you that causes me
to fall in love with you
(And it is who you turn out to be
that causes me to divorce you, sometime later).
Being in love is not related to reality in any way.
The experience of being in love
is no predictor of the viability
of the relationship.
Maybe, maybe not. The experience of being in love
is an indicator that the other
has stirred within us our unrealized
potential for being The Perfect One
we see exemplified in the other. We project what we do not recognize
as needing to be developed within ourselves
onto the other.
The other stands before us as a mirror,
reflecting back to us our own projections
onto him, onto her,
and we see in the other what is missing,
but available to be realized,
within us. You are the woman I need to become.
I am the man you need to be.
I need to become like you in ways
I see you being you,
and you need to become like me
in ways you see me being me.
My work is to become the woman
I see you as being,
Your work is to become the man
you see me as being,
My woman needs to be like you.
Your man needs to be like me.
I must spend my life working
to bring you to life in me.
You must spend your life working
to bring me to life in you. In this way,
we “marry” the other,
plight “thee” our troth
through sickness and health,
wealth and poverty,
good times and bad,
’til death do us part if then. Developing my feminine side,
developing your masculine side,
is the androgynous work of soul
wherein the two
sides of our personality,
male and female,
human being. It has nothing to do
with merging two individuals
into the same person
The merger is not an outer,
but an inner,
which we pursue as a conscious work of soul
over the full course of our life,
whether we marry
each other in real time,
We live in a culture that places
a high premium on being happy.
“I just want to be happy”
is the mantra of the day, every day.
We generally think of being happy as an add on.
It is something that comes
with having something we don’t have,
or doing something we aren’t doing. I propose that we think
of being happy as a take away.
Getting rid of all the things
that are standing between us and being happy. Asking, “What would it take to make you happy?”
Generally gets a response
on the order of,
“More money and time to travel and do the things I enjoy.” Asking, “What can you do right now
to begin doing things you enjoy?”
Generally gets a response
on the order of, “I would have to get away.”
We are living lives we have to escape
in order to be happy.
This is weird.
Why would we do that? Instead of asking, “What would it take to make me happy?”
Ask, “What is standing between me and happiness?”
It will come down to duties,
drains on your time
and attention. Start shucking them.
Pare them down to the absolute minimum.
Say “No” throughout your life.
It will be like going on a holiday
without leaving home.
And if you can’t do that,
if you can’t reduce your current level of duties, etc.,
Look at what is standing in your way,
keeping you from doing it.
And work with that.
Much of what is wrong with us
can be transformed or transcended
By living with mindfulness
(which implies compassion
and complete absence of evaluation)
in a collaborative relationship with our Other Self
throughout what remains of our life. That being the case,
One would think
we would be quick to become proficient
In living mindfully in that kind of relationship. Nothing is more important
For our own personal future,
Or that of the world.
If there is nothing
you would go to hell for,
you aren’t invested in this life.
You’re just hanging out,
waiting to go to heaven when you die.You don’t have anything
worth living for,
worth doing with your life.
Your life is just in your way,
delaying heaven and all the glories
of forever everlasting. You are wasting this life
waiting for that one.
The person who buried
missed the point
and lost everything. Heaven is for people
who are right
about what is worth
going to hell for.
- 01/05/2016 —
In a 2007 talk at Google,
Jon Kabat-Zinn likened formal mindfulness meditation practice
(The Body Scan, for instance, or 45 minutes of Breath Counting)
to training wheels on a bicycle.
We practice formally to get our body
trained to do the work without
our having to think about it. The idea is to ride the bicycle without thinking about it.
Mindfulness meditation is
how we live our life,
not what we stop living for 20 or 45 minutes to do.
It is being mindfully
(Paying attention on purpose to the present moment),
throughout our day
(And paying attention to our dreams at night). Then, he takes the bicycle analogy a step further.
Bicycles can be ridden in races,
off pavement through potholes
and over tree roots in the woods,
fast or slow,
by small children
commuting to work and school,
around the block,
in the park,
for daily exercise,
or the simple pleasure of taking a ride. There are as many reasons and ways
to ride a bicycle as there are bicycle riders.
And, so it is with mindfulness meditation.
There is no right way to do it.
We ride our own bike.
We live our own life.
We meditate the way we meditate.
If it is right for us, it is right.
We all find our own path,
and walk it.
Find our own work,
and do it. Alan Watts once asked Joseph Campbell,
“Joe, what form does your yoga take?”
“I underline passages.”
There you are.
What form does your meditation take? It doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you do it.
Our personal authority is grounded
in our ability to say, “NO!
To ourselves. We cannot say, “NO!” to anyone else
until we can say, “NO!” to ourselves.
Where do you rein yourself in?
Where do you draw the line?
Impose restrictions, set limits?
What do you refuse to permit,
disallow? Self-discipline and self-restraint
are the heart of self-directed living.
Where are we violating our own curfews?
Ignoring our own boundaries? When are we going
to start taking “No”
for an answer?
Let other people strive to have more,
and to be somewhere else.
Live to be where you are,
enjoying what you have.
Relish your life,
and the experience of being alive. No matter where we are
or what we have,
it could be better in 10,000 ways—
But, here we are,
with a moment inviting us to be who we are—
which is all we can ever be, Why not here, now?
“Thy will, not mine, be done,”
sets us on a very unpredictable course. Do we mean it, is the question.
Do we trust ourselves to this extent
to our Other Self,
To The Invisible Other—
unknown but intuited and experienced
as numinous and real? Are we willing to put ourselves in the hands
of another whom we do not know? Who guides our boat on its path through the sea?
It is one thing to hand over control
at the end of our rope,
when our backs are too the wall,
and our front is to the Void,
when we have run out of options,
and have no choice but to throw ourselves
upon the good graces of the unknown
and hope for the best, but. To hand ourselves over in the thick
of The Pretty Good Life,
when things are going relatively well,
and we have hopes of better things to come,
right around the corner,
any day now,
and we are still awash in the glow of life as we like it—
why would we do that? Why would we hand over
something that is working well,
or almost working well,
for what could easily turn out to be
the complete loss of everything
we value and dream of? Who would say, “Thy will, not mine, be done”
when things are going well enough,
and nothing much is too bad wrong?
Jesus walked through crowds
of those who were sound asleep,
dreaming they were awake,
and said, “Wake up!
Come to your senses!
See what you are doing!” And they replied,
“Wake up, yourself, Sonny Boy!
You’re headed down a rough road
toward an end you won’t like!” That’s the way it always is
in the confrontation between
those who are awake
and those who are asleep,
dreaming they are awake. No one can wake anyone up.
We live ourselves awake,
if we wake up at all.
Reality eventually wakes up
those who can be awakened.
Yet, reality can always be interpreted
In ways that take the alarm clock into account,
and allow the dream to continue.
Dreaming we are awake, while sound asleep. Jesus left the dead to bury the dead.
It’s the only option.
The catch is, they killed him.
Being awake is no sanctuary.
Nothing trumps stupidity.
Happiness is getting out of the way. We think happiness is getting our way.
Happiness is getting out of our way.
Once we get out of our way,
the Way opens before us,
and things are right with us,
until we come up with a better idea,
and leave The Way
in order to pursue our way.
Where do you go for comfort and solace—
To calm yourself and restore your connection with soul? Drugs, sex and alcohol are popular attempts
at the comfort and solace part of the equation, but.
the backlash WHAM-O! impact takes them off the table
and exposes them as the fraud they are. Exercise, though, is good.
A long walk is about all the exercise I’m good for these days.
And the right kind of music.
I have a friend who says he can’t quiet down and be calm
unless he’s playing his electric guitar.
Another friend feels the same way about her drumming. Time immersed in nature does it for a lot of people.
I like to sit by a lake and watch the ducks flying in and out.
Or drive through the mountains.
Sunrises and sunsets,
Storms and clouds… It’s important to know what works for you,
and go there, do that, as often as necessary,
as a way of offsetting the draining effect
of “the world (that) is too much with us, late and soon.” Where do you go for comfort and solace—
To calm yourself and restore your connection with soul?
Our seeing is influenced by our emotions.
So is our thinking.
What we fear, want, don’t want, love, hate, desire, despise, etc.
determines how we see
and what we think about it.
Feeling dictates seeing and thinking. We don’t know what we are looking at
if it is so novel we have no feelings about it.
We don’t know what to think about it
if we don’t know how we feel about it. Feelings instruct our living,
guide our behavior.
If we are going to see and think,
we have to learn to see what we are feeling,
and think about it. We have to see how strongly we are influenced
by how we feel about things,
and think about it.
We have to reflect on the place of feeling
that we are unconscious of,
and work to become conscious of it. Otherwise, we will be at the mercy of those
who inflame our fears
and teach us to hate all that is novel and strange.
When Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says, in effect,
“If we don’t like a law,
we shouldn’t have to obey it
or enforce it,
or have it forced on us,”
And when Texas Governor Greg Abbott says, in effect,
“If we don’t like a law,
we shouldn’t have to obey it
or enforce it,
or have it forced on us,”
And when a mob of Oregon ranchers
takes over the office building
of a national wildlife refuge
and says, in effect, “if we don’t like a law,
we shouldn’t have to obey it
or enforce it, or
have it forced on us,”
They are committing treason,
and pushing the country toward anarchy. If you vote for a Republican,
you are voting for someone
who would have no problem
and joining in the push toward anarchy. The hope of the world
is for every US citizen
to register to vote,
and vote in every election,
no matter how small,
and never vote for a Republican. That is our only hedge
against treason and anarchy.
Surely, you can see that.
- 01/09/2016 —
Reality is contradiction. No one ever says “Welcome to the Real World”
when things are running smoothly
and going our way. The Real World is a world of conflict,
and edges. Carl Jung said,
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”
We don’t wake up
until required to do so
by circumstances that won’t take
our “NO!” for an answer,
and impose their own “NO!” on us. Contradiction is a reality that requires recognition,
that calls for reflection.
Reflection enables realization.
Realization is revelation,
transformation, Rites of passage are
encounters with contradiction,
and serve as points of reflection
through all stages of development,
leading to a new way
of being in the world—
the Real World—
where other contradictions await
along the path of the eternal process
of becoming conscious,
and growing up
We are responsible for the world
we create by our response to it.
I’m not saying you are responsible
for your husband’s abuse (Or, your wife’s).
I’m saying you are responsible
for the world you create
by the way you respond to your husband’s (wife’s) abuse. There is the abuse,
and there is the response to the abuse.
And the response creates the world
that opens up
in response to the response. The response is the fulcrum,
the turning point,
the change element. If you want to change things,
change the way you respond to things. You know your typical response pattern.
When “this” happens,
“that” always happens in response. Imagine ways you might change your response pattern.
What keeps you locked in the same behavior?
What would it take for you to be able to respond differently?
You have to work all of this out in you mind
before you effect it in your life. Imagine and rehearse, Kid, Imagine and rehearse.
Play out scenarios in your imagination.
Learn by imagining,
Put things in place there
before trying it out in real time. If you can be different in your mind—
and live with compassion
and acceptance for yourself there—
the transition from imagination
to actual will be a natural flow. And working with a good therapist will help.
All a part of being responsible for—
and conscious of—
the world we are creating
by our response to it.
- 01/10/2016 —
Being fully alive means living in ways
that allow you to know
what no one can tell you. Always doing what “Momma says,”
or following the black footprints laid out
by some self-help book,
or doing what Oprah tells you to do,
is going to put you in the thick of those
who do not know their own mind,
or trust themselves ever to do anything right. Those who know things worth knowing
listen to themselves,
follow their own heart,
live out of their own authority,
see with their own eyes,
hear with their own ears,
work out for themselves what it all means,
decide for themselves what matters most,
live in light of what is life for them,
know how to raise the level
of their own esprit de la vie,
and do what they love doing. But, don’t listen to me tell you what to do.
Listen to you.
Everything is a vehicle of revelation,
recognized and received,
discounted, It’s like this, she said,
pointing to a daffodil
growing from a crack
in the pavement.
“You can look at this flower
and see it,
Or not.” Eyes that see, see—
the white rabbit,
the universe in a grain of sand… Eyes that don’t see miss everything.
Seeing what we look at,
and looking at all of it,
is the primary practice.
Blair Walsh missed a chip shot field goal
in the waning moments
of the Minnesota Vikings’
wild-card play-off game
with the Seattle Seahawks,
and the Seahawks won the game 10 – 9. It was a resounding failure
with everything on the line,
viewed by football fans across the nation.
He will never outlive the shame
of his inability to do his job and win the game. He has only one remaining alternative.
He has to forgive himself.
Simple as that.
He missed the field goal from point blank range.
He can’t miss the follow up: FORGIVENESS!
Surely, he won’t miss that!
They won’t allow him to miss that, will they? We are all always missing it.
The obvious choice goes unchosen
by those who prefer a life of remorse,
shame and sorrow.
You know who I’m talking about now, don’t you?
You look at him, you at look her,
in the mirror every day, don’t you?
You have to forgive yourself! Don’t delay it one minute more!
“You Are Forgiven!”
And let it go.
It. Go. I don’t care how big it was.
Because. It. Is. You will never get better advice.
Why not take it?
Bigger screw-ups are possible
for all of us in the future.
for the ones in the past,
Members of the Christian Church
are always wanting everybody
to “Put Jesus first!”
and to “Make Jesus the center of your life!”
and to “Do What Jesus Would do!”
Conveniently refusing to ask,
“Who would Jesus kill because they were black?”
Or, “Who would Jesus turn away because they were immigrants?”
Or, “Who would Jesus chastise,
because they were LGBTQ?” And, conveniently ignoring the blatant,
impossible to overlook,
fact that Jesus lived out of accord
with every social convention
and Book of Order of his day. To ask Jesus how he would do anything
would be to beg the reply,
“Not the way they say it ought to be done, Kid.
Not the way they say it ought to be done!” Leaving us exactly where Jesus was,
and would have us be in each situation
that comes along—
deciding what needs to be done
and doing it because it needs to be done,
then and there,
without regard for any other consideration. Jesus raised the dead sometimes,
and other times,
he left the dead to bury the dead.
Jesus forgave a guilty woman
and cursed an innocent fig tree.
Jesus fulfilled the law commanding,
“Be perfect as God is perfect,”
by breaking every law defining
what that would be. To do it the way Jesus would do it,
we have to do it the way
WE would do it without worrying
about what anybody,
might think. With Jesus like that at the center of our life,
even the Buddha
and the Prophet
not to mention Moses
and Abraham. And the “Us vs THEM” craze
is carried away as nothing more
than dust in the wind
of the Spirit that blows where it will—
because we are all one
with Jesus and each other
in the situation that is unfolding
before us right now,
presenting us with an opportunity
to do there
what needs to be done
as only we can do it.
Our life is our practice.
We cannot live in ways
that are at odds with our life
and be alive on any level
more vital and vibrant
than being 98.6 and breathing. Vital signs have nothing to do with vitality.
We can be alive on a level that has nothing to do with LIFE. Our LIFE is that which experiences
with the heart of Life and Being. Our LIFE requires us
to take up the practice of being alive—
of finding our LIFE and living it—
Throughout each day. We have consciously seek out
what has life for us,
live in ways that connect us
with the things that have life for us,
and work things
that have life for us
into the life we are living. The aim and goal is for
the life that we are living
to revolve around,
flow to and from,
the things that have life for us. Our life is our practice,
And our practice
is being alive in the life we are living. Where would you place yourself
on a Vitality Scale,
With 1 being mostly dead
and 10 being vibrantly,
alive? What can you do
in the next 24 hours
to begin moving up the scale?
If Mozart could have lectured about,
his art so that anybody
with the proper amount
and time spent at the task
could have composed as Mozart composed… Would it have been right for Mozart
to duplicate himself a thousand times over? Would it have been right for the Duplicates
to forego their own particular gifts and life
for the sake of being another Mozart? What have all those Elvis impersonators given up,
in their lifelong longing to be The King? All this, of course, is about Jesus,
and how wrong it is to forsake ourselves
for the sake of doing it like Jesus would do it. Jesus did it like Jesus would do it.
It’s been done.
Duplicates of Jesus are not Jesus.
Anymore than Elvis impersonators are Elvis. If we are going to do it like Jesus did it,
we are going to have to do it like we would do it.
Exactly like we would do it,
down to the most minute detail. We have to be who we are
whether we want to be or not.
It would not be right to be anyone else.
The word at the center of all practice is: Compromise is the path to the Land of Promise.
Compromise is the nature of the journey.
We all walk two—or many more—paths at the same time.
How well we do that tells the tale. The Dalai Lama preaches non-violence and compassion
and has armed body guards.
Compromise is the path between conflicts, polarities.
We have to make our compromises conscious,
or live a lie. When we live fully,
we live transparent to ourselves,
and consciously maintain the tension
of the opposing contradictions,
bearing in our body
the pain of the “cross” of opposites. The easy way to do it is to renounce
our ties with the world
and the world’s claim upon us,
and move into a monastery,
or, better, into a cave in the Himalayas,
and tell people how to structure a life of holiness
in the world we left behind. If it can be done,
we should stay there and do it:
“the full catastrophe!” Give me a Bodhisattva who has done it that way,
And stop talking
of those who drift down from their retreat
to deliver a Sutra when they feel like it
as though holiness can exist apart from
the hell of continual compromise! Tevya remains a master apart from “the masters”!
and, he is fictional—
yet, the model of how to do it.
We have to have the freedom
to find our own life and live it.
Our spirit demands it.
Our circumstances disfavor it.
There you are.
The stage is set.
We step onto it and play our part—
The one assigned to us by our circumstances,
and the one required of us by our spirit. The Army has a term for it:
“Defect in place!”
We don’t have to go AWOL,
or mount armed resistance,
to have an active life in the underground movement
of soul coming forth in our life. We only have to bear the pain
of the conflict consciously,
as we pay lip service to the one
while living in unwavering allegiance to the other— Making sure we put the right one in its proper place in our life.
I hate disturbances in the flow of life. Intrusion.
Refusal to cooperate.
The Abomination of Desolation… And I have no idea of how to guarantee
the good faith participation of everyone in life
for the mutual benefit of all living things.
And, therein lies my problem. We have to do our work,
and trust our neighbors to do theirs.
We all need better neighbors.
I wonder where that neighborhood
is to be found.
We spend a lot of time getting things in place.
If someone asks us what we are doing with our life,
we can say simply, “I’m getting things in place.”
If they say, “Well, it doesn’t seem like much is happening,”
we can say, “That’s the way it is when you’re getting things in place.” It is important, though,
that we are actually getting things in place.
We can’t just be waiting for things to fall into place.
For magic to happen,
for some Prince Charming to drive up,
or some Sleeping Beauty to plop down in our path. In order to be getting things in place,
we have to believe in what we are doing.
If someone asks us what we believe in,
we have to say we believe in what we are doing.
And if they ask us what we are doing,
we say, “I’m getting things in place,”
and mean it.
Give your hands what they want to do—
what they love to do—
and get out of the way. Your body knows what to do.
Listen to your body
and get out of the way. We are always dismissing our hands,
and not giving them what they want to do.
We are always dismissing our feet,
and not going where they want to go. Our hands know.
Our feet know.
Our place is to get out of the way
and know what our hands and feet know. We think our heads know it all.
We think our intellect is the center of knowing.
Our intellect is for putting the pieces together.
It has no idea what the pieces are.
We have to listen to know.
We have to feel to know.
We have to sense to know.
And trust what our senses tell us. To do that we have to get out of the way.
When we get out of the way,
there is The Way,
with our name on it,
wondering what took so long.
The place of our intellect
(the predominant function of our left hemisphere)
Would be that of discernment,
and deciding. The place of instinct and intuition—
Of feeling and sensing
(the predominant functions of our right hemisphere)
is to grasp the allness of the situation,
and tell the left hemisphere what needs doing
so the left hemisphere
can figure out the best way to do it. Neither commands
or directs the other,
and neither can
ignore or dismiss the other.
Both work together
for the good of the whole. We have to know what all we know
and what to do about it, with it,
so as to serve the common good—
and live in the best interests
of all living things.
We could take medication—
or over the counter—
and/or, drink alcohol straight from the bottle,
to enable us to live our life,
(or bear it), We could change our life.
The great difficulty involved
in making the choice to change
suggests to me
that we don’t think change is possible,
or that we like the idea of change,
but don’t have what it takes
to see change through. The burden of change is great,
and the life that change
would result in is not attractive.
Thus, we don’t opt for change. We need a different way of thinking about life,
Life is not automatic.
When does life begin?
Not at conception.
Not at birth.
Not at a six figure income.
Not, Not, Not… Life begins when we wake up to life beyond—
and quite other than—
our idea of life.
We have to change our idea of life
and, open ourselves to the experience
of life in a way
that would make any sacrifice
in order to live it.
Our Program for our Life
quickly becomes a Pogrom
when one hemisphere (usually the left)
overrides the other hemisphere (usually the right). When we have a reason for everything we do,
and a schedule for doing it,
and we can’t fit in a minute
or bear the idea of being off schedule,
or having nothing to do—
we are saying
“Damn the shoreline!
FULL SPEED AHEAD!” Who is bearing the pain
of our refusal
to feel the pain
of our life?
Who is the symptom carrier in our family? Who is the sickly one,
the one who is forcing us off schedule,
into waiting rooms
It could be the dog. What are we saying to ourselves—
what is being said to us—
that we aren’t heeding? We have to notice.
Every time we dismiss,
anything in our life.
And bear the pain
The Hero’s Journey
to the Land of Promise,
Or wherever it is
you think we’re going
to be when we get there—
winds through the heart of Gethsemane
and across the face of Golgotha,
For each one of us,
time after time,
across all times and places,
throughout our life.
It only takes living
to know it is so.
We get to what has always been called God
through our symptoms and our dreams. Both symptoms and dreams
are means the invisible world uses
to get our attention
and connect us with our life.
Our life flows from,
and leads to,
the Numen that has always been called God. If we want to know God,
we have to live our way there—
by aligning ourselves with the life that is ours to live,
that only we can live—
and bringing it to life within the life we are living. No theology,
no talk, talk, talk… Just finding our life and living it.
And, like that, there’s God,
laughing because it’s taken us so long to get it.
- 01/15/2016If you are going to worship anything,
worship your life. Worship the invisible, intangible, connections
between your heart—
the heart of who you are,
the center of your life and being—
and the visible,
or ways of incarnating
you in the world of time and space. You are a poem.
You live your life
and write the poem for all to see. You bring you forth
in the way you live.
Your life is a work of art
through which you become
realized in the medium
of material reality
by the way you consciously
align yourself inner with outer. You bring the Numen—
of you at the core of you—
to life in your life,
and create the miracle
of you in time and place. You worship life
the life you are.
- 01/15/2016If you are as vulnerable
as the rest of us are,
you will do anything
to be able to exercise control
And we all need
how much we need
to be in charge,
because we are not
over any of the things
that matter. We have to come to terms with—
make our peace with—
our vulnerability. We have to be as vulnerable as we are.
which is totally,
eternally No power.
Over any of the important things. We are always as though
we just stepped out of the womb.
We have to make our peace with that,
be at home with it,
work with it. Because that is where we are.
However, we fight against
the very idea of Terminal Vulnerability
all the way to the grave. We live out our life in denial,
At war with the very idea
that we should be vulnerable. Being fully alive begins
with our being as vulnerable as we are—
and working with it
to be who we are,
where we are,
how we are, How we do that is
the full scope
of the Hero’s Journey. Coming to terms with our vulnerability
is the essence
of that trip. Mindfulness leads the way.
We cannot be as vulnerable as we are
without living out of a collaborative relationship
with the force emanating
from the center of ourselves. Inner alignment is the key
to handling all outer threats
to our peace and well-being. The Buddha, seated under the Bo Tree,
was grounded within,
at one with himself,
unmoved by all that would unseat him—
and that remained so throughout his life. Finding our center is the same thing
as finding our life.
Our life flows from our center,
our center expresses itself in our life. Our vulnerability requires us to seek our center,
which enables us to live our life
in the face of all that would engulf us. Find the bedrock,
the foundation stone.
Live from there.
A National Parks Service motto says,
“Your safety is your responsibility.” We create the world we live in
by the way we live in it.
The key is to live in it consciously—
mindfully, compassionately, aware
of who we are
and what we are doing
and what its implications are. We have to live transparent to ourselves
in an opaque and shape-shifting world. People will not be who they say they are.
We will be blindsided in 10,000 ways.
We have to live so as to not blindside ourselves.
It’s hard enough with the lack of cooperation
from our circumstances.
We cannot refuse,
to cooperate with ourselves. We have to be able to count on ourselves
by living in a good faith relationship with ourselves.
The closer we are truthfully,
the better goes our life
on the heaving waves
of the wine dark sea.
Do things that are unheard of!
Live in ways no one would expect!
Be YOU in exceptionally creative,
and beautiful ways! Invent yourself anew in each situation
that cries out for what you have to offer! Why disappear into the usual fare?
Why hold anything back? Spend yourself completely each day,
And fall into bed
dreaming of ways
to do it again tomorrow.
Live to bring forth in each day—
in each moment of the day—
in each situation as it arises—
the wonder, amazement and joy
that babies and toddlers,
puppies, kittens and colts
bring forth simply by being who they are. We don’t have to TRY to be something special!
we only have to get out of the way
and be who we are,
without being underly or overly concerned
about what anyone is thinking,
or what it might look like
on our cumulative record,
or how something else
might spot us more of an advantage,
or enable us to better exploit the circumstances
for our immediate good and lasting benefit. Just live your life as only you can!
Find what is to be enjoyed and enjoy it!
Find what is to be loved and love it!
Find what is to be mourned and mourn it!
Find what is to be suffered and suffer it!
Be what is needed in each here and now of your living!
And let the outcome be the outcome!
- 01/17/2016 —
It takes stillness,
to achieve the level
required to reflect
on our experience
to the point of acquiring
new realizations. We have to see what we look at
from all sides,
and enter the dance
of holding all things
in our awareness
or opinion. We cannot do that amid
and interruptions. People have their best ideas in the shower.
There is a reason for that.
Showers are generally
and most solitary
time of the day. We also have revelations in our sleep
for the same reason. We increase our chances
by working time
into our day. If you don’t think you
have anything to reflect on,
just be quiet
for twenty minutes,
here and there. Watch what happens
Follow the thread of associations
and see where it goes. If it helps to write it out,
write it out.
We can have too many responsibilities
to be responsible for anything.
To have fewer responsibilities
is to be more responsible. Taking refuge in many responsibilities
is to avoid the work,
that characterize our service
to our primary responsibility: We are to bring
to life in our life. Our life revolves around
incarnating our Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self
within the circumstances
and context of our life. We live in allegiance to—
in honor of—
in all that we do. We live devoted
to the experience of
the Numen within
and to its expression in our life. This is our work,
Everything else falls
into place around this
R\revolves around it,
flows from it. In order to carry out our responsibility
to our Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self,
we have to arrange
our life to take it into account. We have to attend Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self
throughout each day.
We have to dance with
play with Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self,
in our coming out
and our going in
from this day forward
Theology and doctrine
have taken us as far as they can.
Explaining things that defy explanation,
making things literal
that can only remain forever metaphorical,
without allowing them
to raise more questions,
saying again and again
what cannot be said at all,
telling us to “have faith”
through all of its internal contradictions
(Never mind the external ones
it doesn’t begin to address!)
past all of its impasses
beyond all of its obstructions
(“Faith in what?” we say
“Faith in what we tell you
Even though it makes no sense.
That’s what faith is, you know,
Believing things that make no sense!”)
bringing true the old prophesy:
“They have healed
the wound of my people lightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
where there is no peace,”
making all things shallow,
killing the souls they pretend to save.
Their only talking point is this:
there is only the empty wasteland
and the Void!”
“You will be sorry if you do not
heed our warning,
and believe what we tell you—
especially that part about the 10%!!!”
It is well past time
that we lay them to rest,
And take our chances
on the truth of our own experience.
We will discover—
If we seek the way
seekers have sought
through the ages—
the empty wasteland
is filled with the presence
of what has always been called God,
and the Void is nothing more
than the absence
of what we have been told was
lasting truth of greatest value.
And we will find there
were we can hear at last
the beating of our own heart,
and see the light
that shines in the darkness,
and know the birthplace
of life and peace.
- 01/19/2016 —
working things out,
seeing how things fit,
being amazed. We all find our own way
to wherever we will be
when we get there. No one can hand us a map,
a tour guide,
an itinerary with check points
and time and distance calculations
for us to gauge how well we are doing. The first half of life is spent
figuring out what to do to pay the bills.
The second half of life is spent
figuring out what we pay the bills to do. We sit quietly,
and reflect on what we
have done with our life,
and imagine what we might yet
do in the time left for living.
We all are numinous at the core.
We all carry the Mystery—
the Numen— There is more to us than meets the eye,
even our own.
There is more to us,
each of us,
than can be said. Not one of us has ever had a motive
that we fully understood.
We don’t know why we like what we like,
and don’t like what we don’t like,
or want what we want,
or do what we do. We are lost to ourselves.
cast away from ourselves,
exclude ourselves from our company,
because nothing good can come from us,
or be found anywhere near us,
we have to get away from ourselves
to have a chance. And we know it.
when we recognize our place
in our own displacement,
and turn to ourselves
to be reconciled
and take up the work
of becoming whole.
Black people have always recognized,
and lived with the fact
of domestic terrorism
in the shape of white supremacy
that is now crossing racial lines
to take a more political form—
supported by the deafening silence
of Republican Party candidates
for the presidency,
and by elected Republican Party
members of congress
and state legislatures nationwide. The torching of the Lamborghini
owned by the Baton Rouge contractor
hired to remove 4 Confederate statues
from New Orleans
(who has since backed out of the contract)
cries out to be denounced and redressed. Republican leaders across the country
have to be unequivocal and relentless
in their opposition
to the kind of atmosphere
that cultivates the expression
and white supremacy. Their failure to do that
exemplifies who they are
at the level of their hearts—
and who they will be. Therefore, right-thinking people
of voting age in the United States
must register to vote,
vote in every election,
small and large,
and NOT vote for a Republican
or a member of the Tea Party
running as an independent
in any of those elections. Voting is our only tool
in creating a future
characterized by civility
and its concern for the common good
of all people—
which is how a democracy founded
“of the people, by the people, for the people”
should be. Register to vote. And don’t vote for a Republican.
In all elections,
great and small.
We live to make the connections between worlds.
We live in this world as envoys, as incarnations,
of the Numen at the center—
at the heart—
of us all. We live in this world
as though we are a world a part—
as though we are from another world,—
as “strangers in a strange land.” And carry the cross
of contradiction, separation,
estrangement. Uniting worlds
by exposing incompatibilities
bringing, not peace,
but a sword. Creating divisions.
bearing the pain.
that make us whole,
and unite us
with the source of all
at the center of ourselves.
The spiritual path is not the way to what we want.
There is no deal:
We give to God, God gives to us.
Thinking there is such a deal
is the fundamental problem
at the foundation of all bad religion. Give to Get.
The basis of every bad religion ever.
What can we do to make God happy
so God will give us
that land flowing with milk and honey,
where everyone lives out their life
and lives in good faith with everyone else? Baruch held out his hand
and asked for favors for being faithful,
and got his life as war booty. That’s as much as any of us get.
We have to square up with that
before stepping onto the spiritual path.
It is not the way to our idea
of having it made. The way that is the way
is the way of being who we are needed to be
by the context and circumstances of our life—
in each situation as it arises—
with nothing in it for us
beyond the satisfaction of a job well done. Why do it?
We get our life as a prize of war.
If that doesn’t interest you,
you don’t understand what it means to be alive. There is only one way to find out.
Be who you are needed to be
in the here and now of your living,
and step onto the path.
Where do you go to be vulnerable and safe? We cannot be transparent to ourselves
without being vulnerable and safe.
The proper ratio
of vulnerability and safety
is essential to wholeness, health and life. We can be too much on guard
for our own good.
We have to be able to relax,
and be safe,
in order to experience
and explore our life. All knowing flows from,
and leads to,
free and open inquiry
in an atmosphere of safety and vulnerability. Where do you go to be vulnerable and safe?
To experience both safety and vulnerability?
To be free?
It is about getting—
our ratios right.
We live on a continuum,
in every aspect of life. There is too close
and too distant,
Caring too much
and not caring enough,
Too many calories,
Too much exercise,
not enough. Like that.
Around the clock.
Throughout our life.
All our life long. We live to live from the center,
away from the extremes—
Except when an extreme
is necessary to counteract,
the opposite extreme. We are thermostats, of sorts,
keeping all facets of our life
within a normal distribution curve. It helps, I think,
check me out on this
in your own experience,
(Balancing me with you)
To take up this work—
the fundamental work of being human—
of maintaining right ratios across our life
consciously. To do it with awareness.
With compassionate mindfulness.
To know what we are doing.
And do it without hesitation
or loss of balance,
because that is what humans do.
We live from the center,
grounded in the heart of all matters,
for the good of the whole.
Living in accord with the Tao
is putting ourselves
in the service
of the Self
at the center of ourselves
and all things. It is being clear about who
and who we need to be,
and what is happening,
and what needs to be done about it,
in each situation as it arises— getting out of the way with our
and assisting what needs to happen
as a blessing and a grace
(which may, or may not,
be seen and recognized as such
by anyone there,
including ourselves). Jesus was crucified.
Lao Tzu lived in exile.
Don’t be looking
for peeled grapes
on satin pillows
as a reward
for living in accord with the Tao. Let your alignment with the Center
be reward enough,
be all the reward you need.
The Bundy Gang
is the latest in a long line
of outlaws in the Old West,
and their ilk is not limited
to a geographical location. Terrorists and thugs
hide out under white sheets
in the Deep South,
and call themselves War Lords
and the Islamic State
in the Middle East,
Boko Haram in Nigeria,
Are referred to as the Cosa Nostra
in Italy and beyond,
and the Drug Cartel in Central America. It’s the same Do It My Way Or Die theme
everywhere you go.
The backwash of civilization.
Thugism in the form of the Goths,
and Genghis Kann
is always at the gates,
and behind the scenes,
working to tear up what is being laid down
and destroy what is being achieved and created. Maybe we could talk to them.
Ask them to reconsider.
Reform their ways.
Or give everybody a gun. We never get far enough away from
the Shootout at the OK Corral,
and sow seeds of discord and discontent
with every advancement
and improvement imagined
and implemented. There is always something to not like,
and someone to not like it
and devise ways to blow it up.
The dance dances on
all through the eons of time
to music we can’t hear or resist.
After the physical needs
of food, clothing and shelter are met,
comes along the spiritual (because it is “of the spirit,”
“of the heart”)
need for meaning. Here’s one for you:
Money is not meaningful. Here’s another one for you:
More money is not more meaningful. “What is money for?”
is the question.
“How is money to be spent
in the service of meaning?” Where are you going to find meaning? Here’s a hint for you:
What have been the most
meaningful experiences of your life?
The Top 10 meaningful experiences? That should provide you
with all the direction
you need in your search for meaning. But, in case, you are still wallowing in confusion,
here’s another hint for you:
Where are you most creative in your life?
Where does your imagination come most into play?
When is the last time you did something creative, imaginative? If you want to find meaning in your life,
you have to live in ways that are meaningful,
you have to do things that are meaningful—
the things that make your heart sing
and your little feet dance. Often.
- 01/25/2016 —
No one can tell us what is meaningful,
or where meaning is to be found. Meaning is personal to the core.
Something is meaningful if it is meaningful to US. We can appreciate the fact that it is meaningful to others,
but our relationship to it will never be what it is for them—
unless and until it becomes for us as it is for them. The search meaning is the search
for what is meaningful for, to, us.
A meaningful life is one lived in close association
with what has meaning in life for us. It is our place to be aware
of where meaning is found
and to be devoted
to what has meaning for us. We cannot allow ourselves
to be stripped of life’s meaning
by the ridicule of those
who are not moved by what moves us. We have to guard
what is meaningful when we find it,
and develop our relationship with it,
whether or not anyone shares our interest. Alan Watts once asked Joseph Campbell,
“Joe, what form does your yoga take?”
Campbell replied, “I underline passages.”
Remain loyal to what has meaning for you.
It will take you to interesting places,
and you will live an interesting life.
Of interest, that is, to you,
and you are the one that counts the most
when it comes to living your life.
We have to rethink everything
we have been told and led to assume.
The cultural orientations toward
and an ever-increasing standard of living
are fictions that cannot sustain life. Religion’s affiliation with,
and support of,
the cultural fictions disqualifies it
as “the voice of God,”
and leaves us in the position
of finding our own way
through all that is false
to the treasure hard to find—
which is the trustworthy
and legitimate goal of our life. Our search is the quest for life,
for that which is worth our life,
and provides life to all who find,
and align themselves with,
the Way of Life. To find our way there,
we have to rethink everything
we have been told
and led to assume. Our problem is knowing
what to make of our experience.
Things are not always what they seem to be.
How do we know what to think? Our understanding depends
upon the quality of our interpretation,
which is influenced by 10,000 things.
We must understand that our understanding is
awaiting further clarity. Wait and see.
Time will tell.
Do not rush to judgment. Listen.
and evaluate the outcome.
Test your hypotheses.
Adjust your interpretation
to take the evidence into account.
Allow reflection upon experience
to create new realizations.
Allow reality to adjust your
interpretation/understanding of reality.
Live your way to the truth
of how things are and also are.
One step at a time.
We have to rethink everything,
And we don’t want to rethink anything.
We want to be told what to think, and do.
And, therein lies the problem. Each of us has to do the work of growing up
And becoming who we are.
None of us is interested in the task.
The Way of Life winds through
before arriving at the Empty Tomb—
and none of those way-stops is literal,
but all of them are real,
and waiting. We want a shortcut to Glory Land,
and seek out leaders who will take us there,
ignoring the fact that it is a life-long journey,
and we find our own way—
taking cues from the ones who have gone before,
understanding what they mean when they say,
“There is nothing to know
that has not always been known!
There is only doing
what has always been done!”
We live to be transparent to ourselves—
To know who we are,
and who we also are,
and how it is with us on every level. Being transparent
to our contradictions and polarities
could immobilize us, but.
Being transparent to our paralysis
enables us to transcend our impotence,
see what needs to be done,
and do it. Being transparent to transcendence—
To that which transcends us
and to our ability to transcend ourselves,
and all that would inhibit us,
and render us incapable of acting—
allows us to live in accord with,
the Self at the center of ourselves,
and to assist in the production
of unimaginable wonders. All because we took up the work
of knowing who we are,
and who we also are,
and how it is with us, on every level.
We stumble our way along all along the way,
bumping into strange guides,
tripping over false assumptions,
falling into deep pits
of squirming inferences,
crashing into one dead end after another,
taking wrong turns
that take us exactly where we need to be,
ignoring all warning signs,
yet heeding bad advice,
losing our way
to be saved again and again
by grace and good luck
(And where does that line lie?),
wishing there were a
more expedient and cost-effective way—
like maybe a pill to swallow,
or a short book to read,
wondering why it takes
not knowing what we are doing
to know what we are doing
when we say we don’t know what we are doing,
and be fine with that,
with just listening,
just waiting to see,
not knowing what
we are looking for,
There is a difference between wanting to be a photographer
and having to be one,
between wishing you could take pretty pictures,
and being unable to leave one untaken. The dance dances us,
the song sings us,
the music won’t leave us alone.
A lot of people have cameras
and don’t know how to use them
in order to make the most of them.
They have no idea what
and settings are for,
and have never read the manual,
and don’t intend to. They have a camera,
but they are not a photographer. A lot of people drive through scenes,
without seeing what they are missing. They think photographs
reside somewhere else,
like the Grand Canyon,
and hope to go there one day,
and maybe they do. They drive up to the view points and take a picture,
and post them online,
but they never saw the scene,
and they don’t see the picture. A lot of people want to be a cowboy,
And buy the hat,
and the jeans,
and maybe the boots,
and the spurs,
but they don’t have even one cow,
and have never been bucked off of a horse,
and never will be. Anybody can be a photographer,
just like anybody can be a cowboy.
Or a stand-up bass player.