Through Stillness and Grace we will Awaken

Trance-like states are not Awakening.

Imagining that you are sending your Qi across the country to your friends is not Awakening.

Blind belief in religious dogma is not Awakening.

Raising your Shakti to your Crown Chakra is not Awakening.

Mysticism, snake oils, and cleansings will not Awaken you.

No level of martial prowess or contortionism will Awaken you.

You will not find Awakening by trying to be happy.

You will not find Awakening  in past lives.

Psychology cannot explain Awakening.

Your guru cannot explain  Awakening.

You cannot “figure out” Awakening.

You cannot “achieve” Awakening.

I wish I could tell you that if you just think about it enough you’ll figure it out, but who is doing all this thinking?

I wish I could tell you to simply let go of your beliefs in mysticism, of people, of what you think you know, but who is letting go?

I wish I could tell you to stop being attached to your experience and just be instead, but attachment is part of the experience.

I would like to say that I Awakened through all my efforts. But who is the “I” who is efforting?

Who is it trying to Awaken?

I did not Awaken through any effort of mine, but through the awareness of my experience. I didn’t just “figure it out” one day, I simply became aware of it. And it was simple.

It was the experience that was profound.

It is in stillness that we can explore our experience. All of our experiences. The mysticism, the “miracle” cures, the blind faith, the beliefs about the world, the beliefs about others, the beliefs about ourselves. And in our exploration of our experience, in the questioning of all our beliefs, we begin the exploration of what is real. We begin letting go our attachments to what we think and what we feel, creating space for what we are. And it is in this still space that there is room for Grace to enter our being.

The Grace of realizing our true nature.

 

The Dynamic of Thought

I’ve always noticed certain dynamics, certain patterns in our thoughts and behaviors, and in that noticing, they never really bothered me. It’s as if in knowing that the behavior is perfectly normal, in knowing that “everybody” does it, any self-criticism, shame, or resistance to the behavior holds no power. There’s a space between the behavior and the one who perceives the behavior and in that small gap, lies peace. Continue reading The Dynamic of Thought

Why is Religion so Divisive?

I was reading a news article recently that was taking a stab at the divisiveness inherent in religion. Was it a psychological phenomena where religion masked self-interest with moral superiority, or did God really create some in “his image” and not others? The research behind this question concerned “moral fluidity.” Are morals dependent on, and defined by our personal situation? Do they change as our own self-interest changes? In short, yes.

While the foundation of our morals, whatever they are, may not fundamentally change, our interpretation and justification for those morals change based on our “stake” and role in any given situation. In fact, according to the study, our moral values can shift in as little as five minutes.

This moral fluidity is inextricably linked to religious divisiveness. The foundational belief system/religion may stay the same, but each person filters it through their own experience, and the experience of the person is where the divisiveness begins. Not just in religion, but in ourselves as well.

This divisiveness and moral fluidity both stem from this ever-changing, limited person we believe ourselves to be. All people of all faiths and people with no faith at all are identifying with their religion, their lack of religion, or their psychology. These ever changing beliefs are a reflection of the ever changing nature of the illusory person.  Questioning these beliefs, questioning the limited nature of the person is the path to realizing our limitless self.

Most will never entertain the possibility that they are not the limited beliefs they hold and that instead, they are limitless and vast and One with everything and everyone around them.

Religion has often been misinterpreted for millennia as a pursuit of the individual person masked as morale superiority. The interpretations are often from the limited viewpoint of the person and for those with their own agenda, belief becomes a shield from the light of truth, the light of God and the Universe.  A shield from Awakening.

God didn’t just create white, straight, males. He created pan-sexual, purple, people eaters. The Universe manifests life and death, good and evil, suffering and happiness. God isn’t just omnipotent, and omnipresent in the Bible Belt or an ashram in India. The very statement defeats the definitions of the words. The Universe isn’t just our solar system, it is all solar systems in all galaxies, even the ones we haven’t discovered yet.

Most importantly and the reason all of this divisiveness is so far astray, we are also all God. God, the Universe, or the All—whatever you choose to call it—is everything and everyone. This is not just an intellectual exercise, it is tangible and knowable in your own experience. Everything  you are aware of, every thing, every experience, every concept, every belief and every person is all part of it. Everything everywhere, every thing that has been and every thing that shall be is God.

Your belief system comes and goes, history shows and psychology now explains that our morals come and go, but what is left to discover is the person who has these beliefs and morals also comes and goes. That’s why it’s so divisive, not just in society and the world at large, but also in our own person. But for those truly interested in unity, for  those ready for self-realization, letting go of these beliefs and letting go of the illusory person is the beginning of experiencing the true nature of things. It is the beginning of a journey full of acceptance of all faiths, all beliefs, and all that is.

Why so busy all the time…

…when peace is found in stillness?

We have a need, a relentless drive to constantly be on the move. As if “doing something” equates to being “someone.”  When I teach yoga to those who are new to it, I tell them that the final pose, savasana or corpse pose, is probably one of the hardest poses for people. Not because it’s uncomfortable or physically demanding (it’s not either), but because you have to rest in stillness with your own mind. And for most people, that’s a very uncomfortable  place.

So uncomfortable in fact, that we go through great pains to avoid actually sitting still. We are uncomfortable with long silences and suffer through “awkward” pauses. We constantly have to be actively busy and feel bad or lazy when we’re not. We are constantly looking for and working towards the next thing to give our lives meaning, never realizing that the meaning of our lives is found by resting in stillness.

We carry with us a deep underlying tension that feeds this incessant need to keep moving, to keep doing, to get to the next thing. We fall into the trap that constantly being busy means we’re doing something with our lives and that we’re happy, yet the lie is found in the inability to be with our own thoughts, our inability to face the tension that is telling us we are not satisfied in a deep and meaningful way. The tension that shows us the happiness from getting that “next thing” didn’t last.

We are a society suffering from a multitude of addictions that all fall under the category of “I’ll be happy when..” I’m not just talking about drinking or gambling or other avoidance addictions, but all the things we use to keep busy, to keep working towards some moment or some thing that will make us happy. “I’ll be happy when I find someone special, when I get married we buy a house we get a dog we have children we buy a new house…

We will never know lasting peace if we cannot sit still long enough to get past the busyness of dissatisfaction. It does not mean we won’t own a home and create a family, that we never “do” again and instead spend hours sitting in meditation (yet another form of keeping busy). It means that the more we experience the lasting peace of stillness, the more we realize that stillness is our natural state. The more truths we will see, the more authentic our words and actions become, the more authentic our lives become.

Awakening to our true nature is also awakening to this effortlessness in our actions. Houses get built, families are made, and life happens all without any need for us to make it happen. Living from that stillness at our center, that equanimity of spirit, we no longer react to our dissatisfaction by being busy, but instead we flow with life by being still.

Does It Feel Like You’re Carrying The Weight Of The World On Your Shoulders?

What if I told you it was the weight of the Person.

To Awaken is to put down the burden of the person. We all carry it in so many forms, with so many degrees of awareness. For some of us, the person manifests in some sort of trauma that we identify with. In others, a need to be busy all the time in an effort to avoid an underlying sense of dis-ease. In still others, it is running towards that next thing that will make us happy when really, we are running away from our dissatisfaction.

What if I told you life doesn’t  require all that effort, only the Person does.

The person is filled with burdens. The burden of being something or someone, of having to try to control and direct our lives. The effort of wanting “this” and not wanting “that.” The effort of either avoiding a part of ourselves or the effort of trying to live as a better self. In any of these conditions, there is effort, work, struggle.

Whether we’re dealing with a traumatized ego or using every “tool” at our disposal clinging to a “happy” ego, we are still putting forth a tremendous amount of effort into a person that isn’t real. We are identifying with the person, and we end up believing that only through all of this incessant “doing” can we find the peace and lasting happiness we are longing for.

The problem is, that this person requiring so much work, is not who you are. The person is what you experience.

What if I told you being who you really are is effortless.

When you awaken to what you really are, one of the greatest graces is the freedom. Not freedom in the sense that you can now live on sunlight and don’t have to go to work on Monday. Not the freedom from problems or challenges in life. But the freedom that these things no longer define you. The freedom in knowing that your peace is not subject to the content of your experiences. The freedom of realizing you don’t have to “make” life happen, life unfolds effortlessly. The freedom in knowing that the person is not who you are.

The freedom born from Awakening to our true nature is a freedom from the suffering and struggle of the person. And when you stop struggling with the person, life truly is effortless.

Understanding

When I first published this introduction to my blog, I was only just beginning to understand what the True Self was. I could feel the filtered sense of a loving person, but I did not understand why I could not “keep” it. Why wasn’t I always my best “person.” Now, years later, I realize the reason we can’t always be our best person, is because there is no person.

While the story is still pertinent, I now actually see the truth underneath the words with much less of the filters of the person.

I guess you could say that now I finally understand.

Understanding

I remember distinctly when this seed sprouted in me. I was eight years old, on my very first plane ride with my Mother to visit relatives. I remember the wonder and excitement as I sat in the coveted window seat, looking out at the clouds below me and the sun seemingly tagging along side us when, with childlike curiosity, a question occurred to me. I turned to my mother and asked “Mom, will we see God up here?” A can of worms opens inside my mind.

She responded simply enough, with a small smile on her face “God is everywhere.” Well, that wasn’t good enough for me so, I asked another question: “Where did God come from?” Another amused smile from mom, “He just was.”

“If God just was,” I begin, trying to find some measure of understanding, “how come we weren’t just was.” Mother had no answer but silence. The worms spilled out of the can.

I didn’t know it then but, that innocuous question as a little boy started me on a path of looking beyond the surface of things to come to a deeper understanding. Not just knowing that two plus two equals four but, more importantly, understanding why two plus two equal four. Because without the understanding of “why” we can’t move on to the deeper and richer levels of true understanding, of understanding this thing we call life. And that is really the understanding I was searching for as a precocious eight year old and what I continue to seek. The questions have changed and evolved over the years but, the search is still the same.

Here, I share with you the essence of what I have learned since I was eight. I use the word essence on purpose because, one of the most useful and heart opening things I have learned is that no matter the language or tool we use to understand—whether it is psychology, Christianity, Buddhism, Science—the purpose is the same, a detail if you will. The purpose is to understand our Truth and find a certain measure of peace and fulfillment that we cannot find anywhere but inside, where our True Self resides.

Wishing You Presence This Holiday Season

today-is-a-gift

Thankgiving: Check! Black Friday: Check! Cyber Monday: Loading…! Holidays: Have arrived.

With the holiday season upon us, I always am reminded of one of my favorite puns, “I don’t require presents, only your presence.” I have “stuff” and if I don’t have “stuff,” I’ll go out and get “stuff.” What is truly a gift for me is presence. Whether it’s the presence of friends and family, or it’s being present to my experience as it is…these are true gifts for me.
Continue reading Wishing You Presence This Holiday Season

Experiencing Stillness

still-watersThink back in your life to a moment where you were watching an animal that was unaware of your presence, or when you were watching a baby sleep, a child at play—anytime in your life when you were just watching with no urge to change or interact with the scene in front of you.  Think about how this felt, can you remember how quiet your mind was? Can you remember how quiet everything was? Can you remember how it seemed that nothing else existed except what was in front of you? Can you remember how still everything was? Continue reading Experiencing Stillness

Perceiving the Perception to Peace

Wise Man Gazing at the Moon

“When a wise man points at the moon, the imbecile examines the finger.” –Confuscious

The Full Moon, if we choose to believe the mysticism and pseudoscience surrounding our celestial neighbor, the full moon is the culprit behind increases in crime, accidents, werewolves, and generally all sorts of, well…lunacy.  And this isn’t a new idea at all. Even the word “lunacy” has its origins in Greek history which also happens to be where the mythconception of the moon affecting the water in our brains comes from. Mythbusting however, I will leave to my valued reader. What interests me is the “why” behind our fascination with the full moon. There is a term for it; Illusory Correlation. I always thought of it as our perception, but “illusory” works very well with the idea of perception.

A full moon and a new moon both have the same gravitational effects, and the same range of distances from the Earth. The only difference between a new moon and a full moon is the amount of sunlight reflecting off of the moon and subsequently, our ability to see the moon. Quite simply put, the moon is always the same, it is only our perception of it that changes. And perception is a powerful thing. Continue reading Perceiving the Perception to Peace

Where does thinking happen?

We spend much of our time getting lost in thought. We spend much of our time noticing that we’re lost in thought, and then berating ourselves for getting lost in thought. We even spend much of our time in the futile effort of stopping our thoughts, yet the thoughts continue on and we continue to get lost in them.

In the effort to find peace and stillness Continue reading Where does thinking happen?