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.

 

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.

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

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?

Flowing With the Waves

ocean-wavesIt seems that in everything we do, we are trying to change or alter what is. We try to “fix,” manage, or get away from uncomfortable feelings and situations. We look to the future of when we have “x” we’ll be happy or, if I can just get through “y” everything will be okay. Even meditation is often misconstrued as an exercise in stopping or controlling thoughts. Some sort of “doing” with a “goal,” where we are trying to be, instead of just being.

As if you could stop “being.” As if you could stop or even influence the ocean by standing in front of a wave.
Continue reading Flowing With the Waves

Life is in the Rain

Life is in the Rain2Life is in the rain.

It’s raining right now. A moderate rain that is welcome in its scarcity. Steady, gentle, and just a little cool. Not enough rain to play and sing, but just enough to rest in, allowing the rain to gradually soak the skin, the earth. Closing eyes, relaxing through the body, just feeling each drop land on cool skin forming tiny rivers and streams that flow effortlessly back to the earth.

Resting in awareness, where does the rain end and I begin. I cannot tell. I am only aware of life always flowing effortlessly just like the rain.

Bacon Spirituality

Bacon ipsum dolor amet capicola porchetta turkey spare ribs ham hock. T-bone porchetta capicola, short ribs prosciutto cow alcatra kevin biltong tri-tip ham hock chicken tenderloin. Meatball bresaola pork chop tongue Continue reading Bacon Spirituality