Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Resistance...Friend or Foe?



















I'm sitting here at my desk with a dandelion root tea in my hand, because it helps me stay sharp, because I didn't get enough sleep last night. I was awake much of the night rooting out old bits of pain and emotion. I was doing healing work in the middle of the night because, when I cleared my schedule last night to sit down and do the said healing work, my pal resistance showed up, and I got distracted. The distraction felt foggy, a 'not sure what I want to do, maybe some internet would be good' kinda fog.   I am usually awesome at seeing through the voice of distraction.  I'm a pro, distraction rarely gets the best of me!  But last night, my dear friend resistance was playing an A-game, trying to keep me away from an old jaggedy bit of trauma rattling around in the system for way too long, one recently activated by my life situation.

Life situation: My neighbors have been doing some construction, and because of the incompetence of the contractors, I have lost my power, my water, and my heat (it's winter while I write this), and yup, I find myself getting swept up in wanting to kill the contractors.  So, while it's a real bummer of a situation, wanting to actually kill them....well, that has charged up old pain written all over it.

In my past, my childhood, there was an awful lot of hell going around.  And due to the incompetence of the adults, my basic needs were completely unmet, ignored, or stomped on, and often my safety was jeopardized. When the renovation issues started up, what I felt was the rage and fury of a child in torment. And that rage means it's time to make time for some healing. But yesterday, instead, I researched a million trivial funny things online. Sound familiar?

And it cost me... it cost me a good night's sleep. In the middle of the night, I awoke to the full fury. And this time, distraction was not going to work. 2am. Awesome.

So, resistance, we all know it.  Sure, it's a bitch. It's hard to deal with, and it's usually much more bothersome than the actual pain.  So, I'm going to write a few articles in the coming weeks outlining the games that resistance plays.  I'm going to support us in getting wise to the programs of resistance.  For now, just to lay some ground work, remember that our friend resistance comes from fear. As I mentioned in the last article, fear comes from our primal survival system. And our friend resistance is a movement of fear. Even though it feels just like anger, it's actually fear.

What happens is that, when we are small,we get traumatized. It happens. Our systems are still trying to figure out this whole 'how-to-live-in-peace-and-freedom' thing. Little people feel the traumas in their bodies. They are too little to emotionally process pain, so the body is the front line of defense.  The body's primal survival system steps up to the plate to take care of that gyrating trauma. It grabs the vibrating ache and buries it in the body, and then encodes it to stay there. That encoding is resistance.

Resistance is like a staple that will keep the raw pain pinned in the body. And that staple has 4 layers, or about 4 different codes. I will go into detail about each code in the coming articles, but for now: let's call the first layer 'aggressive mind'. It's perfectly built to distract you away from the pain in the body.  Then we have 'invisible cloak', just like in Harry Potter, causing pain to disappear the instant we go to find it.  Then we have a highly irritated layer or 'I can't be in my own skin' kind of jitteriness. It can sometimes feel like 'I am going to die, have a heart attack, or I maybe I have a brain tumor.' And then my friend from last night, the foggy brain/confusion layer. It sounds like, "um, what was I doing?"

 The cool thing is that resistance only has these few plays, and they are really consistent, and really noticeable if we know how to spot them.  And once we are on to them, we can get out of their sticky grasps. Because no matter what resistance throws at us, we only have one simple and effortless thing to do: find the physical sensation and love the shit out of it.

Now, that old jittery bit rattling around last night was really old, and has deked me out for a number of years. I knew it was there, yet I let a play of resistance grab me, that foggy confusion. So here I am, underslept, perhaps going on way too long with you guys, tea in hand, gotten by the old coding of primal survival. And did I mention I'm shivering cuz those dudes haven't figured out how to turn the power back on? Yah, awesome.


Friday, February 28, 2014

A Mighty Beast.

Fear. It's a very potent emotion. And ironically, a devoted spiritual practice can sometimes bring us an awesome amount of experience with this emotion.  And a full-fledged awakening can open the doors to an overwhelming face plant into the bowels of it. Raw deal, eh?  Very rarely does the meditation hall hand out this warning.

Fear is an emotion that is cranked out from your primal survival system. It's called primal for a reason: it's old, it's crude, and it's coming from a bunch of false beliefs, an ancient system of beliefs that you are a) a separate body/mind and soul, b) separate specifically from a harsh and scary world and c) needing protection from said harsh and scary world. And, it can get any number of add-ons from your family-of-origin's belief systems.

However, they are false beliefs. For instance, you and I can see that if we hold up our hand, there are fingers and a palm. It can seem that the fingers end and the space between them begins. But does it? Where exactly does the energy stop? Is the energy actually separate? When exactly does it separate and become the space between the fingers?  Really? Can energy separate? Superficially, it can appear that way, but all we can really say is that it's different looking; the space between the fingers looks different from the fingers. Because if we really look, we notice it's all energy, it's not really separate. And you might notice that the energy just continues on to include everything, it's not separate from anything at all.  And you might notice that the fingers don't need to protect themselves from the space between the fingers, for instance, set up a system of defend and attack, thumbs unite against the space between pinkies. That would be silly, but that is the basic operating order of your primal survival system.

And okay, that survival system will make you jump when a car suddenly crashes through the living room, or a mugger puts a gun to your head. But, luckily, you do have a much more sophisticated survival system helping you out. Just before the car comes through the wall, a better survival systems sends a strong impulse that makes you want to get up and get out of the room. Perhaps you feel like getting a glass of water or you suddenly feel like going to ask your neighbor if they would like to come for dinner. It's a deeper movement, a feeling, an intuitive sense.  A sudden sensing that you don't really want to walk down that dark alley just now. Sadly, most of us have been conditioned to ignore those strong sensibilities, and we walk right into danger. But those instincts are there, and that's your true nature, offering all kinds of protection, before the danger is upon you.

So, our primal survival system is the primary source of fear.  We don't need to throw it out, but we can double check to see if the more sophisticated system, our true nature, is in sync with it.

 And, my point, and the irony of the whole business, is that almost everyone who sits in a lot of silence, or listens to hours and hours of satsang, or reads a ton of very well written spiritual books, will begin to experience fear. Some folks get very stuck here, and that is most unpleasant. Others experience a glorious spaciousness from core beliefs and pain, and begin to stand in true nature and "wake up," and then terror descends.

What is happening is that this primal survival system is getting jolted. And as my lovely friend refers to it, fear is a mighty beast. So fear, and it's intensified state, terror, are primal survival being jolted.  All that peace and stillness and ease is oneness not separateness, and your primal survival system gets rather agitated, and begins to put up an aggressive fight. "I am separate, and I need protection from this harsh world! This peace is dangerous stuff...where is my separate stance? Where are the cold, harsh, separate others! ALARM! "

So, here's what you need to do: upgrade the primal system.  Plug the cruder version into its more sophisticated source. Create a network of systems. The primal survival system is its own operating program, so you'll never be able to override it.  Instead, with your truest intentions, check in with fear. Check in to see if it would like to upgrade...say, from this crude unpleasant feeling, to the more peaceful, spacious, softness you sometimes feel in the background, or for some of you, the foreground. Touch the fear with the peace. Let the fear know that peace is really intelligent, so intelligent that it's the fingers and the space between them. It's the car and the driver, and the neighbor, and you, and it loves you all, and knows best how to take care of everyone. Ask the fear if it would like to go from its current crude self, say a 1976 Honda Civic, to its true nature, a new model Jaguar? Nothing has to let go, or surrender...nothing sooo scary like that. Just let fear feel the peace, and join it. And then that peace will tell you when something is off, when something is out of sync and heading towards distortion and pain. Usually 100 times better than primal fear can. And, it feels so much nicer, way easier to hang with.

So, fear, it's a potent emotion, and it helps tremendously to know what is really going on, why you are suddenly flooded with it, and to know its able to join forces with peace.  It needs an upgrade. Practice for yourself letting the fear touch into the peace. It might take a few minutes...upgrades, you know, old cranky things upgrading, take their own sweet time.

Need some support? Click Here for details on the upcoming class starting March 31st!



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I had it. I lost it.



      I understand what a real heartbreak it is to feel like you had it...the sweetness of clarity, a pure moment of bliss, a taste of unfiltered reality...and then feel like you lost it.

Lets have a look at what this is all about...

The first hitch here is the notion that "you" had something. I know it sure feels like this is the case, but the thing about your true nature is, you are already it. It's not something "you" can get. But it's very innocent to conclude that "you" did something to create this opening into grace. Perhaps it's easy to conclude that all the books you've read, all the silence you've sat in, etc, created this gorgeous present awareness.  Heck, I have even heard,"I did this breath thing for three exhales, and all this expansion opened for me!" So I understand the conclusion that "you" did something.

However, it's much more precise to point out that you are something, and that your true nature does not reveal itself because you sat for twenty hours, held your breath for three minutes, got a hug from Amaji, did 50 sun salutations every morning for a month, and sat two sessions of Vipassana in a row.  Now any of these things are wonderful in themselves, and are wonderful ways to get space, or to saturate in some blissful energy, or witness the goofy and painful mind spinning out, or just get a break from your crazy life.  But to assume "you" did any of these things just right, at just the right time, and then an awakening happened to you, briefly, is not completely true, is not entirely correct.   Because that would assume that what you are is actually only available via something the "you" does. Which is not the how the nature of reality works. And this is good news, because essentially, " I got it! I lost it!" is an incorrect conclusion to what you are experiencing.  This may appear to be semantics, but it's not.  A very precise definition of what is occurring can save you dozens of years of confusion, and self condemnation.  The conclusion that you had something, but then you lost it suddenly, is, in fact, your mind coming in and defining its role in your sudden loss of bliss.   But who is this "I" that is defining how it evoked your true nature, and then fucked it all up again?"


Which brings me to: "I" did something to lose it.  It's awful to feel this way.  Luckily, it's not actually true. A more precise definition would be to know that what you are, your true nature, is always present, yet core beliefs and/or karmic pain eclipse our experience of our real nature. It's simply eclipsed because that very present and blissful reality is always the most consistent part of us, it's true nature.  So, "what is blocking it?" is a more precise inquiry, not what "you" can do to evoke it.

So, yes, we can get space from those core beliefs and/or karmic pain in any of the above mentioned ways; a hug from Amaji, a month of Vipassana, time on the meditation cushion,  or about a million other options. Sometimes we can get enough space, (often called "getting quiet"), that our true nature is no longer so profoundly eclipsed by these core beliefs, (what are often called "stories").  And it's important to note that your true nature is never, ever, going to be lost to you.  It was never lost to begin with.  It was eclipsed. And that eclipsing force can suddenly burst one day (my personal experience), or can be chipped away at with skillful practice, or be glimpsed in all its glorious darkness (this is often the way of ingested products), and by seeing it all, a kind of clarity of what might be more true begins to unfold, etc.

Whenever someone comes to me with this, "I had it, I lost it" dilemma, I always ask them, "Has the clarity left you?" I don't mean the direct experience of that spacious bliss, or the "nothing else mattered and I was sooo present." But the clarity you felt, the truth, the deep knowing. Did that leave you?

Usually, the answer is "no".

But I understand the "feeling" of the "expansiveness" or "spaciousness" has shifted.  So I like to point out that it does that, that's kinda the nature of it. That's the thing with true nature, the direct experience of it can change on a dime. Because it's essentially love, and the funny thing about love is that it's a very malleable energy. For example, remember back to a time when you fell deeply in love and everything around you seemed so rosy and spacious, and things that irritated you before suddenly and simply didn't, and you were suddenly so much sweeter to everyone? The world seemed very sweet. Then say, about two years later, you don't really feel that same way, you still love your partner, in fact it's likely you love them much more deeply than when you first met, but you don't walk around all rosy and spacious. And then ten years in, it feels really, really different;  life comes in and eclipses the love, things like the bills, the kids, other family members, jobs, etc. But you still love your partner ( most days) and the love is way deeper than when the relationship was new.

You get my point.  Love doesn't always feel the same way.  It is malleable energy, but it never goes away. One doesn't actually fall out of love, as this is just not the nature of love. Rather, the experience of love shifts. So, long-winded way to say...yup, it doesn't always feel the same, and it can suddenly change on a dime, especially when the pain or beliefs are suddenly activated again, as can happen, until they are fully dissolved.

Another really key point about love, or say true nature, is that it serves. Love serves.  So as soon as you get some space from the eclipsing forces, and love is radiating out un-obstructed, that love heads towards the eclipsing pain.  I always say, if we invited love to our party, love is not going to hang out and be totally groovy with everyone, meeting everyone, hanging out feeling all bliss and planning a group road trip.  Nope, love is going to head straight for the crying child in the corner, and help out. It's just funny that way.  Love serves.  So, once you get some space from the eclipsing forces and the love begins to shine, it heads straight back to the eclipse, to assist with the pain. That is why you sometimes feel cycles of clarity and silence, then as quickly get overwhelmed with your old stuff again, your suffering. Each of those still moments is going to initiate those days of suffering, bringing it to the surface to be healed. The nature of love doesn't resist, repress, run or avoid. So, often you get a sense of " I had it" and then fear, anger, trauma, grief, suddenly whelms up and wham, your clarity is eclipsed, and you're identified as fear.  What happened? Love headed straight for the crying child in the corner, as in, your fear, etc..and up that pain comes, and without skillfull management, suddenly and swiftly this awareness that you are identifies with the pain. The pain was always going to come up anyway.  That is why healing is essential and mandatory on the path.  The pain and/or painful beliefs are anchored in three places in your system - mind/emotion/body - and are what is eclipsing your true nature. Here is a promise: if you had little to no pain, and little to no painful beliefs, a couple of really good, deep inquiries about what is really going on here, and you'd be radiating your true nature. Not unlike the very natural inquiries that the average 16-20 year old has. And look around, there are a few of those guys teaching, more than a few.

So, love is your true nature, it's always present, and it's profoundly eclipsed by core beliefs, trauma and pain.

Another really important aspect of love, or the profound, spacious, blissful experience of your true nature, is that it jolts your primal survival system. I will write more about this next month, but for now, enough to say, if you suddenly get enough space from your eclipsing forces, terror is going to show up, and it's not a "problem". Essentially, your primal survival system is wired to those core beliefs, wired to being a separate person, a separate body, and wired to all those painful stories - "no one loves this separate body, I have to protect it, I am not safe in this scary, hard world" etc. And when your true nature becomes less eclipsed, and the non-identified love begins radiating un obstructed, it doesn't feel like such a hard, scary world, and the primal survival system gets a big jolt. That feels exactly like terror. So, it's not something "you" did. It's your true nature jolting an ancient survival system that is wired to pain.

Clarity is here. It's available, and as I like to say, everyone has equal access to what they are, in every moment.  That's the thing about true nature - it's the most consistent thing about you. What eclipses it is your core operating program, or core belief systems, and/or pain and trauma in your system.  And in reality, that funny, painful, aggressive, separate "you" cannot actually "get it", nor "lose it".

Now, who's up for a seven day yoga marathon?





Monday, January 6, 2014

Who am I?








  "I and the Father are one" -Jesus, John 10:30


 “All that we are is the result of what we have thought”― Buddha



I had a wonderful conversation with a friend a few months back, and she has given me permission to share it with you.
In the non-dual land, there is a beautiful pointer..."Who am I?" We have such a deep and habitual pattern to identify with the forms of our life, and in the search for truth, this is a primary trap that needs to be seen through. The forms look like "I am this person, with this body, with this family, with this history." This pointer shows you there is more here than all this. It helps direct you to something more fundamentally true, shaking up this strong habit to define and intentify yourself solely by the forms of  your life. 

And still, this is only part of the story...it's the sixth and seventh ox herding pictures from Zen.  Or the stages of "Riding the Bull, and the Bull Transcended", from the ancient Japanese Zen poem Ten Bulls.  And this is an essential part of the journey, when you come to recognize that the forms of your life: your body, your story, your family, are not fundamentally, or entirely, or truly, who you are....

But the rest of it, i.e) Then what is the form? What is my body, my history, who is my family? What is that? Because we know it too is included.

The form is "the illusion."  It is simply energy taking on specific shapes, moment to moment. And yet, that energy is actually you, but not the "you" that was previously understood to be you. So it is still true that the deeper, truer "you" is also these forms.  You can see it more fully, in the same way that you dream at night...

At night you are the one dreaming all kinds of stories when you go to sleep.  In the dream, it's not completely true that you are solely the car, or solely the man texting in the car, nor are you solely the "you" now being chased by the man who was texting in the car.  And we can laugh at what it would be like if you identified very strongly with being the car, or the man, since in truth you are the dreamer.  And yet, the dreamer is also the dream.  This is deeper down the rabbit hole, down at the level of the ninth and tenth ox herding pictures. This is way out of the territory of what I can express in a few words in a blog, or that could be entirely understood simply from hearing another person's explanation. It can only be understood directly, experientially, or not at all.


So, lets look at the primary element to discover. What is the true "you": Who am I?...

Here is this wonderful conversation. 



And welcome 2014!  May we all be aware of the thousand and one blessings that each new day brings, and may the light shine forth from your heart the whole year through.

Much Love,
Kiran



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anger



Rage has been my good friend and teacher, an amazing force in my life.  That power, such awesome power, has been a wonderful guide.

We live in a culture that fears anger, and is fully repulsed by rage. And perhaps that might be an acceptable defense mechanism. We all have experienced anger and rage misused (i.e. repressed), and yup, it can be a highly uncomfortable force. Repression of anger creates an underground turbulence, kind of like living near an earthquake fault line, with constant trembles threatening to erupt, hinting at a massive explosion. And because repression is ultimately futile, it will reach a limit, and then add even more force to the explosion of anger when it finally releases.

And repression is still the major operating force here in our culture, especially of anger and rage.

Our culture is wrought with layers and layers of expected behavior, and our automatic movement to repress our anger and rage can be invisible. We have even built a whole spiritual ideal that defines anger as wrong, problematic, and unnecessary. I often bump up against the argument that a mature spiritual life means never having to experience anger or rage; that anger can, and should, be replaced with a more mindful, or patient, or meditative state.  The argument is that any of these "better" qualities can replace the "base" emotion of anger, and be a shining example of one's supreme spiritual evolution!

And this is tragic, really.  From my point of view, it's so, so, sad. Because anger and rage are magnificent teachers. Anger is a force of immense power.  It shows us where and how our authentic rhythm is being manipulated. It's a moral compass like none other...and shows up when our authenticity is being abandoned, when our natural boundaries are being crossed. It blazes when there is a force of harm moving against our person-hood.  It's often home to our "No!", which is as essential as our "Yes!".  Anger is power, is voice, is profound clarity, and is agency.

But we don't often get this amazing teaching, because anger is so habitually repressed and avoided. And, repressed anger becomes wildly distorted and loses all its magnificence and value. It explodes inappropriately, raining harm and sometimes violence. It creates illness in the body, and illness in our families.  It creates impasses to intimacy, and fairly regretful behavior. And it creates that inertia you may feel, that lack of motivation or vital aliveness, that depression, numbness, and disconnection.  We are rightly afraid of repressed anger.

The habit of repression is so constant, with such societal pressure, such profound judgment and shaming and humiliation placed on anger.  And there is an internal damnation consistently doing the same, shaming and humiliating. From where I am standing, this behavior creates such unnecessary harm.

But thankfully, this can be easily shifted.  Because anger and rage are so powerful, they can be loosened from repression fairly easily, and become master teachers of power, clarity, and agency in our lives.

So, I guess I might also point out: Anger is usually private...it's personal.  It's not always appropriate to share it with your family or community. It's something that you can move with into a room of your own, or outside away from others. And then it can be beautifully expressed in a pillow, in a fit of tears, in a journal, in a tearing apart of a stack of paper, in a long run along the shoreline, or in the forest. Or my personal favorite, buy a set of very inexpensive dishes from the thrift store.  Yah, baby!  You know what I am saying, that shattering is awesome!  (Too scary? Drop by my house one day when I have smashed all the dishes to teach my friend that anger is not going to kill anyone, and you will see that it can be a really fun time!)

Repressed anger can't be very easily handled.  It's the very pressure of repression that creates such an uncontrollable explosion, and those explosions, as we all know so very well, are wild and bullet-like.  And I am sure you have been properly shamed for any such explosions you may have had, and I am sure you have properly shamed others for the same.  So I want to offer you an apology on behalf of all of the world's citizens, for asking you to shame your family and neighbors when they are in a fit of rage, and for your own need to repress your anger, which has initiated such a toxic internal environment for you, and an perhaps an overly explosive relationship to anyone in its path. I am sorry, I am so sorry this collective insanity has stolen your god-given right to this glorious force of nature, to your own glorious voice, agency, clarity, and power.

I am also offering you an opportunity to declare your body and person-hood a safe zone, a repression- free zone for anger, and if you're up for the challenge... rage.   I want to suggest that you could make a personal commitment to no longer repress this beautiful force, and go ahead and set up your world as a safe harbor for anger.  This may include getting a punching bag set up in the basement, telling the family a "safe word"...and when you say it, you'll be heading to the basement for a little exercise...and yay, maybe there is an old set of dishes down there too! This will help release the habitual repression, releasing anger from its buried hold, and allow you more fluent access to your beautiful NO!  And it will begin to shake up that inertia and numbness, and start to give that depression a lift.


And then, when it shows up while you're driving, or when your child has just pushed your buttons, or a neighbor or boss, or banker, or politician has just crossed a moral boundary with you...you will not be pressured to repress your authentic response, but instead be available for your own perfect no, your own voice and your own agency. Perhaps you may choose to step aside, and let it, your glorious anger, express in a private space while you honor its power, and listen for the clarity and agency. Regardless, I highly recommend that you let it speak to you, clarifying for you a pathway of how you authentically need to move forward.  Because you're available to listen, you might notice that path that the anger has illuminated is guiding you towards more harmony and personal right action in the world. ( See: Jesus and famous fit of rage with the money changers in front of the temple!)


So, when you drive down the road and see me parked off to the side, screaming into the sky, you will know that I love my rage and I love all the amazing ways its leads me to clarity.  And I tell all the haters to step back from the spiritual supremacy story that there is no need for such things as anger and rage, because this power will not be judged on my watch...




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Effortless Peace





 "Find that place, which is effortlessly at rest within itself. Be there, be one with that."-Mooji









Hard work and effort, that's just what it takes?

I don't agree, and I almost never recommend it. Simply because effort will never equal effortless, or say effortless peace, or fulfillment, bliss, etc.  And a life lived in constant effort is purely exhausting. Especially when effortless peace and fulfillment, bliss, etc., is an option. And it is an option...its your birthright!

Let me explain.

When you have a very solid sense of a separate self, a very strong personal will, no actual experience of the mystery, a very cut and dried, black and white sense of the world and who you are in it ... then yup, that separate self is very, very powerful. You can do a lot with that will, apply some solid technique, a ton of effort and a lot of hard work, and wham ... you will see results! Almost every time. Keep on pushing it, and keep on seeing some results ...

Want to lose 10 lbs? Got a really solid separate self? Then it's just calories in and calories out. That's it, that's the whole story. So count all the calories, plan out every meal, start up a massive program for food and exercise, make it a constant focus....dig in, dig deep, and you'll likely get there.


Want to make a million dollars? Got a really solid separate self? Sign up for a really good manifest abundance 101 seminar, and bring a notebook and pen for clear and insightful how-to's! Boot up the program and get on it!  

You get what I'm saying here.

But, if you have a sense of the mystery, or if you have begun to open up to the vast eternal universe ... Or say, you have always known something deeper is animating this world, and sometimes life feels so unfathomably mysterious to you. If you have felt this way since you can remember, maybe since childhood, or your early adult years, then your separate self is a bit soft. Your personal will is not so powerful. Because it's not fully in charge. It's not really at the wheel. You lucky dogs have a sense of reality spilling in, and you get to have truth pulling on that wheel.

And you lucky folks may have noticed that when you wanted to lose some pounds, or make a ton of cash, or find eternal bliss, and you followed the program, and you put in a lot of effort, and you worked really hard ... not much actually happened. Not the way you see it play out with others ... not the way the program promises results.

If you're aware, in any way, that this eternal mystery animates us ... if you have always been kinda sensitive, or have had some direct glimpses beyond the so called separate self, then that personal will is no longer as operational. It just doesn't get you very far. Trying, efforting, lots of hard work, sadly doesn't add up to much. 

You may have noticed this.

Again, that's because it's not in charge. It's not the personal will that is driving the car ... it's the mystery! It's always been the mystery for everyone of us, but a really strong separate self can create an illusion, a very strong illusion, that very illusion that is so very painful and begins to crumble once your separate self gets a bit soft, once you get a good glimpse of reality beyond the illusion.

So, if you have a soft separate self, or almost no separate self, then the job is, as my pal Adyashanti puts it, "to get into the passenger seat". It means you have to drop the effort, drop the trying, drop the idea that "you" can do any of this ... and let the mystery take charge. That gorgeous, profoundly amazing mystery that is alive and animating your body right now.

And how do you do that?  How do you let go of "trying", of "trying to make it happen"? Well, it's a big deal ... it's not nearly so easy as a lot of hard work and good old effort. Instead - you have to let go. Let the mystery take you. You have to trust that the mystery is benevolent, you have to trust the words of all the masters through all the ages, that all say, this sweetest love, this friend, this bliss, is taking good care of us.

And to let go is not some external, just-let-it-all-happen kind of thing. That external reality is the illusion. The power you have is in the internal world. You have to let go of the internal movements of trying, trying to be better, trying to change. You have to replace it with a warm, welcoming trust that whatever is arising for you, is compliments of the mystery. And in that warm welcome, you can begin to actually see what is really going on. This warm welcome, is actually the beginning of some powerful movement.

In essence, to get something moving, you have to honor your "Yes!" (I have talked about this in my past posts). But your yes, what I like to call your "delicious yes", is a place that only exists in this moment, and it feels like a really yummy option of what to do right now. Like the most natural, effortless, delicious thing to do right now.  And it doesn't come from a mental idea, but rather a visceral feeling. This is how you navigate. This is how you get over into the passenger seat, and let the mystery fully take the wheel. That very delicious option,  in this moment, is actually where there is no separate self... no personal will. Because all the mental ideas, and all the trying, efforting, and hard work, are courtesy of that personal will. And yours is too soft to really get you anywhere.

This doesn't mean you give up the wheel and sit in the back hanging out, letting everything else take care of you ... big difference between being in the present moment ... and living for the moment! ( more about that in the previous post!)

It means you let the mystery drive while you engage and participate and marvel in the passenger seat. You surrender your "shoulds", "have to's", and trying, and lean into the delicious yes, but only in each moment, guiding moment to moment.

And you will hear me say this again, and again: effort will only ever equal effort, but effortless will always result in effortless. That is how you begin to find your birthright of effortless peace, effortless fulfillment, bliss, etc. That's how you begin to live in alignment with the mystery.

Lucky dogs ... only you soft ones get to find this ...

Need some personal support and clarity? New classes coming up...

  • Food: An adventure in finding an effortless relationship with food begins Nov 18, 2013 (send us an e-mail if you would like more information).


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Living in the Present Moment... or Living for the moment?

Living for the moment


"Unfortunately there are those who confuse the Eastern precept of 'living in the present moment' with the Western philosophy of 'living for the moment.' - Michael Christy









Living in the present moment, 
Living for the moment...

So close, yet so far away! 


I have a friend, a beautiful friend, yet...he "lives for the moment."  He calls it "being present."  His friends experience it as being presently aware of himself, of his callings, of his interests. It doesn't include being present to the community, or in this case, us...his friends and family. It doesn't include being present with our time, or in this case, everyone sitting in the car waiting and waiting, because he asked us to be ready at 8:00 am, but he had a phone call to make instead.  He thinks indecisively, and he likes to change his plans instantly, based on what will work out best for him. And we all notice, what works out best for him usually means we all supply the resource: we drive, we pay for gas, we make lunch, we share our homes, and he supplies what he calls "presence" and he supplies "coaching us on how to overcome our frustration and anger." So funny...and does it sound familiar? Sound like someone you know?


But honestly, this is an important distinction to make...because words like "presence"  or  "being in the present moment" are kinda vague. "Living in the now," "being here now"... it's all kinda vague. And I think it's important to be precise with what it means, because living in the moment is not actually an act of freedom, it's an act of repression and avoidance.  Though it appears to be free, and can even feel a lot like freedom, in reality, it's pain...taking a leading role in your life. 


So I think it worthwhile to be very precise here...

Living in the present moment intrinsically includes awareness, connection, availability and responsibility. 

Living for the moment intrinsically includes avoidance, controlling and repressing connections, and limited availability and responsibility.


Present awareness in this moment includes sensation: air temperature on the surface of your skin, clothing on your body. Sounds: outside noises filtering in the room, all the subtle and obtuse sounds. Movement: the play of light and shadow on the walls and floor, the glare on the computer screen, etc. And it includes awareness of ourselves in this moment: our emotions, our stories or mental projections, noticing any core beliefs or habitual patterns arising in this moment.   

We could say: A joy filled awareness of how you are actually a ripple in a pond, including a connectivity to the pond, a connectivity to your self, and an availability and responsiveness to your place in the pond.


Living for the moment can often include awareness of this moment's sensations: air temperature, sound and light. But it also includes avoidance, rather than awareness, of habitual patterns and core beliefs. There is a selective quality to the awareness; a repression of emotional pain, and an indulgence of mental projections. There may be awareness of authentic movement, but it is compromised.  It's confused with avoidance and repression, so the real authentic impulse is often repressed or exaggerated.  

We could say: A distinct lack of ability and interest to notice how the ripple moves in the larger pond, a vague connectivity to ourselves and to the pond, and a distinct lack of availability and responsibility to other ripples in the pond. 

It's easy to confuse one with the other...so to be clear...we can live in the present moment, aligning with what feels authentic to ourselves, and it includes consistent and decisive action. It includes clarity, connection, and responsibility.

Perhaps we can make a distinction like this:

Living for the moment: an act of avoidance.
Living in the present moment: an act of freedom.  
'nough said.