“Do Not Conform to the World, But Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind…” (This is a constant)

Thinking

We underestimate ourselves, and settle for way less than optimum. From a very young age we are conditioned to think that life is mostly against us, while being ignorantly taught “survival of the fittest,” although this statement was never coined by the late Charles Darwin, who not only studied the theory that life struggles to remain alive, but later confirmed that this was not so. He determined the reason why life continues living, is definitely not because it fights. It’s because it adapts to its environment and goes with the flow. Harmony allows life to thrive on this planet – not competition. It is not the strongest creatures on this planet who thrive here. Those that collaborate with their environment, are the ones who flourish.

Our most idolized scientists of late (including Stephen Hawking who is still profoundly alive), study their own theories so thoroughly, that they prove themselves wrong, and end up opening another one of Pandora’s boxes in nature. It seems that there is no solid, fundamental particle that gives us the true make-up of life, although science has been trying to pin the source of life down for centuries. Even the Higgs Boson field (discovered in July 2012 – a.k.a. “God Particle”) is incredibly subjective and “unstable.” What is being discovered, is that consciousness and human intention plays a significant role in how subatomic particles (like quarks) navigate. It is within a human being’s innate power, to observe and create their own experience by what they focus on during the experience. Over and over, science has proven that human consciousness plays a direct role in how an experiment unfolds. Results of several experiments are subjective, according to whom the observer is during the experiment, and according to what they believe while they are performing the experiment.

We have be un-empowered in this society, believing that we must compete in order to thrive in the world. We must work hard, and struggle if we are going to succeed. (Does “divide and conquer” ring any bells? What a great way to control society, so that individuals don’t realize their true nature). It is a competitive culture we live in, but we all end up in the same boat – “From ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” There are many people who have had it all, just to discover that money and power doesn’t equal joy. If you compete your way through life, there is no end to the competition. There will always be someone richer, better, prettier, etc. If this is your goal, then it is completely unobtainable, and if your goal is to live the “American Dream,” then you are selling yourself incredibly short. That material way of thinking is terribly unfulfilling. Our nature is to create, to evolve, and to thrive. In order to thrive, we must be open to life. If you have a strict opinion or belief about anything, then you are shutting yourself off from the incredible journey of being. Life is subjective, according to the observer. Life moves and unfolds according to how you think. If you are open to great things, then great things will occur for you. If you are shut down and opinionated, then life will be very small, and you will probably discover yourself agitated when things don’t go your way.

People are so busy pointing fingers at what is wrong in this world, fixated on the problems of society, and praying for God to deliver the planet from corruption, that they are too blind to see that their own human power, when focused and directed with total consciousness, has the power akin to the light of the sun. One human being has the power to illuminate the entire world. Some people are so arrogant to think that they have solely been blessed by God with special gifts and powers, but the truth is, we all have consciousness, which means we all have the innate power to change the course of humanity.

Rather than competing to be right, contending to be the best, or fixating on the problems of society, we should focus our energy on healing disease, and breaking down the walls of institutionalized thinking. You cannot place a box around life and expect it to flourish. God does not reside inside of a church, and the answers (which are always subjective) are not discovered within the walls of a classroom. You cannot pinpoint the truth, because it is always flowing and moving and changing according to the observer. God is not one thing, or several. God is, which means that you can’t grab God and label God and identify God’s source. It will never happen.

Your own consciousness defines and determines your experience of life. You can either package your life up into an ideal, or allow it to flow, evolve and thrive. You can focus your energy on a standard way of living, or open yourself up to a spectacular way of being. There are no limits to what can occur when you are open. You completely limit yourself when you are convinced about anything. Life is incredibly subjective. We have the power to move mountains, so why are so we fixated on mediocrity? Soon we will understand how ignorant we have been all along, now that science is realizing that consciousness is the very fabric of our existence.

How you think, and what you believe, determines the result of your life experience. If you want greater things, then it is up to you to be open to those greater things. It is not going to appear out of the sky in the blink of an eye from someone outside of yourself. You are determining your life experience right now. The more love you give, the more you will receive. The more support you give, the more you will receive. The more compassion you give, the more you will receive. I had a big wake-up call the other day when two people told me that I was responsible for my own success. My success is subjective to how I think about myself, not how society thinks about me. If I think it is subject to how society thinks of me, then I am completely stifling myself from my full potential. If we have the power to move subatomic particles on a fundamental level, then imagine our power on a universal scale.

We underestimate ourselves because this is what we have been conditioned to do in our society. The people in the world who are of greatest influence, are those that do not subject themselves to one way of thinking, but open themselves up to possibilities beyond measure. This can be you, but it is clearly up to you to get out of the box and flourish. How boring we have become in America. We are creatures of habit, and parrots of our predecessors, rather than realizing our own dynamic potential. Why so much addiction and mental illness? Because we are completely going against nature, and it is driving us mad. There is so much more to life, but we have cultivated a society of limitations, laws, with an institutionalized way of thinking. What for? I don’t exactly know, but I certainly don’t want any part of it. I am not afraid to walk against the crowd if it means that I get to discover something beyond that which I’ve been taught. I don’t want to be told – I long to discover. I want the magic, not the material.

There is magic to behold. It is up to each person to realize their full potential. If you are tired of your life, then change your thinking around it. Do something different. Be open to a subjective existence rather than being stuck in the familiarity of your conditioning. All those beautiful stories in the Bible are illustrations of the human potential, yet we’ve ignorantly condensed them into a religious belief system. Even the interpretation of such texts is incredibly subjective. Don’t you see? It is through your vision that the world expands. It is your belief that determines your reality. The only limitations are our own.

If technology is synthetic of nature (and I propose it is), then as you can see, there are no limitations to what will evolve out of technology. Likewise nature is non-absolute. It is subject to interpretation and open to our imaginations. There is so much more to this existence merely than having a career, reproducing, retiring and dying. Don’t you agree? So if you’re bored like I was, in this institutionalized society, then might I suggest that you go a little bit deeper? Learn about who you truly are on a conscious level, and do experiments with intention. Practice giving yourself what you are looking for outside of yourself. Go the distance in your lifetime. If you are straight, gay, transsexual, Muslim, Christian, disabled, female, male, an addict in recovery, or simply feeling lost because you don’t know who you are, then you are clearly a human being with a brilliant mind who has the ability to move mountains, simply by directing your mind to greater awareness. Your differences are more about how you think, than they are about how you label yourself.

“Be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2)  This is a empowering scripture. We can transform anything by simply changing our thinking, and we should continually be changing our thinking if we want to be constantly renewed.

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Another Way to Look at Birds and Bees (Just BEEEEEE)

birds and bees

My mother had an experience where she was learning about being present.  When we are just learning about being present, the last thing we are doing is being present because we’re trying to “figure out” how to be present, which goes against the whole concept.  On one of her walks along a levee, she finally asked aloud, “What does it mean to just BE?”  She was serious when she asked this question.  Her answer came immediately in the physical form of a large bumble bee that entered right into her space.  Buzz buzz buzz.  My mom got the cosmic joke and pretty much went into hysterics.  What a sense of humor God has!  Coincidence?  I think not.  She asked for “be” and she got “bee.”  It was a sweet (pun intended) lesson to her about being able to laugh and enjoy the moment.

When I was learning about being present, I was trying to figure it out too.  For someone like me who lives inside their head observing and analyzing everything and everyone, being present was a difficult endeavor – nearly impossible for me.  I can honestly say it took me about three years of practice.  That’s a really long time, but one of the things that helped me was the birds.  I was sitting on my front porch bench thinking about being present (oxymoron) and suddenly a bird chirped very loudly.  It woke me up out of my thoughts and there I was, suddenly present to the moment.  Chirp chirp chirp.  The bird was out of sight, but I was aware.  For once I was aware of the surrounding world right now.  I got a revelation that perhaps the bird’s chirp was divinely designed to wake humans up to the moment.  Each time I heard a chirp thereafter it was a reminder for me to get out of my head (which is pretty much like telling a two year old to stop picking their nose – they just can’t help it).

It’s been about seven years and my world is entirely calm now.  Being present is no longer difficult for me because it saved my life.  It is a place of healing.  It is a place where I am the organic, genuine me.  When I am present, I am not planning ahead about which mask I’m going to wear, or what I’m going to say ahead of time.  There is power in being present because it’s where all of me is in one place.  I am not split up in my head between the margins of yesterday and tomorrow.  I’m not on the battleground of my mind.  I’m just here.  When my words come out now, sometimes they are quite intuitive.  I shock myself with the insight that flows when I am present.  When I am present, I can write from a genuine place.  I’m not trying too hard when I am present.

Being present also means letting things go right away.  It means that if I make a mistake, I can stand in awareness of that mistake, and then be present in the next moment where that mistake does not exist.  It’s immediate forgiveness and being in a constant state of healing.  If I am having an emotional moment (no matter what the emotion is), I can acknowledge the emotion and allow to be there with me.  When I am present, I feel the emotion in its entirety.  I don’t judge it or resist it.  I just give it space, and quickly, it moves through me.  There is no lingering when I am present.  Compassion flourishes in the state of being present.  When you are present, there is no resistance, judgment, worry, stress, apprehension or pretention.  You are in a constant state of acceptance of what is, no matter what is.  If the what is brings up raw emotion, you are present with that emotion.  The emotion will pass and there you will find yourself again blossoming in your magnificent awareness of both yourself and the immediate world.

I used to get a little weepy thinking about not holding onto people, places and things that made me happy, but as I’ve been letting go more in my life, each moment that I am completely present (no matter what I’m doing) is enough to fill any void of loss about whatever it is that I’m letting go.  When I am completely present, nothing I’m doing is draining, or that awful either, because being present means not dreading it.  It means just being. 

Being present does not mean that you cannot use your imagination.  We need creativity in our lives in order to invite experiences and things into fruition.  I make space during certain times of day (early morning and late at night) to visualize and make an intention for what I desire in my life.  Many people use dawn and dusk for prayer or mediation.  Prayer to me is being present and it is more of a state of being rather than a thing that we do.   Meditation is something I can do pretty much anywhere.  Being present is also a constant state of mediation.

I used to get wound up about what was up and coming, and what I had to plan for a month ahead of time.  I would get twisted about Christmas – in February.  I thought everything had to be done right this second, but I guess after sitting in a treatment facility for six months and not attending to much of anything outside that facility, I realized that things either work themselves out, or they don’t much matter.  Not as much as we think they do anyway.  If something comes up now, I deal with it when it comes up.  I don’t thrash and spin over the things I have no control over and I don’t get anxious about the future.  Worry never helped me or made things any easier.  On the contrary.  Worry is a life-suck, so I’ve learned to just deal with things as they arise, rather than giving power to them ahead of time.  I know we have to plan things in life.  Of course.  But when I am present during the planning, the planning is much simpler and less of a burden.

Being present is the easier, softer way (if that’s something you’re looking for in your life).  It’s the answer to just about everything.  Many times my daughter will bring up things she’s worried about and I’ll say to her, “Is that happening RIGHT NOW?”  No it never is, and she gets it.  She immediately calms down and usually discovers a smile in the midst of the temporary anxiety.  The only thing that is happening right now is usually nothing.  That’s the truth.  Big things happen in our head more than they do in real life.  Of course, I’ve learned to be so present that even my job and home reflects a very peaceful environment.  That wasn’t always the case.  Like I said, it took several years of practice, but the result is that the world around me reflects my state of being.  The world around me is pretty much calm.  If yours is not, then keep practicing being present in the midst of the chaos.  If you can’t seem to find yourself centered, call aloud for assistance.  Ask for help.  Tell the birds and the bees to remind you about their sweet way of bee-ing! 

This book helped me: http://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Guide-Spiritual-Enlightenment-ebook/dp/B002361MLA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412776299&sr=1-1&keywords=the+power+of+now

Here is my story: http://www.amazon.com/The-Devils-Altar-Dynamic-Recovery/dp/1492957798/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412776367&sr=8-1&keywords=the+devil%27s+altar

A Child’s Temper Tantrum Doesn’t Throw Me Off Course Today

Meditation

Meditation was introduced to me by a former roommate who practiced it at the kitchen table while staring into a candle.  I walked in on him one day and interrupted him out of his “trance.”  “Oh, I’m sorry,” I declared as I put my groceries away.  “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”  He was not angry or annoyed with me.  We spoke a bit about the practice and I became curious.  That week I went online and discovered there was a Monday night sitting group, just downtown.  I decided to check it out.  During this time, I was searching for something more spiritually enriching and sustaining, but I did not know what that could be, so I was open to everything.

Upon entering the room, there was a place to remove my shoes, so I gladly took mine off and walked into a very quiet space where the lights were dim and people were already sitting in the lotus position with their eyes closed.  The room was small and appeared to be the nursery of the church.  Chairs were spread about, but most people were sitting on pillows.  The main person sat in the front of the room cross-legged and peaceful with a pillow beneath him, beads around his neck and a singing bowl before him.  I found my place quickly, grabbed a pillow and took the position.  The most interesting thing to me at the time, was how natural the lotus position appears.  Just seeing people sitting this way with slight smiles upon their faces, with their eyes closed in silence, seemed like the most natural thing I’d ever seen human being do.  I wondered why meditation was never practiced in my own religion.  This whole experience was the most sacred thing I’d ever walked into.  It was so incredibly still and it simply felt right.

There are many ways to meditate, and I walked into the room without a clue as to what I was supposed to do while I sat there.  This was a half hour sitting.  I crossed my legs, closed my eyes and laid my arms along my legs.  Within ten minutes my feet were falling asleep and my mind was a whirlwind of thoughts.  I wondered how long it was going to take me to be like those other people who sat completely still without fidgeting.  This was not as easy as it looked, but it still felt “right” and I continued going to that sitting.  Throughout the next few years, I went to Buddhist temples on Thursday evenings for sittings, and read about meditation practices.  I spent time sitting at beaches on the Bay, where I lived, each morning and eventually found myself sitting quietly at home, on buses and on BART more often than not.  My mind was slowing down, and even during meditation moments when it was busy, I learned to watch my thoughts rather than identify with them, or to get caught up into them.

In treatment, we meditated almost every evening and I really looked forward to that time of stillness.  It brought me into a centered space of simply being aware of what was happening for me.  If anger was part of my experience, I didn’t judge it.  Instead I would allow it to flow through me, or to stir within me.  Sometimes, like this morning, no emotions came up for me, but I found myself having a difficult time sitting still.  My body wants to do other things than sit there quietly.  My mind tells me that I should be writing, or outside running.  Without judgment of the inner stirring, I sit for twenty minutes at a time and simply get a glimpse into my own inner happenings.

Prayer is a practice I’ve been doing since I can remember.  Meditation is something I learned as a young adult.  Both are incredibly powerful practices.  During one practice, I am offering my own voice to my higher power.  During the meditation practice, I am becoming acquainted with my inner dialogue.  I get a glance into my emotions, my thoughts and my body.  This is so important – to be acquainted with myself; to understand what is moving around and what stirs within me.  It is good to center myself inside my body so that I can go out and greet the world in a stance of awareness.  Many times we begin the day in a rush and don’t have a chance to gather ourselves and to enter into our day with an intention to remain centered.  Other people’s energies take over our peace of mind.  The busyness of work overwhelms our being.  Unexpected occurrences throw us off, but beginning our day with a quiet sitting eradicates the experience of getting sucked into the chaos.  I wish I would have a learned this as a child.  I always wondered how people could remain at peace with so much going on in the world.

Breathing is another thing I must remind myself to do.  I tend to take shallow breaths and to rush through my life.  This last year, I’ve been paying more attention to my breathing.  When I feel overwhelmed, instead of react right away, I try to breathe in and out to slow myself down.  When I pay attention to my breath, everything outside of me becomes less disturbing.  As I am writing this, I’m hearing a child screaming and crying, so I’m practicing that breathing thing, and it immediately takes my mind off of the annoyed feeling I’m having and brings me right back to center.

I used to be very curious about people who walked around so centered, joyful and undisturbed.  Now I understand that they must have mediated.  They were acquainted with themselves enough to remain in alignment with who they were, on a very deep level.  Prayer is an offering to something outside of yourself, while meditation is an offering unto yourself. 

Well, that kid is still crying and throwing a bit of a temper tantrum, but I am finding myself smiling.  I’m so glad I took the time to meditate this morning and to center myself in my body.  Each day brings up new emotions, new experiences and unexpected details.  Meditation keeps me centered and in a place of constant serenity. I highly recommend it for anyone who hasn’t tried it.

The Benefits of Sitting Quietly with Ourselves and… Our Anger

Image

Details make up our conversations, and emotions fuel our responses, but how many of us take the time to actually step outside of the words we speak to feel, or to explore ourselves through the currents of our anger, or the vastness of our happiness?  How many of us have a relationship with ourselves, or love ourselves deeply enough to create space in this busy world to find out what it is we need and what drives us?  A bit of anger came up for me recently and I (of course) reacted (badly).  I was driven by a monster inside of me that wanted to claw its way through the likes of another, but when it did enough damage, it backed down and I was left sitting alone with myself.  Where does this derive from, I have to ask myself. 

Instead of judge the beast who ruled me that day, I sat beside her, figuratively placed an arm around her and allowed her to be part of my experience.  I am not perfect, and although I know a lot about spirituality, I’m not always a “spiritual” person.  I’m human, and I have human behaviors, human responses and human feelings.  This is important for me to accept about myself, otherwise my inner judge will overrule me, and I will not have the space to explore the beast.  It’s been a few weeks and the beast is sitting quietly, but she is still right beside me, simply waiting to be provoked.  She’s pretty full of herself, and her claws are sharp.  I wouldn’t mess with her if I was an outside party, but I’m the only one who has the power to control her, so instead of allowing her to lash out, I’m embracing her and gently reminding her that I’m aware of her presence.  She’s been with me for a very long time and I’m going to finally take the time to face her.

It seems that everyone in my life right now is pointing me to my beast (the anger).  Well, not everyone.  I have two children and a few co-workers who haven’t provoked the beast at all.  It’s like I’m surrounded by both ultimate acceptance and harsh judgments.  I suppose this is an organic reflection of what’s going on within me.  I’m dealing with accepting myself, and judging myself here.  I could reprimand the beast and question her… “What are you still doing here?  I thought I dealt with you?  You don’t belong with me.  You are screwing up my peace… etc,” or I can enter this darkness within myself and realize that it is yearning for exploration.  The ones revealing this beast to me (the provokers) are my greatest advocates (on a soul level).  On a physical level, they don’t even know how important their role is in my life, or perhaps they do… what do I know?

What I do know is that I don’t reject this part of me.  Instead of block her out, pretend she isn’t here, distract myself, or lash out at the people reflecting her to me, I’m asking her questions.  I’m discovering her place in my life.  I’m allowing her presence to overcome me once in a while without reacting.  I’m feeling the hurt that comes up as I allow her to overcome me.  You see, she has more depth than I realize.  She is full of fear and in order to protect herself, she masks herself with fangs and claws.  Beyond this, however, she is merely a vapor of fear that I have never taken the time to face.

This is so deep… tell me about it.  But what I’ve realized in my sobriety, is that having a relationship with myself is so incredibly dynamic and liberating.  If I’m walking around the planet in a state of confusion, or without awareness of myself, then I am setting myself up to self-destruct in the midst of my anger, because this is what I’m accustomed to doing.  We all play a role in each other’s spiritual development, but how many of us sit with ourselves and take the time to acknowledge what everything means on a soul level?  How many of us give ourselves compassion when we are feeling afraid?  Or do we harshly judge ourselves for being completely human?  If you are judging, then you are stifling a beautiful and natural process called healing. 

I’m holding hands with my beast because she is part of me, and I don’t want to reject her anymore.  She obviously has a voice (a pretty loud and sarcastic one at that), and she desires my full attention.  Instead of distract myself from her, I’m regarding her.  It doesn’t matter to me how long she hangs out.  She is a guest in my home right now, and we’re finally getting to know one another.  She is actually pretty harmless when I give her the space to breathe instead of the ignorance of reaction.  She makes me feel extremely uncomfortable at times; agitated and raw.  She irritates me, and makes me feel weary, but if I don’t finally give her my full attention, she is going to have her way with me for the remainder of my life, like a neglected child who raises havoc when least expected. 

I’m angry.  There, I said it.  But this is not who I am.  I run deeper.  The anger is merely a fragment, like a prism of light reflecting something that needs to be recognized in order to be set free.  If it’s fear that I’m harboring, then it’s time I walk through it, and when I’ve finally overcome this fear, I will gladly thank the people in my life who have given me the organic mirror to face this longtime passenger on my journey.