just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness
August, 2010

Amazing Grace…Still Here

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

I know so many friends who are deep in their suffering.  There’s tremendous stress that comes from their restlessness to be somewhere else or to have a different situation.  For some it’s unemployment, giving rise to much space to feed the restless mind.  For others it’s a serious illness that challenges their notions of ‘forever’.  In all cases, it’s the mind wrestling with the Law of Impermanence.  Everything changes, moment by moment.  The quality of my life revolves around my willingness and capacity to embrace what comes, to breath in gratitude for the gift of what’s given, and eventually fill with joy and enthusiasm fed from the opportunity to participate within this next arising moment.

When I was young my parents taught me a prayer that forced me to face the reality that some day, I too, would die.

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

And if I die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take

This simple prayer really, really worked for me.  I woke with joy and enthusiasm for the gift of another day, no matter what.  It gave me the ‘felt’ sense that I am more than my body, that I’m more than this limited time in it.  Today I have to ask my friends, “Is what you’re doing to face your suffering working for you?”  Most of the time they’re not curious about what’s worked for me.  I’m now living sixty years in this body and feel somewhat obligated to share what’s been discovered in truth through 100% working for me.  I don’t mean 90% or 80%.  This is learning that goes to the core of the soul, touching flesh and bones, resonating with every cell within the body.  It’s learning that deepens with every breath, moving in alignment with the belly and the heart.  It’s learning verified through aware doing in full alignment to Being.  So dear friend, “Is what you’re doing working for you?”  If affirmative, I suspect you’ve stopped reading this.  If not, where’s your curious mind?  Here are a few things that always work for me.

  1. If I want to make space for something new to come in my life I have to be filled with acceptance for what ‘is’.  This means filled with acceptance for what I have, do, and experience within this moment.
  1. My life is about ‘waking up’.  My awareness to this moment requires work.  There’s a practice that commands focus, precision and obedience.  My mind is continually creating thoughts of ‘not wanting’, of ‘dis-ease’.  I have a choice of trying to avoid this moment or ‘trying to fix’ this moment.  Yet, peace comes when I face and accept this moment as opportunity to participate.  This gratitude work yields a higher vibration, one of joy.  The higher vibration removes obstacles and I can embrace life with energy.  By accepting this moment as it ‘is’ I’m no longer separated and a huge space opens to receive what’s new.  I’m pulled to be around those who accept, are in joy and especially those who are enthusiastic about the next arising moment.
  2. Be amazed for the grace we’ve received.  I’ve had several experiences where my life in this body should have ended.  This brush with an end to my time in this body has made me more aware of life.  I think anyone who’s lived sixty years has seen how precious our time is within these bodies, has seen or faced death, and now realizes our work is to ‘wake up’.  Amazing Grace has become a very special song for me as I fill with joy for waking to the gift of this moment.
  3. Sometimes you may not know what your instrument is.  In my early years I thought I knew what would make me happy.  My desire mind created a craving.  I deeply desired to play guitar and to fly jet planes.  I was gifted the trumpet, harmonica, hang gliding, windsurfing, and kiteboarding.  I didn’t know how much I wanted children and grand children until I had them.  They now feed my joy beyond imagination.  My deepening relationship with my wife, mother and grandmother to these children, has found new territory never expected in my early years.  It’s softer and more tolerant, and much more accepting to the ‘new beginning’ within this second half of life.  Whether it’s family, boardsports, or music, this life is richer because of the joy I find in deepening the rhythm and harmony of our song. Again, it takes focus, precision and obedience to a ‘practice’ that cultivates the bigger sense of belonging.  One of my teachers called this Big Hope.  A famous trumpet teacher said, “When the mind leaves the tone, obstacles appear.”  A Zen teacher said, “Life is about removing obstacles and going deeper.”  I now know that intellect knowledge is very shallow.  The real learning comes from dedicated attention that absorbs into the flesh and bones, touching every atom and cell within the body.  The joy found in this learning is beyond the imagination, limitless, and filled with curiosity/mystery.
  4. In the midst of the restless mind, patience is huge.  I’m finally improving my capacity to pause.  ‘Hot’ emotions have generally followed a restless, reactive mind.  Things always go better when I embrace the ‘feeling’, let go the growing of negative as I witness ‘change’, aim to ‘stillness’, and eventually move to action that at the minimum does not harm.  This requires letting go the need to fix, to be right, to defend, and to change a situation or person.  It’s once again refining the capacity to rest in uncertainty, seeing the delusion of resolution.  It requires returning to the matt for deepening into reception of the ‘rising moment’.  Poof!  Here it is.  Yes!  Thank you!  Joy returned.

Dear Universe (God, Source, Love)

Thank you for this restless mind and the struggles I’ve engaged to settle you down.  From that struggle I’ve come to where I am now.  Thank you for showing me the silliness found in attaching to ‘my story’.  I’m so happy to rest in faith, love, and the felt sense of Big Hope.  Touching the infinite, it’s all dance, letting go the critical mind in joy that I’m better than I was.  Thanks for showing me that judgement is my biggest obstacle to love, to the felt sense of belonging.  This has given me the strength to stand in the presence of another’s suffering, the courage to move into unfamiliar territory.  It’s given me the wisdom to find new space when thoughts arise creating negative emotions.  It’s shown me the power in tasting the future ‘now’.  Why wait when heaven is here, in ‘this’ moment.  The ordinary is no more, nothing taken for granted as all becomes perceived as extraordinary.  Thank you for the joy found in cultivating awareness to your Presence within my Being.  I am not my stuff.  I am not my achievements.  I am not separate.  I am the tone.  I am the breath, the dance, the harmony, the rhythm, the Divine.  I can not be separated and consequently relish this moment free from the fear of eventually surrendering this body.  Thank you for what Carols Castanada calls ‘the active side of infinity’.  Thank you for the taste of peace.

No body— before I had a body and after I let this body go

Some body— I have this body

Some body else— I am aware that I’m connected to more than my body

Take nothing for granted.

You’re entitled to nothing.

Don’t complain.

Cultivate your relationship to this moment with obedience to a diligent practice.

Meditate from the heart or belly.

This work, cultivating depth through deeper living, stewardship and good food, helps slow energy dissipation so you can progress along the way in this body—being/doing to your fullest.

Trees want to grow old and strong and then a beetle comes…or drought.  The chances for slowed entropy increase for the tree who’s paid most attention to stewarding those around him, roots reaching out for mutual support.

Mountains exist because their rock was slower to dissipate.  Yet, erosion happens, but it’s slower with the commitment of a mountain.

Nothing dies.  It just changes.  Nothing disappears.  It just changes.  Nothing stops.  It’s forever in motion.  Change varies according to our vibration.  It’s either fast or slow, high or low.

It’s good to cultivate a higher vibration that smashes our restlessness.  It’s good to cultivate space to strengthen our felt sense of Unity.  It’s good to break our addiction to busyness, our ‘too busy to Be’ mind set.

More on your body.

Your somebody is your body.

Give it your dedicated stewardship.

Never criticize it.  It’s doing everything it can to help you catch up to the beauty of response for the gift of your materialization.

If you have any sense of lack-ness, not enough-ness…Stop it!

This is a ‘dis’ on the grace you’ve been bestowed.  It’s a disgrace.

Rather, cultivate gratitude from the grace received to manifest in this body.

Our work is to be in joy.  Enjoy is tied to pleasure and the consumptive mind.  We’re forever left in the vacuum of desire.  Joy is sustainable, even as we move through the earthquakes of life.  When ‘in joy’ I make my best effort to love all life, to leave a gentle wake with minimal harm.

Quality living is about cultivating first hand information from the Divine.  You can function with second and third hand information, attached to beliefs and dogmas.  I want to taste the direct experience, outside the thought mind, aiming to reduce my felt moments of separation.

I have found ‘to be/do’ my best requires opening to the nonverbal/nonlinguistic experience…beyond thought.  Best performance of an action commands commitment to steer from thought, any thought.  A thought removes us from the power of flow (from coincidence/co-inciding) which is purely nonverbal surrender into the receiving of ‘this’ arising moment in 100% fullness.

For sure, this requires thought, practice, rehearsal, vow, obedience, commitment, etc., before we can surrender in flow, grateful for the unity of action outside of time and space, outside judgment from the critical mind and all its birthed obstacles.

When the mind leaves the tone, obstacles appear.

When the mind leaves the tone, obstacles appear.

Ride at Washington Square August 26, Sept. 5 and 23

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Oh the times are a changing as summer shows signs of yielding to fall.  We hope you can join Ride at The Square on one or more of our dates, for summer’s end, for celebration and honor to the staff, or to usher in fall.

Famous bluesman, Otis Spann, sings, “When you in trouble, blues is a man’s best friend. Blues don’t care where you goin’ and don’t care where you been.”  There’s a tremendous healing quality that comes from the depth of the belly, found so solid in the blues.  We invite you to come out and share this energy with us.

On Sunday, Sept. 5, we play outside on the patio, 7-11pm, in honor to all the hard work performed by Washington Square staff.  This is a Labor Day celebration and we hope you’ll come out to help us honor their dedicated work and service.

So Just ‘What’ Are We Working to Wake Up To?

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

When I was twenty-nine my mother was in her last days with her body.  She would let it go within weeks from asking me, “Randy, just ‘what’ are you holding on to?”  I had expressed my anger and frustration for letting her body go so soon.  Her question came from a higher place as I witnessed a yellow/blue aura surrounding her fading body.  It ripped the grasping mind from beneath me as we touched a moment that changed me forever.  Outside of time/space notions, we had gone from the small hope of wanting things different to the Big Hope that all is one in ‘this’ arising moment.  The obstacle of judging ‘this’ moment good or bad had been removed.  In the fullness of our emptiness, we faced the life/death moment as miraculous ‘change’.

When people ask me about ‘what’ we wake to, it’s simply to ‘this moment’.  It’s the grand affirmation to what ‘is’, no longer chasing thoughts about what was or what we wish to come.  It’s coming home to feeling ‘this’ breath, touching awareness to ‘this’ feeling, in full arrival to heaven, here and now.  It’s the courage to live in the realm of ‘no complaint, no complaint’.  It’s the strength to face each moment new, no matter what.  It’s the discipline to make space for finding the gift in what’s given, no matter what.

Can I wake up to the felt awareness that everything is connected?  Am I cultivating the deeper feeling that everything affects everything, everything being joined?  Am I strengthening my ‘Yes’ to this living moment or feeding my ‘No’?  Am I waking to new found mystery and curiosity or stuck in my beliefs and notions of ‘rightness’?  Simply put, am I waking to peace or separation?

In our polarizing times this is very difficult work.  May my mother’s words soften your day in appreciation to ‘this’ moment?  May you find the extraordinary in the ordinary?  In honor to my father’s gentle mind, may you live a life without complaint?  In peace and full blessing, we share this precious moment.  Yes!  Thank you.

Meditation, Dialog and True Peace Require Suspension of ‘the Map’

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

We come into this form of body and experience our world.  We receive sensations, interpret them into perceptions, create thoughts that lead to emotions, and build a ‘map’ to what we imagine is ‘the territory’.  Our spiritual masters and great scientists claim the territory is all connected.  Yet, our thinking mind continually pushes us to a sense of being separated.  We dedicate so much of our living to separateness and defending ‘our map’.  Perhaps our greatest obstacle to love, peace and joy is the judgment that our map is the ‘right’ one.  Yet, when we embrace the Divine, the Law of Unity, God, the Territory, we clearly see we only carry a map.  The curious mind wants to touch the territory.  The alive, vital person wants to ‘touch the Territory’.  This takes a different kind of belief.  It’s the belief that comes from the felt experience of touching the Territory, in full knowledge that separation is an illusion.  It’s not belief in another’s map.  It’s not an emotional attachment to a thought.  It’s a surrendered moment of peace that allows us to harmonize with all that is.  It’s real intercourse of lasting joy.  It’s the ‘great fullness’ that comes from emptying our map to ‘feel’ the territory.  It’s movement from the intellect to the belly or heart brain.  It’s willingness to silence thought’s incessant noise.

Our judicial and political system reward those most effective at selling ‘their’ map.  Various religions sell ‘their’ map.  Parents steal the creative minds of their children by instilling ‘their’ map.  Spirits are stolen by authoritarians forcing ‘their’ map and we endure monologues from egocentrics pushing ‘their’ map.  We endure wars, sports events, advertisements, and mindless consumption caught in our thought (map).

So where do we find peace?  How do we ‘touch the territory’, beyond notions of like and dislike?  How do we enter the realm of ‘flow’ in full arrival to our Being?  It requires suspension of ‘our’ map.  This is something foreign to politicians, attorneys, most pastors, and most in authority.  Perhaps someday we can raise the courage to deeply listen to one another from a ‘suspended map’, touching the territory of Oneness in gratitude for the opportunity to participate.