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
November, 2010

Breathing in a Sense of Oneness, a Sense of Wonder

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Much of the translation of Zen deals with the distinction between the dualistic and the non-dualistic mind.  I’ve found it more helpful to contrast two against one rather than ‘non-two’.  There’s a negative energy when I introduce ‘non’, almost contradicting the Buddhist rule for relief of suffering, the release of grasping.  Within our complete arrival to ‘this moment’ we aim the heart to uncover Oneness.  This is a feeling cultivated to alleviate the suffering from the obstacles of duality we’ve allowed.  The calibration of our consciousness rises to the extent we grow this felt sense of Oneness.  The great spiritual teachers all instructed us to feed this sense of wonder.

“The significance of Krishna, Buddha, Christ, and Allah was not their personal presence on the planet but the truths they revealed and espoused, and the calibratable high energy which accompanied the teachings.  All enlightened beings tell the populace to ignore their personality or personhood, but instead, to focus on the teachings.”

from David Hawkins, The Eye of the I, pp. 45-46

These basic teachings are to love one another as oneself, to hold gratitude, to forgive, to not judge, to hold moderation in the material world, and to forever deepen in our awareness to the gift of All.  Our deepest gratitude comes in forever recognizing our opportunity to participate to the fullest in evolving the universe through our awareness to Oneness.  Our dualistic mind wants to fill with ‘doing’, achievements and accomplishments.  It fills with notions of success against another’s loss, poisoning us to ‘have more’.  Interestingly, globalization and the recent economic downtown have given us pause to examine the ‘us against them’ premise.  Suddenly, notions of being #1 evaporate.  We start to review the result in cultivating our notions of separateness (patriotism, nationalism, war, persuasion, etc.).  Our politicians try to persuade us that their actions from the dualistic mind have somehow made things better.  We’ll never know what could have happened had we been less reactive to 9/11.  Spiritual wisdom would have held us from revenge.  Today South Korea was attacked by North Korea.  The news reported that South Korea diligently returned fire.  We’ll never know how the world’s reaction could have been different had they not returned fire.  We do know that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara held grave misgivings about our decisions to war with Vietnam.  His Academy Award winning documentary, The Fog of War, details how our lack of awareness sucks us into conflict.  He strongly advises those who follow him to find their greatest military strength in ‘empathizing with the enemy’.  This is another way of saying ‘cultivate your sense of Oneness’.  As Christ has advised, “Love your enemy”.  The dualistic mind fights this notion.

We’re often carried away in our need to be ‘right’.  The human race exists today because one man, Tommy Thompson, created a way for Kruchev to back down from nuclear war without losing face.  Ted Sorenson and Robert McNamara both confirm we were as close to nuclear annihilation as we’ve ever come.  In today’s media world we’re fed through angry rhetoric that feeds the dualistic mind.  It’s hard to find those willing to carry a ‘curious conversation’.  Rumi has said, “Somewhere out there is a field…a field beyond right knowing and wrong knowing.  Let’s meet there.”  This is the field of the curious mind filled with wonder and gratitude for what’s presented ‘here and now’.  This is a field that needs a lot of obedience to the cultivating process.  We’re continually fed news from the dualistic mind that forever focuses on ‘what’s wrong’.  The common discourse comes from the judgmental mind screaming what needs to be done, often deaf to any possibility for dialogue and discovery.  Our children are numbed to sleep with TV, cell phones, computer games and social network dribble that moves us further from awareness to our Oneness.  Yet, our great spiritual teachers say we’re here to ‘wake up’, not go to sleep.  In fact, ‘buddha’ means ‘to wake up’.  So back to the top, recognizing that the universe changes when you breath in a sense of wonder, a sense of Oneness.  This is why we’re here, to discover the power of the Divine within each and every one of us.

Can you imagine the power we have when facing our moment to moment experience from a sense of wonder?  Breathing in this moment, sense Oneness with the tree, the plate, the floor, the person in you presence, etc.  Now take it to the next level and breath in Oneness in the presence of your enemy.  This is the strength practiced by Mandela, Gandhi, Dr. King, Mother Theresa, Walesa and other spiritual Avatars who’ve shaped history in our evolution of consciousness.  A sense of Oneness can’t comprehend a calculation of ‘acceptable collateral damage’ in war.  It doesn’t understand the notion of killing for sport and pleasure.  A heart that’s removed the obstacles to Oneness meets All from a sense of reverence.  The deeper we cultivate our felt sense of interconnection the less harm we do.  At the end of the day the real question of success is asked from the position of support.  How have I supported others?  How have I held gratitude for their support of me?  How have I caused trouble from my dualistic mind?

The mind of Twoness is drawn by greed, fear and ignorance.  The mind of Oneness aims to generosity, compassion, love, courage, and the curious mind, the mind of wonder.

So today, how do I feed the mind of Awareness to Oneness?  How do I feed the mind to Twoness?  My peace comes in knowing the Universe expands and heals with each breath in of Oneness, of wonder.  Breathing in you, breathing out me, touching our Oneness outside notions of time and space.


Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Is it possible to move beyond all the division of partisan religion?  I know we’ve had a lot of pull to use the words ‘interfaith’ and ‘intercultural’.  These are expanding notions that deal with the reality of getting along in our universe, a universe that increasingly shows us we can’t survive without getting along. Yet, these are words that seem to move from tolerance and understanding rather than deeper desire to find ‘the common’. In years past, under the directive of Newtonian science, we seemed to think there were answers and positions of being ‘right’.  We had to look at our experience and then follow the map that made the most sense to us.  Yet, today, it’s increasingly evident that two truths found at the base of all religions are being substantiated by contemporary physics.  When we step beyond the distinctive differences of our world religions, universally they agree that 1. Nothing stays the same, all things change, and 2. Nothing is independent, with everything affecting everything.  These truths are the foundation of religion’s premise that all is One.  We could call this ‘common sense’.  The temptation is to act from a dualistic mind, claiming ‘our One’ is the ‘right One’.  We’re continually bombarded with a culture that wants us to deny the Law of Impermanence and the Law of Unity.  We’ve become extremely sophisticated in our methods of persuasion, whether it be in politics, religion, commerce or family.  We somehow believe we matter more when others are ‘pushed’ to our way of seeing things.  Yet, we’re continually shown how real creative work comes from a surrendering of calcified beliefs, opening in a deeper faith to the power of Oneness.

It may be helpful for you to know of my deep love and appreciation for Lutheran and Buddhist teachings. They’ve worked together to deepen my life experience.  Yet, from a transreligion perspective, these are teachings of my direct experience and my lack of experience with Islam, Native American, Hindu, Judaism, and other religions. My ignorance of these other religions should play no bearing on the validity of their core underlying truths, truths claiming God’s omnipresence.  There are multitudes of traditions that expose the sacred nature of all things, the God nature in our universe.  As such, they all direct us to reverence for the very gift of life and the opportunity to participate with minimal harm.

Our contemporary physicists have now made it abundantly clear how little we know.  We see how science can’t reach beyond the limits of perception; it only takes us to the threshold of awareness, that place of not depending upon perception.  Yet, our science progresses through entering the field of intuition, fully surrendered in science to the gift of insight from a still mind.  Our typical logical, sequential mind has surrendered to the effortless unfolding to the divinity of All That Is.  An evolved ‘knowing’ comes from a deeper faith and surrendered obstruction.  We’ve gone beyond fixed belief systems to the direct experience of the Divine, of Oneness.  Rather than ‘pushing’ in a stressful desire to the illusion of what’s been, or abandoning the present moment for the illusion of the future, the emptied mind opens to receiving the Presence of One.  Our deep attachments to smaller belonging circles transform as we transcend to a Bigger Belonging, a Bigger Hope, a deeper reverence for what Is.  Brother David Steindl Rast calls this ‘a great fullness’, playing upon the words to deepen our gratefulness.

So how does this change us?  Suddenly, we’re no longer sucked into bipartisan wrangling.  We move beyond our insecurity and need to persuade others.  Our movement comes from love, the felt sense of our interconnection.  We focus on what’s common in our higher thinking, moving to common sense dialogues.  Judgment diminishes and negative notions of the comparative heart lesson.  We listen more generously, with an open heart, solid in a deeper knowing that there are only deeper questions.  We compassionately ask others to ‘tell us more’,  ‘go further with that’, ‘so how does that feed your hope and joy’, etc.  We reduce our desire to change others to ‘our way’ of seeing things. We step away from our sense of ‘rightness’.

When we touch the realm of ‘transreligion’ we enter the realm of Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc. in truly seeing our enemies as us.  The ‘us vs them’ dichotomy vanishes.  The calibration of human consciousness rises exponentially as we listen more and more, speaking less, but speaking with more care and precision.  We commit to minimizing the harm we do others as we ‘feel’ their Divine.  Our actions move from love, not fear and anger.  We meet new situations with a sense of equanimity, no matter what.  We recognize it’s not in our capacity to ‘resolve’ anything since every thing is moving, the next arising moment now before us.

Can our politics advance to the transpartisan party?  Can we move beyond our simplistic bipartisan mind?  Can our church leadership help us diminish violence by stepping up the Oneness conversation and stepping down the ‘we’re right, you’re wrong’ monologue?  Can we advance into the transreligion movement and help put scientifically based truths on the curriculum of all schools? Can we move beyond the illusion that excessive wealth is ‘not causing harm’?  Today’s politics have placed close to 30% of America’s wealth in the hands of 1% of the people.  The dualistic, competitive mind has caused great harm.

“Divinity is present everywhere but obscured by identification with the mind and the body.

The Eye of the I is the Self of Divinity expressed as Awareness.  The unmanifest, transcendental divinity of Allah/God/Brahman/Krishna becomes manifest as the Self/Atman–the immanent divinity.

Spiritual evolution occurs as the result of removing obstacles and not actually acquiring anything new.  Devotion enables surrender of the mind’s vanities and cherished illusions  so that it progressively becomes more free and more open to the light of Truth.”

from David Hawkins, The Eye of the I  p. 30

“Having a Big Mind means to remain unbiased and open.  It is the mind which does not stamp a fixed value on everything, nor decide on things simply by feelings and sentiments. This does not mean that we become like vegetables, knowing or understanding nothing.  We have to delve more deeply than that into the significance of Big Mind.”

from Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, How to Cook Your Life

A Collection of Thoughts Passing

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Do you want to feel all right? Then give up the thought that you’re right.

Settle the mind into silence and then you’ll experience reality.

Creative art may come from the subconscious or unconscious, but definitely not from the self-conscious.

The antidote to the pain of greed is generosity and simplicity.

“If your mind leaves the sound of the horn, obstacles will appear.”  William Adams

Consider a screenplay entitled  “Stuff”

I don’t really care what political party you are.  Are you capable of having a conversation about the stewardship of family, community, nation and planet?

Entitled to Nothing.  Grateful for Everything.

Let’s explore just how you belong.  How far will you go?  Where you stop is where violence begins.  (a case for open minds)

The illusion is that things stop.

Conformity is overrated.  Winning is overrated.  Just aim to be your best expression with harm to none.

Aging…do it softly.  Let the eyes surrender detail of entropy.  Go deeper.

Deeper doesn’t mean more.  More doesn’t mean deeper.  More is not necessary.  Deeper is.

Aging and life experience produces asymmetry.  Our work is to hold balance, alignment and energy.  This takes discipline.

It’s important to teach our children that ‘empty = full’ and ‘empty = not empty’.  It’s a deeper question without answer.

Our practice is to let go the ‘thought’ that we’re separate, cultivating the deeper experiential feeling that we’re connected, belong and never alone.

The paradox is that when practicing ‘mindfulness’, the mind must be emptied.

For parents, don’t become obedient to the child.  Become obedient to dedicated stewardship of the child’s welfare, health and education.

When the mind leaves the posture (the breath, the tone, the present moment, God), obstacles appear.

The poisons are fear, greed and ignoring.

The antidotes are love/generosity, gratitude/generosity, and awakened awareness/sharing.

Opening to joy for what we have slows greed’s venom, opening space for lasting satisfaction.

It’s all blessing.

I’ve arrived.  Now what?  Everything is still moving (changing).  Nothing stopped.

Beware (fear) or Be Aware (to love, generosity, forgiveness and gratitude)

Celebrate or cerebrate.  Feel or think?

To really appreciate full, it helps to know empty.  To really appreciate life, it helps to face and know death.

Judgement is an obstacle to love.

The brain can’t create and criticize within the same moment.

There is no audience.  Just the fear of judgment.  Be played to your fullest.

So where do we find sustaining joy?  It comes from the felt sense of full-ness, never from the felt sense of lack-ness.

There are different kinds of happy.  Cultivate our awareness to different kinds of happy.  You can’t build anything on a negative belief.  This determines creative beauty or ugly destruction.

Everything that’s happening is the expression of wholeness.

Thinking still happens after liberation, but there’s no one listening.

Simple, ordinary and absolutely stunning.  Everything arises as new in love-ness.

Meditation…not ‘trying’ to get away from thought, but aiming to enter thoughtlessness.

The greatest addiction (intoxicant) of all is the thought of ME.

No one has ever killed anybody.  The idea anyone has done anything falls apart.

I have my experience.  You have yours.  Mine can never be yours and yours can never be mine.  The illusion/delusion is that I can make mine yours.  This is where violence starts.

I can never have your experience, but deep listening and empathy helps me approach it.

The dualistic mind believes in permanence, yet impermanence is Life.

Not taking things for granted moves us to appreciation, awareness and great fullness, eventually arriving in joy.

How do contemporary physics teachers explain Oneness…the scientifically proven interconnection of all things?

The whole heart doesn’t know thought, words and the intellect.

Periodically fill out your ‘feeling’ card, on a 1-10 scale, identifying where you are: enough vs. not enough, lacking vs. full, negative vs. positive, bad vs. good.

We’ve been trained from fear to meet basic survival needs, often at the expense of and harm to others.  Whether family, school, work, church, community, state, nation or planet, the notion of ‘win’ is illusion, ultimately costing us real peace.

A strong desire to be better may be the comparative that prevents you from full attention, from ‘being your best’.

Conformity is overrated.  Precision and education are underrated.  Conformity is a dangerous condition where depth sacrifices to approval.

In the end, all we really want (and need) is one another’s awareness.  So let’s ‘wake up’ to one another.

Oh…damaged by the spirit of competition.  Competition is the extreme grasping at the expense of another’s loss.  The moment is all there is.  I may temporarily feel better with a win.  I may relish beating you, but it’s not sustaining and the vacuum once again arrives.

“Best” as defined by 100% attention, is a moment to moment thing.  It takes a lot of pressure off.

Rockets of desire seldom launch when there’s a sense of yearning (restlessness).  We must first carry our gratitude and depth of awareness for what is, thus opening and making space for the new.

Not this moment?  YES, this moment.  From our first tastes of object permanence we start our training in desiring different moments.  Our work is to return awareness to this arising moment, fresh. I want to be HERE!

Perhaps the most absurd trend is how we’ve made multi-tasking (split attention) a skill in comparative, with a reward to notions of better, all at the expense of our best (quality).

Bows and wows to you!

Armistice Day, The Law of Impermanence and The Law of Unity

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Everything changes. Everything affects everything.


Most of us spend much of our lives trying to fight inevitable change.  We’re also continually drawn into the illusion of our separateness, developing egos we think are somehow defined by our thoughts, actions and achievements, identities, relationships, etc.  Yet, when we look deeper, change is inevitable and we’re not our fixed notion of an ego.  Energy disperses by law. Everything affects everything, by law.  We’ll all shed our bodies as entropy plays itself upon us.  Certainly, we can work to slow entropy through awareness and body/mind practice that recognizes the fragility of our time within these physical bodies.  Yet, no matter how hard we try to stop entropy, the body deteriorates and we take our last breath.  Through the Law of Unity, it’s impossible to ‘stop‘ our connection with the Matrix, the Oneness of Life.  It’s quite paradoxical that we come to steward better lives when we face our inevitable body release.  When we face our death, now we come to true living.  Our courage to ‘face this moment’ comes from our felt awareness that ‘this is it’, this moment indivisible in our typical notions of time and space.

The thought of no longer being is quite terrifying.  Many religions have evolved with stories about what happens when we shed these bodies.  This gives relief to millions and for many, readies them to actually face their death in Divine Oneness.  My mother had many cognitive traditional religious beliefs based on a God ‘out there’.  They were eventually incorporated into her dying experience as she once again left conflict and duality for the experience of peace and Oneness.  Christ was her mode of appreciation and her connection with the Divine was the greatest gift a mother could give her child.  Her most profound question, just a few weeks before her last breath, was, “Randy, what are you holding on to?”  This was the most liberating question I’ve ever been asked.  At that moment I felt her Presence within me and through the Law of Unity, experienced the impossibility of her disappearing.  Her Life Force was transforming, her physical energy dissipating, yet I carried great peace in knowing she didn’t stop and she didn’t disconnect from the Source of Being.  She was transforming, moment to moment, much like the chrysalis changing to the butterfly.

On this Armistice Day it seems appropriate to question our fighting nature.  The originators of this day set it as a commitment to never again repeat the grave mistake of WWI.  It was set as a commitment to find alternatives to warfare.  The very date of 11/11, signed at 11pm, carries the message of our Oneness in honor to the Law of Unity.  When I fight you from  fear, anger, greed or ignorance, I fight myself and harm the Universe with my dualistic thought.  When I experience you as me I respect the fragility of our condition and minimize the harm I do.  As Jesus spoke in Luke 6, “Love you enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you”, our life journey is to feel others as us, to do to others as we would have them do to us, because we are each other, bound in relation through the Law of Unity.

The intention of Armistice Day was lost after we experienced WWII and when President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day.  We lost the very strength of those spiritual leaders who chose this day of Oneness, 11/11 at 11pm, allowing us to further entrench ourselves in the illusion of conflict.  This is not to take away from our remembrance of those lost in combat. Still, can we follow our intention to Oneness?  It’s to challenge ourselves to honestly ask if war has ever worked.  It’s to really do the work of responding in action to Christ’s mandate, a mandate from almost all great spiritual leaders.  Cultivate Oneness.  Seek to understand one another as mirrors of ourselves.  At all costs, respond in action from love, not greed, fear and ignorance.  How many innocent lives have been lost from poor intelligence?  How many lives have been saved from patience, generosity, and love? Former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, made an insightful documentary about this evolution called Fog of War. Too bad it’s not a mandate for viewing on each 11/11.  In these times of ever increasing respect for militarism, anger and fighting, I suspect the words of Jesus and Buddha may create some negative judgment.  Yet, for me, as we approach 1/11/11 and 11/11/11, my intentions will forever strengthen in Big Hope and awareness to the Law of Unity and the Law of Impermanence, as we more deeply respond in love to our rapidly changing universe.  Honor and mourn veterans and their sacrifice? Yes, for their sacrifice lives in all of us.  Yet, let’s not loose sight of our spiritual mandate to forever increase our awareness to Oneness.  Love one another as yourself, because you are in One, our completion Here and Now, the separation an illusion.

MIDVAS (from Charles Van Riper’s acronym for Motivation, Identification, Desensitization, Variability, Approximations, and Stability)

So how do I deepen my understanding of impermanence and unity?  What ‘practice’ strengthens my capacity to accept what is within ‘this moment’?  What practice deepens my awareness and consequent experience of Oneness?  How do my thoughts deepen or weaken my understanding and experience of change and interdependence?  STAY TUNED

“Students Have Ears”

Monday, November 8th, 2010
Students have ears.

Students have ears.

My daughter-in-law and I were having a conversation about education when her three year old son piped in, “Students have ears”.  I took this to mean that teachers must respect the minds of their students.  We were taken to a new place that more deeply examines the nature of the “teacher” and the nature of “student”.  It looks more into what moves us to learn.  There seems to be a recent backward trend to have the teacher impart knowledge upon the student.  The student then demonstrates comprehension and retention in some form of test and consequently receives the approval of the culture.  Yet, this seems more of an indoctrination than an awakening to deeper knowledge.

I heard my grandson say that he, too, has a mind.  A powerful teacher knows how to open the mind to new discovery.  The children come with open minds, curious to learn and dig deeper into the mystery.  A didactic approach that aims to ‘fill’ the student with knowledge (teacher as Subject, student as Object) eventually robs the student of enthusiasm.  The ‘dance’ of learning has been stifled through the illusion of a ‘right’ answer.  A true teacher is more of a ‘guide’, deeply listening to the student, identifying the obstacles the student has placed in front of discovery.  Attempting to present knowledge when the barriers to learning are strong would seem to be a wasted effort.

So how does the ‘guide’ hold the student’s interest, stimulating them to new discovery in creative response?  It would seem the first requirement is to get the student to ‘show up’.  This comes from our culture’s respect for the educational process and the evolution of our humanity through cultivation of the creative response.  Our civilization advances to the degree we desire to wake to our interconnection and the reality of imminent change.  When we realize we’re all connected, affecting our universe, we stimulate the desire to learn and ultimately contribute.  We more carefully examine how we nurture and how we harm.  Our motivation to ‘matter’ is awakened and it’s what drives us to dig deeper into our heart’s calling.  We ‘show up’.

The next step is to ‘pay attention’.  With technology’s multiple screen devices and an increasingly greedy political environment, the quality of education suffers tremendously.  Children without healthcare, without adequate diet, and those suffering from tremendous home emotional pressure are most challenged to pay attention.  Those students who’ve fallen asleep to technology’s distractive pull can barely give ten per cent attention to the teacher.  Countless books are now being released describing the dangers of the inattentive mind.  Our years of posterity, living in the economic bubble, have yielded a group of students put to sleep through TV, video games, social network distraction, cell phones and ever increasing ways to carry the mind below awareness of the ‘present moment’.  Simply put, a true teacher needs the student’s awareness.  An educational system that’s going to work well needs full attention.  Obviously, ever increasing class size greatly diminishes the capacity to hold a student’s full attention.

By definition, our ‘best’ is when we’ve ‘shown up in full attention’ to the present moment.  When we’re asleep, even partially, to the moment, we’re not at our best.  So how do we slow to open the hand of thought, to settle to the moment and awake fully to deepening our education?

The above question forces us to examine the intention of education.  Why are you a student, a teacher, and school institution?  What are we aiming for and what motivates us to participate?  As a culture, what is education about?  For some it’s about the utility of getting our youth prepared for a paycheck.  For others it’s about training our youth to think like we think.  For others it’s a competition with others, driven from pride to ‘be better than others’.  Yet, I maintain our work is to deepen our awareness to the ‘illusion of other’ as we become more and more aware of the ‘experience’ of interconnection through a cultivated educational experience that respects my grandchild’s remark that ‘student have ears (minds)’.  Our lifelong task is to stay from closing those ears, challenging the creative mind to open.

No doubt, we’re living in an increased polarized environment.  Our commercial media bombards us with ‘us vs. them’ message.  The very notion of advancing to handle ever increasing change is repeatedly beat down by those who proclaim an ability to ‘stop change’.  The very notion of creativity, collaboration and stewardship is beat down by those who beat the drum of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’.  The stress from these repeating thoughts forever hinders our learning.  Obstacles to growth appear and we crash or crack.

Perhaps the most effective thing a guide can do is to begin a dedicated program to ‘waking up’.  Dedicate portions of the day to simply still the mind, letting go repeating thoughts, deepening awareness to ‘this moment’.  When the student really, really, really wants to ‘be here, now’, real learning happens.  When the guide has brought the student to ‘joy for the moment’, enthusiasm is the result.  It doesn’t come from the approval of others but from a deeper knowing that ‘the best’ has been touched.

If you’re a teacher, what makes a strong teacher?  How do you know you’ve done your best?  What motivates you to do what you do?  What do you think needs to happen to get the student to show up, pay attention, and to do their best?

“Zazen, which is letting go and opening the hand of thought, is the only true teacher.  This is an important point.  I have never said to my disciples that I am a true teacher.  From the beginning I have said that the zazen each of us practices is the only true teacher…… I’ve never said that I am a true teacher or that I am always right.  Whether you think I am a true teacher or not is only your opinion.  A true teacher is just not that sort of thing.  Please do not forget that the zazen of opening the hand of thought is what constitutes our true teacher and is most worthy of respect.”

from Opening the Hand of Thought by Kosho Uchiyama