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, 2011

Armistice Day

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

After suffering the agony of WWI, the US Congress set aside 11/11 as a day of pause.  In 1938 it was designated Armistice Day, a day to lay down arms in pause to reflect upon the loss and grief from war.  The pause was later dedicated to the loss of veterans, but this should not take away our insight to the suffering that comes from alienation and separation.

We live in a media that thrives on conflict, fear and greed.  We daily ignore the fact that we’re all inter-related, all One.  Science and ancient wisdom have repeatedly shown how everything affects everything and everything changes.  In honor to those no longer in their physical bodies, to those now here, and to those yet to manifest in body, can we take some time today to reflect upon what we have in common?  Can we pause from our need to be ‘right’, from our insecurity and desire to persuade others, and from our continual pull to fight what ‘is’?  Can we just take a few deep breaths in affirmation to the gift of life?  Can we take a few moments to wish everyone less suffering?  Can we take a few moments to touch the Divine, to touch peace?  This is all Matti Stapanek was asking when he wrote the following after the 9/11 tragedy:

For Our World

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

Mattie J.T. Stepanek
September 11, 2001

Mattie was eleven when he wrote this.  He fully understood the real meaning of Armistice Day.  He left his body three years later after dedicating his life to helping others reduce their suffering.  He left us filled with One-der.  May you experience healing this special day of Oneness, 11/11/11.

One-der Full Moments

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Just as the moon is full, may your day be filled with ‘One-der full’ moments.

In celebration of One, taking pause from the pain of notions of two.

To heal, to be whole, from the pain of two.

Yoga…to yoke…to be in union, connected.

Armistice…to lay down arms, opening hearts in faith, hope, and love.

Intensifying the Social Trance or Waking to One?

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Tomorrow marks a shifting moment.  There’s an opportunity to deepen in our notions of ‘two’ or deepen our awareness of One.  We can expand our circle of belonging or diminish it.  We can sharpen our sword or open our arms.  We can be carried away by repeating thoughts from the head or touch the Divine from the heart.  This is not a day to try to persuade another that we’re ‘right’.  It’s not a day to try to ‘fix’ things.  It’s a day to pause, to quiet the mind and find the love that’s available.  This experience of One (Love) is who we are.  It’s an exquisite balance of head and heart, offering tremendous ability to manifest.

This is a time to step out of what’s happening in front of us in a way where we can see it.  Moving into this Witness mind, the more we move into a broader dimension (One, the Ultimate) of our collective experience.  Moving beyond the physical and beyond emotion, there’s an allowing of the energy of the world to pass through us, to reveal it, without us getting caught, wounded, or conditioned by it.  Some have called this the ‘aha’ mind, looking at the trauma in the world as Witness.  The culture would have us deepen our sleep, caught in the realm of the relative, material, dualistic world.  It would have us deepen in greed, fear and our ignorance to the power of One.  In One, we deepen to our real purpose…to experience the beauty of this moment, in all its beauty.  Even in the most difficult of places, beauty is continually asking to be seen.  There’s a tremendous challenge to not claim ownership of this moment.  It’s just the instant opportunity to participate in the ground of Being, outside notions of separation.

This is a day to recognize the peace that comes from One and the pain/suffering that comes from notions of two.  It’s recognizing real healing and wholeness through connection, deepening our awareness to our lack of ease (dis-ease) that comes from the mind struggling with alienation, with smaller circles of belonging.

A major question for us this day is, “Where does my sense of belonging stop?”  Just as a circle has no sides, the feeling of One has no barriers.  This making of peace is a dire need of the human condition, even when traveling through difficult times.  We’re constantly being asked to make peace with the world the way it “is”.  It means we hold our judgment of others, we send energy aimed to reduce their suffering, and it means the unkindness stops with us.  In troubled times, we’re asking how we can take our life as its actually unfolded to grow kindness rather than to use it as an excuse to be unkind?  It’s not asking to forget the betrayal, but to re-open the heart to life, to One.  It’s not a time to condone bad actions, but to hold the person who did them in a more gentle way.  In the realm of the Absolute we’re not only mirrored through our enemy, it’s more like a hologram.  There is no division.  We all carry seeds of greed, fear and ignorance.  We all carry seeds of compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness.  Whether caught in the trance of “not enough” or in the realm of “great fullness”, we ultimately come to ask the question of efficacy, “Is it working for you?”

Today’s Occupy Wall Street movement is doing just that.  It’s asking if monetary/corporate influence in our politics is working or not?  It’s not saying that making money is bad.  It’s asking if it’s bad when making money harms others.  It’s asking if making policy decisions that cause great harm to others is working.  And perhaps the greatest question to the extremely wealthy .01 of the 1%, “Is your hoarding really working to bring you lasting peace and happiness?”  The social trance would have us believe there’s a point of material accumulation and achievement where we no longer suffer. Yet, the more they accumulate the less secure they seem, the more ‘dis-ease’ they reveal.

The healing of America and the international community will come when  more and more wake to compassion for all.  Our real purpose is to waken others to One for the purpose of reducing suffering.  For sure, throughout the day we move in and out of Oneness consciousness.  Fear, greed and our ignoring of One happens.  Yet, in holding our human vulnerability with compassion and softness, we water the seeds of faith, hope and love.  We reach our own armistice moment, a pause in the battle with Other.  This compassion involves an inner release.  Can I sit in softness to my own experience?  Can I calm the complaining mind in me?  When the problems seem big, can I get bigger than the problems?  Can I breath deeply, opening for a greater solution?  Can I acknowledge the fullness of life and step from feeling like a victim?  When tempted to enter into whining, can I open and acknowledge wonder and mystery?

Armistice Day was established in 1938, a day to lay down our arms, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month (11/11).  In the realm of the Ultimate, it’s a day to recognize our One, our Divinity, our non-dual nature.  It’s a day to rest from fighting, persuading, arguing, and debating others.  It’s a time to enter the Witness mind, to open our hearts instead of closing our minds, to cultivate the sincere energy that penetrates all, to connect rather than separate, to wake from the social trance of two, to touch the silence of One in full gratitude for the opportunity to Be.  With this polished heart we desire the best well being for one another.  With this wanting of the best, we know we have to let go.  It means we touch love in the face of impermanence.  It’s realizing the One exists only in this moment, the Present.  It’s a quiet mind and a peaceful heart.  It’s a moment of no struggle, a moment without effort.  Again, it’s the experience of looking for who you are.

This 11/11/11, may you suffer less.

May you be in peace

May you be healed from all resentment

May you awaken

May you be happy

May you be in love (One) now

11/11/11 From a Non-dualistic Perspective

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

The non-dualistic traditions speak to the interconnection of all things, to the illusion of ‘other’.  Even when we get to the core of most religions, the proponents advised us to love one another as ourselves, even our perceived enemies.  Our suffering is fueled by the illusion that we’re separate.  We end up violating the spiritual mandates when this illusion is fed by fear, greed and our ignoring of (ignorance) this interconnectedness.  This was perhaps best captured in the sobering times after World War I when America made its strong commitment to strive for world peace.

The United States Congress passed a resolution seven years after the end of the war, on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue a proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies.  An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”  The word armistice is a noun designating a state of peace agreed to between opponents so they can discuss peace terms.

Given this is the 11th year in the new millennium, there’s special significance to this event.  It’s an opportunity to shine the light brighter on the non-dual.  It’s a time to pause in honor to the whole heart, to the mystery of life and the opportunity to be.  It’s a time to humble ourselves to the mystery of life, surrendering our notions of ‘right’, our anger and our desire to persuade, and our apparent addictions to control. It’s a time to ask if we want peace or control.  It’s a time to reflect on the cause of our restlessness.  It’s a moment to cultivate the ‘feeling’ of spiritual security, holding a space of silence, minimizing words, allowing some healing from the pain of past violence.

The word ‘heal’ roots from ‘to become whole’.  No doubt, we move in and out of the feeling of Being One as we move through the material world.  Some wounds run deeper than others.  Yet, in the end, our complete healing can by definition only come when we return to ‘wholeness’, to One.

For several years I was mystified by how many times it was 11:11 or 1:11 when I looked at a time piece.  When Internet search engines were developed I learned I wasn’t alone.  Thousands of others have had this experience and they attribute it to being a reminder to One.  I’ve had some inexplainable experiences directing me to participate with sound in this event.

I’m not forecasting anything with this day.  It’s just a time where we can all say a prayer for one another, sincerely hoping there’s less suffering as we wake up to our interconnection, our non-twoness.  It’s realizing that when I wish you peace from the restless mind, my mind quiets.  It’s realizing that my healing is interdependent to your healing.  It’s hearing the spiritual masters saying we’re inseparable, no matter how hard we push the illusion of two.

May we carry Big Hope this 11/11/11.

May we suffer less.

May we move to healing.

May we touch joy and gratitude from the ground of our Being

May we lay down our arms

May we find our Whole Heart

May we find a deeper Tone

May we rest in the peace of knowing we can never be alone, never separate.

A Few Recent Insights

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Cultivating deep abiding in:

Just here.

Just this.

As opposed to the suffering in:

Just there.

Just that.

We need to express what we feel we are, our beauty.

And, yet, we don’t know who we are.  Ahhh, the mystery.

Love is what’s found in the space between generosity and gratitude.

People ask, “So why meditate?”

One answer is, “To cultivate the influence of the Ultimate.”  It’s in contrast to our continual focus on the material.

Meditation is not trying to get away from thought, but aiming to enter thoughtlessness.

Meditation is letting go the thought we’re separate, cultivating the deeper feeling we’re connected, we belong, and we’re never alone.

The paradox in practicing mindfulness is that the mind aims to be mind empty rather than mind full.

Thinking still happens after liberation, but there’s no one listening.  It’s simple, ordinary, and stunning.  Everything arises as new.

Under the influence of greed, fear and ignorance or compassion, forgiveness and gratitude?  In the later, winning is nothing,  but being your best is everything.  Just aim to be your best expression with harm to none.

We’re pushed hard to be good competitors and good consumers.  Yet, we’re ultimately damaged by the spirit of competition when it’s the extreme grasping at another’s loss.  This precious moment is all there is.  We may temporarily feel better for winning over another, but it’s not long lasting.

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

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

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

If you want to be your best, surround yourself with others who want to be their best.

When the mind leaves awareness (the Ground of Being), obstacles appear.

“If your mind leaves the sound of the horn, obstacles appear”  Trumpet teacher,  William Adam

When the mind leaves the posture, obstacles appear.

When the mind leaves the breath, obstacles appear.

When the mind leaves the tone, obstacles appear.

Conformity is overrated.  Precision and education is underrated.  In conformity, 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.

I have my experience and you have yours.  Mine can never be yours and yours can never be mine.  The illusion/delusion is that I can make mine yours.

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

The greatest addiction of all (intoxicant) is the notion of ‘me’.

Resonance happens.  The idea of ‘me’ drops away.  The illusion of the individual is exposed.  Nothing’s pushed and boundlessness happens.

The art of wholehearted aging, living and dying doesn’t know thought, words or the intellect.  The heart abides in the feeling of the Ultimate.

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

Good music may come from the subconscious or unconscious, but definitely not from the self conscious.

Graceful aging involves a soft approach where we let the eyes surrender the details of entropy and we go deeper meeting the surprise of each arising moment.  ‘

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

Not taking things for granted moves us to appreciation, awareness, and gratitude, eventually landing in joy.

Let’s drop the notion of political party.   Can we just have a conversation about the stewardship of family, community, nation and planet outside notions of being ‘right’?

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

Be humbled by the notion that we’re entitled to nothing.  Be joyful in gratitude for the gift of what’s given.

In pursuit of answering just where you belong, how far will you go?  And what are you a member of?  How do you belong?

The illusion (delusion) is that things stop.

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

Beware (fear, greed and ignorance) or Be Aware (love, forgiveness, gratitude)

Come on Peace.  Grab a piece of me.

The antidote to the pain of greed is generosity and simplicity.  So where do we find sustaining joy?  It comes from the felt sense of fullness, never from the felt sense of lack-ness.

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

The is no audience, just the fear of judgment.  So be played to your fullest.

Judgment is an obstacle to love.  The brain can’t create and criticize at the same time.

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

Not this moment? Yes, this moment.

From the intellectual development of the illusion of object permanence, we start our training in desiring a different moment.

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 so we can open and make space for the new.