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
February, 2022

Culture of Conformity or Creativity?

Friday, February 18th, 2022

A culture of conformity will try to persuade you to think a certain way. A culture of creativity would encourage your open mind. When you find yourself listening to the same news, to the same echo chamber, to the same thoughts of religion and politics, you find yourself in a culture of conformity and you find a smaller belonging from those who think like you. The culture of creativity would always teach to a deeper question, never to a dogmatic absolute answer. The precision of the universe far exceeds the limitations of our mind. When we understand fully that all we’re doing is trying to build a more accurate map to a territory that is so far beyond our comprehension we can only bow in humility to the mystery of it all. The culture of conformity projects an arrogance, a focus on “thinking it’s right“. The culture of conformity is not capable of laying its thoughts down with the stilled mind in readiness to receive something that is bigger. The indigenous understood this. The mystics understood this. And any who have bowed in humility to “I don’t know land“, to that place without words, to the stillness of the Divine, the only response can be the desire for a culture of creativity. 

This is a culture that realizes that happiness comes from shelter, food, a sense of safety and a certain sense of belonging. But it also recognizes that when we have enough, trying to get more doesn’t make us happier. This is the principal from Sweden called “lagom”, this notion of “just enough”.   From “Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living”, “According to happiness research, money makes us happy, but only to a degree.  If we’re poor, cash will add to our sense of happiness, but if we’re already well off, more of it won’t make us happier. A ‘lagom’ amount of money is enough; beyond that, our happiness levels depend on other factors.”  This is quite contrary to the American dream model that ‘more is better and bigger is necessary’.

A culture of conformity would try to control you through persuasive speech. Whether it be the marketing of the clothes you wear, the political view you hold, the religion you believe is “the right religion“, the medication that is the right prescription to end your disease, the foods you should eat or the beer or wine you should drink etc. A culture of creativity would have you fully examining what brings you to that place of “ease”. The culture of conformity is a culture of “this is” as dictated by the loudest voice or the most convincing parental authoritarian. The culture of creativity recognizes the value of balance, equanimity, sustained joy and well-being and the training needed to still the craving mind of dissatisfaction.The only thing we need to conform to is our deep intention to not cause harm. Once we can agree on this we can set our thoughts and actions to relieving the suffering of others, to feeding stewardship for the gifts that we have received through the air, land, water, and the beauty of nature and those around us. Once we realize what real “well-being“ is, we find it lives in our center. The center of the body is where we find our grounding and our stability. When we realize this we realize the value in becoming lighter, craving less and hanging on less, to finding that place of ‘just enough’. We become more nimble in our movement, filled with gratitude for what we have. The hungry ghost that’s always asking for more, the mind of dissatisfaction that feeds our disease, begins to settle down. This is the mind of moderation and we stop rewarding craving and excess material accumulation. We start living with greater balance, alignment, less complaint and more joy.

Aiming to Healing

Saturday, February 5th, 2022
Turning up the volume to healing. Howling and toning the horn.

 My ego would have me desire your approval and attention. It wants validation to its separateness. Yet, the greatest of all freedoms is to wake up to the illusion of our separateness. That freedom would be to have a deep awareness to those things, people, thoughts etc. that nourish and feed the soul, the divine light that lives in all things. Waking up to this, I’m more aware of what’s good food and what’s bad food, of what nurtures and nourishes and what is toxic. So I no longer seek people to join me, to approve me, to give me their thoughts that I am right. But I do look for good food. I want to be around people that fit in their motivation to wake up to the sacred in all and their commitment to not fight. When you think you are right, when you are close minded in your belief systems, there is not a fit. Good food for me is being around the curious, the open minded, and the healers devoted to not causing harm.

For me, good food feels good. It feels good from the time it enters the mouth as it travels down to the stomach and as the belly digest it. It provides energy and increased awareness. Good food creates gratitude and a lighter vibration. Just like the food we ingest, good media feels good. It does not aim to cause fear and anger. Yet, it does not shy away from the truth of events. Healthy media aims to steer free from opinions and judgments of those delivering the news. Healthy media is motivated to speak truth, to adjust the facts as new evidence comes in and to do what it can to stay away from the complaining mind. Unfortunately, there is little media that drives us to the “no complaint, no complaint“ mind. With special interest from those who have excessive wealth, there is an agenda to shape minds and thinking through fear with their unbridled greed for more wealth and attention. There is very little media today that fits with my motivation to not fight. Whether it’s radio, TV, social media or the entertainment that is provided to us today, there seems to be little that is highly motivated to demonstrate the skills of nonviolence and a dedication to not fighting. On the contrary, it’s hard to look at any media without seeing the glorification of warriors, fighters, heroes, of those willing to cause harm to others.

If it’s a fit it nourishes and invigorates.  Vitality increases and the well-being meter moves further into positive territory.  Some call it mojo, others mana, lust for life, abundant energy. 

Flexibility and Balance

Friday, February 4th, 2022

I have found the key to successful living revolves around the capacity to stay flexible, adapting to new evidence and conditions for sustained joy and happiness. This necessarily involves holding an upright posture, balance, with a posture of equanimity. Things can easily turn into a mess with my reactive mind. This is why it’s so important to look, pause, listen more deeply and aim to move with balance. This perspective necessarily puts us in the position of no harm. When we realize every moment is so precious, that nothing’s to be taken for granted, we wake up to the truth that everything fades away, entropy is real and our real work is to forever dig deeper in gratitude for the opportunity to “just be” here and now, making space to find the gift in the given as hard as it may be. This is where the practices of yoga, akido, tai chi and Qi gong all come in. They aim to help us develop better balance and flexibility in the body, the very foundation, the ground zero…in the body not in the head.

Look, pause, listen deeply. Less likely to crash the boat.

Yes, everything does fade away. Yes, we suffer to the extent we attach to keeping things the same. But this does not contradict stewardship and the deepest of desire to take care of things. We move much more carefully and in gratitude for this opportunity to “just be“. We take better care, beginning with the body. We take better care of the family, community, the nation, the global community and the planet. This is the very foundation in moving slower with greater care forever aiming to ease suffering, to not cause harm, and compassionately meet all we encounter with great care, never too busy. One of my grandchildren, before he was two, said he was too busy to go to the park to eat his ice cream cone. When I asked him what “busy“ meant He said, “busy means I don’t care”. This seems to be a good definition whenever we’re using the busy excuse to say we’re too busy to care.