Category Archives: Day to Day

As-You-Are

There are different levels of awakening.  Rarely does someone simply “snap out of” the dream with no residual pieces of ego left behind.  Lately my awareness has come to focus on a piece that many hold on to, even without knowing it.  The piece of ego that says, “you should not be that way” or “you should not act that way”.  You can see this everywhere.  It’s part of what creates the human drama.  True freedom cannot come until you allow others the freedom to be who they are.  Allow others the space.  Accept them for who they are.  If you are not allowing them to be who they are then there is resistance to what is.  Full awakening includes a release of that resistance.  It is allowing everything (and everyone) to be as it is.  This isn’t to say that you will always agree with it, or even like it, but you can accept it.  Allow it.  This is true for ourselves as well.  For example, maybe you meditate and get frustrated that your mind will not slow down.  What would happen if you just allowed yourself to be as you are, busy mind and all?  What would happen if you accepted yourself as you are instead of trying to ‘better’ yourself, change yourself or resist yourself?  Instead, allow yourself to just be as you are.  Make it your practice.  Allow yourself and others to be as you and they are.  It will not only assist in allowing reality to be as it is but it brings you to a place of presence.  A place of true freedom.

Enjoy the beauty.

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Snow Days

I love snow days. My kids do too (of course). We were blessed with one just the other day. As with all of our snow days, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to just stop. A great time to ‘drop out of life’ for a day. We relaxed, played games and, of course, basked in the beauty of a foot of newly fallen snow. Even the need to shovel the driveway was a gift, the wind in my face, snowflakes wetting my cheeks and the birds chirping overhead. There was nowhere to go and no timetable to keep.

I did, despite the gift of a day off work and school, check my e-mail now then and, yes, I jumped on Facebook. In that, this past snow day brought another aspect to my awareness, one I hadn’t spent much time with. It caused me to take a step back and look at how life on this planet and within our society works. To look at how conditioned we’ve become within the societal boundaries. There were so many people concerned about missing work, getting kids to school (those that didn’t get the day off) and a myriad of other issues related to the weather. So many things that people were set on doing but couldn’t or things that would now be more difficult because mother nature had the “nerve” to bring on a snowstorm and interrupt their plans. In one way, it’s our society that keeps us in the chains of busy-ness. It has conditioned us to believe we must be busy. We must produce. We must get out there and make money. We must get our kids to school so they can learn. In another way, it’s ourselves that bind us in these chains, because we believe it and we ourselves keep so busy that we don’t know how to stop. We feel confined because of all of this perceived societal responsibility or perhaps our own personal fear of just stopping and being in silence (but that’s a whole other story in itself). Many people are even penalized if they miss a day of work, either by loss of pay or the threat of a “black mark” in their employee file. Just another link the chain.

During this past snow day it never occurred to me to be upset with it. It snowed. My kids were home from school, which meant I was too. Pretty simple. Work could wait (even though I’m one of the ones to get a “black mark” with this particular job). School to could wait. I was going to enjoy it. I was going to take the day to slow down and jump out of life for a while and it was wonderful. There was no conflict within me. I went with the flow and enjoyed every moment.

This is something that comes with awakening. Call it trust. Call it “going with the flow”. Call it what you will. It is the realization that this moment is all we have. Wherever we are is where we need to be. You can struggle with it, fight against it and be angry with it or you can accept what is and enjoy it. If there is a snow day and you can’t do the things you have planned then trust that. Get your notions and your expectations out of the way and enjoy.

The next time there is a snow day, it is a gift. Relax and enjoy. Trust that the universe is doing this for you, not to you, and you will not be disappointed.


Self Verification

One of my favorite lines from Jed McKenna’s Spiritual Enlightenment Trilogy is “think for yourself or not at all”.  It amazes me how many people don’t think for themselves.  It amazes me, even more, that most people don’t even think of thinking for themselves.  I don’t usually talk about my day-to-day life or tell stories such as this but today was too beautiful of an example to let pass by without mentioning.  The premise of this story?  “think for yourself or not at all” or equally accurate, if it’s not self-verifiable then it’s just a belief…and no belief is true.

I work for an employer that decided to make the flu shot mandatory for employment this year.  I err on the side of ‘no thanks’ when it comes to getting shot up with a curious mixture of ingredients so I sought and received an exemption.  In a meeting today the subject came up because so many physicians have not yet gotten the shot.  To make things interesting I mentioned how it just doesn’t seem very nice to make people shoot a toxic substance into their bodies in the name of “health”.  Vaccines should remain a choice, not a mandatory ultimatum.  I proceeded to be ransacked.  The 3 managers in the room immediately dove into the pre-scripted talking points released months before by Corporate Communications, the propaganda machine of the organization (very similar to the book 1984 I might add).  I let them go on about how I was going to kill our sickest patients by eating in the cafeteria or by using the restroom.  I listened to claims of clinical studies (of which no one in the room had ever looked up or even knew the names of).  I looked at open mouths and surprised faces that said, “how could you dare not follow us and get the shot?”.   We had a little back and forth on the subject.  I asked one of the ladies how she would explain that most of the whooping-cough cases last year in California occurred in the vaccinated child population.  She stammered and said that it was because most of the kids were vaccinated……dramatic pause…..  I waited for her to realize what she just said.  She didn’t.  She had no clue.  I was speechless.  I ended the conversation by asking one of the manager-nurses in the room if she had verified any of this “evidence” for vaccination herself or if she was just taking other people’s word for it.  The answer she gave me was something like, “aaaahhhhhh???” with a quick change of subject.

Exactly.  If you have not verified it (experienced it, seen it, smelled it…) for yourself it’s just a belief.  Think for yourself or not at all.  SIMPLE.  It didn’t occur to any of the managers in this room today to think for themselves.  They were being good little employees and were simply following directions from the “powers that be”.  None of them realized that there is NO other ‘power’ than yourself.

Bottom line, whether it’s a job, a flu shot, your religion, your belief in God, your thoughts about the tree in your backyard – everything – think for yourself or not at all.  Be your own authority.   If you cannot self-verify it then it’s a belief.  It’s a lie you are telling yourself.  Question it.  Question everything until you know.

Disclaimer – I really have no opinion on the flu shot one way or another.  To each his/her own.  There is “scientific evidence” pointing to both sides of the spectrum.  I’m drawn to refrain from such activities and really have no opinion on what others choose to do or not do so if you feel strongly about this subject, here is not the place to debate it.  The above was simply an example of people following the herd without questioning.  The flu shot just happened to be the subject.


It’s Everywhere and It’s that Simple

When you are awake, you see the truth is everywhere, in everything.  Nothing was ever kept from you.  Nothing was ever hidden.  It’s that simple.

It’s in the pine cone you just walked past.

It’s your dog or your cat taking an afternoon nap.

It’s apple pie that just came out of the oven.

It’s there during family game night.

It’s there when you meditate (and even when you don’t).

It’s everywhere.  All of the time.  You just need to stop and look.  It’s that simple.


Take a Step Back

So many times we get bogged down with the ‘stresses’ of life.  That’s the trouble with ego, it makes everything personal and makes even the little things seem huge.

One of the things that used to ‘catch‘ me, even before awakening began to happen, was looking up at the stars, gazing at the moon or looking at a picture of  Earth.  I found it completely impossible to look out at one of those amazing sites and take anything in “my” life seriously.  How could I?  While life itself is an amazing and wonderful gift, the daily struggles and conflicts our ego makes up are nothing but just that, made up.  The dream.  Your dream.  When I look out at the moon and stars or gaze at a picture of Earth and let go of myself the only thing there is eternity.


Where Are You Going?

It’s been a while since I’ve written here.  The events of life pulled me away for a while.  That’s the way it goes.  The movement of things, like waves on an ocean, coming and going, ebb and flow.  Lately the desire to write has come back so here I sit, at my computer.

What’s been on my mind lately is something a Zen teacher once said during a talk he gave.  “When you look out into the world today how can you not get a little depressed once in a while.”  There are a few things happening here.  The first is, as those of you who have been through a deep enough awakening may already know, there is some depression that comes along with that for most people, even if for just a little while.  As things fall away the emptiness that is left can be difficult at first, especially if the ego is struggling to hold on tight.  The second, is the idea people have about what it means to be enlightened or awake.  So many have this preconceived notion that enlightenment means that the enlightened person walks around happy and blissful all of the time, which is incredibly untrue.  To be enlightened is to experience every emotion, every energy that arises, fully and without turning away from it.  This could be anger, happiness, sadness, depression etc.  Even Jesus threw around a table or two.  Even Buddha shed some tears.

Lately, the sadness has come up as I watch most people run around being exceptionally busy; rushing, rushing, rushing, running themselves ragged.  Where are they going and why?  Our culture, especially here in America, tells us we need to be productive.  We need to accomplish something.  We need to work hard.  We need to make lots of money.  On and on.  Why?  How many of you sit back and ask yourself what you are doing?  Where do you think you are going?  This mind-set is never-ending.  One thing gets done and it’s immediately off to the next.  Not only can this be toxic to your health and mind but how does this effect how you treat others?  A general observation is that the effect is nothing but harmful.  I look at my place of employment as an example.  People are penalized for calling in sick more than 3 times in 3 months: production valued over health, production valued over taking a day of rest, production valued over compassion for the things life can throw our way.  Then there are also individuals who get upset or even angry at someone for taking a day off unexpectedly.  Why?  I watch people work and work and work week after week, throwing that time away until they can get to their two-week vacation.  It’s insane.  What about our every day time?  We go and go and go so we can relax for two weeks?  And even then, many vacations are filled with just as much doing as life back at home.  It’s insane.  At least 10 – 20 times a week people tell me they can wait for the weekend.  Why wait?  What about now?  Again, where are you going?  What is there to get to?  The weekend will come, but it will also go.  What about all of the other moments?  They are just as precious.  The sadness comes up in me when I watch this but the sadness isn’t to be seen as something negative and I don’t expect or desire things to be any different from what they are.  But the desire is there to snap people out of it and show them there is more to life that they are not seeing in their busy-ness.

The other side of the sadness comes from watching people’s need to fill every moment with something to keep them busy.  I watch people, almost daily, who suffer tremendously when there are times of “nothing to do” or when they are alone and it’s quiet.  They do everything they can to fill what they perceive as a void.  What would happen if they didn’t turn away from it?  What would happen if you didn’t turn away from your own void?  If you didn’t run away from it?  Most people don’t know what would happen as most can’t face it or are not ready to face it.  The sadness here comes from knowing that this perceived void is where the truth is.  If you can stop covering it up with constant activity it will reveal itself to you.

Instead of following what your mind is telling you needs to get done, be quiet and listen to what is driving you from the inside.  You won’t be led astray and it’s not as scary as your mind will try to tell you it is.

Life is not about what is going to happen tomorrow, so where are you going?


Summer Solstice

[tweetmeme]Season’s change. Spring turns into summer, summer to fall, fall to winter and the cycle continues. To look into what it is to be alive means to also see cycles within ourselves. Once we begin to recognize these cycles we can begin to see how the universe works and what life really is. Most human cycles come from our conditioning. Things like how we grew up, circumstances we’ve encountered and what we’ve been taught are some of what make us who we think we are. But what is all of this really? We grow up learning to label different things as good or bad, pretty or ugly, happy or sad. Those however, are just opinions, just beliefs. Opinions and beliefs that come from how we grew up, circumstances we’ve encountered and what we’ve been taught. It doesn’t mean we are right. However most people walk through life thinking that their opinion is the right one; that their opinion matters. But does it really? Just about everyone has an opinion. Who is right? If you look deeply into your opinions (or beliefs) you’ll find that most of your suffering comes from holding on to an opinion or a belief that you think is right. Something as simple as, “I hate it when it snows” can cause suffering. The opinion here is ‘snow is bad’. With that opinion comes suffering. Instead, realize the opinion for what it is, just a belief based on past circumstances or what you’ve been taught. Let it go and stop the cycle of belief and suffering.

On this day of the summer solstice try taking a moment to look at the cycles in your own life. Take a moment to see where suffering arises and what belief is behind it. Ask yourself, “is this opinion or belief really true?” or is it just something that is based on a past experience or what you’ve been taught and have never questioned? Recognize your opinions and your beliefs for what they are, let them go and open yourself to the universe. Open yourself to life.