Category Archives: Day to Day

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.

Be Still and Know

It’s winter here.  Snow is falling today, the flakes as big as acorns.  When I walk outside into the woods all I can hear is silence and it’s the most beautiful sound I know.

Winter is a time for rest.  The trees shed their leaves and sleep.  The chipmunks huddle in their tunnels with a stash of food for the winter.  The bears curl up in their dens and sleep until spring.  The birds that do not migrate batten down their nests that they’ve filled with a mixture of different bedding.  The snow falls, covers the ground, covers the trees and a beautiful stillness is left behind.  Are we so removed from the natural world these days that we cannot take this time of year to rest?  Unfortunately, for most of us the answer to this is yes.  The world does not slow down, jobs still need to be done, money still needs to be made, children still need to go to school and on and on and on.    Look at what we value.  Look at what put ahead of the cycles of life.  Jobs before rest.  Money before restoring ourselves.  Schooling before truth.  This is the way our culture works and it saddens me to watch sometimes because I know the potential that is there behind all of this clutter.

Most of us have become so separated from what is actually natural for us that we have no idea how to sit in rest and silence.  When things become quiet we turn on the television or pick up a book.  We’re taught that just sitting quietly or taking a nap means we are lazy.  We’re told that we should always be busy and/or productive.  We think that we should have many friends so that we do not have to be alone or that it’s not socially acceptable to sit home and do nothing on a Saturday night.  The list goes on with many more examples I’m sure.  What is it about the silence that we turn away from?  Why do we turn away from it?

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m usually not one to speak from Christianity, as there have become so many misconceptions, but today Psalm 46:10 keeps coming into my awareness.  Be still and know.  Notice how this psalm does not say ‘know and be still’.  Be still is what comes first.  However, the way we live in this culture today we seem to think that we need to know something first in order to be still.  We are in school by the age of 5 or so and continue until around age 18, longer if we go to college.  Then, once out of school, we go into the work force and learn a job.  By the time we get here we are so conditioned to be be making money…to have a family that the “be still” part of the equation gets left behind.  It gets so left behind for most of us that we no longer even know how to be still.  We put “know” first when it’s the stillness that holds the answers to everything.

So during this winter, during this time of rest, take a moment to be in stillness.  Take a moment to listen to the silence.  It will, for most, be uncomfortable at first but stay there for while if you can.  Look around.  Perhaps ask yourself why you’ve turned away from the stillness for so long.  If you do, you just may get your answer.  Don’t turn on the television set.  Don’t pick up that book.  Stay home by yourself on a Saturday night.  It’s okay.  Just like it’s okay to take a nap even though the laundry is sitting there.  Just like it’s okay to just go sit outside and watch the snow fall even though the house is dirty or you have a lot to do for work the next day.  Stillness comes first if you want your questions answered.  Stillness comes first if you want to live authentically.

Be still first….then you will know.