Saturday, November 18, 2006

Moving Mountains

“If you are to live the joyous life that you came forth to live you must allow yourself to be that which you have become.” Abraham-Hicks

My daughter Jasmine has gotten me in touch with the teacher “Barbie” who says at the end of one of her movies: “Big or small, there is a difference only you can make.” Another teacher Joseph Jaworski wrote that “One of the most important roles we can play individually and collectively is to create an opening or to ‘listen’…then to create the dreams, visions, and stories that we sense at our center want to happen.” Abraham is a “family of teachers” from another dimension, Barbie is well, Barbie, and Mr. Jaworski is a former corporate lawyer turned leadership visionary; but whether you are a plastic doll, an ethereal being from another plain or a high powered lawyer it seems that everybody is talking about the same thing. That we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

And where does this happen, this unfolding of our true self into an ever expanding realization of all of that which we are? Yoga would say, along with all of the other truly sensible entities who’ve ever said anything, that this unfolding happens in only one time and one place ever. If we are to allow ourselves to be that which we have become the time is now. This explains to a large extent why the contemplative traditions place so much emphasis on learning to bring ones attention into the present. It also explains why defending and enhancing a false self is such a self defeating proposition.

According to Yoga the second of five afflictions that humanity suffers is a habitual maintenance of a fictitious persona; a maintenance that requires all of our energy. The hallmark of our fictitious persona is that it is a mind made story that comes to us from the past. It is never about who we actually are in this moment In fact who we are now, and who anyone else is now, is irrelevant to the story that is our persona. Does anyone whose job entails potentially dropping bombs on children really go around saying I have thought this through and I am o.k. with causing the occasional innocent child’s death? Even when my job entailed killing and I had made peace with it, it never occurred me to consider my actions from someone else’s point of view; to consider the families. Wrapped up in what Eckhart Tolle calls the “story of me” we are to a large extent divorced from reality.

An aspect of reality is our emerging self that is constantly being born. To be in the story of me is to be stuck, like a wheel in mud, in a lifeless static dimension. Present moment awareness has the capacity to free us immediately from this condition. The consciousness freed from propping up our persona is now available to experience directly the deeper aspects of our existence. That which we have become vibrates powerfully within us and is encountered immediately upon becoming still. Getting still is the beginning and it is experienced as grace. Allowing takes faith, courage, and love; the faith, courage, and love that moves mountains. Big or small there are mountains only you can move and the time is now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The gentlest thing

The weather today in Tarrytown, New York is perfect. The fall leaves and the blue sky combine with gentle breezes to create a sort of heaven. I am sitting on a sweet little bench in the middle of a sweet little town remembering what happiness is. For the previous 48 hours I felt that happiness was winning an election. It certainly felt that way. For a while unhappiness and doom was losing an election and then later happiness was gloating over winning an election. There was a moment there when I gave heartfelt thanks to all of the millions of people who gave of themselves to make their country a better place and that was real, and that gratitude will stay with me . The rest of it was like a snow storm in April melting away the morning after.

I am already free, I am already at peace, I am already happy. Nothing can alter that in any way not birth, not death. The deepest peace, the most moving sense of connectedness, the contentment of all questions having been answered with a yes, this is source energy which is who we are. And occasionally we get distracted, we start to think something could enhance or diminish who we are.

I knew this had happened because as I sat on my bench I could feel the emptiness of the last couple days. Once it was actually election day I began living in a world of Ideas. This idea could bring fulfillment, this idea could bring sorrow, and then there was all of the ideas I had about my ideas, positions, opinions, accusations, observations, even a few stipulations. I stayed in my head checking websites, reading papers, telling everybody I knew about my thoughts about everyone else’s thoughts. And each thought generating and emotion, and each emotion obscuring my connection to source.

The sky, the clouds, the leaves are all brilliant, and feel like love. The bench underneath me, the movement of breath through my body, the feeling of the air on my skin brings me back and I begin again. I am happy as I get up and walk into the morning sunlight as though I have come home from a journey. “The gentlest thing in the world overcomes the hardest thing in the world.” Lao-Tzu

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The beginning of freedom...

“When you recognize that there is a voice in your head that pretends to be you and never stops speaking, you are awakening out of your unconscious identification with the stream of thinking. When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice-the thinker- but the one who is aware of it.

Knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom.”--Eckhart Tolle

At approximately five o’clock this morning my three and a half year-old daughter Jasmine was up and making a concerted effort to convince my wife to move my five month old son Dylan from his spot on our bed and let her sleep there. This was not a problem for Dylan, but my wife and I could not agree with Jasmine as to the merits of the plan. The voice in my head-the thinker-commented to me-the groggy awareness-that “she has no concern for the needs of others.” There was a time not so long ago when I would have experienced that comment as an astute observation that simply had to be shared ensuring that my daughter, my wife, and possibly Dylan had the sort of unpleasant experience that gives rise to egos in the first place. Steady effort in my yoga practice and the teachings of people like Eckhart Tolle have lead me to a different understanding of that comment.

Today I experience a comment like that as a classic egoic statement. The ego in its permanent state of poverty consciousness feels constantly threatened and justifies its desire to “defend” itself by projecting its own negativity onto those it would attack. In fact, if you really want to know what the ego is up to just listen very closely to what -the thinker-is accusing others of doing, saying, or being. We can therefore accurately assess who was “having no concern for the needs of others” at five this morning.

This awareness that we are not our thoughts is freedom. In that moment I was able to observe the compulsive reaction of the thinker and make a choice; a choice that was not driven by past conditioning, but rather a drawing in to my core values and beliefs, an evaluation of my wife’s needs, my daughters needs, and the decision to act accordingly. In this case I kept my mouth shut which at the very least did not make my wife’s job harder and provided my daughter and me with one less regrettable incident to resolve through arduous spiritual practice and therapy. Silence also provides the space for people to find there own way.

Growth in Yoga can be charted by our relationship to the thinker. Initially I thought I was the thinker. Then, once I became aware that there was thinker and a me who was observing it, I felt at the mercy of its untamed ways. Meditation was often an exhausting exposure to the thinker in all its glory. As I have deepened my relationship with myself as consciousness, energy, and form existing in a timeless now I have felt less and less threatened, controlled, and defined, by the content of my mind, and I have felt more and more free.