Bending Time

I am told time feels slow when you are young and passes too fast when you are older. 

It is a matter of belief. 

If you believe your remaining time is getting shorter, this is a false belief. None of us know the day we will take our last breath. People who live to be 100 may have expected to pass at 70 – what a waste if they lived those 30 years believing time was getting shorter. 

When we are kids, we are more likely to live in the now. The now is infinite. It is when we live in the past or the future that we get messed up. Neither exist, so they are easy to project our beliefs and fears over top. 

My days are no shorter or longer than before. I experience my days in terms of energy – intense, loving, flowing. I surrender to the moment (at least that’s the intention). 

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Called to Silence

wpid-2014-02-03-23.39.13.pngI have been a person who defines herself in relation to others.  My needs are usually put second to those around me, like my daughter or my siblings.  At some point, I realize how bad an idea that is, but it is often prompted by anger.  I have learned that anger in me always means that a need I have is not being met. (It also means something that is happening is making me feel like I am not enough, which tends to intersect with my needs not being met.)

I own all of that.  It is mine to change.  So lately, I have been changing that, actively.  Like any new choice or skill, it takes practice.  I have run the gambit from doing it so badly that I needed a lawyer, right up to graciously taking time to reflect and find my silence.

In fact, I am called to silence more and more.  I was a woman who liked to get out and do things – try new restaurants, travel, go to concerts, see a play, work hard, keep my house to a standard.  I was a perpetual motion machine!

Now, as I begin working on my vision, listening to the source is more important than going to a menu of options and trying to set goals.  If I look at my creation lists of the past, they are more like wishes than they are reflective of the flow of the current of consciousness.  Some of them I laugh at now.

If I listen to my silence, it is longing for more silence.  I have joined a new community, and what draws me is the silence.  We sit and meditate.  We connect, but it is not over the mundane.  I look at my work, and I create silence in issues as they are shared with me.  In that silence, the next thing that is needed arises.  From the silence, all that needs to be arises.  It does not need me to force it.  It does not need me to be its stick.

This poem speaks to the insight that is coming to me.

 

The waves of the mind
demand so much of Silence.
But she does not talk back
does not give answers nor arguments.
She is the hidden author of every thought
every feeling
every moment.

Silence.

She speaks only one word.
And that word is this very existence.
No name you give Her
touches Her
captures Her.
No understanding
can embrace Her.

Mind throws itself at Silence
demanding to be let in.
But no mind can enter into
Her radiant darkness
Her pure and smiling
nothingness.

The mind hurls itself
into sacred questions.
But Silence remains
unmoved by tantrums.
She asks only for nothing.

Nothing.

But you won’t give it to Her
because it is the last coin
in your pocket.
And you would rather
give her your demands than
your sacred and empty hands.

**

Everything leaps out in the celebration of mystery,
but only nothing enters the sacred source,
the silent substance.
Only nothing gets touched and becomes sacred,
realizes its own divinity,
realizes what it is
without the aid of a single thought.
Silence is my secret.
Not hidden.
Not hidden.

Adyashanti – Emptiness Dancing

Missing the Mystery of Life: The Last Page of the Book

bookDo you ever read the last few pages of a new book, just to see?

For most of my past, I would read the first few chapters of a fiction novel, get really engaged in it, and then read the last few pages to see how it all ends.  Then I could just relax and enjoy the writing and how it unfolded.  Otherwise, I was too anxious and would wolf down every page to see how it goes.

I found that my approach to spirituality was a bit like this, too.  When would I become enlightened? How do I ascend? Am I falling behind? Who is the guru I need next? Or what teaching do I need now?  My mind was asking the questions from anxiety, and not letting truth surface.

“Be in touch with the part of you that is not afraid of the bigger questions of life, the ones that underlie everybody’s life.  What am I really? What is true in this world of illusion? What is real? What is authentic? What is reality? What is God?  Those deep existential questions that orient you into the mystery of being.  It is not necessarily satisfying if you get a quick and easy answer to these questions, from a book or a teacher; those deep questions that pull our attention into the mystery of being rather than trying to explain the mystery, and awaken our sense of wonder.  Sometimes we are taught to be oriented in a way of thinking that conceals our wonder and all we have is anxious questions.  What is going to happen? Is it all going to work out? All are a manifestation of anxiety.  Deep questions are questions of wonder.  They are looking for an experienced or a revelation, not simply an answer.”  – Adyashanti, satsang at Asilomar, December 2016

In meditation and spiritual practice, we reach into ourselves for an experience to the mystery.  For example, no answer or idea can fulfill you when you yearn for love.  You aren’t satisfied with a theory on love.  You want the experience of it.

I find now that I don’t run from the deep questions of life, the deep experience of being.  I am more aware that deep experiences lead to resolutions of these questions within us, often wordlessly.  We have a profound experience of being, a shift in our experience and perception of life.

Read the whole book, don’t skip the pages or devour them, and enjoy.

Don’t Ask Why

Spiritual Inquiry is a powerful spiritual practice and tool for insight. It is an essential element for moving past ego.
“Meditative self-inquiry is the art of asking a spiritually powerful question. And a question that is spiritually powerful always points us back to ourselves. Because the most important thing that leads to spiritual awakening is to discover who and what we are—to wake up from this dream state, this trance state of identification with ego. And for this awakening to occur, there needs to be some transformative energy that can flash into consciousness. It needs to be an energy that is actually powerful enough to awaken consciousness out of its trance of separateness into the truth of our being. Inquiry is an active engagement with our own experience that can cultivate this flash of spiritual insight.” – Yoga International

So we might ask questions like:  How shall I live, knowing I will die? What Do I love? What is life calling of me? Who am I? 

The question that may be least useful is the question Why: Why did that happen?  Why did I do that? Why am I like this?

The word Why invites a causal answer. In the physical world, it can be helpful to understand cause and effect. Why does the moon look different every week? Why do salmon swim upstream? When used as spiritual Inquiry,  it invites going to a story to explain how things occurred.  It leads to creating a personality to explain experience or worse, it leads to coming up with reasons to see yourself as flawed. The question Why creates instant separation from Source.  

A key aspect of good inquiry is it moves you away from head and into heart. The word Why is a head question. 
“When Inquiry is authentic, it brings you into the experience of here and now, bringing you to the full depth of it, pulling you into it. The question pulls you back into the mystery of your experience. “What am I?” takes you right back into the mystery. If your mind is honest, it knows it doesn’t have the answer. You ask, “What am I?” and instantly, there is silence. Your mind doesn’t know. And when it doesn’t know, there is an experience right here, right now, that is alive. You bump into nothingness inside—that no-thing, that absolute nothingness which your mind can’t know.” – Adyashanti 

Let the question Why be an indicator that you are not engaging in spiritual inquiry. Better yet, find your own powerful questions and share them here in the comments. 

Ecstasy Is Within

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I layed on the massage table, practicing shifting between Self and No Self. In no way due to something I was doing or was being done, I experienced a moment of ecstasy.

It wasn’t physical, like an orgasm.

It wasn’t a substance induced altered state of consciousness. 

It wasn’t energetic. With my practice, I can gather energy, expand its flow and augment experiences.

This was a moment of ecstasy.  A moment of joy so big it could not be contained. It burst forth from me to everyone. Timeless. 

The massage therapist didn’t know it happened. There was no perceptible change in the physical world.

It happened.

It may happen again. Or it won’t. 

I won’t try to get it back. I don’t need to.

Now that I know ecstasy is within, it is simply true.

Impulse and Intuition

“See those shoes? I bought them because I had an intuition I would need them for a fancy dinner.” Impulse or intuition?

Like many, I have confused impulsiveness and intuition in the past.  I see the difference as related to how much one is tuned in to the Flow, divine currents, or how much one unconsciously responds to egoic patterns.

“When you act on impulse, you’re reacting immediately and subconsciously to an external trigger. An emotion, a place, a person. You don’t pause, sit down and analyse, you just go for it. A shot in the dark. Impulse is an impelling force or emotion that will trigger some kind of reaction from you. It is, in effect, something that overpowers your being, and controls you.” Impulse vs Intuition

Your ego acts from resisting what is.  An impulse often is from a sense of lack, or a set of patterns of fear that trigger a response. “Generally speaking, an impulse is motivated by an underlying thought of lack or limitation. It tells you that if you don’t act right now, the opportunity you are considering will be gone forever! Underlying every impulse is a subtle feeling of fear—of tension or anxiety—and you may feel like your happiness hinges on taking this step.” The Divine Flow

When we listen to intuition, it is gently relentlessly persistent. Intuition has an aspect of knowing, or possibly of recognition, in how it surfaces.  Intuition is love based.  It accepts what is.  If your intuition guides you to something, and you decline, your intuition will draw you to another opportunity.  Intuition is closely aligned with Truth.

Want to be able to check in on which it is? When something presents itself, Stop, Be Silent, Breath, and Be Aware.  An impulse will gnaw at you, fill your gut with angst.  An intuition will feel right and will give you peace when you recognize it.

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But You Don’t Look Like A (Insert Spiritual Stereotype Here)

“But you don’t look like…”

…a yogi

…an intuitive

…a student of Tantrik philosophy

…a bodhisattva

…a spiritual teacher

This week, I had 3 conversations with new people in my life where the conversation turned to the idea that I do not meet their expectations of what a yogi, bodhisattva, spiritual teacher or whatever looks like to them. My ego became involved each time, which is a great way to know something has to be let go on my part.  Really, each of these is about identity, and identification.  Moving into awareness, I am less interested or at least, wish to be less interested, in my identification with roles or expectations of others.

Some days, I do not look like a yogi. If a yogi wears yoga pants, or loose hemp clothing most of  the day, I would be a surprise in my suits and dresses and heels.  If an intuitive uses language about energy fields, the influence of astrological phenomenon, or balancing chakras, I would seem to be apart from that when I am leading a conversation about workplace performance.  If a student of Tantrik philosophy is envisioned to speak Sanskrit, my hopelessness with languages would be shocking.  And if a bodhisattva or a spiritual teacher is someone who runs many classes focused on entry level spiritual ideas and practices, I would most definitely seem out of place in the ways in which I integrate spiritual concepts with business concepts or build community with people who have set an intent on spiritual truth and awakening as the biggest priority in their lives.

One of the most profound teachers of yogic philosophy and awakening was Nisargadatta Maharaj.  Initially he worked as a junior clerk at an office but quickly he opened a small goods store, mainly selling leaf-rolled cigarettes, and soon owned a string of eight retail shops. If you read his works in the book “I Am That”, it is clear that he is an awakened being.  Yet, he did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. He gave talks in his humble apartment, and it was used for chanting, mantra, and meditation.  He could be irritated by his students, he was direct, and most definitely did not “look” like a fully realized spiritual guru.

I am glad I do not look like what people expect. I am glad this triggered my sense that I must look or practice a certain way to truly be devoted to my path.  I am glad I surfaced some part of me that was connected to how others identified me to be. I am one step more in line with freedom.