Saturday, December 10, 2011

Taking in the view.. what I see from the mountaintop..

I'm walking along the path of life.. my habit is to look at the ground as if I need to see and anticipate all that arises. As i stare at the ground, I begin describing all that I see. Again this is a habit, it's rough, it's smooth, on and on it goes. The terrain varies, there are rocks, hills, it weaves back and forth, up and down.. I look at the ground and I describe it, it's rocky today, slippery, scary.. Today its all uphill, it's hard work, I really have to push myself to keep going. Other days it feels easy, I am energized, the path is smooth, I skip along, smiling and singing a song.
Occasionally for some reason I glance up.. ahhh the "view", such expanse, such awe for the vastness of the sky, the landscape, the clouds and it seems to go on and on.. of course I keep walking along just fine without looking at the ground. But then out of habit I look down and "the view" seems to go away, replaced with a much smaller scope of vision.

This is how it is when I "seem" to forget the vastness of what I AM, when i get locked into looking and describing the circumstances, how I feel, or what I think, describing it as good or bad, there seems to be a contraction, a shrinking, limitation.

The practice that I've been committed to is to just relax and look up, take in the view, the vast expanse, infinite possibilities and expressions. To focus less on describing what I see and think and feel and to focus more on the wide open space, the vast intelligence, this is what I recognize as clarity or presence or simply awareness.

A 15 yr practice of inquiry comes back to me.. what is this awareness? what's looking? as opposed to what is seen with it's endless set of descriptions..

It's easy to get away from myself, or so it seems.. but again the commitment to stay here, in conscious awareness of what is looking, to maintain the view, to look up, to relax the habit to describe and categorize and rather to see what is at the basis of all that arises or appears, what is the one source of everything, to feel into this..

Gratitude seems to be an amazing part of this, to share appreciation for all that is.. yes even the stuff I'm not so excited about.. this too!
This commitment to the view, to gratitude and appreciation, to relaxing and letting everything be as it is, to seeing what is aware of all of this, maintaining the view of what's looking..

well.. this is what seems to really allow me access to my true capacity to be of benefit and to serve at the highest level..

love to hear your direct experience with the view...

much love

Thursday, November 17, 2011

an expression of perfection..

I was listening to a friend recently ... going on and on describing himself, I'm this, I'm that... mostly I noticed a focus on negativity, the age old past time of judging oneself, such fun!!
It's an easy habit to fall into.. this pervasive addiction to what's wrong, what's bad, what's broken. It's no surprise really, most of us are programed from very young that we are fundamentally flawed, we have to effort and strive to be "good", "enough", we have to achieve and accomplish and no matter what, it's never enough, I'm not enough, you are not enough.

See the theme here, looking for satisfaction "out there", in the doing, in the mind or in our experiences.. we never find it, maybe for 5 minutes, but then we want something else and are off again on another quest for the holy grail, whatever we think will do it.. a relationship, a degree, a baby, a fat bank account, a big house, retirement, it goes on and on..

So what to do.. all of these "thoughts" arise, this is good, this is bad, it's an automatic sorter, whatever arises, it is sorted and categorized at lightening speed. Focusing and emphasizing on the "descriptions" is the formula for the roller coaster ride for sure! Up and down forever.. it's good, it's bad, lack/ abundance, health sickness, it all arises, happy/ sad and on and on..

Developing this practice of noticing what's noticing.. what is aware of all of this? What is not affected by all that arises and flows on by? What is stable? What is constant?

It is sort of like an actor that can play many roles, one day a villain, the next day a hero.. endless labels and ways to describe the expression. No matter what role the actor plays however, he is still the actor, he is never the character, even if he forgets and thinks for a moment that he is the character, he never is. This is how it is with us, we forget our essence for a moment, getting all caught up and tangled in a label or description, we think we are the character but we aren't. We are the actor whether we remember it or not, we are always the actor, we can't not be what we fundamentally are.

As the actor, as awareness, as what's looking, what always is, we are fundamentally well, stable, whole, complete unto ourselves, perfect. Awareness is not affected at all by the parade of what comes and goes, much like a mirror is not affected by the image it reflects, or the movie screen is not affected by the movie, comedy or tragedy, cartoon or thriller, the screen is not impacted one bit, it remains completely as it is, untouched. Despite this - seemingly we've forgotten this basic well being that we are, we have trained ourselves to believe that thoughts, feelings, sensations and experiences are separate from awareness as opposed to simply the expression of this innate perfection. By the practice of recognition, just simply noticing awareness, clarity, we come to remember that this is what we actually are, rather than a stream of endless descriptions. This is what we are, an expression of perfection.. always an expression of perfection.. always... remember?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taking 100% responsibility for my well being...

A few days ago.. i got some information.. Someone who I thought was handling something important did not handle it... a deadline passed and there was a probably going to be a penalty for several thousand dollars. When I inquired about why, I was told that it did not matter that it was not done by the deadline.
Well there was a flood of emotion, labels, judgments, big upset. Then the stories like snowballs rolling down a hill gained momentum and became bigger and bigger.
It was a huge opportunity for me.. several opportunities in fact...

1. Big opportunity for me to really get it that I can choose rest, to pause.. to be still, to come back to mySelf, to hold to the awareness of my own fundamental well being. I can choose this in each here and now moment.
Well being is always here, like gravity, whether I want to acknowledge it or not. Choosing to be aware of this stability is always an option. I can choose to emphasize and rely on this awareness that is always here, i can relax for a second.
When I do that, I come to know myself more and more as this stability, wholeness, perfection, having everything, needing nothing, complete.. in my essence.

2. In the past I've told myself that situations, people, events were the cause of what was arising in me, my upset was caused by this person or this situation. Now I am seeing more clearly that the thoughts and feelings that arise, just arise, they are not caused by anything. In seeing that, I can just relax and let everything be as it is. Rather than getting lost in a story about how this situation has to change in order for me to be ok. Again, well being is available here and now by relaxing and letting it all be as it is. What i've started to notice is that whatever thoughts or feelings are arising internally as I let them all be as they are, they will begin to self release on their own when I don't try to get rid of them, stuff them down or shift away from what's arising. So I just sat with the thoughts, upset, fear, discomfort... and I found that as I just relaxed for a moment whenever I remembered to, there was a natural movement and release.

2 nights ago I was sitting under the full moon, noticing how bright the moon was. A few hours later I sat again in the same spot looking up at the sky, the moon had moved (or rather the earth had moved), I could not see it at all. Everything is constantly moving and shifting, in nature, as well as with thoughts, feelings and experiences, it's the way things are, constantly changing and moving. So it is with all things, they arise, express and self release. Only when I let everything be as it is do I notice this natural flow and release of all that appears.

So it's been about 48 hours since I got this news about this paperwork not being filed, and it's so funny, well it is all resolved now.. after resting in openness for 36 hours or so.. asking a few questions and getting some information, i was able to communicate clearly without any drama or upset, I noticed that i was not feeling afraid, it was really amazing.. I was able to express what I learned about the situation, even express what I thought that perhaps there was just an avoidance that was behind not filing the paperwork.

I was able to ask for what I wanted (getting the papers filed in the next week). It was a calm, respectful conversation and I felt such clarity and capacity to address the situation in the moment without any big story running. I knew very clearly that my well being and stability was not dependent on any result at all, it was here, very obvious simply in the moment to moment acknowledgment of it.

Bigger than all of this.. is the clarity that my awareness of my innate well being is 100% my responsibility, My fundamental well being is not touched by what anyone says or does, Open Intelligence is not impacted by anything that occurs or does not occur, it is dependent on nothing, it is self reliant, self contained, independent of anything that comes and goes.

Also i got very clearly that whatever data or energy or sensation that arises.. it is not caused by an event, person, or thought.. it just arises.. as i rest as openness beyond causation... i tap into this clarity, stability, profound well being that is not impacted by anything that comes and goes...

I see the perfection, i see how everything serves this perfection, there is just the deepening into this natural perfection. The greater and greater expanse that is expressed...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

focusing on what I'm grateful for and what I appreciate..

Seeing clearly that this habit of blaming others or even telling myself that something is wrong and it needs to change in order for me to be happy, making my well being dependent on anything that changes like the weather... is really a formula for unhappiness. Clearly focusing on what is wrong with others, wrong with the world, wrong with me, wrong period creates for a miserable life.. Forgetting that well being is available here and now as i rest in openness, relax and let things be as they are results in a life of endless seeking.. this experience will make me happy, this relationship, this job, having a baby... but if i am not aware of the fundamental well being that is underneath all the descriptions of what i am.. then i am always looking for it..

Like a fish looking for water.. silly when you finally see it..

When I am finally able to take 100% responsibility for my own well being, i can stop blaming others for somehow denying me whatever i need to be happy. If only they'd love me more, treat me better, show up this way of that, take care of me, make me feel special, fulfilled.. whatever...

Suddenly "they" are off the hook and instead of criticizing them for not playing the role i've assigned... i can see others in a clear way .... instead of running the story of what i am not getting, i shift to realizing that my true nature is to be of benefit.. to myself and others.. in this natural expression of spontaneous benefit, I'm able to flow gratitude and appreciation rather than expectation and disappointment.. then I'm free!!

When i focus on what I appreciate about in others, especially the one's who I am the most challenged by.. those I've judged the most, been the most hurt by, had the greatest expectations of, seen the least, had the biggest stories about.. my heart is suddenly full where i thought there was lack and heartache. Flowing appreciation is the natural expression of fullness and well being.. it's a bonus that it feels awesome.

So I have a choice.. moment to moment.. I can come to know myself and others as the expression of awareness, what is always here, well being itself, whole complete and perfect by nature. I can choose to rest as this open spacious awareness as often as i remember and relax. This is where clarity comes from.. this restful space, this is the peace that passeth understanding.. stability that underlies all that comes and goes.. all appearance.. the ground of being..

We all have this choice, whether we realize it or not.. we can listen to the stream of thoughts and feelings, living at the whim of our data stream.. seeking forever this scenario or that... or we can rest for a moment as the openness that we are.. come back to ourselves, relax and take it easy the AA book says.. we don't struggle.... pause... keep coming back to ourselves.. to our true nature, to reality. Remember Remember Remember...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

let me tell you what i need to hear..

Great clarity for me usually comes when I'm talking with someone.. it comes pouring out.. it happened today.. I was talking with a friend about her relationship with her child's dad. She had lots of concern, judgement, fear, points of view about how he was not doing whatever she thought he should be... OH how I related.. what a habit this has been for me.. especially with my kids daddy. Sadly I spent almost a decade doing this.. focusing on what he was doing wrong, should be doing this and not that.. it took a long time to start to notice what was happening within.. to allow it to just be.. to get clear that what's happening for me is not caused by a person, thoughts, or experience.. what a journey resting in openness beyond causation...

Recently I had an opportunity to get very clear about how i want to show up and what kind of life i want to have.. I committed 100% to harmony and unity in all my relating, I gave up the right to feel victimized by others, experiences and my own thoughts and stories. Yes, this came after I looked very deeply and honestly at this lifetime pattern of relying on external things (that change all the time) for my sense of well being.. people, my ideas, my expectations, my assessments... what was the result of this? anguish, disappointment, rage, resentment, judgement, separation, broken relationships, heart break, suffering... tremendous detriment to myself and others..
I got clear about what was not working, I committed to relying on the intelligence of my core being, my authentic self, clarity. I learned how to practice daily simply resting as this awareness, for short moments many times.. until it was continuous. This is what I've been doing for some time now.

Here's the new paradigm, commit to knowing myself at my essence, not the idea of what I am, my story about what i am, my history or descriptions about me... what am i fundamentally, my true nature, what am I when i stop thinking and just notice... awareness.. presence... what's here. the more I can rely on what I actually am.. the more i can notice open space, stillness, well being. the more i do this.. the more i notice it.. what you focus on expands.. so focus on what you want... truth, well being, joy, liberation.

As i listened to my friend talk about all the descriptions about her kids dad, he this and he that... my heart felt so much compassion for her, i felt so much love.. and I saw really clearly the only sane choice.. commit to harmony and unity in all of our relating, emphasize what you appreciate about the person, what you are grateful for rather than all the descriptions about what they are or are not doing.. in noticing the descriptions.. i may notice what arises in me, sadness, anger, fear, etc.. simply relax with this as best as i can as often as i can, let it be, let it float by like a leaf in a river... wave at it.. say hi, but don't pick it up and make it real or significant.

When i was really immersed in this suffering I thought my suffering was caused by him, if only he'd do _______, then i'd be happy.. But really my suffering is of my own making, it comes from forgetting who i am, moving away seemingly from the fundamental well being that I am and running off into the story of how this person is wrong, this situation is intolerable, I need this, i don't have that.. forgetting that I am whole complete and perfect in my true nature, well being is innate, I am beneficial by nature, we all are.

Instead of blaming and finger pointing, I take 100% responsibility for knowing who I am, relying on the Open Intelligence that I am, staying present with myself, letting thought or feelings that arise be as the are and resolve and release and I stay lovingly with myself and relax.

By focusing on what i am grateful for about my kids daddy.. committed to seeing his true nature, really seeing beyond the personality, the labels, the story.. my own judgments.. more gratitude arises, I am taking care of myself, seeing clearly, being of benefit, appreciating, i feel that i am in the flow of life, in the flow of benefit, fully allowing life to express .. What you focus on you get more of.. this increased awareness opens more and more.. if I am grateful and appreciative and see another is beneficial, kind, well meaning.. well that's what I'll be open to... that can be more and more what I experience. it makes sense, do what works, rely on what feels more true.. i want unity, so see the truth, what is underneath all the descriptions.. what's at the basis of all expression, there is this intelligence, there is awareness, it unities everything,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Deepening my commitment...

It's so true.. the pain is in the resistance.. it's a skill to recognize this.. often i think
my suffering is caused by a thought, a feeling or some experience..

Last week was stormy and rocky, the voices of "something is wrong" were loud & convincing and I was uncomfortable and it felt like drowning in a sea of affliction..
I felt desperate and exhausted, like treading water in this endless sea of describing of my stream of thoughts, feelings and experiences..
I so wanted to deepen my capacity to recognize the perfection and well being in all the data that arises.. but i felt i kept getting derailed by these habitual patterns of resistance, rebellion, feeling victimized both internally and externally.. as if resisting discomfort actually works..

I reached out and asked for support.. I reached out to someone who had the capacity to see perfection in everything, I was looking for clarity and truth, not corroboration of any of the stories.

What kind of support was I looking for? Simply clarity, to see the truth, to remember who and what I am, to emphasis and appreciate what is always here, to acknowledge it.. to see clearly what I am doing that seems to obscure this clarity..

Here's what I got, here is the practice I am committing to, I want to share it with you and hope it is beneficial and that it unites us in this commitment to simply being and expressing more fully
what we are, seeing what's true and having that be expressed in our speech, actions, body, mind and life!

There is this opportunity in each moment to completely devote myself to love, completely open up and to go beyond any resistance or walls and open myself to this perfect love.

I am willing and committed to see with clarity these places that I hide out (lack of trust, resistance, entitlement, avoidance, indulging descriptions, rebellion against authority)
I can allow these patterns to just be, rather than allow them to influence me to shut down to love.

Whenever I remember I can acknowledge my fundamental beneficial nature. All of our fundamental beneficial nature.. the purpose of life is to benefit ourselves and others.

how do i do this??
willingness to -be of service and
-tapping into this ever flowing stream of gratitude that is always present no matter how we feel or what we think
-acknowledgement and expression of what is going well, acknowledging progress with relying on my own Open Intelligence rather than on the conditioned descriptions and commentary.
(get beyond how i think it should look, how i think things or people should be)
-Recognize and directly experience a connection that's deeper..

Often I wonder.. if I am not constantly describing thoughts, feelings and experiences.. what wil I actually talk about with others?? This too is a opportunity to rely on my own Open Intelligence, moment to moment when speaking with others, there is a natural presence, an interest in others and their lives, I may not necessarily be commenting, but there is an easy listening, a natural relating in a beneficial way, a caring attitude, a lightness.

action - deepen the commitment to my own OI (Open Intelligence)
make that choice, deepen in recognition of stability of always present OI, take responsibility, confirm that commitment.

whatever resistance arises, it does not have the power to control me, data (thoughts, feelings & experiences) does not have the power to influence my behavior, if i commit to deepen in recognition of OI with taking short moments to open and let everything be clarified.

this is the primary directive....
action - instead of describing data.. feel a heartfelt openness and gratitude.
test this out by allowing everything to be as it is.. allowing OI to pervade all POV (points of view), feel the gratitude and express it.

I realize that while i used to feel "aliveness" in describing data, ( how I feel, what I think, what I am experiencing) this is unsatisfying now..
I can commit to recognizing 'true aliveness' in my own Open Intelligence, true joy, stability, well being, & true benefit.

This daily practice feels very accessible and supportive, I can and want to do this...
this feels like huge progress to me, this ever deepening commitment to seeing OI in all data..
See how this works.. as i acknowledge Open Intelligence, i can relax and let the data be as it is.. as I relax and let it be, there is a recognition of this perfect love that is my true nature. magical

So here goes, i am very grateful: for the clarity expressed here, for my community, my mentors, the teaching of balanced view.
I am grateful for all that arises now, all situations just as they are... for my kids and all they bring to this process, for all of the support that i receive from so many sources.
I am so grateful for this practice of resting and opening to what's here, open and let it be clarified,
that i have the clarity that i am not a victim of any of my data, that i can take 100% responsibility for recognizing the Open Intelligence in everything.
I am so grateful that I asked for more support and I got it, for the kindness and gentleness, for the
warmth and respectfulness and all of our open hearts!
I so appreciate that I have people in my life who look at me and see perfection, that is so supportive!! I actually have several people that see this consistently for me, I am blessed!
I am so committed to truth and this daily practice is just what I needed to recognize this fire that burns in me ....

So happy to hear from you, to hear your feedback..

with love,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

what if all we "need" is to recognize what we already are?

talking with a good friend recently.. He was sharing about challenges
with a current living situation.. living in community..
I feel so unappreciated he said. no matter what i do, how much i do..
these people in my life do not appreciate me, take me for granted, don't love me.

how i relate to this, it's been a reoccurring theme in my life, striving to do more,
give more, work more, meet others needs, etc... in hopes that some expression
of appreciation would make me feel whole, complete and perfect... forever.
What a set up, on so many levels.. projecting my sense of worth out onto others,
abdicating my responsibility to choose for myself what my identity is, bathing in
the confusing that my identity and value are dependent on my efforts, the results
of my efforts, others perception of my efforts and the results of those efforts..

It is clear that this is our conditioning.. practically from birth we are evaluated,
compared, judged, graded and told who we are, how we should be, what is "good"
and "bad", what we should value.... and love and approval are seemingly contingent
on how well we manage to conform and perform.

It is deeply ingrained in us that somehow our fundamental well being, our worth, our
value is dependent on the perceptions and opinions of others and ourselves..
especially authority figures or those who seems to have power over us. It's chasing a
moving target, if I do this and not that, I'll be good, valuable.. if i make this work,
stay married, raise these kinds of kids, I am successful.. if not... well I'm not...
chasing this valuable identity, feeling alternately good about this part of myself and bad about that part.
Continuous stream of labeling, evaluating, describing.. listening to this stream of data and commentary, believing it to be REALITY,
taking action based on our's pure insanity.
it goes on forever and well being, peace, stability are never found in any lasting way.
have you noticed??

It is internal oppression, a self imposed straight jacket, the worst kind of oppression
because we don't know we are in it - to believe that this limited contingent idea is what
we actually are, it's a form of insanity that almost everyone is suffering from. So to deal with
this, we search for relief, striving or giving up, overachieving or drowning ourselves in addictions, numbing out, distracting ourselves, avoiding, indulging, trying to fix..

What if there is another choice? Rather than focusing on how others aren't giving me the love,
approval, recognition, support that I "need" ...
what if I am able to take 100% responsibility for accessing and recognizing what I truly am, my innate well being, my beneficial nature.... reality?

We can choose again, we can wake up from the idea of what we are, this conditioned overlay of lacking, limited and powerless, we can stop thinking for just a moment and notice what's actually here, this vast open spacious intelligence, this is our true reality.
This can become our practice, daily, when ever we remember. Prioritize and emphasize reality.
To stop the preoccupation with the stream of descriptions, to stop and relax and open to what is here, not in avoidance of what appears but in the actual experience itself, in the thought, feeling or situation.. no longer do we need to avoid, protect or indulge and get lost in the experience.. no more getting lost in the experience!
The reality of what we are is not in need of anything, it is not a victim to any thought, feeling, sensation or experience. It opposes nothing, It is naturally beneficial, innately stable mentally and emotionally.
Because this is what we are, it is always here, always available, awaiting our recognition and reliance. This is liberation, this is what we all want, to simply be what we are, to see clearly, to be beneficial and committed to harmony and unity in all our relating.
What a gift to be on this journey, to experience this liberation and to grow daily in reliance and recognition of reality.
Love to hear about your experiences with recognizing this reality in yourself..

much love

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I've been watching myself get derailed lately.. one minute I am basking in well being, real peace.. seeing everything clearly, allowing everything to be just as it is, laughing, enjoying myself, speaking and moving with real awake alert awareness..
then suddenly something calapses.... some situation occurs... or i have a thought about some circumstance in my life.. "I have to decide where to live, what am i going to do? i need to find a place to stay, my kids need to read more, OMG i need to get divorced.. i can't do that, i don't want to get divorced, that will make me a failure, I want to try harder, make it work, what am i going to do?? "
Suddenly I am seemingly carried away by the thought, feeling or experience, I notice a story about it all, identification with the story, it's about me, something is wrong and I need to think about it more, figure something out and DO SOMETHING!!
I've spent most of my life in this habit of reacting to whatever arises, whatever point of view (thought, feeling, or experience) presents itself and the story that always follows.. it may be about my body, i feel fat, i need to exercise more, i need to firm up... i need to eat better, feed my kids healthier food, be more creative with them... i need to start working, make some money, contribute more, serve more... it's a constant never ending stream of data that is always running.. be more, do more, have more.. it's power is really fueled by this underlying core belief that well being, natural perfection, contentment... is not here now, it could not possibly be here now, something is wrong, something needs to be different, it needs to change.. i need to lose 10 lbs, have a flowing loving intimate partnership, have a stable financial situation, eat healthy, this person needs to be different, they need to love me more, include me, help me, support me..
it goes on and on..

So goes the endless effort to get all the stuff you think you need, health, career, family, financial stability, to be kind, compassionate, loving, generous, etc.. to be all these positive things and not be the negative ones, to feel all these positive feelings and avoid the negative.. the endless game of avoiding, replacing and indulging all of our stories about who we are and what's happening and what needs to change..
I've learned that the point of meditation, sitting quietly, pausing throughout the day, taking short moments to notice the vast open intelligence ... is to just let everything be as it is.. whatever thought arises.. whatever the feeling of the moment is.. whatever situation or circumstance is here, traffic, financial calapse, not feeling well, criticism, anger, boredom, inadequacy, fear.... what if you just take a minute to relax, yes your head may be screaming.. but he did this, she said that, i feel this, it's intolerable, what am i going to do??
Spiritual awakening, clarity, having a psychic change.. all of these refer to this profound shift where suddenly we see everything differently, we are not our story, our body, our history or our circumstances, things are not what they seem to be. This new pair of glasses... from the view of awareness changes everything, our very orientation, all our definitions, all our assessments, what we do, why we do what we do, how we see everything..
This new view allows us to see and know the essence of everything, what is at the basis of all that appears, the substance of all form, all data, all points of view.. at the basis of all of this is this stable, vast open spacious intelligence.
Imagine noticing that all the time? in the midst of all thoughts, feelings, sensations and experiences there is this stable openness, this innate intelligence, this fundamental well being.. everything comes from this.. Imagine if you knew.. that there was this stable clarity that appears as upset, frustration, anger, fear, confusion, pain... all of these were just names for clarity, open intelligence, presence.. then whatever arises.. you could let it be, you could relax, wide open perception, stable .. and from that vantage innate wisdom could naturally express in whatever way was optimal in the moment..
We have a choice in what we commit ourselves to.. we can take a short moment to pause, relax, see clearly, come back to that vantage point where we are fully aware of the truth in each expression, perceive reality, know clearly what is at the basis of every thought, feeling and experience.. or we can continue to indulge the conditioned perception, judge by appearance, live from this very limited idea of what we are and seek endlessly for our well being, ignoring our fundamental nature that is well being itself.. we have a choice.. we do.. we can always commit to realizing what we always and already are.. and we can train up in the recognition of this awareness... we have simply forgotten, but we can remember... remember..

Monday, July 18, 2011

Suddenly I see...

I'm sitting in an AA meeting... the topic was letting go... that is so what's happening here..
Sandy Beach tells the story best about dropping the rock. A man is drowning from holding on to this heavy weight, just when he is ready to give up hope, he looks up at the shore and sees all these people dancing and laughing, wow he says... looks really good up there, yeah it is, they reply.. drop the rock and come on out of the water.
Drop the rock he thinks, impossible, this is my rock, it is vital to me, my whole world, it's all i have, what i am... so he goes on drowning.. later he looks up again, wow it looks really good up there... drop the rock they yell at him... he can't.. time goes by... something happens, by accident he drops the rock and climbs out..
he wonders later...What the hell was i thinking hanging on to that rock for so long..

In this human drama/comedy, most of us are hanging on desperately to some very small ideas of who and what we are. Loaded down with our concepts and ideas of the image we think we are. I'm this, i'm that, i'm this description... well it's simply not true.. that's like saying all you need to make cookies is flour. It is our responsibility to remember who we are, to recognize our fundamental nature.

If you want to make chocolate chip cookies, you follow the recipe, if you leave out the flour or the chocolate chips or the baking soda, it's not gonna be chocolate chip cookies.
Recognizing our true identity is like that, we need BOTH vital ingredients, we need to clearly see our basic state as well as the expression that appears in this instant.

1. recognition of the vast open intelligence, our true beneficial nature AND
2. whatever or whoever is appearing in this moment, all that appears, all thoughts, feelings, sensations and experiences just as they are. It is in the combining of these two: essence and appearance, substance and form, that the full potential beneficial nature of love is fully expressed.

I listened today to someone talking about their challenge in dealing with a friend who was sick, depressed, needy, draining, demanding, on and on.... they want to help, feel guilt when they don't, but are so challenged to not get sucked into this very draining encounter... well that's a description for sure... what's actually true about that? without seeing the true identity, open intelligence, it's like being blind. To only see the description and not the fundamental nature, the essence, the truth about a person, situation, thought, feeling, etc.. is to not see it clearly.

It's like making cookies with only flour and water, they'll taste really bad. Likewise to only see truth, essence, but not the appearance, to not have compassion and love for people and their challenges can result in a cold hearted distant removed experience that can leave people thinking that if the appearance is not really real, then nothing matters and they can behave anyway they like without morals or ethics. equally blind.

Our full expression of our beneficial nature is the recipe of these 2 ingredients, we only get chocolate chip cookies, or see clearly when we see both the truth, the unmanifest, the open intelligence, the infinite nature AND the expression, thought, experience, feeling.. whatever appears, the finite. It is in the coincidence of these two that we find our full beneficial nature.

Suddenly I see..

This is the training, the moment to moment to practice.. recognizing what we are in and as what is appearing... the question is aligned with reality or not, got both ingredients or not?
When we are aligned with truth, we drop the rock, we are at rest, there is a feeling of well being with everything just as it is. Nothing needs to change, no one needs to be different, we allow all experiences to come and go, we are at peace, we are naturally beneficial, we know what to do, how to contribute, it is clear. lovely.... and it all seems really funny then..

Saturday, July 16, 2011

oh thank you my mirror...

it's so cool, i got to see myself 3 times in the last 12 hours...
I am forever grateful for how the universe shows me .. through you, i get to see "my" situation in another, and when it's about "you" there is such clarity... am i willing to gaze in the mirror, to see clearly and then let that clarity come blazing back to this expression here, that i call "my" life..

I'm sitting with a good friend... she is crying, in pain, hurting over a romance that's ended.. it was so amazing, so beautiful, such a heart opening.. i felt such bliss, so radiant, the loving was undeniable and oh it was so joyful... then it changed... now i feel sadness & grief, telling myself i'm rejected, inadequate, unloved... i've felt this so many times before..
My girlfriend was texting the guy... wanting to talk with him, wanting to share her pain, thinking that by expressing her hurt that she would feel better and find resolve and be able to move on.

A teacher shared with me recently.. there are 4 responses available when we are facing any challenge..
1. we can indulge it (focus on it, call 4 people, endlessly think there is something to figure out.. if only we think about it more).
2. replace it ( reach for a thought that feels better, affirm it away)
3. avoid it (with food, alcohol, tv, sports, drugs, sex, fill in the blank)
4. we can open to it.. relax and take it easy, don't struggle.. let it be as it is..

I was able to see easily the habit in me when affliction arises to believe that the pain or fear is 'caused' by the situation or person. If only they would ________, then i would be ok, if only they'd love me more, be kind, show up, do this or that.... it follows that I've now made myself a victim of this situation and i go into blame ...

when i notice this, i can stop thinking for just a moment and relax, open, let everything just be for a minute... i can do this over and over, taking short moments whenever i remember to just relax and open ...


I spent the day at the pool with a bunch of kids... i saw a very familiar pattern.. one of the kids felt hurt and excluded ... there was a calapse into the hurt, a story that the hurt was caused by someone, a lashing back, shutting down, coldness and anger. How many times have i felt hurt, someone (usually that i value deeply and love) is not treating me with the respect and love that i want, i feel hurt, take it personal, shut down, lash out and protect myself by being distant and cold. I watched this child suffer in her story, unable to do it any other way.
This has been a very familiar pattern for me, i saw it clearly.. so grateful that today i have a choice to simply open with whatever feelings arise, that i can choose not to make myself a victim of a situation, not to go into the story of blame and condemnation of another, that i can open up and allow what's here without indulging the story and suffering..
Even when i do fall into this pattern.. whenever i remember i can stop and take a moment to relax and open..

I saw the mom of this child.. wanting to "figure it out", carrying a story about how this situation happens all the time.. this behavior of teasing or excluding or whatever.. perpetuating the story that our pain or upset is caused by another, that we are harmed or victims of another.. I saw how unserving this is, how invested we can be protecting the identity that we think we are. So convinced that we are that we can be harmed or helped ... what we fundamentally are is untouched, unaffected by what comes and goes.. relaxing for a moment is the practice to recognize our true vast indestructible nature..

I do not have to carry around the stories of the past, how others have the power to hurt me, seeking experiences to give me the love that I am, seeking outside of my own innate nature for the well being that is actually right here when i relax into the vast open expanse that I am.

thank you my mirrors, thank you for this clarity to see ... for this practice of relaxing and for that short moment that i can pause and look at myself.. finding the well being of resting in my fundamental basic nature.

Friday, March 11, 2011

liberation through heartbreak...

How exactly does this immense thing called life liberate "us" from the seeming state of forgetting that we are life itself?
How is it that we seem to forget that we are truly awareness itself, the wide open expanse of creation?
How is it exactly that "what is"... "all that is" seems to forget? fall asleep to "what is" and collapse into a perception of being limited to a body, a feeling, a situation, or a thought?

Can you relate to this experience.. i finally found this amazing love.. partnership, union.. i gave myself completely, i thought i was finally at home in myself.. then the tide rose, the wind shifted, the lover left, i was alone, he was gone.... even better he was with someone else and i was left with my dialogue..
why did this happen? how could this have happened? apparently this "love" was not real, not what i thought, there must be something wrong with me, this always happens to me.. i'll never be loved..
The flow of reality seems to stop at this point.. life is not unfolding, the birds are not singing the sun is not shining, the earth is not turning.. there is just this story.. it's all consuming.. the very loud dialogue.. this intense feeling..
At first i was so devastated by my perception of what occurred.. i thought it was what happened, that my story was actually reality, that i'd been wronged, i was a victim.. this situation was the cause of my suffering.. i totally believed it..
but now i see that i was seemingly consumed in my judgments and stories about what happened.. and as a result.. reactivity occured.. I had to flee.. run away, protect myself.. or so i thought.. withdrawal, telling my story, blaming, fantasizing that if ONLY _______ (fill in the blank) basically this had not happened, then "i" would be ok..
The suffering seemed to get cranked up each and every time i continued to feed this story, believing each thought, feeling, sensation, going along with the protection, blame, deeper and deeper immersion in the dream of who i think i am...

I signed up for a 3 month class, i made a 100% commitment to rely on clarity, awareness, presence rather than believing the perceptions, thoughts, conclusions, judgements that I'd been consumed with.. I did assignments, I studied texts of truth, I wrote and wrote about the patterns that I've been relying on.. i saw the insanity of continuously relying on what was so unstable.. i cried out in grief and vowed to find something more stable that I could rely on.. I found it.. a simple teaching that continuously pointed me back to myself, to a moment to moment practice of resting for short moments many times in the space of alert awareness, just relaxing for a moment over and over until I recognize continuously that that open expanse of well being is what I actually am..

within a short time, as i softened internally and moved into greater self support and reliance on realizing what i truly am.. this expanse of awareness.. i found that there were times that I no longer seemed to be angry or rejecting or condemning.. of a situation or person.. i softened just a bit.. i was able to allow myself to be with the appearances and perceptions about what was appearing.. just as it is.. accepting and relaxing.. for a time there would be such clarity, humor about what seemed so serious and problematic before.. I felt light, clear, resolved, liberated..

then whoosh... down the rabbit hole of believing the thoughts, feelings, conclusions about circumstances again.. reactivity follows.. i identify with all of it.. i actually think i am in control of this.. i am these experiences, i am a victim of this.. it's bad and i need to fix it..

then suddenly i am taking short moments again.. relying on clarity rather than the stream of thoughts, helplessly floating along in the river of perceptions.. i'm 100% committed to reality, truth, resting for short moments many times... coming home to myself, this wide open perspective, this space of well being, restfulness.. my own peaceful nature..

Clarity is the great liberator.. the great revealer.. i see clearly now that as long as i think i need someone, depend on someone or any picture or set of circumstances.. thinking i am limited, dependent or in need... this is pure insanity. life is my lover, my sustainance, my source, not any person.. it's been a great revelation, a fulfillment of what was revealed to me many times when everything seems very clear, it's all here, right here within my own being.. whatever is needed is here... in the midst of a painful circumstance.. there is a choice.. going off into the story of about how i need this person to be okay, need this to be different.. or there is resting in the truth, the complete lover of awareness. Chase the illusion.. or rest in what's true..

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Take your medicine!!

Each and everyday it is more apparent to me, the futility of believing and following thoughts, up and down, like an endless rollercoaster, going nowhere, I feel like I have an exreme case of motion sickness... "Let me off!!" I yell over and over.. I want off of this crazy ride.. looking outside of myself for what I can actually only find within.. satisfaction, fulfillment, serenity, peace, love, well being... the conditioning is so strong that I'll find love in a relationship, security in stable finances, well being in a career or in being with my kids... and who knows maybe i will, but one thing i can count on for sure is that it will always change, men leave, people die, there is meanness, cruelty, injustice and dishonesty that occurs.. it happens.. living from perceptions, viewpoints, belief systems, personal perspective, identifying with this that continually opens and closes, this is a crazy ride...

For a long time I think I actually liked it, I liked the insanity, it made me feel alive. Striving, achieving and accomplishing, going after a goal like being a top producer or getting that man felt great, it made me feel special, extra special, powerful, I played the game of getting and winning and 'better than' for as long as I could ... then the bottom fell out.
It really all stopped working, none of it made me feel better and there I sat ... in the rubble of my life that resembled a train wreck...
Rather rudely, I suddenly realized... i was not all his stuff, these structures.. i realized that I had stopped caring about all the labels that had once meant everything to me.. Waking up and realizing that I was not actually any of the labels I had thought myself to be, wife, mother, business person, successful, spiritual, smart, long term sober person, mentor, teacher, I knew that I was not any of this, they did not define me.. these were like clothes that I wore, they didn't describe me accurately or completely nor did they touch or impact what I actually was.
I got a clear sense that what I actually was, I was fortunate enough to see this very clearly many times.. this awareness, presence, this that I can't define or really describe, was vast, open space, untouched by any of life's experiences.

This was not an entirely happy occasion, although i did enjoy a sense of expansion and liberation for a time... but as these aspects (ideas I'd felt myself to be) fell away for me, I found that there was no new identification that came in to offer comfort or familiarity.. not only did new stuff not come in.. but it kept falling away, pride, self esteem, sense of personal power, drive, ambition, goals, strong sense of self reliance.. I felt stripped clean, naked, groundless, surrendered... vulnerable, lost at times, irrelevant and more than often confused that I could not seem to rediscover myself in my life experiences ..

Yes it's true, I have been praying and sitting in silence for many years, asking only for one thing.. truth, show me the truth, let me be guided by truth, let the truth of my being be revealed, let truth penetrate this life called JoAnne, fully, gently, now.
I just want to experience truth.... I did not really know what it was that I was praying for..
I did not know that it meant that I'd have to experience in a conscious way all of my delusion and self deception, this has been a rude awakening. I had no idea the degree of false identification I entertained, it's been quite an intense last 5 years.

It seems that all of life is conspiring to wake me up, not that the little idea of me actually wakes up, more like waking up from the dream of being a me, something separate and apart from everything else. I've come to see to this sense of separation as a sickness, a disease, a sense of dis-ease that is mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. This sickness is part of the human condition, it feels like a hole in the gut, something just feels wrong.. the mind is forever reflecting this by thinking .. something is wrong, with me, with them, with this picture, this scene, there is not enough ______ (love, money, security, peace, well being, acknowledgement, praise, resources, etc..) And... I need to do something about it is the next logical thought.

To believe that 1. something is wrong and 2. I need to do something about it. is to be on the wheel of samsara.. the roller coaster, it's forever.. it is to forget who I am, forget what is always here, forget truth, forget the well being that always is.. it is to fall asleep to what is..

So if you are sick, you often take medicine.. this can be rest, stopping, asking for help, building community in recovery circles, work with a therapist or mentor or spiritual teacher, receive guidance, support, sit in silence, meditate, go on retreats, use inquiry methods, ask who am I? bring about an awareness of awareness, presence, clarity, well being.. connect to the divine, that which is always here, stable, always available, pause and pray, reflect, notice what's here, allow it, be tender with myself, take mental health days, etc...

I've done all of these .... a lot... these days I am in greater and greater awareness that this security, well being and love that I sometimes think is not here.. is always available ... so I keep taking my medicine, stopping and pausing many times all through the day to notice presence and clarity.. stopping thinking for a moment to notice what's here, this stillness, awareness.. it pervades all thoughts, experiences, feelings, everything.... it's like the paper that life is drawn on.. no paper, no life, awareness is what everything comes from, the substance of all form and all of life.. so this is where my reliance must be, 100% commitment to this clarity... ahhhh

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Do you know about the "unwritten contract" in relationships? Most people don't even know the contract exists.. until that is that the contract is violated. The contract has to do with expectations, it's about the stories we tell ourselves about how love "should" be expressed, how people "should" treat us, how they "should" behave. The contract is our belief system about how others should respond if they tell us they love us or if we think they ought to love us. It also applies to dating, business relationships and friend and family relationships.
Here are some aspects I've noticed lately about my 'hidden contract'...
If someone says they love me, then they "should" call me frequently, be thinking about me, include me in their plans, definitely call me on holidays, they should be showing me that I am special to them, speaking to me in an affectionate way, with warmth, playfulness, expressing interest in me and what I am up to. They "should" want to connect with me, spend time with me, be excited to see me, they "should" be telling me often how attracted to me they are, how pretty I am and how much they want me.
If they don't do this.. then I start telling myself stories... They don't really care about me, they don' t really love me, something is wrong, maybe something is wrong with me, maybe I don't deserve it, I'm not _______ (attractive, sexy, together, fun, interesting, resolved/healed, ambitious) enough.
When I start to feel like someone that I love is not showing up for me, not responding in a loving way, (even a friend that won't return my calls) I feel overexposed and want to contract and go into self protection. I often don't even notice that this is happening. Rather than looking at my own belief about the "broken" contract, my beliefs about how love "should" be expressed and what is arising for me when my expectations are not met, I often go into a story about how the other person is doing something wrong, they are unkind, unfeeling, not caring or sensitive enough. I'll notice that I feel sad that the interaction feels cold rather than warm, I'll focus on what I am not getting and I'll contract and pull back.
After many years of striving to see this, often I still don't. I'll go straight into "the story" about what was happening rather than noticing what was actually happening.
So what was actually happening? Really nothing is happening.. but here's what my head says..
I want more, I am not getting enough, enough love, enough calls, attention, affection, consideration, I am not desired enough, I don't feel special enough. I feel a sense of emptiness, a restlessness.
When I believe this stream of thoughts, it feels bad, I feel bad, I feel sad. Often I will share this with whoever I want to be doing something different. It might sound like complaining. This time it did not go over so well, it was actually totally ineffective and as I think back, often this is the case, when you tell someone they are not meeting your expectations, that they are not doing enough for you, they are often defensive and the result is exactly the opposite of what I want, more distance.
Another response might be to
1. notice my desire for things to be different
2. notice what story I am telling myself about how this behavior means this... how it should be.
3. notice how I feel when i believe the story, that they violated the contract, they are wrong!
4. instead of focusing on getting, focus instead on giving what I want, to myself and them.

It's a crazy dynamic.. wild how when one person is super open, ready to really love and cherish and flow the love.. how the other person will run like the wind.. what's up with that?

love to hear your feedback..