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Archive for October, 2009

I haven’t been very happy with my lifestyle for some time now.  So, I decided to shake things up.  I canceled my cable subscription!  I’m not one of those evangelists who think that T.V. is the root of all evil.  In fact, I’m quite the opposite; I love T.V., and cable in particular.  I can find things that are interesting, at least to me, anytime of the day or night, in high-definition.  I love to chase classic cars, or see how things are made, or ponder life after people.

If given the opportunity, I would pretty much just channel surf all the time, and that was, in effect, the problem.  After preparing dinner, I’d settle in, in front of the T.V., and watch one thing after another until I eventually fell asleep in front of it.  Then, when I awoke, in the middle of the night, if there was something playing that looked half interesting, I might continue watching for a while before finally shuffling off to bed.  Repeat that virtually every night, for months or years and you begin to see the problem.

So, the cable’s gone, and I hustled the flat screen T.V. into storage.  Unfortunately, my broadband internet connection went along with my cable video, so now I subsist on a slower WiFi service.  I can reach the internet long enough to post a blog post, check a few e-mails, and occasionally watch a jerky Hulu video clip, but that’s about it.

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Now, I enjoy paying full attention to dinner, then I light some little Tealights, work on the computer for a bit and read – I’m normally an avid reader, but I hadn’t read a complete book in the past couple of years.  If I started early, I might light a second set of Tealights once the first set burns down.  They last between 2-3 hours.  I call this my Tea Time.  And after that, I settle down in my bunk and get some decent rest.  Ahh!

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calvinandhobbes

In the practice of Self-Discovery, you have to learn to trust your brain less, and your intuition more.  Your brain is often the voice of your limited self, or ego.  It tells you things that promote its agenda.  The ego’s job is to defend and enforce its view of the world, which is a dualistic perspective.  There is ‘you’ and then everybody else, and the ego delineates exactly where the boundary lies.

It’s helpful to have a ‘Self’.  That self gets to punch a time clock and answer phones and order coffee.  But sometimes the limited self gets in the way of your higher self.  Your higher self wants to feel and know that it is in and part of all things; unity, yoga.  The ego is threatened by that.  To dissolve into the Clear Light is a form of death for the ego, and it does not want to go gently!

So, often your ego tells your brain to doubt, or fear, or be pessimistic, or be overly skeptical.  Don’t listen.  Listen to your higher self instead.  The higher self speaks through intuition.  Intuition is really just a glimpse of direct knowledge.  Knowing, without really knowing how you know.  Trust it!

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It’s raining… again.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the rain, it just feels like it has been raining forever.  But it hasn’t.  It was gorgeous just a couple of days ago.  It just seems like it has been raining forever because of my perspective, my viewpoint, my way of looking at things at this moment.  Your experience of life depends on your perspective.  If you are Gene Kelly, and it’s raining, it is an opportunity for dancing and singing.  Same rain, two different perspectives.

farSideHell

Our perspective comes from our level of awareness.  The higher our level of awareness, the grander our vista becomes.  Let’s say that you are walking along a path that winds down a valley between tall mountains and you come to a fork in the trail, and there is no trail sign, what do you do (besides take the road less traveled)?  If you were standing up on top of one of the mountains, you would have a completely different perspective of the trails below.  You could see that one trail leads to your destination while the other leads out into an arid desert.  From your perch high above, you see how the topology is laid out, you understand it and you are comfortable in knowing what to do.  But, if you are down in the valley, you don’t have that perspective, so, you’re confused.

If you are unhappy, it is because you’ve settled into a low-level of awareness with a negative perspective, self-pity perhaps… or, we could just say more Self.  The more you are centered in your Self, your ego, the lower your level of awareness, and the darker your perspective is.  To shake off that unhappiness, you need to raise your awareness.  Anything that leads you out of your Self will help such as selfless giving; helping out a neighbor or volunteering at a food bank.

A more direct approach is through meditation.  As you concentrate, slow and eventually stop thought, you leave your Self behind and your level of awareness soars.  It’s like getting in a jet plane and zooming up above the clouds.  It’s always sunny there, and it never rains!

From a high level of awareness, you won’t mind the rain at all.  In fact, you will love it, because you see where it fits in the grand scheme of things.  And, you will be happy beyond the power of words to describe.  External things don’t bring happiness or unhappiness.  It’s all internal.

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All systems of yoga recognize the existence of an energy body that surrounds our physical body.  This body is made up of luminous fibers of light.  If you’ve ever seen any of Alex Grey’s paintings, you’ll have a pretty good idea what these ‘look like’ to those with the perceptual ability to see them.  In addition to the fibers that make up our energy body, we have the ability to project energy lines, much in the same way a spider can shoot a strand of web from its body.  You can think of these energy lines as extension cords.  We extend them to plug into other people, places and things.  Once plugged in, the line acts as a conduit for energy to pass in both directions.  Energy flows down the line from your energy body to whatever you are plugged into, and the energy of what you are plugged into flows back into you.

energy_lines

Your home is very important to you from an energy perspective.  Because we live there, sleep there, love there, we have a very strong energy line connected to it.  In feng shui, we are very concerned about keeping our home clean, organized and clutter free, so that the energy of the home can be pristine, and therefore the energy we draw from the home will be pristine as well.

If you move into a home that has been previously occupied,  the rooms will have retained the vibratory energy of all the thoughts and actions of all the people who had ever been in the rooms before.  So, it is good to perform an energy cleansing ritual.  There are lots of different flavors of these rituals, but the important basis of all of them is the practice of walking around each room, and projecting your own energy to effectively scrub every inch of the room clean.

Somewhat more difficult is removing the energy lines that any of the previous tenants might have left connected to the home.  The most effective way to remove these is to transform the home in some way so that it no longer resembles the place they knew.  So, a fresh coat of paint really helps, particularly if you change-up the color scheme.  Replacing carpets, or removing them entirely can also drastically change the energy of a home, and therefore make it unrecognizable to the previous tenants.  Then, have fun decorating.  Make it ‘your’ place, with your style of furniture, drapes and artwork.

Finally, when you move away from a home you need to unplug all of your own energy lines.  You should first remove all of your belongings, clean the space, thank it for sheltering you, then walk around and imagine that you are unplugging all of these energy line extension cords and reeling them back into your energy body.  In this way, you will be encouraging yourself to no longer draw energy from this space.  Which is a good thing, because you never know who is going to move in there next!

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Thoughts

We have a lot of thoughts rattling around in our heads, but did you know that not all of them are your own?  You are psychic whether you are aware of the fact or not.  And, you’re picking up thoughts from the people in your close physical proximity, and from people you are emotionally connected to.  Those connections can be positive – people you love or admire, or negative – people you dislike or who frighten or intimidate you.  We are used to thinking that our thoughts are our own, and so, when a thought pops into our head, we don’t question where it came from, we just accept that it came from some corner of our mind.  This can be quite upsetting, if it’s some weird or dark thought.

If you practice meditation, your own thoughts get quieter, so, thoughts you pick up from others are more obvious.  You could say that you become more aware of your psychic perceptions.  Here’s a true story to illustrate this.

I was living in Boston and was having lunch in the gardens around Copley Square.  I took a little time to meditate, and I had a very high meditation.  When I was finished, I was in a beautiful state of mind, happy and carefree.  It was payday, and I needed to deposit my check before the deposit cutoff time, so it would be credited that day, so I headed for the bank.

copley_square

The line was long, and there was only one teller, but I didn’t care.  I was in such a happy state of mind, I didn’t mind at all.  Then, a construction worker came in and stood in line behind me.  His vibratory energy was pretty terrible.  He’d probably had a 3 beer lunch and he was in a real hurry to deposit his own paycheck.  The line wasn’t moving fast enough for him, so, he would inch up behind me to where he was nearly touching me.  I would inch forward so that I would pick up less of his energy, and then he would inch forward again.  It was pretty painful, and I could feel all the beautiful energy I’d picked up from my meditation draining away.

construction_guy

Finally, I was at the front of the line, but the woman who went before me had numerous transactions and was taking a long time at the teller’s window.  The guy behind me was getting more and more angry as the minutes ticked away.  At one point, it looked like she was finished and started to step away, but then she remembered one more thing she meant to do, and stepped back.  When she did this I had this thought ‘YOU F’ING C[word]’.  Now, I grew up in a household where my father cussed constantly.  So, I’ve heard those words before, and possibly even said them in jest, but I was shocked that I had let my beautiful consciousness slip so far, so fast, that I could think such a thing with real anger behind it.

Then, from behind me, the construction worker uttered under his breath (but loud enough for the woman to hear) ‘YOU F’ING C[word]’.  Again, I was shocked, but relieved to realize that it hadn’t been my thought after all, but it had passed through my mind as clear as a bell.

If you are curious about how many of your thoughts aren’t your own, here is a little technique.  On an ordinary day, notice how much you are thinking, and what types of things you are thinking about.  Then, when you have a day off, go out into the wilderness, preferably somewhere where not very many people go, somewhere off the beaten path, find a place to sit and just hang out there for a while.  Then, take note of how much you are thinking, and what types of things you are thinking about.  I’ll bet you find you are thinking many less thoughts, and the thoughts you do have will be happier and more positive.  Those are your own true thoughts.

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Water

I took a Facebook wilderness survival quiz the other day and one of the questions was about the ‘rule of the 3s’, you can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.  Me?  I’m not sure I could survive a day without water.  Yes, we all need water to drink, but water is so much more than that.

You can know a lot about water, it’s chemical composition, boiling point, freezing point, the dew point.  But, you don’t really know water until you have experienced water in all of its wondrous forms.  I’m in love with water and I’m trying to get to know her as well as I can.

I’ve swan-dived into water from Hawaiian rocks, snorkeled with turtles through it, water skied in it, scuba dived underneath it, snowboarded on top of its crystals, walked across frozen lakes listening to the whooping of the ice cracking beneath my feet.  I’ve showered under waterfalls, soaked in natural hot springs, Japanese ofuros, western hot tubs, plunge pools, Olympic pools, inflatable wading pools.  I’ve canoed down rivers, fished in streams, nearly drowned in glacier lakes, floated on my back in a warm wonderful pond.

I’ve stood soaking in the rain, lost in the fog, sweating in the steam, I’ve even fallen through a cloud.  I’ve seen triple rainbows, and halos around the moon.  I saw a rainbow halo encircling the shadow of the jet I was flying in, as its shadow flew across the tops of the clouds.

gulf_stream_swim

I’ve experienced the ocean in many forms, watching huge breakers crash onto shore, bobbing over monstrous swells offshore, swimming in the incredible blue water of the Gulf Stream, rocked to sleep at anchor in a protected cove.

All these things and I feel like I’ve bearly scratched the surface (ar ar).  What’s next?  Maybe the Ice Hotel in Finland?  How about you?  Any ideas?  Please post them here!

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Impermanence

I was driving a rental car yesterday that had XM satellite radio, and I tuned in a station called the Coffee House.  They play acoustic versions of hit songs, usually performed by some young unknown artist.  They call them Coffee Covers.  Most were songs I knew pretty well, but one I’d never heard before was called Impermanence.  It was a melancholy lament about all the impermanent things in life, and how he wished these things were out of his life.

This is a sentiment you hear, quite frequently, in spiritual communities.  The teachings try to get you to focus less on worldly things and more on spiritual things, by telling you that the worldly things won’t last.  Everything that was born will die (and I suppose be reborn and die again and again).  I guess that’s true.  The only thing that doesn’t change, is the fact that everything changes eventually.  Every TV show you love, will one day be canceled.  Every beautifully varnished hatch cover will one day crack.  Every relationship will end, sooner, or later when death do you part.  But that means that the bad things will end too.  One day your skin will clear up.  One day the Cubs will win the series and so on.

dai_bosatsu_zendo_foliage

One point I think the songwriter missed is that it is not the impermanent thing that causes you pain.  It is your attachment to it;  your unwillingness to let it go, when the time is right for that.  While something, or someone is in your life, love them wildly, with all your heart.  And don’t hold back, because you fear that one day they will leave.  Be certain that one day either you or they will leave, but love them anyway.  In a way, the impermanence makes your time together much more precious.  So, don’t waste a minute of it.  I think Robert Frost says it best:

Nature’s first green is gold

The hardest hue to hold

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

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