THE MIRACULOUS GIFT OF GROUCHINESS

grumpyI used to be addicted to the opinions of others. I took my cue on how to feel about myself or what to think about my day, based on the reactions I got from everybody around me. If someone smiled at me first, I smiled back. (Nice person, upbeat day.)

If they frowned I took it personally, because I was sure it meant that either they were an asshole, or I was—depending on the situation. (Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve responded to life in this same way once or twice.)

This despite a kick-ass spiritual life in which great wisdom and deep compassion flow quite naturally through me. I know people suffer. I know their responses to life say very little about me, and a great deal about how they perceive their own difficult circumstances. And I genuinely want to help ease that pain somehow.

But. Despite glorious light-filled meditation exercises in which I could feel all these things so clearly…go ahead and cut in front of me in the Starbucks checkout line and watch me go to that lightning-quick place of silent outraged judgment. I’m a jerk, you’re a jerk. Or vice versa.

But this approach to life has become too painful and too pointless to continue.

So lately I’ve been kicking the habit of looking to the behavior of others, to tell me how I should feel about myself, or my day. I decided I want to be truly confident about myself, exactly as I am. I don’t want to wait for anybody else’s approval in order to approve of myself.

Because actually that’s nuts. We all do it, we all take our cue from the responses of others—but it makes no sense at all to do that. Others are all wrapped up in their own forms of self-hatred and pain, and guess what: They are just as preoccupied with looking to the outside world on how to feel about themselves. Why would you want to base your own self-worth and happiness on that?

So I’ve taken serious steps to end my addiction to the reflections I get from others. I’ve checked myself into the most private clinic in the world, you might say—only one doctor, only one patient—and the therapy is to wear a Self-Love patch.

This is not some sort of self-esteem/affirmation thing. I’ve never found that kind of thing to truly work, have you? Not way down deep where it counts.

This Self-Love ‘patch’ goes beyond all that stuff. It releases little reminders of my own stupendously beautiful divinity into my bloodstream every so often throughout the day. Whenever I remember to do it, I pause in what I’m doing, and choose to feel my true identity as God’s love. I witness myself as being composed entirely of the sweetness of holy light. And I feel how fantastically right that feels.

I started doing this because I recognized it’s time for me to stand up confidently strong in my own being. It’s time for me to be of truly loving service to others, in the way my soul yearns to be. I want to be a beacon of strength and light for all.

And yet I know I can’t offer authentic love to others if I’m not feeling it for myself first. Because I can’t give it if I don’t have it—not really.

So I’m pausing to feel my own divine radiance a bunch of times a day.

And as my body-mind slowly gets used to this more truthful self-image, I’m noticing an interesting, unlooked-for side effect: The obsessive need to calculate my worth based on the random reactions of others is becoming far less powerful.

Like, far less powerful.

When somebody smiles at me first, I still smile back and automatically go to that same old happy-place: This is a good day. Nothing much has changed there yet. But here’s what is noticeably different:

Anytime somebody frowns, or is snippy, or in any way harshes my happy-buzz…I seem to bypass my usual reaction and go straight to the recognition that this person is composed entirely of God’s love. They are made of sweetly holy light.

This is not an exercise. It just happens.

(Well, sometimes I react first, and then it happens a few seconds later.)

But then the most heartfelt THANK YOU wells up in me. Thank you for reminding me of who you are in truth. It’s such an honor to hold this reminder for you…until you can remember it for yourself.

And that’s the part that blows me away. I’m totally touched and honored that this person entrusts me with the memory of their divinity on their behalf.

Think of it: Every asshole, every brusquely preoccupied person, everybody who treats you poorly…each one of them is only doing it to offer you the supreme honor of remembering their light for them.

In truth they don’t need the help. In truth, their light is self-evident and known by all. They’re just here to help you (and me) practice holding the reminder of it, so that our own light can shine ever more consciously and beautifully throughout the universe.

What a rich and joyous world this is.

So that’s today’s realization.

I can’t guarantee nobody will just plain piss me off, of course. That could happen. But for all the ones who spark this gorgeous recognition of holy light instead…my gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you.

YOUR BODY IS PERFECT

chakra-expandedThis morning, as is often my habit, in between the tooth brushing and the hot shower, I had a shit. It was an unremarkable shit, really. Hardly worth blogging about. I only bring it up because Steve opened the door unannounced and wandered into the bathroom mere moments after the flush. And as I stood in the shower, I noticed my own reaction. I felt slightly…responsible. Like I’d encroached a little bit on his right to a stink-free existence.

For me, the shower is always a juicy place of divine inspiration. So I went inward and investigated that slightly nonsensical feeling of shame. And then I turned my face toward divine Source for further illumination.

The message that came in response was immediate and direct—and although some of the details pertain to me, it’s clearly addressed to humanity as a whole. So here it is, without added commentary, in its somewhat startling entirety. Enjoy.

Your body is perfect. Your body is an indivisible part of a perfect system of creation, chosen by you. It is not an accidental byproduct of blasphemy.

 You are a unique individuation of the one Creator. At the inception of the soul, each human is gifted with a vertical column of light originating from divine Source. It is part of the non-physical aspect of the human body; the light runs vertically up the center of the physical body structure. This stream of light goes constantly with you, it is yours. It contains the full knowledge of your own individual aspect of divinity, your own true identity, and all the love that heaven holds for you. You couldn’t lose it if you tried—and you have indeed tried. Very hard.

 Your body is also gifted with a system of energy centers, a sacred octave, each one vibrating at its own unique frequency. Everything in your world, your universe, is composed of energy in motion. The body is no exception. Everything is vibration, operating at various frequencies from very low to very high.

 Unconditional love is a vibrational frequency—a very high one. If you want to embody the state of unconditional love (and you say that you do) it is merely a matter of raising your own energetic frequencies high enough to be compatible with it.

 You’ve been rapidly “climbing the ladders” from one frequency level to the next, of late. As a result, you fleetingly experience yourself as an undifferentiated field of unconditional love, indivisibly one with all that is.

 And you are asking: What holds me back from fully embodying the state of unconditional love? What holds me back from releasing the small self and choosing divinity as my true expression on this plane?

 This is it. This is what holds you back.

The body is a vehicle of divinity. It was always designed to be so.

Yes, it has uncomfortable urges, inconvenient needs. It shits, it farts. It ages and breaks down in various ways. It demands sexual or other forms of gratification at inopportune moments. Even so. The body is an intrinsic part of the package. It is your divine vehicle. Your gateway.

 But humanity has never seen it that way. It has instead overlaid a complex system of collective agreements onto the body: The body is dirty. Its requirements of elimination are shameful. Menstrual blood, which is nothing more than the neutral shedding of the uterine lining, is especially taboo in virtually every culture.

 And then there are the agreed upon ideals of physical beauty, and the immense pain of self-abnegation that comes with falling short of that ideal.

 Shame and hatred for your own physical vehicle is deeply woven into the human psyche—and therefore into the cells of the body as well as the vibratory field you emit. If you could only see the eternal magnificence of the body’s true energetic potential, you would clearly recognize the enormity of your error.

 The light of heaven can only be metabolized and brought to earth through a body that has been wholly forgiven by the self, a body that is cherished and recognized as a sacred part of all that is. Even though its shit may continue to stink. Even though it may sprout gray hairs in increasingly unlikely places.

 World religions and cultures have promoted the idea of body shame and hatred, in part as a way of keeping you from discovering your own divinity. Make no mistake: There is no more surefire way of blocking full expression of the divine AS you, than by refusing to witness the body in the truth of its perfection. It is the gateway to heaven on earth. To lock the gate and bar the door is to simply never experience that holy union.

 Do you wish to free yourself of your history, dear one, and unburden yourself of all your negative beliefs about the body?

(Yes.)

Then rest now, in the divine light that I Am. And release every belief you’ve ever held about your own body, positive or negative. Empty out all the misinformation from your cellular memory. Let there be no interpretation at all, of what your body is. You have no idea of what your body is. Remain empty, and let yourself be shown.

(I did this. It felt…very unusual.)

Thank you, dear one. This is a process of letting go, and you have begun it. Your One Self rejoices.

THE TERRORIST IS WITHIN

jailbird-withinThese days I can’t help but notice the vast number of unconscious agreements we all make with each other throughout our lives. We make them between individuals, between families, between nations. Not all of these agreements are bad things, of course; some of them are meant to keep the world running smoothly.

It’s just that these agreements we make are…well…unconscious. Nobody is reading the fine print before signing these contracts. And because we unknowingly sign up for these agreements, we’re unaware we have other options. It all feels like it’s out of our hands. A done deal.

And of course, many of these unconscious agreements are not intended to provide harmony or stability for the good of all mankind. Quite the opposite.

Which brings me to the topic of terrorism. It’s on my radar screen right now because I leave for Bali in a couple of weeks—just as Indonesia is heating up once again as a potential terror target.

The point of terrorism is revealed in the name; no secrets there. A few people can create a very large effect in the world, by carrying out acts designed to shock and traumatize its citizenry. The point of their effort, obviously, is to instill terror.

Except nobody is forced to feel terrified in response. Nobody is forced to feel unsafe, outraged, horrified or angry.

It’s only the unconscious agreement we all signed that says you should respond in this way. That guy over there did something horrifying; therefore I have no choice but to respond with horror. But is that really true? Are there no other options? And is horror really the most appropriate or useful response to a horrifying act?

There are any number of large public institutions and corporations throughout the world today that profit greatly from mass fear. Too many to name, really. (No point in getting angry about that, by the way—we’ve all signed the contracts that allow for it.)

What do you suppose would happen if, one by one, we all sat up, rubbed our sleepy eyes, and then erased our name from those contracts that agree to uphold mass fear? There’s nothing preventing it, you know.

Terror is a two-part agreement: One – Somebody does awful, shocking things.

And Two – You agree to feel terrified. The actual terror happens within you.

This was a pact made innocently, of course. You were sound asleep when you agreed to it. Nevertheless, this is the two-part structure that allows terrorism to work. It’s only through your participation and mine that terrorism is able to make a complete circuit. So when enough of us start withdrawing our consent from that arrangement, the whole structure soon collapses.

You can choose to withdraw your participation and unplug from the terror machine any time you want. Well, that’s what I’ve chosen to do, anyway. I look at the work of ISIS, and I’m not responding to it with fear anymore. So now there’s one less person completing that circuit.

I’m not immune to the invitation to fearfulness that ISIS is sending out. I recognize they’re doing plenty of things I can be afraid of, if I want to be. But I’ve consciously decided not to attend that party. How quickly do you suppose terrorism would fade as a viable tool for world manipulation, if more and more people simply refused to RSVP to that fear invitation?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Draining terrorism of its primary food is an important start, but it’s not an actual solution. It still implies that there’s an enemy that must be vanquished. So I’m personally going way beyond simply unplugging, because I know how energetic intention and vibration work.

Energetically speaking, the action of unplugging alone still contains the vibration of Us versus Them. It means I’ve found an efficient way of bringing terrorism to its knees—but this vibratory Us versus Them intention is the very thing that keeps the whole unhappy dance of terrorism locked in that same old perpetual motion machine of victim and victimizer, of revenge and one-upmanship.

So for a change, I’m quitting that, and instead trying what truly works: I’m standing up to squarely face the terrorists responsible for the many acts of terrible violence all over the world. And I’m refusing to judge. I simply stand firm as I hold them in my unflinching gaze. And as I face them I consciously radiate the love that I am.

The love I radiate is agenda-free. It doesn’t seek to annihilate any structures or institutions. It doesn’t seek any outcomes at all—if it did it wouldn’t be authentic love. Love sees only the perfection that it knows itself to be. It doesn’t insist that anybody has to change. And that’s a good thing, because trying to force anybody to change never works. Not really.

Authentic love is the technology of the spiritual badass: By seeing no enemies anywhere, love works to unravel fearful mass agreement, and detangles the energetic bonds that hold things like terrorism in place. Don’t ask me how. I just know that it does.

What?!, shouts the mind. No judgment for such terrible acts? Unthinkable!

Yes, I know. The mind doesn’t get it, and it never will. The mind wants you to believe that non-judgment of terrible things makes you a co-conspirator. The mind believes refusal to engage on the same old battleground means you’ve turned your back on the victims, and now you condone, or even applaud the terrible things that terrible people do.

But that just isn’t true. It’s time to put the arguments of the mind aside, because frankly they don’t work. Fighting enemies just brings on more of the same. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Contracts that call for fighting fire with fire can easily be broken.

So forget the arguments of the mind. It’s time for something different. This is a job for the ultimate superhero: The heart. The limitless transformational power of unconditional love is one of those paradoxical things that the mind can’t seem to figure out. But the heart, the very seat of spiritual bad-assery…well it just knows.

So I’m grateful to ISIS, in a way, for this beautiful opportunity that has arisen on my personal radar screen. It gives me the chance to discover more of who I am in truth. More chance to experience the unconditional love that I am, in action.

If spiritual bad-assery is a technology that appeals to you too, I invite you to respond to ISIS with open-hearted, agenda-free love instead of fear. If you’re inspired to join my party of one, feel free to RSVP to this invitation instead of theirs. You know where to find me.

A Year Without Fear: I AM $600,000. (AND SO ARE YOU.)

prosperityAt the end of my previous post, The $600,000 Gatekeeper, I reported that the internal arbiter standing between me and limitless creative expression seemed to have permanently abandoned its mission.

Afterward, a friend asked, “So if the gatekeeper is gone, are you now able to feel you deserve $600,000?” I didn’t know. I said I’d get back to him.

When I first met the gatekeeper, it showed itself to me as a frightened figure trying singlehandedly to hold back all of creation. It didn’t seem terribly interested in whether or not I deserved a randomly large amount of money. The outsized request itself was the threat.

In general, I would say the gatekeeper didn’t much like or approve of me. But there wasn’t much it did like or approve of, frankly. It was a very tired and cranky young sentinel, and I didn’t know whether judging deservedness was even part of its job description. Now that the gatekeeper had left the building, did all disapproval go with it? I grabbed my lamp and merged with my highest wisdom self, to find out.

We went within to have another good look around. I made the same exploratory statement as before: I’m in the mood to receive $600,000. Then my highest wisdom self and I watched carefully, taking note of all feelings that arose in response.

The answer to the deservedness question wasn’t entirely obvious at first. Where a sense of constriction or limitation used to be, I found only silently peaceful expansiveness. Nothing inside there cared about $600,000 one way or the other. But if I wanted to have it, there seemed no clear, self-generated reason why I shouldn’t.

I shone my lamp more deeply into the question of what I deserve, or what I am worth. I wasn’t prepared for what I found.

A fundamental sea change had taken place. A shift so profound, I can barely find words to describe it. And I hadn’t even noticed it happening.

•          •          •

I need to back up a bit here, to put this astonishing transformation into perspective for you. Throughout this lifetime, in my deepest unconscious core I always believed I was a hatefully unlovable troll. An abnormal, unforgivable blight on the universe.

No amount of spiritual work has ever convinced me otherwise. Not down there, in the deepest slumbering places where the sun don’t shine. This fixed core belief in my desperate unworthiness and unacceptability seemed forever out of reach and beyond help.

Until this week. Until I got to experience myself as creation itself. The higher wisdom self and I brought our light of conscious illumination into that great internal vastness for the very first time. It became a wonderful, softly welcoming experience, very beautiful to witness, as our light made tracers in the darkness and gently awakened bits of my comatose creative self.

Apparently the hate-filled unconscious core thing had been watching this whole event. After it witnessed the spectacular movement of universal creation flowing through me, AS me—well, this core thing seems to have radically revised its opinion.

It’s actually starting to think I’m pretty damn cool.

•          •          •

Do I deserve $600,000? What a goofy, charmingly irrelevant question. How can I not deserve the limitless creation that I already am? I am $600,000, for God’s sake. And I’m Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal thrown in. Which kind of makes me want to start singing a Cole Porter song to myself:

I’m the top

I’m the Coliseum

I’m the top

I’m the Louvre Museum…

 

I haven’t mentioned it much yet, but it was fully clear to me as I witnessed myself in my spectacular universal function of creation, that you are that same identical thing too. You are every bit as vast, as grand, and as unstoppably limitless. (I know people say that kind of thing to you all the time. Books are full of it. But I’m reporting my own eyewitness account, here. And I’m telling you: Really. No shit. YOU ARE ALL THAT. And a bag of chips.)

•          •          •

But here’s the fine print on that contract:

If you want to know yourself as the limitless creation you truly are, you don’t get to cherrypick only the parts you like.

Yep, I’m the Mona Lisa and the Tower of Pisa (to go back to Cole Porter for a minute). But I’m also the slums of Rio. I’m the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and I’m every guy who ever drowned a sackful of unwanted kittens.

Write a song about that. I dare ya.

As I sat merged in meditation with the highest wisdom self and our lamp of illumination, I recognized I am responsible for all of creation. And my responsibility is to stop turning away from the creation that I am. I don’t have to like it all. But I must accept the whole package without resorting to the sort of schizophrenic denial I’ve been using since time began. I am required to know myself consciously and willingly as I truly am, in other words, or not at all.

The contract is to love without judgment. To help where I can. To step in and intervene if called to, but to do so without employing rejection or denial or a wish to find anyone or anything guilty–for those I would condemn are all very clearly parts of my own creation. Parts of my own creative self.

That’s what my creative self actually is. Its only function, its sole identity is constant, nonjudging, impartial creation. It couldn’t pause, take a breather from 100% neutral creating, even if it wanted to. And it doesn’t want to. In fact it doesn’t want anything. It already is everything. And it makes no judgment whatsoever about the unholy unconscious purposes you and I put our creative function to. It just endlessly creates, creates, creates whatever we ask of it.

So that’s what my larger self is. It refuses to judge its own constant creations. I know–I’ve seen it, felt it as me. Do I go on denying that nonjudging creative self? Running away from it? Being terrified of it? Blaming others for it? Hating others? There are no others.

And I’m done with that whole self-hatred business, really. The self-hating unconscious core and the vast creative self are the same self. There’s only one, you know.

I’m inclined to stop fighting City Hall. So I agreed to the contract as wholeheartedly as I could. And as I did it, I felt my spine gently slip out of alignment. All by itself. (Ow.)

Not all parts of me are equally on board with this, it seems. I literally do not have my own support. At least not yet.

How does this contractual agreement change things? Does it change things?

My chiropractor and I haven’t a clue. I’ll keep you posted.

 

A Year Without Fear: THE $600,000 GATEKEEPER

gatekeeperThe other day while idly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a Law of Attraction-based posting that said: I’M IN THE MOOD TO RECEIVE $600,000. The idea being, of course, to use the statement as an exercise to get into the suggested feeling state. And then presumably to attract the abundance it asks for.

I smiled. I was about to keep scrolling, but then just for fun I tried actually putting myself into the feeling state to receive $600,000. Just as an experiment to see whether or not fear would get in the way. This is my year without fear, after all. If fear is lurking anyplace within, I’m determined to call it out and see what it’s made of.

I didn’t have to wait long to find out whether or not it was ok to receive $600,000.

NO, a firm little voice whispered petulantly.

And that got me curious.

I’m not so deeply fascinated by the Law of Attraction per se, having already devoted 20 years to a Buddhist practice that had me utterly fixated on manifestation. I’ve done my time in the Law of Attraction playground.

Don’t get me wrong. I see no problem with tapping one’s inherent creative power to get a bigger house, better car or whatever the desire du jour happens to be. That’s as valid a practice as anything else. But I’ve got other fish to fry.

These days, I’m more interested in spiritual freedom for self and others, which means I’m not content just to prove to myself that the creation machine works. Been there, done that. I want to dismantle the engine, so to speak, clean all the parts and reassemble it. To shine a public light on how creation works—because I choose to know myself as That. But only as a means to an end. Only as a means to know myself as I really am in Truth.

•          •          •

I realized the other day just how vitally important creation is, to a committed spiritual practice. Those of us who wish to awaken fully to awareness of Self in God, tend to gloss over the messy business of creation. We don’t typically spend much time looking too deeply into whether or not we feel worthy of receiving abundance and support.

Sometimes this is due to a confused notion that poverty equals purity. But just as often it’s because it’s too uncomfortable to look. To find out what kinds of unexamined fears and self-hating assumptions might be lurking down there. Or maybe, to find out that we ourselves, creators one and all, have one hell of a lot to answer for.

But to awaken fully is to illuminate the unconscious, making it 100% conscious. And that means not one unexamined fear, not one shadowy belief in lack, or lack of self worth can be allowed to stand. And revulsion at one’s own limitless creative function cannot exist in one who is fully awake. Revulsion toward anything cannot exist in one who is fully awake, because that state can’t contain resistance or denial in any form.

So you may have zero interest in owning a private island, for example, but total spiritual mastery means you’d know you deserve one as much as the next guy. And that you could effortlessly call that island into your experience if you wanted to. (And then maybe choose to give it away to someone who might enjoy it more. Or not. No judgment.)

I’m really only interested in this business of creation insofar as it offers a very juicy rabbit hole of self-exploration. So when that tiny voice firmly nixed my request for a $600,000 payday, I wanted to find out which part of the self was talking. And why.

•          •          •

For me, self-inquiry always comes up with the most satisfying answers when I get the more clued-in self, the higher wisdom self, involved from the very start. So I went within to merge with that higher knowing, turned on the lights and went exploring.

I met an aspect of the self I’ll call the $600,000 gatekeeper. Its feeling state seemed young and kind of overwhelmed. I asked why it hadn’t allowed me to receive $600,000.

The amount was too big, it said.

I assumed this had to do with my beliefs about my worthiness to receive. So I played along, to find out where the abundance line was drawn.

“Ok, what’s a comfortable amount, then? Is $60 good?”

Of course, don’t be silly.

“$600?”

Yes. Duh. We receive abundance in that range all the time.

“$6,000 then?”

Um, yes. Fine, it agreed a little hesitantly.

“$60,000?”

…Yes…maybe, it said uneasily. But only as a very special one-time windfall amount.

“How about $600,000?”

NO. I ALREADY TOLD YOU. QUIT ASKING.

“Why? What’s wrong with $600,000?”

The answer was not what I expected. The gatekeeper said nothing, instead showing me its feeling state: $600,000 was way outside its comfort zone, but not just because it felt I was undeserving of such a large amount.

It was fully occupied with a much more pressing objection: The flow of that much money all at once felt terrifyingly out of control. This self-appointed sentinel was permanently frightened by the limitless creative potential always at work throughout the universe, which threatened to pour unchecked into our experience in every moment. And it did not appreciate me messing with its carefully controlled system of checks and balances.

By throttling the firehose of potential abundance down to a comparative trickle, it seemed convinced it could keep the equally uncontrollable avalanche of “bad stuff” in the creative torrent from pouring in. Or maybe, to the gatekeeper, it was all bad stuff. To this aspect of the self, unlimited creation felt like deadly dangerous unholy chaos. So it determinedly choked off the flow—holy and seemingly unholy, baby and proverbial bathwater—to avert certain disaster.

Jeez. Ok. Interesting.

I thanked it for its answers, letting it know the lights would be staying lit from now on—that its days of unconscious decision-making were over. Then I went to bed.

The next morning I woke, feeling I hadn’t truly learned everything the gatekeeper knew. My higher wisdom self and I merged once again and went back in to see if we could find out more.

“You know, don’t you, that the uncontrollable avalanche of creation is not actually coming in from somewhere outside of you, right?” I asked the gatekeeper.

It said nothing, instead showing me its feeling state, which was the energetic equivalent of scowling at the ground and uneasily shuffling its feet.

There’s too much creation going on 24/7, the gatekeeper blurted out defensively. It isn’t safe. It’s all unconscious, and there’s nobody at the wheel. Nobody is deciding what’s good and what’s bad for us. So I have to do it. I decide what’s too much for us to handle. I have to hold back the avalanche all by myself, to keep us out of trouble.

In a flash of inspiration, the wisdom self helped me understand the meaning behind this rant: The poor overtaxed thing was only too aware creation is all happening within.

The gatekeeper, I realized, was afraid of itself.

I was afraid of me.

So with gentle curiosity, the higher wisdom self and I lifted our lamp toward that aspect of the self that is pure, constant creation.

I felt it more than saw it, this astonishingly neutral, oblivious force of nature within and without. We dropped inside it, letting it create all around us and through us. I merged with it, letting myself feel, dimly, a whole universe of intricately interwoven creation swirling within; I accepted it cautiously as a previously unmet part of my own larger identity.

It felt uncomfortable at first. Icky, at first. Incomprehensibly vast movement was all happening entirely on autopilot, doing its grandly gorgeous thing while sound asleep and utterly numb to its own effects.

Yet after a very short while, I got the distinct impression that the mere presence of our light, our observation within it was causing a very rapid awakening of self to itself. Bits of consciousness filtered freely through the darkness. To my surprise this vastly mysterious creative self offered no resistance at all. It didn’t seem to mind the consciousness a bit. And it wasn’t nearly so icky anymore.

I turned back toward the gatekeeper. “Would you like an introduction?” I asked over my shoulder.

But nothing was there to answer me.

 

 

A YEAR WITHOUT FEAR

victorian garden queen and suitorA 12-MONTH EXPERIMENT THAT ASKS THE QUESTION: IS PAINFUL SELF-LIMITATION NOTHING BUT AN OLD HABIT? (Breakable, like any other habit?)

And if a habit of fear can be broken, is it possible to cultivate a habit of joyous liberation instead?

I want to spend the next year finding out.

•          •          •

Like so many people do, I spent decades inside a self-created prison of emotional pain and unworthiness. It was life without parole, and that’s just how I wanted it. I liked it inside that tiny box. I felt comfortable in there, squeezing all of life’s delirious bounty down to a starvation trickle so as not to overwhelm myself with too much of anything.

I’m much freer now than I used to be, of course. But honestly, that isn’t saying a lot when you consider how infinitely free our potential actually is, in the grand scheme of things. Love it or hate it, the world has no boundaries or limits on what it can show us if we let it. So I’m still settling for tragic smallness, really. Most of us are.

Yet, these days I keep getting persistent glimmers that there are other ways to go about life. The rigid roadblocks I’ve habitually erected against my own happiness and fulfillment are sort of winking at me, shimmering like the transparent mirages they really are. Here’s the best way I can describe what’s been going on:

It’s as if lately I’ve been engaged in a sort of Victorian picture-postcard flirtation with what I’ll call Divine Possibility. A whole world of beautifully wide-open, potentially limitless freedom has been fluttering its eyelashes at me, lifting its petticoats to show me a delicate ankle, as it were, before skipping off with a giggle to hide behind the garden gate.  Or so it seems.

But I know it’s really the other way around. Limitless freedom is patiently staring me right in the face—it’s me who’s playing coy, peeking at it bashfully from between my fingers. (And then I take a break to duck inside the potting shed, because apparently I still like to stand in the dark with my face to the wall, now and then. Smacking myself in the head occasionally with a trowel. Just because.)

But hey. At least I’m finally aware—after so many decades of clueless confinement—that the unstoppable flow of Divine Possibility and I are actually occupying the same lovely spring garden.

You’re there too, by the way.

•          •          •

So here I am, in my peculiar Victorian garden metaphor, rubbing my sleepy eyes and only just beginning to look with keen interest at the lush tangle of blooms and weeds running riot this way and that, growing with wild abandon all around me. Which is to say, I’m starting to really notice how the creative force operates within us, whether it’s wielded consciously or not.

This is not theory, or an exercise in the Law of Attraction handbook. I’m coming to recognize firsthand, for myself, that I—we—are all infinitely powerful creators, engaged in a grandly orchestrated ongoing dance with all of creation. We are 100% responsible for everything we call into our experience in each moment. We attract it, we create it, we make it all from scratch. We can’t not create. Our vibration draws similar vibration; like attracts like. We routinely bend people and situations to our will, mercilessly insisting they behave as we feel we deserve, for better and worse. And then we deny responsibility for any of it. The bad stuff is somebody else’s fault. The good stuff is God’s doing. (Or vice versa, depending on your worldview.)

But we’re creating it ourselves, because that’s what we do. It’s what we are. I know this not because some teacher or some book said it, but because I’m finally paying attention and seeing creation openly in action everywhere. The evidence is all around, if you’re only willing to look. To really see.

•          •          •

A dear friend recently asked a seemingly innocent question: What is your deepest desire? (My immediate thoughts naturally raced to all those cherished dreams still unfulfilled: I want to awaken fully, to know myself as I really am in Truth. I want to be profoundly helpful in the world.)

But the right answer, the only possible right answer that’s true 100% of the time for everyone is this: My deepest desire is whatever is occurring in my experience right now, in this moment.

No, I’m not parroting something I think an enlightened person would say. I’m not going all Byron Katie on your ass. I personally do not often (ok, ever) walk around 100% immersed in the utter perfection of present moment beingness. I do not know firsthand from my own experience that if something is occurring, that fact alone means it is perfect. I ain’t there yet.

However. I did see with shocking clarity the cooly neutral truth of that statement. Why is this moment my deepest desire? There is actually never a moment in time that I’m not experiencing the fulfillment of my deepest desire. Because that’s how creation works, and I am an infinitely powerful creator. What I say goes, always.

But ask me to name my deepest desire, and my mind automatically skitters off into ‘what I haven’t got yet’ future dream-fulfillment territory. But that’s a lie. That’s just another game of Victorian peekaboo.

In truth I am an infinitely powerful creator, and nothing/nobody can override my free will choice. Ever. Period. I automatically create and attract into my experience exactly what I want, moment by moment. Whatever I’m experiencing is whatever I want most to experience in that moment. What I desire most. That’s how it works. It can’t be any other way.

Naturally we don’t want to hear that, because it’s very hard to accept the news that we freely create our own bondage and pain. I get it. I’ve certainly been there, bitterly arguing I would never cause myself (or others!!) unhappiness or injustice. Oh, but the truth is, I would. I have, through free will choice. Unconscious free will choice, mostly, but free will choice nonetheless.

•          •          •

So now I’ve clearly seen not just the marionette strings on my hands and feet, I’ve finally recognized the true identity of the puppeteer.  And I accept responsibility for both. Yet not a lot has changed, in my habitual daily decision-making process. But why is that? If the world is actually my oyster/lobster/seafood buffet, and creation is an ongoing inescapable fact of life in the world, I shouldn’t need to go on unconsciously choosing the same old starvation diet, right? I could be choosing all my future-based heart’s desires right now. In theory, anyway.

And that’s what got me wondering:

If I’m starting to know myself as an infinite creator, how come I still habitually make fear-based decisions? Why do I automatically play small, narrowing my own options, restricting my own freedom? And therefore the freedom of others?

So I’ve devised a very simple experiment. I want to find out fear’s actual role in the day-to-day creation process. For one year, I will stay alert to notice every time I make a decision, large or small, that is based in fear. (I know well the telltale signs when fear is present. I’m sure you do, too: A feeling of contraction or heaviness. Any sense of worry. Any desire to limit myself or others.)

As I consciously acknowledge the presence of that feeling state of fear, I will stop and ask: Is there another way to see this situation? Another solution or direction I can take that is not fear-based? And then I will wait to see what answers or insights might come. I pledge to walk down those unfamiliar new avenues in which fear plays no part. Maybe it will get less uncomfortable and strange each time I do it. Maybe the scenery will change a bit every time. Then as the months roll by, we’ll see what kinds of new vistas open up.

•          •          •

Freedom, (if you look at it closely) is actually freedom from fear. Freedom is feeling safe, peaceful and strong, expansive and loving in every moment, regardless of what is occurring around you. That’s true freedom. Inner freedom. It is not (to quote Janis Joplin) another word for nothing left to lose.

Yes, losing everything—and discovering you’ve survived anyway—is one way of moving beyond the fear of losing everything. But surely not the only way of attaining true freedom, true liberation.

I want to know myself as That. As One who walks the Earth in true freedom from fear. And yes, I’d like to be fully awake and ridiculously helpful to humanity while doing it. But right here and right now, I’ll start by holding my old habitual fear patterns up to the light. Not to battle them—just to gaze upon them with bemused curiosity. To put them aside, and then choose something different this time. And next time. And the time after that.

My current hypothesis is that fear is a habit. And therefore maybe the act of choosing fearlessly is just a muscle that needs to be developed. So, gym class starts now. I’ll be blogging my progress (both the forward and the backward kind) if it interests you. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

 

 

Science or God?

Science or God?

Recently, as part of an article about atheism, I was asked the following question by Illuminata Magazine:

Q: How do you respond to Richard Dawkins’ brand of ‘informed’ atheism supported by scientific investigation? Or what would you tell somebody who’s confused by all these genetic theories that these gentlemen use to prove what they call the ‘God Delusion’?

Frankly, I had to look the guy up. These kinds of arguments hold little interest for me anymore, and this is why:

A: I don’t respond to Richard Dawkins’ brand (or indeed any other brand) of scientific argument around the existence of God. Richard Dawkins is a brilliantly intelligent man, and I understand why he has arrived at many of his scientific conclusions. And I also understand why his arguments would appeal to many. But intellectual brilliance and science are Stone Age tools, quite frankly, when engaged in a search for God; they’re hopelessly crude and thoroughly unequal to the task.

I too was once a cynic, by the way, and for many years it never even occurred to me God might actually exist. I just assumed God was a made-up concept designed to prevent me from sleeping in on weekend mornings. And then one day I had a spiritual experience. I wasn’t looking for it—it just happened.

And that’s the funny thing about all intellectual arguments for or against the existence of God. They don’t matter worth a damn, because God is not ever found through the intellect. Authentic spirituality is a felt experience that bypasses the intellect entirely, and permanently changes one’s perception. And when that experience occurs, mere intellectual understanding or opinion or argument is completely eclipsed by Knowing, and that’s knowing with a capital ‘K.’

I have experienced that which could be called God (or Divine Source, or any of a hundred different names) many times. Not only is it real, in my knowing God is the only thing that’s real. This world as we think we know it, is not real. All the great spiritual teachings of the world say the same thing. All is one, in truth.

As Einstein once said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” And my knowing concurs with this scientific statement. (Einstein was not speculating on the existence of God here, just making a general statement about our perception of the world versus its actual properties.)

To the naked eye, science and spirituality appear to be diametrically opposed, with opinions and “proof” flying on both sides. I’m not interested. I hew to a higher truth, a deeper knowing. I do not require theories or proof to back up the truth, because real truth, once experienced, blows everything else out of the water.

I have no investment in trying to persuade anyone of this. Until one experiences it for himself or herself, what I’ve just described makes no sense. Or perhaps it sounds (to an intellect) like I’m advocating a big frosty glass of happy juice, an abdication of rational thought in favor of unicorns and rainbows.

Actually I would suggest the opposite—that it’s exceedingly healthy to maintain a certain skepticism as one treads a spiritual path. Take no one’s word for anything. Have your own firsthand experience.

For anyone truly interested in a serious search for the existence of God (as opposed to intellectual brawling as ego entertainment) I would suggest this: Go someplace quiet, be still, and ask. Just ask, very sincerely and with a completely open mind, for evidence of the truth one way or the other. Evidence of God, or no God.

Call it a scientific experiment if you like. And see what happens.

 

 

WHEN IS A BACKLASH NOT A BACKLASH?


Rooster Crowing at Dawn --- Image by © G. Baden/zefa/CorbisBack in the day – say, 5 or 6 years ago – it seemed that every time I got on a spiritual roll, every time I felt big breakthroughs in wisdom, trust, love or peace, I knew this wonderful sense of expansion would come only as the first half of a 2-part cycle: I could expect an inevitable ego crash shortly afterward. You could set your clocks by it; a dreadfully fuzzed-out period of lethargic contraction that would arrive right on the heels of all that glory, every time, as night follows day.

2 weeks of confusion, stagnation, depression and/or ‘spiritual amnesia,’ of the sort where one actually forgets both the original breakthrough and the beautiful clarity that accompanied it. I’d watch that slo-mo wave of sickly ego backlash rising up to engulf me, and feel utterly powerless to stop it. After all, what goes up must come down, right? And who am I to mess with Newtonian physics?

•          •          •

Thankfully, after several years of deepening spiritual maturity, the 2-week ego crashes are no more. These days it’s more like a very occasional few hours of temporary insanity. But regardless of the duration or frequency, I see these egoic backlashes in a very different light, nowadays.

Now, they’re interesting opportunities.

•          •          •

Lately, as I’ve traveled the world and stayed in homes and accommodations not my own, I’ve noticed how very narrow my tolerances are when it comes to bodily comfort: Heat vs cold; light vs darkness. Too dirty or too clean (oh yes, there is such a thing as excessive cleanliness.)

How just a few degrees one way or the other can make or ruin my experience. How European daylight at 4am is so much harder than Californian daybreak at 6.

And don’t even get me started on the topic of plumbing. Talk about narrow comfort preferences! I really had no idea just how high-maintenance I really am.

So I’m noticing very keenly how much energy and effort are spent trying to keep the body comfortable and the personal preferences satisfied. Full time job, really. And the reason I’m noticing it so acutely is because lately these tolerances and preferences of mine have been taking a beating. Bigtime.

All of this observation of my own brittle needs and preferences occurs against a backdrop of huge recent leaps toward spiritual freedom: I’ve been happily getting my mind blown and perceptions shattered – yes, again! – by the Way of Mastery series of books and videos. They’re a pointblank invitation to ‘stop being a spiritual seeker, and start being a spiritual finder.’

They present a stark challenge to just get on with it: You say you want the fully awakened, 100% embodied experience of knowing yourself as One with Heaven? Then start right now. This minute. And here’s how to do it.

Because our Creative power is unlimited (even if we don’t yet recognize or believe that fact) it turns out we can actually just decide to reach out and start creating a bridge between our current state of limited egoic perception, and the limitless vastness of perfect Reality. Just like that. We can start that bridge-building process anytime we want, just with the power of fully committed choice.

(In my last post I talked about relinquishing the quest for enlightenment, releasing the identity of the perpetual spiritual seeker. It’s one of those paradoxical things; it seems it was a necessary prerequisite for me to release the “goal” of future enlightenment, before I could seriously entertain this next exploration – right now — into that which is already here.)

So in my exploration, I discovered that right now I’m just exactly strong enough and sane enough at this point to sincerely give bridge-building a try; not just theoretically, but actually.

But not actually sane or strong enough to ease into that practice gracefully. Because of course it includes a vow of 100% commitment to want the peace of God instead of all else. In every circumstance, in every moment of every day, no matter what.

I was only sane enough to go for the committed vow. And that’s pretty darn good all things considered – even a couple of months ago I doubt I’d have been able to get that far.

But honestly, between you and me, my follow through leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Speaking of follow through – and ego backlashes – a mere couple of days after making this electrifying leap into active bridge-building, Steve and I left England (where scarves and woolens had been the order of the day) and headed for California, Land of the Record-Breaking Heat Wave. Along with the blistering temperatures came a change of habitat so uncomfortable, so opposite my preferences in nearly every way that it gave my ego permission to do its worst.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m incredibly grateful to have this house for the next couple of weeks. The home’s owner very generously bailed me out of a jam, an awkward period of time where I needed to be available locally for business but had nowhere to stay. This is peak tourist season, so there was, quite literally, no room at the inn.

This lovely friend has been remarkably patient, kind and accommodating. In fact, she cleared her family out of this house and went on vacation so that the place would be available for me to rent during the days of my visit. I’m incredibly blessed, all in all, and I know it.

But. (Ready for some churlish ingratitude? Here goes…)

The heat and jet lag threw a party and invited the rooster that lives next door. The one that crows nearly every hour of the day and night. And added to all this, the caretaking duties of this temporary rental include looking after a gaggle of willfully incontinent pets. Willfully. Incontinent. Pets.

Are you starting to get the picture? After 24 hours of this, my ego was feeling really, really justified in letting it rip.

 

Virtually everybody has that tipping point. That moment where it seems fully justified and natural to unleash the hounds and let the ego run roughshod as it chooses. For some the tipping point can be a very small big deal; like maybe when the waiter screws up the coffee order and brings caf instead of decaf.

For others with far deeper reserves of peace and tranquility, it might take a tsunami or other epic disaster to rock their boat and give the ego mind an excuse to take over and reinterpret the story for awhile.

Regardless of where a person falls on that scale, nearly everybody has a point where the story is no longer neutral; where it isn’t merely difficult to want to forgive…it’s more like the event is so jarringly unpleasant that all ideas of forgiveness fly right out the window.

External events decree that it’s time to misbehave, the ego says. And as it’s decreed, then so it is.

In my case, that means it’s time to wallow in unhappiness, to muck around in spiritual amnesia and get utterly lost inside the story of my own discomfort and unmet needs.

And that’s where I was for a good 8 hours, the other day.

•          •          •

In the old days, I’d have called this an ego crash, an inevitable ‘course correction’ that I was powerless to stop. And I’d have waited it out, feebly offering snippets of helplessly unfocused prayer and meditation. And then eventually the momentum would shift and a more comfortable, more recognizable degree of sanity would return.

But I recognize something quite different is afoot now.

Here I am, vowing to start consciously choosing the reality of Heaven above all else. And what do I get as an immediate response?

Not an ego crash – unless I choose to see it that way…in which case that’ll be exactly what it is: a 2 week diversion steeped in pain and lethargy. But no, this is no ego crash. It’s not my ego mind devising a punishment, nor is it an attempt to stall my momentum. This circumstance has been presented to me as an act of purest Love.

My vow to want Heaven above all else has been duly noted. And my own highest Self has helpfully, lovingly arranged the perfect mix of off-kilter circumstances designed to push me off my foundation and press all buttons at once, so I can see firsthand where my weakness lies. The places where I’m still hanging onto those pesky blocks to Love.

Because I won’t be living the 24/7 experience of Heaven anytime soon, if I get rattled when a cat knocks a lamp on my head at 2am – twice – and then a rooster crows me awake an hour later. Because if I’m rattled, that means I’m choosing that story instead of the peace of God.

A 100% vow means the willing relinquishment of ALL tipping points.

Even the really big ones. Even the really petty ones. That vow is a specific request to set in motion the necessary training to be able to view all worldly events as equally neutral; equally meaningless in the face of perfect Heavenly joy.

And I want that training. I really do.

So actually, I’m pretty damned incredibly lucky for the customized curriculum. And I’ve been walking around with an odd feeling of tingly joy and unspeakable gratitude, mixed, of course, with clammy sweat and general sleep deprivation.

Life, my friends, is good. It’s just the 3-D living of it that sometimes sucks.

God, I’m dripping. Is it too early, do you think, for another shower?

 

 

 

ENLIGHTENMENT-AHOLIC


Road-to-NowhereFunny, isn’t it. You’re positively sure you know some fact or other; you understand it completely from your head down to your toes. And then one day the candle of Knowing spontaneously ignites, and whoosh!  It’s made a liar out of you, just like that.

The other night I came to know — really know — there’s no point to the goal of attaining future enlightenment.

Mind you, I would have said I already knew that chasing a phantom “future enlightened state” is an exercise in futility. I seem to recall I wrote a book on that very topic.

And yet I discovered I was doing just that.

I realized I was still seeking enlightenment as a future-based end goal, complete with checkered flag and trophy cup. One more item to check off the to-do list. But there is no end goal, and no finish line where enlightenment is concerned. How could a limitless state of awareness ever be brought to completion?

I honestly thought I knew better. [You probably know better too.]

But when an authentic knowing floods in and rewires your perception, as it did the other night, you can’t help but recognize with a shock that up until now, you really didn’t know what you thought you knew.

That you didn’t, in fact, know squat.

Because now, suddenly, you have become the knowing — and no amount of shriveled-up previous mental “knowledge” compares, once that fully integrated whoosh of living, breathing, juicy, mind-body-Spiritual embodied wisdom takes permanent hold of you.

•          •          •

It happened this way:

Having recently vowed to live our lives as “loving servants of God *with plumbing*” (it was me who added the plumbing clause to the contract, because I do enjoy a good hot shower in the mornings), Steve and I have taken to spending big chunks of our day in meditation or contemplative prayer, since we have no clear idea of what form that service might take.

But we haven’t been praying in the sense of asking or telling Spirit what our ego minds think should happen; rather we’re doing our best to simply stay open and empty and trusting, and rest in God while listening for…what?

Inspiration, I guess.

Mostly I get Big Silence. Peaceful, sure. Grounded? Absolutely. But not much clear direction happening on the topic of loving service – or any other.

This particular day’s meditation was much the same. But then suddenly at the end, the candle whooshed, the dominoes fell and a fully formed knowing clicked into place:  It’s pointless for me to go on chasing the goal of enlightenment. It’s only my ego mind that seeks it, and what’s the mantra of the ego? Seek and do not find.

I had long ago convinced myself that awakening was a necessary step toward choosing Love instead of fear, because theoretically if I’m awakened I’ll be present enough at all times to remember to choose correctly between them.

Sound enough logic, as far as it goes. But it’s a future-based ego trap, designed to put an end goal on something that has no finish line.

And then a second knowing whooshed in: I needn’t wait for, or struggle toward enlightenment (which is a pointless effort anyway because the time and circumstances of my awakening are not within my control). I need only choose to let my life be guided by Love in every moment starting right now. Awake or not awake is kinda beside the point, when one’s life is being shaped and moved and art-directed by God.

So I let go of enlightenment as a goal. And I chose to let every moment of my life be guided by Love instead.

I can’t say it felt good, letting go of that firmly entrenched goal – which is a pretty fair indicator of how deep my attachment actually was.

I felt disappointed, deflated in the pit of my stomach. And alarmingly close to tears. My identity as a spiritual seeker was a huge chunk of who I thought I was. If I was no longer chasing enlightenment, my ego mind would now be forced to give up acres of prime real estate.

And then a third knowing tumbled in on the heels of the other two: Letting go of the cherished goal of future enlightenment allows me to have less resistance to what’s going on right now, in this moment.

THIS moment is the classroom, the treasure, the eternal choicepoint. Every gorgeous, messy, imperfect, confusing moment of it is a fresh opportunity to be guided by Love. But if this moment is chronically unworthy because there’s no awakening happening in it, how can I hope to embrace it fully and receive all the infinite gifts it has to offer?

Ah. Oh I see. Ok, I get it now.

It’s all well and good to agree to let my life be guided by Love. But it’s not quite the passive activity I imagined it to be. (Not at this stage of my development, anyway.) I’m no leaf, peacefully surrendered to the eddying stream; I’ve got a very bossy ego that is still mostly sure it knows best in every situation. And that ego will not hesitate to grab a motorboat and tear upriver at full throttle against the current anytime I let it.

So am I serious about living my life in alignment with Divine Will? Do I really want to let Love guide me?

If so, then an ongoing commitment to action is required. It’s my moment-to-moment responsibility, as crap hits various fans, to pause, step back and ask: How would Love have me respond in this situation?

To ask it over and over, as many times a day as I manage to remember to do it. And this is key: To ask it and listen. And not assume I already know the answer.

Oooh, another small whoosh: Yes, forgiveness will always be a component of the answer. But Love is chiefly concerned with extending Love. So the decision to be guided by Love is a request to be used by Love as a conduit for actively healing, nourishing and replenishing everybody and everything I encounter.

Them, before myself.

And I haven’t a clue what’s the best way to do that in each new situation. Only Love knows.

So it’s a whole new moderately unfamiliar landscape here that I’m looking at, one with several key landmarks missing. And a certain amount of mildly uncomfortable newfound humility heaped on top.

I haven’t entirely made sense of it all yet, but there seems to be a faint, sparkly joy playing around the edges of it. But I can’t absolutely swear to that.

We’ll see.

I’ll let you know.

 

GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PRESENCE


Lately I’ve been happier and far more peaceful than ever before in my life.

Of course, that’s not saying a lot.

From day one, I’ve always had far more heart-thumping, grindingly antsy anxiety running through my veins, than actual blood.

Mind you, it’s about a thousand times better now than when I first began my spiritual journey. But (as anybody on a similar path knows), when this painful ego stuff gradually begins to clear and sanity is strengthened, the crap that remains becomes seen in ever-sharper focus. And it’s that clear-eyed perception that makes the remaining bullshit far more acutely unpleasant than the dull, unfocused ache of the old days.

•          •          •

In recent months, Holy Presence has become the basis of my spiritual practice. This form of present moment awareness is very unlike the earlier ‘now moment’ flirtations I’ve tried through meditation, or chanting, or stopping to smell the roses, or whatnot. This is a sort of up-close-and-personal, in-your-face form of presence. A vast and muscular and very Loving presence.

Back in May, I embarked on Michael Brown’s Presence Process, a ten-week breathwork course that emphasizes consistent morning and evening periods of sustained presence. In the book, he describes these steady, prolonged periods of present moment awareness as being very different from the usual spiritual practices that are meant to put us in touch with the now moment.

He says it’s the difference between visiting an old friend often for a cup of tea, (and assuming you know their house well because you’ve stopped by so many times) and actually agreeing to house sit for a few weeks. Suddenly you’re in this house by yourself for a prolonged stay, and you have all the time in the world to notice the hundreds of things about it that you’ve never seen before.

So I did the breathing, in presence, as prescribed. And I started to notice something right away that I’d never realized: Presence has a distinct vibration.

At first I thought it was just a ringing in my ears caused by the super-oxygenation of the breathwork.

But no.

Presence is a living thing; it has a mind of its own – and it comes calling for me whenever it wants my attention. My ears become filled with its unmistakable ‘sound,’ and I am gently reminded to withdraw my focus, my belief, from whatever silly ego story I’ve sucked myself into at the moment.

This has been a lasting effect of my presence and breathwork explorations, and I’m delighted to say that the phenomenon seems to be growing more pronounced all the time.

I wish I could find words to describe for you what I’ve found inside the ‘house’ of Presence, now that I spent those ten weeks house sitting. But truly, it enters that sacred realm where words can’t go.

It isn’t just that Presence has an intellect. Presence is Holy.

Presence is not only where Spirit dwells, the now moment seems to be made out of Spirit. And vice versa.

And I know…I can feel…that if I could just manage to spend quality time hanging out in Holy Presence, entirely nonresistant to it, then this experience itself would be Heaven on earth.

(See? I told you, words are fumbly nuisances here. But I’m doing my best.)

And so it has become my practice to melt gratefully into Holy Presence, and sit there non-resisting. And to try to string together as many moments of that experience as I possibly can, before my chattery ego mind slips away and drags me someplace else.

It’s sort of a combo of intensely focused present moment awareness, and a joining pool exercise. (If you’re unfamiliar with the joining pool, see The Enlightenment Project, page 141.) Except this is the funny thing – and here comes the failure of words, again: I’ve discovered that true present moment awareness IS a joining pool exercise.

So there you go — it’s the best description I can come up with. If you’ve managed to make any sense out of what I’ve written here, and feel inspired to try this Presence practice for yourself, I highly recommend it.

•          •          •

Anyway, the benefits of it are wonderful and many, including a gentle, ever-unfolding clarity.

The other day I was snugged up in my cozy English digs. It was cold and blustery outside, but I was sitting warm by the fire with my hot tea and Afghan throw, the Christmas lights a-twinkling. And I noticed I was truly happier, more peaceful and more free than I’ve ever felt before.

And then Presence came gently calling. And I was very softly pulled into it, taking me several layers deeper than usual. I adjusted my focus accordingly, and as I did it, I could see that at this more buried level I was actually seething with anxiety.

This was a profound antsiness, a thorough dissatisfaction with myself, for sitting by the fire with a mug of tea instead of using the moment more productively. I should be writing a book or something, shouldn’t I?

This dissatisfaction, this self-criticism runs so deep in me that at its lower levels I’m completely blind to it because it seems so much like what my world is constructed out of. It’s the lens through which I view and experience my 3-D reality, so I would ordinarily never back up enough to notice it as a stand-alone thing – just a lens, not reality itself.

But here’s the great thing: Unlike the old days when I believed in the anxiety message through and through, I knew this present moment was perfect and Holy, exactly as it was. And nothing at all was required of me right then, except to relax and allow it to just be.

It was kind of a startling moment of worlds colliding. But thanks to the reassurance and Love emanating from the ongoing song of Presence that was playing so sweetly in my ears, I took the time to examine that old buried ghost story of anxiety very carefully. And I saw it had no relevance here. So I made the conscious choice to relax and melt my habitually anxious worldview into present moment peace instead.

•          •          •

I’ve been experimenting with this very delicately ever since. And I find its effect has been equally profound, no matter what the present moment happens to hold.

A couple of days ago, we went on an outing to the lovely city of Bath to do some Christmas shopping. I had a client phonecall scheduled for 7:00pm (to accommodate the 8 hours difference between England and California), so there should have been plenty of time to shop and get back before then.

But as we all piled in the van to head for home, we discovered the roads were seized up in absolutely stupendous gridlock — which they specialize in, in these ancient cities where cars and traffic are always a patchwork afterthought.

A half hour went by and we hadn’t moved more than a car length or two. And suddenly the hours of extra padding between me and my client call didn’t seem quite so cushiony. And I had no way of contacting them to let them know I might miss the call.

This should have been a prime recipe for anxiety, but it wasn’t. Presence was in my ears, and I was steeped in the profound peace of this-here-now. And I knew the client call would either happen, or I would apologize when I got home, and reschedule.

The folks in the front seat started up a game to pass the time: What’s your version of paradise? Where would you be right now if you could have anything in the world?

I had to really think and think. But when my turn came, my mind was blank.

Because honestly, this moment was already it.

Stuck in traffic in the back of a van. Nothing could have been more glorious than that.

 

So on this day of Christmas Eve, dearest friend, I wish you peace, and happiness, and freedom.

And most of all, I wish you Holy Presence.