Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 11

Interesting how I almost have to fool myself into doing what I intended to do in the first place. This 40 day thing is not only about not making decisions around work but more importantly interrupting thought patterns and spending more tine simply being aware. Whatever it takes I guess.

One thing that has really been standing out for me of late is the propensity to come to conclusions about pretty much everything. This is neither good nor bad it just seems to be a default process. I notice it not only in myself where I find it all pervasive but in pretty much everyone I encounter either personally or through the written word. We do have to come to some conclusions obviously otherwise we'd be paralyzed but that doesn't actually apply philosophically or in any area where there is no way of actually confirming the conclusion. Take for instance the wondering I've been doing about significance as a species in relation to the vastness of the universe. I seriously doubt I could come up with a true conclusion there, the truth is I don't know. So what does that bring me to in terms of this life experience? At this point it seems to simply be about being here, doing what I do and being part of the vastness of Life as it seemingly unfolds. In other words, might as well enjoy where I am whether I know what it means or not.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 7

All this time coming back to the background of stillness has brought me to an interesting place of wondering about the true significance of humanity. We tend to make up all kinds of concepts about how special and important we are but, really? The picture that keeps coming up is of a video I've seen a few times that really illustrates the vastness of the universe and this is only what we can perceive now (or in 1968 when it was made). Considering the vastness of the macro and the micro where the hell do I come off thinking I'm so special and significant as a human being? I'm not even a bleep on the radar screen when viewed in either direction.
I have no idea what this means but here I am.
If you haven't seen this little video before it's definitely worth watching.
Powers of Ten

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 7

Lots of awareness about how I'm feeling from moment to moment and where I get triggered if I'm feeling uncomfortable. The mind is such an amazing thing to watch. Lots of thoughts that seem to be about explaining myself to no one and chattering about not much of anything.
(The waxwings are back this year and the back yard is alive with them at this moment. It's such a beautiful dance!)
One thing I have been particularly aware of is a kind of dance going on in my abdomen much of the time. It's similar to fear but feels more like the edge of excitement a lot of the time. I don't know what it's really about, I just stop and let my focus drop into it regularly and as I do I can feel more of that tingly feeling I mentioned before. There's a lot of aliveness here even if there isn't much going on in the outer realms.
Words I read some time ago about being aware of awareness keep coming up so that is really where I go lots of the time. Kind of magical when life isn't about what's next or where do I go from here, not that those thoughts don't show up; I'm just getting better at seeing beyond them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 4

Being more focused and dedicated to being present to the background of consciousness the past 4 days has been interesting. Not new mind you, I have done this before and it's always interesting, just difficult to maintain as a focus for any amount of time. I've noticed more revelatory experiences that were quite surprising and for the first 3 days a deep sense of peace for the most part. Today has been a bit different in that there has been a certain amount of frustration with little things in life and as I sink into the feelings I am aware of tingly energy in my arms and legs. It is similar to the energy I feel when I really let myself drop into the void but stronger somehow. I've been somewhat busier than usual these past few days as well which would be another way the system has of staying away from the stillness. So many wonderful ways of staying outwardly focused. It's ok though, the process is unfolding as it is meant to. I'm still playing on the edges of one of the main revelations I've had which hasn't indicated what if anything there is to do with it yet. As with all revelations of course as time passes so does the wonder of it. I'm not even going to write about it because the saying of it just doesn't do it justice somehow. This kind of thing seems so personal no matter how much one would like to share them.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Speaking of the Desert

As life continues to unfold in its own wondrous way, the desert analogy Vello brought up the other day comes around once again.
My writing (not blog) came to a bit of a grinding halt a few days ago when I needed to stop and do some 'research' in the depths of beliefs underlying the topic I was using as an example. As I allowed the process to reveal itself by moving toward the discomfort I came to a layer of feeling extremely vulnerable where early trauma had taken place then as I went deeper into that experience I came to the place I can only describe as existential lack. I would venture to guess it is likely the realization we all have as we take on this limiting physical experience. It doesn't take much to be able to see that this shattering event colours our world in more ways than we generally realize. As I look at the world now I can see some form or extrapolation of it as the root of pretty much all conflict and unhappiness as well as the driver behind most achievement in the world. It is the father of concepts such as inadequacy, insufficiency, unworthiness, not enoughness of every kind. It's also not an accident. It is the great fear based motivator that propels us out into the world. Here's the thing though, all the beliefs and strategies and behaviours we develop to get away from or satisfy the perceived needs this feeling of lack engender don't really work; at least not in the long run. I don't think they're meant to either. It also seems to be the beacon that calls us Home again, back to the primordial source of Being where there is no lack; there is no thing here, no form, all potential. This we seem to want to avoid like the plague however so it isn't a place we tend to even want to visit let alone rest in. I suspect that has something to do with the trauma of the loss we experienced that brought us to the experience of lack, who wants to hang out there?
So back to the desert, what hit me as I realized how insidious the ways are that I have of moving away from the emptiness or hollowness of the Void I decided to go on a 40 day fast. Not from food but from making any decision about work. In the middle of all this realization the thought had come up that it was time for me to go out there a do something to earn money. I didn't catch the implication at first, I just started talking about it and doing a little research on the net. But it didn't feel good; it wasn't based on something I really wanted to do but rather on the urge to do something. That was the clue, it was yet another way of avoiding what was coming up which was to fully engage the no-thingness. That's when the thought of the 40 days came up where I not only refrain from making decisions about work but I keep coming back to the place that is always here but generally unnoticed. Be still and know the Void. That process started yesterday and so I'm into it now. Should be interesting to see where I go with it knowing how tricky I can be at deceiving myself into thinking I'm doing things that I really am not. Tis the human condition after all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Void or Desert

Vello questioned the difference between the void and the desert. I would have to know more about what the desert means to you Vello. It could be the same thing or the opposite. My experience of the void or no-thingness that I wrote about the other day is difficult to describe but it is what I arrive at when I let everything else go. You might call it pre-manifestation, that from which all thought and creation flows. Deep stillness that is always there in the background, usually unnoticed because we are so full of our stories about what is going on or whatever the mind is doing in the moment. It is without emotion or 'hope' which are born of concepts that have already arisen. I particularly mention hope here because hope is a construct based on the idea that what is right now is inadequate or somehow not right. Hope is a step removed from Being and so has no place in this state. Neither is there despair which is rooted in the same concepts as are hope. Here there is only the perfection of what is before the traumas and the dreams. The awareness of the void helps me to take the rest of it lightly.

Now tell me, is this the same as the desert?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hanging Out

I've been doing some inquiring and journaling, diving into the heart of belief structures that are part of the human experience. Investigating patterns of thought that colour my world is always a rewarding experience. As is so often the case, when I go deep enough into any belief system I come to the place of no-thingness, the void, the abyss, the deep stillness that seems to be the source. As much as I know this place to be wondrous indeed it appears that the structures of thought we generate are all designed to keep us from it. I would guess this is all by design as is the journey back. This is where I am truly invited to rest in the unknown instead of making up yet another story about it. Sounds pretty simple but not always an easy undertaking given how the mind tends to work. But right now, there is nothing else to do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Writing Process

I am constantly fascinated by the process of writing about what is happening. I am in the process of writing an e-book, which may or may not come to fruition, but what is beautiful about it is how writing about an experience or conclusion I've come to helps me to actually see the limitations of it and continue on the journey of dismantling the illusions.
I hit a particularly tasty place yesterday in my writing and have now put aside writing the book for the moment to do more 'research' which is indeed showing me I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. Sounds harsh but it's kind of funny really. I love that I don't get to rest on my laurels too long before yet another assumption gets blasted. I'll likely never get to the end of the book this way but then I know it isn't about the end game anyway. Every day is a gold mine of experience.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy/Not Happy

What makes you happy? What makes you unhappy? How much of your chi do you spend on what makes you happy verses what makes you unhappy? Now I'm not just talking about what you do but rather what you're thinking about.
I caught a piece on CBC News last night on mindfulness meditation for medicinal purposes. I meditated daily for many years and can attest to a much calmer and more spacious state of mind with the practice. I don't happen to meditate as a rule anymore though I have many meditative moments. My mind (and body for that matter) is much quieter these days and I tend to use a questioning technique rather than a meditative one when I do find myself agitated for any reason. I suspect all those years of meditation have helped me to be able to be still internally so that I can notice what I'm thinking so they likely go hand in hand.
I know people with very busy minds who find no peace and no clarity because it is too difficult to sort out all the thoughts racing around in there. That's one way to be in life; nothing wrong with it, it's just another way of being and as I wrote about yesterday, it will go on until it is time for something else if indeed that time comes at all. When we take the judgment out about the way it should be it really is easy to see how it all works out either way for whatever experience one is meant to have at any given moment.

If it's time for you to have a more spacious experience in your thinking you might give mindfulness meditation a shot or even simply take a few minutes each day to breath and relax and just notice what kind of thoughts are floating around in there without judging them. You might be surprised.

Here are basic instructions for Mindfulness Meditation that may be useful:

How to Try Mindfulness Meditation

1. Find a quiet and comfortable place. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff.

2. Try to put aside all thoughts of the past and the future and stay in the present.

3. Become aware of your breathing, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall, the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth. Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different.

4. Watch every thought come and go, whether it be a worry, fear, anxiety or hope. When thoughts come up in your mind, don't ignore or suppress them but simply note them, remain calm and use your breathing as an anchor.

5. If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and simply return to your breathing. Remember not to be hard on yourself if this happens.

6. As the time comes to a close, sit for a minute or two, becoming aware of where you are. Get up gradually.

Kabat-Zinn J. Mindfulness Meditation: Health benefits of an ancient Buddhist practice. Mind/Body Medicine, eds. Goleman D, Gurin J. New York 1993. Consumer Reports Books, 259-275.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Addiction and Other Compelling Ideas

I'm thinkin' everything is made up of ideas. I am an idea, humanity is an idea, this planet, this solar system, this galaxy, all ideas. Thoughts strung together like pearl necklaces all having an inception and a completion, alpha and omega.
What if addictive behaviours and repetitive patterns in life were also simply thoughts playing out until they are complete. Completion could come in many forms such as the realization of what is really going on, an understanding of the motivation behind the behaviour in such a way that the underlying idea is fully realized and so the patterns are no longer necessary, having a perceived need met fully thus completing itself or death.
People tend to struggle endlessly with addictions, trying to stop the behaviours without the fundamental idea compelling the habit patterns being addressed or completed. This also appears to be the case with desires that we judge to be less than acceptable for moralistic reasons. Ideas like wanting something expensive or sexually different or selfish are often discounted and rejected because of beliefs or moral codes we were taught or circumstances of our upbringing. Some of those ideas just never really go away though and tend to haunt people much like addictions do except people refrain from acting on them, thus having the appearance of being in control or better than those who do act on them. Either way, whatever the idea is that is playing itself out must be complete before it can be fully released.
So what's my point? I'm not sure really, it's just been on my mind after talking to some people about things they were struggling with. Here was my question to one of them, 'What if you just gave yourself permission to enjoy the behaviour and completely surrender to it?' That was met with a great deal of skepticism as you can well imagine but I invite you to look at it again. What would you be most afraid of in letting yourself off the hook of guilt and shame around a behaviour you are not proud of? Do you fear you would then be completely annihilated by it or that you would be out of control or your self-image would be irreparably damaged? Could happen, may not happen, truth is you don't know but you are being controlled by the fear laden beliefs anyway whether you act on your addictions or obsess about them. What is that self-image you're trying to shore up all about anyway? Is it the truth or is it another layer of the illusion?
Just some fun stuff to think about...

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Today I use this space for some musing. I doubt it really has anything to do with anything but it is what is in the field for me today so I'm going with it.

We watched two movies yesterday that were both highly thought provoking and left me with similar unsettled feelings that remind me that there is much I do not truly understand about what goes on in the world. There are plenty of platitudes and easy assumptions and judgments one could make but if those are ruled out what's left?

The first movie was The Rite with Anthony Hopkins which is now playing in theaters. Nothing new in it, all about the Roman church's practice of exorcism 'spectacularized' as only Hollywood can do it. One can easily chalk it all up to beliefs or psychological phenomena and it may well be so. I really don't know. I get that these things do happen and there seems to be some kind of revival going on in terms of the number of people requesting exorcisms all over the world today. I happened to catch an interview with Anthony Hopkins on Piers Morgan last night where they also showed footage of an actual exorcism and interviewed the daughter of the 'possessed' person along with an American expert on the topic. I don't know what any of it means really, I'm just left with the question 'what's really going on here?' and does it matter in any way? It isn't in my sphere of influence, if such a thing actually exists, but I do remember reading quite a bit about it many years ago. Fascinating topic really. The various groups who study such phenomena come up with all manner of explanation for it, the most common being possession by something evil which they call the devil which must be resisted and fought all the way. An interesting tidbit from the interview last night was that the person in the video clip had 16 exorcisms and eventually died of cancer. Doesn't sound too effective to me but then that is only one example. I do wonder about the resurgence of belief in exorcism as a means to deal with the unexplainable. I am also aware of the practice of 'soul retrieval' by shamans all over the world. This has also gotten more secular attention in the past few years as it seems more acceptable to the more new-age types. Stuff happens, we try to deal with it as best we can by labeling it and creating rituals around it and around and around it goes, same old stuff in new forms.

That was also the sense I was left with after watching a documentary someone lent us called The Secret of Oz by Bill Still about solutions for a broken economy. He basically takes us through the history of money and the various ways of creating it over the centuries starting with the Romans. I was particularly struck by how little education there is on one of the most pervasive symbols of power in the manifest world. I had seen a couple of other interesting tidbits about it in the recent past but this documentary did an excellent job of explaining how it works and what some alternatives might be that made a lot of sense to me. Again it was shown how ideas just go round and round, taking on slightly different form without effective fundamental change.

As I write I am aware that behind the unsettling feelings is the great unknown and feelings powerlessness which we tend to resist and be in denial of for the most part. This is not at all unlike the experience people have in dealing with their every day lives. I had a remarkable session with a client the other day that also reflected this essential powerlessness and the way we tend to rail against it. The stories and projections these deep feelings of powerlessness engender are endless it seems yet all reflect back to this most basic of human experiences. We are generally so busy going out there and trying to do something about whatever form our sense of powerlessness has taken for us that we tend to neglect the reality of it and the opportunity to find deep peace in the midst of the powerlessness or whatever has shown up that we are resisting.

The basic lack of trust in Life seems to dictate the need to act or rather react to what is through the illusory lens of beliefs and assumptions in ways that ensure the constant repetition of ineffective strategies and behaviours. This is undoubtedly as it must be, until it is not. In the awareness of these patterns I have the privilege of entering the void and resting here, flowing with whatever it is the Universe is doing. If there is something for me to do about it, I will undoubtedly become aware of that too. Awesome!

Friday, February 4, 2011


There is a feeling of emptiness that calls me. Do you ever just let yourself sink into that feeling that is always there in the background? It seems to be encased in all the thought and feeling structures that have been created to block it out. What do you believe about this feeling? Most of the time we are so busy distracting ourselves we don't even realize it's there, haunting us like a long lost relative we've forgotten about. Sinking deep into the void, past all the belief barriers there is a deep peace, actually a fullness of being that cannot be experienced in the business of the mind.
Funny that I actually haven't 'meditated' for months now after many years of faithful practice and I am probably more aware of the stillness than ever. Could be all the meditating created this space; could be it has nothing to do with it, I really don't know. It doesn't matter, all that matters for me know is being present to it and appreciating every moment, every scenario that plays out against this awesome background.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Life and Death

I think and talk about Life a lot and I also think and talk about its corollary death a great deal. I'm even part of a memorial society and regularly talk to people about doing some thinking and planning around their deaths. As you can imagine this isn't a particularly popular topic in our culture, which is interesting given it is the only inevitable consequence of living in a body (taxes are regularly avoided).
So why think or talk about death, isn't that negative? I've actually had people say they or their family members didn't want to talk about it because that would somehow make it happen. We really haven't gotten far from some very primitive beliefs have we? I'm not much into the only think positive movement these days; if you really look closely you'll find the same old superstitions wearing new clothes there. Besides, I don't regard death as a bad thing. Bodies are material things that come and go just like everything else in the manifest world.
I used to believe strongly in reincarnation which actually got me past a very intense fear of death when I was in my 20's.I'm not particularly sold on that or any other teachings about what came before or what comes next and why we should all be good little children so we don't have a bad experience in the next life anymore either for that matter. Truth is I don't know what happens after I die (or tomorrow for that matter) and I no longer feel the need to insert some kind of belief about an afterlife in order to be OK with being in this one. What's the point other than to make ourselves feel better somehow or reinforce the idea that we are bad and undeserving for some unknown reason? It's also a great way to avoid being present to death.
We have a million ways of avoiding the reality of death, the great unknown, in our culture. I love watching crime shows on TV. I love the humanness and in particular the puzzle solving process. What is obvious however is that all the puzzle solving activity around why and how people die and who to blame for it is really just another way of avoiding death even though it seems to be all about that. It isn't; it's yet another distraction that's about anything but being with death in its raw, incomprehensible beauty.
I remember reading about the contemplation of one's own death by meditating on actual skulls and bones as a practice of free masonry in The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I was impressed and thought that was an incredibly powerful practice. I don't care if imagery is used or not, it seems to me the contemplation of our death and confrontation of the innumerable beliefs we generally suppress around death is a fundamental aspect of being able to fully be in life. As I sit here even now contemplating my death I feel the energy of Life flowing more fully throughout this body.