Monday, January 26, 2015

The End of Experiences

spiritual experience, spiritual feeling, spiritual awakening, awakened state of being
The spiritual path can sometimes be cut up into three segments. The first is very well understood and tread. It is the space of spiritual knowledge and intellectual learning about the path. It can be full of rote memorization and basic rituals, and it provides many people with a sense of comfort to know what to think and do to live a "good" life.

The second part is usually dropped into the purview of the mystic, and the direct experience of the divine is emphasized. In this space, the heart, body, and experientially-discovered knowledge are emphasized. People want to know God through experience, and people discover many amazing (and sometimes terrifying) levels of connection and experience with the vastness of the divine.

The last is the least appealing to people, and it is the most profound. It is best reached when people have exhausted their interests in the other two or if they are fortunate enough to come to completion with them. When someone no longer yearns for any kind of knowledge or experience, they have come to the end of experiences. Certainly, people still have experiences so long as they live in a body, but now it doesn't matter what the experience is. All is life. All is the divine presence, and yet from this space a deeper, more natural, and more intuitive spiritual growth is unlocked that embraces the other two aspects of the journey in the most alive and vibrant way possible. This is because our own ideas and need to feel a certain way have finally surrendered to the divine. In this space, we have come fully to life in divine presence.

The Long Journey Through Our Own Traps

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Webinar: Healing Physical Pain

spiritual truth, spiritual knowledgeIn this webinar, I'm taking a look at some of the ways we can get to the roots of physical pain. On the spiritual path, we stay engaged with our pain to understand any part we may be playing in creating it. This is part of how we appreciate the law of interconnection within ourselves--all parts of relate to all other parts of us. As we cultivate our sensitivity to ourselves, we can find out if the source of bloating is a food issue or related to how we hold a scarcity fear in our bodies. We can find out if a migraine is simply a hereditary gene or a hereditary trait--a set of patterns we learned from our family. With the latter, we can identify the trait and unlearn the pattern to address the migraine.

I also will emphasize in this webinar how everything is a spiritual tool at our disposal. Whether its a Western MD or craniosacral therapy or meditating or journaling, there are many healing tools that can help us find the roots of an issue and release the physical pain once and for all.

If this sounds like a webinar you're interested in, sign up for free below.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Spirituality, Food Ideologies, and Diets

vegetarian, vegan, spiritual food, spiritual awakening eating
There's a lot of confusion and misconceptions around spiritual diets/ways of eating, and with the eating habits of Western Culture having becomes so warped, people just don't even know what they should eat anymore. Add on top of that, we have some of the weirdest situations and choices to make in the history of humanity with issues around pesticides on foods, growth hormones in animals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), animal cruelty, sourcing of the food (Is it local or not?) and more. This has turned a trip to the supermarket--one of the biggest gifts human beings have ever received--into a kind of mental nightmare. What do you choose? What really is healthy? What isn't healthy? And how does a sense of spirituality make sense of this?

It gets worse. Because you have extremists on either side expounding different positions (corporations and our new defenders of the "right way to eat"), the whole topic of what to eat has been thoroughly muddled by misinformation, personal and corporate agendas, and more.

But don't worry. While I'm not here to tell you what the right way to eat is, I am here to tell you that you are in very close contact with someone who already knows--your body. So let me talk a little bit about how to listen to your body and how to analyze the different food ideologies (eating things based on an idea of what is right or wrong rather than what feels good in your body) and diets so that you can make more conscious food decisions.

In the Beginning, We Ate to Survive

Monday, January 12, 2015

Honoring Your Sacred Body

It's time to talk about the body. Sure, I've referenced it a lot, but until now, I haven't really spent a ton of time talking about it exclusively. Of course, nothing is really exclusive in terms of the heart, body, mind, and spirit. It's all intermingled together. So in that way, these types of separations can be a little bit of an absurdity. But not too much. Because clearly we have bodies. And clearly they function in certain ways that our emotions do not and that our minds (no matter what they think) do not.

Honoring your sacred body starts with understanding this: your body is the only one you get. You're not getting another. There are no trade-ins, and as some with a prosthetic limb or rebuilt knee will tell you, getting new parts is never as good as the original. So you have one rational choice: to take care of our body.

Honoring your body also includes this piece of wisdom: it's a rental. You will have to turn it in at the end of your life. You can either enjoy this ride until then, or you can be in so much miserable pain by the end that you can't enjoy anything. It's really up to you.

Listening to Your Body

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Webinar: Embodying Spirituality

spiritual grounding, spiritual solidity, spiritual awakening, palace of fine arts
The concept of embodying spirituality is getting talked about a lot these days, and I wanted to have a webinar to hopefully help you understand this idea. On the one hand, it is an impossibility because we are all inherently spiritual. In this way, we are approaching the discussion from the space of what I call "higher truth." This is important because we want to connect with the truest Truth first. From that space, we come back to the truth of the moment. In our daily lives, we then can sense what feels most trust to our bodies from a clear perspective. When we have this connection to oneness and Truth, the practice of embodying spirituality in our day-to-day living becomes natural.

However, I know a lot of you don't really understand this sense of connection with oneness. And there's a lot of confusion around how to be kind to the body. So, my next webinar will tackle this topic and any of your questions. As always, this webinar is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. You can donate if you'd like to by using the PayPal button on the right.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

You Are Perfect

perfect redwoods, spiritual perfection, spiritual awakening
You are perfect. There's no if's, and's, or but's about it. You are perfect.

It's a deeply relieving thing to hear. Maybe you aren't hearing it though. Take a moment then to read those three little words again. Breathe in. Breathe out. Do that a couple of times. Let that truth sink in.

I know the objections that may be coming up instead. They are saying that you aren't enough of this. You don't have enough of that. On and on, those objections may come up, but even those objections are embraced by the total and complete perfection of the universe. That is how it is with the universe; at no time does it ever reject anything. In that total acceptance, we find our own perfection where nothing can be improved, degraded, lost, or found. You already are, and that is perfect.

But most likely, you don't believe any of this. You may think this is a bunch of woo-woo, fairy-tale spiritual crap. Those of you who know me better know that this is nothing of the sort. But if you want to learn how to improve yourself, you have to connect with this truth first. Until then, you're usually operating from a lot of false ego ideas about what improvement should look like in your life, and that can get you very knotted up and confused inside.

So on that note, let's talk about spiritual perfection and how it is an impossible quest when you already are perfect.

The Perfect Pear Tree

There once was a pear tree who wanted to be a blueberry bush. She was surrounded by blueberry bushes, so she quite naturally thought that she should be shorter. She thought she should be creating a different type of flower, and she should be creating blueberries. She was also quite young, so she could almost stoop down to the level of the blueberry bush. But try as she might, she couldn't become bushy. And she couldn't create blueberries.

Then one day, a passing crow saw this stooped over pear tree and asked what she was doing.

"Well, I'm trying to be the best blueberry bush that I can be," she replied.

"But you're a pear tree," the crow remarked and then flew off.

In this little spiritual story, we'll assume that she got it. Many times, we hear the truth and dismiss it. But the story doesn't end with this realization of what she really is. You see, she'd spent her whole life trying to be something she was not, trying to reach an impossible ideal. So she has to make a lot of changes to stand upright again and so forth. Then, she has to allow her natural maturation process to continue so that she can become a fully matured pear tree and produce her many sweet fruits to share with others. Just because we realize a piece of the truth doesn't mean we immediately become fully matured.

(For a similar story, check out The Tale of the Butterfly).

Oneness Leads to Enlightened Duality

Perfection is in oneness. When we unite with even a piece of the truth (such as the pear tree realizing she's actually a pear tree), our life tends to shift. We see things more clearly. We know what--if any--actions may be required of us. It doesn't free us from pain. It frees us from the suffering of the mind--the mind which is never happy and always judging. That's always an important point to make on the spiritual path. There will continue to be physical pain in this world. However, we can let go of the suffering caused by the ego that upsets our thoughts and emotions. This is part of what happens each time we touch the truth of our perfection. We see how beautiful we already are. There is no way to enhance this beauty, and there's no way to lose it. When we see this beauty, it immediately sheds light on how we are living our lives. If there are things that don't feel true to us or are harmful and unhealthy, this light of perfection illuminates them. Then we're asked a question: Do we clean up our lives or leave things as they are? You're still perfect either way, but in your soul, you know what feels best.

All Suffering Is Perfect

I know this subhead is hard for many of you to understand. I am speaking from the space of higher truth. Remember that the universe embraces everything as perfect. It doesn't reject one thing, and that includes all kinds of suffering. When we say that this planet is perfect, we are accepting and seeing the whole of it. In that clear, perfect sight, we almost naturally come to a place that encourages peace and kindness.

The agitated, judging ego is never happy. It tries to impose its will on you and everyone else. The more upset an ego is, the more it attempts to control and manipulate life around it. A cruel dictator is an example of someone who is truly sick and scared. In their disease, they are attempting to control huge numbers of people and situations. This obviously causes immense suffering.

But this suffering is still perfect. As some of you have learned, this suffering is one of humanity's greatest teachers. It is always placing before us an open question of "Is this how we want to live?" If we collectively all want to change it, then we come inwards to touch our perfection to erode the fear and pain that underpins all suffering.

Imperfectly Perfect: Human Faults Embraced

The lovely thing about this space is that no human fault is left out. If you aren't as quick to learn things than others, this is embraced. If you aren't physically well coordinated, this is embraced. If you don't fit the social standards for physical beauty, this is embraced. If you do meet all these arbitrary standards, all of you is still embraced. Everything is embraced, and when we embrace all of ourselves as perfect right now in this moment, relaxation and relief is almost inevitable. This is what I was encouraging you towards at the beginning of this post. In this moment, you are perfect. From this perfection, living a life as a human being where we are regularly given choices to be kind or cruel, more free or more fearful, becomes easier and easier. We naturally want to flow and grow in certain ways when we no longer are trying to be things that we are not and stop attempting to live up to ego standards that will never let us be okay.

You Are Okay; You Are Love; You Are Perfect

As such, we return to the beginning. We are always returning to the beginning that has no start, nor no ending. We are perfect. It is a wonderful thing to feel that. Many people when they awaken touch this truth quite profoundly. Everything is exactly as it is. I won't say that it is as it should be. That's an ego determination around what should or should not be. All we know is that what is is. And we are. In that space of being, we are always perfect.

Monday, December 29, 2014

We Are All One: The Law of Interconnection

The spiritual path takes us unequivocally towards several important truths. One of which is that we are all one.

This is not a new saying. I'm sure many of you have heard it before. I'm sure many of you have used this phrase, but to really know this from nose to toes is a whole other thing.

In a spiritual awakening, someone is thrust into this truth and feels the profoundness of it. However, people rarely abide there completely. So there tends to be a lot of bouncing in and out of that state of awareness. In a spiritual awakening glimpse or opening, someone many briefly experience this truth, and then that moment passes. As such the individual in this scenario tends to think of the associated feelings and experiences as the only way to feel oneness. But it isn't. Because oneness embraces all states of awareness, all experiences, and all feelings.

However, the glimpse or the yo-yoing of awakening are powerful. A glimpse can suddenly cause someone to start their journey to understand life and to begin to question things. Of course, the awakening more or less thrusts the individual into a process of deep healing and growth that seem to arise of their own accord. It is a powerful thing to touch this space of oneness and begin to appreciate the truth: that we are all interconnected.

The Truth and Illusion of Connection

The truth of interconnection is that we've always been connected to one another and to all of the universe. The lie is that we need to do something to get connected again. In all the ways that we feel cut off, that cutting off is caused by us. It is our thoughts, fears, assumptions, karmic pain, unacknoweldged physical pain, and so much more. Pain, itself, is not separate from our life. We are as much interconnected to pain as we are to pleasure. The Divine never comes along and says there is no pain in this world. The Divine never says that if we are feeling pain that we have failed on the spiritual path. The Divine embraces all. That is the nature of oneness. Nothing is left out. No one is going to a separate place called Hell for being bad. No one is placed above anyone else. The ocean of consciousness embraces all of us equally.

That is precisely its power.

That deep encompassing embrace naturally dissolves away our illusions. Again and again, when we try to cling to an illusion (especially in awakening), the pain of that holding on is felt, and the pain of resisting our own interconnection and oneness is felt. Anywhere that we resist what life is, we are doing so from the illusion of the individual. While we have this lovely ability to play in a seemingly "independent" life as a human, we are deeply and ultimately connected to all things. Our choices are much smaller (and bigger) than we understand.

Dropping More Deeply Into Oneness

Most people don't know how to navigate the truth of oneness. As such, some people are overwhelmed by touching the truth. It seems like too much of a fairy tale. The major issues of security and fear of death are illuminated in countless people on the spiritual path. And most people would rather cling to their fears than have faith in the grandness of oneness. To be sure, it's not a certain place. Oneness doesn't bring human certainty. There is no certainty in the realm of duality, because in duality (the world we actively live and believe in where we are all separate beings), there is constant change. Connecting to oneness does not stop that constant change. Instead, it helps us to clarify the currents of duality we are in and how we chose to be in them. It gives us the awareness and perspective to get a sense of where we are going.

For instance, connecting to the profound love and joy of oneness shows us all the love that we have inside of us. The striving for external relationships and events to make us feel good gets illuminated as not only illusory, but counter-productive. If you already feel good, you don't need anything or anyone else to feel good. From this perspective, someone with a sugar addiction can see that they've only been eating the candy, ice cream, sugar-filled coffee, cake, cookies, and so forth to feel good--to feel loved. This person has the opportunity to stop this unhealthy behavior because they have the perspective to see that they've never been cut off from love. That's part of the gift of dropping more deeply into oneness.

If someone drops deep enough into that space, then sometimes that type of change happens over night. They just stop eating those things. However, it is much more common for someone to go back and forth between old unhealthy habits and the truth. Typically if the person is sincere on the spiritual path, it gets harder and harder to backslide (See more on this topic here: The Spiritual Backslide). As awareness comes forth in the body, the body will start to feel less good about eating these things. It may start to feel physically sick, which is how the body often speaks with awareness about food. It was always speaking in this way, by the way. But the body tries to adapt to whatever situation or nourishment we offer to it.

Connecting More Easily to Others

Because we are all connected, I am you, and you are me. That means if I am living from love, there's a general pull to help you live more from love because you are me. If I am living more from unconsciousness and pain, there's a pull to bring you into more unconsciousness and pain. It's why us spiritual teachers talk so much about taking care of oneself to help the world. The unconscious and self-avoiding ego wants to SAVE THE WORLD! This type of individual, however, needs to save him or herself. By dealing with their issues, this person changes the energy and the kind of "spiritual gravity" around them. It kind of is a force of nature (hence why I'm calling this a "law" of interconnection) to drop more deeply into true love. This space of oneness naturally moves us in certain ways, and we move the ocean of consciousness in certain ways. If enough droplets get together, they form a wave. And you don't have to try that hard. You just be you.

But how many of you really know who you are?

It's why I sometimes ask my students the unenviable difficult but oh-so important question: Who are you?

Who Are You Revealed

In oneness, you cannot hide. Connecting to all of life naturally wants to pull you into a certain alignment. It's like being a piece of puzzle finally fitting snuggly where you belong. Sometimes the ego understands. Sometimes it doesn't understand. There are so many cultural lies we believe in on top of our experiences, family karma, and so forth that many people don't understand how perfectly suited they are to where they are. They don't understand how life is moving towards wherever they need to grow. But it does do this when we stop fighting the ocean (Just imagine trying to bail out the ocean to change its tides by using a child's plastic bucket).

In oneness, you accept your talents and faults. All is illuminated. Because much of the unconscious ego likes to hide in the shadows, this tends to be really intense for people. The more a person is aligned with unconsciousness, the more upsetting connecting to the truth can be. They get to see their errors brightly lit in Divine neon lights. For some people, this kind of spiritual awakening leads to intense sickness and pain because that is what is there. And that is what must be detoxed.

All the while, oneness embraces this detox. That's why I like using ice metaphors. The ice may separate itself from the ocean. But it is still fundamentally water. No matter how much you separated yourself from the truth of oneness, your essence is still the same as all of the universe. You can and ultimately will be transformed back into that purest form just as the ice melts back into the water. Along the way, you are fully revealed in who you are and--in the human sense--what really matters to you in this life.

Not a Phrase for Silly Spiritual Slogans

We are all one is not a phrase for making us feel good. More often than not, when people use it in that way, it is to avoid the bad feelings, the sense of separation, and whatever else someone is hiding from. As I said, oneness takes us directly back to the source. This takes us through all of our pain and troubles that have been cutting us off from the Divine. Going through pain is not going around it. We generally have to re-experience it to let it go (although not always). In facing our internal darkness, we are also embracing it. Because much like oneness, we have to embrace all of ourselves. Nothing is left out. When we have left out nothing and no experience or trait within us is resisted, we become truly free.

From that freedom, life as a human being opens up to its fullest. We see the depths of terror, pleasure, delight, and torment here, and we embrace it all as it is. This is a profound space, but the more of us who move from this space, the more naturally the whole of us will move from this space. And if you want to change the world away from terror and torment, then the first and only place to truly change is to go that changeless space of oneness within you.
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