Celebrating Easter: Believing in Possiblity

I texted a friend this morning something along the lines of, “Happy Easter and Hallelujah!”

He responded, “You celebrate Easter?”

My answer: “E’ery day!  To me it’s about Miracles and Possibility.  And so the party is always on!!!”

Easter, like any other day,  packs with it the incredible potential of awakening to Truth, to Higher Consciousness, and Spirituality.  Every single day offers us the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy All of Life and ponder the mystery of Jesus and so many great men and women of history.

Currently, the only dogmatic un-dogma I believe in is Openness.  I’m willing to allow anything to happen and open to infinite possibilities.  Heck, I might even be dreaming right now.  You can never be too sure…

As Socrates famously proclaimed, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing!” I think that’s actually a very powerful perspective to take on life.  If you know that you know nothing, then you open yourself up to infinite possibilities and potential.  You even allow for so called miracles to happen, because after all, you don’t know anything 🙂  What appears a miracle is really just a limit of your perception.

So,  was Jesus born of a Virgin and raise up from the dead in three days?  I don’t know!  And I’m certainly open to entertaining the possibility.  I’m also willing to consider virgin births and resurrections as a possibility for any and all people.  After all, I don’t know.

Embracing everything openly feels like a bent leg over a cold kitchen counter, which to me, right now, feels very good.  And really, practicing the virtue of openness I think is very similar to believing in an Infinite, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipowerful God.  If those are the conditions of God, then you better leave yourself open to absolutely everything!  Anything less than being completely open to infinite possibility might leave you with less than the Truth.

Briefly, some of the perks that come with opening to Infinite Possibility and Potential:

–  The possibility of Unconditional Happiness, no matter what!

–  The possibility that you are dreaming, and in this dream you are unconditional safe, unconditional supported, and unconditional loved.  You are the Dreamer, and everything in some way is an expression of yourself.

–  You are Eternal.  You are much, much more than just a physical body.  Your true nature is Transcendent Spirit, Pure Consciousness, even Bliss.

– Everything you most deeply and truly desire is with you Here & Now.

Leaving the mind open to Infinite Possibilities, what are some other awesome possibilities for what might be true and real?

What would Leonardo di Caprio do?

Yes, you read it correctly.  Di Caprio, not Da Vinci.  And not Jesus either.

Not saying that asking, “What would Leonardo da Vinci do?” or “What would Jesus do?” are not great questions, because they certainly are wonderful questions to ask, but di Caprio particularly inspired me this evening.

To premise the story…

For dinner tonight, I hunkered down 2.5 PB & Js, Naan (a type of Indian bread me thinks), and Saag Paneer (cheesy spinach or spinachy cheese depending).  As you can imagine, all the processed carbs did not have the best effect on my physical, intellectual, or spiritual body.  After eating the relative garbage (as opposed to do much more scrumptious lentils or avocado smoothies), my consciousness wasn’t so high.  That is to say, I felt a bit foggy headed, unmotivated, and slothy (new word just invented, meaning: like a sloth, lazy).

From this place of slothiness, I resorted to an activity that I’ve literally cried over before.  I actually watched television…ayyy you can only imagine the low level of consciousness I was in.  Perhaps the worst thing about it was that part of me noticed that my activity was very well lowering my consciousness, but I didn’t resist.  Perhaps I’ll ask Freud to interpret the whole thing later.

Anyway, the most wonderful thing happened that enlightened the shit out of me and finally moved me towards more productive, higher consciousness activity.

During a commercial, I noticed Mr. Leonardo di Caprio pop on the screen.  Turned out to be a preview for a new movie he stars in – The Great Gatsby.  In the preview, he’s dressed in fancy clothes, at one point hooking up with a girl in his bed, strolling around his mansion, driving fancy cars, and then he utters something like, “You can have anything you want in life.”

I might mention that while watching the commercial I was snacking on some empty carb cracker cardboard nonsense – something I don’t regularly do..but alas.  Lower consciousness breeds lower consciousness.  (Hahahaha heinz site…so grateful to be in a state of Peace now 🙂 )

After watching the commercial, I began to consider my own aspirations in life.  I don’t normally consider Leonardo di Caprio a role model, but generally I think it’s safe to say that I’d like a similar level of success as him, in that I believe he does what he loves and joyously flows through the world, letting his light shine as brightly as he can.  Instead of pursuing success determined by financial wealth or status, my pursuit of success largely revolves around how many people I positively impact and move towards desiring growth and higher consciousness.  I believe that higher consciousness is pretty much the best thing going 😉

Regardless of Leo and I possibly having different goals and aspirations, I admire him for the level of success he has achieved as demonstrated by the mastery of his craft.  To be as good a writer as he is an actor – that’d be awesome!  Or rather, to be as a communicator as he is an actor, even better!  But perhaps the titles that resonates with me…to be as good a Lightworker, Peacemaker, and Servant to the Highest Good of All as he is an actor – that’s what I’m striving for.

More than what we specifically do, it’s about pursuing excellence in whatever it is that we do.  Being the very best starts with having the desire to be the very best – only then can we move confidently in that direction.  My guess is Leo that desired to be a great actor, from an early age.  Maybe he even desired to be the best ever.  Either way, it seems like it has worked pretty well for him.

Okay – back to me watching TV and choosing less-than-best behavior.  Munching away on the cardboard crackers, watching the preview for the Great Gatsby seeing Leonardo di Caprio shine – it hit me.

If I’m striving for the same level success as Leonardo di Caprio – would I really be watching television and eating crap right now?

What would Leonardo di Caprio do?  Would he continue to watch a basketball game that doesn’t add much value to his lifestyle and to him becoming the best actor he can be?  Would he continue eating crackers that detract from his overall health, well-being, and Peace of Mind?  Simple answer…no.

My guess is that Leonardo di Caprio is probably a very nice person.  Meeting him would be an incredible experience.

Why do I think this?  Is it because he’s so successful, famous, and materially wealthy?  Not really.

I trust in the enjoyability of meeting Leo because of his dedication to his craft.  To achieve the level of mastery he’s achieved requires tremendous discipline, determination, and focus.  Mastery also requires a lot of energy.

What’s the best way to get more energy?  Raise your consciousness!  Just to give a quick list of some levels of consciousness in ascending order, they go from Shame to Guilt to Apathy, Grief, Fear, Desire, Anger, Pride, Courage, Neutrality, Willingness, Acceptance, Reason, Love, Joy, Peace, and Enlightenment.  The higher level of consciousness you operate from, the more energy you have.  Like the Dalai once said, “The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.”  Free actions mean you aren’t weighed down by the shackles that would otherwise burden you, hence people operating from Love-Consciousness have lots of energy.

Given his commitment to his craft, my guess is Leo surely operates frequently at the level of Reason, as Reason served to guide him in the process of pursuing excellence through discipline and concentrated effort.  He probably has also ventured into the realms of Love, Joy, and Peace a time or two before.  Maybe even Enlightenment!  Who knows? Nonetheless, higher consciousness allows for greater achievement, and people who operate from higher states of consciousness are frikkin’ enjoyable to be around 🙂

So…today and tonight have been full of revelations.

As much as Jesus still might be the ultimate role model, there is a lot we can learn from looking up to anyone who has achieved a level of mastery and excellence in their craft, including Leonardo di Caprio.

Even if my understanding of him is completely wrong, I am still free to hold an idealized image in my mind, and look to that image as a reference point to help make decisions.  For example,I can ask, “Would Leonardo di Caprio sit in front of the television and eat cardboard at 8 PM on a Thursday night?”  Not as far as I know!  If he wasn’t enjoying people, he’d probably be practicing his craft, developing a skill, reading, or learning something new.

Now let’s see…”Would Jesus sit in front of the television and eat cardboard at 8 PM on a Thusrday night?”  No!  He’d probably be walking around, healing people, praying, or chillin’ with the disciples.

Since the time Leo inspired me to get off my butt and ‘be productive,’ I drank some delicious water, spent time reading, helped my parents, and now I’m writing.  Sounds like mostly a di Caprio’n way of being…guess it’s time to balance it with some Jesus-action and hit up the good ole prayer.

p.s.

Just for kicks…”Would Abraham Lincoln sit in front of the television and eat cardboard at 8 PM on a Thursday night?”  No,  he’d probably be reading, reviewing the day, or sleeping.  Maybe chopping down one last tree before the day ends.

Thanks to this electronic medium, no trees are directly harmed in producing this text.  Alas, I’m chalking it up as the proverbial chop of the tree and hittin’ the sack.  Honest Abe for the win!

What’s the New World Order looking like?

Recently I’ve delved into the book Risky is the New Safe, which paints some absurd pictures about future realities, or should I say virtual realities, that we’ll all be experiencing in only a few years.  Among other incredible predictions, the author believes that by the end of the decade virtual reality sex will be a very real thing.

Essentially, technology is rapidly increasing.  And, one of his major points of emphasis is that when everyone is zigging, you must zag.  Look for the way the masses are moving, consider what the pushback will be, and go in that direction.  Whatever everyone else is doing, do the opposite.

Moreover, he begins the book by informing readers that monkeys are being trained to harvest coconuts from trees at the rate of 1000 coconuts per day, so there goes that job.

With technology advancing at an accelerating pace, offering all kinds of possibilities  with smartphones and iPads and tablets and go-go gadgets, everyone’s wanting to evolve with them…so what’s the serious problem with all this?  Well, perhaps the perceived evolution is actually more like devolution.  Being addicted to technology, like any other addiction, carries with it a plethora of negative side affects.  For example…

Communication.  We are forgetting how to communicate with people, and even we’re forgetting how to communicate with ourselves, much less even considering that there is Universal Consciousness that we can communicate with too.  With technology expanding, some people think that Tech is the ultimate answer – that Tech is the new god.  And, believing Tech is god, I guess I don’t fault people who walk with their heads down, worshiping Tech, meanwhile missing out on the beautiful people and nature surrounding them.

Unfortunately, worshiping Tech might mean a decreased quality of life.  It can mean you forget how to connect with people and how to share a laugh together.  It can mean that anytime you’re not plugged into the virtual reality, you’re dissatisfied, maybe even depressed.  And sure,at this time, you might think you can stay plugged in all the time, so perhaps you don’t have to think about that anyway.

Ah yes, but I just mentioned a wonderful word – think.  Thinking might be the rarest and most valuable skill to possess in this New World Order.

Thinking is a skill – perhaps the most important.   Think is also one of the highest functions we are capable of performing as human beings.  Thinking allows us to relate to reality in an effective way that brings us greater peace and happiness.  Thinking empowers us to create the future we desire.  Think & Grow Rich, as Napoleon Hill’s famous book suggests.

But, how do you define rich?  Does rich exist in material possessions?

To me, and this is JUST ME,  I think the greatest wealth and riches any person can acquire is the treasures we can store up inside ourselves.  A truly rich man can be materially broke but all the while acquire anything and everything he desires.

Education, that wisdom that draws out our Highest and Best Self, is the greatest treasure available to us all.  This isn’t necessarily education you receive in a formal institution, but it is the education that empowers you to use your own mind effectively to achieve whatever you desire.  Yes, even if you desire happiness, you can literally educate yourself to experience happiness in any given moment.

Ultimately, I think our lives become better as we desire less physical possessions and more spiritual treasures – such as peace, happiness, love, growth, contribution, and community.

Heck, I would thoroughly enjoy spending 4 hours a day learning and then 4 hours a day teaching.  The best thing we can do is cherish the gifts bestowed upon us freely at birth.  In particular, cherish the mind.  This three pound organ locked inside our skull has all sorts of potential that we can only guess at.  The way I see it, it’s in everyone’s best interest to explore that mine extensively, day in and day out.  Start now!  As my friend Earl Nightingale likes to say, dig for gold in your fertile mental soil.

With new advances in technology, we are becoming ever more ADD and losing control over the mind.  The monkey inside us is swinging all the more haphazardly from branch to branch with no signs of sitting still in meditation anytime soon.  If we really want to live joyous, happy, peaceful, fulfilled lives, we’ve got to give that monkey some bananas and train it.  Or maybe give it coconuts – whatever it wants.

The best way to train the mind…stillness  and silence.  If not both, then definitely one.  Make it a rule to not physically move for 30 minutes, or to not speak for 30 minutes and just walk.  We’ve got to gain self-knowledge so that we can choose happiness and Peace of Mind in every moment, and then from there we can go forth and joyously make our dreams a reality.

As much as new technologies allow for innovation and creativity, I think they also stifle a lot of progress.  We are forgetting how to focus the mind.  Focus, at any given moment, is the greatest power and gift we have.  Focus is our attention and our awareness.  Whatever we focus on expands.  If we train the mind to focus on what we truly desire, then those desires will become realer with each passing day.  On the other hand, if we allow our mind to wander and let the monkey swing from branch to branch with no sense of discipline or concentrated effort, how will we ever achieve that which we desire?

The more integrated our lives become, such that our every thought, word, and action are oriented towards realizing our dreams and living our ideals, the more rapidly our dreams come true.  How do we integrate our lives?  Focus!

Technology is a wonderful servant, but a horrible master.  Thinking is a great skill and power we all possess, yet technology poses an imminent challenge to cultivating the faculty.  To truly think means to sit down, write out a problem, or a goal, or any desire, and ponder possible ways of realizing its fulfillment more effectively.

Give yourself time to think.   Allow your mind to soak in focused thought on whatever it is you desire.  Don’t just say you desire a Lamborghini in passing, but if you really want it- write down, “I desire a Lamborghini,” at the top of a page, then write next to it, “How can I increase my abilities to acquire a Lamborghini?”  and spend 30 minutes to an hour answering the question.  I assure you, if you spend one hour answering that question you will come up with some incredible ideas!  No one could possibly predict what kind of marvelous ideas would come spewing out of your magnificent mind after only one hour of thought.  Only you can find this out for yourself.

Many of your ideas might be worthy of the dumpster, but also discover several diamonds in the rough that were worth all the time you invested and much more.  Cherish your ideas and your ability to think.  It’s one of the greatest things you can do.

When everyone is zigging, you want to zag.  Currently, for me, I look and see so many consumed by television and technology – so I choose to focus my efforts on learning via books, audio programs, people, and nature.  The masses are ruled by the dollar, so I choose to be ruled by Peace, Love, and Conscious Evolution instead.  The masses enjoy material possessions so I choose to enjoy the spiritual treasures instead.  The masses like to eat unhealthy foods and watch television, so I practice a vegan diet, yoga, and meditate daily.  The masses don’t like to think, but instead mindlessly consume media and all kinds of physical, mental, and spiritual toxins.  I choose to consume that which nourishes my body, mind, and spirit.  The masses like relegating their beliefs to Sunday worship.  I strive to integrate my beliefs about reality into every moment of living.  On that note…“Your daily life is your temple and your religion.  Whenever you enter into it, take with you your all.”

Also, I think that a pushback to the technological boom and the ADD generation disconnected will be increased demand for people who enjoy…people!  Effective communicators are becoming scarce, and yet communicating with people is one of the most joyous things we can do, although some might argue Angry Birds is more fun.   Regardless of the technological pushback or not, I commit much of my study to communication and  cultivating Presence – that is living in the Here & Now, humbly and gratefully – rather than dwelling on the past or imagining the distant future.  I focus on smiling as much as I can and being conscious of my breath.  During the Street Retreat in New York City, I discovered many zombies, living in imaginary realms, unaware of the Present Moment and all the joy that is with them Here & Now if they only breathed a little more deeply.  These zombies scared the crap out of me, and now I do my very best to be present rather than become entranced in the zombie worlds of the past or the future.

To summarize…

The New World Order is…

Here & Now.  Going slowly, living moment by moment, cherishing what is, is the best strategy for transitioning.

Breathe deeply.  Think about what you value most and who you really are.  There is infinite strength and courage and peace and happiness within you.  The Kingdom of God is Within You!

You need nothing.  This moment is more than enough.  You are enough.  Actually, not only are you enough, you are abundant!

As Camus said, “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

Driven by Vision

A man is walking along a construction project and he sees four men working.

He asks the first man, ‘What are you doing?”

The man says, “I’m laying bricks.”

He asks the second man, “What are you doing?”

The man says, “I’m building a wall.”

He asks the third man, “What are you doing?

The man says, “I’m building a church.”

He asks the fourth man, “What are you doing?”

The man stops his work, looks up with a shine in his eye and a smile on his face.  With a voice filled with dignity and enthusiasm, he replies, “I’m building a monument to glorify God!”

Each man, objectively, was performing the same task.  However, subjectively, each man possessed a different understanding of the scope of the work they were doing.

As you might imagine, the fourth man, the man who possessed a  keen understanding of the  real meaning and purpose behind the physical labor of laying bricks to build a church to glorify God – he found great joy in his work and hardly even considered it work at all.

“When you love what you’re doing, you’ll never have to work a day in his life.”

The fourth man tuned into the higher purpose and reason for his actions.  He had a clear vision of the future and understood how his actions aligned with his core principles and beliefs.  This man was not motivated by fame or fortune, but he was motivated by God.

I, for one, would love to be filled with the same enthusiasm of the fourth man, to know so fully that my every moment is serving God and the Greater Good.  Sometimes, I feel this is true, and other times I forget.  I lose sight of the vision.

The more clearly I hold the vision before me, the more motivated I am by it, the more energy and spiritual fire I find stirring within me.

Work is much easier to do when we have a sense of how it is contributing to the fulfillment of our grand vision.

“How do you get to Mt. Olympus? Just make sure every step is in that direction.”

The key is desire.  If you desire an outcome then you will be motivated to achieve it.  Likewise, if you can dream up a grand vision and feel what it’s like to live in that reality where your vision is realized, then that will provide you with all the desire you need to move forth confidently in its direction.

The more you align with your vision each moment, the more power and peace you find within yourself.  There are few greater feelings I’ve experienced than an assurance that I am doing good and progressively realizing my worthy ideal.

As Henry David Thoreau once said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.”

Power Words, Mantras, Triggers, etc.

As I prepare to venture beyond my home in Cincinnati, I’ve spent a fair amount time perusing old notebooks.

At the top of one page in a notebook I wrote, “I desire…” and then proceeded to fill the page.  One of my desires has recently been fulfilled.  Answering, “I desire…,” I wrote, “a singular word that always fills me with enthusiasm and abundant energy whenever I say or think of it.”

Essentially, the desire was for an instantaneous energy boost just by thinking about one particular word / idea / concept.

In the past, words like Peace, Love, Joy, Reverence, and strangely –  zero -have supplied with tremendous energy.  And, honestly, I’m sure they still will if I use them again, however I find greatest success with these sorts of power words and ideas when I keep them fresh, changing them up every few weeks or months depending on how I’m feeling.

Currently, the mantra that’s been supplying me with abundant smiles and energy is the word Rama. I originally became acquainted with the word in a book about Gandhi, in which it’s translated to mean something like, “God loves you.  God blesses you.  God is with you.”  If that isn’t powerful enough, more recently I read in a book on Bhakti Yoga that Rama symbolizes joy in the spiritual journey.  Needless to say, the word Rama surges with significance for me.

How about you, o friendly reader?  Do you have any words, ideas, or perhaps people that invigorate you?  Are there any mantras or phrases you repeat that bring you strength and courage?  Would love to hear about whatever you’d like to share 🙂

 

What is the Spiritual Journey?

When people ask me what I do the words struggle to come out.   I don’t really know how to answer the question.  I do a lot of things!  Primarily though, perhaps the answer I resonate with the most is, “I’m on a spiritual journey.”  Now I wonder, what does that mean?

In the broadest sense, I like to think of the spiritual journey as the journey of seeking a better way to live.  It’s a journey of growth, development, and as I like to say – conscious evolution.  To be on the journey requires that I accept myself as I am now while also opening up to potential growth and possibility.  Essentially, as best as I can, I’m always seeking the next level. I’m seeking to become better and better each day.  This ‘bettering’ of the self refers to not only my relationship with the universe and God and all that is unseen, but also to my relationships with people, the environment, and my physical body and mind.  After all, in some way, shape, or form, we are in relationship with Everything. 🙂

On the spiritual journey, I acknowledge where I am now while also focusing on where I’d like to be.  What direction do I want to move in?  There is my current self and then my projected ideal, or as Matthew Kelly says, the-best-version-of-myself.  The spiritual journey is the journey towards that best.

Really, I think anyone who is interested in personal growth or development, education, conscious evolution, self-actualization, being your best – the pursuit of any one of those is spiritual growth.  Spirit can be considered our Highest Self, so as we grow, we are moving in the direction of more fully connecting with that Highest Self and living with it in our daily lives, in each moment of our being.

Ben Franklin ventured upon the spiritual journey by identifying 13 virtues he sought to perfectly embody in himself.  He called this the pursuit of moral perfection.  Each week he focused on living one virtue in particular, making a mark in his journal whenever he found himself not abiding by that particular virtue.  Eventually, so the story goes, he no longer made any marks in his journal.

One of the 13 virtues he sought to embody was humility.  In his autobiography, Franklin admits that although he might have done a good job of acting humble, he felt that pride would often get the best of him.  Humility was the last on the list of his 13 virtues, and he described it as simply as, “Be like Socrates and Jesus.”  Go figure, humility is tough.

Nonetheless, humility is one of the most empowering virtues as it continually opens the door to growth and evolution.  With humility, we remind ourselves that we are not perfect and can continue to improve.  Hence, Gandhi found incredible power in what he called, “becoming zero.”  When you perceive yourself as zero, I imagine you focus a whole lot on doing what is right and good, regardless of whatever your ego might tell you.

The spiritual journey is the journey of growth, however you’d like to interpret it.  It is also the journey of education.  Education comes from the latin educare, which means to draw out.  The process of education, then, is the process of drawing out the Best Self, the Highest Self.

This reminds me, one of my other favorite answers to the question, “What do you do?” is, “I am student of life!”  And I do plan to be forever a student, continuously educating myself, striving to draw out my Best Self.  Of course, along the journey, as we become educated, teaching almost becomes inevitable.  You can only hold so much knowledge / wisdom to yourself before you desire to share it with people!  Also, I believe sharing what we have and who we are is definitely a part of us being our Best Selves.

The Best Self exists in community, giving, growing, and loving every moment of it.  The spiritual journey is just the same.  It’s a process of giving more and more, growing (via formal education, books, life experience, meditation, people, etc.), and as best you can, loving everyone and everything that exists exactly as it is, Here & Now.

If you’re unsure about the whole loving everyone and everything bit, consider this…

How do you know you’re not dreaming?  If that’s the case, then you created the whole dream anyway.  Everything in the dream represents a part of you.

Or…if you’re looking for more ‘informed’ insight…you can look to Deepak Chopra.  He says, “See the universe as an extension of yourself.”  It’s all you 🙂