Who is / What is God?

Oh goodness!  Already by the title of this post I’m in a deep can of divine worms.  And the great thing about divine worms is that they’re actually gummy worms and taste delicious!  Because whatever and whoever God is, is totally awesome!, simply as the result of the truth, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”  Whatever we look at, whatever we hear or feel or taste or touch, anything perceived, can be perceived as beautiful, as harmonious, as perfect, as divine.  It’s all perspective!  And what more of a gift could we ever ask for from God?  The ball is in our court to perceive the world as we will.  Each moment has a heaven or hell in it depending on how we look at it.

What are you looking for?  If you look for heaven, you’ll find it everywhere.  Beauty abounds.  Similarly, if you look for hell and hatred, you’ll probably find it abundantly too.  Yet, in the end, it’s all up to you.

If you look for God, you will find God everywhere.  There’s always an abundance of reasons to smile 🙂

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4 Hours and 8 TEDxTalks later…

“Work.  Live. Learn. Play.” Hot City!

“You’re trying to describe an elephant to someone who has never seen an elephant before.”

“You are significant!”  “Cross the line.  It costs you nothing, and you gain everything.”  It’s just a choice.  Think about the end…how do you want to be remembered?  What do you want to be said at your funeral?

Instead of thinking about achieving a goal, think about solving a problem.

Connect the Dots!  Food Systems.  Spiritual Health. Oral Health.  Health.

“I believe food is a basic human right.”  “I see seekers of truth.”

Stop. Breathe.  Reflect.  What do you remember?

The above is something like the tidbits deemed worthy of remembering by whatever it is that does the remembering…be it brain or mind or consciousness or cuticle.  Alas…

I love the idea of Integral Health.  That is, a standard of health that permeates every aspect of the individual: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual.  And I think when one achieves optimum health in each one of those areas, you have what might be called Perfect Health.  And what does that look like manifest in physical form?  It depends…but generally I associate it with a being radiating an energy of joy, kindness, warmth, gratitude, loving acceptance, compassion, and enthusiasm towards each and every moment of life.  This being is also likely very quick to laugh, play, have fun, as well as listen to another deeply from the heart, giving their attention fully and completely without any sense of receiving anything in return.  This being gives out of abundance with no thought of return, trusting completely in the significance of being present in the moment, come what may.

So then…when thinking of this elephant that I’m trying to describe to someone whose never seen an elephant before, perhaps this experience of Perfect Health might be that elephant.  Although I don’t consider myself a perpetual embodiment of Perfect Health, I think I’ve experienced moments of Perfect Health when everything is perfectly aligned, cared for, and the Moment is beautifully recognized as All That Is, right Here and right Now, and that’s always a good feeling 🙂  And in addition to having experienced glimpses of ‘Perfect Health,’ which could also be called Harmony, Bliss, Transcendence, Presence, Self-Actualization, etc., I think I’ve also experienced people in that state of being as well.  With the examples I’m thinking of, it’s often evident by the smile on someone’s face or the tone in the voice, as well as in the freedom of expression and ever-readiness to light up with warmth and enthusiasm towards another.

Now I wonder, what steps can one take to move towards Perfect Health?  Let’s pretend it’s as simple as developing one habit for each of the dimensions of health.  What follows is a list of potential activities to optimize health in each category, although ultimately I think there are likely many different habits one could practice in each of the dimensions of health, just so long as one practices whatever one chooses with an intention that the practice will optimize health in that specific area.  For example, so long as one chooses to physically exercise and move the body for 60 minutes a day, I think there are a variety of different practices that would successfully optimize that facet of health.  And what I realize now is that improving any one dimension of health improves all dimensions, as our lives are integrated experiences, so Hallelujah for that 🙂

1.  Optimizing physical health.  I’ve heard it said that 80% of physical health comes from the choice of foods you put into the body, and the remaining 20% comes from physical exercise.  That’s somewhat inspiring, eh?  To think you can be 80% perfectly physically healthy just by optimizing your choice of foods you decide to consume.  From personal experience, I’ve found energy levels to be highest with a green smoothie loaded with kale and spinach and banana and all kinds of goodness…and essentially I think that 80% of health basically comes down to the refrain our parents loved to brainwash us with…’Eat your fruits and vegetables!”  And that ‘law,’ the law of eating your fruits and vegetables, might be one of the few ways of being on the planet that is not subject to the law of diminishing marginal returns.  Almost without end, the more fruits and vegetables, the better!  Of course organic is probably better than produce sprayed with pesticides…but who knows?  Rather than organic vs. non-organic foods being the big issue, I think primarily the keys to food are praying over it, being grateful for it, and enjoying it!  A mindful meal, enjoyed slowly, is also nearly always preferable to a rushed meal.  And, like meditation and prayer, it’s just when you think you don’t have the time to do that it’s most vital that you realize you always have the time to do it 🙂  You are always free to enjoy.

Well that was a fun food talk…now let’s take care of the 20% remaining for physical health…exercise!  Or hatha yoga. Or just simply walking. Or climbing steps.  Essentially, I’m pretty sure that anything you do with the intention to improve the physical health and flourishing of the body will do the trick, within the time frame of 30 – 90 minutes.  Of course, activities like yoga and walking ripple strongly out to optimizing the health of the other facets of health as well, so perhaps you can spend even more time doing those.  Although I have yet to practice it fully, I hear that 10,000 steps is a life-hacking key to happiness, and some philosopher definitely claimed that walking was the best exercise.  Moving the body…ah movement…what a holy activity.  And yet, I think consciously sitting is holy too.  Heck, let’s let it all be holy!  Additional awesome exercises for physical health…well really just one amazing one…dancing!  Dancing also ripples out into probably all the other facets of health too.

2.  Emotional Health.  Talk with people 🙂  Communicate in some way to someone!  And I suppose, if you’re living in isolation, this can be taken care of with a strong relationship with God and the Universe and the Present Moment.   Also, cultivate a wonderful relationship with the physical body you experience much of life in.  And speak wonderful, positive, loving thoughts to the body.  Let it know you care for it and want what’s best for it and that you are so grateful for it.  Hugging trees and acknowledging the life in plants and grass is also probably great for your emotional health.  Walking, too, always a win – especially in nature!

3.  Social Health .  This seems similar to emotional health.  And what I’ve come to experience more recently is that there’s not always a need to talk about something serious.  Really, being open and willing to talk about what interests someone else, regardless of whether or not it interests you, is possibly one of the most humbling and holy things you can do.  I used to be totally against having conversations that weren’t about God or Serving the Highest Good of All or Personal Growth or Becoming More Conscious and Aware or Growing in Health and Happiness and Harmony…and of course I love those conversations and they light me up, yet meanwhile sometimes the greatest thing you can do for your personal growth and higher consciousness is to surrender your own will to whatever the present moment offers you and just choose to listen and enthusiastically engage no matter what is being offered.  No need to resistance a conversation you deem ‘unholy,’ just love what is as a beautiful expression of life and a gift from God.  Especially whenever you are getting annoyed or angry or frustrated…BOOM!!!…there is God totally offering you some awesome gift and opportunity to grow in Love and Harmony.  Who are we to judge, anyway?  Opening to communing with people regardless of their interests and just being there with them in the Present Moment is a tremendous gift, a very humbling process, and thus very healing too.  As best you can, give your attention freely, assuring the person that they are significant and worthy of it.   And coming to that space where you accept that nothing is below you is blissfully liberating.  Remember too that if someone appears to be ranting to you about some problem, sometimes the best thing you can do is laugh.  Let them know joy is still in the world, and this present moment is good.  Of course, deep listening is also good.  Whatever you do, when listening, keep your own awareness in that space of love and gratitude, and remember that God is Present in the Now, that Now is a holy moment, and that you are not ever asked to do anything other than just be.  Be with God, and operating from that space you can only do wonderful things for everyone 🙂

4.  Mental Health.   So health is most definitely an integral thing, because one of the best things you can do for your mental health is move that body!  Think about the connection between motion and emotion – and realize that when you’re couch-potatoeing away, feeling down and out, your lack of movement will likely only perpetuate the feeling.  Instead, move!  Walk.  Ahh, walking. So wonderful.  Additionally, for mental health, read!  The brain loves books and new ideas.  And while you’re at it, listen to some TEDtalks or other inspirational / educative talks on YouTube.  Watch some clips from Oprah Super Soul Sundays – I love those!  Thanks to this connected world we live in, we can experience all kinds of wonderful people via YouTube.  I might never meet these people in person, but through YouTube I’ve gotten a taste of Thich Nhat Hanh, Deepak Chopra, Bob Proctor, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, Sean Stephenson, Pema Chodron, Wayne Dyer…all kinds of great people out there who you can experience.  Let them lift you up!  If you don’t know any people in physical form who you find inspiring, allowing yourself to bathe in the consciousness of inspiring people through books, audio, and videos.  Remember, you just might be the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around – and that can include some crazy characters from television, or it can include St. Paul from the Bible.  The choice is yours.  So please, choose with the heart for your own highest good 🙂

5.  Spiritual Health.  Breathe.  Any moment you stop to take a breathe, or two, or twenty, maybe more than you can count – those are good moments.  Appreciate and connect with that intelligence that flows through you at all times and that operates beyond your conscious awareness.  That Intelligence is from the Beginning and is part of you Now.  Love it!  Let yourself be mesmerized, awed, and fascinated with the wonder of the body, nature, at any and everything that is before you right now.  Imagine all the human effort that went forth to producing the forms around you in this present moment.  So much effort!  And then imagine all the energy of the universe – from the sun and rain and who knows what else – that went forth to nourishing all the people who crafted all the forms before you now.  Such a collaborative effort!  So amazing!!!  Look at any book and see the a genius and a tree and the sun and a potato and Guttenberg.   Miraculous how the Universe is precisely as it is, Here and Now.  Speak to the Universe.  Speak to God.  Just have a friendly conversation with What Is in the Now.  Open up.  Breathe in Love and exhale Peace.  Focus on feeling the heart beat.  Focus on anything!  Move slowly.  Practice mindfulness.  Walk!!!  Sing.  Dance. Laugh.  Observe Life.  Particularly, if you can, watch a child play so blissfully, and allow yourself to play too.

So this elephant…it’s a pretty awesome elephant.  I’ve seen it once or twice, but it’s still tough to describe.  Ultimately, I think the way to see this elephant and even ride this elephant more and more often comes down to creating a lifestyle centered around the elephant.  Kind of like a mystic wave, you’ve got to prepare yourself to ride it, and open up to the experience.  So surf’s up! On the mystic rollercoaster you can ride, knowing that the experience will peak, while also remembering that each and every moment counts and is totally significant.  It all adds up, and perhaps the most mystical experiences you can have are those that initially seem the furthest from a mystical experience possible.  When you’re least healthy, that’s when you’re most healthy.  Because in the pain and the suffering, that’s often our greatest opportunity to transcend and realize that we are Perfectly Health in the Here & Now.  The Ideal is ultimately beyond form – it is a state of being – an awareness.

Lastly…as far as significance goes…

If you’re ever doubting your own significance, you might remember that someone once wrote a suicide letter saying something like, “I’m walking to the bridge today.  If no one smiles at me or says hello, I’m jumping.”  And he jumped.  To think it’s just that simple to save a life – all you have to do is smile!  So go on smiling, friend, knowing that your smile is saving lives left and right, because someone is always watching, and the smile ripples out in all kind of wonderful ways.

Hallelujah! 🙂

Seeing the Awesome, Cosmic Story Right in Front of You!

Amidst a gigantic showering of snow, I had the opportunity to walk across the upper quad on the Wake Forest campus.  I’ve walked across this quad many times over the course of the 6 years this body has been physically acquainted with the campus, yet I don’t recall any walks when it has been covered with snow . This walk was quite a special walk, which at times turned more into a jog and a frolick, but, nonetheless…

What made this walk was not only the snow, but also what the snow revealed.  Before I had the pleasure of walking across the snow-covered quad, so had many people before me.  The quad was not only covered in snow, but also in footprints!  Everywhere I looked there were footprints going in all sorts of direction, seeming as though there had been hundreds if not thousands on the quads before me.  Life was abundantly evident.  Even though while on the quad it was just me and my friend (whose name means is Gurdeep, meaning Flame of God, and sort of discovered last night that he’s an Angel…but that’s perhaps that’s another story 😉 )

Footprints upon footprints riddled the quad and created quite the textural landscape.  Stopping to connect with the footprints, I could see so many people having wonderful experiences playing on the quad, perhaps laughing and dancing and throwing snowballs, earlier in the day.  The people were no longer physically present on the quad, but their spirit lingered in their footprints.

And to think that no matter where we walk in this world, chances are thousands if not millions of footprints have stepped before where we are stepping now.  How much life precedes our own life?  How much has come before us, treated the space with respect, and is now allowing us for be in that same space?  How much Life lived perfectly to allow us to be precisely Here & Now?  How many stories unfolded just as they did to create this Special Moment?

It’s amazing how much goes on this world that we take for granted.   And my guess is we take it for granted because it’s the work of the Unseen.  When we look at a footprint, we might just see a footprint, but if you look closely enough you can see the shoe, you can see the person, and you can see that person’s parents, teachers, friends, and family.  You can see all the food that person consumed, all the water they drank, and you can see the abundant sunlight and rain that grew the food to nourish that person, and you can see all the people who invented all the technology to deliver all the food and create the clothing and the shoeprint itself!  So much can you see in a single print.  And ultimately you can see the entire universe in any footprint, in any leaf, or a single blade of grass.  It all adds up perfectly to create the Here & Now.  Our interconnectivity and oneness is evident whenever we slow down to become aware of what is fully before us.  In any given moment, we are experiencing the entirety of Creation precisely as it unfolded over the entire course of time and space to create this Present Moment.  Truly, the Present Moment is a Cosmic Moment, full of wonder, story, and life.

The Sun is in it all, your parents are in it all, I’m in it all, you’re in it all – we’re all in it!  Even Jesus and Gandhi and Buddha and Krishna and Muhammad and Mahavira and Hitler and Stalin and Mr. Rogers and Bob Barker…we’re all in it! That turkey you ate 3 thanksgiving ago is in it all too!  Nothing is separate. No man is an island.  No moment is an island!

There is a story to all; a Life-Affirming, Divine, Cosmic story.  When you hear someone say, “Stop and smell the roses,”  it’s just for you.  Everything you experience is just for you.  Each Moment is your Divine Appointment with the Highest Teacher that is perfect for you Right Here and Right Now.  Especially if you’re ever upset or frustrated or confused…what a wonderful learning opportunity is before you!  We’re all learning – the entire universe is learning!  Becoming more conscious and aware is the best journey anyone can go on.  It is a spiritual journey, a physical and mental and emotional journey.  It’s all connected.  It’s all for good.  Each moment is precious.  And each moment you can connect with the whole, the totality.  Embrace it all and know that it’s all precisely perfect for you.

Just so, the Present Moment loves to say, “I will be whatever you want me to be.”  You are the shaper of your experience.  Create whatever reality you desire.  Let your Present Moment be populated with Angels, if that is your desire.  Become aware of God in each and every Present Moment, if that’s what you want.  Allow your Present Moment to be a place of friendliness, support, nurturing, growth, friendliness, kindness, compassion, gratitude, and all goodness in abundance, and it will be.  It’s all perspective.

What kind of glasses are you wearing?  What station is your radio tuned to?  What music are you listening to?  What kind of massage are you receiving from this Present Moment?  What sort of ocean are you swimming in?  What’s in the air you’re breathing?  What permeates your cells?  Who are you, anyway?  Are you just a body, a mind, a soul? Are you eternal and immortal?  Are you one with all life? 🙂

Hallelujah!

p.s.  Another insight I had list night…as far as having the intention to glorify God goes…I realized that can most definitely look like someone dancing and saying / singing, “So grateful, so grateful, so grateful!”  Glorifying doesn’t always have to come in the form of song and dance, but for me, it’s pretty hard to argue against it as a definite form of glorifying at any time, in any place.  Other glorifying activities that I feel fairly confident in: meditation, prayer, laughing, studying a good / holy text, writing / reflecting, walking, connecting with nature, practicing mindfulness, conscious breathing, and going slowly.  Going slowly is good work 🙂  Also, listening!  Ahh, to listen.  Such an art.  Creating beauty, too, and any creative expression.  Creativity is gold 🙂 Express Your Self!

 

 

Purifying Your Intentions…for Peace, Freedom, and Fearlessness!

Just yesterday I walked outside into an abundant snowy wonderland.  I’ve been wearing all white now for several months, but additionally I noticed something peculiar as I wrapped a cozy scarf around the neck.  I connected back with ‘myself’ from several years back, perhaps the self from sophomore year in college, and knew that that ‘self’ would not have worn such a scarf.  So what growth has occurred from then to now that allowed me to confidently wear the scarf?

What I realized is that I stopped caring about what ‘other people’ think about ‘me.’  I’m not out to impress anyone or look good, at least that’s not the intention.  My intentions nowadays are generally well beyond the needs and desires of the small self / physical body, and rather they are aligned with the Greater Good for Life, Humanity, Consciousness, All That Is.  So, as much as I still might intend to learn something easily and well, the intention is setting in the larger context of being ‘For the Highest Good of All.’  It’s not longer about ‘me,’ the small self, but it’s about Me, the Higher Self, that Self which is connected to everyone and everything.  Intending from this context, there is a purity that flows naturally, because all the intentions are not just for the good of the physical body, but for the good of all physical bodies, all forms of life, and for everything that is!

And when you’re operating with pure intentions and desires – such that you intend/desire that which is good not only for yourself but for everyone – that’s how you know you’re working with and for something really good.  That’s when you can arrive in a special space where the opinions of ‘others’ will not hold you back or effect you.  You know, in your heart of hearts, that your intentions are pure and for the Good of All, and in this purity you experience tremendous peace (the result of a clear, clean conscience, aligning with your Higher Self), freedom (no longer concerned about judgment or opinions of others), and fearlessness (no matter what matters, you’re intending that which is Pure and Good, and you are reaffirmed and solidified in that holy foundation).

So, if you want to experience greater Peace, Freedom, and Fearlessness, look at your intentions.  Is your intention centered around the good of your own physical body and family, or is it founded upon something much larger than yourself and your smaller-self context?  Are you focused on helping just yourself, or are you intending to help humanity and all life?

Like a goldfish, we expand to fill the body of water we find ourselves in.  When you expand your own sense of Self to include Planet Earth, all Humanity, and even the totality of Creation, then your desires and intentions will expand as well, and you’ll realize that there is so much more to live for than just longevity of a human body.

Shift the focus from receiving to giving and serving.  When you focus on giving to the whole, inevitably your personal needs are fulfilled.  Trust in Purity and Goodness of your Intentions, follow your heart, and if nothing else – Love!  Loving is a darn pure intention 🙂

 

 

Subjective Reality…Perhaps the Best Thing Ever!

Breathing in, I know I’m in the Present Moment.  Breathing out, I know it is a Wonderful Moment.

But wait…that’s entirely subjective!  Ah, the beauty and the great gift of the mind and consciousness to choose how it perceives the Here & Now.

Right now I’m looking at a jar of water that I labeled with a post-it note “Love and Gratitude.”  Some studies show that sending that sort of positive thought energy to the water actually has a positive effect on the quality of the water.  And even if some studies refute that notion…I just the playing with the possibility and, at the very least, reaping the benefits from placebo-effecting my way into healthier and more enjoyable water.

Is that delusional thinking?  Eh…who is to say?

As Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

We’re free to think about this world however we want.  If you want to, you can literally look at everything and say to it, “Hello Beautiful Me.”  You can practice seeing Your Self, Your True Self, the One Reality, in everything.  If you want, that is.  Maybe you don’t want to live in a world where everything is connected and ultimately one.  Or maybe you do!  The choice is entirely yours.

Choice.  Ah, what a wonderful word!  I love choosing to perceive reality as unconditionally safe, unconditionally supportive, and unconditionally loving.  That’s also potentially what you get believing in an All-Powerful, All-Loving, Omnipresent God.  It’s helpful to thresh out what that type of God looks like and what that means for the nature of reality, moment to moment to wonderful moment 🙂

Thank you for giving me the gift of choosing how I perceive reality.  It’s hard to imagine a greater gift.  I guess knowing the Truth and discovering the Truth is Perfectly Good and Complete and Eternal and Infinitely Loving would also be a pretty great gift…and even that by chance wasn’t the Truth…I think I’d still embrace the freedom of subjective reality and choose to live in that type of world anyway. 🙂

Dream on!

Hallelujah

Namaste

A Reflection on Year 23 (Embodied) :-)

Well, Hallelujah!  Hallel Yah.  Praise God.  The Truth is liberating and liberation itself – what more could we ask for?

For a super brief recap of year 22…which was also an amazing one…college graduation…Street Retreat…as a result largely liberated from material desires, realizing the best things in life are free and truly the treasures in Heaven (or as a friend once called them, the Spiritual Riches)…lived without using any money for 6 months…grew a lot spiritually (shrunk a bit physically…such things happen when you don’t use any money ;-)), and grew mentally too – reading wonderful books like Power vs. Force (Hallelujah and thank you for that gem, Jp!) and The Book of Secrets, and Peace is Every Step, as well as Cosmic Consciousness.  (Oh…also…perhaps the highlight…getting banned from the Wake Forest campus.  Dangerous what happens when you first discover that you can see the entire universe and profound beauty in a single slice of orange.  Also, can be dangerous when you realize that every time you move your hand towards your mouth with food in it, you don’t have to eat it!  Crazy what happens when you break habitual patterns of movement.  Quite liberating, really!) (Should probably mention…Steve Pavlina played a huge role in year 22…enlightening the crap out of me with his awesome free blog, introducing me to lightworking and setting intentions for the greater good and abundance and gratitude and manifesting and all kinds of wonderful.  Thanks Steve!  And sure enough year 23 would lead me to meeting the man himself…)

And now for the super brief recap of year 23, perhaps with a bit of expansion to follow…read Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly, talking about the Best Self, and then the Universe sends me a job offer to work at a camp with a ‘Best Self’ guiding philosophy (go figure, harmonious Universe 😉 )…decided priority #1 was to decide on a place to earn a yoga teacher certification and the very next day a friend contacts me out of the blue to tell me about Yogaville / Satchidananda Ashram (thanks again, Universe 🙂 ) visa vie Claire Hallelujah!)…met incredible people at Yogaville as well as introduced to the notion of a ‘Guru,’ the beauty of chanting, and ‘Truth is One Paths are Many,’ also Yogaville introduced me to all wearing all white as a yoga instructor (which I’ve now taken on full time, because why not?  Simple, pure, peaceful, so easy!)…from Teacher Training went to work at the American Youth Foundation, got owned on a bike trip, remembered that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, yet all the while it is important to “Ride Safe” as the Maine license plate suggests – and live balancing the ‘Hu’ and ‘Man’ aspects of us…discovering heightened awareness with a beeping watch…immense amounts of joy and happiness leading a service trip (to think I got paid to do that is somewhat absurd…was a pretty strong manifestation of what Heaven can be 🙂 )…the job was basically ‘being a role model’ – perhaps the best job in the world, meanwhile inspired all kinds of expressions of abundance and gratitude and also manifesting cake!  Beyond the camp…finally earned a position to teach yoga at WFU – a dream come true – continued experimenting with a beeping watch, and found a fairly sustainable living arrangement that doesn’t cost a penny – Hallelujah!  Also discovered the abundance of hemp seeds – a super food indeed!  Also have thoroughly enjoyed walking backwards down steps, and more than ever feeling called to share the life story in a clear, concise way, however it seems like I keep procrastinating, alas!  Came into possession of the Beex Foundation, a nonprofit geared at sharing practices of meditation, yoga, and mindfulness, enlightening society one breath at time, pollinating the world with love!  Sister married a great man – Hallelujah!  And I actually wore a tuxedo…that was weird.  Then I had the joy of spending 4-5 days on a semi-silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani and discovered Thomas Merton and that awesome contemplative tradition.  Perhaps one of the biggest ‘accomplishments’ of year 23…finally passed on the car to a friend!  So I am free from that whole material thing of having a car and insurance and blah blah blah Hallelujah!  Thanks to food orders online I don’t even need to go to a store to shop.  Wearing all white is also a huge step, as well as developing a daily meditative practice of 30 minutes a day, aspiring to where it will be a minimum of 2 hours a day (largely because I hear that’s what Deepak Chopra does, every morning from 4-6 AM, and he seems to know ‘what’s up,’ or at least ‘is successful’ in a way I’d also like to be successful).  Ah yes, also successfully sat in full lotus!  Not quite comfortable in it yet, but who knows…some day 🙂  And met Steve Pavlina, who literally seemed to be radiating light.  Also met Bill Kandelis, read the Bhagavad Gita, and am feeling fairly confident that a living teacher is not necessary for higher consciousness, and that, as I read the words of the Dalai Lama…books can be the teacher!  Another big development during year 23…I realized ‘enlightenment’ is the goal, or rather it is the means and the ends…every step and breathe of the way!  Presence 🙂  Also read my first ever book by Wayne Dyer, There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and first by Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul, and another gem by some ancient lady who seemed to know some things, The Game of Life and How to Play It.  So Hallelujah!  Year 23 was super abundant in manifesting all kinds of goodness and loving relationships and great books.  Also, I might say I commenced my public speaking career – hehe – speaking twice at open mic nights at the summer camp…that was way fun.  Also posted a guided meditation online that received 42 hits, but since it seems to have been taken down or disappeared into the either.  Alas!  This year has also been marked by the flourishing of both old and new relationships – seems like more new than old – to all of whom I am so grateful!  People are beautiful.  And I read somewhere that all things are possible when one decides to firmly root down, and I’m feeling more and more than the Wake Forest community is the place where I will root down more and more, centered upon sharing the practices of meditation, yoga, and mindfulness – as well as more generally, love 🙂  and Hugs!

Looking forward to Year 24…

It’s about time a book gets written.   Or some cohesive telling of some of the more inspiring, awakening, empowering, liberating, enlightening experiences of life.  I feel like that is probably the greatest gift I can give, at least speaking in the long-term.  The greatest gift seems to be Presence, Love, and Listening in the Here & Now!

Speaking of which…core skills to develop…Listening.  Intense listening.  To the point of being fully present and blissful in the complete awareness of sound and harmonizing with it.

I also hope to more fully embody “The Little Way,” proposed by a saint or two as well as Mother Teresa, essentially the idea that there are no great acts, only small acts done with great love.  That resonates strongly with Thich Nhat Hanh’s simple sentence for success, “Breathe, smile, go slowly.”  Going slowly…ahhh what a gift.  Oddly sometimes difficult to practice, but worth an abundances of abundances and then some. As the sign in Vegas says, “You must be present to win!”  So ideally this year is steeped in Presence, spiritual growth, listening, increasing ability in teaching yoga and inspiring through that, as well as more abundantly sharing the practices of meditation and mindfulness with the the WFU community and hey…why not all the world?  This book I’ll be writing ideally lifts readers beyond material desires and helps open hearts and eyes and minds to the much greater treasures in life that come through education, loving relationships, and training the mind to focus on goodness and whatever you really desire most, realizing that the truest desires are unseen, beyond form, and can be spontaneously fulfilled in any given moment.  Such is the glorious gift of God and Consciousness.  To all this and more…Hallelujah!

God is Good.  All is Good.  Jesus,  Buddha, Krishna, Rama, Muhammad, all of them seem quite wonderful as well.  Cosmic Consciousness and Enlightenment seems like a worthy field of study.  Nothing like learning from some heroes of history 🙂  And of course, cultivating the Kingdom Within, cherishing the most magnificent gifts of life – all those gifts freely bestowed upon us at birth.  Asking and Receiving 101, 24/7.  Everyone who asks, receives.  Ask away! 🙂  Trust.  Believe in your heart you’ve already received it, feel as though you have, and it’s all yours!

 

To have more fun living…

Start dying!  No, not really.  Well in a sense.  And I literally mean in a sense.  Not innocence, although that’s worthy of many words too, but in a sense. Die in a sense and start to enjoy life more!

For the past couple months, I’ve taken to walking down steps backwards.   There are so many good reasons for doing this.  Not only is it good for the knees, balance, and the brain, but it’s also a fantastic way to bring people into the present moment and stimulate thinking!  Nothing like helping people become more conscious and aware 🙂  With this process of going down the steps backwards, thanks to the encouragement of Brother Rob (so many things to thank him forever),  I also started closing my eyes while doing this, which benefits the brain and balance even more!  So it’s like a win/win/win/win/win, going down the steps backwards, eyes closed.  Every body, brain, mind, and heart wins.  Consciousness wins too!

So if you want to spontaneously start having oodles of fun…the current prescription I recommend is letting one of your senses die, if only for a few seconds.  Walking over to this computer, I was in a fairly open space on a patio with no obstacles in the way, so closed my eyes and began walking.  So much fun!  When you close your eyes and let your seeing go, all of your other senses become enhanced, and you adopt a new perspective on reality.  You also will grow in reverence for how amazing the eyes really are, and how amazing are what they eyes see!

Another way to die in a sense is fasting.   You could either go for a water fast, in which case your sense of taste would be blank for a day, likely resulting in a greatly enhanced enjoyment of food the next day, as well as the additional benefit of giving your hard-working organs a well-deserved physiological rest.  The digestive systems works really hard, and it loves when you give it a break.  And you’ll then grow in appreciation and gratitude for food so much more too!  Another win/win/win.  The 3rd win is that it builds your self-discipline muscle, which then can empower you to even greater feats of awesomeness!  And if you didn’t want to do a water fast, you could do something like a juice fast, depriving yourself of the sensation of chewing, and maybe next time you eat solid food then you’ll appreciate a bit more the joy of chewing.

Appreciation and gratitude…those are the keys to a fun-filled, joyous life.  And how do we experience appreciation and gratitude?  Well, it can be tough to appreciate what you have, especially something you’ve always had.  How the heck am I supposed to appreciating using my hands to write letters and type on a keyboard and pick my nose when I’ve been doing these sorts of activities for years with only very rare conscious attention?  Perhaps if I tied the hands behind the back for a day, then I’d really appreciate them!  Or, more practically, I practiced honoring the Sabbath last Saturday, and a general rule for honoring that day is to not create anything, which includes writing anything down.  After all, the word made flesh, so writing down words is making something, and on the Sabbath making is a no-no (except for making friends and conversation – that seems to be acceptable).  Alas, after a day of not using a pen to write anything down – which seemed like the very day I hadn’t used a pen in at least 6 months – I approached the pen and pad with such greater appreciation that Sunday.  I wrote very slowly, consciously, appreciating the stroke of the pen and the freedom I had to write ideas on paper.

The general idea…Fast to Feast!  Deprive yourself a bit of what you’ve always had to grow in appreciation for that which you’ve always had.  Voluntary deprivation is a huge gift, largely because it will help you become more aware of so many other gifts!  It’s been said that we only appreciate something when it’s gone…so why not take something away on your own accord and start to appreciate it now?

Close your eyes for 3 seconds and walk.  You’ll be more grateful for your eyesight and ability to balance.

Drink only water for a day and eat only positive thoughts. You’ll be more grateful for the taste of earth-grown food.

Sit still and stare at a single point for 5 minutes.  You’ll be more grateful for your ability and freedom to move and look around at the wonder and beauty which is in front of you Here, Now, and Forever!

 

Hallelujah 🙂