The really WISE ONE learns from the experience of others. Because really, experience is experience – we’re all humans experiencing – so what one experiences, in some way, we all experiences. And especially if we listen closely and open our hearts and minds to receiving knowledge and understanding, we can derive so much insight just by listening to the story of another.
So then, thinking about what life is all about, it might just be to experience! Experience new things, and if you consider that we’re all ultimately searching for the best way to live and be in each and every present moment, then the more we experience newness, share our experience, and vicariously experience and learn through others, the more we collectively move towards discovering that ultimately wonderful way of being in the Here & Now.
Let’s say we’re on that quest for Unconditional Happiness, or maybe quest to know God, to know the Truth, to be totally free and connected and One with the Source of Life.
I think it’s safe to assume we’ve all experienced moments where we’ve felt pain and suffering, and also moments where we’ve felt intense joy and gratitude and love and abundance. Peaks and valleys. Ebbs and flows. We go up and down and roll with the punches and the pomegranates of life. Through the bad times, we grow in appreciation for the good times. The cold helps us be more grateful for the sun. Would we really our health if we were never ill? We learn through dichotomies and through extreme experiences. In so many ways, as strange as it may sound, I think there’s a chance that the greater you suffer, the more bliss you also allow yourself to experience. Yet I don’t think that has to be the case. Or rather, we can vicariously suffer through the experience of another, voluntarily go into that space that might not be the most inviting but is ultimately for the greater good, and open ourselves to empathizing with pain and suffering. Especially when we go into that space voluntarily, we’re so empowered, because we can also come out of it voluntarily at any time. And whenever we do relieve ourselves of the pain or suffering, we appreciate so much more What Is, even if before it was just another day, after experiencing a bit of suffering and freeing yourself from that suffering, another day turns into a wonderful day, turns into a gift of the highest order, it turns into something you’re so grateful for.
I know a common meditative practice is to meditate on the suffering of the world, and then also to replace that suffering with Light and Love or whatever it may be, and from my personal experience with this practice, it’s a FRAKKIN’ POWERFUL PRACTICE. Yet, I don’t think it’s necessary to meditate on suffering to be grateful for what is or to be able to empathize with another. To empathize and connect, all we’ve really got to do is listen. If we listen wholeheartedly and give the gift of our undivided attention, we will hear what matter most. The Truth will be obvious.
Reflecting on my personal experience in life, I realize that I’ve been more-or-less at a standstill as far as contributing to the Greater Good goes. Moment-to-moment I think I do good to brighten people’s days and send out some good energy, but as far as long-term creative projects go, not too much has been happening. Over the past few days I’ve reconnected with the value of storytelling, and meanwhile I realize that a story can teach wonderful lessons, but what teaches even better than a great story is an example, a model worthy of emulation. So more than the words we speak, it’s about the actions we take on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis.
Ever since the Street Retreat in the summer of 2012, I’ve been all caught up in sharing the story, in someone sharing the awesome experience of Liberation that I felt during that week of voluntary homelessness, experiencing some bliss, which can be simply summed up in 4 words, “No money, no problems.” It was awesome! Undoubtedly a peak experience in the worldly existence of Brad Buechner. There are lots of lessons that I could extract from that week of living, and there are other peak experiences too that I am confident are with valuable ideas to help people live more wonderful lives. Similarly, I’ve experienced a good amount of pain and suffering, and those experiences are also filled with an abundance of opportunities for learning and growth. By sharing these experiences, I allow another to learn from me without having to experience the pain themselves. Or at least, perhaps by a story of pain, you experience a bit of pain yourself, but ultimately it’s voluntarily – your choice – and you come out of it soon enough or whenever you’d like, so you’re much more “in control” than if you were experiencing the event directly yourself.
By reading the stories of others, we can learn from their experience and possibly not make the same mistakes or fail in the same ways that they did. Of course, when we do fail and make mistakes, I’m a firm believe that it all happens for good, that God is Infinitely Good, and so these failures and mistakes are really delusions we simply label that way as a result of our smaller-self perspective. When seen from a higher perspective, we can see that no matter what, it’s all for good 🙂 So whether you learn from the experiences or if reading about an experience compels you to explore in that direction and you experience similar pain and suffering as a result, then that’s for good too. And I think in so many ways, we’ll continue to experience pain and suffering over and over again until ultimately we realize that we don’t have to experience that if we don’t want to. It’s our choice. We can practice the wisdom of our lives or we can makes the same mistakes over again. It’s up to us.
Meanwhile, in an organized way, I feel compelled to share some of the peaks and valleys of life for me thus far on planet earth so that you might benefit from it, and I’ll probably benefit abundantly from it too. Because as I said before, more than telling any story, it’s about living the truth of what you supposedly learned from it. So by recounting some of these awesome events of life, ideally I’ll reconnect more with the wisdom of the experience and be able to live more fully in it’s light so that I may truly learn from it – learning fundamentally evinced as behavioral change.
So forth and so on, therefore because and however nonetheless…without further adieu 😉 Here’s a working list of some of the stories to follow:
1. Street Retreat: Material Liberation, Trusting in God / Goodness / Conscience, Seeing Beauty in Nature, Going Slowly, Being Grateful, The Power of Purity and Meditating in Times Square, Celebrating Birthdays, Just Giving
2. A Week of Blindness: Discovering Hidden Senses, Appreciating the Gift of Sight, Tasting Food in a Whole New Way, Hearing the Density of Objects, Hooray for Classical Music
3. A Week of Water Fasting: Food Awareness, Smells!, Witnessing the Food-Cultural Flow
4. A Month of Mindful Eating: The Interconnectedness of Food is Absolutely Amazing, So Grateful!, Seeing the Sun in Food and in All Things, Seeing with Storytelling Eyes / Origin Seeing
5. Being at Home, Experiencing Love and Safety and Abundance, Singing and Tears and Amaranth
6. Veggie Sub Abundance…the value of collective group thought and the Mastermind Alliance. Manifesting.
7. Being in the Spiritual Community of Yogaville / Satchidananda Ashram. Lifted up by the Peer Group
8. Silent Retreat at the Abbey: writing to God, opening to God. Asking questions and receiving answers.
9. The beeping watch every 15 minutes, then every 12, and every 7, what is worth thinking about every 7 minutes? The Peace in God, Love and Gratitude, Compassion and Reverence, Peace and Joy, Unity and Oneness, Hallelujah, Amen, Lightness and Ease, Harmony and Grace, Self-knowledge and Self-Mastery, Abundance and Prosperity, Success and Fulfillment, Light, Spirit. Breathing into the heart, the spine, and the 3rd eye.
10. Playing chants in Yoga class…connecting with the teachings on a deeper level and sharing the history with the students, thanks to Jay Guru.
11. Discovering that the Moment is your Guru. A weekend retreat at Guru Nayan’s. If you let someone be the Guru, they will be the Guru, even if they don’t know it.
12. Reading a book on Gandhi and the discovery of the Ascetic Ideal. (The Best Things in Life are Free, the Treasures in Heaven)
13. Baccalaureate Speech by the CEO of Habitat for Humanity: Who do you let influence you? How do you define rich? What’s uniquely you?
1. Near-Death-Experience: Swimming across a lake in Thailand…so grateful for life! Risk Assessment helps. So does Humility. And listening to people who know.
2. Near-Death-Experience: Sauna Overdose . Listen to the body. “If you feel lightheaded, get out.” The body knows. And when you get out, no need to rush. Go slowly. Rest.
3. Near-Death-Experience: Cheese overdose. Ah…hahaha. Oh man so glad the body knows to throw things up. Allowing food and form to be…detaching from a desire to ‘finish’ as if that’s doing a significant service. Most definitely still working on learning this lesson.
4. Bike Accident, Sprained Wrist, Road Rash, saying “Thank You” and being grateful for Life and putting other people first.
5. Realizing the value of the Commandment ‘do not steal’ and being on death’s doorstep. Then death transforms into an Angel. Hell to Heaven, The Angel of Death, and the Guru.
6. The passing of Derek Palme, knowing that I could have said something to him. Silly social norms used as an excuse for speaking up and connecting with a fellow human being. Oh how these fabricated hierarchies and thin-air institutions can deter us from trusting our heart, intuition, and conscience.
7. Aye…girls. Not knowing what to say, wanting something other than the now, anxious over waiting for a response to a text, silly things that happens when you’re in love, or maybe it’s in lust. Who knows.
Well then, since more peaks than valleys came to mind, I guess that means I’ve lived a pretty good life thus far. Interestingly enough, I realize that many of my peaks were actually experiences of voluntary deprivation, that if they were non-voluntary experiences, would have probably SUCKED, abundantly 😉 Like, going for food without a week, not by choice…wow that would be like who knows what. Or being homeless for a week, not by choice…a much different experiences. By voluntarily going into some of these experiences that might commonly be perceived as frightening or at the very least, unwanted circumstances, I freed myself from the fear of them. And actually, I realize there is still a bit of fear because I didn’t experience those conditions authentically (as in I knew I had a home to go to and I knew I could have food if I wanted it), and this leads me to slightly desire an experience where there’s even less control more letting go and surrendering. Which is why I’m thinking a walk across the country would be totally awesome. Nothing but clothes on the back, and maybe a water bottle? But then again, even with the water bottle, God most definitely provides. And perhaps that’s the central teaching of all experience is that God provides, God is Good, and the more and more we experience and place our experience in the context of God, we realize it’s all for good, and we have nothing to fear! Fearlessness…there’s an ideal worth pursuing 🙂
As Steve Pavlina Guru say, “Whatever I fear, I must face.”