Health is Wealth, and Health is Free!

Om Om Om!

The intention for these words is to serve the Highest Good.  Whatever happens…

 

After graduating college, I intentionally chose to live kind of a nomadic/vagabond lifestyle.  At the time, I knew I valued spiritual truth and seeking the truth directly, and I didn’t see value in playing the money-making game of the world.  My day-to-day routine consisted of meditation, hatha yoga, spiritual study, writing, walking, singing/chanting, and doing service.  It was a pretty great time.

Looking back at that time of my life, which lasted for about two years, my #1 priority was Peace.  Moment-to-moment, listening within, the best choice reveals itself to remain connected with Peace.

Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” inspired me to prioritize my own sense of Peace above all else, because that is something I’d like to see everyone in the world do.  I think if we all prioritized our own Peace above all else, the people of this planet would generally be…more peaceful!

The vagabond jaunt was an incredibly liberating and enjoyable period of my life.  I felt totally aligned with positive values and what I would consider to be God’s Will.  The foundation for much of my day-to-day decision making came from the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew.  It is pure gold.

What is really awesome about a lifestyle that prioritizes Peace, Love, God, Truth, or whatever you may call it – is that it also – at least in my situation – led to great happiness and health.

It is hard to stay peaceful without staying healthy, and really just keeping the body healthy is itself a great gift to humanity and a way of honoring this sacred gift of life.

Without health – what do we have?  Health is a powerful foundation for any progress in human life.  Even so, health can not only be the foundation, but it can be the whole journey itself.  Health alone can be the Highest – it just depends how health is defined.  Health, for some people, means feeling perfectly Peaceful, it means radiating a universal Love, it means being fearless.  To me, fearlessness and radiating Love and Peace is a beautiful way to divine health – that is Health which is no different from the great Spiritual Goal and potential of human life.

Another great thing about Health is that the foundations of good health are actually given to us freely at birth.  There is no need to eat pounds of kale and blueberries and protein shakes to feel optimally healthy.  There is no need to go to the gym 5x a week and run 10 miles and bench press 300 pounds. The beautiful thing about health is that it is divinely simple if we’d like it to be.

Here are 12 keys to real Health that are all free (as far as I know):

  • Fasting.  That’s right – not eating food is actually very healthy!  Give the body and mind time to rest.  Digestive rest is a key to great health.  Fasting is a topic worth researching until you’ve convinced yourself it is worth while.  Fasting also occurs in what seems like most of the major religions.  It is not a coincidence that great spiritual teachers recommend fasting.  Not only is it healthy for the body and mind, but it also is healthy for the soul and leads to freedom.
  • Real or fake smiling and laughing.  I love going for a walk and intentionally laughing with no real “object to laugh at” in focus – suddenly everything becomes funny – or at least – it is funny to know there is some human walking around laughing at nothing.
  • Thinking positive thoughts/meditation.  Send silent blessings to people.  Stop thinking about petty things and the concerns of your body and mind.  Focus the great power of thought on giving love to everyone and everything around you.  Radiate the Love and Peace!  Wake up to the Divine Presence 🙂
  • Hatha Yoga / Stretching.  Taking a yoga class may cost a few dollars, but you can also look up yoga postures on the internet at your local library.  Stretching the body is incredibly healthy and you will feel great after it.  Don’t forget to relax at the end of a good session of hatha yoga/stretching!  Feel the energy flowing…it is great!  It is very good preparation for meditation, too.
  • Deep breathing.  A natural high is available to us all if we practice deep breathing for a few minutes.  It feels great and calms the mind.  It also helps relieve tension.
  • Spiritual Study / Reading uplifting material.  Reading positive literature is a way to fill the mind with positive thoughts, and then when you’re finished your thoughts are more likely to return back to the uplifting material you read, rather than random things you have otherwise heard from the TV.
  • Walking.  As Swami Vivekananda says, “Walk the body.”  10,000 steps a day for happiness!  Or, mentally, every step is peace. Walking is a great way to move the body, it is gentle, and an opportunity to practice meditation and concentrating the mind with every step you take.
  • Hugging Trees – Hugs are so healthy!  And trees are always open to receiving a hug. Release the endorphins!  Tell the trees how much you love them and how grateful you are for them and acknowledge their dedicated to service to humanity, helping all the little humans breathe.  They are so kind and generous!
  • Journaling / Reflecting on the day.  Think about your day.   What went well?  What was your peak experience of the day?  What were the moments when you felt closest to God / Love / Peace?
  • Pray.  Give thanks for the day!  Give thanks for Life!  Give thanks for the Moment!  Forgive those who hurt you.  Forgive everyone and everything!  Ask for what you need most.   Open the heart and listen deeply.  My favorite acronym for PRAY: Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield. (one of the very few things from Sunday School that I remember :-))
  • Squats / Pushups.  Sure – build a bit of muscle – why not?  Just keep it moderate.  And don’t look in the mirror too much 😉
  • Listen to the sounds of nature.  Just listen.  What is the loudest thing you hear?  2nd loudest?  Keep listening…3rd loudest?  Listen until the next loudest thing you hear is  your breathing.  Then see if you can hear the heart beat.  That thing is going all the time! Amazing.

As you can see, there are an abundance of activities you can spend your precious time on each day to enhance your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and wellbeing.  Health is your birthright!  Birthright…aka at birth you are given everything you need to take care of your health.  Your health is not dependent on anything.  You have all you need – right now! – for perfect health, peace, and happiness.

As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Breathe, smile, and go slowly.”

“Give, give, give!” – Sadhu Vaswani

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

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Fulfilling Desires, Honoring Your Truth, Responsibility, Accountability

May these words serve the Highest!  I dedicate and devote this all to Thee, O Lord.  Amen.

 

Truth sets us free, hence accountability is powerful.

Tell someone you’re going to do something, and the chances of you doing it increase.

We inherently value the truth, at least to some degree, and we know the weakness in dishonesty and falsehood, so there is an intrinsic drive for us to align with the truth. (The above sentence is spur-of-the-moment philosophy from me and may or may not be true. :-))

Respect.  Accountability.  The two go hand in hand.  If we have respect for ourselves and the person/people who is/are holding us accountable, then we will likely honor our commitment.  If we lack respect for ourselves or for our accountability partner, or if we lack respect for the truth of as a whole, the chances of our verbal commitment leading to external change is miniscule.

Hence, one of the first steps to change is to really want to change.  As Brian Tracy says, the only question you will ever have to ask about anything is – how badly do you want it?  If you want something badly enough, you will do what’s necessary.  If you’re only halfhearted about wanting something, then you probably won’t take the necessary action to get it.  So, with whatever you are seeking, with whatever you want, how badly do you want it?  What price are you willing to pay?  What are you willing to give up to have what you want?  What sacrifices are you willing to make?  What will you give to get what you want?

Okay then…a summary the major keys to making positive change:

  1. Want it really badly.  Get clear intellectually with all the benefits that will come to you by making the change.  Get clear how it will benefit you in the short-term and especially in the long-term, and maybe even how will serve your family and friends and the whole creation. The more benefits that you are aware of, the greater incentive you provide to that trickiest part of yourself to convince – the pesky little ego that identifies with the body and mind.  Alas, even the ego can be persuaded to agree to change if it is given enough solid reasons.
  2. Give your word to someone that you are committing to the change.  Even, make it a public declaration – like open a blog and declare it to the world.  That has worked very well for me with a few 30 day challenges.  If not on a blog, verbalize the commitment to a friend, and even say you’ll give them $10 or $100 or $500 or whatever would be painful yet not devastating to lose if you, for some reason, break your word.  The financial aspect is just another way to get the ego on board…because the ego doesn’t want to lose it’s money!  So provide it with some more good incentives if needed.

 

Two points to positive change. That’s not too many!  Great. Time to make some changes.

I will say, that in the past I developed some habits, like strength training exercise, for instance, and within the past few years felt a shift in values and let that habit go in place of more yogic exercises.  Within the past month, though, I’ve reconnected with the strength training because my understanding is currently at a place where it seems like it is a beneficial practice to generally increase energy levels and quality of wellbeing – so I am back on board with doing pushups, pull-ups, squats, fun stuff!  Anyway, the point here is that to restart this exercise habit did not require any accountability with another person.  Ultimately, the accountability comes down to an internal agreement with ourselves.  If we strongly believe something is good for us, we will do it, and when we don’t do it we might even beat ourselves up about it.  This is a key point on accountability….

Ultimate Accountability!  Yes, whether you have a physical accountability partner who is present as another human being or if you are just holding yourself accountability to your highest standard, realize that the Supreme is always present and knows.  So, we may be able to lie to our accountability partner or even lie to ourselves, but sooner or later – what goes around comes around; as we sow, so shall we reap.  We are held accountable by the Most High – and this is actually a very good thing!  This means we need not worry about things like “justice” on the earth plane – for God’s justice is supreme. From God’s perspective, everything makes perfect sense and is as it should be – even poverty, disease, old age, crime, etc.  Everything serves its purpose.  So there is nothing for us to worry about and nothing for us to fear.  God takes care of balancing all scales of good acts and bad acts.  So, by all means, do good acts!  Think good thoughts!  And, if at some point you find that some wrong has been done unto you, trust that you probably did a similar wrong to someone in the past.  Everything balances.

Years ago during my “no-money-no-problems” days, I ate a bunch of cookies right before bed and felt really bad about it. They were “free” cookies so pretty hard to resist (If only I remembered my economics professor teach me that there is no such thing as a free lunch).  Anyway, I remember having thoughts like, “This is harming my physical body, this is like poison…I probably should not be doing this.”  During this period of my life, I was beginning to wake up to an idea of Cosmic Responsibility and Accountability, and so going to sleep I felt like I dishonored that awareness – that my actions ripple out and impact the entire creation.  Sure enough, that night while sleeping I had a dream about a friend being injured and needing care.  This friend, by the way, was actually more like my one single “enemy” on earth, but at the time actually I probably hadn’t thought about him for a year at least…but let’s just say we did not get along and had some bad moments between us – so in the dream I’m caring for him at his house.  When I woke up in the morning, I had a phone message from my dad saying that this very same “friend” was in the hospital.  Needless to say, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat responsible for the harm that came unto him.  As I harmed my own human, so did I then become aware of another human who was harmed.

To think on Jesus’ words, “Whatever you have done unto the least of them, you have done unto me.”  Whatever we do to anyone or anything, we are really doing to Jesus.  Is that what that means?  There is no separation.  God is not swiss cheese and we are the holes!  Rather, God is it all, so we cannot harm one without harming all, and we cannot help one without helping all.  Every moment counts, and every moment contains within it the seed of abundant possibility.  How we utilize these sacred moments is up to us.  May we remember our power and potential and cherish this gift!

Another story on accountability and habits….

Years back, I think I announced on this blog that I was going to do a 30 day challenge of eating only hemp seeds and apricots and vitamins.  Sounds awesome, right? 😉

Anyway, I ended up failing the challenge after about a week, and I remember on the day that I failed the challenge, Nelson Mandela died.

Let me see if I can remember how I processed that “coincidence.”  At the time, “Oneness” and interconnectedness were big themes in my life, along with the sense of Cosmic Responsibility, so I definitely didn’t dismiss the events as completely unrelated.  Not to say that Nelson Mandela wouldn’t have died that day anyway, but who knows.  Maybe, if he did die that day and I had not failed at the challenge (which was the equivalent of breaking the truth of my word) – then I might not have heard about it in the news – or many other scenarios could have unfolded differently.

I failed another similar 30 day challenge, something austere with food, and I remember the same day that I failed the challenge the main actor from the Need for Speed movie series died…or what was that movie series…Fast and the Furious!  So, he passed the same day.   And that day I then remembered too the Nelson Mandela event, and that was a big wake up call for me to be more serious with my word and just throw it out whimsically and willing to break it for no good reason.

So, I don’t think anyone on the planet would legitimately say that I am to blame for either of those people’s deaths, but the point is that whatever we are aware of in our lives has the capacity to serve us and to wake us up to a higher reality.  Especially in moments of failure, even if it is failure in not honoring the truth of our word (which – spiritually – might actually be considered a big failure) – we can embrace the world and whatever we are aware of as an awesome alarm clock.

Whatever we are, with these human vessels and thoughts and such – we are powerful.  As Dr. Hawkins says, “Thoughts are so powerful that if you continuously hold a thought it will manifest,”  – he then goes onto say, “Otherwise no one would become enlightened.”  So really, thoughts are incredibly powerful. And every thought counts!

The more loving and peaceful our thoughts, the more loving and peaceful our worlds become.  Or, rather, the more we wake up to the presence of Love and Peace in our life.

So what do you want?  Really?  If you want Love and Peace, think about it.

Even if you want money, think about the spiritual aspect of the money and what it really represents.  The unseen is more powerful than the seen, so instead of thinking about money, think about what money really represents – abundance of prosperity, safety and security, freedom to explore and enjoy, no limits, boundless!  Connect with the spiritual essence of what it would be like to have billions of dollars and think about that, feel that.

Whatever you want, think about it.

And, as Sri Swami Satchidananda says, “Want well.”

Want what is good for everyone and everything.  We must learn to want well!  Not just for ourselves, but for all.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

 

 

 

The Intention is to Serve the Highest

Hallelujah 🙂

The intention of these words and of this life is to serve the Highest Good, to serve Love and Peace, to serve the Lord!  From my understanding, the Highest Good and Love and Peace and God are really all one in the same, but it is helpful just to list them out anyway.

So…may these words be of maximum value to humanity, to all life, to All That Is.  Now let’s see what comes out!

Breathe.  Breathe. Breathe.  If you’re looking to feel really good on a physical level, just take deep breathes for a minute or two.  You will literally start to feel a buzz.  To think, we spend so much time searching for quick pick-me-ups in the world through drugs and alcohol and sex or music and movies or whatever it is, yet all this while we have the incredibly powerful gift of the breathe with us at all times.

Another great feel good trick…go hug a tree.  You may want to do this in private until you are comfortable with it, but ultimately you will probably come to a point where you don’t care if anyone sees you or not, in fact you might even want people to see you because you know you’re setting such a great example that you’d be happy if people followed in your footsteps.

As much as taking deep breathes and hugging a tree alone will increase your sense of wellbeing, there is a way to supercharge either of those activities.  The key is the internal landscape.  Thinking, “In,” as you breathe is great, and “Out,” as you breathe out – a solid choice of thoughts!  Thinking “In and Out” is simple and based on the truth, and definitely a great practice for being present.  Just so, you could think, while hugging the tree, “I am hugging a tree.”  Or, take the deep breathes while hugging the tree, thinking, “As I breathe in, I am hugging the tree; as I breathe out, I am hugging the tree.”  Being totally present with the activity is a great way enhance the benefits.

Another mental route to take while either taking deep breathes is to think absurdly positive thoughts.  When taking deep breathes, I currently prefer, “Infinite Love, Infinite Peace.”  Maybe that doesn’t resonate with you, though, and by all means feel to think about whatever resonates with you most.  In general, consider the saying, “As you think, so you become,” or to put it another way, “We become what we think about.”  So as you take deep breathes, it is a perfect opportunity to think about whatever you’d like to become.  Abundance, Peaceful, Healthy, Happy…whatever it is you seek, think about it more!   Especially when you take those deep breathes.

When hugging trees, my current preferred mental route to take is to utilize the Buddhist practice of metta, or Loving Kindness meditation.  Traditionally, the practice starts by essentially prayer over oneself, then saying those same prayers for another person, a dear friend, a stranger, then even an enemy, and for the entire creation.  When hugging a tree, though, I focus just on sending the prayers (absurdly positive thoughts/affirmations) to the tree.  I will say things mentally to the tree like, “You are filled with loving kindness.  You are safe, supported, and loved.  You are perfect in every way.  You are a wonderful servant.  You are Divine.  You are Love.  You are God’s Presence.”  Essentially, the affirmations I say to the tree are also affirmations I’d like to be more aware of about myself and about all Creation.

The gist of it is…every moment is an opportunity offer a prayer or loving, kind thoughts to others, even inanimate objects.  Everything is worthy of Love!  And, the more you give Love, the more you receive Love.  The justice of the universe is guaranteed.  We can only give what we have, and whatever we give comes back to us.  What we sow, we reap.

That being said, there is a swami at Satchidananda Ashram who loves to ask people, “Okay – let’s pretend this is the last time we ever get to talk to each other.  One of us might die tonight. Who knows!  So that being said, what are your last words going to be?”

I’ve heard her play this game and answer the question more than once, but the only answer of hers that I remember right now is, “Think good thoughts.”

Think good thoughts and the rest will follow.  The words and the actions will follow.

Whatever change you want to see in the world, you must first be that change yourself.  It begins with the quality of the thoughts.

Purify the mind, purify the heart – then you shall see God.  What more is there?

While writing these words and taking lots of deep breathes, the feelings of Love are a bit strong right now, and no more words seem necessary.

That being said, remember that one quality of God that all the major religions seems to agree on is omnipresence – everywhere and always present.  That means, in anyone or anything, we can be aware of the presence of God, for certainly God is here and there and everywhere.  So really, being omnipresent, we need not even say that God is this or that, but simply – God is.

God is!  Thou art!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

 

What are you most proud of?

Om Om Om!  Time to use the blog as a public confession forum and journal 🙂

What have been some of your greatest achievements in life?  Some of your  proudest accomplishments from the past?

  • Eh…I don’t really want to re-hash the entire past right now…let’s just say I am happy with the life experiments I’ve done in pursuit of spiritual knowledge and truth (e.g. intentional homelessness, fasting, blindness, silence, living without money for 6 months, giving away my car).  I’m also happy to have read the books that I have.

What are situations in your life you are very happy about currently?

  • I’m happy with my current level of spiritual understanding.  I’m happy that I don’t feel a compulsion to voraciously read more and more books, but feel content with the books I have read and just would like to continue to go deeper with that baseline of knowledge now.
  • I’m happy I value peace, love, simplicity, kindness, truth, gentleness, mindfulness, generosity, spiritual truth, and service.
  • I’m happy I have just a few primary teachers/texts in my life right now that serve as the foundation for me going forward in life and progressing spiritually.
  • I’m happy that I appreciate the teachings of Jesus and read the Bible daily along with texts from other traditions as well.
  • I’m happy that I have returned to using a function on my watch so it beeps at me every 15 minutes during the day to remind me to do something (at the moment the ritual consists of deep breathing, doing a mini dance, and offering up a quick prayer and gratitude)
  • I’m happy I live in a supportive community of spiritual seekers and have an opportunity to serve the community and even enhance it if God Wills 🙂
  • I’m happy I have this opportunity to write and reflect right now!  This is a medium that has brought tremendous value to me in the past, and it is also fun to look back and see that thousands of people have visited this website over the years.
  • I’m happy I feel closely connected with God and relatively awake.
  • I’m happy I am at peace with the idea of death and do not have many desires when it comes to accomplishing things in the world.
  • I’m happy that I understand the value of being free from desires – “desirelessness is perfect bliss” – and someday soon hope to be with that awareness.

What have been some of your greatest shortcomings and failures?  What do you still sometimes regret or feel ashamed about?

  • I still seem to have a decent amount of bad dreams about high school and college.  There are some moments in college that I remember not feeling like I was in total integrity – like studying for a test by looking at last year’s tests.
  • If I was to die tomorrow, I may regret not having successfully expressed in an orderly way (i.e. book format) the greatest experiences of this life and lessons learned.  I generally feel pretty good about this, though, primarily because I have expressed a lot here on this blog, and I figure that if it God’s Will that whatever is here gets published or enhanced in any way, then someone will say something…or something will happen 😉
  • Here is a fun story I don’t think I’ve shared with anyone before, but just recently it has started to pop up in my consciousness from time to time.  Anyway, on the night of my 21st birthday, I was very drunk and went back to my dorm with a girl.  We proceeded to undress or whatever it is that college kids do…but anyway in the midst of this whole “getting it on” process, I fell asleep. I do remember a bit more graphic detail than that as far as the last thing I remember before falling asleep, but that can be saved for a movie.  Let’s just say…God bless that girl and…I forgive myself! 😉
  • In my most recent relationship, which is currently “on the fritz,” I don’t think I’ve been the greatest partner, primarily not by living up to my highest standard…and this is probably the most generalized statement that my guess is most everyone can relate to – and this ripples out to all areas of life but seems to hit most home for me in partnership.  Ideally, in a relationship the two draw out the best in each other, and both are inspired to become better and live up to their awesome potentially, but as of late in the relationship I’ve been in – it seems like we’ve both been dragging each other down, not making each other feel good, being hard on each other, etc.  So…I don’t feel great about how I let things deteriorate.

Even so, what do you continue to fail at, over and over again, as though you are really struggling to learn the lesson and don’t want to learn it?

  • Ah yes, the classic lesson I still have yet to learn well or really put into practice.  I’d say I’d have to go with two of the most basic primal habits of eating and sleeping.  Part of me really admires the idea of waking up at 4 am to meditate, and yet I’m no where close to that currently and rarely have I ever done it.  Part of me thinks I might take another birth just so I can experience the benefits of 4 am meditation, but I guess the ideal outcome would either be to totally surrender that desire, or better yet just to fulfill it and embrace it.
  • But let’s be real – 4 am wake up is pretty epic no matter who you are – so I’m not really too embarrassed about that.  I will confess though that I (this human animal) historically has a track record of greediness, gluttony, over-indulgence when it comes to eating – especially if no one is around, and especially if it is “expired” food (i.e. the perfect excuse to eat anything – don’t let it go to waste, right? Tsk, tsk, sneaky ego).  Not only is there a regular over-indulgence, but really the way that it looks is also probably pretty savage and most definitely is not setting a good example for anyone.  It’s like the animal gets so enamored with the sense of taste that it loses all sense of anything else and is totally one-pointed with devouring food.  I’d imagine that if someone was to watch me (this human pet ;-)) eat sometimes, they’d think that I think that I’m on the verge of death, and if I don’t devour food very quickly then I’m doomed for sure.  So anyway…mindfulness.  Mindfulness is beautiful.  And I would say I’m pretty good about being mindful around people – but by myself…be careful!  Sometimes I’m good by myself too, but anyway – who knows where this is going!

What can you do to feel better about those situations that you still sometimes feel guilty, regretful, or ashamed bout?

  • Sometimes I think the answer is a firm resolution to be better.
  • Sometimes I think the answer is to surrender all the thoughts!  Even the thoughts that says some behavior is good and some behavior is bad – let them all go.  It is giving too much value and attention to the thoughts that leads to acting on them, so if really I honor the thoughts as worth nothing more than banana peels that have no real value, then I’ll likely be free from them.  Surrendering any projection of value onto thoughts is a pretty serious and major spiritual feat – and I’m not really sure how close I am to ‘achieving’ that. But it would be cool!  To remain the eternal witness, watching the thoughts just like watching the world – all passing phenomena in the Divine Comedy.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

 

More true confessions…

One time I ate so much cheese (note: it was going to be thrown away…lol God help the ego and its “rationalizations”) that I went to sleep that night and basically had a dream that I was going to die.  I remember seeing a white light and going toward that light in the dream and then hearing a voice that said, “Rest, my child.  All is forgiven.”  Shortly after that, I woke up, went to the bathroom, and threw up.  I didn’t die!

Just tonight, I think I probably ate over 100 almonds.  That may or may not sound like a lot, but given that an Ayurveda expert recommended to only eat 5 almonds at a time, I don’t have the greatest feeling about my excessive indulgence in almonds tonight.  I don’t think this human will die tonight…but in some sense I do feel like there is an increased possibility of it.

So then, what really matters?

If death comes tonight, what is there to share?

Firstly, I’m sorry!  I think if I die tonight, at this point I feel I have a clear consciousness and probably will be thinking good thoughts and have good vibes on the way out, which means I’ll probably get to go some place sweet!  On the other hand, I’d feel sorry for family and friends who would be shocked by a seemingly early passing.  Alas, scriptures says that the time of death is already determined at birth, which means that if it is my time to go, it is my time to go.  Be it by almonds or gunshot! This isn’t too say to go intentionally pushing the limit and not to care of yourself, but referring this scriptural teaching at least helps with faith in God and trusting in What Is.  Besides, human death is far from the worst thing.

Okay then – so what else matters?  Well – if I was to give one piece of advice to the whole world – or my last words – so to speak – it would probably be something like, “Read the Sermon on the Mount and seek the truth of those teachings directly via your own experience.”  As the Buddha said, “Put no head above your own.”  Seek the truth directly!  We don’t need to rest on scriptural testimony, but rather we can confirm scriptural testimony via our direct experience.  That is the great blessing!  At that point, once we confirm spiritual truth via our own experience, we basically go beyond faith and instead just rest in a Knowing.  Like the question, “Do you believe in God?”  Doesn’t really have much relevance for me because my experience has taken me far beyond a belief.  Not that I live in a fully realized state of God-Consciousness, but underlying whatever ego drama I may be experiencing at any time, there is a Peace that is the grace of God.

So maybe then, I would advise people to go beyond belief.  But, does scripture say that?  God forgive me if my last words are not in total harmony with scripture 😉  Let’s see…scripture says…”Store up treasures in heaven, not on earth.”  Ah yes, one of my favorite teachings.  Through direct experience, then, discover for yourself that nothing on the earth is valuable, but what is eternally valuable is the treasure in heaven, the treasure of a relationship with God, with Peace, with Love, with your True Self, that is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient.

Value your own Peace above all else!  Let nothing disturb your peace.  If something does disturb your peace, do whatever you can to reconnect with that sense of peace.  Hold to it.  It is more valuable than anything else in the world.  And holding to that peace is also the greatest service you can render.  Holding to peace, abiding in Peace is spiritual work, and spiritual work serves mankind better than all kinds of worldly work.  What really matters in the end is not what we have or what we do but who and what we have become.  What matters is the quality of our consciousness, not the quality of our car.  Better to be dirt poor and to have love in your heart than to be a millionaire and hate the Red Sox.

What is the purpose of this human life?  Love. Love. Love.

Love one. Love all.  Love even your trash can!  Love your socks and shoes!  At some point, maybe realize that they are not really your socks and shoes, but truly they belong to God, just as your human vessel belongs to God.  It is on loan to you.  Treat it well.  Love it and care for it like you would a lovable pet.  Treat it gently.  Nourish it with healthy food, happy company, and holy books.

Remember the Spirit.  Be aware of the Unseen.

Truly, these near death experiences are a blessing.  You might say I’m just being a huge drama queen thinking that eating 100 almonds is a near death experience, but really I have no idea.  How the body works and how it processes food is a totally mystery to me, and as far as I know tonight very well be the last night of life with this body.  And if it is, Hallelujah!  If not, Hallelujah!  It is all a blessing.  Beauty abounds.  Peace is permanently present.  Love is with us.

Now I wonder – if by God’s Grace I do live another day – what will be different?  How will this experience have changed me for the better?

Hopefully I will think less.  Really.  Thinking is so overrated. Being is so much more easeful and peaceful.  Just to be with the present is so full and beautiful and complete already.  Even thinking of Peace is a little overrated, but still I’d say better than almost all other thoughts.  Yet, better than all the thoughts is going beyond the thoughts, to that awareness of pure witnessing and observing, identifying with the One and All – present to the Reality of God – Love and Peace – and nothing else.  No thoughts necessary with an awareness like that!

Alas, human life is tough!  We have inspiring moments in our lives like near death experiences or whatever they may be – and then we go back to the same old same old.  Ignorance is what we all suffer from.  Hence, patience is necessary.  Be vigilant always!  To have patience and remember the ignorance of the ego allows for acceptance and compassion in all circumstances.  The other day, a woman I help care for was overfeeding her dog, and I thought about saying something to her, and also internally condemned her for it, and then only later did it so clearly shine forth that she is ignorant and also innocent.  She literally has dementia, so her memory is not really there to remember if she fed the dog or not.  But anyway, dementia or not, we are all ignorant and innocent.  Just because we have big adult bodies does not mean we are really any different than the children.  We have a little more life experience and more developed intellects, but in the grand scheme of things – we all are very close to knowing nothing at all.  We are all much closer to knowing nothing than we are to knowing anything.  Ignorance is really a beautiful thing.

Okay – so much for the last words!

Did I mention the greatest evolutionary tool of our generation?  The TimeX Expedition watch with a hydration alarm that can consistently beep/vibrate every 15 minutes or however long you set the interval for – throughout the day!  Truly,  I think a tool like this has massive potential.  Massive potential to elevate consciousness, to align us all more with what we truly value and care about.  Then again, this is probably day 3 of me using the feature every 15 minutes – aside from when I used it some years back consistently for a few months – and clearly it didn’t stop me from over-indulging with almonds…so maybe I need a new ritual for it, or more of a wake-up call, or something!  Maybe, ultimately, eating all those almonds was a great gift, and perhaps this blog post right now is the very best thing I can give to humanity, and without the near death experience none of this would have come out – so we can see that truly – it is all for good!  All things work together for the good.  Even if death comes, which it will at some point anyway, it is all for good.

I could probably write a good poem about almonds and cheese nearly killing me…how many times will I have to almost die before I stop overdoing it?  The thing is…I really do love a good story, and few stories are better than the ones that are close to death.  Then again, if most people heard that I almost died from eating too many almonds, they probably wouldn’t believe it, and even if they did – it is a pretty pathetic way to die.  Haha that would be a sad way to die.  Anyway – at least these got out!  And now a new branch of AA can form – Almonds Anonymous – or maybe this would just fall under the traditional Overeaters Anonymous….I accept that I eat more than I need…I accept that the taste buds really enjoy it…I accept that it is not healthy for the body…I accept that it is childish, immature behavior…I accept that it is gluttonous and that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins…I accept that life is about more than eating almonds…I accept that I have greater service to render than to finish a whole bag of almonds…I accept that they are not even my almonds, but God’s almonds…I accept that Gandhi would probably not approve, and yet all the great sages and saints would probably forgive me and laugh it off with me, laughing at the silly, tenacious ego…ok then….what’s the next step in AA?  I admit I have a problem!  Yes, which is why very common spiritual advice is to get in the good company!  If you are in the good company, then you are not in the bad company, which could also just be you and your ego.

By this point, if anyone has read this far into the blog, I commend you, and I don’t know if you are interested or bored or what but either way – I love you!  Thank you for reading and caring.  I hope these words benefit every part of you being – especially the Heart and Soul!

Time to once again pretend like I’m about to die (who knows!) and close with some last words…

Dear Lord,

All Praise be to Thee, O Lord, Most High!  I devote my life to Thee, O Lord.  I ask to be thy servant.  Whatever is Thy Will, O Lord, I surrender.  Amen!

Only 6 Months Left to Live

Ahh…so refreshing 🙂

Hallelujah!

What if the doctor told you had only 6 months left to live? How would you live your life?

What would you do?  Where would you go?  Who would you go and see?  What would you do on a daily basis? What would you commit the rest of your life to?  How would you utilize your remaining time?  What would really matter to you then that doesn’t matter to you now?  And what matters to you now that wouldn’t matter to you then?

What would you stop doing?  What would you start doing?  What would you do more of?  What would you do less of?

How would you live out the remainder of your days?

And when your time finally comes and you leave the body, what would people say about you at your funeral?  What would you want to be said?  And how can you live now so that you ensure those words are said, not because you tell someone to say them, but because you lived them fully?

….

Nothing like some deep reflection and contemplation to gain (or regain) a wholesome, grounded perspective on life.

The truth is, none of know when our time is going to come.  Today very well might be our last day – who knows!  (Disclaimer: apparently the scriptures do say that the time of death is already pre-determined and set at birth, but how we die is not – so if one was really sincere and pure of heart, one could probably know the time of one’s death by using muscle testing, but alas – for the purposes of this – let us pretend that we cannot know when the time comes 🙂 – or at least that we do not know currently.)

Death is sneaky, is it not?  It pounces on so many unexpectedly, each day.  It lurks in the shadows behind the unaware.  But, to the awake – it sits peacefully around them – for the awake are not afraid of death – so death gives up the game of trying to scare them and becomes friendly toward them.

When we muster the courage to consciously face death and consider its implication, death becomes one of our greatest servants.  Living in the light of death is incredibly powerful to awaken us to a higher order of being.

If we walk into a store and consider we might die tomorrow, the chances of us being friendly and kind toward the people in the store increases dramatically.  If, on the other hand, we live in the ignorance of thinking we will live forever in this human form and that we are invulnerable to death, then we may forget other people are around us and instead live in the world of our own internal drama.

Generally, I prefer love as a motivator rather than fear, although if we let the fear of death, or rather the awareness of the possibility of death, motivate us, then at least that will help wake us up to the opportunity and gift of this lifetime.  Human birth is rare indeed, hence the Great Teachers like the Buddha urge us to make use of this lifetime and wake up to the Supreme Realization, the Ultimate Truth of Reality – or at least to pursue it to the very best of our ability!

It is easy to understand sense pleasures and the desire to spend an entire life eating cookies and cake, having sex or masturbating all the time, listening to music and watching movies non-stop.  Our primitive self understands the short-term, fleeting pleasure of life that come today and go tomorrow.  What is more difficult for us to understand is the Truth of Reality – that which is Permanent and Real.  The power of living in the context of death is that it may awaken us to the idea of living for the Permanent, rather than the impermanent.

The movie Groundhog Day comes to mind.  In that movie, the lead character basically receives a strange blessing/curse where he lives the same day over and over again.  Every morning he wakes up and it is Groundhog Day.  Eventually, he catches on to the idea that this situation might go on forever, so in many ways he realizes he is living in the midst of Eternity.  Initially, in his first few days/weeks of living the same day over and over again, he lives a self-centered, egoistic life.  He pursues his carnal pleasures and appetites.  He goes to a diner and orders a whole plate of donuts, and he attempts to sleep with various women.  He is focused on getting and gaining for himself.  Only gradually, as he lives the same day over and over again, does he realize that selfishly seeking pleasure and gain just for himself is not as rewarding or fulfilling as we might naturally think.  He discovers that there is actually a much greater fulfillment found in living to serve others.  He goes on to live his Groundhog Day focused on serving others, giving wherever he can, saving lives, catching people falling out of trees, bringing people coffee in the morning, entertaining people, and generally – loving people!  The great joys of Loving and Serving transform his life, for the best.  Finally, he lives what appears to be a perfectly selfless day, where he does nothing for himself but simply lives only to be of service.  He wakes up the next morning and it is no longer Groundhog Day, and he receives the great fortune of going on to live the next day and the rest of his life having learned one of the greatest lessons of all: “Joy in life comes from living for the welfare of all.” – Mahatma Gandhi

So, whether we feel like the man in Groundhog Day and think we might live forever, or if we live with the consideration that we might very well die today, tomorrow, or 6 months from now – we generally arrive at the same conclusion: Some things matter, and some things don’t.  When we live our life aligned with the things that truly matter, we experience great peace and joy, supreme satisfaction and fulfillment.  When we live our live serving the things that don’t matter and satisfying our short-term sense cravings and pleasures, we experience a momentary spike in enjoyment, but just as quickly as it came, so it goes.  The piece of cake only leaves us wanting more donuts and less fat on our bodies.  We can never win that way.

Don’t get me wrong – I think donuts are great and will happily eat one – especially if it is given to me as a gift.  The point is, what really matters?  Does satisfying the sense cravings matter, or does serving others?  What will make me happy not only in this moment, but also an hour from now, three hours from now, three weeks from now, three years from now, and for the rest of my life?  One of the best investments we can make is in developing a positive, generous, loving, grateful, and service-oriented attitude.  With an inclination to be of service wherever we go, wherever we are – we can live and be anywhere – freely and fearless.  In any moment, if we are willing to give of ourselves, to give of our very best, to give everything we have, what is there to fear?  Fear only arises when we are holding back, when we live in the illusion of separateness, when we think we can take our earthly treasures with us beyond the grave.   What is there to fear if we are loving fully and completely, giving without reserve, and holding nothing back?  If we are giving our best, and even if our best looks pathetic, we at least having nothing to regret.  If we live this moment to the fullest, we can live with peace in our hearts and die without regrets.

What would you regret if you died today?  Would you feel like you feel fulfilled in the service you rendered for humanity and God?  Would you be able to look back on your life with a sense of great peace in all that you did and how you develop a human being and spiritual being?  If not, what would you change about how you are living now so that you would feel better about the life you lived on your death bed?

Whenever we are feeling down about life, we can ask, “What is the worst that can happen?”  Even if the answer is, “Death,” what is the worst thing about death?  Did we somehow think we were going to avoid it forever?  Did we think that our human animal would be exempt from death?

Human life is a great gift, and yet death is not so bad either.  Death can serve us if we wake up to it.  Death is an incredible servant.  Being at Peace with death helps us to love life.  And, if we can be at peace with death, we can live in peace during our life.

Every moment is a gift.  Every moment contains the possibility of life or death.  There is no guarantee as far as the human can be aware of (except for the enlightened few!).

If we think to ourselves, “What would I do if I only had 6 months left to live?” and the answer comes that we would quit our job – why not quit the job now?  Why wait?

Why would we ever have a job in the first place if we don’t love and enjoy it?  Why would we ever subject ourselves to misery?  Did we forget that we are Children of God and worthy of all the very best that life has to offer?  Did we forget that God takes care of the birds, so why would we he not take care of us?

When we remember we are worthy of all the very best life has to offer, and as a rule we should live with joy and peace in our hearts as best we can, then we still doing things out of fear.  Sometimes, we do a job we don’t like to do because we have a fear of scarcity that would lead to our demise.  We think, “If I don’t have this job, how will I make money, and how will I feed myself, and how will I survive? I know I don’t like this job, but I have to do it to make money so I can survive.”  Well…if that’s the case…what is the point of even perpetuating your own existence if you aren’t enjoying it – what kind of service is that providing to anyone?

We think that the service we offer to humanity is in the things that we do – but really more powerful than anything we do in the water is who and what we have become.  Our level of consciousness – you could say our level of alignment with Love, Peace, and Truth – is more valuable and powerful than anything we can tangibly do with our physical body in the world. Even if we give an inspiration talk to 10,000 people that transforms them all into vegetarians and thereby saves 1,000,000 animals’ lives, what does it matter if we have not love in our hearts?  One fully enlightened counterbalances the negativity of all of humanity.  Becoming unconditionally loving and perfectly peaceful is a far greater service than anything we can do on the worldly plane.  To live in true peace, we must remember that what really matters is not what we do, but what we become.  The Unseen Essence of our Life and Being is far more powerful than the minutia of our day-to-day living and daily tasks.

Even considering this service of writing, what is truly valuable in this writing is not the words, but really the energy I feel when writing.  Writing this way opens my heart and aligns me more with Truth, Love, and Service, raising my level of consciousness and serving everyone.  Even if no one ever reads these words, this process has greatly served.    And, for anyone that may read these words, the service is not so much in the intellectual processing of the words but what kind of mark the words may leave on your life as a whole and how they may facilitate any transformation of character or consciousness.

As I’ve heard said, real education leads to behavioral change.  If there is no behavioral change, there is no education.  Keep in mind, behavioral change can be subtle, like even the slightest increased tendency to smile at people who pass you on the street or who ring up your groceries at the store.  In the case of this writing, the practical value may just be an increased tendency to ponder life and death and to consider, “How would I live if I only had 6 months left to live?”

In today’s world, we might think giving anyone 6 months to live is even generous.  It may only be 3 months!  But, I think Brian Tracy asked the question with the 6 month time frame because that amount of time actually allows for significant accomplishments on the worldly level.  In 6 months, one could probably travel around a far bit of the world, or write a book, or do all sorts of things.  3 months might be too gloomy of an outlook.  Ultimately the point remains the same.  This life is a gift.  It is sacred, and best enjoyed when cherished.  God is present at all times, everywhere.  There is no place where God is not.  Humans are not the holes in the swiss cheese to God – yes, God fills even us.  So in any moment is the possibility of awakening to the Divine Presence, and with an awakening like that, every moment reveals itself as totally Full, Complete, and Perfect. Beauty is evident. There is only Love.

When I consider only having 6 months left to live (especially after the process of writing the), it becomes apparent that pursuing the spiritual goal is the most valuable focus.  As the saying goes, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all else shall be added unto you.”  Even if I did want to have the whole world, the best way to achieve that is seek first the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom Within.

Nonetheless, I guess I still cling somewhat to the illusion of the world and the idea of serving people rather than just focusing directly on serving and loving God the whole time…but that’s probably not such a bad thing 😉  So, because I currently have some sense of “wanting” to contribute to humanity and offer the best of what I have, I also like the idea of writing.  With 28 years of living, and having done some pretty cooky things, I probably have some valuable words to share – yet then again, I would choose reading the New Testament over these words any day 😉  At the same time, we are all different points along the journey, so even if the New Testament is a more powerful spiritual text than these words (more aligned with the Supreme, Love, etc.) for some people along the journey, they are not ready for those words, and these words may serve them better – so who knows!

As I mentioned before, I do feel the primary value of these words is the process I am experiencing, and any benefit to the readers is secondary.  Level of consciousness matters supremely – so if these words raise my consciousness – that is fantastic! – and by raising the level of the sea, all boats are lifted.  Serving one serves all.  We are not separate.  We are One.  Likewise, if these words raise your level of consciousness, Hallelujah!  And that serves the All as well.

So what really matters?

With only 1 day left to live, 6 months, or an Eternity, what really matters is the same.

Love.

Peace.

Truth.

The Great Spiritual Texts – The New Testament, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras, Upanishads, Zohar, Cloud of Unknowing, Tao Te Ching, Dhammapada, etc. – all are like direct gifts from God to humanity.  It is absurd how powerful they are.  The truths contained in such scriptures may make absolutely no sense to the ego and to the intellectual, rational mind, but with enough courage and willingness to test out the teachings and put them into practice in your day-to-day life, all the truths reveal themselves as self-evident.  Scriptures come from direct experience, not mere philosophizing.

We need to own our identity as Divine and realize that the experiences of Christ, Buddha, Mother Theresa, St. Francis, Moses, etc., are all available to us.  We are not separate.  Christ lives within everyone one of us.  Doesn’t He say, “And greater works shall you do.” ?

And greater works shall you do!  Love is infinitely powerful.  It is more powerful than fear.  One loving thought counterbalances all the negative thoughts one could think in a day. “Perfect Love casts out fear.”

Choose Love. Choose Peace.

Would knowing how long you are going to live with the physical form you now have change the way you live?  How so?  How would you live if you only had 1 day to live?  1 week? 1 month? 1 year?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we lived in such a way that we would choose to live that way regardless of how long we were destined to live?  When we are doing our very best and truly listening to our heart and deepest calling in life, there is nothing to fear and there is only Love.  Then it doesn’t matter when we live or die, because in this very moment, we are giving our all, for all the All.

Glory to God in the Highest!  All Power and All Glory is Thine, O Lord.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Note: This exercise was first introduced to me by Brian Tracy, and some of the guiding questions also come from Stephen Covey and Bob Proctor.  So grateful for all the wonderful teachers 🙂