Ever since I became interested in attracting women, and learned that the best way to attract women is to live an interesting life, I became very interested in lifestyle experimentation. What is really attractive is someone who is growing and making steps n a positive direction, and even more so – someone who is fearless.
How does one become fearless?
Start by looking at what is feared. And then face it head on!
I looked at several fears that I had, from losing my eyesight, to not having any food, to living in poverty, and ultimately dying. To conquer these fears, I addressed them directly by embracing them as realities. First, I blindfolded myself for 7 days, and in addition to no longer being concerned about losing my eyesight, received a great awakening of consciousness and a much deeper appreciation for the gift of human life, and eyesight! Later, I fasted for 7 days, consuming only water and no food, and found myself greatly relieved that the body didn’t need food every day – much less 3 times a day – unlike how I had been conditioned to believe. Finally, to address the fear of poverty and dying, I decided to take a vacation to New York City without any money. Together with my brother, we lived as homeless people in NYC for 7 days, sleeping outside churches or in parks and eating at soup kitchens. All were profound experiences that greatly served my own liberation from the illusion of materialism and that happiness is dependent on material goods. Thankfully, through direct experience, I had the great fortune of experiencing the happiness and peace that is within us at all times, and all we have to do is give some attention to it – and it is there 🙂
So, the Street Retreat – the 7 days homeless in NYC – served to liberate me from any attachment I had to worldly success, and catapulted me on the spiritual path.
After the 7 days in NYC, I felt so liberated that I continued to live without using any money for the next 6 months of life, being resourceful to have a roof over my head and some food every now and then. Thankfully, due to the 7 day fasting experience, I had no fear of going without food and was completely comfortable with the idea of fasting for several days if no food naturally came my way, and surprisingly during that whole 6 month period – I don’t recall ever fasting for more than a day before some food was presented to me. I didn’t even have to ask! The focus during this period of time was on sharing the Truth of the freedom experienced during the Street Retreat, sharing the stories, and being of service in the Present Moment, however it seemed appropriate. As the saying goes, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all else shall be added unto you.” I experienced just that! Being ever ready to love and to serve, my needs were met. Of course, there were a few times when I found myself acting greedily, and just as quickly as I was treated with respect, I was asked to leave. So, tough way to learn life lessons – but the truth shall set us free! Cheers to the Truth 🙂
My lifestyle since Street Retreat and the 6 months of living without money has included much spiritual study, so to better understand what I had experienced and also learn more about Spiritual Truth – and to keep the mind focused on what is worthy of focus. Also, I moved to an ashram where anyone can directly experience for themselves that with a willingness to serve, all else shall be provided. Some of the best food in the world is served here – prepared with love, organic and vegetarian – and one need not concern themselves with money at all. In exchange for helping prepare the meals and some housekeeping, one can receive free room and board, as well as a small living stipend. It is truly awesome and inspiring. And, more valuable than any of the physical situations is the spiritual gift of a community that is oriented toward spiritual truth and loving and peace and service.
Of course, after serving at the ashram for about 9 months, an employment position presented itself to me, and this challenged me a bit as far as being at peace with earning income. It was a great opportunity for me to overcome my negative judgments about money, and to be able to earn money without being attached to, ever willing to give. And, perhaps most importantly, was being able to work out of the joy of service rather than to earn money. Earning money was secondary to the joy of the service.
Currently, I live at the ashram and continue to immerse myself in the teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda and various sages throughout the ages. It ultimately all seems to boil down to Love 🙂
Occasionally, I write on here because it feels natural and serviceful to the Highest Good. So be it! Also, this is a great medium for processing life experience, kind of like a journal – yet it provides a public platform to share whatever valuable lessons come my way.
Money or no money, the key is – no attachments, no aversions. Freedom! Freedom to love and enjoy the fullness of that which is Present now and always and forever. Everything else is gravy!
I am here to serve. Please let me know if I may be of service to you.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
Well, you see, it all started when I was born. But wait, it actually goes back further than that. Let’s start at the beginning…then again I have no clue what happened then either so perhaps a reasonable place to start would be when I first learned of the term “Street Retreat.”
The class was Politically and Socially Engaged Buddhism, the time, now. Actually I took it my last semester of college as an elective, but for all intents and purposes, the time is now. Speaking of which, I love you. But, back to the story!
We learned in class that some people, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, will voluntary enter into a world of poverty for a period of time between a few days to a week, or perhaps longer. People who otherwise do not live in poverty place themselves in poverty for various reasons. I believe the reason ascribed to the retreat in our reading was that it allowed for greater empathy and understanding of homelessness. Those Buddhists are big on their empathy and oneness with the world. Various people have responded to such claims, saying that actually Street Retreats are an opportunity for privileged folk to play in poverty.
However you might consider it – the idea completely intrigued me. I’ve always been a sucker for new experience, including spending a week in blindness and a week water-fasting. Week long experiments are kind of my jam. Experience is the mother of all wisdom, right? And, seriously – who doesn’t want wisdom? So I was thinking…bam! Perfect opportunity for a new experience. I shall most definitely embark on this Street Retreat adventure.
My brother has been one of my greatest teachers and advocates in life. There is no telling where I’d be without him – presumably dead. He’s saved my life more than once, and probably saved it another couple times when he decided to come along with me on the Street Retreat. I was planning to do it myself, but certainly his company made the retreat all the better and also brought some peace of mind to my family and friends. People still thought I was completely bonkers, but at least they were comforted by the fact that my more sane brother would accompany me along the way.
Shortly after graduation, my brother and I headed off to New York to embark on our epic journey. The details of the journey are still being recounted, and will hopefully appear in a book someday. For now, suffice it to say that homelessness is totally the way to go! And, so much gratitude to Matt Silver, Light, Detroit David, Irish Tom, Domingo, Pret a Manger David, Haircut-Selling Kevin, and all the people who contributed to bringing my brother and I to the moment. Also, who ever created the exquisite beauty that is Central Park – thank you. Whoever decided to sporadically plant trees in the Urban Jungle – thank you too. Lastly, thanks to Christina who I never met but I believe was responsible for one of the most peaceful gardens I’ve ever admired through a gate. Every person is great in their own special way. As Matt Silver echoed in one of his amazing performances, “Together!”
The Street Retreat awakened me to greater levels of freedom, joy, and bliss in the moment than I had ever before experienced, and it now seems foolish for me to pursue anything else. The adventure illuminated me to the Beatles’ truth when they sang, “The best things in life are free,” and now I am continuing to live for free, without money, hoping to rekindle that same level of enjoyment experienced on the Street Retreat.
All the while, I don’t think it is necessary to be homeless to experience such joy, but rather it is the result of a state of mind and a proper education that tunes our awareness to what is really important. Therefore, it is my mission to tune my own awareness and raise my own consciousness as well as those around me so that we all may experience the great levels of joy, love, peace and complete goodness that are available to us in every moment. I believe that such an awareness and appreciation for the moment is the result of education, not just formal schooling but the education we all receive through life, so I am considering various ways in which to effectively educate myself and others so that we may more greatly tune into the awesomeness of Creation.