Thursday, October 18, 2007

Latest Reading

A good friend of mine gave me a couple of Paolo Coelho's books for my birthday and I'm really enjoying them, especially "The Alchemist". The other one, "The Pilgrimage" I've had an interesting reaction to. These are both novels but they have a very strong spiritual message. When I read these kinds of books, in fact when I read almost anything, I tend to try it on to see if it "fits" with what I believe. I read "The Alchemist" first and every thing rang true to me especially the whole concept that we all have a personal "Legend" (destiny I read) which we are pursuing throughout our lives. The second book, however, I'm having a different reaction to. I found myself uncomfortable at times trying to fit the story to my life, and about two thirds of the way through it I realized what was going on. The events of the story and the challenges that the main character was going through were creating odd little discomforts in me, doubts as it turned out. I was subconsciously asking myself, should I go on a pilgrimage, should I have a guild on my journey, should I belong to a Tradition with all kinds of exercises to help me understand life better?

I feel much better having gotten that out in the open and I'm now enjoying the rest of the story. We all have our own individual path that we are on and no two of them are the same. For me I have spent my life simplifying everything so that my mind is less and less involved with with where I'm going, and my heart works on trust and love to keep me there... here. "The Pilgrimage" is a fascinating journey but I don't have to sign up. Whew!

Bon Voyage!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Where ya been?

Well, I've been thinking. And that's always a problem. When I restarted blogging , I was determined to to write what came out of my daily meditations. But there is one major problem for me, and that is that my meditations are not about thinking. They are an awareness of the Now, an acceptance and appreciation of the way things are without my judgments or preferences. But when I sit down to blog, I immediately start thinking again, and that puts my judgment into it about what I should or shouldn't write about. I'm obviously not yet evolved enough to the point where I can just sit at the computer and write while I meditate, much the way I imagined Walsh did with his Conversations with God.

Which brings me to the major point of this session: Do I believe in God. The obvious answer is, yes! But I'm reluctant to use that word because everyone has their own concept of God and I don't want to advance a misunderstanding by talking about my idea of God while someone interprets what I'm saying through their own definition. I do not believe in the God of the Old Testament, a gray bearded old guy who sits up... somewhere, who listens to requests and passes down judgments on who deserves his favor and who doesn't. I don't believe in a God who favors one religion over another. I believe that Jesus was one of the most enlightened people to walk the planet, but if I don't have, at least the potential to be JUST like him, what's the point.

I do believe in a spiritual system that includes ALL things; it binds all of us together and we can act in line with it and live a harmonious life, or out of sinc and live in confusion. I believe that this system has rules that are consistent like the laws of nature, mathematics, and musical notes that when carefully observed can work for us in beautiful ways. And I believe there are rules of behavior that include when you lack something, give something, even if it is only gratitude or appreciation. What we do to others comes back to us. God is like a mirror that reflects to each of us what we believe and how we act. Our behavior reflects what we experience, rather than an external God judging what we do. If God has a personality, a singular identity, I can't get my puny little mind around it. I do think that he/she responds personally, but that may require helpers of some kind.

God is Love, unconditional love. That mirror is perfectly clean. When we embrace that concept, it is truly a wonderful life. And I can align myself with God at any time. I begin by accepting myself and forgiving myself unconditionally. I know that's not easy, believe me, I know. But if I begin by being aware of whatever is going on inside of me and accept it, I don't feed it. In other words, negative thoughts feed painful emotions, are very rarely true and are always exaggerated. Non judgmental observation and acceptance of whatever I am feeling at the moment aligns me with the divine that is my core spiritual identity; my Soul. So that also opens me up to solutions to problems that my worrying little Rick personality can't see.

Love is God. Like a wavelength, when we love, we synchronize with Our Divine.

Whew, now I can talk about God and you will either understand or go away. But if you feel like going away, please leave a comment and don't slam the door. Thanks!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Faith Without Hope

Dr. Richard Moss in his book The Mandala of Being uses this phrase "faith without hope" and I like it. I have been struggling a little this last week with events in our life,(some days struggling a lot) and it has become clear to me that when our faith is about hoping that things are going to get better, it's not really faith at all. Instead we are just thinking about the future lost in out own daydream. I believe that our faith in the Divine in all of us is tested and thus strengthened through difficulty and even doubt. Faith is a trusting in the Truth which is only available right now in our own quiet. Everything else is just personal mental babble. In difficult times we have to embrace what we are experiencing as part of life and God's plan for us. Do we really expect life to be fun and easy just because we believe in a Divine Vein running through us all. When I'm feeling good, it feels as though my faith is expanding, branching out in new directions. But when I'm frustrated or scared it requires that I pull completely out of my worries, actually all of my thoughts, and just sit in the NOW with exactly what I'm feeling, exactly what life is giving me at this moment. Then my faith that has expanded gets a chance to be tested and strengthened, which is different that just strengthening my wishes. All of my personal hopes and dreams just aren't as potent or creative as the energy that comes through me when I can embrace where I am without judgments or expectations. But it isn't easy. When life hurts, it is only normal to want the pain to stop, and I was forced to take some of my own medicine this last week about sitting quietly with pain. Because, at the time, I could feel my ego trying to fool itself into making things better by not expecting them to get better. What a little trickster.

Be as patient and forgiving as you can with yourself when you must work through emotional pain, and let your faith be a warm blanket around the whole experience.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who am I?

I have this little exercise that I do whenever I feel an emotion that I'm not happy about or feels uncomfortable in some way. Without trying to change the feeling in any way, I just look at it. Where exactly is it in my body? With any kind of fear or anxiety, it is usually in both my throat and chest at the same time; kind of like a swollen hot dog that's stuck and won't move. What exactly does it feel like? The important thing for this exercise is to not try to make it go away, just feel it. It doesn't take long before something interesting starts to happen. But first let's look at the language we use when we describe these kinds of sensations. Don't we usually say to ourselves, I'm depressed, or I'm angry or I'm really nervous about this or that. Basically we are saying we ARE anger, fear, depression or whatever. It has, at least momentarily, taken over all of our awareness and for all practical purposes our personality. But when I just look at this emotion with no effort to resist it or change it, not thinking about it or analyzing it, I realize that I am actually someplace other than IN that emotion. I'm to the back a little bit seeing it, but I'm not IN it. When you look at something, YOU must be someplace other than the thing you are looking at. And invariably that emotion, as I watch outside of it, begins to morph little by little into something less threatening and overwhelming.

For me, this has a profound effect on how I act on whatever the situation was that caused this emotion to arise. I can now distinguish between who I am, and what I'm feeling. Feelings come and go, but if I remain a little more constant than the rising and falling of my emotions, my actions are different than when I'm swept along by them.

And that makes me feel better!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Is It True?

I imagine that some people wonder if everything I write on this blog is true. Like when an amazing card comes up with the Tarot, did I really pick that card or did I look through the deck to find the perfect card for that situation. If you understand where I'm coming from at all, I think you have to believe that these truly synchronistic events really happen, or what's the point. I do believe that "the truth shall set you free". HOWEVER, the little bird sitting on my hand in the picture above, did not just fly down and land on my hand to sing me a happy tune. We have these large windows on the south side of our house and birds are always flying into them. Most of the time they just shake it off and fly away. But sometimes they fall to the ground unable to fly, and because we have a dog and cats, I rush out to see if they are alright. This little guy in the picture took longer than usual to remember who he was so I got to check him out pretty closely. My favorite of all time, was a hummingbird that sat in my hand with his wings outstretched. They were so delicate that you could see right through them. We've tried to hang ribbons in front of the windows but that only helps a little bit. If anyone has any great tips for warning birds off your windows, please drop me a note. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Into the Mystic

Sorry that I've been away for a few days, but it was our favorite musical weekend, Michael Hearne's Barndance Weekend, a great collection of singer song writers in the "singing cowboy" meets James Taylor direction. Throw in a yodeler who sings a country version of "All Along the Watchtower" and you might begin to understand the wide range of music. And most of them know each other and write songs together. So in the middle of a set, the singer might stop and say "hey Mike, come up and sing the second verse with me". Very unique and intimate.

I found myself in conversations the last few weeks describing myself as a mystic to people I didn't know very well, and in my usual uncertainty began to question whether or not that sounded too high and mighty. So I asked Kim if it was weird, because she happened to be there, and she said "no, I think it sounds real". See why I love her so. But I also had to explain to some of these people what a mystic is. Here goes. God is everywhere. All the time. It might help to think of God as Life, more than our individual lives but ALL of life. But most of the activity of our minds blinds us to this fact. We're constantly talking to ourselves about what we like and don't like, worrying about the future or the past and we don't feel the Divine energy running through us. So as a mystic, I (rather obsessively through daily meditation) stop/ignore/transcend/watch(or all of the above) the ramblings of my mind to let the divine speak to me through the silence.

Someone asked me what that was like, and the closest I can come is it feels bigger. I still feel like Rick but I relate to Rick more in the same way I relate to everything else in my field of awareness; less from an individual perspective looking out and more as a participant in my environment.

So I encourage every one to slow down a little everyday and watch what you are thinking, because if you are watching your thoughts and emotions, then you are running less on autopilot.

All of this only happens in the now, and right now today it's my birthday. Kim and I have a night out planned, so I'll see you soon.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Got Plans

Last evening as Kim was turning her business world upside down joining Etsy, I gave myself a headache worrying about everything that could go wrong. I didn't say anything to her of course; I trust her instincts in these matters. But I couldn't stop my mind from from just mulling over the old adage if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The headache lasted all night until during my morning meditation when I came across a passage in one of my favorite books which read; "If you are afraid, it means that you don't trust that God has a plan for you". All of my intentions are focused on learning all I can about this existence and bringing the divine within all of us into my daily life. I have to trust that those intentions will lead me to where I am supposed to go.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the other night

As I mentioned before, I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights ago, couldn't sleep, so I meditated. For about 20 minutes I had the greatest monologue sort of steam through my head about life and spirit and stuff, and the end conclusion was that I should start up my blog again; just put myself and my thoughts out there. I know, I told you most of this already, but the really amazing thing happened the next morning. Kim and I were having coffee and Kim usually brings her Osho Zen Tarot deck out just in case we want a reading to start our day. After having this wonderful midnight meditation, I decided to consult the Tarot about whether or not I should start up this blog site again. The card I drew was called Flowering, the Queen of Rainbows. Here are a few excerpts:

"The sleeves of her garment contain an abundance of seeds, and as the wind blows the seeds will be scattered to take root where they may. She is not concerned whether they land on the soil or on the rocks - she is just spreading them everywhere in sheer celebration of life and love. You might feel like a garden of flowers right now, showered with blessings from everywhere. Welcome the bees, invite the birds to drink your nectar. Spread your joy around for all to share"

And if that wasn't enough, it goes on..."Your life should reach to others.Your blissfulness, your benediction, your ecstasy should not be contained within you like a seed. It should open like a flower and spread its fragrance to all and sundry - not only to the friends but to the strangers too. This is real compassion, this is real love; sharing your enlightenment, sharing your dance of the beyond"

How's that for a confirmation. But just how does that work? How does the Tarot or the I-Ching give us responses that seem soooo appropriate so many times. Not every time, of course, but they are right on more than not.

I don't know, but I do know that these kinds of things happen more and more as I ask for them and thank who or what ever is causing them. Do I believe it's God? Yes. Do I believe it is the same Christian God out there somewhere? No. I believe God is life energy, a vital part of each of us. And bigger than what we normally think of as contained within an individual, spreading out and connecting us to all the rest of life. Sort of mirror like too and very loving and accepting, so that if we want to explore life without believing in God, than that's what we get. If you want to tap into the Divine energy inside of you, it's easier than most people think.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Thank God!!

I was at a dinner party the other night and one of the guests was talking about something and interjected, " thank God" as a lot of people do just as an expletive. But then she turned to Kim an said, " of course I don't really believe in God." And that's fine with me. I have no problem with anyone whose life is OK without God or has not felt a need for believing in anything spiritual. But there was an article in a recent Newsweek in which an atheist and a Christian pastor were arguing about evidence of the existence of God, and I was amazed at how vehemently the atheist was making his case. I remember sitting one day years ago watching an ant crawling over my big toe and wondering how much he understood about what he was crawling over. He obviously didn't understand my ability to appreciate Mozart nor could he join with me in a discussion on existentialism. So how is it that any of us crawling around on this planet can know with such certainty all that is going on. We just don't have the capacity to understand it all anymore than the ant can grasp humanity. It seems to be naive to think that all the power behind the lives of people like Dr Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and thousands more, can all be lumped under self delusion.

I put this out there at the beginning of this discussion because a lot of what I have to say from here on is about my beliefs which I will never be able to prove to anyone else. So let's just all keep an open mind.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Let's try this again...

It's been most of a year since I last entered these waters. I guess I kind of scared myself. People actually read these things. I became very self conscious of what I was writing about. It's important to me to only write about things that I'm passionate about and that would be: oh let's start simple, is there a God?, who or what might that be, what is our relationship to Him/Her/It? how do we access that relationship etc. Like I said simple stuff. But I was afraid you would all think that I thought I had THE answers. I've been studying and searching for about 35 years now and have some ideas that I now feel compelled to share. Not because they are unusual or particularly profound. And not because nobody has said them before. In fact perhaps it is because more and more people are talking about this stuff lately that I want to join the choir. You've heard the theory of the 100th monkey? Well it's quite interesting but I won't bore you with it here other than to say that there are certain ideas that the more of us talk about, the better off we will all be.

I couldn't sleep the other night, so I meditated.(which, by the way, I do obsessively everyday) I wish I had a tape recorder of what came through my consciousness that night. The bottom line was that I need to put myself out there. Share who I am and what's going on with me and trust. Trust the connection that runs through all of us to lead the way.