Thursday, March 31, 2022

Pain IS a Doorway

      A number of times I've chosen to experiment with pain, from moderate to extreme, to see where it could take me. At times the only other option is rather bleak - suffering like a helpless, wounded animal. So instead of tensing up to bear it, I immediately opted to try a practical experiment that surely countless others also tried throughout the ages: consciously opening up, surrendering to & deeply exploring pain (or other harrowing existential crises)!

     “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl, "Man’s Search for Meaning"

     “The best way out is always throughRobert Frost

     This choice to bravely explore the mystery of things we're usually desperate to avoid happens to be remarkably effective in shifting us out of our usual self-centered, materialistic / survivalist mindset, & into an infinitely wiser, altruistic, transpersonal, spacious, timeless, joyous one. Because of this profoundly important shift, intentional surrender to controlled hardships has become a formal practice in all wisdom traditions.

     Psychologically-healthy, mature participants in spiritual practices such as meditation, are typically advised to 'surrender:'
     "
... surrender is probably the most important piece of advice ... it is when you’re resisting what’s happening that you get anxious and frightened, because what might be happening is your ego may be just melting. Your sense of self may be dying. And if you fight that and try to hold on for dear life to your sense of self, that fight is going to create a lot of anxiety.
     And this is that experience of ego dissolution — the idea that you lose your sense of yourself as an individuated person and become merged with something larger. People do have the sense of merging into the universe or with divinity or with other people — and that’s an ecstatic experience. It’s so rare. We’re so isolated in these skins of ours. And to let that go and be a part of something large is — I mean, that’s the essence of the mystical experience that William James talks about. ... it just felt so right and so beautiful.
"
     Michael
Pollan: https://onbeing.org/programs/michael-pollan-and-katherine-may-the-future-of-hope-4/

     But our usual mindset CANNOT conceive of anything beyond self-preservation, which of course includes remaining comfortable & maintaining the status quo (even when the status quo is miserable & unsustainable). Those with unresolved, untreated major trauma are usually not ready to dissolve their ego. When in doubt, it's best to consult a mental health professional who is also knowledgeable about advanced meditation practices.

     “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius

“It’s better to feel pain,
than never feel at all.
The opposite of love’s
indifference.”

Lumineers

     “... accept that pain & grief are emotions that are as important as joy & love." Sabine Mehne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-IBPltVcL0 

     By now, most people will have shut down, yelled 'crazy' & run away! Their ego is cradled in the illusion of control - even if their idea of control is resolute hopelessness!
     To
grow up, we MUST release, drop, let go of ALL our stories of who / what we imagine ourselves to be - they're WRONG & WAY, WAY TOO SMALL, LIMITED. Skillful meditation practice allows us to get beyond (transcend) our small self, when we're ready.

     Be brave enough to GO DEEP into physical / emotional / spiritual pain, no matter how severe it may be, and savor it like you would a glass of mind-blowingly complex wine, really open your entire self up to it completely, with no judgment of any kind, drop all that you ever thought you were, NOW BE EVERYTHING - THE OCEAN WELCOMING BACK this TINY RAIN DROP of PAIN with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
     WHEN once again, ALL YOU FEEL is EVERYTHING - WHOLENESS,
PEACE, SILENCE, STILLNESS, TIMELESSNESS, NEVER FORGET THAT THERE NEVER really WAS, NEVER IS, and NEVER WILL BE ANYTHING other than THIS EVERYTHING.
     Though
in ordinary life, you may often feel like nothing special, YOU ARE EVERYTHING whenever you remember to LOVE & NURTURE UNCONDITIONALLY.

“Love says 'I am everything.'
Wisdom says 'I am nothing.'
Between the two, my life flows.”
Nisargadatta Maharaj

Let Go ... by Mollycules www.BuddhaDoodles.com

 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Feel Better, Be Better, Do Better

      I feel better when I sense that my life is improving in meaningful ways. This usually involves intentionally venturing out beyond my comfort zone.
     But the ego's only purpose is survival & reproduction, & resists everything else. And remaining in one's
self-centered comfort zone is easy, familiar, cruise-control, highway-hypnosis. This is the land of the walking dead which most of us inhabit.
     When - and only when - we intentionally, consciously, bravely step beyond our comfort zone into the learning zone - 'the river of change,' a slightly scary 'liminal space' of infinite possibilities - are we truly actively living, creative, growing & maturing in exciting, meaningful ways!

     We drastically underestimate how profoundly meaningful & wonderful life can be and the fact that we CAN experience profound joy, peace, contentment, silence, timelessness, stillness, etc.
     Perhaps we first have to realize that there is only one real power - LOVE. The more completely we are filled with unconditional love, the more alive, energized, authentic, whole, real we are.
     Mostly, we anxiously anticipate one nightmarish future after another. We FULLY experience such worst-case scenarios as if they were really happening because our bodies cannot differentiate between events in our imagination vs reality. We endure the fires of hell mostly because of our fear (catastrophizing).

     “My life has been filled with terrible misfortunesmost of which have never happened.” Mark Twain

     “… it takes a bit of meditative presence to be with what is – just as it is – without being distracted by all the evaluations & comments that habitually arise about our situation. We suffer more from our stories than from the actual situation as it is.” Toni Packer

     So our negativity bias, deficit-framing & probable history of various traumas keeps our survival emotions going as if we were victims of an endless horrible emergency. Drowning in survival emotions: lust, competition, guilt, shame, fear, doubt, anger, hate, judgment - is grossly inappropriate in civilized society, where usually only our ego tends to get bruised (too easily). The long-term effect of being chronically flooded with survival emotions is not only social isolation, but also physical & mental illness.

     BUT IF we can repeatedly remind ourselves of our true nature, our outlook will be FAR MORE wise & optimistic with elevated emotions, using asset-framing, letting go of 'the story of me,' and focusing on our aspirations. Our elevated emotion of love, and closely-related empathy, nurturing, collaboration, peace, equanimity, joy, etc brings about an entirely different state of being and associated improved social relationships, physical & mental health.
     Joe
Dispenza. "Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon." Hay House, 2019. POWERFUL

     "Resilience also requires love made manifest, love incarnated in all of its forms. In its call to the spirit, many of us have seen these images – a young child who walks alone across the border to tell the story of what happened to his family; a young 12 year old girl, singing at night in the subway to a crowded subway, which is a bomb shelter, and lifting their spirits with that connection. It is so inspiring, at these moments, to feel that palpable love in the world.
     We are releasing something that is extraordinary in this moment. A hundred and forty-one countries at the United Nations said to Russia, “No, that is not right. That is not the way to go.“ So have you also tapped into that love?
     I will leave you with an image a number of us saw live on the news. It was a moment when a Russian soldier in his twenties was captured by the Ukrainians and brought to the town square.
     The people surrounded him. And then one of the women in the crowd pushed forward and offered him soup. And then another woman stepped forward and offered a cell phone, and said, “Here, why don't you call home?” And the soldier started to cry. There are those tears again. The soldier started to weep."
        James O'Dea https://pod.servicespace.org/118/doc?did=481 .

"Through violence you may murder a hater,
but you can't murder hate through violence.
I have decided to stick with love,
for I know that love is 
ultimately
the
only answer to humankind's problems."    Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      "I immediately relinquish any need or inclination toward conflict in my life or anywhere in the world. I align my heart and mind to the Divine Pattern of Cooperation and tolerance both in my personal life and in the world as a whole.
      I
affirm and intend cooperation and tolerance between all peoples within each country, between nations, within each region of the world, and as one global human family.
     We
pray that the leaders of all nations are drawn to feel the Divine Source of all and to take practical action to effect real and lasting peace." Adi Da


Neil Young - Imagine (from "America: A Tribute to Heroes")

 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Let the Love-Light Guide

      How often have we seen creative ideas for solving serious problems get quickly shot down with, "Well, I HATE to be the devil's advocate, BUT ..."? This can come from someone who's seen this idea not succeed. However, far too often it's a clash between those who've given up, and those who can see a bright future & have the faith & energy to achieve it - a clash between dark, defeatist "deficit-framing" & creative, nurturing "asset-framing."
      There
are lots of reasons for cynicism, depression, hopelessness & nihilism:
      Our
evolutionary instinct is to far more vividly remember negative events than positive ones ("negativity bias"). This helped animals survive visits to water holes, but for today's humans, it probably causes far more harm than good, by energizing many of our irrational fears & phobias.
      Trauma
is so widespread, psychologists estimate that "94% of us, most of the time, are driven by the negative motivations of fear, greed/craving, anger, & self-assertion; such negative motivations lead to negative & destructive behavior." Danah Zohar
      The
dominant, though mostly unconscious worldview today, of "Materialist or Reductionist Science, has (MISTAKENLY) concluded that we are the only sentient beings in an inanimate universe that is without life, meaning, purpose, direction or intelligence. This bleak ‘philosophy’ has taken on the power & absolutism of an ideology.” Anne Baring
      The
n we add the fact that the world is in the midst of multiple huge crises: climate change, air-water-food
-land pollution, war & nuclear weapons, racism, sexism, wealth hoarding, millions of refugees on the move, rising sea levels. 

     Our global crises DEMAND that we abandon defeatist, dead-end attitudes like "deficit-framing", and bravely, energetically & optimistically chart a new course towards a wise, sustainable life

     “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right,” Henry Ford

     Asset-Framing is a narrative model that prioritizes our own & others' assets & aspirations over our challenges & deficits, and invests in people to benefit society. "Trabian Shorters, the creator of the non-profit social impact network BMe Community states 'Narrative tells us which facts to even credit, which facts to ignore, which things are real, which things are false, narrative literally tells you who you are, it tells you who matters, where you should go and where you should not go. Narrative is really the key to how we frame our lives.'" Mick Krasner https://mindfulpracticeinmedicine.com/aspirations-an-inspiring-focus-for-our-practice/  .

      Most of us have some memory of our common primordial Source, but the duality & adversarial nature of our consensual reality veils us from the Light. Some of us sadly choose to remain stuck in total darkness, at least for this lifetime.
     But
darkness need not be feared. It is not an actual entity.
     D
arkness is simply not remembering what's most real - Light.

     "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
      Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
      It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us."     Marianne Williamson

     We CAN "raise our motivations to the higher ones of exploration, cooperation, self- & situational-mastery, creativity, & service.” Danah Zohar https://spirituality.ucla.edu/docs/newsletters/5/Issue_5/Zohar_Final.pdf Those of us trapped in

     Let's end our tendency to feel hopeless, meaningless, drained & dark! We know this causes nothing but hopelessness, meaninglessness, listlessness & darkness.
     No
matter how dark things may get, no matter how low the odds for success appear, IF our goal is NOBLE, we NATURALLY SUCCEED - merging our WISE LOVING INEXHAUSTIBLE energy with the LIGHT
. We cannot imagine what our world WILL be like WHEN we realize our UNLIMITED CAPACITY to hold ourselves, others & the entire universe in safety & unconditional love. This imho pivotally important, intelligently mind-heart-expanding book helps give us the confidence to succeed: Paul Levy. “Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality.” SelectBooks, 2018.
     We
ALWAYS CO-CREATE our reality, be it light OR dark! We've wandered in darkness for too long. We must NOW intentionally seek the Light!

     “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
     What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
     And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
Howard Zinn PhD


If I stumble, will I fall?
If I fall, I'll tuck and roll
Close my eyes and let the love-light guide me home
Let the love-light guide me home
Let the love-light guide me home
      
"Skin and Bones" by Cage The Elephant 


I am that living fiery essence of the divine substance
that flows in the beauty of the fields.
I shine on the water;
I burn in the sun and moon and the stars.
The mysterious force of the invisible world is mine.
I sustain the breath of all living beings.
I breathe in the grass and in the flowers;
and when the waters flow like living things, it is I . . .
I am the force that lies hidden in the winds;
they take their source from me,
as a man may move because he breathes;
fire burns by my blast.
All these live because I am in them and am their life.
I am Wisdom.
The blaring thunder of the Word
by which all things were made is mine.
I permeate all things that they may not die;
I am life.                                                                 Hildegard of Bingen


Art by Mollycules www.BuddhaDoodles.com





Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Same Old, Same Old is Perilously Obsolete

     From the outside, it's so easy to see how others are stuck in a mind-numbingly dreary, repetitive life pattern. However from the inside, all we may feel is security, comfort & even righteous self-satisfaction - even as we glide towards disaster in our waking dream.

     A seriously limiting mindset we're mostly not aware of, but are stuck in, is scientific materialism or physicalism - the prevailing, unexamined pseudo-religion of our age, which many believe in as a secular dogma, but which is just a weak idea. It has nevertheless managed to disconnect & alienate many of us from our own true nature, leaving many of us self-centered, cynical, anxious, depressed & hopeless.

     “Alienation from nature and the loss of the experience of being part of the living creation is the greatest tragedy of our materialistic era. It is the causative reason for ecological devastation & climate change. Therefore I attribute absolute highest importance to consciousness change.” Albert Hoffman

     "
Consciousness can & does exist beyond the brain.
     In
the new concept of consciousness, the flow of sensations we call consciousness is as real as energy, frequency, amplitude, phase, and information, and more real than ‘matter.’ The brain is not a material turbine that generates consciousness, and consciousness is not its by-product. Consciousness is a real-world phenomenon. The brain is not its generator, only its receiver & transmitter.
     Consciousness
exists as a real phenomenon in the universe,
and this phenomenon is universal; it is ‘one.’ Famed quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger said that consciousness in the world does not exist in the plural: the overall number of minds in the world is one. In his last years, Carl Jung came to a similar conclusion. The psyche is not a product of the brain and is not located within the skull; it is part of the one-universe: of the unus mundus. In David Bohm’s quantum physics, the roots of consciousness are traced to the deep reality of the cosmos: the implicate order.
     A
number of contemporary scientists, such as Henry Stapp, elaborate this concept. Consciousness, they say, is nonlocal: it is present throughout the universe.
     The
quantum scientists revive an ancient wisdom: We are connected through our participation in the world’s one-consciousness. This is a very different condition from being a separate entity with a separate brain producing a separate consciousness. The new concept of consciousness is more than a theory of consciousness: it is a revolution in our understanding of being.
"
     Ervin Laszlo https://noetic.org/blog/the-consciousness-revolution/

     “It is our task to liberate and engage the power of quantum physics’ revelations for the benefit of everyone. The best way to do this is to partake in the most radical, subversive, and powerful form of activism that there is – recognizing & then consciously engaging our own quantum nature.
      To
help understand the current, very different concepts of how consciousness & the world interrelate, this is imho a pivotally important & intelligently mind-expanding book:
     Paul
Levy. “Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality.” SelectBooks, 2018.  Imho this book is best listened to (eg via Hoopla www.hoopladigital.com ) AND ideally followed along with the hard copy.

"To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible.
If the goal is noble,
whether or not
it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant.
What we must do, therefore,
is to strive and persevere,
and never give up."
The XIV Dalai Lama