Archive for April, 2009
The ego driven self is always on the move. It seeks. It runs here and there. It is always confronted with decisions and choices it needs to make. But the Self goes nowhere, yet is everywhere. It is still and calm even in the most powerful storms of ego-driven life. With that knowledge, try this:
Whatever your body/mind is doing, get into the feeling of the Self that is going nowhere within the activity – absolutely nowhere. Do this even when you’re doing the most trivial activity. If you’re putting away the dishes, the Self goes nowhere. The Self isn’t even all that into the movement of the body/mind. It is utter stillness. When you need to make some kind of choice, see the action of the body/mind from the utterly still pivot of the Self.
Feel the excitement of the body/mind wanting to move onto the next activity. Let it do what it wants – don’t interfere, don’t correct, don’t fix anything – they are ALL the actions of the body/mind. You are fully resting in the stillness of the Self. You don’t need to do ANYTHING about the action of the body/mind. You don’t even need to watch it with undo attention. The Self has no need to go anywhere or do anything.
Now get a sense of the bigger plans of the body/mind. You want to finish your college degree, you want to achieve in your career, you want to compose a great song, you want to have sex with this very special person, you want companionship, you want your partner to love you, you want to get away from that partner that’s driving you crazy – see ALL of that as the actions of the body/mind, but from the utterly indifferent and still center of the Self. None of it matters to the Self. But the Self has no investment in the actions or their absence of the body/mind. Whatever happens, happens.
As you do this meditation, you will notice that all of the urgency of the body/mind will become a lot less powerful and compelling. It too becomes quiet. In its place the radiance of the still center will be elevated within consciousness. It will be feeling of great centeredness and balance. Life will be alive and beautiful, for that is the life of the Self.
I was reminded of the fantastic power of memory to open us to feelings that are essential to finding the majestic power of life.
It was a cool, gently rainy morning and I was taking my dog Shadow out for her morning walk. She is always the same. When she sees me reach for the leash, she can barely contain her 13 year old self with the excitement to be alive and sniff the earth. She takes a huge stretch and then, with all of the self-control she can muster, sits to allow me to attach the leash. She can barely contain herself.
She enters the world aglow with happiness and curiosity. Watching her brought back memories of the other dogs I have lived with. I remember their loving eyes, their boundless enthusiasm when they spotted the tennis ball in my hands. Omigod, can there be anything more wonderful than chasing and retrieving a thrown ball? When I remember them, I am filled with immense joy. This is the power of memory to open us to just being alive in the moment. How grateful I am for the power of feeling.
Memory connects with the vast sweep of time and the preciousness of life. It takes us out of our heads and into our hearts.
How often does it happen? A normally quiet man loses his job, his wife leaves him, he abruptly receives a person-to-person call from the devil and what does he do? He gets his beloved gun kills his kids, his wife, and then turns the beloved gun on himself. Then there is the inner city drug dealer. Somebody disses him. What could the dealer do? He had to waste the asshole.
Then there’s the young woman who lives at the gym. She can’t ever get that disobdient body whipped into shape. If she sluffs off just one day, her body and her life will go to hell. Nothing comes between her and her body.
Then there is the star football player. He just has to be the best. He won’t let wimps and their loser laws get in his way. Steroids are key. Gotta be big. Gotta be strong.
You see when you believe, down deep, that you’re nothing, then you just gotta be something. It’s almost the American Way. When that man got out that gun and started killing the people that meant “more to him than anything in this world”, he was not only kidding himself with nice sounding homilies, but more importantly, he was fully living the Lie that he was no one (this is the Lie in the title of my book Liberation from the Lie). When that gym rat takes up residence at the local LA Fitness, she believes that unless she dedicates her life to endless work-outs nature will takes it course and force her to look unlovable. She won’t attract the love she so desperately needs. She will descend into the agony of the much more powerful belief in her own ugliness and unlovability. When that star atheltete poisons his body with steroids, he is compelled by the belief that unless he’s the best, then he is like everyone else, a loser, a nobody.
Down deep they each believe that they are inadequate – a nobody. They are all driven to be adequate – somebody. Violence and the need to achieve; they are, essentially, the same drive manifested in different ways.
What are you compelled to prove? You see when your main belief is in your nothingness, your unlovability, your inadequacy, your life will be organized around countering that belief. This is the life that pursues happiness with desperation, that pursues personal enlightenment with desperation, this is the life of the workaholic, this is the life of nearly all of us.
The purpose of this post is to place attention on a common misinterpretation of nonduality teachings. The problem pointed out in this short article even effects the most renowned teachers of Buddhism, as well as Advaita (nonduality). I am referring to an interpretation of these teachings that results in the total negation of the self. When we negate ourselves, we sustain our underlying identification with inadequacy. This is an escape from who we are.
So many seekers strive to experience total opennes with all that is, with the ironic exception of themselves. It is a direct path to killing one’s passion for the simplistic pleasures of zoning out and samadhi. The whole purpose of Liberation is to come alive to who we are! I can’t recommend strongly enough suggest taking a careful reading of this article: “How a Zen Mater Found the Light (Again)” from the NY Times – April 26th, 2009. You must find the authentic LOVE of self, if you are ever to experience your own liberation. Anything short of this is false enlightenment and is, merely, another attempt of the ego to escape pain, albeit a sophisticated one. This is the truth that challenges most seekers. This is the truth that needs to be seen and experienced directly
This is NOT simple – the legacy of invalidation is immense in the modern world and it manifests in the most subtle of ways. (this is why I wrote Liberation from the Lie) Know that not only are individuals invalidated, but the stain of invalidation characterizes groups, religions, organization, and even countries. In a spiritual context, it can manifest as seeking to negate the “energetic presence” (a Sailor Bob term) that is our authentic nature. While the ground of awareness may be the same among all people (how could we ever know that for certain?), how we manifest in the sensed world is unique. That is the paradox of awakening. Grounded in awareness we are utterly open to THIS. When we are fully open, we can create in the context of that openness and the love that infuses it. This is the basis of great art and brilliant science, as well as caring for another or a million other possibilities.
Contextualized within spirituality, this means that the pursuit of personal enlightenment is no different from any other self drives. It is the fear of nothing demanding to be something. See it for yourself.
The fear of being nothing is an illusion, for when we realize it is false, when we realize this to the depth of our false being, we are open to everything. This is the key to living life free and secure.
This blog is dedicated to finding happiness of all kinds in THIS NOW of our life. Healthcare is a key element of living a full life. In keeping with that spirit, thanks to my wife who specializes in this field, here is a strategy to getting the meds you need with or without health insurance. I hope you find it helpful.
It’s going to be a long time before there is real health care reform in the United States. In the meantime, here’s an approach to getting the most from fulfilling your prescriptions.
1. If the prescribed med is denied by your insurance; first find out if your insurance will pay for it, if you doctor submits a prior authorization request;
2. If it’s an exclusion of the policy, ask if they will make an exception.
3. If they still say no, ask your doctor if there is a generic or other medicine that will do what you need.
4. Find out if the med is available at Walmart’s $4.00 prescription program (one of about 300 meds Walmarts sells for 4 bucks, regardless of insurance).
5. Find out if you qualify for a pharmaceutically based low or no cost patient assistance program.
6. Let’s say none of these ideas work and you have to pay out of pocket – if your medical expenses total enough of your income – they are tax deductible.
7. Some states have relief programs for people who have high medical costs (the lower your income, the better your chances.
These drawings are not precise. They are approximations of 3 worldviews;
The conventional – this is the self-centered universe
Nonduality – Presence without a second
Liberation from the Lie WorldView – Nonduality – The World – Your Voice