Tag Archives: life lessons

Asking For Life to Be Forgiving

Every night, I set an intention that life be forgiving to all who are learning and trying to move in this world.

My younger son, who hears me pray this intention, asks why I don’t pray for myself. My son has love for Jesus and reads a Bible-quote book he got somewhere on his own, although we are not a Christian household. My son reminds me of when I started talking about meditation and enlightenment (prior to the Internet), and my family was not an Eastern-philosophy or Eastern-religion household. Something in my son drew him to his beliefs. I support my son in his discovery process.

We had a conversation about how we are all “pieces” of this Divine, regardless of religion. I do not call myself by any religion, but this quote from the Bible seemed pertinent:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

We honor our true nature by seeing the Divine in ourselves and by attempting to understand our human experience. My son and I get past words by exchanging direct experience of what we feel (not just emotionally, but in terms if awareness). In our conversations we just share with each other. We calibrate our experiences and thoughts directly. And we learn about where each of us is.

Teachings, such as those of Jesus or Buddha, help us to realize the love and compassion of which we are capable. Life is challenging, no doubt, and negativity, sarcasm, vein-slitting wit, and blatant attacks have come to be seen as normal in our society (and for centuries). We are often looking at the “trees,” but there is a “forest” after all.

Back to the question – why do I pray, or intend, or invoke forgiveness of life processes toward humanity? Everyone makes mistakes, often unconsciously at first. Our culture is typically unforgiving toward mistakes. Most mistakes (and I am not talking about crimes that violate or harm others) are about people not knowing how to navigate life situations and relationships.

For mistakes, our culture wills harm and ill-will toward those who are unskilled at life-surfing. Then, the “perpetrators” are hurt emotionally when they are ostracized, marginalized, put down, and laughed at – all of which leads an individual to feel “down” (and, perhaps, “out”).

Forgiveness requires understanding at ever-deepening levels of someone else. Empathy, which has nothing to do with sympathy, must be cultivated for us to be able to naturally relate to the lives of others. Contrary to most scientific views of empathy as a combination of astute observation skills and mental processing to project another’s experiences, there are more efficient ways to be empathic. For example, it is possible to attune oneself to signals another is transmitting (and not just on the physical, emotional, and mental planes), and project those signals onto oneself – to experience another’s experience directly.

Those who are born at a young age with the tendency toward this level of empathy become quickly overwhelmed and may even lose sanity as the result of exposure to the energy of others. Adults who do not know about this phenomenon will not know how to support these children.

I was one of such children. My younger son is another. My older – not so much. All three of us are very close. As a child, I had to work hard to deal with constant “noise.” Movies and shows, which portray the phenomenon of being inundated with “people,” often illustrate this accurately. No, it is not necessarily schizophrenia, although one should be evaluated by a doctor if “hearing” and “seeing” without sound and “light” is happening.

Empath children must be supported in learning how to navigate the turbulent waters of the Astral plane, which is what they are learning to surf. For some, gateways should be temporarily closed, at least, so that they don’t lose connection with the physical plane.

Empaths who are flexible in reflecting others onto themselves, and without invading the fields of others or “digging” within others uninvited, are balanced. They know, first-hand, the pain of making mistakes, the pain of those disappointed or hurt, and the pain experienced by the ones who took the missteps – during the lash-back. From this perspective, it becomes truly impossible to want life to be anything but forgiving for all who are trying to make things right. When someone realizes what they have done to upset another, there can only be forgiveness. But, if a person who feels wronged has limited capacity to understand another, they bite back like threatened animals, or to hammer the nail into the proverbial coffin.

It is true that a person may have to experience repeated setbacks to start reflecting upon oneself. Otherwise, if there are no consequences, people just do whatever.

Our society is a natural symphony of checks and balances, and this is good. People should speak up to advocate for their birthright to be treated as valuable individuals with potential to be developed. People must stand up for what feels right or wrong to them and get feedback from others. However, we – as the human race – are not very skilled at doing this productively and with a woven-in element of forgiveness. Most people do not even know their own value.

Forgiveness is an ancient teaching, and volumes could be written today on what a personal experience of forgiveness could be like, in the face of also holding true to oneself. The common adage that “we all have truth within ourselves” is only partly true – when the gateway to this truth is closed, our “inner” truth is useless or distorted. We must open up first, open to who we are and our possibilities, our individuality, and our lives together with others. I pray for this opening to occur when the time is right, and give energy to the energy “bank” that will be used for catalyzing this opening, so to speak.

My prayers are the intentioned and conscious giving of energy to the evolution and growth of the humane race. It is not a willed forcing of events. I know that universal processes (as seen from this level) must have a critical mass of elements in place to occur (just like enlightenment), including the energy needed to enact these processes. For me, prayer is about paying it forward and giving back.

I’ve interacted with people long enough to see that I can help individual lives press through obstacles, and I also know when to let them be. Universal processes? Well, I may not live in this form long enough to see them occur…. That makes no difference to me.

Why Love Life

I had a conversation about life with my 10-year-old. He’s been confused about its purpose and value for a couple of years now.

The thing is, I understand him. At about his age was when I asked my mother why she gave me birth – if she knew that “I was going to live in an insane world just to suffer”. The best she could do was tell me that she wanted someone with her in this world, a friend. The best I could do then was to call her selfish. I told my son this story.

He asked me why I brought him into this world. I told him that there is nothing like life and living. Sure there’s a lot of crazy-making all around us, but there are also things that literally light us up. We talked about the things that make him happy. We examined the lounging posture of our extremely large cat. We talked about how it’s always easier to focus on the pain, but that’s not the only option. We tilted our heads together and intertwined our fingers. I could feel his pain and confusion like it was my own.

I think there is a part of him that touched his own ability to feel happiness. I could feel him touch it somewhere in the indescribable dimension of what makes him alive. I recognized that place from a dream I had – a waking dream where I felt the life force in my body and compared it to death.

I know what it feels like to be dead and, obviously, alive. All I can say is that this feeling of living – at the core and beyond the noisy signals of existence – is why we are here. If we feel this urge to live running through us – even for a moment – and own it, many things would change.

Suffering is incredibly noticeable, don’t you think? There are days when this existence feels like a crushing weight that will literally take over if I let it and cave on me. But I hold on. I know there are people who want me to fail and prove them right. I just can’t give in to that. The destructive forces at play in this dimension want so badly to be right. I told my son I feel the magic that is life without fully understanding it, and I let that take over.

I think it’s too easy now to diagnose depression, anxiety, and who-knows-what. It’s become too easy to label or to Google labels to put ourselves in some box – maybe a wooden box, figuratively speaking. Yes, we are made of chemicals and these can be “out of balance” despite our best intentions. Yes, we can dwell on all the shitty things we have experienced and vivisect them endlessly in therapy and in our relationships. Yes, we may need to put a label in our sleeves so that those with similar labels can pick us out of a crowd – and then we don’t feel so alone. And perhaps we may need to do all of the above at some point. However, when we are done with that parade, we have to go back to our root mystery of being alive and recognize it for what it is.

This mystery cannot be awakened by medications or talk. It must be found in our silence, in the grace of our coherent being – no matter how seemingly damaged or broken we may appear to be – even if we take medication and despite the talk. At the core, you see, nothing is broken. It’s still not broken even after we piece together the pretty or grotesque factors of our causal chain of events.

There is freedom in accepting that being hurt can’t break us. Broken bones heal. Ripping muscles get stronger. I wonder what those bones and muscles think while rebuilding? Sure, we can let go into the idea that we may not come back from being hurt that one more time. But what if we don’t let go into that thought? What if we hold off on making such big decisions and just hold on to life’s grace?

I don’t know where this idyllic vision of life here came from, where people think that everything they value should be within their reach: “If I just control this one more thing, everything will be OK.” On some level you know that’s bullshit, right? There’s a lot going on on this plane of existence, and things don’t fit into nice little closet organizers. You do see that? But we can spend our entire lives trying to figure out how much we can tweak to make life easier and smoother – forget happy.

We will always do what we do even when we don’t know why we do it. But, can’t we at least pause long enough to feel that something altogether different has occurred when we came to be here? This is not closet-organizer material. This is not within the purview of our exact and inexact sciences. In fact, direct living is beyond most of humanity, which prefers to meta-live or live by proxy, watch other people live and die, and then stop short of fullness by wading in superficial emotions and cursory pattern-recognition.

I can only try to do justice to the grace that lives me, even if aspects of me are thrown under a microscope or telescope and deemed to be imperfection. Who cares that humanity has a tendency to view texture and call it “flaw.” I remember the time when idiots thought that planets were perfect spheres, until Galileo pointed his telescope at them and saw “spots.” He lived out his days under house arrest because he called attention to the ignorance of smoothing out life’s wrinkles. Today, we just retouch in Photoshop the magazine models and, for $7 extra, everyday people, to play the dulce notes of the Music of the Spheres.

It is in texture and nuance, in the spots and wrinkles, and in the best-laid-plans-gone-to-waste that we find the pulse of life careening our awareness. I know the complexity may feel overwhelming, but there is no other way. The tendency to flatten layers no longer serves any of us. Life is alchemy and more.

You have things. Just not all to yourself.

With a sense of “I” comes the desire to own things – and even people. This can be crazy confusing, given that we have our bodies, our lives, and our dreams, which qualify us for all rights human. We delineate “healthy boundaries” using what we think belongs to us as bargaining chips. This sacred “me” must stand apart, stand out, and stand strong. And it’s all true – except for the word “own.” It is more likely that we borrow.

My body is made of atoms, which have been recycled by forms since a supernova exploded and provided the primeval soup for our solar system. We literally don’t know where our atoms have been – perhaps part of a cactus, a kangaroo, Benjamin Franklin, or all of the above. When I die, my atoms will be swept up into another form to participate in its strong sense of “I,” and then into another.

You may agree that I borrow the atoms of my body, but what about my belongings? Maybe I have land, cars, herds of cows, or buildings – surely these belong to me? In truth, anything my eye falls upon had been claimed before by someone else. Even the land I walk upon has been fought over and over again. A footprint is not a stamp of ownership, and time’s ocean swallows all footprints. So, I borrow all of my belongings.

What about my soul? Surely that belongs to “me” alone? It is what makes my life unique, is it not? Perhaps the configuration of the soul does strike a unique cord amidst the harmony of the universe, but even my soul is not immortal. The soul is eventually transcended and flows into the life that birthed all souls – including mine. So, I cannot even claim ownership of my soul without simultaneously surrendering all that I may believe I am.

If I do not and cannot own anything to revel in immortality, what is there to hold onto? Where is this legacy that humanity is so hardwired to want to leave behind?

We long for static things to matter and look to freeze something in time – some rock of ages. But eternity rests in flux, not form. Eternity is flow and not stagnant mirror pools. Eternity slips through fingers, bodies, planets, stars, and galaxies. Every claim must be surrendered, eventually.

Because we own nothing does not mean we that we mean nothing. We have not yet shifted to embrace that which changes as the primary and are tone-deaf to the keynotes of our existence.

But, because there is only change, we will eventually open to such music – body, mind, and soul. Because there is change, this too shall pass. How would our lives change if we knew that we borrow rather than own?

The Only Possible Life

Is there a point to life? Having a point appears to be different from having an explanation about the point.

I used to think that the point of life was to get really good at living – having good relationships with people and being able to support oneself and family. I spent countless hours honing the right skills, looking for the right jobs, investing in my family, and sustaining friendships. Few things were easy, and the rest were hard. I persevered.

I also saw life as something very mysterious and I wanted to understand as much of it as I could grasp. The mystery was something that I couldn’t quite name or point out. Like most, I started with religion, metaphysics, and philosophy to learn what others have said. I imagined that the mystery could ultimately be explained if I just see the right words on a page, and I tirelessly searched for the “explanation” of life’s point and my part in it all.

Then, I looked at the world with more interest, and Life appeared to have no universal script for happy-making conditions. There are different cultures that define a “good” life in different ways. People experience extreme hardships and losses on mass scales that are beyond anyone’s control – many are just trying to make it from day to day. It is all too easy to get caught up in looking at life through the lens of one specific culture, language, and individual values – and then to assume that there is something universal about one’s perspective on what’s working or what’s wrong.

Life behaves as if she has all the time she could possibly want. Eon after eon, she freely explores every variation and adjusts her routes creatively. It seems that the only true point is to live our lives whether life makes any sense to us or not.

In my early teens, I wondered about a “utopian” life for all – where everyone has what they need to live happy, fulfilling lives. I thought our goal in life was to fix the things that were problematic so that everyone could finally be happy. People are hungry? Let’s make sure they have food. Thirsty? Let’s build wells. Jobless? Let’s make jobs. Uninformed? Let’s find ways to make knowledge acessible to everyone? Sick? Let’s help them be healthy. Lonely? Let’s create support systems and communities. Overwhelmed? Let’s help them to simplify. In fact, let’s do it on a mass scale – empower every single person.

However, it was a rude awakening for me to learn that the majority of people did not seem to think that an ideal life for all was possible. In other words, the Universal Book to Life’s Answers did not – and could not – exist. While we may learn a few things about what people learned before, all answers dry up as soon as it’s time to just be ourselves.

I was called “idealistic” and got frequently slapped with sarcasm. At the time, I hadn’t yet understood that idealism was synonymous with oversimplification and painting with strokes too broad for nuance. The message that kept coming up was that people wanted to live their lives their own way, whether that way fit the norm or not. Everyone had something that was extremely important to them, and – whether or not they had articulated it – they lived for that.

There was no point in debating about who lived in a way that was the most conducive to happiness – because there did not appear to be one or even several ways. In fact, we each do it slightly differently. When I interact with people now, I often find myself wondering- What is important to you right now? Seeing others is all that matters to me in our interaction, whether or not others can or wish to see me.

To make matters even more confusing for me, many people seemed to be happy while suffering. They even packaged suffering as “lessons” and life as a “school.” I could not help but think that these “students” were just finding a way to cope with an unpredictable existence by viewing every challenge as some significant and highly personal lesson. Doesn’t shit just happen sometimes? How often is a “cigar just a cigar”?

I look back at my journey of wanting to “fix” what’s broken for as many people as possible. When wiser people told me that fixing wasn’t the point, I frankly thought they were ignorant, jaded, and weak. I see now that life is not a problem to be “fixed” because I had a biased and a naive view on what may be broken! We do not have one way to define what seems to be the problem at any given time in history or at any specific place on the globe. I don’t even think that seeing life as a problem to be solved is all that helpful.

By reflecting on our lives and the lives around us, we unfold. But even then, that reflection is not going to be anything prescriptive or universal. Pop culture in any culture is engrossed in trends and moves along from one thing “viral” to another. We’ve wasted too much time, perhaps, trying to package ourselves for mass consumption. There is magic in being oneself – an individual – for oneself.

What seems to stand out as important to life is the difference between repetition and creativity. While most of what we do may be repetitive, there can be a few simple moments here and there to explore who we are in relationship to Life, which is a creative process. Instead of looking for an answer or an explanation, we can just immerse ourselves in being living awareness. Something like this cannot be explained. One cannot live another’s life for them.

While an individual’s lifetime is a fraction of a moment when compared to Life’s grand timescales, we do just like she does. We are the rivers that dance and bifurcate under gravity’s pull. We create “wisdom” and write it down in hopes of making sense of it all. We hope to move more gracefully because we have already tried everything we knew. We want to know the difference between what we don’t need and what is essential to us, and then we try let go of all that is unnecessary.

Once seen and recognized, the endless exploration that is Life looks like utter chaos in eternal flux. Perhaps the need to make “sense” of things is not as necessary as we always thought. What if we haven’t yet given life enough of our undivided attention to see what aware living has to offer?

The human race talks of an idyllic “happily ever after” in primary colors and straight lines, even as all shades in existence push against this illusory bubble. Surprisingly, being human offers us the potential to embrace even that which we consider to be outside the scope of the human experience. We have this incredible capacity to move into previously uncharted paths and color outside the lines. While our cultural norms and scientific laws are great for organizing closets, they are insufficiently detailed or flexible to allow us to love and be happy unconditionally. Have we been successful at taming what is wild, or have we simply misunderstood our freedom?

The societal pressures to aim for a certain coveted quality of life has bullied many of us into submission to nonstop thinking and doing, as well as into quiet rage and even depression. Perhaps we can just relax and be aware of our lives without worrying that we are missing something important. Perhaps we can welcome and let go of people and situations with openness. Instead of just showing up for our birthdays and funeral, why not be there for the rest of our lives too?

There Are No Absolutes In Real Life

I saw the quote below on social media. I see many quotes like this. I believe these kinds of quotes somewhat miss the mark about life.

Surround Yourself With…

We don’t and can’t always choose who surrounds us. The reality is, we wake up every day and some people just surround us.

We may have our families, friends, people who don’t understand or like us, people who do like us, coworkers, and passerbys. Everyday. The whole mix.

We can certainly cherrypick in who we invest most of our time. For those who live in small towns or villages, at some point we may run out of cherries. We’d still be surrounded by people – whether or not we choose to interact with them. We can also choose to be alone, but are we ever really alone?

Certainly, we can cut off dysfunctional relationships that drain us. However, we can also ask ourselves how we can relate to a wider group of people, without having to get personal or intimate. What if we just related to people without talking about our needs, expectations, and wants? What if relating to others became more about being open to differences and being ourselves?

Asking for people who push you to be better – or do anything else for you – is having an agenda. “If you don’t push me to be better, you are not worthy of being in my life.” Please. We’re all here together to work things out, and what we deem important changes often. Some people change faster, and others change more slowly. But, we all change.

It takes quiet attention, reflection, and the willingness to surrender our biases to relate to different people. We don’t have to sign contracts to see who can get what for their trouble. How can we learn to love if we can’t even see each other for who we are?

No Drama or Negativity

In which universe is that even possible? Not in this one…Not at this time…

What we call drama and negativity is really all of us working stuff out. When people are working out their understanding of life, there is likely to be friction, confusion, and the need to broaden our perspectives.

Reality is messy – the opposite of a clutter-free home with trifolded towels. We are not taught how to handle a mess. Do we walk away? Do we clean it up? Certainly, watching and learning from a mess is also an option. We often react to a mess with lots of emotion, but we can also reach a point when emotions are quiet in any situation. What do we do when we know we can neither walk away nor clean things up?

When a scientist, engineer, or mathematician is working on a problem, there’s writing everywhere – even on napkins. It takes multiple approaches to see our struggles more clearly, and to understand what it is within ourselves that is creating drama.

I think it would be good if people stopped judging drama and negativity because no one can ever say that they have themselves and life completely figured out.

We can practice handling and coping with tense situations in healthier ways. We can learn how to listen even when we don’t like what we hear. We can learn how to ask others to talk about their feedback, whatever it may be.

Over time, there is less and less confusion about oneself. That helps. There is less reaction to people’s viewpoints, and more interest and curiosity. Until then, we can study how to engage with life – beyond just fight or flight.

Higher Goals, Good Times, and No Hate

The highest “goals” I ever found was to learn to see others as they see themselves, and also to see others as if they were already awake. Why would these goals be “high” goals? In my case, I wanted to see beyond my own perspective (which I knew was biased), and I wanted to understand others and life better.

Until we learn more about who each other is, there will be hate.

I understand hate as a kind of intense disgust, rejection, and turning away from another life.

Often people hate what they don’t understand or what threatens them. Since we don’t really understand each other or ourselves, we won’t feel safe. Thus, hatred is not going away any time soon.

It’s better to come clean when we hate, rather than pretending to be beyond it. It’s better to see our anger and fear than to project a saintly glow, which is likely to be fake.

But, we don’t have to act on everything we feel. Just studying our life and what turns us off is interesting in itself. Our reactions reveal something to us about who we are in relation to our lives. Often, such revelations cause us to let go more into the truth that lies hidden beyond who we want to be.

Simply Bringing Out the Best

We’ll be kinder and gentler around some people more than others. We’ll drive some people crazy and put others at ease. People will trigger each other unconsciously toward whatever they already believe about themselves. Often, certain self views are easier to stomach than others.

There is nothing simple about seperlatives. We have no clue what is best or worst. All we can see is that some stimuli make us uncomfortable and others put us at ease. Are we here to just make each other comfortable? Well, that contradicts challenging each other to be our best. Even what is best is subject to interpretation. Best for whom or what? For how long? Do we aim to be mostly comfortable with just a smidge of discomfort? Or mostly uncomfortable with a smidge of comfort? Does it matter?

It’s Appropriate That the Meme Was in B&W

It’s our nature to look for patterns and draw well-bounded conclusions. However, it is not yet second-nature for the human race to be deliberate and slow in how we listen, observe, and study our view of reality.

There really isn’t a best way to live. We are different and we can only live our lives to see what we are made of. If we change, the change will be a natural progression for us.

During a vulnerable moment, I considered changing for someone to make them more comfortable around me. Soon, I saw that it was both impossible and undesirable.

I have and am already changing. I’ve moved away from being able to have 1-1 intimate relationships. So what? There isn’t one right way to live, and I have no reason to force myself to be someone I am not. I’m grateful this is clear to me now, and I am also grateful that my life lets me meet many different people where I practice being who I am. I am happy that life set me up to learn that I am never alone and that it is OK for all people to try and learn who they are.

When Creativity Is On the Line

I was talking to a student today about choosing courses. The student was reluctant to take a more challenging course next year because he didn’t want to do a science research project. After more conversation, he decided that he was terrified that his research project would fail or that he would not have any creative ideas.

The fear he felt looked a lot like the fear of life: we make a committment without knowing the outcome, we are born to be unique without knowing what that looks like, and we are given raw material without the plans (bacause we are the dynamic, living plans). Life can be frightening because nothing guarantees that we will “succeed.”

I felt puzzled while listening to the student – how can one carry so much doubt about having creative ideas? I am always in creative mode: moving, adjusting, reevaluating, researching, asking “what if…”, and ceaselessly reconfiguring my understanding of the questions I want to ask next. But then I remembered that I had similar issues in the past: I worried that I would not have the right answer when I needed to have one ready, or I wouldn’t be able to complete something in time, or whatever I do would not be good enough. I don’t fully remember these feelings now, but I could see their essence through the eyes of this student.

We didn’t talk about life. We talked about ways to approach having creative ideas and allowing ideas to take shape. We talked about looking at work that was done previously, and then saying “What would happen if I changed this…? What would happen if I tried this…?”

Creativity is a billion-dollar subject. People can’t stop talking about innovation to create the “world we can’t even imagine yet” (an overused phrase). In terms of everyday living, such dreams are usually tied into money and profits, which translate to “I can do whatever I want after I make money.

In deeper life terms, spontaneity and creativity are tied into something much more profound than the means to gratify every desire instantly. Creativity is actually about accessing and expressing our true nature, which is flexible, flowing, adept at stitching together bits and pieces into complete creations, and ripping apart old monuments at the right time to make space for change. Creativity does not take any established ideas for granted, and always reevaluates them for how viable they remain.

What we create is a reflection of the art we feel ourselves to be. Both our desire and calling to be creative is a hint that we are more than laborers, or shoppers, or bill-payers. There is something much more magical that unites all of us in the stream of life.

If we believe ourselves to be plastic toy soldiers, popped out of a mould, it may feel safer. Or, we may get behind someone else who seems to know how to move without hesitation – just like when trucks drive behind one another to minimize air resistance. Maybe then we feel like something about life is tried and true and safe.

However, we buy this feeling of safety at a steep cost – our very uniqueness, our self worth, and drawing boundaries around our existence – which we dare never cross. This is what people call a normal life. It is no wonder that highly creative people often stood apart from the crowd, and sometimes stood apart from the mass majority. When these icebreakers owned up to the truth of their being, they no longer fit into the rank and file of society. Their lives were tragic when they cared too much about being out of place, and also made of legend.

To be creative, one has to learn how to play. The toys don’t matter, as long as they help one to express their true nature in new and evolving ways. However, boundless confidence to be creative is not enough without the recognition that we impact the lives of others. Without empathy and compassion, we are mere powertools. Just because we can create many things does not mean that everything should be created.

With power to create comes great responsibility. It is wonderful when our nature is hardwired with kindness. Until we are on automatic, we must take great care to cultivate sensitivity to the big picture of life. If everyone’s creativity spontaneously ignited without the complementary awakening of the heart, humanity would self destruct rather quickly – and in very creative ways!

After our conversation, the student felt hopeful about his ability to try and you could see his creativity begin to move. He has to put himself into action and see the project through to the end. We talked about building something that would benefit others.

He has to experience his ability to live with a situation that does not have a set outcome, and come through with a feeling of knowing himself just a bit more. With each experience, he will learn to recognize when and how to move in life to express his uniqueness within community.

What I Want My Kids to Learn

I hope my kids learn that they have the potential to be unique, that they can trust the process of life above all else, and that they are free to participate fully in their life.

Most people do not awaken to their uniqueness and do things that have been done countless times before. Most people try to control the uncontrollable – and fail. Most people are trapped in illusions, games, virtual realities, self-created worlds – and they enjoy these fragments over the full reality.

What is reality, anyway? I see it as that which results from an uninterrupted conscious connection to what lives all of us. Reality is the deep-dive into a fiery pit that burns up anything that is not It. What remains is a unique embrace of human and Divine that shines its own light – much like a star that reaches critical temperature for sustained nuclear fusion: the initial burst of light pushes gases out of the way, and then the star is free to beam into space and entwine its light with matter through all expanse.

Reality is unique for each of us because no two will embrace the Divine the same way. Paradoxically, It is also absolute. So, reality is not for the mind to understand but for Life itself to birth as It goes.

I am a pragmatist above all else. As someone who has lived through a wide spectrum of experiences and have overcome numerous hardships, I have come to understand that nothing in life is certain. Life broke me of the desire for certainty because certainty does not exist amidst flux. Then comes the question – how does one live in the face of constant change? Self-reliance, perseverance, and a life-wise telephoto lens that zooms in and out of detail – so that you can see the forest and the trees.

My pragmatism is not cold survivalism. While I identify possibilities and open doors for opportunities to grow, I also burn closed loops and dead pathways. Thus, I risk everything to be true to what I am and I trust That. My life is akin to grooming a Bonzai tree: I prune dead ends, and I cultivate potential channels for expression that is ever near and dear to the core of my being.

I prefer the sweet satisfaction of doing joy, happiness, and exploring new ways to move in our ever changing world. I teach in a school, but I am not a “teacher.” I write, but I am not a “writer.” I make jokes and laugh, but I am no “comedian.” I sing, but I am no “rock star.” Who we are cannot have a label. We can only be seen for all that we are by those who have the ability to see.

I hope my kids will see deeply into life and move with life – partner with life. I hope for them to see the limitations of video games and YouTube channels and movies and shallow conversation, and to be unsatisfied with anything shy of their depth.

Life leaves us breadcrumbs and constant signals to guide us into our fullness. Why not follow these? Why not surrender to truth that can only exist as we live it? While we have the potential to be alive, few have dared to tap it. Most seek safe nooks to hide in and live like hibernating bears. They eat, drink, seek pleasure, and dream. They suffer as the reality of life bleeds through their illusions and causes friction. I hope for my kids to see this root cause of suffering.

If there is no one to see a rainbow, does it exist? A rainbow is the effect of sunlight passing through water droplets and exiting the droplets at just the right angle. The observer must be at a certain location relative to the sun to see the rainbow! If there is no observer there, did the rainbow occur? Yes it did. The light went to that location to be received – whether or not it was received. The Universe recognizes all opportunities and possibilities, whether or not they were engaged. The secret to life is knowing that the truth is always available – to humanity and all else. Being human is not the only way to embrace the Divine, after all.

I hope for my kids to recognize the richness of life, and to see both their individuality and the Whole they represent. I hope for them to pierce the miasm of self-doubt that casts a shadow on the human race. Self-doubt is the leading cause of suicide, as I understand it, which the CDC reported today to be on the rise by 25% since 1999. When reality rubs against our limited perception, the result is disillusionment and unbearable pain. Few recognize this pain as an opportunity to see beyond our limited definition of life. What we think isn’t what it is. Anything to stop the pain, even die. I’ve been there, but I pulled up. It is extremely difficult to do in the moment of hitting bottom.

I hope for my kids to understand the intrinsic and uncaused value of life. They are more than the sum of their thoughts, actions, and words. They are a Big Bang poised to birth a universe. They are deeply loved. They lack nothing. They cannot be defined simplistically, and thus can never be judged for being.

I hope for my kids to choose wisely and to learn the map of how life works in its current state. They must navigate relationships with mostly self-absorbed people who are still asleep, shifting economic trends, and constant choices. Choices have consequences, and timing is everything. Learning to feel the clocks of life starting and stopping is key.

I know that no one can ruin my life because I am responsible for my choices. There is a huge difference between taking responsibility and casting blame. I hope for my kids to learn this difference so that they hold others – and themselves – accountable without blaming.

I hope for my kids to have the courage to be themselves, and the wisdom to not martyr themselves. Wisdom grows as you let go into the moment and allow yourself to be in whatever the moment is, taking appropriate action that expresses you. After all, you is all there is when you let go. Honing the craft of engaging the moment is to master life.

Truth vs. Our Role as Truth

People say: “If it’s not simple, it can’t be truth. Truth is simple.” Some truth is simple, like living a life of surrender to the Divine. But not all truth is simple – by far. By writing this article, I am holding back a lot. Some will think this is some New Age drivel, perhaps. But New Age has distorted much information – like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle scattered on a table, and the people who spread disinformation have simply misinterpreted their experiences or copied and propagated someone else’s misinterpretations.

Most people feel enough complexity just surviving day-to-day. This is most of the human race. A small fraction is dabbling in trying to control our reality without fully understanding what they are doing – magik, mediumship, channeling, etc. Such people are quick to speak about their advanced states and exclusivity of their abilities, but so what? The fact remains that any manipulation of forces that are interconnected with others creates consequences.

My experience is that we live in a highly complex universe with many levels of interactions among many types of beings, including the beings on earth, planets, and stars. What we consider living sentient beings, on average, is too limited at this time. While the Truth of our reality is very complex and mindblowing, our role in Truth – in Life – is very simple (e.g., loving, pure, and detached service of whatever we can offer). We can focus on opening our hearts and our minds to the richness of existence while contributing our unique creativity and willingness to help. This is simple, which is why it is far from easy.

There are boundaries set by karmic law for which levels of beings are able and allowed to interact. Our Earth is only one planet with life among myriads of planets, but we are not that evolved (relatively speaking). Advanced races on the Light path, who abide by karmic law, do not come near us – they do not because we are primarily out of range of their consciousness – like a mosquito appears to a human. However, advanced races who have taken the dark path have no problem interfering with our evolution and adding to the chaos we ourselves have already caused.

There are non-human guardians posted to protect us from external interference, for we are still too self-absorbed to fully do that for ourselves. However, there are occasional bleedthroughs of alien consciousness that mixes with ours. It is my understanding that this premature mixing is not uncommon, but it does add complexity. Such guardians see our human race from the perspective of the One Spirit, of which we are fragments – they do not interact with individuals who have not reached that perspective or get involved in the minutia of our daily events.

Telling apart which information comes from which sources can only be done by a person who has reached the evolutionary level of these sources. Such people exist, but are very few. Most are still stuck in the false (lower level) light of the Astral plane, which is similar to a reflection in water full of ripples and waves. Even this “stuckness” is a normal part of the evolution of a race, as it is training people to feel beyond the physical – even if without clarity.

Some people have evolved to the point of sensing and even participating in our broader reality with clear discernment. Such people are literally invisible as Masters – you can walk by one and never know who they truly are, and they won’t tell you what they really do. That is OK too. It is all part of the stage at which we find ourselves.

While we all love interesting stories and ideas, would it be too much to accept that we don’t have a first-hand clear experience of Reality? Or, does it require too much humbleness to admit that we are ignorant of how our Reality fits together and plays out?

Would it be too much to ask that we stop looking for someone else to tell us what will happen tomorrow, and – instead – focus 100% on giving each and every day to surrender to the One Life that we are?

Would it be too much to say that, right now, most of us are in the role of taking out the trash after a messy party – on many levels, and to embrace that role with a humble heart?

The loud ones with loud claims of grandiosity are distracting those who could just as easily be involved in the cleanup role – of our bodies, our emotions and minds, our planet, and the Astral Plane…. How? Just wake up every morning and immediately ask “How can I serve today?” – the opportunities will present themselves, even if it is to serve your own true needs. This kind of keeping it real is not for the overly intellectual or the ultraspiritual because it requires the rolling up of sleeves and a strong nose for strong smell. That’s pretty simple, but far from easy for those who want to keep pretending profound transformation is easy.

What Is Worth Learning?

I wish I had asked myself this question when I was a teenager, hungry for transformation and grabbing any and every book off the shelf. The short answer is to learn only what you absolutely need to birth something completely new in Life, as aligned to your Life’s expression. But maybe we need to unpack that….

Much of what I learned at the beginning, I had to unlearn. And, over time, I became more selective to attract the knowledge and skills I needed for my next shift. Learning to unlearn is worth learning, without any self-deprecation. 

There is something to the idea of attracting the knowledge you need when you set your intention to fully Live You, and in due time. Maybe it sounds too simple, but most simple things are usually true.

Eventually, I learned that we do not all have the same prescribed curriculum – either academically or in the school of Life. We are unique beings with a unique venture to bring about something new to Life by Being, and not spin endlessly on a common wheel of rehashed and even distorted perspectives. 

The idea that we, at our peak, create new connections as the web of Life, is likely very old – although I don’t know its source. However, too few souls accomplish this and fall into repetition. For example, one cannot become a Master unless one has done something new. This may sound like a Master is a graduate student, working on a Ph.D.  thesis and presenting that thesis to a committee of established Masters. The main difference is that academic theses are highly focused, but the Master-to-be aims to shift Life energies at global scales and with great sensitivity and discernment to true outcomes. There are many actions that cannot be taken on behalf of the human race because they take away from others’ Life learning. And yet, many actions can be taken to help uplift the human race – these cannot be ignored.

Presumably, high school is about absorbing human knowledge and applying basic thought processes in broad brush strokes. Surely, this is a noble enough goal – to get kids on the same page about what is known by the human race, which questions are still unanswered, and the strategies we can use to critically think about the world. If the students are lucky, they will also learn about human interaction and empathy, and walk forward with a greater appreciation for the human race and its rich diversity on a rather small Earth. If students are fortunate, they will be inspired to further cultivate their true expression.

Unfortunately, reasearchers determined that, by the time students reach high school, they are less curious and interested to learn than they were in elementary school. This process of boxing students into classrooms and regimenting them into curriculum ends up either making good academic soldiers or turning out the lights. Some manage to rise despite these limitations. While academic rigor sounds a bit rigid, some welcome the challenges and the puzzles, and also put up with the box. There is no one-size-fits all in terms of how to be taught so that lights are ignited! Given that most of what is taught in school is forgotten, what then is worth learning? Perhaps, that which remains long after school is out.

As I watch students interact and react to their lives, I can see how ill-equipped many are to handle uncertainty, conflict, collaboration, and setbacks. While they strive to define their identities, they could also learn empathy and service – but the latter are considered “useless” or “weak” by most kids. Unless, of course, students have a teacher who can model these qualities and demand self-reflection.

Many feel that being loud and disrespectful to each other will cause them to seem like lions in the serengeti, and competing with one another for looks and social status is the norm. So, the strategies to forming relationships and negotiation – perhaps the most important things to learn – are left to chance in a climate of unpredictable harshness that underlies most school settings, and amidst other students with brains far from fully developed. The most  useful skills worth learning – relationships and interactions – are not explicitly taught, but rather resolved by pure Darwinism. The harshest and the loudest trump the rest without winning anything in the long game.

Skills are important because they are the way we access our relationship to expression. However, it takes time to figure out who we are, and so we pursue all accessible skills at the early stages – critical thinking, problem solving, visualization, representation, abstract reasoning, and hands-on craftsmanship. We try everything with open minds and hearts, and find ourselves drawn to some things more than others. However, too many students shut down to learning too soon, and prematurely decide what they don’t need in life. Most schools do not expressly promote high schools as an exploration, and do not teach how to remain open to possibilities despite ambiguity of long term gain. Remaining open is always valid and is worth learning – without it, our minds shut down the growth pathways that may very well be our unique gifts.

Even if students have the ability to learn in all or most contexts, they may lack the skills to identify and prioritize tasks, and to self-assess. Learning to know what you don’t know may be the most worthy ability yet, for it develops humbleness, topples arrogance, and keeps one from parking on false laurels and plateaus. As our lives progress, we must become more flexible and independent in our explorations. We must question our approach and evaluate our progress, which is always incomplete,  but sometimes good enough. The goal of such introspection is to decide our next move. That is skillful living and worth learning as early as possible.

Finally, we must learn to identify and stand up for truth in our own ways. There is such a thing as a universal truth that is never outdated or out of style. This truth is Character in its purest form. We forge our character in Life’s crucible, tested by Life each step of the way. Character speaks to how we engage Life to foster ongoing unfoldment, while pruning and refining as we progress

So, it seems that the things worth learning are connected to things worth remembering and using throughout life. While these skills have little to do with context, which may or may not be interesting to us, they start in some context and then carry over to every aspect of our life to position us for igniting what is uniquely ours to express.

The future of the human race relies on awakened creativity and a full heart. At every stage of learning, we remove the obstacles of conditioning about status, power, innate intelligence, self-doubt, and outward appearance. We battle these traps to win true freedom to be unique, and not extinguish our fire. 

Thank you to all the teachers and mentors for teaching what is truly worth learning amidst their regular lessons, for the human race is rapidly outgrowing outmoded living strategies and is poised to move forward.

What’s Life Got to Do With It?

I get tired just thinking about the regimens people go through to feel like their lives have value. While balanced  discipline  allows us to see and hear more of Life, regimentation has a completely different feel to it.

The drive behind regimented spiritual practice is, in reality, toxic. The practitioner creates yet another illusion: “If I meditate, do yoga, eat these foods, fast, and cleanse – I will qualify as an advanced being.”

There is no way to say it except straight up – being attached to a routine and restrictions of any kind is just another thing to let go of when one realizes that attachment doesn’t work. Similarly, being attached to living for the day has the exact same effect – it is superficial freedom. Such practitioners acquire a superiority complex, a sense of “beating life at its game” and obsessively conquering what they consider to be human weaknesses – meanwhile immersed in the delusion that they are living Truth. One may get enlightened despite this mindset, but not because of it.

Buddha decided asceticism and zealous regimentation did not work to free him, so he stopped these practices. Doing whatever and avoiding responsibility and commitment does not work either. There is a middle ground, where one studies balance and active listening to their unique Life, answering its call. The yearning to be free, as vague as it may be in the beginning, does evoke a response from Life to invite the relationships that will ultimately interconnect and free us.

In reality, it requires much more discipline to be available to Life in the moment than waking up to a 5 AM alarm to meditate or do yoga. It is much more challenging to respond to the needs of Now, than to react out of habit – to let go when the tendency is to hang on.

Life – the power, energy, and force permeating everything – has everything to do with our evolution. If we pay attention, the very circumstances of our existence are giving us endless opportunities to be free, whether it be feedback, inspiration, change of routine, or support and loving gestures. Life that is open to the unpredictable and new is the toughest training ground for seeing through illusion. A sensitivity to timing develops with intuition of when and how to engage Life’s opportunities.

People nod when someone says change is the norm, but do not actually respond to change in a way that demonstrates this  motto. However, disruption of regimented living is the greatest gift to spiritual practitioners – in proportion to the level of frustration such a change generates. The irritability and anger evoked by change show what is truly lurking behind the controlled facade. Then, there is the opportunity to let go into Life, which is truth – plain and simple.

When I was seeking enlightenment, I didn’t really know what I was seeking. I imagined the state to be something extraordinary – superior knowledge and understanding, freedom from pain, and freedom from suffering. But these were vague goals because I still suffered, felt pain, and knew my ignorance. I wanted to help the world to achieve freedom, having no understanding of what the world needed. And that’s the truth.

When the identification with Soul and Spirit stabilized, I realized that now I had to re-enter the world – Life – as That. There is no running off to secluded places, and there is no donning of white or orange robes to broadcast achievement. Freedom is to be Lived – expressed, not savoured in isolation and separation. Not today. Not anymore. In the past, people ran off to enjoy their bliss, but it is more difficult and requires further evolution to integrate into Life without pomp and fanfair.

It is true that the personality becomes impersonal, and that the embracing of All unconditionally becomes natural. It is true that one can see more clearly through situations, but attachment-based love dissolves and is supplanted by insightful response to need. It is true that one may no longer feel human, but – more than anything – one wants to relate ever more deeply (and not sit on a pedestal). And all this because one knows that one is no different from Life, and not separate from Life. Just as there is the rocky “ascent” to liberation, there is also a necessary reintegration period to establish real and humble relationship from that perspective.

At every transition, there are tests and temptations. Unfortunately, many get stuck there without pushing through. They teach misunderstanding and model disturbance, even if they have many followers. Why would anyone want to be a follower anyway? The whole point is for each person to reach realization, and not to glorify and worship someone else.

Some teachers have announced degrees of enlightenment – stages. Of course, every Ego latches on to those as a grading system to fortify the Ego’s position. In spiritual groups, practitioners actively judge and compare each other to decide who is the most and least evolved,  without realizing that such an activity further distances them from freedom. But the Ego loves to judge and compare, and this very act allows illusion to become more entrenched.

Enlightenment is the exact opposite of feeling superior, extraordinary, entitled, and all-knowing. Instead, such a state is the continuous listening to Life and seeing Life with innocence and clarity. No comparisons, no posturing, and no self-deprecation or self-aggrandizement (which are fundamentally the same). The freedom is the strength to look into the eyes of the unknown and respond with clarity without judgement. The response is one of understanding and acceptance based on experience, rather than preaching wise quotes without having the actual experience of the words. 

It is remarkable that the very process in which we continuously engage – Life – is seen as something to be controlled and overcome, rather than lived. The quality of openness is snuffed out by the should’s. If enlightenment is what you want, then fully engaging everyday  Life – including the seemingly mundane – has everything to do with it. The universe does not know the future because we are all creating it.