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Archive for November, 2010

Giving & Receiving

George Bush, during a 5,000 dollar a seat reception at the end of the now infamous Michael Moore film, Fahrenheit 9-11, said:

“This is for the haves and the have mores….” It is an eerie and revealing scene, an absolutely horrifying finish to a great documentary. It shows how far delusion and greed can go. Greed is a state of poverty consciousness. It is at the heart of ego, which is always after more. It never has enough. One can be a millionaire financially but deep down be truly poor, feel ‘impoverished’, which means they are ‘deprived of natural richness and strength’.

A spiritual teacher I know offers his discourses for donation. He still does, only now he has someone sit by the donation basket. For several years though, he didn’t. His volunteers kept discovering that many were not giving. This teacher did nothing, but for several weeks, his father, who also came, decided to see who was giving and who wasn’t. His father was also aware of the relative financial standing of most of the people who came. So he stood inconspicuously to one side but all the while paying very close attention to the donation station. What he found was astounding. Night after night, talk after talk, gathering after gathering, of those people who had significant monetary wealth, a large percentage did not give a donation at all. Those that had very little, were barely making rent, having a house that was undergoing foreclosure and generally not pulling in a large amount of money, gave a lot. It was in inverse proportion to their actual financial status. Here were these affluent people not donating for something they supposedly valued greatly. In essence they were not giving, so how in fact could they truly receive what was being offered?! The loop was closed. Here was this teacher offering spiritual riches, but they weren’t really being valued. Conserving the money was more important. It was just like Christ telling the wealthy man who wanted to join him to give away all his money, then follow me. That is, first give, then receive. Remember the response:

“Give all that my father earned, that I have earned, give it all away.” The rich man slowly backs away and as he is leaving, Christ turns to his disciples and says: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The people with just enough financial sustenance were living in true wealth and were enjoying the riches. With all their monetary wealth, the so-called ‘rich’ ones were in fact poor, living in poverty.

When we operate from the belief that everything is separate, we live from a lack state of mind. True abundance is the realization that we are already whole and complete, so all that’s left is to share from our inherent bounty.

Rain

Rain. There is something magical about it. The sound, the vibration, it washes away the past. A freshness comes forth whenever the past is put to rest. The past is dead, it has no being, no aliveness. So these demolition drops have  come so we can recognize the aura of peace that resides within. With the past no more, the future is now. The big storms arrive to clear the slate clean, reveal the space waiting to be born each instant.

So the next time you hear rain, don’t dread it or get lost in the tension of all the yesterdays. Rejoice instead. Breathe in the freshness. You are free!

The ‘Something is wrong’ story…

In the movie ‘Fletch’, Chevy Chase’s character is receiving a physical exam.

“Well, I can’t find anything wrong with you,” the doctor concludes.

“Not for a lack of trying,” Fletch deadpans.

And that’s it. We are always trying to find something wrong when sensations trigger old conditioning patterns in the mind. The mind comments so quickly with internal streams. ‘This means I’m sick, I’m not well, What’s wrong?’ So the life force is covered up with a mind stream from the past, thoughts turn into beliefs and suddenly we are lost in a story. ‘Oh, God, what am I going to do. I’m sick and have so much work to do today.’ It’s the illness merry-go-round which plays itself as a deadly serious occupation. The boss, the workers, and all the things to do are fabricated in the mind, spun into a grand tale and that’s where all the energy goes. The thought goes: ‘If only I had energy.’  Well the energy is there but it is busy keeping up the pseudo story or tied up in the conclusion, ‘I’m exhausted.’

This doesn’t deny the fact that the body is actual having physical symptoms and reactions. It is. Only much of the healing energy is usurped by the mind and bound up, in tension. Once we realize that what’s happening is okay, relaxation comes in. The life force is then free, not blocked by patterns of resistance. From this place of freedom, the body will recover much more quickly and with greater ease.

Detoxification…

There are so many different types of detoxification available, it can be difficult to decide which one to attempt. For instance there is the Master Cleanser (also known as the ‘Lemonade Diet’) made famous by Stanley Burroughs. It is usually 7-10 days long. Supposedly you do not feel hungry. This cleanse is probably best for robust types and not for those with already low body weight. You drink a large mixture of fresh lemons and water, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a rather hefty portion of maple syrup. This cleanse is not for those with candida albicans (yeast problems) because of the high sugar content. Elson M. Haas, a Holistic M.D. practicing in San Rafael, California says in his book, The New Detox Diet, that the Master Cleanse is his favorite fast. (p. 61) He also said:

“I believe in and consider the cleansing/fasting/detoxification process…to be the missing link in Western nutrition and a key to the health and vitality of our civilization. In over 25 years of medical practice, I have utilized extensively, various detox and healing/rejuvenation practices….I truly believe that cleansing and detoxification…is virtually one of the most powerful healing therapies (real healing of ailments and not just suppression of symptoms) I have witnessed….Its effects offer re-balance for the body/mind and are preventive for many health problems.” (from The Purification Process: Healing for Modern Times by Elson Haas, M.D.)

Many other cleanses are available, some even more radical than this. For instance, Richard Anderson’s ‘Arise and Shine’ cleanse (detox) requires one to take, daily, 3–5 ‘shakes’ (a mixture of juice, water, psyllium seed husk, and bentonite clay), a combination that pulls what Anderson calls ‘mucoid plaque’ away from the intestinal walls. These shakes are followed 2 hours later with an herbal combination called ‘Herbal Nutrition’ mixed with one called ‘Chomper’. These herbs than provide nutrition and sweep the colonic debris out. This is done for 1–3 weeks. I have done it several times and it certainly removed some deeply impacted intestinal debris but was quite intense.

Another way to detox is with fresh, organic vegetable juices. Three 16-oz glasses a day with carrot juice as a base mixed with beet, celery, spinach, lettuce or other green leafy vegetables make for a powerful yet much easier cleanse. This detox can be done for several days or several weeks and will completely revitalize the system with a heavy dose of enzymes and minerals. Sometimes an herbal laxative is needed, like senna or cascara sagrada, to keep the bowels moving and limit the so-called ‘cleansing reactions’. These reactions can be uncomfortable but only indicate that the body is reabsorbing old toxic debris. Once the bowels move, the reaction subsides and one feels lighter than ever.

In Chinese Medicine, a lot of raw food is not advocated. They believe that too much raw food can be weakening for the spleen, causing an imbalance in the body. Different foods are thought to have different energies, from cold to neutral to hot. Raw fruits and vegetables possess a cooling energy. According to traditional Chinese Medicine, over-consumption can result in symptoms such as chilliness, mucus, congestion, fatigue and depletion, feeling cold, abdominal pain, poor appetite, and bloating after meals.

There are many other possible detoxification protocols available. If you feel it is time to attempt a cleanse, please come in for a treatment and we can discuss viable options based on your unique body constitution and current health.

Insight & Inquiry…

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with a friend who lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. His name is Guy. He was recently ordained as a Buddhist monk. He carries a new vibration now. His heart is open and kind. He did not say anything particularly dazzling, but wisdom was revealed in the utter simplicity of his presence. As we walked along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz on a sunny Autumn afternoon, he exuded an authentic, subtle force of the kind that is often overlooked or dismissed in our busy American culture.

Following that meeting, an insight came. I realized how I had been closing my heart. It was a conditioned self-protection mechanism. We never want to admit our secret beliefs or realize we have shut down in some way. In a flash the belief goes underground, hidden and uninvestigated, into the realm of conclusion.  Conclusions are the way we stay unaware. They are solidified beliefs that become quarantined aspects of ourselves. We close down, thinking we know something is true though actually this brings separation to life. Conclusions happen so quickly that most of the time we don’t even realize it. This is how we cut ourselves off from Reality, from Life.

Inquiry is a way to uncover these hidden crevices, to see underneath the false layers.

A simple inquiry method comes from the spiritual teacher Byron Katie. Her style is very practical and direct. She starts with:

1) Is it true?

2) Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3) How do you react when you believe that thought?

4) Who would you be without that thought? Then turn the thought around, for example if you are believing that ‘my husband doesn’t love me’, the turn around might be: ‘I don’t love my husband’ or ‘I don’t love me’.

Inquiry requires an authentic yearning for truth and involves isolating a thought stream, a story, an inner dialogue, and bringing it into the open space. At first it involves a disciplined inner exploration, where guidance can be useful, which begins to reveal deeper and deeper layers of false beliefs until the natural state of peace becomes the abiding Reality. It is like the storm clouds have finally moved away revealing the Sun.

Soon this seeing method happens spontaneously, becoming an innate process that helps you discover the joy that is always present behind any kind of suffering. When inquiry becomes alive in you, it operates whenever suffering arises. In this way suffering becomes your friend, a partner that brings you back to the all-consuming Spaciousness.

Virtual Intimacy…

With so many electronic gadgets siphoning the life force, is it any wonder humanity has turned into some kind of robotic sub-species? Human beings are becoming more and more dysfunctional when it comes to direct interaction. We have relied upon our tech devices as adult pacifiers. We self-soothe with techno-gadgets, saying:

“Here little machine, help me be more, distract me, let me escape from all my feelings.” In return, the machine grants our wish, albeit temporarily. In reality we want authentic intimacy but are petrified of it. When actual human-to-human conversations do take place and we have a chance at a deep connection,  these tech doodads act as mediation portals, or they wait in standby mode, just a thought away from center stage.

Often times when people meet, one or both individuals have to finish up an urgent cell call, disconnect from an iPod, or finish an email on their blackberry. Some users attempt to keep an activity going while they engage with ‘living flesh’ humanity that stands right before their eyes.

That’s why I coined the term virtual intimacy. Don’t you feel closer to me already?!

Meditation…

This morning I was getting ready to leave for a gathering and required a little extra sprucing up. I was heading to the Self-Realization Fellowship Church meditation, so I thought. I walked back upstairs and stared at the clock. Some how the minute hand had sped up. It was supposed to be daylight savings time. There would be no SRF meditation this morning. So I sat on the couch and felt the current of anger and exasperation. They subsided after a couple of minutes, like inconsequential energy waves, and I started laughing when I saw the mind attempting to create a problem.

My wife interrupted the chuckling spree. “You need a haircut.”

“And I suppose you are going to give it to me right now?” I smiled. A minute later I was perched on a stool in our kitchen listening to the pitter-pat of rain on the roof, the hum of the fridge, and feeling the long, delicate fingers consciously and gently stroking, clipping, and dancing on my head. It was a haircut meditation and like any true meditation didn’t require mantras, breathing techniques, chakra clearing exercises or any other transcendental mumbo-jumbo. It only required the witness attitude, which is simply a surrender to what is. So the meditation continued. The mind was still, then alternated between restless and bored, the shoulder exuded an uncomfortable achy sensation, the breath just came and went, snip, snip of the scissors, pitter pat on the roof, while fingers delicately touch the neck. None of it was under ‘my’ control.

Whatever is happening is a doorway to true meditation, to being fully present in the living moment. We don’t need to go anywhere to meditate. We never go anywhere; we are always here. Wherever the body ends up, sick in bed, driving to work, running through a park, getting a haircut, you are always here to witness it all. In that witnessing is the joy of Life. It is so full and rich, the entire wonder of earth, sky, and universe inside our awareness. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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