In these days of economic and intense personal challenges, it is important to remind ourselves that even when things don’t fit our pictures we still have a choice. This last year has presented many personal hurdles. Standing toe to toe and looking into the face of them, these challenges look impassable. It’s exhausting to stand against them and although we want to give in, it’s important we take the next step, no matter how small it is.
Take a step back from time to time to get a different perspective. Sometimes it’s through this view we can see the entire landscape and get a proper perspective on the road ahead. Often times, it is not as bad as we thought and we can even see a more scenic, easier paths around. Sometimes, the rest of retreat is essential to prepare us for the next push, like a long labor, after which we bear the fruit of new life.
Trust in life and knowledge that we are not alone. We never have been and never will be. Just around the corner is all that we intended long ago and the bumps in the road, the crashing waves on the rocks we walk along are there to provide us all we need to meet the next challenge. Live this life, every moment of it with the knowing that we are given nothing we can’t handle.
ah…. the shadow of me cascading down the stairs had my dog Izzie bark at it. She had it be whatever it was that had her bark…. Threatening and scarey, not playful and dancing as I saw in my shadow. It was no less real for her than it was for me. The same shadow in time. She barked, I laughed.
Am I barking at shadows?
I find myself constantly critical of my choices. I should have done this, I wish I did that, what was I thinking that I didn’t do this? Where has the time gone? I am barking at shadows—-of love lost, time lingered, where I’m at, where I’m not, where I could be, where I should be. Bark bark bark.
Shadows. Real or imagined? What are my shadows?
One of the things about aging is you start to notice, like it or not, how much time you have left. Oh, I’m not old by any means…..but I am an old soul. I have always known what is up for me to do in this lifetime. Exectution…fulfillment. So many things I want to do, I need to do and now. Time wasted, decisions questioned, choices made, choices squandered. Is it? Is it really? If there is perfection functioning…the principal of the universe, nothing is lost or gained. It is all as it should be, all perfect and whole…..no mistakes. Barking at shadows…nothing real. Shadows arecast in my world of language. A world made up by my interpretation..my filters, my making.
I capture on film a moment. A shadow dance.
It is not real. You can’t touch it or hold it in your hand. Each moment is completely different from the moment before and after it, until it disappears entirely. I am grateful I am there to catch it momentarily again. and again. and again, different each and every moment….appearing and disappearing. Witnessing those moments that exist only in my seeing. Voyeuristicly witnessing something that doesn’t exist. You can’t touch it, taste it, hear it. Like memories, it it fleeting and made up by me the seer. It is mine and only mine.
“He told Yogi Krishnan of his hunger for wealth and obsession with work. He revealed, with great emotion, his inner turmoil and the crisis of spirit he had experienced when the once bright light of his life began to flicker in the winds of an out-of-balance lifestyle.”
“I too have walked this path,my friend. I too have felt the pain you have felt. Yet I have learned that everything happens for a reason, ” offered Yogi Krishnan sympathetically. “Every event has a purpose and every setback its lesson. I have realized that failure, whether of the personal , professional or even spiritual kind, is essential to personal expansion. It brings inner growth and a whole host of psychic rewards. Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is.” -excerpt from “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma
I’ve been studying metaphysics for quite some time. I love it when I come across a book, so profoundly simple in it’s explanation of life and death. We humans like to make things so hard for ourselves. Perhaps that’s the necessary path to discover ourselves for ourselves–it is in fact–or it wouldn’t be our experience. Through death there is life, and life, whether we acknowledge it or not, is a series of events and experiences along the way to our own inevitable deaths. This invitation hanging out there for each of us. Looming like a one way ticket to an undisclosed location. We can look away for a time, deny and distract, but eventually we are face to face, looking it in the eye.
I used to be afraid of hospitals. The stale smell of them, the idea of them, the pain and uncertainty that creeps through the hallways. The smell of death crawling out of the rooms where vacant stares gripped my guts and reminded me that I too could be those eyes staring from the bed, pleading for someone to take me out to anywhere….anywhere but there.
I successfully avoided hospitals, never a stitch or broken arm as a kid to pull me there, until my best friend (and I by her side), at 25 years of age, spent a week in a coma there before dying. I was no longer a hospital…or death… virgin. Soon after, I watched many friends die from AIDS over the next several years, and a hospital was a common place to be. Watching your friends die in their 20’s and 30’s has a profound effect on how you perceive death—and life. I am no longer afraid of it. In fact, I am more afraid of life at times truth be told.
And as I experience more deaths as I live life and meet people along my way, I see more and more how small we really are in the all of it. The universe is a wide wonder, all of us making up the whole like drops of water in an ocean, and I am no longer full of myself. I am the I that is WE, nothing more, nothing less. I enjoy the sunshine on my face like the flower that stretches to the sky, taking no thought in it’s existence. Joining in wonderful manifestation of Being…..delighting in the Uni-verse–the explosion of life that creates itself everyday, regardless the human things we do to twart it.
NEXT POST: An excerpt regarding death from the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein.
Fishing is such a delicious metaphor for life. Trying to catch the right job, career, soulmate, adventures, and security. Using the juiciest of baits and coming up empty hook, tangled in weeds or hooking an unexpected fish that didn’t quite fit your pictures. What if we took on living in the flow of life? Like a leaf floating down a river? Complete with all it’s ups and downs, twists and turns.
So easy to do when all is going according to plan and everyting is easily fitting our pictures. But what about when things screech to a halt, economies plummet, jobs hang on the brink and we wake in the morning trying to merely survive another day. So many of us are waking to this everyday–I know I am. It’s so difficult to keep myself present and grounded in the midst of media buzz and the reality of friends and family losing their jobs, health care, homes and security.
So what to do within these challenges? How do we keep urself grounded and optimistic? I listen to tapes all day–not even music, but enlightment cd’s that keep me in the truths of te fundamentals of scientific metaphysics. Margaret Laird. Betty Albee. Carolyn Myss, Wayne Dyer, Eckart Tolle, Fred Wolfe, Abraham. I keep my mind as free of clutter as possible, controlling what I can and trying to let go of the rest. I try to trust—and look for the doors opening, istead of the doors closing. I watch programs that feed my mind, my laughter or my visual and art sensibilities.
Sometimes….mostly…… it’s a moment to moment practice–right now right now right now. It is not easy to be sure, but it’s all I know to do. The practice of Scientific metaphysics is not for the pleasure of when things are going right (as we know right to be) but it’s a Truth that is the basis of belief regardless of the picture. We live in a paradox experience. Right/wrong, good/ bad, black/white, happy/sad, sickness/health. It is all one happening….all present…all the time. We cannot have one without the other. With the problem is the solution. With the sickness is the health. With darkness is light.
Hang in there my friends, for this too will pass. Use less, appreciate more and be kind to each other. We need one another…we ARE one another. Include each other, don’t turn away. Support each other, don’t horde. See each other don’t look over or beyond. We are in need of that special something each of us has to share. Support your independent business’…the local stores, resteraunts, services. Share your jobs, reduce hours rather than lay people off…live with less. We can make it through this and come out the otherside newly awakened.
Throw your hook and see what happens—-
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. A day to feel gratitude of where I’ve come to. I look around to the people around me that have made me who I am. The people who are a part of me. The high school janitors I had that so kindly opened the gym doors for me and turned on the lights in the early early mornings so I could shoots baskets alone for hours upon hours. Did they know they contributed to my college basketball scholarship which contributed to my schooling which contributed to my career which contributed to my masters degree I am currently pursuing which contributed to all the people I have interacted with past, present and future?
I make a point to tell those in my life who they are for me and what they have contributed to me. Occassionally, a few slip through the cracks, latent results not realized at the time. The saying “One person can make a difference ” sounds cliche´ I realize, but I’ve seen it proven again and again and again. We reflect ourselves in the experiences that manifest our life unfolding every day. We have choices each moment. What a powerful way to live life. AND a practice. It ain’t easy kid!
In the paradox world we take the good with the bad. We use the experience to understand ourselves.
So what? Well, I see my “teacher” today and practice and reflect how I’m being. This shows up as an person who instantly pushes or buttons, or someone in line at the market, or a family member, etc. Without these teachers how would I be able to measure how I am living? It is a lesson for me—a reminder to choose.
This Thanksgiving, as all Holidays with families and old friends that are considered family, we are offered a choice. I look at the dynamics of old relationships at times and think how in need they are of upgrading sometimes. Others have so smoothly grown together like a perfect 3-legged race. I think at times how could someone who has known me so long, not know me at all. It has me question who I am and experience momentary identity crisis’. Then I snap out of it–look around at what I have created as my being has unfolded over the years and I know home. Ultimately, we speak ourselves everytime we open our mouths. I notice how much I get caught up in pleasing someone and trying to measure up to their expectations, only to realize they don’t even see me. They are talking to themselves…so wrapped up into their crisis’, missed opportunities, anger, resentment, guilt, past issues projecting, that I am not there. Moreso—I reflect them. In fact I’M not even there! Once I saw that I could let go and be gracious. Not react–not do anything with it. It’s never personal. NEVER. All of it supports my growth if I choose to see it and have it not mean anything. We are feeling beings–having it not mean anything is a massive challenge. After all, our EGOs more often than not rule the roost. To live in the freedom of letting go is to know peace…and love.
This all doesn’t mean we stay arround the bullshit. We have choices who we surround ourselves with. I choose to surround myself with supportive, loving people who are up to stuff in their lives. Ones who are interested in life and welcome it with open arms. I surround myself with souls that are easy to be with. Effortless relationship–a dance of the unknowing and constant discovery. Not to covet or dominate, but to understand, allow and learn from. To be soft, gentle, compassionate, allowing and loving. What else is there? It’s ok to let go of relationships that are not good for you. We come into each other life for a reason–and the timing is perfect for what we neeed to learn and see. It’s okay to outgrow friendships–they change over time. We each have our individual paths to walk. If it is not healthy and supportive, walk on. It’s ok! We will continue to have people enter and leave our lives. So many to meet! Arrange you life to support your intentions…every conversation, every interaction.
Lastly I’ll add:
Life is hard enough these days. We’re scared, exhaused, anxious and uncertain. We need all the love, acknowledgement and support we can get. Let’s help each other….we need each other more than we care to admit.
I stopped by the Walker Art Center’s sculpture garden yesterday, Sunday, on a beautifully perfect fall afternoon to take a picture for an Arizona friend’s daughter’s flat stanley project. What can be more Minneapolis than Oldenberg’s Cherry & the Spoon and the downtown backdrop? As I walked close to the sculpture, flat stanley in tow, I notice all the goose poop I was walking through. For those who haven’t the experience, it is the equivalent of walking through the extrament of a small dog, and it’s EVERYWHERE. I took my photo and turned to leave, head down, strategically placing my foot carefully to minimize the crap I’d have to wipe off before getting back in the car, on to the next photo op.
As I walked into my next stanley stop, my high-rise office building in downtown Minneapolis, and pushed the elevator button to the 28th floor I pondered my goose poop. How odd that in this building, far away from “The Cherry and the Spoon” here am I, transporting what I picked up on my shoe in the garden and placing it, I’m sure, on the hallways and offices of a place so removed from it. Even if undistinguishable, there it sits, a microbe of matter carried by a middle person, unwittingly, to it’s new environment, and set to rest….altering it’s surroundings, even if microscopicly (if that’s a word).
So I think how we all, with our footprints, pick up things through our travels and place them elsewhere on our stops without even being aware of it. Our music, our food, our favorite resteraunts, our learnings, our jokes, our perspectives, put knowledge and wisdom, our talents and failures, our friends and family, our technology, our vision, our stories……it is endless poop on our shoes we can’t help pick up in our journey and leave elsewhere along the way. And it is there long after we move on to another location, another pick up and stop. To forever alter the space, however invisible it seems to the human eye and perception.
“Never think that I believe I should set out a “system of teaching” to help people understand the way. Never cherish such a thought. What I proclaim is the truth as I have discovered it and “a system of teaching” has no meaning because the truth can’t be cut up into pieces and arranged in a system.”
I love this idea that Truth (and I capitalize that) can’t be cut up into pieces and arranged in a system. There seems to be many uses of the word truth. Especially with this political climate invading our airwaves and coffee pot conversations.
FROM THE LAIRD LETTER,1960, Volume 7 Number 4
The following paragraph from The Laird Letter of January 1959 was recently called to my attention: Intellectuality, in the framework of Science, is the activity of Mind as spontaneous unpremeditated Reason. Reason is spiritual rationality – the impulsion of Truth – and is free from half-truths, from miracle, mystery and supernaturalism. Reason is not an argument between the Real and unreal; Reason eliminates the dualism of opposites. Today the day in which the intellectual is derisively called “an egghead” seems a good time to take another look at intellectuality.
Science connotes intellectuality with intelligence as well as with Reason “as a native capacity independent of education. ” This means Man knows as knowing, as being and not as knower. This native capacity is intuition and instinct; it is Enlightenment and is the reason for intellectual perception. Reason has been defined as “the faculty of the higher cognition or a priori truth” (Truth). Science also connotes intellectuality with the energy of Spirit – the divine potential, which each man possesses as Man to give himself a limitless range of new color, and new form experiences. Intellectuality does not mean more and more of what we already know; it does not mean a store of information about, a gathering together of many views or interpretations of Reality. The theory which connotes intellectuality with education or book-learning separates it from Reason, from intuitions of Reality. In this separation it becomes sterile – uncreative.
Intellectuality is individual awareness, and that is the reason the intellectuality of another has no value for us. The crucial need is not the use of ready-made formulas but the intellectuality or original thinking which is continuously making new formulas. Intuitive cognition is not a “hunch” nor is instinct undirected motivation. Both are the “pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge” – the Reason that is the reason for all that exists or seems to exist. Reason is apparent as man’s capacity to reason, to think originally. It is the tool – the sense – man uses to see himself as he truly is without the label “man”. The world of sense which we experience through Reason is a world of law and order, a world of structures and forms beyond human conception. When Mind speaks form appears – The dynamic inseparable from the form.
Reason, intellectual perception, evolves a new sense – extra-sensoryperception – in which matter is seen in a new light. In this new light, the materiality of matter (not matter) is seen as a superstition, an illusion. “Our false views of matter perish as we grasp the facts of Spirit. ” Reason rejects the theory that consciousness is divided into seeing and seen, feeling and felt. The tree in your front yard and your experience of being Mind as conscious identity is one. A sense-world with which you are inherently in love and yourself are not two. Conscious being is experience.
Mary Baker Eddy speaks of progress resting on experience. Progress (theories giving place to facts) begins for man when Reason, intellectual perception gives him new eyes and he no longer sees himself in a space-time sense, verbalizing and taking thought about what he thinks he sees. With the extra-sensory-perception of Reason, a new world is constantly in the making.
Truth cannot be captured once and for all time, formulated, organized or promoted. Truth is individually discerned moment by moment. Truth is its own discerning Principle and this Principle is Reason. Reason introduces you to your own divinity or Good, to your own Truth, your own intuition. It removes all tempation to look to another as the Good or as a repository of Truth and thus an authority for your behavior. Reason takes away the concepts of superior and inferior and restores each individual to Mind as individual conscious identity.
A friend writes: “The one who has discovered the nature of matter to be atoms and molecules – electrons and protons in unimaginable activity, each atom a self-contained cosmos and 9elf-directing, will tell you that atomic force is Power so far beyond any preconception of power that it does not obey the laws of “orthodox arithmetic. ” He will also probably tell you that a butterfly’s wing, a piece of steel, an eyelash are composed of the same essential substance. If he is an Eddington, you will hear that the rainbow described by the spectroscope as a band of aethereal vibrations is the same rainbow that you describe as form, color, beauty. The physical elements – the scurrying electric charges – are guiltless of any intention to convey the impression of substance, color, beauty. The physical no less than the metaphysical is not oult there a+ to hotv _ in tha mind and we would add as MIND (God).
An article appeared in The Chicago Tribune recently entitled: “Radio noises hint Creation goes on. ” The article speaks of the theory “first advanced by such men as the English cosmologist, Dr. Fred Hoyle, that the creation of matter is still going on in space. “
The rejection of the purely physical nature of the universe is not new. A Greek of the sixth century B. C. recognized in the world the operation of a Logos – Reason – corresponding to the reasoning power in man. Later another Greek philosopher identified this Logos as possessing all knowledge and power, ruling in all forms of life, and called it Nous or Mind. Still later, Socrates, through intuition and the exercise of Reason, came to the conclusion that Good is the reality or essence of this Logos or Life-Principle – the Reason that is the reason for all that lives or seems to live. This discernment is voiced in the Gospel of St. John: “In the beginning was the Word – the Logos – and the Word was with God and the Word was God. “
The Reason or intelligence that is “with God and is God” comes to our rescue when we are tempted to believe that some “awful” thing is happening or has happened because the appearance does not conform to what we have been educated to call good. With Reason for our awareness we have no reaction to appearances. We recognize that what is happening in death is Life; that what is happening in sickness is Health; that what is happening when the belief in good is giving place to the Good is the Good – “the power ruling in all forms of life. ” Good is the reason for the concept of good and also for its disappearance and reappearance in fairer form. With Reason, intellectual perception, for our thinking we shall make no attempt to gain the Good by giving up the bad, nor struggle to reach Truth by rejecting terror. ” Reason does not postulate Truth outside of the untrue for the reason that Truth is at once true and untrue according to one’s point of view, just as Good is simultaneously good and bad. It is as you choose. The seeing that is “threaded with Reason” does not mistake the belief in good for the Good, but recognizes that the Good in the belief or theory is the Good. Mary Baker Eddy makes a very enlightening statement about concepts: ” Mind, which forms the bud and the blossom, will care for the human body but let no mortal interfere by thrusting in the laws of erring human concepts. ” While all concepts are relatively Real (without Reality there would be no concept), until Reason opens our eyes to see that Reality, the Good, is the reason for the concept, the concept acts as an interference in our experience of the Real.
A friend said, “I start my day with the expectation of Good, and I find I have eyes for the Good in every incident. ” Good is the Reason for his expectation of Good, and the reason for the eyes. We do not see the Good because we expect to, but we expect to see it because Good is the seeing.
The Reason that is Mind using itself to reveal or disclose the infinitude and variety of itself, is the reason that man is rapidly losing sight of himself as a three-dimensional earthbound creature. Through the discipline of Science, he sees himself as conscious experience or conscious identity. In this seeing he takes no thought for himself since as conscious identity he is the thinking that is Mind identifying itself to itself. His Reason, or intellectual perception, which is himself tells him that what appears to be his attempts to transcend his limitations is the experience of his divinity.
We may give verbal assent to the intuition that our own awareness our own Soul or sensing – is the Man in the men that cross our path. But unless we are being Man as conscious identity, our verbalizations create a dualism of the seeing and seen. When we verbalize about what is happening we make two happenings. The intellectual Absolutist is the theoretical or philosophical Scientist laboring under the impression that his verbalizations his chattering about what is true is what is true or makes what is true, true. The Christian theologian is likewise a theorist. Without Reason or intelligence for their awareness they separate existence from being. But not so the Scientist, as Science he sees Life (being) in existence, he sees the idea in the concept, the divine in the human, the dynamics in the form, the Absolute in the relative. In other words, he sees MIND, his very own conscious being “in the rolling of worlds in the most subtle ether” or “in the falling of a sparrow and in the rolling of a world. “
Reason releases the power in the individual – his individuality – to be individual. It acts as self-discipline and is the elimination of all discrimination between races, colors, sexes, classes. However, with Reason buried in the Unconscious, man becomes a thing, dominated and manipulated, confused by apparent forces he can do nothing about. Without Reason for his thinking, he lacks courage to be himself; he cannot hear his intuitions of Reality and trust them to furnish the solution of his apparent problems; he has no demonstrated understanding and therefore nothing on which he can place any reliance. However lacking in original thinking he may seem to be, man is not a thing but is Mind infinitely individualized and is ever subject to the discipline of that fact. Our individuality metes out the discipline essential to its identity, but “let no mortal interfere by thrusting in the laws of erring, human concepts. ” If Reason is our awareness, we shall not fall into the trap of the theory that self-discipline is the attempt to shut out habitual thinking. Habitual thinking is shut out only by being original and – taking no thought for one’s self as either a thinker or a not-thinker.
The common view of individuality is one of a series of individualities. This view has evolved the social, economic and political theory that there is unity in conformity and in the repression of individuality. Actually, it is only by being original, individual as conscious identity, that we can expect to experience harmonious co-existence. It is like a chord of music in which each note must be itself in order to be in harmony with the whole. Life is one and when that one is demonstrated by thinking individually, it is demonstrated universally. The solution of all the problems which beset the human race today – past theories giving place to spiritual facts – lies in the selfdiscipline of our own individuality or divinity. He who lives life as conscious identity, lives the one Life and is being the Man that he sees in all men. If all the problems of human relationship lie in the theory that man is a “thing” instead of a thought, their solution must lie in the discovery (and its practice) that Man is Mind experiencing itself in everything that exists or seems to exist. In other words, existence is being, and when separated from being existence is an illusion. “Man’s hope is thought” because Man is thought. Dr. Schweitzer in his autobiography refers to “the spiritual and material misery which mankind of today is delivering itself through its renunciation of thinking. ” He also speaks of thinking as “elemental”; Mary Baker Eddy speaks of it as “elements”: “From the infinite elements of the one Mind emanate all form, color, quality and quantity. ” Thinking inevitably leads to the discovery that being is Spirit, and therefore that our being Man as conscious identity is infinite visibility.
Reason is Love and is the reason for our recognition that “By one’s self evil is done; by one’s self one suffers; by one’s self evil is left undone; by one’s self one is purified”
Whatever is destined to happen is going to happen, no matter how you try to stop it. And whatever is destined not to happen will never happen, no matter how much you try to make it happen. There is absolutely nothing to worry about, nothing to fear, nothing to conquer, nothing to win, nothing to lose. Everything is unfolding the way it should. Everything is in its right place. There are no mistakes. Everything is lovely and beautiful just the way it is.
–Robert Adams, Silence of the Heart