Monday, February 22, 2016

From Eternity to Here

Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Debra Kerr, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Borgnine, and Donna Reed starred in the 1953 movie, From Here to Eternity. A stellar cast brings a WW II love story to life. The movie won eight Academy Awards. We need a movie called “From Eternity to Here.” It wouldn’t be a story about a love affair; it would be a story that strips our mind of its demands and delivers us to the simplicity of the present moment.

The now moment gets great billing. Books about living in the now populate every seeker's bookshelf, but actually living in the now is a cozy concept that most people plan to get to in the future.

What is it about the now that is so elusive? What is more important than what’s happening in the present? It’s our thoughts. We love our thoughts. They are the Legos of our reality. We build our beliefs, thought by thought, and then play them relentlessly in our heads. These structures are our foundation, and everything we see, feel, and hear, filters through our belief systems before they are accepted as reality. These filters are the veil. They are the illusion of life. They fashion our reality and spit it out. It’s a virtual reality, not reality itself. We are not awake to reality; we are asleep. Even though the present seems boring, it is this moment that holds the key to enlightenment. Enlightenment is an elusive idea, but enlightenment is simply freedom from the mental and emotional tangles caused by speculative thinking.

In some way, everything in our lives points home. The twists and turns of daily life move us in the direction of peace, harmony, and freedom. The egoic mind eagerly jumps in and creates a detour. It guards each moment, creating content that knocks us off center and back into variations of panic, depression, or anger.

The egoic mind delays our freedom and, while this is not a problem when we look into eternity, it is a problem in our day to day lives. Living in our heads, following the horror stories, judgments, and fears, places us in the dust of life, not in the rich soil of our being.

In 1997 I met Gangaji. I attended a small gathering in Nashville, Tennessee. I was fascinated with this woman. She was a southern woman; she was a cheerleader in high school, was married and divorced from a doctor, the consummate success for a southern woman; and she was enlightened. She was free. Her life was no longer dominated by a recount of the horror stories of the past, nor was she slave to the promises of the future. She was present and at peace. It was in that meeting that I discovered the immanence of peace. It is now. Peace is ongoing and, regardless of anything happening in the world, peace lives now. This peace is connected. It is woven together by the warp and weave of love and compassion.

Enlightenment is freedom, but it is also the ongoing knowing that the kingdom is at hand, not in the future. This is the food of the mystic, a deep knowing that everything is okay and it will always be okay. The egoic mind lives on creating panic, urgency, emergency, and struggle. It is an emotional entertainer, but deeper than these amateur distractions, is the Source, the real professional, and we are a part of that Source.

The greatest contribution we can make to our lives is to reclaim our inheritance. It seems as if we never hear the reading of the will, Source’s will, which bequeaths peace to everyone. We can start on the path by making an ongoing, continual commitment to give up our ego driven suffering and to tune into the ongoing presence of peace.

The following agreement is one you make with yourself.

My Commitment to Peace

I, ___________________________, am willing to give up the ego driven struggle, stress, drama, and sacrifice in my life. I believe that peace is always available, and I choose to turn toward that immense ongoing reality. I understand that my Higher Self assists me in letting go of my ego and supports me in choosing and living in peace, with myself and others. I join the River of Life in this instant and continue to choose peace until I naturally let go into the ongoing of life and no longer need to choose. I am currently nurtured by a power that is much more powerful that my egoic mind, and I chose to serve this power in my thoughts and in my dealings with others. I am an instrument of peace. So Be it.
Click here to download a printable and frameable pdf of this Commitment.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Living in The Now

“I know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.” This thought embodies the kind of faith we have when we live from the heart. It’s a sense that life rises up to provide what we need, just as we need it. Life doesn’t store up things so we can pull from a collection of pre-made possibilities; it creates what we need on the spot. Life supplies information on a need to know basis and parts the Red Sea where we stand, not ten miles away.

Too often we live life steeped in stale choices. We are afraid to venture outside the prison walls. We ignore the escape routes that appear around every corner because we would rather cling to our cliffs of constriction than to spread our wings in the unlimited sky of being. We think it is a risk to make vast changes in our lives or to take the road less traveled, but dying on the vine of life is even riskier. Safety is important when being chased by a bear, or in estate planning, but when we decline life’s freshness in an attempt to protect ourselves; we die over and over until we sink into hopelessness and depression. Our hyper-protection is like wearing a heavy coat in 98 degree weather. Under ego’s direction, we overprotect and subsequently suffocate, rather than flourish.

Life is full of peace and possibility. There’s just enough peace to keep us grounded and solid and the right amount of possibility to keep us engaged and creative. Our soul calls us to live a creative, open life, a life that fills out each moment as if it were savoring the sweetest fragrance. How do we embody this majestic moment? Can we meet life at its doorstep and move through its threshold into its ever present peace and power? Of course. This is our destiny - to wake up, and when we are ready, the alarm clock of life chimes without pause until we get up and start really living. We wake up when we realize that the perfect solution of yesterday is the anathema of today.

The following steps, ideas, and action steps provide a road-map to our destiny.

  • We must hold ourselves accountable to each moment, never wasting it or letting it drain away. Boredom is a cover-up for anger. When you are angry or irritated, find the source of your discontent. Allow yourself 20 minutes or more to break through your defense systems. Sit quietly and ask the Universe (God) for help in uncovering old wounds. Stay radically present, feel the sensations in the body, and let life’s healing energy wash away your emotional pollution. When we stay put in our discontent, without making it it wrong and just observing it, healing appears.
  • Practice deep awareness. Just for today, when you walk, notice the pressure as your foot touches the floor. When seated, notice the pressure on the bottom of your foot. Directly experience this pressure throughout the day. This focus takes you from the head into the body and gives you entry into a softness that transcends mind’s habitual thought trails.
  • Practice kindness of perception. View others and world situations though the lens of compassion. Make a list of your 10 greatest hotspots. You may be a political junkie, who puts down others who hold an opposite point of view. You might feel fear and panic when you think about climate change and how it will affect the future. You might go off on what you think is an oppressive government or believe there are lazy bums sucking off the government. You may be an elitist about food and put people down who eat junk food. You might frequently feel abandoned. These hotspots are made up stuff (MUS). You made up the hotspots as a way to make yourself feel safe, superior, or to feed your addiction to emotional drama. You don’t actually make up the events; you make up the drama. When one of your hotspots comes up, repeat this, “I chose to no longer be under the tyranny of this thought or feeling.  It is not worth my peace.” When your encounter ignorance, intolerance, prejudice, or unkindness – don’t use these as fuel for angry righteousness or oneupmanship. Don’t get pissed off; get peaced off. Living though hot-spots creates emotional prisons, stress, and ultimately destroys the body through illness. Live life from your softspot, not your hotspot.

We crave the peace that passes understanding, overlooking that it exists right now. It is the underlying softness that guides us at all times. When we are not at peace, we can be assured we are at the effect of our past beliefs and wounds. When we are willing to overcome our self-manufactured obstacles to peace, life provides us with the courage and tenacity to rise up. The going might seem difficult at points, but when we go on a road trip to Florida, we don’t turn around when we encounter a traffic delay or a detour; we find a way around, or wait until traffic clears, and keep going.

Keep going toward peace and joy and go around the drama, and life will not only be EZier and EZier, it will become the container of both your passion and your contentment.