Love means abiding in togetherness,oneness, unity. Unconditional means no condition, no ulterior motive, no agenda, no goal. Unconditional love means oneness without condition or motive. Ram Dasssaysloveis "like sunshine, a natural force, a completion of what is, a bliss." I have felt such bliss in feeling togetherness, oneness, unity in relating to some people and in relation to some natural events. In love or oneness a feeling of bliss or awe comes over me like a wave that seems to touch and move me throughout my body and soul, filling me fully. I have felt some amount of that many times, the intensity of it related to the extent of togetherness or oneness I felt. What helps me enter the state of "being love" is awareness that all creation is one, that I am part of all creation, and that I am one with the person or object in my presence.
Kintsugisuggests to me that damage isn't the end, and a valuable new reintegration and new beginning is possible. I was cheated out of significant money by an employer years ago. The beauty in the scar from the greatly healed negative experience is my growth, my increased awareness of my participation and any victim's participation in victimization, and my increased compassion for the apparent wrongdoer. It has also taught me to not give up, there's a way to reap positive from a problem,realize opportunity in a problem. Hemingway said we are sometimes stronger at the broken places -- we are sometimes also more valuable and beautiful. What helps me see my life's scars as an integral part of beauty is knowing that shit happens -- that's life, that's part of the whole, and my challenge is to deal constructively with difficulties and wounds and make them be an integral part of my growth.
From what I know of Gaia -- that all creation is one interrelated system from and of Life -- I believe it. And I think it's obvious earth is suffering. Rocks, plants, fish, animals, and human beings including us are of earth, and human beings are seriously and maybe fatally harming earth and ourselves and all the rest. Earth suffers people.
In my experience, truth does foster personal power. Truth isn't necessary to manipulate anything. I believe earth was conquered by homo sapiens because we are foolish, not because we can cooperate. Large scale cooperation may be based on belief in common stories, but not always. And you can't really make anyone believe anything. Believing a leader who promotes a false story is foolish loyalty. Yes, the truth may hurt -- lies may hurt also. Fiction wins in politics when voters don't want the truth. It sometimes is difficult to know what the truth is. Suffering is bearing what's happening. Whatever is in form suffers from the elements and forces of nature and other beings. If it can suffer, it's real in this reality. I don't know whether the formless suffers. I often consider what consequences I or the other will suffer by my decision or action. Being very sure that everyone is suffering plenty helps me from getting impervious to the suffering of others.
It's seldom that you know that you're having an experience for the last time. I'm aware that all of life consists of firsts since no two experiences are exactly the same and every experience is the last time, so it is valuable to live many experiences as though you were doing them for the last time. That's similar to live each day as if it were your last. If a person dies young or old, he can live with conscious completion. Getting old plays a big part in my being increasingly aware that any activity I do I may be doing for the last time,and that helps me to sometimes savor the moment with conscious completion and be aware of the giant miracle we live in. Small death is constantly happening, and we would do well to enjoy greater conscious completion ongoingly. Conscious completion doesn't make anything sacred; it is because everything is sacred that it makes sense to live with conscious completion.
I fully believe that we are in kinship with each other. We are totally interrelated and interdependent. To me, our kinship is a secret only to whomever is unaware of it, perhaps avoiding or denying the fact. I discovered our human kinship through reading, discussion, reflection, and openness to learn. For many, kinship is discovered in coming together during a crisis. I now live with awareness that not only are we one but all creation is one, expressing in a zillion different forms, and that awareness results in my being much more compassionate toward all that is, living and not living. What I've said applies for me in easy and difficult relationships, and is more important for me to remind myself of in the difficult relationships.
Hi -- I'm getting close to retiring (I initially wrote closed to retiring) soon, and I appreciate what you said. Thanks for sharing. I particularly appreciated your last two sentences ie getting in touch with the peace within that is always there and knowing "I am enough." Retiring is a big transition that I tell myself and hope will open new doors and allow more time for endeavors I'd like to have more time for. I wish you well in your retirement/new chapter.
The fact is, no one makes you feel big, small, or anything. Self-esteem based on comparison with others is dependent and conditional, and as Kristine Neffsays is likely to bounce around like a png pong ball. Self-esteem based on self comes from inside, is not based on outside conditions. Self-esteem based on comparison with others is different than self-esteem based on self. Compassion means sympathy for someone who is suffering problems. Self-compassion means sympathy that I am suffering problems, and I accept that. As a youth, when my self-esteem was based on what others thought of me, I was goal-directed and pursued self-esteem by trying to impress others. Knowing that to be human is to have problems helps me have self-compassion. For me, valuing me and how I deal with life and problems is self-esteem.
I think the primary balance is the balance of all forces in creation, not the balancing of action and fixity. There is no fixity. Everything is always changing, often in balance and sometimes not. When in balance, there may be apparent fixity, but everything is still dynamic, constantly changing. I usually experience balance in my life. The balance is not of stasis and dynamis; the balance is dynamic, not fixed, andis the constant adjusting and readjusting of all the constantly changing parts, with the great majority of the balancing happening outside of my awareness. For example, I usually experience balance in walking, which balance is dynamic as my whole self is constantly adjusting and readjusting mostly unconsciously a zillion changing parts. Only occasionally am I out of balance. I believe balance and the process of balancing is natural and is constantly happening. What helps me make space for balance is staying out of the way of nature and willingnessto adjust when I experience imbalance.
I resist being told what I need to do. I have fought for change, but what I relate to more is that I change, and sometimes my changing takes more effort than other times. Much of mychange and effort to change is to improve myself. I don't know that I ever changed with the intention to make myself worse. Years ago I changed from one career pathto another. My changing was scary for me, and I learned and recreated myself. I think what helps me accept change is acceptinglife, that is, accepting that change is constant. Change and a better future aren't oppositional. Not all change is improvement, but for the future to be better there must be change. I have an optimism that helps me envision a better future and helps me accept change as part of a better future. Nothing needs to change; everything simply is constantly changing. I may want for things to change, which is my want and not the want of things. We can see what is and we can accept what is;that we don't doesn't mean we can't. I have enough power to make some change. Not jumping through a window of opportunity may benefit someone -- you never know. I've never seen not real change. All change is real change, some change making a situation better and some making it worse. Every change is change of everything. Every change is transformation. Yes, a good leader does implement change that improves.
If elders is defined as those having "lifelong wisdom, knowledge, and teaching," then elders are very likely to provide a valuable connecting and nurturing role,being of great benefit to everyone. I very much listen to and respect such elders. It's too bad our society doesn't produce more of them. It's fairly recently that I became aware of an ecology beneath the visible nodes, and now I see that there is one ecology that is beneath all life and includes all life. What helps me be a nourishing elder is life experience and learning from it, years of learning from elders past and present, being open, getting old, caring, healthy detachment, and wanting to make a positive contribution to the ecology network of which I am a part.
What makes a feeling a soul feeling or a worldly feeling isn't whether or not a person gets praise or applause or whether or not a person succeeds or wins, or whether or not a person has power. What makes a feeling a soul feeling is that it comes from the soul, it's genuine in that it's the truth of one's soul, and it is independent of the opinion of others. What makes a feeling a worldly feeling is that it is dependent on the reaction of the world. If how I feel about myself is dependent on how others or the world feel about me, the feeling is a worldly feeling. What helps me avoid getting addicted to worldly feelings is knowing worldly feelings are dependent on the world's reaction, they're triggered from outside me, they're not grounded in me, and they don't last leaving me in the position of chasing the next worldly feeling like any addict.
I believe the statement that we are in the world but not of it. Being only grounded in the world you lose your spiritual groundedness and essence, you are consumed by the world and you lose (awareness of) your soul. Being just (aware of) spiritual, you're not part of this world, you're out of it and irrelevant to this world. The 'goal' of my spiritual quest in this life is to live and balance in the world and not of it. There are times I am aware of being in the world and not of it, and I live in and from that reality, grounded to some extent in both, totally in neither and not totally out of either. During those times I am at peace and satisfied. Knowing this and having at times experienced it helps me be aware of my altitude, be aware of whether I am too high or too low, too in the world or too out of it.
Being beggars is one way we deal with not having and not being able to get, or think we can't get, what we need or want. At such times, a person is likely feeling powerless and/or desperate. The person who is drowning, one way or another, may beg for help. He or she needs a lifesaver. When the person is safely alive is the time to learn to swim. When starving, it may be life saving to be given a fish, and then learn to fish. When being beggars, we try to get what we need or want from outside. Be a beggar only briefly. When I dropped out of a career path that was important to me, I felt at the bottom, thoroughly lost. Others helped me to not drown. The greatest gift I received and learned was to re-empower. I learned that what I needed was in me, not outside of me. Experiencing a bottom still helps me retain what I went through and what I learned and retain empathy when I or another is hurting.
It seems to me that too much is obviously counterproductive. Too much means more than the right amount, more than what is effective or productive. I'm still learning that less, such as less said and less done, is often enough. When I got into a physical exercise routine, I realized that creating space for rest between activities was important to enhance my physical fitness and not harm myself. What helps me appreciate the importance of absence as well as presence is learning that life involves yin and yang. For example, whole life is day-night, body-mind, alone-together, awake-asleep, self-other, wave-particle, absence-presence. Yin without yang, absence without presence, is incomplete and likely to collapse. Kahlil Gibran said we need spaces in our togetherness. Musicians have pointed out that music consists of the right notes and space between the notes.
I agree with Culadasa. For me, the 'I' and 'it' are fictional useful constructs, that is, they are appearances (mirages) that help us get along in the world of apparent separations (a mirage) that we are conditioned into seeing. We human beings are in the fictional usefulworld of separate constructsthough not of it -- we are of oneness (or Oneness). At some point in middle life I became aware that my desires and aversions are from seeing things and persons as being separate from me, and becoming aware that what appears to be separate 'I' and 'them' are really part of one whole. Becoming aware that the ego-self is one more created separate construct makes the ego-self much less important to me and makes it much easier for me to break the cyclical process of protecting and reinforcing it. (Curiously I initially wrote cynical (instead of cyclical) process of reinforcing the ego-self which seems to fit my feeling about that cyclical process.)
What we see in the other is often more about us than about the other. Alcoholics Anonymous says, 'you spot it, you got it.' As someone said, there's something about that guy I can't stand in myself. We project ourselves onto others, especially our own negative traits. Maybe 25 years ago, I very much hurt a good friendship by my negative judgments and criticisms that had much more to do with me than my good friend, and I'm still sad about the hurt I caused to both of us. I see such happeningsas mistakes of judgment and projections, and I catch them best and before they are expressed outwardly by knowing it's valuable for me to examine what my judgment has to do with me, not with the other. It helps me to remember the times I expressed my negative judgments that caused me and the other hurt. It helps that I've learned that as I look at the other I see me, and to remind myself of that. It helps me to think before I speak.
I think the four Bs are important in a healthy life. I don't know what is meant by an emotional footprint. I find that when I live the four Bs to some degree, I feel a sense of satisfaction. What helps me achieve the four Bs is awareness that all creation is one sacred interrelated whole, which is the ground out of which flows living the four Bs.
I don't know about the accuracy of the quote, but I do wonder if meditation and presence are our natural state and we have gotten very far awayfrom our natural state, and that is what the author is getting at. I do appreciate your putting thought and research into the topic.
By definition, ferocious means an unrestrained violence and brutality. It doesn't mean strong. By definition, tenderness means gentleness and kindness. I can see someone being strongly or assertively gentle. I don't see a person being violently gentle. I can see a person being kindly strong and assertive. I don't see a person being kindly violent. For me, ferocity and tenderness don't go together.
Jean Klein states "because meditation is your natural state, Presence is." Presence is your real self. Silent awareness of Presence is meditation. It's an abiding in Presence. Meditation isn't trying to accomplish something or get some where. It isn't trying to stop one's body or mind functioning. Meditation is going past one's body and mind and into the oneness of one's real self. For me, awareness occurs in living stillness, and awareness makes for change. Awareness resulted in the undoing of my conditioning. I didn't consciously undo my conditioning or try to undo my conditioning, it happened with awareness, openness, and allowing. Choiceless living is living without making any intentional choices. In choiceless living, I suspend my freedom to choose and allow myself to simply live. The freedom to unfold found in choiceless living and the freedom to choose are reconciled in that I have the freedom to choose choiceless living or not.
A response is what you are experiencing as you take in the other and what s/he says or does. Your response is what you are feeling, sensing, thinking, imagining, and your expressing of it. A response is present and fluid. It's a personal sharing and tends to welcome the response of the other. One definition of an answer is that it is a solution and it typically is intellectual and impersonal. An answer is about an issue or subject, not about the person giving it. And as Rabbi Burger states, an answer tends to be definitive and closes down further discussion. Ferocity is fierce and cruel aggression. I don't value ferocity. I do value assertiveness and some non-fierce aggression. I think ferocity and tenderness don't balance -- they are either or. My effort is to balance assertiveness and non-fierce aggression with tenderness. Factors that help me to lead with a response include my motivation being right, the situation appearing to be right for me to respond, and my strongly feeling my response.
My understanding is that non-stealing means not taking without permission what is considered to belong to another. It means not taking anything material or immaterial, not money or a car or a paper clip or an idea. Not taking the clean from waters, earth, and air is a subtler awareness of non-stealing that I became aware of as an adult. Someone can try to steal time, energy, attention, knowledge, and love, but really those can only be given, not stolen. Connie Habash says "generosity is the heart of asteya" or of not-stealing. I think generosity is way beyond not-stealing. Generosity is freely giving whatever, be it material or immaterial, be it time, energy, attention, love. What helps me acknowledge my adequacy is knowing that wanting what I don't have, which may result in stealing, generates unhappiness and grief, and giving freely and abundantly what I think of as mine is generosity and generates happiness and satisfaction.
Merciless light of death means to me to realize that death of form is inescapable. Death is a common denominator. It is a universal symptom of existence. Realizing we are all alike in that we will all die can make us all less afraid of our differences. Impermanencedoesn't liberate us from suffering -- we suffer all aspects of human life including impermanence. Impermanence can liberate us from the illusion of permanence and from our "relentless grasp", to use Manuel's term, for the permanent. The near death of my wife deepened my appreciation of life, deepened my gratitude for this briefhuman life that we each have, deepened my awareness that bodily death is in the near future for each of us. What helps me be more awake to the truth that underlies my fears is my faith that human death is death of my body which is a manifestation of God in human form and not death of soul or God that is me and is eternal.
You are what life does to you plus what you do with life. You are the reality you are given plus your choices in dealing with it. You are the hand you are dealt plus how you play it. Gratitude is a great gift of passage from not knowing that to knowing that. I've been in the spiral of increasing gratitude for a long time. I am grateful for what I have been given, with which I could have done more and better, and I am grateful for what I have done. What helps me set the spiral of increasing gratitude in motion is knowing myself, knowing what life gave me and knowing what I can do with what I've been given. Digesting Meister Eckhart's statement, "If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it is enough," helps me. Experiencing the satisfaction of gratitude also helps. Gratitude is its own reward.
The mind is in us, in the whole. It's we who say the mind is in the brain. Passion, and the liver, are valuable and important in staying alive. Faith ishaving passion about what is seen with the soul's eye. The heart represents deeper spiritual perception. My deeper spiritual perception is that I ammore than my experiencing, feeling and thinking. When I give primacy to this deeper perception over surface level emotions, I use more of my whole self and more likely do what is best for me and others. For example, I made a life path change long ago based on perception that was deeper than emotions and thinking. What helps me is when I live what Ronald Laing said, that is, "What we think is less than what we know; what we know is less than what we love; what we love is so much less than what there is. And to that precise extent we are so much less than what we are."
The right amount lies between deficiency and excess, between too little and too much. Virtue is behavior of high moral standard that is done to benefit well being, that is, is done for growth. For me, if a behavior is not intended to further growth, it's not virtue. If the action is too much or too little it can still be virtue if the action was done with the intention of facilitating growth (even if it doesn't). I find virtue in balance when the action intended to foster growth is just the right amount. For example, giving exactly the right amount reempowers and facilitates growth, giving too little doesn't help or helps little, and giving too much is likely disempowering or disrespectful which also doesn't help. What helps you know the right amount is paying attention to the other, respect where he or she is at and what he or she is saying, and pay attention to your own experience and judgment.
A swinging door divides a space into what appears to be two separate spaces. A person swings between a multitude of dialectics in one whole life. The dialectics include individuality-togetherness, living-dying, material-spiritual, awake-asleep, inside-outside, independent-dependent, and on and on. In reflection and meditation, attention to my breathing helps me be aware that inhaling-exhaling is one more dialectic that is really one whole like all other dialectics. I am like a swinging door between what appears to be two but really is one. I belong to both and neither side of every dialectic. I am whole. All creation is whole. What helps me become truly myself is accepting the swinging door that being a human being is, accepting the dialectics of life, being the connection rather than separation of what appears to be two opposites, seeing the wholeness rather than separation, having as much of what appears to be two opposites as I can get, and becoming more integrated and whole.
Virginia Satir was a good lady and therapist. I liked and learned from her. I am the result of what life does to me plus what I do with life. I was dealt a hand; how I play the hand is up to me. I have limited freedom and power to engineer me. I take ownership of all that. As for my conditioning, I long ago learned to own it and I claimed my freedom to participate in my evolution, each of which is an ongoing process. What helps me stay committed to finding solutions, which are partial and temporary, while being rooted in friendship to myself is my knowing that I am to grow,ongoingly own and become more of who and what I am, and my faith in fostering friendship, that is, kindness and care, toward all creation including myself. Unfortunately I'm often less kind and caring toward myself than toward others which is one of those puzzles I continue to address.
Author Todd Henry says the graveyard is where undoneendeavors are buried and is the most valuable land in the world. To me, that's saying the most valuable place is where you find what's dead and not done.The most valuable place is the placethat Iam alive, using my creativityand not having regrets. It's the place that I use and empty what I am. Work is effort to accomplish a goal. Toil is strenuous exhausting work. Work can be toil but doesn't have to be. You can achieve value through work or toil that is of value to you. As many have said, if you do activity you love you never work a day in your life. I was in my early twenties when I got at least some understanding of activity that was really important to me whichresulted ijn the courageto leave the career path I was on and commit to work that is stillvaluable to me. Pursuing what is of value to me, actualizing my potential, helps me to die empty.
It's been said to put your money where your mouth is. At least as important is to put your path or make your path where your heart is. All existence is one. We are one. What we do to anyone we do to everyone. So, it makes good sense to be caring and attentive to one and all, which endeavor matters the most and is fantastic and grand. Your heart is more likely to know that than your brain. Go your heart path. Every moment is an opportunity for one's heart to open. Some opportunities I take, and when I do, I'm present, open, honest, and compassionate from my heart, with no agenda or goal which come from thinking. What helps me live my heart path is trusting my heart, knowing that compared to my head my heart is less conditioned and less conniving, more present and primitive, more real and honest.
For me, preference can be bias, or preference can be natural inclination. I think bias is judgmental preconceived thinking and conditioning, and natural inclination is nature. Preference can be bias and it can be natural inclination. For example, a preference of chicken dinner instead of fish, or preference of one fragrance over another, or preference of something saltyinstead of something sweet, or preference of this shirt over that one, can be examples of preference based on natural inclination or taste and not bias.
I often see my thinking or images, be they images of spirituality or whatever, be they created by me or by the other, instead of seeing what is and letting life in. What comes to mind regarding "humble practice" that results in inspiration is efforts to see what is, such as to be in the present, put aside thinking, preconceived notions and created images, and let go of trying to control. When I do that even to a small extent, I find inspiration, surprises, aliveness, intimacy. Such practice is an important part of the foundation of my spirituality. What helps me stay rooted in such practice is the satisfaction I get from it. I like parables. For me, parables aren't distracting and I don't avoid them. Parables aren't about magical beliefs but are fantastic stories containing wisdom and lessons about rightliving. I have learned from parables and they have enhanced my practice. They tend to stick with me and I find myself reflecting on them.
I find it is important to be detached from and involved in the world, which means to be in the world but not of it. Detached doesn't refer to distance, 'slight' or otherwise. Detached means independent of. Our challenge is to be independent of and not captured by the world while involved in it. As related to spirituality, I found my leverage when I became committed to following truth as I saw it, not following what someone else or an institution said was true. My priority is holding my truth and not losing myself. When I start to lose my truth and myself, I at least sometimes become as wise and elusive as a serpent or I back off my involvement in the world. What helps me is to become more firmly grounded in my truth and become more adept at being wise as a serpent, which do seem to increase or decrease concurrently.
For me, running with the unexpected means running with the unknown, doing different than what's always been done before, going outside the box. The unknown is the source of the unexpected, and the source of surprise, freedom, and creativity. The unknown is present and alive. The known is the past and kind of dead. As a psychotherapist, I run with the wind often. It's when I'm in the present, attending to process as it's happening, embracing the unknown and not knowing where we will go, not trying to engineer a particular outcome. My mantra has long been process not outcome. Don't make empty promises that are not kept. Make sacred promises which are sincere, expressed from heart and soul, with real whole person follow through.
The meaning of terms depends on how they are defined. For me, there is what exists in space and time, which is manifest in form and is temporary, and there is what exists outside space and time, which is unmanifest and eternal. The manifest is the unmanifest in form. In my opinion, both the manifest in form and the unmanifest exist and are real. Manifest in form does not exist and isn't real until manifest in form. The unmanifest from which a human comes exists and is real, but the human doesn't exist and isn't real until manifest in form. I can imagine what is unmanifest or latent before it manifests, but I don't see the unmanifestbefore it is manifest. My imagination helps me to see what I imagine will manifest. I'm stopping this thinking before I get a headache, which is imagined and doesn't exist and isn't real until it manifests in form.
A blessing is a gift. Living is a gift. Living is a blessing. Holding your breath is holding or hindering your living. Release of a breath you have held so long is a return to naturally breathing and living unhindered, which is the arrival of a blessing. When I am intensely involved in some activity, I notice that I sometimes tense and hold my breath, and when I release my breath, I release and breathe and begin to relax and return to the natural flow of me living. The release is relieving and reliving. What helps me is awareness, letting go of holding myself back and in, and allowing my breathing, my body and my self to functionwithout my interference.
I admire the spirit of detachment. I assume the man by the riverbank had happiness within that was independent of wealth outside, and his happiness and wisdom expressed itself in his giving away the precious stone. He apparently knew he had no need for the stone in order to be happy. Perhaps he knew attachment was a source of unnecessary suffering. Perhaps he was willing to give the stone to the beggar so that the beggar could learn what he needed to learn. Giving away experience and wisdom without a trace of attachment has been satisfying and a significant gain for me. Giving away material perceived as valuable without any attachment has been seldom though also satisfying -- I have both attachment and detachment with regard to the material -- I obviously still have a long way to go with regard to detachment. What helps me is realizing through experience that happiness is within and independent of the material.
It is said when you stop chasing the butterfly it comes and lands gently on your shoulder. As Kittasaropoints out, the word radical means root. Radical reflection means root reflection. Root reflection is reflection that is of and from the root or source which for me is Being, Consciousness, Basic Reality, God, which is the womb of awareness. I am ongoingly in and out of awareness of this womb of all that incudes awareness and knowing. I don't know how I initially became aware of the womb of awareness -- I think by listening, reading, discussing, reflecting -- I know becoming aware of it helps me to more frequently be aware of it and be aware that I and all creation are a manifestation of the womb of awareness.
Many thoughts in reading Akiko Busch's essay. I can make myself very invisible and land in a blind spot. None of us know where we are going to land. As someone who spent years trying to be invisible, I know it is impossible to make oneself totally invisible, and it's not a good way to be. Now I want to be visible -- not imposing, not superficially narcissistically visible, not on perpetual display, but compassionately authentically visible. I've tried reticent, and for the most part, it's a waste. There is a time and place for private -- have a good reason for being private. Discretion is wise. No one is utterly autonomous. Times of being deeply aware and receptive to the world are valuable. You never know what's going on inside a person, why someone is being visible or invisible. I typically like when someone is transparent and making visible their true self. I think optics and image have become much too important in our culture. For me, going unseen or invisible isn't the answer. I think the challenge is to be mindfully aware,real and visible at the same time. A time of retreat during which one is out of sight can be helpful not for the purpose of being invisible but to find one's truth and be one's real self.
Aggression means hostile, violent, attacking. For me, the context of aggression doesn't matter. Aggression meaning hostile or violent is always unnecessary and probably harmful. I don't have an experience of the right kind of aggression or violence. I've had experiences of being aggressive, and for me they weren't right and I regret them. Being aggressive is fitting in war because, as I see it, both aggression and war are harmful and wrong. Various institutions and groups find a rationale to make aggression justifiable in certain contexts -- I don't. I support being active, assertive, strong, firm, disagreeing, objecting -- those aren't violent (unless done violently). When I've been aggressive or violent,it hasn't been tinged with love, it's been nonlove, fearful and harmful. For me, when there is love there isn't aggression, there's healing and union.
The choice to surrender to higher guidance means to me, in the words of James O'dea, "to listen deeply to one's inner voice and soul's beckoning." For me, that typically includes a well-informed knowledge base gained through openness, study, and reflection. My most satisfying stance is when I am both deeply compassionate and spiritually detached. In that stance I deeply and sincerely care about the person or cause while I and my well-being are independent of the person or cause and of the outcome, knowing I don't control either. What helps me is being clear about what I am and am not responsible for. That is, I am responsible for my action, and am not responsible for outcome. When I am committed to right action and don't try to control outcome, I avoid the traps and stay free.
The two drops of oil in the spoon mean to me having a goal on which your focus is so locked that you miss out on other things. The challenge, sometimes very difficult, is to accomplish the goal without being so goal focused that you miss out on what is going on all around you. I've gotten on my computer having a goal to accomplishand yet being free to investigate related interests that add to my goal and not forget my goal. We have many goals. Most of my goals aren't my essence. The goal that is my essence is becoming all that I am. What helps me appreciate the world without forgetting my essence is keeping my vision open and not limiting it by focusing so intently on a particular goal that everything else is unseen. .
Mirabai Starr's essay is inspiring. We want certainty, and we pretend to know. But life is unknown, and we live in uncertainty, so welcoming unknowingness means welcoming life. For me, all creation, living and not living, is a manifestation of God in form, and all creation is sacred. The sacred is always available and sometimes I am more aware of it than others. I was driving at dusk and the sky was a beautiful array of colors and clouds that was so compellingto take in that it was hard to drive. In that experience, my awareness was intensified that all creation including that glorious sky is sacred.What helps me pull the veil back is faith that there is a behind the veil that is eternal and infinite Existence and Presence.
I am in body, I've been very conditioned and indoctrinated by family, community, and world, and every sensory experience I have is filtered through my body and my conditioning, so I do a great deal of fabricating of my every experience. To fabricate means to do or make. Such fabricating or doing is to a great extent unconscious and unintentional, but it happens. In that sense, being and doing are one and not separate. At some point I became awarethat my thinking, my judgments, expectations, assumptions, prejudices, fabrications are a big part of my experiences. They are the screen through which I experience. Awareness of that helps me cultivate looking in a way that frees. What frees is seeing, to whatever small degree I do, what is rather than seeing my thinking and fabrications.
There is "I" that is a story initiated by environmental conditioning and created to a great extent by me. It's what I use to interact with the world. Storytelling I sees I as separate, even though I and all creation is one. To suffer is to bear and deal with issues in life. With storytelling I seeing self as separate, it is often fearful and competitive and easily isolates and traps itself in suffering issues that occur. Learning that the essence or real me isUltimate Existence or God has resulted in much less interest in storytelling I and at times in getting very much beyond storytelling I. Why would staying aware of the storytellingI result in losing healthy emotional vitality? My healthy emotional vitality is from the essence or soul that is real me. Real me can use my healthy emotional vitality just as it can use storytelling I and not be victim to either and without losing either. Being aware that storytelling I is not real me enhances my healthy emotional vitality.
I don't agree with Mr. Manson. Our consciousness does not reside in our brains -- it is more true to say that our brains reside in our consciousness. Consciousness is fundamental, and our brains and bodies are an expression of consciousness. I am not responsible for all experiences in my life, but everything is interrelated and I do have a part to a small or large degree in all experiences including those considered to be in my life. Also, when something I do fails, I failed at that. When something tragic happens to me, it happens to me -- it is true that deserving or not deserving it has nothing to do with it, and it's true that pain is part of life if I choose it or not. Death doesn't give meaning to life, it simply is part of life. All that said, when you experience something, it's not all about you, but it is about you to some extent. I'm always seeing beyond myself in my experiences -- I see everyone to a small or large degree involved in my experiences. What helps me is learning long ago that my experiences are all about all of us, not all about me.
Hanging out in the emptiness cafe means to me hanging out in awareness that no thing exists, only formless waves of energy that constantly move, change, interplay, come together, move apart. Time disappeared and life appeared for brief periods when I've been immersed in the present which is Presence whichis Life. In such brief moments there is no time, past or future, there is only present, and it's alive. What helps me see nonduality in duality is awareness that all creation is one whole, one giant ocean, metaphorically speaking, out of which waves arise briefly giving hte appearance of separateness and duality but really all is one. More interesting to me is what helps me see duality in nonduality. I think major factors are our ability to be self-conscious, our very tiny sliver of the total bandwidth of perception, and the constant conditioning and indoctrination we suffer.
My graduate education was metaphorically a leaky bucket. I learned and it helped me get into my chosenprofession, but it had many holes in it. Then I discovered that my profession is also a leaky bucket. With both I learned and grew and my effortshavealso been of help to others. My viewpoint is that the purpose of life is to grow and blossom and help others do the same, and it's been to a great extent by using the leaky holy buckets of my education and profession that I've done some cleansing, growing, and helping others. I learned long ago that what helps me accomplish my purpose is being present and right action, and not be outcome or purpose driven. I have a lot of control over my action and little control over outcome My mantra has long been to attend to process, not outcome, and it has helped me.
Forgiveness is letting go of a grievance, getting past it, and relating openly with the other. Celebration is to recognize, honor, and be joyous about forgiveness or whatever. The disciplines of forgiveness and celebration allow and create community. I felt hurt by my best friend, held onto it, distanced from him, and was stubbornly unforgiving for long time, depriving and hurting both of us during that time, probably me more than him. Eventually I saw and accepted that I was very much part of the problem, that I cooperated in making happen what I was so angry at him for, and I forgave him, got past it, and celebrated his being my best friend again. What helps me recognize the reflection is knowing that we are God in human form, and the love anyone gives me is the human expression of the Ultimate Unconditional Love.
I believe all creation is one ever-renewing fabric beginning at least `13.8 billion years ago and continuing indefinitely, and we come from and are part of and contribute to that fabric. For me, there was a progression and evolution over the years of my becoming aware that all creation is one fabric that I contribute to and leave to the weavers of tomorrow. What helps me develop gratitude is knowing that I and allcreation could easily not exist and I am grateful for existence. To me, it's all a miracle and I am grateful to be part of it. It helps me to know that in time and space the fabric of creation began millions of generations before me and will likely continue for many generations after me, and I am grateful to be part of the process. Also, the fabric is different because of my contribution, and I am grateful that I make a difference.
We're all broken and wounded, some minimally and some very much. People can gain valuable and deep wisdom from being broken and wounded, and we can learn from their experience. Having worked with broken for years, I agree you can't not be impacted -- it's important also to have clear boundaries and take care of yourself or you're not of much good to the other and will likely burn out quickly. I embrace imperfection with an open heart when I care and relate to what is present and not to assumptions, expectations, prejudices, predictions, or preconceptions about what is present. What helps me welcome uncertainty is knowing that uncertainty is all there is. We live in uncertainty. It is always uncertain what is going to happen, and I am more content accepting that than fighting or denying it.
My belief is that darkness is the other side of light and together they make a whole. Without darkness the day would be incomplete. Yin requires yang to be a complete whole. I believe we are always dreaming and it's primarily in darkness when asleep that we see our dreams. Similarly,stars are always there, and it's only in darkness that we see them. One night in Zion National Park I embraced the darkness and saw an incredible beautiful star-filled sky because of the darkness and clean air. I embrace the nightwhen I'm outside because it gives me the opportunity to see the stars which enhances my feeling part of the cosmos and enhances my awe. Other reasons I embrace the night include that life seems to slow down during the night, I'm tired from the day and ready to relax and have a good night's sleep, I enjoy feelings of gratitude that arise, I look forward to dreams that may surprise me, and I get to lay down next to the lady I love.
What is reality for you is what you are grounded in. You can be grounded in so many things, including ego, money, sex, power, drugs, friends, video games, job, family, religion, spirituality, consciousness, God. Significant stages ofgroundedness for me have been my family of origin, my religion, my profession, marriage and family, self, aham brahmasmi. I was originally not of the world, then in the world, then in the world but not of it, and am becoming not of it but of the unmanifest. What helps me grow in my sense of groundedness is openness, learning, experience, awareness.
To bless means to recognize and honor the sacredness of something. I believe life needs more than faithfulness. Life needs the circumstances that support it. For example, valuing and supporting the expression of God called the person to whom I was relating blessed that individual, and in so doing I witnessed what appeared to be the person repairing. What helps me remember to bless the life around me and within me is knowing that all creation is sacred, so it only makes sense to bless life, and blessing life is satisfying to me.
Wow, what an essay -- as I read, it began to be a meditation as I very much resonated with what IlieCioara wrote. To me, the closest I get to true happiness is when I get to my Source which is one with the Source. I've had brief experiences of exquisite happiness when I get past my body and mind, past my thinking, and get to my Source which is my essence or soul that is me and the Source. What helps me avoid the mistake of searching for Happiness with the thinking mind is my learning and knowing that thinking gets me to local, temporal ego and maybe in the direction of the Source, but not to my nonlocal eternal Source and Happiness. Thinking isn't enough. Thinking is in time and space, and Happiness is an experience beyond time and space.
If I may add another comment: I believe body and soul are in union, are one, and it's for us to become aware of that and realize that in our awareness and living. Alan Watts said, "We divide in thought what is one in nature." I believe body and soul are not divided except in out thought and lack of awareness.
There is a lot of creating an image occurring rather than becoming who we are. I agree with Nancy Collier that creating an image is a frequent phase, especially for young people, in figuring out our identity, and that social media fosters our creating an image instead of becoming who we are, which I think is a sad and serious problem. I'm old and am not a social media user, so I created an image all on my own and then gave it up after different amounts of time in different areas of my life until now when I am who I am. What helps me avoid the trap of using life as a product to promote an image includes often not giving a damn about my image, awareness that being who I am is satisfying like an image never is, awareness that maintaining an image is work and stressful, and awareness that an image is false and I want who I really am to be expressed and known. I also believe social media and especially the technology it is part of is here to stay, so the challenge is to use it to facilitate becoming who we are rather than it be a substitute for who we are.
My relation to the notion stated is one of disagreement. My understanding of author Yates' essay is that he objects to attributing ideas, memories, and discoveries to the conscious construct "mind," so he posits a sub-layer of constructs called sub-minds that are unconscious and he attributes the ideas, memories and discoveries to them, and they feed the conscious mind. I believe the source of my conscious mind is what I call my soul, which is God, the Source, of which my body and mind are temporal manifestations. I believe the information, ideas, memories, and discoveries attributed to the conscious construct "mind" emerge or download from the soul/God Source which is primarily unconscious. I haven't experienced soul/God, if I may use my term, providing information via the conscious mind -- maybe a semi-experience -- I believe it. What helps me be aware of how I am attributing "I" is openness to there being something beyond body and mind.
I think we have less time for leisure than we had fifty years ago. Those notions of time trigger in me that my time is precious and it is very important to take charge of how I use my time. I made an intentional shift from time poverty to time affluence by intentionally having long periods of every day with no cell phone or other device or televisionturned on that is near me. What helps me be intentional with my time is knowing my time is precious and limited, knowing once time is used it's irretrievably gone, knowing ongoing input and distractions create unrest in me that I don't need, knowing I don't need constant access to others or need to be constantly accessible to others, knowing that I value time used for attention to and access to myself, and knowing I am in control of how I use my time.
The abundant offering of the old woman was her giving all she had without expecting reward. I've never given all I have (actually the old woman gave very much but didn't give all she had). I see giving without expecting reward as the purest giving in that it is giving free and clear, not expecting anything in return, with no agenda, no manipulation, no expectation, no goal or purpose to be gained. When I have given without expecting any reward I feel most gratified. What helps me tap into my deepest abundance is reflection on what I have, awareness that I have a lot though really it's a gift and not mine, gratitude, openness of heart, and compassion.
I believe the first two narratives, ie, a time of business as usual and a time of unraveling, are the usual progression of individuals and institutions, and the third narrative, ie, a time of a great turning that is life sustaining, is the evolution of some individuals and institutions. We rigidifyat a level of functioning until the diminishing returns and entropy result in either a great turning or death. My own spirituality went through that progression. I went through a business as usual unquestioning phase in which I took for granted the religious truths I was taught, then went through a phase of unraveling and collapse of my core religious truths, and then went through an inner transition to a life sustaining spirituality that reconnects me to myself, to others, and to all creation. What helps me become aware of this story for myselfis the intolerable emptiness in staying in businessas usual; questioning and letting go of business as usual; openness to learn from outside business as usual; trust in following truth outside business as usual; and willingness and courage to go into the unknown.
I can identify with the caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly. The caterpillar went through major transformation inside the chrysalis and then broke out as abutterfly. I too have gone through major transformation inside the chrysalis of my life, began emerging into butterfly me, and am still emerging and taking form. For me there have been some major spurts or breakthroughs of inner transformation and emergence, but overall the process of inner transformation and emergence has been a long one and is ongoing. What helps me recognize that I am constantly emerging is the increase in my awareness and the clarity of my awareness and the increase in my freedom and courage to be me and fly. Like the butterfly, I'm of different substance, different reality, than I was pretransformation. For me the emergence continues.
Louise -- Your question is hard to have an answer for, especially a fullysatisfying one. Thanks for the invitation to say my thoughts, which are: There would be no experience without contrast. Every thing has its other side or back side or shadow side, or we wouldn't experience it. There would be no front without back, or east without west, or good without bad, or safety without danger. Another thought is that we and everything are 'parts' of one whole -- I am part of what is hurtful or dangerous, it is part of me, I contribute to its presence. I think it was Mark Twainwho said the town drunk is an elected office. Everything exists and happens in relationship. I accept all that.
It makes total sense to me to be where you are, which is an important issue, not a game as Ram Dass calls it. The alternative, to be where you are not, makes no sense to me. I've never known anyone totally, including myself, and I believe we never know anyone totally, but I have had times of appreciating the person I see and know. What helps me appreciate people like I would appreciate trees is awareness that we are all part of one whole, the other is me, and when seeing the other I am seeing me, knowing that we are different but not separate and separation is only an appearance, and that I and the other are just alike. I live all that awareness only sometimes and to a small or large degree. It helps me to remind myself to be compassionate, not judgmental. It helps me to remind myself that I am not better or worse than the other. It helps me that I experience a joy when I appreciate the other as he or she is.
There is nothing more important than becoming yourself. If there is a purpose to be, it is to become yourself, become all you are. For me, the meaning of being alive with my song 'made so and rooted by love' isthat love is wholeness both as an individual and in being with an other. Love is union, oneness, wholeness, and getting myself together and whole as an individual and in relationship that is together and whole is to be alive with my song 'made so and rooted by love'. I have had such experiences, I always want more, and I have time to have more. I have time to be still and live alive rather than frenetically strive and at best only survive. I only need the present.
Pearlman's essay is a complex way of saying we think about what we think about. It says the RAS lets in what we obsess about, so if we obsess about something we don't want, we train our brains to ignore what we want and focus on what we don't want. Sometimes I obsess over something. Yes, that's a brain habit pattern that is a problem. Obsessing over something leads to obsessing more over it and not thinking about other things. The cure is to break the habit of obsessing, which can be difficult to accomplish -- I've been messing with it for years. Redirecting my thinking to intentionally focus on what I value helps retrain my brain to allow in what I value and keep out what I don't want. In some situations, reducing my thinking altogether helps.
Anthony de Mello is too absolute for me. No one has got to do anything. It does usually help to know who you are, such as to know what your purpose in taking action is. The hungry may benefit more from food given in love, but they also benefit from food given by someone who is angry or condescending or trying to get praise, and the person giving it may benefit also. Both your action and your being count and shape your experience. Regarding the statement that a person can't decide until awake -- people do decide when not awake. When awake, a personmay or may not know what to do. Awake, a person can act out of his or her experience, heart, and best judgment as to what is best in a situation. I think Jesus' statement is about his commitment to action that he judged to be right in the moment, and he wasn't trying to produce a particular outcome in the future. No doubt that we see through our experience. We see things not as they are but as we are. When you change, everything changes. It was a long time ago that I began to become aware of being in the doing -- it happened as I became more aware of my being -- being is typically more difficult to know than doing. What helps me avoid the substitution trap is awareness. Before action, especially when upset, I've learned tooften ask myself what it is that I want to accomplish by my action, and if my intent is cruel, I'm pleased when I restrain myself.
Clouds are not the only place to find a route back into wonder, but clouds are definitely a place. What comes to mind as an outstanding time I lost myself in the wonder of the world was in viewing the Grand Canyon. Also coming to mind is my getting lost in a star-filled sky one night outside Zion National Park. Both experiences occurred a couple years ago and both were awesome and full of wonder for me. In both experiences, my wonder overrode and overwhelmed any cynicism in me. What helps me experience wonder as I am with whoever or whatever is being in the present, having no goal or purpose except to be with and experience, being mindful and giving my full attention. The sense of being one with or part of whoever or whatever is also a part of wonder that I experience.
We don't really multitask. We aren't built to do two or more tasks at once. We're built to do one task well at a time or we can do multiple tasks not well at one time. What we call multitasking is serial multiple unitasking, rapidly moving back and forth from one task to another, not giving either or any of the tasks full time or attention. Writing satisfactorily requires my undivided attention. I often write slowly, thoughtfully, deliberately, wanting to clearly write what I really see and mean. Sometimes I get annoyed with my slowness, and Deresiewicz's essay about slowing down and concentrating is reassuring. When I overcome the temptation to multitask, what helps me is knowing that I don't multitask and knowing that my efforts to do so are inefficient.
My perspective is that all is one, and I am part of the one. From my side,when I see and touch the other, all I see and touch is me and my version of the other. All I a little bit know is me. What the other feels in my touching him or her, I don't know. I assume all this is the same for 'the other' who touches me. I started to become aware of my projections in my early 20s, during the same time that I began psychotherapy. I'm not sure which came first -- I am sure they affected and enhanced one another. This was also the beginning of the seeds of what became my spirituality. My awareness grew that I look out and see me, or at least see my thinking including my assumptions, expectations, prejudices, judgments. When I let go of comparing, what helps me let go of it is that it's not good for me. If I compare me to be better or worse than the other, above or below the other, I'm separating myself from the other, which is false, negative and harmful for me and for the other.
Accepting the reality of the situation was the opening for Keith Jarrett to work and play with that reality. He started to quit on the project, and then decided to use what he had, making it the basis of hiscreation. Playing the piano the way Keith Jarrett is described to play is to play out of one's inner self. The playing is spontaneous and creative, not scripted and rehearsed. I create on a foundation of the reality I'm in when I'm in the present relating to what I am experiencing in relation to and in response to the person I am with. I don't have an intention or goal; I'm not trying to get anywhere or accomplish anything; I'm simply in and with the process as its happening. In that experience I am creating in tune with the reality I am in. What helps me do that is the aliveness, excitement, joy, and satisfaction in doing it, and the positive outcome that usually comes from it.
For me it is a factthat all creation is one whole, and we are simply part of it all. There are moments that I experience the intoxicating presence. For example, that experience has occurred in moments of present loving relatingwith another, in a moment of looking out over the Grand Canyon, in a moment of deep meditation. Those moments seem to be characterized by my being totally immersed in the here and now and in the I am that is my source. Responsibility for my actions isn't frightening for me. It is wonderful or awesome for me. For me it is a factof existence that every action affects every action and that I have some amountof responsibility for my actions, and my experience and awareness help me accept that.
The wisdom of uncertainty is that there is no certainty. That is a basic fact of life and to accept it is to avoid a lot of grief. I always have some amount of awareness of uncertainty which helps me be more accepting and calm in my living. Though I have awareness of nonperfection, I am perfectionistic, which causes me unnecessary stress. What helps me live in the trusting mind, though imperfectly, is to remind myself of basic age old facts of life that Jack Kornfield cites, especially that we never know for sure, there is no permanence, we don't fully control anything, there is always some measure of success and failure in our actions, commit to right action, focus on process and not outcome, outcome is out of our control, let go of outcome and trying to control it. What helps me live in the trusting mind is my experience that when I do I feel satisfaction, peace, ease.
Mary Oliver's 'roofless place eternity' means to me awareness without boundaries, being wide open to listen to what comes from inside and out and responding from one's authentic self. I'm always able to honor the creative force within -- it's only sometimes that I do. I am honoring my creative force right now. I have honored it sometimes in speaking or writing my truth creatively. Many times I've been duplicitous and not reconciled commitments with loyalty to my inner vision, and sacrificed my integrity. Sometimes I've broken commitments in favor of loyalty to my inner vision. Sometimes I see commitment made as having room for loyalty to my inner vision. Sometimes I'm tricky and find a way to be loyal to my inner vision in and around a commitment that disagrees with it. Sometimes I'm careful as to commitments I make so that I can honor the commitment and be loyal to my inner vision. More often than not over the years I've been duplicitous -- aren't we all? -- and usually felt sad and regretful for my lack of courage and integrity. When I have placed loyalty to my inner vision above commitment that stifles it, actual or imagined, I have felt satisfaction in holding onto my integrity.
I think that fighting the mind is giving it attention, and the mind is fed by and grows stronger with attention. I believe the mind, like a muscle, grows stronger with use. Through reading, discussing, and reflecting I've come to believe that I am different than and more than my thoughts, and I am the field in which my thoughts appear and disappear. I don't have an attitude of indifference toward my mind. For me, I have a mind and I have an attitude of valuing and respecting my mind as a process that I use to think, which is an activity that I value. My understanding is that I the field am the master, and the mind is my servant to make use of.
I agree with some of Chris Lombard's statements, and disagree with many. I agree that it is a disaster to be kept from the possibility of falling down. However, you're not always safe -- you may die. You may succeed at taking the chance, and you can fail at accomplishing the goal. Surviving the leap may not be all a person came for. What you pay in courage is paid back in love -- I don't know what Mr. Lombard means -- what you pay in courage may come back in love and may not. Giant leaps can be taken all the time -- I think that's not smart or practical but it can be done. I certainly agree that true love and courage can mean taking a step back or choosing another path. He says whatever happens is never wrong -- I don't agree. Nature may never be wrong, but I've been wrong. I agree that mistakes show the truth of things. Cuts may show trying, and may show something else. Scars do show healing. Loss could show love, or show something else. No, you don't always know you will be caught -- if you do there's not much risk or much to fear. Forward may be freedom -- or sideways may be freedom. I do think freedom means forward (ie, growth). I don't agree that you need fear as much as love. I don't think that fear is the same as love. As for a personal experience, I overcame the fear of pain and took a leap when I made a major career change years ago. I went through agony making my decision and taking the leap, and very quickly realized that I made the right choice -- that leap worked out well.
As I see, birth and death, beginning and ending are always. I don't think getting it all together is death -- I believe getting it all together, which I've never achieved, would be glorious life, not death. I think I never fully embrace being continually thrown out of the nest. I embrace it in the sense that I know and accept that everything is constantly changing, that I live in the unknown and control very little if anything. However, while everything is constantly changing, most of the changing is such that I feel consistency and stability as I live my routine in my nest. Occasionally a major change throws me out of the nest such that I very much feel it. I don't like or embrace major unwanted changes, especially as they're happening. Once upon a time I left a career path. I threw myself out of a particular nest into the unknown. Initially I felt terrified and second guessing of myself which quickly gave way to feeling free, open, and excited in my moving on. It was an experience of a nest or cocoon ended and I became a butterfly. What helps me live fully is knowing that each moment is new and fresh, being present, paying attention to what I am experiencing in and around me, relating honestly,being open, and going with the flow.
When alone, I'm empty of idle thoughts for periods of time when focused on a project which may be a physical activity or reading or writing and during brief times of reflection and meditation. There are times when interacting with others that I become empty of idle thoughts. During such times, I am very much in the present, focused on what the other is saying, attentive to what I am experiencing, and responding to the other out of what I am experiencing in the moment. What helps me deepen in such presence is the aliveness, intimacy, satisfaction, and value of such engagement, and practice in such engagement. Emptying of idle thoughts and deepening in full presence occur with practice.
I believe we don't get to choose the moments we are born into -- no one knows for sure. I believe we are able to choose how we respond based on the persons we are which is greatly shaped by experiences we've had and information and awareness we've gained. I think I frequently amplify stories based on the world I want to inhabit, to support my world and the world I want others to see. I believe we each live in different worlds because we each see through different eyes and through the unique conditioning we've had. No two people live in exactly the same world, though we like to pretend we do. The more different the family and cultural conditioning, the more different the worlds. I also think every species sees and lives in a different world. I believe there are as many worlds as there are people, and as many worlds as there are species. I've lived in my own other worlds as my awareness changed over time. The many worlds that have been and are help me believe that another world is possible. We can learn and grow. We had a major role in making this world, and we can see and make another world.
When light increases and when blinders open, vision expands. Opening one's mind and heart, one sees differently. Context seen is undoubtedly affected by what one is feeling. Emotions called positive help us see different possibilities than emotions called negative. I think the keel is just as positive as the mast. I think staying on course is related to all the 'parts' including the keel and the mast. Emotions are related to the person one is and experiences one has. Emotions are in response to being in touch, and if experienced as negative or positive they may help us stay in touch. Feelings considered negative likely result in narrowed awareness and feelings considered positive more likely widen awareness. The negative and positive definitely provide contrast -- and without the one you wouldn't know there is the other. Feeling satisfaction has prompted me to investigate further, expand my knowledge, and focus my vision which has opened up more context, more possibilities and more connections for me. What helps me tap into genuine heartfelt positive emotions is satisfaction I feel in doing so. I assume what I'm gaining is real gold, but I never know for sure.
All creation is one whole, one activity, one being that is constantly changing. There may be the appearance of separate and static, but the nature of real being is oneness and fluidity. The meaning of life is to grow individually and collectively, which means to be continuously responsive to constantly changing reality in a way that enhances growth. Awareness of that came to me through discussion, reading, reflection, and living, an awareness that was initially a whisper and has grown and continues to grow in volume, clarity, and depth. As stated earlier, what makes sense to me is that we are here to grow, and my inner voice and my best judgment help me know that.
For me, deep, inward, voluntary change means to let go of conditioning and illusions, to use Krishnamurti's word, and change from deep within myself to be myself, embrace my individuality, and be my own real person. I've been fortunate to be a part of several groups in which we worked together in collective action while I simultaneously was awake and being my real self, free, acting without compulsion. There was true togetherness of we and there was individuality of I, and the we and the I supported one another. What helps me awaken the desire for true and intelligent fulfillment within me is an experience that challenges and provokes me to be myself. What helps me awaken the desire is that the experience of true and intelligent fulfillment is fulfilling, for me and typically for the other. It is its own reward and awakens in me the desire for more.
I agree, Gururaj. I think by pre-habituated opinion you mean what I call preconceived opinion. When I reply from a pre-habituated opinion about the speaker, I am responding to my thinking and not to the speaker, which lessens or eliminates connection with the speaker.
Ambika -- Thanks for the response. Yes, I also think the soul to soul connection begins with listening to self, which I think makes it easier for the other to listen to his/her self. And I sure think soul to soul connection heals.
I learned that communication is head to head, heart to heart, or soul to soul. For me, Scharmer's first two levels, downloading and object-focused listening, are head to head. I think his third level, empathic listening, is heart to heart. And the fourth level, which he calls generative listening, seems to be soul to soul. When I have enjoyed generative listening, I was very with the other in the present, paying close attention to the other and to what I was experiencing in response to the other, I was open, and the interaction was intimate for me and apparently also for the other. What helps me consciously choose my level of listening is my level of tiredness, my level of care, my level of interest, my level of trust. What also helps me is knowing that I can listen at different levels. Also, due to my desire for intimacy, I choose listening and speaking that are intimate, and I think such listening is what Scharmer calls generative listening.
Inclining your heart toward freedom means to me to act with integrity. It's not doing out of obligation, it's not doing to impress, it's not manipulation or bargaining, it's action true to your real self. A conditioned pattern I lived in is expecting the other to be upset by me -- it's an old conditioning and learning. Paying attention to that in me resulted in awareness and insight which helped me lessen the conditioning and gain freedom from it. What helps me treat awakening and nonawakening as two sides of the same coin is knowing there are two sides to every coin. (Often three sides, ie, his side, her side, and the truth.) There is no up without down, no in without out, no closeness without individuality, no death without birth, no yin without yang, no awakening without nonawakening. There must be contrast for there to be noticing of differences and defining of experiences. Knowing what something is helps in knowing what it is not, and vice versa.
For me, acting unconditionally means acting that is the honest, open, and caring response to what is happening without trying to control, create, or prevent outcome. It's not manipulative or goal-directed. It's free of bargaining, rules, and agenda. As I see it, it is the highest form of acting. I am in control of whether I act unconditionally; I can't control outcome. Acting unconditionally requires faith that it is best for me and others and it is the best contribution I can make to a favorable outcome I learned that many years ago. My mantra and focus became process, not outcome; that is, unconditional acting and hope for the best. I definitely don't always act that way, but what helps me shift from transaction to trust is that it is its own reward when I am true to myself, it gives me satisfaction and peace, and often the outcome is good.
The River Cannot Go Back is a beautiful statement by Gibran. Becoming an ocean means to me returning fully to that from which I came. I am a wave of being in the ocean of Being. I've had times of facing and losing my fear of death when I realize that in death the experience I'm having in the wave form I call me will subside and be thoroughly part of the Ocean once again. In moments that I have that awareness, I am in riverhood and of oceanhood which I embrace and of which I am.
Sometimes we are so busy seeking, striving, chasing, or whatever that even our own story escapes us. Thoreau said when you stop chasing the butterfly it will come and sit on your shoulder. Many times I have struggled in writing something, and it's when I take a break that a better way of expressing occurs to me. I hear of people who stop seeking the right partner, and then find one (sometimes the one they're already with). Seek and you shall find; I think seek means be open, not goal obsessed. 'Looking for' is a putting on blinders, which help in some seeking and get in the way of some finding. As for having the sublime experience of a revelation by being open to possibility -- is there another way? An example, my being open to Eastern thinking opened a new world for me and I continue to have sublime experiences of revelations about life. What helps me stay open to possibility is my knowing that possibility is alive and exciting and is the ground of discovery and wisdom.
My 2 cents: To cross one's own ethics is a point of losing self, as I guess you discovered. To cross with one's own ethics can work. I think of my core values and ethics as my boat carrying me through very rough seas of expectations, pressures, false images, etc. I've gone overboard a number of times in my life, and then got back on board. Congratulations on getting back to your core values.