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Showing posts from April, 2018

Spiritual Explorer

I'd rather be a spiritual explorer than a spiritual seeker. At least that is what Tami Simon of Sounds True Audio said this morning. I liked her explanation. Seeker implies that something is missing. Explorer connotes a sense of adventure and excitement. Exploring truth also implies that there is a lot of truth to be found and enjoyed everywhere. . . it comes from a place of abundance. Seeking feels like there is a lack of truth and one must scour the planet to find it. It reminds me of the scarcity mentality and seems to imply that there is only one right way. You and I know that this just isn't so. What Sounds True to you, may not ring true for me. Can truth really be relative? Now absolute vs. relative truth is another post for another day. For now, this explorer is headed to bed--to dream up a mix of adventures!

Wellness and Illness

Tara Brach shared a thought by a psychologist who explained the difference between wellness and illness. It boiled down to this: Illness is all about I. Wellness is all about We

We are all interconnected. You cannot separate parts from the whole. This concept of being one was further illustrated by a woman who asked what she could do to help her autistic son. She said it was so hard for her to watch him suffer the pains of rejection and not fitting in with others. She wondered if there was anything she could do to alleviate his pain?

Tara's reply was profound. She said that there is no such thing as individual suffering. We suffer collectively because we are all interconnected.

This thought touched me immensely. The mother of the autistic son, her suffering, and his suffering are mine also to bear. I feel great sadness for him, her, and any who feel socially isolated. Additionally, I suffer for Lindsay, Tyler, and any other being who has battled cancer--my mom, my sisters, my ne…

Street Signs

I'm not sure who controls the street signs over the freeway, but today it made my day when on my way to work I saw the "Go Jazz" and "Zero percent chance of Thunder!"Whoever was so clever to program such a fun daily message, thank you! It made me smile and was a welcome change from the usual "29 deaths so far on Utah roads."

Some reason, whenever, I see the daily death toll, I calcuate how many people were killed first quarter, which leads me to calculate the rolling rate for the remainder of the year. I don't like thinking that by end of Q4, we will have had 126 deaths on Utah's roads. Much better to think of the Jazz walloping the Thunder Wednesday night.

What kind of street sign are you? Do you share daily messages of dread? Or do you send daily messages of hope, love, and fun? I don't want to be a Debbie Downer. I want people who read me to feel inspired.




Don't Confine Me To A Quarter

I just had a thought today as I was on my walk. I was thinking about last Sunday when Tyler and I decided that our sign--after his passing--would be a quarter. You see, one of my favorite songs that Ty's band, Nine Spine Stickleback, sang was about a quarter, an alien space ship, and a call home. Everytime I see a quarter I will think of Tyler and I told him to leave quarters in random places for me to find so that we can continue to communicate with each other.

And then today as I was walking a guy came skating by me on his longboard and I thought of Tyler and how he gave me my epic longboard for my birthday. My mind was then flooded with all the things that remind me of Tyler such as kites, diabolos, juggling balls, pristine hair cuts, classic toys,  CrossFit, rowing, burpees, shoulder presses, Italian food, Italy, pizza, pasta, KickFire and so much more, and my mind screamed, "Don't confine me to a quarter!"

A quarter cannot contain all the ways Tyler will continu…

The Pathless Path

Sometimes I just get strung out on the beauty of certain words in a certain order. I mean how beautiful and paradoxical is the pathless path?

It not only sounds poetic, it feels true. What if there is no one right way? What if all roads do indeed lead to Rome?

I can't help but think that there is some kind of plan, but that may just be because of my cultural indoctrination. I was born believing in a divine plan and it made sense simply because that is what I was told from the day I was born. Quite naturally, whatever a child is told will make sense, until the child grows and starts to question what they've been told. I guess some children never question till they are adults and others accept whatever they are told. I never had any questions or doubts till I--like Truman from the Truman Show--started seeing that everything I had been taught and told was possibly not true or real.

That realization is exhilirating and scary. If what you have always believed is not necessarily so,…

The Wizard of God

This post was going to be titled, The Wizard of Oz, but since I plan to talk about the consuming search for God, I figured the title should be The Wizard of God.

Now I haven't seen the Wizard of Oz for many years, but if memory serves, there is this young girl named Dorothy who ends up in Munchkin Land after a Tornado steals her away from Kansas. Her house crushed the Wicked Witch of the East, which causes the Wicked Witch of the West to swear vengeance. Fortunately, Galinda the Good Witch bequeaths magical red slippers to Dorothy, tells her to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz, where the Wizard will help her return to her home. Along her way to Oz, Dorothy meets many friends. The Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Lion, whom she convinces to come with her to Oz so that they too can receive their hearts' desires. In the end, the Wizard turns out to be a ruse and Dorothy realizes she has the power to get home on her own. Equally important, the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow …

Half Measures Won't Due

The title of this post in my mind was Half Measures Won't Do but when I typed it the title came out Half Measures Won't Due. The Freudian slip is revealing so I decided to keep it.

I was accepted into the two year mindfulness and meditation teacher certification training being offered by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. There was an application process, and while I'm pretty sure they won't turn anyone away who is willing to pay, I was pleased that I was offered a place as a "strong candidate."

When I received the notification of my acceptance, I was excited and then I was like, "Do I even want to do this?" I mean I know meditation is beneficial, but I'm more of a yogi than a meditator. I think about some of the retreats and assignments and I'm like, "this just is not my style." But then again, I haven't really ever committed myself to a dedicated meditation practice till now and I may not know nearly enough about the art to decid…

Failure of the Dream

I was reading an article by Amrit Desai wherein he discussed optimal disillusionment. A few paragraphs really caught my eye:

We tend to believe that love ends when dreams are demolished. In reality, the shattering of dreams is the opportunity for the emergence of true love. . . in these situations, what is perceived to be the failure of the relationship is, in reality, the failure of the dream . . those who are committed to spiritual growth are determined to use the failure of the dream as an opportunity to enter into an authentic relationship. 
We all let each other down. Institutions and organizations, like people, can disappoint. Ideally, we get let down softly, gently. This is what psychologists call "optimal disillusionment." It's a gradual process. Not as painful as say "ripping off a band-aid," or some huge, shocking revelation.

I like this idea. Burn down the dream so you can build on reality. Since reality is the truth, why would you want to build your…

A True Teacher

What is the role of a true teacher? I think I know. A true teacher has the independence of the student top of mind. The goal is to get the student to where they no longer need the teacher.

Additionally, I feel a true teacher is free of ego and pretense. They don't want their students to idealize them. In fact, they prefer to be authentic. By being vulnerable and human with their students, they create connection and prevent any disillusionment that would result if the student felt the teacher was perfect and later discovered they are not.

I am a teacher. I have some ego to edge out before I can confidently claim that I am a true teacher. I still enjoy the spotlight and relish admiration. My focus is always on "how may I serve," and helping my students is paramount, however, much pleasure is still derived from being seen as "the expert" and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I appreciate the financial remuneration.

I am going to further explore and purif…

The Shortness of Life

Today we found out that Lindsay's tumors have spread. Considering I spent the evening before with Tyler as he winds up his epic life, I found it no coincidence that I had bookmarked a blog post by Tim Ferris on The Shortness of Life. The thoughts shared by Seneca express these sentiments:

It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well investedIn guarding their fortune men are often closefisted, yet, when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most prodigal.You will hear many men saying: “After my fiftieth year I shall retire into leisure, my sixtieth year shall release me from public duties.” And what guarantee, pray, have you that your life will last longer? Who will suffer your course to be just as you plan it…

Riding the Wave

I came across an excellent technique for handling difficult emotions taught by renowned psychoanalyst Stephen Cope. The 5 step process is called Riding the Wave and is based on prana and the concept of where attention goes energy flows.

Step 1: Breathe 
The softest of stuff in the world
Penetrates quickly the hardest.
Insubstantial, it enters
Where no room is.                                ~Lao Tzu
When we consciously redirect our attention to breath, we immediately enter the world of energy, of movement, of arising and passing away, of constant change. There is no distance to travel to this world. We are right there. According to Stephen Cope:

Since the breath is the switch that integrates the emotional-prana body with the physical body, conscious breathing opens parts of the body that may have long been shut off from the life force. And when the save of breath moves into these exiled areas, the results can sometimes be instantly dramatic.Step 2: Relax
The goal is to ride the wave, not …

Equanamity

I'm intrigued with equanimity. I want to exude equanimity. For those unfamiliar with what it means, here is the definition:
mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation The author of a book I'm reading talked about how his cat so perfectly displayed equanimity the other day when a dog came charging at it as he was outside on the front lawn. The cat didn't bolt. No, the cat simply sat tall, eyes fixed straightforward. The dog stopped it's charge and skidded to a stop with his front paws in the face of such equanimity. Tail tucked, the dog wheeled around and darted for home.

That, my friends, is the power of equanimity. The dog was taken aback by the cat's majestic response. Cat's aren't supposed to exhibit such coolness of character in the face of threat. Because the dog expected the cat to turn tail and run, he didn't know what to do when the cat didn't react instinctively.  We too, like that cool cat, can s…

Transcending vs. Embracing

I'm trying to decide what the balance between transcending and embracing should be? I mean if our purpose is to fully embrace and experience life, then do we really want to transcend our experiences? I would think it would be better to relish the experience rather than try to escape or overcome it? For example, when I gashed open my shin, I told myself it wasn't pain. I used my mind to "transcend" the experience. I told myself that the surge of sensation I was feeling in my shin was simply that, sensation. I was really amazed at how effective this method was in helping me deal with the pain. But now, I'm wondering if the same effect could be had by coming at the pain another way? What if, in this shin situation, instead of seeking to minimize the pain, I had instead moved toward the pain? Could looking pain in the eyes and embracing it with open curiosity have been equally effective in helping me deal with the pain?

Why do we immediately assume pain is bad and to…

Mistaken Meditation

I was reading some words of wisdom from the Buddha tonight wherein he used the image of a boat to describe the role of meditation. To him, the meditation practice is the boat that helps us cross the river of delusion, the river of suffering. When it the boat brings us to the other side, we can safely discard it:
The boat is not the opposite shore--it is just the vehicle we use to get there. How many have mistaken meditation as the end game? How many of us confuse means and ends? Perhaps it's helpful to see meditation, prayer, scripture study, sutras, mantras, chanting, ordinances, tithing, and oblations--to name a few--as transitional objects. Sacred observances we cling to as they work their marvelous wonder--we become wholly transformed. The scriptures we so diligently studied, the mantras we so religiously chanted, we become them. Like a boat, they've carried us to our destination and they are ever with us. They are our being, no longer our doing.

Cognitive Dissonance

Tonight I taught my children about cognitive dissonance. I asked them to tell me what they thought it meant. They correctly deduced that "cognitive" had to do with the brain and dissonance had to do with sound. I told them that they were on to something as dissonance in music occurs when chords clash or the playing of non-harmonious notes.With that, I was able to help them understand that cognitive dissonance occurs when your thoughts and actions are not in harmony. Basically, you will experience cognitive dissonance when your behavior and your beliefs do not align.

For example, if you believe that stealing is wrong, when you steal, you will feel wrong. If you believe you should go to church on Sunday, you will feel bad if you find yourself not in church on Sunday. Obviously, no one wants to experience cognitive dissonance as it doesn't feel good. So how do you eliminate cognitive dissonance? It's simple. You either change your belief or your change your behavior so …

Living in Mystery

What if not knowing is the greatest gift God has given to man? Consider with me these words penned by one of my favorite female poets, Emily Dickinson:

The deepest need of man, is for the unknown--for which we never think to thank God. Pair that thought with these, penned by the same insightful hand:
Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses--past the headlands--
Into deep Eternity--  Bred As we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand,
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?  The divine quest is the best, and truly intoxicating. I love the idea that living in mystery is all part of the Divine cosmic plan. Were we to know with absolute certainty, sailing for distant shores would surely lose its allure.

So off into Eternity, goes my inland soul to sea--replacing all my egocentric sailings with the currents of divine humanity.

Reincarnation

I know I've written about this before, but I really do like the idea of reincarnation. Here's something striking I just discovered: Reincarnation was once an accepted belief of the Christian church. The only reason they got rid of the doctrine is that the leaders feared it would weaken their ability to command obedience in their members. If Christians believed that they had multiple lifetimes to work out their salvation, then perhaps they'd be less motivated to strive for perfection in this one?

Here is the section that blew my mind from the "Autobiography of a Yogi:"

The early Christina church accepted the doctrine of reincarnation, which was expounded by the Gnostics and by numerous church fathers, including Clement of Alexandria, the celebrated Origen (both 3rd centurty), and St. Jerome (5th century). The doctrine was first declared a heresy in A.D. 553 by the Second Council of Constantinople. At that time many Christians thought the doctrine of reincarnation …

Yogis

I'm really enjoying learning about the great yogis and yoginis of India. I had no idea that yoga was a spiritual practice. That helps me understand better my affinity for it.

I'm trying to figure out what to believe about Jesus. I'm pretty sure he existed as a historical figure, but what I'm no longer sure of is his divinity. I mean, yes, of course, he was divine, we all are, but was he really the literal son of God, born of a virgin mother, offered as a sacrifice to redeem the world?

It's such a stereotypical story. As I study world religions, I'm intrigued by their similarity. They all seem to feature an all-powerful creator, an evil antagonist, and a divine intermediary. The "Savior" possesses special powers, performs various miracles, protects the obedient (aka righteous), and destroys the wicked.

Jesus isn't the only being who has performed miracles. Saints, yogis, and other great men and women have been performing miracles since the dawn of …