Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Empty your cup - Get rid of the crap

Famous and popular Zen story - Empty your cup

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's full! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "This is you," the master replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."

Simon and Garfunkle sang their great song, Kodachrome, with the lyric, "When I think of all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can still think at all."

Our minds have been filled with all kinds of crap. We are conditioned through schooling to memorize and learn crap. Our religions have filled our minds with crap. The media, now days called "fake news", has filled our minds with crap. Gossip runs rampant in our families, our social circles, our work groups and this gossip fills our mind with crap.

The septic tank is full. It comes to a point where it won't take any more. We have to call the septic tank guy and get it pumped out.

Osho says to his sannyasins, "...because what I am doing every day is destroying your knowledge, destroying and destroying all your clingings and strategies of the mind. Any day when your mind collapses, when you cannot hold it together any more, there is bound to be sudden enlightenment. It is not attainment, hence it can happen in a single moment, instantly. Society has forced you to forget it; my work here is to help you remember it." p.27 "Ah, This!"

When we turn from the path of the ego and embark on the path of the spirit we must forgive ourselves and others for our ridiculousness. We have been wallowing in crap. We have forgotten who we are and in the turning, we begin to search for that which our conditioning has buried in crap.

 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The source of enlightenment is already within you.

I love Osho. He says the most startling things that make perfect sense to me and so when I am startled by what he says, I pause a second, and then usually wind up saying to myself, "Why, or course. That makes perfect sense."

In the book "Ah, This!" Osho says on page 27, "Enlightenment is always sudden because it is not an achievement; it is already the case. It is only a remembering, it is only a reminding, it is only a recognition. You are already enlightened; you are just not aware of it. It is awareness of that which is already the case."

A similar idea is expressed in A Course In Miracles in the introduction where it is written, "The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance."

The way to enlightenment is to drop the ego. Give it up. Get rid of it. Purify your consciousness. Eliminate the blocks to your awareness of the Divine.

This is an experience not a thought. This experience of the Divine does not come from more knowledge but from looking within and becoming aware of the All.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Are you coming along with us on the path of the spirit?

Can people know too much? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? What lie will the President, Donald Trump, tell today? Will the congress people, who have received campaign contributions from the NRA, ever pass some sensible gun control legislation? Should we be bothered by these questions when we are not aware of our own being? How much does having answers to these questions make a difference to the quality of our lives and the life of the planet?

This topic irritates a lot of people because they know deep down that they have no idea what makes them tick and here they are trying to run the world.

The point is is that there are two different worlds: the world of the ego and the world of the spirit. In which world are you spending most of your time and energy and effort?

If you are walking the path of the ego you might want to change course and get on the path of the spirit. The path of the spirit manages fear with forgiveness, resentments with love, and knowledge with innocence. You know what I mean?

If you do that's great. If not, that's okay too. This blog is not for everyone. It is intended for the serious seeker. Thank you for coming along with me.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

If you would experience godliness, eschew obfuscation

Osho says, "You become so much obsessed with the word 'love' that you forget that love is an experience, not a word. You become so obsessed with the word 'God' that you forget that God is an experience, not a word. The word 'God' is not God, and the word 'fire' is not fire, and the word 'love'is not love either." p.13, "Ah, this!"

It is written in A Course In Miracles in the Clarification of Terms in the introduction, paragraph 2, verse 5 "A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary."

Set aside your creeds, your theologies, your orthodoxy. To experience godliness you must empty your mind and heart of nonsense.

Nonsense works well for the religions of the ego. Nonsense does not work well on the path of the spirit. The spiritual life requires an emptying, a purification, a not knowing attitude which gives birth to a genuine humility.

As the bumper sticker says, "Don't believe everything you think." A new bumper sticker would read, "Eschew nonsense and come to godliness."


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Are you a caterpillar living into a butterfly?

Is the caterpillar aware that it is going to become a butterfly? Are you aware that you can become a buddha?

Some people have this awareness that within them is a piece of the Divine. Others have no idea. Nobody has ever told them to look within. If the person did look within and was confused, perplexed, bored, frightened, they stopped. They didn't stick with it. To pursue the truth of the Divine within takes courage, persistence, and faith.

It helps to have someone further along the path of the spirit to encourage others to come along. Most people will not listen because they don't believe the encourager has anything of value to impart. Jesus says in Matthew 13:4-9:


4 As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. 
5 Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, 
6 so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. 
7 Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. 
8 Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams. 

9 "Are you listening to this? Really listening?" 

Nah, they weren't really listening. Jesus sounds kind of frustrated. As Kurt Vonnegut was fond of saying, "And so it goes...."

Maybe, you, reader, are listening. So try it. Look within and stick with it. Do it for 5 minutes for two weeks and see what happens. Nothing? Quit. Something? Stick with it. You, too, can become a butterfly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Enjoy your existence such as it is.

The biggest mistake we human beings make is to think that we have separated ourselves from God, the font of our being, the Force which animates the universe.

Oh, we are arrogant, and proud, and blind, and ignorant, but deep down we know better. We are part of the Divine, but we forget when we get caught up in our pursuits on the path of the ego.

On the path of the ego we believe that all kinds of nonsense and ridiculousness will make us happy. Be become frustrated, angry, sad, and then scared when they don't. We wonder what's gone wrong in our lives and we run off to our doctors who give us drugs to numb the pain. We stop searching thinking that the drugs will fix the problem.

So, how is that working for you?

At the deepest level, we only have one choice to make: Love or fear. Which would you rather have?

If we choose Love, we have to move off the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit, and many of us are not ready to make that turn. We want things to be better but we cling to the familiar. We rather dance with the devil we know than the devil we don't know.

Steven Wright said one time, "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me. I'm afraid of widths." And there are those who are agoraphobic, they are afraid of wide open spaces.

There is always something to be afraid of. The news scares us, our relationships scare us, our fear of scarcity scares us. God knows we love to be afraid because it keeps us from looking within where our biggest fear is the supposed wrath of God because of our willful separation from Him/Her.

We are being silly because God loves us unconditionally. We are part of God and God is part of us.

Relax. Chill. Enjoy your existence such as it is.

Monday, May 14, 2018

A drop of the ocean

One of the metaphors I like best about our spiritual selves is that we are drops of the ocean. We evaporated from the ocean as mist, and separated ourselves from the whole, and we will eventually return to the ocean from which we were separated.

It is amusing when people insist on being their separate drop. The look for ways to improve their drop through self- cultivation. With all the self-cultivation in the ego world, though, they are still going to be just a drop, a single drop, ignoring the awareness that they are really part of the ocean.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "The specialness of God's Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special." T-1:V.3:5-6

Steven Wright has said, "They say that the universe is expanding. That should help with the traffic." With global warming the oceans are rising because the ice crystals of the planet's glaciers are rejoining their source. Sooner or later our separate egos will meld with the cosmic consciousness. The illusion of our separateness cannot withstand the truth of our being.

Indeed, the old cheer, "One for all and all for one," is more than just a cheer. It is a basic understanding of our spiritual life.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Bringing truth to light

According to researchers anxiety disorders are the biggest mental health problem in the United States. As a psychotherapist, I have observed that what people are most afraid of is the truth.

Truth haunts people, if not consciously, then unconsciously. Experiences have been buried deep in the psyche and the truth of them leaks out creating a terror that is confusing, unexpected, baffling, and seems foreign.

The psychotherapist gently and supportively asks the client to re-member those things the person has repressed and alienated from his/her conscious awareness. The truth has been kept in the dark and because of what the darkness hides, people become afraid of the darkness itself.

The release from darkness entails two stages: first the recognition that darkness can only hide the truth so long and that eventually the truth will find its way to the light either with conscious articulation or in symptoms, and second, that the energy it takes to hide the truth is a waste and that life is lived much more easily and happily once the truth is set free.

Setting the truth free from the darkness is a relief and in the long run brings much peace and bliss. When we come to accept that "it is what it is" we are born again onto the path of the spirit and we leave the path of the ego behind.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Performing miracles

Miracles, according to A Course In Miracles, are not magic. Miracles are not supernatural behavior. Miracles, in A Course In Miracles, is a different way of thinking. Miracles are getting off the path of the ego and onto the path of the spirit.

The miracle is getting off the path of the ego and walking on the path of Love. Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is "to love as I have loved." Jesus is talking about miracle thinking. He is not talking about turning water into wine, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, walking on water, multiplying the loaves and fishes. Jesus is not a circus performer although many people have turned Him into one and totally missed His teaching.

Magicians in Las Vegas put on dazzling shows of slight of hand which give cheap thrills to the ego. They pull rabbits out of a hat, cut pretty women in half, make objects appear and disappear, and suspend objects off the floor. Their acts can be very entertaining.

Miracles are not about entertainment, they are about authentic life. Miracle thinking is eschewing the works of the ego for the life of the Spirit. The miracle is understanding our experience of Life in a whole new way.

With miracle thinking time stands still and we rise above our resentments as we forgive ourselves and others for our ridiculousnesses. We undo and purify our intentions and motives that block our awareness of Love. This shift in consciousness feels like a revelation of a whole new way of experiencing life which is full of peace, Love, and bliss. Some might call it meditation and here we are calling it miracle thinking.

Miracle thinking requires silence, centeredness, mindfulness, forgiveness, and gratitude. We are entering a time here on this blog when we will be describing how a person might shift his/her thinking and start performing and living with more miracles.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Engendering heaven on earth


We have a choice. We can walk the path of the ego or the path of the spirit.

The path of the ego is a path in hell, and the path of the spirit is a path in heaven.

The path of the ego is the path which society conditions us to walk, and we walk it unconsciously until we hit bottom. Our tolerance for pain is very high. When the pain becomes great enough it dawns on us that there must be a better way, and then we turn from the path of the ego and begin to search. That search takes us on the walk with Love on the path of the spirit.

You might think that the walk with Love on the path of the spirit would be easy, and it is, if we are not continually seduced back onto the path of the ego. This seduction is insidious. Temptation abounds. We forget our decision to walk with Love on the path of the spirit until we become aware, once again, that we have a choice.

We must choose again, and again, and again, and gradually, walking with Love on the path of the spirit, becomes our new habitual way of life. Mindfulness is our tool and when tempted we are now aware of the temptation and ask ourselves, "Is this what I really want?" We know, deeper down, that walking the path of the ego is not what we want and we re-focus on walking with Love and the path of the spirit. We find that walking with Love on the path of the spirit fills us with peace and joy and we realize that we have engendered heaven on earth.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Can I experience your experience?

Postmodernism teaches us that our thoughts and perceptions are the result of a social construction. Our thoughts would not have meaning outside of context, and context comes from others.

Sometimes we wonder what other people are thinking and we might say, "A penny for your thoughts," and the person might reply, "They're not for sale at any price." Or maybe they are and the person attempts to share some story of what (s)he is thinking about.

The fact of the matter is, even if we don't want to admit it, that our minds are joined. They are joined in many ways by many things, but the easiest thing to see is language. Beyond language are the common understandings that we assume are shared even when meanings and interpretations of the same word can be quite different. On the path of the ego we become indignant and sometimes even arrogant that our way of thinking is "right." The question arises in A Course In Miracles, "Would you rather be right or happy?"

A simple word like "chair" can lead to all kinds of thoughts about various types of chairs and there is a common understanding at a conceptual, if not specific, level. A word like "God" though instigates many thoughts which, on the path of the ego, are rarely shared but, on the path of the spirit, would be highly shared. For God is not a word but an experience and the experience of God is the sign of salvation which we all share.

The question here is not what thoughts and perceptions do we share, but what experiences? We share very few,if any, experiences on the path of the ego, but on the path of the spirit we are all one experience.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Leave ridiculousness behind and move to the Divine

If it's true that what you think you see is what you get, how does this affect others?

If your perception is biased,what is the impact this has on your relationships?

No person is an island. Homo sapiens are social creatures and our "reality" is a social construction. Our biases not only impact our own perception, but are contagious and somtimes toxic.

What we think we see not only affects our own well being but the well being of others as well, especially those with whom we interact in more immediate and intimate ways.

Grandma said, "Birds of a feather flock together." What kind of birds do you flock with?

Is it true that you can tell a person by his/her friends or is this just another form of bias?

The path of the ego is littered with ridiculous people doing ridiculous things, and these ridiculous people doing ridiculous things leads to us being and acting ridiculous ourselves.

The path of the spirit is quite different. On the path of the spirit we leave ridiculous things behind and move on to Love and peace which comes from forgiveness and connecting with the Divine within ourselves and within others

Monday, May 7, 2018

Giving up our biases

Let's admit it. We are biased. When we look at things, we see what we think we are going to see not what is really there. Most people think it is the other way around, that the things we see trigger our thoughts, but it is more accurate to say that our thoughts influence what we see.

Tough thing to admit. Our egos rarely allow us to become aware of and acknowledge our biases. As the bumper sticker says, "Don't believe everything you think." We could tweak it to say, "Don't believe everything you see."

Turning from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit involves giving up our thoughts, our biases, our assumptions, our prejudices.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Becoming human

The thoughts we have bring either peace or war; either love or fear. Which do you want? Can you tell the difference?

It is taught in A Course In Miracles, in the workbook in lesson 16, that "I have no neutral thoughts." We either walk on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit. Upon the dawning, we must decide which path we want to proceed on. One path takes us to war and fear, and the other to peace and love.

The tolerance for pain in human beings is very high and sometimes, it's not until they hit bottom, that they realize there is a better way. They realize that their thoughts are not an external factor over which they have no control. They come to realize that they can control their thoughts and this control means they have a choice.

This choice over one's thoughts is the beginning of freedom, the beginning of liberation. It is the first step away from being merely an animal to becoming human.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

When will we learn that we can't do it all by ourselves

When my two children were killed by a drunk driver I knew that God did not do this to me. I knew that it was a three time drunk driver that killed my kids. I knew this because, as a student of A Course In Miracles, I had practiced lesson 14 in the workbook which is entitled, "God did not create a meaningless world."

It is written in this lesson, "What God did not create does not exist. And everything that does exist exists as He created it. The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making, and it does not exist."

The idea that the path of the ego is strewn with a repertory of horrors and the path of the spirit is comprised of peace and Love instills in us instant objection and resistance. How can this be when the things on the path of the ego seem so real? We have not looked behind the curtain, beyond what Christians call the "vale of tears."

We forget that we have separated ourselves from God and in this separation we make up our own drama, pain, and suffering. The misuse of alcohol and the act of driving killed my kids. Witnesses said that the driver was very upset as he emerged from his truck and saw the wreckage and cried out in an agitated state, "Why do these things always happen to me?!"

Indeed, in a sober state, this is a good question to reflect upon. Today, it is raised for consideration. Why do these things always happen to us? Because we have created and live in a meaningless world as we walk the path of the ego. At some point, it dawns on us that there is a better way.

It is written in the introduction to A Course In Miracles, "This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time."

The dawning that there must be a better way is a significant step onto the path of the spirit in which we search for the world that God has created for us and we give up our own insistence and stubbornness in thinking we can do it all ourselves.

The dawning - "I need help."

We think in images we call thoughts. We make these up. Our thoughts are not real.

The bumper sticker says, "Perception is reality." Most people seem to believe that what they think is real, and they "see" it when they look. They are not "seeing" they are projecting and displacing. What they think they are seeing is an "illusion."

And so when we think things, and see things, we need to remind ourselves that what we are thinking and seeing isn't real but rather perceptions and experiences we have made.

Off we go, "half cocked" as they say, "making shit up" to fit our preconceived notions and preferences.

My favorite bumper sticker says, "Reality is when it happens to you."

Dr. Freud called the checking of our beliefs and perceptions with our experience, "reality testing." We come to learn that life is not the way we thought it was and is, at the bottom, quite different.

We come to the point where we realize that "there must be a better way." As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve step programs with step one, "We have come to realize that our lives are unmanageable."

And so the moral of the story is "Don't believe everything you think."




Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Beginning of the spiritual life

If it is true that what we perceive in the world is the result of our psychological set and projections, then what we think we perceive is meaningless. It is nonsense. It is drama. It is what we angrily and sarcastically call "bull shit."

Is your life full of "bull shit?"

Has the "bull shit" that you think you perceive tired you out, exhausted you, stressed you out? Even good things don't seem to last long or be as good as they are expected to be. Some days our meaningless lives are depressing, boring, upsetting, and, maybe, temporarily elating.

The path of the ego is always counterfeit and enervating. We get to the point where enough is enough and it dawns on us that there must be a better way. This dawning brings us to embarking on a search for what that better way might be, and this is the first step onto the path of the spirit and the beginning of a spiritual life.