Life is interesting. There are days when everything is going along swimmingly, and then others when nothing seems to be going right. We cannot escape the roller coaster of life-the ups and the downs. The best we can do is to stay centered and try not to get swept up to what is happening. I had one of the days yesterday. It started when I had to call a roofer to fix what I thought was a small opening in the roof. It turns out the small hole was broken open by a raccoon that wanted to seek out some warmth in my attic. Unfortunately, he decided to seek shelter after I just had the roof redone. Later that afternoon I decided to take my cat, Caphichie, to the vet because he seemed to be losing weight; this was after he was eating everything in sight. The diagnosis was kidney failure. On a range from 1-4, 4 being the worst, he was a 4. Upon returning home I discover that my other cat, Jagger, had a relapse from an earlier bout with anemia. Out of nowhere he suddenly gets ill and stops eating. This was one of those days. As frustrating as they are, we have to deal with them. Change is the constant in life. Our happiness lies when we can appreciate the things that we have in our life today; small things as well as big things. Our Peace is not found on the surface. It lies in the recognition of the dimension of stillness beyond reactions. We are all different but share one common thread- Peace. It is what we consciously or unconsciously looking for. Appreciate life today and Peace will find us- even on one of those days.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I’ve never been one to follow up on flyers that are sent through the mail. But this one seemed to appear at the perfect time when I was in need of its services- the half price offer was too good to pass up. I thought, "What the heck, winter is here and my heater should be looked at." They came at time scheduled and looked the part. After awhile, he came down and said “Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news?” I knew something was up and could only think of the money that was not going to be saved by having this company doing the maintenance. Well, he said, “There’s the Picasso package where we do the works and the price for that would be $14,893” (as if the $93) matters. The next plan is $10,000 and the next is $8,500 and it went on until he got to the “Band-Aid package” that was a “inexpensive” $4,000. My first instinct was that this is crazy. How could the system that I originally purchased cost $5,500, while the labor to maintain it cost almost three times as much? From that point I could hear his words but nothing was computing. The thought that crossed my mind was that somebody out there is going to get trapped by these high prices. I obviously didn’t sign on board although there was the pressure tactic to sign up quickly. As luck would have it I remembered the name of another smaller company that I’ve used before. Fortunately, they were able to come by right away and they took a look. Almost immediately they discovered the problem- an air filter that need changing- That’s it an air filter! In just one hour I had two different quotes range from $14,893 to $1.50. Clearly the first company had a formula to take your money. For me the moral is to trust in my instincts and not rush into something that doesn’t feel right. The spiel by this company was polished and convincing but it was the second company that I felt more comfortable with. Our instincts are our guide. There will be many times when we have to step back from the words and only listen with our heart. Not only will we be saving a lot of money, but we can leave Picasso where he should be-on a beautiful painting not a packaged quote.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
There’s a Zen saying that is very pertinent in our life today. It says, “If not now, when? What does this sentence mean to you? How do you interpret its meaning? For me, it resonates deeply. It always reminds me that the key to happiness is never found in some far off goal. Rather, it’s revealed when we allow for our inner stillness to awaken. It’s hard to realize the full import of this statement when we read it with our mind. But when we feel it at the level of Soul, it makes complete sense. Stillness is the inner sense of joy. It’s not just the high of emotions. It’s the recognition of what we are beyond thought. In our fast paced world, especially now in the Holidays, we are used to looking ahead. But the thing that really matters is the Now. If we can’t be happy right now with what is appearing in our life, how can we expect be to be happy later on down the road? Today is where our happiness lies. We just celebrated a holiday about giving thanks. What matters is not so much all the thanks that we can recite on that one day, but the thanksgiving for what’s appearing in our lives every day. Happiness is not a future occurrence. It can never be found just around the corner. It’s what we are when we drop all the blocks that get in its way. It’s the quality of Beingness. This happiness may not be in the form that is advertised on television, such as an emotional high, but rather, a peace and tranquility of just appreciating all of the simple things in our lives. We tend to equate happiness or unhappiness in time, but it is the timeless, as the Now, that reminds us of what we are. If we can’t appreciate it with what we have now, when will have that opportunity?
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
My name was called out. “Hey Dave”… I heard it again. This time I looked up and recognized him from the night before. At that time he introduced himself and we chatted for awhile about various things. Tonight he seemed fidgety. We talked for a few minutes until he got to the point he wanted to say, “I have a lot of issues that I’m dealing with at the moment and it feel as though I have a Spiritual Sickness” Do you know what that is? I was lost for words. I never really heard the term before and didn’t know how to respond. As we talked whatever condition he was experiencing seemed to go away. Maybe his concern was really just loneliness and a need to share. After he left I was able to get back to writing, but the term that he used for his condition stayed with me- “Spiritual Sickness.” I wondered if many others experienced this condition? If so, how could it be healed? It would make sense that if our inner peace was lost we would not feel right. In reality, Spirit could never be sick- it’s only at the level of mind/body that imbalance occurs. We are disconnected from Spirit when stuck in thought. I don’t know if it would be called a “Spiritual Sickness,” but the feeling, if dramatized, could feel that way. The antidote and prescription for all psychological pain is a Spiritual solution found through peace. When we quiet our mind we get in touch with our real nature. Every thought, feeling, and action will ultimately lead back wholeness. Our ego is but a fraction. We don’t need to feel divorced from Spirit. The answer to all of our problems lies in healing the split between Spirit and the body. Although it never was separated, it only appears that way. In the case of my visitor I hope he makes that connection sooner than later.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
“I just want to know the mind of God, the rest are details.” Famous words uttered by Albert Einstein. He was bold enough to speak of God as the reigning intelligence of the Universe. Unfortunately, the word God has gotten skewered over the years. Rather than seeing God as the power of life itself, it has become an abstraction. And like an abstract painting, it’s open to interpretation by the person viewing it. Each person has an opinion of what God is. Somebody like Einstein may see God in scientific terms, while another may see God in terms of feeling such as love. Unfortunately, because of religious hypocrisy, God may be viewed in a negative manner. All interpretations have nothing to do what God really is- concepts can never know what lies beyond it. And because the universe is nothing but a myriad of differences, God will be viewed differently. But what is God? Can we possibly conceptualize what is unknowable? The answer is no, although Einstein was curious. God exists as that unifying force grounded in Love. We then leave the abstraction behind and open up to the Reality as it exists in the Here in Now. The portal is within us. All we need to do is surrender to the inner joy of stillness. God cannot leave us. We leave God with incessant thinking. The way back to that Reality is not in judging each other on personal beliefs, but discovering the unity that lies just beyond it. When we deny the presence of God in our lives we deny the power of life itself. Instead we get caught up in the sense of separation, or ego, and get caught up in the drama that only the ego can manufacture. God doesn’t have to be an abstraction in our lives. Every moment we are given a new opportunity. God, although, just a word, carries so much more meaning. It embodies the goodness in the Universe and the connective force between all living things. God is never very far away. The abstraction is only created by the mind- even the brilliance of Einstein could only wonder.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
There is an innate power we possess that is masked by the turbulent, running water of daily thoughts – It’s called Being. When we sit and become still this mystery is revealed. Serenity is waiting to be realized when we allow it. As I sit in my backyard on a cool, fall morning, I allow this moment to reveal itself to me. Nature, along with all of its myriad expressions come into focus. There is an aliveness that permeates the air when we look without interpreting; when we allow without forcing. Our senses are heightened and real beauty blossoms. The sun starts to peer through the dusty layers of grey clouds. A cool refreshing breeze brings a sense of aliveness and wakefulness. Songs of the birds and distant sounds of dogs barking are drowned out by the soothing sounds of the bubbling fountain. Green is the predominant color as plants, bushes and trees stand out against the backdrop of a welcoming sky. I love this morning quality. When we open up to energy around us it rewards us with its simple pleasures. The mind complicates and distorts while the Soul releases. Are we not looking to be released from our thoughts? Consciously or unconsciously we are seeking that stillness. Having this simple reminder can change the course of our day. When we stop and take a breath we can create new energy at any moment. We are free in this open energy. It is waiting to be revealed when we create enough space from the constant stream of thoughts seeking to take us away from this paradise that is right in front of us. All we need to do is stop, look and just BE.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Movies can be a welcome escape. Depending on the movie, it can have a profound on us. There are some films that set the tone for future trends. Then there are the classics that we never get tired of watching. Movies allow us to get away from our life even if it’s just a few hours. In that time we can completely lose our worries and surrender to a world far away. During that time we are completely engrossed with characters, feelings, and relationships. A great film connects with us on a deeper level. Even though the situation, time period, or demographic is completely different than our own we still can identify with it on some level. That is the power of great acting and movie making. It provides escape, entertainment, and an opportunity to project ourselves into a different place. Our life is also playing out as a movie. Like a script we encounter the tragedies and comedy every day. We don’t have to look far to see all the different characters that make up this ensemble. This movie called life is constantly changing. It could not appear without the interplay of lights and shadows. You can’t make out the movie unless it’s in a darkened room. Without the shadows in our life, as our personal film, the projection, or appearance of our movie could not appear. We are constantly playing out this movie by deciding the film that runs through our projector. We can either get caught up in this movie we are creating, or sit back and watch the movie as it appears. Every day we are given that choice. Do we get entangled or do we choose to raise our awareness and become the watcher of it? The ego in this case is the film and Awareness, or Spirit, is the witness. It helps when we remind ourselves about the movie quality of life. And like any movie we can go to the one that we enjoy, or the one full of drama. Like any movie we can walk out. Maybe we can get our refund back, but we can step out of the drama that might be interesting on film but not so much in life.