Keep it Simple

I’ve always felt when things become overly complex that something is amiss. It’s no different when thinking about topics such as spirituality, healing work, mediation and anything you are learning.  I’m going to bring up the obvious because it can be easily overlooked partly because it is so simple.   

During meditation you are aware of your thoughts, right?  I’m sure the moment you sit down the thinking becomes loud and even very distracting for a majority of meditators.  I’m venturing a guess here that most, if not all, have to contend with thoughts when they sit to meditate.  This is one of the things that makes meditation so difficult and unappealing. When you think about it it’s almost absurd  that your success as a meditator is governed by your ability to stop thoughts!!  I’m going to propose a slight change in focus instead of trying to stop the thoughts.  

Thoughts arise and YOU see them. 

Some come up and easily pass and others come up and can cause you great disturbance.  Either way, instead of just watching thoughts come and go begin to notice who can see the  coming and going?  It’s so obvious but it is so easily overlooked.  If thoughts come and go WHO is watching them?  

If possible I’m going to ask you to turn your attention toward what or who is watching.  Don’t have an expectation about what you will find just sense into it.  I don’t want to say too much about this because it is an important experience and I don’t want you to have any preconceived ideas about it.  You have to experience it for yourself.   

To whom or to what are the thoughts arising? Who is seeing the thoughts?  

You don’t need to have an answer to these questions.  My suggestion is to contemplate this for yourself.  Take your time and notice how this is as you turn your attention to what is watching. 

Once you become aware of this it is possible you will begin to notice this when you are not meditating but at first it may be helpful to try this in a relatively quiet and focused way.  

You are now focused on the source rather than on what comes and goes.

For some this will be very powerful and you will know who you are.  Looking this way repeatedly will have an incremental effect because you empower the source in your life through your continued attention.

If you don’t have a powerful experience don’t worry there is nothing wrong.  It’s good to know you are the one watching and you never know when it could resonate more strongly.  Life has a way of bringing you what you need when you need it.   Be on the look out.

To be continued…

Shine your light

I was standing on line for coffee in a bakery in New Paltz NY and the young barista behind the counter clearly wasn’t feeling well.  A male customer on line in front of me must have been a regular and knew the young server.  He asked him if he was doing ok that he didn’t look well.  The young man behind the counter replied, “I’m not feeling well today.”      To which the man on line replied compassionately, “that’s ok” and preceded to place his order.  I was so touched by the man in front of me.  It really struck me how real this exchange was.     The young man was lovingly seen by this customer who had no  judgement or attitude.  It was as if we were living in a different time,  a kinder gentler time. 

                        Then the woman on line behind me struck up a conversation.  She wanted me to know about a daily local mediation group that that was happening right around the corner.  When I told her that I was not from the area and  I was here visiting a friend she wanted to know where I was from.  When I told her Westchester she proceeded to tell me about some groups that meet in my town that I hadn’t known anything about.

As I got my coffee and walked upstairs I felt a spontaneous smile come over my face.  Somehow the beautiful simplicity of these interactions and just feeling the kindness from both the man in front of me online and the woman behind me.  Looking outside from my seat and watching the street below starting to wake up and some how everything felt right. 

We are all the same underneath it all and we can feel the goodness when it emanates from others.  Not everyone can emanate goodness and kindness into the world and if they can’t or don’t then maybe it isn’t our place to judge them or make an assumption about why.  Maybe recognizing with gratitude that we can shine our light amidst those who can’t for whatever reason. 

Shine your light because you never know the full effect or who will be touched by it. It may just ignite the flame in another and wouldn’t that be fun!!  Like the flame of a candle being passed around a circle lighting all the other candles. The original flame is not weakened by this and  the light that is cast is so much brighter having been shared. 

These can feel like dark and lonely times and it’s important to remember that you are not in this alone. Other light workers (as we have been appropriately called)  are here shining our light and when you are shining too, it’s easier to find each other.  

Take a break from thinking

Who has ever tried to take a break from thinking?  Certainly anyone who attempts to meditate is trying to stop the thoughts or at least notice the gaps between thoughts.

Are you the voice in your head? Or are you beyond the voice in your head?  I’m sure you’ve noticed that there can be one or more voices inside offering different or even conflicting view points.  I’m sure you have attempted to shut off the voices that cause you disturbance.  Like the one that admonishes you for eating that piece of cake or critiques your behavior at a party.  Or how about the one who reviews how you handled a challenging situation?  These are just some of the voices that can show up regularly.  These are the voices that cause us suffering especially when we believe what is being said.

Then there are other ones that make us feel good about ourselves.  Like, “hey, you resisted the urge to have that cake; way to go!”  Or the one who pats you on the back for saying just the right thing to a friend in need.  I’m sure without even asking, that the voices are constant, all day long, and don’t stop until you are unconscious when you sleep. It is considered normal to live this way but it is exhausting!! It’s like living on a rollercoaster, one moment feeling like the dregs of the earth and the next feeling elated.   I’m feeling tired just writing about it!!

Michael Singer in his book The Unteathered Soul says;  “if you’re saying, what voice? I don’t have a voice in my head. That’s the voice! “   You may ask why am I making you aware of this.  Isn’t it normal?  It is normal for us to think and to be aware of our thoughts.  In fact we do this all the time without effort.   Problems arise when we get overly identified with negative, self critical or habitual thinking that keeps us caught in an unending loop of suffering.  It is this very suffering that causes us to seek and find relief from our own mind.  As a result we grow in ways that we would never consciously choose.

The major point I want to make here is that you have a choice.  You can choose to pay attention to the thoughts or you can choose to allow them to pass.  It may take some practice to be able to watch a strong habitual thought and not go with it but I recommend giving this a try.  Your freedom lies on the other side of these thoughts that are designed to keep you in suffering.  This does not mean that feelings will not arise.  Strong thoughts generate strong feelings in our bodies and that can make it more challenging.  Can you allow the feelings state to be there but not indulge the negative thinking that accompanies it?  If you can practice this and not believe the thinking pretty soon the feeling state will also dissipate.  Eckhart Tolle’ says, “take one conscious breath.”  Remember you are not your thoughts and you are not your feelings.  You are the one who sees both therefore they cannot be who you are.

Why is this helpful?  When you remember that you are the one watching than a tremendous  unburdening can occur.  You recognize your true position and you don’t have to identify with the unending thoughts and emotions.  You are greater than all this.  It is difficult to explain how this has an effect on your being.  You have to practice and have an experience in order to understand its true power.

If this is of interest to you and would like to explore this topic in more depth please check out Mooji at mooji.org or Eckhart Tolle’ at eckharttolle.com or contact me and I will help point you in the right direction lmalfaoneheart@gmail.com.

The Attitude of Gratitude

imagesDuring the holidays it’s especially timely to talk about gratitude.  Energetically it opens energy and allows for greater flow because resistance is gone.   Without resistance life can flow and synchronicities can come to you with ease.  You will find yourself in the right place at the right time and meeting just the right people when you need them.  Gratitude puts you in harmony with whatever is unfolding in your life.  It’s like a big “thank you”  or “yes” to the universe.  

Even when life is challenging there are always things to be grateful for.  Simple things like; a hot shower, the way the sun streams through the window or a loving pet.  When you shift into looking at life this way its like moving from manual to automatic.  You are changing your state out of a heavier more stagnant energy to a lighter more flowing state.  

The reason that you will experience greater flow is simply explained and has to do with the universal law of attraction.   This universal law states that like energy will attract like energy, “like attracts like.”  If you are feeling low, worried, fearful or angry on a regular basis then this energy will attract the same from the world around you.  Many of us are unknowingly in this place and contributing to our own suffering but not really aware of it. This is why to looking with more gratitude can begin to make a change. 

The last point I want to make is about tracking what you are grateful for.  A gratitude journal can be a very powerful tool for this.  I know what you’re thinking and probably have some resistance to this idea but you didn’t get into your current state overnight and it will take some effort to get out of it.  Each night review your day, pick out the at least  3 things that made you feel grateful and write them down.  Reading them when you feel down or anytime you feel called can help you shift your energy.  If possible when you review your gratitude journal try and remember how you felt about the things you wrote down.  Feel the feeling in your body and allow it to chase away the blues. It’s like downloading new software to a computer and replacing the old feelings with the new.  This step of “feeling it” is vital for manifesting the new in your life.  Try it for a month and see what happens. You might actually enjoy it! 

When you start doing this you will feel uplifted and energized.  Change is an inside job and you can begin today by looking at life through the eyes of gratitude.  

Peak Experience – A sign post to the Divine

Have you ever had a peak experience?  You would know it if you had because it is such an exhilarating experience that you wouldn’t forget it.  

My experience of a peak experience seemed to be inspired while I was riding my motorcycle.  I was riding in the beautiful countryside with fields on either side of me and the sun was low and golden and illuminated everything.  The next thing I knew I was aware in a way that was completely different from my usual sense of perceiving. It was IMG_0995heightened, alert, peaceful and the joy that welled up inside is difficult to describe.  All was not only well but perfect in my world!  It left as mysteriously as it arose but I felt somehow shifted  and changed by it.  Later I came to understand that this experience was a small glimpse of my true self and a sign post  pointing me directly to my divine essence.

Abraham Maslow discovered this concept  and describes it this way:    

A peak experience is a moment accompanied by a euphoric mental state often achieved by self-actualizing individuals. The concept was originally developed by Abraham Maslow in 1964, who describes peak experiences as “rare, exciting, oceanic, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating experiences that generate an advanced form of perceiving reality, and are even mystic and magical in their effect upon the experimenter.                                                                                                                                         -Wikipedia

 

A peak experience can’t be brought on through any kind of effort, they just happen. They can be inspired by incredible beauty, awe, very intense emotions or a near death experience to name a few.  My understanding, now, of what happens is that the personal lens, memories, conditioning and beliefs, completely drop. You are thrust into the present moment so powerfully that nothing remains to block your true self.  The true self can be referred to as the God-self, divine self, pure being, brahman and many other names but the important thing to note is, you won’t  ever forget it.  Why?  When you have an authentic experience of your true nature it needs no explanation or confirmation. It is completely unique against the backdrop of your usual perceiving.  

It seems to be like a mini experience of self-realization. Unencumbered by personal projections; we have direct access to the pure being.  Masters throughout history have pointed  to this undeniable truth but it is most powerful when you identify this direct experience in your own life.  

I have heard many people say, “I’m not a spiritual person” and I would beg to differ.  Since I have had a few of these experiences in my life I have asked others if they have had similar experiences. Universally almost all have responded that “yes” they have experienced this in their lives.  It is the divine dimension knocking on your door and saying,  “Hey, there’s more where this came from.” 

I can only imagine what the world could be like if we where all ready to embrace this simple but profound truth.  That who you are is already perfect but is covered up by your ego.  Maybe it would be good to get curious about this.