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Acceptance of the Unacceptable

Last week Eckhart Tolle TV posted this image on Facebook. I believe it is related to my thoughts today.

Sitting in my reclining chair in the morning Winter-noon sunshine, just outside my kitchen door, I was enjoying the turkey vultures soaring overhead, the humming birds buzzing about, and ravens talking in the distance while lizards scrambled about. In this warmth I became overwhelmed with well-being; with happiness and contentedness. I’m sure the fact that I really, really like my life is key to unlocking the grip my mind has had on righteousness.

In this bliss, it occurred to me to work on “deconstructing” my need for the world to be different than it is.

Even the mere thought is somehow frightening. However, so, so much of my energy and attention has historically been taken up by preoccupation with the horrors of the world (and there are many); with my judgment of those who perpetuate environmental and social wrongs (and we in the “first world” can count ourselves among the guilty); and with an inner struggle to “find the answers.”

It’s not that I plan to stop posting online petitions to Facebook, or stop suggesting healthier cleaning supplies to friends, or give up my own “clean” purchasing practices. Rather, I’m working on letting Presence shake loose my marriage to being right. I think this will help in my “outer purpose”: attempting to see clearly where and what change is most effective.

I and many people who know me could make a good case in support of my sincere care for the natural world, and true dedication to health. However, my family members in particular could make a case for my attachment to my arguments. Moreover, upon even brief reflection today, I could–and can–sense that this attachment takes up a lot of my available will and bandwidth, thus leaving less will and bandwidth available to dedicate toward being Present; just showing up in the moment whole-heartedly.

The way my life is calibrated, this “showing up whole-heartedly” often does and I’m sure will include working for peace and aliveness; for an intact, restored ecology and well-being amongst us humans. Indeed, I do experience a greater sense of space when feeling how engagement-minus-attachment-to-outcome arises.

Also, this morning on his way out the door, my partner helpfully reminded me, “Remember that success is really only a successful present moment!” We often try to remind one another of these bits of wisdom, and sometimes they work! I’ve repeated it to myself a few times, arresting the “monkey mind,” enjoying the moment of breath, and the dimensionality of my immediate surroundings. Thank you, sweetheart. ūüôā

And thank you, Eckhart.

Puppy

Dear Puppy,

You were my friend. I’m a bit sorry that I wasn’t a very good friend during the past year of your life; I wasn’t sure how to reach you in your dottering state, but that sparkle was still with you nevertheless, and I’m pretty sure you felt my attempts to make contact.

How kind of you to have such a gentle fade from material reality. When I would visit Dana, you were just a fuzzy brown lump curled up in your doggie bed off to the side, seeming to dream endlessly. I marveled at how Dana and Pat attended to you even when to me you seemed almost invisible; carrying you around, soothing your whines, talking to pet psychics to find out if you were uncomfortable and if and when you were truly ready to leave your body.

How many times you greeted me, and with so much kindness, I’ll never be able to count. When I remember you, even though you weren’t “my” dog, I recall this saying:¬†‚ÄúBe the person your dog thinks you are!‚ÄĚ

Felicia and Puppy

Puppy and I…and an old beach towel.

When I tune into your presence, the clear light of bursting joy is so apparent, and I think of your special secret name, “Tulka.” Your brightness also reminds me of a quote from (I believe) Eckhart Tolle, in which he points out that when someone dies, their form is no longer obscuring the light, and it shines more brightly than ever.

You will continue to shine brightly in our hearts, Puppy Tulka. We shine back to you, on your Great Journey.

Inside Outside

Image

It’s pretty obvious which one of us is a master of inner body awareness.

In the past few days, I’ve been attempting to note when I’m “going out to meet the world” versus when I’m “letting the world come to me.” In the first instance, it’s that familiar “face pressed against the windshield” effect; a certain subtle straining that is really tiring after a whole day of it. In the second, I feel more like…Johnny Depp. ūüôā It is a more “yin” as opposed to “yang” way to hold my energy.

Also, letting the world come to me, as it were, allows a much greater degree of what Eckhart Tolle calls “inner body awareness.” And similarly,

“Be¬†at least as interested in what¬†goes on¬†inside¬†you as¬†what happens¬†outside.”

He helpfully adds, “If you get the¬†inside¬†right, the outside will fall into place” (Power of Now, p 77).

Vision

Recently I listened to a talk by my meditation teacher in which he explained the relationship between “vision” and “being.” As I am a “student” of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings as well as of the school of vision, the Clairvision School of Meditation, I was extremely happy to hear the talk.

In the past I had experienced this “two sides to a coin” sense that vision at any level requires some degree of “showing up” or “presence” to work at all. We often speak of “seeing, really seeing” the person with whom one is communicating. Poets and artists have made so much of the eyes as the “window to the soul.” It’s no wonder that wonder indeed comes in when contemplating the profound nature of vision, physical or metaphysical.

Along this line, I have experienced that the greater the presence and stillness, the more I can see, again, physically or metaphysically. In this way, I have found my focus on Eckhart Tolle’s work to compliment my mystery school training in vision and meditation, and certainly vice versa.

My experience of what vision¬†feels like, physical or metaphysical, is¬†sensual.¬†Sitting in the temple during a retreat a few years ago, I was astounded that I could *FEEL* the rafters with my eyes. This continues, and works with people too. (Note: it sometimes makes people uncomfortable to really “SEE” them!)

For a few words on how Clarivision defines “seeingness,” check out this link and scroll down to “seeingness.”

My Monsanto Sign

The not-cynical side of my Monsanto protest sign. ūüôā

As a participant in the “March Against Monsanto” this past Saturday May 25th, I have been sitting with the potential conflict between “marching against” something, and “surrender to the now.” On the one hand, Eckhart Tolle points out that “surrender” does NOT mean what the mind thinks it means: just sitting there and “accepting” everything like a lump on a log. Rather, he articulates it as the difference between surrender to the present moment–which may very well include action–versus “accepting” circumstances with which we are not truly, actually copacetic. Indeed, I have had many experiences that confirm that, in a moment of stillness and quiet, what ET calls a “high quality ‘no'” can come to the surface.

On the other hand, the fact remains that at a march, potentially thousands of people are all grouped together to “resist” something en mass.

Upon hearing about the event, I was immediately interested in participating. I went back and fourth as to whether or not I’d actually attend, due to schedule challenges and wishing there was an event listed closer to home. However, in the end I felt I just had to participate: the action expressed a perspective I’ve held for many years. If I didn’t show up, who would?

In short, I wanted to physically “show up” for what I feel is¬†genuinely important, relevant, critical, and to do so from a place of presence in the moment, rather than supreme agitation or hatred.

In a way I was showing up to “protest against” Monsanto. However, perhaps more than that–and I got this impression from the crowd–many of us were really showing up to show support for what we love: life, and the right of other beings to live a healthy, prosperous life of integrity, not contaminated with human genetic machinations (“genetically mutated¬†organisms,” “GMO’s)¬† or diabolical compounds, otherwise known as pesticides.

So, I stood around with my sign-on-a-stick (a life-affirming message on one side, pictured above, and a tongue-in-cheek jab on the other, “Monsatan”), and then marched down the street. I was in my usual self-contained space, though I let a neighbor during the march pull me into a chant for a while. On the whole, I simply showed up to show my support: a simple thing.

P.S. Millions of people showed up in multiple states and countries. Just a few from a long list:

San Francisco March Against Monsanto, Union Square

San Francisco March Against Monsanto, Union Square

 

I appreciated this sign.

I appreciated this sign.

 

 

Monsanto created Agent Orange

Monsanto created Agent Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image

Image Courtesy of Cornelius Boot's Noggin

I’m just noting something: that when I look at people walking down the street from a place of stillness and peace, I see each one as a human being, built around a heart, actually. I can feel their humanness.

This is distinctly contrasted with my “normal” way of viewing random people: short, fat, ugly, or tall, fit, attractive, in so many words. The former is only possible with awareness and a certain degree of stillness inside. The later is business as usual, lazy, and at the heart of it, a fearful¬†approach.¬†

I seem to remember, at the EckhartTolleTV.com filming last week, there was some emphasis on judgments…

Interesting to also note that some part of me feels it’s “MY RIGHT” to judge people. ūüôā ¬†Something like a haughty, “I’m entitled to my opinion!” It’s a reaction to the perceived “effort” it takes to become present. It really feels as if becoming present is an imposition. And yet, I can feel that being constantly on the lookout for enemies takes a global toll…

ImageFrom one perspective, blah-blah’ing about my experience seeing Eckhart Tolle live in Mill Valley, CA the past two days is contrary to his very single teaching: being present in the moment. On the other, I have found over and over that the act of writing this blog brings a greater space of presence. Let’s see how this entry goes.

My darling sweetheart and I attended a two-day filming for EckhartTolleTV.com, held in Mill Valley, CA at the Throckmorton Theater. In the months previous, I had been looking forward to the event. (Yes, “looking forward” is not a demonstration of being in the now. ūüôā ) I had the good fortune to see ET’s talk at Wisdom 2.0 in February. I was a volunteer at the door checking badges when he walked in. It was a precious moment. It was also visionful to see and feel how the space of the room shifted five or ten minutes before he actually went on stage, and then how the whole crowd of hundreds of people came to a much greater level of stillness before he had said anything really. (Yes, typing this experience up DOES shift the space I’m in quite dramatically.)

After that experience–seeing and feeling ET’s impact on so many so quickly–I was truly interested to see how being in the same room with him for hours and hours for this filming would effect me and others present.

It began before it even started. For about 24 Р36 hours prior to the first day (Tuesday) my personal gremlins were quite active, provoking anxiety, tenseness and significant discomfort. I had a hard time with dinner the night before in particular, and experienced a bloody dream episode early the next morning. I was hoping to experience relief once we got to the event and it got underway.

There’s really nothing quite like being in the same room with an enlightened master. I feel immense gratitude–almost abashed gratitude–that I have been in the presence of more than one. It was beautiful to feel the quality of energy specific to Eckhart Tolle, though, what is ET and what is me is a bit difficult to say at this point. Perhaps in time I will discern, perhaps not.

He brings an immense kindness, though, a different flavor than that of the Dalai Lama. He is exquisitely gentle, though, his gentleness is somehow different from that of Ammachi. He can see right through the world, yet his version of “piercing through the veil” doesn’t have the unrelenting, laser quality of my own teacher, Samuel Sagan. He is like a mountain and a mouse, an owl and a bumble bee.

One thing I’m learning from him as I write this is that “playing in the world of form,” as he often encourages listeners and readers to do, is not exactly like thrashing around in a sandbox. Rather, it’s more like living with eyes wide open, living to the utmost, experiencing everything at a vivid, ALIVE level. Tuning into his nature, I can begin to get a sense of his own playfulness, and it’s far more interesting than my mind would have me believe.

The night in between the two-day filming, I had a meditation class. Having “cooked” all day at the event, I was ripe for something to shift during my ISIS session. (ISIS or IST is an “inner space therapy” process. Sounds more complicated than it is. ūüôā ) Happily, it did. I wanted to source those obnoxious¬†gremlins, and, following that thread, landed in a well of¬†indispensable¬†life force that has been locked away. This locked up bit delays awakening, distracts from presence, and basically is one of, if not THE inner block to non-resistance. That is to say, it is a huge, unconscious part of my inner resistance to reality; to what is. It’s a big, fat, extremely convincing NO. (Kim Eng, in her presentation on the second day, insisted on non-resistance, which was quite helpful.) Now, I keep going back to it, feeling it, being with it, whereas my normal-normal is to keep a very heavy lid on it. Without the grace of the temple in which we do meditation practices, who knows how long it would have been before I really, really went down into it.

Again, I am feeling immense, immeasurable gratitude to the innumerable forces–incarnated and otherwise–that hold and help this sometimes feeble little life form currently named “Felicia.”

I’m quite happy when I find tools from my meditation school that enable greater states of presence; presence in reference to Eckhart Tolle’s NOW teachings. Most recently, I’ve been focusing on OPENING.

Yes, opening. In truth, I could have titled every former entry on this here blog “Opening.” It’s one way to approach what ET calls “surrender to the present moment.” In practice…

I’m off on a walk down the street toward the water. I note some trash on the grass next to the sidewalk. A little part of me closes. If I were to comment on what’s happening inside when I see the trash, it would be something like, “What f**ckr left that s**it there?! Morons…” Usually it’s just a tightening that happens, and I walk on and forget about it. Now, however, when I notice the closing/blocking happening, my practice is to get fluid, open to the usual closing, and feel what happens.

Similarly, someone in another car irritates me, someone in line at a grocery store smells bad, or I just have a thought in my daily meanderings that is unpleasant. My job is to notice the closing, and OPEN instead; “Surrender to what is.”

Today, on a walk with my friend for his birthday, his mother piped up with some anti-immigrant talk. “THEY don’t pay taxes…” blah, blah, blah.

“Mom, your racist is showing,” he chastised.

“I’m not racist!” she insisted.

I noted over the next half hour that her comments had made me feel a bit…bad. Not just because my last name is Chavez and my maternal grandparents had spoken pretty much just Spanish if I remember correctly, but also for the general principle of what I call close-minded mentality.

I seriously considered saying something to her later on in the car on the ride back home, something like, “I know you didn’t mean it this way, but your comments earlier about immigrants hurt my feelings.” I was sure my friend would back me up on this point, and that saying something directly to her–rather than to him later–would be the best thing to do. But somehow I didn’t open my mouth. Why?

Because when I honestly asked myself where that impulse to say something was coming from, the answer was muddled. It wasn’t a clear impulse to clear the air and communicate. It was something else: I wanted to correct her, to make her feel bad and wrong for being a blockhead. In fact, I had to admit to myself that I had remained closed off to her the whole¬†outing.

The truth of it was, I had arrived to meet them some part of me acknowledged I was judging her, and attempted to override the negative judgment. “I like your jacket!” I said. “Looks cozy and warm!” While on the one had I meant what I said, on the other, the caring part of me was attempting to override the nasty, shallow part. ¬†A certain amount of panic ensued when, later, I realized that in the absence of her needing some sudden and immediate emergency help, I could not override my basic feeling: sealed off from what I considered an “unclean” (smoking, mainstream diet, jaded, too much¬†cover-up and t.v.), uninteresting person.

In truth, I have always felt a bit indignant that this person is the biological mother of my fantastic friend. “How dare she give birth to such a cool person!? Who does she think she is?! Poor guy! To suffer so…” And though I’ve only spent time with his mother on two or maybe three occasions, she has of course always been nice and welcoming to me, including giving me a little gift when I went to his parent’s house one Christmas.

Realizing my own¬†close-mindedness, I calmly accepted that I couldn’t “correct” her in a way that was open and caring. The basic impulse was to make her wrong, and while it might have worked out fine and perhaps even been a good idea, I wanted a greater sense of peace first. In short, I wanted any comments I might make to come from a genuine place of caring about her and her well being as well as my own, and not a place of critique and criticism. But even when I tried to bring some opening toward her, I¬†instinctively¬†just could not. In truth, I would need practice.

As I mulled through these layers in the background while the socializing and pleasant chatting continued, I realized that my own original closedness to her came also from a place of fear and a relatively shallow layer. I could see that, indeed, with “practice” I would get to know the deeper parts of her being, and be less fearful/closed. Earlier I recognized quickly that her expressed irritation at “immigrants” was clearly from a place of simple fear. I could imagine that if I mentioned that my paternal grandfather had immigrated from Ireland, she would likely not have any negative reaction. (Of course, we know that the Irish were persecuted mercilessly in some cases.) People with dark skin, hair, and who speak another language, however, quickly inspire suspicion in those white folk who haven’t been educated about the cultural impact of suspicion and prejudice, and who simply have not ever had friendships or been exposed to people from diverse backgrounds. (This dynamic is an oversimplification, but will have to do for the moment!)

I find myself wondering if my version of opening is experienced by people who haven’t had the training I have had in my meditation school. Eckhart Tolle talks about “inner body awareness,” which is basically the same thing. However, with years of practice, I can very literally feel different layers of opening and closing, and “tune into” other people and where they are at. It’s to the degree that reacting to trash on the grass is potentially as multidimentional an experience as reacting to racist comments by my friend’s mom…because the ground of the experience is the same: my very own self.

Yeah ok, I've used this photo before. But it's on topic!

I have a kind of evolving relationship to esoteric happenings such as out of body (OOBs, or OOBEs) experiences. On the one hand, PRESENCE is the main and only “goal,” “desire,” want, etc. Everything else is…content. On the other, metaphysical evolution can facilitate the ability to hold greater awareness of the present moment. OOB’s are a good example.

Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in this forum or not, but ever since my early teen years, I experienced occasional sleep paralysis. Usually it would occur on my way to sleep…and I’d “get stuck between asleep and awake,” and end up struggling to move and even breath. It would take a LOT of effort to move some finger or twitch a didget or make some facial movement to break the spell. Even then, if I didn’t entirely change my physical position, I was likely to slip back into the horrid experience. It¬†particularly¬†happened if I was perhaps napping on a couch…an enclosed, cozy space.

So…what to do. In my meditation school, we have an exercise called “Night Practice.” It involves a lot of common relaxation procedures, and for several years I attempted to avoid getting too deep into it because I didn’t want to have the sleep paralysis step in, which it did here and there. Then, something dramatic happened…

In the summer of 2009 I was at my meditation school for a week-long retreat. We were doing a night practice in the temple, and I began to feel that familiar feeling of paralysis coming on. However, something subtle shifted in this instance, and instead of becoming¬†paralyzed¬†and ceasing breathing, I simply slipped out of my body. I found myself floating with clear momentum up…toward the ceiling and the rafters.

Shortly, of course, I panicked, which is a typical response when one realizes, “I’m out of my body…oh, shit…!” ¬†This whole experience opened a huge door, and I realized: all of these years I was actually trying to pop out of my body, but instead I was having some subconscious anxiety attack about it, and the result was being “stuck.”

Since then, whenever I feel that familiar feeling of paralysis coming on, I can now just freekin’ relax! Usually then I get so excited about the fact that I might–oh my gosh!!–have an out of body experience, and thus undo the¬†possibility¬†of it. BUT…here and there I “chillax” enough that it actually happens.

I would note that…there is this interesting overlap between lucid dreams and OOBE’s. First, you’re in what my meditation teacher refers to as “fluid¬†dimensional” reality, so sometimes door and other features of the space are in different locations. Second, like this morning, you encounter noises, voices, etc. that are just “in the space” that aren’t there when you’re in your body and “conscious.” Third, I’ve had what seemed to be dreams while also being somewhat aware of being out of my body. On the one hand, it’s an unmistakable sensation when the peeling apart happens, and you’re floating about. On the other, the “spaces” of dreams and out of body spaces are very¬†interchangeable, if different at all.

Ok, so I’m not an expert. What I can say is that it’s an excellent exercise in PRESENCE to–again, as my meditation teacher instructs when you realize you’re out–DON’T PANIC. That’s usually the first thing that happens, and then *poof!* you’re back in. Also, reading two books in particular were absolutely¬†indispensable¬†in order to “normalize” the experience:

– D. Scott Rogo’s Leaving the Body

– Robert Monroe’s books on the topic…I read Far Journeys (far out!)

As these books *may* cover, a common, freaky experience is a lot of fireworks during the initial peeling away from your body part. This morning I experienced a series of intense waves coming from back to front horizontally through my body of energy…like as if I was being blasted with some vibration laser gun or something. ¬†*…vvvvvvVOOOOOMMMMMMMmmmmmm…* ¬†*…vvvvvvVOOOOOMMMMMMMmmmmmm…* ¬†*…vvvvvvVOOOOOMMMMMMMmmmmmm…* Other times, it’s been like being hit by lightening. And still others it’s silent and simple as a feather…

In any case, there’s nothing like having an experience like this one to convince even the most dogmatic recesses of your oh-so-smart mind that the universe of possible human experience is way, way, WAY! vaster than it may think…

Today is about eggs. Oh no wait, bunnies. Oh no wait…baby Jesus? Jesus something…

When I began this blog in August 2008, it was meant to be a way of “reminding” myself on a regular basis about “presence” and Eckhart Tolle’s teachings. I believed the mechanism would be akin to having an appointment with a teacher on a weekly basis, and as such, would remind me throughout the week, “I have that appointment on Sunday. Do I need to do anything to prepare for it…?” In other words, “How awake am I, in this moment? Where is my attention?”

I must say, it served its purpose. Since that time Eckhart Tolle’s words have become an integral part of my life, pointing the way back to something more essential on a daily basis. I’ve even managed to meet and date for some span of time two guys who were¬†similarly¬†passionate about ET’s work. Both relationships were (and the current one is) of a much higher quality in terms of sustained positive interactions than most of my other past relationships.

In the words of my meditation teacher, “The work works.”

So now that I don’t really “need” this tool as a weekly reminder, I’ve set it aside to some degree. I’ve been evaluating if perhaps it can serve another purpose? Does it still have a place?

I do, in fact, feel connected to this way of expressing the contents of my head, life and spirit. As I sit here, a sweet, soft space has gathered above my head and in my energy. It’s a feeling of spirit…delicate, soft, moving. There is a magical “something” about articulating transformation, and perhaps moreover, the desire for it. There is a way that, when a desire from below wells up into consciousness, something above can land on it and dynamism is the result.

So I experience at last, writing itself can be a meditation, in a sense. “Opening up a space for something else to come through.” In this case, the “something else” is “care,” and the words are inspired by this, if not directly flowing from it. Still though, it’s clear that sitting here today, typing these words on this website has opened a portal to spirit. And in that way, yes, the blog serves its purpose today.

Driving back to Marin this morning, I snapped this picture on my phone. (Fuzzy though it might be!) Visible in the sky above San Quentin was one end of a somewhat elusive rainbow. As I neared Marin, it grew. Immediately my thoughts went to the men–mostly men–in that old building, wondering about them and their souls, and hoping that the rainbow might be evidence of some magic something in conjunction with them. Transformation.¬†Resurrection¬†of hope.

It is my understanding that, as long as there are human beings locked up in dungeons, a part of all of us is locked in a dungeon. Then again, it works both ways. As long as we keep parts of ourselves locked in dungeons, we will lock up real human beings. With regard to this, I feel as a clear, immediate reality that the greatest contribution I can make to “cleaning up” our human experience is this: unlocking, opening, bringing out into the light of awareness every single last bit.

I can feel how, in that paradoxical way, “the journey continues,” and yet, there is no where to go. I like to say, “Onwards and upwards!!” But for this work, “Inwards and downwards” is most relevant.