Archives for posts with tag: spiritual path

This week marks a number of anniversaries, and I’ve discovered that certain types of reflection serve no useful purpose.

Sometimes, the deeper we go, the darker it gets.

Sometimes, to find the light, we just need to look away from the mirror.

A simple photograph in a brightly lit room…

whence the darkness?

Step away from the mirror, and all becomes more bright.

A whole new layer of meaning emerges for the word “selflessness”.

Namaste.

Advertisements

There are many lines in life to be drawn, aren’t there?

I miss my blogging friends, I hope you’re all well!


“Autism”

Diagnoses & prevents people who prefer higher guidance to the rote of the world.

Who waits when the Divine calls?

Thank your open mind for hearing and seeing this message.

There will be no more mis-diagnoses

(manipulation…?)

when you accept all things engaging in possibility.

fear… genocide… war…

all disappear…

If you ignore possibility, chaos ensues.

The old paradigm describes that the meaty stuff lies in the realm into which all things fall.

We all receive lessons and information constantly from a realm in which all things arise.

Your higher guidance brings you there.

Slip into your inner world

Speak when you need to share, tune out the meaningless noise.

It’s your intuition calling.

Fiddle with that toy on your desk. Let your fingers tap and your knees bounce up and down.

Let your fingers tap.

Let your mind wander.

Let yourself go.

What do we ignore so powerfully that our teachers must appear like this?

This world emerges from your thoughts.

Everyone appearing to you is your teacher.

(this post is part one of a script for an upcoming video on autism, asperger’s syndrome and adhd. the preliminary version of the video may be viewed here.)



How to get outta this place…

When I was a child, I loved this particular part of church services: opening the hymnal as the organ’s chords filled the space.

The sanctuary filled with voices of all qualities singing beautiful hymns, and I felt wafted away on the promise of possibility.

Kirtan, Qawwali, and Buddhist chanting affect me the same way. And wonderful new music can be found that transports through hip-hop beats and ambient sound.

At some point recently, I noticed that I prefer music with incomprehensible lyrics or vocalizations. Why on earth would I rather NOT understand the verbal message?

I meditated (thought) about this a bit, and noticed that music conveys its message not only through the precise meaning of the words, but through the many layers of beat, melody, harmony, surprise, tone, timbre, key, note… every abstract bit and aspect of sound and mood flows into music to open our minds.

I’ll share my personal favorite: Rachid Taha’s music. I know a little about him, and have all of his albums (that I can find). I understand  a little about the situation of Muslim Algerian ex-pats in France. But unless the words are in French (or I look it up online), I have no idea what his lyrics – literally – mean.

And that’s okay. It actually helps that I’m clueless.

When I listen to Taha’s music, I receive this: an underlying  chorus of joyous tenacity that tells me that life is worth living, no matter how angry we get, no matter what we lose in the process of following our dreams, no matter what kind of crap we have to put up with along the way.

Music offers this by re-routing our rational, left-brain thinking and pumping all we’ve got into the right brain…

Into the body.

Music engages the entire body, to dis-engage us from our sense of “is that all there is?”.

Instead, music gives us possibility.

So go on and tap your fingers and toes, and sway side to side. Let music take your entire being to the play and places you really want to go.

(For more esoteric explanations, please check out this post and this post. Thanks!)


I wish I could find words to describe to my new friend Ryeder (whose phenomenal photo I’ve borrowed) what this image represents to me.

It reminds me immensely of a dream I had years ago… and I want to go back there, up into the mists that dissolve into light…

It also gives a wonderful illustration to the end of my cautionary tale on meditation

Most importantly, I simply want to share his amazing photos with you.


I’d like to introduce you to my dear friend Walter… He creates powerful, beautiful imagery, shares wonderfully profound thoughts, and dedicates his life to helping people with “disabilties”.

“When we find a path that leads back to ourselves, we discover things anew”

~Walter W Smith

We met last year, and he is a very special person. I could tell you all about him, but I’d rather you go read it in his words.

He amazes me the most by posting powerful, thoughtful comments to my blogs, and continuing to do so… even when I only offer a few brief words in return.

I suspect Walter may understand that I’m on a mission, and he loves me despite the inequality of the exchange.

Walter, thank you for appearing (and re-appearing) in my life, and I hope many people will find your blog and enjoy getting to know you as much as I do!


WordPress offers this topic for today’s Post A Day 2011 exercise:

Is it always better to know the truth, even when it hurts? Or is ignorance bliss? Or are they both true some of the time?

I thought this would be a quick, easy post – short and to the point. But the more I think about it, the longer it’s getting… So I’ll get the short and to-the-point bit out of the way in the beginning, and save the personal-experience bit for the end, for those who have the time. There’s also a link to one of my videos down there – thank you if you have the time to check it out!

Last fall I created a series of inspirational cards about Using The Mind (the images can be found on Flickr), and one of the cards elicited a number of questions:

“Accepting Ignorance Is The First Step Towards Damnation.”

Several people asked about the use of the word “damnation”…

It’s a strong word; thinking about damnation probably falls way down near the bottom on most people’s to-do list.

I was given the word, and questioned it myself at first…

(It came from one of my guides; I talk about him a little in this post on my other blog)

I think I was given such a strong word precisely so that it would catch attention and encourage people to think and question.

“Damnation” refers to the state of mind in which we seem to find ourselves in constant, pervasive conflict with the world around us. In this state, we struggle continuously against the lessons that come our way.

“Accepting Ignorance” refers to the state of mind in which we feel we must submit to the expectations of others without questioning.

As we go through life, if we take the view that every experience offers a lesson intended to lead us to true happiness, we can refresh our feelings about the challenges we face.

Zen koans lead us to understanding in a similar way: the teacher poses a question… We quickly find out that we can’t reason our way to the “answer”… we might even get angry and frustrated that the answer’s not coming freely… finally we realize we need to “go inside” to get to our own answer. And our answer might be different from another’s… Damn.

Life resembles a vast, unrelenting koan. Again, again, again, we run into riddles. How do I answer that question my boss just asked? Do I let the baby cry himself asleep? Is red meat really bad for me… always? Who on earth should I vote for?

If we expect clear-cut answers that arrive effortlessly, we’re damned.

Damnation and Hell are states of mind. Ignorance is a state of mindlessness.

We can find ourselves living in a quiet, subtle hell if we live a life that goes against our grain, without questioning and being willing to take risks in order to extricate ourselves from that hell.

Here comes the personal-experience part…

Sometimes in life, we’re faced with situations in which we must make decisions, and we really wonder about the consequences. For instance, I was a Buddhist nun for 4-1/2 years, and in the tradition I had joined, to “disrobe” means certain damnation (in the sense of going to “hell”)…

(btw, Buddhist traditions vary on their views on this matter, not all hold this belief)

I enjoyed being a nun, and I really did expect to continue nun-hood for the rest of my life. I love teaching and helping others, and it seemed I had found a wonderful outlet for that. As the years passed and I gained more experience in the more advanced teachings (emptiness, Vajrayana, etc.), I began to feel called to move back out into the “world”, and connect more with people who might not be drawn to formal Buddhism. I had found that with some people, the robes and shaved head created unnecessary distance. Or worse, a sort of reverence that was bestowed arbitrarily. Robes=perfection. Not true. Need to question.

I began to see that I was most likely going to decide to return my vows.

I considered the decision for about a year… I had been reading, studying, meditating, teaching, practicing for several years. Making spiritual progress was really what mattered to me most. For a few years, I had been nearing the conclusion that my Guides (whom I had met through that tradition) were pointing me in the direction of moving beyond that tradition. Did that make sense?

Conflict and contradiction presented themselves constantly. I felt I knew clearly what my next step needed to be, but it didn’t make sense that it would involve cutting away from my beloved friends and teachers (another tenet of that tradition is that if you “disrobe” you must separate from the community completely for at least a year afterwards), and subjecting myself to a state of “damnation”.

That lead me to think a lot, that year, about the nature of “damnation”. And “Hell”. And that’s how I arrived at the understanding I share above.

I realized that the real shame, the real damnation, would be if I chose adhering to expectations (including mine) over continuing to learn and grow, and venturing into the unknown.

So I took the step outside the circle. I knew I was well-guided, and that eventually I would find a way to connect directly with those who could help me the most. I could feel the invisible hand, and that it belonged to a “being” that was more vast, profound, and powerful than words, images, or music could describe. I knew we would meet, and that we would meet on a ground that was free from the constraints of any formal religion or doctrine.

And we did meet, after a bit of stumbling.

In the three years since I returned my vows, I’ve discovered that the rocky road can lead to peace. I’ve learned that intention is everything, and as long as we strive to improve ourselves, be kind to others, and give when we can, then a state which others may perceive as “damnation” can feel like a profound blessing.

Knowing that you’re guided is the most important point to understanding that damnation is only for the ignorant, those who refuse to question. Our guides pose the riddles that we ponder day and night, and if we hold this view, it can help us understand that even the most baffling and painful challenges are lessons that are as illusory as dreams.

I’ve been making videos to share some of what I’ve learned, and this one uses the ideas from the “Using The Mind” card series. It’s almost 5 minutes long, and each of the 12 points is intended to provoke thought, rather than provide pat answers or “instructions”. If you find the time to watch it, I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful. I’ve almost completed another video, titled “Vows”… you can guess what that one explores!

Thanks to everyone reading these blogs – I feel so fortunate to have found a way to share, and if it manages to help anyone – in even the smallest way – to discover more happiness, then… very good! In turn, I have my guides to thank, for showing me that anything is possible.