Love > Fear ~ part3

An example in my life~

When I think to myself “I choose not to judge or write stories about other people”.  It means that no matter how opinionated I might be or convinced I am ‘right’……I will arrive back in my body and mind into a state of accepting not knowing . I don’t know what is happening for someone else unless they speak it to me directly.  I don’t know the reason someone chooses what they do (ie: cutting me off in traffic, not returning my call etc). I can have educated guesses, experiences and feelings…..but I choose to not say my experience or opinion is the reality.  I choose to simply notice how I feel and learn more about my own feelings in juxtaposition to the situation.  I can then choose to ask the other person about what was happening for them or I can simply continue being ‘okay’ with the not knowing.

It can be easy to write this off as unimportant.  That the act of judgement, criticism or attachment to your opinion is innocuous in the web of day to day life. But I would encourage you to dive into this as a daily practice and truly see how abundant and conditioned our minds are for doing this (and any number of other comparison and merit based evaluations of other people and life.)  Spend some time noticing and questioning the most subtle thoughts and see what you find.

It amazes me that we have put people on the moon and figured out how to split atoms but yet we have not learned how to be truly kind.

{My definition of kindness is more than simply helping someone carry groceries or bring food when they are sick.  Kindness is learning to see what is most vibrant in another human even when you might not even ‘like’ them……and doing this authentically without condescension}

We have not learned to simply love ourselves every moment of the day.  With all of our technology, ‘progress’ and inventions, this has escaped us.  Why?  Why would we think truly loving and accepting ourselves to be so radical?  Why when I suggest that I live in this way do I hear people say ‘that is not possible’?  Or only possible for ‘certain’ people.

Hmmmmmm…….okay, perhaps a simple exercise to start this ball of questioning.

Let’s look at your definitions, start with the basics. Think of concepts you use all the time, fundamentals upon which you’ve built your life. Try not to use words until you have a definition. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve assumed about a particular idea, and how that assumption has guided your life.

You believe in “tolerance.” What do you mean by it? You believe in justice? Truth? Love? Freedom? Fairness? Ask yourself: “What do these ideas really mean?” If it’s a basic idea that shapes your world outlook, it seems a good idea to know what it means.

And once you have a sense of ‘definition’…..ask yourself where your definition originates from.  Is it learned, is it an accepted social definition and if it is ‘social’…..what set or sub set of people does it relate to?  All or some?  Have you ever questioned it?  Have you ever noticed how it makes you feel?  Would you change what it has meant to you?  Do you get tired just thinking about it?

Love > Fear ~ part4

The next thing I would encourage you to do……is Love and embrace every part of yourself that shows up throughout each day.  This is not always easy as we have been conditioned to be unkind and unloving in so many ways.  But notice the places you want to grow or feel you ‘fall short’ and instead of being hard on yourself….see what happens if you meet it with unconditioned love.  Actually take a moment to pause and breathe when you notice those less than loving thoughts and feelings.  Then perhaps you can imagine someone or thing that you are able to Love without conditions (and I understand this might be deeply challenging for some of us…..).  Now take that clearer ability to Love expansively outside of you……. and focus it toward you.  You almost need to catch it quickly and without hesitation because it will soon be overrun with contrary thoughts.  Keep doing this, almost like a fun game.  Notice what you notice during these fleeting moments of unhindered Love.  (Physical, emotional and thought sensations).  As you continue to play this ‘game’ it sometimes happens that the amount of time you can experience the unconditioned Love within you increases….little by little.  Find out what it means for you to nurture this.  How can you expand this in the uniqueness of you? It is different for everybody and we each are on our own journey to discover it.  But we need to leap to find out this personal formula.  We need to leap to and from a refreshing space that is unconditioned…even if it is at first fleeting.  When we actively engage ‘love’ there is an entire system of events that happens both physiologically and psychologically. Why not experiment and see what happens?  What do you have to lose?

Thanks for reading……and for questioning…..jacq

We create the world with our love

How can we be allies for one another in this world if each of us isn’t doing the practice and the ‘work’?

How can we expect others to shift if we aren’t committed to loving ourselves and taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions?

The task of taking responsibility of our thoughts alone is a critical job and one that seems to quite often fall by the wayside or get confused. Or perhaps we neglect to realize the importance of it in everyday life.  There are also times we can become a bit inflated and think that we have done our work and the issues at hand are due to others not being ‘self aware’.  Self awareness is an ongoing process and not one that reaches an end point.  It is a day to day activity and will evolve throughout our lives.  No one is exempt from this human obligation.

From the moment we emerge from the womb we are taking in and taking on.  We are absorbing and shaping.  So much necessary for motor skills and function.  And also so many layers of conditioning that don’t necessarily serve us in being connected to self, others and the world.

How are we teaching our children (and ourselves) to think for themselves?  It seems we subscribe to and fuel a system that wants to give us so much information pre packaged.  It then puts us on a fast track into adulthood where we don’t have time or energy to question or even have curiosity about most of it.

How can this work?

At 3 yrs old you often hear children ask ‘but why?’ continuously……and then it fades away over time and growing up.  I still ask ‘but why?’ of myself every day for so many things.  It is a simple question and doesn’t involve deep pondering for most things.  It becomes a practice so that I begin to see when I am on auto-pilot.  Asking the questions for even basic things helps strengthen my ability to notice where it might serve to question more fundamental things.

More often than not, it seems like it is the exception for someone to actually step outside the ‘norm’, outside of this societal system, and ask ‘who am I’, ‘what do I like’, ‘how do I think or feel’?  Why wouldn’t we do this for ourselves?  I imagine it would happen quite naturally if we hadn’t been conditioned out of it.   (It’s like a muscle that you don’t use that goes weak……still there but not functioning)  Why not ask the questions and arrive at your own ‘answers’?  Perhaps they will be the same ‘answers’ you have found before…. perhaps not.

It is each of our personal responsibilities to truly know ourselves.  No one else can do it.

photos

It has been a time of taking pictures lately.  And it is amazing with digital cameras how we take a picture and most often immediately look at it.  And it is also amazing how often people comment on their image disparagingly.

Why wouldn’t we see an image of ourselves and simply feel appreciation or gratitude for this representation of us.  If you are going to say anything…..why wouldn’t it be, “I am radiant” or “How beautiful”.  If we could remove the system of comparison, criticism and judging based on concepts of beauty or ‘perfection’…….would we be able to see ourselves (and others) for how we truly are…….perfect and beautiful?  How might the world feel if we could live consistently in this place of non-comparison/judgement and then simply choose to engage these when we need them for discernment?  Can you even for a moment imagine a life or world like that?       (take a moment to breathe into that) ……… A world where yourself and everyone else begins from a place of seeing the true ‘perfection’ in everyone. Perhaps try…….because if you can feel that for even a moment……then it is possible to create it for extended moments…..and then it keeps growing exponentially.  (It just takes a little effort at first and then it becomes the new ‘habit’.) And instead of it sounding ‘crazy’, overly idealistic or ‘new age-y’….it becomes the new ‘normal’.

Why not try that on for a while…………..

Try this……look through photos of yourself and notice the thoughts and even the feelings in your body when you see each of them.  Notice which ones you ‘like’ or ‘don’t like’ and why.  Simply notice.  And then look at each of them and see if you can bring new eyes…..step out of the lens of criticism or comparison that has been at play since you were a young person.  Can you look at each and every picture and feel the same love, appreciation and joy for what you see?  No ‘if’ or ‘but’……..just loving acceptance.

Why not cultivate this and have it as a possibility (you can certainly return to consistent criticism if you want.)  This shift can offer such a respite from all the energy we use seeing what is ‘wrong’.  And the truth is that we don’t need to be constantly picking things apart in our lives.  (We can remember which moments truly call for discernment andconstructive criticism.)

Why not learn this now……and then we pass it on to the next generation and so it ripples out.  We never really know how much the choices we make, that seem so innocuous, can affect so much and so many.

Thanks for reading……..

jacq

 

Kazuo Ohno

He was one of 2 ‘founders’ of a Japanese style of dance called Butoh.  This form and the teachers I have had the honor to study with have taught me about authenticity.  It is about more than performance and ‘dance’ to me….it is about life.  It is a way of actually looking at how I feel and respond to things through the uniqueness of my thoughts and expression…..beyond the conditioned or learned ways of all that I encounter (a flower, social situations, emotions etc).  It asks me to clear the slate of the these layers and notice what I notice in the moment……to let myself be authentically in the moment and let it flow through me.  We dance this every day in all we do……..

“If you wish to dance a flower, you can mime it and it will be everyone’s flower, banal and uninteresting;  but if you place the beauty of that flower and the emotions which are evoked by it into your dead body, then the flower you create will be true and unique, and the audience will be moved.:

Kazuo Ohno

 

It sounds crazy

I had someone close to me read posts on this site and say, ‘…to be honest, it sounds crazy’.  And she meant it in the more true definition of the word…..in fact she didn’t even know how to say anything to me about it.  She didn’t want to sound ‘negative’ but when she was honest she felt it was all pretty ‘crazy’……and the truth is I appreciated her thoughts/reflections so much.  It speaks to the nature of what I try to reflect upon here with all these words words words.  The nature of each of us seeing things from many different perspectives based on our conditioning, the models we as a society have put in place and the make-up of our brains.  All of this seems pretty straightforward enough…….but I continue to dive in and say that I believe we also have some ‘choice’ in it if we slow down and simply notice our thoughts, beliefs and feelings.  If we interrupt them, put a ‘pause’ in there and give ourselves a moment to question…..to not be ‘attached’ simply because……. that is the ‘norm’ or is comfortable or or or ……(so many possibilities ‘why’.)

I understand that to some people this can sound ‘crazy’ because it is saying why not try to look at things from a completely different framework than the one you have been using.  And I imagine there are many reasons why someone would think that it is not only pointless, but not possible…..and if it isn’t ‘possible’ than it would probably sound like ‘crazy making’.  Especially around the nature of ‘Love’ and loving oneself and others equally. (even though this principal has been around for as long as humans have pondered and written scripture, poetry and wisdom text)  Is it because it has been around so long and sorta been manipulated to ‘mean’ what people want it to mean?  Have we ever truly touched its essence as a society?  Does it just become words that we interpret within our our comfort zone (which our fears help design)?

I don’t know…..and I don’t have any judgement about it.  Whatever the ‘reasons’….we do what we do and ‘become’ what we become.  But I do feel that ‘crazy’ can be anything…and it is a matter of perception, both individual and deeply connected to groups/society.   (What if we all decided that debt, the banking system in its dysfunctional sense, social hierarchies, using chemicals on our food that makes us sick …….were ‘crazy’?)

And so we live within a world/society where the ways in which we live….the foundations……seem to rarely be questioned.  The methods for how we see ourselves and others, the system of merit and critique, are simply in place and have been for as long as we can remember.  So, with great respect for all that have come before me and all who will come after……..I question it all.  Not to negate it or judge it, but to come into more wisdom within myself and connected to this diverse world.  I might continue to choose the foundations I have learned and established and I might need to do some demolition or re-modelling……it takes time and my commitment to gently witnessing.  From there I simply notice what brings me closer to a kindness (unconditioned love) in myself…for myself, for others and for this great unfolding called life.

Love that breaks the cage

Poem by Mirabai (1498-1550)

“I remember how my mother would hold me. I would look up at her sometimes and see her weep.

I understand now what was happening.

Love so strong a force

it broke the

cage,

and she disappeared from everything for a blessed moment.

All actions have evolved from the taste of flight;

the hope of freedom

moves our cells and limbs.

Don’t forget Love;

it will bring all the madness you need to unfurl yourself across the universe.

 

 

What is the cage?  What is freedom?  What is Love that ‘brings all the madness you need to unfurl’?

What a journey ...this being human.

We are all poets

We are all ‘poets’, ‘artists’, ‘mystics’……whatever name we may call our being……..it is simply our own perceptions that limit the possibilities.  I believe we can constantly create and recreate so many aspects of ourselves and the concepts of titles/identifiers.  I get to choose what ‘poet, artist, mystic’ etc mean to me……and that expansion of choice blooms through my curiosity and awareness……..my awareness about preconceived ideas, definitions and attachment to the way things should look.

This applies to all titles and concepts…..success, right, wrong, smart….you name it.  All can be looked at with awareness and curiosity….gentle curiosity.  And simply notice what you notice……notice if there are any limitations being imposed that aren’t truly of ‘service’.

I believe each of us are teachers in some unique way.  I do not believe there are the select group of individuals that alone should be revered and held up higher.  I can appreciate, be inspired by and honor the work and lives of many (the Dalai Lama,  Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King …and so many more)…….and at the same time know that we are all equal.  The unique blessing each of us offers the world always looks different.  Some people’s offerings become more noticeable by their nature (they have a more obvious physical manifestation) ……and perhaps because we have created a ‘standard’ for the blessings that are offered (almost a scale of merit)……we elevate some over others.  This is easy to do…..it is the way of being human so to speak.  To elevate some over others.  But how can I truly make one person’s blessing be elevated over another?  Why would I do that….what does it serve?

I understand we have general social mores we come to accept and agree upon. And I understand the ‘need’ for these and how they can inform this system of evaluation/merit.  But who are we if we don’t also question them?

When do the mores serve us as a whole and when do they serve only certain parts?  Who decides?  Does it simply get too tiring to question so much and at a certain point you just want to accept certain fundamentals?….even if they allow for a slippery slope of injustice or subjugation?

All of these words began with a declaration that we are all poets.  Such a simple statement to notice where I might get stuck or want to find reasons it is not true.  The thread begins with being gently curious and questioning these very simple things.  We can start simple and follow the thread to see how it informs more of our foundations for thought.  These threads of thought and idea mediate so much of how we act, feel and relate to ourselves, one another and our sense of ‘spirit’.

movement as ‘medicine’ part2

“The body says what words cannot.”~Martha Graham

Movement is also critical brain food.  Throughout our bodies are sensory nerves with specialized receptors.  These nerves are called proprioceptors and they are essential for movement and maintain continuous input to the central nervous system for interpretation and response and they give us our kinesthetic awareness.

There is an elaborate process that takes place between receiving information from our external environments and translating to the brain and communication as sensation.  (There are also some stimulus that bypass the brain and function as reflexes)

General and primary senses work in conjunction with proprioceptors for body awareness.  Our general senses include receptors for touch, vibration, temperature and pain.  They are found in the skin, connective tissue and ends of the gastro-intestinal tract.  Some areas of the body like the hands and lips have very concentrated  amounts of sensory receptors and others like the torso and thighs have very few.

The primary senses have specialized receptors for vision, hearing , smell and taste.  Here, awareness is selective and we can choose to direct our attention.  Examples of this are awareness of the tea kettle, bread in the toaster or flavors in our meal.  As movements and stimulus become familiar, awareness of sensation is reduced.  A good example for this is when you lied down in your bed.  You are aware at first of the bed and your position but this awareness passes quickly.  The nerve endings adapt and cease to register information.  The more thorough our abilities for receiving sensory information and responding, the more choice we have with movement function and body process.

Body awareness also affects our relationships with other people and with the environment of living on the Earth.  Scientists say that we are the only species without fixed behaviorial responses and that we create our response generally between the ages from 0-5 yrs.  But these are not fixed and we can choose to evolve ones that don’t serve us or to expand existing ones through our awareness.

I often wonder what % of my movement expression I am fully engaging.  How many new ways can I experience the simple act of walking?  How much does the brain, soul, emotions and physical body grow by simply expanding our movement expression and awareness?

 

movement as ‘medicine’

“Who are you,”  said the Caterpillar….Alice replied rather shyly, “I-I hardly know, Sir, just at present-at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

Learning expressive movement is really a form of remembering.  It includes remembering all the ways of movement that your human genetic code knows.  During our development as children, most of us drop certain movements when they aren’t mirrored back or allowed in the societal, cultural or family structure.

When we lose this particular movement vocabulary we can also lose access to corresponding emotions or energetic expressions that are important.  This vocabulary is then transferred to a more unconscious space and not readily accessible to you.

Living fully means having access to all parts of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Not every part may need to express itself every day but the channel needs to be open for the potential and keeping this channel open involves awareness.

Re-discovering physical movement through expressive exploration can uncover insights about our lives and certain patterns and conditioning that have suppressed parts of ourselves that are critical to our sense of wholeness and well being.

When we allow these movement patterns and possible corresponding sensations/emotions to be consciously seen or witnessed by ourselves, we allow the possibility for change to happen on a cellular level (the physical level of our bodies cells), which can bring us more fully into our personal wisdom and ourselves.

Sometimes we stay in physical tendencies out of habit, not consciously knowing there is another way.  There might be a comfort level this habit brings even if it might not serve the overall body.

What new way might you experience your body moving today?  Is it joyful?  Awkward?  Do you even know where to begin?  Why not just try something as simple as finding every different place where your body can rotate and explore?  Can you stay present with experiencing the body without judgmental thoughts or stories?  What do you notice?

 

So many puzzle pieces

I have been reading through so many studies and links about the brain.  For instance, Patternicity: the tendency of people to overly pattern match/recognize, erroneously seeing patterns where statistically/scientifically there are none.  Relating to this concept of patternicity many appeal to personal experience (especially if/when common/shared) to justify beliefs in the otherwise nonexistent.

Then there is the scientific analysis of the laws of chance vs. people’s intuitive conceptions of randomness.  (an interesting study was done on people’s belief in the phrase “Hot Hand’ in describing a players performance in Basketball and analyzing the actual truth as a system/pattern and the group perception based on belief ).

How about the nature of peer pressure.  The statistics say that something like 65% of us will give the wrong answer just because we heard someone else say it, even if we know it’s the wrong answer.

Then there is the research about how brain chemistry/ Dopamine apparently ‘rewards’ us for noting patterns and finding meaning in sometimes meaningless-insignificant events.  They have found increased levels of Dopamine in schizophrenics where the beginning stages are characterized by an overabundant perception of meaningful coincidences.  And a series of studies at the University of Texas demonstrated that people primed to feel out of control are particularly likely to see patterns in random stimuli.

It seems like a natural phenomena of sorts that we tend to ‘bend information’ to fit our pre-existing cognitive schema.  In many ways we are all ‘hardwired’ to find patterns in our environment, particularly those that might represent a threat to us.

Another great example is the power of suggestion.  People are not always aware that they act so abundantly under suggestion. From our birth we are surrounded by those who suggest certain ideas to us, and we often follow these suggested ideas and adopt them as our own.  Does ‘original’ thought truly exist? How often do we follow the suggestion given, with no attempt to reach to the basis of that which is suggested? How do we take for granted the foundation upon which the suggestion rests….. in both critical and very basic aspects of life.

You face it every day of your life, whether when watching television, social situations, radio, the grocery store or working with politicians or a team of athletes. It mostly goes unrecognized from instance to instance. This is part of the commanding influence of the power of suggestion. It can be used in many contexts from subliminal advertising to motivating members of a basketball team and it has powerful affects.

Then there is Mass Hysteria or Mass psychogenic illness which is characterized by symptoms, occurring among a group of persons with shared beliefs regarding those symptoms, that suggest organic illness but have no identifiable environmental cause and little clinical or laboratory evidence of disease. Mass psychogenic illness typically affects adolescents or children, groups under stress and females disproportionately more than males. Symptoms often follow an environmental trigger or illness in an index case. They can spread rapidly by apparent visual transmission, may be aggravated by a prominent emergency or media response, and frequently resolve after patients are separated from each other and removed from the environment in which the outbreak began.

Are you seeing the pattern here?  There is so much research and information as well as all the unknowns when it comes to the power of our brains and the nature of how they make sense of things. ( I didn’t even go into ‘collective unconscious’)  The nature of what influences how we think and feel.  The template for how we are both conditioned and predisposed to see and experience the world.

None of this overwhelms me……it serves to bring me more compassion when working with the mind.  And all of this life and being human is ‘working with the mind’.  And when I say ‘working with the mind’ I am not speaking to ‘intelligence’…..I am reflecting upon cultivating awareness of the mechanics and learned behaviors at play so that you have more ability to choose.  I am speaking to the balanced relationship between the intuitive expansive heart and mechanisms of the mind to create false wisdom and limiting perceptions of self, other and the world.  Why not get to know the way your mind works…why not question it?  You never know when a simple thread of questioning can unravel you into a less constricted experience of self and life.

It seems the vibrant and necessary role of the mind is to connect dots and make sense of our lives and this world.  (It also seems the mind can work on auto pilot.) And it seems the vibrant and necessary role of the heart is to keep us connected to infinite possibility and outside of conditioned judgements or merit based systems/comparisons.  Somehow along the way it seems the autopilot of the mind tends to trump the heart.  Does that feel ‘true’ in your experience?  How do you come to dwell in the expanse of non-critical heart space?  How do you question the basic assumptions of your mind and self?  Does any of this seem significant?…or is it just more words?


My inner Love Posse

I thought I’d speak about my inner Love posse this morning because I have been hanging with them quite a bit this weekend.

There is a particular practice I engage on my human journey and this practice is what offers me space and navigation through the fullness of my worlds. (my ‘worlds’ would be the thoughts, emotions, inner and outer energies/stimulus).

As far as I can tell, most of us have many different aspects or parts to ourselves that can express themselves through emotions or thought processes.  Each of us has our own unique buttons that trigger the array of thoughts and emotions.  Sometimes these thoughts and emotions are fleeting and sometimes they persist and can be the catalyst for feeling ‘less than’ in some way.  They can be the pebble that starts a whole landslide of self defeating thoughts and feelings.  And even if it isn’t a ‘landslide’…..a chain of small feelings that can limit you from being present in the expansive field of Love within.  This chain of events seems quite common for us as humans and can be more intense for some of us than others.

Whew….that was a lot of words to basically say there seems to be lots of times where we beat ourselves up or feel bad.  Where feelings of insecurity, anxiety or anger (etc) can fuel this.

For me…in moments where I can feel ‘less than’ (for any reason) I have this inner Love Posse that comes whisking out and sorta tackles me (gently) and rolls around on the ground with me in a very ‘puppy pile’ sorta way.  They tickle and roll until we are all laughing and out of breath.  And at that point sitting there…..there is nothing but joy.  It ‘clears the slate’ so to speak and brings everything back to center.  My center…….my balance of not needing to be better than anything or anyone and also not feeling lesser than anything or anyone.  A balance of feeling my unique presence in this wild mystery called ‘life’  and not being attached to any ideas, conditioning or ‘stories’.  I can notice all of these….but not be attached.

My inner love posse was something that came in a ‘desperate’ moment …..a time many years ago when I felt overwhelmed by the inner chatter and thought processes.  I discovered I could call a ‘time out’ with all these parts of myself that (at the time) were a bit disgruntled for a variety of reasons.  When I was able to call a ‘time out’ and work creatively with that…….the puppy pile love wagon of my inner Love posse was not far behind.  Now I don’t even conjure them…..they come running out all on their own.

The brain is a wild and talented entity…….when it comes to the unconscious and all the many layers of function…..it’s hard to say what is ‘me’ when you really dive in.  (and that is without addressing the universe and spirit in the mix).  Most things feel like leaps of imagination to me……does the ‘inner Love posse’ really exist?  (It feels real.)  What makes something real? Do they really have their own volition?  Well, does the answer really matter?  The experience….no matter how I pick it apart and compartmentalize…..is really what brings me to center and this Field of Love within me.  And that is where I learn and grow.

what if……

…….I said you are not better than or lesser than……..

Mother Theresa……your mother or father…….Gandhi……co-worker….Martin Luther King……your next door neighbor…..Charles Manson…….the Dalai Lama….person holding a sign asking for a donation of money……Bono…….dog walker…..Oprah…….Albert Einstein……a prison inmate…..George Bush……a friend……the FedEx driver…..cashier at the grocery store……high school student……Nelson Mandela

What thoughts come to mind?  Are there any names where you pause and get a little stuck?  Do you have any reasons for why you might not truly believe that your existence has equal merit as any of these (or someone else)?  Notice all the thoughts that come with this……..just notice.

C.S. Lewis

“‘We do not truly see light, we only see slower things lit by it, so that for us light is on the edge—the last thing we know before things become too swift for us.'”

Watts on Vedanta

It has been refreshing to read Watts from 1966 speaking about society.  I love that he is blunt even as I find myself in contrast with some of his tone.  He says of Vedanta philosophy: “Nothing exists except God.  But Vedanta is much more than the belief that this is so.  It is centrally and above all the experience, the immediate knowledge of its being so, and for this reason such a complete subversion of our ordinary way of seeing things.  It turns the whole world inside out and outside in.”

My curiosity has consistently found me traversing the realms of ‘God’.  The Bal Shem Tov says “Everything contains sparks of the Divine”….Jesus said “When you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the outer as the inner and the above as the below…then you shall enter the Kingdom……cleave a piece of wood, I am there; lift up the stone and you will find me there.”

‘God’ has become in many ways for me another name for this vast field of Love that I experience and believe exists in each of us.  ‘God’ is not something separate from me….something outside of me to find or be ‘accountable to’.  ‘God’ is every breath, action, thought and emotion.  “I profess the religion of love wherever its caravan turns, along the way that is the faith, the belief that I keep.” ~Ibn Arabi

I do profess the religion of Love and in so doing I am responsible and accountable for loving this being called me with a love that is more expansive than the conditioned experience of Love most of us only know.  To constantly worship in this temple of me with all the many aspects of me as equal  ‘parishioners’.  Every day I know I will meet some aspect of myself in my ‘church’….an aspect that might challenge me.  My ‘religion’ teaches me to meet this part of myself with expansive Love.  That there is no part of myself that does not deserve this expansive Love.  And when I am able to practice this for myself I can then ‘love my neighbor as myself’.  I can bring that Love to everyone I meet, each situation and connect it all through this vast field of Love.  It is in this field that all hierarchies fall away.  It is in this Love that nobody is greater than or lesser than anyone else…….everyone is equal and yet diverse and unique in their ‘skills’ or ‘talents’.  But these skills and talents are not a contest against one another….to hold to comparative judgements.  They are a testament to the diversity of life and the uniqueness of being human.  Each of us brilliant and wise with all our personal maps of blessings and challenge.

It’s amazing the power of words……even using ‘church’, ‘God’ and ‘religion’…….these words are so loaded with meaning on a wide spectrum.  I am more interested in letting go of the words these days and living in the ‘essence’……or the experience (and yet all these words I type to find communication and dialogue) To let myself play in this vast field and experiment. To discover the wisdom text that is within me (and you) through this.  And in all of this finding a deepening of balance with my connection to self, others and the world.  Ideas of ‘right and wrong’  as they are used to serve hierarchies of human ‘worth’ or group status no longer take root.  I am God and all are God…everything is God……everything is Love.  Why not?

Why does it seem this is a radical idea for many?  Why do so many right this off as 60/70s ‘flower power’ idealism or ignorance?  What if we ‘turned the inside out and outside in’ and tried living from the other end of the spectrum?  The ‘end’ that begins with Love ……knows that Love, brilliance and blessing is the place where you stand….where we all stand.  How would the world feel and act differently?

My mind can collect the many possible reasons and conditions that might serve as ‘answers’ to these questions.  And it is as it is….unfolding.  And for me, right now…….I choose to begin with Love….compassion fed by Love.  It never feels idealistic to me.  It is the most natural state of being now (after years and continual practice) and the first thing to meet me when I fall short or am rough around my edges.  It is through my humanity I come to know my innate divinity…….my unconditioned field of Love.