Friday, October 21, 2011

Experiencing Inner Life

i have been deepening involvement with the way of non-duality...   reading adyashanti, ken wilber, and krishnamurti...
beginning to attend satsangs...  did so this past weekend and had a 1:1 meeting (resting in presence) with a man (Florian Schlosser) who possesses a deep inner connection -  here is the description i put into words of the experience about four hours later...

Who would I be without my concepts, without my beliefs about how things are, about how I am, without how things should be? Today, I am experiencing a taste of this. With such gratitude I sit here looking out the window witnessing the soft orange feathery streak known as clouds resting across the pale blue background that we call sky. In the foreground I witness the hummingbird rapidly fluttering in place at the feeder. A thought passes through awareness – how much energy must be required to hoover stationary in order to drink the red liquid in the feeder. What has meaning for me is how much energy I expend unnecessarily in my day – every day!

As I sit, now, I notice the inner experience: calm, quiet, peaceful, content, relaxed, still, open – no sense of having to do anything, my muscles relax, the tension leaves the body.

As we sat together resting in awareness, like having “my own private satsang”, Florian affirmed that there is all the time necessary; no need to rush or to hurry, or to worry about not having enough time. This is another construct of the mind that I have always believed – 'not enough time'. And, the other task master>>Doingness – however, there's nothing I have to do.

Case in point: The chiropractic appointment for re-aligning the body existed in time from 11:15 am until 12:20 p.m. after which was a need to ingest some food before heading off to meet with Florian who was approximately 15 miles away for 1:15 pm– and already the clock indicates 12:40 pm. Letting the thoughts pass through that would worry about 'being late'.

Arriving at 1:20 pm and it's right on time! Plenty of time, he says. All the time we need!

An absolutely transformative experience sitting with another in silence – resting in awareness. We're not meditating, the eyes are open – but soft, unfocused – there is no 'me' or 'him' making their presence known. We are simply together – sharing energy. And, yes, there are some words … words that help clarify what is more true – clearing up what is less true, or misunderstood for a long time.... like:

  • the belief in the need to protect one's heart - (which we aren't really conscious of, anymore.. the decision was made so long ago

  • how the mind creates clever ways for closing off the heart and keeping it safe from feeling--the "explanations" we provide ourselves

  • belief in the need to 'hold back' (emotionally) - protection - the mind provides good rationale for this, as well
  • believing that we're flawed and need to fix something... improve, become 'More'

  • believing that there's not enough time – which creates immense tension in the body

  • believing that there is so much to do – which gives birth to the 'pusher' who must get stuff done...accomplish this or that--externally, or in our home environment--always something 'to do' - can't relax til it's done
  • believing in the need to “be-on-top-of-it

  • holding the belief that there is 'so much to do' – therefore, busy-ness becomes a way of life – chronic state of  'doing-ness'

the body responds and muscles take on chronic tension corresponding to protection against particular  emotions and held in place by beliefs

Paying attention to what is happening in one's own body – sensing the sensations there and clearing the tensions.

The system (our nervous system) is unfamiliar with being open – receiving impressions from another... from life.

How close can I allow you to feel me – and how close can you allow me to feel you?

The mind kicks in to “process” the information, intellectually – in this way, we stay safe.

More energy is used for tasks than is required – there is a tendency to over-focus – as though the ON switch has become stuck in the ON position – it feels like hyper-vigilance – for example: as well as the busy-ness and the doing-ness, notice the MIND chatter, notice the discomfort with silence with another—must not have a lull in the conversation—or, having the television on for background “noise” even when not watching it.

Notice the tone of the voice – ways we speak that don't connect (we may not hear it but the other feels it

one's monotone... or forcefulness or the volume of the voice.

All of the ways of being 'ON' is how we protect the heart.

Vigilance is the residue of survival-mode – from our past.

We felt unsafe – and we were clever enough to find just the right coping strategy to keep us safe. And it worked!! However, maybe now the fear of really connecting – the fear of really being seen or heard, the fear of reaching out, the fear of really making contact (we avert our eyes from each other – we say that we're shy), we're clever--relating from the mind -- all serves to protect the Heart.

My 'take-away' from my connection with Florian:

He said, again and again: “Let the Heart Break

What does that mean? I kept wondering. Finally, I heard an example he shared. Such a common occurrence - … feeling misunderstood... or someone behaving unconsciously in a way that feels hurtful...

This is my understanding of Letting the Heart Break - allowing the feelings to go all-the-way through – not defending in our usual ways – Not telling myself – 'oh, don't take it personally', Not making the other person wrong, Not saying 'it doesn't matter' or hiding behind “spirituality” by claiming that 'it's not real'... Not even separating the observer of the pain from the observed... the key word here being separation...

Rather, really allowing the feelings to move through with Compassion—for all – for this body system (that I call 'me') and for the other – there is no two – we are One--no separation.

Being OPEN to life – without resisting anything, without trying to avoid this or that experience because we believe it will be unpleasant, or won't like it or because it will be difficult...

Allowing the body to reorganize without trying to 'figure out' what's happening.

As a result of energy exchange in his presence, my physical system (body) feels at peace, relaxed, open. We'll see what will be, tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011


The path toward freedom includes understanding the ego – that paper mache creation from our childhood... since our infancy, we are taught – first by our parents, then by our school teachers, and by our church, and by our society – including the social class into which we were born – we are taught: Who we are, How we should be, What we should believe (in order to fit in), Who we should love, What we should fear, Who we should shun, … this list goes on and on...and so, too... the increasing layers of paper mache... covering over that which is Essential in us...

We are creating our own personal story – in our families – which includes the story of our parents/grandparents/siblings or no siblings; what “happened to us” in our childhood – all of this perceiving of experiences creates our paper mache ego, layer by layer, year after year. You may be surprised to hear that ALL of this is what we Learned, what we were Taught – and, Not who we Truly ARE.  Who we Truly are >> the Essential being is covered over by this paper mache layering. The paper mache layering is created from our perceptions of our experiences and what others have taught us....told us to think and believe. It is manufactured, therefore, NOT the Essence of our being.
     more will be added to this post, when you revisit

Friday, September 30, 2011


What you may wish to know about freedom from entrapment by the mind – by thought.... for further discussion together...

It has long been said that thought is the source of all our suffering. However, we believe it is the SITUATION that is causing our suffering. If we truly look at it, though,  it is our THOUGHT  ABOUT the situation, not the actual situation, itself. Whatever situation is occurring... and we think a negative thought about it... this is what harms us...  the Thought -   consider:
  • I'm not good enough
  • What is she/he thinking about me?
  • She/he is probably angry with me
  • I hope I don't make a mistake
  • She didn't call me back
  • That company is probably not interested in me
  • I'm fat
    I'm stress out... overwhelmed
    I can't Stand this...person... situation... weather...
    He/she is smarter than me – I don't fit in
    I can't believe he's Doing that! 
    I will have to fight til the end!

    Where do thoughts come from?
    You say: they come from the brain.
    But, do you Know that for a fact?
    The thought that arises: “I'm not doing this well enough” - or other negative thoughts that come up about you -
    How did this thought arise?
    Did I actually make this thought arise? Did you DECIDE to think this thought?
    We have beliefs that I thought this thought. Really?? Does it make sense that you chronically WANT to think badly about yourself?  or... the chronic self-doubt... that's also a Thought... 

    What if you consider thoughts to be like clouds – or farts simply passing by... and then evaporating into thin air. They come – then they go.

    Consider this:

    AWARENESS (or Presence) simply Exists – think of AWARENESS as a movie screen at the theater

    Thoughts / Emotions / Experiences / Sensations are “Appearances” (things that Appear) – that merely

    cross the movie screen and then disappear. They come and they go – like clouds or farts.

    If we simply allowed these Appearances to come and go, we would be much more free. However, we ATTACH ourselves to the thoughts, emotions, experiences. Unwittingly, we may cling to particular negative thoughts--about ourself... about the world... these negative thoughts become habits, and over time, form our world view... we know people who see a "half-empty" glass, or frequently pessimistic, fearful...

    We judge our experiences as Good or Bad. We get delighted and want more of it – or we get upset that we have any of it. Experiences that we don't like – we think: This shouldn't be happening. He shouldn't be doing this – or she should do that. (In fact, in these 'shoulds/shouldn'ts, we are Arguing with Reality)

    These are examples of being Attached to an Appearance – rather than NOTICING the experience or thought with detachment and allowing the Appearance to come and go.

    When a useless thought passes the screen of my mind, I notice it and I will say >> Oh, here's an Appearance passing through Awareness. I will let it go!

    What will assist our Noticing and Detaching from these negative thoughts & feelings?

    Consider practicing 'Resting in Awareness' – at any moment you remember to do so that is convenient – by Focusing On Your Breathe – and simultaneously bringing Awareness of Sensation in the Center of your Chest

    (Sensation may be enhanced by initially placing your finger on the center of your chest). See what is Noticed in these moments of Resting in Awareness-- Notice that all that is present is Awareness of the Present Moment.

    When there is No Thought, there is No Story of the past, or of the future, or even of ME.
    There is Only the Present Moment.  NOW.

    We are not trying to Get Rid of thoughts... rather, become Aware of them and NON-attach. So many of the thoughts that occur are unnecessary and even upsetting. We can discard unnecessary thoughts by Being in the Present Moment.... at Any Moment we remember to do so...

    Try Resting in Awareness in the grocery line, waiting at the red light... for example...
    This is Being in the Present Moment

    See for yourself and share your experience with us.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Awakening the felt awareness that we are all one – opening the heart to the Present Moment

    We have heard that 'we are all one' Рthe phrase can be like a clich̩ Рwe know this intellectually, but is there a felt experience of this? Living in our minds in the past or the future, we experience feeling separate and not in the Present Moment.

    I have come across a few writings of others that I wish to share that, to me, are down-to-earth and practical ways of accessing a reality different from the world of 'appearances' that ordinary mind believes to be reality. Accessing a reality of the Present Moment where we may experience a sense of connectedness – different from our ordinary state of separation and beliefs in the 'stories' of our lives.

    Why does this matter in our busy lives- the notion of ego and belief in the 'story' of our lives

    • Ego has taken on the role of Master in our lives - rather than as the servant - it's appropriate position
    • For many, ego has usurped our identity...not knowing who we are without our material markers that demonstrate that we are 'someone' (the prestigious car, home address... or simple need for approval, or to be 'right'
    • Believing in our thoughts, we find ourselves carrying--often unwittingly-- regrets from the 'past' and worry about the future.
    • Believing in our thoughts, we also find ourselves locked in conflict with others who are important to us - we may be holding beliefs that the 'other' should or should not be doing something (according to our belief)- or should or should not have done what they  did. This belief becomes a story in our head that gives birth to  unresolved conflicts & resentments.
    • We believe in Separation - that we are separate 'things' and that our life is 'happening' to us.
    • For many, we are Not in the Present Moment - therefore, the alternative is being caught in Thought about what has already happened (and our disapproval or dissatisfaction with it - or thoughts of what is going to be in the future--creating worry, frustration, sense of hopelessness. This frequently causes us suffering, feeling stressed out or conflict, feeling separate from other people and living creatures.
    • As ego thinks in terms of 'me' and 'mine' - these thoughts perpetuate a subtle (or not so subtle) fear of lack - creating needs for Things, sense of 'not-enough' as evidenced by the rampant consumerism today - consider how many storage units exist in a square mile around your location.

    Imagine how this way of Being may impact our planet and her resources?

    Ego creates the sense of being a person – separate from others and from everything in life. Ego believes in past and future—it is never in the Present Moment.

    Richard Moss, MD has an excellent description of ego—out of which we live, continually affirming it's existence. Ego believes in 'me' and 'mine' and the sense that we are all separate. He states that ego's job is to make us feel special; and ego achieves this in two ways... creating stories that you are more than you really are – or less than you really are.

    He asserts we feel special through 'inferiority' – ie. I'm humble and I don't put people out... I don't ask for what I want... believing inadequacy; believing unlovability; believing you're a burden, that you don't matter, unattractive, incompetent, a failure, bad or wrong—resulting in constant apologizing...
    OR, we feel special through 'superiority'... grandiose, I don't wait in lines... boy, people are stupid these days, I don't have to deal with this!; domineering; you know best, you're right while others are usually wrong; this superiority cuts one off from their ability to be vulnerable in intimate relationship.

    Ego does not care about how you feel; ego only cares about it's continued existence—assuring that you continue to believe in it's story about you and how you are special – through superiority or inferiority.

    Ego is an outgrowth of all that we have learned... have been taught—verbally or non-verbally—throughout this life. We are told as toddlers what is 'good' and what is 'bad'. We are told who we are. We are told what we are like. We are told how we should or shouldn't feel! Indoctrinated into a particular religion, we are told what to believe. Indoctrinated into a particular social strata, attitudes are infused. Our identity and ego become intertwined.

    I make no judgments about ego – rather, I offer a perspective in considering the degree to which it is or is not helpful in accessing Reality.... other than that of the story we believe—otherwise known as the 'dream'.

    Writer Scott Kiloby writes about living life in non-duality. His teachings address how our thoughts, and our belief in our thoughts are the source of all our suffering and sense of separation.

    Kiloby indicates that bringing oneself into the Present Moment (Being in Presence) interrupts thought and the belief in separation (if only momentarily, at first).

    A method for coming into Presence (present moment) wherever you may be - you may bring your attention to your breathing, and to focus on sensation in the center of your chest (touching a point with your finger can activate sensation there). Take a moment to experience this, now.

    Notice, there is no Thought there, only a sense of presence... a space. We can return to this space as often as we remember to do so in our day...providing a respite from the constant 'thinking' that typically occurs.

    Notice how ~
    Thoughts (I can't stand this - this is horrible, I have to wash the car, go to the bathroom, 
       I  have too much to do, I don't have enough money, I think she's mad at me)
    Emotions (frustration, annoyance, worry, anxiety, guilt, excitement, hopeful)
    Sensations (hot, cold, ache, tingle)
    States (low mood, elation)
    and Experiences (losing your keys, having a fender-bender, receiving a positive review at work, caught in traffic, walking on the beach)

    these all come and go 
                 – like clouds passing through the sky. Awareness (Being in Presence) sees these internal and external things appearing and then disappearing. Awareness is always available to us no matter what is happening – we can return to the present moment – Presence - creating that inner space.

    The possibility exists to begin to unhook from thoughts, emotions, sensations, states and experiences (Appearances) - seeing how they pass through Awareness – like clouds – and noticing the stories attached to these appearances. This is the beginning of true freedom.

    Many of our thoughts are unnecessary, needless and incessant. Notice. Notice how our emotions are mostly a result of our thoughts...causing suffering, stress, conflict. Notice how 
    • thoughts appear out of nowhere 
    •  suddenly, thoughts disappear. 
    • They arise on their own 
    • you don't cause them
    • Simply Notice, without judgment and without needing to manipulate or change anything. 
    • That which sees the thought or emotion is Awareness. Awareness is who we truly are.  We are not the ego that says "I am".

    Awareness (Presence) is like the movie screen. Thoughts, emotions, experiences, states are the characters and the scenes moving across the screen. They simply appear and disappear on their own (they are called 'Appearances'). They are fleeting. Human life is a wake-up call – we are called to wake up from this movie – to wake up from our story that has been created in our minds. We can stop believing that life is happening to us. We see that life is just happening.

    We see around us, today, how increasingly polarized people's thoughts and attitudes are, today. Believing in our thoughts, we are polarized, we believe in separation - the Other - who is Demonized. Cooperation becomes non-existent - in the workplace, in our relationships, in our political system.

    The more frequently we allow ourselves during our day to return to and rest in Presence (while waiting in line, sitting at a red light) – and to let all appearances be as they are – moving through Awareness (presence) –  we begin releasing ourselves from our story.... less and less do we buy into it or get caught in it... we notice it and step back - 
    and no longer believing the thoughts that perpetuate the story.
    We find ourselves less and less arguing with reality.
    More often we are accepting 'What Is'... rather than resisting, complaining or 'shoulding' (it shouldn't be this way - it should be that way)
    Being in presence, we may gain a sense of peace... of connectedness. 

    Experiment with this - share your experiences of Noticing in this community of readers  :)

    Friday, August 12, 2011


    Increasing numbers of individuals are clearly needed in our world, today, who wish to work toward the Greater Good, starting within their own inner lives. We clearly live in troubling times – —we need those individuals who can make a practice of living by the axiom: Do No Harm. The following are excerpts are from: The Secret Science Behind Miracles by Max Freedom Long – copyrighted in 1948.

    The simplified version of Long's message is that, rather than taking myself for granted simply as 'Me' – I can increase my awareness of levels of the personality, each level having it's own value and function. The three levels: the Child-part, the Rational, Logical part (referred to as the middle self), and there is the Spirit or Superconscious. (May I caution the tendency for associative thinking - "oh, this reminds me of that".  This is Not transactional analysis - which totally leaves out the Spirit component.)

    Excerpt from Long's book: “Unfortunately, the majority of humankind is moved by greed and the animal instincts of the child-part with its complexed and unreasoning emotional hates and fears rather than by the unemotional logic of the middle, adult self. Few, indeed, listen the the promptings of the Spirit Self where the rule of Love and Service holds sway.

    Our conscious mind selves may be said to rule the world, but they are dominated by the child-part selves which are still like animals as a part of their nature: willful, savage and unthinking. As middle selves we have been given free will, but until our cumulative world experience is sufficient to teach us the lessons we must learn, we will use that gift of free will very badly, both as individuals and as nations.

    The Hunas taught that there was an ideal condition to which the individual might aspire—a condition in which the aid and guidance of the Spirit Self was requested, received and then acted upon. The one rule of life that must be obeyed was that we should do nothing to hurt one another. For those more advanced, the rule included loving service. Love can unite men and women and enable them to do great works for the good of all. Hate and fear can unite humankind only for war and destruction.

    The three levels: The Child-part; the Middle self; the Spirit-Self

    • The Child-part
    • belongs to the subconscious, is irrational
    • is connected with the physical body
    • creates all our emotions
    • stores all our memories, stubbornly held-fixed ideas
    • connects us with our intuition
    • the part of us that is 'literal' and responds to ritual
    • holds our resentments toward others as well as toward oneself (ie. feeling undeserving)
    • can reach out and 'read minds' or gather telepathic impressions
    • is under the dominion of the animal world
    • without proper guidance from the Middle self, can run away with emotions, child-like impulsivity, quite frequent change of plans, shifting desires, angers
    • the home of beliefs and convictions (unconscious)
    • the home of childhood beliefs of our failures and inabilities – fear of others or even of God
    • the home of our childhood conditioned patterns of beliefs from our family
    • the location of origin of many illnesses

    The Middle self
    • conscious mind, entity who manages day-to-day tasks of living
    • logical, reasoning part of the personality
    • in relation to the child-part, the Middle self is the Parent whose task it is to educate the child-part
    • Middle self develops a relationship with the child-part, who will then be of service through intuition, through receiving impressions, has the ability to take prayer to the Spirit-Self

    • a separate spirit or self connected distantly with the child and middle selves and acting as an “over-self,” or parental guardian spirit
    • the spirit-Self is distantly connected to the physical body, probably for the most part, by aka threads (the energy substance which surrounds us and connects us to each other it is how information and mana ( the life force and energy) travel. All contact whether in the physical or on another level involves the exchange of threads of aka material or energy. Ongoing relationship will build cords, energy and information is exchanged along these cords and connections ) issued by the child-part.

    Applying these ideas

    The manner of application I was taught was that of cultivating a relationship – as a middle or 'parent' self to the child-part. Beginning this process, I inquired of my child-part what name she preferred. This occurred decades ago. Initially, 'she' told me her name was Frankie – and, that felt right. After several years, as I made inner shifts, I was told her name was now Renie. And, even later her name changed, again, as if she was growing up.

    Day-to-day I encourage, acknowledge and thank the child-part within. I thank her out loud when she helps me remember even some small thing – like, when I'm walking out of the house and suddenly she reminds me that I've forgotten something I needed for that day. She does this frequently for me. I thank her for her help when I walk into a clean kitchen in the morning because she helped me wash rather than leave a mess for morning! Or, if I've misplaced something – she helps me know where to look. The child-part connects us to intuition. However, I will hear her when I'm not distracted. Being too busy, too much noise, brain-clutter - affects our connection.

    It's also important that we create adequate joyfulness, in a healthy way, for the child-part – as the child connects us with our vital energy – and if we overwork her or him, this would be very detrimental and unkind. Individuals who are 'pusher-types' are typically TOO busy, have difficulty relaxing, compelled to accomplish-- as if proving their worth, continually. These individuals often operate from a sense of urgency and lack sufficient and regular connection with their child-part.

    On the contrary, others have their child-part running their lives with little parent-self supervision. What does this look like? The person's choices are ruled by their likes and dislikes. What is good for the person is less relevant than what they 'like' or 'want'. They may still live very much along the tight lines of their childhood conditioning – what they were 'taught', and/or ruled by habits and appetites.

    Another sign is an ignored child—the adult person who possesses an ignored child-part fears others' disapproval, needs to feel liked, needs to feel validated by others, needs attention. These emotional needs are a sign that the adult person is probably not in sufficient contact with their child-part in a supportive way. The individual most likely offers limited to no acknowledgment to their child-part—does not praise or thank her; does not recognize or approve of her help in the individuals daily life. This child-part is being taken for granted. Distinguishing between the parent self and child-part is crucial.
    This is how we increasingly become differentiated.

    An important part of this relationship between the middle self and the child-part is that of helping this child-part to grow up. This is a task of the middle self, that of a loving parent – especially important and critical that we provide this to the child-part if we felt we lacked this type of validation as a child in our own lives...and even more crucial if we experienced abuse.

    We can begin fostering this connection through the growing awareness that 'I am Not alone'. I have within me a connection to my child-part as well as my inner Spirit. This growing awareness can give great comfort in a time in our world where we are so distracted by so many externals trying to grab our attention and keep us asleep and disconnected from our inner life.

    Begin noticing where and when your attention is grabbed away from you and discover the ways and means you find yourself distracted... by technological devices, by food, shopping, by keeping busy... Explore new ways to minimize these distractions.

    Begin creating a relationship with the child-part of yourself. Talk to her or him as you would any child whose trust you were wanting to elicit. Ask how she would like you to call her or him. Begin to grow your awareness by differentiating between your child-part and your middle (parent-self). For example, I was working on differentiating whether it was my child-part or my middle self that didn't want to help me get to the gym. I concluded that my child-part wanted to stay home and do something else. It was necessary for me to give more energy to my middle-self so as to work with the child-part and encourage her to cooperate. Then, of course, at the end of the workout I always say, out loud... Good Girl!! and, I put a smiley face in my day-timer for that day. She likes that! She feels appreciated!

    Furthermore, the child-part in us can feel a heart relationship with child-parts of other individuals as this self is intuitive and picks up on the feelings of others. They have the ability to relate from the heart to one another, playfully, without the typical 'adult-like' trappings of the middle self. It is a special connection when two individuals can slip away from their middle-selves and connect together on this heart-felt level. Judgments, however, such as: "oh, your acting childish" are felt as barriers to spontaneous and free expression of this part.

    A word about fear and greed on the world stage > Emotions of fear, greed and subsequent behaviors of grasping live in the child-part of us. Throughout the history of humankind we read about men's greed and grasping for resources. We read in the history books about the barbarism, the conquering of groups. Cooperation has not been known to be a shining example in our history of the world. Looking back two to three thousand years B.C.E. we find men waring in conflict rather than cooperation over land and resources in the middle east. Millenia later, we believe ourselves to have dramatically become a more "civilized" people than in ancient times, however, a closer look reveals that it is our technological ability--not our human civility that has increased. Our human civility has not kept pace with our tech-knowledge. 

    As a result, the child-part of most leaders--then and now--continue to be based in fear of lack which leads to greed. The child-parts of these men design wars so that they can conquer and, therefore, HAVE the resources of the other. This level of being has been in existence for millennia. As a group, our potential is to raise our level of being through conscious connection between Middle, Child and Spirit selves. In this way, true faith, trust and the desire to contribute to the Greater Good overrides fear, greed and the desire to conquer and control others.

    The more we are able to distinguish between the child and middle selves, the more we are able to give to ourselves what we need rather than expect our needs to be met by others - which leads to feeling hurt and disappointed when they are not met by others. A grounded middle or parent self is able to make requests, negotiate, and to say 'no' to others comfortably without worry of disapproval or paralyzing fear of hurting someone's feelings. This is not the job to be left to the child-part - however, many individuals leave these grown-up tasks to their inner child-part who then frets, worries, and becomes anxious. Sound familiar?

    More to come regarding the Connection to the Spirit or High Self - 
    Experiment !  Notice !  Connect and Communicate with your Child-part. Come back and share your observations and experiences with us.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Have you Questioned your own Thoughts? Are they True? How Do Your Thoughts Make You Feel?

    So much has happened since the beginning of the year – and, since my last blog post – now six months ago, a time frame gap I never would have chosen intentionally--however, due to unforeseen circumstances---.which I will discuss.

    Much has happened in the global scene – the Middle East, countries finding their voice against long-standing oppression. And, in the U.S. we struggle with our own political dramas between Republican and Democrat representatives--one side tearing the other side down with fault-finding, criticism and stone-walling that maintain the status quo or set us on a backward course rather than exploring means of finding common ground and benefit for all.

    And, in my own life my sense of security was shaken by theft of personal identity documents, a lap top, cell phone involving an intrusion into the safe space of my home. Even after a renewed ability to access a computer, I've found it difficult to connect with what I truly find meaningful to express from my heart until now, just over two months after the burglary. Since such random 'bizarre' events are unfamiliar in 'my world'... and, it WAS bizarre... the window of opportunity was only a half-hour - where someone got in and got out of my home! ... knew right where to look... I continue to sit with the question: 'What does this experience mean?'

    These times are challenging for all. These times demand quite a bit from us. Each of us is experiencing her or his own story--an opportunity to observe the way in which we move through the condition. We may move through these experiences with more conscious awareness or less consciousness. What will sustain us? My experience shows me that help cannot be found on the same level as the “problem”. Sustenance appears to be key; this question is what I propose for the subject of this post.

    In the last several months I have been exploring, deeply, family constellation work and continue to find myself ever amazed at the phenomenon from the invisible world that emerges as information, direction and possibility for opening to a new mental image for the seeker of the so-called 'problem'. We tend to hold an image—of an idea of a person, a problem—well, of everything in our lives – we hold an image of it – how we 'imagine' it to be.... of course, to us, that image is absolutely REAL! Then, we come to expect things to be the way we, unconsciously, imagine.The difficulty is, we are unconscious to this pattern of Thought; and this is how we continually carry the past with us--caught in Time-- unconsciously--be it in relationship, with issues around money, health, weight, food as well as emotional patterns of disappointment, anxiety, depression, feeling unappreciated, abandoned...

    Working with family constellations, we may have an opportunity presented to receive a new image that arises from the invisible, phenomenological world. This new image has the possibility of working deeply within--allowing what is not real to fall away.
    We may also develop a new way of being in the Present Moment... perhaps only for a few seconds at the start.

    Recently, I have been also exploring an author's work on non-duality and find myself most resonant with his expression of the ideas of application. I am feeling moved to share both the constellation work and the way of working with non-duality in daily life as we are in a critical time of human consciousness—these collections of crises—banking, debt (global, national and individual), housing market, energy, ecological, lethal weather patterns -- contributing to the threat of human existence and bringing us to a tipping point when enough humans perceive the need for a shift in consciousness.
    The challenge:   Either we don't see these crises because of their gradual progression– or the crises have become so much a part of the background noise in our culture we simply tune the bad news out -- and most of us are so busy trying to simply survive, day-to-day.

    Because we are ruled by thoughts, we are caught up in beliefs – we “believe” in the past and in the future – so, how do we become Present in Awareness in the present moment--basic awareness? We are troubled by the past, or want to block it out, or we are looking forward to the future, tomorrow, or some day when... we finally have our degree, when we meet that special person, when we have the house paid off, when we retire, when we can finally be out of debt...  These are all Thoughts... we attach ourselves to them, these thoughts separate us from our Present Moment.

    These thoughts also create a sense that this present moment is Not Good Enough AS IT IS. The result is that we do not feel satisfied in this moment. We unconsciously feel that something is missing. We don't even know, really, what this 'missing' is - however, we feel something nagging, gnawing inside of us. So, then we get really busy in our lives so we don't notice that feeling... so busy that there's never enough time; we shop to make the feeling subside, or we eat, or use other substances, or we're super-productive...busy 'doing', or spending long hours at work. But, being quiet, being still can be rather uncomfortable for many. However, if we trace it back - I mean Really back-track... we will find the origin of the discomfort is in Attaching to and believing in our thoughts...
       This is, in large part, corporate induced...   Notice how advertising presents us with the latest techno-gadget and advises that we must Have It; the latest automobile has different lines in body design; the latest shoes have a distinct change to the shape of the toe; the slacks are looser or more form-fitting... What we currently have is No Longer Good Enough - so we Must Have... or...advertising media asserts that our teeth need to be whiter, or, we need to have a better body, or, improve our performance in the bedroom... and, we believe IT.... Not Good Enough as it is.

                 Ask yourself:   Where do my thoughts come from?

    • Can I  state, without a shadow of doubt, with 100% certainty that this thought is True ?
    • How do I FEEL when I Think this thought?
    • Regarding this situation, if I didn't Have this thought - how would I feel in relation to this situation?
    • Must I believe this thought? How important will it be in one year from now?

    In dealing with the theft of my identity information, I could not allow myself to project worry into the future. It was imperative that I focus in the present moment and simply refuse to allow thought to project into the future... what if this happens?... what if that?... This focus in the Present prevented me from losing energy through fear, worry and anger that 'this happened to me' and 'what will happen if...".
    I would simply bring myself back to basic Awareness of the present moment.

    'Presence' is what we are – however, our culture tells us that we are 'I', 'me' – and separate from You. This belief allows me to hate you – and, on our planet – how wars are able to continue – I kill you because we are separate. You are different than me. Humanity at this time is caught up in the belief in external so-called reality as the only reality in existence: the difference in color of our skin; the difference in our religion, of our cultures, the difference in our 'beliefs'...the illusion of our separateness.
    Awakening to the awareness that there is No Separation - we are All Connected - this awareness is more than an intellectual construct.This awareness will affect humanity as the notion of separation dissipates - not as an idea, or a thought - rather, as an actual experience. Personally, this would be an astonishing breakthrough for human beings.

    Basic Awareness – non-conceptual presence that is here right now – in the present moment.

    Notice – when you take a momentary break from 'thinking' – this basic awareness presents things 'as-they-are'. (Can I accept things 'as-they-are' rather than how I want/expect things to be to suit my expectations?--of perfection, of satisfaction)

    If we stop thinking for just a moment and glimpse a basic awareness already within -
    simply notice.
    Notice when thoughts arise, again.
    We find that thoughts distract from basic awareness when we get attached and caught up in the thought – which often leads to a feeling – frequently unpleasant: disappointed, hurt, angry, resentful.

    It has been said by many teachers – Thought is the source of all suffering.

    In fact, the thought we have about an event or experience may cause us more upset than the experience, itself! I may tell myself how horrible a situation is.... Or... that it Shouldn't have happened to me... then, I find myself even more upset by my thoughts. We process our life almost exclusively through thoughts – through our intellect. This fact causes humanity to be caught in various beliefs that limit awareness and cause much harm.

    In any present moment, we can bring our attention to our breathing or to the sensation in our body, allowing thought to come to rest and simply 'be' with the space that is left once the thought falls away, momentarily. We can 'be' here in the moment without labeling the experience (which is another thought). 'Be' in the stillness without “struggling” to Stop Thought. Allow thought to float on by. 'Be' in the space that remains. We can experience this throughout our day – increasing our awareness of this present moment of 'what is'.

    Personally, I have noticed ... in taking moments of being in the space of presence, of awareness... without thought... while waiting in the check-out lane in grocery store--an activity I strongly found disagreeable to me -- Yet, here, in the moment: simply being -- without thought... and subsequently noticing a sense of diminished feeling of impatience as I go from here to there... noticing more relaxation even when driving!  Increased sense of inner quiet. Do I really need all these Thoughts? Perhaps not...

    Your comments, experiences and questions are most welcome to continue the dialogue.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Welcome to Plutocracy - What is it? Why should I care?

    I wrote my last post, Living in Non-duality, over the New Year's weekend hopeful toward a new year. By late January the Tunisian revolt captured our national attention; then rapidly on the heels, the demand for jobs, ability to afford food, democracy over dictatorship explodes on the Egyptian scene. This yearning fanned the flames next in Libya. We are still holding our breath in these last hours in wait of the outcome of a brutal dictatorship. How will it end? How many lives will be lost?  (This may be a  l o n g  post, take your time, return to read bit by bit, or print it out for further digestion.)

    Now, at the end of February we find the flame erupting here on our own doorstep-- igniting the need for political reform. In Madison Wisconsin at least 70,000 demonstrators flooded the square around the Wisconsin Capitol on Saturday in what the authorities here called the largest protest yet in nearly two weeks of demonstrations, 'ordinary' folk—teachers, firefighters, policemen/women... 

    Unions are the only organized group in this country that, at this juncture, have the power to stand up to corporate greed.

    Most of us, whether or not we are backed by unions, are experiencing the larger health insurance payments demanded by insurance companies that are eating up a higher percentage of our income; and low-income employees are feeling the squeeze more sharply than those of high-income employees.

    An ideology is a conceptual framework with the way people deal with reality. Everyone has an ideology. The question is whether it is accurate or flawed.

    Bill Moyers addressed Boston University with his speech:    
                              "Welcome to Plutocracy"

    Plutocracy defined:  Literally 'rule by the rich', the term is used to denote a wide range of situations where a group of individuals are able to exert disproportionate power and influence in society and social institutions because of their wealth.

    here are some excerpts:

    Whirlpool refrigerator factory in Evansville, Indiana—female employee of 17 years was making $ 18.44 an hour when Whirlpool announced (2010) that it was closing the operation and moving it to Mexico. Eleven hundred workers lost their jobs. Their opportunity for affording a middle class way of life snatched from their hands. The company defended its decision by claiming high costs, underused capacity, and the need to stay competitive.

    Between 2001 and 2008, about 40,000 US manufacturing plants closed.
    Six million factory jobs have disappeared over the past dozen years, representing one in three manufacturing jobs.
    Many of us are wondering: “How, without any good-paying jobs here in the United States, are people going to pay for their health care, put their children through school, save some money to avoid living pay-check to pay-check.”

    The new BMW plant that recently opened in South Carolina. Workers will be paid $15 an hour – about half of what BMW workers earn in Germany
    In polite circles, among our political and financial classes, this is known as “the free market at work.” In fact, it is “wage repression,” and it’s been happening in our country since around 1980.

    Note this seeming contradiction – falling sales and rising profits – Example: despite falling motorcycle sales, Harley-Davidson profits are soaring – with a second quarter profit of $71 million, more than triple what it earned the previous year
    That’s how financial capitalism works today: Conserving cash rather than bolstering hiring and production; investing in their own shares to prop up their share prices and make their stock more attractive to Wall Street. To hell with everyone else.

    How Deregulation and the Evolution of Wall Street Culture 
                           Led to the Financial Crisis.
    A bit about history. Following the Great Depression, between 1933-35, motivated by financial abuses that contributed to the Great Depression, new laws such as the Glass-Steagall Act and the Securities and Exchange Act placed limits on financial risk-taking and required extensive disclosure of financial information . Furthermore, bankers/traders earned salaries in line with other professionals; tightly regulated financial sector. Local banks and investment banks formed small, private partnerships putting up their own capital. So, naturally, conducting business in a traditional financial manner, and putting up their own money, the bankers of forty to sixty years ago care about the loans they are making and to whom.
         Fast forward to the 20th & 21st century: 
    • investment banks went public--no longer using their own money - allowing for risky investments & higher rates of pay-back, 
    • the safety laws for financial institutions that had been put in place were stripped away (deregulation)
    • borrowers without adequate credit or down-payment were not only allowed - but encouraged to take large loans to purchase inflated-priced homes
    • investment banks paid rating agencies to distort the truth on the safety ratings of these loans (ie. subprime loans rated as excellent)
    • subprime loans most profitable--predatory lending--these buyers were charged higher interests rates > their loans bundled and sold to unsuspecting investors as Triple-A rattings - 
    • CDO's (Collateral debt obligations) - Pay an investment banking firm $15 Million to put together a CDO full of bad mortgage- related assets that were believed to likely lose value. Next, sell slices of the bundle to many global investors . Next, secretly bet against it - knowing that it will fail. Then, make       $1 Billion in profit - while the global investors lose over $1 Billion. This is how Goldman Sachs defrauded investors.
    Example: these unsuspecting investors from all over the world bought these bad bundled loans (subprime) - here's  a small scale scenarioVisualize yourself going into a meat market to purchase a quantity of what you anticipate to be prime quality beef because you are hosting a large party. You trust your meat market to carry nothing but the best because the proprietor has a Triple A rating. When you return home, however, and unwrap the package of beef, to your horror you discover the meat is rotting - You've not only been lied to - you are also out considerable amount of money - and, imagine there is Nothing you can do, now - No one you can turn to. This is what happened to investors who purchased these subprime loan packages that were rated Triple A by the Credit Rating Agencies.
    • Goldman Sachs sold 3.1 Billion dollars of bad loans & worthless securities
    • CDO's (collateral debt obligations) - imagine the owner of your meat department betting against the bad meat he sells - knowing it is bad - in the same way these investment banks bet against the bad mortgage securities - betting that they would fail - and then profiting from the high interest they made!
    • Foreclosures jumped to Six Million by 2010 and are expected to grow to Nine Million.
    • Men who destroyed their companies got to keep there money (in the Millions $$$) and didn't go to jail
    • NO Attempt made to recoup the millions $$$ made by these CEO's who defrauded the financial system - nor No attempt to indict them!

    Also, from 1950 through 1980, because the nation’s economy was growing handsomely, the average income for 9 out of l0 Americans was growing, too – from $17,719 to $30,941. 

    But then it stopped. 

    • Since 1980s we live in a more UNequal society
    • Outsourcing jobs to other countries - corporations save money, Americans lose jobs
    • American factory workers laid off to the tens of thousands
    • Americans trying to pay for college go into debt - $50 to 100 thousand dollars
    • American tax policies shift to Favor the Rich - Bush decreases taxes for the wealthiest 1% of Americans
    • Americans RESPOND to these changes by: working  longer hours, going deeper into debt to afford their homes, cars, college for children, vacations 

    Since 1980 the economy has also continued to grow handsomely, but only 1% at the top have benefited. A dramatic change in the ratio of the average CEO's paycheck to that of the average factory worker over the past 40 years. The line flattens for the bottom 90% of Americans. Average income went from that $30,941 in 1980 to $31,244 in 2008. Think about that: the average income of Americans increased just $303 dollars in 28 years.
    That’s wage repression.
    Furthermore, remember how the traditional bankers put up their own capital in making loans? In the 1980's the investment banks went public—no longer using their own money. The Reagan administration and the lobbyists started in with deregulation. With it, away went the Glass-Steagall Act! With deregulation and the selling off of bad (sub-prime) loans to unsuspecting others, the investment bankers went unscathed in the global financial meltdown in 2008. 

    Notice how these high powered men continue to be Recycled through the Government/Banking system Despite their unethical conduct.
    1989 - early '90s: Savings & Loan Crisis - the Chairman, Keating serves five years for corruption charges;
    DeConcini, a senator involved in the scandal was later appointed by President Clinton in February 1995 to the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
    In 1990s: Clinton era and increasing revolving door between Washington and Wall Street
    In the decade of 2000s: George Bush pushes for further deregulation and relaxed enforcement—remember Enron, Worldcom, accounting fraud of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. ?
    massive housing and mortgage credit bubble sweeps the United States; mortgage lending quadruples, housing prices double
    2004: After intense lobbying by investment banks, the SEC lifts the leverage limits on the investment banking industry, allowing them to borrow more
    2005: IMF chief economist warns of dangerous incentives and risks in the financial system; Larry Summers, who later became director of the National Economic Council dismisses his concerns, calling him a “Luddite”
    2005-2008: investment banks begin using credit default swaps to bet against the same 'bad' mortgage securities that they are selling and calling extremely safe
    2006: Hank Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs, becomes Treasury Secretary
    2007: The housing bubble bursts
    2008: Great Recession begins with the collapse of Lehman Bros--one of the 4 largest investment banks in the US, a primary dealer in the US Treasury Securities market; and AIG--an American Insurance Corporation- suffering a liquidity crisis when their credit ratings were downgraded to below AA
    Housing prices drop by 32 percent over three-year period
    Record foreclosures
    Unemployment rises from 5% to 10% in one year
    Tens of billions in bailout money go to AIG and Goldman Sachs
    $700 billion emergency bailout for the financial industry- because of threats to our economy if we didn't!! 
       Turns out these weren't so true. 
    The beautiful thing about creating fear is people will not only accept that something must be done, but – if enough fear is created – they're usually willing to act without even contemplating or debating the direction.  

    In the mad rush to privatization over the past few decades, democracy itself was put up for sale, and the rich are the only ones who could afford it; the Great American Rip Off – Too Big To Fail Bank Bail Outs; Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth — and nobody went to jail.

    "Terrified that this injustice would inspire a movement to change all of that, corporate interests including the Koch Brothers spent billions in 2009 and 2010 on misinformation campaigns and political theater designed to turn the resulting Great Recession into a weapon to divide us rather than the unifying wake-up call it was destined to be.

    Obama appoints many Wall Street executives to senior regulatory and economic policy positions (the foxes are strategically placed in positions of guarding the hen houses)
    WHO ARE THESE FOXES who were put in trusted positions 
                     to GUARD OUR HEN HOUSE? 

    • Larry Summers - head of the NEC (National Economic Council) - hired as Chief Economic Adviser to Obama -- and former Clinton Treasury Secretary - influenced deregulation
    • Henry Paulson - Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs (one of the top defrauders for promoting investments they new would fail) - was hired by Obama to be (74th) US Treasury Secretary - denying any problems: "We're going to keep growing - if we're growing then we're not in a recession."
    • Timothy Geithner - previously the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY - put him at the heart of the global economic crisis as it unfolded in 2008. Hired by Obama in January 2009  as (75th) US Secretary of the Treasury    -- defending the Bail Out of the banks.
    • Ben Bernanke - previously served as the Federal Governor & Chairman of George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisors - sitting on the Financial Stability Oversight Board that oversees troubled asset relief (appointed in 2006 - during the heat of the impending financial melt-down)             In 2009, appointed by President Obama
    • Alan Greenspan - Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 (remember Ronald Reagan Administration - deregulation) to 2006.  He rebuked regulations.

    Some dramatic facts: how the wealth distribution became even more concentrated between 1983 and 2004, in good part due to the tax cuts for the wealthy and the defeat of labor unions:
    Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%.
    A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s

    Just as wealth can lead to power, so too can power lead to wealth. Those who control a government can use their position to feather their own nests, whether that means a favorable land deal for relatives at the local level or a huge federal government contract for a new corporation run by friends who will hire you when you leave government. If we take a larger historical sweep and look cross-nationally, we are well aware that the leaders of conquering armies often grab enormous wealth, and that some religious leaders use their positions to acquire wealth.
    If the top 1% of households have 30-35% of the wealth, that's 30 to 35 times what they would have if wealth were equally distributed, and so we infer that they must be powerful. And then we set out to see if the same set of households scores high on other power indicators (it does). Next we study how that power operates. Furthermore, if the top 20% have 84% of the wealth (and recall that 10% have 85% to 90% of the stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity), that means that the United States is a power pyramid.

    It's tough for the bottom 80% -- maybe even the bottom 90% -- to get organized and exercise much power.
    Hear the chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ethan Harris, who told the Times: “There’s no question that there is an income shift going on in the economy. Companies are squeezing their labor costs to build profits.”

    The financial sector employs Three Thousand lobbyists - Five BILLION $$ on lobbying and campaign contributions - Wall Street Government -  Plutocracy at its finest! 

    Years from now, we will think of February 2011 as the tipping point in America’s great awakening.
    Wake UP calls: Tunisian revolt; Egyptian Revolt (Egyptian people 'have made clear they will settle for nothing less than greater democracy and more economic opportunities); Libyan Revolt, Wisconsin protests & the Prank Call --Americans are being asked to settle for less democracy & fewer economic opportunities. After all the warnings and wake-up calls, this be will remembered as the time when the American people came together to confront the plutocracy that plagues our republic, and do something to change the economic inequality / instability that has grown from it. There is a tide. 

    Charles Ferguson, producer of Inside Job > "For decades in the past the financial industry was safe but something changed - the financial services industry went corrupt and they corrupted the regulators and the academia and engaged with the government. They will tell us it won't happen again."

    The more people who get involved, the more meaningful it will be. So, please share this page with others who may still need a reason to wake up and stand up.

    Socrates said to understand a thing, you must first name it.

    The name for what’s happening to our political system is Corruption – a deep, systemic corruption. Democracy has gone on sale in America.