Practice meditation for eleven minutes in a coffee house. Put on a timer. Focus on being present to your body, breath, and ambient sounds. Letting go of fleeting thoughts as they arise. Be here: on the spot. Sometimes it's helpful to gaze at your hands on the table holding a book. You want to look normal within a social environment - not calling attention to what you're really doing. Notice when you slip away into "elsewhere". Return. Do this practice until the eleven minutes are up. You'll find this practice carries over into your everyday life. You become more present to your life moment to moment.
Love runs the universe. That's all you need to know. One day you wake up "in love" not with someone but Life itself. You are free; it gets easier to walk the streets and situations in love with Life itself; beyond pleasure and pain, joy and grief. Presence itself becomes enough, even more than enough.
The "Collaborative Intelligence Laboratory" emerged while teaching 500 students "Introduction to Computers on behalf the the School of Engineering at UC Berkeley. Students and myself engaged in on-line dialogue using a web-based discussion system. These where the web's early days. The Internet amplified the ability of groups to dialogue, plan, and share information. A world of viewpoints beyond political and geographic boundaries suddenly opened up. Along the way, the idea of a "Collaborative Intelligence Quotient (C-IQ)" emerged. Every group has a certain C-IQ.
Eventually, I let all these ideas pass when offered a position within the Peace and Conflict Studies department; thus dropping the "C-IQ" focus to deal with something far more difficult - the study of war and peace. Still, C-IQ may be what "saves the world". We now live connected to a "net" that includes almost all the world. Time will tell.
"Time, money and love" is a magic trio. Several combinations of "time, money and love" are possible:
Time on your hands but little or no money.
Large sums of money but no free time.
Lots of love but not enough time and money.
Other combinations are possible. Extreme variations throw societies out of balance. Extreme differences between rich and poor are harmful to a society. People stop seeing each other as human beings and start identifying with their particular social class or status. Harm comes upon our relationships when the time, money, and love ratios are extreme.
The Internet is our collective global nervous system; thereby creating a serious dependency on connectivity. Stores often don't sell food unless their cash registers are on the network. Alternative backup systems need to be in place and occasionally tested.
From early childhood we are taught the virtues of dogged persistence. But sometimes the better wisdom is to "give up". This is giving up when you start to realize that your losses are greater with completing the project at had hand than just walking away.
There are times when we just don't have time to meditate and it has a negative effect on the mind due to the chaos and noise that surrounds us. Our mind becomes like a pinwheel; every thought becomes like a gust of wind spinning it faster and faster until we become overwhelmed by its constant motion. Yet, there is a simple way to connect to peace and it only takes a moment. When you are alone or in a safe place make the sound 'aum.' Aum is said to have four sounds:
“A” emerges from the throat, originating in the region of the navel
“U” rolls over the tongue
“M” ends on the lips.
The last sound is silence.
It is in this silence we can rest and let the pinwheel stop for just a moment before returning to our day. Feel the vibration which surrounds you as you are able to rest in peace.
Pure light is right behind this cellophane wrap. I can see it. I could touch it even...only if I made the choice to finally tear it away. But it’s that choice which is the hardest. To shed everything and step towards it. Be one; truly luminous. I can see the cellophane. But I don't want to walk through. I'd rather compromise and continue to watch the pretty light...
Perhaps, our greatest asset in life is to be trusted. When young, I had a retail job where I had the responsibility of opening up the store. Remarkably, the owner entrusted me with the keys to his store. Amazing that he entrusted me with so much responsibility for all his goods. I responded by making sure that I did everything right. Holding on to those keys, making sure that no unknown customer would take them and use them. To be entrusted with the store keys made me more trustworthy.
Take a look at this collection of images on the "trust". Much can be learned. Enjoy. Here's an example:
Going past images and sounds – a “you”, non-you, opens another way of “seeing”. Mystics and scientists extend themselves into such extraordinary extra-dimensional views. We buy food, entertainment, and things – not happiness. Daily contemplation of basic truths, prayer and meditation – in the morning, afternoon and evening; ease and happiness spontaneously arise. By good example and state of being, those around you will be encouraged. Your happiness belongs to everyone. No need to convince anyone. Blossom like a flower; the rest takes care of itself.
"We must do away with the absolutely specious notion
that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten
thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all
the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense
of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that
everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to
Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have
inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to
inspect inspectors. The true business
of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they
were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a
Basic reality cannot be realized by words, thoughts or pictures The Ultimate cannot be realized by words, thoughts, or pictures Un-expressible it is Beyond knowledge it is Go toward stillness until arriving at peace beyond understanding There within nowhere the you that is you just is
1972, the following are the words of Lakota prophet John Fire Lame Deer published in the book Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions. "Only human beings have come to a point where they no longer know why they exist. They don't use their brains, and they have forgotten the secret knowledge of their bodies, their senses, or their dreams. They don't use the knowledge the spirit has put into every one of them; they are not even aware of this, and so they stumble along blindly on the road to nowhere -- a paved highway which they themselves bulldoze and make smooth so that they can get faster to the big empty hole which they'll find at the end, waiting to swallow them up. It's a quick, comfortable superhighway, but I know where it leads to. I've seen it. I've been there in my vision, and it makes me shudder to think about it."
We quest for knowledge of stars and atoms, forgetting the knowledge of Life and soul; and, recklessly subduing the earth and each other. It’s time for a new alliance of humans, earth, and cosmos; and humble submission to the Source of all-that-is.
There's a sense of wonder within us. When we're children the world is full of wonder – everything looks new – permeated with deep feelings of wonder and awe. The sense of pure existence is all pervasive and natural; but, we age and get focused on “things” forgetting being. Our work is to recover that.
The word "God" is loaded with all kinds of meanings. We can speak of God in many ways - and all of them would be right and also wrong from one perspective or another. To me, God is a word for Ultimate Reality - a cosmic sense of Presence within and all around. On a small 3x5 card a few months ago, I wrote the following:
It's that simple. And, that difficult! I urge people to surrender to the mystical and the unknown. We can't ever get to the "bottom" of reality. It's awesome, is it not?
My grandson asked, "Grandpa, what is your religion?" Thinking deeply, deciding to be honest, I said, "My religion is love.”
My grandson asked, "Grandpa, what is your religion?" Thinking deeply, deciding to be honest, I said, "My religion is love; which is what great religions teach -- love." Then he said, "So which one is your religion?". Out of my mouth (and heart) came, "All of them, if they are about love." I also wanted to say that the great sages are humbled by the encounter with the mystery, the truth of that which cannot be spoken, of that union with the spirit known directly, while indescribable. That was too much to say; it says nothing anyway! Grandson wanted me to pick one religion, just like buying a car or computer; but, that’s not my way. For thirty years, I studied, digested, and internalized many religions; finding all leading to the same place inside myself. That is my particular spiritual non-religious perspective on religion. Spirituality is very inner, very personal -- but as we share our spiritual lives we build common languages with terms, texts, rituals, and symbols which become religions. Religions naturally happen everywhere; they are spiritual support groups.
The seeds of great religions are the cosmic-divine insights of great souls in all places and circumstances. These insights are life changing. Someone asks, "Master, what did you learn? How did you become like this?" Teachings are passed by words and deeds which are recorded in many ways. Spiritual insights become religions over time. [bdhg]
Time to write something off the top of my head in this Philosopher-at-Large Blog. Good to be "more real". So much of what we "express" is highly edited. There's a place for the spontaneous. Be more here-now, not so "self correcting". No longer in school with teachers grading us. It's more vitalizing. Being real to our true self. P.S. Okay, I did edit. Just a little.
There's a eucalyptus grove on the UC Berkeley campus. I take students there on a march across the campus. Best to visit that Eucalyptus grove in the late afternoon. While we dialogue on truth and justice and the environment, the sun slowly sets down. The day's natural cycle now apparent - light streaming through the trees. How can students "know" the earth if they are always encased in technology's air conditioned classrooms with florescent lights. Studying our environment only in a classroom is an abstraction. Existential honesty requires walking out of the classroom! Again, let us walk outside like the ancients and the aborigines. Feeling earth below, the sky above, and body breathing-moving. Feeling life all around and within. A place is not “just a place” - it is a constant, a ground, a marker in spacetime – around which time dances as events and stories. I knew this grove when it was twice as large. I saw half of it taken to develop a new life sciences building. It was quiet place back in the 1970's – while now in 2010's the sound of air conditioning units competes with song birds. Returning again and again to this eucalyptus grove defines memories and change.
Sit quietly in a chair. Imagine the Big Bang at the moment of our universe's creation, based on current cosmological understanding. You are sitting, now, in the space-time continuum. What could that be? Never mind. Our theories continue to change as we learn more. It's a poetic journey into true reality. Right now, you are taping into a fragment of the total energy of creation. Every time you develop a new idea, such as writing a poem, or planning activities for today; you are creating. Remember who we really are!
Psychological shortfalls stop us from seeing deep enough to feel the glory and power of Being. Individual ego must die, but the real Self (Atman) is eternal, never born. How do I know this? By a lifetime of exploring the inner self and following intuition; it began when I was young and in grade school. The suffering of my first school years: not knowing English, kids making fun at me, the emotional distress and uncertainty of immigrant parents - all factors forcing me inward to protect my sanity. Somewhere deep within I saw the Truth of Life. I held my space and place firmly and softly: without violence. Later in life, while reading about Gandhi it became clear that "truth force" (satyagraha) is a power seeking to to actualize. Afterwards, I learned to actualize one dream after another.
Live fully this present moment. That is living at 100%.
I keep getting this recurring theme showing up in random places. (Reminds me of how people say when they first meet me, they start seeing '11' everywhere.) It is a reminder: Whatever YOU are looking for, YOU will find. If you look for misery and suffering, you will find it in abundance. If you focus on beauty and love, you will see it, your heart will finally be still with JOY. What I am being pointed to now, over and over again (which I've been ignoring for years out of a combination of my own ignorance and stubbornness) is that thinking the same behavior I have been exhibiting will get me a different result. This is just a bad waste of good energy. (Similar to the famous Einstein quote defining insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.) If you are suffering, you are a victim of something. We are here to figure out what our story is, then write it ourselves, making the discovery that we have been the author of our stories all along. Whatever was done to us (WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN TERRIBLE, UNFORGIVABLE, PAINFUL BEYOND MEASURE) is over, and if it's not over, most likely YOU are the only one who is perpetuating the suffering. That is it my dear friend. (I speak in regards to the physical and the emotional, because ALL ONE.) A promise I have made to MYSELF, is to never sink so low again. The underworlds exist, they are dark, you can explore them all you wish (probably not in a safe manner.) Most humans do not allow themselves to feel such extremes, we are fearful. I didn't want to be afraid of the darkness, so I explored it, I sat with it, I worked with it.... but you must know when the time is done. You must realize your own STORY, then put an end to the story of the people or thing(s) that perpetuated your suffering. Past tense. And in order to fully LET GO, you must realize that there is an end, there CAN be an end to this perspective that you have grown so comfortable in... do you even know you are covered in SHIT?! You must see the end to the darkness you are creating, the all-encompassing SPACE that seems so dark, but once you let go and you are lighter, you can rise to the stars! You SEE the little lights surrounding you in the darkness. Friends who have wanted to love you for years, LOVE that you were not able to ACCEPT let alone even feel even an inch of until NOW. Start to feel yourSELF. In your BODY. Feeling LOVE, feeling LIGHT. Is it painful? Are you in IT? Are you feeling? Be grateful to be ALIVE. Does it hurt you? The love will hurt at first, the LIGHT will hurt after living in the darkness for many years, or perhaps your whole life. Like Plato's Cave, the Light may blind you... but keep letting go, keep getting LIGHTER, LIGHTER and you will become one.