“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” ― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Take a step back. Right now. Stop what you’re doing, take a couple deep breaths and just reflect on where you’re at, and how far you’ve come in this vast existence! Totally be with that. Be with your accomplishments. Don’t let any if’s, and’s or but’s intrude. You are perfectly right where you need to be! Even if you’re still struggling…you’ve accomplished more than you probably know! Take it all in, breathe in gratitude and bask in it! Then realize…there’s more of that good stuff to come! You will live on. Take what you can from your difficulties, let them teach you, guide you. You wouldn’t cancel a road trip because there’re some bumps and obstacles ahead! What you do, the energy you put out, and your attitude all affect those around you and beyond.
Be the best you can be at whatever it is you love to do!
Also remember the size of this Earth, our pale blue dot! Consider your words, actions, any drama that may have been born out of displeasure or a differing opinion. The gossip, the lies you tell others, the lies you tell yourself, the endless configuration of sadness, and anger that goes along with that. Consider that dot. Is it really worth it?? Your time can be spent living in happiness, peace and connection with all that’s here and beyond! If you’re to be reincarnated, and if you’re stuck in a low vibrational state (of your own making), you’ll just relive the same events until you “get it” and transform those energies. Karmic graces at their finest!
You have the power and opportunity to transform those energies, even bit by bit, every single day!
Choose wisely how you spend your limited time on this limited dot!
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change.
-Tao Te Ching, Verse 15
One late summer day last year, I had a profound experience involving one of our deer friends. We typically get a few deer-friend visitors every day, and we go out and feed them some flavored corn or an apple. There have been many times I have sat by them and watched them crunch and munch. And I’ve taken lots of pictures from all angles. Yet, that one day, something shifted in me.
There was one lone visitor that day, and I chose to go out to feed her. After pouring some flavored corn into the usual spot right outside the garage in our backyard, she immediately starting making her way down the hill. Fluffy tail happily flicking, she took a few steps, stopped, watched me, and repeated until she felt uncomfortable coming any closer. I showed respect and chose to head back to the house. When I started to head down the stairs back toward the house, she came a bit closer to the food pile. I took two steps, she took two steps. I paused, she paused. An invisible magnet between us.
I changed my mind, and chose to crouch down on the grass when she approached the corn and began to eat. We were about 5 feet apart. Pretty soon, a cloud of gnats congregated around my head and executed their usual routine of bouncing off my face and aiming for the eyes. My legs began to feel uncomfortable due to the way I was crouching. These are the things that normally would have prompted me to get up and go in. Yet this time, I took note of those thoughts, and just let them go by. I wanted to enjoy being in the presence of this beautiful creature. And I did just that. I sat still. Quietly. Focused on my breathing, my energy. I listened to her breathing in and out with small snorts as she crunched on the corn…little bits falling from her mouth or getting stuck on her nose every now and again. Her large, deep eyes looked up at me from time to time, and when I made eye contact, I made sure I held the space of calm and peace so she’d feel it, too. As I looked at her eyes, I noticed her forehead and all the little bugs that were taking advantage there. I saw her long lashes and for the first time, noticed that her pupils were rectangular! I never knew! In this moment, I truly felt I was bonding with the deer; we were one. I sat there for maybe five minutes soaking up the blissful feeling. My wooded surroundings faded, and it was just the deer and I living in harmony. I made sure I thanked her both silently, and out loud.
Eventually I had to get up and go inside. When I stood up, she backed up a bit and then when I made my way down, she decided to head back up into the woods. When I got back in, I suddenly felt different- a sudden shift. Before I knew it, I was crying as I told Dave about the experience. He told me he was watching and didn’t want to disturb me. At first, I wasn’t sure why I was crying…was it the energy? The bond? I think it was both. Yet more importantly, it was my realization that I had been completely, wholeheartedly mindful and…patient.
Patience doesn’t come naturally for me. I’ve been exploring my impatience lately, contemplating its roots in my childhood. Perhaps it’s because of being an only child? I’d often spend a lot of time in my head, and then suddenly want interaction. I’d go ask my dad if we could do something…go outside and play catch, go for a bike ride, play a game…anything! If he was hesitant, soon the asking turned to begging (with a hint of annoyed whining). Not having a lot of friends to just call up or walk to their house compounded the issue. And let’s not forget there were countless days I’d be sitting at a table next to a bar, or just down my aunt’s house wondering when it was time to leave, not understanding the concept of consuming alcohol. (Like, just chug it! Come on! I want to go and do something and I don’t want to do anything alone!)
I asked my Gram recently if I was exceptionally impatient when I was little, and she animatedly told a story about how I couldn’t stand losing a game like the classic Chutes and Ladders or Old Maid, and how I’d stomp my feet and tell her mid-game it’s not fair. Got it Gram. Thanks for the reminder.
As an adult, in the past four years or so, my deeper impatience would kick in when considering my purpose and comparing myself to Dave and Dave’s friends who of course are very much 10+ years older than me. Their skills, talents, etc. outnumber mine like tenfold. Naturally, I want to hurry up and be like them! I want all the skills! Yesterday.
When I really think about it, actually it’s pretty obvious, that I’ve come a long way since moving in with Dave and starting to discover myself. It’s been a process, as it should be, everything in its own timing. I have learned more than I ever thought I would. I have a skill that I turned into a job that I love and am consistently making money with. Everyday! And with that, I am still searching for another skill, something in the metaphysical realm that I potentially turn into a service for others. This desire probably has been arising more strongly at this point because a) I feel I have hit this personal plateau of inner transformation and b) I am constantly surrounded by people who have numerous skills and have created one or more businesses out of them.
So here’s where the universe is nudging me; patience has to kick in. Here’s where I feel I’m supposed to be meditating more, being still, silent, searching for whatever answers are within me. Yet another step along the path of growing, developing, transforming. In essence, there’s never really a plateau. Life is about the journey, not the destination. There’s nowhere to get to and nothing to be. We need to just…be!
And so, right now, I am creating that possibility of being patient. In all situations. No matter the circumstances. Without excuses. I know my mind and my body will thank me for it! And I know I’ll be able to tune in to nature with brighter clarity and discover.
When you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing!
Innocence is childhood. Purity in forms intangible, but always perceived and shown through smiling eyes and dancing feet. Innocence is running and jumping just for the pure exhilaration, without caution, just to feel the air rushing through your lungs, your life force pumping rapidly, and your muscles tingling.
Innocence is seeing everyone, everything without meaning, attachments, past notions, beliefs, pre-designed dreams. We sleep in a state not unlike this, and upon waking, we shift to the mechanical thoughts that endlessly grind as we walk, drive, talk to and meet people.
Innocence is imagination. No limits. Literally imagining anything as possible and truly believing that it can be real beyond a doubt.
Innocence is discovery. The pure exhilaration of finding something previously unknown, and looking at it with a gleam in the eye, and figuring it out or just appreciating it with a slow touch. We rush too much today.
Innocence is nature. Nature does not judge. Nature does not act according to others. Nature lives in its own purity. Nature just is. Innocence is being fully aware inside of nature. Keeping close, physically, and mentally the eternal bond.
Innocence is happiness. True happiness. A state where we feel no burden, no sadness, no guilt, no anger. Peace. Innocence is peace. To be still and feel the peace within is to capture innocence.
Innocence is Love. Love in its purest form. A soul connection in pure bliss and light.
Innocence is strength. Confidence. To be true to oneself, wholly, in integrity, according to the universal laws, and your own.
We are all born with purity. A crystal clear glass of water. How does our water become muddy? Thick with discernment and scrutiny? Why do many seem to lose their innocence not long after childhood? Why do we completely forget about it, let it slip through our fingers, our hearts?
Is it due to selfishness? We want all the physical pleasures this world can offer, and once freed from parental ties that were tight for many years, society seems to give the green light for freedom of any action, no matter the consequences- because in those minds, there are none.
Physical pleasures are false freedom. You are not truly free or gaining anything. They are ways to avoid reality, the innocence that’s always inside. It is when you reach a point of alignment between your heart, spirit, and mind that you can truly be free. We do not need any outside stimulation to become who we already are. We wouldn’t deprive ourselves of that natural, sustaining lifeforce that flows around us always in us if we were aligned.
Sometimes, when certain words are spoken to us at a young age, we create harsh self-judgments, and judgments about the world that we don’t let go of until much later in life. It is freeing to let go of those words from the past, as they are only words- literal sounds from your body with meaning that was created by a human mind.
The universe is our guide. Part of us. Our very being is made up of the same matter that the planets, stars, and sun are made out of. How thrilling it is to be alive! To experience our time here on our tiny planet we call home. We’re all here to figure it out. To coexist and learn. We are here to learn what we may have not learnt in a previous life. What we accomplish here, we carry forward after death. We were put here, born here for a reason. We all have our own unique skills which were designed to entwine with others in order to make life enjoyable. If we choose to not work closely with others, then why not spend time in adoration of life itself? The very fact that we can breathe, and see, and speak? Even if we cannot. There are other senses to explore. Our subconscious already has the answers to any question that may arise.
Let us not question too deeply, as we will be sucked into the quicksand called debate. Let us not go so fast that we do not take time to sit and experience. And let us not be idle for too long, as our sedentariness could be desensitizing. There is always a balance to be had. In life. In mind. In body, and in spirit. Find the balance within. Do not wrestle inner wisdom. Let it well up and overflow. Do not doubt, cause yourself unnecessary stress. Do not give the body what it doesn’t want, what your mind thinks it wants.
We are our own destruction. Inviting sickness and disease with our clouded thoughts. Nothing has to be hard. What we think, we create. Return to innocence. Meditate on the feeling of purity. Remember a time when you felt completely carefree, happy, childlike. Really relive the experience. Become that person again. Filled with wonder, and awe.
Here is a favorite quote of mine, beautifully spoken at the end of a brilliant, musical masterpiece of an album called, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Nightwish:
“We are going to die. And that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die, because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place, but who will never in fact never see the light of day, outnumber the sand grains of the Sahara. Those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds, it is you and I in our ordinariness that are here. We privileged few who won the lottery of birth against all odds…how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state…from which the vast majority have never stirred.”
“The present moment is all we have, So we are not constantly seeking A faster way to do things Or a better place to be. Our vehicles sit idle except when truly needed, And our weapons remain locked away.
Our attention is always on The experience of the moment So we enjoy our food, Our clothing, Our homes, And every aspect Of a simple way of living.
Though the world is filled With sights we haven’t seen, We die content because We have truly lived.”
– Translation of verse 80 of the Tao Te Ching from “A Path and a Practice”
Date of occurrence: 01.11.19
Today I attended a homeless man’s burial.
The air stung as it wrapped around us, and the sun strained to warm us as we watched his golden casket be lowered into the cold, but not-yet-frozen earth. He wouldn’t have minded this cold. He would have built his small fire as he always did, right along the fence across from his stuffed storage units and huddled over it. He may have even attempted to heat up a can of baked beans on a day like today. Chances are, he would have been perfectly content. I remember him riding around on his motorbike, or his scooter, or his bicycle, or…whatever he chose to ride that day…in the cold, in the rain, in the heat. This homeless man seemed invincible.
His name was Dave.
Dave was never afraid to speak his mind, or ask for a favor, or two, or three. “Can I charge my phone here?” “Would you give me a ride to _________?” “Can I park my bike here?” He spent most of his days in seclusion, with his own systems and self-contained sanity. There was never a day that you’d run into him, where he wouldn’t be wearing mismatched, ill-fitting, dirty clothing and a baseball cap or bandana or on a rough day, boxers. These clothes clung to a thin, brittle frame. Wild, billowing white and gray hair always protruded from his headdress. He was loud, and dare I say proud of himself.
Dave was diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Dave’s sister never believed he was. She wasn’t quite sure what happened that led to his decision to live a life on the streets, in the woods, and…in a dark brown van in a side lot of a storage business that my boyfriend, also Dave, owns. In the grassy lot that is part of the storage business where cars, boats, and RV’s are stored, there once existed an old, battered, brown van. This van was stripped of its interior and eventually became packed with old newspapers, cans of food, some personal notes, and innumerable pizza boxes. Dave ate, slept, and dreamt in his metal castle.
Dave was intelligent.
He spent many days listening to an old radio next to his van, or in the parking lot of the storage business as he waited for someone to give him a ride to who knows where. Dave was mostly harmless; a curious creature always wondering how the world worked. He knew how to read and write. And he’d often leave us handwritten notes at the business, and when he left us a message, he spoke very professionally. Loudly, but professionally. He liked to read random magazines he’d probably picked up on the side of the road. He even had his very own personal, hand designed and written, detailed travel log. Carefully written out on the back of a pizza box lid, he kept track of dates during “2013 -N- 2014” where he’d travel from one side of town to the other. “Front Street to Lower Broadway” and “Across Town – Round Trip”. I’m not sure if these were solo trips on one of his sets of wheels, or a cab ride, but either way, he was determined to have a record of it.
Dave wasn’t always harmless.
Dave had a couple guns. I never saw him shoot one. I never saw him hold one. Sometimes I’d be a bit nervous when my Dave would have to confront him over something…mostly him leaving plastic bags, bottles, and the occasional beer can strewn about the property. Homeless Dave and my Dave had this deep, mutual soul agreement that allowed peace to always prevail between them. No matter what. For that I’m grateful! And, still homeless Dave had a temper. Him and my Dave’s aunt, also a manager at the storage business, did not get along. Cats, dogs…you get it. She’d always get frustrated with his littering habits, and ask him to clean up, and I guess he didn’t feel the need to. Those things weren’t trash to him. Dave threatened to shoot my Dave’s aunt once. That was when my Dave had to evict him. The van was towed out for good. He fled, retreated, fearing the cops. Dave disappeared for months.
Dave had a softer side.
Everyone wants to be loved. According to homeless Dave’s sister, he was picked on and made fun of when he was young. He never finished school. He got in trouble, committed crimes, and was locked up on and off for 15 years. Then he was homeless. He didn’t have anyone to love. Until he met Jewel. Jewel lived across the street from the storage business. She was a full-bodied woman in her late 30’s, had green dyed blond hair, tattoos on her face, and always wore tank tops that revealed more than I wanted to see. Dave fell in love with Jewel. Dave became obsessed with Jewel. He would confess his love for her to us many times. Once, he came in the office and asked, “can you go back on the security cameras?” “Yes, why?” “Go back to Sunday around 12:45 pm.” “Okay…?” “Look, there she is! I gave her a kiss you know! Watch!” And sure enough, through the fence you could see him in all his scraggly glory give a brief kiss to this woman. Then, during that winter, we went to plow snow, and he had the van at the time, right along the back of it, facing outwards was a small shrine in her honor. Five or six empty whiskey bottles were lined up with a few of those dollar store roses in them. (You know, those single fake roses that are made to look fancy with plastic white lace, and a little bear in them. I think they even had a scent.) In front of those bottles was a piece of white cardboard with her name written in black marker in large letters. There may have even been a stuffed animal next to it, but I’m not sure. And, one last thing, on the property next door that my Dave also owns, homeless Dave took a can of blue spray paint and drew a huge heart on the front of an abandoned concession stand and wrote “Dave loves Sweety” with some smaller hearts surrounding it.
Jewel had a boyfriend. Going back to the not-so-harmless Dave, he tried to run Jewel’s boyfriend over once on his motorbike down in the parking lot of the minimart at the end of the street. He bragged about how he made that dude’s bicycle fly into the air.
Oh, and Jewel was prettier than me. That was a fact in Dave’s ever-competing mind.
Dave was able to open up.
My Dave is one of the most selfless men I know. He would always go out of his way to be kind to homeless Dave. He never treated homeless Dave with malice. And if he got a little too upset with him, he would apologize. Like the time he threw a rock at the empty van’s window and cracked it. On a different occasion, my Dave went to homeless Dave to have a talk about his living arrangements. On that particular day, my Dave got homeless Dave to open up a bit. He shared with him how he was made fun of and how that hurt him. Homeless Dave carried those feelings with him. When he shared with my Dave he actually sobbed, and Dave hugged him. I thought it was a beautiful thing that the two of them, so very different, in very different worlds could bond on a soul level. After all, we’re all on this ride together.
Dave wasn’t invincible.
My last memory of homeless Dave was when he was laying on the ground next to his storage unit waiting to be picked up by the ambulance. He had fallen off his small minibike that he had just purchased from a local store. Just an hour or so before, my Dave gave him a ride to the store so he could get it. Prior to that, he came in the office to ask if he could charge his phone. Of course I said yes, and as I was on my way to check a unit, I asked Dave how he was doing. He said not good. His leg was bothering him and he was recovering from a bit of bronchitis. He barely could walk, never mind ride a motorized vehicle. Yet, he did. Thankfully, we were late that day at the office wrapping up finances and paperwork. We saw people walking over, and heard yelling. When the police pulled in we figured we’d better go out and see what was up. We stayed with him until they loaded him up and took him. He was terrified of the paramedics picking him up, and I remember him yelling, “I’ll scream! I’ll scream! Don’t pick me up that way!” They hoisted him very well, and as he was being loaded into the ambulance, he made sure he had his scruffy little canvas bag with him.
Dave was wealthy.
I guess when you evade responsibilities your whole life and get a disability check every month, you can save up. He had over $2,000 that day in that black bag. His sister eventually used that to help pay for the funeral arrangements. Years ago, my Dave said that he once saw homeless Dave carrying around $8,000. Problem was, he blabbed. A couple times his storage units were broken into. There was a legend going around that he had over 20 grand buried in a lot behind a grocery store on the other side of town in plastic grocery store bags. Legend also has it that someone dug it up after his death. I’m not sure if that’s fact or fiction. What I do know, is that he had even more money stashed away in his storage units. He could have had anything he wanted. Lived anywhere he wanted. Yet, he consciously chose to reside outside. A month or so before his passing, his sister secured an apartment for him. Dave said he’d only use it when the temps dropped into the single digits. One time he attempted to live with a friend in his apartment; that didn’t go over too well when the messiness set in.
Dave passed away in peace.
I regret not going to see homeless Dave when he was in the hospital. My Dave went to see him a few times. Twice locally, and once an hour or so away when he was transferred. It was during that time, Dave snuck a picture of him for me. He was a different man. Untamed hair cut short, and a wild beard neatly trimmed, he looked like an elderly retired man who perhaps worked in pharmaceuticals his whole life. My aversion to hospitals and sickly people I know kept me from going. Actually, I had planned on going after finding out he was going to be transferred back here. At that point, Dave seemed to be fine. There were no signs that anything was going wrong. He even asked about me and encouraged that I come next time. I was flattered. One phone call came from his sister that he was transferred. The next phone call a day later, he had passed. My Dave and I stared at each other in disbelief. No. How could this be? He was doing well. We never know when our time is up. Dave knew he was going to die, and vocalized it to my Dave. I think he was concerned and at the same time at peace about it. My thoughts were that if the chain of events leading up to his death didn’t happen, he would have died, perhaps completely unknown to anyone, in the woods and later found after silently decaying in the wild. I’d take a hospital bed over that.
Dave’s burial was beautiful.
Admittedly, this was the very first time I had this experience. In a cemetery, with large machines with cranes and big track wheels, lifting his casket into a concrete box, then driven up to a neatly dug hole in the earth. My Dave helped get his casket there. Once gently placed within, there were six of us surrounding – myself, my Dave, homeless Dave’s sister, and three funeral directors. One of them asked my Dave if he’d like to say a few words. It was as if they knew he was a presence of authority. He is a minister, after all, so it was appropriate. Before he spoke, he tossed in a couple tiny Herkimer diamonds that we had mined up in NY earlier in the year- a token of connectedness. When Dave began to speak, I immediately teared up. His words resonated a depth of connection that only souls can know. He flawlessly recited the Lord’s prayer in Aramaic. He acknowledged that while they were very two different beings, they were human just the same. And lastly, he thanked Dave for teaching him things that he didn’t know…for showing him a part of himself. Once the eulogy ended, Dave threw in small handfuls of dirt onto the concrete box- one last parting gesture. And we walked away. I gripped Dave’s hand tight, tears continuing to stream, telling him that was one of the most beautiful and selfless things I had ever witnessed him do.
We are all connected.
It’d be selfish to think we hold any one true answer to anything. And to think that we are better than another. Everyone on this planet is a reflection of ourselves. When we meet another and make a profound connection, we are receiving a piece of ourselves needed to unlock something bigger. When we are open, we learn from others, always. I am grateful I met Dave Krotzer. I learned from him that this human experience can be lived out in many ways no matter what the circumstances. It’d be judgmental to say that Dave was homeless because he was escaping the pain of the world or just avoiding it. Maybe it was true though. I believe he chose his lifestyle because it’s exactly where he needed to be. The lessons he needed to learn in this lifetime were contained in his outdoor world, in his seclusion. There was nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with him. I learned that we can choose our course, no matter what, and as long we live it out boldly, we won’t be unhappy.
No, not David Bowie. I mean a real labyrinth. I have never walked a labyrinth until a couple weeks ago. Dave and I traveled down to Virginia Beach for an archaeology presentation. We couldn’t have gone there without visiting the all-magical Edgar Cacye A.R.E. center. (Association for Research and Enlightenment). We had first gone there back in October for a conference on ancient mysteries. It was truly one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve ever had. The place, the people, the conference itself…everything was drenched in high vibrational ecstasy. It’s hard to explain…there’s a lot to it actually- all based upon Edgar Cayce’s philosophies and readings he did for people back in the early 1900’s. He is regarded as one of the most influential psychics of all time. When he did readings for people he diagnosed them and helped them with existing illnesses by prescribing many holistic, natural remedies. (Many of which you can find today!) The center itself is a mini campus…a main building, and the converted hospital where Cayce worked which is now a spa and café with a gorgeous wrap around porch that overlooks the main area and out to the ocean. And there’s another building that is a massage school. Tucked in between the buildings is a lovely bamboo garden— towering bamboo with small pathways winding through with small offerings of bird houses and stones scattered throughout. Right by the entrance to the garden is a beautiful pond area that you can walk through and stop and sit by. Look at the gorgeous flowers flowing over the stone wall, or observe some koi fish carelessly swimming through their own world.
And then there’s the labyrinth! You can’t miss it. It’s the first thing you see as you walk (if you choose to) up the set of stairs from the main building to the café. The sight of it, just aesthetically, is beautiful, reverent. It’s based of the Chartres Labyrinth in a cathedral in France. It’s like a portal unto itself. While sitting in the café, I’ve noticed people walk up and around the labyrinth so as not to disrupt the energies therein. And it’s just a simple stone pattern embedded in the earth. Yet so symbolic. Back in October, I didn’t walk it as I wasn’t sure of its purpose. So, this time around, with the absence of crowds of people, I chose to. I asked Dave what it was all about. He explained that it’s a tool for mediation. That as you focus on following the path, you can get lost in your own mind just being mindful of the path. He also said that as you walk and notice your thoughts, they can mirror your life. There were little suggestions on a handout at the center, and it said that you can enter with an intention or a question to be answered. As you walked, your answer would come from within. In the center was a pair of dolphins in the shape of a yin and yang symbol. Once there, you can pause, focus on your experience and then exit the same way you entered. When I did it, I chose to walk straight out rather than repeat the path.
I walked the labyrinth twice. The first time just to see what it was like. The first time I noticed all kinds of things…my mind wandering…looking at the path, how it was designed…I began to wonder why the design was the way it was…I was noticing how some stretches looked almost linear, and then I’d end up in a totally different place, and end up looking either ahead or back. When I told Dave, he suggested that I do these things in life like I did walking the labyrinth. I began to see some truth there.
The second time was much more profound.
I chose to ask a question. I had been dealing with a pretty heavy friendship struggle the previous week, which ended up bleeding into the beginning of our trip. Often, I have immense trouble letting go of personal struggles, especially with close friends. So, I asked, “what can I do that will help me deal with this particular situation with my friends?” As I began to walk and weave, my answer came almost instantaneously.
“Give what’s missing. Give even when you do not receive.”
I pondered for a bit. Kept thinking, and then it dawned on me that I felt that Love, compassion and peace were missing. So, I thought, I could give that. Either directly or indirectly. My thoughts eventually drifted to some of our holistic friends that we often see at the expos. There are some inspiring, powerful women in that group. I pictured them. I asked, what would they do in a situation like this? I couldn’t picture them being angry. I couldn’t picture them being sad. All I could picture is peace. They are peace. They are love. They would give that no matter what the situation. They would not be troubled. Truly a lesson I could use!
I kept walking, a slower, rhythmic pace, feeling more peaceful as I went. Confident that I could let go of my fears of losing friends, fear of judgment. I wouldn’t want to give fear, I would want to give peace. By the time I reached the center, I was almost in a trance. I focused on the dolphins. Yin and yang. Light and dark. In all of us. A balance.
I left the labyrinth feeling like I gained something that I didn’t have before. I left, and sat down on a flat stone on the outside while Dave walked it in its entirety. He wanted to walk it alone to get the most out of the experience.
When we finished, we walked to the ocean to let it cleanse us. We walked along the edge of the waves swelling and overtaking the anemone covered sand. Dave took off his shoes to feel the cold waters. I walked further inward. I touched the water, felt its chill reach into me, then flow outward- taking my fears with it.
I’m very happy I gave it a try. It’s super simple. Yet surprisingly profound. I would love to walk one more frequently. There’s a piece of land in a small patch of woods next to our house…perhaps we can create our own. In the meantime, I’ll hang on to my experience near the great blue. Until we meet again.
In my previous post, I mentioned complete connection with everyone and everything. Right after writing, my boyfriend sent me a link which introduced a term to go along with that feeling! Samadhi. A Hindu word meaning seeing with equality. It’s tied in with yoga practice, and can also apply to everyday living. I found a short article online which has a section that sums it up wonderfully:
“Instead of attaching to happiness or a sensation of ‘bliss’, Samadhi is about seeing life and reality for exactly what it is, without our thoughts, emotions, likes, dislikes, pleasure and pain fluctuating and governing it. Not necessarily a state of feeling or being, or a fixed way of thinking; just pure ‘I – am – ness’.”
I can SO identify with this. Ever since participating in the Landmark Forum, and the Advanced Course, along with many seminars, I have been practicing this. It does not come naturally. I’m still in the process of training my brain to recognize and acknowledge instead of react and feel.
Just this morning, I had an incident come up with Dave where feelings and reactions bubbled up as he spoke. What was missing for me was just being…pure listening. He even admitted all he wanted to do was share something with me. Not debate it, not ask me to solve anything…just to share what he was thinking and how his sleep was affected by some thoughts.
So, what happened was- Dave spoke to me of how he lied awake during the night. I made his words mean things like, he’s keeping the past in the present. He won’t let go. He can’t just get over it…etc. When those thoughts clouded my thinking, my being shifted dramatically. I was not Love, Peace, and Togetherness. I was creating a boundary in myself before he was even finished talking. Which then created unnecessary arguing after, and feelings of sadness, and guilt.
I took our incident this morning as an opportunity for connection and self-realization.
To continue to fulfill my main concern- Peace, Love, and Togetherness.
When I stopped analyzing, feeling and judging, both himself and myself, I was able to disconnect from those feelings in order to connect to Dave and truly understand him. Immediately, I felt relieved. It was as if a literal switch was flipped to put a stopper in my flow of consciousness. And yet, I could acknowledge that I am still not fully letting go. And I am noticing what is blocking me, and what fears are holding me back.
It’s in this noticing, without judgment, that I will be able to completely connect with Dave to get complete on an important issue from years ago. I can be in the space of pure peace, which, I dunno about you, but to me feels 100% better than being in the space of defensiveness and anger. I can literally feel a difference between the two. It’s as if I’ve literally separated the two things and set them down in front of me.
Like two colored balls of the same size. One red, and one blue. Say, the red one is a bit heavier than the blue. I can now, from the outside, not only see the difference between the two, I can also feel it. The red one feels heavy. It wouldn’t work for me to carry it around with me all day. The blue one is light. It would work to carry that one.
It takes effort to be angry, and in conflict. And much energy. The body rejects it, defends it, and when it does, it hurts. Back pain, headaches, stomach issues…you name it. Pain arises from actually trying to keep those behaviors in place. Yuck!
Living inside of Love is natural. Your body will not argue with you, nor will your mind. Life and all activities in it become effortless. Even complications will come and go effortlessly when in a state of Peace and Love. A flow.
This I have experienced.
This I will continue to experience.
This journey, my Sadhana, will help me reach my full enlightenment.
Are we really that separate from everyone else? From everything else? In a world where survival of the fittest sometimes applies, many live to do just that: survive. In doing so, they capture a false sense of individuality; they spend time developing a sense of self that on the outside appears to be a “one for all” mentality, yet on the inside is a “one for one” mentality. Those people may be giving, loving, caring…and if you look closely, there are conditions. Why? Well, the answer is simple and will always boil down to the same emotion: fear. They might say to themselves, “surely I can’t be as open to that person, as I am to this one. I have to protect myself. …This one will keep me safe. No problems will arise. But with that one, ooh, others may disagree, I will be discredited somehow…I’ll only let that one in so far…”
All of these conditions, based upon circumstances, create thick and heavy boundaries. When one is not willing to let go of their own, created fear, they cannot create the space for anything or anyone else to come in. No matter how loving that other person might be. Self-righteousness becomes a prime concern. And separation becomes apparent. Like the laws of quantum physics, those behaviors that create separation are then repeated and mirrored over and over again in every type of human relationship and perhaps throughout lifetimes.
These cycles can be broken.
When we realize our true self, and that we are connected to everyone else in a deep profound way, we can disappear those boundaries. When only Love is present, there is no room for fear; we are able to embrace others in a way that brings unity. Even if there are disagreements, and that person isn’t a perfect fit for your life, there can still be communication, conversation and connection. A healthy disconnection may happen, and that certainly works in many cases, yet the lines for real, non-reaction based communication are still available.
What’s missing in our society today is just that: connection. Many believe their sense of connection is tied to technology. Many believe it’s impossible. Many let fear block them. In reality, who we are is everyone else. We are the very essence of that person in fear, that person unwilling to communicate, or that person who is wide open and loving. We are the miracle of life that is contained in every organism that surrounds us. We are the soul, the God, the Creator of all. We are not separate! Once that can be realized, there would be no need for family feuds, broken friendships, and so forth. World leaders would be able to get along, have meetings where Love for others, for other countries, the people in them are the main concern.
We can all work together as the team that we are.
We can look into each other’s eyes and see the entire universe there before us. How breathtaking, how peaceful to know that! All fear, anger, resentment and resignation is pure illusion. Can you see yourself, your mother, your father, your friend in a stranger’s gaze? They are there. All there is to do is to open up to Love to see.
I took part in an extraordinarily powerful exercise recently in a weekend course. The exercise was simple: in silence, stand up and look into another person’s eyes. Just look. Notice feelings. Notice judgments. Then notice that connection. One girl that I connected with was a Chinese woman. She was beautiful. Her soul so vibrant. What I noticed initially when looking in her eyes was that she was very different than myself. From a completely different culture, with a different language, a different set of values. Her eyes physically were different than mine. A different shape and color. The color of her skin. The shape of her face. The color of her hair. All different.
And what was extraordinary in that moment that I noticed all of those things, I also noticed that she, too, just like me, was a soul. A soul that contained God, Love, Peace. I was able to quickly let go of all those differences. They vanished. Because they, too, are illusions. It was beautiful. Tears welled up while looking into her brown eyes. I was able to recognize everyone else I knew in her. Because she is me. I am her. We embraced deeply when it was time to return to our seats. I felt such a unique movement inside of me after that. My soul shifted. I had a spiritual experience unlike any other, yet I could say it was connected to other moments of spiritual awakening I’ve had. Suddenly, I felt deeply connected to the other ninety some people sharing space with me in that room. Even the ones I hadn’t spoken to. Stunning.
Then this morning, I had to laugh…I watched a short news clip about a death in a trailer park. A body was found in a burned shed. A man that was interviewed shrugged and said, “what do you expect? It’s a trailer park!” And you can tell he was totally unfazed by the death and perfectly content with the way things were, no matter how devastating. It’s actions and behaviors/beliefs as such that keep the current system of disconnection in place. If it’s expected that a certain place or type of people should be one way, and a large group agrees, then they will remain that way. No one should be any one way. Why in the world has it become okay to just go on living this way?!
School shootings…same thing. Actions based on fear. A system that repeats itself, keeps particular behaviors in place, no space for transformation. The space is filled with debates, emotion and reaction ridden stories. No action for a different result.
We are disconnected from those that haven’t experienced connection.
Again, if we could just see ourselves in those that are being that way, we could find our true identity.
So many are not being what they truly believe in.
So many haven’t even discovered hat it is that they truly believe in! And it’s there, always. Inside.
They are being who they think they should be, or who they have been conditioned to be. Their beliefs are clouded by illusion.
They choose to follow illusion instead of their heart.
I believe we all have the power to identify our true concerns for ourselves and inherently others. I also believe that everyone’s could be similar if we felt connected. What would we be concerned for? Love, peace, happiness, togetherness, gratitude, joy. Actions are then produced in accordance with those concerns. Those concerns are not only for ourselves, but every other human being we share this planet with.
I am the possibility of Love, Peace and Togetherness. With this possibility, I will be those things. My being will shine with radiance that can transcend pain, suffering, and sadness. Love, Peace and Togetherness are instruments to shatter the illusions of the opposite. I say illusion because they are all created. Nothing happens to us. What we believe, we become. What we be, we see.
Let us gain control of ourselves, as a whole, a group, a community, a society, a world. We are all souls inhabiting these borrowed vehicles on this plane of existence. Take off the mask. Surely it must be heavy, a burden? Perhaps there are many masks…if so, begin to peel them away. What is behind them will be the most beautiful, shining soul you’ve ever encountered.
Dare to meet yourself.
Dare to create new possibilities.
Man’s true self is eternal,
yet he thinks, “I am this body, I will soon die.”
This false sense of self
is the cause of all his sorrow.
When a person does not identify himself with the body