Friday, December 11, 2009

Take The Pain And Use It To Bring You Closer To The Goal

What is the goal? They say it is enlightenment, but that has become a word that we hear often in jest. Honestly, it is only a word unless you go through the experience. And so, you feel a great level of suffering... and most of that suffering is our own doing... really, just the way we choose to react towards a certain situation. Yeah, during those situations things that are said tend to be frustrating or just completely absurd, but the question comes down to this: how are you going to handle it? Are you going to brew in it, or are you going to burn it away and bring yourself fully into the present moment? That phone call could come any day and even if it doesn't maybe it will be an even better phone call. You can cry and scream and after that now what is your plan? All of this eventually ends. Remember our good friend Shakespeare- all the world's a stage. What role do you want to play on this stage; a positive one or a negative one? Don't look at what you believe is missing, instead look towards what has been found. I know you want to be happy and not merely the passing happiness that can be taken away as quickly as it comes. Sadness becomes happiness and vice versa... so what is the verse... and rappers become healers and healers become saints and saints were merely sinners that did not give it up. Let go of that need to be special because you see how truly special you are. No longer looking for that approval that we can't seem to get enough of, and so you keep pressing on but just make sure you press on in the right way. Love what you do; never living in that bubble of lies that says "once this one thing happens it will be all good." I hear that one a lot. Sometimes I respond, but mostly I realize that people want to hold onto that illusion. I get involved in numerous people's lives and whether it is their pain or my pain, I will use it as motivation to make it back to our true home. We are all just travelers, nomads, hobos in then greater sense. Don't get too caught up in this world because it will fail you in the end, but that unconditional never dying love that exists within you will serve you more than a bigger pay check or significant other. Those things are merely tools to assist in bringing beauty into this world... and more importantly, helping to alleviate the suffering of ourselves and therefore others. Do not try to look away when you see someone hurting because you are liable to do the same thing when you feel that way. Look at that sadness square in the face and know that there is enough love and will inside of you to disolve it.

Ah that Tricky Tricky Mind

There are moments when it almost seems like we have this whole "mind" thing in check. But it is truly a "quickie koala" (meaning hard to follow if you ever watched the old cartoon) first you think you've got it then you don't. And if you give it the smallest wandering thought and it will take you on a whole series of non-beneficial thoughts. Worrying about all that things that have already happened, things that might happen (causing more anxiety and less clarity), compulsively day dreaming about the future, and placing lots of expectations on someone or something to be the solution to your happiness to say the least. It truly feels like a knock-out drag-em' down sort of shoot out at the okay corral. And you were doing so well! You were all shanti shanti, blissed-out, giving smiles and love to strangers. But it is in that extended stretch of silent alone time that you finally have to face the things in your mind that you forgot could still stir. They may not ripple the surface of the waters of consciousness as frequently or as forcefully as they may have done once. Still, quite often those things we believe we have discarded are in fact packed away in some shadowy storage space in the corners of our brains, just waiting for the right moment to cast off the blanket of dust and come to light. They can shatter the illusion of all your spiritual growth, like a mirror bursting into billions of shards.

In this moment I recognize myself wrestling with such feelings. I find that when sitting in meditation sometimes a quiet, clear mind is possible, but in other moments sitting is more like an inundation of the mind by a wave of unwanted thoughts. It is an invasion of sorts. On the other hand, I find that a brief intensive workout of some sort can help defend me from this invasive feeling. Perhaps dancing, asanas, shadow-boxing, or a long swim or hike. You just have to shake it out of you. Shake the demons out of the darkness. If you move fast enough they might just jump out of the darkness of your head and once in the light the shadow disappears; you see there was never anything to fear.

During the moment of invasion you might feel an urgent need to contact certain people or indulge in certain destructive habits. Keep your awareness intact and strive to resist and resist. The more resistance you build up against this disruption of your peace, the more fortified and durable your peace will become. There is a surge of energy that sometimes accompanies this feeling of strength. We must channel this energy and direct it towards the source.

Maybe you feel lonely or abandoned or long for whatever it is your ego has you convinced you you lack at this moment. These are merely delusions of the mind and lack any objective truth. Getting at the feeling of inner peace and fortitude that exits within surpasses everything the material world can offer, yet it can be quite elusive. Sometimes you can become lost in an angry, apathetic, or jaded moods, but beyond the shadowy obscuration of all these impermanent negative feelings is the inner knowledge that you are nothing more nor less than a being of light. In these moments, I clearly see the need for spiritual community to reinforce our commitments to spiritual path and support each other in our moments of unceratinty. We can not let each other fall by the wayside of such fleeting thoughts and emotions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All the Lives I Have Lived

I was waking around the Bedford L-stop two nights ago when a flood of memories came roaring through me. I could feel myself walking down the street a few summers ago when I stayed with friends on North 11th. I had a big sign about rapping and a smaller sign about healing, and I would switch back and forth regarding which was on display. I remember romances with girls that I was enraptured with, many that I have not even spoken to in years and would not even know where to begin to get in contact with them (except maybe mental telegrams). I remember people I thought would stay in my life for a great deal of time who have moved on. I have necessarily accepted that they may not return to me in this life. It is the present "me" that needs to return to the eternal "me", so that I can free my self from myself, and strive to realize final liberation in this lifetime.

I have woken up in Charleston, Key West, San Francisco, hung out at greyhound stations... sometimes with real tickets and sometimes with fake ones made by a gutter-fab girl I used to know at SVA. Thank you, by the way, Michelle. You made possible a lot of amazing moments on my journey. And thank you to the greyhound bus drivers who allowed that one fake ticket, that looked quite inauspicious, pass at that moment so I would not be stuck in the purgatory that is a greyhound station in the middle of nowhere.

I think of hot summer days in Michigan. I think of all the girls I chased and all the chaos I caused, intentionally or unintentionally. I think of my old crew coach who used to call me a bull in the china shop, until I met an old Chinese man named Gabriel who helped get me started on the process of taming that bull, directing that energy inward towards the infinite source, which I prefer to call God. Perhaps that makes me old-fashioned, and yes, "God" makes people nervous, skeptical, fanatical, etc., but it is simply a word pointing to the inner experience, which expresses so much more.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Most Important Promises Are the Ones We Make to Ourselves

Every moment that we break a promise we have made to ourselves we are more likely to do the same with others. I return to the theme of not giving in to my sense desires, though this is no easy battle. If it were no onr would have to struggle with addiction. If a thought is powerful enough, it will eventually manifest itself in reality. Though I may have a few false starts, I will remain committed until I hit the mark. Sin is merely missing the mark, whatever mark you may be aiming for.

Keeping the promises I make to myself enables me to do the same with the people with whom I interact. I once dated a young woman who told me her first reaction was to lie and that truth did not come naturally. Needless to say it did not end well, but such is the folly of youth. I have promised to myself that I will not enter into romantic relationships with those who are not honest. But I need to start with my own honesty, with promises to my higher self. Yogis can not make excuses even if the rest of the world chooses to do so, either for themselves or for you. Still, sometimes the promise inevitably is broken; when the credibility of our word is compromised, we must strive our hardest to rectify the situation so that we can restore the power of our word. Honesty has that special ring to it so that you know it's true, and true love has a similar ring to it, one that romantic love lacks.

I have promised my soul that at some point I will go back to Nepal, though I have never seen the country with the eyes of this life. I recently took a tack and marked it as the place where I am from. We live countless lifetimes and at certain points in our current life we are called to retrieve something that resides inside of us. Certain environments help to awaken the hidden gems that lie within our being. May I keep this promise regardless of the alluring worldly temptations that are placed before me, challenging me to forget my pledge. I have known for a while that my guru awaits me in Nepal. I don't know how I know; I just do. Though I have met many great saints, all of whom are wonderful, still not one is not my guru. Yet I have not shown myself to be fully ready to receive my guru. I have more promises to myself that are yet to be fulfilled. The greatest promise I have made is to seek the love and peace that resides within and not desire to obtain that from others. Once I am blessed enough to find this within myself, then I must assume responsibility to share it with those other seekers and strivers who sincerely work to realize the same treasures. But it is hard to remember this at times, and romantic delusions still assail me.

Move On to New Things And let the Old Rest

I can catch my mind looking to go down a road I already know merely because I know it, not because I feel that it will enrich my soul, but a longing for the familiar and it is at that moment that I have to be most vigilant towards staying on my path and not looking for a way to go on an unecessary ten mile detour thru the -tourist trap of the spiritual journey-. It is necessary that we aspire to new heights even if we don't know what we will experience. I keep looking towards revolution as the evolution of humanity. I have to walk my talk as best I can and staying away from the obvious detours that longer offer so much joy as the comfort of a security blanket, and finding it keeps causing you to trip all over the place. Not to mention all the energy you spend keeping track on where the security blanket might be. If we are secure in ourselves then we no longer need security blankets and we can pass those security blanket on to others. May we all head forward with empty hands and empty cups to see what grace life has to fill our cups and along the way fill the cups of others the best we can. I am not fully anchored in the omnipresent spirit of love. Though I strive to get there momemt by moment with an intensity for God that does not draw only from intellectual speculation but from inward accumulation.

So I adhere to all the old to rest and the new to rise and keep creating the space for the things I want and not settling for the things that come around just because they are comfortable and convient. "I care too much to compromise" is my mantra for this moment and may I remember it in all moments of weakness to keep striving towards a greater reverence of the higher self. The higher self does not have room for the nonsense of the past, merely a keen yearning to realize that we are complete and do not need to be completed.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Those Pesky Negative Thoughts

Yes, you meditate and chant and go out and are of service to humanity. And yet you still have negative thoughts making their way into your head. And this will continue to happen for most of your life. Yet, I find the more committed I become the less this happens. The more immersed I become in this moment the less of an effect it has on me. The negative thoughts become increasingly quieter and have less bite, less often. You must persevere. You must push ahead. You must not fold. You must strengthen your will, your resolve to return to your highest, truest essence. You shall not be denied if you always continue to strive. Strive towards the infinite and your success will inspire others to do the same. Negative habits of thought, that your efforts are fruitless or that you are not good enough, and all the other doubts, are merely the delusions of an ego seeking to deter you from realzing your connection with the source. You are an infinite light and when light is shun darkness can not help but remain. All of us, through our commitment to do so, are beginning to shine more brightly. Many people use the word ego without necessarily understanding its meaning, but in its simplest essence it is the very limited concept of who we think we are in this world. My name is Rick, Bob, Sara, Rachel etc.. I live London, Kansas, Jersey, Texas etc.... I work in investment banking, teaching, healing arts, etc.... My friends are Lucy, Thomas, Rafael, Julio etc.... It is our story in a nutshell, who we believe we are. And we become very protective of our story though it may be quite painful or even boring. But still we see it as our story and that which makes us superior or inferior, but most importantly what makes us "us". Yet it is neither more nor less real than the role an actor or actress plays, and our true essence remains hidden to ourselves and our communities when we perceive ourselves only through the limited concept of the ego.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Awkward For Other People Isn't Always Awkward For Me

This evening I attended a dinner party on the upper east side and, as always, I allowed myself to just be myself and to do what felt natural. While I can say that there was a noticeable feeling of inhibition in the room, still I found myself preoccupied with my own inner bliss and quietly listening to the people that chose to open up and share with me. Some did with great joy and others seemed somewhat terrified of me and kept a polite and safe distance. The space had the essence of an over-intellectualized art scene which strives for rationality at all times and believe that solutions can always be found in the mind. In such an environment I always just allow myself, to the extent that I can, to go beyond the mind into a place of spontaneity and naturalness. I find that this is perceived as either a breath of fresh air or rather unnerving, and people either run towards it or from it. At some point people become slaves to social rules and I find that dinner parties often suffer from this malady. I seek to create a home of hospitality where people allow their true essence to shine through, where understanding can be reached in moments of complete silence; where conversations arouse what is in people's hearts rather than topics that will be perceived as clever or merely scandalous. I desire to create a home for many people, a place where people's highest natures are nurtured. Some people have a tendency to become awkward in the presence of anyone who is raw and honest in their expression of self. It is the self-censorship of the mind that keeps us trapped. At one point in the dinner party the guests began to watch old porn that was abstract and artsy. However, I did not pay much attention to what was being shown, and instead became engaged in staring at the third eye of a young woman who was next to me. She kept mentioning that she felt self-conscious and telling me she was sorry. Yet she kept attempting to hold my stare, pulling her eyes away only to turn them back, and occasionally asking me to tell her what I was thinking. I explained that I am not so much in a thinking state, but merely in a state of awareness or no-thought. There was something beautiful about watching her become unraveled and I literally did nothing. I was being the best mirror I could be and holding a space of stillness for her to reflect in. I could see her eyes darting and not knowing what to make of me. I was not flirting with her but just staring as a way of looking through her, into her soul-essence. On many occasions I steer clear of small talk and prefer to just quietly stare, instead of entertaining the typical questions of age, location, birth, school, etc.... because none of that really tells me who you are, nor does it tell you who I am. This can be an akward experience for the mind, but to the soul it is truly delightful. As people spend more time away from the limits of their minds, in their soul-essence they will begin to recognize this as a much more preferable experience.

I want to take this moment to send my love to Manhattan and Brooklyn. I feel a lot of warmth being back in town, even if the external weather might be cold... so if you happen to be around feel free to contact me.
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