Only The Flow

945466_10151370642766389_1885596251_nMy main Buddhist teacher says that there are no objects in this universe, only events.

I think of my car as an object. But the cars that I’ve owned and driven around in the past are no more – I think now that the steel, fiberglass, plastic, aluminum, etc molecules that made up their parts are scattered all over the planet. Continue reading

In This Moment of Now, You Can Handle It

200px-Marcus_Aurelius_Metropolitan_MuseumFrom Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations”, Book 8, #36:

Do not disturb yourself by picturing your life as a whole; do not assemble in your mind the many and varied troubles which have come to you in the past and will come again in the future, but ask yourself with regard to every present difficulty: ‘What is there in this that is unbearable and beyond endurance?’ You would be ashamed to confess it! And then remind yourself that it is not the future or the past that afflicts you, but always the present, and the power of this is much diminished if you take it in isolation and call your mind to task if it thinks that it cannot stand up to it when taken on its own.

Meditation While Driving

188488_527904523903911_912290053_n

Meditation in Motion

When most of us think of “meditation”, we think of someone sitting motionless in a cross-legged position with their eyes closed.  And, yes, generally, the quickest way to make positive progress in meditation practice is to regularly spend time sitting still on a cushion, doing nothing else but meditating. Continue reading

Book Review: “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing”, by Jed McKenna

spiritual-enlightenment-damnedest-thing-jed-mckenna-paperback-cover-artI just finished reading the book “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing“, which was written anonymously under the pen name “Jed McKenna”.  I had heard about this book for years, but had formed mostly negative impression based on the words and actions of those who said that they had read it.  Several friends who I trust also suggested that I read it, however, so I reconsidered my attitude, read the book, and am glad that did. Continue reading

Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness

395026_10152289147410221_358860250_n

An excerpt from David Rock’s informative book “Your Brain At Work”:

There are five domains of social experience that your brain treats the same as survival issues: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness. The model describes the interpersonal primary rewards or threats that are important to the brain. Some of life’s most intense emotional reactions involve a confluence of the elements of S.C.A.R.F.. Continue reading

Two Types Of Growth

38c5f1934e0ec0c2b458bc2a0eb28c0b

I came up with a theory many years ago that there are two main ways for us to make significant-impact positive growth in our lives.

One way to make a big impact on our life for the better is instantaneous, emotional, intense, and invokes making a courageous and bold big change.  Examples of this would include to decide to take our life in a completely different direction (to go back to school to get a graduate degree, to quit a job and become a yoga teacher), to go and ask someone for something (a cute stranger for their number, one’s boss for a raise), to make a big public declaration (“I am going to quit this addiction from here on”, “You can count on me from now on to do XYZ”, etc), to make an apology or ask for one, to try something new for the first time, or to make a phone call or send an email with important content (“I’ve never told you how much I love you”, “I quit”, “let’s start a organization together”). Continue reading

Balancing Being and Becoming

310281_159661734121568_25376727_n[The balance between doing/imperfection and being/perfection is a central topic in spirituality.  This post is brief and random thoughts on a subject that is practically endless.]

“In India, two amusing figures are used to characterize the two principle types of religious attitude. One is “the way of the kitten”; the other, “the way of the monkey.” When a kitten cries “meow,” its mother takes it by the scruff of the neck and carries it to safety; but as anyone who has ever traveled in India will have observed, when a band of monkeys come scampering down from a tree and across the road, the babies riding on their mothers’ backs are hanging on by themselves. Accordingly, with reference to the two attitudes: the first is that of the person who prays, ‘Oh, Lord, O Lord, come and save me!’ and the second of one who, without such prayers or cries, goes to work on himself. In Japan the same two are know as tariki, ‘outside strength,’ or ‘power from without,’ and jiriki, ‘own strength,’ or ‘effort from within.’ And in the Buddhism of that country these radically contrasting approaches to the achievement of enlightenment are represented accordingly in the two apparently contrary types of religious life and thought.”
– “Myths to Live By,” Joseph Campbell

I’ve heard it said that many of the attitudes that spiritual seekers take towards the path of growth can be grouped in two ways.  One is to say that all is perfect as it is, and that all we need to do is relax and realize this inherent perfection.  This orientation is expressed in many specific forms of religious and spiritual practice throughout time and across cultures, for example the Indian “way of the kitten” and the Japanese “tariki” described by Joseph Campbell above, or the medieval Catholic idea of “Salvation Through Faith”.    Continue reading