On My Way to the Way With Everyone Else

Single Path 0313I do not believe there is only one way for everyone—never have—but rather, we are all on our way to the Way. We have various labels for the Way–Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism—regardless, the Way always has been and always will be.

“The Tao is both named and nameless. As nameless it is the origin of all things; as named it is the Mother of 10,000 things” (Tao). Our path is our experience of the 10,000 things of the Way: “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

Everyone practices in order to find out for him or herself…how to be balanced, how to be not too tight and not too loose. No one else can tell you. You just have to find out for yourself” (Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape).

Any and all of the ways teach us, no matter what label resonates individually: God, the Universe, the Source, the Unified Field, Spirit, Creator, Krishna, Buddha, or the eternal phenomena of the Chinese “web that has no weaver.”  The unique expression that is each of us is also our connection to one another.

Deepak Chopra says “we are all God in different disguises”; God is having a unique experience on the physical plane through each one of us. As such, we are the energy that is God, the Oneness that is our connection to one another.

It seems we should celebrate our connection to one another but often we separate rather than celebrate, disconnect rather than connect, although we are hardwired to love and belong—it is in our DNA. When we separate from our own way, we leave the path to the Way, and we suffer.

We all know suffering–no matter how we label craving and clinging—weThick of it 0313 do not have to know others’ experiences nor they ours to feel what  DNA is tugging on us to do: connect with one another. When we are separate, we do not trust our way to the Way.

Going out and changing the world doesn’t work for me…It only feeds into the same judgmental energy….Instead, letting go of attachment to any way of believing or thinking has made me feel more expanded and almost transparent so that universal energy can just flow through me. More positive coincidences happen in my life when I’m in this state of allowing” (Anita Moorjani, Dying to be Me)

The need to connect with one another keeps us in search of our way to the Way. Our journey begins at birth. We bring our own bits of light and dark to the being that is our life. The darkness and lightness of each of us is what we offer to the world, what we come to know as our path to the Way.

We do not have to live as labels for it is in our Oneness with one another that we find our way into the Way.

Settling Into the Miracle of What Is

Settling into the miracle of what is may be all that our heart ever needs. How to do that is an ancient dilemma, a constant in humanity, and as such, perhaps the source of the miracle we seek.

“Every particle of creation sings its own song of what is and what is not. Hearing what is can make you wise; hearing what is not can drive you mad” (Sufi poet Ghalib).

KMHuberImage; Mudhen; St. Mark's Refuge; Northern FL

We are prone to making sure that everything turns out as it is supposed to be, which is often synonymous with what we want it to be. We make murky what is, at the risk of making what is not. Perhaps we do not trust who we are; perhaps we do not believe in miracles.

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle” (Albert Einstein).

If living is a miracle, then we are a constant witness to the ever evolving miracle that is existence. Viewing life through that lens, just being seems more than sufficient. It is and it is not. There is the matter of day-to-day activities, relationships, situations.

For every day of the week, I mentally repeat a Vedic sutra as part of my morning meditation and writing. On Tuesday, my sutra is Sankalpa, the Sanskrit word for purpose or intention. In part, it says “every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle. I let go of all grievances and choose miracles” (Deepak Chopra, SynchroDestiny, DVD version).

KMHuberImage; Snowy Egret; St. Mark's Refuge; Northern FL
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For me, Sankalpa clearly delineates the distinction between what is and what is not; it frames day-to-day choices and decisions that are part of the miracle of being. Sankalpa reminds me that miracles reside within the field of infinite possibilities where we choose courage over fear.

That means loving ourselves for who we are, not for what we might be or for what we were but who we are–now. Loving ourselves completely is our connection to one another for it is how we love all.  The depth of or lack of love for ourselves is the face we present to the world.

“… Loving [ourselves] requires a courage unlike any other. It requires us to believe in and stay loyal to something no one else can see that keeps us in the world—our own self-worth” (Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening).

When we settle into the miracle of what is, we love ourselves as we are. The face we present to the world is our open heart, a revelation of our self worth. It does not mean that the world is open to us but rather, in courage we choose the miracle of what is, including pain.

Every moment of our life is like opening night for our roles are constantly evolving, while we await the response of our audience, the world in which we live. And as each scene plays out to either applause or catcalls, we settle in to the next. The play is Oneness and each of us must play a part, on and off stage.

“And all moments of living, no matter how difficult, come back into some central point where self and world are one, where light pours in and out at once.…a fine moment to live,” for it is yet another miracle of what is (Mark Nepo).

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Thursday Tidbits: Getting What You Want

Welcome to Thursday Tidbits, choice bits of information that celebrate our oneness with one another through our unique perspectives. It is how we connect, how we have always connected but in the 21st century, the connection is more immediate than it has ever been.

As I continue to explore detachment—or not trying to control the outcome of a moment—it seems to be a matter of attention and intention, which Deepak Chopra says are the two qualities of consciousness. In other words, through attention and intention we create the reality we live:

“Intention combined with detachment leads to life-centered, present moment awareness. And when action is performed in present moment awareness, it is most effective. Your intent is for the future, but your attention is in the present. As long as your attention is in the present, then your intent for the future will manifest, because the future is created in the present” (Seven Spiritual Laws of Success).Old Woman Tree; KMHuberImage; Tallahassee Park in Winter

But what follows is not quite as easy, at least for this human: 

“You must accept the present as is. Accept the present and intend the future. The future is something you can always create through detached intention, but you should never struggle against the present” (Seven Spiritual Laws of Success).

Often, not struggling seems like giving up or not standing up for one’s beliefs but I suspect that is where detachment lies. We immerse ourselves in the moment and not its possible outcome. And if we feel stuck in the moment?

In Pema Chödrön’s quote for the week, “The Sensation of Bliss,” she relays a time in her life when she was feeling quite overwhelmed, anxious and the more she “settled into” the feeling the more it consumed her.

She consulted one of her teachers who told her that he, too, had experienced a similar feeling and then asked her to describe her experience, including all of the physical sensations she felt. Here, she relates what her teacher told her:

“… He brightened up and said, `Ani Pema…That’s a high level of spiritual bliss.’ I almost fell off my chair. I thought, `Wow, this is great!’ And I couldn’t wait to feel that intensity again. And do you know what happened? When I eagerly sat down to practice, of course, since the resistance was gone, so was the anxiety” (Pema Chödrön’s Quote of the Week).

Somewhat similar was my own feeling regarding Cooper’s death. Fearful of his having another seizure, I lie awake, watching him sleep, yet as Christmas Eve became Christmas morn, the anxiety and resistance to his impending death left me. They never returned.

What has filled me is an immense gratitude for being, and with it, joy. And yes, it still amazes me. “Past and future are born in the imagination; only the present, which is awareness, is real and eternal. It is” (Law of Intention and Desire, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success).

The Deepak Chopra video is a how-to on the Law of Intention and Desire, in particular on what to focus your attention so your intention may go to work for you.

Recent Inspiring Posts:

Heartflow 2013: Made for These Times

Everyday Gurus: A Split Second To Peace

Barbara Kingsolver excerpt:  Small Wonder

Taoist Path: Attention and Intention in a Hectic World

 

The Mirror That is You

Love reflecting upon itself—seeing others in ourselves and ourselves in others—or Tat Tvam Asi, Sanskrit for “you are that, that you are.” All individuals comprise the connection that is oneness.

Yet in order to connect, we must detach, free ourselves from clinging to one way or another. We detach when we look into the mirror of our oneness so that we see each other.

KMHuber Image; St. Mark's Refuge, FL; mirror
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Detachment is not giving up anyone or anything but rather, it is attaining freedom. My own experience tells me that when I am completely present, my life is free of past conditions and future “what ifs,” wide open to the field of infinite possibilities.

When we are completely present, we are giving the moment our full attention. Attention energizes the moment, keeping it free from the past, the future or any current situation. When we energize the moment, we set our intention, the direction we wish to travel within the field of infinite possibilities.

Intention transforms or changes the moment but intention does not attach to any one solution, any one goal. There is no clinging, no controlling how it all works out. Rather, with intention, we set our course, remaining open to the outcome as it reveals itself.

I do not find detachment easy but I find it attractive for it is staying with what is, not what was, what might be or even the outcome I think best. I cannot possibly know what is best but I can focus on a direction.

Deepak Chopra writes that in detachment, there is wisdom in uncertainty. Likewise, attachment to anything results in fear and insecurity:  “In order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it” (Seven Spiritual Laws of Success).

It seems to me detachment offers us the mirror of oneness, the reflection of what connects us to one another. Perhaps it provides us a way through our separateness.

KMHuberImage; oneness; St. Mark's Refuge FL
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In detachment, our perspective broadens as do our perceptions for we are not attached only to one way or the other but are engaged only in what is. We recognize traits in one another because we know them as our own. In our oneness, we are mirrors, reflecting the world to one another.

Oneness never diminishes the individual but celebrates it–Tat Tvam Asi—you are that, that you are. All are part of the whole. In celebrating our connection to one another, our attention is on what connects us, not what separates us. The energy of attention—our connection–sparks the intention of reaching critical mass awareness.

For the first time in the history of humanity, we have the technology to create global consciousness one person at a time– the only way change is ever truly affected–as we reflect ourselves to one another through the mirror of oneness, a celebration of each and every one of us.

When we are open to what is—the infinite field of possibilities–we are not attached to value, judgment or labels but to “the dream of constant okayness” as Pema Chödrön named it. The infinite field of possibilities abounds in the state of okayness in every moment for every one of us.

The gift of oneness is that the uniqueness of every individual is what connects us, is what allows us to mirror the world for one another. It is how we recognize ourselves.

We live in a fractious and fearful world; we live in a moment unlike any other. As with all who have come before us, we have the opportunity to create a planet of thoughtfulness, mindfulness but unlike previous generations, we have the technology to criss-cross the globe, connection upon connection.

The world grows smaller as we grow closer. “It is only by risking ourselves from one hour to another that we live at all” (William James). It is up to us as it has always been.

KMHuberImage; Mud hens; St. Mark's Refuge FL
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Thursday Tidbits: Unconditionally Easy

Welcome to Thursday Tidbits, choice bits of information that celebrate our oneness with one another through our unique perspectives. It is how we connect, and it is how we have always connected but in the 21st century, the connection is immediate.

It occurs to me that in exploring peace I am also exploring unconditional love, whose existence we freely acknowledge in animals but when it comes to humans, we grow very quiet very quickly.

Yet, what if the connection between peace and unconditional love lies in the law of detachment, like a bridge between the two? 

Deepak Chopra describes the law of detachment in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success as: 

“In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty… In the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. 

“And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.” 

Therein, lies the rub, trusting in the wisdom of uncertainty, free from the conditions of our past or what Pema Chödrön calls “The Dream of Constant Okayness.” 

“It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. 

“When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. 

“Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human” (Heart Advice, Weekly Quotes from Pema Chödrön) 

And finally, from the Mundaka Upanishad:  

“Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree, intimate friends, the ego and the Self dwell in the same body. The former eats the sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life, while the latter looks on in detachment.” 

These are favorite quotes of mine that I read so frequently I can recite parts of them from memory, which is not to say that I live them, only that my memory is in constant retrieval mode. However, there are moments I visit Michael Singer’s “Seat of Self,” where I am aware of the world coming through my humanness but alas, I do not yet sit for long.

How about you? Are you familiar with the golden birds of the Mundaka Upanishad? Do you struggle with the inherent ambiguity of “constant okayness”? Is there wisdom or freedom in uncertainty? Are humans capable of unconditional love?

If questions are not what you seek, then here is a north Florida treasure, Hot Tamale, singing “Easy,” a song for all of us wherever we are in our awareness.

Finding Story Anew

My last two blog posts have been an examination of my current mind-body consciousness, specifically my meditation practice and eating habits. I share Deepak Chopra’s belief that a change in one’s consciousness or awareness affects a change in one’s physiology at the cellular level.

I don’t remember when I did not believe in the mind-body connection but I know that reading Chopra’s Quantum Healing helped me consider what quantum healing may mean for me. I first read the book in the early 1990s and again just recently.

Old Woman Tree; KMHuberImage; Tallahassee Park in Winter

Of course, my current level of awareness is quite different these twenty years later. Then, I was completely attached to outcome—clinging the Buddhists call it—meaning my attention was always focused on the end result. Mostly, I was on a pendulum, swinging back to the past and then to the future without a thought to the moment. No wonder I never felt free.

Becoming aware that the moment is where freedom resides broke me open to Chopra’s “field of infinite possibilities” both physically and spiritually. Now, every facet of my life is fluid as I focus on what is and not what might be, which takes a lot more energy but in every moment, there is more energy.

Nowhere is this more evident than in my writing. When I began blogging, my writing focus was entirely outcome based: I set myself a certain number of words per day, I joined various writing challenges, and I troubled my readers with my angst over whether to plot out a novel scene by scene or just write it out by the seat of my pants. In nine months, I produced 220,000+ words in what I have come to regard as my daily writing practice. It is as valuable as my daily meditation practice, and  I don’t regret a word.

I was so attached to the outcome of writing– was it a novel, was it a memoir, was it a compilation of essays–that I abandoned story in search of format or genre. I could not free myself of what my words might become until I settled into the moment to write. One word after another, each sentence emerged from life rather than artifice. I re-discovered how I write.

In writing from the field of infinite possibilities, format/genre didn’t matter nor did structure, which is not to say that format and structure do not matter. They do and are critical to a successful outcome but like story, they have their moments for each writer to discover. For me, that meant having to know my story first, and I wrote in a way I have never written.

Having always appreciated a good story, I was well aware that I did not know the structure of story so I found out from those who did. I read, I watched movies, I discovered scene, and I wrote every day. I began to see snatches of story and I was reminded of John Irving’s response to the question of how he writes: “I start writing my autobiography and then I begin to lie.”

Pond in Winter; KMHuberImage; Tallahasse Park in Winter

I am writing an old woman story, and I am an old woman. If one can come of age at age 60, this woman does it. I cannot say that she is sympathetic or even likable—yet—but she exists in more faces and more places than is comfortable for any of us. Age or aging is still a thorny subject, and we have many clichés and euphemisms to avoid the word old.

But what can a woman make of a life at 60, if she has just awakened? That does sound rather autobiographical but I was lying before the end of the first paragraph–such is the way of story. For all I know, the old woman story—for lack of a better title–will remain part of my writing practice, as publication is not the outcome it once was for me. It’s too soon to tell.

For now, I go to the writing every day just to see what happens  with the old woman for I have not lived her life, although an old woman myself.

Considering Critical Mass

Imagine what critical mass consciousness might mean for our planet. That’s what I have been considering this past week. In this context, I am referring to critical mass as “a threshold value of the number of people needed to trigger a phenomenon by exchange of ideas” (Wikipedia).

In a recent Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra suggested the possibility of critical mass consciousness because of the advances we have made in technology.  Imagine all of us aware of being aware.

The idea of awareness or wholeness reaching such a threshold does seem more than plausible as we are able to communicate globally on a daily basis, if we are so inclined. Whatever technology may or may not be, it is bringing us together face by face, word by word, video by video, an ongoing parade of points of view. It seems there are few places or events that we cannot access.

The recent US presidential election is a good example of such an event. The reelection of President Obama revealed much about us as Americans, not the least of which is that we, too, are moving toward that segment of the planet where white is just another color. In revealing ourselves, warts and all, we relied on the risk that is hope, on the spark that is genius.

“Genius is a crisis that joins the buried self, for certain moments, to our daily mind” (William Butler Yeats). Whenever we are jarred into genius, we have the opportunity to become whole–once again aware—to perceive yet another perspective on what it is to be human. Through crisis, we absorb all that we have been so that we may be yet again anew and maybe, just maybe not as attached.

“The purpose in crisis, if there is one, is not to break us as much as to break us open” (Mark Nepo). Letting go is a lifelong lesson. To be broken open is to detach from the outcome of crisis, no matter how difficult it is or how long it takes. To become aware of all around us requires us to love enough to let go. As the Buddhists say, “to be a fisherman you must detach yourself from the dream of the fish. This makes whatever is caught or found a treasure” (Nepo).*

Perhaps that is what takes us to crisis, our ever narrowing inability to let go of the dream. We attach our lives to a candidate, to a belief, to a fish, and we close ourselves to any and all outcome outside of our narrowly defined dream. No such dream could ever come true for our attachment to its outcome is beyond the dream.

St. Francis told us that “[we] are what [we] are seeking.” As seekers, we break open, teetering on the edge of ourselves, where awareness begins. Extending all that we are to all that surrounds us is consciousness, motivated only by compassion, love, gratitude, and joy. Just consider that we have the technology to reach such critical mass consciousness.

*(All Mark Nepo quotations are from The Book of Awakening, Kindle version).