AUDIO FILE to listen while you read (with maybe one reading error):
So, it’s come to this?
I started a reading a piece based on a lecture based on book called, you got it: “Doing Nothing”
It had nothing to do with nothing. It was a ploy, a tease, a ruse, a lure to get me to read an article about the meanderings of a creative artist’s mind. I felt irritated – however the artist had some brilliant pieces of art she had photographed and a chuggingly slow river of tangential ideas, images and sensations. I suppose if one weren’t withdrawing from the intoxication of USA productivity and strung-out on random stuff it could seem like nothing relatively speaking. If it wasn’t titled “Doing Nothing” I might have liked it.
But I was anally attached to finding out how to do nothing, which, of course is an oxymoron. And I’m still attached aka stuck in the fucking past obsessing about not finding nothing. Go ahead – smile and feel embarrassed for me. And I’m being serious.
Let’s face it – no can do nothing at any time. But—
If we rule out autonomic functions such as blood pimping around in our arteries and veins or breathing then we have at least pretended we can make a space for maybe doing nothing.
Here’s the thing though – and I know I’m splitting hairs (very hard to do by the way) – as a nation of workers who eschew down-time and laziness the idea of doing nothing seems more Zen and cooler than acting lazy.
Maybe, the closest seemingly non-action state we can take is Za Zen Meditation. If it weren’t connected to the idea of mindfulness it would be an excellent cover for laziness. I mean sit and just “watch” all your thoughts and ideas et cetera coming and going. The one who watches is the mindfulness give-away so it’s not as close to doing nothing as I might imagine.
There’s lots of apps – one of which promotes “doing nothing” for a certain number of minutes – but in reality it’s listening to rain and sounds of nature as a mediation. Anyway, you get the idea.
The idea is that as workaholics who love to work, work, work – even if you love what you do and in your spare time you work and improve yourself – if you’re filling up all your time with stuff to do then you’re never celebrating laziness. Here’s what I think – Americans love to be busy, even when they’re in downtime. So, when some American says:
“I’ve been doing nothing,”
it really means they are doing something that seems like nothing in comparison to a super busy lifestyle. They need re-grooving in the cognitive think department – unless they are attempting to market “nothing”. Marketing “nothing” is got to be the perfect scam, because you can make up anything especially if its tangential, has no plan and seems like the positive side of laziness – though I don’t see how doing nothing is more positive than being lazy.
Being work is difficult to describe because words are separate representations of reality in action or ego related finite mindsets.
Recently I had a powerful encounter with a woman that I had gone to HS with whose FB friendship ended.
My guides advised me to “Go Wide”- meaning go wide as possible to include all beings. With momentary releases of ego in minute fractions of nanoseconds _ was – is shared being with Planet Earth offering love, freedom, peace and consciousness. From ego I have no idea from my little self whether the feelings of Love and Freedom were accepted as offered.
Questions arose from what ego thought of as the creator (God?).
Questions from the Being of Creation arose with: How does Being act or move?
Answer: Being does not act or move. Being is urged into being.
Question: What urges Being?
A: Creation urges Being.
Q: What is Creation? Or, where is Creation?
A: Creation is in the Being of Everything and is everywhere even in anti-matter and dark matter. Creation is the urge that creates Being. Being includes without taking action.
After having experienced a wider perspective and the infinite inclusiveness of Being and having returned to ego I felt profound peace, love / consciousness and freedom that these words are a flimsy representation of the expansive ineffable multiverse in which Being includes. While including could be viewed as a receptive action from ego’s point of view – from Being it is not an action per se. And since it falls out of linear time into no-time there are no words for this Being State.
This wish is that everyone could experience this… Being inclusiveness. Word fail.
In these days of social distancing feeling close to others, loved ones, family, extended family and friends is heart-wrenchingly difficult.
Allow a resonance of feeling to arise in your heart.
The next best experience of physical touch is heart to heart contact which can be done over great distances. Some of you may already know this. Here are a few suggestions and guidelines –
This can be a heart to heart contact – or making space for your loved ones – family, friends, marriage partner, lover – literally imagine a space next to you on the couch, chair, or bed and inviting their emotional presence to be near you. It helps to visualize how they appear to you.
And / or you can use the technology of phones, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
The heart is the source of emotion. There are neurons in the heart similar to the ones in our brains. Our cognitive processes (the neocortex) interpret, delineate and name emotions that we feel – from the heart. Our neocortex also screens love through opinions, beliefs and judgments to interpret love into a context that our egos can become attached to such as romantic love; love in a long-term relationship or marriage; or a parent’s love of a child for example. The love that is beyond ego is the resonance you may feel in your heart as you practice the “I-am”
Love is the underpinning of all emotions.
The purpose of the “I-Am” exercise is to activate and affirm our emotional presence.
One of my teachers, Bhante, lends his presence near to me since he left his body at 110. He taught meditation and the unwrapping of illusion to help reveal our Being within.
Being is love. Being does nothing. Being is.
Once ego is dropped, if for only a moment Being can be realized and enlightenment begins. Love that is Being emerges and is all life everywhere.
Practicing the “I-Am”
Or Listen to the audio file:
Find a chair, turn off or mute your phone for the next ten to fifteen minutes or so. Sit; leave your eyes open and pick a spot to look at on the floor. Later as you get the hang of it, you can do the I-Am anywhere without anyone noticing.
Breath-in focusing your attention on your sternum, the place between your pecs or your breasts and say “I” silently to yourself.
As you get to the top of your inhalation hold your breath a nano-second, or two.
As you exhale, still keeping your attention at your sternum, say silently to your-self “Am” on the out breath.
Repeat this for 7 to 12 times.
You may notice a resonance or a special sensual feeling developing there. Eventually you can drop holding your pause in breath at the top and do continuous “I-Am”s.
Make the Phone Call – the Skype – FaceTime – or Zoom contact as you notice the resonance or special feeling.
Listen and respond with your “I-Am” exercise or the resonance of your heart. You don’t have to continue to do the “I-Am” constantly throughout your audio and / or video contact, just when you remember and / or are listening.
Listen deeply with a softening heart.
Don’t offer advice.
Just be a witness to their sadness, loneliness, heartbreak, worry, fears, anxiety or their joy, fun, bliss, exuberance and / or love.
You’ll feel some of or all of those feelings too.
By merely witnessing your friend’s and/or loved-one’s emotions of course you’ll feel it in yourself and by being there for them you’ll act as vent to help release their negative feelings and celebrate the positive ones and yours in that moment.
After you get the hang of it you can teach the “I-Am” to your friends, relatives and/or loved-ones. In the meantime, if appropriate ask if they need help. Offer help if you can and if you want – don’t do it from obligation or the expectation of reciprocity.
The resonance or special feeling created at your sternum can enhance an emotional connection and remind us that we can connect through the love we feel in our hearts for one another.
In 1967 at age 15 I had this experience:
I stood surrounded by the sand in the luxurious quiet and breathed in relief under a hot sun.
A feeling spread over me:
Time seemed to stop. I was agog in wonder; my hands went to either side of my open mouth. When I let go of my arms they gracefully fell through woven layers of white light to my sides. I was surrounded by this light so refined, comforting and beautiful – I was filled with bliss. All the people of the earth were woven into this light so that distance had melted by love or light. We were all in a sea of light close and far simultaneously.
And in 2003:
I used to make space for my physically absent lover on the bench seat of my truck when I would drive home from work. We felt each other side by side when I did this.
The bond of our love grew stronger as a result.
If your having trouble with the “I-Am” you may be trying too hard, or you may need to get grounded first. Try a A_Grounding_Practice
This practice is designed to find a middle way within. In other words, I find that helps to create a place between acting out anger or rage and running away – fear. Anger when expressed effectively does not become toxic (see Men-Anger-and-Rage-in-the-Toxic-Patriarchy).
The Peace Practice can calm us for a more compassionate thoughtful response to emerge.
I was taught this practice or exercise as a way to relieve the desire to light a cigarette. The practice only worked if I did not pick-up a cigarette in my hand. Once the cigarette was between my fingers it went straight to the mouth and was the lit – too late. The technique was simple enough that I began to incorporate it into the work I was already engaged in – into developing an impartial compassionate witness within.
I expanded the technique to help cultivate a place of peace within myself. This exercise can be done anywhere. To begin for the first time, I recommend starting by sitting. To identify where you’ll be sending your attention bring one hand to the back of your neck. Using your fingers trace up the neck to where your spine meets your skull. There is a bump there and a space between your vertebrae. That’s the spot. You can remove your hand and place them in a comfortable position at or near your waist or on your knees.
Sit quietly and put your attention on the spot. Visualize your in breath going to that spot. Hold it there for the briefest of moments and exhale (see photo below). That is the Peace Practice or exercise.
The place of attention in the Peace Practice is in the brain stem where the medulla is located and is part of the flight or fight response. Anti-depressants such as Paxil – for impulse-control-related depressive moods interrupts the flight or fight response in the same area of the brain.
The time the flight or fight response is essential in situations where immediate danger is immanent. In modern civilization this function is still expressed and is often an inappropriate maladaptive response within complex social behaviors.
The Peace Practice can calm us to allow for a more compassionate thoughtful response to emerge. Like any practice the Peace Practice takes time to develop for better effectiveness.
I grew up in a family that was emotionally constipated. The only permissible emotion was anger usually accompanied by yelling, shouting and SCREAMING.
Though I may have been kissed when I was a baby, it’s a time I never remembered. So – so what? Like mostly all mothers of that time they were constantly yelling.
Our mother was constantly criticizing my sister’s and mine every move, phrase, appearance and yelling when we didn’t fit her ideas of perfection, I guess. Our father was a picture of vitriolic rage of a beet exploding in a pressure cooker with an implicit threat of violence always there ready to strike. He’d exercise his rageful right arm and fist by shouting at those damn Democrats on the tv news.
He told me once: “I made a promise never to hit my kids, like my father did.” Well he broke that promise with me a few times. But did that phrase mean that he would never hit us or he wouldn’t do it exactly like his father hit him? Like so many things that never got answered.
The “highs” of emotion are temporary
My mother seemed to be sad and anxious about 70 percent of the time and mad the rest of the time. One time she burst into my room when I was 13 or 14 in her dramatic and explosive way. I was relatively happy and ensconced in building my plastic clipper ship model and I just burst into tears for no apparent reason.
“You’re such a cry-baby,” she told me. “Be a man.”
It took me many years to realize that I had been feeling her emotions and then acting them out.
Stoic Death Dealing in a fortress of, well… walls
In our family crying wasn’t tolerated. My cousin’s young daughter or five or six died and I shed some tears when I found out. My mother, father and sister looked at me and regarded me strangely.
In February 1973 a phone call came in and my father somberly announced that his sister, my Aunt Rosie had died. Nobody talked about it being good Catholics and all but she had died due to complications from suicide. I went into my bedroom and cried for 45 minutes. My parents didn’t cry. Nobody at the funeral cried either. It was all that stiff-upper-lip-New England, Connecticut Yankee kind of thing.
Full expression of grief is not permitted in some cultures. Much of the grief is rationalized, fragmented and suppressed, repressed and denied. Loss, grief and sadness goes “underground” and often becomes righteous anger as a defense against the “weaker” vulnerable feelings.
vitriolic rage of a beet exploding in a pressure cooker
In general, we as humans have a problem with loss of any kind. We hate being deprived of anything even if its detrimental to our health. When I stopped smoking cigarettes over 35 years ago I replaced it with breathing cleaner air.
When a person dies or spirit leaves their corporeal body we experience a loss that overwhelms the senses and is heartbreaking. Nothing is quite as impactful as the death of a loved one. Even if we experience them in the realms beyond the loss of the body it is often only briefly. Our attachment to the sensory world shapes our identity and its loss is a stunning and overwhelming event that can produce a variety of results.
Depending on how we were raised, how we express our grief, and the layers of grief that may be caught in our musculature, skeletal or organs for many years may be expressed in somatic pain. If raised in an emotionally constipated family like me, where the predominant emotions expressed were fear/anger based then we may be ensconced in an atmosphere of grief without realizing it. This could be characterized as a personality stance where security is sought by idealizations of the past projected on a present or future. This is a set-up bound to trigger feelings of loss and addictions to power-powerlessness dynamics that repeat in a variety of addictive cycles.
Living in the past where the rent is cheaper
Living in an environment where generations of fear producing anger suppresses the so-called “weaker” or vulnerable emotions produces cycles of denial, suppression and repression. This, in-turn, produces greater and more elaborate cycles of frustration within generational family systems keeping the expression of grief at “acceptable” levels and thus preventing its release in the moment.
Through many years studying and treating many people with mental / emotional health (illness) issues I realized that I was the stronger person in my family because of my willingness to display my vulnerability emotionally. I lived through it felt wounded and recovered from it. I learned that I was the “scapegoat” or “identified patient”. My mother, father and sister placed / projected their unexpressed feelings onto me. I acted it out for them and they blamed and shamed me for having done so.
Often wounded people unable or unwilling to express grief and sadness are seeking feelings of constant love either in a relationship, through an addiction and/or excessive physical activity. They may go from relationship to relationship, maybe marathon runners or be addicted to a substance or activity to feel full or feel at peace or feel happy to the exclusion of feeling empty, unloved, anxious, depressed etc.
Living in peace with a mess of emotions
Finding the equanimity of a neutral place inside, observing fleeting joys, happiness, sadness, grief and loss seems to make life, loss and grief bearable and allows for a kind of magic to emerge. From a tolerance of emptiness, stress, anxiety, loss and grief comes a tolerance to these feelings – that they are only temporary. The “highs” of emotion are temporary as well. From that in-between place where the compassionate neutral observer dwells comes a love that has no object and a realization / embodiment that the pursuit of happiness is an illusion. As I work to shed that illusion inner happiness is mine albeit temporary in a world of ego.
Here are a few mistakes where we betray ourselves:
– Trading in the idea that more money will make us feel safe (greed is good)
Using money to express love – that’s what my father did. I think many people are stuck in the “more money will make me feel good, safe – happy, satisfied etc.” The trouble with that is the “more” part is never ending. Addiction to money, when enough money is achieved then money is also power – do as I say not as I do and so on.
One day I decided that I had enough to live on and I allowed my feelings to change.
– Living in the past
This is especially true past the age of 50. Longing for the good old days. The use of memory to paint a better picture of the past rather than the full picture. Basing present decisions on premises that held together in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
One of the best techniques I learned along the way is the Socratic Method or asking questions and receiving answers. This method allows us to be connected to others in a forum of community to assist in solving problems – community problems when more than 2 people are involved in the method.
– Looking to a thing to make us happy
In short consumerism, we have been trained out of citizenship into buying stuff. (and throwing that stuff away into a dump that has become the nightmare of a world that will kill us aka the Climate Crisis.)
The real stuff is the love that binds us all together and tolerating the differences when love falters. I’ve been thinking about how to move my life into a greater sustainable place.
What does it mean to live sustainably?
And finally, at least for now
My father died on my birthday in 2006. He visited me three times around the time of his death and once about 6 months after his death. Since then he has been around a few times. I have a better relationship with him now than when he was in a body. I am able to celebrate my birthday without the sadness interfering with my happiness and joy.
Ordinary waking consciousness emanates from ego and attachment. Ego – the “I” that is oneself is attached to everything. This is the way of the outer world. We forget about our “inner world” and come to believe that ego and attachment are all that is. In other words, ego, language and thought is caught up in attachment.
I’m sure you have heard or read that meditation is about quieting the mind. I can only write to the meditation that I know: Vipassanā Meditation or Insight Meditation. This kind of meditation works with the breath and helps to quiet the mind. It takes practice to quiet the mind as many who practice meditation already know.
The mind creates what is known as a stream of consciousness which includes all matter of attachments – thoughts, memories, ideas, fantasies and so on. Anyone who has daydreamed in a classroom, or in boring business meetings falls into the stream of consciousness. The stream is constantly flowing so that when we stop being present our attention falls into it and is taken away by the stream. The draw of the stream is one of attachment – a kind of addiction so common that it is not referred to as an addiction. We have accepted that attachment / addiction to thoughts, language, fantasies, identity, status and so on is all there is, so we never come to realize that all attachments are distractions that form a recycling whirlpool that eats itself. The distraction is one that leads away from peace and happiness. On a deeper level attachment is the distraction from oneness with all beings.
On my first Vipassanā Meditation retreat over 35 years ago the facilitator, Bhante aka the Venerable Dharmawara Mathahera, a 92-year-old Cambodian Buddhist monk sent us to meditate on our own. We had spent four days in group meditation.
It was a muggy and overcast day. I spread my blanket on the ground and sat. I began to notice my breath, in and out. Flies landed on my bare skin, tickling the hairs of my arms, and I laughed aloud. Mosquitoes landed on me and did not bite me. Deeper into the meditation, with my eyes closed, I felt presences near me. I opened my eyes a slit and saw a squirrel, a rabbit and a skunk sitting in a semicircle in front of me. My thought was, “this is normal.” I continued to meditate.
When it was done I felt at peace with the world.
The Current World
The world of attachment is filled with divisiveness and antagonistic rivalries; as you may have noticed. This is to be expected in the cycle of history we find ourselves within.
According to the scholar – Bidhu Dev Misra we are near the end of the Ascending Kali Yuga. It’s ends in 2025 and is followed by a 300-year transition period before the Ascending Dwapara Yuga begins (seen End Notes for more information about the Yugas).
Kali is the goddess/god of destruction – a phoenix that destroys itself to rise from the ashes. Opposite the 6,000 years of the Descending and Ascending Kali Yugas are the 6,000 years of the Satya Yugas – an age of oneness where there is no ego, no religion, no money… only peace, harmony and oneness.
Characteristic of the age of destruction is both a fear of “the end” as characterized by rabid divisive thoughts and actions as a way to obliterate the end by hanging on to a short-term power, a short-term quarterly dividend – in short, the greed and lust for power. Ego, attachment and thinking are in a whirlpool of oppositional thinking that seeks its own destruction. This might be funny except for a denial and resistance to the existential threat of the climate crisis.
The Inner World
Through Vipassanā Meditation a quieting of the mind can begin to manifest. Ego is surrendered in the moment and attachment is sometimes released in the space between an inhalation of breath and its exhalation. A regular practice of meditation can allow the ego to float and attachment’s roots to be loosened.
A wondrous aspect of the inner world is revealed as ego and attachment are released. A profound peace and simple happiness become apparent. Thought clears, consciousness expands, and time ceases to exist.
This “world” beyond ego and attachment is the beginning of the continuum of enlightenment. It lasts all too briefly as the worlds of ego, linear time and attachment come into claim the vestiges of enlightenment scantily clad through memory.
The Current World as seen from the Inner World
By freeing ourselves from time and attachment, the world of the Kali Yuga – the current world becomes evident. All thought in this epoch arises from attachment and as a result is not original thought. Attached thoughts swirl from a stream (as in the stream of consciousness) into a whirlpool (or black hole) to obliterate thought for the increasing enslavement of humankind.
There is no “we”. All are separate, divided into smaller camps of “us” and “them” living in the houses of anger, rage, hatred, envy and greed as reflected in:
statistical studies measuring a nation divided as much as in the times of the US Civil War,
science and technology as in reducing to understand, and
predatory capitalism as in dividing goods and services into smaller amounts – conquering and destroying smaller businesses in favor of the most profit, the most money and the least or no taxes.
Thought and action is divided into the dyad of good versus evil, right versus wrong and so on with no middle ground of reconciliation, governance and/or compromise.
The action of the dyad is choking itself and headed towards self-destruction characteristic of the Kali Yuga time cycle.
If we are to survive climate crisis as a species then as individuals we could choose:
Beginning the day with a 30 to 50-minute mediation.
Using the meditation as an anchor throughout the day to remind us to choose kindness, compassion and right (no-acting out) anger to right wrongs for the good of all.
Political Actions whether that be donating / volunteering time, money as a protest against excluding people from equal participation in a democratic process
Due to the enormous amounts of money contributed by billionaires and corporations to co-op the government (US) we as a people must take back our government to save it from dictatorial types and re-establish a democracy.
This can be done from a compassion stance where neutral ground can be established – once again – to govern as opposed to rule.
As a result of vague memories filtering through my physical body I have been remembering a higher vibration in a far distant past beyond recorded history and perhaps a remembering of a future time as well.
Sounds crazy right?
Body memories are often associated with a traumatic past, but sensory memories can be wonderfully positive as well. For a period of about a month my body has been remembering a higher vibrational culture. The first clue of this kind of culture or the entire world first appeared in the early 1970s when I began to have emotional and visual experiences of a future vastly different anything. It was deceptively simple:
I saw a woman walking down a dark street in a large metropolitan area around 2 am in the morning in the summer time without fear, totally at peace and feeling fancy free.
This meant and I’m extrapolating:
Women and Men had become equals. Men wouldn’t think of dominating a woman in private or public or committing any acts of violence including rape against women.
White men – formerly the privileged patriarchy, were integrated with all peoples of color and ethnic diversity where power-over was no longer practiced. Only the power of presence was celebrated, love and compassion for others was held high.
Its quite possible that money no longer existed. Trades happened and all trades were accessed at equal value.
Children were honored for their innocence and play. The Elderly were respected for their wisdom, compassion and play. Nature and Earth were honored and revered.
Crime was nearly non-existence. Prisons no longer existed, rehabilitation was embraced and celebrated. Police had no need to carry weapons.
People took responsibility for their behavior and thinking.
Feelings of greed, envy, possessiveness and rage though still present came to be seen as addictive feelings brought about through fear and frenzied states. When we remind ourselves of the love we can access from everywhere and through trees, nature, and personal attributes of loving kindness from others and ourselves those addictive feelings are released.
There are days when the fate of earth seems hopeless – not for earth herself, but for people – human beings on Earth. Part of me wants to go to the future and manifest it in the present. How I do this? With that in my I have been asking Spirit for visions and dreams leading the way. Although this process has just begun I can share with you an exciting beginning:
In the dreamtime I stood and with right arm straightened, palm down, arm stretched left and downwards. I swing it up, colored lights and a rainbow streamer flow out of my right arm as I swing it upward. At midday or 12 o’clock golden yellow light streams out.
A circle of light holds a rarefied space – once common many thousands of years ago. I step forward and the future rushes into the present as the past rushes “forward” to greet it in the present.
I laugh feeling giddy with joy and anticipation.
I wake and realize more work needs to be done on the portal… (more to come)
larger cycles of time
The Yugas in Hindu history are cycles of time of 4 million 320 thousand years of four cycles in a descending and ascending parts. New evidence suggests that there was mathematical error that if corrected show humans on the cusp of the Ascending Dvapara Yuga. The numbered sequence below displays the Descending Yugas:
Satya Yuga – almost 2 million years long sits at the apex of the Yuga cycles and consists of an ascending and descending Yuga back to back. Average human lives span was 100,000 years. This was / will be a paradise on Earth;
Treta Yuga – was / will be nearly 1 million three hundred thousand years long. Average lifespan was: 10,000 years, Wars appear with kings, divisions of labor occur and oceans and deserts form.
Dvapara Yuga – was / is nearly 1 million years, lifespan 1,000 years. Disease, discontent and fighting become widespread.
Kali Yuga – was / will be a little over 400,000 years, lifespan 100 years. People fall prey to ignorance, darkness and depravity. The environment is polluted, water and food are scarce.
More recent research shows humans at the cusp of the Ascending Kali Yuga and the beginning of the Dvapara Yuga:
manifesting a good future in the present
In the 90s I was in a relationship with a woman who was always telling me the temperature on very hot days after I had asked her not to tell me. If I didn’t know the temp it wouldn’t seem as hot. In those days of my late 30s early 40s I loved walking across the street during the hottest part of the day – with temps over 100 degrees – feeling the heat in my mouth, nostrils and how it slammed me into my body.
Now as I approach age 70 the heat has a withering effect on me. No longer can I tolerate 100-degree weather. I become stupid – my reasoning ability is diminished.
I was thinking about the weather as I watched the temperature sensor in my car rise up from 85 to 90 degrees in a matter of 30 minutes. However, I was in the bubble of air conditioning and feeling the future through vague body memories about the significance of “the weather”.
Now the weather is an event we talk about. How hot is it? How cold is it? And there may be an air of competition about the temperature.
In the future we are so integrated with one another and the planet weather no longer matters in the way it does now. Sensing local weather for weeks and seasons in advance will seem natural to us. Who could need a forecaster when we all know what is happening weather wise.
Both learning and struggle as discussed in the previous two parts belong to the mundane world in as much as everyone learns and struggles. Most mundane learning and struggling is fruitless because the state of humans are more interested in comfort than truth, although any healthy ego might say “I want both.”
Learning and struggling when applied with the aim of truth for expanded consciousness, for example involve years of hard work.
Sacrifice and Help
The second two of the four sources belong to the principles of mystery and the divine. Mystery is unfathomable and cannot be explained. Attempts to explain mystery destroys it. In our current epoch the divine is thought of in a parental manner where God bestows grace and divinity upon us as children. The notion of receiving the grace of the divine as children means that we feel we owe no payment in return. Out of this attitude notions of getting something for nothing out of entitlement arises. Nothing need be done to sacrifice or ask for help from the divine without payment. The divine aspects of sacrifice and help will become more evident in this piece and in part four.
Part of the mindset of much modern spiritual nomenclature rejects the word and idea of sacrifice as too harsh and “old world”. It would rather replace the word with “surrender” which implies a process of gracefulness, softness so that it eschews the edges of sacrifice and thereby misses the point.
Sacrifice in most ways is the opposite of struggle. In struggle separation occurs first followed by choice. In other words: I am confronted by something I don’t like doing, I do it and the friction of choosing to do it creates energy. Sacrifice is an act of will or choice from which separation comes and one relinquishes control in the moment regardless of consequences. Sacrifice is a payment without a transaction. A transaction is a payment for goods or services. A sacrifice is payment without expectation for goods, services or anything. A sacrifice once completed is not talked, written or broadcast in any way.
A Partial Example of Sacrifice
The following would have been a sacrifice were it not foolishly reported here:
I was fairly new to California and systems of parking. I lived in an apartment building, that did not have off street parking. I would park as close to the car in-front of me, lock and walk away.
A man started yelling at me from across the street:
“You’re parking wrong.” I told him I was not.
“You’re supposed to park in-between the lines.”
“What lines?” He pointed vigorously at the street:
“Other cars aren’t that way,” I pointed out starting to get more entitled.
“Can you even see the lines?” his face was turning red.
I looked at the lines and saw that he was right and I said:
“You’re right. I’ll move my car.” I moved my car to between the lines.
After that he wanted to be my best friend – he couldn’t stop talking, invited me to Golds’ Gym (underneath the apartment building). I thanked him and politely said no and went inside never to see him again.
In the moment I chose to move my car and park it correctly between the lines on the street I sacrificed my position. I was at peace with myself, contained and present. All the force had gone out of the argument. He didn’t know what to do with the energy so he spent it talking and offering me a gift.
Sacrifices when claimed by ego are no longer sacrifices. In my example my ego was saying aren’t I just great for sacrificing my righteousness and allowing myself to look weak in front of this guy. I abdicated the sacrifice by broadcasting it and implicitly pointing to my “greatness”.
Sacrifice and Decision
When sacrifice is carried out by choice or decision without expectation of result the most common result is freedom. With enough practice with all the four sources [learning, struggle, sacrifice and help] within the context of autogenic training the freedom experienced after most sacrifices does not have to be frittered away; it can be used for more inner work.
Most sacrifice comes as a result of choice or decision. Sacrifices by choice occur in the moment at a precise time when it feels right, when the timing is right. A sacrifice by decision comes before we are confronted with an argument. This is an act of will. The suspension of ego by decision allows will to flow through us and this is experienced as a force or a divine force.
Some sacrifice is not voluntary. This usually happens after the death of a loved one. One can rebel against the death through denial, suppression of feelings reproach and so one that keeps us stuck in the moments before or at the moment of death. If we renunciate our feelings we sacrifice the grief and sadness and begin to move on. And without expecting it we are able to maintain connection with the one that has passed as an unexpected result.
Guidelines for sacrifice:
A desire for reward destroys sacrifice.
Bargaining does not enter into sacrifice.
Do or do not: sacrifice is all or should not be done because it is not a true sacrifice.
Sacrifice must be something you consider precious.
Search yourself for attachments and ask if you can sacrifice them.
Sacrifice can be made for a good reason, but never for a result.
Sacrifice is never about struggle, it is decision
Keep your sacrifices to yourself.
*Transformation by J.G Bennett p. 39-45, published by The Claymont Society for Continuous Education copyright 1978.
I currently operate two businesses out of my home so my need for driving has been reduced to three to four days a week.
When I worked a 40 hour per week job about 20 miles from my house the commute time to work ranged from 45 to 50 minutes with moderate to heavy traffic on the way to work, and 20 to 30 minutes returning. I worked swing shift and a couple of graveyard shifts.
increased stress and anxiety
When I was working I practiced the art of being on-time, which is arriving 5 to 15 minutes early if possible. With the USA work ethic is a frantic obsessiveness to gain every advantage and never stop working. Such illusory notions as multitasking have been introduced to give us more time to do everything and this is: The Myth of Multitasking
Trying to compress more activities into a finite time can lead to maddening outcomes with increased stress and anxiety. Down-time can lead to creative leaps in our work when we appear to be doing nothing but day-dreaming perhaps.
The Peace System or cooperative automobile driving – works.
When I was commuting to work 4 to 5 days a week using a car I purchased it gave good gas mileage. Now that I am working from home and ninety percent of my trips are short and local gas mileage has dropped (admittedly not very good planning – unforeseen health challenges forced me to retire earlier than I had intended). To work on the ecology of it I drive less. This means planning trips even short ones. I apply the same principles of arriving on time to driving to a destination like a friend’s house, the Post Office, market, or bank.
Driving is about intention followed by executing actions
Drivers, Roads, Traffic, Traffic-Lights, Freeways, Police are part of the largestPeace System in the world. Each of us gets a license to drive a car by which a certain set of rules are applicable. The Police are there as part of a safety-net to ensure that the rules are followed so the system runs as smoothly as possible. When we follow the rules, we can move from place to place safely. The Peace System or cooperative automobile driving – works.
I give myself enough time
Driving is about intention followed by executing actions. Intention/action moves can be carried out with a calm compassion, with thoughtlessness, with humor, with thanks, with rushed anger and entitlement (or wild abandonment) etc. I depart (most of the time) 10 to 15 minutes before an appointment so I can have a stress-free drive, use intention effectively and work on being patient especially with drivers who think they are control the only car on the road. If I am turning the car I try to use my turn signal at least 500 to 1,000 yards before the turn. This is about good communication (with intention).
Projecting an intention towards another driver allows me to be more aware of possible unpredictable actions they may take based on their distractability or in other words driving defensively. Also I find that keeping my speed within the limit allows me to minimize wait times at traffic stops even in heavy traffic to some degree.
Driving becomes pleasant when I give myself enough time to do it. When I give myself time to work and lie idle as long as I apply a modicum of awareness to what I am doing.
This piece is an updated version of a piece I wrote on May 9, 2019
Growing-up I found my thoughts were shaped by the experiences I had in the natural world. Or maybe it was the other way ’round. I am a spatial thinker with abilities to think logically and linguistically. In my early 30s I received some training in somatic thinking or body-kinesthetic thinking.
I have a friend that has difficulty visualizing, he says he can’t do it. He thinks in a logical-linguistical manner. Some of my clients have difficulty visualizing and utilize an emotive-linguistic and/or logical methods of thinking.
In the 1960s my family and I lived in a semi-rural area just outside of the suburban sprawl surrounded by thousands of acres of woods, fields, farms and watersheds. I spent all of my daylight hours in all the four seasons exploring the outside and stretching my imagination into the wilds.
It’s quite possible that visual / spacial thinkers have the best internal GPS and those without the ability are more prone to an external GPS. However experience has shown that one can be trained to expand one’s perception of visual-spacial environmental details.
In my twenties I lived in a cooperative house, almost commune-like in some ways. I arrived home from a long road-trip and one of my housemates said of me: “the man with the Road-Map Eyes”. I didn’t think much of it has the time except that I laughed.
In April of 2008 a student invited me to come see the Dali Lama in a five-day celebration in Seattle. We attended a few seminars and a dialog between the Dali Lama and Dave Matthews before thousands of people.
My student drove me around in his BMW – we were taking a short-cut through a neighborhood where all the houses and streets looked the same. I hadn’t been paying close attention to where we were. I was idling gazing at the neighborhoods.
“We’re lost,” he said frustrated. I immediately looked at his GPS read-out.
“It’s not working,” he said irritated and embarrassed. “I guess we’re going to be late,” he said resigned to it all.
I sensed it
I shifted my position in the passenger’s seat and looked at the street.
“I think I can get you to where you want to go,” I said.
“Okay,” he was hesitant.
a matter of trust and surrender
I gave him a series of directions:
right, left, drive 300 yards to the end of this street, go left and take your first hard right.
As soon as we were on the “main drag” I asked:
“Is this where you want to be?”
“Yeah. How did you do that?” He was flabbergasted.
“I don’t know. I’ve always had a good sense of direction. When I was in my 20s one of my housemates said I was ‘the Man with The Road-Map Eyes’.”
“But how did you know this is where I wanted to end up?”
“I don’t know. I sensed it, I guess.”
“Not really. I’ve been doing it all my life. It’s a matter of trust and surrender into something I think we all know.”
And it has to do with training the gift of visual-spacial thinking.