Stream of Life

This is the last chapter in my book: “On Human Being – Loving & Living without Purpose.”

 

Follow a stream from its highest point, whether it is a spring releasing water from an unknown source or from the snows of winter melting and giving their life giving waters to everything below.  As the stream finds its way down from its heights, it passes by or over many obstacles along its way, but it always seems to find a way.  Its course often seems impossible, but as it runs into obstacles, it finds the path of least resistance which sometimes means going around obstacles or perhaps it waits patiently to fill a certain low spot that will allow its waters to eventually flow over its would-be obstruction.  As we follow the stream, it will sometimes rush in great torrents down steep hillsides or spill over high cliffs into pristine pools below.  Sometimes it will meander through large open meadows where beautiful alpine flowers bloom and fill the landscape with color, fragrance and brilliance.  Perhaps the stream splits off and fills the meadow with small tributaries that merge back together.

 

The sounds of the stream also tell us something about its travels in that it will gurgle as it meanders through unobstructed fields and meadows, but it rushes and roars as it surges over cliffs, down steep canyons filled with large boulders and other obstructions.  As we continue our journey following the waters, we might see another stream joining ours, increasing its size and power.  Still, the waters push forward, twisting and turning as needed to work its way around the landscape as effortlessly as possible.  In fact, as we observe this stream, it never occurs to us that the waters are fighting their way downward.  It all seems so effortless and easy.  Even in those places where the river has cut its way through rocks and cliffs that, when looking at, simply does not look possible.

 

The stream weaves its way through a tapestry of life introducing us to all manner of trees, shrubs, plant life, and animal and insect life of all kinds.  Some of the places the stream takes us are shaded from the sunlight and are cool and dark, even forbidding, while other places are sunlit and brilliant and the shadows cast on the moving water make it look different, even mesmerizing.  There are places on its journey where it shoots through cracks in the rock and we see rainbows cast so close, we can touch them or we feel the cool mist on our faces.  Everything about this journey is peaceful and calm and the constant rushing of the river soothes us and at times we may even find ourselves talking to the waters as if they could hear.  They can! Never do we sense, as we journey alongside the stream, that it struggles to get where it is going.  It moves effortlessly, inexorably passing by all the wonders of its long journey to get to its destination which, by the way, does not exist.  As it passes by life, it gives life by giving of itself so that all is refreshed, nourished and uplifted.  It is a relaxed life that looks for peace wherever it goes, and it goes where it goes simply because that is where it goes.  We may find evidence along the way when it changed course or with the help of natural forces it moves out of one bed and into another.  Still, it matters not.  The stream is not choosing a path to follow.  It is simply flowing and as it flows, the path opens up, and with each new opening, new adventure, new beauty and wonder lies before it and it brushes up against all of it, content to take it all in and give back what it can in the form of life giving water.   Onward, ever onward, it moves through hills and valleys, forest and fields.  Taking in but giving back.

 

The stream gives life, but is given to life as life is given to it.  Its course is never straight nor is it narrow or wide.  We cannot map its exact course because a map of the stream’s journey could never account for every detail the stream encounters on its way down the mountain. The stream does not choose this way or that.  It simply flows where the grade of the mountain (life) takes it and it embraces and gives back to everything it encounters on its way.  Every aspect of the journey is just that – part of the journey. There is no purpose other than to serve as that part of the journey.  That incredible moment is as the water passes by all that matters and all is uplifted and better for the experience.  No great crossroads or turning points in this encounter or that one.  Just life giving of itself for all to marvel at and enjoy.  The stream moves on, as do we.

 

There are no perfect geometric patterns in life as we all would like to believe there is, or as our math and science teachers say.  The straight path does not exist except in our imagined lives.  There is no straight way to any purpose we consider to be our very own.  Life is a stream!  We are taught from a very early age that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but no part of our life on earth is a straight line.  In life, the shortest distance between two points is the one that took you from point A to point B regardless of what distance you traveled or the time it took. Ego looks at life in a finite way, and in so doing, it must find order and structure that was never intended to be there.   Our true life is an infinite experience and every twist and turn, the ebbs and flows, as we call them, are never consistent with what our egos expect.  This is the cause of suffering in individuals as well as in society.  Ego constructs a true and ordered life and even uses sacred writings and ancient wisdom to reason with us that if we follow the prescribed path it reasons is the correct one, life will work out and flow effortlessly to the end.

 

Those who rigidly follow their ego’s prescribed course often find themselves in turmoil and needless suffering because they followed the rules and they didn’t get where they were supposed to.   Life is full of Monday morning quarterbacks looking back at what went wrong with their plan or what they could have done differently to achieve the pre-planned outcome.  We see this second guessing, questioning in every aspect of our lives including religion, academics, and occupations.  We might hear someone exclaim, “I followed God’s laws as I have been taught them”, or “I worked hard and did everything I was supposed to, but why was I not protected or spared an outcome I was sure could not happen if I obeyed all the rules.”   Unlike the natural flow of the stream which always finds its way, many will push against the natural course of life.  They will push against it and question their misfortune.  You can almost see them standing in the stream facing upward with clenched fist defying the direction of flow as if challenging it to reverse its direction and go where they command it.  All it does, however, is move forward, following its natural course, either moving around you as you fight against it, or sweeping you up in its current.  Life does not care about the choices we make.  Life, like the river, flows on, embracing everything in its path, and giving back every step of the way. If we could see our lives as a river or stream and simply flow with it, our journey would be so much more pleasant and our expectations would not get mixed up or confused with the twists and turns in life we could not see coming.

 

The grand part of life we can all enjoy is the pure experience of it.  A river has no purpose other than to flow where it will, and it is the same for us.  Life flows on whether we resist it or not.  Why not enjoy it? Human ego is so busy finding or giving meaning to the process of life and finding justification and cause for everything that happens that we miss much of its inherent beauty.  We pass by the works of man or nature and never see them because our focus is on understanding life rather than living it.  In trying to understand it or analyze it, we miss it or it passes us by.  Every bend in the stream, every change in direction is an opportunity to experience life in a new and incredible way, and particularly from our own unique perspective.   Maybe we won’t experience things as others might, but what we do experience is uniquely ours and the only enrichment we need take from any experience is our own to appreciate and fully embrace.  “What happens; happens.”  Not because we have control over life by the choices we make, but because there are no wrong choices, which is the same as saying there are no choices at all.  If we participate in life without the mental anguish of deciding the better of all our various choices then anything we do, any path we follow will be good and right and un-judge-worthy. This type of participation in life removes the resistance we feel as well.

 

I used to tell my daughter, who would work so hard to get cast in school plays, or achieve academic success only to be disappointed over and over, that life was not fair.  I would tell her that she would encounter situations throughout her life that would prove that life was unfair and that she would be mistreated along the way, even though she worked harder and harder to achieve her objectives.  How naïve I was and, unfortunately, the message I imparted to her was completely wrong.  Not only is life fair, but it is completely honest.  Life is truth therefore it cannot be dishonest.  The only dishonesty in life is our own dishonesty which culminates deep within the egoic structures of the mind.   Our egoic identity is the only thing on this planet that resists the natural flow of life, to the point that what we have come to believe about ourselves and what we are is the only dishonest thing in life.  Ego-constructed reality and reality are diametrically opposed to each other and we get caught up in the game of life that convinces us that life is hard and not always just or fair.  Ego is always swimming against the current of life, trying to offer another kind of reasoning for the ebb and flow that doesn’t always seem so pleasant.   Life is always honest and it always finds the way to bear that out.  How hard we sometimes struggle to keep what we know about ourselves from ever seeing the light of day, and so we bring dishonesty to the light of life.  Our lies, our dishonesty dims the light of life, and compounds our struggle against the stream that, if we would only let go of everything we hold so tightly to, would all drift out of sight and our lives would freely and effortlessly blend together with the flow of life never to be consumed in worry, doubt or the endless game of making ourselves “other” than ourselves.

 

Nothing in our three dimensional awareness can account for what is really happening and therein lies the greatest lie we tell ourselves.  The more precise and defined we become, the less aware we are; and the more we convince ourselves that we are precise and defined, the more of our true selves we trample under foot, and the greater our lie becomes. The lack of awareness culminates in the denial of the stream of life we all follow.  It is to convince ourselves that we can make the stream of life straight and exact according to geometric rules that only hold in a manmade reality.  We convince ourselves that within the sterile structure of manmade forms is the answer to who we are if we but push science to find the one simple equation that defines everything we will ever need to know.   Only the ego could have created such a lie.  Only ego could convince us that straight lines can be found in nature and that a formula can be derived that will be able to predict everything we can expect for the future and give an explanation for everything that has happened in the past.  Conscious awareness is a very limited awareness because of its ability to dump so much information so quickly we cannot even sense that it is happening.

 

As we meander or tumble through life, we tend to miss the incredible sights along the way as they are happening, but we know they were there because we think back upon them. Sometimes we look forward to the horizon out yonder and think that when we get there, things will be so much better, or all our questions will be answered.  We easily look forward and backward because those are the places we can most freely and successfully lie about.  In the conversation we have with ourselves, we can reminisce how much better things were “back then” or how much better they will be in some future “when”.   Now, the present moment we exist in right now, is an honest moment that is pure and untainted by any thought for yesterday or tomorrow until our egoic reaction to it poisons it with untruth.  Facing the present is our most daunting challenge because of its purity.  In our un-pure state, we have difficulty facing the purity of present reality because being present forces us to look at ourselves without the ideological masks that we have created to shield us from the glare of present reality.  Being present strips us clean of all the false definition we use to demonstrate ourselves to the world.  It is a scary place for the ego.  In fact, it is a place the ego cannot exist in because ego is anything but honest.   Ego needs identity.  That is why it always reminds us and everyone else of its past accomplishments or projected future achievements.  These are its cover; a safe haven from something that cannot be explained in its terms, its language.

 

The stream of life is infinite.  The egoic life is finite.  The two cannot co-exist.  They cancel each other out.  Either we are in the flow and completely truthful or we are in illusion and living a lie.  The stream of life is enjoined with the world and nothing is missed along the way.  The largest of egos and the highest degrees of knowledge and education cannot describe what the stream knows.   Its world is the whole world and it is one with it.  It knows the terrain, the hills, valley and rocks along the way and is never fooled by images condensed and printed on a map that the ego provides.   It feels everything and reaches out to everything, as it gives to life, its “own” life. Consciousness cuts away so much of life while ego tries so hard to convince us that what we are conscious of is the real nuts and bolts of life.  It works hard to convince us that its view of the world “is” the world.  Its view is always looking backward or forward, but never does it acknowledge the present with its billions and billions of pieces of information discernible right now to a quiet non-egoic soul.

 

We are in the stream of life whether the egoic self believes it or not, and the stream always moves ahead, even if we fight against the current.  Our experience is an unfolding. The more we flow with life, the more a part of us life becomes. Every aspect of the terrain we pass through is our guide, our map and our journey becomes an infinite stream of intuition and awareness that consciousness no longer blots out.   Our intuition and our wonderful bodies are sensory instruments available to all of us to navigate and enjoy our life experience here on planet earth.   We step off the cosmic train for a short time and we can enjoy the experience or fight against it.  We choose.  The ego created world is calculated and sterile and does everything it can to reduce the stimulation we all are equipped to comprehend.  Granted, the comprehension is not in the language of ego, which has also been stripped away of the greater part of knowing.  Our intuitive abilities need to be at the forefront of our awareness, not in the background as they often are.  Tune them in and turn on the truth of real life. Real existence! Destiny is unknown, therefore, non-existent.

 

The possibilities available to us along our journey through life are endless.  Ego wants to see and plan for the end.  It seeks a goal, an end that, when reached, is somehow a utopic conclusion to a well-planned life strategy. I was speaking with a friend one evening who was looking for a catalyst of perhaps thought or an individual such as Buddha or Jesus, who by their words and deeds could change the hearts and minds of people to live in peace.  He shared his thoughts about how the so-called age of enlightenment some 500 years earlier, which was ushered in by such great minds as Newton, Descartes, Pascal and others, had failed to provide the predicted “know how” to change a dark world into an enlightened one.  The age of enlightenment was supposed to find “mind made” solutions to all the ills of human existence, including war, poverty, education, government, and every other aspect of life.  My friend recognized the failure of the intellectual mind or so-called “enlightened mind” to accomplish anything other than to increase suffering and the carnage of war on a greater, more massive scale.   While he lamented this failure of enlightened minds to solve complex world issues, he asked me, “If the age of enlightenment is not the answer, what is the catalyst, event or individual that brings about changes the enlightenment sought but could not produce?”

 

My answer was not what he wanted to hear.  I told him that to look, in any way, to an outward cause, to an individual, or event would never bring about the changes in human existence he sought.  The only change or catalyst he could ever affect was his own.  I told him that we, as humans, are all a part of the stream of life, but that we each are our own stream as well.  Individually, we affect the larger stream, but with human reasoning, we will likely never see it.   When we become our own catalyst, our change, we become the larger stream and it becomes us and our outlook on the conditions of the world we wish were different becomes part of a compassionate whole.  When such a change takes place in us individually, everything else changes as well.  My friend listened thoughtfully, but was unable to see it.  His mind was convinced that something big and extraordinary was needed to alter things in the world as we know it.  My response to him was that an individual transformation to higher awareness is big and extraordinary, but he would not accept that as an answer.  “There must be something,” he mused. I could not help him.

 

The majority of us look for the same thing.  We look to our gods, our leaders, our parents, someone, anyone or anything that will reverse the way things are in a massive and dramatic way.  We are conditioned to be this way.  Heaven forbid we allow ourselves control of our own lives.  That is how it was in the so-called enlightenment, when highly sophisticated and educated men determined that they could figure out anything intellectually.  It continues to be a myth in the present day, yet the stream flows onward, ever onward and as long as we look for the utopic conclusion, the life strategy or catalyst that changes in a massive way those things we have determined must change we swim against the current of life.  Life is, at that point, a struggle and we will never win against it.  Despite our struggle and good intentions, we will be washed away in the inexorable flow of life that always moves forward.

 

Everyone is eventually swept away in the current of life.  Some hang on until the very end while others stop resisting and glimpse the beauty and splendor that is always there if we simply let ourselves get caught up in the flow. The stream of life simply is!  So too is life.  Life is about being in the flow, not having or fighting for or against it.  Regardless of the things we determine to be important, or the causes we choose, we struggle against or go with the stream of life but it always flows onward to an infinite destination we will never know.   But we need not know because such knowing will not add one thing to the incredible beauty, abundance and wonder of our existence.  We need only breathe life as it breathes us and go where it takes us. There is no end in infinity!  The stream of life is eternal life; so are you!

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Of Carts and Bags – A tale of Christmas

It was a cool, somewhat gloomy morning with a light snow falling but not accumulating.  Just a few things to be done including a quick trip into town to pick up some things to complete a project I was finishing up.  The large home improvement store, in town, wasn’t crowded, surprisingly, especially for a weekend and so close to Christmas.  I suspect the dreariness of the day was the reason so few were out and about.

I made my purchases, exited the store and began making my way across the parking lot to my car when I noticed out of the corner of my eye an older, disheveled woman, running in the direction of my car and on a trajectory that would intercept me just about the time I reached the car myself.  I didn’t give it much thought until she raised her hand and started calling out, “sir, sir, oh sir can you help me out?”  I looked up without really considering that my car was alone in that section of the parking lot and while I acknowledged her call to me for help I assumed she was going to ask me to assist her in loading something in her car.  I was only too happy to be of assistance but looking around the parking lot there were no cars nearby that I thought might be hers.

As she approached me she surprised me by asking if I could drive her to meet a friend exactly seven point two miles up the highway.  I quickly thought how odd it was that she knew the exact mileage to her destination but before I could say a word she told me her car had broken down and she really needed to meet her friend just up the road.  She offered to pay me for gas if I could just help her out in this small but important way.   There was an urgency in her plea that overwhelmed any sense of concern in me and I simply agreed to take her to meet her friend.  She was so grateful and thanked me profusely while I opened the car door to let her into my car.  As she passed in front of me to get into the car I noticed the foulest smell.  It was the smell of dirty wet dog with a hint of urine and rotting milk.

I got into the car, started the engine and quickly opened my window as the smell was so disturbing.  I put the car into gear and began moving when she asked if I could go up to the other end of the parking lot so she could get some things from her car to take with her.  I agreed and slowly moved across the lot expecting her to point out her car so I could stop and she could gather the things she needed.  As we neared the edge of the building she instructed me to stop but there were only a few cars nearby parked in the employee parking area.  I asked her which car was hers and she just instructed me to stop.  I stopped and as she stepped out of the car she told me to just stay here and I’ll be right back.

I looked around to see which car she was going to get into but she slipped in between two cars and began pushing a shopping cart that was full of boxes and plastic grocery bags.  I stepped out of the car and she called out, “oh no you don’t need to help, I can get this.”  I walked back to the rear of my car and opened the rear gate and began to remove items from the cart and place them into the car.   It dawned me that there really wasn’t a broken down car and that the items I was loading into my car were her possessions.  Worn out clothing, worn out shoes and a dirty sleeping bag along with some odds and ends that I knew must be important to her.  Her story about her broken down car now seemed a ploy to tug on my heartstrings to get me to help her out.  MY demeanor changed from cheery helper to guarded dupe who had just been taken by a homeless, bag lady.

We got everything into the car, stepped into the car ourselves and headed for the interstate on ramp heading north.   She reiterated that the destination was only seven point two miles up the highway and that she truly appreciated me helping her out. I didn’t say anything because I was now put out.  She began to speak of how she had fallen on hard times, that her mother had fallen very ill and lost her house while her father died suddenly just about the time she lost her own job.   It was a tale of hardship and loss but she never really lost her perkiness as she told it.  She seemed very happy to be alive even amidst the hardships she had encountered.   She thanked me over and over even as I tried to tell her it was no big deal and not to worry.

I kept a close eye on the odometer because I didn’t want to overrun her exit but we drove far beyond the seven point two miles she said we were going and I began to wonder just how far the drive would be.  It was about fifteen miles.  I was stewing.  She pointed out the exit we were to take and I made the turn off the freeway when she asked me, “you know, speaking of hard luck if you wanted to help me out with a few dollars I would really appreciate it. “This was the proverbial straw.

I blurted back abruptly, “wait a minute, you mean you’re asking me for money when you offered to pay me for gas to drive you to where you are going?”  She responded, “oh yes that’s right I did offer to pay for gas.  How much would you like for your gas.”  I was flabbergasted.  I wasn’t about to take any money from her but I asked, “do you even have a car?”  She said that she did have one about seven years ago.  Very sternly I began to lecture her about her lack of honesty and how if she was up front and honest that she might get a better response from people and more would be likely to help her out.  She agreed with everything I said and began apologizing and promised that she would take to heart all the things I told her would make her a better panhandler.

She became very quiet other than to point out a Target store down the road that was where she would be getting out.  I was feeling smug as could be that I had exerted my two cents and had successfully given her useful instruction on being a better homeless person.  I drove her to a place where excess shopping carts had been lined up along the outer wall of the building and stopped, got out of the car while she did the same. Without speaking she walked over got a cart and wheeled it back to the car and I began helping her load.  She placed each bag in a particular order and meticulously positioned them as if she knew exactly where each one belonged in that particular cart.  She didn’t have much but she loved what she had.  My heart tugged.

When she finished loading she looked up at me and thanked me again not only for the ride but the instruction as well.  She offered to pay again and I told her there is no way I will take any money from you.  I then reached into my pocket and removed my wallet, took out every bill I had and handed it to her.  It wasn’t more than seventy dollars and she pleaded with me that she would not take it while reaching over as fast as she could and snatching from my hands.  It didn’t matter. I would have given her more if I had it.  I was feeling a bit like a heal but her graciousness poured out again and she thanked me over and over. I smiled at her and told her she should have a nice meal with her friend.

The encounter was over.  I got into my car, drove out of the parking lot and about the time I was entering the main road when I suddenly burst into laughter.  Not ordinary laughter but debilitating, full on, belly laughter. You know the kind that takes your breath away and creates tears that stream down your face.  I had to pull over to the side of the road because I had no bodily control and was not able to see the road through the tears.  I roared like never before and the convulsive heaves of laughter poured from my mouth in huge waves.  I was hysterical; absolutely hysterical.  This lasted for several minutes before I could see through my tear soaked eyes and I began to breathe deeply and methodically so I could regain enough composure to make the drive back home.

As I was sitting there the thoughts began to pour in.  I had just lectured this lady, who carried all her possessions in a shopping cart, on the virtues of honesty in the performance of living an effective “homeless” life while at the same time realizing that not only had she secured the ride to her next place of temporary residence but she got all my money as well and by doing it exactly the way she had always done it!   I began to laugh again, only this time at the smugness of my offering her a better way while sitting on the side of the road, roughly thirty miles from home and not a penny in my pocket.

There is no lesson here or profound meaning.  This is nothing more than a chance encounter with a fellow soul whose trajectory in life happened upon mine at this unique time and place in the eternities.  I judged her and who knows but perhaps she judged me, as well, but even still it was the connection of two souls living the life they were living and without the judgments each life was perfectly fine.  We find a way, don’t we?

I smile, still, when I think of this intersection of our paths and often wonder how she is doing and really how special my encounter with her was.  A lecture, a laugh and smiles for the memories. Looking back and then returning to the present there is no one I would have rather given my money and a ride too.  Merry Christmas.

Choosing Supportive Thoughts

I was recently asked this question by a dear friend: “Carl can you share your thoughts on choosing thoughts that support ‘us’ and who is that chooser?”

I must admit that my response is somewhat disjointed but I think it does get to the point I am trying to make.  Here is my response and by all means let me know your thoughts.  This is a most important question to any seeker who moves through life “chopping wood and carrying water.”

An obvious response to such a question is to choose thoughts that are upbeat and positive and in a lot of new age thought, with emphasis on the Law of attraction, we are taught to choose only good thoughts and to even make judgments about how things are going by the way we think and feel about them.  The fundamental problem with this idea of “choosing,” this or that, is that we give ourselves over to forces that somehow have control of our life experiences whether they be good or bad as we judge them.  I have often said that “experiencing life from the standpoint of “how you feel” about something is not a realistic nor a good formula for life” simply because life is a “full on” mystery and we have no control over the events that are occurring, the people who cross our paths or circumstances we find ourselves in at any given time.

What we must unlearn is that we can somehow “think” our way to a so called “abundant” life.  Any thought is likely to be against this because we are all taught that thinking is the only way to climb out of any “bad” situation we find ourselves in or the converse of this which is to think our way into maintaining the “good” situation we find ourselves in.  Most New Age teachers go so far as to tell us that they can take us out of any adverse situation by simply following the formula they themselves have experienced even though their unique experience can never be yours or my experience no matter how hard we put our mind (thoughts) to it.

I have struggled with this question for many, many years and always come back to the saying that “we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  In other words, “WE” are not these bodies (which includes the mind and all its thoughts) so we need not take anything in our experience too seriously because we already are spiritual.  I say we are more than the gods we create in our minds to subject ourselves too. So what thoughts support this?  That really lies at the heart of the question and what we might think supports this likely does not.

At first blush we might look at the words of Paul the apostle who encouraged us to seek after things such as, “…whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  These are all things we would identify as “good” things to seek after and think about but there is a subtlety that is very misleading.  All these things require a judgment which is the tool of ego to disassemble anything going on in life, e.g., this is good and this is bad.  The ego always picks a side and puts all the arguments in front of it to divide from those who see “good or bad” in a completely different way.

Right and wrong is the ultimate tool of distraction and ego plays this well.  Can you see this?  It would have been just as effective for Paul to have said “whatever things are not pure, not virtuous, not lovely, etc., and you could not have wound up with a greater mess than we currently have amongst humans in the world.  We are nuts with rightness and wrongness.   So what should we think if “thinking” is the nature of the human and especially what do we think that supports us?

The only answer I have found satisfactory to me is to be contrary to what the mind thinks.  That is when the mind wants to judge, don’t judge.  When the mind wants to declare something good, erase the thought. When the mind wants to uphold a particular view accept the “other” view instead.  Mind wants you to hold to an idea of good or bad; don’t do either.  Another way to say it might be “seek not to be happy but seek to find happiness in those things that, otherwise, make you unhappy.”  If you can get to this type of non-judgment and acceptance of what was once judged good or bad everything begins to “be” okay.  That is, happiness, joy and all the other things we endlessly seek resonate within as a natural condition of our non-judgments.  The mind leads away from happiness; it takes us “too” things that are supposed to make us happy but either don’t, or are very short lived.

Here is an example of a contrary thought that goes against a primary tenet of many of our judgments that says simply; “you deserve to be happy.”  Well, “no you don’t!   No one deserves to be happy. In fact no one deserves a life different from the one they are living.  Do you see that this puts unnecessary requirements on something that is simply our nature when we determine that nothing we can do, say, think or believe can make us happy.  Be happy…period.

Ultimately, you are probably gathering that I take the position that no thought is a good thought.  Ego never has a thought that does not contain the motive that I am right and you are wrong and if we were all honest with ourselves we would recognize our own complicity with this greatest of all egoic tools.  This is why I am such an advocate of limiting our thoughts.  I know this doesn’t answer the question but outside of accepting “what is” without any judgment whatsoever, can I come up with thoughts that support us.  In fact, you could say, the less we think about thoughts that support us the more likely we are to get to know “us,” meaning YOU that lies beneath the you that is merely the “thought” of you.

This leads to the second part of the question which is who is the chooser of the thoughts?  This question for me is a bit easier to answer.  My response is:  “The chooser isn’t choosing the thoughts; the chooser is experiencing the thoughts the human is experiencing and is completely unattached to any thought, thought.”  In other words, only humans react to “human thought.”

Ultimately, all I’ve got is “the thoughts that support us are the thoughts not thought.”  Silence is always the ultimate support for in “stillness, god is known” and being face to face with that which YOU are requires no description or definition of any mind based thought.  In fact, no mind could possibly conjure a description that came close to such knowing, even if the mind was working at one hundred percent.  The most thoughtful thought is the thought that contains no judgment and that pretty much negates any thought.  Don’t judge; now there’s a thought!

No Failures in Life

Another great question on my website: www.spiritual-intuition.com by an anonymous individual inquiring about the metaphor of the “mustard seed and the mustard tree.”   Like many things I comment on, my response is likely going to be “off” from what most of us have been told the story represents. Still, I share the question and my answer here and appreciate any thoughts or comments you wish to share:

Here is the question:  After reading your books, the parable of the mustard seed and the tree has come into my awareness in a profound, unexplainable way. I’ve come to “know” that the seed and the tree are the exact same thing. The love that we may have thought of as only a small, insignificant seed is indeed, exactly the same as the magnificent towering tree. I somehow understood this about my mother, my father and others recently. It seems unreasonable, yet that small seed that seemed so small and nearly insignificant, was really a huge unending love to and from them. Somehow, in a mysterious and inexplicable way that love was the same. So beautiful, so expanding, full and gigantic!!! My question or thought as it may be per your suggestions: “The mystery cannot be explained, just enjoy it.” Yes. It is completely unexplainable. Question: Can anyone understand this? Do you?

My response:  Thank you for sharing and thank you for reading the books. I am so honored and grateful.

It is difficult to understand this in an intellectual way and even more difficult to say it without adding to the confusion. It is interesting that most “spiritually seeking” people seem to get the statement that “we are spiritual beings having a human experience” but live as though the very opposite is true.

We, as humans, have been conditioned so thoroughly that we are somehow “less than” and must work our entire lives to be able to “qualify” for some godly dimension that, even still, doesn’t quite get to the highest level and never can. We call ourselves sinners and unworthy when in fact we are greater than any imaginary “being,” somewhere in yonder heavens, that our puny little minds completely make up.

This was, and is, the message of the seed and the tree. We can’t possibly imagine that all that the tree is could possibly reside in a tiny seed and so we surround the simple beauty of the message with the words and formula’s that allow the seed to eventually become the tree. We say such things as nourish and feed the tree, water it, prune it and care for it and it will grow into something it could not be otherwise. The metaphors themselves are indicative of the way we have all been conditioned and this conditioning carries into every aspect of our lives. Right and wrong breed in this environment as well as judgment, dissension and suffering.

And yet in a simple example of “all that is,” e.g., the seed, we get the truth of “all that is.” That is, “the seed itself.” I have often said that “We cannot fail at life” and we really cannot. Whether the seed becomes a tree or lies dormant in the ground it will always contain the vastness of the tree. Our Earth experience is not a school; it is not a training ground for something that lies beyond it. All that “is” already is.

Now, to the question. Do I understand this? All I can say is yes, but only to the limits of what my mind can conceive making the answer no in strictly human or “mind based” terms and that would be the case with anyone claiming to understand. I used to think that I “knew” a lot but now the only thing I know with absolute certainty is that “I am not this body.” I will add that the mind, which, is nothing more than the operating system for this body gets this but is always at work doing what human minds do and that is pull on us relentlessly and convince us that we cannot be greater than something it has created to be the greatest of all. Mind drives us to judge and compare and if it can be successful (it really is successful by the way) it keeps us buried in the noise of argument and rightness and wrongness.

The pull of the world is relentless, even to those who seem to have climbed above it. “Do I understand?” Not in terms that I could ever express, but in terms that are inexpressible; absolutely!

Thanks again for the question and while my response may seem a bit cryptic, human language is remiss to adequately express such things and do them any justice. At best I can point to things the human mind understands and equate it to something that is otherwise impossible to describe. I can’t describe to you what it is to have something leave the body and retain a full awareness that the body it left, is not what you think the body is or what we really are. I know this is confusing but I don’t know such words nor do I know anyone who does. I can say that that awareness never leaves me regardless of the workings of the mind to convince me otherwise. It is wondrous beyond description. That’s all I’ve got.

I wish everyone could experience such a thing. All my love and best,

Carl

Your Hands

Several days ago I was approached by a woman on my website: http://www.spiritual-intuition.com with a question that I have tossed around in my ponderings for a long, long time and which I feel is important for anyone who is seeking to become more aware of the otherness we all seem to know exists beyond our three dimensional reality.  I share the question and my answer here:

Question:

“The greatest difference between the power of intention and caring is that while caring attaches us to illusory outcomes we have accepted as important, intention is detached from any conception of caring.”

Your quote. Actually, I am EXTREMELY inspired by this . . . because “caring” doesn’t mean very much in the world of “doing.” I have thought about this tremendously because of what I do for a living and YES! “intention” is really what is the driving force behind “being.” It is interesting in that I work with people every day and caring is . . . nice . . . it is intention that creates all the little miracles. It isn’t belief, it isn’t faith it is intent. My question is: I find that my heart has love for them. I can’t DECIDE what is happening but INTENTION works with the healing. When they leave I send them off with “Courage Mon Brav.”. Does caring have a place where there is intention? Is “caring” unlike “loving” because love has no attachments where by definition “caring” does?

My response:

Cheryl,

Thank you for your question and sharing an example of intention. I love how you say that “it is intention that creates all the little miracles.” How poignant your expression and how interesting your detection of this in your practice.

Your question is one that I ponder quite often because “caring” is such a big part of the landscape of modern living and weaves itself into virtually every aspect of our dealings with other humans. In extreme cases of “caring”, aggressive action is often sanctioned because of it and virtually all forms of right or wrong can be justified under the umbrella of caring or, for that matter, love.

Intention, as you mention, has no focus and yet it does, as well, yet we cannot know what that focus is. We simply know that it is and without the discussion that it is this or that, we sense the power of it when it is working. Many times you might hear people say things like “I’m not sure what that was but I could feel some force or power”, or “I just knew what to do and did it without question or concern.” You experience this in your work. Intention is there and when we give ourselves to this power it becomes apparent that we, too, are the power. It is our essence and we are its.

For me love and caring are completely human, and mind based. We hear a lot these days the admonition to “love unconditionally,” however, if people were completely honest they could see that the propensity to love unconditionally is not possible if for no other reason than they have to say it is. Love and caring show up most powerfully in our own dependence which most of us will never admit. That is, our own need to look to others for any kind of approval. “You don’t care” or “you don’t love me” are examples of the outward expressions of this dependence. Perhaps another way to put this is to say that unconditional love or caring requires no dependence on “me” to notice it. Very hard to do.

The roots of caring and love are formed in the past, whereas, intention is always something that plays out in the present. Broken down, caring is a product of something that does not exist while intention is always at play in “what is” right now and only right now. Intention has no power in the past or in the future. Your example of “miracles happening,” in your own practice, occur while you and you alone are focused on anything but your caring. Miracles, as you are experiencing, don’t wait to happen. They just happen!

On the other hand it is difficult to sustain any action based on something that does not exist in present time and yet we see over and over those who try to do so and they’re “burning out” long before reaching the original objective of their caring. We use words like hope and faith to motivate our caring and watch the collapse of those whose actions seeded great good under the pretense that “caring” in any form could possibly sustain any action long term. Caring has to have the attachment to an idea or outcome that originated sometime long before this moment. It is completely unsustainable and it is always, always, always attached to “conditions.” Intention knows no conditions.

Caring is the strongest cord of ego and virtually unbreakable. It is the justifier of our causes and the power behind judgments of ourselves and others. It is full of conditions and rules. Intention is devoid of description and so just is; it is a force without reckoning of any kind. Intention supersedes loving and caring and I have often used the term “compassion” synonymously with intention. Both are unexplainable. It might be said that intention and compassion are the non-human forms of love and caring but having said that, it is a weak comparison. Neither intention nor compassion carries any meaning in human terms and yet those who know them, “know them.”

In conclusion, and I suppose the real answer to your question, is to say to you, send them away with both your love and your caring. The compassionate work has been done; intention has played out and while they may never know what it was, they will have felt it through your hands. Your hands, Cheryl; hands that have the amazing ability to touch reality and heal the world.

Again thank you so much for this.  All my love,

Carl

The Nature of Spirituality

While working with my Sister in a village in Honduras where she had bought property and had set up a small clinic for the people of that village and surrounding areas I was able to see firsthand that spirituality is not a condition of what we posses or an arbitrary hierarchy of needs as so many of us believe.  There was every form of disease and malnutrition and every single person who came to her clinic would receive a dose of a de-worming medicine just for showing up. Parasites infested everyone because there was no infrastructure anywhere in Honduras that could provide basic needs.  Dirt floors and stick huts packed with mud were common and trips to the river were where the villagers drank, washed clothing and dishes and bathed themselves.

One day we my sister and I were talking about the children who always seemed to be hanging around. I observed that they all seemed so happy and asked my sister if she thought these little ones stood a chance of ever having a spiritual awareness. She exclaimed immediately that it was not possible in the least trip 12 008 as they were struggling with so many other issues that to discover their own divine nature would be impossible. I was surprised  by her response and asked, “How do you explain that they all seem so happy?” Her response was just as immediate and similarly  direct. “I don’t know” she said, “it puzzles me too because they have nothing and they have nothing to look forward to!”

I was not satisfied with this answer and pressed her a bit further on the subject of spirituality. She insisted that “basic needs” had to be served before anyone could advance to a more “enlightened” state and that outside the work she was doing to help the little ones in her village few if any had any chance of having anything other than a life of poverty and disease. I remember being saddened by her assessment of those children and pondered the sweetness in their faces and their complete exhilaration with the life they were living. Not once did I ever hear a child complain of their circumstances and everywhere I saw gratitude and acceptance, happiness and joy. In fact, when I was getting ready to leave three of the young children wrote me letters thanking me for coming to visit them and expressing how much they loved having me there with them. What moved me most, however, were their wishes for me. Each of these wonderful children wished for me to have “everything I desired” in life and to be happy.  Without having any concept of how “good” I had things in my life, how abundant and full of the things that are supposed to help us become “actualized,” these children were completely giving of themselves.  What they gave was more than all the riches in the world. They gave their love, their friendship and from the very depths of their souls they spoke to mine.

Their “giving” to me was from the depths of someone deeply spiritual but without, even, the label of “spirituality.” They were divine and it didn’t matter if they knew what that meant or not. Life for them was a treat as was my life when I was with them.  I wept when I read the words of giving and concern for my happiness.

Spiritually speaking these were the great ones. Amidst, the squalor, disease and rampant poverty, as we in the west would define it, I witnessed majesty as I have never seen it. I stood among giants and I trembled before them. I could no longer feel any sorrow for these children as my sorrow for them turned to sorrow for myself. I had become the judge of their existence and what I had seen for them was destroyed by what they already knew about existence. In desolation they knew more than I ever hoped to. They were humble; I was embarrassed. I was completely undressed by the “gods” of this tiny little village and I have never been the same since. My prayer since that visit has been that the children of this village never discover the labels we put on them and that their simple view of life never gives way to the noise of our, so called, “actualized” descriptions.

Surely spiritual awareness, which I had sought for so many years, is not a property of attainment, acclaim, and fulfillment of so-called basic needs.  Spiritual awareness is our very first aspect; it is the very core of our nature.  How true the New Age statement that “we are spiritual beings having aSamiel human experience”.  There is nothing we must attain to in order to achieve spiritual awakening.  In fact, it might be considered an arrogant assumption that we must somehow become something we are not, nor may ever be, in order to achieve higher states of awareness.   One might ask, “What chance do the poor and infirm have of ever reaching higher states of awareness if they must rise above basic needs when such a possibility may never present itself in their lifetimes?”  We all sense a kind of hypocrisy at such a question because we know that some of our greatest spiritual icons came from such circumstances.  Some even went from incredible wealth and royalty to a life of poverty and begging as a way to find the awareness I was convinced must come some other way.

We are spiritual beings.  Our first state of existence is a spiritual one and it is the human-ness of our earthly existence that conditions us to think that the human is not the second state but the first.  The focal point of our existence, the peak of the pyramid, if you will, is our most basic knowing, and poverty and lack is equally able as is wealth and riches, or education and intellect, to drive us from or to that knowing.

Adapted from the book: On Human Being-Loving & Living Without Purpose

Giants in the Land

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bear children to them, the same became mighty men of renown.   Genesis 6: 4

These words while written thousands of years ago could not be more poignant then , then they are now and while they are somewhat nebulous and cryptic it is believed that they were written just prior to the flood describe in the Old Testament.  It is also believed that they were written during a time when there was great upheaval in the world.

Many believe we are in such a time now and yet the times now would suggest there is a great settling in the earth in that there are more people alive now than at any other age or time and that human existence is now unfettered by the horrific slaughter of humans by other humans.  There continues to be wars and physical conditions that take life from our planet but it is not nearly of the scale and magnitude of the last century.  Those being born into the world are surviving at a rate unprecedented in history and even in just the last few years.  It is as if spectators are gathering for some cosmic event , yet to come, and which can only be viewed on our tiny little planet.  One can only speculate.

Along with this population growth and relative non-destruction of human life we have also seen a disappearance of local and world leaders who are of renown and who actually lead.  They are not to be found in the institutions we once looked to for great and inspiring advocates of human consciousness, moderation and wisdom yet we continue looking to those places as if they might somehow or in someway emerge.

Government, institutions of higher learning, science and religion are besought with treachery and graft.  Instead of laying the groundwork for honesty and integrity they foster sullenness, intellectual superiority, greed, waste and complacency.  Little did the framers of the constitution of the United States ever contemplate that the very institutions they formed would become the house of corruption!

The only quality we look to in the institutions, once thought to be bastions of integrity, is that of “intellect” which has become the father of moral decay.  The intellectual cannot know what we feel.  Ever!  They can only know what they “think” they know.  Where have all the leaders gone?

Surely with the sheer numbers of people increasing the world over there are “great ones” among us, but where?  We cannot look to government or religion or universities for inspired leaders.  These institutions wreak of dishonesty, avarice, pride and condescension.  They are no longer the breeding ground  for people with character and integrity.  All these institutions seem to do anymore is create faithful soldiers who will uphold whatever illusion they have accepted.  We don’t find inspired leaders in industry, entertainment, media, news organizations or any other place we once thought they would be.

We witnessed in the last presidential election “ugliness” unprecedented in U.S. history and it was not just the candidates who ran for various offices.  It was “We the People!”  And after all the vitriol and ugliness of an election process no leaders emerged.  That is not to say there were no victors but we are still a “leaderless” country and the world at large suffers from the same dearth as we here in the United States.  Still we continue to look around for someone who will lead us into new horizons we can only imagine exist.  We have been so conditioned to see life from our particular viewpoint and we select our leaders because they supposedly carry a similar point of view and so complete is our idea of their complicity with our own that we will resort to saying things like, “I know he or she is not the best but he/she is the lesser of two evils.”  Did you get that?  “The lesser of two evils!”   Have we, in lieu of leaders who are not there, settled for evil?

Are there no persons of “renown” among us?  Surely there must be but where?

In truth they are among us and have been for a while.  Some sense it but others have yet to discover their own renown.  Most are currently beset with the idea that the institution or character of their liking, their persuasion, is the way out and they hope, in vain, that things will turn in their way.  It is an easy way out of looking to themselves as the “giants” they truly are.  Some have discovered their innate integrity but are remiss to step forward with their own awareness that will greatly inspire and lift the rest of us.  Sadly, some have sold themselves already to their cause and its institutional counter part and are lost to their own inner light.  In other words many of the elect have been deceived and have taken their followers with them.

The giants are among us, none the less, and not only must we begin to recognize them but they too must rise up and see us as well.  Perhaps, as you read this, recognize, that you are one of them.  If you are searching for such individuals this alone speaks to your own greatness.  Think about it.  Those who see the light amid the darkness are the ones we are all really looking for and they will never affiliate with an institutional idea or belief.  Institutional leadership has failed in every clime and it is no longer the way back to the light we seek.  In fact, the giants among us will disenfranchise all institutions and beliefs because any affiliations with them would be the equivalent of bringing “sheep to the slaughter.”

The giants will show us a new way which ultimately will break what is.  It is the only way out of our illusory stupor.  Government, religion or any other system as we know it will never function in an enlightened society but “the way” must be forged by new blood, inspiration and intuition.  Those ingredients already permeate the land but for now they are silent.  Many have not recognized that they are part of the pathway to light and that they have but to step out of the darkness.  They indeed will bring enlightenment and hope to a world that struggles.

Careful;  they are not who you might think they are.  We have yet to see them but they are here.  I call to them as do all the inhabitants of the earth!  What we all must do as the groundwork for their emergence is to stop looking to the world’s institutions and current leaders to solve the worlds problems.  The “world” has demonstrated comprehensively that it knows not what it does.  The giants and people of renown will show us all and the showing resides not in the institutions we believe must change.  It resides in the compassion, honor, dignity and integrity they will replace all the old forms with.

Who are these giants; these people of renown?  Look to yourself.  You already know.

What do you do to be enlightened?

I was asked these two questions about enlightnment recently and wanted to share my thoughts with each of you as well. Here is the Question:

Do you think that we can all one day become enlightened? If so, what do we need to do?

My Response:    There is no “day” in some future time that we become enlightened. There is no future at all. Each of us already is enlightened and at various points in our lives we see it. Those who do get a glimpse of it are usually pulled into it by some event, such as the death of a loved one, or something else that causes deep reflection in which no “answer” comes.  Most people who have such an experience can always recount the emotional state they felt in such times but they almost always revert back to the egoic need to explain what is going on.  Most come to some conclusion that their “prayer” was answered or that an Ahhhh Haaa came to them and they understood in a way they hadn’t before.  What gets lost in these conclusions is that in that moment where no answer existed is the only place that enlightenment occurred.

In other words, enlightenment is not some magical, mystical awareness of all the, so called, “Big Questions.”  Enlightenment is the “nothing” that
existed before the “ego” needed an explanation.  It is the sweetness of being in the presence of absolute silence and not needing an explanation
for everything.  In that place there is no fear, love, happiness, sadness or any other emotional state. There is nothing but silence and it is in that
“not knowing” that “all” is known and none of it needs definition.

What do “we” need to do?  “Be still and know that YOU are god.”  In other words, unmask who it is that occupies your body by silencing the mind.  In
this place you will experience the grand mystery of which we are all a part. It’s all you can do. There is no “we” in this unmasking. You’re own
enlightenment will enlighten others.  The “god” that you are is never invisible to the “god” that they are. Something inside us always sees the greater light but it is in the quiet of the mind.  Quiet your mind and discover the “everything” that is contained in the “nothing.”  This is your enlightenment.

This is what you can do.

A consciousness guide; “The” Spiritual Handbook! – Book Review

I am one of twenty bloggers participating in the virtual book tour for Yvonne Perry’s latest book, Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience. Today, I am sharing the review that I wrote. You may learn more about Yvonne and her book at http://shiftingintopurerconsciousness.com

Title: Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience

Author: Yvonne Perry

ISBN-13: 978-0-9825722-9-0

Publisher: Write On!, May 2012

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Yesterday, the tour stopped at Janet Riehl’s Riehl Life blog. Tomorrow the tour will be at Doreen Pendgracs’ blog- Wizard of Words  and I invite you to visit that site to learn more about the spiritual transition we are currently in. See the full tour schedule at http://dld.bz/byrF7 .

Here is my review:

Yvonne’s words float through the mind like a summer’s breeze easing their way into the fabric of the soul. She is eloquent, bold and shares a compelling glimpse into her own spiritual journey that shows us how her journey can become a map for our own. While “Shifting into Purer Consciousness,“ is a gentle excursion into greater spiritual awareness it is an equally powerful handbook that teaches in specific ways how each of us can approach our own spiritual journey.

I was taken by the numerous exercises and affirmations Yvonne shares that are impactful, deep and compelling.  The book will lead you on a journey of self discovery that makes the essence of every single moment in life significant and essential. Yvonne is not only a guide but a friend who shows us the way to venture into our own “Human Experience” and even in those moments of fear and timidity she effectively shows us how to be unafraid.  There is boldness in her words that, “where all paths are honored and merged, I see no reason why one must follow a strict regime of “getting it right” (indicative of a patriarchal system). It is our intention that counts.”

Intention does count and this wonderful book shows us so many ways to discover our own unique spirituality and find “Intention and Purpose” in every facet of life. If nothing else this book will make you look at yourself in a new and reverent way and it will most certainly “shift your consciousness.”

Carl Bozeman

Author of the Bestselling Book: On Being God – Beyond Your Life’s Purpose

www.spiritual-intuition.com

You Are Not Your Body

Jesus, dying on the cross was not about giving his life as a demonstration of power nor was it to save us from our so called sins. It was a demonstration that He was not his body or mind or anything else we all tend to identify ourselves with.

His closest disciples did not understand this either. This is why Peter came to his defense in the garden of Gethsemane and cut off the ear of the Roman soldier who was trying to apprehend Jesus. Peter wanted to defend the  “man” He thought Jesus was, not who Jesus actually was. Peter, and so many others then and now, could not see who Jesus was outside the “man” he thought him to be. He only saw the “man” and thought the “man” was endowed with special powers and that he must defend Jesus, as “the man” Peter “thought” him to be.

Jesus was never able to convince anyone that He was not his body; that He was not the “object” others had created him to be. His whole ministry was a demonstration of his own awareness that he was completely unidentified with anything in the world. His crucifixion was a profound and vivid example of that. Death did not matter to him. Not because we “rise again,” but because what WE truly are never dies! Who we are never dies and Jesus imparted that message one last time by allowing himself to be killed as a demonstration that he would continue on just as each of us will continue on.

We will never “fail” in this life because this life is not anywhere near what we are in eternity. Detach from the body, discover who resides within and nothing in human experience will ever be able to take from you anything that actually does matter.