Category Archives: oneness & beingness

Alan Watts: Conversation with Myself

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What is Being Yourself?

being yourself be you

[Today’s blog post is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote in February 2012.]

Being you is beautiful. It’s when you don’t need to do anything, or be anything. It’s when you just know without question. It’s when you follow your feet, and your feet follow your heart (and your mind just tags along for the ride). It’s when you trust that you are supported. It’s when you feel so much love, that you can’t believe that much love is possible! It’s when you wake up in the morning free & empowered & relaxed. It’s when you are free to be! To put it simply; your beingness (not your doingness) is you being you. The way you love unconditionally is you being you. When you are silent and at peace, this is you being you. Those moments of freedom, simplicity and bliss are all you.

You might ask: “But what about when I’m enraged or angry, this is also me! Isn’t the me that isn’t at peace, or isn’t being love, or isn’t oneness or awareness me as well? What about when I am depressed & I am suddenly able to create great works of art, this is also me! What about when I have lost a loved one & I am in tears, this is also me! What about after I’ve been taken advantage of and I’m full of anger & resentment & fear, this is also me!” — No, that is you under the influence. I don’t argue that those are also beautiful states of humanness filled with emotion. I don’t argue that the contrast of those feelings or experiences bring a richness and a texture to life. I don’t argue that the contrast between painful experiences and enjoyable experiences lead us to a greater appreciation. I don’t argue that the terrible experiences in our lives make us stronger and (hopefully) wiser. I don’t argue this one bit. I’m in full agreement with you. But where I draw the line is by seeing that and telling you that, these are not pure states.

When I say they are not pure, I mean they are forced by outside influences. They were not created out of thin air, something brought them on, and that something was outside of you. The states that I talked about previously, when I described what it’s like to be you truly being yourself, those examples are of you in all of your pureness & wholeness, without anything extra. Without the influence of anything or anyone. — Example: When was the last time you were completely enraged for no reason? When was the last time you felt cheated by nothing? Yet I can come up with numerous examples of when I smiled or even laughed for no reason at all. — Do you understand the difference? Truly being yourself is unconditioned, while not being yourself is.

Everyday I get some sort of impression of someone who is suffering. It can either be from the media, or on the street, or from a friend or family member. The one thing they all have in common is that they are suffering over things that aren’t within them. They are suffering over things that have nothing to do with who they truly are. And they continue to carry these pangs or these burdens as if they have to — & they don’t! Just as simply as they picked them up, they can let them go. But, only if they can see that they are holding on to something that isn’t real.

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The Meaning of Happiness

happiness meaning

Happiness, along with love, joy, bliss, peace — are feelings that you really can’t put into words. People get hung up on what they mean. Images that the media presents gets stuck in their minds: people madly in love, lucky men clicking their heals, girls acting silly, etc. But what if it just meant stillness of mind? What if it meant for a split second, you were content? Notice how when you get what you want, you are happy. Then that happiness wears off. In a relatively short amount of time you are in the same place of discontent and left wanting again. Don’t get confused. Happiness is not some hit and run emotion that happens wildly. It’s pretty basic. You are happy because you have embraced what is. You got the car you wanted, at an amazing price, and you aren’t resisting that at all! You embrace it with opens arms! Without a doubt or second thought, you are present to it, fully focused and in the moment. It’s just you fully present with your shiny new car. But then you get old and the car gets old, and you are left wanting again. Distracted by past and future. Feeling scattered and fragmented and no longer fully present. You aren’t embracing what is, you are now resisting it, feeling like another reality would be far better. So, is happiness fleeting? Or is it your thoughts and desires that are fleeting? Some people say being happy all the time isn’t realistic. I would say that thinking that your desires could ever make you happy isn’t realistic.

Quickly, let’s just look into the word Happy. For most of Europe in the 14 century it meant Lucky or Fortunate. In the 1500s the definition evolved to mean Pleased and Content. But from the very beginning, the Welsh had their own definition of the word, for them it meant Wise.

Without painting an extreme picture of happiness (like an ear to ear smile while jumping in the air with glee), let’s look at what it might feel like instead of look like. I’ll just tell you what it’s like for me. When I am in flow, open, fully embracing the moment without resistance, feeling whole and at peace with myself and what is happening — feeling good — feeling like this moment is enough — that is what I feel when I am happy. This can happen while giving a hug, working on artwork, dancing to music that moves me, reading a good book, spending time in nature, and even sitting quietly doing nothing or patiently waiting inline at the post office. It never happens while I’m arguing with someone, hating my environment, or feeling like I’m not enough. It never happens when I am resisting what is happening or wishing for things to be different. Can you see the difference? Can you see the resistance that is usually present when someone is not happy? They are internally at war. Fighting with themselves, fighting with life, fighting with others, fighting with what is. Usually, is not happening openly, more often than not, it’s happening privately, within their own mind.

I’m telling you this from experience. I was horribly depressed from ages 5 – 25. Approximately around the age of 27 there was a turning point, my life began to rapidly change (it’s a long story, I can’t go into here, it would make this blog post way too long). Since that time, I’ve been learning what it means to be happy. What it really feels like to be content (<–key word), and at peace with life. I've learned so much. As a result of it, I love my life, and I adore people. More importantly, I've learned to love myself. I'm so much kinder to myself now. There is no longer a brutal battle in my mind. I have the occasional brain hiccup or bout of discontent, but as the years pass, they because few and far-far between.

Below are 3 steps that you can take towards being more happy.

Step 1: Reexamine your idea of what happiness means. Don't see it as some extreme fleeting state, that only happens to the lucky or the stupidly-silly ones. See it as contentment and presence. And if you don’t have a clear idea of what contentment or presence is, work on that. Practice and study it. You can contact me directly for help (see my contact info in the blog header), or you can simply focus your attention on those words (contentment & presence), and the universe will show you what they mean. That’s usually how it works. “Where your attention goes, it grows.”

Step 2: Pay attention, develop more awareness. Notice yourself. Notice your desires, notice the thoughts in your head, notice how you view other people, notice how your treat yourself. This is really important, because without noticing what you are doing, how could you change it? You’ll always be working on the symptom of the problem instead of the root cause of it.

Step 3: Learn to love & embrace what is. Begin to soften up. This doesn’t mean become a ‘push-over’ or someone weak willed. It means to become more compassionate. Develop flexibility instead of rigidity. Become more spacious, more all encompassing. Practice revealing yourself, sharing yourself, and helping others. Begin to relax into life. Make it your friend. Feel good about it.

In closing, look at real people you know personally (or via the media), that seem happy with life and content. The 14th Dalai Lama seems to embody that. Notice what he is like, and what his life looks like. Unless you catch him laughing, his face looks pretty serious. He doesn’t have unusually happy face or demeanor. He lives a life of few desires (this is a state of mind, anyone can do this). He seems to really listen to people and care. He also helps and works to serve others. It’s a combination of living a self-less life with a strong sense of Self! As paradoxical and ironic as that sounds. It’s deeper than it reads though. I intentionally gave the word Self a capital S. This is to tell you that it is not a strong sense of personhood (strong sense of a physical body attached to a name and story), but a strong sense of being a spiritual being; a spirit infinitely connected to all beings (including the Universe and all that remains unknown) while living through a corporeal form (temporary physical body). If you can do that, be a fully compassionate being, loving & honoring yourself, fully in touch with your body & spirit, serving & sharing with others — how could you not be happy? If at moments you find that you aren’t — notice. Notice where your attention is, and what your thoughts are focused on. Notice if you have been honoring yourself. Notice how genuinely connected you feel to others. If you see some incompleteness there, you’ll see where you need to make some adjustments. Life is process. There is no final destination or stagnant state of being. Life is simply happening. That’s what it does. And it’s happening now, in you. Every moment is an opportunity to see that and to feel fully alive. Everyday is an opportunity to connect with yourself and with the world on a deeper level. Try it. See if it makes for a better more fulfilling life. See if it brings you happiness.

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TAKE YOUR TIME

Life can be so simple & so amazing. I started a new practice lately, I try to get to work at least 30 – 45 minutes early. Sometimes I slowly walk around the neighborhood; sometimes I sit & people watch outside; sometimes I have lunch nearby; sometimes I do absolutely nothing. It feels so good. I just use the 30 minutes as a bit of meditative time: time to get present — time to get real.

Not rushing, just enjoying the moment; the many moments that make up each day. In the past I would always be in a rush to get somewhere or do something. The present moment never seemed as good as the next. My whole day, everyday, was either about maximizing my time, or feeling guilty for not maximizing my time. And I have to honestly say, a lot of that was a waste of time & a waste of life. It truly did not make a difference in my level of happiness or satisfaction. Everything seemed difficult or challenging. Like I had to fight to accommodate things, or fight to make things happen. Not an all-out fight, just push myself a bit, struggle a little, & over-think a lot (a lot, a lot). A struggle to make things the way I wanted them to be, versus seeing how they are. Simply seeing the beauty in life without having to make it a story about me. The story of what I want (or what I think I need) & how everyone & everything fits into that story.

The value & satisfaction in enjoying the elements, the route, the people, the process of each day, as it is — is tremendous! Its worth is more than most can imagine. But just imagine missing it, not being present to any of it. Imagine living day-to-day without moments of beingness; without a moment to reflect; without a moment to take your time; without a moment to see the perfection & the beauty that is always there; without a moment to have some meaningless fun; without a moment to truly relax; without a moment to simply be yourself. This is the reality that many of us live, not just for a day, but for years, or for a lifetime. Life can be effortless & enjoyable with only a shift in perspective: seeing that outcome is not more remarkable than the process; seeing that the destination is not more gratifying than the journey; seeing that the future is not more important than this moment.

Below are a few videos that I found inspiring. I love how these men are taking the time to celebrate life. And notice that all it really takes is a man being simple: walking, biking, running — nothing out of the ordinary happening — just another day to do something ordinary that feels absolutely extraordinary. When one is present, there is an aliveness. This aliveness is what life is all about. This is the simplicity, the satisfaction, the happiness that is always at our fingertips. How ironic that there is nothing to do, nothing to rush to in order to receive it. It’s right here, right now. It’s hidden in plain sight. It’s right under our nose.

[Videos by Owen Fox, Tim VanOrden, & Dan McDonald.]

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THE RICHNESS OF IT ALL

Right now I am listening to the sound of a diesel engine rumbling. Or is it more like a purr?

Now I am listening to a car rev & speed away.

And behind all of this is the white noise of rain. Car tires splashing as they roll past puddles. Rain drops hitting rooftops, leaves & windows.

The world seems peaceful.

Lately I’ve been getting really into subtle things. They have been so interesting for me. I watch or listen to them, fascinated. And by subtle things, I mean things that aren’t very tangible. I mean things that you can’t put your finger on. I mean things that float away. I mean the things that go unnoticed — because the aren’t really things.

As I look out the window, I notice that the rain looks like slushy snow falling.

Now it looks as if the rain is slowing down.

Now the rain is gone.

Now it has started up again & it’s back to looking like rain.

All of this reminds me of how transitory life is. How one thing is happening — & then it’s not. And so many of us miss it. Miss all of the beautiful subtle (or not so subtle) moments that happen all day, every day.

This morning I was eating watermelon. It was half a melon, wrapped in wax paper (because we are out of cling wrap). As I lifted the wax paper from the watermelon, I was so enthralled in how wonderful the wax paper was. Wow. Just to touch its waxy surface with my skin. To hear its light gentle crinkly sounds. Looking at it stand in a crumpled upright position, after I placed it down. It was glowing. How beautiful it was. In all its shapes & sounds & textures. In its ever-evolving delicate nature.

The more I embrace life, in all of its fragility, the more I see it as untouchable & powerful. As a whole — as one ever evolving thing that keeps living & moving. The more I embrace me, for all of my humanness, fickleness & vulnerability, the more I feel secure & complete. It’s an interesting parallel. It’s so clear that I am nothing but life itself. Not a separate entity, but life itself.

(*pauses*)

Just sitting here. Just sitting. With my arms stretched out. Writing this blog post. Taking one second at a time. Not knowing what I will write next until it’s being written. Just that. Feels amazing. Feels like life. It feels soft & effortless. It feels like peace.

I now hear a loud garbage truck outside. And now even that feels peaceful & subtle & beautiful. Even that feels perfect, in its ever-changing & temporary ways.

Being human, being temporary, being vulnerable, being fragile. Being multidimensional. Being part of the unknown. Giving into fatigue, sleepiness or death. Giving into hunger or thirst. Giving into unforeseen circumstances. The softness of it all. All of the feelings that come with it. The sensations. This is a richness that we all get to feel. We get to hear its sound, or feel its vibration. We get to be part of it all. What an opportunity we all have. What an opportunity life is.

To simply allow all that is. To allow it. To allow all of life fully (as if we had a choice!). I think that is where the confusion is. We think we have a choice. We think there is an ‘I’ that chooses. A separate someone, that can make a decision separate from all the other separate someones. But really, it’s just a silly game we play with ourselves that takes us out of the fun. We resist. We fight the moment. We put our feet up & push with all our might against what is happening (like aging, or death, or sleepiness, or boredom, or loneliness, or crime, or fighting, or anything you can possibly imagine that you don’t want to be happening).

Imagine if a tree did that. Imagine if every autumn the trees totally freaked out about turning brown. About losing all of their summer leaves. Can you just imagine the unnecessary suffering they would put themselves through? This is exactly what we are doing. We are life, resisting life! We are only fighting with ourselves. What a waste of energy. What a waste of life. What a lost opportunity to simple be life — being life! In all of its subtleties (& not so subtleties). Why not enjoy all of it. At every phase, in every moment. In all of its glory.

Why not give up the false sense of control? Why not surrender & relax into it? Why not enjoy each step of the way with full appreciation? Why not see the beauty in each phase, or in each second? Why not have fun where you are now? There is so much to see & hear & feel. In this moment, in any moment. The richness of it all can be overwhelming — but only in a life-affirming way. It can be so inspiring & exciting! But only if you open yourself to it. When you allow it in, you allow life in. And remember, you are only allowing yourself in when you do that. When you let all of life in, you let all of you in! You are life.

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When the student is ready, the hairy teacher appears.

llama sanctuary

Loving everyone feels so good. It feels kinda gooey & sweet, warm fuzzy & tingly — all at the same time. This feeling has been increasing slowly for me, over the last year or so.

Over the last year I have been facing one of my fears. I’ve always had a small aversion to furry friends. The kind that bark or bite or jump or kick. And let’s not forget poke or scratch. This fear stems from two traumatic experiences with animals from my childhood. Since then, I’ve had very little contact with animals, & because of that — very few pleasant memories. I do have some great memories with small turtles. Nice & slow. Easy does it. Never too excited. Usually fairly predictable. (Just how I like it!) But also, turtles aren’t considered furry. And they usually don’t bark or jump. So I guess I never made much progress on my issue with furry friends…. until now. :)

Let me clear up two things before I continue…
1. The two negative experiences I had with animals, were with animals that were being mistreated by others, & somehow, I innocently found myself near them (wrong place, wrong time I guess). And those furry friends were not happy. So I guess anyone that looked remotely human was a threat to them, & they reacted in fear for their own safety.
2. I had little contact with animals over my teenage & adult life, because I avoided them. After two totally different negative experiences with two totally different species, I didn’t allow myself to have a relationship with animals in general. Even though they were innocent & I was innocent, at the time of the incidents. It didn’t matter. I developed a fear, & I lumped everyone into a big pile.

Here I am. Almost three decades later, having a blast with furry friends! I’ve been working on my fear of dogs since last autumn. Allowing myself to be near them without fear. (I didn’t say touch them without fear. :) I said be near them.) wise goatThis has felt so good & so liberating. Living in such a dog-friendly neighborhood, my day-to-day now feels much freer, and much more like the world is my home. I walk down the street with a new found confidence & intimacy with my surroundings.

Now I have moved on to all animals! Ohhhhhhhh, & has this been fun! Except for a few minor “ouch” experiences — but they were no big deal! At one animal farm, I got a little poke from a horn because I was in the way at feeding time. It was an accident. A hungry goat in a hurry bumped into me, as he was making his way through the crowd (the hungry herd that I was standing in the middle of). And it may have been on that same day, but I was wearing silly shoes on the farm (open toe sandals), & a hooved friend accidentally stepped on my pinky toe. No damage — just a small reminder to wear sensible shoes! Including the moments I just mentioned, all time spent with animals over the last year has been have been exciting. So beautiful, so sweet. And sometimes extremely pot belly pig melonblissful — like the most profound sense of peace I have ever felt. Wow. I really love these very big & very little guys. They have become my friends.

I’ve been learning so much from my “fearlessly love everyone” adventure. Aside from learning that I really love spending time with animals & love having them be a regular part of my life. I learned what it means to be oneself: To simply be, to be in a state of Grace or Flow; to feel effortless & relaxed & intuitive; to live in the moment. What better example of this than to spend time with an animal who lives at an animal sanctuary. They freely spend their days socializing, eating, sunning, drinking, walking, running, sleeping, playing…  (repeat, repeat, repeat). Doesn’t that sound like what we should be doing too? And sometimes we do something very similar to that. But it seems like the animals do it without all the drama & meaning, without deadlines & obligations — without pressure to be someone, doing something, trying to get somewhere. (Or so it seems that way.)

donkey happyWhen I watch them, I can’t help to think that they live an ancient secret that we have all forgotten: What it means to live fully in the moment, being one with the environment. Without pressures or mind-trips. Nowhere to be, but here. No one to be, but being — just as it is. I feel like this is the mantra the animals are silently repeating. (That I would like to learn as well.)

When I watch a pig get muddy, & lie in the sun, I really don’t think that he feels guilty. I don’t think that he feels like he doesn’t deserve this moment of rest. Or wonders what the other farm animals think of him (looking so sloppy & muddy). I don’t think he thinks it’s an unproductive activity & he should better invest his time elsewhere. I think he doesn’t even think about it. He’s just being. Being in the moment, until the next moment creates the next thing he will do.

cow bliss animal sanctuaryThere is a sense of peace I feel with animals when they have the opportunity to freely be themselves. I like to spend time just sitting with them. I swear to you, that 4 minutes of that, feels more powerful than 40 minutes of a formal meditation practice. When I’m just sitting with animals, it feels like being in the presence of a master. Someone who truly knows beingness. Someone that doesn’t have to teach it, because they exude it. They give-off this strong magnetic energy that just takes over your system & shows you how it is done. Everything my body & mind forgot — it remembers in their presence. We just sit together. Breathing. Looking. Loving unconditionally. We just sit. And something as simple as that is heaven.

And heaven continues. I decided to devote my time & love to these Masters of Beingness. To these great teachers of “how to simply be yourself”. I feel like their presence in my life is perfect timing. I’m at a place where all I want to study is how to See, Be & mud bliss pig animal sanctuaryLove — what seeing in a holistic way is like, what simply being is like, what loving unconditionally is like. It’s what lights me up, keeps me inspired & interested, curious & excited about life. And once I opened myself up to that — to that sincere desire to learn — there walks in my teachers. Appearing in my life, at just the right time. There is a quote I have heard for years, but now I get to live it: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. How true it is. And how grateful I am.

Here is a list of the sanctuaries I visited (or have been visiting) lately. Support them if you can! Visit the animals, or visit their websites. They can use all the support they can get. Chenoa Manor Animal Sanctuary // for the Animals sanctuary // Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary // Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. And for the use of photography from Exercise Compassion. — I’m very thankful for the hard work all of these folks (individuals & organizations) have put in. Their love & dedication to animals is inspirational. Thank you!

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John Frusciante: It’s all one thing


I was trying to explain the unexplainable this week. I was teaching meditation online, as I do from time to time, and it’s always such a strange thing to try to describe the indescribable, or explain the unexplainable. Saying things like: “Moving away from the idea that someone is doing something, or that someone needs to do something in order for something to happen.” and “If suddenly I tossed a ball your way, you would catch it without thinking. It would be effortless & thoughtless.”

We get so wrapped up in the ‘survival of I’ world. So imbedded, even lost, in the world of distractions, that we have drowned out the subtleties of life. Our innate & intuitive knowing, & our spontaneous effortless nature, has become a mystery to many of us. Beingness & awareness have become words to explore, instead of who we are as a whole.

No one does anything. No one makes anything happen. There are so many factors involved in everything. And forces beyond our comprehension.

If I think of the greatest things, or most significant things in my life right now. What I love most, what means the most to me, what is truly contributing or important to my life. If I make a list, not one thing on that list would be anything I would have control over. Nothing on that list would be something that I solely put together or chose for myself. They are things that happened for whatever reason. Things just fell into place.

I stumbled upon this John Frusciante video (posted below) a day or two after that meditation session. As I listened to John speak, it reminded me of so many thoughts that I had.

As John Frusciante was speaking, I felt such an affinity to so much of what he was saying. Many mental notes of past thoughts I’ve had ran through my mind…
Nothing is new
Love is unconditional
Creativity births itself

They would pop into my mind as he shared his ideas.

John also exuded an energy like he had so much more to say, but that it couldn’t find its way out. Somethings can’t be expressed in a structured limited language. The written word can never fully describe what one can only feel or intuitively know. But as I continued to listen to John’s interview, I continued to jot down thoughts…
We have no control
Get out of the way
Give up control
Embrace the moment (as it is)
Love who you are
Trust the unknown
Have compassion always
It’s never about you
Don’t take it personal
Allow life to flow
Spontaneity is the key
There is only now
Stop thinking start listening
Intuition is everything
Follow your feelings
Let yourself be moved
Don’t be afraid to risk (you have nothing to lose)
Understanding is overrated
Live without reason

It’s all so interesting. The paradox that life is. How simple life can be when we stop trying so hard. How effortless life is when we allow ourselves to be.

Just like we look at earth like it’s one thing, or the solar system, or our bodies — why not see that it’s all one thing? From the micro to the macro, it’s all the same force. Everything is moving, everything is being moved.

[Photo credit: Nabil]

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