Tag Archives: grace

No Past, No Future, No Problem

“When you say to someone ‘you’re history’ it doesn’t mean that you’re a part of it; it means that you’re obliterated. That’s what history means.”
— Unknown

I think my Change the Meaning of the Past post (on January 8th, 2012) was too brief & too fast. I got a few comments from readers that it was hard to catch all that Alan Watts was saying & they also wanted more to read. Well, I can’t slow Alan down & I can’t transcribe the whole video, but I can write a bit more about the topic & post an additional video for you.

The Alan Watts video that I embedded in this post gives a bit more detail & has good pacing. It’s quite relaxed & fun to watch (especially Alan’s printed pants).

To me, the bottom line of what Alan Watts is saying is: THE PAST IS THE RESULT OF THE PRESENT. I could probably talk about that sentence for an hour. Actually, I know I easily could. But for now, I want to take it in another direction. (Because you can watch the entire 6 part video on Alan’s view that I embedded above, & get almost an hour of talk about that sentence from him.)

I want to share a different take on: being, living in the present, & staying out of past/future based thinking.

To me, suffering is only possible if your mind is in the past or future. If you are truly in the present, suffering is not possible.

But someone might say: I am in extreme physical pain from an illness (or physical injury). I am completely present. This pain is happening right now, & I am suffering!

My question for you would be: but are you comparing how you feel right now to a time when you were not in pain? Are you comparing how you feel or how you look, to the past? Are you comparing the predicament you are in right now to a time when you were not in it? Are you adding to this moment thoughts about the future? Thoughts based on fear? Like: what if I never get better? What if this gets worse? What if I am never the same? Why is this happening? What if I die? What if this takes a long time? What if I lose what I have over this? What if I never feel good again? — Also, let me ask you: what is your point of reference for pain & pleasure? Is it not based on the past? So in my opinion, it’s not the pain (illness, injury, or situation) that is making you suffer — it’s you. It’s your thoughts. Thoughts overrun by past & future based thinking.

Try it out for yourself today. Or better yet, try it out for yourself this week. Set aside a piece of paper. Every time you get stressed, or feel uneasy, or feel that unwanted emotions are arising — make a note of it. I want you to write down what what you are feeling & thinking. Go into detail. After that, I want you to write down what is happening in the present. Write down where you are & what is TRULY happening in the present moment. Not what you are thinking is happening, but what is really happening. Just note the facts. Don’t paint a picture of them. Just write down the basic facts without adding meaning to them. At the end of the day, or end of the week. Go back & see if those detailed thoughts & feelings about the situation matched the basic facts of the present moment. And if any of the fears that were noted in the detailed thoughts were as scary, as uncomfortable, or as painful as you thought they would be.

Alan Watts has a quote that ties in nicely to what I was just sharing with you:
[Being free from the past] simply involves a change in your thinking. It involves in other words; your getting rid of the habit of thought whereby you define yourself as the result of what has gone before — and instead, get into the more plausible, and more reasonable habit of thought. In terms of which; you don’t define yourself in terms of what you’ve done before, but in terms of what you’re doing now. And that is liberation from the ridiculous situation of being a dog wagged by its tail.

Just remember: no past, no future, no problem! :) Stay present. See what is happening now as a gift.

[To watch the entire “Time and The More It Changes” video (in 6 parts) from Alan Watts, click here.]

[Photo of the “No Past, No Future” tattoo is from the F*ck Yeah, Tattoos! blog.]

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Filed under awareness, great quotes, tv & video, unlearning

BE (YOU)

Very little of what you think & do is actually you. Trust me on this. And if you don’t, test it out for yourself. Set a timer for every 30 minutes one day. When the timer goes off, write down EXACTLY what thought you were thinking when the timer went off, & write down what you were doing at that moment as well. You will be sadly surprised to see all of the thoughts that are based on programed or learned untruths, & how much time (or rather, life) is spent focusing on either work (for the sole purpose of making money) or guilt related busy-ness.

Don’t you want to free yourself of this? Aren’t you tired of being someone other than yourself?

You might ask: “What is being me?” or “What is being free?” or “What should I be doing if not working for money or doing things because I should be doing them?”

The first two questions are great, but the last one answers itself.

What Is Being Me?

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 & your feet follow your heart (& 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 & at peace, this is you being you. Those moments of freedom, simplicity & bliss are all you.

Now you have another question: “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 & 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 & a texture to life. I don’t argue that the contrast between painful experiences & enjoyable experiences lead us to a greater appreciation. I don’t argue that the terrible experiences in our lives make us stronger & (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 & 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, & 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.

What Is Being Free?

Being free is being fearless. Fearless from the guilt & the ties & the programmed way of being that you were raised to live with & live in. The ways that have been ingrained in you that you see as truth (because it’s what you have experienced or seen), but it’s just you playing a record. These songs (experiences, lessons, traumas, or habits) have been ingrained in you like a grove in a record, & unfortunately you can’t help but to play these tunes over & over again.

Like I said before, some of these songs built out of pain are beautiful. These dark experiences have made you beautiful & strong. But they are also painful to carry or play out repeatedly (be it in your head or in your life —- same thing). You are enslaved to these false ideas if you can’t stop playing their tune. They run automatically as a way of being & dominate your life & experience. It’s like being trapped in a vicious cycle.

Freedom is being free to choose. To start from a place of unconditional beingness, of unconditional love —- a place of nothingness. To be able to choose freely & live spontaneously in the moment is freedom. Having clarity, feeling at ease, being self-sufficient, experiencing wholeness, connectedness, love, joy, peace —- to be able to be these under any circumstance or situation is freedom. It’s power! And this power is who you are when you are just being —- you.

Do you want to try it? Do you want to create a radical change in your life? Do you want to unlearn what you have been taught? Do you want to unplug yourself from the outside & tune into what’s inside?

This can happen overnight. This can happen in an instant. This can be a spontaneous realization. But I’m not going to promise you that. I don’t think you or anyone else has any control over it. That sort of instant awareness is Grace. It can only be granted; not bought, not taught, not learned, & definitely not pushed to happen. You can only get it when it is given, & only Grace can give it. That being said, what I can promise you is a gradual uncovering of your own truth. Yes, your own truth. You will know truth when you hear it, or see it, because you will feel it. Not in an emotional sense, or in a dramatic sense, but in a heartfelt resonance sense. You’ll just know without question & you’ll never forget. You may fall back on your programmed automatic way of being from time to time, but you’ll never forget who you are.

[The blog text is an except from my new ebook, Revolutionary Being. It will be released in the spring of 2012.]

[Pssst! After putting together this blog post I found a really great video by Mooji that I feel ties in really well. Please give it a look for additional thoughts on this topic: VIDEO LINK ]

[The illustrated quote is by Monique Duval, Compendium.]

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Filed under transformation, unlearning

Something Special : Charlotte Joko Beck 1917 – 2011

I just found out that the person who gave me a greater perspective on life & the possibility of ending self-imposed suffering & realizing freedom died last month. It’s silly that I feel like crying even though I don’t believe that she is her body. Why am I sad? What do I think I’m losing? Where is the loss? How would a person dying that I have never met change my day-to-day life? Why would it bring me to tears?

I guess it’s just a feeling of deep thanks & love for what she bravely stood for & how her words & work made me feel & the tremendous impact they had on me. Knowing that her death marks the end of her (physical) work brings me to tears & it opens my heart.

The person I am writing about is Charlotte Joko Beck.

Completely by chance(?) I stumbled across one of her books when I was a teenager. The book was Nothing Special. This book was obviously very special to me, for 20 years I saved this book (& I don’t save much!) & brought it out to New York with me after I moved from California. I still have this book & every time I see it or read it – it feels new. I’m not sure why I am teary eyed about not being able to read new work from her when the one & only book I have written by her still feels like a new book after 2 decades. I also don’t know why I think I won’t experience her work now that she is dead when her work is still living in me. My life & my work is a result of her work. So the work continues.

Thank you, Charlotte Joko Beck. You changed my life, better yet, you saved my life. And you simply did this by being you & by sharing your life – thank you.

“Joy is being the circumstances of our life just as they are.”
– Charlotte Joko Beck

“Sitting is essentially a simplified space. Our daily life is in constant movement: lots of things going on, lots of people talking, lots of events taking place. In the middle of that, it’s very difficult to sense that we are in our life. When we simplify the situation, when we take away the externals and remove ourselves from the ringing phone, the television, the people who visit us, the dog who needs a walk, we get a chance–which is absolutely the most valuable thing there is–to face ourselves. Meditation is not about some state, but about the meditator. It’s not about some activity or about fixing something. It’s about ourselves. If we don’t simplify the situation the chance of taking a good look at ourselves is very small–because what we tend to look at isn’t ourselves but everything else. If something goes wrong, what do we look at? We look at what’s going wrong. We’re looking out there all the time, and not at ourselves.”
– Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen

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Filed under loss & death

The Meaning of Surrender

I’m getting to a place where I see effort as futile. I believe that the universe, the planet, the body; is intelligent beyond my understanding. – So why do I push to understand, or force to make things happen when I am a part of this perfect whole? I am this universe, this planet, this body. (When I say, I am this body, it doesn’t mean that when it gives out or “dies” that I am no longer. It just means that I do not see myself as separate from the whole. I am infinitely connected & everything is consciousness. Everything is.)

The word surrender is moving closer to the forefront in my life. I’m beginning to crave it, & to experience its magic in layers. People seem to view surrender as giving up, as being defeated. They don’t see it as a powerful choice. I love this quote by OSHO because it states that surrender is the ultimate: “All methods are non-surrendering, because a method means depending on yourself. You can do something; the technique is there, so you do it. On the path of surrender, you are no more, so you cannot do anything. You have done the ultimate, the last: you have surrendered.”

Why would one need to surrender & how does one do it? Well, let’s use my life & a few of the things I struggle with as an example. I have been diligently working on so many aspects of my life over the years. Some I’ve made great progress on, while other areas seem to only get so far. The feeling of “Why is this still an issue?” hovers over me at times. I remember asking someone I respect for their opinion on the problem I have with my spine. His answer was, “If you have tried everything, the only thing you have left is to believe that it will get better” (or something like that). What he was insinuating was, that I have made great efforts by relying on my chiropractor, but I haven’t tried something simple as knowing that the problem will heal itself if I believed it would. – My excess body weight is another example of this. There is always a cleaner diet to be on or more exercise that I should take on. But something as simple as listening to my body & befriending it, as well as loving it unconditionally never seems to be the answer.

“Let go. Listening to something is an act of surrender.” – Brian Eno

So we can see the importance of stopping the fight if we wish to attain peace, peace with ourselves & all that we view as outside of ourselves. But one can not have a surrender method. They can’t buy a “How to Surrender & Win the War” book that lays it all out for them. It just is for them. It’s happening. The person hasn’t given up, they’ve opened up. They have chosen to expand, to encompass, & to trust. To be moved & to be one, with all that is & by all that is.

OSHO says it beautifully: “You cannot ask how to surrender; the very question is absurd. How can you ask how to surrender? Can you ask how to love? Either there is love or there is not, but you cannot ask how to love. […] Love is being totally open, vulnerable. It is dangerous. You become insecure. We cannot ask how to love, we cannot ask how to surrender. It happens! Love happens, surrender happens. Love & surrender are deeply one. But what is it? And if we cannot know how to surrender, at least we can know how we are maintaining ourselves from surrendering, how we are preventing ourselves from surrendering. That can be known & that is helpful.”

There is a fine line between action & non-action. If you choose to not act, you are actually doing something. Let’s use creativity as an example. Or dancing as an example. Or loving as an example. You decide to let go & it happens. Erich Fromm says, “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties”. – When I dance, I dance best when I totally let go. When I love, I love greatest when I am unconditional. – In both cases I have let go of all expectations.

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” – Julia Cameron

Another great example of letting go of expectations, believing & finding strength in surrender is Kung-Fu Panda. Yes, you read that right. The children’s film based on a chubby panda bear that works at a noodle shop & is chosen to be a Dragon Warrior. There is a scene in the middle of the film were Shifu (played by Dustin Hoffman) is having a serious conversation with Master Oogway (played by Randall Duk Kim).

Here is a bit of the dialogue:

Shifu: The Panda?! That panda is not the Dragon Warrior, he wasn’t even meant to be here! It was an accident.
Master Oogway: There are no accidents.
Shifu: Yes, I know. You’ve said that already, twice.
Master Oogway: Well, that was no accident either.
Shifu: Thrice.
Master Oogway: The Panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours. Until you let go of the illusion of control.
Shifu: Illusion?
Master Oogway: Yes. Look at this tree. I can not make it blossom when it suits me, nor make it bear fruit before it’s time.
Shifu: But there are things we can control. I can control when the fruit will fall & I can control where to plant the seed. That is no illusion! [Shifu swiftly karate chops the tree & fruit falls to the ground, – & on his head.]
Master Oogway: Ah, yes. But no matter what you do that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple, or an orange, but you will get a peach.
Shifu: But a peach can not defeat, Tai Lung [the antagonist]!
Master Oogway: Maybe it can. If you are willing to guide it, to nurture it, to believe in it.
Shifu: How? But how?! I need your help, Master.
Master Oogway: No. You just need to believe.

I will end this blog post by asking a few questions & leaving you with a few more quotes (because I love quotes so much). Take these questions seriously. Take out a pen & paper. Write freely & allow your answers to give you insights.

What are you resisting? What won’t you let go of? What do you refuse to accept? – How is resisting it or fighting it or refusing to accept it working for you?

Is there an area in your life where you are not trusting, not allowing, or not believing in? – Do you feel you won’t be safe or you’ll be too vulnerable if you do? If so, why?

Can you see how surrendering & letting go could lead to powerful experiences & a happier you? It takes the weight off of you & allows you to be free.

“Surrender to life itself and you’ll just be rewarded with so many things. And I’ve been rewarded so many times, in so many mysterious ways. So I have no reason to be disappointed with anything.” – Jason Mraz

This is a quote by Jasmuheen that I modified a tinsy bit: “Accept the perfection of everything that has been & now is, accepting that it has been our co-creation. It means deciding to be more aware & more conscious about how & what & why we create & then perhaps finding the courage to do things a little differently so that Grace can arrange Itself more powerfully through our life. We do this firstly by being a more awake being & secondly by treating others as we ourselves wish to be treated. Next comes the act of surrender where we sincerely invite our higher Self to merge us into the stream of Its love, & then finally to allow Grace to rearrange Itself throughout our life until all we feel is: appreciation & love.”

“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” – William Booth

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Filed under awareness, fear & challenges, great quotes, peace & bliss, unlearning