Tag Archives: liberation

Did I do it? …or did it just happen?

[This happened on October 2nd, 2012. After the incident, I put a bandage on my finger & wrote this blog post. Since then, my finger rapidly healed. Everything is now back to normal. I’m as good as new!]

I sliced a piece of my finger off as I was making lunch on Tuesday. It happened shortly after I wrote down a few thoughts that came to me. This is what I wrote before I cut myself:

What we are really looking for, we can’t have — which is unconditional love.
It’s not to be had, possessed, learned, created or found — it is.
It is life itself.
There is no someone who loves. There is only love.
There is no someone who lives. There is only life.
When we see life as unconditional love, the search is over.
There is no longer someone looking for something.
There is only love. And love is no-thing.

Then, maybe 20 minutes later, I walked into the kitchen, began to make lunch — and whoops!

I mentioned it to someone later that day, I said, “Today I sliced a little piece of my finger off.” And their reply was, “Well, why did you do that?” It was so clear to me at that moment: ‘I’ didn’t do that, I didn’t choose that, I didn’t make it happen — it just happened. There was an energetic & slightly chaotic moment (while making lunch) & off the piece of finger went (sliced off during the use of a mandoline). It was a happening, something that happened in the the moment.

This was such an ah-ha for me. I reflected on several past experiences, were I may have been upset with myself for something that happened. And now, when I look back at it — how silly I was for being so hard on myself (or on others). There was no separate individual that made anything happen, or that chose to cause harm, or could have chose to avoid it. And that something that happened wasn’t personal. Not something bad just for some-one, that could have been controlled by the some-one it was happening to (or not happening to). It was simply a happening in the moment. Not good or bad, but simply happening. And there is no one, no separate individual, that could ever know why.

As I continue to move in life (as the construct known as time passes), it’s getting clearer to me how effortless life can be. When things happening are simply viewed as a ‘happening,’ all of the contrast is taken out. The suffering & the drama totally disappears. There is no one to blame; nothing to take personal. It simply is. Just as life simply is. Is there anyone that can explain life? Or any-one that can be responsible for life as we know it? Of course not. It’s just a happening.

Do you remember how the word ‘happening‘ was used in the 60’s? It was a performance, event or situation meant to be considered art, usually as performance art. And later people used the word loosely to mean any type of gathering or party. This to me, is a good definition of what is happening with all of us. We are an event, we are performing, we are a gathering, we are a party. It’s art. It’s play. It’s drama.

It’s all energy at play. Energy that appears to take any form. But don’t let the appearance fool you. Don’t get lost in the story. Stay awake. Stay clear. Remember that it’s all energy. And this energy is simply unconditional love. Embracing & allowing everything.

That is why there is no one that has control. No one that has the answers. No one that is responsible. No one that is separate. And whatever is happening, is transitory. Meaningless. No-thing. Just energy. Just unconditional love. Just is.

For some people the thought of that stirs up tension & anger, or endless questions, or maybe confusion, or sorrow — for others, it’s a relief. All the weight, all the meaning, all the effort, all the significance, has been lifted. So when something happens — there is no one to blame. The energy (in whatever form it takes) moves to handle whatever is next. Not a beat is missed. It’s perfect. It’s like dancing, or improvisation — just move to what moves you & allow the moves to come as you are moved. Can you imagine if you lived life like that? Does that not sound like fun? Does that not sound liberating? To me it does.

I’ve had numerous injuries over my adult life: from a major car accident while being a passenger (which resulted in knee surgery & lifelong damage to my spine) — to seriously injuring myself while making large-scale art pieces. All of the injuries were traumatic for me. But Tuesday’s injury (although much-much smaller, yet still significant) was the first time that the moment felt effortless & seamless — & totally fine. No problem at all. Like no-thing happened. And it was simply a level of awareness that made the difference. Somehow, awareness makes all the difference — all the difference in the world. So much so, that it completely changes the experience of it.

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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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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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What I learned from the Murder of Troy Davis

I mentioned it on a previous blog post, & I can’t help but to raise it again. I was really affected by the death of Troy Davis. I had a hard time sleeping that night. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I went through feelings of anger, of hopelessness, & of disgust. It was amazing how someone I had just heard of that week had opened my eyes & heart. I never heard of Troy Davis & his case, I only found out about him days before he was executed. In my mind I didn’t think it would happen. I heard that he was innocent & people, prominent people, as well as thousands of people around the globe were fighting for his life. I just knew the courts would change their mind & his life would be saved.

On September 21, the night of his execution (I call it murder) I watched the whole thing unfold on Twitter, watching updates on everything that was happening tweet by tweet. There were tweets from lawyers, celebrities, scholars, protesters, bloggers, news reporters, family & friends. It seemed like everyone was doing whatever they could at that moment. Then things started to look bleak. I’m not going to go into the whole series of events (you can find out more by watching this video), I’m just going to say that he was executed by lethal injection at 11:08pm. When I saw that flash on my computer screen, my heart stopped. I thought, What?! Is this really happening?

There are several things that I learned from all of this.
The thoughts & points I will share are not things that I didn’t know before. They just needed to be acknowledged & brought again into my awareness. The same thing can be said for the videos about Troy Davis that I will present. Everything I heard about him was new to me, but the knowledge that innocent people are being killed by the government is not new. Neither is the idea that people know this, yet do nothing to stop it.

“All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul.”
Mahatma Gandhi

An eye for an eye & we all go blind.
I watched Alec Baldwin go at it ruthlessly with Michelle Malkin on twitter the night of Tory Davis’ execution. Their Twitter followers did the same & followed their lead – but in their own way. Tweets were sent to Alex Baldwin about him being an idiot, & racist tweets were sent to Michelle Malkin about her Asian heritage. I watched the the whole thing unfold tweet after tweet.

Michelle Malkin stood for the cop who was killed & Alec Baldwin stood for the life he wanted saved. Who was right? And would going at each other’s throats & pinning one against the other help matters at all? In my opinion it made it worse. It drowned out the many voices of both sides & turned everyone’s attention to a completely different topic. It was foolish.

The same “me against you” thinking can be said for the desire to kill someone because someone was murdered. Let’s add into that, that one of the people that are to be killed for the death of another might be innocent! How does this solve anything? It doesn’t bring back the life of the one that was lost & it doesn’t bring justice. How is anyone in their right mind able to carry out something like this & not see it as nonsensical thinking? It’s absurd. – And how do the rest of us justify allowing something like this to take place? Not just once, but ongoingly!

“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.”
Marshall Rosenberg

Only you can attain peace & end your own suffering.
The change we need is a change in thinking – in our own consciousness. The same people I saw rejoicing over the presidential election of Barack Obama were the same ones condemning him (for not speaking out about the execution of Troy Davis) on Twitter.

Do not look outside of yourself for a solution. One minute you will think you found it, & the next minute you will be searching again. Don’t put your hopes in anyone but yourself. You are responsible for the change you want to see in the world.

“Truth lies within ourselves: it takes no rise from outward things, whatever you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness and to Know rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape than in effecting entry for light supposed to be without.”
Robert Browning

Today would have been Troy’s 43rd birthday had he not been executed at 11:08pm on September 21, 2011. This Sunday, October 9th 2011, he would have been celebrating another year of life.

May everyone remember this day, as a day of not only love, but of awareness. Think for yourself, open your heart, look within, show compassion, do something for the greater good of all, & learn the truth.

I’m sure Troy Davis would understand that considering part of his last words were “Dig deeper”. I’m sure he was referring to lack of evidence & that they (those that wanted him dead) should explore further so that they could see he was innocent. But when I read his final statement about digging deeper, it made me think (& others too) that we are all operating on such a shallow & superficial level. Not only in the actions we take & how we passively participate in society (as we allow it to keep us dependent on it & spoon feed us what it wants us to know & how we are content being a hamster in a wheel as the government turns it around for us), but in how we think. What happened to our capacity to reason? To design our lives freely, to create our own communities & standards. But more importantly, what happened to our ability to love & stand up for one another? These are questions we can only ask ourselves.

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
Thomas Kempis

My liberation will be in this moment as it is.
I will not wish for things to be different in order to find solace.
I will continue to look within myself for the love, peace & freedom I wish for all beings.
The way out is always in.

“A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

For information on Troy Davis & the death penalty, please view videos posted below….

[Troy Davis photo & protest video by Exercise Compassion. Troy Davis news videos by Russia Today.]

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