You Are

You are silence and life, stillness and motion, the space for all emotions, and the vibration of bliss. You are everything and nothing, and your birthright is joy.

You can live from a place where wisdom speaks to and through you, where problems offer up their own gentle answers, and where healing comes from your own smile.

You are now, and not a future or differently-imaged version of yourself.

To Share

A hiker who joined my silent hiking group asked me what I did, and I said I write spiritual books — but am thinking about teaching meditation in either group sessions or one-on-one.

They asked me how meditation can be taught, rather than just practiced, and I thought about it for a moment. Whenever the mind is stopped, silence welcomes me. That silence, of the trees, the shy sun ducking behind a cloud, and the dust swirling from the group’s footsteps, all answered for me.

I said, to help another on the spiritual path you only have to share an ounce of yourself and a pound of Truth.

You only have to stand, not facing each other, but side-by-side, looking to the sunrise together, as you speak or not, walk or not, laugh or not, all from the connected, silent appreciation of dawning light.

To share, you only have to dip into yourself deeply enough that there is no one left to share from.

Stillness

I moved over to Santa Barbara from Ojai recently. Ojai is a beautiful town, filled with room for contemplation and surrounded by mountains welcoming hikers with watching embraces. It is a tiny town, with little traffic, noise or distractions, but it was getting a bit too isolating for me.

I will never forget the gift that the three years in Ojai gave me: reconnecting to the quiet within to such a depth that it birthed a desire to open up my heart and share it somehow… with writing being the current expression of that.

Today I hiked up Rattlesnake Canyon Trail, along a babbling creek, pestering flies, and heavy heat. I was thrilled by the lack of stillness in me, the dance of that center inside, that made-up, simultaneous victim and controller of the story that spins like a top, unable to stop flipping between pasts and futures.

I was thrilled by the lack of stillness because it made it more precious when I dropped back to stillness every now and then on the hike. It felt like a sigh coupled with a smile, an easy-going free-ness, a return home.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Canada is on the second Monday in October, instead of like in the US, where it is on the fourth Thursday in November. It was also only in recent years that Thanksgiving became more popular up there, and is now pushed heavily by retailers and advertising on TV.

Growing up in Canada, Thanksgiving wasn’t a huge holiday for our family, but my mother did sometimes cook a turkey or a roast ham. Some years, coming in from playing outside with friends to the smell of that special meal, would be the thing that reminded my why exactly I had the day off from school!

So, today I am treating the holiday like any other day, not meeting up with friends or family, but relaxing at home after a nice, cool-morning hike filled with views and exercise. As I sit here writing this, I was thinking whether I should write what I am thankful for, but nothing specific came to mind. As you probably know, if you are a regular reader of my posts, I am always only thankful for one thing.

I am thankful for the times when thankfulness comes unannounced and unforced, when it comes from the silence of our souls to dance with us for a few precious seconds — a splinter of time anointed with the essence of our true selves — before disappearing back down to whence it came. I am thankful that thankfulness does not stay around forever, but is just there, barely a scratch away from the surface, so that each time it comes it is a blessing anew.

The Battle

I am only ever battling with the present moment.

My striving, my hoping, my imaginations that the future will hold a more perfected version of myself, are the skirmishes.

The war was long. I bargained for peace, I fought viciously with the armies through the mirror, but now I see I will never be more myself than I am in this moment. I see that the battles never, ever had two sides.

I can polish the outer until it shines brightly, but until I stop fighting, until I stop blocking this moment from expressing itself as Life itself, I will not be the source of that shining.

Finished Baking

Last week I cried from a deep longing, a longing overflowing with the fullness of the present moment.

It started from the personal, an ache to go deeper, to resolve the imaginary vectors of cause and effect in my mind.

But then it flowered into the universal, a longing to share the nothingness — alive and complete — of the sunshine on the leaves, of the empty space between the fence and yard, of the delicate knots in the blind cords, of the love charging the longing itself, with the entire world.

And the recipe felt complete; nothing else need be bought, nothing else need be mixed in. It was ready to come out of the oven and be.

How Is You

Words have no energy of their own. They are merely carriers of the energies birthed in the big bang of intentions.

How can carry the energy to learn a new skill, to mentally break down a goal into the steps you will need to achieve.

But when it comes to your identity, or any habit making up the strong core of that identity, how is a poison and a prison.

Ask how to be freehow to change a core habit, beg the universe or clench your fists in frustration, but nothing will change.

Stare into the core of the question how, and you will see the questioner, the thought bundle which asks. One cannot exist without the other. How is you.

So, to drop identity in a moment, or forever, stop asking how.

When you stop, how fades into now. And now is a truer you, a you which doesn’t need to move or achieve inwardly, a you which is free.

The Ride

Enjoy the roller coaster of Truth.

Relish the slow, building uphills as you dip your toes into different beliefs and practices. Try everything, but check to see if these are giving you true fulfillment. Check they aren’t tricks to keep you glued to time and the belief that answers will come only after the crest.

The first loops of mind-stilling experiences, heart openings, insights, vivid dreams and surrenders are what you’ve always dreamed the path to truth was about.

Or perhaps the coaster you’re on is all too rough for you and you close your eyes and wish for it to be over. Why has it continued so long, for five, twenty or thirty years?

Soon you realize that the ride, no matter how scary or thrilling, only ever brings you back to where you started.

Was it all for naught? Was there a reason to get on this adventure?

Try another go, and see that you never move, you are stillness itself, and it is only the amusement park blurring past you. So, enjoy the dance of Life all around. Participate or not, but nothing touches what you truly are.

Give your heart fully to the world or give it to yourself, they are the same.

Here

You cannot solve the essential problem of your life, which is the problem of freedom, so all you can do is be here;

Not as a witness, but as here itself.

Avoid Nothing

 

 

 

As children, we develop an ability to run from that which scares us. It is a good survival instinct for the outer world. But when it comes to the inner world, the world of our thoughts and emotions, it is not necessary.

It is a beautiful thing to hold fear. Pick it up with your mind’s eye and mind’s hand. Turn it over, inspect it, stare into it’s core. Just as it is a relief to turn on the lights to see that the shadow you were afraid of is not there, it is equally beautiful to see that the fear and pain we habitually run from is nothing.

Thoughts wrapped around emotions can manifest as fear, boredom, aloneness, longing or sadness. But if you look intently at any of these, if you feel them in your body as an entry point, you may see their energy as an alive nothingness. And the more intense the emotions, you may eventually see that they are no different than Love. They arise and fall in a pristine, un-disturbable energy that is boundless.

It no longer makes sense to ask where does this Love arise from and where does it point. It is just Love, radiating effortlessly with no origin, recognizing itself in everything.