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Monday, December 31 2012


Small Victories

 

       Traditionally, New Year's is a time we resolve to begin anew – a time to deepen, broaden, break old habits, establish new patterns. 

 

       This year, I'm re-committing to staying present with myself, with the people in my life, and with life itself.  Since I tend to lapse quickly into rehearsing the future and reviewing the past, this is rigorous work – noticing, time and time again, when I'm off in story-land and gently, time and time again, bringing myself back to the now.

 

       Here's a suggestion from Richard Moss, I've found quite helpful in this work:  Declare victory each time we notice that we've gone away.  Don't focus on the "failure" of the departure, celebrate the success of the awareness and the return.  Each act of mindfulness interrupts an automatic pattern and weakens it – however slightly. 

 

       We can encourage ourselves on the journey.  Nothing huge – a quick internal "Yes!" will do nicely.  Also, as we evaluate how we're doing, it works better to note how far we've come than to immerse in how far we've yet to go.   

 

       In 2013, as we attend to growth in whatever areas we choose, let's approach ourselves with mercy and our tasks with joy.  Savor small victories.

 

       Happy New Year!

 

      

Posted by: AT 11:39 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, December 25 2012


Christmas Reflection

 

       It's Christmas night and I wonder about the meaning of it all: the birth, the life, the message, the gift.

 

       For me, the birth of Jesus signals the movement from separation consciousness to unity consciousness.  His life and teaching (e.g. "I and the Father are one") move God from out there to in here.  His realization of oneness opens us to conscious connection with all that is – every person, every critter, every tree – this planet, this galaxy, this universe.  Our eyes open to the absurdity of deliberately harming another being. 

 

       Christmas greetings invite peace on earth and peace in our hearts.  The season invites reverence, reminding us that the divine is here – within us and around us, everywhere we look.  

 

       Beneath the fiction of separation, all is love.  Beneath our human goofiness, we are love and in love.  We are the gift. 

 

       Let's be the gift.  Let's do Christmas every day. 

 

 

Posted by: AT 11:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, December 16 2012


Love Breath

 

       Lately, I've been playing with breath and imagery in my meditation practice.  What follows is a sequence I've been practicing – which I invite you to try.  If you do, please take your time.  Linger for a while at each step of the process.  As always, feel free to skip steps or to depart from what I describe in any way that feels right for you. 

 

       In seated meditation, I start with an erect posture, my tongue at the roof of the mouth and a little smile on my face.  Disengaging from busy mind and the cares of the day, I focus on the sensation of breathing – the feel of air moving through nasal passages, down into the lungs and back out – noticing, for example, the temperature changes and the sensations of fullness and release, as breath flows.

 

       After a while, I imagine that breath is love.  As I breathe in, I fill with love and compassion for myself.  As I breathe out, I send love and compassion to all.

 

       Next, I focus on the heart.  I inhale love into my heart.  I exhale love to all hearts.

 

       Finally, I imagine breathing love in and out of every pore, so that my entire body becomes a love radiator, increasingly transparent to the flow of love.  As self-consciousness recedes, there comes a sense of melting into love's radiant spaciousness.  Separation disappears.

 

       Later, as I reflect on these experiences, it seems true to say that, at some point in the process, I am no longer breathing love.  Love is breathing me.

 

      

Posted by: AT 08:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, December 09 2012

A Moment in Grace

 

       Sitting in the circle of group Thursday night, listening to people dear to me speak about how they allow themselves to receive, I felt my heart smile in response to the loving energy of our gathering.

 

       Unbidden, came a simple statement – a quiet, matter of fact declaration:  "I am a beautiful being".  There was not the tearful sense of redemption I sometimes feel when touched by life – no awe, really – just a peaceful feeling.  The egoic self was strangely silent.  I remember thinking "my heart is good", with no judgments about accomplishments or mistakes, good deeds or bad deeds.  In fact, all that stuff seemed irrelevant.

 

       The experience lasted maybe a couple seconds.  Then, effortlessly, my attention returned to the flow in the room.  Only later, after group was over, did I begin to appreciate the significance – and the originality – of that moment.

 

       Ego loves the familiar repetition of the same old thoughts.  This was not one of my usual thoughts.  This was a moment in grace, a gentle reminder for me – and now, I hope, a gentle reminder for you – of who we are.


Posted by: AT 09:54 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, December 01 2012


Dawn's Passing

 

       A friend, colleague and fellow sojourner, Dawn Beye, died Thursday morning, November 29th – my birthday – and, I believe, a birth day for her.  On her Caring Bridge website, she shared many inspiring journal entries, one of which, I posted as a Weekly Wisdom, titled Dawn's Light. (To find that posting, click under Archive on August, 2009.)  

 

       This morning, I was planning to flesh out a Weekly Wisdom, called Love Breath, that's been percolating for a while.  As I sat at the computer, Dawn was on my mind, and my mind was in an odd space.  At the top of the page, instead of "Love Breath", I typed "Dawn's Passing".   

 

       I'm not quite sure how that happened, but I am clear:  Love Breath will need to wait.

 

       On the day of Dawn's death, her husband, Kirk, posted on Caring Bridge a letter she had written a few months ago to their newborn granddaughter.  It's a legacy Dawn left before her passing. 

 

       I pass portions of it your way.

 

 

      

"I am writing this especially for you, as well as for my grandchildren who may arrive on earth in the future.  Perhaps what I write for you will have meaning for others as well – especially for family and friends – and even for the larger family of humankind.

 

"All living beings are connected.  Even the earth, itself, with all its forms of life and creation could be seen as 'family'.  All things are part of an intricate web of life.  Some might call that Oneness or Wholeness.  All the world's great spiritual philosophies and traditions acknowledge this sense of Unity.  The sciences, too, especially physics, with theories like the Zero Point Field, seek to understand and explain a source from which all form arises.

 

"On earth, it would be wonderful if we could sense such Oneness – treating each other and all that exists with respect, kindness and love.  That is how families function best.

 

"Unfortunately, we often miss the mark on this.  Whether in our immediate family or the larger family of humankind, as we seek to live consciously and conscientiously on our planet, we are guaranteed to encounter some challenging people and circumstances.

 

"Here's one of life's little secrets.  All of your experiences – whether they seem negative or positive – can teach you something – if  you are willing to learn.  And if you are willing to learn, you will find that in the end everything you experience in life is good.

 

"Like an alchemist you change dross into gold.  You can become a person who shapes your own world with confidence, power and, especially, with compassion and caring for yourself and others.

 

"Taking this kind of perspective requires strength and persistence.  It is not an easy path.  But, paradoxically, it will make life easier for you – and so much richer.  For you will live with greater appreciation and awe of everything in life.  You will be in charge of your life, no matter what happens externally.  You will have the power to create joy in life.  The ability is built into you, but it must be noticed and cultivated to become real for you….

 

"Our journey through life changes over the years.  Sometimes with unanticipated twists and turns.  Our lives evolve – and that's good.  It means we are growing.  And it means we have multiple opportunities to become more of who we are.

 

"Claiming and expressing who you really are is one of the most important things you can do to live a fulfilling life.  When you live as your own unique self, your understanding and gifts expand.  After all, you came to earth to be you !

 

"But there's no arrival at a particular destination labeled, 'Infinite Self'.  That would make you finite wouldn't it?  Instead, with each expansion of your sense of self, you will discover a new horizon to explore.  Which I think is an absolutely wonderful way to live!  Always something to look forward to.

 

"Remember that you were born perfect, open, beautiful, aware and wise.  You are already a masterpiece!  Remembering this is the key….

 

"Babies shine so brilliantly with divine light.  Adults, on the other hand, have often had life experiences that result in a filtering or masking of their light.  While that light of our being never goes away, as we grow up, we may forget it is there, or bury it under layers of life experiences that seem to contradict it…

 

"During our growing up years, we are shaped by many external factors – family, culture, schools, religion, politics and many other tings – all of which will seek to influence you.  Such influences can add layers that separate you from your truest Self, even when they are well-intended and meant to be positive.  We generally have things to un-learn to remember and rediscover who we truly are….

 

"As a child, I saw the whole world as Light.  I've been lucky to have had the gift of seeing beyond the outer forms of people and things to the Love and Light that shines within them.  This Love and Light definitely trumps everything else.  It's really all that exists.  Everything else that we believe to be 'real' is just clutter we've collected, judgments we've made, and other perceptions that we've allowed to cloud our awareness.

 

"Even people who do horrific things have a spark of this Love and Light within them somewhere.  It may be deeply buried and hidden, however.  It is wise in this physical world to be discerning and to take self-protective actions around persons who are disconnected from their true selves.  It is only in disconnection and separation that we could ever harm another person.  Because otherwise we would see others as part of the Whole in which we all reside.  To purposefully harm anyone else is to harm oneself, and all of humanity.

 

"Even when boundaries need to be set for the well-being of all, it is helpful to remember that there is always more than meets the eye.  Persons who are so separated from their own Light are not likely to ever perceive it, unless someone else acknowledges it within them.  One can do this from a safe distance.  Forgiveness helps.  Learning from any negative experience helps.  Living life well despite what happens to us helps.  If we hold onto feelings like vengeance, bitterness or hatred, we ultimately poison ourselves, and often those around us as well.  Then everyone involved becomes more separated from their own Light.

 

"Life has so much to explore, enjoy and appreciate.  There is no one-size-fits-all; no one 'right' way in life.  I don't have 'the answers', and neither does anyone else.  In fact, be wary of those who believe they have captured 'the truth'.  They are the least likely to know much of anything.  The closer you get to a truth, the more infinite it becomes, always calling you to the next level of understanding.

 

"Truth also is not 'out there'.  It is in your own heart, waiting for you to perceive it.  Truth comes from within.

 

"So don't take anything I offer as the ultimate truth.  Words are too limited to encompass that adequately anyway.  But I hope my words will prompt you to create your own thoughts, expand into the joy of life and discover the ever-expanding truths that shine brightly within your own heart….

 

"What a wonderful universe this is!  Gifts to unwrap everywhere we look."

 

 

Meurial Dawn Weldon Beye

December 5, 1953November 29, 2012

 

 

Posted by: AT 02:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

 "James has a very welcoming presence and an easy going demeanor in addition to an excellent sense of humor . We are all free to be our own goofy selves."
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