Category Archives: philosophy

Quiet People…

Whoever decided that talking all the time should give one social status or is even intelligent? Quiet people does not equal stupid people! It does not indicate rigor mortis. There are all kinds of reasons why some individual might be quiet: ‘Still waters run deep,’ shy and intelligent, drugs. You’ve probably met many people who fall into this cluster. Some people enjoy listening and it would be quite an unbalanced and chaotic world without them.

Quiet people are not necessarily half-wits or dim wits. There are stupefied, full-of-themselves people who talk continuously until you feel like you’ve been pecked to death by a duck. Then there are people who are so full of life that their discourse bubbles with intelligence and can completely entrance another individual with the vistas of knowledge and experience that the other’s dialogue open for them.

There are people who don’t feel a need or see a reason to interact verbally all the time. They find peace in silence. They find wisdom in silence. They find relationship in silence. They find entire realms of knowledge in silence. They are cautious about who they want to interact and spend time with because of that wisdom. Who are any of us to judge. Understanding another individual is a lifetime process. Each living being, human, animal, plant, rock, water, the Earth itself is a complex and fascinating spark of a divinely ordained creation. Appreciate!

Thinking About…

I’ve been thinking about thinking. What if you could unroll the entire lifetime of your brain, word by word, like a ticker tape? What a shock and an education that might be! What is thinking? How does it happen? Here’s what I came to. Thinking is a way of sculpting and arranging energy — your own individual energy. The process of thinking assembles and organizes the elements of our lives, both conscious and not so conscious elements, into something intelligible.

Thinking happens by virtue of the ‘mind,’ which is composed of thoughts. But what is ‘mind?’ Sally Kempton, author and Meditation instructor says, “…the phenomenon we experience as “mind” is actually a particularly vibrant and subtle kind of energy. An ocean of energy, in fact, in which waves of thoughts and emotions arise and subside.” The mind is a tool that individualizes energy by engaging the process called thinking.

The mind is the most important tool that we have. Think of it as a horse. You can leave a horse out in the field to wander, or you can train a horse so that you can ride it, enter it in races or shows, or do work that you can’t do yourself. Just so, you can train the mind to consciously serve your purposes or allow it to wander endlessly and waste away all of your energies and talents.

What do you spend your time thinking about? Is your mind enthralled constantly by all those pre-taped messages that go through it over and over and over (a form of self-hypnosis) – broken records of past unresolved events, ungrounded fantasies, bland repetition of who knows what? Does that accomplish anything beneficial for you or anyone else? Is that really the process called, “thinking”? Let’s hope not!

You can use the mind in countless ways. Think about it! Some of the synonyms for thinking are reasoning, rationalizing, discerning, intellectualizing. You can ruminate, ponder, reflect, cogitate, meditate, deliberate, muse. Within that framework, thinking can be many things. It can be a response to internal feelings or external stimuli. It can be your way of creating representations of your world and your life – your particular perspective. It can be a way of directing your thoughts to resolve problems, put together information in a way that clarifies and brings deeper understanding. Or you can use the thinking process to create — in the sense of someone having an idea and then thinking through the process of designing a city, house, a rocket, whatever.

How does ‘thinking’ come about? Each of us has impulses towards certain activities; moods or attitudes that come from feelings – feelings of depression, curiosity, anger, love, harmony, discomfort, etc. Each of those impulses or moods draws to it a certain constellation of thoughts and behaviors. Out of that constellation of thoughts, you can take what you want and ride the wave in that particular realm. That wave — for instance, curiosity — can be creative, coherent, expansive, or it can be negative and destructive– ie., depressive thinking.

The power of directing your thoughts is called concentration. Concentration draws all of your energies into one coherent stream — called one-pointedness in Yoga philosophy. In Christian terms, it could be said: “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light,” lighting the way to greater understanding and action; bringing flow to your life. One-pointedness, singleness of mind, can direct that inner stream of energy into something that is organized and powerful. When you learn to concentrate, you learn to use your energies to your greatest, and possibly everyone else’s, benefit.

Begin the practice of concentration by choosing something that you love to do – learn to knit, do woodworking, dance, research a certain subject, etc. — and put your heart and soul into it even when the going gets rough. In this way you are learning to direct your energies, to be single-minded-one-pointed, and train your thinking processes. You’ve made a decision to choose and use your thoughts instead of letting them use you or wander aimlessly. You’ve trained your horse – the mind – to take you where you want to go. That’s what brings empowerment, satisfaction and a rich, wholesome life.

Fear

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” But, in these times, it seems reasonable to be fearful doesn’t it? Everyday brings news of another mass killing; men of all ethnicities going out and randomly killing off everyone in their vicinity. And then there is climate change. The world has been assailed by increasingly frequent and violent storms that kill off masses of people in the blink of an eye. If it isn’t quick death, then from Love Canal to Flint, it is a slow, debilitating process of death that is caused by the invisible poisoning of our Earth — air, water, soil, food. If that’s not enough, then there is the looming threat of financial collapse causing misery or death by poverty. It seems like everywhere we turn, Death is looking us in the eye. It is frightening! It’s a wonder we don’t all wake up in the morning and just run out of our houses screaming in terror!

Why would Roosevelt, a reasonable and intelligent human, say that fear is the only thing to fear? I was once face to face with a Rottweiler that lunged, completely unexpectedly, from the corner of a porch toward me. Because I had been a regular Yoga/meditation practitioner, I had cultivated a state of internal calm and centeredness. When I saw the dog out of the corner of my eye coming for me, fear did not arise in me. Because the gaping abyss of fear was not there, the dog stopped, almost in mid air, turned and went back to its corner.

It has to do with being whole inside. Fear eats you up. The state of constant, subliminal fear breaks down your inner integrity. Fear can save your life in emergencies, but, with a persistent presence, it can also be like a leprotic disease, creating holes in the fabric of your being. In Nature, healthy plants aren’t attacked by disease, only plants that are already sick — same with animals. Predators have mechanisms that tell them when something is weak or sick and they go for it. It’s a green light for annihilation!

When calm is your abiding state, when you are able to stand back from the melee and get quiet inside, a whole new world comes into play. Peace is an unassailable ‘defense’ system. It doesn’t allow fear to exist.

Crystal Ball

“Quetzal: …Before I give you a clear account of the prophecies of Henoch, I would like to point out that prophecies are always changeable and can be changed for the better if man makes positive changes in his thoughts, feelings and actions, leading to that which is better and positively progressive.” (© Billy Meier/FIGU 2002–2004)

A recent conversation with friends led me to a realization that shifted me 360 degrees and something essential came suddenly into clear focus: that each of us is always creating the future moment by moment with our feelings: not by our beliefs, thoughts, words and actions but by the feelings underlying them. The feelings that are bubbling inside of you, moment to moment, beneath the business of the mind, are the foundation, the wellspring, of your present and future. You don’t need a psychic to tell your future.

Your internal world is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of potential. Often you aren’t consciously aware of your feelings and because of this your future unfolds randomly. But there is a way you can consciously sense, choose and create your future and it is a process that will fulfill all of your needs and capacities. By regularly tuning into, acknowledging and understanding your feelings, you will align with and manifest all potential aspects of your being.

Eugene Gendlin, author of the book Focusing, recognized that successful therapy clients were tuning into and unwinding something he called the ‘felt sense’ — a vague, unarticulated cluster of feelings. Your felt sense is your living truth. By articulating it, you access uncensored knowing. Your felt sense is your inner crystal ball, which is in steady streaming operation. Basically it is akin to a gut, intuitive feeling about the rightness or unfinished sense of something.

In the beginning, it is a unformulated, undefined ‘something’ that you sense, usually in the wide expanse of body between the perineum and the throat. It is palpable. It is something that does not come from the conditioned reactions embedded in a mind that has been molded, censored or enculturated by external learning. Says author Penny Kelly, “We have been conditioned to not acknowledge or act on our feelings. The result is that we begin to lie with our entire being.”

Feelings and felt senses have patterns. Within a pattern of feelings, you may identify many indefinite or conflicting feelings before you arrive at a new pattern alignment that feels just right. This sense of rightness catalyzes and shifts the feeling patterns causing a synergy of the parts, a shift where everything in you reorganizes and engages. This place will very likely be surprisingly different than, perhaps even at odds with, the feelings, thoughts, ideas and images that you embraced before, but it is the manger that births wholeness of being.

The challenge comes in understanding the underlying meaning of the felt sense patterns. In order to grasp the meaning and to then guide the stream of possibilities, here is a condensed version of some steps you might take. Sit quietly, step into your inner world. Feel the sensations in your body. Acknowledge and sit with them like you would with a friend. What calls for your attention? Is there a word or image that comes from those feelings? Does that felt sense want or need something? (Refer to Focusing Resources for further steps). Throughout the process, you will know you have identified the meaning of that felt sense when the entire body resonates in response.

A psychic or empath can tune into various possible futures contained in your feeling pattern, but by going that route you deprive yourself of exercising your fundamental ability to identify your own vital truths. By learning to tune into your felt senses, your own inner See-r, you understand the creation of your optimum possible future from inner knowing and, even more importantly, you acknowledge and accept your true power, your natural, intuitive authority.

Identifying and shifting the array of feelings you hold may be the only sure and genuine way of creating a reality that satisfies all of your internal constituents and if you don’t get to that place, then you create realities and futures that don’t quite fit or that are ultimately undesirable. When you do arrive at that inner alignment, then you have arrived at a profoundly peaceful and harmonious internal Presence – your Living Truth. When you live from that Presence, you create the path into a future that unfolds moment by moment from your intrinsic nature, the one that your innate, indwelling intelligence leads to: your most potently meaningful life.

 

The Heart Hears!

One night I was sitting quietly, fully engaged in the music that I was hearing — a playlist of some of my favorite pieces — classical, pop, inspirational, world music. I realized that it had been a long, long time since I had taken the time to actually, fully listen. My entire being was feeling sound, absorbing rhythm and essence into every cell of my body and Psyche. Not to be cliché, but because I was wholly present to the music, it struck a deep chord directly in the core of my heart, a place I hadn’t been able to reach for what seemed like eons. Something significant shifted and awakened in me as I listened. What followed was an altered state of consciousness and a night of profound dreams.

Some, maybe all, of the most powerful moments in life happen directly through the heart. We make connections with people, animals, art, nature, music — all aspects of life. Heart-to-heart connections are the very sustenance of life. The word heart itself contains intriguing relationships. The words ‘hear,’ ‘ear,’ and ‘art’ are contained in the word heart. It is not a far stretch to add an ‘h’ at the end of ‘heart’ to include the word ‘hearth,’ a home, a place that warms and nurtures the entire being, which is a primary purpose of the heart. The heart is the hearth of the body: the home of love and connection to life. The home is the heart of life.

Have you heard the phrase, ‘the ear of the heart? Genuine meaning often escapes the mazes of the linear mind, which hears only the superficial. The intelligence of the heart, the ‘ear’, can detect the spirit and essence of what is being communicated through any medium. Beyond actual physical hearing, we have intuitive senses. The deeper meaning of words comes directly through our heart-felt intuition. Jane Roberts, famous intuitive, comments, “…we will be intuitively aware of what the other person is saying to us: we will know what is beneath words. We will also use words better ourselves to communicate our inner feelings since we will know what those feelings are.”

We get it at a feeling/intuitive level because the essence of sound, the basis of words, is vibration. Vibration itself has primal meaning, which creates the essence of words. In some cultures, there are people who can understand many languages because they feel the substance of words, the meaning of the vibrations, through the ‘ear of the heart.’ Herbert Whone in, The Hidden Face of Music, comments that, “In a material existence…a man has to delve deep to get to the heart of the matter.” The heart hears!

Sound is, of course, the basis of music, which is a nonverbal expression of human communication. Music is a medium that affects the heart directly both psychologically and through physical vibrations. I’m sure that you find this obvious! In ancient Greece, music is one of the nine Muses – the Divine Muse. She is the one who presides over all the others. She is mighty and powerful. She can make your heart soar or send you into paroxysms of sadness. She penetrates the heart directly and intimately. Her power creates bridges from heart to heart.

Author Herbert Whone expands on these deeper influences. Man, he says, “…is capable of tuning in to, or more simply hearing, the song of any other being in the universe. It is for this reason that we find the word ‘hear’ embodied in the word ‘heart’. It is the universal heart, which is the source of true wisdom, and ‘to get to the heart of the matter’ is a saying that reveals the truth in this. Real hearing is a penetration from heart to heart.”

The kind of Music you listen to can totally change the disposition of your heart. Try an experiment. Sit or lie down comfortably. Select a few styles and rhythms of music to listen to. Pay close attention to your heart’s response. Get to the heart of what you feel. Your feelings are like shades of color in the background of a painting. Notice that your feelings change with the music; even the heartbeat changes. Observe how each piece affects you emotionally. Feel the spirit of the music move in you — that spirit can transform everything!

Mitchell L. Gaynor, M.D. in The Healing Power of Sound says, “In a series of studies that examined how music affects blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing, and other aspects of the autonomic nervous system, participants’ heart rates were found to respond both to the volume and the rhythm of the music. And in some cases, the heart rate or respiratory rhythm actually synchronized with the beat of the music.” Gaynor goes on to describe further studies where music reduces anxiety, heart and respiratory rates, and changes blood pressure.

Music is a soulful, moving pursuit and can connect you to the deepest source of yourself through ‘the ear of the heart’. When you speak from your heart, your source, you express the music of your soul. Music that brings inner harmony can heal. As a part of your health maintenance plan, try listening regularly to healing music. It is a lot cheaper than a trip to the hospital — and steady doses of healing music on a large scale might even lower insurance rates. Perhaps, if heartful music had a prime place in our homes and culture, the rate of shootings in this country might decrease, wholesome connections abound, and the measure of sanity increase.

Your heart is your inner hearth, your home – a place to return to for harmony and comfort. Your own words, used wisely and in harmony, are the music of your soul. These are crucial reasons to use speech and music to harmonize our hearts so we can become healthy humans. The potentials for utilizing Music to heal the heart of a culture and to increase our abilities to connect with one another are myriad and necessary. Increasing our ability to absorb the wonderment and sacredness of life through sound and music are worthy and compelling endeavors.

Vote with Your Life!

 

The problems of the world can appear so overwhelming at times that it seems almost impossible to get a grip on it all. And what to do about it? Reading the news can feel depressing at the least and even disabling at times. How can anyone do anything about something so apparently enormous? How can one lone individual bring about change — or is it all just a cookie cutter life?

Long ago, when I thought about the enormity of the world’s problems and saw the injustices in my own backyard, my sense of rightness directed me to work toward mending the holes in the tapestry of the common good. This is called Tikkun. Tikkun is an ancient Jewish concept that means ‘repair of the world’. So based on my own proclivities and my own experience of bias against women in so many areas, I made a decision to start my own business – with a few dollars and using just a simple, three line classified ad. I went into fields related to outdoor work and home repair, fields usually relegated to men. The business was successful and was one of many woman owned businesses that blossomed during that period and began to open doors for women. To me it seemed a far more powerful way of affecting personal and political reality than voting.

With that recognition in mind, I’ve continued to create my own businesses. There are three concepts that have guided my decisions about what I do in the world. The first is Tikkun, already mentioned. This second is based on ‘the personal is the political.’ This is a slogan that came from the feminist movement and means that what you do affects everyone at many levels whether you are aware of it or not. The third concept is that of ‘Right Livelihood.’ This is a Buddhist concept that means you implement, as your means of livelihood, that which is in the spectrum of the common good and this will have a beneficial affect on all living beings.

In light of those beliefs, climbing the competitive success ladder only to make a boatload of money was not my primary goal. The common good was. I made enough to have the basics of life and a small amount extra and I was happy with that. I loved what I was doing, I did It well and my enthusiasm for change carried me past all obstacles. I knew that what I was doing for a living, along with so many others working in the same direction, was making a difference in the system. I continue to make choices based on what I see needs mending in the world tapestry. It is not easy to go against the grain of capitalism, but I don’t regret any of my decisions. In the end, many small acts of courage by many concerned individuals are what make the big waves that change the world.

Is there something you want to change? What gives you enthusiasm? What do you see that needs mending? Is there some way you can use your skills, predilections and gifts in a way that will benefit more than yourself . . . that will benefit Mother Nature and all her relations – meaning all living beings? You don’t have to start a business. You don’t have to do anything formal. Use your imagination. Act from your heart. Vote with your Life!

 

 

Magic Mind

  • What kind of life do you want? What would be the purpose of that life? There are many road signs in our language that point to the phenomena that we create our own reality: “You reap what you sow.” “What goes around comes around.” “You made your bed, now sleep in it.” Why does life happen in the way that it does? Do you want to change that?
    Eknath Easwaran, a distinguished Indian philosopher, comments, The Mind, they say, observes the so-called outside world and sees its own structure.” (p.13. Bhagavad Gita. Easwaran), meaning that we see our own internal reality, the contents of our mind, reflected in external reality. We pick out the pieces that match our beliefs and put them together, usually subconsciously.
  • As you become conscious of what you are putting out there, you can make changes according to your response to “What kind of life do you want? In other words, as you become aware of what drives you, you will then have the tools to clearly assess and direct your own reality. If you change the contents of your mind — the way you think, your feelings, then how you understand and experience reality will change.
  • All that the mind contains is what you pick up through your external senses: hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, touching. This input is structured according to your inborn or genetic factors, familial upbringing, experience and culture. “When we were born we experienced a continual flow of visual and auditory sense impressions but we had no interpretations for them. It was by experience that we learned to understand what we were seeing and what we were hearing.” (“Ensouling Language.” Stephen harrod Buhner.p.129) These experiences created a structure of thought systems or a string of perceptions and these understandings or thought systems became a framework through which you perceived the world. You encounter the world through the windows of perception.
  • Like a horse with blinders, you have a limited view because of the circumstances of your particular life. When an event happens, what I see and experience is not the same as what you see and experience. This is where the allegory of the blind men and the elephant come in. One thought the elephant was a tree (leg) another thought it was a snake (trunk). We are all touching the same elephant but each enjoys a very different part or aspect of that elephant. We do have similarities in our experiences and these are what attract us to particular situations together. Your reality then is limited but not predetermined; you have a say in the creation of your own reality.
  • IN order to create your own reality you have to be aware of and understand your thoughts and feelings and their results. When you maintain awareness of your inner landscape and have intention about what you want in your life, you can then choose the contents of your mind and recreate your beliefs and thought systems in order to navigate life more effectively. You can choose what you want to live and manifest. Know yourself! Life is not totally under your control though. Shit happens because there is randomness built into the Universe or we wouldn’t have choice. There are billions of others creating reality too, so understand your feelings and thought systems, change what doesn’t lead to your chosen destination and be committed to your dream! Awareness, intention and commitment are the essential ingredients to success in your journey.

Death By Denial

I recently moved to a rural area from a heavily populated city because to me that city had become one huge, ugly, senseless never-ending parking lot. Sometimes the cars were moving and sometimes not. Regardless, they seemed to cover nearly all surfaces. No matter where I looked there were cars, concrete and asphalt. Beauty has a mighty struggle to find a space for roots between all that endless metal and concrete.

The ability to go into Denial – not to see, hear or feel something — can come in handy (and can sometimes save your life). It can also save us from having to make tough, inopportune and courageous decisions. It can lull us into apathy. In our consumer culture, we have sacrificed beauty for convenience.

Beauty is essential to health and an indication of higher intelligence. The beauty of Nature is vital to a healthy life. Beauty is the foundation of mental health: and the ethereal sustenance of physical health. It frees the Spirit to soar. It may sound like an immense exaggeration to some, but without a connection to Beauty, we entomb ourselves; we become the walking dead.

Denial is convenient, but not life-giving. Denial of the fact that we have eliminated the subtle essence of beauty in favor of consumerism is dangerous. We get used to things as they are and then we forget that this may not be the only or best way. We become immune to the negativities. We blind, deafen and numb ourselves. And then we become ill. But that too becomes just another one of those everyday ‘things.’ In Albert Camus’ novel “The Stranger,” Meursault is sentenced to death by decapitation. The story ends with Meursault in his cell, waiting for his death thinking, “After awhile you could get used to anything.”

Multidimensional Perception

Reality has many levels. I once attended a Quaker meeting out of curiosity. In a Quaker meeting, participants are supposed to speak only when the Spirit (the still, small voice) moves them. That includes responding only when the Spirit moves one. After a long silence, one man spoke. What I heard aroused anger in me. But I sat with it and thought about it. A multitude of thoughts and possibilities came tumbling through my mind and I considered each. By the time twenty minutes had passed, I had come to an entirely different understanding about what he had said. I was no longer angry and my new understanding led me to a great appreciation of the guy who had spoken. There are many levels of reality.

In a book by Patrice Malidoma Some, “Of Water and Spirit”, which I read years ago, he describes his initiation into being a Shaman. He was buried up to his neck in soil in the forest. He was given the instructions to look at a certain tree until he could see its Spirit. For hours and hours and days on end, he looked at the tree and noticed details in great depth, saw it in many different ways, but the tree was still a tree. Finally, after several days of this, his mind tired. His ingrained belief systems released their iron grip and at long last he saw and understood the true nature of the tree. He saw the energy body or ‘Spirit’ of the tree. He had, because of prolonged attention, worked through many levels of his consciousness to see the Reality beyond superficial perception.

I quote another story from http://mail.aol.com/38702-111/aol-6/en-us/Suite.aspx, “The Power of Patience.”

“. . . it is rather radical that Harvard art history professor Jennifer Roberts asks her students to sit–not for half an hour, but for three hours with a work of art before writing anything about it. While some may think that this sounds excessive at first, the students realize that seeing is not the whole story of learning–it takes time to process what we see. When we give ourselves time, on any subject, not just art, a new world of detail and understanding opens up to our consciousness.”

What have you truly seen, heard and understood in your life? Do you actually spend time patiently considering, thinking about and processing what you see, hear and feel? Don’t settle for the superficial. Deeper understanding can help heal the world. Dig deep and your life will be profoundly enriched.

Elemental My Dear!

Oriental healing arts have always recognized our direct connection to Mother Nature and used the wisdom of their understanding for practical healing. According to Chinese medicine, we are composed of the Earth elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood: and according to Indian healing arts we are composed of ether, air, fire, water, earth. Both cultures teach that each of these elements creates certain qualities and characteristics in us and each of us has core elemental characteristics.

What does that all mean? If you contemplate, or meditate on, qualities and characteristics of each element, you can begin to get an idea of their essence and how it might relate to your physical and psychological being. (My translations follow). Earth: substance, stability. Water: fluidity and bonding. Fire: light and metabolism. Air: movement, wit. Wood: growth, creativity. Ether: space, peace. So someone who is stable and dependable might be primarily an Earth character. Someone who is very intellectual and quick witted might be mostly an Air type, etc.

You can learn a lot, have some fun with these concepts and maybe even begin some self-healing by reading (Yes, let’s begin with food – your basic substance), “Recipes for Self-Healing,” by Daverick Leggett (affordable at https://www.redwingbooks.com) or “The Ayurvedic Cookbook,” by Amadea Morningstar. Each of these books succinctly describes the individual elemental types and then gives recipes that are rated for effectiveness for each type. Take some time for yourself and your health. Read a book, try some recipes and you will enjoy your own Kitchen University!