Saturday, September 24, 2011

If Babies were Buddhas - An Experience

Just recently, a lovely friend/colleague and fellow Level IV CHEK Practitioner, Kris Timpert, gifted me a copy of her book "If Babies were Buddhas".  This "book" appears on the surface as if it was meant for children to read being that it has few pages, simple passages, and vivid illustrations. And yet as we know in Life, not everything is as it seems on the surface and you certainly can not judge a book by its cover.

Kris had asked me to review her book and to give her my perspective of it considering my background with meditation, spirituality, shamanism, and all things of the "Unseen".  Here's my take: This isn't a book to be read but more so an Experience to experience.  Most people would probably breeze right through it, browsing through the pictures, reading the words, and probably think "Yeah, I get it. But will kids understand this?" The book is presented in a children's book style and it's common for one to assume that it was meant for children but when you truly "Experience" it, you'll find something much deeper.  As many of you who know me, I have a close relationship with Rudolf Steiner and his works of Anthroposophy, where Anthroposophy is a path to understanding the connection between our physical lives and the spiritual realities that inform them.  As Kris writes, "Perhaps the reason a god can't be seen is because the energy needs us as a go-between."  Please do not get caught up in the word "god", for it has so many different meanings for each person which can distract one from experiencing the deeper message.  Isn't that so common? Where from our own doings, we can totally miss the point, the moment, because our mind gets stuck on one particular part so we end up missing the Whole.  How many times have you purely focused on what another person is saying without your mind thinking of something else? Very rarely (if one is truly honest with themselves).  We, as Humans, as part of our nature, want to know everything; so we judge everything before us through comparisons with our past experiences. This is how Humans have a unique gift of Creation, where we can create each moment.  We create our boundaries.  We experience. And we grow from the experience.  Problems arise when we focus so much on the details that we miss out on the bigger picture.  Our ego goes "monkey mind" where it attaches to its neuroses, so much so that we've become an ADD/HD society.

In Taoism, they talk about the balance of yin and yang; the Buddha taught the Middle Path; we, as Humans are the Middle Path.  What resides within us is the best of both worlds - our lower animal selves and our Higher Spiritual Selves.  We all have an inner Light, a little Buddha, that resides within.  Catholics have a saying about "seeing Christ in others". The Buddha, the Christ, is the balancing of the Human experience.  We are never "stuck" on either end of the spectrum between opposites.  Life is a dynamic process of happy/sad, good/evil, tall/short, or young/old.  We keep moving regardless of the protective reactions of the distracted ego/mind.  If Babies were Buddhas, subtlety gets the message across that You are that dynamic process; You are Buddha, Christ.  It describes the archetypal path of the wounded healer, the arduous journey towards Enlightenment in the quest for the Holy Grail.

Just imagine how different the world would be if everyone discovered their little "Buddhas" within them?  I recommend reading this "book" initially and then read it again and again, until eventually you realize that you are meditating.  That's it.  Allow this book to be a meditative experience and Be Open to accept whatever the Experience reveals to You...

....And then pass the book along to another fellow Human. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Pia Toscano Effect

If you've been living under a rock or do not watch the TV show American Idol, you missed quite a shocker where one of the show's contestant favorites, Pia Toscano (from my hometown of good ole' Howard Beach, NY), was eliminated.  Pia has all the qualities of a marketable star and any record company would benefit from signing her and from the shocked reactions of Hollywood, she's got what it takes. Like many people who've been following the show, I seriously thought Pia would be at least the final three or even the winner, but from what we saw, this was not the case and there is an even greater learning message here.  Interestingly, from the following exit interview below, Pia even admitted that she had a funny feeling that she would be in the bottom three of the voting that night.

You never know what can happen in life no matter how much you prepare for it but this is not to say that we should all be lazy bastards and do nothing.  We all have Dreams.  We are all living those Dreams at this very moment.  If we weren't, what in the world are we alive for?  Regardless if we're on the top of the mountain or we've hit rock-bottom, there is always something beautiful Life has to offer; or shall I say, reveals to us if only we'd pay more attention to It.  Life hits us with whatever we are ready and able to experience and it's only when we're blinded by our anxieties, fears, and neuroses that we believe that Life has "let us down".

Earlier that day of the show, during my daily meditation, I was meditating on the following reading from the Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, Verse 42:
Tao gives life to the one
The one gives life to the two
The two give life to the three
The three give life to ten thousand things

All beings support yin and embrace yang
          and the interplay of these two forces
          fills the universe
Yet only at the stillpoint,
          between the breathing in and the breathing out,
          can one capture these two in perfect harmony

People suffer at the thought of being
           without parents, without food, or without worth
Yet this is the very way that
           kings and lords once described themselves

Who knows what fate may bring -
          one day your loss may be your fortune
          one day your fortune may be your loss

The age-old lesson that others teach, I also teach -
          "As you plant, so you reap"
          "As you live, so you die"
Know this to be the foundation of my teachings

Take this passage for what it is and see if you can relate the Pia Toscano Effect to what's going on in your life right now.  If life gives you lemons, are you making lemonade, or are you letting those lemons get the best of you?  Sometimes our greatest upsets are our greatest fortunes....Always look for that diamond in the ruff in every moment, every experience and Life will always be a Jewel.  

BTW: Pia, if you're reading this, if you ever need a wellness/fitness guru, trainer, nutritionist, Life Coach/Health Consultant type of assistance to help you look and feel even better than ever now that you're going Hollywood (and we all know stardom can take its toll on one's health), I can be of service....;-)         

Monday, April 4, 2011

Father in SUV throws garbage out his window...

Today, after picking my son up from school, while waiting to cross the street, we observed a man driving in an SUV with some kids inside, rolled down his window and threw out the above empty bag of potato chips onto the street.  Normally, I wouldn't pay attention to this type of action since who am I to judge another since I do not and cannot know what was going through the person's mind at the time.  But given the situation, while holding my son's hand, who saw the whole event, I was inspired to take advantage of this moment and rather than get mad or critical with the person involved, I chose to create some Beauty from it.  As we crossed the street, I discreetly bent down and picked up the bag and put it into my pocket and told my son that sometimes we forget that our mess affects others as well as the Earth we live on and that we can help each other out by simply picking up after each other every once in awhile.  As Humans, we have a tendency to forget and forgetting is not such a bad thing, or else how would we ever remember?  Sometimes in our busy lives we can become so distracted that we forget what's important in our lives and one of the most important things in Life is our Relationships; our relationships with others, with ourselves, as well as with the environment.  Every thought, every word, every action we manifest affects all of our relationships.  Don't simply take my word for it, see this for yourselves.  See if you can imagine how any one of your thoughts, words, and actions affects the rest of the world.....

It may be difficult for some to understand or even acknowledge the interconnectedness when their vision has been clouded by the smokescreen of their limiting, conditioned beliefs, or "old ways" or habits in experiencing the world.  One thing that may contribute to this "clouded vision" that we actually have some control over is nutrition & diet.  What we eat can affect the function of our brain and thus our conscious experience.  Don't believe me? Try overeating and see just how clear-headed you are.  The same goes for when our diet consists mostly of processed food with ingredients that are refined and stripped of most (or all) of its nutrition and replaced with synthetic additives, preservatives, food coloring, and taste enhancers made in a lab and not from the Earth's soil.

BTW, below is the list of ingredients from the potato chip bag I picked up:

Ingredients: potatoes cooked in vegetable oil (contains one of the following: corn, cottonseed, soybean), salt and seasoning added. No preservatives added.

Seasoning: sugar, soy flour, dextrose, salt, paprika, tomato powder, monosodium glutamate, wheat flour, maltodextrin, torula yeast, dehydrated onion and garlic, spice, partially dehydrogenated vegetable oil (cottonseed, soybean), silicon dioxide (a free flow agent), extractives of paprika, and natural smoke flavor.

So as you can see from the above ingredients from the vegetable oils (which go rancid easily and are pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive) to the seasonings containing more pro-inflammatory ingredients as well as neuro-toxins (brain toxin) such as MSG, there's no wonder why this guy threw the bag out the window!  Just kidding. I am not saying there's a direct relationship between what you eat and your actions but quite possibly an indirect one where one can be so desensitized to one's connection to the Earth, food, nutrition, as well as Life itself that they would be distracted from seeing the bigger picture....

Next time you witness something similar to what I just described, if you feel inclined to, clean up after your neighbor; not for a reward or recognition for doing something good, in fact, don't tell anyone what you did. Do it for the sake of simply doing it and see how it feels...We are responsible, as in being able to respond to what kind of a world we want to Create.  Let's create one where we can all work together.... 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fat Ass & Weak Bones

From Lao Tzu:

empty the mind and fill the belly,
weaken the ambitions, and strengthen the bones.

What happens when we have a lot of stress?  We tend to have a lot on our minds, don’t we?  We tend to excessively think, over and over again, whatever it is we are fixated on.  We become somewhat neurotic and accumulate more and more thoughts that we become hoarders.  This overwhelms our reality and can distract us from what is before us. Physiologically, the body beautiful has an inner intelligence that helps compensate for the overburdened mind.  People tend to eat more when stressed.  The act of eating helps to divert some of the energy from the brain towards the gut.  It literally helps to calm the mind by filling the belly.  By eating we take the energy we would use to “digest” our thoughts and use it to digest our food.  This helps to create some balance between the mind and body.  Problems arise when we do not allow our minds to take a break and continue to feed it with more “unnecessities” and the body, being the obedient servant that it is, compensates by “hoarding” the excess energy that it can no longer process resulting in your average fat ass.  On the other end of the spectrum, we may be too distracted and consciously disconnect ourselves from our bodies and exhibit symptoms of anorexia.  So, in other words, a distracted mind can lead to either situation of over and under filling of the belly.  The metaphor here is that in Taoism, the belly is the foundation of our life force, our Qi, and a cluttered mind can deplete our vitality. 

What happens when one is ambitious?  On the surface, one would want to do everything and conquer all, all at the same time.  This can also be viewed as satisfying the “wants” of our senses more than the “needs” of them.  Lao Tzu may have been referring more towards the tendency to succumb to our excessive desires and becoming enslaved to those temptations.  Our bones give us structure and foundation and it is our will that strengthens them.  Physiologically, the bones are stimulated through movement and movement is an act of will.  Osteoporosis is a metaphor for the weakening of the will.  The will weakens when we allow ourselves to become slaves to the senses; when all we look for is pleasure and run away from the unpleasantness; the desire for the “cures” and “quick-fixes” rather than the more profound healing and enlightenment that is hidden underneath all of our ambitions.

Clear the mind and pay attention to the vitality that which is Life.
Free the mind of the senses and see the Freedom that which is the Will.