August 2010


Back at the end of June, I posted a piece called “Charging Money for the Truth.” It generated 47 comments, which are really worth taking the time to read. This is a hot topic, a juicy topic, and one which opens up all kinds of important questions. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been able to go much deeper into these questions with some fascinating people.

Marc Gafni, for example, has been an ordained rabbi most of his adult life. Until a few years ago, he was living and practicing in Israel. Now that he’s teaching in the United States in a more “secular way,” he finds himself dealing much more with questions of making the books balance. He had some fascinating observations about the relationship between money and “dharma.”

Diane Hamilton was a “starving artist” and a single mother for much of her life. She took Zen Buddhist vows under Genpo Roshi, and is now a widely recognized Zen teacher, as well as one of the senior instructors in Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute.

Sally Kempton started out as a professional journalist and a writer for Esquire, the New York Times, New York magazine, and the Village Voice. She was an early voice in the second wave feminist movement. Spirituality was the last thing on her agenda.  After a powerful spiritual opening, however, she became a “sadhu” monk, and was known for many years as Swami Durgananda. (more…)

Advertisements

Sometimes it seems like all we hear these days is talk of the tough economy. I actually conducted a little sociological experiment this weekend, and counted up how many times I heard people refer to the economy, and therefore current times in general, in a negative way. I got 43 hits, even though I stayed home quite a bit.

There is, of course, some objective measurable truth to all of this depressing talk. If you own a house, it’s probably worth considerably less than it was five years ago. If you own a business, you may be making less money than you were, and you may have even been faced with the difficult decision of laying off some of your employees. If you’re an investor in the stock market, you may have seen your portfolio go down in value.

But not everybody these days is having a terrible time. I’ve conducted another little amateur sociological experiment over the last several weeks. I asked a lot of my colleagues: writers, teachers, seminar leaders, how they would evaluate their year so far, not just financially, but according to a broader spectrum of measurement. How are your relationships? How’s your creativity? How’s your health? How much are you living your deepest vision? I’m a member of two extraordinary mens’ groups, one where I live in Nevada City, and another that I travel to in Marin County, and I also asked this question at the recent meeting of the Transformational Leadership Council. More than half the people I asked told me that 2010 was proving to be their best year ever, myself included.

I hear people ask a lot on the blogosphere and in the media, “How long is this recession going to last? When are we going to go back to where we were?” Well, here’s a shocking question for you now. What if we never, ever, ever go back to where we were?  What if the old game is now coming to an end, and a whole different way of relating with each other financially and energetically is emerging? (more…)

Here’s a passage from my book The Translucent Revolution.

The feminine in all of us intuitively knows how to feel. People with more feminine energy (usually, but not always, women), whether translucent or not, have a much greater intuitive capacity to feel than people with more masculine energy. Amy McCarrel also works with women to cultivate feminine translucence:

A woman’s heart is a genius of the moment. If you look around a room of people, women’s hearts are particularly sensitive in this way, constantly feeling what’s mean in the room, what’s closed in the room, what feels good in her body when somebody speaks, the sound of the voice, how relaxed it is, what they’re saying, or if it’s coming from a place of mental tension. It’s happening all the time.

The world is metered by my heart. The way somebody walks down the street: I’m safe, I can relax, or I need to protect myself. Just metering constantly what feels true, a truth meter. Woman can always know, feel, when a man’s words are correct. It’s truly one of the most profound gifts of the feminine, the genius of the heart, her inability to not feel. Everything is washing through. It’s coming in constantly, coming in, coming in, coming in. If something coming at it is less than true, it hits the heart and it hurts. If something comes at the heart that’s true, it washes through, and it opens. Whether I’m completely conscious or not in any given moment doesn’t alter the heart’s receptivity.

This feminine gift, of being able to feel everything in the body, can become contracted if we are caught in the Iago trance, and then it turns into melodrama. Consequently, the feminine in all of us is always afraid to be too much, to feel too much. It is also quite possible to have deep awakening, to be resting deeply in spaciousness, and to still be very shut down in one’s capacity to feel. A traditional masculine spiritual path can be very strong on wakefulness, but very weak on emotional embodiment; masculine-based spirituality has illustrated this for thousands of years. As a result, in most spiritual teachings, the advice has been to remain still, like a Buddha statue, to watch feelings pass, not to touch them. In a masculine approach, deeply feeling grief or anger would simply be a symptom of spiritual immaturity. Hypermasculine spirituality cannot help you to free up feeling, or to feel more deeply, because generally it has been founded by men who are themselves emotionally crippled. (more…)

How does nutrition effect the body and the spirit?

Many times we sit to meditate, or practice yoga, or we simply want to drop in and be present, and the mind is just too busy.  We may come up with all kinds of metaphysical reasons why this is so:  is it old impressions in the mind burning through, or am I picking up on the collective shift? Is it my karma or my dogma or just the echo of my mama?

Well, what if that distracted mind and foggy view has a less esoteric explanation, like the burger  you ate too late last night?

Rachael Richardson is a licensed Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian since 2002.  I will be talking with her this Thursday on a live teleseminar.

Here are some topics she addressed, to prepare us for the call:

“We could look at the cleanliness and the origin of foods, and the energy which they carry and move into the body. Our bodies become everything that we observe, touch, interact with, think, and eat, of course. So there’s all that energy that comes into us. We can look at choosing foods that are consciously prepared, developed, grown, etc.

There’s also the aspect of how we think about our food as we choose it. When you choose food, even food that you know is not that great for you, you can picture it going through the intestines, and ask, “how does my intestinal track like this right now? ” (more…)

Now listen up, ya’ll, because this is seriously interesting and unbelievable.

I made a new friend recently: a very funny, honest, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy, who I’ll be interviewing later this week. But more about him later.

First let me tell you this incredible story that he passed on to me.

About 6 years ago, my friend heard a story about a mental hospital in Hawaii. This was a locked-down hospital for the criminally insane: dangerous people who needed constant supervision. A new psychiatrist came to this hospital and agreed to look over the patients’ medical charts and see what he could do to help them, without actually seeing them one-on-one at all.

What I’m going to tell you now may sound unbelievable and ridiculous, but my friend Joe has verified that it is real. After some months, every one of the patients in that mental hospital was healed. By now, they have all fully rehabilitated and have been discharged. This happened without medication, without therapy.

The psychiatrist in question was a Hawaiian man trained in the ancient Hawaiian art of Ho’oponopono. Ho’o what? Ho’oponopono. It means “to make right,” to see everything around you, whether it is directly a part of your life or not, as your responsibility. You must have the attitude that, “If I experience it, then I created it, and if I created it, I can dissolve it.” (more…)

This is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.

At any time of the day,
Evening or night,
Make yawning into a conscious practice.
No need to wait until you feel like it:
Yawn anyway.
Open your jaw wide and stretch it.
Make it a big yawn.
Take a deep breath,
Into the lower part of the belly.
With the exhale, make a sound: “Aaaaah!”
Do it again.
In less than a minute, the body will respond:
You will continue to yawn naturally.
Notice a change in your breathing rhythm,
And a natural release of the diaphragm.
Do this for about five minutes, three or four time a day.

This simple practice will change everything in just a few minutes. The key is to yawn consciously—not to wait until the body yawns on its own—and to yawn totally, generously, with maximum stretch and sound. If you can, take a short nap after using this practice; if your body needs rest in that moment, it will naturally take what it needs after some conscious yawning.

The benefits of conscious yawning are too many to list here. You will discover just how much this supports presence very quickly on your own. So, here is just a short summary. (more…)

“I love you.”

“I hate you.”

“I need you.”

“I want space from you.”

“I resent you.”

“I’m curious about you.

We make statements similar to these all the time in all types of relationships. When we speak in this way, it makes it sound as if there are fixed things called an “I” and  a “you.” The statement defines the relationship between these two entities. As long as it appears to be that way, all of our attempts to become more intimate, to improve the quality of relationship, are restricted to changing the verb that goes between the “I” and the “you.” If we can shift from “I resent you” to “I forgive you,” it feels like a big win. If we shift from “I hate you” to “I trust you,” it seems like greater intimacy.

When Chameli and I started to develop the Deeper Love work eight years ago, we both came together in a spirit of discovery. We had realized that trying to change the relationship between the “I” and the “you” didn’t work very well. It’s rather like two people sitting on either side of the Grand Canyon, wanting to experience love together. One throws a missive across the canyon, perhaps a rock with a note tied to it, saying “I love you.” It arrives at the other side. The recipient unwraps it, experiences warm, fuzzy, feelings, and sends back another missive, maybe pink and wrapped in lace, saying “I love you too.” They’ve now entered a Hallmark world together, but the vastness of the canyon between them is a more significant cause of the feeling of separation than the content of the notes that they send back and forth.

For my wife, Chameli, and me, the journey into a deeper intimacy began with an investigation of this thing called “I.” You don’t have to look very deeply into the sense of a me to discover that it’s not really a thing at all, but rather a collection of voices. That’s why our relationships are so often characterized by mixed messages and shifting dynamics. At one moment the “I” is the victim, and in the next moment the “I” has become the playful child, the next moment the loving parent, the next moment the horny lover.   There are thousands of voices like this.  Just scratch the surface a little bit, and we discover that we don’t have just one personality, but everybody has multiple personalities. (more…)