Leap Before You Look


Here’s a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

Notice how you are already breathing in this moment.
Is the breath coming more into the upper part of the body?
Is it reaching the diaphragm?
Or is the breath reaching all the way down to the lower belly?
After just watching the way you are breathing for a couple of minutes,
Begin to bring some intention to your breathing.
With the in-breath,
Let the lower belly soften and expand.
When the lower belly feels full,
Feel the diaphragm expand with the breath.
Finally, let the chest and lungs fill completely with breath.
Hold the in-breath for a few moments,
Only as long as is comfortable,
Then let the air be expelled fully from the lungs:
First from the chest, then the diaphragm, and then the lower belly.
Just when you think you’re done,
Give an extra little push,
And you will find there is even more air to be expelled.
Hold on the out-breath for a few moments, before you inhale again.
Continue to breathe totally in this way for several minutes. (more…)

Here’s a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

When you start to feel needy or insecure,
Celebrate it completely.
Ask your partner to sit in a chair or on the sofa, A
nd sit at your partner’s feet for a few minutes.
Enter into your fear of abandonment,
The need to be loved completely.
Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me. I beg you.
I need you so much.
I can’t live without you. Please stay with me.
Look at me. Look at me. I want you. I need you.
Please don’t leave me.
As you enter more fully into this practice,
It will overflow from this exploration into deeper feeling.
You may find yourself crying.
It may evoke long-forgotten memories in you,
Or even the call of the heart to the divine. (more…)

Here’s a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

Whenever you can, sit and wait.
There is no need to distract yourself
By filling the gap with random activity.
At the gate at the airport,
In the few minutes before it’s time to leave the house,
While waiting for the bus,
Rather than picking up a book,
Or flipping the pages of a magazine,
Or checking e-mail or switching on the TV,
Just sit and wait,
Present . . . ready . . . available,
Waiting for the next thing to happen.
No need to meditate or get spiritual.
Just wait, like a cat, or a bird in a tree.
Become the waiting itself.
Wait for the kiss of the divine.
Wait for the kiss that kisses your lips
From the inside. (more…)

Here’s a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

When you notice yourself needing to be right,
When you notice your mind is strongly attached to any conclusion,

Stop and ask yourself, “Is it true?”

Do I really know this?

Is this an absolute, objective, unchanging fact?

Would every sane person in the world agree that it is so?

Or is it simply opinion?
When the mind says, “There’s not enough time,”

Ask, “Is it true?”

Do I really know that?

Can that be nailed down as a fact?

Would
everyone agree? (more…)

Here’s a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.When your partner or anyone close to you is speaking to you,
Whether telling you a story, lodging a complaint, or sharing a feeling,
Give your undivided attention.
Listen with all of you:
With your ears, with your heart, with your skin, with your breath.
Pay attention so completely that everything else disappears.
Listen not only to the words,
But to the mysterious presence from which those words arise.
Listen to the sound of the voice, to the inflections.
Listen to the silence between the words.
Listen to what was not said, but can still be sensed. (more…)

Here is a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

Whenever you feel provoked, irritated, or pulled to make a response, Stop. Sit back in the saddle. Scan your body and notice what you are feeling. Seek out any areas of strong emotional tension; feel what is there. If it helps you, label it: Sadness, anger, desire, whatever it may be. Stay with the sensations, Dropping the story—the why and the because. Do everything you can to experience what is here, to the maximum possible degree, for no more than a few minutes. then, relax. feel your interiority as though for the first time. If there’s more emotional tension calling to be felt in this moment, take a few extra minutes to welcome feeling even more totally. Keep going until the charge is gone. Feel yourself now; you are not just a loving person, you are Love itself.

We have all been faced with experiences that seem overwhelming: the anger of a drunk parent; the thrill of a sexual encounter; the end of a relationship. We have learned to say “yes” to parts of what we feel, and “no” to the rest. Long ago, we built a wall in the middle of our emotional landscape. Do we still need that wall today? (more…)

Here is a practice from my 2008 book Leap Before You Look.

When you notice yourself caught up in a feeling,
Like resentment, rejection, or despair,

Cradle that feeling as though it were a small baby.
It may even help you to take a cushion
And physically cradle the feeling in your arms.
Sing to it.
Soothe it.
Let that feeling know that it is accepted, loved, and welcomed.
In fully accepting grief,
You become acceptance itself,
Which is none other than your natural state. (more…)

This is a practice from my 2008 book Leap Before You Look.

Find a place in nature
Where you can go every day.

If you live in a city,
It could be a park or even a flowerbed,
But if you live near a forest, like we do,
Step into the wild outdoors.
Sit in exactly the same spot every day,
Facing in the same direction,
And just be with things as they are.
Feel through your skin;
Listen carefully;
Watch and pay attention to the colors and shapes and movement.
Be aware of the movement of the trees,
The sounds and activities of small animals and insects.
The boundaries where you end
And nature begins
Will dissolve.

At the core of modern humanity’s suffering is the feeling of separation. We feel separated from each other in the ways we relate. We feel separated from the other members of our family. We feel separated from each other in our religious beliefs. We feel separated financially, racially, nationally. We feel separated from ourselves and from nature and from the divine.

Nature is not a way to experience Oneness; nature is One. There is no me and not-me in nature: everything is interconnected. When you return to the same place every day, you are returning to an ecosystem that is constantly in relationship with itself. The bark of the tree is home to the ants, who move in and out of the earth. They are eaten sometimes by the birds, whose song fills the space, and whose excrement returns to the soil. Everything is part of everything else. Nature is making love to itself, and eating itself, and excreting itself on itself all the time. Nature is incestuous, cannibalistic, and totally uncivilized.

When you start to sit in the same spot every day, you will at first feel like an outsider. You are bringing your civilized mind into nature, like an intellectual from New York City trying to fit in on a farm. You may sit awkwardly on the edge of a tree trunk, trying not to get dirty or be bitten by bugs. And just as you may feel cut off from nature, so nature may also not yet open to you. But just wait a little while. As you relax into this place, it will affect you, and you will affect it as well. You will become a part of the ecosystem. You will be accepted into the family. After a while, you may even experience the trees and the birds welcoming you home each day.

Your visits to this place will become an initiation into Oneness.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look.

Buy it now from our online store.

I was just in a little Facebook conversation with Din Robinson and Darshana about the nuanced relationship between awakening and practice.  Here is part of the introduction to “Leap Before You Look.”   Enjoy!!!!

Meet Fred.
From a very early age, Fred had felt that something was missing in his life. Quite early on, after reading the right books and listening to the right teachers, he came to understand what was wrong: he had lost his cello. So, as a young man, Fred became a cello seeker.
Every now and then he’d hear cello music—far off, just a hint, but enough to remember: the purpose of his life was to find his missing cello. He toured the world, and wherever he heard cello music, or even just the word “cello” whispered on the wind, he would follow. Fred climbed the highest mountains, dove into the deepest oceans, trudged across the farthest deserts, all in search of his cello. He met many great teachers and tutors, visited countless concert halls and music schools, and sought out the finest quartets, quintets, and orchestras. He joined support groups, where people would gather together in circles to rediscover their inner cello. He bought books and videos with titles like Ten Steps to Cello Discovery. Over and over he asked, “Can you help me find my very own cello?” He was passionate, dedicated, and intense. Fred was a full-time professional cello seeker.
One day, after many decades of living a life where everything else had become secondary to his quest, he was rushing down the street to a cello seekers’ support group meeting. He was looking only at the pavement, focused on where he needed to go, when he collided with an old friend.
“Fred, where are you going in such a hurry?” asked the friend.
“I don’t have time to talk to you now,” Fred retorted. “I’m on my way to my cello finders’ support group meeting. I can’t stop.”
But Fred’s friend caught his arm, and held him there, right on the street. “Just wait a minute, Fred. Hold on. What is that thing on your back?”
“What’s what on my back?” asked Fred.
“That big wooden curvy stringy hollow strange-shaped thing?”
Fred glanced impatiently over his shoulder. “I don’t have time to bother with unidentified wooden curvy stringy things. Time is short, I have to find my cello.”
“But that thing on your back, that ain’t no trombone, fella. And that sure ain’t no violin or saxophone either. You’d better take a look.” (more…)

Here is a practice from my book “Leap Before You Look.”

Whenever there is disagreement or disharmony in the family,
Or any time at all, just for the fun of it,
Switch to gibberish.
You will all continue to communicate
And connect fully with each other,
You will just stop making any sense.
Express everything that needs to be expressed inside you
Using nonsense words.
Keep going like this for a minimum of five minutes
Or for as long as fifteen minutes.
Have fun; be generous in your nonsense.
When you are done,
Keeping a straight face,
Try to remember what the problem was.

When we connect, there are always multiple dimensions occurring simultaneously in the interaction. All at once, our minds are trying to make sense of things, wanting to be right, pressing our own agenda, and defending against others. This is where we often get lost as a family, and are left feeling separate from our loved ones simply because we do not agree, often on an ultimately unimportant matter.

When you switch to gibberish, the logical dimension of connecting is transcended, but the energy still flows. Now the communication has no logical purpose; it is just a way of allowing energy to flow for its own sake. You will discover through this practice that this is, in fact, much more fun and nourishing communication, and even that you feel closer to people when the logical has been flushed away.

We have used this practice often in our family. We have a code word—when things get too serious or intense, someone just says: “Gibberish.” Then we keep the conversation going, with just as much gusto as before, but now instead of being logical we are simply phorshemphashing troobalddee mosrhfung.

It might be disorienting, like it was just now, if a logical sentence and train of thought suddenly ghoopangs mooshfartoo foorganoble. What happened? It breaks the continuity of the mind, and we find ourselves manbang nooshbarat forbantbit. But that is the point, to break the stranglehold of the mind.

Try it out. You may feel much goosberiestier and share a great deal more foongatsong together when you abandon being reasonable and dive wholeheartedly into morshfangtooble shangsorbetty.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look. Buy it now at our online store.

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