Practices and Tools


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…)

The word “other” is commonly used in English as both an adjective and a pronoun. As an adjective: “born on the other side of the tracks.” As a pronoun: “if it’s not one thing, it’s the other.” Today I’d like to submit for your consideration the word “other” as a verb.  Examples?  “Dude, don’t other me,” and “she was in a terrible mood, othering everybody the whole evening.

Here is my proposed dictionary entry for the next Merriam Webster:

other |ˈəðər|
verb
1.  to attribute qualities onto another person, often a celebrity in the news, so as to avoid acknowledging these same qualities within oneself:
[as verb. ] hey, don’t other Clinton, most married men  have done stuff like that  | I went to a meeting with the Dalai Lama.  It was great but people tend to other him by putting him above them.

For the last ten days, our latest “otherfest” has focused on Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose name made him a larger-than-life-Disney-cartoon disaster waiting to happen.  Republicans are having a field day, of course, and even the members of his own party are calling for his resignation.  Now don’t get me wrong here.  I’m not advocating sending snaps of your private parts to women you hardly know.  I don’t condone lying, or emotionally abandoning your recently pregnant wife.  Probably everyone, including Rep. Weiner himself, agrees that these actions were stupid, immature, and  hurtful to other people.

We can learn from this and many other current events, however,  by shifting our attention from “what that terrible, despicable, lying rotten good for nothing over there did,” to “why are we getting so upset about this, and giving it so much attention?” (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…)

Back in the late 80’s, Jacquelyn Small wrote a fantastic book called Transformers. It was a revolutionary book that influenced me more than anything else I can remember at the time. This was long before Eckhart Tolle came out with The Power of Now, long before Byron Katie developed The Work, and long before Satsang became popular. And in that wonderful book, there’s one particularly wonderful sentence that stands out among the rest.

“You don’t have to be ‘perfectly enlightened’ in order to be an agent of enlightening.”

It’s really worth savoring the taste of that statement like a good wine. Sip it. Let it linger on your taste buds for a few moments. That little sentence dispels so many myths and so many reasons we give ourselves to hold back our true gifts. (more…)

Hey!

Did you catch our conversation tonight with Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks?  We loved everything that unfolded.

If you missed it, please listen to the replay here.

If you were on the call, please post your comments and reactions with the “Add a Comment” link above

So much love to you!

Arjuna and Chameli

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

Lie down on your back
Under a cloudless sky.
Open yourself to the nature of infinity.
Let yourself move out infinitely in any direction
And be soberly present with the unavoidable fact
That as far as you travel,
You are still only halfway there.
There are no limits.
You cannot think about infinity.
It will blow your mind.
You can only become one with the infinite.
Look into the sky without blinking.
Let the sky enter you, so there is no inner and outer remaining.
Then close your eyes and stare into the inner limitless sky.

This simple practice, to look into the open, cloudless sky, has been used in every tradition in every age. I was introduced to it in the Tibetan refugee community of Bodh Nath in Katmandhu by the great Dzogchen teacher Choki Nyima Rimpoche. Once it is pointed out to you, it becomes so obvious—it was there all along. Many of us get involved in spiritual practices and teachings, searching for who we really are, and the answer is right there above our heads all along: you only have to look up into the vastness of the sky. This practice is great for modern humanity, as we have grown so used to a man-made world. Everything has been modified; everything has our fingerprints all over it, except the sky. The vastness of the sky cannot be touched, cannot be modified; it remains the last outpost of absolute innocence. (more…)

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