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Finding Your Truth

I could have easily titled this blog “Finding MY Truth” but that’s not what this written effort is about.  This blog’s focus is to help others in finding their own truth.

In reality, your TRUTH might not be the same as MY truth; but what I’d like others to know is that I compassionately encourage you in your explorations to find your personal truth because I know how arduous that search can be—how rocky the terrain that lies ahead—how tedious the extended journey awaiting you, simply to uncover those deeply-hidden secrets of YOU. 

And I also know how life can change in an instant when the winding, mountainous path that you were so confidently traveling suddenly crumbles beneath your feet—tossing you screaming off the cliff and out into space.

Having faced some of that unexpected “air time” myself, I know how shocking it can be when your life suddenly falls apart, forcing you to see how quickly you either learn to fly, or how well you can bounce once you do hit the canyon floor.  

Also from my own experiences in personal TRUTH finding (as well as surviving LIFE’s challenges), I know how rare it is to find others willing to offer emotional support or encouragement to get you back on your feet again without a ‘profit motive’ involved.  True, we all have to make a living, but there are times when you should compassionately look to help others without first considering what they can offer you in return.   

So up front here: I don’t want your money—in fact I don’t want anything from you other than some deep soul-searching to determine what you really expect from LIFE and what LIFE expects from you in return.

If you can answer those two key questions to your own satisfaction, then that’s plenty reciprocal reward for me.

Remember, MY truth may not be YOUR truth, but I know MY truth better than I know yours, so that is likely what I will write about the most and hope you can see parallels or divergences by which to gauge your own truth. 

Life is an adventure—one we may never truly understand in this plane of existence—but one we have to navigate all the same.  So good luck!  As you journey ever forward, stay alert to avoid sudden pitfalls and just watch where you step in general, because it’s one big ‘cow pasture’ out there.*   

* (I’m from Iowa: If you think dogs leave an unappreciated ‘pile’ behind in walkways, imagine what a bunch of cows might leave behind during your pastoral wandering.)

Adornment Versus Composition

“Morning dew on a dragonfly,”
Image by Lasse Andersson

As a former Graphic Artist I can easily appreciate a good image, and I find dragonflies interesting in their own right; but a bejeweled dragonfly is even more so.

At first glance the dragonfly appears to be composed of water droplets intricately connected and dispersed throughout the entire physical structure. But in our minds, we know that the insect is not “composed” of those same water droplets—we know that those droplets are instead “adorning” its exterior structure.

This realization stirred another within me: Who we actually are is often different from how we appear to be.  Or reversed: How we appear to be and what we do, does not always reflect who we truly are.

Maybe I’ll leave it at that for now.

Who Believes in TRUTH?

I think this graphic was from the “Tao and Zen” Facebook site.  Of course since I’d just been writing about TRUTH in general, I was interested in it and in reading some of the extensive comments posted under it.

Fascinating!  Even the statement within the graphic created controversy.

Comments were verbose and varied.  This was a graphic magnet for conflicting iron filings creating very strange patterns as they scattered about below the image frame.  One guy even said “This belief/statement is neither Buddhist nor Taoist.  Why are YOU posting it?”

I mean there were commenters who declared that there was NO TRUTH. There were those who declared the subjectivity/relativity of TRUTH.  There were some who commented on religious versions of truth, and some who took a shot at our current politics—to which an entire string of counter-comments followed—many hot and hateful—which is neither Buddhist nor Taoist.

There were even those who declared the Seinfeld/George Costanza’s quote, “Just remember. It’s not a lie, if you believe it”.  Not surprisingly this actually drew some agreements, and then more political comments, etc, etc.

Clearly lots of folks had diverse opinions on TRUTH itself and the ability of others to recognize it, IF there actually was such a thing as TRUTH.

Personally, my two-cents worth is that for our life experience in its current form, there are personal truths and collective truths.  And this blog is about helping/supporting you in “Finding Your Truth” so I DO believe there is subjectivity to truth in one sense, but I also believe there are “collective” TRUTHs that we all share—often called ‘Common TRUTHs.’

And I’m fairly sure that there are such things as “absolute” truths that we may never be able to comprehend due to our current, restricted recognition abilities, so within our human limitations during this life experience we may only be capable of recognizing “relative” truths—relative to the dimension of existence that we inhabit and to the TIME-frame that we follow.

Therefore in my own universe’s dominion, how does a “relative” truth differ from a “subjective” truth?

As I mentioned earlier, “subjective” is personal to your own experience. Everyone may have experienced childhood in whatever manner that it occurred for them, but NOT everyone experienced the SAME childhood situations or challenges.  So YOUR truth in that respect is personal and subjective to how you view it or experienced it.

When I position “relative” truth against “absolute” truth, I am saying that there is a “COMMON COLLECTIVE TRUTH” that we all share, but that common truth is “relative” to living in our shared dimension called LIFE during this phase of TIME.  Beyond this dimension, that same TRUTH may not apply. But as long as we exist here in this limited-awareness dimension, the best we can comprehend will be “relative” to our Common Collective TRUTH, besides adding our “subjective” versions of how our lives play out for us. 

Clear as mud, right? Yeah.

It took a long time for me to differentiate the distinctions I’m explaining here, so I’m sorry if this initially confuses you, but I’m pretty sure it’s fairly accurate per what I’ve seen with my own eyes and heard from my clients during my hypnosis Past-Life Explorations and Spirit-world Explorations sessions that I’ve personally conducted.  It is truly amazing (and sometimes jaw-dropping) how pliable what we call ‘REALITY’ can be.

So until you have an experience that helps you better understand my attempted definitions above, I guess you’ll just have to decide for yourself whether or not YOU believe in such a thing as TRUTH.

And then determine how that TRUTH plays out for you in your own life.

Common Understandings

I’m big into self-realization and self-actualization, and even had a division in my own company, Foundations of Light, LLC, that was called “True-Self Actualization”—meaning that I conducted classes on teaching others how to recognize and actualize their True Self.

I know. These are just words. They mean little if you can’t even get your head around them.

So I’ll offer a little explanation here of the differences among them and why they are important to anyone hoping to discover your own personal TRUTH on LIFE (or hope to make better sense of your life experiences to date).

***

These definitions are from Wikipedia:

“…Self-realization is an expression used in Western psychology, philosophy, and spirituality; and in Indian religions. In the Western understanding it is the ‘fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality’ (see also self-actualization).[1] In the Indian understanding, self-realization is liberating knowledge of the true Self, either as the permanent undying atman, or as the absence (sunyata) of such a permanent Self.” …

“,,,Self-actualization, in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is the highest level of psychological development where the ‘actualization’ of full personal potential is achieved, which occurs usually after basic bodily and ego needs have been fulfilled.

Self-actualization was coined by the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one’s full potential: ‘the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive … the drive of self-actualization.’[1] Carl Rogers similarly wrote of ‘the curative force in psychotherapy – man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities … to express and activate all the capacities of the organism.’[2] “  ….

True-self:

“…Ātman (/ˈɑːtmən/; Sanskrit: आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit word that means inner self, spirit, or soul.[1][2] In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Ātman is the first principle:[3] the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, is the essence of an individual….”

***

So to me, True-self discovery means to finally unlock WHO you truly are—it is your ‘soul essence’ revealed to you at last.

And when I say True-self Actualization, I mean to live your life from your true ‘Soul Essence’—to actualize your full potential as a spiritually-connected, Divine being.  (Spiritual here does NOT mean Religious—there is a big difference there.  This has nothing to do with doctrines and dogma.)

My view of the process of discovering and then actually living your life through your TRUE-SELF—your higher ‘soul essence’—is to shift your mental perspective and your self-concept from the superficial, people-pleasing false-self (your projected false public persona), to WHO you really are at your inner core (the sensitive part that we often try to hide and protect from the harsher world around us)—to your True-self—a loving, compassionate being who sees others as merely different versions of herself and who considers all as equals and fellow community members, rather than competing combatants vying for scarce resources and attention/validation from others.  That can be a very hard perspective and behavioral shift to make—going from your false-self to your True-self.

And that is NOT an easy journey of discovery to take I might add, to find and then cultivate your True-self connection—to live life from your True ‘Soul Essence’.

So I want to add just a little more general info:  Abraham Maslow wrote extensively on his concepts of Self-Actualization, and his promotion of what he called Humanistic Psychology. He went even further than that and coined what he and others together named ‘Transpersonal Psychology’:

“Transpersonal psychology (Wiki)

“…During the 1960s Maslow founded with Stanislav Grof, Viktor Frankl, James Fadiman, Anthony Sutich, Miles Vich and Michael Murphy, the school of transpersonal psychology. Maslow had concluded that humanistic psychology was incapable of explaining all aspects of human experience. He identified various mystical, ecstatic, or spiritual states known as ‘peak experiencesas experiences beyond self-actualization. Maslow called these experiences ‘a fourth force in psychology’, which he named transpersonal psychology.

Transpersonal psychology was concerned with the ‘empirical, scientific study of, and responsible implementation of the finding relevant to, becoming, mystical, ecstatic, and spiritual states’ (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2011)….”[61]        ***

Now while this might seem a bit TMI to some, it is the basis for psychology taking a different, more expansive turn for awhile to assess what people were actually experiencing in the world around them, and how those more unusual experiences affected and defined their concept of ‘reality’.

Stanislav Grof mentioned prior was very much into exploring ‘non-ordinary states of consciousness’—mystical states, hallucinogenic states, altered states, etc..  And in doing so, he described what some folks had experienced, himself included, during altered states of consciousness where ordinary reality merges with some really strange stuff.

(Wiki): “…Grof distinguishes between two modes of consciousness: the hylotropic and the holotropic.[6] The hylotropic mode relates to ‘the normal, everyday experience of consensus reality’.[7]  The holotropic has to do with states which aim towards wholeness and the totality of existence. The holotropic is characteristic of non-ordinary states of consciousness such as meditative, mystical, or psychedelic experiences.[8] According to Grof, contemporary psychiatry often categorizes these non-ordinary states as psychotic.[8] Grof connects the hylotropic to the Buddhist conception of namarupa (‘name and form’), the separate, individual, illusory self. He connects the holotropic to the Hindu conception of Atman-Brahman, the divine, true nature of the self(to him they were NOT psychotic episodes, they were non-ordinary but still valid experiences) .”

***

What does this mean to you?  Good question.  It might mean nothing, or it might help to explain a few things for you.

If it doesn’t interest you, you quit reading long ago. If it does interest you, it gives you a few additional sources of information to further pursue. And that’s the point of my listing them here.  I like to share information sources.

To me, Finding Your Truth involves much of what these pioneers explored and the theories that they developed about better understanding the totality of the human experience—including the capabilities of WHO we really can be.  

We are far from knowing all there is to know about the world that we interact with and how to put those strange personal experiences into the correct context for understanding how they might fully affect us; but as the world culture expands to include all aspects of world society and those vastly different perspectives on life, we need to open our minds to there being a bit more about this thing called ‘LIFE’ than we had previously acknowledged; and that it’s easier for all as a world society if we explore this world together rather than staying burrowed into our own little hide-aways stuck in pre-set modes of behavior and limited to specific “acceptable” beliefs about ourselves and the people around us.

Let’s do that Zappa thing: Open our parachutes and our minds to what can be rather than to what currently IS, because that “IS” right now seems pretty odorous.

Wordless TRUTH

From Mystic Path to Cosmic Consciousness

“..the truth cannot be put into words; all we can do is make an effort to render the mystery of life intelligible to our minds.”   – Inayat Khan

Normally I would expound on this “mystery of life” type of TRUTH because that is one of my favorite subjects.  

LIFE’s TRUTH is likely something we may only hope to uncover—IF we are capable of handling the answers that we might find.  Those magnificently-elusive LIFE TRUTHs are wordless to us because we have no comprehensive comparisons to evaluate them in our minds—at least not within our current world-as-we-know-it context. 

So for times like those when we face the still “Unknown” aspects about LIFE in general and the likely “Unknowable-to-some-degree” facets of same said LIFE, we may be stymied at how to describe the experience to others or how to even make some sense of it to our own minds.  I know I’ve had experiences like those, and they were both unbelievably awesome and quite terrifying at the same time. There were NO words that could accurately describe to others those “wordless” experiences.  (I still can’t describe them because I have no context in which to consider them.)

But then there are other times in our collective daily world when expected words also might fail us.  And for me, this is pretty much one of those times because I’m feeling the kind of negative emotions and energies that I really don’t want to feel.  I am furious right now and I’m sure that I am not alone in this feeling.

In fact, I bet that many are feeling what I am at present—teeth-grinding, fist-pounding fury at the stupidity of this entire situation that has engulfed all of us—all because of so many people/news outlets/political opportunists who have been, and still are, spreading blatant lies—lies spread all because of one insane man’s desperate attempt to try to hang on to his dwindling powerbase as the ‘real world’ starts infringing on his malignant fantasies.  

To many people who support this man, there will soon come a time of facing TRUTH in all its disconcerting discomfort.  It simply IS what it is. And this IS the TIME we are in—a TIME for facing TRUTH.

And the only way through the horrors of life as we are now experiencing them, is to stop in our tracks and face down some very uncomfortable and inconvenient TRUTHs.

I personally think that when (and it’s only a matter of time now) many people finally do realize how they have been intentionally deceived, manipulated, and even financially shafted by the very people (or the person) they had wanted so much to trust and emulate, they will become very, very angry—and hopefully they will direct that anger where it is most deserved—at the folks who have been so despicably lying to them since the election results were declared—lying to them TO TAKE THEIR WILLING DONATIONS—THEIR HARD-EARNED CASH TO FILL HIS PRIVATE COFFERS—TO PROP UP A REPREHENSIBLE FRAUD AND HIS BOTTOMLESS NEED FOR GREED.  He has been and still is, using you. That’s what he does—that’s WHO he is. THAT is TRUTH. You will eventually see that for yourselves.

Perhaps when some eyes finally do open and some ears finally do hear TRUTH, no matter how unpleasant it might be to them; they may feel so deceived— so used—so violated, that many may never trust a politician again. And actually that’s not a bad thing.

To me trust must be earned, never demanded by others, nor is it easily given without evidence of valid reasoning for doing so.  I think it was Emerson who said something to the effect, “What you are doing speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.”

So I’m all for TRUTH.  I don’t always enjoy hearing it either, but I do know that the only solid ground that we all have to stand on is TRUTH—it is our only common base of understanding.

And I also know that sometimes being “wordless” is a necessary thing, because self-realization is so hard to master.   

Inconvenient Truth

“…TRUTH, for most people, is a secondary consideration.”  Bertrand Russell

This was an easier graphic to grab than the one I preferred, but I can’t make a stationary image produce the same effect as an animated GIF in motion.

On this first day of the year that we all hope is far better than the one left behind, I saw a planetary GIF reminder of what a TRUE year in the normal life of earth is as it travels through space spiral-orbiting an ever-in-motion sun that itself spirals through the Milky Way Galaxy.  The Resonance Science post said simply “Happy Helix Day” while showing all planets spiraling in helix formation around a large in-motion sun.

And I got it—a perspective shift—a TRUTH that we rarely consider, but that is as incomprehensible to most of us as a dog with six legs or a politician without a personal agenda. Our lives don’t follow straight lines to the future—we spiral through our timelines.

And yet, …that ever-spiraling motion of the sun and all those spiral-orbiting planets around it is very much a daily TRUTH that we often ignore because it makes your head hurt to think about all those laws of physics and planetary motion and galaxy evolution in general.  

Too much information!  And yet it is TRUTH.

But back to the real importance of Russell’s quote being here:

“The first thing to realize, if you wish to become a philosopher, is that most people go through life with a whole world of beliefs that have no sort of rational justification, and that one man’s world of beliefs is apt to be incompatible with another man’s, so that they cannot both be right. People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; TRUTH, for most people is a secondary consideration.”    ― Bertrand Russell, “The Art of Philosophizing and other Essays” (1942)

To repeat: “…People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; truth, for most people is a secondary consideration.”

And this is how we spend most of our days: throwing opinions at each other with little need for fact.  Fact, for most of us, is often dependent on what we BELIEVE (the context through which we view our world); and that BELIEF is not necessarily dependent on TRUTH, but is something more akin to what we WISH were truth for us.

I mention this here because people have to learn to be more comfortable with the importance of TRUTH over BELIEFS if we are ever going to get along with each other in this world, because TRUTH is the only thing we ALL have in common if we are simply open-minded enough to recognize it.  

The Mind As Parachute

Must be soap-box time for me.

The holidays seem to bring out all the latent philosophers with slogans and well-wishes, and ….how can I say this gently?  Preachiness.  And of course, I am no different.

So when I revert to quoting Frank Zappa, … one of the most controversial, free-spirited and free-wheeling musical/film-directing artists of his day rather than the standard fare like Lao Tzu or Einstein, etc., then something somewhere must be askew.

And yet, the mastermind behind the epic album: “Freak Out!” is the one who best captures today’s moment for me, or as the graphic above states:  “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”   Frank Zappa

A simple morning comment about how intentionally ‘psychologically-appropriate’ I thought the President-Elect is by restraining himself during his comments on the Toddler-in-Chief’s current dereliction of duty during his waning days in office (or actually golfing at his resort in Florida while the rest of the country is under pandemic lock-downs and nearly starving, while he refuses to sign the relief bill to prevent people from being evicted penniless from their homes and apartments during the holidays—mid-winter no less), and it quickly reverted to my partner’s theological declaration of how deeply the President-Elect is steeped in his Faith to handle things the way that he is.   Uhm… no.

“I think that is how YOU are choosing to interpret the restraint that ‘the P-E’ is showing by not laying into Mr. Ineptness like you or I would be doing because we have less personal control of our tempers,” I said confidently, slurping more coffee, again citing the clever, behavioral-restraint counter-measurers ‘the P-E’ is deftly employing against a sociopathic, power-hungry, malignant narcissist who is currently controlling the United States nuclear codes and who has his oversized shorts in a bunch over the election results not favoring him.

To which was calmly replied. “He (the P-E) is a man of deep Faith and he demonstrates that Faith in his actions.”

I shook my head. Continuing this discussion would go nowhere good, very fast. So I shut my mouth and swallowed my responses. But not for long—that’s why I have this blog.

To me this ‘BELIEF-dependency’ is part of the problem we have as a collective presence in the world today, because WHICH belief is the one that YOU (or whoever is in power at the time) follow to make all your group-dependent decisions where lives are at stake and world economies precariously teeter?

There are thousands of world religions right now—all with offshoots and tributaries, not to mention diverging cult-like facsimiles that bear little resemblance to the founder of the original religion’s intentions and premises.

So WHICH BELIEF-SYSTEM do you adopt as the epitome of cultural and behavioral norms to follow as you govern a world culture?

Please tell me how tacking a religious label on a standard of behavior or a descriptor of moral character becomes anything but divisive to those who stand against that particular religion in favor of the one that they instead follow.  

So maybe it’s time to get our heads out of our own particular BELIEFs, and to lean toward universal behavioral standards in order to live in peace with each other.

Let’s open our minds as we parachute into a new way of thinking and acting toward each other.

Or we could do as Frank Zappa previously suggested: Just “Freak Out!”

Happiness Is A Mindstate

Yearend assessments are often the necessary precursor to developing a New Year’s Resolution, so after determining first that I had certainly blown my 2020’s NY Resolution of “Having More Fun This Year!” my next year’s attempt would have to be scaled back a bit to account for our current and near-future situations with the pandemic limitations.

So then I thought well, maybe I could just resolve to “Be Happy” like my zen-cat hadsuggested’ to me which led to another lengthy analysis on what “Being Happy” actually meant.   Was I ever happy in the past or AM I happy now?  (Hard to believe I have to ask this but I do.)

What would it take to BE HAPPY?  And then of course, that required that I define ‘happiness.’

Doing that brought me to the epitome descriptor of how you recognize HAPPINESS, which I believe to be JOY.  And assessing JOY reminded me that somewhere in my many posts, I think I had once tried to do that. Here is that excerpt from January 18, 2020:

“…Recognizing ‘Relativity’ in Your Life

“…Emotional and mental pains linger in our lives well beyond dictates of reason and logic—they just do.  And since they are often linked to childhood issues, we’ve all been living with them for a very long time. That makes them harder to gauge in terms of their relativity to your overall life functioning.

Joy might be considered similarly relative except it is an even harder scale to gauge than pain might be. Sometimes JOY might be considered as the absence of PAIN, which is a bit sad to not recognize it for its own sake. But yet for many, the absence of PAIN is definitely a JOY, as are other similar circumstances:

  • Having sufficient food to eat is a JOY. 
  • Having a warm, safe and secure home to reside in when the temps are near zero and the snows are swirling, is a JOY.
  • Having loving companionship to face a difficult day or night, is a JOY.
  • Having your health and enough money to live without hardship, is a JOY.

There are truly delicious events and circumstances that raise our spirits and bring smiles to our faces, and may even erupt into a laugh if we allow it; and without a doubt those are joyful experiences and we can easily recognize them as such.

But to always find some JOY in the less desirable circumstances of our lives or in the smallest of kindnesses that we may receive from others, is to understand the true relativity of our life experience and to celebrate the more joyful moments whenever and wherever we can find them.“

***

Yes!  HAPPINESS and JOY are always close cousins though not necessarily interchangeable, but still intimately related; and happiness represents what I would call a ‘Mindstate’—a way of viewing the world around you—a perspective on LIFE in general. It pertains to how you make sense of your world and how you see yourself interacting within it.

While we might associate both HAPPINESS and JOY to an emotional-body energy expression, I would also declare them dependent first on a mental-body energy prerequisite prior to the emotional-body’s heightened energy frequency. Meaning it has to be first a mindstate perception/recognition before it becomes an outward emotional expression.

So this morning in my journal as I’m hashing about on whether ‘happiness’ is a mental state of mind or an emotional state, I asked myself the question:

“So, am I HAPPY? …Hmm, I’m comfortable, but not joyous, but I do lean toward optimism and enjoying the best aspect of every moment. So I think ‘happiness’ is a scale of enjoyment in the moment and the appreciation of every blessing received; and of the deeply-felt appreciation for moments without some kind of sadness or pain.

In other words, ‘happiness’ is often relative to the situation experienced—but it’s more so an attitudean outlooka determination to see the world around you in a certain way no matter how LIFE may actually be treating you.

HAPPINESS is a specific ‘perspective’ on life.

When you know from personal suffering how bad your life experiences can be or how bad it HAS BEEN for you in some way, then you can better appreciate the finer moments of JOY—the better times of love and abundance. It often takes living through the bad times to better appreciate the good ones.

JOY, to me, represents the aspirational high-point of ‘happiness.’ It is the peak experience—the point at which all others pale in comparison. When you know true ‘JOY’, then you know what ‘happiness’ actually ‘feels’ like without asking these stupid questions.

I think that pure JOY itself is rare, but you can have ‘joyful’ moments throughout the day or year. And a few of those are definitely better than none at all.”

So, am I happy?

I think I’m as ‘happy’ as I choose to be at any given moment. And considering all those lesser choices out there, without a doubt, I choose to be HAPPY!

Such A World

Pretty sure that the Taoist Lao Tzu said, “Those who know, do not say.  Those who say, do not know.”  So clearly he did not know or would not say.

There is much about this LIFE that baffles me—so many mysteries, so much unknown.

I can acknowledge that there is much that we THINK that we Do know, and there is much that we are delusional about what we ACTUALLY DO know; just as there is much that we may never know about ‘how the sausage (of LIFE) is made’ because sometimes it’s better NOT to know those things than to know them and be helpless to do anything with that less-than-desirous knowledge.

Confusing?  Yes.  Well, that’s LIFE.

If I let it, much of what I see and hear in our current world can fill me with anxiety, so to stop myself from feeling that nasty energy I ask instead ‘WHY am I feeling this unsettling emotion?’ Clearly there is so much fear and fury in the collective airwaves at present that it’s hard to simply shut yourself away from it even if you do turn off the TV, because the COLLECTIVE ENERGIES are rife with this whirling, furious agitation. Some of it is intentionally instigated by unhappy folks who want others to feel what they are feeling, and some of it is the natural uncertainty born out of our unpleasant world pandemic situation.

But what can I personally do about it?

I take a deep breath and calm myself to clear my thoughts, and then say to the orange tabby sleeping at my feet on the recliner, “How can you sleep? Aren’t you also feeling this awful collective energy?” To which he yawns and stretches into a new curlicue position with one paw resting atop my ankle—or in effect doing a mildly reassuring cat zen-thing: “Don’t worry, my human—be happy.”

Hmmm.  Maybe he’s right.  Maybe I’m over-thinking it.

As long as his dish is full and his litter is clean while he sleeps serenely in this nice warm house, he’s a happy guy. Simple needs—simple wants. Eat, sleep, poop.  He has no problems—no worries—no stress.

So WHY am I (or the rest of us) feeling stressed?

I could give a number of reasons as I’m sure you could also, but basically it comes down to whether or not I or WE choose to live that way—choose to accept that unsettling anxiety energy as a part of our own energy fields; and I simply don’t.  

So each time that I feel the ‘anxiety energies’ around me, I stop what I’m doing and take a purposefully deep breath, then refocus my mind to where I want to put my energies—NOT to where someone else wants me to put my energies.  It might take a few attempts to actually calm my inner state, but I can do it, as can you if you work at it.

Just remember: “Those who say…” want you focused on their own personal agendas, while “Those who know…” only want you to be happy and live in personal serenity.

Much like my wise zen-cat.

Here’s looking at YOU, the Universe

Alan Watts was one of those enigmatic, philosophical characters who promoted increased spiritual awareness during the 1960’s and 70’s.  He was best known for being: “…a British writer and speaker known for interpreting and popularizing Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism for a Western audience.”  (Wiki)

Before I get into my comments on him, here’s another memorial on Watts by David Chadwick:

“Of the books that look at Watts’ impact, one seems to be of particular significance: Alan Watts—Here and Now: Contributions to Psychology, Philosophy, and Religion (SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology). The lead chapter is entitled ‘Alan Watts’ Anticipation of Four Major Debates in the Psychology of Religion.’  The book nails Watts’ critical influence on the study of the perennial philosophy as rooted in mystical experience, the relationship of the latter with psychedelics and eroticism, and the shift to the study of spirituality rather than religion. The book also explores Watts’ game-changing influence in psychology, the neuroscience of transcendence, and eco-feminism.”

And from Watts himself here are two variations on the ‘Universe as ocean’ theme:

“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” – Alan Watts

“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.  As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’” – Alan Watts

What I’ve been noticing from the folks who I follow online is that Alan Watts has become very popular again—likely because he spoke 50 years ago about philosophy that is more mainstream in today’s world: the concept of ‘us’ being merely visible fragments of the invisible WHOLEness.

That’s why the ‘ocean analogy’ is so easily understood. You can’t define the power of a single ocean wave without first acknowledging that there is NO wave to be had without there being an actual Ocean behind it.

And as might be expected, Alan Watts was controversial in his day. He was often brash, outspoken, and was far from being considered a ‘perfect’ human being during his LIFE tenure.  He had faults, as do we all; and he had weaknesses that he often indulged at the expense of his health.  So unfortunately for the rest of us, he wasn’t around a very long time.

But it was his life and he said what he said and he did what he did while he was around to do it.

I just wanted to mention that many of his lectures have been revived on YouTube, and he’s always worth a listen just to hear the Universe expressing itself through Alan Watts.

Brigit Anna McNeill’s Prose on “Winter”

“We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.

And we as natural human animals are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.

But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.

This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.

This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back & chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.

A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.

A period of reconnecting, relearning & reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.

This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.

And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.

She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, & face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing & light without going into overwhelm.

Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth.”

  • illustration by Jessica Boehman
  • words Brigit Anna McNeill

***

(As we approach the arctic season of reflection called “winter” in the northern hemisphere, I wanted to offer this beautiful poem and graphic to those who may not have seen it previously. It’s Brigit Anna McNeill’s poem on “Winter,” with the illustration by Jessica Boehman.

I’ve had many blogs prior to this one, few of which are still online for various reasons. And ironically I must admit that I’ve never had any other posting that was so appreciated by viewers as was this poem on an older blog. That stated, I have NO connection to either the author or the illustrator, but can celebrate their gifts and wish only to share them with others. And from the comments received a year ago just prior to eliminating my namesake blog where this was posted, THIS poem was very cathartic to many who were feeling sad this time of year. So here it is again. Hope you enjoy it.)

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