Get Peace, Presence, Expansion, Effectiveness and Ease in 2017
At the dawn of this year, past the solstice with days growing, life calls for course correction, for re-potting our purpose.
We are all actors in the human story taking place in the Matrix. (Please see the HBO series WestWorld for confirmation and insight!) We are reacting and responding to the illusions, believing the force and persistence of perceived reality, shaped by our individual backstory traumas.
2016’s bizarre dramas pulled many of us into group-think; big, ongoing, force-fed narratives. Many struggled and start 2017 still staggering, in shock.
I imagine a pressing need for a return to self-cultivation in order to escape the seductive draw of the insanity-making machine. In such a turbulent sea of disinformation, we need clarity, which can only be found when attention is calmly directed inward.
How can we be inspired, very inspired – today and every day – to act with grace? We are faced with existential fears, entropy, impermanence, old wounds, karma and the desire to do what is impossible!
Remember this brothers and sisters:
“The job of the shaman is to point toward the horizon, to somehow divert the tribe toward the never-ending, never-failing, manifestation of the mysterious unfolding of truth. To remind us that in any event, in any moment, and in any place, nothing can be other than the marvelous revelation of this glorious interplay of light.”
This realization is to experience true freedom and joy beyond comprehension that teaches us, reveals to us, that our daily food and drink, clothes and protections of life, are the very warm flesh and blood, the merciful incarnation of this ever-present living, divine mystery.
We can then be grateful and respectful, even though some may appear to be fools or so-called enemies, we can remember to be expansive, warm and compassionate toward everyone and every thing.
Even if they should turn against us, abuse and persecute us, we can remember our fearless heart, our path of wisdom, compassion, nonviolence, and skillful means. Before we react, we can consider deeply our personal and collective karma that birthed these conditions and circumstances.” Torei (edited)
As one more clearly one understands how things endlessly arise and pass away, the more fully we come to realize that the fundamental categories of thought and language are incapable of describing the fluid, contingent and sometimes tragic nature of life.
In my tradition one finds power and self-actualizes by dropping one’s cross of suffering, stepping out of the prison of the mind and realizing the only egoless wisdom comes from the body and is achieved by consciously choosing a practice like this one:
1. Profoundly let go. Use breathing and connection to the natural, to reach a state of deep physical, mental & emotional relaxation – a zero point from which one can literally re-boot one’s system.
2. Recognize and accept that “reality just is what it is” and that savoring it, rather than craving what appears to be missing, tames anxiety and allows us the freedom to act in accord with the whole without needing to figure it all out, control it, change it or even understand it.
3. Realize nearly every uncomfortable feeling is a messenger from shadow (that which we’ve been convinced to hide, repress or deny about ourself) and that those feelings are driving us toward self-sabotage. That those habitual feelings and thoughts block us from recognizing our opportunity, and response-ability to be empowered in every situation.
4. Recognize that EVERYTHING we want and need is hidden in plain sight and becomes available in due time with patience, gratitude and dis-identification from egoistic knowing.
5. Understand that things seem not as they are but show up as a reflection of how we are – which thoughts and feelings we chose to believe. The Matrix melts as we choose to focus on thoughts and feelings that direct us toward physical, mental and emotional fitness, connection, expansion, flexibility and resilience.
6. Consistently practice 360° awareness and presence, focus on what needs to be done and allow the soul’s passion to take effective action in the present moment.
“By following this process, we stop being victims of the world and become the world. As the resulting radiant beings we naturally act as empathy, compassion, and love. We become enthusiastic, liberated, independent agents of an interdependent whole. In short: We become present, holistic, able to model and inspire order within the chaos. We begin to recognize within us a field of pure expansive awareness, wisdom, compassion and skillful means.” McGee
As Shane Koyczan said, “Rise. As if the sun has taken the day off and hired you as its substitute, leaving behind its lesson plan in a world full of students who can see no practical value in what you are teaching. Teach them anyway. Today’s lesson is the same as every day before it. Because the class has been struggling with this assignment, shine. You must teach this by example. So hand out sunglasses. And do not dim yourself for the sake of their comfort… Remember, some people require more light than others. So make extra.”
What’s the problem –
The miracle of existence, our awesome embodiment adventure and the objective fact that in many ways circumstances in our world have never been better, is being undermined by a pernicious internal chaos and sense of overwhelm. I imagine it as a combination of:
1. Having been convinced life is about commodities rather than communities, competition rather than cooperation – and the resulting materialism, consumerism, narcissism and confusion about how to deal with the fear and discomfort that’s blocking our natural experience of peace, connection and passionate productivity.
2. A pervasive alienation from our natural connection to nature, love, work, soul, joy, freedom our institutions and one another.
3. A media-protected, plutocracy-driven fear of impending environmental, terrorist or financial doom which contributes to a sense of victimization, distrust, confusion and self loathing.
We miss the peace of knowing that we are born of the earth and that we are simply one aspect of an ecosystem; and that the other members, the animals and plants . . . are all conscious; and this ignorance and alienation fuels our suffering.
We have reduced human experience down to economic terms, convinced that our meaning and worth are related to what we have.
Stress is the direct result of being conditioned by this unnatural culture. We believe the grand lie, that there is a hierarchy where some humans are more deserving of opportunity, wealth and even divine love.
A New Vision
I imagine basic shifts for our culture:
A deep shift in our way of feeling and being (ontology) that has us value being natural, relaxed and graceful.
A shift in our way of knowing (epistemology) that moves toward reverence for the mysteries of living, that recognizes how much we actually don’t know or understand.
A shift of core value frameworks (axiology) that turns us from alienated competition toward living in supportive, healing, cooperative communities.
As those shift, we can then become quiet, safe and spacious enough inside to show ourselves and one another the sensitivity, respect, playfulness and curiosity we all need to be able to actualize and cooperate – grounded in pleasure and grace.
The Current Costs
The Centers for Disease Control reports 90% of doctor visits can be traced back to chronic stress. Alienation, stress, trauma, fear and overwhelm and their symptoms and chronic conditions run rampant in America, and take these forms:
Anger and abuse
Back, neck and shoulder pain
Ulcers and other stomach problems
Memory and concentration impairment
Addictions to work, shopping, distractions, drugs
Cirrhosis of the liver
Absenteeism and lost productivity
Immune system deficiency and slower healing
Diseases of aging including, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, certain types of disability, even early death
50% of American adults suffer from one or more of these chronic conditions.
In my judgment, this is the issue of our times. It serves as the root cause for much of the distress in our culture. Where for individuals chronic stress leads to poor judgement, self sabotage, antisocial behavior and all the health conditions listed above – there is a parallel dysfunction happening in and to the culture. In fact, our culture needs a metaphorical time out… An extended vacation communing with nature… More sleep, clean water, better nutrition, and a long, loving hug.
I’m served by an antidote to chronic stress I call PleasureStretch – a practice of healing through rooted relaxation, a way of shamanically getting the body to re-member what is real and then act in accord with it.
Let’s awaken from our dreaming this year.