Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Dichotomy of Love and Pain

Life is always changing. On one end this is amazing because it brings new people and experiences into our lives.  However, change will inevitably "take" away people and experiences so that we must say goodbye.  I must humbly admit to myself that there will come a day when my wife is no longer in my life.  There will be a day when my parents and my family are no longer in my life.  And there will be a day when all of those whom I have come to love as dear friends will no longer be in my life.  I am having a hard time with this concept.  The impermanence of life makes life both beautiful and tragic.

How do we then make peace with such a dichotomous reality?

Due to our social nature we allow ourselves to become vulnerable so that we may develop meaningful relationships.  It is the act of opening ourselves up to others that creates both the experience of joy and love as we developed a bond with someone, however it also creates the potential for hurt and loss.  Becoming vulnerable, for practically all of us, is not a choice.  Many of us have close bonds with family and childhood friends all the way into adulthood.  And even when it is a choice, we choose to develop close bonds with others so that we may feel and give love.  It is love that is at the crux of this dichotomy.  However, becoming vulnerable is a necessity to create and foster the experience of love.

Yes, Zen Buddhism, and other philosophical practices may teach us about the principle of non-attatchment, but I do not feel that these ways of being dismiss the painful reality due to the loss of love.  Yes, we can be grateful that the experience of love happened, but we will still be saddened by the loss of any love.  This is the bittersweet reality of love.  Non-attchment may teach us to not identify with the loss and pain associated with loss, but the fact still remains that loss, pain, and tragedy are real aspects of life.

What is one to say to a parent that loses a child "prematurely"?  What is one to say to someone who "loses" there wife, their husband, or their best friend to some sort of tragedy?  There is nothing to say to pacify the pain except showing support to the person that is hurt.  Even in the faith that we will be united with those that leave us behind we still feel the pain of separation.  Faith may bring us peace in knowing that the loved ones are in peace themselves, but it still does not dissolve the pain of separation.

Maybe in these writings I am open to the idea that I have lost my way.  Maybe I have lost that strong connection I once had to my faith and to God - or maybe as I get older I realize that it was easier to isolate myself in my ideals and naivety as a younger man.  Either way, I am where I am and this is how I now feel.

Lately I have been questioning this feeling of discontent with life that I think most of us feel at some point or if not all the time - just beneath the surface of our experience.  So then, what do these ideas of impermanence, loss, and pain, have to do with discontent?  Is my feeling of discontent a feeling of bitterness I have towards life because I cannot find absolute peace?  Can I not find peace because the dichotomy of love and pain is to much to fully grasp - even thought I seem to keep trying to think my way into a solution for peace?  Am I, and so many of us, rushing through life and distracting ourselves so that we do not have to deal with the inherent existential dilemma that life puts in front of us? - that life is both beautiful and tragic?  Because we all know, at least in the back of our minds, that we will loose what we love at some point?

Is this why many of us become addicted to something?  Are we trying to distract ourselves from this reality?  The addiction can come in many forms - work, drugs, our egos, food, etc.

To face life in all of reality takes great courage.  Humility takes a strength that has nothing to do with toughness, but rather I think it has to do with allowing ourselves to be sensitive.  It is this sensitivity that opens us up to being vulnerable - all the while being conscious that we know we will eventually lose the love that we have opened up to.  To be aware of this existential dilemma yet maintaining a desire for intimate relationships and closeness to others takes great courage.  It's a strength born in sensitivity, humility, and a willingness to accept and deal with tragedy.  So then, I ask the creator, why?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Remembrance & The Holy Ghost

It is the Holy Ghost that brings us the messages of God.  It is the holy ghost that shows us why we are here.  It is the Holy Ghost that shows us how everything is interwoven.  The glory of this life is found in remembering who we are, why we are here, and how God serves us (and of course how we serve God).  God serves us by giving us the opportunity to evolve, in all facets of our lives.  For if God gives us the opportunity to evolve God in turn serves God.

If we remember to re-member (to unite with the Holy Ghost) we live in the moment.  When we live in the moment the past, and its influence, begins to dissolve. When we stop living out the engrained conditions of the past we open our spirits to the energy of God.  It is at this point that the Holy Ghost can make its way into our consciousness.  Thus we enhance our lives by living in accord, more so, with the will of God.

The will of God is the push of live to make itself manifest in all things.  God is not just all things, God is also the energy of life which drives everything to be what it is.  Love is an ever evolving Godly force upon the universe...the universe, we must remember, that we are a part of.  The profound and the "inconsequential" are equal expressions of God.

Remembering this brings us in touch with our spirit.  And it is being in spirit (being inspired) that enables us to be in contact with the Holy Ghost - the voice of God.  It is this human act that brings peace...into our lives and into the world.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Death of the Ego

When we feel life's perfection, we feel that glory of the moment, and we realize that all is working out just as it should.  However it is the ego that brings us back from the timeless awareness of life's miracle. The ego has us questioning and judging. The ego does this because it feels threatened. Threatening because judgment, of life, of oneself, and of others becomes rendered irrelevant.

Many of us can only hold that "in the moment glory" for only short amounts of awareness.  In the moment of realizing life's perfection the ego witnesses that it's judgments are irrelevant so it acts to reconcile its annihilation.  The ego fears losing its identity so it utilizes the unconscious mind to fear oneself into doubting perfection.  Because it is the realization of perfection that abolishes the ego.  It is death in a sense, however only in the ego's death are we liberated from the illusory separation from spirit.

The ego can rest assured though.  As there is no such thing as complete annihilation, for it is spirit that created creation, of which ego is a by-product.  The knowing that we are alive after the ego's death is what brings absolute peace.  Because in the ego's death we know, without question, that we are a part of something larger then the perceived self.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Purpose of Life

Purpose is a moment to moment experience. The word purpose is synonymous with motive, cause, reason, and intention.  Our life's purpose has everything to do with how we choose to live. Yet like life, our purpose is ever changing.

When we seek to understand our purpose we seek to understand our reason for being alive 

Maybe our life's purpose is to be a father, a mother, the mailman, a teacher, an entrepreneur, or a seeker of knowledge.  Our life's purpose can be expressed in infinite ways and it is multi-faceted by its nature.  Our life's purpose is the foundation of our intention...and this is our declaration to the world.  So we must honor what we do, think, and say, because these mediums are the gateways to the experiential relationship we have with ourselves and others.  But I wonder, is there something about the "purpose of life" that transcends our individual pursuits?

Is there a purpose to life that is all encompassing... a universal intention that is beyond us?

I believe that if we ask ourselves this question we peer deeply into the "fabric" that holds life together. I feel that asking ourselves this question is imperative to breaking free from our egoic isolation.  Pondering beyond ourselves, I believe, will actually bring us deeply in touch with who we are... and who we are be becoming on a planetary scale.

What is it that we are becoming anyway?

I have no idea!  I could propose a few ideas, but they would fall short because my words and ideas can never touch the ultimate truth; the ultimate experience of what life is.

There is a philosophy that proposes that the ultimate purpose of life can only be understood from the perspective of the collective.  It is the proposition that the sum total of all of our intentions, including the intentions of seemingly unconscious entities (the Earth, the stars, and everything in between) determines what life, as a whole, is creating.  This movement of creation then is the ultimate purpose of life.  It is "on purpose," and meaningful beyond comprehension.  It is a view that holds that nothing is "random" and that everything is born out of intelligence.  If it a purpose beyond definition, but a purpose of the upmost significance.

Ultimate purpose, what is that?

The ultimate purpose is largely out of our control.  It is cosmic in its scale.  And although the ultimate purpose is beyond our comprehension that does not mean that we cannot sense it.  Our intuitive sense is what brings us into emotional communication with the ultimate purpose of life... and if we listen to this calling within we will see that our life becomes meaningful to a greater degree.  

When I hone in on this sense I feel that I am in communication with the universe, with God, or the movement of creation (call it what you will).  It is comforting to me because it makes me feel connected to something greater than myself and it frees me from the imprisonment of my egoic isolation.  It is a sense that makes me remember that I am never alone - even when my mind tricks me into believing I am or that my life is of no consequence or meaning.

The root of our forgetfulness and disconnection from Ultimate Purpose

It seems that we are so overly concerned with self image that we forget to see life beyond the self (or life beyond humanity).  I fear it is our narcissistic tendencies that blind us from seeing the interconnectivity of life's purpose.  I feel that narcissism and our obsession with status, image, control, and power, is at the root of all social dysfunction.

Could it be that our narcissism is a coping mechanism?  Is narcissism our attempt to block ourselves from the loneliness and or guilt associated to being blind to our inherent unity and how this perceived separation has caused all the destruction and division we see in our world today.  We deny our ability to communicate with the universe, with god, and the movement of creation.  Thus, I feel a deep existential lack is born because we deeply believe in our separation.  Our differences are real, but our similarities are much more profoundly similar.

Becoming conscious of how our disconnection has led to so much destruction can be saddening.  It may make us feel like our individuals life's purpose is vain, meaningless, and unimportant.  However, even that in it self is self destructive, because our individual life is part of the cosmic whole.  Our lives, our passions, and our individual missions are very important!  Yet, when we align our life's passion and purpose with a deep sense of connection to the world, with others, the Earth, and the cosmos, we will actually feel deeply rooted to a purpose greater than our own.

No one person is to blame for for the human condition as it is.  It is a way of life that we have become conditioned to live.  It has been going on for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, but now in the dawn of a forced new age our technology has clearly made us see how connected we.

Harmony is possible

We now have an opportunity to move towards something more unified, sane, and responsible (in fact we always have).  If we can understand and remember that the purpose of our individual lives is inextricably tied to the ultimate purpose of life we can create a more harmonious life.  Peace is possible, but we must get out of our own way and get in touch with our inner most senses.  It is the collective purpose that we must move towards.  This does not mean to lose our sense of our individuality, but rather to incorporate our sense of self with the unified whole of the collective.

In reality it is all much simpler than how I make it out to be.  It is about seeing that our individual differences are petty in comparison to our sense of connection.  It is about seeing that no one or no thing is more important.  It is admitting that we do not have all the answers.  And it is living from an ethic that is sensitive to nature and strives to be considerate of all things.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Balance Between Being Content yet Aspiring Towards Evolution

How do we aspire for a better life without getting caught up in tomorrow?  How can we remain content with life as it is, but still seek to change a situation?

As a race of people capable of complex discernment I think it is a natural tendency for us to aspire towards something "better."  If you were a Native American you sustained your existence through fishing, hunting, and agriculture.  You were interested in developing ways of doing these activities that enabled you to harvest these resources with greater ease and success.  This drive within us that wants a better life is what enables us to evolve.  Yet today, where life options are practically limitless, we can become overwhelmed as to how we wish too see our life unfold.

I do not think you need to be dissatisfied with a life situation in order to see it evolve.  Actually, I feel it shows a sense of passion and vigor for life to have the desire to see your life and the life around you evolve.  I use the word evolve because I feel the word describes directed change.  To evolve denotes that change is something that progressively transcends what was before.

Yet, all to often we get caught up in what we want to see evolve in our lives that we lose our grip on being fully present.  Being content with "what is" takes a degree of present moment awareness that is not by our thoughts that want a different reality to exist.

It's about being aware of your desires and observing your attachment to them.  You cannot be content if you "need" change.  It means to have a vision without your emotions being contingent upon the results.  It takes a concentrated awareness to be grateful that life is presenting you with an opportunity to create and to experience who you are.

It seems that finding emotional balance in our modern thought driven world takes a sort of awareness that has us constantly grateful for life and the experiences it brings yet knowing that our visions and aspirations are not in vain, but rather they represent our efforts as conscious human beings to create a "better" world as we desire it.  Yet it also means surrendering to the fact that we are not controlling our lives to the fullest degree.  And in doing so we need to let go of expectations so that even if our aspirations do not manifest we still maintain a sense of gratitude for what is.

There always seems to be some sort of compromise in life.  This job may be more enjoyable, but it pays less or there is another partner "out there" that you may find more sexually attractive but you feel that another is better for you because they nourish your spirit.  The hypotheticals are endless...but compromise teaches us that we share this world, and our lives, with others.  It's about surrendering to the idea that we always don't know what is best or what we should strive towards.  It's about having faith that each new experience is something that is helping you become the person you are destined to be...even if it is a destiny that never would have imagined for yourself.

So keep striving for "better" as you see it.  For that is what the world needs now more than ever. Strive for a life that enriches the relationship you have with yourself and with others... And attempt to have faith that all is in its right place even if you think it's not.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Seeing Oneself as the Nothing That We Are

Without stillness we are lost.  Maybe not completely, but when the mind consumes us we repeat the same few mantras over and over.  We become consumed with mind activity, and thus we lose sight of all that is within and going on around us.  When I am still I find myself.  In that moment I am "found" because I realize there is nothing to figure out, nothing to know, and nothing to be other than myself.  The moment I try and become something I am no longer true to myself.  The moment I try to understand I move away from understanding.  There is no trying... there is only doing, being and living.

Contemplation is important.  I see it as the middle ground between stillness and mental activity.  With conscious awareness it can become an activity that has us hone in on our repetitive thoughts.  We can then choose if these thoughts serve us or not.  Yet do not be fooled by contemplation.  The moment we identify with new thoughts they become the relative thoughts of tomorrow and thus we get back into the same rut of incessant mental activity.

Often times we compare our lives to others in order to see who we are and who we want to become.  Yet, this only keeps us tied to the dominate thought paradigm that surrounds us.  We then become unable, not to be unique, but rather to be ourselves.  We are all beyond definition.  Every person is more than their title in life.  There is no one person more important or less important than another, unless we declare it as so.  And in our modern world we so often use judgement and comparison to figure out who we are so that we may, for some brief moment, feel a sense of worth.  Yet the irony is that when we seek self worth by comparing ourselves to others we loose sight of who we really are.  We paint the picture of who we are...instead of seeing ourselves for who we really are.

You are more than what you think you are.  You are infinitely nothing.  And to see yourself as undefinable is what brings you in touch with your true self.  True being that you are a phenomena of life.  Your experiences are your true worth from which to draw meaning and true power.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Mission of Understanding

What a miracle this is.  All of this.  We yearn to discover yet we cannot totally understand the origin of our species, or more grandly speaking, the origin of our universe.  The breath taking feats of science and technology have been able to break open the door to understanding who we are.  We can now look out into the cosmos and understand how small our world is and how life does existence on other planets and distant moons (even if it is not "intelligent" life).  But the mission of understanding life is seemingly endless.  And I fear that our engrained ways of thinking and dogmatic systems of thought have thwarted us from fully absorbing the knowledge that science has put forth.  I humbly admit I forget too often incorporate these truths into my world view.

What a miracle it is that we can type onto a keypad and send protons of electricity into a system that interprets these signals into legible thoughts.  At it's core technology enhances our ability to communicate, not only to each other, but to life itself.  Technology and scientific philosophy enhance our ability to "control" the course of life in a way in which we desire.

Just a short time ago none of this was possible.  Just one million years ago our Earth harbored no intelligent life (or so we believe).  The oceans were colonized by single cell organisms while the lands where barren dessert.  And here we are now, so tiny, yet which actions that collectively effect the entire planet.  Instead of letting our egos take charge by pretending it knows what reality is, why don't we humble our selves and realize how ignorant we all are?  Ignorance is inherently human, yet we deny this and in doing so we suppress some of our greatest abilities.  By not seeing what we do or who we are we never allow ourselves to go beyond the known and grow into something we may actually become.  This relates both to our inner life and our outer life.

The patterns we all replay.  The stories we tell each other will continue to go on.  The things that we accept as reality will stay as "factual" reality.  But only when we admit to ourselves that we really do not know much at all, maybe then will life again become endlessly interesting.  Maybe then will be accelerate our growth, both intrapersonally (in context to oneself) and interpersonally (in context to society.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Perched on a Hill: Observing the Isolation and Unity Between us All

After walking around beautiful prospect park on this sunny winter day I perch myself upon a hill over
looking southern Brooklyn.  I ponder... 

When I witness everyone around me I see how separated our lives are.  We live in our own worlds, with our own feelings, our own ideals, and our own perceptions.  Typically, this individual experience consumes us, yet we yearn for relationship and meaningful experience.  I feel we yearn so that we push ourselves to seek experiences that make us feel whole again.  But what is it to feel "whole?"

To me, the ultimate dichotomy of life, is to feel as if we are living separate lives, yet at the same time we have experiences that make us feel united with everyone and everything.  I feel that this dichotomy shows us something profoundly true, however ethereal.

I sense that there is an energetic chain that connects us all, even if it is just our mental projections.  And in the same way that we are both separate and connected so to does the dichotomy exist that life is both physical and meta-physical.  Yet it is the space between these dichotomies that we can't quite grasp.  Thus, doubt is born.

And so as I overlook southern Brooklyn, I realize I will not stand here forever.  My body is immortal.  And I wonder...what will become of "me?"  What becomes of all of my memories?  Do they accumulate in the reservoir of life's infinite energy...the aspect of life I have faith in?  Or do these memories of mine disintegrate into non-existence? 

I have faith that all of our experiences are not in vain, but rather they are part of something so much larger than the sum of us all...  It is a faith that whispers to me to not fear death... because it tells me that life is endless and unbreakable.  It is a subtle voice that tells me that life only changes form.  And where does this faith come from? I feel it comes from witnessing the profound strength we exemplify to overcome the obstacles that leave us feeling isolated.  It comes from witnessing how strong nature is to maintain a constant homeostasis.  It comes from witnessing how perfect the unfolding of life can be even when disaster strikes.

The yearning we feel to be connected is proof to me that the bonds we feel between each other are more than physical.  There is a void to be filled, however illusory, that proves to me that life is more than what we see.  It eludes to me that both you and I are more than our separate bodies.  And upon reveling in this feeling life becomes profoundly exciting. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Can't Have it All I really miss those sunny Californian days, the cool breeze off the San Francisco bay, the golden hills, and the smell of lavender after a winter rain.  Yet, despite how good it was sometimes there I also felt at other times very dull.  Being a native New Yorker you become accustomed to a deep sense of cultural diversity and immense change all the time.  I am not writing this to justify my move back to New York City.  Believe me, there are days here in New York City that I feel more tense than alive and more angry than joyous.  When you live in a place where millions of people are literally living on top of each other, with all of their differences and unique ways in which they are inconsiderate, you can become over taken with a sense of unyielding anxiety.

In New York City you feel even more intensely how you have no control as to what is going on around you.  There is no place to run and "hide."  Every park is loud.  Even my bedroom is filled with the loud sounds of automobiles and clanking metal.  I realize that the only salvation is found within {and this is true where ever you are}.  Yet, sometimes this frustrates me {and also inspires me} because I realize I have so much maturing to undergo.  Yet, this is the beauty of New York City.  For the reward of living here, if we let it, is a heightened sense of internal control {as well as having access to to world}.  On the flip side though, its peril is less control, anger, and a feeling of helplessness.

All those living in New York City say that they that they both love and hate it here.  It's an intense place that breeds intense people.  And although this may be the thing that has us frustrated with each other, this is also the same thing that makes is very interested in each other.

With every choice in life there is a consequence.  I left the relaxed and beautiful environment of California for the intensely interesting and tense environment of New York City.  I realize that I can't have everything I want in one place or situation.  None of us can.  I realize that my constant striving to "have it all" only leaves me unsatisfied.  Chasing the illusion of the "perfect life" is like chasing the dangling carrot in front of our faces that is and always will be out of reach.  No amount of money or power changes this.

It seems that there will always be a fire burning within all of us that wants more or something different.  Yet chasing the dangling carrot has exhausted me.  And now I attempt to no longer chase the perfect life, but instead to work at making it beautiful with what is going on, right here, and right now.

Life is bittersweet I suppose.  Even when we feel knocked down we are still left with a choice.  We can either be grateful or resentful.  Even in our darkest moments there is a feeling within us that knows what is best for ourselves.  I believe that this is the gift of life.  I believe, that this is where the essence of God lay within us.  So that no matter what, no matter where we are or what we are doing we may feel that we are living a life on purpose and in control...even if just that purpose and sense of control is only found within us through our feelings...

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Beautiful Evening

Sometimes life is just beyond my ability to understand it through thinking.  Essentially, life is always more than what I think it is or perceive it to be, but only sometimes do I remember this.  When I humbly admit this to myself I feel a sense of beauty that has no way in which I know how to describe.

As I let go of the attachment of needing to know I move into a state of curiosity.  For in these precious moments even the mundane aspects of life seem profound.  The aspects of life that I come into contact with daily seem to come alive.  The inanimate aspects of life, the steel buildings, the stop sighs, the wind, the moon, and the streets seem to be more than what they actually are.
Although I cannot put this all together and tell myself what this all means...I can say with confidence that all seems to be alive and interconnected in some way beyond measure.  All of life seems to belong to something so amazing...  I ask myself, "is this what it feels like to feel God?"  Even if this is just a quick glimpse into her beauty I am sure made more alive.  Tonight I become reinvigorated to connect with life in deeper and more humbling ways.