Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays everyone. I'm going to take a little break from blogging so that I can focus on all the things needing my attention in my life. I will resume things in early January. I hope that each of you is able to connect with the joy of the season and can carry that joy with you through the coming year. I wish you all the best in all that you do and send you wishes for a joyous and bright New Year.

Peace is always the answer!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My background

A couple of postings ago I mentioned that I’m going to take these messages a bit deeper now that I have the basic groundwork laid out. It occurs to me as part of that process I should share my vision for where this is going and why. When I started the blog I told you why I was doing the blog but not really where I was headed with it. If you’ve been reading along you may have a sense of where I’m going but I feel it’s a point that I need to clarify and even explain. My hope is that as I take the messages deeper, if one rubs you the wrong way because it challenges your belief system you’ll see it as an opportunity to examine your views and beliefs in a slightly different way rather than writing me off. I don’t need you to believe what I believe but rather I offer this information as simply a different way to look at love, life, sex, religion, evolution and what the planetary changes ahead might mean for us.

To help understand my views, beliefs and the purpose of this blog, you need to understand a bit about me and my history. Some of that history is available on my website at www.maleeroticevolution.com/About%20Michael.html but I want to offer you more as a way to help you understand me and my journey better. It is my hope that this understanding will help you connect to the messages more deeply and perhaps even see yourself in my story.

I was born in a small town in Alabama called Arab. In some ways it was an ideal town for a child to grow up in. We had an almost non-existent crime rate, the county was dry so there were no bars or clubs, and the people were friendly and caring. It was/is a typical small town in size and attitude but atypical in other ways. Since Arab is in the heart of the Southern Bible belt, we also had lots of churches mostly of the Baptist, Methodist and Church of Christ variety. On the surface it was a quiet, safe, close knit community but for anyone seeking excitement it was boring.

The town also had one distinct characteristic that set it apart from most every city around it. Only white people lived there. The town has a racist past and when I was growing up in the 60’s a very visible KKK presence. This should also help you get a feel for the churches as well because of the narrow ethnic population of the town. Only white centric, Jesus focused, God fearing churches were in this town. It’s mostly the same way to this day. Attitudes and beliefs in small towns like that take many generations to change especially in a place where no one is really pushing for change.

As a boy I grew up in the Baptist church and quickly learned to hate myself because of my gayness. I struggled so very much with that. When you’re told by the church that the God who created you hates you for what you are there’s not a lot of room for love there. It’s easy to hate yourself when you’re in a place where you’re told that God hates you, the church hates you and the society hates you all for being something that you were born into. Fortunately I had the love of my family and friends otherwise I might have met an early, tragic ending.

I share this with you so that you can understand the environment I was raised in and the belief systems that accompanied it. While I was raised in it, I never really agreed with it mostly out of defense for myself. I knew I wasn’t a bad person simply because I had homosexual desires. I also struggled to believe the stories in the Bible from a real world perspective because they just didn’t add up to me.

In the Christian religious system they believe that the Bible is the written word of God. This belief is key to understanding the power that the Bible holds for them. They believe that there is a powerful superhuman being, God, sitting in Heaven up in the clouds, watching us all, judging our every action and in essence running the show here on Earth. They also believe that there is another superhuman, Satan, sitting in Hell at the center of the Earth presiding over the dead sinners and trying to lure humans into a life of sin. All of your actions during your short time here on Earth are then used at the time of your death to determine the final destination for your soul for the rest of eternity.

That is the core of the belief system as taught by the Christian and many other religions of the world. Within that Christians believe that Jesus was the human-born son of God and some believe that Jesus was/is God. Jesus was born 2000 years ago, lived for approximately 33 years and then was crucified to get rid of all of the sin up to that point and all the future sin for those that believe that he is God. It’s a classic archetypal story of the battle between good and evil with a struggling hero in the middle.

You can take this same ancient story of the struggle between good and evil, change the hero from Jesus to another figure (Moses, Abraham, Mohammed, Zoroaster, etc.) and you’ll have the core of the belief system for that figures followers. The stories connected with each of these individuals then forms the groundwork for the overarching belief system, or dogma, for each of the world’s religions.

The Christian belief system dominated my childhood. Whether I agreed with or believed fully in it or not is incidental. God, Heaven, Jesus, Satan and Hell were entities and/or concepts which transcended the belief system from which they originated and permeated the culture of my small town. As such there was no questioning that there was a God who lives in Heaven, a Devil who lives in Hell, and a man who lived and died 2000 years ago that is the hero between the two.

I’m not saying any of these are right or wrong but rather laying out the belief systems that formed the cultural environment in which I was raised. The church members populated the town, schools and businesses and brought their belief systems with them. As such anything or anyone out of alignment with these belief systems was evil and clearly the work of the Devil. Everything came down to this type of “good vs. evil” judgment.

This was the core of the belief system that I adapted as truth because it was what the wise adults around me were teaching me. Therefore I was taught that any problems I experienced were simply due to my lack of faith. All my sins would be forgiven and I would be guaranteed a place in Heaven if I would simply accept Jesus as my personal savior. Of course if I didn’t then I would spend the rest of eternity in the fiery tormenting pits of hell. As a small boy, given those two options as my only choices, the Jesus path seemed the most palatable.

I share all of this personal information on myself with you so that you have a framework for understanding my past and the beliefs that shaped me as a person. In the information that I have to share with you in future blog entries it will help you to understand my journey since then and the struggles involved based upon this ingrained core belief system. My intention is not to prove that they are right or wrong but rather I hope to offer another interpretation of some of the stories buried in the Bible based upon the historical perspective of the Bible and the church. I hope to help unveil a deeper truth which underlies and transcends those limiting and often hurtful beliefs.

While I work on that I’ll leave you with these questions: What core beliefs do you currently hold regarding spirituality and how do they differ now from those of your childhood?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Tree of Life



Last week a friend on Facebook had something about evolution in one of his status posts and one of his friends responded with “if we evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys around today?” I’d never really thought about evolution quite that way but it is a logical question. I of course chimed in with my thoughts on it but the question has really stuck in my head. I hope to be able to give a more detailed and thoughtful response here.

Evolution is a very slow moving process. Based upon the brief life-span that humans possess, evolution is mostly imperceptible. For us to begin to see this process at work, we have to looking back into the fossil records. Our closest historic relative is Cro-Magnon man (30,000 – 17,000 years ago) and before them it was Neanderthal (roughly 600,000 – 30,000 years ago). Scientists have determined that they possessed many of the same physical characteristics as modern Homo sapiens. So technically we evolved directly from them, not apes but apes were in our more distant past. Although we went our separate way, both branches are still successfully growing today. Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal were not quite so lucky.

It helps to understand evolution if you think of our past as a tree. Let’s say that single cell organisms are the seeds that grow into the tree, the tree of life. Billions of years ago the single cell organisms began growing and created the first sprig of growth on the tree. As the tree began growing up, the main branch split into two and each branch continued to grow. Once those branches grew out a bit they split again and grew and split and grew until finally it grew into the shape of a full grown tree.

At each of those points where the branch splits into two branches, that is where the DNA mutated for whatever reason it did. Every split of the branches then becomes something slightly different than the branch it grew out of. As the tree grows taller and wider more and more splits form until there is a whole network of branches. Humans would be one of the tiny branches at the very top of the tree. Monkeys and apes would be on a branch very close to ours. Both branches sprout from our common ancestors. Some of the other branches on the tree would have grown in the direction of the flying animals, sea creatures, flora and various land animals. We all sprouted from our single cell ancestors and grew into the amazing creatures that we are today.

The important thing to remember in this is that it is our DNA that is mutating and that mutation is what causes the shift in characteristics of the creatures. The DNA mutation can be caused by any number of factors. DNA can be thought of as our blueprint. It contains all the information necessary for us to grow from the merging of a microscopic egg and a sperm into the trillion celled organisms that we call humans. Our DNA and the DNA of every living creature on the planet is constantly interacting with the environment and adjusting accordingly.

An interesting and current example of this happening is what is going on at the Space Station. Now that we have people staying up there for several months in an environment without gravity, we are able to see changes in them when they return. One of the most noticeable things that NASA is discovering is that the astronauts bone density is severely decreased. When the long-term astronauts return to our gravity based environment, they are often unable to stand because of the changes their bodies have undergone. This illustrates the amazing capacity of our bodies to adjust to a changing environment. Gradually after returning to Earth for a while their bodies readjust and their bone density returns to normal.

It’s important to note that the bodies of just those astronauts are adjusting and not every person on the planet. I say that because it illuminates the evolutionary process even more. When the environment of just a few members of our species radically changed, within months their bodies shifted and adjusted accordingly. This change is certainly not something that the astronauts consciously choose to do so it shows how the DNA responded to the environment and triggered shifts in their bodies. In theory if they stayed up there forever, we would soon see even more physical shifts in their characteristics as their DNA adapted to the new environment. They would become a new branch off of the human branch on the tree of Life.

That is how it happened on Earth billions of years ago. As creatures began moving out across the planet and into the various climates that existed, their DNA responded to the changes and their bodies slowly evolved. Since they were able to stay in those environments here on Earth they were able to grow and evolve over time until they no longer directly resembled their ancestors. This is what contributed to the amazing diversity of life on this beautiful planet…and the various branches on the Tree of Life.

I recognize that for many people evolution flies in the face of the theory of Creationism. I hope to explore that more in coming posts because I believe it actually doesn’t. As with all things it involves a willingness to explore our myths and beliefs and question our understandings…but that is a topic for another day. Until then I invite you to notice how a tree grows. Rather than fight over resources, all of the branches spread out and grow to work for the good of the tree not just for the needs of a single branch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Limiting Definitions

So far with these blog entries I’ve been doing what I consider to be “laying the groundwork”. I’ve tried to lay out a rudimentary understanding of the basics of energy awareness and the philosophies underlying my beliefs. There may still be a thing or two here and there that I’ll need to back up and explain a bit further but for the most part I believe that we’re ready to go deeper. Given that, if you haven’t read all of the blog entries preceding this one, I’d highly recommend that you do. They will give you a context for understanding the information more fully from this point forward.

In regards to work, I define myself as an “energy worker”. Yes, I do erotic work but that’s just a surface issue, the real power from the work comes from the energy work involved beneath the eroticism. Recently I received an email via Facebook from an old high school friend. She read in my bio that I was an energy worker and shared with me how she was just learning about energy work but that she didn’t understand really what it meant. At first it had me shaking my head and thinking “where has she been?” but then I remembered that just because something seems common place in my life doesn’t mean it’s common for everyone. My life has been oriented around energy awareness, understanding and work for the past 10 years. In the same way that someone working in politics would be surrounded by others in that field and their lives would ultimately revolve around the inner workings of our political system, my life has been focused on energy and spirituality. The email was a good reality check for me and really got me to thinking about the limitations of definitions and labels.

It’s important to remember that we are physical and energetic (non-physical), human and spirit, mortal and immortal. We are “force” inhabiting “form”. It’s important to keep in mind that we are both rather than simply thinking of ourselves as only these amazing bodies that we move about in. We’re born, we eat, we grow, we play, we work, we love, we grow old and we die. It’s easy to believe that that’s all there is because it’s all that we can see happening. We get attached to the physical and assign all things non-physical to religion or spirituality. We then dismiss it from there because we’re anti-religion or we get locked into the dogmatic belief system of one particular religion. Further we limit our understanding of the bigger picture because we believe that the religious doctrine has spelled it all out for us. End of story.

It would be great if it really were that simple so that we could just pick up a book, read it and believe that all the answers are there. But they aren’t. It isn’t that simple. Life is constantly evolving, changing and growing. It is one big mystery that defies understanding because as soon as we try to define it, we limit it to that definition. Conversely, to begin to understand anything though, we start by defining it and describing it.

Imagine if you had to try and define yourself to someone who had never met you or seen you and you could only do it by written or spoken word. Think about how very complicated that would be. Sure it would be easy enough to describe your physical dimensions and characteristics. You could list your height, weight, hair and eye color, skin tone and on and on. When you finished the list of all your physical attributes however would they really define you? It might describe you but it tells nothing about you as a person. You might then try listing all of your past experiences; the books you’ve read, the places you’ve been, the things you’ve seen. These things give insight into who you are but they don’t define you fully either. You might even try describing what you believe and why. Can you imagine how challenging that would be even though it’s you that you’re describing? Each of us is unique and complicated as individuals yet we have so much in common because we’re all human.

Imagine how much more complicated the description would have to become if you were trying to explain it to someone on another planet on the other side of the galaxy. You couldn’t just say “I have blue eyes” because you’d have to define eyes, their function, structure and define blue as well. The task of self description would increase in complexity beyond the capabilities of most of us especially if we were trying to describe how our brains and bodies work. Imagine just how big the book describing you would be just based upon the information that you know, let alone all the things that you don’t know about how you function. No single piece of the information fully describes you yet each one helps to further define you in some way.

Now imagine if you were trying to describe something infinitely more complex like “Life”. Even though we are part of Life because we are living, the very act of trying to explain something which is beyond our comprehension would be so challenging that most of us would give up before too long. Now imagine trying to get that description of Life to be brief enough yet detailed enough that it could fit into a single easily consumable book. In order to do that you would need to limit your definition on so many levels to try and get it your description to fit in the book. Your definition would limit the description of Life by every word you chose to define it yet you would know that it is so much more than a series of words could ever explain. For every word you chose, there would be an infinite number of words that you didn’t chose that still define it. In the world of quantum physics, this process is known as the “collapse of the wave function”. (I recommend watching “What the bleep do we know” to get a better understanding of that function/process.)

In essence though, this is the process that underlies every one of our world religions. Each one has tried to define Life and the Creator by their own limited human descriptions. In order to help others understand the experiences of the enlightened ones, we have to use words to describe the indescribable. Yet despite the challenges presented by this task, those who founded these religions had to make an attempt at it in order to be able to pass this information along to future generations and to further define their religious belief system.

Once that task was complete, now those down the line who read the information are taught to believe that this is the one and only truth (often as “written by God”) and anyone else who tries to say otherwise is wrong. Yet look at the number of world religions and their sacred texts. Can they all really be wrong and only one of them is right? Or could it be that they are all right and each one is simply another way of attempting to explain the unexplainable through the experiences, words and metaphorical stories of other individuals?

These definitions are what lie beneath much of the major conflicts in the world. The followers of these religions believe that their sacred texts define the whole truth and are the only “right” way to see it. Each of these religions were founded based upon the experiences of a few individuals who had some sort of mystical experience that helped to shape the belief system that defines each religion. As I see it, none of them are the whole truth, yet none of them are wholly wrong either. They are all just another piece of a puzzle which lies just beyond the edge of our comprehension. If we begin to find the similarities between them despite the different methods used to describe and define the experience then we can begin to appreciate each one of them for their contribution to the puzzle. However as long as we choose to fight about the differences we are only deepening the divide which separates us.

I invite you to examine your beliefs, perhaps even try to write them down for yourself and see if you can begin to see which of them move you into greater alignment with the whole of Life and which move you into disharmony. Ask yourself which of these makes you feel better and more loving and try putting your focus there even just for the next hour. At the end of that hour notice how you feel and then ask yourself the following question: “Can I release my limited understanding of the limitless and just focus on love?” That one change can completely transform your life in an instant. Change your thoughts, change your life.

How do you limit your understanding of the Infinite by holding to a single finite definition of it?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guiding Principles - Final Part

It’s no secret that more is accomplished when we work together. If you examine your own life, you can see examples of where this is true. This is true for Nature as well and brings us to the final two lessons that Barbara Marx Hubbard sees as what we can learn from Nature. The first lesson taught us that “Quantum transformations are Nature’s tradition. The nature of Nature is to transform.” The second lesson was that “Crisis precedes transformation and problems are evolutionary drivers.” I see these first two lessons as the describing the destructive tendency of Nature and the final two as part of the constructive tendency.

As I have previously discussed, everything moves in cycles. A cycle has four basic components. There is the constructive phase where things come together. Eventually that hits a peak at the top of the cycle where a shift occurs. From there the destructive phase begins where things begin falling apart. Finally that hits a point where the system collapses at that bottom of the cycle. Each of these occur in their own time based upon the forces acting upon the system being studied. I believe that by examining what is going on around us we can see that we are in the destructive portion of the cycle and nearing the collapse point. That might sound scary but it is simply Nature at work which is neither good nor bad, it just simply is what is happening.

So once we hit the bottom of the cycle that’s where the final two lessons come in. The first of these two is “Nature creates new whole systems out of separate parts.” This is known as synergy. Synergy is what you get when you take parts that are able to function separately and they begin working together and form a whole new system which is different from and greater than the sum of the individual parts. The easiest example for us to look at is our own bodies. Way down at the microscopic level we are simply a collection of atoms. Each of these atoms can exist in nature independent of our bodies. These atoms can come together and form cells. Cells then become the building blocks for creating the fabric of reality.

Once these new systems begin forming we discover the final lesson which is that “Nature creates evolutionary jumps through greater synergy and cooperation.” Going back to our example of the cells we see where they come together and eventually form our bodies through an evolutionary process. The cells specialize and organize to become tissues, organs, blood, bones and all the pieces that harmonize to form the wondrous bodies that we inhabit. The resulting body of over 10 trillion cells is clearly an evolutionary leap from any single cell in our bodies. The end product is far superior to any single cell.

This same principle is also true for the larger systems. Imagine how complicated your life would be if you had to live completely separate from everyone else on the planet. If you had to go each day to find food and prepare it (hunt it, kill it, gather it, etc), build and maintain your own home and defend yourself from others and the elements, life would be very different. All of our time would be consumed with survival and not much else. As a species we have learned to work together and by doing so we achieve greater synergy which has allowed us to become the dominate species on the planet. We achieved this through cooperation at a level unseen by any other species.

Yet that cooperation is now coming to us at a heavy price for in our efforts to grow and expand as a species we are slowly using up our resources and now competition is beginning to replace cooperation as our means of survival. Rather than working together for good of the whole, we have separate parts (or Countries/Nations/States) working only for the good of the parts. Wars are being waged over a struggle for energy products which are used to fuel the lives that we have created through the group synergy. At our current rate it is only a matter of time before we blow each other up so that we can show everyone who is the most powerful nation. That point will certainly be the bottom of the destructive portion of the life-cycle and could become the crisis preceding our transformation.

When viewed from this perspective of examining what is going on in the larger picture within the framework of a cycle, we see that we cannot possibly continue on our present course for very much longer without dire consequences to us all. It also brings a new dimension to information I presented in the July 4th blog entitled “Cycles within cycles within cycles.” If we examine world events, one wonders in our current state of competitive consciousness how it could all end positively. We have so many countries sitting on nuclear bombs ready to be launched that with one false move we could easily bring about the end of life as we know it. This ability to destroy humanity is another one of the powers that we have formerly attributed only to our Gods.

Imagine for a moment however how differently things might go for us if we all woke up and got united behind a purpose. Imagine how much we could achieve if we searched for more ways to cooperate with each other. If each person, or cell, worked together to activate the power and synergy of the human species as one collective consciousness we could see the awakening of a force unlike anything we’ve ever seen on this planet. Imagine the evolutionary jump we could make as a species just by elevating our consciousness from competition to cooperation.

To most of us however that vision seems foreign and unattainable because we focus on our differences and in doing that we allow them to keep us locked into a sense of separation. Our sense of separation is behind all of our problems at every level. With a stronger focus on unity consciousness eventually enough of us will awaken to that concept that we will reach a tipping point and trigger an evolutionary leap for our species. Despite seeming evidence to the contrary, we are all connected. We are all sparks of the same flame and drops of the same ocean. At our core level of being we are all One. The awareness of and focus on that Oneness is the key that will open the door to our evolutionary future.

I invite you to examine your behaviors and see if you can find ways of working with others by celebrating the differences and knowing that we all can learn from each other. Any actions which divide us must cease and be replaced by loving actions which unite us at every level. As part of the whole each of us has an impact on the whole. By working to elevate our individual consciousness toward unity, we have a positive impact on our collective consciousness. I look forward to seeing our authentic power fully manifesting and reshaping our destiny.

Nature is constantly teaching us all that we need to know. The question is are we ready to listen and learn?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Power of the breath

The breath is something that for the most part we ignore yet it is the key to unlocking so much within our bodies. It can calm us down, energize us, shift our state of consciousness, relax our bodies and so much more. Breath-work is a major part of my work and so I’m able to witness the effects it can have all the time, in others and in myself. We can go days without food and water but we can only go a very few minutes without breathing.

The Yogis teach that in the physical realm, we have three components: the body, the breath and the mind. They are often referred to as three interlocking rings. Pull any one of them and the other two will follow. When the body is exercising for example, the mind is churning through thoughts and the breath speed increases. When we’re frightened, the body tenses, the breath shortens and speed increases and the mind races. When we’re relaxed and at peace, the body is calm, the breath is slower and smooth and the mind is quieter. The easiest one for us to gain conscious control over is the breath. If we want to relax the body or quiet the mind, controlling the breath is the way to do that because of their interconnectivity. This is why breath-work is used as preliminary step leading to meditation.

Most people have never had any type of formal training in using the breath and as such they never really become aware of its power. They simply use it to keep the body alive and as such it’s used at a very unconscious level. Take a moment and without shifting your breathing pattern at all, just notice your breath right now. Notice how it feels as you read these words. Notice how it almost begins to shift just from holding your awareness on it. Just make a mental note of its speed, movement into (or not into) the lungs and abdomen and the quality of the breath (smoothly, shaky, broken, shallow, deep, slow, rapid, etc). Notice also how your body feels, again without shifting it, just simply observe what is. Does it feel tense, relaxed in different areas? Finally notice the quality of your mind and the thoughts (busy, quiet, scattered, focused, etc). Just simply observe these three things without trying to change any of them and you can begin to see their connection.

Just like all of life, our breath moves in a cycle. There are four pieces to each cycle. There is the inhale and the exhale which we’re all familiar with but there is also the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale. At the top of the inhale the breathing movement shifts from inhaling to begin exhaling and the bottom of the exhale is simply the opposite of that. Again, without shifting it consciously, take a moment now to notice each of those components in your own breathing cycle right now and just make a mental note of it.

To understand the full power of the breath we need to examine each component of a full breathing cycle. The first part is the inhalation. This is the energizing aspect of the cycle. As the breath moves into our bodies, we bring in a fresh supply of oxygen into the lungs. At top of the inhale, the breathing actually stops for a moment while the body shifts to prepare for the exhalation process. All of the breath which was just pulled in is released into the lungs to be transformed for use within the body. The exhalation is the relaxing, or calming, portion of the breathing cycle. As we exhale, we release the carbon dioxide which our bodies produce as waste. The final part of the breathing cycle is the bottom of the exhale where the body shifts again to begin the inhalation once more. If you focus on a few breathing cycles, you can actually feel the shift happen at the top and bottom of each breath.

Now that you’ve gotten a feel for how your breath is flowing, let’s try a simple exercise to see its power. Position yourself so that you’re sitting fully upright and able to breathe more deeply. Using a consistent count for each section of the breathing cycle like “1, 1000, 2, 1000, 3, 1000, 4, 1000…” let’s explore shifting the ratios. Inhale and then exhale fully and slowly inhale for a count of 4, hold at the top for a count of 2, exhale for a count of 4 and hold at the bottom for a count of 2. This count is known as a 4:2:4:2 ratio. Repeat that cycle for 30 seconds or so. Then relax your breath to your normal breathing and just notice how your body feels and how your mind (thoughts) is in comparison to how it was before. After taking time to simply observe those things, now shift the ratio to 6:2:3:2 (inhale 6, hold 2, exhale 3, hold 2). Repeat that cycle for 30 seconds, then relax and observe. Now shift the ratio one last time to be 3:2:6:2 (inhale 3, hold 2, exhale 6, hold 2). Repeat for 30 seconds and observe the body and breath once more. This easy little exercise should show you how easy it is for you to consciously relax the body and quiet the mind that quickly or energize it if need be.

Shift the exercise a bit now that your body is calm from the last cycle and notice the energy shifts by breath retention at the top and bottom. Exhale and inhale a bit faster than normal and hold the breath at the top for about 6 count. Quickly and easily exhale and then inhale again and hold for 6. Repeat this cycle for about 10 breaths. Then relax the breath again and observe the effects that had on your body. Finally shift the retention to the bottom of the exhale and hold for a 6 count there. Repeat that 10 times and observe the tranquility that spreads over your body and the quietness of the mind. Holding the breath in energizes the body and mind whereas holding the breath out relaxes the body and calms the mind. Please actually try these exercises rather than just reading them because experience is the most powerful teacher that we have.

Now that you have a feel for easy it is to shift your energy, you can use this information to help you achieve the states you desire at will. If you’re having trouble focusing, feeling nervous, tense or scared use a breathing pattern where the emphasis is on elongating the exhale and allowing the breath to rest at the bottom of the exhale. If you’re feeling tired and lethargic and mentally sluggish, focus on lengthening the inhale, holding at the top and then relaxing the exhale and starting the next inhale. These cycles should be repeated for at least a minute or two to feel the full effects on the body and mind. For those who struggle to fall asleep (which is often caused by an over-active mind) a focused breathing pattern with a ratio of 1:2 (inhale to exhale) should help you fall asleep in no time. For this purpose just let the breath move of its own accord at the top and bottom of the cycle without focusing on retention. Remember these are ratios that you can shift. Depending upon your breathing capacity for every 1 second of inhale, allow 2 of exhale. So an inhale of 4 seconds would result in an exhale of 8 seconds. Play with the ratios that work best for you but always let the exhale be longer to relax the body and quiet the mind.

I hope you’ll begin to notice the body-mind-breath connection more fully in the coming days. If you’d like to learn a bit more about the power behind the breath, visit my website at http://www.maleeroticevolution.com/pranayama.html. The information I’ve shared with you here is what you might think of as the welcome mat into the world of breath-work or pranayama as the Yogi’s call it. Books have been written on the topic and go into more detail on the many powerful uses of breath-work and the effects it can have on the body and your consciousness.

Breathe in joy, live in peace.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guiding Principles - Part 2

It’s no secret that we are living in a world in crisis. I’m sure that I could start listing the problems that we are currently facing and the list could go on almost forever. We have countless wars being fought, pandemic disease outbreaks, starvation, environmental disasters and breakdowns of most every system that we depend upon. When you look in depth at any of these issues they seem almost insurmountable and at times hopeless.

On the individual level, I’m a big believer in focusing on the positive because energetically whatever we put our attention on will grow. When you look around you however and you see the results in the breakdowns on a planetary scale, it can be hard to find a positive to focus on, yet it’s always there. This is where the second lesson that history can teach us comes in. According to Barbara Marx Hubbard “Crisis precedes transformation and problems are evolutionary drivers”.

If you examine the life-cycle of anything you see the three phases: creation, maturation and transformation (meaning either destruction or evolution). When a system has been created it slowly begins to build energy and function for the reason it was created. This goes until it outlives its usefulness or the need changes so it either ends or evolves and then something new begins the cycle again. It isn’t until the need for change arises though that action begins to occur. As long as the system is functioning according to need, the energy will stay in the maturation phase of the cycle. Think about examples of this in your life…a work project, a child, and relationships.

Once problems in the system begin to surface then the energy of transformation begins to arise. Depending upon the system, these problems can be simple and often easily fixed or we can reach a crisis state where something must be done or the system will fail. Take a moment to look at some of the issues we are facing as a nation and as a species and you can see this for yourself. One that is impacting us all at the moment is the world’s economic and financial system. Our healthcare systems are failing on almost every front. Wars are being fought and we are killing each other over differences in ideological beliefs. Governments are corrupt and failing those who depend upon them. But most importantly our environment has reached a crisis state. If it goes, none of the rest of the systems will matter because without an environment we can’t continue to exist.

When you look at the smaller systems and the needs that we were placing upon them, when crisis hit and problems arose we took action and transformed the systems into something new and better. It wasn’t until the need for change arose however that anything was done. The problem became an evolutionary driver for manifesting change in the system. Without a need for change, change does not occur. When crisis hits, change must occur.

As I mentioned in the first part of this series, change occurs in two ways. Incremental change is slow, almost constant transformation and growth. Breakthrough change is radical transformation. This type of radical transformation is only possible when we are able to view the problem from a different perspective and find a solution that wasn’t even possible with the previous limitations. As Einstein stated “Our problems can never be solved in the same state of consciousness in which we created them.” We can’t do more of the same and expect different results.

That’s where we are now as a species. We’ve hit a crisis point on many levels. As a species we are still relatively young. Any young species is biologically trying to achieve stability and flourish. To do this, members of the species will compete for food, resources and reproductive success. History has shown that if the species doesn’t learn to cooperate and share resources, often the species will go extinct. As a species we have been incredibly successful in our reproduction process; too successful in fact. We have over populated the planet due to unregulated reproductive habits. We have been so successful that we are draining the resources that we depend upon for food, water and shelter. We are draining resources and in the process destroying our environment.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that millions are dying of starvation each year while food rots in the fields and in storage silos here in America. Millions of people don’t have access to clean drinking water and water supplies are reaching critical low points around the globe. In America alone we have states fighting over water usage rights and aquifers are drying up. Due to an increase in global temperatures the ice caps are melting and this is causing sea levels to rise. Since we can’t un-melt an icecap, soon low lying coastal cities will be under water and the water systems will be contaminated by the inflow of salt water. Disease is out of control across the planet with new epidemics and pandemics showing up constantly. It should be abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that we cannot continue in the competitive state of consciousness in which we are currently existing and expect that things will just fix themselves and it will all magically work out. We are at a crisis point and something must change or we’re done.

Imagine for a moment if we could make one tiny change in our collective consciousness and in our behaviors and we stopped destroying each other and we began to work together as a species. Cooperation rather than competition. Consider what we could achieve if we could harness all of the technological, economic, scientific and intellectual energies from every nation. If we could only just stop fighting each other and cooperate, our achievements could literally transform our world completely. We have the ability and the knowledge to do most anything but as long as we allow ideological beliefs to separate us we will ultimately fail and fade into planetary history like millions of species before us.

Unfortunately it looks like it is going to take a deeper planetary disaster to wake up our full potential. It’s happening now on a small scale but it has to bubble up to our leaders before large scale change can occur. Just look at how we respond to natural disasters. While they are tragic when they occur, look at how we respond as a planetary body. It’s always beautiful to see the level of International response and cooperation to these disasters. It would seem however that only a global disaster of epic proportion is going to be big enough to force us all to stop fighting and work together despite our differences.

We are a planet in crisis and for the most part a species in denial. This crisis however will ultimately become the evolutionary driver which will cause us to evolve our thinking and our consciousness. At this point, evolution is the only viable way out of the situation that our own actions have created for us.

While I work on parts 3 & 4 of this series, I’ll leave you with this question…what positive vision of our future can you imagine if we all began working together? That vision can only become possible once we grasp it and hold our awareness on it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Guiding Principles - Part 1

A couple of entries ago I mentioned that I’m a follower, fan and student of Barbara Marx Hubbard’s and her amazing work. Like her, I believe that we are a species which is in the process of making a major evolutionary transformation. Evolution is a continual process and one that escapes our conscious mind and eludes our daily vision because it is such a slow moving process. Yet, it is a constant force which by the sheer nature of our existence is affecting each and every one of us.


Given the belief that we are evolving as a species if we look at history as a teacher, what can we learn that might help us understand what is ahead for us as a species? Barbara has done a beautiful job of outlining what she sees as what we have learned. She has four basic beliefs, or principals that can help us make sense of the change we are witnessing every day of our lives across the planet. I want to share those with you and talk about each one as they relate to the messages I’m attempting to bring forth. It’s been said that if you want to understand your present, examine your past. If you want to know your future, examine your present.


In these principals Barbara uses the term “Nature” to represent all of the things of Life, not just meaning the trees and animals. The first guiding principal is “Quantum transformations are Nature’s tradition. The nature of Nature is to transform.


In the mundane world, change occurs in two ways. The first is “incremental”. This is change which happens over a protracted period and is slow and continual. The other type of change is “breakthrough” or “quantum”. This type of change occurs when incremental change hits a wall. Any process, entity or structure can slowly evolve and transform through incremental change for a finite amount of time and then to change any further it transforms into something which noticeably different from its original form. Take architecture for example. If you compare one of our modern skyscrapers with one of the huts you might see in an African village, you can see how the process and materials used has transformed the end product. At various points along the way various breakthroughs occurred in the process which allows us to create structures in a way that our ancient ancestors could never have imagined. So it is with life.


As I’ve said before everything that has manifested in the physical realm in which we exist is in the process of evolving. This is constant. For static structures such as buildings, equipment and other non-living entities, their evolution is to slowly decay and ultimately be destroyed or disintegrate. This is change which we can easily go out into the world and view. Just look at any old house and you can see how it has deteriorated, decayed and is slowly falling apart yet you know that when it was newly built it was in pristine form. If completely left alone, the house would fall apart, collapse and eventually decay into a pile of rubble. That pile of rubble is a quantum transformation from the new house that had been built in its place. Slow, incremental change occurred over many years until the structure could no longer support itself and then quantum change occurred.


If you consider for a moment the entire history of our planet you can see quantum transformations easily but the key is that you have to be willing to examine it with a very high-level eye. Looking back billions of years into our history, our Sun was born. As it exploded into existence it spewed forth the original building blocks of life which would eventually become our planet and us. All of the particles slowly began coalescing into lumps, clumps and rocks until enough of these rocks formed what we now know as Earth. Slowly over billions of years the Earth boiled, cooled, froze and melted and slowly became a nursery for life. Single cell life dominated the planet until a crisis point hit and those single cell life-forms began to work together to form multicellular life. Multicellular life eventually gave way to complex life-forms. These life-forms eventually became prehistoric plants and animals. The evolutionary processes continued until we arrive at the planet as we know it today.


Only by looking at that history can you really begin to see where the transformations occurred. First there was no planet then there was. There were no life-forms then there was life. Next came plants, then animals and finally humans. If you were alive through all of that and could only see the day to day miniscule changes which were occurring without considering the history you’d probably not see these quantum transformations. Each of these evolutionary changes occurred because of some need which arose within the species until it could no longer survive and was forced to radically transform in some way.


In addition to those types of changes, mutations also emerged. As other stars throughout our galaxy and other galaxies use up their fuel, the collapse inward and when they do they emit extremely powerful bursts of energy called “gamma ray bursts”. These are some of the most powerful bursts that we know of throughout the known Universe. Because of that power their effects can be felt billions of light-years away from the original collapsing star. These bursts can and do cause genetic mutations in DNA. Also, our star, the Sun, also emits solar flares as it burns its nuclear fuel. These solar flares can also trigger genetic mutations. These mutated species then begin their own slow evolutionary journey until they hit a quantum transformation point and make a shift. These shifts are the basis for the remaining three lessons which I will discuss in the few blog entries so please stay tuned.

I know that Evolutionary theory on the surface seems to fly in the face of Creationism but to me they support each other energetically. There is clearly a difference between an inanimate piece of metal and a living, breathing animal or human. That difference is the life that existed in those early single-cell life-forms. It is that consciousness which animated those single-cells and ultimately led them to work together to eventually become us. Where that consciousness originated is where the Creationism comes from but how that evolved into us is where evolution comes in. In fact our very birth process directly demonstrates that history. A sperm and egg merge to form one microscopic cell which grows and divides until it becomes a tadpole. That eventually grows into something that resembles a miniscule human baby and finally one day, as if by Creationism magic, a baby is born. The ability to consciously create life is an attribute that we assign to God, yet here we are doing it via the God-force within us.

What quantum transformations have you seen in your life and across the planet in your lifetime?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grounding

Each of us is an eternal energy being that inhabits a temporary energy body which enables us to manifest in the physical realm. Our spirit, or soul, is our connection to the spiritual, energetic realm. As an energy field it is more fluid than our physical body and is able to move beyond the physical limits of our bodies. Each night as we sleep our spirit is able to reconnect with the spiritual realms and journey to other places. This happens when our awareness shifts from our conscious mind into our unconscious or subconscious mind. When we awaken our awareness again returns to our conscious mind.

We have seven main energy centers along the spine which receive and release energy. This energy allows us to enliven our bodies, process information from our environment and other beings and receive guidance from our spirit which is our direct connection to Source (or what religious traditions refer to as God). Each of these seven centers energetically vibrates at various frequencies with the lowest one being at the base of the spine and the highest at the crown of the head. As we move up the spine the frequency increases as we move from one energy center to the next.

If you begin to think of our spinal column as the launching pad for that energy movement it will help you understand the following information a bit more easily. As we engage in the physical world, our body consciousness pulls our awareness into the lower energy centers, or as the Yogi’s call them, the chakras. (Please see the photo for the general location along the physical spine of the seven main chakras.) Each night as we disengage our consciousness from our dense, physical bodies, it travels up and out through the crown of the head. You might think of it as our spirit-rocket blasting off. As the vibration of the rocket increases, it is able to go higher and higher until just like a real rocket launching it reaches a speed where it is able to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth. When our awareness returns to the body however sometimes we do not reconnect fully with our bodies and are ungrounded.

Our natural energy home is in the spiritual realms and physically manifesting requires a great deal of energy. If our bodies are experiencing physical pains, if our lives are chaotic or unfulfilling or if we’re highly stressed, our spirits are more attracted to the loving, peaceful non-physical realms. When this happens or when we are too caught up in thought or fantasy, we are not grounded into our bodies and this can cause problems. Think for a moment of how you feel when you are daydreaming or just really focused on something which requires a great deal of thought. Typically when we do these things, our bodies are resting and become very still and quiet. If you tried to suddenly move across the room, you’d probably stumble, crash into something or even fall because your awareness was in some of the higher centers governing thought. For various reasons, this is how most of us go though our daily lives and why many people feel so disconnected from life.

In order for us to be fully present in the physical realm we need to be fully grounded into the lowest base chakra. I’d like to offer you a few techniques for you to work with that will help you be more grounded as you move through your day and through life. Experiment with these techniques to find what feels best for you and gets you the best results. “Keep the best, leave the rest” is a good rule of thumb here. These techniques are good for starting your day after waking up, during times of high stress or after periods of intense mental processing to help you reconnect with your body and energetic center.

Grounding helps one to stay centered and balanced. If you find yourself bumping into things, having silly accidents, dropping things or just generally unable to focus, this is an indication that you are ungrounded. Many people live such highly stressed lives or are just so generally disconnected from their bodies that they are almost constantly ungrounded. For them it may be the only state of being that they know and they are the ones that will laugh at these techniques the most.

GROUNDING TECHNIQUES
These are just three simple techniques that anyone can use. The main key to each of these techniques is to do it consciously with your full focus on the activity. Each technique should be preceded by the following breath work:
Take three slow conscious breaths and really focus on the movement of air into and out of the lungs and abdomen. Next take a big slow deep breath and as you do increase the tension in the body by squeezing the muscles tighter and tighter as you inhale. At the top of the inhale, your body tension should reach its maximum. As you consciously exhale, slowly allow your body to relax until you reach the bottom of the exhale where your body should be fully relaxed. Repeat this for at least three cycles.

1. Walk about
One of the simplest techniques is to take your shoes off and walk barefooted on the ground (actual Earth if possible). If you can’t take your shoes off or have to walk on floor, that’s fine too. Take a moment to stop all movement and just stand still. Let your feet be shoulder width apart, arms dangling at your sides. Now focus fully on your feet. As you take the steps, focus fully on each foot coming into contact with the ground. Feel the heels making contact, the soles of the foot and all the way up to the toes. As you take each step feel like you are becoming heavier and heavier. Continue walking but do it consciously so that you notice each step and feel the full contact between ground and foot. 30 seconds or so of this conscious walking should do it of course a minute is even better. Taking these steps consciously with the focus on the feet is the difference between grounding and just absent-mindedly walking.

2. Grow roots
If you’re in a place where you’re sitting and need to ground begin by doing the three rounds of deep breathing with your feet flat on the floor. Next, focus on the “sits bones”. These are the boney protrusions in the middle of your gluts. Feel where they come into contact with what you’re sitting on. Now imagine that roots begin to grow from this area, down through your chair, through the floor and into the Earth. Continue to imagine them growing through the ground, through the deeper layers of the planet and all the way to the core of the Earth. Visualize that entire connection from you to the core and feel like you’re drawing energy up those roots as you continue to reach down with the roots. Focus on this connection for at least 30 seconds or more.

3. Hop / Tap
If you are where you can hop around a bit without causing too much commotion this is a great technique to use. After the breathing is done begin hopping around in place or in small circles. Average-sized hops are all that is necessary but definitely hop high enough that you leave the ground and return solidly. As you continue to hop, take one of your open hands and begin to firmly tap the top of your head with your palm. This tapping does not have to be in sync with the hopping just done simultaneously. Be very aware of your feet hitting the ground each hop. Repeat this for 15 – 30 seconds if possible.

Feel free to combine these techniques and allow yourself to be creative with it but just be very conscious with what you’re doing. You should notice a decided difference in how you feel before doing it and after. When we operate from a centered and grounded place, we’re able to make better decisions, move more confidently and react more calmly.

ADDED 01/11/10: One more thing that I'd like to add to this information is that you should try and start each day with at least one of these processes. I'd recommend the roots visualization (#2 above). Once you complete it and get a sense of how your body feels after doing it, check in on that feeling 1000 times through the day. If you feel it missing or just think about the roots for some reason during the day (especially after stressful interactions with others or high-stress periods), mentally feel that you are reconnecting those roots and drawing that grounding energy up. I have a few more techniques that I'll be sharing with you soon to add to this process but get comfortable with the grounding first. The reconnection can be as simple as just getting a quick image of those roots going to the core of the Earth from the base of your spine. Your unconscious mind will do the rest from there with that image...but start the day with the full visualization to set that up.

Are you grounded like a tree or being blown about like a tumbleweed?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Synchronicity

The past couple of weeks have been very intense for me and have had me very busy. There were two main events which I participated in and both were incredibly powerful. The first one was a Native American planetary-healing ceremony called “The Living Waters Dance”. The shamanic drumming community which I am a part of enacted this ceremony in my work studio over Labor Day weekend. This ceremony was one which we last performed four years ago. At that time I had just left my job as a chiropractic assistant and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next with my life. This ceremony was held at a friend’s property, deep in some remote woods just outside of Seattle. A friend of mine, Alex Jade, who does Sacred Intimate work was there. As we were setting up the grounds for the ceremony, she and I had a chance to talk and I asked her to tell me a bit about her work. The more we talked about it the more interested I became and more aware I was that perhaps this was work that I could do.

As we enacted the ceremony, it became clear that I was to receive a Spiritual initiation as part of the ceremony. In essence this act was an invitation from Spirit to begin to move deeper into my spirituality on the Shamanic path. I accepted the initiation knowing that whatever this led to was part of a higher calling in life and definitely the direction that I wanted my life to move. That ceremony was four years over the Labor Day weekend while Hurricane Katrina was closing in on Louisiana.

Most shamanic ceremonies or rituals run in four year cycles. The event may last only a few days but the energy of the ceremony works for four years afterwards. This particular ceremony came just as I was beginning the first year of another ceremony I was a part of, my Vision Quest. A Vision Quest is a Shamanic rite of passage or initiation ceremony. Being part of two initiatory ceremonies certainly wasn’t something that I consciously set out to do but it also wasn’t something that I really had control over either. When I left my computer programming career in 1999 I did so with the intention of following a deeper spiritual path. To me, these two ceremonies were simply Spirit responding to me and opening that path before me.

Within two months of the completion of the Living Waters ceremony is when I “accidentally” began my new career as I described in my April 4th post “No More Secrets”. The rest is now Sacred Intimate history for me. The wonderful thing is that this time we were having the ceremony in a space which was only in my life because I surrendered into the call from Spirit. Had I not gone with the flow of energy, built a practice, met the people that I did and moved into the studio when I did, we might not have been able to have the ceremony again due to a lack of a ceremonial site. It was truly synchronicity in action. It was a very powerful event for me and our community.

We finished that on Sunday and then on Tuesday I left for Mesa, Arizona for my first professional conference (the second of my two events). The conference was for ASEP, the Association for Sexual Energy Professionals. This year’s theme was “Sexuality and Shamanism”. It could not have been more appropriate for me at that time and was clearly a part of the synchronicity that was flowing for me. It was so liberating to be a part of a group of professionals who worked in a variety of professions or Spiritual paths connected to sexuality. We had everything from therapists who dealt with sexual issues in traditional talk therapy to energy workers and sex workers and everything in between. We considered ourselves “outlaws” because our work does a tightrope dance with the law, unfortunately.

During the main event of the conference on Saturday night, we participated in a couple of Shamanic trance journeys. This is something I’m very familiar with because of experiences with my Shamanic drumming community. As part of the first trance journey I was taken to what I believe to be some everglades and essentially eaten by a Jaguar. When we returned from that I found out that it was what was known as a “Shamanic dismemberment.” It sounds like a bad thing but it is actually a very good thing because I was clearly not killed physically but rather a part of my ego was destroyed.

Our ego is that human part of us that holds our sense of separation from Spirit and ultimately all that is. It is that part of us that seeks attention for its uniqueness and leads us to feel cut off from life through its own actions. For many it can be the hidden source of depression because it leads one to feel so alone and isolated because “no one can understand me”. Most spiritual traditions speak of it as the part of us which much die so that we can be reborn. Most misunderstand that and believe it means a physical death and the fear of death is a powerful motivator for all of us so we run from anything associated with it.

Even in just the short time that I’ve been back, I’m seeing and feeling changes in my life, my work and myself. Native American tradition teaches that Jaguar is the medicine of Integrity. At some level I have always felt insecure about myself, my abilities, my knowledge, my body, my appearance. This belief that I am not good enough has held me back in so many areas of my life and I feel that part if not all of that belief was removed because my sense of self-confidence is rising and I can feel it shifting my work already and have seen that this week.

I share all of this with you for two reasons at the moment. First, my commitment to you via this blog was to share what is happening in my life with the hope that you will see a connection to your life and hopefully that can help you in some way. Both of these events were significant events in my life and will ultimately shape me in ways that I can only imagine at this point.
The second reason that I share it is because these two events individually would be significant occurrences but because they landed so close to each other they appear to be more synchronistic. The deeper level of that is that they both occurred in my life only because of the first Living Waters ceremony and that one casual chat with Alex. Synchronicity is when there seems to be a relation between otherwise unrelated events. These events tell us that we are on the right path and that the energy is flowing. At an energetic level they occur when we are “in the flow” with life. If “coincidents” are our spirits trying to get us to notice something then synchronistic events are our spirits saying “this way!”

When we are in harmony with life, things flow smoothly for us to propel us forward easily. When we are in disharmony, life seems challenging, things repeatedly go wrong, fights and wars break out and life seems to be one big struggle. I invite you to examine your life carefully and notice the places where it flows smoothly and the areas where you meet constant resistance. Our spirits will always guide us in the direction of our highest good and our greatest evolutionary growth for it is in their best interest and therefore ours. That path will be open and inviting and flow smoothly.

Will you follow the path that flows before you or will you resist and swim upstream? The choice is yours in every moment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oneness

I am a huge fan of Barbara Marx Hubbard’s work (www.evolve.org) and I resonate with her belief that as a species we are about to evolve. She does a remarkable job of tracking humanity’s history and bringing forth the idea that we are “due” for an evolutionary leap as an organism. Since we live in an ever-evolving Universe, and since we are a part of that Universe, no more or no less important than any other part, we too are evolving. As above, so below. Whatever we think of the physical Universe, it’s true for us too because we are a part of that Universe. Whatever science teaches us about what is going on in the Universe that too is going on within us individually.

One need only stop and examine anything and one can easily learn or even see how that thing has evolved. Everything we see now has evolved from something else all the way back to when this planet was populated by only single-celled amoebae’s in the ocean. Everything on this planet evolved from that primordial stew of energy. Even the planet has evolved from a time when it was only a few particles of cosmic dust clumping together to form a rock. When we separated our consciousness out from the Divine to take form, we separated ourselves from that which created us until eventually as a species we separated out from nature and became self-aware.

That self-awareness has taught us so much. It has ignited something in us as a species to want to understand the questions of “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” and “What am I to do?” That’s where religions come in. About 2,800 years ago the world’s earliest religions were formed around the messages brought forth by the enlightened ones of that time. Those first people who attempted to bring forth an answer to those questions, gained a following from their teachings and slowly the world’s religions began to form.

These ancient teachings basically gave us the notion that everything we see was created by some big, wise, old being and introduced us to the concept of God. By holding on to the view that we are separate from that which created us, we stay separated from the very source of our existence. Yet for any of us to dare to say “I am God” is almost unthinkable in our culture. But the truth is that we are all God and God is all of us. At the deepest level of our existence, at our most microscopic atomic level, down at the Quantum level of our being, we are all energy. That energy is the source of all that we know and as such has created all that we know. Our very consciousness is from that one source. At the level of Source, WE ARE ALL ONE.

As we surrender our egoic nature (that part of us that believes that we are separate from all that is) and release into our oneness with Source, with nature, with God, we come to understand that the God-force which created us IS us. When we can be at One with it and continually ground that awareness into our consciousness we begin to live in Cosmic Consciousness. By allowing our consciousness to re-merge with Cosmic, Christ or Krishna Consciousness, we allow those energies to manifest through us. This awareness that we are at one with all that is, at one with Source, brings us the knowledge that all those attributes that we ascribe to God is true for us when we are in that Oneness.

Krishna Consciousness was what this awakened energy state was called when the ancient’s of India wrote about their enlightened one, Lord Krishna. When Krishna was a small young goat herder, he awakened to his oneness with the Creator. 2,000 years later a young Jesus went to India during the twelve years in the Bible where he is unaccounted for. There he was known as Isa and his time there is well documented. While in India he studied the ancient science of Yoga. As Krishna did before him, through his training, spiritual practices and experiences, Jesus fully awaked to his Oneness and became Jesus the Christ. Christ is Aramaic for Krishna, which is a Hindi word. When he fully realized his Oneness, he was still a human, just like the rest of us. The difference is that he, like Krishna and others before him, was willing to open himself up to the Creative force and surrender into his Oneness with that Source.

What these wise ones are trying to show us is that if they can do it, anyone can. They were born of flesh and blood, just like those of us alive today. Each of them said to those around them that anyone could do all that they had done. Our own sense of shame tells us that we are not worthy of that so instead we idolize them and say that they are God manifest in the physical world, which they indeed are. The people of the time passed on stories about them because they truly stood out. Over time these great spiritual leaders have become the center of various cultures and ultimately they have become objects of worship. The real lesson is to follow their example and not simply idolizing them.

If we look at these wise ones as examples and not as idols we can begin to see how what was possible for them is indeed possible for each and every one of us. Through study, faith, commitment and surrender we too can follow directly in their footsteps but to do that we have to believe it is possible. As long as we are locked in the belief that we are separate from Nature and from the Divine we can never move into Unity Consciousness. We must become the “chosen ones” by making the choice to believe otherwise we will continue to be subservient to those who seek to control our power. Everything which separates us from our true nature must be removed so that we can begin to live in Oneness with the Divine. This includes our limiting beliefs as well as those individuals or organizations who would seek to retain power over us and keep us separate.

To many, the act of claiming their own personal power would seem like sacrilege. It flies in the face of all that they have been taught by those in the establishments that teach that we are only human and can be nothing more. This shows the depth and power of the control that they seek through those teachings. This is where the expression “Religion is the opiate of the masses” originates. Retaining power over others through fear is a common technique employed by any control structure. When we live in fear consciousness we stay inside our self constructed prisons even when the doors are wide open. We retain our limiting beliefs, persecute those who would tell us otherwise and maintain the status quo. It feels safe, easy and comfortable.

As most of us are aware, we are in a time of planetary unrest. We are decimating the very environment which sustains us and gives our bodies life. We live in fear and attempt to destroy all of those who are different. Worst of all our world leaders do this in the name of their God and believe they have the moral high ground. We are witnessing the results of our behavior as humans (our karma) as well as the natural cycles of our planet as it evolves.

As Einstein stated “Our problems cannot be solved by the same consciousness in which we created them.” The time has come for us to awaken to our true nature as emanations of the Divine, claim that power and transform our lives and the planet. To begin that transformation we must evolve our consciousness. To understand what is ahead however we should examine our past and see what lessons are there for us that might guide us during the transition ahead. These lessons will be discussed in upcoming blog posts. It is my desire to help you to awaken to your Oneness with mankind, the planet and ultimately the Divine.

Until then I invite you to ask yourself “What limiting beliefs am I holding onto and why do I hold them?”

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Claim your power

In every moment we make choices. We choose to be kind, cold, loving, fearful, happy, sad or any range of emotions. These choices are key to accessing our personal power. For many of us, these choices are made at an unconscious level. The choice seems almost to be made for us because it happens so quickly and at such a subtle level. These are instinctive choices based upon stimuli and past response. Eventually these responses become habit almost to the point where it feels like we have no choice in the matter at all. People in this place will often justify their actions and responses as “that’s just the way I am”. They become a victim of their own emotional states.

At some point we’ve all probably gotten angry at someone for something and said “he made me so mad” or “she hurt my feelings and made me sad”. The truth is that the decision to feel mad, sad, hurt or angry were all choices that we made in the moment. The decision was informed by our past experiences and our response to those experiences. For example let’s say that you said to me “you are crazy”. If I had a history of mental illness I might feel hurt. If I had been trying to make a point and you simply disagreed I might feel angry instead. If I were simply trying to be silly I might feel happy and just laugh it off. The difference between them is based upon the choice I made to feel hurt, angry or happy.

The key here is to recognize that our emotional responses are choices that we make in every moment. As much as I might like to blame someone else for my emotional state ultimately I cannot. When we do that we give our power away. “You made me feel this and that” says “I’m giving you the power to control my emotions”. When we give our power away, we move into victim mentality. When we are victims we feel that we have no control in a given situation. We’ve all been there at some point and probably know people who seem to be victims constantly. Is it any wonder when we’re in that state that we feel powerless to change the situation?

Our emotional responses are shaped by our past experiences. All of our past experiences are stored in our subconscious memory and our conscious minds use those experiences as filters for interpreting current experiences. The catch here is that as I mentioned in the “The power of the mind” post (05/15/09), our minds don’t know the difference between what we actually experience and what we simply imagine or think. Given that, some of the “past experiences” could be real or come from other sources as described in the earlier post. These could drastically alter our emotional response without our being fully aware of it.

Eventually our instinctive minds process the current experience through all of its mental filters and we are left with an emotional and mental response. Our conscious minds take those responses and react in some way and not always in the way that we might desire. This is where our power of choice comes in. This choice happens at the conscious level. We may feel the desire to be angry, fearful, resentful, etc. but by holding our awareness on our reactions we can make the choice to respond differently. This change however will only happen once we have made the decision to change. If we have no desire or motivation to change then we will continue to be victims of the past.

The key to this change is our awareness. Our awareness is that part of our conscious mind that is doing the observing or the focusing. It is that part of you that is following these words and absorbing the information that you are reading. If your mind wanders while you are reading so that your awareness is elsewhere then you are just looking at words and the message is not being absorbed. This is true in any situation. Our minds will not record and process what we are unaware of even if it is happening right before our eyes. One might think of awareness as the lens for our mental camera. Whatever it is focused on is what will be recorded and everything else will just be background noise.

The driver for our awareness however is our intentions. Our intentions are made at the conscious level. So for example, if my intention (desire) is to change my instinctive response of being “angry” to a response of being “loving”, when the anger arises my awareness will notice that angry response. Then using the power of choice in that moment I can chose to respond differently rather than immediately going into a habitual response. This is not something that will necessarily happen the very first time you make the intention to change but the awareness will be there. Learning to access the power of choice and change your response is a learned behavior and so it may take a several instances of angry responses before you change the behavior but it can and will happen with your intention to make it so.

Now this isn’t to say that you should become an emotionless robot, quite the opposite actually. As I discussed in a previous post entitled “The energy of emotions” (06/14/09), emotions are energy moving through your system. When your brain perceives an experience and selects an emotional response (let’s say “anger”) and your brain releases the neuropeptides for that emotion, you may feel anger but that doesn’t mean that you have to respond angrily. All that may be necessary in that moment is to notice the anger and simply say “I feel anger”. When you do that without attaching an angry response, you can now utilize your power of choice and respond from a more loving place. This is conscious choice and it is the key to claiming, or reclaiming, our power.

Once we fully recognize that we have the power to consciously interact with our emotional landscape we move out of victim mode and we begin using authentic power. We can begin to harness this power for creating the life we want to live the way we want to live it. The happier we are with the life we live, the more loving and compassionate we become. This loving compassion now begins to shape our emotional response until we begin to respond almost automatically with love to all experiences. Love opens a pathway to the Divine, the very heart and source of Love. In that Love we become one with the Divine. This is only possible through the power of conscious choice.

Hold your awareness on the blame you assign to others and the power that you give them and just notice how that feels. When you catch that happening and you say “(s)he made me…” simply reframe the statement into “I am choosing to be…” and feel the power that it instills in you and your decision making process.

How will you choose to respond today?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ready...set...

I haven’t told you much about the letter to my family lately and I want to give you a quick update on that. I have the letter essentially ready and hope to finish up the final edits on it in the next 24 hours because………everything goes into motion tomorrow afternoon. I’ve invited my mom and my beloved niece out for a week-long visit. They arrive tomorrow evening and I want to get everything out in the open as quickly as I can so that we can enjoy their visit and have plenty of time to talk about it all. Yes, I’m nervous because I don’t know how mom will respond but since I’m not looking for approval or permission from her, I’m at peace with whatever her response will be. I’m certain my niece will be fine with it. Despite her being my niece she’s almost my age and she’s very worldly so I anticipate no issues there.

I recently reconnected with another family member that I haven’t spoken with since the early 80’s. In learning more about her I realize that it’s her side of the family where the drama might surface. I have two older half-brothers. One brother’s family (the side of the niece that will be here) is more “religion neutral” than the other brother’s family. Their side is very Christian based and if you’ve been reading this blog you can imagine how what I’ve said (and what I’ve yet to share) is not really going to fly with them. I’m at peace with that as well because this journey is about me being more authentic in all areas of my life and not living a life that based on seeking approval from others. I don’t expect them all to embrace my beliefs or leave theirs. I simply don’t want to have to hide a major part of my life from them or anyone.

Each time I think about sharing all of this with my family, I can feel myself tense up. Anytime that we choose to reveal a secret there is a lot of fear and anxiety connected with that. Despite that, I’m choosing to go into those fears and fully release them. My commitment to this blog was to open my life up this way and share the experiences with you…and this is just the warm-up act based upon what is ahead for me. Whatever happens, you’ll know about. I’m not choosing just to share the happy and fun parts with you but the whole thing. It is my hope that it might encourage you to release some of your fears and live a more authentic life as well. I recognize that I certainly have to practice what I preach.

I believe that ultimately it will all work out for the very best. For all I know they may get the letter, read it, delete it and that will be that. “No drama” would be very welcome but also very unexpected. Stay tuned, think good thoughts for me and I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Focus on love

In my initial post I stated that I was anti-religion and I’d like to explain that a bit further. The basic positive teachings that most religions offer are great things for those on a Spiritual path. Love one another, be kind, don’t steal…all great advice and certainly first steps toward living a more peaceful existence. It’s the negative side of the teachings that give me cause to pause. Teaching people to judge themselves and others and using fear of a wrathful and vengeful God as a motivator are actions which divide us rather than unite us. Communion with the Divine is about union not separation.

Having grown up in the Baptist church I know that churches teach that the Bible is the work of God and so therefore what it says cannot be questioned. Like most people in any Bible based religion, I believed what I was being told and ran with it. At the time I never really did any research for myself into the history of the Bible (the internet didn’t exist then) and so I just accepted the interpretations I was being given and didn’t question them. Once I got myself distanced from those teaching a bit I began to learn more about the history of the Bible, I began to see it more as a historical document of Church philosophy written and revised by man than as a magical book written directly by God. That was a critical distinction that needed to be made for me.

The Bible has a dark history to it and one that isn’t really discussed within the Churches. I guess it’s not really good for business. Wars have been fought over it and countless people have been killed because they were unwilling to convert to Christianity and follow their teachings. The Bible has been translated into many languages from the original Aramaic that it was written in. In these translations mistakes were often made and thus the resulting translation takes on a life of its own. Church leaders were the ones who selected which writings of the time would be included in the Bible and which would be excluded. Many of the excluded books were discovered in recent times and are now collectively known as the “Dead Sea Scrolls” based upon where they were found. Throughout history Church leaders have revised much of the text to suit their needs in order retain control of the followers. Yet it is still promoted as “The Divinely inspired work of God” despite it being the work of man.

The truth is that the authors of the various books of the Bible were human beings just like any of us. They were inspired to create a story of their experiences, beliefs and teachings to pass on to others. As the Christian religion of the time grew, those in charge gathered the stories, modified them to be in alignment with the desired Church doctrine of the time and presented them as the Bible. Any organization that wants to be successful long-term needs to define and document their philosophy so that they can share it with their members. The important thing to remember about it though is that it is for those members of that organization to follow and not for the population at large. That’s where things get murky with the Bible. It’s not presented as a “member handbook” but rather it is being used as a rule book for all humans and those who don’t believe it become the enemy and must be destroyed. There is a well documented history of what happens to those considered to be the enemy of the Church. In much of recorded history, they were put to death.

It’s important to keep the history of the Bible and the Church in perspective from both sides, members and non-members. Followers of the Bible however don’t see that because of the power the Church puts behind the Bible and the teachings contained in its text. They lose the true history of the Bibles bloody past and get lost in the mysticism surrounding the book. Even questioning it is taboo. That is the motivating power of fear.

My problem with all this comes from the negativity that emerges from this belief system. Accepting the Bible as “the only truth” means that everyone else is wrong and therefore according to the Bible, evil. At the simplest level it would be like our President compiling a book of stories from our countries history, labeling it as “the gospel” and then declaring war on every other country because they weren’t in line with the book we just created. They are different and therefore must be brought into agreement or destroyed. At some level that is what is happening with our country and the planet at large. We are all divided by our differences rather than celebrated for our diversity.

It is important to see the Bible for what it is in the context in which it was written. The stories and their “rules” were meant for the people of that time. What was believed to be true almost 2000 years ago is very different than what is believed to be true now. It was a very different time and a very different world. It was simply the various authors’ way of trying to explain creation, life and the after-life. It was based upon the belief that the Earth was the center of all existence. We now know that we are in fact just one tiny dot in a Universe of unfathomable size.

Religion by its very nature is static based upon archaic belief systems. Spirituality is dynamic and personal and teaches each of us how to be a part of the whole. By choosing to look within and following the deepest directives of our hearts, we are choosing to align ourselves with love. When we align with love, we connect with others through that love and we celebrate our oneness therein. As long as we maintain a sense of separation brought on through judgment and fear we can never achieve true harmony with all that is.

All of the world’s religions are founded on the stories of those who had the experience of Oneness with the Divine, Life, Love, Spirit, God or whatever label you chose to give it. Those stories should be seen as inspiration and guidance for those seeking that experience and following that path. Just as each of us is unique, the path we find to the awareness of Oneness will be unique and our expression of that experience will mirror that uniqueness. Truth is One, paths are many.

This is not all to say that the Bible is bad and should therefore be destroyed but rather coming to understand how and why the Bible was written can help it come alive at a much deeper level. It is a powerful historical document full of many great teachings but one has to be able to separate the teachings from the stories. As an example, take a modern work of fiction such as “Lord of the Rings”. We know it is fiction because we know its history; however there are powerful teachings which underlie the story. There is the classic story of good versus evil but there is also the teaching that when we band together despite our differences we can accomplish things far beyond what any one of us could have achieved separately. The Bible needs to be viewed in the same way. We have to find the deeper teachings beneath the stories. It becomes a case of separating the message from the messenger.

For many Christians however this thought will be challenging. What I hope to do is to bring some context to the stories and show how it all fits into the larger picture. I’m not attempting to prove or discredit the Bible but rather show how softening the focus on it can actually help us to see its true power. As long as we live in fear of this document and judge the world according to it we can never become one with all of humanity. The simple act of judging keeps us locked into a sense of separation. Unconditional love is only possible through complete acceptance of the self and others. Unconditional love is the force which will carry us through the challenges that we are currently facing as a species and as part of a planetary body.

Are you motivated by fear or do you focus on Love?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Join the email list for posts

I know I haven’t been putting many posts here lately but please know that I haven’t abandoned the process. My life has gotten really busy of late and it has affected my sleep which means that I’m not really able or motivated to get up at 5am and write unfortunately. A post should be going up in a day or so though so stay tuned. In the meantime if you’d like me to add you to the mailing list for this blog, just drop me a line at peacefulmichael@fastmail.us. When I put a post here you’ll receive an email copy that you could read at work or at home later without visiting any website at work. You’ll still be able to visit the site of course but at least you won’t have to keep checking to see if anything new has gone up. I’m getting to the meaty stuff now so each one might take a bit longer to create so that I can get all the info in.

Thank you for staying with me and for being so incredibly supportive. I have been deeply moved and motivated by your responses to the previous posts. I hope to hear more from you as we proceed.

My best to you for staying cool in this summer heat,
Michael

Monday, July 13, 2009

Connecting with the inner Divine

So how do we begin to recognize and affirm the God-force that is each of us? Meditation is a key step in that recognition process. Many people believe that meditation is only for those practicing Yoga or that you need a certain level of spiritual awareness to be getting anything from meditating. Meditation is a wonderful tool for cultivating inner awareness, peace, a quieter mind and a more relaxed body. It can be practiced by anyone as a stand-alone activity or as a part of a deeper spiritual practice.

I’d like to give you a few tips and techniques that anyone can use to help encourage you to give meditation a try. Meditation is simply a technique for quieting the busy chatter of the mind and allowing the inner guidance beneath that noise to emerge. Swami Satchidananda (the founder of Integral Yoga which is the Yoga lineage I trained as an instructor through) said that the mind is like a drunken monkey that has been stung by a scorpion. It jumps from here to there making noise, causing a disturbance, seeking attention and making a general nuisance of itself. If you just notice your thoughts for a moment, does that sound like a description of your mind?

Meditation is a tool for learning to quiet the monkey-mind. The thing that many people who try meditating quickly run into however is this monkey-mind and so they give up because they believe that they can’t quiet their mind enough to meditate. It’s important to remember that meditation is the tool for quieting the mind and that a quiet mind is not a prerequisite for meditating. However, if you aren’t used to observing your thoughts when you first try meditating you may think it an impossible task to quiet all of that noisy mind-chatter. Observing that noise is part of the process so be patient with yourself.

The first thing to do is to find the time to meditate. Begin with something small and manageable, even if that’s just five minutes. Think of those five minutes as planting the seeds from which a fuller meditative practice can sprout. The following are suggestions for creating your own meditative practice:
· Find a location in your home where you can spend your meditative time undisturbed by anyone or anything. Ideally this space is private and quiet and not really used for anything else. This could be in a large closet, the corner of a quiet room or any space where distractions can be kept to a minimum.
· Set aside a time for doing this and commit to it. Ideally this would be when you first wake up or immediately before going to sleep. Perhaps setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier will give you time for meditating before beginning your day so that you can carry the peaceful feeling gained through meditation into your day. Whatever time you choose try to be consistent with it rather than at whatever times become open through your day.
· Select an outfit that will be used only for meditating. This might be a comfy pair of pajamas, sweat pants, shorts and a t-shirt or anything which keeps you comfortable and warm. Wash and dedicate whatever garments you choose to only meditating. At a subconscious level when you put these clothes on you are sending that message to your system that you want peace and quiet and that you’re ready to meditate.
· Try to create a meditation space at the location in your home that you choose to use for this. Make it simple and tranquil. Remember you want to feel peaceful just from being in that space. Perhaps have a candle, a picture that brings you peace to look at, and a folded blanket (preferably wool) to sit on. The wool blanket is used as an energetic insulator.
· If you’re comfortable sitting on the floor either purchase a mediation cushion or fold a blanket to sit on. This blanket should go under your sits bones (those two bony protrusions you sit on when you sit flat) but not under your legs so that your hips are tilted forward. If sitting on the floor is uncomfortable for you then get a straight-back chair and sit that on top of the blanket.
· If you’re sitting on the floor, use whatever cross-legged position is comfortable with the folded blanket under your sits bones and hold your spine erect so that your energy moves freely up and down your spine. If you’re sitting in a chair, sit slightly forward so that your back isn’t leaning on the back of the chair and hold your spine erect. If you find yourself slumping or slouching during the meditation, slowly return to holding the spine erect and continue. Don’t make a lot of fuss around it, just notice it and slowly move back into position.
· When you’re ready to begin take a few full deep inhales and exhales breathing into the abdomen and lungs fully. As you do that, slowly scan the body from head to toe and mentally relax any tense body part and release any tension you discover. Use the exhales to release the tension as you release the breath.
· To begin with use an alarm clock and set the timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Start simple and build up as you get comfortable with the process.
· Close your eyes and focus on the breath. Rest your hands, palms up on the tops of the knees. Inhale fully and exhale slowly to begin.
· While holding your awareness on the breath, begin a slow inhalation while mentally chanting “Hong”. This should not to be out loud.
· As you begin the exhale, mentally chant “Sau” (pronounced like “saw”).
· Let the mental chants be timed with the natural inhale and exhale pattern. Don’t change or control the breath, simply observe it and add the chants to it rather than letting the chanting dictate the pattern of the breath. Observe the breath from a detached place as if you were observing someone else’s breath.
· During any intervals when the breath may cease of its own accord (at the top of the inhale or bottom of the exhale), concentrate on and enjoy the peace that you feel during that breathless state.
· Repeat this until the timer alarm goes off.
This is a very simple meditative technique which was taught to me by Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship which I joined in 2001. “Hong” and “Sau” are two sacred Sanskrit chant words possessing an astral vibratory connection with the incoming and outgoing breath; a literal translation is “I am that”. As the purpose of any meditative practice is to reconnect with your inner being which is Divine in nature, feel that this chant is simply reaffirming that awareness within yourself.

When you first begin a meditative practice you may feel a variety of things, including frustration, because you may find that your mind begins to wander after the first breath and suddenly you’ll realize that you’re thinking about past, present or future activities. When you notice that, just gently bring your awareness back to the breath and return to the process. Each time your mind wanders (and it will, especially in the beginning), don’t judge yourself and become frustrated. Just release the thoughts and return your awareness to the breath and the chanting.

Many people who first try meditating, give up after a few days because they believe their mind is just too busy to do this type of practice. Please don’t give up at that point however. The purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind and focus the concentration. None of us start with a totally peaceful and quiet mind. It must be developed and trained in that direction. The only difference now is that you are noticing the noise which has been there all along. Awareness is the first step in changing anything in life. We don’t change what we aren’t aware of.

As beings living in the physical world, it’s often hard for us to get out of “doing” and into simply “being”. There is nothing that you have to do here other than focus on the breath and the mental chanting. The first part of a meditative practice is building your concentration skills. When the mind wanders, bring it back over and over and over again. The chanting is to help you stay focused on the breath which can only occur in the present moment. This is not something which will happen in just a day or two. This part of the meditative process can take weeks, months or years…but you have to start somewhere. Sharpening your mental concentration skills is the first step in the overall meditative process.

The technique I’ve given you here is a very simple beginning technique that anyone can use. Meditation, even with a simple technique like this, will have many positive effects on your system and your life. If this is your first experience with meditating, keep it simple and just start with 5 minutes a day. As you begin to notice the positive changes in yourself, after a couple weeks increase the time to 10 minutes and gradually build to whatever amount of time you can commit to the process. The more time you spend in meditation the more benefits you’ll see. Starting with a larger time however is not recommended because you’re using new mental muscles here and like other muscles in the body they need to be trained. Be patient with the process and loving with yourself.

See your mediation time as something that you do just for you. Allow it to become your time of reconnecting with your own inner Divinity. Beneath all of the mental chatter is the voice of inner guidance. Mediation is the process for going within and quieting the mind so that you can hear that inner wisdom and follow its guidance. It is a process of more deeply connecting yourself with the Divine. That connection holds all the answers to all your questions and will always guide you to your highest good. Be patient and loving with yourself.

If you have questions on the technique or experiences which arise from the practice, I’m happy to help you if I can. Simply drop me a line at PeacefulMichael@fastmail.us and I’ll do my best to assist you. If you want to deepen the process, I recommend reading "The Heart of Meditation - Pathways to a deeper experience" by Swami Durgananda. May the awareness of your Oneness with all that is blossom forth from your practice and may you always live in Peace, Love and Light.