Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Plant/Animal/Spirit---I Am

What’s going on? Open your mind! Be child-like!

One of my most treasured spiritual books is Suzuki Roshi’s “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.” It has inspired millions, and truly is one of my go-to references about establishing the connection between our individual (smaller) self and universal (Higher) Self. In Roshi’s landmark book, which I try to re-read as often as I can (as well as the classic, Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha”) I’m forever reminded to keep things fresh. To approach learning, especially about higher-consciousness, as if we are a beginner, each and every time we sit for meditation. What exactly does this mean, to be a beginner?

In today’s divided world especially, people are sure about how they feel. Whether the topic is politics or environment, or religious or spiritual, people are sure they are on the side of right and others who don’t speak the same doctrine are on the side of wrong. Sound familiar? I guess another way of saying “be a beginner” always, is to check to make sure you have an open mind and an open heart, always.

In my mixed-bag circle I hear some pretty strong stuff, and tend to overlook people’s hardcore emotionalism as a need to vent. I give plenty of leeway to those who have such strong opinions that their voices raise and their eyes widen. I watch these symptoms as indicators. Of what? That the person before me is closed to any discussion other than pats on their back that they’re right, right, right.

Sure, lots of people are in distress about the state of the world. When I was younger I even left America because I was so unforgiving about the Vietnam war, and didn’t return for a full decade. Today however, I am grateful to call the USA my home country. Even though it’s in a time of tumultuous cross-fires, this is the greatest country I’ve ever known, and I’ve traveled around lots. So bear with me as I share, from experience, how I learned that being set in my opinions only got me in deeper waters, than even the longstanding wars America fights in far off countries.

Baby Steps fisher

from one continent to the next … stretch out … learn from others …

Put aside your need “to be right” for just a moment and try following my thinking about how the need to be open is a spiritual practice. And how approaching things from a fresh, new angle (whether practicing a yoga pose or determining how bad things are in the public arena), sharing Roshi’s viewpoint on “Beginner’s Mind” just might add some bright sunshine on anyone’s dark and gloomy spots.

When Roshi wrote his book waaaay back in the sixties, he was mostly referring to the Zen Buddhist “art of meditation” when he spoke of having a Beginner’s Mind. I love his use of a waterfall to demonstrate the meaning of universal consciousness (the Self, Divine Mind, “God”) the continuous contacting of which is the supreme aim of practicing meditation. I’m going to paraphrase Roshi’s imagery here, but if anyone wants a real treat, I urge you to read the entire book for yourself.

The waterfall is Roshi’s metaphor for how our singular mind is connected to the infinite vastness, the ineffable Mystery of nothing less than — cosmic consciousness. Or Higher Power, or God, if you want to keep it simple. Although Zen Buddhists such as Suzuki Roshi never use the “G” word. And really, that’s a good idea in speaking of spiritual matters because that little bitty word has way too many stigmas attached to it. Many people either freak out if they hear it (those who are anti-G, calling themselves humanists or atheists, or maybe they’re traumatized from too-religious of an upbringing). Or, as one of my spiritual teachers (a wise old Christian monk) recently noted as he began his talk on mindful Presence:  “For every single one of you, there’s a different definition of God.” So he doesn’t use the G-word either, preferring, as I do too, to use Spirit (or Aum, Om) as readers of LordFlea know already.

In referring to the subject of how to tap into the spiritual side of life, the metaphor of Suzuki Roshi’s waterfall is the best analogy I’ve ever heard. He describes the state of connecting to this higher state — the universal consciousness that is all present — as this:

We, each one of us humans, is a tiny cell of consciousness that is connected to the whole, just as a drop of ocean water is still part of the unlimited ocean. If we came to a waterfall (or a stream, a river, an ocean) and took in our cupped hands, a tiny bit of the vastness before us, think of what you’re imagining holding in your hands, as you take it from the flowing waterfall to look at, and perhaps drink of — that this handful of water is symbolic of your human life. You are a separate being, but you are also part of the wholeness from which you came. You are both at the same time, even though some people never choose to experience this state of Oneness.

the waterfall of Life

the waterfall of Life

Even though you have been born in your human form (yoga scriptures calls this one-person connection to All, the Atman), you are still spiritually connected, and part of the whole spiritual consciousness (yogic Oneness, is Brahman, also called “the Self”) that permeates this existence, this universe …. the multiverse, as all of space discoveries is now more commonly called.

When I read Suzuki Roshi’s words for the first time many moons ago, I was struck about how similar his description of the waterfall was to my own inexplicable experiences of meditation. The Stillness. The Oneness. Totality. Yet, I was still me. How, after learning to follow a mantra and having trained my bad-ass monkey-mind to STOP obsessing, and keep it focused on a sound, and witness my thoughts, not engage in them —- how I felt connected to all that is.

And yet, when I came out of meditation and looked in the mirror, yes, I could verify that I was still this one same person named teZa (aka LordFlea, here). I have one body, not an endless array of cosmic-ness, yet my mind felt unlimited to any barrier, whether of skin or mental gymnastics. Even more deeply I felt this Oneness as my meditation practice grew stronger, as I went through layers of impurities. As my teacher told me I would. Until — I arrived at the place where each and every time I press my third eye (even for a breath or two, only!) I can jump into that state of Oneness, like a dog who’s learned to stand up on its hind legs for its tasty treat. I love the depth, the connected-ness of meditation.

Of course this took years of practice. But the payoff the stilling of the mind, is going deep inside Self, like sticking a finger into the CHARGED SOCKET of the Big Brain Itself (ha! it’s that shocking at first, so electrifying!). This place, state of mind, is beyond thought, and even if for just a glimpse that lasts only a few seconds, and eventually becomes longer in time and deeper in connection — all this amounts to cultivating a spiritual connected-ness. This, my friends, is Oneness consciousness.

So how does this meditative approach to “Fresh” apply to practicing yoga poses? And what, for goddess’ sake, does Oneness have to do with political or environmental angst? Bear with me, reader, a little longer.

Spread the Word: LOVE

approach each pose (downward dog here) as if it’s just you and the world around you

The same fresh electric jolt that Oneness brought me (at the beginning of my journey) is exactly the same, each and every time! — when approaching anything with a Beginner’s Mind. If I think, “I’m a lifelong yoga person, I know this pose” instead of “ahhh, try to feel it as if for the very first time I’m going into this pose” — then I am in Beginner’s Mind. To do this means I have to be more aware. The key here: Awareness. I must remind myself to think as a beginner, and not as a Know-It-All adept. Each time I start a yogic practice session, or just want to do a quick back stretch, but yogically, mindfully, I must remind myself that … “I know nothing! I am a beginner. I may know where to put my feet, my arms, my gaze .. but I am going to let this pose here and NOW teach me as if I’ve never had any experience of this same pose, before. Ever.”

This takes discipline. To let go of our “knowing”. This also requires humility. Some people have a hard time letting go of “thinking they know.” Why? Because they’re insecure. Without knowing something SURELY, they feel impotent, less than, and likely afraid of feeling vulnerable. Many people I know in the spiritual/mindful world (yes, as much in this tribe as in the political circles I skirt these days) are filled with self aggrandizement. Many yoga teachers I see being pumped out of the yoga-mills these days tend to think of themselves as so advanced and knowledgeable, so sure they have all the information they need after they’ve gotten their relatively easy-to-get certification. Suddenly they’re experts about breath, asana, stilling mind, opening heart — that many in the “extreme yoga world” only end up losing the opportunity to experience the electrifying delight of a beginner’s approach. And sadly, they end up shortchanging themselves (and their students) of having an incredible experience each and every time they begin their yoga session.

To have a beginner’s mind takes great humility. Want to try it? I encourage you to, the next time you hit the mat, or just sit to stretch for a few breaths holding a pose, and feel the connected-ness of your being a handful-of-water you’ve just pulled from the Waterfall of Existence. Feel this, yourself before you share it with others.

Let your mind go still. Focus on your breath. Let your breath show you what’s happening. Each yoga pose, each opportunity to grow from understanding another’s point-of-view is different, each day. Each and every time you move your body, it’s a new experience! Subtle changes occur. Awareness becomes more expanded as you scan your body and sense how today … is different. You may learn something new if you just open your mind … one breath at a time.

Try it.

For those whose breath gets choked up thinking about the state of the environment and other politically charged, topics, try this same kind of awareness exercise. The next time a news item, or a distressing topic arises, allow your breath to become your main focus, not the immediacy of this topic. And … as you focus on your breath … listen to those around you. Listen with something more than your ears, your eyes, your intellect. Listen to the sound of the universe that pulsates through your veins, in the form of your blood’s circulatory system, for instance. And remember: just as the moon and the sun and the stars are held in place, and don’t fall out of their orbits — you, too, and everyone here on Earth, is being taken care of by this Oneness consciousness that unites us all. And let go of any pre-determined judgement you have about this disturbing subject.  Open your mind and your heart and allow the possibility of — something happening that you might not be aware of, a bigger plan, a higher meaning — and practice complete trust. In what? That we are all One, and no politician, no human talking head can ever destroy that true, inexorable connection. It all starts with YOU, your mind, your heart — keep it open!

opening people's frozen hearts

remind yourSelf to keep your heart/mind OPEN

And let me know how these suggestions work for you.

Share your thoughts with me here, and let’s get a dialogue going, shall we?

I wish each and everyone of you a blessed and Beginner’s Mind kind of brand new day, each and every moment. May your outlook about the world’s events, and your own private life, be filled with the Light of higher understanding. May you be able to better discern what to do, and what to not do. It could be something as simple as not spending quite so much time on social media today. Spending more time in quiet contemplation about who to spend your time with, where to focus your life’s efforts — nurturing a challenging relationship. Or … do some yoga!

Each day is a new beginning. Each breath — a new you!

Please leave your email (by commenting) so I can send you some special give-aways I’m working on! Surprise Surprise!

Your pal, LordFlea, aka teZa Lord

dharma brat images 7.09 022

MAP of how to find the inner ‘I’ in our earthly life-storms

Friends,

This drawing of mine above is an easy-to-follow visual map how to get out of the inner confused state many are feeling today, and I’ve experienced, too. Here’s my depiction of the horrors that confusion can proclaim within us, instead of the calm of this ‘I’ I’m talking about today.

ugliness ... why listen? why look? why watch?

the conflicting times of pre-election are upon us!

During this tumultuous time, when everyone is freaked out about the presidential circus (oh! I’m sorry, I meant to say … race) I’m watching so many others either pull their hair out … or claim they’re not voting. This is the time to engage in controversy. Now is the time to — get it all out! And afterwards, when the election votes are all counted — accept what the people have chosen.

We are blessed to live in a democratic country.

To me, a citizen who is born in America (or has become legally eligible since immigrating) MUST vote. I’ve tried running away from this moral and social responsibility. And it backfired. Good for the books I’m writing, but … no longer my MO. We on the spiritual path know that our voice, our vote, counts. If you think otherwise, please reconsider.

Who to vote for MUST be from the deepest part of ourselves. Our conscience (another of the thousands of words for Spirit). Not our pocketbooks, not our friends’ opinions mattering — but what our inside self, our gut, our ‘I’ as I call it (it has many names) tells us to do. This is what must dictate how and for whom we vote.

This ‘I’ within each of us is also called “Better-me” as opposed to “Lesser-me”. I use that term in my soon-to-be published nonfiction book (now with a fabulous literary agent) about the journey of my own blended-family. But for LordFlea’s sharing today I’m calling this source of inner wisdom we all have, by it’s quick and easy nickname, the ‘I’ within.

dharma brat images 7.09 044

How our inner ‘I’ works in our daily life

Just as in Nature’s worst tempests flung at planet Earth, the hurricanes and the cyclones, each storm has its own calm inner space. True! Within the very worst situation, is a place of peace, when we learn to tap that inner ‘I’. So too for the confusion and fear within humans. No matter how conflicted, how confused, how torn-apart we may feel — there is a place of calm, deep and peaceful, within each one of us.

This place can be reached by anyone, anywhere. How? Through meditative practices. Start by following your breath. Look at the special instructions I have here on my blog. The search for what you want is easy — it’s right within you!

So — when I approach the voting booth this November, I won’t be freaked out. I won’t be not-voting either. I’ll remember to touch base with that inner space within, and ask it “For Whom shall I vote?”

The answer will be obvious.

Meditation is listening (to God, our Higher Self, etc.). Prayer is talking.

Your vote counts! Don’t sweat it right now. We have months of chaos and turmoil right now. This period here, filled with controversy, smut-throwing, name-calling, opinion-biasing, lies, omissions, dirty games and laundering of endless woefulness-es — is all part of the political process. Politics is nothing but a cluster f–k!

I have no advice to give, except — vote!

drawings-scanned-1108-023

One Heart united, our family of humankind

After having lived abroad for a long period of time, I am now, as I wasn’t before leaving my country, grateful and proud to be an American. Our democratic process is by far the best. If you don’t think so, go try living somewhere where it’s not the way of governance. Spend some time behind bars (as I sadly had to) because you’ve been mistakenly pointed out as an enemy of the State. Just for breathing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then you’ll agree with me:

America is the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!

God Bless America!

God Bless the people’s choice to be our next leader.

Your pal who loves you,

teZa aka LordFlea

hello friend,

politics, religion, nations–why can’t we just stop the separation among ourselves. i don’t know about you but i’m so tired of all the bickering, whining, blame and anger over not just these things, and want to interject some positive focus, by introducing new currency for ALL countries who celebrate life on planet Here and Now. 

that’s something to think about, ain’t it? so let’s go for it!

i know i know you’re asking who asked me, lordflea, to design this new currency? you may think the U.N., or he, our new leader-elect:

guided by his counselors, the Great Man ...

guided by his counselors, the Great Man ...

but no, i must admit i have not yet received “the commission.” but when i do, i’ve got the design all figured out, which i’m giving a sneak preview to you, here. just a few little details to work out, like the color of the ink (soy based of course), the dimension (how ’bout the sacred geometry rectangle ratio?), the paper quality (look to Crane Paper for the magic formula that the USA uses…high cotton content).

whatever we use to exchange our energy with, be it money, friendship, sports, entertainment, politics or religion…keep it focused on the highest good. please. as we think, so we become.

focus on the solution, not the problem

focus on the solution, not the problem

 

enjoy the day! lordflea singin’ for you–we as ONE

hi friends,

no matter how each of us votes today, i pray Great Spirit will guide the best choice (along with each and every one of us…all a part of Great Spirit, too!) to make the best candidate win the necessary votes.

politics on turtle island

politics on turtle island

who am i voting for? well, that’s an interesting question. but fortunately for YOU this is not a political discussion, here on lordflea’s blog. so…i’ll save that for my book. have a joyous day, and please VOTE!!! your choice should be heard now…because whomever is chosen, and i mean WHO-EVER!!! let’s come together as a nation, as a family of humanity, and heal. let’s stop the whining, the blaming, and the anger, and let’s get busy and heal ourselves.

in the Light, lord flea singing the song of Turtle Island politics,

“politics is poison,” says my hopi friend, Bucky. “nah,” says i, “it just be a dance, and you must move in it to feel the beat.”

VOTE!!! anyone who doesn’t vote is … well, this isn’t a political blog, remember? yahhhhhhh. ahhhhh-men, and ahhhhhhh-women too!