Week One ends, Saving the World, Plus Happiness and Full Life Review

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Week One - - - Day Seven

Re-view as Heaven

“Saving the World” as Fun and 

Non-Optional


Love, yeah, we all want that, though soon, like tomorrow, we’ll start to do the “work” of love, which is mainly the “letting go” of that yucky human tendency to blame the other person when things aren’t right.

Lust, as passion, sure, that’s one of the great feelings in life.

Lust, as deep goals, yes, yes, dial us in, we want the deeper and more meaningful life.

Enlightenment is who we are when we are really who we are.

Enlightenment is here now, without all the extraneous words in our head that pass as “thoughts” and drain our energy and our happiness.

And then . . . “Saving the World?” What fun is that?

We’ve got great sex to indulge in. We’ve go holding hands and gratitude. We’ve got the peacefulness and vitality of being present.

Do we really have time and energy to “Save the World?”


Yes, we do.


WE HAVE TIME AND ENERGY TO HAPPILY AND IN THE PRESENT “SAVE THE WORLD.”

PLUS THIS ISN’T OPTIONAL.


No world, no you.

No world, no children, grandchildren, squirrels, chipmunks, dolphins, mockingbirds, eagle, river otters, sea otters, what your favorite animal is.

Gone, gone, gone.


And, damn . . . The best climate experts in the world say. . . This is a possibility. This is the word:

UNLESS WE GET OUR SH..  TOGETHER, BY 2030 THINGS WILL BE IN A FEEDBACK LOOP OF DETERIORATION BEYOND REPAIR OR REVERSAL.


Alas, bye bye grandchildren and sea otters and all our favorite cats and dogs and sheep.


So, this is part of this book


Save the World Exercise/ Game #1

Find out about global climate change.

Breathe and smile as you do this.

Write free form, while breathing and smiling about what you’ve learned.


Getting the data is a start.


Then, what to do.

You decide.

There might be great organizations. Find out how much goes to administration and fund raising. Some, like Sea Shepherd have a very small percentage in this bucket.

Find what supports what you love.


Save the World Exercise/ Game #2

Find an organization or two that gives most to the work they say they are doing 

and

That resonates with what you love

And give them some money.

Any amount.


And this is just a start.


We need to track down the messes in our government and so on.

That’s for next week.


For now, though, one more, and it’s to find something little to do


Saving the World Game #3

Find a step in your personal life

Hanging up the clothes on a clothes line.

Going a day or two without being in a car.

Taking out your dish cleaning gleanings (prior to soap) and adding them to your garden.

Riding a bike to the gym. 

Even . . . 

Walking outside for at least a half an hour a day with reverence for and connection to Nature.

Something personal.

Feel it feed your soul.

Perhaps even improve your soil as you reconnect with your soul.

Enjoy



And then, as you heal and expand your soul, this too, is a great way to heal the Earth.

The more we are really content, happy, loving and present, the less we are going to need to get on the Internet, or go buy some crap that we really don’t need.

And so,

Let’s review a bit?


Daily Games to Make a More Peaceful and Soul-filled Life:

1. Write goals each day.

2. After, writing gratitudes each day.

3. Do a walking or sitting or dishwashing meditation with your breathing each day.

4. Spend some time every day listening in turns to a timer without interrupting.

5. Spend some time every day holding hands and sharing gratitudes.


There’s more, look back over the book if you’d like.

And these five will keep your far happier and more deeper alive.


Enjoy your life.

Enjoy your day.


3 ways in 3 days to change your life as a couple: gratitude, touch, awareness

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Week One - - - Day One  

LOVE, as

GRATITUDE

Can change your Life

and your moments


On June 20, 2015, I walked half a block down my street in Austin, Texas, to meet a woman I knew and admired and liked, but with whom I thought I had no “romantic” expectations. I had met her a mere three months before, in March. She had moved to Austin in February. Now in June it was a gentle summer’s day, and we were going to meet for a lunch and study session. I was writing a book on radical listening. She was smart and kind and I wanted her input. Her name was Carol Williams then.

It’s Carol Williams Elms now.


We thought we were meeting for an hour and a half. For lunch and a bit of her help on a book I was writing, the precursor to this one.

Twelve hours later, at one am, as I pried myself out the door, to walk the half block back to my home, we both were almost certain we’d met the future lifetime partner that had a day before seemed “almost impossible” to find. I’d written an “almost impossible goal” to find a fabulous woman within walking distance. And an “almost impossible goal” to find a lifetime partner at 70 years old. Carol had been praying for a life partner. And then… the miracle seemed to be happening.

And even with goals and prayers, I don’t think this “miracle” would have happened without our both being immersed in gratitude. Why?


We all thrive in gratitude…

On that day becoming night together, and since then,  the practice of gratitude was a deeply embedded part of both our lives. Then, as now, I was writing in a “gratitude journal” at least twice, often three or four or five times, a day. Carol, on that miracle day, had a steady background prayer life, of which gratitude and thanks was a significant part. Now she has a gratitude journal, too. Will you soon get a gratitude journal? Only if you want transformation as deeply and easily as possible.

Don’t believe me, or anyone. Test drive gratitude right now.

Mini-game: Think of 3 things you are grateful for. Does something shift?

You might enjoy feeling where in your body this shifts seems to be.


How does this work?


The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude focuses our hearts and minds on what we like and love in life, what is going well in our life, what we are thankful for and want more of. Instead of wasting time and mental energy on worry or complaining, gratitude allows us to look at life from a peaceful and open heart. With an optimistic heart alert to what has gone well in the past, we are primed to be looking forward to more “good stuff” unfolding each day.

Nice, eh?

Modern research has shown what ancient wisdom has long suspected: the brain (and person) can be in either fear or gratitude.

But not both.

WE CAN BE IN EITHER FEAR OR GRATITUDE, BUT NOT BOTH

Carol and I were tuned in to what we appreciated about our lives. This made it far easier to tune into what we could appreciate in the other person. And then, twelve hours after I’d walked in the door, we reluctantly dragged ourselves apart amazed that we might well have found the “almost impossible.”


Dear reader, let’s jump into action.

Leap. Hop. Skip. Prance. Slippy slide. Have some fun.



Day One: Gratitude Exercise #2:

SAYING GRATITUDES ALOUD

If you have a partner, or a willing friend, ask them to join you.

Notice how you are feeling now.

Say aloud five things you are grateful for. Feel your heart as you say these five.

Then the other takes a turn.

Notice how you are feeling now.

Share with each other the shift this made, this simple speaking aloud and sharing of five gratitudes. (PS, you can say more if you wish)


If you are alone, jot down here a few reminder sentences on what shifted by saying five gratitudes aloud.

My notes on the differences I noticed….



Really, do it now. This is not a book to “just read” and imagine “doing it” later. This is not a book of “good ideas” for you to give your “screwed up” friends. This is my offering of the best and most useful practices I have discovered over the last 50 years. This my gift in gratitude for a bunch of wonderful and useful and fun (and sexy, and life enhancing) practices that I have been lucky enough to learn.

This book is a transformation manual for those who want even more amazing life.


Which is you, right?

You are either in a “pretty good” (or even “great”) relationship and you wouldn’t mind it being even better.

Or,

Two: You are in a funky relationship that cries out, begs and wants to be better.

Or,

Three: You are not yet in a relationship and you think that would be a pretty fine addition to your life. IF IT WAS A GREAT RELATIONSHIP.


Whichever category you are in, saying gratitudes helps clear your heart and your day and your life and your relationships.


Let’s try a more full bodied plunge into gratitude.

Stand up.


Gratitude #3: Standing Gratitudes.

Stand up.

Go to a window if there is one, or outdoors if that’s easy.

Say aloud two to twenty gratitudes.

Go slowly and hear your own voice.


If you have a friend or mate to join you, all the better.


Notice what difference this makes.

Don’t be shy.

Even in a tight ass office seeing someone stand and hearing them speak forth some gratitudes might be a catalyst for something nice.

Like what?

Like find out.


Find out.

Discover.

Learn.

Real learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.

Learning is not taking in anything by rote.

Learning is a shift that makes a difference. And being aware of the shift.


That’s this book: a bunch of things to explore and notice what difference they make. I’ve explored and delighted in them. Now it’s your turn. Explore. Discover. Learn. Transform.



As I’ve said above, you can be grateful or you can be in fear. Can you feel a shift in you when you say gratitudes aloud?



Our last game/ exercise for today, writing in a gratitude journal, is a practice that can change your life, because it is solid and demands repetition each day.

It takes only a few minutes.

This could be something to start every day for the rest of your life.


Day One: Gratitude Exercise #4:

WRITE 5-13 GRATITUDES

Get a paper or a journal

START ON A FRESH AND EMPTY PAGE

A page grateful to be used for gratitudes


Write the day and the date.

Draw in a smily face, or something amusing.

Then…


Write five gratitudes or more.

Write slowly.

If a lined journal, leave a line between each line of writing

Write big and slow and feel your hand moving, and see the letters forming.

BREATHE EASILY

SMILE

GO SLOWLY


Stand up.

Move around. Jump for joy a bit if the mood comes to you.

Or wiggle for relief.

Maybe go take a walk.


Before you go to bed, read over your gratitudes and write a few more. (Truth, I often forget this. And… part of Carol and my night meditation is sharing on three levels….”I’m grateful for…..”. Two, “I love . . .” Three, “Now I am aware of . . .” )


Skipping our meditation for now, you might simple incorporate the practice of sharing gratitudes, or “what did you like/ love about today” into your night time wind down.


Or you might make night time gratitudes a form of prayer, and say them aloud to “God” if you have one. Prayer as thanks, super important to one and all.

Thank you God. I’m grateful for . . .

Thank you Life. I’m grateful for . . .

Thank you Universe. I’m grateful for . . .

Thank you all my ancestors. I’m grateful for . . .

Thank you Great Mystery. I’m grateful for . . .

Thank you Magical Stillness at the Center of it All. I’m grateful for . . .


Have the delight and ease and opening you are meant to have when you return to a feeling of gratitude. Notice what happens in your heart area.


Enjoy your day.


Week - - - Day Two

LUST, part one:

We are mammals. We are meant to…

TOUCH


Today is a day to be grateful. 

They all are.

Today is a day to be present.

They all are.

And…

Today is a day to touch.

They all are.


And not all of us live with someone. And some of us live with someone with whom we’ve forgotten/ lost/ been turned off to touching.

God Bless us all.

No matter what our circumstances: we are mammals. Touch feeds a certain need in us that we all, hopefully, felt as infants, when being cuddled, or nursed, or passed from friendly adult to friendly adult.

Or as children in our silly play as we formed “pig piles,” or concocted other ways of delighting in touch.

If our family was lucky, there were a lot of hugs.


And, one of life’s great truths is this

THE PAST HAS PASSED. IT’S OVER.


No matter how much or how little touch we received as children, we can bring more touch into our lives now.

One is so simple that I’m almost reluctant to offer it.

And yet…IT WORKS. THIS SIMPLE ONE HAND TOUCHES ANOTHER GAME WORKS.


And we almost all have two hands, and we almost all don’t “waste” enough time being nice to ourselves. 

And . . .

Huge portions of our brains are devoted to our hands, which do and have done so many skilled and interesting and complicated actions and learnings in our life. (If you forget this, hand a young baby a spoon)


Enjoy and learn from and deepen awareness and self-self-appreciation thusly:


Touching Game/ Exercise #1:

One hand touches the other.

Notice which hand is your dominant one. Let’s call it the USUAL hand.

Put it in front of you and look at it.

Feel and even say gratitudes for having this hand.

Now, put up to gaze at your non-dominant hand. Let’s call it the NON-HABITUAL HAND.

Feel and say gratitudes to this hand.


Notice the difference just this makes, being grateful to both hands.


Now, with your NON-HABITUAL HAND hand do three things, at least:


One: Your NON-HABITUAL HAND hand squeezes the USUAL hand in three places, over and over, to bring out awareness and ease and ??? in those three areas.


Rest a bit after doing these and feel the difference between the hands. And feel the difference in YOU with two hands more bright and clear in awareness.


Two: Your NON-HABITUAL HAND pets, in a stroking and friendly manner, the top, the palm and the sides of your USUAL hand.

Do this slowly and with a delight in the exploration and the sensations. Sensations in each hand.

AT THE POINT OF CONTACT: 

ONE HAND RECEIVES AND FEELS, 

ONE HAND GIVE AND FEELS.

SENSE BOTH, BACK AND FORTH


Rest and notice the difference in yourself overall, and the difference from hand to hand.

Perhaps experiment with the idea and actuality of “breathing into” each hand, one at a time.


Three: In some way, or ways, touch and explore with some or all the fingers of the NON-HABITUAL HAND up and down each finger of the USUAL hand, one at a time. Pinkie. Ring Finger. Middle Finger. Pointer. Thumb. 

Give each at least one up and down caress/ squeeze/ exploration/ massage-like touching.


Take your time with each of these.

Keep delighting in noticing the two differences:

Hand to hand differences.

Start of the game vs now differences.


HINT: IF YOU WAKE UP IN INSOMNIA LAND, THIS CAN BE VERY KIND AND VERY SOOTHING TO YOURSELF

Touch Game/ Exercise #2

Next time you are awake at night and want to feel more peaceful..

Let one hand explore, caress and otherwise enjoy the other hand

Follow and deepen your breathing as you do this

Notice and deepen your awareness of the bed as appreciating you and hold you up as you do this


Hands, both as feelers of sensation, and as handy givers of the touch, and as skilled movers around in the world, are a HUGE part of our brain’s wiring.

To rub one hand with another sets up neurological connections that could well be vast enough to push aside the usual yammer/ worry/ and planning that fill the brain with worthless words in the head when you can’t sleep.


And, if you have a partner, and are halfway normal, you will have times when things get a little funky between you.

Sex might clear and heal, but you are too annoyed to soften and let that happen.

And so, hand touching to the rescue.


And here’s an optional game, because as the book progresses, we’ll have more and more ways to calm the waters between couples. And to sweeten the waters.

And for now, though, if you want, take this as a premise that you can explore:

Most of our “arguing” involves getting stuck in a bunch of words in our head that are either feeling sorry for ourselves, or wishing/ demanding that the other change.

There are many, many ways out of this oh, too human trap, and one of them is to simply shift the focus of attention away from your head and your wounded heart. (Another premise for you to check out: we have a real heart, full of love, joy and compassion; and a wounded heart, full of pain, bad memories, bitterness, fear, anger, all the usual crapola.)


So:

Touch/ Healing Game #3:

 IF YOU HAVE A PARTNER AND YOU JUST CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO REPAIR SOME EMOTIONAL STRAIN IN THE GAME of living with and “loving” (usually) another person…. 

Take YOUR TWO HANDS TO ONE OF THEIRS, and touch your way back into the present of the present

Don’t talk

Explore, caress, massage, connect with your two hands to one of theirs, preferably the dominant, since it tends to work too hard


PS

Moaning with pleasure is okay.




And…

ALERT TO THE READER/ NON-DOER IN US ALL >>>>

If you haven’t at least rubbed/ explored/ discovered one hand with the other, DO IT NOW.


And here’s a game for connection, which is what we all crave, right?

Why?

Partially, again, we are mammals and meant to touch.

But this next game allows us to share our real heart with each other while touching, and that’s a rare and wonderful thing.

So, let’s give this a go.


Your partner is the first mate in this game, but if you have no partner, or want to expand this out, this can be with younger children, or adult children of the same sex, or with your parents, or with a sibling. Or a work mate. Or a friend.

It’s a little weird/ intimate, and isn’t that okay?

You decide for yourself. And venture forth if you’d like.


As so:


Touch Game/ Exercise #4

TOUCH PLUS GRATITUDES

Sit or stand across from another person.

Your partner, your child, your parent, your friend, your sibling. This could a a stretch.

Oh, well.

Hold hands.

Breathe deeply for three or four breaths.

Smile.

And then take turns saying three gratitudes each.

Three times at least.


See what this is like.

Feel/ sense the connection at the hands.

Feel/ sense if something opens in your heart area when you share gratitudes while holding hands.


And how did it go?


AND WHAT ABOUT “ORDINARY TOUCH”


Like shaking hands?

It’s a start.


And hugging.

Hugging can be misused by some, and most readily welcome a chance for real and closer contact. Again, within the limits of your own comfort and willingness to stretch, find safe and kind people, and hug more.

Enjoy your day.

Week One —  Day Three: 

ENLIGHTENMENT, as

AWARENESS 

Breathing

Gravity

Light & Sound



We are alive.

You are alive.

Right now.

And now.

And now.

As the now flows into a new now, each instant being too short to capture, but the flow of our experience in the moment is our life.

If we aren’t present to that flow, we aren’t present to our life.


So often, we loose life in an internal yammer, and an external hurry, an internal worry, and an external moving ourselves around without awareness. And life is going on. There are colors to see. People to appreciate. Our own aliveness to be thrilled about.

Thrill?

Yes. 


Play this game now . . .


I AM ALIVE Game/ Exercise #1:

Hold your breath.

Keep holding as long as you can.

Within this holding see if an awareness sparks in you: I am alive and I need to breathe to stay alive.

Smile.

Breathe.


That’s it.

This is a fundamental truth, and as the saying goes, “the truth will set us free.”

We are alive.

Without breathing we die.


And breathing is very much like this ongoing, moveable, delicious now. Breathing in leads to a pause or to breathing out. Breathing out leads to a pause or breathing in.

We can direct the breath, and luckily, it flows in and out without us just fine, or we’d die in our sleep.

When we follow our breathing we have a place to put our attention.


Mindful is thrown around a lot, and one way to hone in on it, is to compare it to its opposite: mindless.

WE CAN BE MINDFUL OR MINDLESS.


Mindless is the usual life of inner yammer. Words in our head posing as “thinking”, but instead a mishmash sentences and stories and rehearsals and dramas that have nothing to do with right now. Yammering away.


And usually yammering not about how great life was yesterday, or how great life could be today. No, the usual yammer is: this went wrong, that could go wrong, this person done me wrong, that person “should” blah blah, that person “shouldn’t” blah  blah, poor me, I’m so overwhelmed, I’m going to be late, and on and on and on.

And this doesn’t even include stewing over the news, which in this the time of Trump and global warming, can be a bit harrowing.


And where to go to escape this chatter, this inner yammer, this bad news words in the head non-thinking parade?


To the now, to the now, to the now, now, now.

Which is changing, moving.

Being “in the now” is like surfing, the moment is always changing and in a way, it’s thrilling to be right there with it.

Nice treat about this moment now thing: it’s always here. Changing into the next now moment, sure, but so what: this moment is always here and we can experience our lives in the ongoing changing now.

How?


This is the easiest way: Follow your breathing.

It’s the easiest meditation.

Following your breathing is not just a great starter meditation, it’s:

A great way to do the dishes.

A great way to drive.

A great way to listen to music.

A great way to listen to another person.

A great (though quite difficult) way to read. Like now? Sure try.

And . . .

It’s equal to gratitude as a way out of trouble, worry, and inner obsession with all the ways we waste our inner attention.


Here goes:


Awareness Game/ Exercise #2

Sit in meditation, eyes open or closed.

Or stand or take a walk in nature.

Or lay down and let this fall into a nap if you wish.

Or do this at night if you wake up and don’t want to sabotage yourself in the usual way (a bunch of…. “I need to get back to sleep” worry words in your head)


THE GAME: FOLLOW THE SENSATION OF BREATHING IN AND BREATHING OUT. COUNT THE BREATHS UP TO SIX. THEN AGAIN. AND AGAIN.


Breath one:

As you breathe in notice what is shifting and changing in your body and in the flow of air as you breathe in. Relax your body a little more.

As you breathe out, smile, feel what shifts your body makes as you breathe out, feel the air going out and say….One.


Two: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Two.


Three: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Three.


Four: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Four.


Five: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Five


Six: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Six.


Then start over again at one.

If you get lost, so what? Start again at one.

Watch out for and be amused by inner yammer telling your to do better.


And if other yammer wants to come, don’t try to force it away. Instead keep the undercurrent of your attention on the ongoing now of breathing in and breathing out.


This can be VERY ENJOYABLE.



Try this for at least ten minutes. Preferably twice today.

And once is great.


Enjoy whatever length you pick.

Smile extra deeply when you catch yourself having lost the count.


As Einstein said: Show me someone who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who has learned nothing.


And what is you are saying, “The hell. Who has ten minutes?”

You do.


And, try this breath counting at other times:

Well, try these three sets of times:

One BETWEEN THINGS.

Carol, my wife whom I met as part of several of the magical tools I’ll be presenting in this book, and I study meditation under an enlightened American Zen teacher of the name Adyashanti. His workshops are fairly large (and amazingly worthwhile) and he tells of his teacher, a woman in her fifties when teaching him, who was raising five children. Her “quiet” time was often walking down the hall between one child’s room and the next.


Two : SLOW DOWN, during EXTERNALLY IMPOSED PAUSE TIMES

Like a red light

Like waiting for someone who isn’t ready yet

Or, is late to meet you.


Three: THE SIMPLE TASKS OF LIFE

Dishes.

Sweeping.

Putting away groceries.

Cooking.

Easting. (Eating is hard, you might find.)

And best of all: Listening to other people.


Awareness Game/ Exercise Life Transformative Practice #3

While listening to people, restrain your urge to say the wonderful, brilliant thing you are so anxious to say.

Count and follow your breathing while you are listening to them.


How few of us are really present with our friends, our co-workers, people in shops, and most of all . . . our loved ones, children, mate, parents.

Listen and breathe.

Listen and be present.


YOUR PRESENCE IS REALLY THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE. LOVE IN ACTION. SO SIMPLE. SO UNCOMMON. SO TRANSFORMATIVE


Enjoy the ongoing now.

Enjoy know the truth: you are alive, breathing in and breathing out.


MORE AWARENESS: GRAVITY


Awareness/ Wake Up Game/ Exercise #4:

Take a walk

Either in your house where you can watch out the windows into some nature as you walk

Or: outside

Don’t drive to nature. Just walk and be under the five mile high sky.

Notice your breathing and count to six

Notice gravity and which leg/ foot is pressing down into the Earth

Notice gravity and notice how the Earth is pushing up into one leg/ foot at a time


Enjoy breath plus gravity

Welcome to Life on Earth


MORE AWARENESS: LIGHT AND SOUND


Awareness / Wake Up Game / Exercise #5:

Take a walk

Count your breathing to six as you walk

Notice your feet and legs in gravity

Pay attention to what you are seeing and hearing in the moment


NOTICE THAT EVERYTHING IS CHANGING

BREATH IN/ BREATH OUT

WHICH LEG IS PRESSING INTO AND BEING SUPPORTED BY THE EARTH

THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF YOUR WORLD


This can be a lot of fun.

And notice what is missing in all of this:

Worry about yesterday

Plans for tomorrow

The usual yammer chatter of words in our head.


What is present: Earth below and our connection to it; air in the middle and our life connected and dependent on it; light and sound giving flavor and delight and variety and much much more to our lives. Gravity, air, light and sound… Life on Earth.


And the miracle of awareness to know, feel, sense this.


Enjoy your day.

We can be right, or we can be happy... the glory of "The Turn Around"

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Week One . . . Day Five

LETTING GO

Of Being Right

You can be right or you can be happy

Only a fool choses unhappiness

PS . . . We are often fools

Oh, well


Crazy life, this one we live, often making the same missable over and over and over again.


Here’s the simple, generic version of almost all our arguments, especially with our spouse/ loved ones:

Person A: I’m right and you’re wrong

Person B: No, I’m right and you’re wrong

A: No, no, no, no. I’m right and you’re wrong.

B: No, no, no, no. I’m right and you’re wrong.


There are lots of words to “prove” the I’m right/ you’re wrong nonsense, but this is what they all boil down to.

Except, since we were children once, and scolded and shamed when we did something “wrong” (which often meant simply inconveniencing the big people by having too much fun, being too noisy, being silly…i.e happy) we got the strong and ugly message: you are bad.


So the ugly undercurrent of many arguments is this:

Person A: I am right and you are wrong and therefore, you are bad.

Person B: No, you are the bad one, since you are wrong and I am right.

And so on.


Snooze.

Except this is how we waste our lives.


So, hey, let’s practice letting go and the next foundational piece (Laughter) with what I call, GENERIC ARGUMENT


Letting Go Fun and Forgiveness Game #1:

Next time you are arguing, one of you say: let’s shift to the generic argument

And then do

I’m right and you’re wrong

No, I’m right and you’re wrong

Back and forth

Skip the bad part, just use a lot of conviction while saying that you are right and the other person is wrong

Combine this with smiling

And sensing your legs, and your heart and your genitals if it’s your romantic partner

See what happens


Could be learning, eh, if you notice a difference that makes a difference.


Now, we move on to one of the most important “games” in the world, in the world of letting go of being “right” and hence, unhappy.

It’s called the turn around game, and is rooted in far back history, of the New Testament, and new fangled New Age hooey.


The New Testament version is that strange one of

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

— Matthew 7:1-5



The beam is big, right, and it’s our own faults. And the mote is that same fault in the other, not so big, but we are busy in the I’m right and you’re wrong land.

With a very specific kind of right/ wrong.


I’m we suspect/ know at the intuitive level that we are angry, we accuse the other of being angry. If we are, and everyone is, selfish, it’s a lot easier to cast the stone: You are selfish.

Which, by the way, is always true, and … besides the point.


The New Age version is: Everyone is a mirror. Whatever imperfections you see in them, are really you, shining back at you.


And here’s a couple of grand learning events from my life, tied into grand learning “games” and possibilities for you.


Why?

Wouldn’t you rather be free and happy, than right?


Here goes:


THE TURN AROUND: A REAL LIFE STORY

Here’s a little story about a nice “turn around” with a fourteen year old that I was certain was being the “Stupid/ bad/ selfish” one. In my stupid (and suffering) state, I was quite clear: she needed to change.


This story takes place in Sonoma, around 2000, in the summer. I’d gotten over the trauma of a gal named Sally Ann running off with a man named Joe. (See the next story: Sally Ann “should love me more” turned around. )

I’d stopped believing my thinking that she was meant to stick around and argue with me. And I had stopped believing my own thinking that no one else great would show up in my life.

And then Celeste did. A perky yoga teacher, who shared gardening and bike riding and a general love of nature with me.

We grew fonder and fonder of one another, and then couldn’t restrain ourselves to two residences. So I came to spend the night with her.

Off in a huff went Lara, her fourteen year old daughter. Her father and Celeste had been unhappy for many years and had been apart for almost a year, and that didn’t matter to her: she didn’t want her Mom living with her new guy.

There I was. The new guy. Ughh.


Off she went. In a huff. In the middle of the night. Big drama. Big show.

And she’s fourteen, right? She’s a pain in the ass, nasty to her Mom.

Which is to say: the whole usual teenage thing.


And me in all my wisdom? I decide to get all twisted about her being “selfish.”

Which I could make a great case for; after all wasn’t she throwing hissy fit after hissy fit? (I.e. acting 14).

And then a pleasant and slightly stunning light bulb went on: I was the selfish one.

Why?

When Lara threw her hissy fits, it upset her mom, Celeste.

Result?  Celeste and I had less fun. Me, me, me, with less fun. Poor me!


This upset MY selfish wish to have great times, all the time, with Celeste.

Ha!

I was a hypocrite (this has been discovered since, many times) and that was funny and a relief. She was selfish. I was selfish. So be it.


And guess what? Once my mind got clear, our relationship got clear. Like this:

One day she was over visiting us and I decided to tell her my discovery about me being the “selfish” one.

What teenager doesn’t want to hear an adult admit that they are an ass?

She lightened up and when I left to go to a garden I was caring for, she shouted out after me, “Goodbye, Selfish Chris.”

We were friends ever after, including some very interesting times when Celeste and I had amicably decided to part and Celeste super quickly found the husband that was just right for her.


And you?

And me?

This is such a common occurrence that there is a folk phrase: WHEN I STICK OUT ONE FINGER IN ACCUSATION, THREE FINGERS ARE POINTING BACK AT ME.

.


Turn Around Game/ Exercise #2: 

Being free instead of Right.

One finger out, three back.

Think of someone you’ve got a nice juicy one word condemnation for. Selfish. Lazy. Avoidant. Whatever.

Be accusative: point your hand, one finger out at some imaginary them. Let yourself be all crunched in and tight breathed when you believe this story.

Then

Stand straighter. Wiggle your body a little. Look at some nature if you can. And then….

JUMP to a new spot, and pick one of the fingers that is pointing toward you. Smile and discover one way, this is you, too. If so and so is mean or selfish or inconsiderate, find one way that you are.

Alas, and then…

JUMP to another freedom spot, and pick another finger pointing back toward you. Smile, breathe deeply and find one more way this is you.

Alas, three fingers pointing back. JUMP a third time, and feel the third finger pointing back and find, alas, one more way this is YOU TOO. Yep. YOU TOO.

You and the other: imperfect humans. Damn! or, Goody!




Now make sure you did that.

It’s not something we usually like to do.

It’s something we are very glad, once we’ve done it.

And … and the eating crow part, the admitting our own flaw part, is usually not popular.

At first. 

Then it can be quite humorous.

Or life changing.


Another story:

Sally Ann and I had been together for four or five years.

This is 1997-8 and things are disintegrating fast.

We had a lot in common, and for the last year we’d been arguing a lot. I was wondering and journalling about how much longer I could stick it out.

Then she decided for me: she spent more and more time with Joe.

He was actually a pretty good guy. He just wasn’t me.

Being a jerk and acting out of my wounded heart instead of my real heart, I jump full throttle into the I’m right/ you’re wrong game.

I started to slam her for wasting her time with Joe. (Instead of sticking around so we could argue about all the things we usually argued about, and now, we could argue about why she was wasting time with Joe, who was new and adored her, when she could be around me, telling her how bad and deceitful she was to be hanging out with him.)

I got more jealous.

I sad more harsh and stupid things.

She went more and more away.

(PS, the best way to get rid of someone who’s leaving you is to be mean and judgmental about their “sin” of wanting a new and better life. Works almost every time.) 


And then she was gone.


I didn’t take it well.

The usual anger plus self-pity, plus looking for allies to see “my side” to the story.

A jerk.

Oh, well. We almost always are when we act out of our wounded heart.


And then, not too long after she left I discovered something called the work of Byron Katie.

Katie is a woman who “woke up,” from ten years or more of alcoholism and chain smoking and obesity and yelling at her family.

She had this blessed moment of grace,  of laying on the floor in a halfway house, feeling unworthy of even laying on a bed, and a cockroach crawled across your ankle.

She had, as she calls it, “a moment of clarity.”

All the old thoughts she’d believed and identified with, they all dissolved. She was just left alive and with an open mind.

Laughter.

Joy.

Freedom.


And her suffering was over.

And she fell back into the “I am right” suffering, occasionally when she’d have a thought at war with reality: like, “My mother should have been more kind.”

She then would plummet, which for her must have been a huge fall from her complete freedom and bliss of not believing her thinking.

And, being in reality, she noticed that difference, that huge difference, one of the most significant differences we can notice in life: when I believe my thinking I suffer. Without my thinking, either by having no thinking or by not believing my thinking, I am free.


She invented a system to free herself and many others from the curse/ misery/ suffering of believing our thoughts. I’s called “the work of Byron Katie.” (You can see and “do” it at http://thework.com ).


A brief synopsis of this simple and yet powerful work is:

Judge your Neighbor

Write it down

Ask four questions

Turn it around.


We’ll come to the four questions later.


For now, we are going to exult in the pathway of discovering the beam in our own eye, vs the goldarned mote in the other’s eye.

To wit: TURN IT AROUND.

Which means what we’ve said: So and so is a liar. I’m a liar. So and so should be more kind. I should be more kind.


And with Sally Ann and Joe?

Sally Ann should love me more.

This, when I believed it made me the sad, sad, mad, mad victim.


And what of a turn around?

I should love Sally Ann more.

After all, fighting or no fighting, I actually did love her. (This is why breakups break you up: you love the other person, but are just caught in patterns where it’s impossible to let this out).

So, at first it was just words: “I should love Sally Ann more.”

And then it struck me: I SHOULD/ COULD love Sally Ann more.

Which meant, being happy for her that she was happy with Joe.

This seemed intellectually impossibly, but once my heart went there, it was as if a dam burst: I was free to really be happy for her, to be glad that she was getting what she wanted.

Life was so much easier with loving her for what she’d chosen.

This wasn’t about me.

This was about her.

With the wonderful upside:

I was free.

And could be happy again.


Interestingly enough, this is almost always true: whomever we lament as not loving us enough, we can always love them more.

They might be total rats, and we have to stay away from them, and yet still: we can love them more.

This is good news.

Try it:


Turn Around/ Freedom, I’m not right and you’re not wrong Game/  Exercise #3:

Pick someone in your life.

Even your husband or your wife.

Feel the part of you that feels: they should love me more.

Then, stand up, jump around a bit, find a pleasant spot on which to stand, as usual, preferably looking outside, and try out this possibility:

“I could love this person more.”

Enjoy discovering a couple or many ways.


Notice the difference: what does that do for your happiness and freedom?


What difference does this make in your ease around this person?

What difference does this make in you, not having the be Mr/ Mrs/ Miss Perfect any more?

What difference does this make in being more happy and joyous in life?


Enjoy your days, and day, and all the turn around days from now on.

Awareness in the Glorious Ongoing Now

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Week One —  Day Two: 

AWARENESS IS YOU 

BREATHING

GRAVITY

LIGHT & SOUND



We are alive.

You are alive.

Right now.

And now.

And now.

As the now flows into a new now, each instant being too short to capture, but the flow of our experience in the moment is our life.

If we aren’t present to that flow, we aren’t present to our life.


So often, we loose life in an internal yammer, and an external hurry, an internal worry, and an external moving ourselves around without awareness. And life is going on. There are colors to see. People to appreciate. Our own aliveness to be thrilled about.

Thrill?

Yes. 


Play this game now . . .


I AM ALIVE Game/ Exercise #1:

Hold your breath.

Keep holding as long as you can.

Within this holding see if an awareness sparks in you: I am alive and I need to breathe to stay alive.

Smile.

Breathe.


That’s it.

This is a fundamental truth, and as the saying goes, “the truth will set us free.”

We are alive.

Without breathing we die.


And breathing is very much like this ongoing, moveable, delicious now. Breathing in leads to a pause or to breathing out. Breathing out leads to a pause or breathing in.

We can direct the breath, and luckily, it flows in and out without us just fine, or we’d die in our sleep.

When we follow our breathing we have a place to put our attention.


Mindful is thrown around a lot, and one way to hone in on it, is to compare it to its opposite: mindless.

WE CAN BE MINDFUL OR MINDLESS.


Mindless is the usual life of inner yammer. Words in our head posing as “thinking”, but instead a mishmash sentences and stories and rehearsals and dramas that have nothing to do with right now. Yammering away.


And usually yammering not about how great life was yesterday, or how great life could be today. No, the usual yammer is: this went wrong, that could go wrong, this person done me wrong, that person “should” blah blah, that person “shouldn’t” blah  blah, poor me, I’m so overwhelmed, I’m going to be late, and on and on and on.

And this doesn’t even include stewing over the news, which in this the time of Trump and global warming, can be a bit harrowing.


And where to go to escape this chatter, this inner yammer, this bad news words in the head non-thinking parade?


To the now, to the now, to the now, now, now.

Which is changing, moving.

Being “in the now” is like surfing, the moment is always changing and in a way, it’s thrilling to be right there with it.

Nice treat about this moment now thing: it’s always here. Changing into the next now moment, sure, but so what: this moment is always here and we can experience our lives in the ongoing changing now.

How?


This is the easiest way: Follow your breathing.

It’s the easiest meditation.

Following your breathing is not just a great starter meditation, it’s:

A great way to do the dishes.

A great way to drive.

A great way to listen to music.

A great way to listen to another person.

A great (though quite difficult) way to read. Like now? Sure try.

And . . .

It’s equal to gratitude as a way out of trouble, worry, and inner obsession with all the ways we waste our inner attention.


Here goes:


Awareness Game/ Exercise #2

Sit in meditation, eyes open or closed.

Or stand or take a walk in nature.

Or lay down and let this fall into a nap if you wish.

Or do this at night if you wake up and don’t want to sabotage yourself in the usual way (a bunch of…. “I need to get back to sleep” worry words in your head)


THE GAME: FOLLOW THE SENSATION OF BREATHING IN AND BREATHING OUT. COUNT THE BREATHS UP TO SIX. THEN AGAIN. AND AGAIN.


Breath one:

As you breathe in notice what is shifting and changing in your body and in the flow of air as you breathe in. Relax your body a little more.

As you breathe out, smile, feel what shifts your body makes as you breathe out, feel the air going out and say….One.


Two: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Two.


Three: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Three.


Four: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Four.


Five: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Five


Six: As you breathe in notice and sense what is happening to your body and to the air. Relax a bit more.

Breathing out, same: notice and sense your body, feel the air, keep smiling and count…Six.


Then start over again at one.

If you get lost, so what? Start again at one.

Watch out for and be amused by inner yammer telling your to do better.


And if other yammer wants to come, don’t try to force it away. Instead keep the undercurrent of your attention on the ongoing now of breathing in and breathing out.


This can be VERY ENJOYABLE.



Try this for at least ten minutes. Preferably twice today.

And once is great.


Enjoy whatever length you pick.

Smile extra deeply when you catch yourself having lost the count.


As Einstein said: Show me someone who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who has learned nothing.


And what is you are saying, “The hell. Who has ten minutes?”

You do.


And, try this breath counting at other times:

Well, try these two sets of times:

One BETWEEN THINGS.

Carol, my wife whom I met as part of several of the magical tools I’ll be presenting in this book, and I study meditation under an enlightened American Zen teacher of the name Adyashanti. His workshops are fairly large (and amazingly worthwhile) and he tells of his teacher, a woman in her fifties when teaching him, who was raising five children. Her “quiet” time was often walking down the hall between one child’s room and the next.


Two : SLOW DOWN, EXTERNALLY IMPOSED PAUSE TIMES

Like a red light

Like waiting for someone who isn’t ready yet

Or, is late to meet you.


Three: THE SIMPLE TASKS OF LIFE

Dishes.

Sweeping.

Putting away groceries.

Cooking.

Easting. (Eating is hard, you might find.)

And best of all: Listening to other people.


Awareness Game/ Exercise Life Transformative Practice #3

While listening to people, restrain your urge to say the wonderful, brilliant thing you are so anxious to say.

Count and follow your breathing while you are listening to them.


How few of us are really present with our friends, our co-workers, people in shops, and most of all . . . our loved ones, children, mate, parents.

Listen and breathe.

Listen and be present.


YOUR PRESENCE IS REALLY THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE. LOVE IN ACTION. SO SIMPLE. SO UNCOMMON. SO TRANSFORMATIVE


Enjoy the ongoing now.

Enjoy know the truth: you are alive, breathing in and breathing out.


MORE AWARENESS: GRAVITY


Awareness/ Wake Up Game/ Exercise #4:

Take a walk

Either in your house where you can watch out the windows into some nature as you walk

Or: outside

Don’t drive to nature. Just walk and be under the five mile high sky.

Notice your breathing and count to six

Notice gravity and which leg/ foot is pressing down into the Earth

Notice gravity and notice how the Earth is pushing up into one leg/ foot at a time


Enjoy breath plus gravity

Welcome to Life on Earth


MORE AWARENESS: LIGHT AND SOUND


Awareness / Wake Up Game / Exercise #5:

Take a walk

Count your breathing to six as you walk

Notice your feet and legs in gravity

Pay attention to what you are seeing and hearing in the moment


NOTICE THAT EVERYTHING IS CHANGING

BREATH IN/ BREATH OUT

WHICH LEG IS PRESSING INTO AND BEING SUPPORTED BY THE EART

THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF YOUR WORLD


This can be a lot of fun.

And notice what is missing in all of this:

Worry about yesterday

Plans for tomorrow

The usual yammer chatter of words in our head.


This is awake.

This is aware.

This is mindful.


This is you, alive in your life, and enjoying that life, now.


Enjoy your day.

Who are We, really? Beyond words and "thoughts," what is left?

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True Meditation

What is the Meaning of Life?

Who am I?

What is this miracle of Being Alive?


We are alive.

Usually we are too busy doing this and doing that to notice.

And then one day, one hour, one minute, one breath . . . and we are no longer alive. What did it all mean?

Most people don’t cultivate this awareness, this understanding, this connection with the depth of what is means to be alive.

So be it.


This book is for those who hunger for that connection.

And it takes time and attention away from the usual places we put our time and attention.

Yesterday’s meditation, the two arms and our two legs and our taking in of reflected light and sound coming in each moment… this gives us a solid basis for living in the world. We have somewhere to go besides the usual “lost in thought” that is most of life for most people.

And tragically, most of the “thought,” which is really “words/ talking in our head,” and not real thinking ( the perception of differences and a curiosity to explore new combinations and perspectives of differences), most of words in the head non-thinking is a bummer. Worry. Resentment. Complaining. Victim stuff. Muddled mingling of too many plans at once. 

And the greatest slavery of all:

THE GREATEST SLAVERY OF HUMANITY IS WORRYING/ CARING/ OBSESSING ABOUT WHETHER OTHERS APPROVE OF US AND OUR ACTIONS.

FEAR OF DISAPPROVAL IS THE OTHER SIDE.


So, that’s the usual lot: not such a great way to live.


And you, wonderful reader, have a whole batch of ways out of that mess:

Gratitude

Following your breathing

Sensing your arms and legs

Writing gratitudes

Writing deep heart goals

Talking/ listening without interruption or commenting

Touching/ experimenting one hand to another

Holding hands with gratitudes, or present awareness


This is a lot.

And this can give you a basis, just those, for a life at a much, much deeper and more wonderful level than is usually lived.


And today, it’s meditation as a dive into the mystery, the deepest mystery perhaps, the mystery of WHO AM I?


The caveat on this is that the answer HAS be BEYOND THINKING/ BEING WORDS.

Even good/ real thinking.


Who we are is deeper than words, deeper than thought.

Some people go to nature to experience this, or listen to classical music, or get in “the flow” as they sail or play golf or basketball.


And what would “the flow” be like, AS EXPERIENCE, if it were just BEING.


This is the wonder and glory of life.

We are human beings.

We are human doings.


Without the experience of our being we are truly incomplete.


And how do we go about this?

All the ways listed above and….


A meditation toward the wonder of life that goes like this:


WHO AM I meditation

Sit somewhere, more or less upright

(Later walking, laying down, swimming, all sorts of other avenues are welcome to you)

Follow your breathing for awhile.

Notice your pelvis for awhile.

Smile as you breathe out.

Sense your arms and legs as the foundation.

And then, LET GO

Let go of knowing what to do next

Let go of trying to solve any problems

Thinking will come, usually, and let go of believing it.

Let go of believing you have to continue the thinking, have to solve the puzzle it wants to gnaw at.

Let go of believing any emotions you are feeling.

Sense the emotions as bodily sensations, but get beneath that to the I AM ALIVE FEELING OF BEING IN A BODY, BREATHING RIGHT NOW

Let one moment become the next

LET GO OF HOLDING ON TO ANY MOMENTS

Just be.

EXPERIENCE YOUR EXPERIENCE RIGHT NOW, AS THE NOW KEEPS MOVING, AND DON’T DEMAND THAT YOU HAVE THE WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT.

EXPERIENCE YOUR EXPERIENCE.


More could probably be said about this.

And . . . let go of trying to “do it right”


Always there is the breath to return to.

Always there are your arms and legs to provide the foundation.

Add your spine too if you’d like.

The body is the carrier of who we really are.


THE TRICK IS TO DISCOVER WHAT’S LEFT WHEN WE DON’T TIE OUR EXPERIENCE BACK TO WORDS.

What is reality?


This can be wonderfully peaceful.

This can be annoying: if I don’t have words to explain to others my great understandings, what good is this. (Slavery and wanting outer approval, right?)

This can be transformative.


And just do it for awhile.

A couple of 10, 20, 30 minute meditations a day.

Maybe a little longer if you are gung-ho.

But not too much.


There is too much life to be lived, and in gratitude and connection and real listening and sensing your arms and legs, life will be very full.


And tomorrow, we’ll expand our ongoing life even more.


For now, though, enjoy your day.

4 minute/ 4 minute talking. Real listening. Real presence.

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Week One - - - Day Four

Love, Love

LISTEN

Without interrupting

A whole new world


As I’ve mentioned, this book is a gift from gratitude to the many amazing teachings and learning I’ve fallen into, pursued and benefitted from in a moderately long life (so far 73 years, looking for another 50, if the human species lasts that long)/

Here’s something I love, that came into my life this way.


I’m living in Sonoma the town above San Francisco bay in my fifties. So this is the 1990’s.

 My kids have grown up in Berkeley and I was just across the town line in Oakland most of the time, after nine years with their Mom. The kids, Brendan and Wenonah, are off to college and I can move to Sonoma and pursue the more rural and organic large garden life.

I help design and get going a five acre teaching and permaculture organic garden at the edge of town.

I love independent bookstores.

There is a great one in Sonoma, called Readers’ Books.

They have book readings, of which I attend a lot.

One night it’s a book, Be Heard Now.

It’s by a guy in Marin who invented a way to overcome stage fright by asking people to listen to him with full attention and only praise after.

He then invented something called Speaking Circles, where everyone around a circle of 5 - 12 people shares whatever is on their mind for three minutes.

No interruption.

No talking about anything anyone else said when it becomes your turn.


So my girlfriend and I, after attending the talk, attend one of his workshops. And then a couple more.

It’s pretty great.

Girlfriend and I try, as recommended this back and forth with each other in five minute turns.


This girlfriend, Celeste, a shy athletic garden loving yoga teacher, was the youngest in her family and had be pseudo-married (lived together 18 years, had two wonderful daughters together) to a semi-famous artist who pretty much sucked all the air out of a room with attention demands wherever he was.

To wit: Celeste wasn’t used to getting a word in edgewise, almost anywhere, including, unfortunately, mr smart guy, me.


And so: we try the 5 minute, 5 minute thing and on her second turn, realizing she could really truly have her say without interruption, she began to cry. In her whole life, she’d never really been listened to.


I’ve done this with my son, with friends, with strangers, at parties where people wanted to be real but didn’t know how (small groups huddled together on New Year’s Eve, say). Usually the results are fairly wonderful.


Why?

People want to be heard.


So, if you have a mate, give this a go.

If you have a friend and want to get closer, give this a go.

If you have a stranger at work, and you want to see what happens, give this a go.

If you have a relative you feel at loose ends with, give this a go.

if you have a relative you know you’d like to get more real with, give this a go.


Like this


Love and Communication Exercise/ Game #1

Sit across from each other.

Breathe deeply and comfortably.

Look each other in the eye.

Use a timer and talk for 4 minutes. Later you can make it five, seven, ten, even fifteen minutes.

Take a deep breath again and start the timer.


Speaker:

Be as present as you can.

Actually listen to your own words, don’t just say them.

Look the other person in the eye.

Sense your body in gravity.

Slow down and listen inside for what’s really important to say.

No comments on what they other person said in their turn.


To speak and to be present is an amazing experience.

Not being interrupted helps.

Knowing that what you say isn’t going to be commented on, is huge.


Listener:

No interrupting.

Even facial gestures.

Breathe deeply and sense yourself.

Eye contact.

If you find yourself “thinking” of a response, let it go, knowing there is a rule to this game: when your turn comes, you can’t comment on what they said.


Really listening is far harder than we thinking.

And then, almost a miracle, it become extremely relaxing when we let go of have to formulate our response.

Why don’t we have to do that?

Because we keep our talking turn out of the other person’s business and also out of any response to what they said.

So, there two are constraints/ gifts to real communication…


Speaker:

No comments on the other person. Or one what they said in their turn.

None of the wonderful help/ advice/ wisdom you have about what they said

No hot button topics (if their family drives them crazy, don’t talk about that; if Trump is agonizing/ disturbing, don’t talk about that)

No talking about “the relationship.” There are ways to do that, but this isn’t it

If you can’t think of anything to say:

Be silent (the other can’t help you out, or start early)

Or

Talk gratitude

Or

Talk present awareness ( I notice I’m breathing in. I notice the sun on the leaves outside the window. I notice I’m slightly slumped over. Try to avoid “pain and complain” remarks about the present. An overfortunate fallout from so little body awareness is that people can talk about their bodies only as a collection of pains.

Don’t.)


And so this is “artificial.”

Yeah, great.

Most conversations are two people who have nothing to say, dying to interrupt each other to say that.

Huge amounts of most conversation are the not listening of preparing our own wonderful response instead of letting the other finish with real listening.

A huge amount of avoiding vulnerability is giving advice etc to another person, or various subtle one-up tidbits.

A huge amount of talking is not paying attention to the present or to the other person.


It’s a mess.


And, speaking is hard to be present.

Listening is an almost lost skill.


There’s a great usefulness to zero talking at meditation retreats.

This is zero talking while another person talks.

Even talking to yourself inside about the brilliant/ useful thing you have to say in response.

It’s a shift. A wonderful shift.


Take at least three turns talking and three listening.


See what happens.


Enjoy your day.

Breath plus spine plus improving sex and ease

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Week One - - - Day Two

Now Now

IMPROVE SEX:

MOVE YOUR PELVIS

BE IN TRUTH:

YOUR HEAD OVEN YOUR PELVIS IN THE WORLD OF GRAVITY


Sit, as yesterday at the front of a chair or bench or stool. Or rock, or log.

Hips higher than knees if possible.

Both feet on the ground, for sure.

Not leaning back ( a form of “laying down” that many/ most fall prey to, way too much of the time, to ruinous effect of back and neck “issues,” as well as getting humpback and shortened as we grow older)


Gravity Game/ Exercise #1

Sit with both feet on the floor and at the front edge of whatever you are sitting on.

Feel your head being held up by your spine.

Feel your spine being held up by your pelvis.

Make small movements that seem to help your spine carry this small but real weight of your heads — 10% of our body weight — in a weightless way.

Weightless?

Yes. Bone are strong. They can easily hold up each other with absolutely no muscular effort except micro-micro-movements to line them up.

Indeed: THE FUNCTION OF THE SKELETON IS TO RENDER US WEIGHTLESS IN GRAVITY.


Keep sitting with your head more or less over your spine more or less over your pelvis,. and feel the pelvis held up by the bench or whatever.

Feel a small percentage of the weight into gravity, the weight of your legs, is held up by your feet on the floor.


IN THIS SPINE AND FOOT AND GRAVITY COGNIZANT MORE, ADD IN YESTERDAY’S MEDITATION:

SIX COUNTS OF BREATHING IN AND COUNTING AND SIX COUNTS OF BREATHING OUT AND SMILING.


This seems petty. “Just” breathing. “Just” counting breaths to six. “Just knowing if we are breathing in or out. “Just knowing/ feeling/ sensing we have a head over a spine over a pelvis in gravity.


And yet it is huge.


Now, now..

Let’s do it for at least a few rounds of getting to six in our breathing/ attention game/ exercise. (Exercise indeed, of our brain and attention, two of our most valuable resources.)


Okay. It was quite peaceful and so-called “centering” for me. The breath is near our center, yes? And attention too. And our spine, our central axis.


All pretty good.


AND NOW LET’S GET SEXY:


Sexy movement while sitting exercise/ game #1:

Sit at the front, as before, both feel on the floor, as before 


Alternative between two positions of your spine as you breath in and breath out


BREATHING IN

As you breathe in, allow your belly to expand a bit

As if air is filling it up

To help with this, rock forward just a bit on your pelvis, as if you are lifting your tailbone a bit off the bench/ chair/ stool.

Lift your sternum just a bit as if expanding your top ribs upward

Tilt your head and nose and eyes just a little upward, not a lot.


The result is what we will call ARCHING YOUR BACK



And now, the other way:


BREATHING OUT

As you breathe out, allow your belly to come in, as if that will help push your air out

To help with this rock your weight on your pelvis backward, as if pushing the tailbone side of your pelvis into the chair/ bench/ stool.

Allow your sternum of fold down a little, slump as it were.

Head, too, somewhat falls/ slumps forward, as your nose and eyes point more toward the ground.

BACK ROUNDING,  is what we’ll call this BELLY IN/ SLUMP posture.


This is a mixture of breath and belly often used in yoga as deeply relaxing.


AND MAKE THIS A BREATH COUNTING MEDITATION

By counting the in and out breaths from one to six and starting over.


This seems like “a lot.”

It is with our attention.

It is far less in actuality than driving or even walking or getting dressed, but we have gotten our learning lost in the rush of life.

Now, this book, every moment for the rest of your life, you have breath and gravity to include in your attention, or not.


Interesting opportunity, eh?


Now, now is the time to practice the six breath tailbone shifting, spine shifting, back arch and round shifting combination.

You may well find this EXTREMELY RELAXING.


And we have to do it to find out.

So, let’s . Now, now, let’s do it and see what happens.

What did?\


Maybe jot a few notes in this big, beautiful empty page.


Or, go chat with your mate about this, if you have one.


Or take a walk and enjoy the fullness of a spine and gravity and breathing. They will definitely be with you on your walk.


Enjoy your day.

Six breaths in, six breaths out.... a very basic staying in the moment game/ exercise

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Week One —  Day One: 

Truth

BREATHING IN/ BREATHING OUT



I have made many mistakes in my life.

Some I have learned from.

Some of this learning was (and is) painful.

Some is blissful.


This book is my offering to you, in various attempts to shift into the life I believe we are all meant to live: one of presence, happiness, love and contribution to humanity and the planet.

None of this is to be believed.

All of this is an offering, to be tried.


Why try?

Ah, here’s the rub:

IF SOMETHING ISN’T GOING RIGHT, WE ARE BETTER OFF DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT. ANYTHING DIFFERENT.


And another rub: the tragedy of most of our suffering is that we are doing/ doing/ doing and forgetting that we are human BEINGS. So sometimes, even often, the “doing something different” means, doing nothing, or doing almost nothing.

Sitting with a cup of tea or coffee and watching the sky and the birds.

Meditating in a real (vs. trying to “do it right”) way.

Taking a walk in nature.

Sitting in nature.

Going to a window and looking out at nature.


Lots of nature in here, eh?


Awhile back, as the 1990’s veered into the 2000’s, I realized that this was my holy trinity: NOW, NATURE & LOVE.


And now, though I’ve learned tons about the obstacles to love and a few very fine ways to overcome those obstacles, it is almost 2020. And I am almost 75.

This book is my gift to you and to the world.

Take the learnings I’ve gleaned and see what wonders and delight you can create in your life.


And who are you?

One: Anyone wanting to live in the Now, Now.

Two: Anyone wanting more Love, Lust (as mindful and delicious sex connected to love; as well as your heart’s Lust for the Deepest most Meaningful Life possible) and Enlightenment, whatever that is. (Some guesses as we go along)

Three: Anyone willing and maybe even delighted to discover/ rediscover the glory of real learning. Learning in movement and a younger body. Learning in the heart and giving up the usual routes of suffering. Learning in love, and how to be the person we are meant to be when we live from our real heart and not our wounded heart.

Four: Those craving “making a difference” in a world of climate troubles and humanity troubles and our own emotional troubles. How to “shift/ heal/ revolve/ evolve/ transform a rather awful “system” to one of now, nature, love, fairness and abundance for all.


And the relationship possibilities:

Five: Those is a fair/ troubled relationship, wanting a wonderful one.

Six: Those in a great relationship wanting an even more wonderful one.

Seven: Those not in relationship, wanting a wonderful one.


And now, let’s do something to learn.

Something that we can do at any moment to transform our hearts and minds back to reality and truth.


Transformative Game/ Exercise #1:

Hold your breath.

Keep holding as long as you can.

Within this holding see if an awareness sparks in you: I am alive and I need to breathe to stay alive.

Smile.

Breathe.


That’s it.

This is a fundamental truth, and as the saying goes, “the truth will set us free.”

We are alive.

Without breathing we die.


And so, let’s end this chapter with our second game, a game you are free to do once or twice or even more times today.


It’s a very simple “meditation.” That doesn’t need to be done with eyes closed, but can be.


Transformative Game/ Exercise #2

Sit or stand or take a walk in nature, or outside.

As you breathe in notice this and count, One.

As you breathe out, smile, and look around if your eyes are open, or relax your body a bit more if they are closed, and say, Yes.


As you breathe in notice this and count, Two.

Breathing out, same: smile and relax, or smile and notice light, and say, Yes.


As you breathe in notice this and count, Three.

Breathing out, same: smile and relax, or smile and notice light, and say, Yes.


As you breathe in notice this and count, Four.

Breathing out, same: smile and relax, or smile and notice light, and say, Yes.


As you breathe in notice this and count, Five.

Breathing out, same: smile and relax, or smile and notice light, and say, Yes.


As you breathe in notice this and count, Six.

Breathing out, same: smile and relax, or smile and notice light, and say, Yes.


Then start over again at one.


This is an assumption I’ll make that may or may not be true.

The assumption is that to follow our breathing for six breaths is enlightenment.


Continue this counting to six breaths for some amount of time you set a timer to.

Three minutes.

Five minutes.

Twelve minutes.

Thirteen minutes.

Twenty-two minutes.

Thirty-three minutes.


Enjoy whatever length you pick.

Smile extra deeply when you catch yourself having lost the count.


As Einstein said: Show me someone who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who has learned nothing.


And what is you are saying, “The hell. Who has five minutes?”

Well, try these two sets of times:

One BETWEEN THINGS.

Carol, my wife whom I met as part of several of the magical tools I’ll be presenting in this book, and I study meditation under an enlightened American Zen teacher of the name Adyashanti. His workshops are fairly large (and amazingly worthwhile) and he tells of his teacher, a woman in her fifties when teaching him, who was raising five children. Her “quiet” time was often walking down the hall between one child’s room and the next.

Two : SLOW DOWN, EXTERNALLY IMPOSED PAUSE TIMES

Like a red light

Like waiting for someone who isn’t ready yet

Or, is late to meet you.


We’ve all got the times of dressing and walking to the car.


We’ve all got time.


So, it’s your present to make a present to yourself of being present to your breath.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

Six.



Enjoy the ongoing now.

Enjoy know the truth: you are alive, breathing in and breathing out.


Enjoy your day.

Spine, head, pelvis, sex and ease.... movement with awareness for learning and transformation

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Week One - - - Day Five

Movement / Gravity / Sex

The Glory of having Awareness

The Glory of having a Spine

The Glory of Movement with Awareness

The Glory of the Feldenkrais Method®


Here’s  weird bit of possible truth: THE FUNCTION OF OUR SKELETON IS TO MAKE US WEIGHTLESS IN GRAVITY.


Huh?

Well, if you sit on a firm chair or ledge or stool or even log of the right height (hips higher than knees) and don’t lean back, you have a chance to try for this: 

Head balanced on

Spine balanced on

Pelvis


There is no muscular effort involved in this. The muscles line everything up and then gravity pulls down through the bones, which are big and strong and everything else just hangs on them.

Like what?

Like your ribs.

Like your shoulder blades.

Like your arms.


It’s all a no work, no effort game.


And, alas, almost everyone, given the opportunity, leans against the back of the chair or couch behind them  (even wonderful me at the dinner table, though at lectures and meditation workshops and concerts  I’m usually one of very few people sitting to the front of their seats, head over spine over pelvis, and not leaning back).


So why try this?

If you ever have back, neck or shoulder issues, this is mandatory.

Learning back ALWAYS involves muscles having to take over the work of the spine, even though the leaning back appears to be “easier.” (Watch children. Unless they are worn out from hard play, they sit forward. Or if they are older and resistant, leaning back is a signal of withdrawal. It is, in fact, partially laying down, because that’s what laying down is: back against the bed/ floor/ ground.)


And, with some fun movement, this can be a way to discover the possible best ways your spine might want to be, and to IMPROVE YOUR SEX AND BREATHING LIFE.


Hmmmm.


Well, let’s try two variations of learning about our spine over pelivs, and then have a little chat about how the “miracle” of Feldenkrais® came into my life, and then have a couple more sex/ spine/ learning/ awareness games.


Spine and pelvis and sex exercise/ game #1

Find a chair or stool that is firm when you sit at the front edge, and allows your hips to be higher than your knees.

Just play with, not too rigidly, sitting with your back holding up your head.

Don’t worry about “straight.” Straight is for posts. You are a human being. 

Now try this movement :

Push your belly a bit forward as you tilt your weight toward the front part of your pelvis.

It’s like you’re raising your ass a bit off the stool/ bench.

As you do this arch your back in such a way that your sternum comes up a little.

And your head and nose and eyes point up a little.


Now, go the other way:

Belly in.

Pelvis weight to the back side, as if pressing to get your tailbone to the chair.

Sternum “slumped” forward.

Nose, head and eyes a bit down.


Do this back and forth a few time.


Now add on breathing:


Meditation as simple truth.... we breathe, in and out. We exist.... I AM

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Week One - - - Day Three

The Importance of Lust/ Desire

For the body

For the heart

For the soul


Let’s start with the soul.

What do you lust for, at the soul level?

As in Lust for Life?

As in Pursuit of Happiness? (And Pursuit back in the time that was written meant something more like an ongoing pastime, like the pursuit of gardening, or knitting, or even good friendship. So the pursuit of happiness was like an ongoing cultivation of happiness.)


AND… IS HAPPINESS AN ONGOING PURSUIT OF YOUR SOUL?


I suspect so.

Happiness without others, without love, is certainly not enough. But we all know, in our heart of hearts, that if we are plunging through our days, “getting things done,” even wonderful things like taking our kids to the soccer practice, if we aren’t happy along the way, we are wasting our life.


Let’s start with you beginning your exploration.

Get a paper, or a journal.

More writing?

Yes.


Soul Lust exercise/ game #1: Deep Goals

On a piece of paper, or in a journal you can label “Deep Goals”

Take at least three breaths and then slowly write a deep, soul goal.

Something that you are yearning for in your depths.

Take at least another three deep breaths. Perhaps stand and look into Nature as you take these breaths.

Then write another Deep Soul Goal.

Now, go to a window, whether you did last goal or not.

Move in some easy and body loving way with your arms over your head.

Notice and love nature.

Notice and love being alive and breathing.

Wait for a third deep heart/ deep soul goal to come to you.

Slowly walk to where you are writing and write it so slowly you feel as if your whole body and whole soul is writing this goal.


Smile.

Breathe deeply.

Pick up your journal and go to the window again, and read aloud the three deep soul goals you have written.


This is wonderful work.

Go slowly and gently with this.

Allow yourself to be proud of yourself for taking time to do this.


Often people need a nearly fatal accident or sickness in themselves or someone they love to be shocked into looking deeply into this truth:

I AM ALIVE. THIS IS A MIRACLE. WHAT DO I WANT TO BE AND DO INSIDE THIS MIRACLE OF MY LIFE?


So, what does your soul hunger for?

Peace?

Love?

World Peace?

Family reconciliation?

A soul mate?

Deep and easy great health?

A sense of deep purpose?

A part in healing the climate change problem?

A part in healing… racism, poverty, inequality, sexism, war…?

A way to do that and maintain inner peace?

A way to do that, to do everything and maintain inner joy?

Joy as the ongoing heart feeling?

Awareness of the ongoing and always changing present as a deep steadying center to your life?


These are all deep wishes of my soul.

These wishes are why I am writing this book.

I want millions of people to be happy, to have love despite the human condition (we are all assholes sometimes, unless we had perfect parents, which no one did).

I want millions of people to wake up to the delight of being present.

I want millions of people to wake up to a life of ongoing joy, even when things aren’t going our way.

I want these millions also to go beyond their small lives and make a difference in humanity and the planet, all the while enjoy presence and great sex and ongoing happiness/ joy.


One of my deep goals (that I wrote as I created the assignment… as I’ve said, this isn’t just a book for others. It’s for us, ALL OF US)  was this:


TO WRITE A BOOK WORTHY OF AND HONORING THE DEP GOOD FORTUNE AND AMAZING TEACHINGS I HAVE RECEIVED, AND ACHIEVED IN MY LIFE


One things to do with gratitude is to seek to pass on the learning and the good fortune.

This book is that gift to you.


And now….

Go slowly please.

See if you have a sense that you can shift into the three practices of the first three days as a daily gift/ learning/ nourishment practice in your ongoing life.

One: Writing and speaking gratitude each day

Two: Breathing easily while watching / connecting to Nature

Three: Getting quiet and asking your soul/ deep heart for what it wants.


AND NOW FOR SOMETHING THAT MIGHT SEEM DIFFERENT - - - THE BODY LEVEL OF LUST


This isn’t going to be about sex, yet.

And yet, sex is important.

If sex is a mindful connection of two real people, it can be transformative.


I’m of the good luck (see above) and ongoing practice where my wife and I have have sex more or less daily.

Sometimes more.

There are ways that can make this possible without viagra for a man over sixty.

There are ways that can make this an almost spiritual practice for both Carol and I.

And..

It is a great source of connection and pleasure.


And what does this have to do with you?


If you are a couple who is doing great, making sure of mindful daily touch/ caressing/ sex can be absolutely delightfully in notching up to an even higher level.


If you are a couple in trouble, this is going to take more time and patience, and some of the beginning practices, like stroking each other’s hands and feet, or holding hands while sharing gratitudes, or sleeping together naked with or without sex, will make the transition back to wonderful and wondrous far easier.


If you are alone now: so be it.

Later we’ll be exploring some of my great good fortune to spend time with Byron Katie, and some time learning how “Loving What Is” can be the solution to almost all emotional suffering and/ or impatience.

Which is to say: Loving What Is can call forth loving that you don’t yet have your mate.

What to do? Read on. Today’s practice is here for you and everyone.

Touch is part of life. Without it we aren’t really alive.


Here’s the beginners/ advanced/ all people lust touch game.


Mindful Lust Practice #1:

Find a pleasant and comfortable place to sit.

Hold your dominant hand in your other hand.

Slowly, to a timer, try at least these three mindful touching practices from one hand to the other:

One: squeeze gently in at least three places.

Two: explore the dominant hand with the other hand, as if you’ve never felt a hand before

Three: go very slowly in rubbing or stroking the one hand with the other. Pay slow and close and exquisite attention to the two halves of the touch:

What is the moving hand feeling?

What is the hand that is being touched feeling?

Notice the spot at which this exchange is happening.


Later we will create avenues to an amazing new sexual / non sex  connection using this. No hurry. Enjoy your day.

Week One - - - Day Four

“Meditation” as Truth

In/ Out

I / AM

Seventies: Thich Nhat Hahn and “Seekers After Truth”


One of the delights of my present life is to have been trained, with my wonderful wife, in a coaching system called Co-Active Coaching. It combines the “active,” as in what are you wanting deeply to DO in your life, and the “co” as a stand-in for the cooperative nature of the coaching (asking questions rather than giving advice) and a stand in ( a bit farfetched, but it will have to do) for the BEING side of life.

There is a Biblical phrase I quite love, something to the effect of : What profit a person to gain the world if they lose their soul?


You know plenty of people like that: they are so-called successful, and have the cars and the house and the pretty kids in the good schools and they are miserable and they are assholes.

And,

let’s be honest: we all have had periods in our life, or maybe still have them where we are busy gaining the world, and losing our souls.


And why mention Co-Active coaching other than to tell you a cool part of my life now I hope to be helping pass on to you?

Because it came from some very aware and seemingly wonderful people who were deeply involved in the Berkeley and Bay Area renaissance of the 1970’s.

People were meditating, and diving into the Now, and connecting with Nature and trying deeply to Make Sense of It All.

The co-active people discovered three great paths to help everyone with their individual search to Make Sense of It All.

One: shift perspectives. We’ll have tons of fun with this, especially as we cultivate Not Believing our Thinking.

And we already have one of the great perspective shifters of all time: How do you or I shift when we come out of worry/ complaint to gratitude?


Two: Look to the deeper goals for your life.

We just did that yesterday.

All the worry about Joe or Betty not returning my call pales in comparison to my larger goal of Waking Up to Now, or Creating an Amazing Book for world transformation.


Three: Come into the freedom and clarity of living in and experiencing our now.

Which is always changing.

And always there. Always here. Always now turning into now turning into now.


And this leads to today’s three games.

Now.

Now.

Now.


And the underlying phrase: THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.


Game/ exercise #1 in Truth and Now

Sit somewhere quiet.

Outside in nature might be better.

And right where you are now is just fine.

Notice your breathing.

This is truth. You are breathing in and you are breathing out.

There might be pauses in between, but if you aren’t dead, you are breathing, and you do have awareness that can notice breathing.

Say exactly two things for two or five or ten minutes:

IN

OUT.

Guess when you say IN?

Guess when you say OUT?


This is using our language to anchor us back to the truth. We are breathing IN sometimes.

We are breathing OUT sometimes.


Try it now.

Set the timer for two minutes just to get the flavor of this.

IN.

Out.


Go.

Now. 


I did this in combination with looking out a window and one of what is called, in one of the wonderful disciplines Carol and I are involved in, an “energy exercise.”

In today’s “energy exercise” I took one arm up over and behind my head, so that hand was touching my back and gently held my elbow with the other hand. Try this if you wish, and it is not at all necessary to the In/ Out.

You can just stand. You can just sit. You can lay down. You can walk.


The wondrous shift is to put your verbal attention on just two words, IN and OUT, and have them in the truth of you, in your movable and wondrous “Now,” breathing in and out.


Can you feel how relaxing this is?


MORE WONDERS FROM THE SEVENTIES:

“SEEKERS AFTER TRUTH”


In the seventies, I lived in Berkeley with the mother of my children. My daughter Wenonah had been born in San Jose in 1970, while I was teaching school (to stay out of being drafted for the Vietnam war, a war I deeply disapproved of, to much familial anguish, since my father had fought in WWII, a war with real good guys and bad guys) in Gilroy.

The Gilroy hospital wouldn’t let men in the delivery room, so Wenonah Rainbow Elms was born on December 2, 1970 in San Jose, about thirty miles north, on a day full of… you guessed it… rainbows.

Before Brendan Kahlil (reading Kahlil Gibran’s “ The Prophet” in the delivery room) Elms was born in Berkeley on March 24, 1976, the mother of my children, Peggy Elms, and I were deeply involved in something called “Seekers After Truth.”

This group was fairly large (30-40 people) and we were the sixth of perhaps 13 different segments that got formed in Berkeley in the seventies. Tons of all the things that informed the Co-Active coaching: meditation, gestalt, self-examination, group sharing/ encounters.

On and on.

But at the core this idea: we can be present. All the time.

And it’s hard.

But thrilling.


There was tons of meditating, sometimes all night, and many of us wrecked various parts of our bodies (me, one knee) with this over- zealous meditating.

And the style was often something I highly DON’T recommend: watching your thinking.


But after a few years of this, we were given a task which really seemed to work, the I AM ongoing meditation.


Like this:


Truth and Now Game/ Exercise #2

As you sit, lay, walk, stand notice your breathing.

As you breathe in say I.

As you breathe out say AM.


This is a fundamental truth of our existence.

Many people wait until near their deathbed to realize this.

Other people watch a baby being born and realize: here is a new I AM in the universe.

Doesn’t matter how or when this realization comes to you.

Now we do it purposely.


Now.

Really now.


Set the timer for another two minutes. (Later pick a larger number).

Follow your breathing.

As you breathe in, say to yourself I.

As you breathe out, say to yourself AM.


Feel what this dive into fundamental truth does for you.


As always, let us not bullshit, wait until we are less busy, think this is a good idea for others.

We get to try something new.

Now.


Find your timer and dive into I…. AM . . . I . . . AM . . . I . . . AM


AND HOW DID THAT GO?

AND WHAT IF YOU DID THAT ALL DAY?:


It might be pretty interesting.

As a vacation from all the “thinking” we do, which is often untrue, and almost always a waste of time.

Unless it’s real thinking, which is solving problems, usually by noticing differences, one of the two things brains are good at. More on this later.

Now… the now of… I . . . AM.


How was that for you?

Would you like to do that more, during your day?


You might imagine various times in the day that is ahead, when this could be a wake up call to the reality of your being alive.

Right now.


AND NOW, THICH NHAT HAHN, BUDDHIST HERO



Sorry not to have the chronology totally exact, but somewhere in here, for those of us seeking the ongoing and eternal now, Thich Nhat Hahn burst on the scene. A Buddhist monk with the credentials of staying calm in Vietnam as he and his followers took to a path of ongoing peacefulness by following their breathing even as the US bombs were raining down on his country.

When the war was over he used the breathing and knowing our breathing in the ongoing now as a large part to a healing work he did when he came to the US and assisted former US military with guilt about what they had done.

He had books with titles like Peace is Every Step.

He had phrases like Present Moment, Beautiful Moment.


He had a super delicious meditation that went like this.


As you breathe in, relax your body.

As you breathe out, smile.


I’m going to modify this a bit in line with some further work I’ve done in two marvelous disciplines: The Gurdjieff Work and the Feldenkrais Method®.

More on them in future chapters. 

For now this is all you need to know:

Gurdjieff was an enlightened Russian sage who taught from 1906 to his death in 1946, all over Europe, ending near Paris. He was clear that meditation had to be an ongoing part of life, that people were mainly “asleep” and that “waking up” had to occur part of parcel with regular, ongoing life. His meditation included an ongoing “sensing” of our arms and legs.

Feldenkrais® was Moshe Feldenkrais, a rather remarkable man, who at 14 left his family to walk alone (though gathering a hefty crowd along the way) from Poland to Palestine in 1918. He was the first European judo teacher sanction by Kano, the Japanese developer of judo, in the 1930’s.

While he was getting his PhD in Physics/ Engineering at the Sorborne, again in Paris.

When his knees went very bad from overly fierce competition in soccer, he went to a regular doctor for an operation and was told that there was a 50/50 chance of his being crippled after the operation.

He scoffed, I’m a scientist. I can flip a coin for 50/50.

And any experiment not at least 90% probable, isn’t worth taking.


So he discovered a method of moving slowly and with great attention and far less effort than usual in movement improvement and much variation and tons of learning. ( Less effort and slower and lots of breaks = a chance for real learning, which, as we’ve said is noticing differences.)

His knees were always of the kind where the kneecap could be pushed all the way to the side (i.e., so called “worthless”) but he learned to function extremely well besides that. He developed hands on and group lessons of huge value to musicians and athletes and special needs children and anyone with a back, neck or shoulder (or knee!) issue.

More later on his discoveries of what real learning was, but for now, we’ll use his great discover of the “primary image” for our final meditation.

And what is the “primary image?” Moshe Feldenkrais realized that a child or a judo master has a primary body image much like the simple drawing of a human by a child.

A straight line for the spine.

Two lines for the legs.

Two lines for the arms.

A circle on top for the head.


This is HUGE in our brains.

If we tap into this we are truly “WAKING UP”  to a HUGE chunk of the real and nonverbal human who we are at the core.


So, skip all the Gurdjieff and Feldenkrais® stuff if you wish.


And try, enjoy, expand, delight in this - - - - - - ->>>>>>>


TRUTH AND NOW EXERCISE/ GAME #3.

Sit, stand, lay, walk, and

Set a timer for a few minutes.


NOTICE YOUR BREATHING.


AS YOU BREATHE IN, SENSE THE PRIMARY/ CHILD/ HUMAN YOU:

TWO LEGS

A SPINE

TWO ARMS

A HEAD.

Enjoy the fullness of how much of you being human entails.


AS YOU BREATHE OUT, SENSE YOUR HEART AND SMILE.


That’s it.

Skeletal framework that walks us around, and allows us to play tennis or cook or make life.

The smile of life, the joy of having heart.

Don’t try for joy.

Just sense your heart and see how that is.


Breathing in: five lines plus your head.

Breathing out: smile and sense your heart.


This is a gift.

Try this as much as you wish as often as you wish.


This is you, alive.

This is the miracle.


This allows us to feel the fullness of how much of us there is in the game of now in life, in the moving breathing in and breathing out now. …. WOW!!!