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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Enjoy the fullness of how much of you being human entails.
AS YOU BREATHE OUT, SENSE YOUR HEART AND SMILE.
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!!!