Friday, October 29, 2010

The only way forward is to keep making mistakes

Making mistakes means you're working at it, chewing on the chains. How to do this thing? To break free of the limitations and attachments. To play, show up, allow it to unfold and show us what is true.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It feels like I have been and am continuing to go through some fairly foundational transformative work. As often happens, it is driven by the body and its dramas. Body still feels like it requires lots of resting.

I am in a state of allowing, not wonder. Wonder would imply surprise. I am not surprised.

Holly, my dog, has been a fixture in many of my dreams. Like I take it for granted that she’s ‘here’ and yet I know she’s visiting me from the other side. I’m grateful for her showing up.

Gangaji talks about being not only willing but delighted if humanity enters a dark age. Sure seems like that’s where it’s going. Almost everyone I know is in complete denial about this. I’d like the world to be more compassionate but shouldn’t need it to be. Work towards it to the extent of my own ability but that starts with understanding me and my place in it and probably my contribution is to share that with others.

2:53 AM, I awake from a dream. Bink and I are going for coffee prior to a work day of logging with him. Another logger who has been relatively successful is sitting at the next table eating a steak and cinnamon roll for breakfast. He has the attitude of success and has earned it in human terms. He has worked hard and played his cards right.

My normal level of wanting to seem ‘as good as him’ arises. I get a little braggy about where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished. I’m a tad defensive, puffed up.

I awaken from the dream and see this type of ‘not enoughness’ and defensiveness around it in many of my interactions with people. How many times have I told this or that story about my successes or achievements? And had the sense that I’m better than this person or that person. And it’s easy to get kudos or to get approval for this kind of behavior in others because we’re just all wounded, f’ed up egos. Every one of us injured, wounded children really. And I’m talking about the people who are WORKING their stuff. Not even the sick ones like Rove and Cheney and Obama and Geithner. Holy Freaking Shit!

And I have a problem with this system of learning and discovery. I’m in resistance to it. Like THIS is the best method of becoming that the universe could devise? Injure us as children, build a really screwed up bunch of people who turn the lovely globe into a wasteland and reinjure others? WTF! Then I laugh of course, but REALLY!

And I wake up and write this. I have these realizations and I think this is progress! That I’m getting somewhere! Developing some new level of understanding. Like there’s meaning in it. And think if I share it, others might get some understanding from it.

And we are ALL in this same state! Just because this person or that person wants an interaction with me, thinks I have something to offer doesn’t mean I’m doing a better job of awareness than someone else. It’s in part just that they view me through THEIR wounded lens, their filters.

It’s beyond, ‘this is a bizarre planet, hahah!’. It’s mind bogglingly incomprehensible that this is how we function. Those of us who are paying a little bit of attention REVERE those very few who seem to have transcended the slightest level of this ludicrous game. Adya, Gangaji, Jed McKenna.

In addition, many who would be as good or better at this than I are so busy just trying to survive that they don’t have the time and energy to spare for this work. Others think that some kind of magic or ritual, lighting candles in various colors and locations, bowing to the East on full moon Tuesdays, is going to make it at least safe to be here on earth if not create some magical way of entering into truth.

The only way this makes any LOGICAL sense (not that logic necessarily seems to be a motivating force in the universe) is if there IS reincarnation. That this lifetime we work on ‘A’ and next lifetime we work on ‘B’ and so on.

5:10 AM – back to sleep.

Oh. One more thing. It feels like if I just do immaculate self care that I can get the most from this experience as possible. Feels like there’s some value in that.

You are handed asset cards and challenge cards when you come into this life and throughout your life. Then you play the game with the cards you have. They can be changed and that’s part of the work. And it’s a big deal.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Someone said something that triggered me in our conversation yesterday. It was about surrender. Why oh why do we have such a hard time with this? OMG. We KNOW, but we forget, especially when things seem 'hard'.

All the 'hards' aligned for me a couple days ago and knocked me to my knees.

The message this am is obvious. We all know this but sometimes what's obvious eludes me for a time esp when I'm in the throes of the 'hard stuff'.
The message is: Pain comes and goes! If u r alive there's gonna be pain! There is no escaping it! No amount of lovely blissful enlightenment can displace that. AND blissful enlightenment COMES and GOES! You don't make that happen either. The response to either state is the same! Surrender! Let them come. Let them go.

Adya in a 2007 Sun interview said something interesting like, 'I don't care how I feel' He admits to having feelings of angst. He just doesn't attach to either happiness or the angst.

I know this is obvious, but it stopped me in my tracks this am.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Core Story Work

Core Story Work –

I am full to overflowing with ‘not knowing’, open to whatever guidance comes. The answers appear as they will, often in the moment in which action must be taken and not before. It is clear that it is inappropriate, silly, futile, a waste of time and energy to try to answer the question before it is fully formed, ripe.

We spend precious hours of our lives planning, weighing options, wanting to know because it feels safe to know what tomorrow will look like and then we are living in a moment that hasn’t come instead of this moment and living in an unreal fantasy. It takes practice and courage to have that much faith. One does get better at it. Living in the not knowing develops a comfort zone with it.

The only thing the universe understands is action, when you physically take the plunge, jump into the abyss. Intention without action is empty and meaningless.

My normal MO has always been that I would feel some discomfort in my body/heart/mind and I would breathe into it and identify it and then often journal for quite a few pages about it in order to integrate it. It’s been interesting that for the past few months, when material has come up for me I’ve been able to write a few sentences about it and integrate it. That combined with daily meditation has kept me in a pretty peaceful state of mind and a state of acceptance including the acceptance of probable sickness and possible death. I have frequently experienced non abiding awakening, a connection to all that is, a realization that there is just this incredible rich and beautiful oneness and that nothing anywhere is ‘wrong’. Hard, yes. Painful, yes. Wrong, no.

The other thing that I’ve noticed is that my relationship to life has shifted dramatically. This has been a process that has taken years. When I was first diagnosed I felt like

‘Ok, well f*** it then, I’m outta here’ (and good riddance really was the underlying emotion). The corollary to that was, ‘Life has been hard, I’ve done my best to be a good human and a good parent, be honest and compassionate and helpful and loving and THIS is how you treat me? It hasn’t been that fun. I’m totally down with my departure and the next adventure.’

Simultaneously, I’ve also been aware that this entire life thing has been a conspiracy to do the healing work that would allow me to awaken from the dream state. And I’ve referred to myself as the most blessed man on the planet. I know that I am very much loved by lots of people and certainly by wildness that has supported me in so much of my life. I’ve been given these lovely gifts of love all along the way to support and nurture me in my work.

I’ve come to the point where although I’m not attached to being here on the planet, I really do appreciate and honor the experience of being alive. I’ve grown fond of it. Previously there was a tenaciousness that wanted to squeeze every last drop from the adventure. That’s still there, but it’s coming from a softer place, more like life and I are nurturing each other.

So, yesterday? The day before? I had a melt down. I put T on the shuttle, cleaned everything like a maniac, went to bed ultimately and woke up the next day unable to get warm although the thermostat was set to 80 and I was wearing layers of clothing including a thick sweater and a jacket. I knew in that moment that my physicality was pretty severely compromised. This body is the master in many ways of my experience. If I want to stay here and participate, I have to do what it tells me.

So I did do what the body was telling me. Exceptional self care, pills and naps and hyperthermia and good food. I am certainly not fully recovered physically. In fact, the body still feels pretty weak and tenuous and I’m aware that I can’t back off on the self care for some days.

Simultaneously I listened to the Core Story audio by Adya. I had listened to it previously but got more out of it this time. My core story, like a lot of people’s is a sense of inadequacy, not good enoughness, no matter how successful one is at whatever one has done, there’s no way to fill that hole. In Zen this is called the hungry ghost, all mouth and no stomach. Stuff all of the success you want into it and the reflections by others of that success and it will never be satiated.

Our tendency is to drop into stillness and wholeness where we know this is not true, but that’s a patch. We don’t like pain and are programmed to avoid it if possible. The core story will come up again and again. Adya says that the core story has really driven all of our existence and our decisions about life and how we’ve lived it and I can see that this is true for me. It has driven my desire for relationship, my desire to be seen as helpful, spiritual. He says that when the core story work is completed you’ll know because your activities will no longer be driven by it.

So instead of avoiding it, we drop into it, hold it, keep it in our awareness. I have the response of ‘why in the hell would ANYONE want to do this work? It’s hard and it’s painful.’

The same day, I did a body talk session with H in which it came up that I am unable to fulfill most of what I learned about what it is to be a man. That definition includes ‘provider and protector’, the strong macho get it done guy (especially with the Aries sun sign, oh my god). In that sense I have very little to offer, in that sense. I have no value as a man. She identified my anger and frustration about this. It totally tags into who I am in relationships. And of course it totally tags into my precognitive programming of not being enough, the hungry ghost.

It is the desire for consciousness to be present within me that brings the illusions to awareness over and over again. Consciousness that brings up the often difficult and painful learning.

Pain comes and goes. That’s the way life IS! There is NO WAY to be alive and be free from pain!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Today is my 47th month birthday since diagnosis. I'm always surprised when another month has gone by. I guess that keeps the experience of being here fresh. Helps me to appreciate each day. Amazing.

Galaxies and Stuff

So I was out a few mornings ago looking at the stars before dawn. There were LOTS of stars here without any city lights to mess them up and I started wondering if all the stars I was seeing were in OUR galaxy, the Milky Way or if some of them might be from the other estimated 100 billion galaxies that inhabit the cosmos. I came in after a bit and looked it up and discovered that with the unaided eye, we could see the Milky Way stars and the stars of ONE OTHER GALAXY, Andromeda. Andromeda is the closest galaxy to us and if we left right now and were able to travel at the speed of light we'd get there in 2.3 MILLION YEARS!

There are 100 billion galaxies each with an average of 100 billion planets and we can see ONE? And never get there in a million (or two) years?

WTF is up with that? What is the point of all of this stuff?

What a weird place to live. YOU figure it out. I can't.

Get out of your mind

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1900

Waiting for later to have a good moment

I have found myself aware that I am at times waiting for some event in order to have a 'good time'. 'When this thing occurs, I'll be having fun, or I'll be joyful.' How messed up is that? Why not have a good now, now? How about fully showing up in this moment for a deep, rich experience?

Absolute Reality vs. Relative Reality

I'm just doing my best to understand all this so I write it down.

In the Advaita understanding there is only one Absolute Truth and that is the fact that 'I exist'. Everything else is unverifiable. How do I know you really exist or that this computer really exists if in our dream state we can fabricate these things and these events. When you're sleeping and dreaming if you want a purple forest, bing! There it is, if you want tea with a friend, Bing! there it is. So I can't know with absolute certainty if what I'm doing in any given moment is a dream, but I CAN know that there is an 'I', and that's the only verifiable truth. This is also called Solipsism.

Then there is the reality that all of us share here, relative reality or consensual reality. We agree that this is a tree and that is a rock and that we are having lunch or whatever. This is the reality that the body, mind and ego inhabit and must contend with on a daily basis. When the body is hungry, we eat, when we're driving, we pay attention, when we're tired, we sleep. This is also the place where we are the product of our upbringing, we contend with our emotions. If we were trained to face each new task with fear, then at some point, if we want to show up in a different way for life, we must contend with that, look at it, observe the mind's and body's reactions to stimuli and overcome that programming.

There is work to do within relative reality and that work has outcomes. Achievements occur. We use the mind as a tool to unravel ways of thinking that limit our ability to fully experience life or to experience it with a broader range of emotional response.

Fear of Illness and Death

Besides being biologically wired for fear and also the experience of being brought up as a child in constant fear, I have the additional fear stimuli surrounding the effect that the cancer has on my body. There are many times when I feel sick or feel like something really bad is happening to my body. The mind and ego tend to freak out. 'We have to DO something about this NOW or we could DIE!' Adrenalin pumps into my system exacerbating this reaction. Within a few breaths I generally become aware that 'I' am doing all that I can to lessen the effects that are occurring in the moment. When I release the idea that there's something that I need to do, then there is just the experience of dizziness or nausea or the heart pounding or exhaustion or whatever is going on. It is the game we play here.

Sometimes, I just sit back and allow the mind and ego to freak out. The fear is still occurring but it isn't having any effect on my experience.


According to Rick Hansen, a neurologist, who spoke on the Beyond Awakening Series recently, the human brain is hardwired for fear. His quote was, "Fear is Velcro, Good Feelings are Teflon."

There's an entire structure in the brain devoted to fear, the sympathetic nervous system, the oldest and most primitive part of the brain. We're basically running outdated software on outdated hardware, but all is not apparently lost. The reason that original wiring was put into place was that historically although finding food and procreation were important, not being eaten by wild animals was MORE important to the survival of the species. Hansen claims that 2/3 of the cells in the amygdala (the brain's router) are wired for fear with only 1/3 wired for anything other than fear.

Of course in this day and age, there are few tigers wanting to eat us and the fear response is only really useful if we're trying to avoid a traffic accident or something of that nature. Because the fear response is so ingrained and prevalent, we utilize that response for other events, like when our beliefs or our ego is being threatened.

Hansen claims that we CAN rebuild those neural pathways so that when a non threatening event occurs we're less likely to respond from fear. He claims that when a good event occurs that we can strengthen a non fear response by spending 11 seconds appreciating the 'good' event. That's really only a couple of slow breaths. He further stated that meditation supports the strengthening of non fear neural pathways. His statement was that 'if you fire it, you wire it'. In other words if you allow yourself to have a particular type of response, you strengthen that pathway.