Dissolving the World into Love

The world moves, everything changing constantly… familiarity blinds people.  So few notice that each object in the field around them is reforming moment to moment, it disintegrates and re-emerges in space.  Humans ‘know’ too much, it’s not really knowing in a wisdom sense, it’s data-compiling, an assumption that because something is perceived by name and can be identified that it will be enough to close the book on it and recall it from memory when needed.
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The Unknown Future
It can be difficult to face things that were on our invisible bucket-list that sits in our subconscious.  We make assumptions about the future and stumble towards it oblivious to what is going on.  Suddenly another new possibility and direction appears from nowhere and our world wobbles like it’s been hit by a meteor.  What we expected to happen ‘invisible-izes’ itself and dissolves into the ethers.  If we are crazy, crazy, we chase that unborn experience, reach to grab it and although we see its misty form, it’s not really there, we are just dancing with ghosts, phantoms of the past and non-real futures. Wise men let them lie and create new potentials, briefly looking over their shoulder as the universe recedes in the rear-vision mirror of life.
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Micro Bliss
I spend my days seeking the perfect coffee, it’s a minor side show but as a serious thinker I do need simple things, delicacies, stuff that generates joy, these things that give us micro-bliss are like life-buoys in space, the journey through the corridors of the world can get a little tough and having things to snap us out of seriousness is critical. Seek joy, seek peace; I know that wisdom is not enough to wander planet Earth. Dinotopia speak says “Breath Deep Seek Peace”, their civilisation did not know of chocolate and coffee.
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Mad World
The noise, the bustle, the bling, the ads, the show, fast cars, credit cards, a super-imposed reality, over consumption, upgrading objects and throwing away what was quite okay… it did its job, the losing of sovereignty by distraction, the Rishis watch on in wonder at the play of mice and men … wine is wondrous, just a mouthful, not a bucket to drown in and hide ones feelings.
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In this chaos and busyness, people throw away people, sadly we’ve all done it … I’ve learned too well that it is what I have done to others that hurts me more than what they have done to me, as time passes this truth in some way haunts me, it always has; in the moment other peoples antics hurt but as we move along the arrow of time, it’s our STUFF that bites us on the bum.  Even the small moments of unkindness are things that I struggle with, I have all the techniques, the tools required to resolve many of the problems of the Universe but I know in truth in the end I must just sit and feel into the disappointments as they rise in my consciousness, wait until they pass, to find a way to be comfortable in my uncomfortableness, to float through the tsunami of experience in the lifeboat of understanding and accept change.  Humans throw away people as if they are disposable cups, had enough of that one, get me a new model.  I know there is a need to stop and breath, to seek kindness, to aim at healing, to resolve, to acquire peace, without resolve it is difficult to CREATE the future, emotions block the flow of energy through the pathways of the brain.
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The Field of Life
The field of life brings many experiences, often those we don’t want… quick I am outta here. We are selective, we choose the happy and run from the sad.  And yes that seems fair ‘n’ normal.  I am reminded that the great Sage the Buddha reminded us that “the First Truth is that all life is suffering, pain, and misery,” I will go out on and edge and say that is not what HE said. That is an enslavement program implemented by those who came later.  It is twisted, a great Sage would not say that and I am not in any way being disrespectful to my great hero Gautama Buddha. A Sage would see the beauty of the creation, the bliss of unfolding life in the field of space; he would understand ‘entanglement’ but NEVER say that life is suffering.
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NEW DAWN
The new day breaks, I rise to the challenge of it, the beauty and mystery of it is what I seek.  To heal my heart, to share love, to grow, to resolve what troubles me, to BE the man I have dreamed of being, to be kind enough to myself to know when I am wrong, when decisions are or were poor and to accept them. I seek tenderness in the world around me, to be an ally when needed and to accept change, to allow others to BE who they are regardless of my opinions which are often bold.  To be vulnerable and stand on the edge looking into space and say “I accept what is emerging” and to adapt my dream accordingly into something wondrous, delicate, artful … I wander through space, may integrity always find me and light my way.  And in the unknowingness I will seek and find love in all things.
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Tilopa 2.0

Me Too and the Fragility it Brings

Lately during Springtime where I live and also far off across the world as Autumn spreads a veil of leaves across the land; the hint of summer here, away over yonder across the not-flat-earth, the gentle sting of the cold is cutting in, women are stepping up to the mark, in unity, some broken, angry, fragile, ever so heroically and with trepidation to claim back what was lost and to tell the world what just isn’t okay.
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At first some people were wondering what #MeToo meant; someone assumed when I wrote ‘me too’ whether I was coming out as a rainbow person, I nipped that one ‘in the bud’ and declared my blokey-ness’ pretty fast and yes like millions of other heterosexual males I do honour peoples choices and rights in love.  We’ve seen the breast and prostrate cancer icon posts on Social Media, at first were mysterious and confusing.  And as a parent who had my oldest wondrous son suicide, I often go into mild panic mode and lock myself in my house for half as day when I see the posts about suicide and am confronted by the ‘if you really cared you would post this to your Fakelife Page’, all well intentioned but it only reminds me that people DON’T understand trauma and they do not realise doing good their way is perceived as bulldozing the garden of others like myself who are fragile beings. And it’s not that we want to feel that way, ‘it just happens’
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Us as Well 
In Australia we have had an ongoing Royal Commission Into the Institutional Response to Child Abuse, that title clearly defines what it is, it has outed so many molesters.  Like many others who experienced the crimes of the Catholic Clergy as a ten year old I was violated by a GROUP of supposedly adult Godly men, I stepped up, not because I wanted to but I knew that those of us who do have basic intelligence, can articulate, have sound memories and that little bit of Frodo courage, we could inspire others to hopefully heal, to claim back and maybe even have a victory over the crimes against humanity.  I do know of other men and women who testified from their jail cells, some on their death beds, some limped in pretty messed up, however there are those who are forgotten in psychiatric wards or in many cases are those homeless people we walk past every day in the cities, their stories will go down with them in their graves.
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Being Gentle
So leaving the ‘hero to oneself’ moments aside and stepping back into the field of life, here’s what I think people need to consider, we are in a very delicate stage of human evolution, we are moving away as a species from living like ‘knuckle draggers’ (thanks James Gililland) to become beings who are more sublime, empathetic, compassionate, with passing phases of being emotionally intelligent. When the Australian Royal Commission was announced, when I looked around I noticed a lot of people were coming apart; on the news there was an endless stream of information about the forthcoming Inquiry and unbeknown to many the vulnerable were being stirred up because it was in their face everyday.  During that time the Lifeline (suicide help) phone in lines were being swamped with calls, in one week it increased by 25% and we do know a number of people left us as they did not cope. Back in the supposedly real world out on the streets because I was a little outspoken, I had quite a number of women approach me to discuss their issues relating to their abuse when they were children.  I seemed to be reasonable human to approach as they found it unusual for a man to speak up about abuse.  The issue we were faced with as a community was the crimes committed on those tender women were outside the scope of the Royal Commission, they were fragile and due to the increased coverage they couldn’t run and had to in some way process what was coming up relating to their deep dark past. This is not easy, I know this journey well.
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This Me
So I write now to make a plea to the community to be gentle with each other because men like myself do feel vulnerable, we are triggered by what has emerged in MeToo in the same way that others felt fragile when the Royal Commission emerged. We are also the MeToos, there are literally millions and millions of men like myself who were abused by men when we were children and we are also fragile around other men but we are not part of the violations, I am clear that NOBODY has said we are.  There are wondrous men in the community who do attempt to be noble, respectful and wish to see women claim back their power and want to see the GODDESSES that women are emerge and wish to see boundaries that are put in place respected.
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I know from the experience of years of slowly unpacking the violations on my being by miscreants, at this moment it is a time when the community needs to hold each other, to be there united in healing, to be gentle when it’s easier to be bold and angry.  To make people accountable for crimes is more than acceptable but great caution is required to not break everything else in the process.  I wish everyone healing, transformation and hopefully this coming forward by the millions of Metoo’s can make the world a better, safer place where peoples sovereignty is respected.
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May all Beings Be Happy
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Tilopa 2.0

 

Embracing the Phantoms of Eternity

We walk such a fine line in life, between the polarities of joy and suffering, success and failure, we stand on the edge of forever looking out to where we may one day be and at the same time we sometimes bow our heads and look down, as if into an abyss of darkness forgetting the rising sun, the stars, the new blooms, the spring, unborn love and the sweetness reflected in the bees.
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The Cosmic Gatekeeper
The shadow of death passes over every house, only the free men are in some way detached from it.  Not that they don’t feel, they do, they rain tears down their cheeks like all others, it’s just that they see the chapters in the book of life as part of the totality that changes shape and allow the phantoms to pass.  Wisdom is the fruit of experience, we are feeling beings firstly, and as my dearest wise friend once said to me. ‘the Sage will never tell you the price he paid for liberation,’ those words have allowed me to embrace change when my heart has been taken to the limits of despair, it has been a light to guide me beyond my known limitations.
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Knock Knock
The knock on the door that everyone lives in fear of comes once for each one of our beloveds.  Knowing this allows us to live every other day rejoicing their existence, to look for ways to to resolve our petty differences, to hold them more often, to look into their eyes and see the wonder of their being, to rejoice in the miracle of their existence and when they dissolve through the veil of infinity we honor them by living a glorious life, to make sure our days are not wasted in trivia, petty things.
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Foreverness
As each person leaves the stage of the world, may we bow in reverence.  They have left a piece of themselves in us that lives on and becomes a part of us, a mannerism, a snippet of wisdom, a gesture that defined them, they walk with us over the horizon into eternity.
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May we always find love and in a state of forgetfulness bypass the misgivings, see the splendor in the meetings of the spirits that we are, and be gentle with each other.
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May empathy, compassion and kindness always be restored and rise again quickly even when we lose our way.

From Suffering to Freedom

The path of self transformation is a bumpy one.  Each person has a history, some traumatic.  When we look at the lives of others we can become inspired by their ability to rise above tragedies,  admire their courage and at times share their tears.  Many great men and women have inspired me to never give up, to keep plunging deeper into the mysteries of life.
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Like others I too have a story, one that will never ever be told completely and will be lost forever in time and that is for the better. But from the experiences that I needed to rise above, I found a way to bring about some type of healing, a way of addressing the thoughts that troubled me and ran in the background of my life since a child.
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I have created a book to help others come to some type of peace, to slay the dragons of troublesome thoughts, to claim back and enhance the quality of life. This book although small was seven years in the making and it is tender.  It is not about survival and the crimes committed, it has a sweetness, a vulnerability about it.  Being able to show our vulnerability is okay, as men it can be difficult but if we are smart or wise enough to embrace those moments and use them as food to empower our being, we will grow and eventually only casually look back.
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This book is my offering to help heal those who have suffered.

All my love Tilopa 2.0

Embracing Fragility and Vulnerability

The societies we live in are crazy; and that is an over generous appraisal on my part.  We inhabit fractured communities on this wondrous planet, all disconnected from each other and the Eco systems we are intertwined with. The Earth is a living being who unfolds her beauty in Spring, in that season everything has a freshness and bounce in its step; in Summer the hot sun in the desert burns the Earth, only the strong survives but life abounds behind the scenes; Autumn drapes her fabric, colors unmatched, her beauty steals the heart of the onlooker; the bitter bite of Winter has us rushing for soup and wood-fired pizza and diving for cover under blankets. Underneath it all the canvas of the Living Silence maintains its equipoise hidden from all.
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Man and His Mad Agendas
Man has his missions to the Moon, to Mars; his agendas block, straighten or redirect the river, he flattens the hill to extend suburbia into native grasslands, in the process he makes his beloved brothers the animals homeless. Man in the news media tells us of the worst of human behavior and then gives a moments reprieve with trivia, celebrity bling and sport, dumbing down the masses, the man in politics supports the systems to keep everything just out of reach to break the back of the community, people become dependent on the broken system, one that was never designed to nurture it.  Politicians are meant to serve the people not control them and implement hideous agendas.
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The Empty Sky
The Buddha Mind does not belong to Buddhism, it is homeless like the biblical Son of Man having ‘no place to lay his head’.  The sky holds without holding, the Buddha Mind encases all that arises in it, lets it fall back into Emptiness, neither owning or disowning. The man of a lesser god judges, he doesn’t know the great Tao encases the play without a fuss, everything rises and falls into space, empires come and go.
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The world at times can push against us, our fragility can scream, we feel as if we are going to break.  If we have read the Zen classics we will know it is the hollow bamboo that bends in the wind, it is in Emptiness we find peace. We have seen and learnt war doesn’t end in peace, there is no relationship between the two. War is about two false concepts that have nowhere to go, they bash against each other, in a way enemies deserve each other, it’s a love hate relationship, love ones own opinion and hate the other. Peace and emptiness are essentially the same, neither of them DO anything, peace is always relaxing into itself, Emptiness is the canvas that holds the universe.  War is the fruit of those who don’t understand their innate nature and inter-connectedness.
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Coming Apart
In those moments when we are most vulnerable there is a natural feeling that we need to protect something, and this is a logical response.  But if we take some time to look closely we will see we have an IMAGINARY identity. We are educated into thinking a particular way, to have opinions, to make them known seems reasonable, to stand up for ourselves, some say our views define us, it makes us feel relevant. However, in an aggressive world those who can yell the loudest, be the biggest trickster, articulate ‘on the fly’ better than others are always the champions. It doesn’t mean that those people are wiser or have better world views, they are better salesmen at selling their version of reality. When someone feels like they are not heard, an internal argument lingers long after a discussion, it eats away at them. The assertive views of others can be like arrows that shoot through the aura that surrounds a sensitive being.
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Unbeknownst to many, the Sages don’t actually mind what people think or believe. This is because they have nothing to protect, when required they state what is there, what they see and is beyond doubt in that moment of timelessness, there is no conflict with the world.  Why argue with a rock or a doughnut, why go into conflict with somebody who looks through a tiny window and can’t see the whole landscape, who doesn’t know their place in the tapestry of foreverness?  The winning of an argument is for drunk men, politicians or philosophers in the park, slaves of soap box wisdom. The philosophers aren’t usually wise men, they are smart men on the way to being wise, critical thinkers, they have opinions, they are speculators not experiencers, they are at the middle or beginning on the journey of transformation. Opinions get in the way of super-consciousness
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The Eggshells of Life
Fragility is a good thing if we know how to work with it.  An eggshell is a protective layer, under it is a new life.  The trick with the fragility is to know how to use it, to know when to crack the egg open.  The new life that emerges when cracked will be vulnerable, will require some tender handling and protection.
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So how do we work with this, how can we be fragile, extremely vulnerable and still feel safe? How can we navigate harmlessly through a world full of what seems like predators, through the chaos of life on Earth which is at war with everything around it?
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Nature is a wondrous thing.  If we look around us we will see the trail and reminders of billions of years of existence.  The stars with their mysteries, we know from research by astronomers that galaxies are in the making; planets hang in space like the baubles on a Christmas tree.  When we look across the mysterious world we see Jonathan the 183 year old turtle who lives on the island of St Helena, he and his relatives have over time developed a shell to protect their tender bodies. The cactus in the desert with its prickles telling everyone to stay away; the birds wings give them an escape strategy and the chameleon saying ” I’m not here, you can’t see me”.  If we are sharp in out thinking and have the ability to look clearly at the world around us, I mean the world MINUS man, although we will see a pattern that resembles survival of the fittest, we will notice multitudinous species that have managed to navigate the ensnarement’s and the trial by fire of life.  In this vision of the world around us we can find wisdom, it becomes our guru.  Man has intelligence, he may come out second best when wrestling with a tiger but if we look at the worlds population of 7.5 billion people, the human entity is not doing too bad in the survival stakes.
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The Invisible Glue
There is something odd that happens to humans, there is an attitude of wanting to hold ourselves together, it’s not just about self preservation, it’s about our IMAGINARY self. Sure we have a body, it goes ouch ouch if we are silly enough to ride a bicycle with our eyes closed or if we get dumped in the surf by mistiming a wave, that’s a normal response.  But the vulnerability and fragility that I am talking about is different.  We may have a strong body and still feel fragile emotionally, we may have enough money but feel a sense of lack, we may present with wonderful social skills but still feel like we don’t fit in.
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So what to do? How to be free from the vulnerability and fragility? I know from life experiences that regardless what has gone on in my life, I am still here, my awareness is still intact, my bruises have come and gone, my heart has healed.  I have navigated decades, quietly slayed the enemies as they have blocked my path, met and danced with the ghosts of loved ones who have passed over, stood on the precipice and looked out into foreverness and felt totally insignificant, raised myself above things that would have normally broken most men and survived against all reasonable odds, and this why I write.  I understand beyond all doubt that the rise and fall of events on the screen of the world doesn’t ‘touch’ the observer of the passing show, the wondrous mystery of life.  And it is not that I don’t feel, do I feel? YES, my heart bleeds daily. But I understand that feelings and emotional responses are part of their own world.  Regardless what presents itself I continue to rest in the Silence; when I remember I jump to the part of myself that observes the events of my life.
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Awareness
Learning to ‘jump’ to different parts of ourselves is something we can practice.  It comes about by watching the movement of our feelings and emotions when we are alone.  It is the same process that some people use in meditation.  Taking time out to do this will change our lives, it teaches us to know when to enter or retreat in an unemotional way.  We need to be gentle on ourselves, we won’t always get it ‘right’.  We are learning to tame the dragon, not to slay it.  Understanding ourselves and being kind to ourselves is important.  Accepting that being vulnerable or fragile is the natural order of things, it teaches us to walk gently among others, when we are gentle on ourselves we learn to be a little kinder to others, to see their vulnerability, to know when to step back.
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Everything has a place.  We do not live in a world where ‘only the strong survive’, this comes from a militant mindset.  The gentle, the vulnerable, the wise have survived for eons, they are our teachers.  I bow in honor of you.
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May all Beings Be Happy

The Meaninglessness of Fame

There is an unnatural desire in man (the species) to want to be famous, to stand out, to receive accolades, be important, to be raised up above others. Having said this, I am not writing from what is known as ‘the tall poppy syndrome’, a type of sickness that wants to see others cut down if they are successful.  Achieving things is fine, going past our known potential and doing what may have been considered impossible, creating wondrous music, to excel at what we do, this is something that I consider as natural, to unfold something extraordinary in the human kaleidoscope is noble.
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The Big People Know Everything
When we are children we start to ‘look up’ to people, we are little, they are big, they have more experience in the world and looking out our tiny window we see that they can do and know many incredible things.  Depending on the experiences that happen to us and whether we are powered or dis-empowered by those who educate us, we gradually slot into a place in the community. In some cases in the past adults had an attitude of ‘children should be seen and not heard’.  This attitude has spawned generations of suppressed humans who feel like they are wearing a suit of armor two sizes too small with minimal joint movement. In some cases, in those moments when they escape the suit they often lose the plot and we see a trail of casualties of drug and alcohol abuse and other destructive behaviors.  And of course there are others who manage to surf the gigantic waves and ride safely to the shoreline and live out beautiful lives.
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The Leveler 
I discovered by accident years ago that all men and women are equal. Yes we hear that every day, there are documents in place, people spout it from pulpits in churches, the writers of political speeches throw it in every now for touchy feely effect to have you believe their brand loves everyone.  We have to come back to basics here and rip the idea of ‘all are equal’ apart.  Here’s how it works. I may be a barista, the worlds best, dreadlocks, hipster clothes, mice music oozing out from the vinyl on the stereo system, a smarty-pants walk, everybody loves me.  When I am making the worlds best coffee that has been carried by donkeys from deep in the jungles of Amazon,  I am doing my dharma (my natural calling and life purpose done with utmost integrity and virtue), at that moment I am invisible; when I am invisible God/ the totality of Being/ the Sublime Super Consciousness is flowing through my veins like water at the Iguazu Falls.  When it’s time to go home and I don my alpaca sweater, pick up my 1940’s typewriter and climb onto my solar powered bicycle, no longer am I the worlds best barista, I am just doing what I am doing, biking it down the road, giving the finger to motorists, smiling at the lay…deeees.
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Being able to TURN OFF who we believe ourselves to be is probably the second greatest secret there is.  There is an invisible hierarchy in all communities, and in many cases it’s not so invisible, it’s overt, in your face segregation into pockets of people who ‘know their place’.  I m reminded of a story from India.
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“There once was a man, well educated, had lived in the West for many years and went back to Bharat (India) to visit his family.  He ad a slight arrogance about him that often is seen on the faces of those who see academia as the pinnacle of civilisation.  He got to the river , climbed into the ferryman’s small rowboat. After about five minutes as the boat paddled across the waterway, in ‘exhibition of intelligence’ he opened out a newspaper. (NOTE: Prabhu is a term of respect.) The ferryman said “Prabhu, what is this?” The man gave a little exaggerated chuckle and said “What, you don’t know what that is, you poor fellow, it’s the New York Times, you have wasted a half of your life,missed so much, you don’t know much about life”.  The ferryman said “No, Prabhu I don’t what New York Times is, what does it say?”  The visitor said, “Hear take it, read it.” The ferryman said, “Prabhu, please could you read it to me?.” The visitor said, “what! you can’t read, you have wasted three quarters of your life”. Just then a storm came up, the visitor looked terrified.  The ferryman said, “Prabhu, what is troubling you?” The visitor said, “It is looking very stormy”, he started to shake as the boat rocked up and down.  The boatman looked at him and said, “Prabhu, can you swim?” The visitor shook his head implying that he couldn’t swim. Just then a massive wave hit the boat and as it was turning upside down, the ferryman said, “Prabhu, you have wasted your whole life”… We all value different things, we humans develop a sense of self-importance relating to our achievements.  The tragedy is if we don’t treat them respectfully they divide us, they allow us to feel greater or lesser than others.
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Cosmic Glue
The moon shines out in the night-sky, the planets, shooting stars and a few spacecraft from outside the Earth show themselves briefly and disappear; the night has a resonance about it, a ringing, a deep hum beneath it and occasionally it is broken by the noise of man.  The light of the moon is shared by the rich and poor, lovers, the lonely, the dreamers and the animals peeping out of their holes in the ground.  The Earth in it’s magnificent beauty holds us, its trees that add to its wondrous garment give shade to Sages, dacoits, the homeless and the athletes who need to rest their tired legs. We are bound together, our ancestors held hands with those of strangers we see in the street, the water running through our bodies was once part of something somewhere off in the skies… we are a part of the totality of all of nature and in our hearts our spirits are bound.
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Thought 
It is thought that divides us, everything else is bound together in nature. Molecules collide, they dance and although we can’t hear it they sing. The song of the bird although feint adds a sweetness to the day.  The discriminating mind has its benefits, it allows us to know that 7 pieces of pizza although desirable, will create a problem; walking backwards down the street will not be the immediate logical choice when we think it through.
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We know this ‘thought-thing’ we have can take us to heaven or hell, if we brood over something it can turn into anxiety or stress, if let something go without a fuss, things go smoother.  The ‘thought-thing’ that people usually (and erroneously) call the mind is the source of our discrimination.  We pull stories out of our memory banks that travel with us through our lives.  We have placed people where we think they belong.  There is a tendency to look up to people who have achieved great things, and in the community there is often a feeling of ‘better than’ the less fortunate, the illiterate, the homeless, those who behave in manners that are anti-social.  The poor look at the wealthy and often feel lack, doctors and lawyers are also held in high regard by the uneducated, their feeling of self-worth  can be challenged.  It’s this looking up and looking down that is at the heart of all our problems.
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Bringing a Sense of Order
If I come back to the idea of the dread-locked barista with his hipster clothes, when he goes home the Espresso machine gets turned off and it rests patiently awaiting to appease the needs of the taste buds of early-risers wanting their ‘hit’, the barista is just another hipster in torn jeans, doing his thing, breathing the air or puffing on his e-cigarette.  And after a long shift the doctor lays down his tools after achieving what centuries ago would have seemed a miracle and in some ways I guess it is; he once again becomes himself, a living breathing being with normal emotions, needs, desires, joys and he suffers the same hurts as any of the other brokenhearted, fears of death and other traumatic losses.
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By coming back to basics and seeing that in navigating the human experience we need each other; if a man is suffering, regardless whether he is rich or poor, whatever his cultural background, a healthy being reaches out with empathy, compassion, kindness. At the water-well we all need to quench our thirst equally, a smile is contagious like a yawn, and when we lay our bodies down at night to rest in the dream state, there is no-one higher or lower as we wander the star-fields.
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Tilopa 2.0

To Love or Not to Love

Out of Emptiness emerged something extraordinary, a sense of awareness of being.  Wise men, fools, dreamers, the religiously arrogant, philosophers, liars, poets, mystics and sages have written much between that (imaginary) first moment way outside time when the awareness said, “something is doing something.”  We shall let all beings have their story, leave them be and attempt to come into our present state of awareness.
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An Uncluttered Present
This present, the supposed NOW that some people speak of is colored by the past. The experiencer has a history, deep in the subconscious and expressing on the screen of life as we know it is a story of who we are, concepts about the way the world works, the possibles and impossibles.  If we are clear that generally the NOW that many people talk about has baggage, there will be a slight shift in awareness, a deepening, we will be more inclined to stop for a brief moment and not just scroll past it like we do with social media posts.  If we robotically say Be Here Now and make assumptions and think that we have it sorted, it is possible that the flippant attitude that we apply to many of the other things in our lives will once again prevent us from digging in.  Constantly abandoning the past is something that can be done, it may be gradual, for some it may come as a quantum leap, there may be a light-bulb moment, it’s then that the work begins.
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That Elixir
By nature or better I say by habit, we are continuously calling up what we know, all those things that have impacted on us emotionally and also our understandings / conjectures about the reality / the world space we move in.   As humans, due to the cultures we are born into we have subtle prejudices. These ‘knowns’ are what stand in the way of LOVE.
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Love, that old word that has more definitions than a caterpillar has legs; love, that thing that people seek changing partners like an evening at a square dance in a country hall; love, that elixir that brings fierce looking grown men to their knees to weep buckets of tears; love, that wondrous misinterpreted something that is elusive as the quest for what God may or may not be.
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About ten years ago in brief a moment of ecstatic-ness I wrote on a blog post:

“LOVE, has no boundaries or judgements. It embraces the totally of all things born and still unborn. It waits patiently for us to take her hand and follow her to our greatest potential, it forgives our shortcomings and speaks quietly to us when we need her most. Love creeps through our life often unnoticed but catches us as we fall. Love is our only true friend, our faithful companion that walks with us from age to age, beyond the graves.” 
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Also the great sage Shams teacher of the Mystic poet Rumi tells us:
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The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advises “Be careful, protect yourself” Whereas love says “Let yourself, go!” The mind is strong, never falls down, while love hurts itself, falls into ruins. But isn’t it in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.
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In those words there is plenty to ponder.  Indulgent romantics will focus on the ‘broken heart’ always licking their wounds as if the world owes them something.  A Buddhist will remind us that attachment is our enemy.  Alan Watts, a great carrier of Zen to the West will echo the words ‘let yourself go’.  Shams wakes us up to the fact that the world of the mind and that of love are in contradiction.  Great men and woman know that we can only be a slave to one.  Take your pick, the mind or love.
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The Unknowing Mind
The mind likes to think it knows everything, it prides itself on information.  Love knows nothing.  Love dives in boots and all, it takes chances, it always stands on the threshold, right on the edge of the precipice.  Some people say love and hate are opposites, it is not hate that is the opposite of love, it is fear.  Fear is the gateway to love.  Fear must fall, it has no place in the world of love apart from being that which dissolves itself when love ultimately flowers.
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Love is Grand
When love becomes ‘personal’ it has a wondrous place but let’s move away from here, not because it has no value, self-indulgence only holds a small spot in the universe, we need to think big in the same way that the beings on this planet are only a dot compared to the other intelligent civilizations in the cosmos.   As confusing and as misconstrued as the word ‘God’, love has its interpreters and impostors.  The holier-than-thou religious babble nonsense about love, meantime looking down on their brothers and sisters, out-casting them with their hideous doom and gloom prophecies, and there are those New Agers who delight in ‘one day karma will get them back’, fully forgetting their own minds are filled with hatred and spiritual elitism.  Their version of love is poisonous, it has conditions, “be like me” and we can add to it “if you don’t, my God will get you you evil wretch”.  They fully forget the journey that got them to their present.
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The Alchemy called Life
On the journey into and through love there is accountability but it is not revengeful, it is self-perpetuating.  The great Gods, the word God here translates as those Beings who have journeyed out of original consciousness ions ago and learnt through experience, climbed out of the states of slumber and forgetfulness and become wondrous creative Beings with understandings that are incomprehensible to human intelligence, these great Gods do not have judgement.  They have patience, the virtue of acceptance of the diversity, they know that to get to be the extraordinary Gods that they are is not instantaneous, it is a trial by fire, it is alchemy, removing the gross metal to reveal the gold.
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Returning to Ourself
If we come back to ourselves and ask the right questions.  Who do I hate? What makes me feel better than others? What behaviors of others do I despise? Who do I look down upon? Why is my tribe, caste or social class better than others?  Why is my spirituality more pure and enlightened than others?  Do we see others as a lost cause and trailer trash? We will start to see how much love we have, when we hold the mirror up we will see our shadow and start to see that our love is selective. We can quote scriptures, speak in a manner that sounds pleasing to others, eat the ‘right’ foods, be part of animal liberation movements and do a lot of things that put us into the nice guy category but it’s an incomplete model of love.  Love is much deeper than this.
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Love is there in tenderness with our beloved, sure; it is in our empathy when something wells up inside us and we go past our normal limitations to help others; yes we have it for our families and pets.  But it is more.  Love is in acceptance of what we don’t like, learning not to despise the wickedness of human nature, and that doesn’t mean to delight in it, it is in understanding that the consciousness that underlies the totality manifests in ways that are incomprehensible to us.  We are quick to judge, often forgetting the path that leads us to now, not remembering that we have a story, that we were at some point whether in this life or way back in time in some other place we expressed in ways that were not kind, we betrayed, we hurt, we put ourselves first, we have added to suffering of others.  Love allows other things to be and that does not mean we have no boundaries in our lives and have a form of idiot-compassion that makes us say yes when the best solution is no.  It’s not just in our actions, it’s about our thoughts, do we vilify others just because they are different, because their wisdom is a dormant seed in their consciousness, that due to the experiences in their lives closed themselves down which lead them to actions that reflect a lack of self care or anger and animosity to others.  Is our ‘I am better-ness’ arrogant?  Are we at times the thing that we hate?
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Love arrives in a very strange way; it is common to hear the words “we cannot truly love until we love ourselves fully’; maybe not fully, that type of thinking leads to a feeling of worthlessness, never good enough, it creates an inverted ego.  Neither the ego or its upside down I-hate-me inverted twin have substance.  There is an open secret that we know but forget, every moment is new and this is an opportunity for new growth, the past season is over and although the winter may have been bitter, the autumn of our lives had a mix of joy and misfortune, the spring of new potential constantly remerges and there are new beginnings.  We can abandon our past and extract the wisdom of experience and wander with dignity into foreverness, touching everything on the way with kindness, creating a trail that brings joy to others where possible, being gentle on the world around us.
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I awake to a new day
Although the unborn is unseen out of view
I trust in the benevolence of the Universe
I am gentle, in this is my strength
I can bend and adapt to the changing fortunes that emerge
I am an embodiment of everything I have ever dreamed to be
I walk with dignity into foreverness

Tilopa 2.0

 

Yoga -Unknowing the People We Know

We hold each other prisoners of the past, accidentally bypassing the fact that nothing stays the same. We do know that people grow through experience, but it seems difficult to forget what we ‘know’ about those who have been a part of our lives.  There is a petty holding on to the past, this ‘placing people where we think they belong’ could be considered our enemy or a major hurdle to jump over in our lives. Most of our enemies are inside us, the human species has a tendency to be a slave to his/her thoughts, regurgitating the ‘story’ of what and who we believe others to be, and even more serious, who we believe ourselves to be.
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Community of Humanity
Buddhists have a word called Sangha,  I like this word, it is often interpreted as ‘community of monks’, there are other similar meanings where it implies to other kindred souls on the Buddhist path. There is a broader way of looking at it, in the big picture view I would define it as ALL BEINGS, purely because we are all in this together, all with our own challenges and distractions.  If I look at it from another perspective I could define it as a tribe or people of like mind; whether these definitions are true is not overly important but it is useful for me to get an idea across.
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Impressionable Beings
We have all seen the situation where a person may not be a smoker or drinker, but if they hang around regularly with people who have these habits, they could easily take these things on as part of their lifestyle. As children we were warned about the company we keep, stay away from the ‘bad kid’ or we may end up the same. We are impressionable beings. I usually try and hang out with brilliant people and those with a gentle spirit.  If we are sensitive people when we go into a hotel where it’s rowdy and rough, we may find it very uncomfortable to be in that environment, to others it’s a ‘what’s wrong with you, get over it’. I will state that I don’t think being ‘sensitive’ is important at all, I say this as a sensitive person, there are very wise people who have the sensitivity of a sledgehammer. When we go to a place of meditation or an environment where good works are done, we often get an uplifting feeling, this is no accident, we feel the world around us.
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Network of Thought
There is a grid of thought that surrounds us, this is one of the reasons why cities are chaotic, it’s not just the noise, the pollution, the traffic, men in dark suits, the hustle and bustle with no rustle of leaves and the absence bright colours of spring or the shades of autumn, we have unconsciously created a network of thought that wraps around everything; we extend way beyond our bodies.  There are clusters of thought pollution, I could call it ‘psychic smog’ and also there are some islands of refuge, empty churches with their spacious reverb, gardens or big old trees to lie under. When we go to the country, in the open spaces we feel better because we are not getting battered by the floating ‘debri’ thought particles from others that invades our thinking.
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When we are away for long periods of time from our families or people we have spent large portions of our lives with, we no doubt change.  What life serves up brings about wisdom, we transform into different people, we may also develop new personas or patterns of behaviour, neurosis, or even drop things from our lives that were part of our shadow, we may gradually overcome those things that were not the best part of our personalities.
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A New World
However, it is an aspect of human nature to place people exactly in the same space where we knew them, even if years have passed.  The whole world is caught in the past.  I have noticed that when people come to a new country they can ‘reinvent’ themselves, it obviously does depend on the environment they move to, and the amount of personal power and energy, they often succeed in a new world; personally I think it is because they have the opportunity to reconstruct their world view and can detach from the opinions that others have of them. Our loved ones can stunt our growth and ‘hold’ us in the position where we have always been; regardless of their unquestionable love, it can suffocate our unborn future.  It is critical to those around us to see them as a creative-process-in-motion and allow and trust that they have enough insight to be able to carve out a pathway forward unhindered by our opinion of who and what we believe them to be.  I think there is a need for us to see the good in others, regardless of their habits they have that may be destructive; if possible we can try to hold them safely for a while and say ‘you have endless potential’.  People we love have a deep trust in our opinions at a subconscious level, if we can’t see the success and potential in them, we will ultimately undermine them.
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Constant Change
People often don’t feel safe when someone they love changes, they are comfortable with the ‘old someone’, the new version requires a shift in the eye of the beholder. When a husband or wife takes on new habits or friends, if the partner is insecure they often object and undermine their loved one.  In a way relationships can be like letting out a kite string, allowing someone to fly but keeping a gentle hold on the ‘attachment’ string.
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Letting Others Be
If there is a secret to life, and yes there are many, I think it is to be able to undo the story we have about others, to understand change does happen, regardless that some habits and patterns are deeply engraved.  We need to trust in the unfolding process that is a part of nature and allow others to have enough space without our opinions about who we believe them to be and holding them back.  It is strangers who usually see the brilliance in those around us, their eyes are fresh, uncoloured by history, it is their ‘unknowing’ that permits them to experience the beauty and genius of our loved ones that we can so easily miss.

by Tilopa 2.0

The Yoga of Being Kind

We are born into societies where we are educated to ‘fit in’ and also stand out, to be seen a little bit above the rest; ambition is supposedly a virtue to some and something to drive us onward to a wondrous destination and do the clan proud.
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The Stupidity of Being Better Than Others
In our quest to rise up, we often find ourselves accidentally casting our shadows over others; life sometimes resembles two ‘suits’ fighting it out to win points in a legal case. Earth man has a tendency to adapt the ‘survival of the fittest’ attitude. When we go to school, once all basics are sorted, we find ourselves in the situation where we are taught how to do things, to retain information and then deliver something back to the teacher, our work is graded and compared to the other children.  All smiles for those who ‘got it right’ and a feeling of lack gradually develops in those who just can’t make sense of it.  In the middle a lot of others make up the numbers.
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When we move out onto the sporting field, ‘faster’ is better, ‘slower’ means you need to try harder, be a better version of your current fastest,  meanwhile the Road Runner flies by while you pant for breath, your legs that are possibly 1/6 shorter than you’d like them to be, the appendages resemble helicopter blades going in any way but the direction you want them to. The ‘sporty person’ finds a senior position in the pecking order and scores points on the subconscious ‘way we evaluate people’ table.
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The King of Nothing Syndrome
It may start at a young age but we begin to see ‘the survival’ techniques kicking in, thugs bumble and push their way through the micro-community they are part of, some day the victims of their thugi-ness may find their way to senior positions of government and live out their revenge on an unsuspecting community.
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Others have the knack of acquisition, they take the hunter-gather thing to new heights, drones do the gathering and hunting for them, the accumulation of ‘too many things’ becomes a yardstick on how THEY value themselves in the society they are part of, and other poor innocent bods believe that because someones empire is bigger than their own, it must be a better way to exist, so then they chase an empire of objects and in their failings, develop a feeling of worthlessness with an attitude of ‘life is not fair’ and suffer emotionally…… let’s go another way.
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Getting Off the Wheel of Life
The clouds overhead look ominous to some; the gardener within was hoping for rain today, the sun had scorched the garden bed, the wind had blasted and bashed the budding plants around, I was thinking ‘sprinkles from the heavens would be a bit of a blessing’.  We can learn a lot of nature, that’s a very old common adage; Alan Watts gave us a reminder ‘there are no straight lines in nature’, I will add ‘apart from the horizon, if we look from the sky we would see it’s curved’.  Many of us would remember school assemblies,  kids standing in line, every so often one would faint, or a fart may break the silence and great chaos cuts loose.  I am thinking that the tighter the school environment, the more a person becomes a slave to the system, some push ahead with tenacity to be the leaders in our social structure, but they are still insiders, it takes a lot of work to undo our programming. Communities don’t usually like outsiders, they are a threat.
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Getting Outta Here
Lao Tsu, Buddha, Jesus, Chang Zhu all rewrote the destiny of man, although people build religious cults around their words, they changed humanity from the inside.   They did not compete, they walked in the opposite direction to the rest of humanity, this in itself is a great teaching.  They broke through into new areas of thought, or more specifically ‘thought-less-ness’.  There is a tendency for the followers to focus on their words instead of the way they lived, Emptiness is at the core of these great men, it is easily missed. When we look at humanity, people prefer ‘fullness’, even if it’s a big bucket of crap, they are more comfortable with the pain and familiarity of the known than the potential of an unborn future, the unknown does not seem safe, it requires courage and trust.
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Win at All Costs

By inherited nature, humans compete all the time, being aware of what is healthy competition and what is debstabilising for others and what ‘weakens’ us is critical, i didn’t say damaging I said ‘critical’. When we are unnaturally competitive our values can go out the window and we make excuses for our actions, any excuse will do.  To have some kind of peace we justify things and point the finger away from ourselves and target others. When we take the time to think about how we treat others we can gradually over a period of time bring about some type of transformation in ourselves that will help us relax a little; relaxing doesn’t mean being ‘sloppy’.  All the mantras, wisdom, teachings are meaningless if we lack empathy and kindness, a softened heart is the fruit of all Spiritual practice and explorations into Emotional Intelligence.
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Every Moment Zen
Every day, every interaction we have with others puts us in a situation where we have choices.  Often the smarter we are, the greater the expert, the bigger the empire and the higher we are in a hierarchy, the more chance there is to be disrespectful to others, flippant, dismissive and lacking in understanding, our value systems can get skewed, and of course there are wonderful people at all places in the community but the quest for success can cloud our thoughts and we close down a little.
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As a musician I am constantly in the situation of having to leave my opinions out of things relating to music.  After many decades of honing my craft I am inclined to be critical to the point of annoying and wanting to ‘fix’ the music around me. We all have parts of ourselves that require work if we want to live happy lives, I am aware of where much of my work lies. Where this article was always going was to point out one simple thing, and it’s an ongoing process that constantly arises, ‘it’s better to be kind than right’, we know if we are well informed about things, and whether we have a great skill, we don’t need to prove anything, it is our actions and the way we treat others that counts. I think the process of softening takes our whole life, till the moment we pass into another part of foreverness.

The Yoga of Contemporary Nomads

The world is not so solid, pondering this could easily bring about a change to the way we live, it may impact how we feel about things, we can loosen the strings that tie us down and head off on a new journey.  It’s an unborn future in every direction, our destiny is the horizon which moves away as we step closer to where we think it is, the Universe unfolds as we move through it.
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Wanderers Wayfarers
In a way, many of us have become nomads; family structures have broken down, we don’t all have the ‘traditional’ home to go to, the village where we may have grown up has become part of the urban sprawl, where we used to play there is a supermarket and other blingy shops full of slightly useful objects; the stream morphed into a drain and graffiti reminds us that peoples thoughts are screaming to get out, even if it looks like gibberish, humans  struggle with the noise in their heads, it’s city-stress-syndrome.
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Many religious people are very challenged now, they try to fit the world around us into models that they are comfortable with, however it’s like the bottom of a bucket dropping out; family units are shattered; the dog, the couple of kids and a picket fence are no longer the standard; single mums and dads, mix and match families; gay couples; introverts living out ‘alone’ lives in the city, homeless wear their experiences engraved in the lines on their faces, strangers live  next door, people die and no-one notices, they just slip into other parts of the bureau of statistics database, life moves on.
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Flipping it Over Concept
One trick I have mastered in my life is the ability to turn what looks like disaster into something that is fruitful, nurturing and abundant. This is not something that happens instantaneously, it comes later after the chaos settles.  When we are in crisis the waves crash down on us, we hold on for dear life; but I am reminded that there is always a calm ‘centre’ even if thoughts are wild, even if despair is about to break us, something looks out at the show of life and almost mockingly says “is that so?”  Pema Chodron the western Buddhist nun  has an expression, “learning to STAY”, one way this translates is the ability to ‘hold’ oneself, not to act, to ride it through, to trust that in some way things will sort themselves out.  Once we are past our dark night of the soul, we can recycle our experiences, extract what is of value and head into new territory.  It is quite normal to feel deep emotions and feelings in response to structures coming apart, but we have a choice on whether we make it a problem or not.  I choose the latter.
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Beyond Chaos Theory
What may look like chaos to us, if we dig into it we can find something glorious. This breakdown of the community around us can lead us somewhere quite unexpected, if we can get past the feeling of ‘everything is broken’, life becomes interesting; a dull mind won’t be comfortable with change, sharpening our thinking and attitudes is something worth pursuing.  From the view of a Jnana Yogi (simply put: non dualistic perspective that everything has a glue joining it at the middle) the world is held together by thought, this idea is in conflict with what most people think; there is no way I would push it as a philosophy, to me philosophy doesn’t mean much, changing the way we view things is where wisdom lies.  Unlike some other yogis of the past, I am hesitant to say ‘the world is a mirage’, there is a lot of baggage and misunderstandings with that phrase, it’s not quite right.  It would be slightly more correct to say “every molecule is in motion and it’s only there when we look at it, or name it” it has a sense of ‘there-ness’. Things are named for convenience, we have a common language that allows us to reference moments on a timeline; but really EVERYTHING is in TRANSIT; and this is where freedom lies.
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Freedom is the ability to detach from our story of the world, to dissolve what has gone before and allow the ‘new’ to emerge.  With the breaking down of traditional family structures there will be turmoil, great confusion, questioning arises,  the ground beneath us fractures and if we are alert there will be a type of seeking, a search for meaning, and without giving the game away, that does not necessarily mean there is meaning, but the need for stability and understanding takes over if we have a certain amount of personal power and don’t indulge in our brokenness. When we indulge too much in ‘thinking about our response to a problem’, our thinking processes freeze up. Communities, the human civilisation we are part of is hypnotised by belief and self imposed limitations; the breakdown of the traditional structures although painful is the very thing that may bring about the change needed in the world. And saying this I am not opposed to community whether it be old or new, it has taken me a lifetime to learn to value ‘community’, and community is not necessarily what we assume it is.

Urban Gypsies
We are a community of nomads, wanderers; some say we are on a journey from ‘self to SELF’, from unknowing to KNOWing, personally I wouldn’t want to complicate things with philosophical fantasies, it’s a sidetrack and moves us away from ourselves.  Most religion and Spiritual practice moves us ‘away’, we chase ourselves.  The idea of reaching a goal in the future is part of the great play of life, the labyrinth of ‘becoming’ is endless.
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The beauty in the world fracturing is it is like an egg cracking, if the bird laments the loss of the egg, it may forget the baby chick.  New birth comes from change and ALL our suffering comes from failure to embrace change, to want things to be as they were or the way we want them to be. The less solid the world is in our thoughts, the greater potential there is for going past the limited known.  When the world we know breaks down, we are forced to either die, whittle away or look for other ways of doing things.
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What on Earth can we do?
So how do we approach the world we live in when it breaks? How can we find that thing, a sense of belonging, the NEW community we need that will nurture us?  Although the answer may be different for each one of us, there is one commonality,  that very thing is by saying ‘yes I accept you as this’, ‘I embrace you regardless of our differences’.  It is deeply programmed into human nature to not like.  It is okay to feel uncomfortable with what is outside what we accept at this moment.  However, it is important that our hearts crack open a little more each day, and we move at our own pace.  People come and go in our lives, each moment is precious.
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Tilopa 2.0