The Experience of Bliss

There is a special kind of Vedic ritual called the soma sacrifice that was once very important and done on a regular basis. It was done during a time when all the practitioners in a particular community gathered together, all the priests who had memorized a particular Veda and a particular set of these works – the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, or the Upanishads, tens of thousands of lines. All these people would gather together and perform the soma sacrifice, in which they drank a liquor made from a hallucinogenic plant, and they got completely spun out. They even offered it into the fire, so that Indra would become equally blissful. Later on, the soma sacrifice fell into disuse. It fell into oblivion to the degree that, today, nobody even knows what plant was actually used to create soma. That’s unusual because there are still literally thousands of people who can recite the entire Rig Veda.

The reason why the soma practice fell into disuse, in my opinion, is because it became obsolete. It became obsolete because people understood that the bliss that unites us with the ultimate reality is ever-present within us. The intoxicating substance was really taken to shift our neurochemistry just enough that our tensions could be suspended for a moment, and we could experience the movement of our own creative energy and the bliss that is inherent in our own inner power. Once that is understood, there is no substance necessary for any support because we can simply turn our attention within and, on our breath, awaken our energetic mechanism and experience this bliss.

Rainbow and cloudsIn the context of that joy, what activity does your mind engage in? My own experience is that when my heart is really open, my mind is dead quiet. In that dead quiet, all the forms of all the phenomena that manifest in my sensory experiential field take on the appearance of rainbows. Cultivating our capacity to make contact with our own hearts, to open our hearts and feel within ourselves the joy of the flow of life itself within us, liberates us from the ordinary garbage of our ordinary day and brings us to a state within ourselves that is transcendent and sacred, and incredibly simple. Cultivating within ourselves the capacity to live in that state transforms our lives completely and is a total blessing to the lives of all the people we’re connected with.

Feel your breath, focus your mind, relax your body and discover the soma, the bliss that is the essence of you. Discovering that bliss, that richness, that joy, that sweetness, that love that is ever present within us – cultivating and living from that – liberates our life to express itself in its fullest, unlimited potential. That is the message of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras and all of the Tantras. What I hope to express is that I wish that all for you, all of it.

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The Power of Devotion

Bhagavan NityanandaThere’s a story about Nityananda that I heard from the man who was attending him at the time.  It was about an hour or so before Nityananda passed away, maybe a little more. This man was a civil engineer and a long-time devotee of Nityananda’s, and was staying there looking after him at that time because Nityananda  had stopped eating.

So, Nityananda said, “I’m going to go in an hour or so…I’m leaving.” This devotee said, “Please don’t go. Please.” Nityananda said, “If there’s one person who comes who has true devotion, pure devotion, I won’t go. I’ll stay.” He then asked, “Do you have true devotion? Is your devotion pure?” The devotee said, “No, Baba. You know I’m devoted to you, but I know my devotion isn’t pure.” Nityananda said, “A person, a real yogi with true devotion can compel, through the power of their devotion, even God to stay in the room. God wouldn’t leave the company of a person with true devotion unless he had permission. That true devotion is so powerful and so precious.”

I’m sharing that story with you because, though I don’t emphasize it very much and  Rudi didn’t either, devotion is very powerful. Devotion, that quality of connectedness, flow, and sweetness, transcends all of our desires. True devotion transcends all our desires. It transcends all of our agendas, and all of our attachments to any outcome. Devotion is the the field in which the purest, most perfect wisdom that is ever resident in the deepest part of you emerges and begins to express itself in the field of your life. Devotion is the medium in which true transmission takes place between teacher and student.

There are about a billion stories about the significance of devotion. Considering devotion is a really important and meaningful thing for us to do when we contemplate what it really means to grow. Devotion is the field in which growth is expressed.  In so many ways, working through our tensions is about cultivating devotion. Devotion is what makes spiritual work delicious.  While devotion isn’t much treasured here on earth, it is the most treasured thing in heaven. Devotion is the fabric from which heaven is created.

I’m sure the word devotion, for some of you, brings up tremendous resistance. Great! Wonderful! Devotion isn’t something that we’re here to fake.  I suggest that you take some time this week to think about devotion, to think about where to find it and how to express it, in your own way and from your own heart.

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Depth Over Time

At the core of each of us is an energetic mechanism, a condensation of creative energy, that is filled with power and potential. It’s a power that has nothing to do with the circumstance that we have attracted as a life. While our life manifests from that power, it completely transcends our material circumstances. At the same time, this energetic mechanism does exist in its own broader field of creative energy, in the same way that a wave exists in the context of the ocean. As this wave of creative energy that we are moves in its own space, it is also interacting with the totality of that ocean.

So, there is a very profound possibility that is present for us as we are more and more deeply in touch with our own creative energy and its circulation in and through us. It’s possible for us to begin to connect to the total environment, which is information. The energy is information, and the information is energy. To access it, we have to strip away the layers of accumulated tension or karma (what I call the disappointments of our ancestors), and everything that we’ve done to ourselves as an effect of that set of disappointments, all the compensation mechanisms. Then it’s possible that we can be in touch with a very deep place inside us. That place will inform us of our environment in ways that right now are very difficult for us to understand.

Our eyes pick up one ten-trillionth of the spectrum of light. That is all we see. The same is true for all of our senses. It’s not really possible from our superficial mental experience to really connect to what’s happening around us and what’s happening in our life. So, we go along living on the surface, reacting to the dramas of our family, and whatever else is going on around us—our school, our job, our spouse, our children.

Fish underwaterAll the drama is not our life. It is only an effect of our life. Our life is deep within us and moving in us all the time. It is very much like how the waves are the ocean, but they in many ways obscure the vastness of the ocean. They obscure our ability to see deeply into the ocean. So, as we are able to open our energy centers or chakras, and become quiet and experience their resonance, we become informed about our environment and about ourselves in ways that are ordinarily difficult to grasp. This information is simply available within us. All we have to do is call upon it.

There is guidance and instruction inside us, as well as information about the ultimate reality that we can experience from within ourselves. Mastery exists within us and no one can teach it to us. We have to dig it out of ourselves. That mastery comes from years of releasing tensions and allowing our creative energy to flow to the degree that our energetic mechanism is fully awakened and informing us about who and what we really are. It will inform us about everything: all of our past lives, our present, our future, and the future of the people we are surrounded by. It will inform us about what’s important and what’s useless.

Tremendous wisdom and understanding is available from within us. Access to this dimension of our being is real power. It takes real work, although it’s not particularly hard work. Sometimes it’s boring work, but most of the time it’s unbelievably sweet work. It does take time. We have to have enough value for our own life that we are willing to put in the time to discover the unbelievably extraordinary, unimaginable possibility that is living in the center of our heart, each and every moment of this lifetime and every other lifetime.

Rudi used to say that the most astonishing thing to him about people is that they live with this unbelievable potential for the whole of their life and remain clueless about it. We are so distracted by all the superficial movement going on around us that we never really make contact with ourselves. Since we’re not really making contact with ourselves, we don’t really make contact with anything else.

There is an unimaginable possibility living in the middle of you. I hope you will hear what I’m telling you and make the effort that it takes to make that possibility come alive.

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Kundalini and the Energetic Mechanism

One of the important texts of Kashmir Shaivism, the Spanda Karikas, says that space, which is vast and infinite, is not empty at all. Rather, space is filled with vibrancy, with resonance. It is the resonance of space itself that is the foundation of all phenomena. According to the Spanda Karikas, space is aware, and the resonance within space is full of self-awareness.

Aurora borealisThis resonance interacts with itself, in much the same way the strings of a musical instrument interact with themselves and give rise to a variety of tones in one moment. This resonance, interacting with itself in space, is responsible for all of the diversity of physical and biological life forms, most of which are not accessible to the sensory mechanisms of human beings.

As it interacts with itself, this resonance condenses into curtains of sound. The Spanda Karikas say that we are curtains of sound. Those curtains manifest themselves as an energetic mechanism, which is the term I use to describe them. The energetic mechanism comes together with lines of force, like a magnetic field, that have a very complicated structure made up of lines and their intersections. The lines of force are called nadis or channels. Their intersection points are called chakras. This energetic mechanism of chakras and nadis is the core of all biological life and the core of human beings.

The vibrancy of this mechanism is the life of our life. It sustains our physical body. It manifests our cognitive capacity. It is always and forever, infinite and unbounded, in its basic nature. The universal resonance, as it condenses, interacts with itself to form letters, sounds. The letters that it forms are, in the traditional literature, the 52 sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet. All of those resonances are present within us, which means that universal consciousness and universal capacity are present within us.

The power that has made the whole universe and all of its extraordinary vibrancy and diversity is our own essence. When it becomes the essence of an individual, it is called kundalini. Kundalini is what we are. It is our essence, our cognitive ability, our capacity for thought and speech. It is also our physiology, our physiognomy and the field of our experience.

Our karma, which I think of as the disappointments of our ancestors, their struggles, their tensions, their heartbreaks, their illnesses, is something we bring with us into this life. We carry it, and we re-inherit it and it’s reinforced in our mother’s womb, further nurtured by the relationship between our father and our mother, that vibration. That experience has an impact on the energetic mechanism and its function.

Those inherited tensions suppress different aspects of our energetic mechanism and cause it to become dense. They also make us unique and create our experiential world. Because of these tensions and their suppressive effects on our mechanism, kundalini is said to be asleep within us. Well, that’s not exactly true, because if kundalini were ever asleep, then you would not even exist.

The tantric tradition elaborates a means for achieving the fullness of our own humanity, by becoming aware of the basic fluctuation of kundalini energy moving within us twelve times a minute. We become aware of that basic fluctuation and to begin to direct that breath of life through the chakras and the channels with our attention. With our attention, which is powerful, we dissolve tensions through the circulation of the energy. Releasing tensions, we allow our creative energy to flow.

That circulation of the energy completely transforms us, exposing the basic sweetness and the profound richness that is available to each of us from within ourselves. My teacher, Rudi, used to say that the most amazing thing about human beings is how they manage to sit on top of this astonishing richness and creative capacity and live their whole lives completely unaware of it.

Ultimately, no matter what religious tradition you embrace, all pathways come to this energetic mechanism, the fundamental reality of every human being.

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There Is Nothing to Change but Yourself

If you ever want anything to change, the only option you have is to change yourself. There’s no other choice. There’s nothing other than yourself that will ever need to be changed. In fact, if we all did change ourselves, the world would be an infinitely finer place.

If we all developed ourselves to the degree that we could make contact with our own hearts and release our own tensions to find a depth and quality of flow within ourselves, if we could find that part of us that is truly beautiful and hold it in our awareness and breathe into it and allow it to expand throughout our body and the entire field of our energy, we would be completely transformed. If we could hold that for a little while, a day, a week, a month, our entire life would change. Not only that, our entire future would change, and all the futures of all the people that we have yet to connect to and share with would also change.

My teacher Rudi used to talk constantly about spiritual work. Finding the deepest, most beautiful, most powerful part of us and holding that awareness as we go through our days and allowing that vibration, that feeling to grow in us, and expand in us, and teach us about ourselves, is work. It’s not overly hard. It’s just work.

How to Make a Change: Start with Yourself

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons via <ahref=””>amintirivizuale

One of my friends recently sent me an article that talked about how anybody who has ever mastered anything has put in at least 10,000 hours of real practice. In the process of achieving this mastery, our physiology and our neurochemistry definitely change. So, this is work.
The work is, first of all, to make the effort to clear out our own tensions, to clear out our own confusion. We need to clear out the sleepy-headedness of ordinary life. We need to begin to lift ourselves up to a place where we begin to make contact with the real us, instead of being freaked out by the real us!

Then, reaching into ourselves, reaching deeply inside, we wake up our energetic mechanism and dissolve the tensions. We hold that experience and that flow until we get to a place where our heart opens and our mind opens and our guts open and our energetic mechanism becomes alive. Then we can experience a dimension of circulation going on within us that completely transcends our body.

Coming to eyes-open class in that state of openness, your energetic field can meet my energetic field and there will be a transfer, a transmission, a transfer of knowledge and understanding that cannot be communicated in words. There will be an awakening of the finest parts of your energetic mechanism, which cannot be nourished out in the ordinary world, because it is too dense. Finding that union of energetic or magnetic fields, and holding that experience and that flow, and growing that understanding, releases you completely from the prison of your personal life and your personal history, and awakens in you unimaginable possibilities that are extraordinarily beautiful.

This doesn’t happen by accident. It only happens by conscious choice. When you embrace the possibility that has somehow, for some mysterious reason plopped itself right in your lap, and commit to it and cultivate it, everything is possible.

So, if you want your life to change, you have to change yourself. There is nothing else to change. Nothing else will change. Everyone who tries to change the world is eaten by it. It’s only those of us who open within ourselves and begin to consume our own life deeply and change ourselves that escape being eaten by the world and realize the finest possibilities that are available to a human being.

I hope you choose to do it.

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Real Life Is Within You

The most important thing for a human being to understand is very simple; that we are in this world to grow. If you understand that, there doesn’t have to be any confusion anymore, or any displacement, or any suffering or agitation. If you really understand that, then it’s possible for you to have peace in yourself and peace in your life very quickly. Growing means fully awakening the energetic mechanism that underlies your physiology.

When we are growing and the energetic mechanism is fully awakened, the flow within the mechanism is expanding as the field of the mechanism itself is expanding. This means we are taking in more experience. Experience is energy, and we are digesting and absorbing that energy, which is feeding and nourishing us and feeding our energetic mechanism and allowing it to expand. As this expansion happens, finer and finer energies become accessible to us because the tensions that we are encased in are breaking down as the flow is expanding. We can really feel and experience and be nourished by the very fine energies that are available in the atmosphere and available within the field of our life to touch us in deep and meaningful ways.

At the same time, the tensions are breaking down, all the difficult circumstances that we face, all the challenges, all the pain, all the suffering, all the disappointment also is breaking down, the heavy denseness within us is breaking down. That energy too is nourishing us and creating pathways by which the pathology that is accumulated within us can be exported out of our body, out of our mechanism, out of our system so that our whole range of motion, our whole respiratory capacity, our whole experience of the breath of life itself, is continuously expanding and refining itself as it does. That’s so fantastic!

CC Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC on Flickr

The work you have to do in this growing is not rocket science. It’s actually unbelievably simple; it just needs to be done. This is the hard part for people—doing it. You have to make contact with your energetic mechanism every day. You have to really be in touch with yourself. It’s not your thoughts that you have to in touch with, because that’s all noise, or your feelings, although it’s better to be in touch with your feelings. Both thoughts and feelings will dissolve as you are simply in touch with the energy. It doesn’t matter at that point how you are feeling about the energies that are coming into you. That becomes irrelevant. What is important is that you are being deeply nourished by it, because you have opened in yourself to a place that is deeper than everything that’s coming at you.

Taking in these finer energies, we’re awakening new pathways by our conscious effort. We are awakening new energetic pathways, we are training our mind, we are training our neural pathways to move the energy through us in ways that is genuinely nourishing and dissolving tension, instead of creating tension and building our ego. And it’s work. Sometimes it is delicious, divine, such beautiful work. Sometimes it’s hard and hurtful, and digesting painful experiences is not easy. Uncovering painful places within us is not easy, but it’s so important.

A lot of the time it’s just practice. It’s a practice that we do out of our love of life and our appreciation for the extraordinary opportunity that has, who knows why, landed itself in our lap, to really make something of our life. Most of the time we go through life with such a small mechanism that even the most petty bullshit nonsense causes us to completely shut down. Lots of people stay shut down forever. This is not the way to have a real life.

To have a real life, you have to have some determination, first of all, to have a real life, to grow. The next thing is that you have to be willing to dig into yourself, to reach inside and make contact and hold the contact sot that you are really absorbing and digesting and transcending all of your experiences. Then you have an ever-increasing quantity of experience, you live a big life, and you have an ever-increasingly refined quality of experience because you are grounded within yourself in that place in which everything is really beautiful all the time. So you are digesting the external from a place that is pure love, unconditional love, a place that sees the symmetry and the beauty and the elegance and the mystery and the magic in it. It is a place that is aware of this magic all the time.

Real life is not at Fred Meyer. You will not find real life at Fred’s. You’re not going to find it at Costco. It ‘s not just walking down the street. All of that is imaginary life. That is the accumulation of all the delusion that exists in humanity over the ages. The reality of life is within you. Real life is within you. True life is within you. It’s not complicated or hard to find. Feel your breath. Be aware of your breath and feel it moving in you. It’s that simple.

As you find this sweetness, which grows and expresses its power and its magic, its beauty, the delusion will resolve and the reality will be where you live everyday. How cool is that?

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The Meaning of Inner Work

My teacher, Rudi, used the term “ inner work” in reference to spiritual practice, which could be understood as making an effort and working for an accomplishment. But Rudi, in talking about “inner work,” was not talking about that at all. There is a kind of an effort, but the effort is a natural introspection that arises from our cultivation of the awareness of our own energetic mechanism. By awakening the channels, the senses automatically naturally rotate within, and that rotation brings us into contact with our own essence. So, in effect, what we are doing is not making an effort, but cultivating an awareness. This awareness doesn’t lead to an accomplishment—it leads to a realization, or layers of realization.

In our physical engagement with our spiritual practice, we realize our ignorance. Dealing with our ignorance, we realize our physical capacity. Realizing our physical capacity, we can begin to understand our creative potential. Understanding our creative potential, we encounter our attachments—our hopes and fears. Encountering our hopes and fears, realizing our hopes and fears, and dissolving them, brings us into contact with a deeper layer of resistance in us. Realizing and dissolving that deeper layer brings us into contact with what Rudi called “nothingness,” what the Buddhists call “emptiness,” what the Shaivas call “consciousness,” which is sometimes in all those traditions referred to as “the Void.” Our practice brings us into that dimension of unmanifest, pure creative energy, which is without beginning or end, without any limitation whatsoever. It is pure awareness that is also self-aware and unimaginable possibility.

This unimaginable possibility is not an accomplishment, because it’s already inside you. It is a realization because, turning your attention inside and becoming sensitive, you come to a realization of the depth and the range of what is going on inside you.

If you get lost in the idea of an accomplishment, you will get on a treadmill and go around in circles for a hundred million years. That’s why so many times I have said surrender is the key, because this is not an effort of effort, this is an effort of awareness. It is the cultivation of an awareness of what is going on inside you right now and realizing the cosmic implications.

In this realization, there is tremendous relief and a great sense of joy. There is no amount of shedding of worldly engagement that can any way bring any pressure on us or any tension to our mind. The process is a process of continuously becoming enlightened—lighter and lighter, more and more light. The experience of all of the tensions which we have accumulated in this life, and all of the tensions that we have brought forward into this life from the family system that we have been swimming in for thousands of years, is dissolved.

If you work with the idea of making a big effort, what you will end up with is a complete desensitization to your own energetic mechanism. It does not take a big effort; it just takes a conscious awareness to open all of the chakras and activate all of the channels and begin to experience a simple sweetness and a joy. That simple sweetness and joy is like Drano: it dissolves all the clogs. How fantastic! How unbelievably fortunate that we have the opportunity to dissolve our clogs as we are growing our own happiness and cultivating the innate capacity of the breath of life within us to awaken, in all the lives that we are connected to, a similar experience of joy and a dissolving of tension.

a juicy orange slice

CC photo courtesy of *Saipal on Flickr

Even though my title is a “teacher,” I don’t teach anybody anything. I will share with you my own experience, and also I am sharing with you the blood of my blood, the life of my life. I am making my entire energetic mechanism available to you, if you have the ability to access it. I make it available to you so that you will have the extra energy that’s necessary to awaken your own energetic mechanism and begin a transformation process in you. But I won’t teach you anything; you will have to learn this yourself.

In order to learn, you have to have a passion for growing. To be alive, you have to have a passion for something. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time here in this world. I suggest you begin to have bit of passion for growing, which is the only reason we’re in this world to begin with. Out of that passion, you will develop a curiosity and a hunger for an understanding of the life that is flowing in your body, and the life that is vibrating as your mind, and the life that unrolls itself from within you in the form of your life experience. To grow, you have to have some curiosity about that, and some commitment to understanding it. Then, paying attention, you will realize.

This is really what life is all about—realizing. This is where the nectar is in life, in realizing. It’s where the juice is. It’s where the joy is. It is the most important thing we are in this world to do.

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Patience and Concentration

It’s very important to have a deep commitment to your practice. It’s so important to understand, to somehow get, that there is unimaginable depth within you. You then have to honor that depth through your practice by dissolving the tension of your day and the tension of your life, by dissolving and working through the disappointments of your ancestors. You finally come to the place where you really can completely open your heart and your energetic mechanism to participate in the profound abundance that is the essence of life itself.

This just doesn’t happen quickly. It’s like growing a tree. Growing anything that is great in its dimension and its stature just doesn’t happen quickly. You have to be willing to walk into the unknown within yourself every day and open within yourself every day. Every day you connect to something deeper and something deeper and something deeper, which will eventually open into a profound depth. In our culture now, they tell me, we have a 2-minute, an 8-minute, and a 20-minute attention cycle. That’s pathetic, it’s just pathetic, and it’s happening all over the world.

Waxing moon

CC Photo courtesy of ClaraDon on Flickr

In contrast to that, the accomplished people of south Asia a couple of thousand years ago understood the micro movements of the breath in conjunction with the moon. They got that there is an integration going on within our breath that is coordinated with the motion of the moon in the sky. They understood this perfectly, and we don’t even have the slightest clue.

How many of you can concentrate long enough to catch hold of the shift that goes on ordinarily in relationship to your breath? Well, that’s just not what’s going on for us, and in a way it’s very sad. What peace and what joy and what richness of creative expression might flow from you if you can be patient and concentrate long enough to really experience the circulation of your breath and the creative energy within you, and come to some authentic contact with that which is truly alive within you?

Through spiritual practice, and in spiritual community, we clear away all the tensions, all the self-rejection, all the inner struggle. We do this to come to understand the extraordinary and simple energetic event that we are. Then, moving beyond the tensions, we are giving that energetic mechanism space to really grow in the field of our life. Growing it brings us to a completely mature understanding of exactly what we are and what this life is.

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Creating the Space in Our Life

Nityananda once said that not everybody can be the guru at the same time. Somebody needs to be a disciple. What he meant by that is that each of us is called in our life to a unique experience that is un-comparable to any others. Our experience cannot be judged by promotions or by our financial circumstances. Ultimately, it cannot be judged by any circumstance other than the depth of our connectedness to the power of life itself within us, and the understanding that we have from the depth of that connection about the nature of life itself.

All spiritual practices in every tradition are about making contact with life of our life, and from this contact with the life of our life, understanding what we’re doing here and understanding what life is. This isn’t a cerebral exercise in any way. It’s not about figuring out anything, it’s not about analyzing anything. There is no knowledge to grasp. It is about making contact and holding that contact. It is about making the space within ourselves and the field of our experience for the life of our life to expand and to demonstrate its own rhythm, its own inherent motion and its own natural truth. In this way, because we hold that space, we hold that contact, we simply come to know. There’s nothing to figure out. It’s a knowing that arises out of contact, alignment and flow.

White Picket Fence at the Ocean

CC Photo Courtesy of Shayan on Flickr

Spiritual practice is about clearing all the garbage out of our heads and our hearts, and clearing all the tensions out of our life. For boys, it’s clearing away the boy things, their egos and ambitions, their contests and their triumphs. For girls it’s about getting rid of their girl things—the fence around the nest and so on. It’s about getting rid of all of those things, so that the life of our life has the space to really breathe and to really move, and, in its breath and movement, to teach us. It is not teaching us something intellectual or cerebral at all, but teaching us the feeling to hold in our hearts. It teaches us the space to hold in our minds and the rhythm with which to move in this world that is free of the delusion of accomplishment or acquisition. It establishes us in an unbroken appreciation for the unimaginable possibility that is available and expressing itself in the space that we establish and hold through our practice.

This requires a conscious effort. There’s no pill we can take that’s going to do that for us. There’s no chemical at all. There’s no book we’re going to read that’s going to explain it to us. It’s impossible. It is the conscious effort of making contact with the life of our life and holding that contact in the space of our heart, which should be ever-expanding.
This isn’t so easy because it’s hard to remember for boys to remember that we’re not our boy things. It’s hard. It requires vigilance, and the same is true for girls and their girl things. So, with vigilance, we release tensions and allow our creative energy to flow, and in that flowing it fills the field of our experience with so much richness, beauty and joy it elevates us beyond all of the insanity that permeates the whole planet. And by holding that space, we have the possibility of doing good to others and completely changing the world.

Clearing the junk out of our hearts and minds and the tensions out of our life is not so easy. It takes work, it takes commitment , dedication, and practice, practice, practice. That commitment and dedication and passion for growing and practice, practice, practice through the days of your life will allow the power of life itself within you ever more fully to fill the space of the field of your experience. It will completely release you from all of the entanglements of this life, to become completely established and absorbed in the ultimate truth. That’s the coolest thing we can possibly accomplish in this world, and I hope you do it. The reason that I sit here everyday is to support you in your effort.

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Our True Responsibility in Spiritual Practice

When we engage in an authentic spiritual practice, we have the responsibility to change ourselves. With that personal responsibility, there is a requirement of additional thoughtfulness. Otherwise, what tends to happen is that as we are empowered by our contact with creative energy, our egos get energized. Then what our sense of personal responsibility does with that power facilitates change in us, but that change gets expressed in conventional pathways. Our commitment to our own lives collapses into a kind of self-centeredness that is aligned with the conventional values of our culture.

I can’t think of a time when the circumstances I have felt personally responsible for haven’t turned into a disappointment. Any sense of commitment we have to worldly endeavor almost always gives rise to some profound sense of failure. The fact of the matter is that maybe it isn’t a failure. Maybe it’s just that the possibilities that are available to us in the world from our ordinary states are intrinsically limited. That kind of endeavor isn’t a place where we should be looking for fulfillment in the first place. In the beginning, middle and end, fulfillment exists only in us.

Bhaje Cave, India

CC Photo Courtesy of Sonam Pablo on Flickr

I used to think that sadhus went into caves in the mountains for long term retreats in order to have some kind of spiritual attainment. Now I don’t believe that’s why they went on retreat. It’s my opinion that they went on retreat to get away from people so that their natural awareness of the profound abundance at the core of their being would not be disturbed by all the insanity that goes on in the world.

The solution to all of our personal problems and issues is present within ourselves. We truly need do nothing other than establish contact with our own deepest resource, align ourselves with that deepest resource every day, and flow in that resource in our daily lives as it flows within us. Contact, alignment and flow are the essence of a fulfilled life. That is what we need to take personal responsibility for.

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