Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Present Moment

If we are mindful when we start our car, we will know how to use it properly. When we are driving, we tend to think of arriving, and we sacrifice the journey for the sake of the arrival. But life is to be found in the present moment, not in the future. In fact, we may suffer more after we arrive at our destination. If we have to talk of a destination, what about our final destination, the graveyard? We do not want to go in the direction of death; we want to go in the direction of life. But where is life? Life can be found only in the present moment. Therefore, each mile we drive, each step we take, has to bring us into the present moment. This is the practice of mindfulness.

When we see a red light or a stop sign, we can smile at it and thank it, because it is a bodhisattva helping us return to the present moment. The red light is a bell of mindfulness. We may have thought of it as an enemy, preventing us from achieving our goal. But now we know the red light is our friend, helping us resist rushing and calling us to return to the present moment where we can meet with life, joy and peace. Even if you are not the driver, you can help everyone in the car if you breathe and smile.

A number of years ago, I went to Canada to lead a retreat, and a friend took me across the city of Montreal. I noticed that everytime a car stopped in front of me, I saw the sentence, "Je me souviens" ("I remember"), on the license plate. I did not know what they wanted to remember, perhaps their French-speaking origin, but it gave me an idea. I told my friend, "I have a present for all of you here. Every time you see a car stop in front of you with the line 'Je me souviens,' you can see it as a bell of mindfulness helping you remember to breathe and smile. And you will have plenty of opportunities to breathe and smile while driving in Montreal."

My friend was delighted! He liked it so much that he shared the practice with more than 200 people in the retreat. Later, when he came to visit me in France, he told me that Paris was not a good place to practice driving, as there were no signs "Je me souviens." I told him that he could practice with red lights and stop signs. After he left Plum Village and went back to Montreal, he wrote me a beautiful letter: "Thay, practicing in Paris was very easy. Not only did I practice with red lights and stop signs, but every time a car stopped in front of me, I saw the eyes of the Buddha blinking at me. I had to smile at those blinking eyes."

The next time you are caught in traffic, don't fight. It is useless to fight. If you sit back and smile to yourself, you will enjoy the present moment and make everyone in the car happy. The Buddha is there, because the Buddha can always be found in the present moment. Practicing meditation is to return to the present moment in order to encounter the flower, the blue sky, the child, the brilliant red light.

Taken from Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living(1990) by Thich Nhat Hanh. Parallax Press, Berkeley, California.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Pain and Consciousness

"There is no coming to consciousness without pain, People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

~Carl Jung

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Dignity of Fearlessness

There is more to fearlessness than merely having overcome fear. Beyond that, when we speak of fearlessness, we are describing a positive state of being full of delight and cheerfulness, with sparkling eyes and good posture. This state of being is not dependent on any external circumstances. It is individual dignity. This joy and unconditional healthiness is the joy, the basic virtue, that comes from being what we are, right now.

- Chogyam Trungpa

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

An interview

How might we (or I) experience more connection, oneness with the Universe, with people, objects all things all of the time?

Be still. You are already one with the universe. Shhh! Be quiet and notice. Sit and notice. Behind the facade of our thoughts is a stream of running energy. Beyond that stream of running energy is an even deeper fabric. People ask how to reach this. Be still! Then notice. Then feel. Not in the urgent sense of feeling, of needing to feel something. But become open and drop your preconceptions of what the feeling is like and just feel. Put your foot in the water and see what sensations arise. That is connection in contemplation. But wait! Who says connection must be contemplated? When you look around, noticing the colours is connection. Smelling a flower gives us connection. Greeting the next person you meet with a smile and really seeing them as though for the first time, and not just seeing what we think is there is connection. Listen! Really listen to the wonderful words, the nuances, the tones. When you take focus away from yourself and go into primary sense, that is connection. Connection can be lovely and wonderful, and it can also be turbulent. Connecting is not about repressing thoughts of emotions. It is about letting them be heard, to hear them, to feel them, and to face them for what they are. When you ask a question, listen for the answer. When you feel sorrowful, notice! Feel! Connection with others also begins with connecting with ourselves. It all starts with being honest. This state of connection is about honesty and truth, within and without, always.

What of allowance of all people – as opposed to being in judgement, polarity, fear, resistance, agreement? Are there any ‘tools’ or processes to help?

There are plenty of tools and processes. All of them bring you to presence, to the moment, to the now. All of them ask you to stop taking yourself so seriously for a moment, to stop running the movies about what is so scary, so hateful about the world, to take a look out there. All of them ask you to notice what is in your awareness, then realise that it is what it is, and there is a bigger picture. Allowance is not about tolerance. Tolerance assumes that you are right, but out of your “goodness”, you are “allowing” them to go on. That is not allowing – that is merely putting yourself in a space capsule of even greater conceit to avoid feeling resentful.

Perhaps the question that people miss is why it is so hard to allow. And the answer is us. We do not want to feel vulnerable. In fear, we do not want others to push certain buttons. In anger, we have raised so much energy in a given direction that when the course of our expectations is interrupted we have to express this energy violently, without knowing how to efficiently rechannel it. And between fear and anger, there are all the myriad transformations. Learn about yourself. When you willingly experience truth with an open heart and a humble soul, allowance will follow. Compassion will, too, for when you awaken you cannot help but be compassionate when you see how much torture people put themselves through, all for the sake of ego.

For example if I work with someone who is always irritable or angry how might he encourage me to turn my attention towards the energy of love and self acceptance and not be drawn into this energy?

Firstly, resisting anger or irritation is exactly how to get into trouble with it. If you are going to be angry, be angry! This may not be the response some might expect me to give, but how else can you start being honest with yourself? If you’re mad, you’re mad! Pretending you’re just “put out” or “long-suffering” is just another story. You can’t deal with an emotion you won’t allow yourself to feel. The same goes for fear, by the way. Now notice the anger, and notice where it comes from. Anger is always, in my experience, an interruption of a flow of energies, usually channelled by some subconscious structure of how things should be, or towards a goal. Notice what has been challenged in your personal paradigm. And question that. One might, for example, think a co-worker should not always push work on them. Or that an employer should be more reasonable and not demand extra time. Well, why? And spare yourself the “it’s the right thing to do” reasons. I won’t debate their accuracy with you, but they won’t help you. If you are really interested in liberation, then look at the part of you that wants those reasons to be right. Notice how you cling to them like a baby clings to its safety blanket. Notice how distressed you feel when someone like me dares to tell you to observe and question those thoughts. Begin with honesty, and you will have a good start.

Also, sometimes sensitive people experience other people’s realities deeply inside their own body and it can feel deeply uncomfortable and feel like a bigger challenge to stay happy or at peace in one’s self. What tips to help bring oneself back to my soul, my higher self?

Make the decision not to feel that. Empathy is great, but oversensitivity is useless. There are plenty of visualisations to help yourself with that. The famous white light meditation is one. Has it occurred to anyone that if someone is indeed so sensitive, and so talented at connecting with someone, they could just as easily connect to the universe? Instead of connecting with others’ suffering (which incidentally does that person not one whit of good and doesn’t help you either), connect with the patience of the saints, the joy of children, the compassion of Buddha, the peace of Lao Tzu, the love of Jesus, the benevolence of the universe. If you are good at that, you will become a truly awakened being. Then empathise with people if you so choose, and the light will naturally spill over.

Some communities talk about ET’s and a specific race of ET’s having interferred with our earth and humans – any knowing or opinion on this and is this something we should be afraid of and if not, why not? How can we NOT panic about an unseen force?

I do not claim any knowledge where this subject is concerned. As I connect with the universe, this answer arises: There is nothing mightier than the universe. There is nothing greater than God, and by that I mean the God of your understanding. There is nothing that can be almighty forever. There is nothing that cannot change. This is the nature of existence. The only thing constant is change. To understand all the permutations of the changes possible are likely beyond any single human being. However, to develop the view of the fabric of reality is possible, and very achievable. If you so choose, these realities will respond to your touch, but only when you have a deeper awareness and recognition of it. And to do that, you must first drop the obscurations of the emotions. Note that I did not say to drop the emotions. There’s that honesty thing going on again. Experience whatever is your truth. But instead of trying to hold your head above water, relax into them and see how they feel. Learn to function in them. Then, when you feel ready, you can look past them and get on with your path. When you connect with the view and really know (as in recognise) how everything is a movie, then the movie becomes a lot less scary. Try that if you want the next time you are watching a really scary movie. Notice the screen and let your awareness go onto the fabric, and the surroundings. When you move your awareness away from its involvement with the colourful projections, it becomes a lot less threatening.

What of Fate and Destiny? Do we arrive with a Soul’s purpose and if so why does that idea feel so significant and heavy? What’s true and untrue about this idea?

Lots of masters of various levels are likely going to be upset with me for saying this, but I believe it’s time to put this one to rest. Do you have a fate and destiny? Insofar as you enter the earth experience with certain energetic tendencies, yes. Insofar as energetic patterns will influence your psychology in (usually) predictable patterns (because we human beings make it so easy for the cosmos, being unaware and all), yes. Are you bound by your fate? Nope. If you do some kind of spiritual practice, it usually allows liberation from the dictates of those tendencies. That process is more famously known as purifying karma.

Is there a purpose? In a relative sense, yes. There is a purpose to this lifetime. There is a reason why you’re here. If it feels heavy, it is because you don’t want to pick that up. You might be afraid to fail, perhaps. You want to do it your way, perhaps. You’d just as soon not have someone else tell you what to do, thank you very much. Goodness knows, I empathise! So, yes, you have a purpose, but each lifetime is like diving for pearls. You might get carried away one of these dives by the beauty of the fish, and forget to get the pearl until you come up for air. You know what? Dive again. Or not. There is always choice. The content of our awareness is a reflection of our choices.

That said, nothing is written. From an absolute viewpoint, you have absolutely no purpose. The universe is not so small that it needs us to be this or do that. It contains all the permutations, remember? Do you think the sea cares if a turtle to eat a fish? Fish, turtle, sea. All are one mass. It is just another conversion of energy, another play, another flourish of the pen, another flash in the pan. And once we get over ourselves being offended that “we” the identity means so little, we can find that the whole play is actually rather meaningful. And beautiful. Let’s not forget beautiful.

What about this talk of Acsension? What does it mean and how is it relevant to us?

Ascension is very specific to certain traditions, and they will have specific responses to it. It usually has to do with raising vibrations. I do not specialise in the light body that these traditions have and so cannot comment on it with authority. I will say that “ascending”, as far as I’m concerned, has more to do with be-ing, than do-ing. We ascend and we descend to different depths of reality. Whoever gave us the idea that up is better than down? From an absolute viewpoint, there is no difference. There would be no up without down. When we realise this, and examine our motives for going in a certain direction, we often find that really, right where we are is just fine. And if we don’t like it, we are free to choose a different direction at any time.

What is your experience of G-d?

I can answer this question from two viewpoints, that of a theological God or even gods, and that of my experience of the Highest Truth. Because of the phrasing of the question, I will go with the latter.

God for me is an experience of truth and of oneness. When I reach for God, I release my preconceptions of what is, was or should be, and open my mind to What Is. As the sense of self drops away, “I” stand naked and vulnerable before the ultimate structure of existence. I feel myself reaching into the expansiveness of this existence, becoming aware of the minute and subtle fabric upon which life plays itself out. It is beyond words, but more like a subtle something in the back of my mind.

Within this great expanse I see potentialities playing themselves out, even as my own awareness shines on and picks up on different patterns of energy and vibration emerging from within this great sea. The sea itself is unfathomable, but with every heartbeat, I feel God emerging into physical existence. With every thought, I feel God expressing a perspective. With every emotion, I feel the rush of energies as God plays with existence. Yet God as an “it” does not work. No one word describes this something which contains everything, and without this there would be nothing. We do not have the language for this description. It is a sublime experience not because of love or kindness or even compassion, even though they are there. It is a feeling of ultimate openness and permissiveness.

In a society which has individualised God, we have many gods of our understanding. Within many traditions, there are various practices for connecting with these gods as a step into truth awareness. I have learnt these methods myself, but I think if we could return to our little children’s minds and see the wonder of a sunrise, or a dewdrop on a blad of grass, we would have come much closer to the most fundamental expression of that which sustains and thus governs all life. In that moment of wonder, in that heartbeat when the universe stands still as an eagle takes flight, we sense for a moment the larger wisdom that governs all these. It overwhelms me with wonder, and humbles my usually oversized sense of ego. And if I let the facade of who I think is me really drop and surrender into this strange vacuum emptiness from which so many wonderful things arise, I glimpse the essence of my own awareness, and how it is perfectly placed within this universe, functioning perfectly, and a sensation of overwhelming contentment arises. That is my experience of God.

I would be interested to find out what meditation technique he would recommend to channel chi!!

The interview was over when I received this question, but it offers such a unique opportunity to point out a couple of issues that I could not resist. Chi, or qi, as the Chinese call it, is generally known as life energy. It permeates life forms and leaves imprints on inanimate objects. Masters of qigong are basically masters of qi (energy) – gong (work), or energy work. However, when the average healer or even master talks about energy, they fail to distinguish between primordial energy emanating from the emptiness that is the canvas of life and the “relative qi” experience of daily life. Primordial qi is what we are interested in if we are looking to affect life on a fundamental level. Relative qi is the qi that has already gained form and some more physical characteristics. Like everything else on the relative level of existence, this qi has an illusory quality to it, although it may produce very real physical effects.

When asking what meditation would channel qi, it is necessary to first consider what qi you are talking about. Relative qi is moved largely through thought processes, will and intent. It can also be directed through hand movements, sound and colour, amongst other things. Feng Shui is the process of guiding such qi forms in a harmonious manner. At this level, there are things like “blockages” and “stuck energy patterns”. Most healing systems are largely concerned with this level of qi.

If you are truly channelling primordial qi, there is very little will, and faith and gratitude become larger components, for there is much more intelligence as the qi goes towards its primordial state. It becomes more an issue of “traversing parallel realities” and less and issue of “raise energy and pump”. One simply chooses the experience of existence one prefers. Ironically, the more neutral one is (read: detached) between the choices available, the greater one’s ability is to choose effectively. This may seem like a non-answer, but at this level any technique or method simply defeats the purpose, for it is a restriction on that which cannot be restricted. For that reason, many practitioners begin and end with relative qi channelling, and over time develop a maturity which then, if they are open, allows them a glimpse of a deeper reality. Such was certainly the case for me.

My question would be what advice would he give to someone who is trying meditation but feels that they are not making any progress, and that it is all leading to frustration? Why do some people manage an hour and others always seem to struggle with 5 minutes (which can seem like an hour)?

It depends on the type of meditation you are trying. Most meditations quiet the mind in some way, but some actually make it active in others. Depending on how active your mind and energy usually are, meditations may not be your cup of tea. Although I began meditating when I was twelve, it was very functional and practical. I never meditated for meditation’s sake in those days. It was always to apply my mind for some specific purpose or to gain some specific result. Meditation was a business transaction, so it’s hardly surprising I didn’t really meditate for long. However, I was fortunate enough to have a relatively quiet mind, and so I got my results.

Over time, as my spiritual awareness matured, I began to become aware of specific types of meditations. Frankly, the purpose-based ones still bore me! But I began to realise that I usually couldn’t sit still because I felt I had to contort my mind to “do” a certain specific thing, so although some parts of it were relaxed, other parts were subconsciously tense, and still preoccupied with the idea of moving on to the next thing. That’s why I have begun to stress the power of relaxation and love so much. It doesn’t matter how powerful a meditation it is, provided you relax and open up fully to all aspects of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. Meditation is first and foremost an exploration of self, so if we do not relax and open, we sort of miss the point. Love is important because we open up to it. If one could meditate like a cat basking in the sun, or a dog lying quietly by a bubbling brook, one could do much. Love yourself – just the love would heal so much. Become sensitive to how you are feeling and acknowledge that. It is no use trying to fight a busy mind. Just love it and breathe with it. If it is going to run, it is going to run, but enjoy the sensation of the mind running away, and eventually you will see what it is running away from, and then it will quieten itself.

“Progress” is a relative phase. I’ve been gifted with amazing and life-changing experiences in meditation, but when I plunge into meditation, sometimes my mind wants to run away too. That’s okay. That’s me for now. Waiting for it to slow down is also a kind of progress. If you move your mind to the rat race of the world, where I sometimes play too, that is what the mind does to survive. Asking it to switch between states immediately is like asking a train running at full speed to come to a full stop. Cooling down is a part of the process too. If the meditation has steps, take your time on the steps. You don’t even have to do all of them at once. To thy own self be true.

Time is also relative. I rarely sit for hours in meditation except when I am in deep retreat or transformation mode. I’m just not that kind of guy! But if I want to feel my place in the universe, it can be done in an instant. Time has nothing to do with it – many meditations make time-related recommendations because the mind adjusts to what is comfortable, so the theory is to train the mind to stretch to a new default. If your mind doesn’t work like that, forget it!

Some useful things that might help:

- Meditate first thing in the morning or last thing at night, or just after lunch. That is when the mind is usually at its quietest.
– Do some light exercise or qigong before meditating, to work off excess energy. I sometimes do some qigong with my eyes closed. That produces alpha brainwaves automatically and so I segue conveniently into meditation when I get tired of moving my arms around.
– Bouncing in place also helps to work off excess energy. – Avoid caffeine prior to meditation.
– Do a walking meditation. Now THOSE I’ve been known to do for hours on end. I must have walked through most of central London in full meditation mode at one point or another.
– Take some time off to a relaxing place for a weekend where you meditate multiple times in a day. How long doesn’t matter – it is the number of times you get the mind to slow down that matters. Ask a monkey to sit down a thousand times and eventually it will get the idea. – Really focus on physical, mental and emotional relaxation and openness. Notice any hidden tension or worry and keep relaxing that and then going on, then coming back again to relax it.
– Get a massage. Sometimes meditation literally becomes difficult when there are physical knots in the body. If you have that, a good physical massage session will give you a good night’s sleep and also become the ground for good meditation sessions.

Could you please ask for ways to break down old hidden belief systems?

All belief systems start out as a path the mind takes. It is sometimes not even thought, just mental stance of convenience for the situation at hand. Other times, of course, it is a very well fleshed-out thought process, for better or for worse, that is either developed by us or handed to us. The key is to realise that beliefs are hidden only because we let them hide from us. And so a good starting point is to ask ourselves why they are so hidden. The fact is, most erroneous or disempowering beliefs evaporate when they are truly recognised and acknowledged. There are several beliefs (there’s that word again) about why our minds seem to hide our belief systems from us. Some say the mind protects us from the software that has kept us alive. Others say that we do not see it until it is time. Ultimately, the basic denominator is that beliefs are defended by fear. Whether it is the ego defending itself or the mind trying to preserve us, we do not see our beliefs because they are hidden by urges and emotions that almost force us to look the other way. We want to be right. It is safer for the world to remain the way we think it is, or at least so we think. So, open-mindedness is the first step. If we go in with something to defend, we have by default made some of our territory off-limits. Unfortunately, the belief may be so deeply ingrained that we may unwittingly defend it and prevent it from detection. Secondly, we must be willing to deal with the fear. It is not easy, and people do this with varying aptitudes until they come to the spiritual “test” of level 3.5. But that is a subject for another time.

Willingness is the key. There are many emotional technologies out there which will support this process, but all require honesty and a commitment to honesty. Most only come to someone else for help with their beliefs when there is too much pain not to change them. Otherwise, they’d just as soon keep their paradigms, thank you very much. If they are really ready, they will let it go once they actually realise how much damage it has done to them. If they are not, they won’t. There is no real guarantee that beliefs will change – they do or they don’t. Byron Katie’s Work is one avenue I recommend for those who are looking to question their beliefs about reality. Of course, for those who are spiritually ready, I’d recommend my training too, but you’d not be surprised at the gratuitous self-promotion! Seriously, though, rooting out deep beliefs can be painful work…I should know. I’ve given enough relationship coaching over the years to know you want not to be in the same room when you tell someone they may not be in the right!

I am becoming more and more aware of helping to hold a light space for 2012, which was actually a question I was going to email you about for the interview. What should we be doing for 2012 and what can we expect?

As I look at 2012, I see the energies going quietly until March, where there is a ballooning of light within the universal consciousness gridwork. It is not threatening or harmful, I am somewhat relieved to say. In spite of what most people say, 2011 has been the bulk of the shift predicted for 2012. I see, to my surprise, the resilience of the human spirit. I must emphasise surprised, because 6 months, or even 3 months ago, it didn’t look that way. The energetics were chaotic and even those with the ability to see had their abilities clouded. This was true for practically everyone I know in the circle. There is now an energy grid in place that is supporting humankind, and indirectly the earth with it.

This was always going to be a transition period, but we are over the chaotic bit. It is far from over, but conscious awareness has started to adjust. I sense so much less fear in the overall system. And even better, I sense quiet dignity and optimism, even in spite of the economic unrest much of the world is undergoing. Subconsciously, people have shifted. They may not even have recognised this subtle change in stance. However, many have accepted the environment and adapted, and are showing signs of movement in the correct direction.

Personally, I rejoice at this change, for there is little more masters of my level can do to aid this period specifically, although I suspect a few will be reluctant to admit that. Right about the beginning of 2011, many of us who were called to teach and to help this transition stopped hearing the call, and I believe I am right when I say that about that time, the energetic level of humanity was locked in, as it were, for this period. In other words, you would ride out the storm with whatever level you were at. Some may accuse me of being fatalistic about this, but I simply report my experience. Throughout the period since then, the overall level of understanding of humanity has progressed relatively slowly, but the energetic overtone of maturity has changed much. I believe people are instinctively finding and getting what they need to make it through. Being true to yourself and maintaining stability of awareness are the themes of importance.

During this period, aim not for earth-shaking lightning bolts of enlightenment, in spite of what ancient prophecies may say. Aim instead to stabilise yourself in feelings of love and light and gentleness. This is a period of the return of the feminine principle. For generations we have worshipped the masculine principle and developed a society based on the concepts of power and strength. We are now returning to a period where feelings, intuition and grace are the guiding light. Look for what is good in your memories, in your imagination, in your vision and in your personal life. This is Christmas-time, and whatever your calling, it is a good time to get in tune with your inner light. The more you ground your awareness in what you really feel, in the core of your being, the more easy you will find the coming period. In 2012, as the earth grid stabilises to a new default, so too should you. Look for stability and what means “home” to your soul, and look for it every day.

I realise I may sound Pollyanna-ish in what I am recommending, but those who know me also know that I call ‘em like I see ‘em. We have developed into a very cynical and jaded generation, with all the technological advances of the past 30 years. The internet has opened our eyes, but also to an extent it has made a very fresh reality seem old. That is pretty much all I want to say about 2012 at this point. Astrologically, it is better than 2011, some may be shocked to hear, although it is far from good news from that perspective. Frustrations will certainly arise as we adjust to the new mean, but if we can keep our minds steady, the future is looking rosier than expected. Finally, when responding to situations, do not respond mindlessly in the way you have always responded. Always reground in inner light and choose your actions.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Conceptual Thinking - Friend or Foe?

It is often mentioned in the scriptures that without theories, without concepts one cannot even start. So start with concepts and then build up theory. And then you use up the theory and it gradually gives way to wisdom, to intuitive knowledge, and that knowledge finally links with reality. So to start with, one should allow and not react against things. And if one wants to help a person, for example, there are two ways of doing it: one is that you want to help him because you want him to be different, you would like to mold him according to your ideas, you would like him to flow your way. That is still compassion with ego, compassion with an object, compassion finally with results which will benefit you as well -- and that is not quite true compassion. This plan to help other people may be a very good one, but nevertheless the emotional approach of wanting to save the world and bring peace is not quite enough, there has to be more than that, there has to be more depth. So first one has to start by respecting concepts and then building from there. Though actually in Buddhist teachings, concepts are generally regarded as a hindrance. But being a hindrance does not mean that it prevents anything. It is a hindrance and it is also the vehicle -- it is everything. Therefore one must pay special attention to concepts.

Chogyam Trungpa, "The Manure of Experience and the Field of Bodhi," Meditation in Action

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ho'oponopono - Meeting the Big Kahuna

In the last post I discussed the application of ho'oponopono relative to using it to other people. Since liberation is largely about well, being liberated, any practice that increases your personal freedom and relationship to the universe or the god of your understanding counts, in my book, as a good idea.

So, we now look at the ho'oponopono approach of getting into a relationship with God. In this form, the technique is closer to confession. The idea is that the more open you are with Him, the better. That's why, in my opinion, so many religious adepts and spiritually realised masters write accounts that are almost sexual in recounting their experience of God. Meeting the universe is about vulnerability. Infinite vulnerability. And love. Leave us not forget love. We are left with faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love, if you remember your Corinthians.

So, it's about taking responsibility for different aspects of your life and accepting that somehow, somewhere, you have created these situations. Whether you actually did or did not is a matter of metaphysical debate of Jedi-Sith continuum proportions, and I am currently throwing my chips on the side of "you probably did most of it, if not all of it". Nonetheless, taking responsibility for it is still a good idea from a personal empowerment viewpoint. Then, you basically sit before your God, and do the ho'oponono mantras.

"I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you."

And the more open you can be the better. I personally find that I am too lazy to think about exactly what I did wrong, so I just start with the mantras. Eventually (well, actually pretty soon) things and events tend to come to mind, and I apologise for those. The lean in this particular version of this technique is in the "I'm sorry." The more willing you are to accept that your position may not have been the only right one, or even the right one, the more flexible your ego stance is, and the more can be achieved. In this open confession, you let go and let God.

Oh, and one word of warning - do not use the "please forgive me" part to do a mental ego flip. The ego is quite willing to do an insincere apology if it knows that it will be forgiven. All that is is what Paul Scheele used to call finessing. It goes through the motions to get to the desired result. Unfortunately, it does not go through the E-motions. And that is what gets it uncomfortable.

This is a very useful version for difficult issues and situations too, but I would use an adapted mantra setup:

"I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Please help me. Your Will be done. I love you. Thank you."

The confession bit (don't underestimate confession - there's a reason why most, if not all, major religions have it in one form or another) remains the same. There is a request for help, but again, the final mantra cuts at the ego bit of the equation. The ego is quite willing, again, to go through the motions if it thinks it can wheedle something out of God. What God thinks of that probably differs through the traditions, but what I can say with a lot of certainty is that the ego gets away intact if it is done in that way. It has to accept (with faith, which implies uncertainty, which is something the ego NEVER likes because it fears one or more outcomes that it views as unfavourable) that the best will happen, and it may not like the result.

Basically, in other words, use surrender. Openness. Everything that implies vulnerability and discomfort. It's not easy. But then again, who said liberation was easy? As for the last bit - saying thank you is always about gratitude and appreciation. From the heart. It's just a nice thing to say when you ask someone for a favour (even if that happens to be your Higher Self), don't you think?

There are, of course, other nuances to the ho'oponopono approach. More to come.

Ho'oponono - the Kahuna Way to Awakening

Right ho. So I haven't really posted much original material here for a bit, and now that I've found a topic I feel like getting my teeth into, I've decided to change that. The once obscure art of ho'oponono is pretty famous these days, thanks to Joe Vitale and Hew Len. I for one happen to think that is a good thing. There are, however, quite a few versions of these mysterious art, which have to do largely with reconciliation, forgiveness and karmic clearing. Those who know me will know that it is the last of these three categories that would catch my attention. It is not my practice to do an expose of other people's techniques on my blog, so I will proceed to do what I usually do, which is to present MY version. Or versions. It's no secret I usually find at least a few different proverbial nails to use the same metaphysical hammer on. Live with it.

So, the now somewhat-famous four-sentence mantras associated with this technique of Hawaiian clearing are:

"I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you."

Awww. Ain't that sweet. It sounds like a particularly dear child with blue eyes and golden locks apologising to mumsy for spilling sugar on the table. Well, har de har har. The last time I checked, mumsy wasn't in charge of the karmic balance book. Or was she? I nearly titled this post, "Who's the matter with me?" Maybe at least some of our troubles can be traced to her. And definitely to someone or other. So, just to get my writing momentum in order again, here's a metaphysical technique for purifying health and situational (e.g. money) issues.

Relax. Meditate. Go to your alpha level. Breathe deeply. All that jazz.

When there, consider the issue you have in mind in a relaxed and oblique manner (no need to get all emotional and swingy about it). Ask yourself, "Why am I experiencing this particular issue?" You could also ask yourself variations of this, such as "Why is this happening to me?" or "What is the cause of this problem?" I could go on a whole about why people don't use their common sense when selecting the terms appropriate to them, but let's just leave that for now.

Anyway, relax and allow a person to come to mind. Whoever this hapless individual is, you apply the four sentence mantras to. And mean it. It may be someone you know. It may be someone representing someone you wronged. Or even a group of people. An uncle representing all uncles, perhaps. Or maybe you said Blarney the purple dinosaur was a disgrace to his race and now have to apologise to dinosaurs everywhere for comparing him to them. It's amazing what sort of karma shows up these days. Anyhow, try and mean it as much as possible. And if someone else shows up, keep doing it. It feels painful at first, but it allows you to open pathways that were previously blocked by guilt and resistance.

Perhaps you have no idea why you should be apologising. Perhaps you think the person should apologise to you. Well, play with it. Disagreements and grudges are really two-way things. And maybe YOU should apologise to you for holding that grudge in your mind for so long when someone else may have long moved on. Keep going until you have some kind of release.

Now, sometimes interesting characters will show up. Your higher self, perhaps. Or you in the past. Or a you in the future. Or your subconscious or shadow selves. The nonconscious mind has a way of producing interesting imagery. You might even end up apologising to a child version of yourself for not living up to your dreams and expectations.

Keep digging. I don't want to go into the whole deep explanation of why this works, but it's important. I do want to point out that in the traditional Hawaiian model of the selves, there is the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and superconscious mind. This kind of trains the conscious mind to act in a more open and humble way, whilst probing the subconscious for past hurts. Keep that model in mind. I may well post a series of techniques that dance around that. Also, it is useful to remember the in spite of the more popular Ho'oponono, there were other very important Hawaiian magical secrets, such as the Rain of Blessings, which are relevant to ways of living. Until next time.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Falling in Love is Elemental

The conditions causing you to fall in love with somebody are not because your partner is a wealthy person, has a lot of intelligence, is a good breadwinner, or would be good for you. If you don’t have those accessories and you begin to like somebody as another human being and appreciate him or her as your mate, then you are operating from a square-one point of view; whereas if you have been talked into it, it is operating from square thirty-three. However, if it is genuinely felt and personally experienced, falling in love is like the elements: fire burns, water is moist, air moves, space is spacious.

~ Chogyam Trungpa
- from Ocean of Dharma quotes

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

An Open Heart

As we become more inwardly free from our conditioning and our fears, the love and connection that are possible in relationships tend to flow through us more naturally. As our defences are lowered, our heart opens, and there is a natural desire to give from the generosity of the heart. We discover that genuine happiness in relationships is not a product of having our expectations met or getting what we want but rather it is the consequence of freely giving in order to bring happiness to another.

Ezra Bayda

Monday, 13 February 2012

Holding Awareness Steady and Connecting to Different Levels of Intelligence

Source: Cephas/Wikimedia

I recently had the privilege of speaking at a Silva Method Graduate Meeting. It was an event that I had not anticipated participating in, as I have not been active within that community for quite some time. It was a lovely experience to be speaking to people of that particular mindset again, and in my own way, I was reminded of some key points regarding manifestation.

In particular, one person had 30 years' experience of using the Method and was very successful with regard to manifestation. Unsurprisingly, I was interested in his specific internal arrangement. It seems he only focussed on one particular technique - the mental screen. If you want to learn that particular technique, just buy the Silva Method book by Jose Silve and Philip Miele. It's in there. Most visualisation techniques are similar so I will not get into the details of the how. I was more interested in the nuances of application.

I discovered something particularly interesting - he has close to, if not 100% success, and it comes from just repeating the same process over and over again. This is almost a complete counter to my approach, which involves more open awareness and flexibility in application. I have my reasons for doing it the way I do, some of which are in parts of this blog, but that is not to say there is no merit to the other approach either. In his mind, he would simply hold the image of that which was to be manifested. Based on pacing his language patterns and metaprogram structures, I deduced a number of things of interest.

Firstly, he could hold the image remarkably steady. His personality was one that was steady to begin with. This is not to say that he was without fear, but rather that he sat naturally in his awareness within a place of relaxation, and thus power. I can only imagine that this power deepens when he actually meditates. And he meditates thrice a day, so it is quite possible that he is naturally in light meditation most of the time anyway. When he visualises sitting at that level of awareness, he can hold an image steady.

Secondly, he could project that image very well. You might think that this is essentially the same thing. I have come to suspect it is not. Jose Silva called his work Psychorientology, and every graduate will recognise the phrase "entering deeper, healthier levels of mind". This and many other nuances of the Silva Method suggest that different aspects of living function at different levels. It also means that you might, in fact, be holding a perfectly viable image in your mind, but because you are not connecting and projecting it into the relevant level of intelligence, it becomes less effective. Because this person had few or no mental blocks in the areas in which he exercised his abilities, the image communicated very well.

Some would accuse me of making a simple thing complicated. Indeed, the explanation of the process is probably more complicated than necessary. In practice, it is a matter of relaxing and connecting with intention to the level of existence and then trusting the subconscious to continue the work. Nonetheless, I find that three things need to be taken note of as a result of this: openness, steadiness and connection. This also interplays with the expectancy factor in the desire-belief-expectancy trio forming faith within the Silva Method system. Expectancy is more open than expectation, and that openness comes from having mentally connected to the level of intelligence/existence necessary and having already created the end result at the relevant level.

Finally, this gentleman differed from me greatly in one aspect. He was very specific in his visualisations. He would visualise, for example, the price he wished to sell his car for, and did indeed get it. He would put timelines on his projects. I have in the past pointed out the specificity also limits the extent of the manifestation. Nonetheless, in his context, one can see that using a model of steady projection, it would be of benefit to him to have greater objectivity. I am not quite convinced that these levels of specificity are ideal, but certainly it emphasises the importance of steadiness.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Prayer to Grandmaster Wong for the Pacification of Negative Karmic Connections

Dear Divine Grandmaster Wong,

I, _____, humbly and sincerely prostrate myself before you in your great compassion and wisdom.
Regardless of what I have done or how many prayers I may have offered,
I clear my mind now and appeal to You with great reverence, love and amazement as though for the first time.
Please hear every sincere cry of Your humble disciple.
Although it may not seem so to me, I know that:
Compared to the obstacles of others, my obstacles are small;
Compared to the problems of others, my suffering is tiny;
Compared to the great issues of existence, my issues are non-existent;
I am greatly blessed compared to others.
May I truly realise this, and with great determination and compassion in my heart, may I quickly pacify all my own obstacles and suffering so I can play my part to relieve the suffering of all beings.

Dear Divine Grandmaster Wong,
Please heal, repair and purify my karmic connection with __(all people/group of people/person)__.
May all parties confess, even as I now confess all my own karmic errors.
May all parties regret and repent, even as I realise, regret and repent my own errors against everyone.
May all parties forgive, even as I forgive all wrongdoing against me,
I now realise all these wrongdoings to be an illusion of my own deluded mind,
For life is like a dream – form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
I realise now all the suffering I have created for myself and others through this deluded state.
May this forever be forgiven, pacified and purified.
I generate to my greatest ability the deepest gratitude and love towards the compassion of __(people in general/group of people/person)__ for manifesting in this form to teach me this lesson.
May this connection attain its highest form,
Full of love, forgiveness, compassion and Light.

Through the power of these words, actions and realisations, which continue to deepen long after this prayer is complete,
May this connection be truly pure and made whole, in Your Wisdom.
Whatever outcome is best, I rejoice and trust in Your Wisdom and Compassion.
Whatever time is best, I accept with gratitude.
Whatever happens, my faith is steady, my devotion is complete, my compassion is strong and my realisation is intact.

Reflecting on myself,
I realise all attachment creates suffering, so I willingly release and let go.
I realise ego and judgment create attachment, so I let illusory stories and false logic dissipate.
I realise fear compels us to commit karmic errors, so I clear my heart.
I realise karmic error perpetrates karmic error, so I ground all my actions in pure compassion and motivation.

All form is a reflection of the universe,
So all beings are my fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.
Sitting in this realisation, I generate compassion and pray:
May _____ and all beings always be safe,
May _____ and all beings always be healthy,
May _____ and all beings achieve great wisdom,
May _____ and all beings be truly wealthy,
May _____ and all beings always be blessed,
May _____ and all beings enjoy positive conditions,
May _____ and all beings receive beneficial and timely help,
May _____ and all beings give and receive great love and compassion,
May _____ and all beings effortlessly release attachment and attain enlightenment,
For the greatest benefit of all.
Through these meditations, realisations and prayers,
I can finally lay down heavy karmic burdens and purify ignorant thought,
I breathe a sigh of relief and let my mind relax into pure emptiness,
I now realise the mirror-like nature of the mind,
No matter what happens, may I always be united with the great Dao.

Dear Divine Grandmaster Wong,
May every prayer I have respectfully and sincerely made that is True and Correct be heard by all appropriate Buddhas, bodhisattvas, deities and beings;
May all incorrect prayers be nullified and forgotten,
Please multiply the merit of these prayers for the greatest benefit of all.
I offer this prayer with the deepest gratitude to You,
and continue to learn as Your humble disciple,
And trust in Your great Compassion and Wisdom.
May all beings benefit from this prayer.