Sleepwalking

“Never awaken a sleepwalker”, says the old myth. The reason given was that it would be such a shock that the sleepwalker might die. Not so, says the general manager of the California Center for Sleep Disorders, Michael Salemi. Yes, it might be a shock, and yes, the person might be upset or perhaps disoriented for a time, but die?  Nope. The experts now say that’s just not the case. And another myth goes down the tubes.

The problem is that the humans – aside from a few avatars who may be amongst us – strolling along on planet Earth are sleepwalking! We are oblivious to the Now moment which is the only reality there is.  To say we “spend” our time is accurate… We fritter it away like quarters in a slot machine… and those precious moments can never be regained. Once spent, they are lost to us forever.

Why do we sleepwalk?  Because we keep buying the illusion that this world of worry, fear, and guilt is REAL. We devote our attention to the realm of thought and feeling, both of which exist in mind only. Thoughts arise out of nothing and then subside into nothingness. While those thoughts are on center stage, however, our habit is to believe they are REAL… to so focus on them that they then produce emotion which is highly entertaining to us humans. Fully consumed by the thoughts and the resultant feelings, we then are compelled to speak and finally act from that charade.

Every once in a while we do awaken. In fact, we have moments of wakefulness off and on each day. When you are yawning or laughing out loud, there is no thought process going on. Other gaps in thinking happen all day, but we do not even notice them.  Worse yet we devalue those moments, (if we notice them at all) as ‘unproductive’ or ‘boring’.  True to our worldly programming we place greater value on thinking and feeling than we do on BE-ing.

Here’s an example: You’re on a picturesque white sand beach just before sunset. You are seated and comfortable so that you can just drink in the beauty before you. The waves lapping on the shore are the only sounds. Your breathing slows and gradually your usual racing thoughts subside and are still but you do not notice that. You have become one with the tableau before you… there is no line of demarcation between you and the fabulous scenery.

Then the thought arises, “Oh, wouldn’t Robert love this! I must go get him so he can share this with me!”  And that thought grabs your attention.

What just happened here?  You left Be-ing for Do-ing.  You abandoned the Oneness of Being to retreat into the familiar haunt of your thoughts. Now you are caught up in thinking ABOUT the sunset and ABOUT how Robert would enjoy the experience. The bottom line for you though is that you left the experience completely to re-enter familiar territory; thoughts and feelings.

WAKE UP!  You have the opportunity right now! If you are reading this, and if it pricked something in your awareness, then you can choose to awaken right now. You cannot choose to awaken forever and ever. It is a moment-to-moment experience. But you CAN choose to be awake in THIS moment.  This N-O-W.

You are invited. All are invited. The Now is available to us all.

Reducing the Pressure

In November of 2010 my sister did what she usually does. She put out her Department 56 village pieces.  Being an extensive collector, she has dozens of the little buildings including businesses, barns, houses, churches, schools, Town Halls, etc.  Then there are the tiny little accessory figures; dogs, people, lamplighters, horses, fences, streets, trees….and the list goes on and on.

We also have relatives who are small fry. The combination of children, the village tradition and of course, the Christmas season sparked an idea in me.  I would write a story for children. It would be loosely based on a small New England village Christmas, and the story would be, if I were lucky, a small family heirloom.

Wonder of wonders, I did actually write it! It is surely not great prose, but hey, at least I started and better yet, FINISHED the thing. And it was fun. These facts are surprising… but mostly it was surprising that it was FUN and not ‘work’.

I have mulled over just what made it fun. (Warning: analyze something long enough and you’re sure to take the fun right out of it!) The conclusions were several.  There was no pressure… After all, the story is for children, not the toughest of critics. And I like the topic; New England, village life in the late 1800’s, kids, winter, and of course, Christmas. What’s not to like! And my sister shared in the fun. She edited, made suggestions, proof read and listened. Overall, she was a great cheerleader, and that encouragement and her sense of fun made all the difference.

So. It’s done!  Of course, at this posting no one except the wonderful sister, my husband and my mother have heard/read it, but hey, that’s something! 🙂

Budding writers

Millions of us fancy ourselves as budding writers. We think about writing. We intend to write. We read about writing… and if we’re disciplined, we actually DO write.  Getting into the habit of blogging daily is a worthy objective. Okay, you got me. I’ll join in the Word Press movement to blog weekly. I may aim more toward blogging daily, but that was entirely too ambitious a goal. One post at a time. 🙂

Thought Clouds

Weeks passed and no blog posts – or culinary projects or even reading. In hindsight it is clear that it was caused by thought-clouding. In one measly area of my life there was some stress… Okay, there was some significant stress. But it was in just one arena. However did I allow the ONE stressor in the ONE aspect of my life to overwhelm all other aspects? Easy… Thoughts. The thought pattern about that stressor began to take up more and more time. It gobbled up more of my attention. Then the emotions were affected and ultimately so was the physical health.

I was aware of the stress and aware that it was consuming too much time and attention. In an attempt to counteract that issue I increased the meditation time and upped the daily exercise regimen. Those seemed like good ideas at the time. Looking back now it appears that they were not necessarily antidotes so much as they were resistance to the stress pattern. Will power was applied to divert the attention from the stressful situation about which I could do nothing… but to little effect.

Thought clouds had thickened to the point that the inner sky was overcast. The body succumbing to illness was proof positive of that. Thoughts lie to us. Emotions lie to us. But the one part of our being that never lies to us is the physical body. It has no mind of its own.. it simply manifests either subconscious patterns whatever is occupying the conscious mind.

Ta da! No magic and no coincidence. The body simply outpictured the anxiety and frustration that had clouded the consciousness for nearly a month. And it grabbed the attention fully when over the course of a couple of days it became difficult to breathe and the voice was lost.

It was time to stop. Stop ruminating about a situation over which I had no control. Stop feeding thoughts that robbed me of sleep, rest, inner peace and physical health. Suddenly the focus was on right Now – because the body demanded it. Moment to moment I was aware of labored breathing, and fully occupied the attention.

The body is blessed with the innate wisdom of Now-ness. Mostly we ignore the body… or we disparage certain of its qualities. The billions of cells, however, are always listening to our thoughts and feelings; and those cells then respond to the repeated inner cloud formations.

Moments of clarity are blessings; moments when we simply focus on breath, or when we turn our attention from the mental yammering to the acceptance of what IS.

Now is the Secret

The Now moment is an incredibly well-kept secret. There are tomes written about the wisdom of living now, but we are so hypotized by the past that those tomes seem irrelevant.

Trying on Now-moment living is the only way to demonstrate to oneself the value of it. And it will take more than one attempt to truly experience it. Not that living Now is alien to us. Each human has many windows of Now moment living each day, but we overlook them. From the moment we open our eyes on planet Earth we are taught that thinking has value; being has none. So, we mentally grind, think, cogitate, ponder, and otherwise keep our attention riveted on the past.

Thinking is a past activity. When we invest our energy and attention in thinking, the subject matter is history! Whether we are mentally reviewing a relationship, a problem at work, or a decision that must be made, it is into the past that we reach in order to do all those things.

Imagine walking in a beautiful park. You are surrounded by stately trees. A gentle breeze rustles the leaves. On the nearby pond there is a small flock of Canadian geese. Mostly they just float but there are occasionaly loud honks. You are aware of the sights and sounds, and they flow through your consciousness… There are no thoughts about the geese… no judgement of the volume of the honks… no intrusion of how the world says they’re messy and dirty birds. They just ARE… and for a moment you ARE.

Then it begins… “..but they ARE dirty! They poop all over the grass and people cannot even walk there without stepping in goose poop!” Suddenly you are no longer one with what IS.. You have stepped out of the Moment and into your thoughts. And those thoughts delve into the past. You long ago either stepped in goose poop or you heard someone else utter negative opinions about it… but it is of the past. And you have lost the beauty of Oneness for however long you feed that thought pattern.

Musings

Too much time has passed since the first post. Maybe the problem lay in taking it too seriously… figuring it had to be relevant, interesting – PERFECT – before the next post could be – well, posted.

Should I write about food, I wondered? There were certainly fun new recipes being tried; Danish, soufflés, bread, etc., but there are a zillion blogs about food. What about spirituality? Nope.. one should be a fully realized Master to write something about Truth… unless, that is, one wrote about her own flawed efforts at meditation, living Now and accepting what IS.

That might have some possibilities because it surely is a subject that is familiar. The constant chatter of thoughts; familiar theme with maybe a few new thoughts sprinkled therein – surely others can relate to that. Isn’t that what we’re doing here? Learning to monitor the constant flow of mental chatter and allow it to subside? Recognizing the moments when the chatter ceases… when there is stillness? We have been so programmed to value only the chatter! So, we overlook the stillness.. those moments when consciousness is simply Now… when there is IS-ness. That’s when the system can rest… when inspiration arises.

So, maybe a particular theme is unnecessary. I can write about cooking and the new recipes being attempted in our kitchen. Or I can write about inspiration, spirituality, creativity or any other thing. Yes, indeed. That could work. And then there would surely be more posts. No need to wait another 3+ months.

Delusion and Intention

Whatever it is you intend to do… focus on that objective. If in your heart you are certain that it is a worthy goal, then generate your intention to accomplish it. There is great power in both the intention and in the decision that follows. The two are inextricably linked.

Reading these words is not enough. We must commit to the principle and then prove to ourselves the efficacy of it. The principle is simple – and powerful. But it is so simple that we overlook it. We hear/read the words of philosophers, prophets, teachers of all traditions. Their sage advice rings true yet somehow the reader’s mind separates itself; it’s one thing for the writer or speaker to espouse to those ideas, but for the ‘me’ it seems an entirely different prospect. And so the book is put back down, the CD turned off and the concept shelved again….

If we are fed up with our stagnant and tedious life experiences, then it’s time… time to make that decision and fully intend to change and grow. Maybe we’ve had enough of arguing, judging, fearing, and hating. Perhaps we’ve been blessed with having finally
heardthat incessant negative voice that chatters in our minds. Getting a good look at that phenomenon can be a rude awakening! Enough already! Listening to that harangue or worse yet – getting lost within it – is exhausting.

So stop. For just a moment allow yourself to rest in your breath. What a gift each breath is! We ruminate in our minds obsessing about outer circumstances, all the while being oblivious to the miracle that is b-r-e-a-t-h. Without awareness we exhale assuming that an inhalation will be provided to us instantly. There is, however, no guarantee of that. So long as the universe keeps pressurizing these bodies that we call home, for that time we have the option to become aware of the miracle or to continue in our mental illusion and delusion.

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