“Spiritual materialism is rampant and a life filled with spirit is a rarity. I don’t care how many crystals you have, how vegan your food is, or whether your Venus is in Jupiter since the last time you blamed your problems on the moon.
“If the way we carry and express ourselves condemns others while lifting ourselves, then we’re as off target as the people we’re condemning. I drink with the thinkers and smoke with the preachers and I’ve never met a good man that believed he has the answers.
“Let your personality be your greatest work of art, and let your actions weave a thread of unity. Laugh at the voice(s) in your head, befriend your ego before you listen to that bullshit that tells you to destroy it. That’s McDonalds spirituality – even attempting to get rid of ego means you want to avoid this and move towards that – creating more of the same inner conflict you’re trying to avoid. Inner silence and enviable peace doesn’t come from the avoidance of life as it is, it comes from moving as deeply into life as you can. The only way out is in, and the only way beyond is through.”
“If we can learn to listen, maybe life will tell us how it needs to regenerate. In the ancient ways, the leader was not the one who told people what to do, the leader was the one who listened, watched the signs, was attentive to the inner world.
Sufis talk about the ‘ear of the heart.’ This is something you learn in the relationship with the teacher. I spent 20 years sitting at the feet of my teacher listening. You learn through listening. You learn how to listen to what is between the words. You learn to listen to the heart, to the soul. You listen to people’s dreams, the signs in their lives. And similarly one can listen and watch the signs in the world around us.
The earth is calling to us, sending us signs of the extremity of its imbalance through earthquakes and tsunamis, floods and storms, drought, and unprecedented heat. These are what Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ‘Bells of Mindfulness,’ awakening our awareness to where it is needed at this moment in time.”
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together.
At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her.
The senior monk carried this woman in his arms, forded the river and let her down on the other bank. The junior monk was very upset, but said nothing.
They both were walking and senior monk noticed that his junior was suddenly silent, and enquired ,“Is something the matter, you seem very upset?”
The younger monk replied, “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman?”
The older monk replied, “I left the woman a long time ago at the bank. However, you seem to be carrying her still.”
Couple nights ago, I was flying home when I saw the lights on at your house, and the dog on the porch. You waved from the window & smiled, and I waved back, and then went the rest of the way home.
Nope, I wasn’t in an airplane, on the way home from a trip, buzzing your house.
I was in a dream. I remembered its details when I woke up. When I was in the dream, I felt that I had control of what I was doing in response to the things that were coming up, and did the things I thought were the best response to what was going on (this is what I do in my non-dream, waking state, which includes making mistakes, too!)
This is an approach to what some folks call lucid dreaming. With practice, people can recall bigger & bigger chunks of their night time adventures, and begin to find connections with what’s going on there.
Now, if you’re really interested in this, I have three articles that will both introduce you to lucid dreaming and give you some ideas that, when you practice them, will help make you better & better at it.
Maybe this is a good way to approach all this – here’s a TED talk with Tim Post about lucid dreaming.
In 2013 Tim gave a talk at TEDx in the Netherlands on the emerging science of lucid dreaming and its potential power to enhance psychological development and overall wellbeing.
Having had numerous lucid dreams as a child, it wasn’t until he was 17 years old that Post discovered there was a special name for what he was doing. Since then he has researched, practiced and taught lucid dreaming, recording more than a thousand lucid dream entries in his journals. A graduate of educational psychology, he founded Lucidipedia and SnoozOn, online projects which support the scientific study and practice of lucid dreaming.
It’s the dream we carry
that something wondrous will happen
that it must happen –
time will open
hearts will open
doors will open
mountains will open
spring will gush forth from the ground
that the dream itself will open
that one morning we’ll quietly drift
into a harbor we didn’t know was there
“We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available.
“We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living.
“We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.
“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
It’s easy to say “I love you”. It’s easy to talk about love, and presence, and the Absolute, and ‘being aware of awareness’, and cultivating a deep acceptance of what is. It’s easy to teach, to say things that sound true, and good, and spiritual.
But these are just words. There is a world before words.
When anger surges, as it will, can you stay close,
and not numb it, or lash out?
When fear bursts in the body, can you breathe into it,
and not fuse with it, or run away into stories?
When you feel hurt, rejected, unloved, abandoned,
can you make room for that feeling, welcome it in the body,
bow to its intensity, its fire, its presence,
and not attack, or act out, or call people names?
Can you commit to not abandoning yourself
now that you need your own love the most?
It’s easy to talk about love.
It’s easy to teach.
Until our old wounds are opened.
Until life doesn’t go our way.
What triggers you
is inviting you
to a deeper self-love.
Can you see?
There is no shame in this:
We all have tender places.
– Jeff Foster
Thought for the day…
"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." -- Woody Allen
About Brother Ian
Over the centuries, Brother Ian has been collecting stories & information & discourses for the purpose of elevating the human condition as needed, dissecting it when necessary, and building the case for hope.
In the spirit of noting that organized crime, organized baseball, organized labour, and organized religion tend to engender controversy & occasional discord, I promise to be neither organized or critical of those who are.