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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beyond the "Secret" III

OK. This is it!
I’m sick and tired of following the 8 fold path.
Having the right thought, right talk and right conduct takes way to much energy and time.
(Plus my back hurts from too much sitting in meditation ;)
Why do all the hard work when you can have instant gratification?
Just – ask, believe and receive!
Welcome to the “fast food” of enlightenment!

So what we will talk about on our blog now that all that our problems are solved and all our wishes are fulfilled?
I got an idea; we’ll tell jokes!
Here is a good one:

A Buddhist monk dies and goes to hell.
(Yup, all non Christians go to hell – Read the bible!)
But because he wasn’t a bad person God cuts him a slack and assigns him a “helper” job at the boiling tar cauldrons.
First guy he meets looks awful. Only skin and bones all covered in tar.
-What is wrong with you? He asks.
-Well, I’ve been assigned to tend a pot of Jews.
(Yup, Jews are really screwed. They killed Jesus – See the movie!)
-Every day they plot to get out of the cauldron and I have a hell of a time pushing them back.
The next guy he meets looks wonderful, clean, healthy and relaxed.
-What is your secret? He asks.
_Oh, nothing. I got a pot of Polacks. Every time one tries to get out 10 others pull him back in the pot.
I know, it is an old one but I still like it :)

So now that we solved the problem of “content” let’s go and use the “secret”
It sais here on the brochure:
YOU can get all the money and reaches you want.
YOU can get joy and happiness.
YOU can get fame and fortune.
YOU can get the career or the woman of your dreams.
Hell YOU can have anything you can dream of.
The universe with all its resources is at your command!

Great! But the brochure doesn’t say who this mythical “YOU” with God like power is...
…What do you mean is me?
I thought it was YOU!
…It is? …And he and she and them as well?
Wait a minute!
Don’t you think it is a little deceiving to say that the universe is at “YOUR” command instead that the universe is at “OUR” command?

Because you see there is a big difference if the universe serves only “YOU” or it serves “ALL” the living creatures of the universe.
(See the post #1 :)
You might think and see yourself as Mr. or Miss wonderful, powerful, successful and famous.
But if the people around you think of you as a conceited, vain, selfish, egotistic, and narcissistic greedy prick:
Who is the universe going to listen to: “YOU” or the other people?
After all that “wishing” you were doing, you might discover that getting out of your hell hole it is not that easy when you have 10 Polacks tugging at your heels ;)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Beyond the "Secret" II

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear.
Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one.
Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”
Buddha

The latest incarnation and bastardisation of the law of attraction is“THE SECRET” craze.
This fad sweeping the nation is promising a Ferrari car in every garage if you buy “the secret” for $79.95.
Note: Even if they call themselves the masters of the secret they are still making money from selling you BS for $79.95 rather than by using their own “secret” :)

So what is this secret they are selling?
It is a scam, much like the people selling you the how to buy real estate for $100 dollars or any other get rich quick scams.
It simply teaches you that you can have anything you desire if you wish for it.
(That would explain all the poverty, the suffering and sickness in the world:
Nobody wants want to be rich, happy or healthy.)
Of course if you don’t get it, it is because you don’t wish hard enough.

So let’s see how this works:
You just got dumped by your girlfriend or boy friend or both, whatever the case may be, and would like to meet that perfect “one” for you, whatever she, he, it might be.
Great! All you have to do is wish for it and it would be delivered to your step door.
You start visualizing her, felling her, hearing her, touching her making love to her and you do that believing it as hard your heart can believe.

You do that for a while and nobody shows at your door, so you decide to go in the “real” world to see if “the secret” has made you a magnet for hot dates.
You will discover that it didn’t.
You will discover that the harder you wish for this ideal somebody, the more rejected you will be by everybody else.
You will discover that the more desperate you get the more chances you have to be rejected and abused.
You will soon figure out that “the secret” is working against you.

I choose this example because everybody at one time or another has experienced something similar, so it will be a got starting point for our analysis.
What’s going on? Why is “the secret” not working?
You will be surprised but the answer is:
“The secret” or better said “the law of attraction” is working perfectly the way it is supposed to work!

You are “broadcasting” “projecting” into the world, the universe, the image of a person hurting and lonely.
An image of low self esteem and low confidence.
You are projecting into the universe need and spiritual poverty therefore you are going to get back rejection and abuse.
That is the way the law of attraction woks.
Everybody knows that the only way to get that special one is to be self confident, secure, loving and happy.
You project love into the universe and the universe will respond with love.
That is the law. That is the real secret.

So you can forget about the brand new Ferrari showing up in your drive way and the only way Angelina Jolie will sleep with you is if you can convince the universe that you are a better man than Brad Pitt.
Well, actually at that point you will get a brand new Ferrari as well :)

So “the secret” is that some unscrupulous people are making a lot of money from a lot of credulous people that believe in getting something for nothing.

There are ways of making money in real estate – it is called; get your real-estate license and work your butt off in the field until the opportunities to riches will open up to you.
There are ways of making the universe respond to your “wishes” – it is called; become a better person worthy of the love of the universe and the universe will show its gratitude.

But of course that involves a lot of work and who as time for becoming a better person when you can “trick” the universe for $79.95!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beyond the "Secret" I

The universe as we know it is not an accident.
There are physical laws, such as the law of conservation of mass and energy or the laws of thermodynamics just to name a few, that govern every aspect of the physical existence.
The fact that waters flows following the path of less resistance is not an accident.
Every physical phenomenon in nature occurs with absolute efficiency.
Nothing is lost. All transforms from one form to another. It is the law.

As part of the physical universe, life is not an accident either.
I know I am ruffling some scientific feathers here with my statement but if we are part of this universe we should be subject to the same laws as the rest of the inanimate matter.
So life as well, has a set of laws that governs it as well.
(Granted science has paid very little attention to them.)

The laws governing life are in many ways similar or part of the physical laws but at the same time there are major differences, such as the free will interaction.
If you look at the law of conservation of mass and energy and its corollary - that all processes are done with absolute efficiency - we can see a similar law governing the live systems.
All live systems have a tendency to “optimal” performance.

I don’t know if I read that some where or I just made it up but the point remains the same.
Life is not accidental, a chaotic, lawless, everything goes happening.
Life is a constant process of “optimization”
Evolution is not something that is happening to an organism or live system.
Evolution is a result of life and its laws.

Just take a look at any natural ecosystem and you can see that law of “optimization” at work.
Everything into an ecosystem works in harmony and synchronicity.
All components of the system complement each other.
The system “rewards” the members that benefit the community and “punish” the ones that abuse the system.

That law of optimal performance defines not only ecosystems but everything that is alive, from cells to animals, from human beings to human societies.

Through out the human history we have been noticing this law at work.
References to it in various forms are present in every human civilization from the Native American people where the philosophy of living in “harmony” with the environment formed basis of their spirituality and culture.
To the people of far East, that have known it as the “Karmic” law.
To the Christian bible: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
To the modern day spiritual movement where we have come to know it as “the golden rule” or “the law of attraction”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wolves

"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
— E.B. White

I wake up in the morning full of energy and enthusiasm
I take a shower, brush my teeth, do a quick meditation, eat breakfast and then proceed to the daily chores.
As long as I stay inside my house, I can control my life with no problems.
The moment I open the door – the physical one or the informational one– the outside world rushes in bringing with it the inevitable negativity.

It could be some well intentioned friend emailing me about the swine flu pandemic.
News of war, death and destruction or economical and political disasters.
It could be some guy cutting me off on the freeway or my boss in a bad mood.
Some colleague with some petty office quarrel or a million other irritating, useless garbage.

You try to stay positive.
You try to be the loving and understanding “good” guy.
You turn the other chick, you make amends, you forgive and forget.
In the end you end up tired and polluted.
You go home, take a shower, do your meditation and go to bed hoping the next day will be a better one.

There is this old Cherokee story:
One evening beside the fire an old man is telling his grandson a story
“Inside every of us there are two wolves in a battle of life and death.
One white, pure and good, full of love, hope, joy, kindness, generosity, compassion and faith.
The other one black as the night, evil, full of anger, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment and hate.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied,
"The one you feed the most."

I couldn’t agree more – I would just add:
“Be careful who else you let feeding them as well!”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Leave your life

Teaching Zen is like teaching fish to swim.
Impossible and potentially embarrassing.
So when I write, I prefer to write about my life, rather than Zen dogma, in a hope that some how I will entice the reader to take a trip out of the ordinary way of thinking into some wild and unexplored corner of his mind.

There are a lot of Zen and Buddhist blogs on the internet that “regurgitate” wise Zen stories or obscure scripture passages and I don’t think the internet needs yet another zealot trying to convert the world to his beliefs.

What you need to know you already know.
You just don’t know it that you know it, yet :)

I was born in a communist country – I shall repeat myself.
And leaving behind that was my given “destiny” I have become –more or less – that that I have dreamed of being.
Life is a journey.
You can not learn too much if you stay put – mentally and physically.

I found a lot of my American friends have a mistrust, almost a fear of foreign places and foreign ideas.
It is almost like they are afraid that some how they will loose their identity and become somebody or something else if they step out of their familiar surroundings.
When the reality is that only when you know a foreign land and a foreign culture you truly become aware of who and what you are.

I dream to go to far away places, to see the pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India.
I dream going to Mecca and Jerusalem and of course I dream to see a Zen temple in Japan.
Right now I do not have the material means to do it.
So I enjoy exploring the world through the internet and books.
But that doesn’t stifle my hope. Maybe one day I will.

I like to read.
My bed stand is full with books.
True, most of them are about Buddhism but also I read the Bible and the Quran and anything I find stimulating to my mind from Tolstoy to Nietzsche.
Does that make me a bad or a lesser Buddhist?
I don’t think so.

I don’t believe you can be a bad or a good Buddhist, or a bad or good Christian, Jew or Muslim, for that matter.
God has not created Buddhists, Christians, Jews or Muslims.
God has created human beings.
The only thing you can ever be, the only thing you will ever succeed or fail in your life is to be a good human being.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to Life!

I keep no secret of my fascination for the human mind.
I look at myself: It is me, in the most intimate thoughts.
Yet it is an infinite universe I don’t even start to fathom.
It is so simple and so complicated.
It is strange and comforting at the same time, sometimes wonderful sometimes frightening.

So why is that?
Why do we ask questions and look for answers?
Why do we look for happiness and a higher meaning of life?
“Why not?” Will be the simple answer.

The so called “serious” life, the going to work, making money so we can buy more things it is a pretty dumb life to have, if you ask me.
It is the little, insignificant things in life, like writing on my blog, listening to a good song or playing with my children, that make me happy.
It is the total silliness and the playful side of life that keeps me going not the serious stuff.

If not for those little interruptions, weekends, holidays, vacations, family reunions and celebrations, life would be totally meaningless.
Where is the “rat” race taking us?
How the hell do you even win it?
Has anybody ever won it?

We have evolved from the hunter and gatherer of thousands years ago into the modern masters of technology of today.
We have more things that anybody in history before us.
We have more food that we need, more entertainment than we have time to watch.
We move faster and faster we accumulate more and more things.

But there is a difference between being alive and living and most of us don’t know it.
What I want for me and for the ones I love is to live life with infinite passion instead of just dragging through life one day after another.
What I want is to open my mind to new horizons and possibilities, instead of following the same old, tired concepts and beliefs.

What I know is what dictates how I live.
My mind is the auto pilot of my life.
I am tired of living my life scared.
Scared of wars and economical crisis and swine flu and climate collapse.
I don’t like the way I’m pushed in life by fear.

I need to hit that “reset” button.
I need to reprogram my mind for a new life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Weekend Project

I want to be more creative.
It is something I need in my life.
Something I need to feel complete.
So I started exploring more creative venues.
This is my first attempt.
What do you think?
Any suggestions?

And yes Ted, I am kipping my day job :)

Does that makes me crazy?






God gave us wings and reason chopped them off.
Sanity is the chain and ball that keeps us tied to the ground.
But deep inside we all dream to fly.

We all have flirted with insanity one time or another in our life.
What else is our experimenting with drugs, alcohol or transcendental meditation?
How else would you explain our fascination with getting high?
What do we do it for?
What other reason but to leave reason behind.
To escape the sanity of the mundane and go out of our minds.

Sitting on the razor’s edge.
Contemplating the abyss.
Flirting with the possibility…
Time for another feel good fix.

The problem with the feel good pill and other chemical “enhancers” is that after the effect wears off you find yourself back to the reality you were trying to escape.
Same world, same problems, same prison of reason.
The problem with the “good pill” is that it doesn’t get you out of the hole.
It digs you deeper and deeper…

So after every feel good trip, same question persist:
How would it be to leave reason behind, to never come back?

Imagine you are really, really high at this moment.
So high you are out of your mind.
Leave reason behind for a moment and escape reality.
Get away from yourself and the world for a moment.
It is not a bad feeling, isn’t it?

A good meditation, is far better than any drug and a thousand time safer.
But the problem with spiritual journey out of your mind is that unlike the good pill where the effect wears out, the spiritual trip doesn’t end abruptly it lingers on.
It creeps into the “regular” life.
It starts challenging your sanity, your accepted social values and order.
(Which is not a bad thing for you but poses serious problems for the people around you.
Especially your family.)

So you don’t have much of a choice but to pretend you are normal, just like all the other people pretending to be normal just like you.

Time for another antidepressant pill.
The acceptable alternative to spirituality.
(Trust me I have had people looking at me funny for being a Buddhist, but taking antidepressants is like a badge of honor – you are living in the fast lane, you have made it!)
The question I would like to ask the “doctor feel good” is:
Is this happy pill supposed to preserve my sanity or to take me away from it?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Perspective II

“Insanity – Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein
“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you are going.”
Somebody else

Here is another useful “tool” for getting a better perspective on things.
This is not as remarkable or disturbing as to see your life through the eyes of people at the opposite spectrum of life or as seeing yourself through the eyes of your nemesis, but it is never the less useful.

There are some life problems I call “dramas” problems that deal with relationships and emotions – very hard stuff to handle, especially if you are a male.
You need to put yourself out of the equation and look at the “drama” from a different perspective.
You can do that by making up a story, a fable, a narrative of the events but with different people and in a different setting – you can even use animals as characters.

Let’s say you just had a fight with someone you love or have been dumped by your lover or betrayed by your best friend or whatever your situation might be, and you don’t know exactly what and why it happened or even worse you don’t see a way out of the situation.
Write down the story in a theatrical play up to the present time, but do not stop, make up an ending to the story, preferable positive.

Take a break after you are done and come back in an hour or two, or even better go to bed and read the story the next day morning.
You will see that there will be parts that do not make sense anymore, parts that sounded true when you wrote them down but now looking with an objective eye doesn’t ring true any longer.
You will also see mistakes the characters have done and even ways of solving the drama that you did not considered before.
Edit the story until you feel it reflects exactly the reality of your situation.
Play the drama until you find a solution or closure to your emotional pain.

I know it sounds like a silly way of dealing with a problem but give it a try, you might be surprised by the results.
Here is a little story I wrote, inspired by somebody I knew. The Swan and the Swine
You can see the characters and the drama unfolding from the outside perspective the story tale gives you.

Of course the best way to get a different perspective on your “problems” is to get a different perspective.
If you have the money and the time, a visit to a good shrink – therapist – can do wonders.
A good and wise friend or relative can be also as useful - although I find that free advice is seldom taken seriously.

And of course you can always find more ways of looking at life by asking in your blog:
What is your most favorite and efficient way of getting a perspective on your problems?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Perspective

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?”
Hahlil Gibran

Birthdays as well as some major holydays have been – at least for me – a time for reflection and resolution.
The problem with reflecting on ones life is that it is very difficult to be objective.
To look at yourself and give yourself a good analysis and measurement it is practically impossible.
It is like trying to figure out if you have a piece of spinach stuck to your teeth without a mirror.

What you need is somebody else’s point of view.
A very good friend that knows you inside out and also somebody you can trust to be absolutely honest with you – and as you know, it is so very rare and so hard to find such a friend.
So what you can do – what I do – is to borrow somebody else’s eyes and look at my own life from their POV.
Like the starving child in my last post.

Here I am fighting my “weight problem” while a child in Africa is dying of starvation.
Do you realize what that means?
Do you realize that half of the world population can not even afford to have my problems?
From that standpoint my problems are “luxuries”
It is a very sobering point of view and it puts my life in a totally different perspective.

I have a very good life.
I have the life I dreamed of having when I defected communism and immigrated to USA.
I’m living my own dream yet some where in the back of my head there is this nagging feeling that some how my life is not quite the way it should be.
Why is that?
Why do we feel that way when we know that we have nothing to complain about?

That is because your subconscious mind is not a logical, reasonable mind.
The subconscious judges reality based on emotion not on data.
The subconscious sees life as a dynamic, as quantitative changes, not as static status quo.
In other words it looks at what your life was and where your life is going.
And in the last couple of years my life was in a very static “survive” mode.

So here it is – the feeling that I am stuck.
Not that I have a bad life, nor that I am a failure but that ominous feeling that my life is going nowhere at this point.
I need to get “un stuck” or it will drive me bananas :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

One year older

Today is my birthday so I started doing a little “my life so far” review and some how I ended up with another blog post instead.
Here it is:

I got a speeding ticket.
My car’s water pump is making a weird noise for a while.
I have to finish replacing the water pipes in my house, which I started about a year ago and I dread finishing.
I have to go to the small court because the IRS wants $3200 from me.
I did not get a raise in the last five years and I am afraid that I am stuck in my job until they fire me.
About ten years ago I started loosing the hair on my head and getting hair in places the sun don’t shine.
My triglycerides levels are 3 time the norm.
My sex drive has dropped into the pits with my hair.
I dream of being an artist and I fear I will never do it.

At this moment these are the biggest problems in my life, all the other problems in my life are smaller than that.

Do you think I have problems?
Do you think any of my problems are more than a challenge, inconvenience or routine maintenance?
I don’t think so either.

Yet, they bother me more than it should.
Do you know why?
Because I get stuck in this “fix the problems first” frame of mind.
Because instead of focusing on what I want to accomplish I focus on the shitty little inconveniences.
Because I’M MAKING this little shitty inconveniences the center of my life.

I need to put some passion in my life.
I need to light up a fire that will burn all that little crap away.
I need a new direction, a new purpose, a new vision.

I think I’m getting to humble, to soft.
I need to be more daring, to grow some balls.
Which is not quite the Buddhist way of doing things.
Remember the Buddhist way is the middle way :)
But it just doesn’t work for me at this moment.
It looks like too much Zazen makes my butt itch.

I have to go Back to my radical Zen roots.
Just wanted to let you know, in case I’ll get to weird or too wild.
Don’t worry. It’s just another phase.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A hard to swallow pill

From the day we are born we start a process of evolution both physical and spiritual.
(Actually too be more precise we start that process way before the moment of birth, but to keep things simple let’s say that our journey starts at birth.)
For the first years of our life on this realm, we have very little choice and very little to say about our development.
Basically our parents are molding us into what they think is best for us.
Our parents are in the driving seat of our life and we are just a passenger.

Now there comes a time – usually around puberty – when we get this idea – probably imprinted in our genes – that we know everything, and we have our first attempt to take that steering wheel in our own hands.
Usually that doesn’t happen – unless you run away from home – and we spend the next couple of years in a state of two or more people steering our life at the same time.
Until that faithful day when we get our first job, our first place and we are now under the false impression that we are in control of our life, our destiny.

Soon we found out that we don’t know anything, really.
The way we thought things will work out doesn’t quite work and pretty soon we are experimenting or even copying other people thoughts and actions in order to gain some control of our life.
We end up with a mix bag of philosophies and beliefs from all the people and situations we’ve encounter in our life and call it “experience”

We use that experience more to avoid making the same mistakes again and very few of us gain as much control as to become the makers of our own destiny.
Eventually even the most dysfunctional of us start realizing that it has to be a better way, that something is fundamentally wrong and we have to change the whole scenario and live a better life, have a better experience.

It is at this point in life when we look for that “teacher” the “master” that holds the key to the eternal happiness and the answer to the meaning of life.
We jump on the band wagon of the “trend du jour” spiritual craze and start chasing the pie in the sky get “happy quick” schemes just to find out we’ve been taking advantage of by unscrupulous people in search of a fast buck.

Eventually we figure out that there is no “secret” and giving control of your life to another person is the easiest way to find your life out of control.
To be master of your own destiny is to be the master of your own destiny.
There is no other way.
But that is a lot of work and we all want instant gratification – who after all, has the time to be himself?
So we keep looking for that pie in the sky “secret” that is going to change our life overnight.

Here is the unpleasant truth:
If for ten, twenty, thirty years or more of your life you have been eating junk food and have gained 100 extra pounds you are not going to reverse that in a couple of month of dieting.
You might loose all that extra fat but 99 % you will gain it back and then some more.
What you want to do is not a diet but to look at what and how a healthy person eats and try to do the same thing.

So what does dieting has to do with enlightenment?
It is a way to show you that you can’t change the programming of ten, twenty, thirty or more years of bad experiences in one day of meditation.
It is like expecting to get physically fit after eating one salad.

Your unhappiness, or better said, your happy less, is not a simple belief or idea that can be changed by reading a blog post.
After so many years your unhappiness is now a habit.
To change it will take as much as an effort and determination as it will take for example to stop drinking or taking drugs.

The real secret of spirituality is that in order to get a better life you have to get a better you and in order to get a better you, you have to take the control and the responsibility of your own life out of the hands of other people.
It takes courage, discipline and perseverance.
It takes faith, good friends and a lot of time, but trust me; once you start on that path of self reliance it only gets easier.

So go back to your spiritual practice whatever that might be, and if you don’t have one, get one asap.
You are not getting any younger.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Through her eyes


“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy.
I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?”
Charles Schultz

Yesterday I took my little daughter to her first day of kindergarten and through her yes I saw myself going to school on my first day.
And I remembered – like it was yesterday - the wonder and excitement, the mixture of thrill and anxiety and that feeling of entering a new phase of my life, a new experience.
And at that moment I realized – No - I felt in every cell of my body, that I have nothing to learn, that all I have to do is to remember.

Through the eyes of a five years old I saw what happiness is:
Happiness is to love life totally, absolutely and unconditionally.

Happiness is:
To love the sunny day for chasing the butterflies and the rainy days for playing in the puddles.
To love things for the joy they bring, not for how much they cost.
To love people for the love they give, not for who they are or what they can do for you.
To love yourself because you are love.
To be happy because you don’t need anybody’s permission.

No, there is no secret to happiness.
(I am sure that if there was it would be for sale on eBay.)

Of course there is pleasure for sale, but that it will only empty your soul even more because pleasure is a tax on your soul and the more you get it, the less it will stimulate you.
In search of that illusory high which we mistake for happiness, the path of pleasure will take you only to the path of extreme
And at the end you will be spent, empty and burned out

Happiness is not in what you get.
Happiness is in what you give.
I know that sounds insane but it is true…

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Unbearable Happiness IV


I hope that you have been practicing your meditation or that at least you are familiar with some sort of meditation practice because now we are going to do some practical application of that.
If by any chance you are not familiar with the practice here are the links to the meditation posts:
Relaxation Meditation


Contemplative Meditation


Guided Meditation
So, tonight as you lay in your bed or sit in your lotus position ready for your meditation practice think about doing a little exploration into your inner happiness.

Clear up your mind.
The very act of thought cessation is a very powerful tool.
By stopping the mind’s continuous chatter we focus into the present moment.
This very act of “being” in the present is a very positive, healing experience.

Go into a contemplative mode and witness your negative emotions – this is relatively easy to do since the very powerful negative emotions have overpowering tendencies.
You will observe that these emotion appear as defined “object” like balloons floating into a room or fish swimming into a glass bowl.
You are not the “emotions” you have “emotions”

As the emotions come and go into your field of perception you will attempt to “deal” with them.
Remember if you are not proficient into your meditation you will revert to your “reasonable” state and you will snap out of the meditative state.
So do not “grab” do not “analyze” or try to understand your emotion.
When you feel a negative emotion just “wish” it away.
Say to yourself “cancel that” or simply “cancel” or “delete”
The words do not matter at this level. You have to “feel” the act of letting go of that negative emotion, feeling or memory.

Assuming that you are pretty good and can maintain the meditative state for a good period of time you will eliminate all negative emotions one by one.
At this point you will experience a state of mental and emotional blockage.
It will feel like you have a cork a lid stuck into your brain or like your brain is constipated.
It is not a bad or painful feeling, it is how lack of happiness feels like.

Remember that happiness is your natural state.
You should be happy unconditionally and the only reason you are not is because you have learned to suppress that flow of happiness.
You have plugged a cork or put a lid on the “spring”, source of happiness.
You have turned your natural state of happiness into the habit of happy less.
The joy or sorrow we confused as happiness or unhappiness are just sparks of pleasure or stabs of pain on the gray background of suppressed happiness.
That is the reason our so called “happiness” is always temporary and we need more and continuous positive stimulus to maintain it.
The only way to be really happy is to “unplug” that “cork “ and let the happiness we are flow unrestricted.

To do that we are going to use a little technique borrowed from our yogi friends.
Breath in through your nose.
Visualize the flow of air every step from your nostrils through your passages into your lungs, to your organs to the last of the cells of your body.
Oxygen is a very powerful cleaning agent.
Oxygen is rejuvenating life giving force.

Breath in that energy and focus it on your mental blockage.
Exhale through your mouth.
Keep your lips together like you are blowing out a candle and feel the pressure of the air getting out of your body.
Keep repeating this.

Done right this exercise will ease your back holding and decongestion your mind.
The happiness that you are will start manifesting itself automatically.
You will feel an unconditional and universal joy in your whole physical and spiritual being.
At first it will be small just sipping through the blockage but it will eventually burst into a luminous explosion like your whole body would light up in fire.
This is so powerful that you will snap out of your meditation and jump out of your bed.

Do not feel disappointed if you will not experience this at your first try.
To get that kind of result took me a couple years of practice and the first time it happened to me was by accident.
One night after failing on my meditation I gave up and decided to just relax and go to sleep instead.
The moment I let go and completely relaxed the dam burst and I felt that bright white explosion.
Needless to say I got so much energy in that split second, I couldn’t go to sleep till early in the morning.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Unbearable Happiness III


I have been searching for truth – whatever that might be- all of my life.
I have been learning and accumulating life experiences like a bee gathers pollen and I thought that I had everything figured out in my head.
Trying to put that truth into words and conveying it to other people made me realize that I still have a lot to learn.

I have two sources of knowledge:
What other people have experienced, discovered and shared with the world.
In other words the collective body of work and knowledge of humanity.
And metaphysical knowledge. Knowledge that I started uncovering while doing experiments with self hypnosis and meditation.

Let me give you a little example of what I mean by that.
I’ve been meditating about the meaning of happiness lately – since this is the way the blog discussion has taken me.
During this exploration one thing I found for certain.
Happiness is an absolute.

Happiness is like “life”. You are happiness the same way you are alive.
We are confusing happiness with pleasure and joy, much the same way we are confusing love with sex.
Pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow are emotions and feelings we get when we experience life.

Pleasure and pain are feed back signals that we get when we are doing something right or something wrong.
Both of them are extremely important, if we learn to understand their meanings and we learn how to manage them.
The blind pursuits of pleasure as well as the avoidance of pain at all cost are extremely bad habits we have developed as modern people.

I found out that many people do not know how to manage pain – both physical and emotional pain.
The horrific trend our modern society has taken in dealing with pain, is that we consider pain as bad and try to eliminate it by means of drugs.
But pain is not a problem. Pain is a symptom and by eliminating the symptom instead of fixing the problem that has caused that pain, we are creating even bigger problems.

Here is a little true story:
I have a colleague that suffers from low back pain – much as I do :(
For years he has been taking drugs in order to manage the pain – really heavy stuff like morphine injections and patches.
Finally after a couple of years his spine became so screwed up they had to take him to surgery and bolt his spine with metal screws.

Any way, I would like to share with you my little bag of tricks on dealing with life’s problems, pain and sorrow.

Realize that much of life’s problems are not that much of a big deal.
On my last day of my perfect vacation I got a speeding ticket.
Did I feel bad about it? Of course I did.
But then I asked myself “Am I going to let this incident ruin my vacation?”
Of course not. It is not worth it.

When something bad happens to you, think how big of a deal that would be if it happened to somebody else.
We have a tendency to see our own problems blown out of proportions but looking at a problem from another perspective will give us a better measure of our trouble.

Also 90 percent of our problems are material loss.
Is it worth it to suffer for a material loss?
After all “it is only money”.
Once you put it that way, things are not as bad as before.

Realize that much of your life problems are impermanent.
I fell in love at 16 and been dumped at 17.
I was so crushed I swear I would never love another girl for the rest of my life.
Of course that did not last for too long before I fell in love again.
So remember: Whatever your situation might be. “This too shall pass”

What if there is something like a scar that wouldn’t go away for the rest of your life?
Learn to practice forgiveness.
Here is a very good post I wrote about the power and practice of forgiveness:
The Power of Forgiveness

These are some of the tools available at consciousness, level.
The problem in dealing with emotions in a “reasonable” manner is that even if we know that we are right some time it is difficult to overcome the emotional trauma by means of logical argument.
There is another level – the subconscious – of dealing with pain and suffering but that implies that you are familiar with the meditation practice.
I will share with you some of that on my next post.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Unbearable Happiness II



If you want to know what happiness is don’t look into the holly scriptures and don’t talk to the holly men, just watch some children play.
I often watch my children play in the playing room.
I look at their pure and unadulterated joy and I can’t stop thinking that I was once just like that.
I look at them and I can’t stop asking myself: “What ever happened to that happy boy?”

I grew up on a farm at a time when ADD was not a childhood disease but rather a childhood requirement,
If you did not climb up trees and jumped over fences, if you did not have a permanent assortment of scars and bumps, you were considered a weird, abnormal kid.
We did not have a lot of toys, computers or video games, but boy, did we have fun!

The first “joy kill” memory I can recall was going to church on Sunday morning.
Going to an orthodox catholic church was a very grim and scary experience.
There is no joy and laughter, not even smiling in an orthodox church.
I don’t know if joy was considered a sin – pleasure was a sin for sure – but I remember being scolded for having fun in the church.
God was not supposed to be fun. God was supposed to be feared.

Then I remember going to school.
I remember distinctively being asked to wipe of the smile of my face.
“Stop smiling / laughing / like an idiot!” they would say, the implication being that only mentally retarded people can have that kind of unconditional joy.
Normal people needed a reason to be happy.

Some how, in time, that idea become embedded in my mind.
Happiness was not something that you are. Happiness was something you were supposed to find and to get from outside.
That meant that you are not in control of your own happiness, that your happiness is controlled by external factors and people.

Once you give up that control you are bound to spend the rest of your life in spiritual misery, at the mercy of other people and institutions.
And that my friend is the short version of how we got to sell out our happiness in exchange for being accepted into the club of civilized and unhappy people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Unbearable Happiness


You are just as God intended you to be
(Or 15 million years of evolution, if you are so inclined to believe :)
By any account: YOU are PERFECT!

You were born totally and absolutely free.
No fears, no anxieties.
No hatred no bigotry.
No low self esteem no negativity.
No bad experiences no regrets.
No pain and no suffering.

All the negativity, the hurt and suffering you are experiencing right now; it is not YOU.
It is luggage you have accumulated growing up.
It is behaviors and habits you have learned, not the essence of what you truly are.
And the only reason you continue to feel less than PERFECT, is because you are holding on to that baggage, like a precious heirloom.

For the last two weeks I’ve been living the “enlightened” life I’ve been preaching about for almost a year.
For the last two weeks I’ve been waking up with a smile on my face and going to bed with the same smile.
For the last two weeks I’ve been living the illusory “happiness” I so hard tried to capture.
And I did it without meditations, drugs or any effort.
I just took a two weeks vacation :)

But now I am back to work, to the old routine, to the “serious” business of life and I just realized something very important:
Unadulterated, spontaneous happiness is not socially acceptable.
Happiness is bad form and manner.

Try to laugh without any reason tomorrow when you go to work.
Or at least try to spend the whole day with a smile on your face.
You will be reprimanded or at least looked upon with suspicion.
You are not on vacation, you are at work and you are not supposed to be happy.
(Well, theoretically you were supposed to be happy but at the same time not to show it :)

We all say that we want to be happy.
Happy like children, genuinely and unadulterated.
We all look for that truly and profound inner happiness they have.
But at the same time we are repressing all that innocent joy we have, every day of our life.

We want to be professional, serious, and appropriate.
We want to be happy inside but proper outside.
We want to be what God intended us to be and what the society wants us to be at the same time.

We want the cake and eat it too.
And that my friends is something not even the enlightened Buddha can accomplish.
(Well, unless you are ready to take a permanent vacation from life :)

Vacation


As you can see I am back from my vacation and ready to pick up my “blogging” experiment.
But first let me thank you for allowing me this departure and for keeping the “flame” burning while I was away.

I love vacations.
Not only for allowing me to recharge my batteries after months and months of continuous work, but also because a vacation in a far away place is truly a spiritual experience.

When you go on a vacation you get removed from the “known”, the mundane and predictable, and in a matter of hours you are completely immerse in the “unknown”.
Your mind opens and expands instantly.
The further and more exotic the destination the more shocking and profound the transformation.

That is of course if you are the “adventurous” type.
If you like to explore the place and meet and talk to the people.
If you just want to stay into a nice resort far away from the “natives” you will get only the relaxing and recharging part of the vacation :)

Four years ago I took a ship cruise to Alaska.
The departure was from Seattle Washington so we had to fly to Seattle to catch the boat.
It was my first ship cruise so I did not know what to expect.

The whole trip was an extremely frustrating experience for me.
As one of the “mates” on the ship put it:
“Ship cruises are for the newly wed and the nearly dead”
My adventurous spirit was crushed by the tight schedule imposed by the ship.
We spend too much time on the ship and very little off shore.

I vouch I would come back one day, and explore the North West coast on my own terms.
So this year I took my family back to Seattle WA for one week and further north to Vancouver BC Canada for another week.
Next summer – hopefully – I will go up to Alaska for a week or two.

That is the only way to do it.
I mean ship cruises are nice if you want a convenient all you can eat buffet open 24/7 but at the same time they too big to get close to the glaciers and to slow to get close to the wild life.
They are more interested of you spending your money on the ship’s casinos and restaurants than to explore the shores.
So if you really want an adventure with no strings attached you have to do it yourself.