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How can we begin to wake up in each moment?

wakingup-730x400 How can we begin to wake up in each moment?

A soul takes human birth in order to have a series of experiences through which it will awaken out of its illusion of separateness, in each moment.

The physical experience of being incarnated is the curriculum, and the purpose of the course is to awaken us from the illusion that we are the incarnation. Spiritual practices are tools to help us accomplish these goals.

You start from innocence and you return to innocence. A sage was asked, “How long have we been on this journey?” He replied, “Imagine a mountain three miles wide, three miles high, and three miles long. Once every hundred years, a bird flies over the mountain, holding a silk scarf in its beak, which it brushes across the surface of the mountain. The time it would take for the scarf to wear down the mountain is how long we’ve been doing this.”

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You Can't GPS God

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If you held a compass in your hand with the intention of locating God, you would see the needle spin in all directions. The GPS in your car could not come up with an exact position for God in its system either. That’s because (of course) God is everywhere at the same time. Its physical form in this dimension is us, our human bodies, as well as those of animals, plants, trees, birds, insects, fish, seashells, stones, etc.

From the nonphysical perspective, God is an experience not a visible object. On Earth, the experience of God is love. And love has no form, no language, no location. If you deepen your awareness of divine connection, you come to realize that you are always held in a love beyond any words to describe it. Peace fills your being and Presence fills your consciousness. I have been there. It’s a place to which I am always longing to return. But there is no compass or GPS to guide you to God. Only in the process of living and letting go do you suddenly turn up in that spaceless space that defies description.

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What Is Here

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One of the key wisdoms I’ve come to know in my life is to always appreciate what is here, rather than search for (and lament) what is not. If you hold the latter focus, you will always find something missing. If you hold the former, the world will open up around you in miraculous ways. Some people call this a gratitude practice, and that’s a good name for it. Life on Earth is so rich with experiential treasures, so much to be grateful for.

In every moment, there is a surplus of wonder in your life. The air you breathe, the sky above you, your friends and family, all of them precious beyond words. Yet, not every person, event, experience, or detail in life is always within your perceptual field. You can have one particular experience today and an entirely different one tomorrow, each of them seemingly separate. If you expand your awareness, however, both experiences are connected.

We live on a planet of polarities, and we are learning to navigate it, to find balance and harmony within that world. The middle path is one that is inclusive of everything within each moment. You don’t get lost in opposites, which can lend itself to only experiencing loss. Instead, you see everything around you as part of a greater network of meaning and connection in the universe. There is no absence, only presence.

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Practice...and Beyond

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Remember the old joke about the tourist asking directions? “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.” That answer could also be given to the spiritual question “How do I get to the enlightened state?” Practice—a lifelong commitment to finding peace of mind and God. Your practice becomes your life, and vice versa. And yet it is not until the practice softens and becomes a relaxed inner flowering rather than a rigid outer striving that everything shifts. The virtuoso pianist and the devoted meditator discover the sound and light within them, not on an external stage or altar. Carnegie Hall and enlightenment are not destinations; they are experiences.

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What Does It Mean to Live in the Present?

presence What Does It Mean to Live in the Present?

In recent decades the concept of living in the present moment has been widely discussed, prompted by the surprising success of Eckhart Tolle’s 1997 book, The Power of Now. For millions of readers Tolle’s basic thesis, that there is something special about the here and now, came as a spiritual message they could seize upon in daily life.

The power that the present moment possesses, as many people now believe, is its reality. To be in the now means that you are not distracted by memories of the past or expectations about the future. You dwell instead on whatever is right in front of you, applying mental clarity, alertness, and your full attention. Simple enough—until one looks deeper. Young children live in the now. Are they better off for it, considering the years of maturation that lie ahead to bring about full-fledged adulthood? The elderly suffering from dementia typically have severe memory loss, forcing them to live only in the passing moment, and this condition becomes confusing and blank, not to mention a source of distress.

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How can you have plans and goals while remaining in the present?

How can you have plans and goals while remaining in the present? How can you have plans and goals while remaining in the present?

There was one question I was asked by someone who was shy, because I think maybe she thought it was too simple of a question to ask, but I think it’s one worth noting, which is, “How do you have plans and goals and still stay in the present?”

I may be overly simple-minded about this kind of stuff, but on the short term, I have my date book. Somebody calls up and they say, “Would you do something next November?” and I’ll look in my book, and there’s either space or there isn’t, and then I’ll listen to their voice, and listen to my economics, and listen to the world, and listen to where I would imagine I would be next November. What state of mind would I be next November? Would I really want to do it when that came? And then I either say yes or no. If I say yes, I put it in the book, if I say no, I don’t.

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The Temple Is You

The Temple is You The Temple is You
Your physical form is not a throw-away container to be mistreated or ignored and then discarded at the end of your life with reluctance or relief. As the greatest mystics have said, your body is a temple. It is the holy shrine that houses God and your eternal soul and is to be treated with honor and gentleness. Perhaps even awe. It is an amazing gift to be alive on this planet at this time. At any time really. There is great mystery involved in our beingness, most of which we will never understand while we are in our physicality. However, we can experience that mystery as the miracle that it is in every moment of our lives.
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Jingle Bells – Be Here Now

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Have you noticed that Christmas seems to be way too early every year? I was with a couple of my friends on Saturday night at a mall and we were remarking how eerie it was that everything was all decked out for Christmas already.


Everywhere we looked was tinsel, and glittery ornaments and holiday smells and there was music like Jingle Bells and other joyful happy holiday songs playing everywhere.


To be honest I love all of it.

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Power of Prayer: From Longing to Belonging (audio)

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When we bring a full presence to prayer, it becomes a powerful pathway of homecoming. This talk explores how prayer heals the pain of separation, and offers practical guidance in what poet John O’Donohue calls “unearthing our ancient belonging.”


“What’s it like if you bow your head and whisper and call on something larger?”

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The Reason

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There is a song in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton in which the character Aaron Burr says, “Death doesn’t discriminate/Between the sinners and the saints./It takes, and it takes, and it takes/And we keep living anyway…./If there’s a reason I’m still alive…/I’m willing to wait for it.” I found this to be one of the most moving and human moments in the show. I felt his pain and longing deep within me. We all could speak some variation of those words, really. Sometimes you wonder what life is about, why people have to suffer, and what the point is to your being here at all. Yet, you continue; you wait, hanging on to something inside that tells you that you are here for a reason, even if you can’t seem to see it clearly.

 

Yes, you are here for a reason. We all are. Sometimes we catch glimpses of it, a momentary peek at the big picture, but the curtain drops again, and we become distracted with the day-to-day worries and preoccupations of life on Earth. Still, an inner wisdom—call it soul awareness—carries us forward throughout our lives. This part of us knows that life is not meaningless. There is something greater that holds us in a gentle embrace of loving connection. We are beginning to experience the presence of that connection more and more as our individual awareness expands and our hearts open. Some call it God, some call it universal consciousness, some call it just “mystery.” It doesn’t need a name or label. This Presence is with us always, whatever we call it or don’t call it.

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