It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Mindfulness and Fear

Fear is a vibrational energy. Fear is an organic, natural energy that is shared by all animals, unlike guilt and shame, which are not natural. When animals experience fear they feel it and shake it off, literally, and move on. We refuse to feel it and it accumulates, causing density. Then we prove to ourselves that the world is an unsafe place. We keep it locked in place to protect us, but then it keeps us locked in place. Fear limits and restricts us. We stay in unsatisfying relationships, unsatisfying jobs, invalidating the universal principle of more. We play life safe. We hold onto our limitations.


When we experience fear we fight, flee or freeze, all of which stop the flow of energy and impede receiving and expansion.


Fear is an immature, primitive reaction. It served primitive man well and served us well as children to protect us. It keeps us safe, but small and needy and weighs us down even as it seems to support us.


Fear exists on the mental level and much of our mental activity is being run on the energy of fear. It is like a membrane that enshrouds us, protecting us from deeper vibrational density within, mostly sadness. It is a self-defense mechanism. 


Courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is a willingness to feel fear and move forward anyway. Fear sets up a barrier both to us receiving our magnificence, and experiencing and giving out our Divinity. Fear is a vibrational membrane that locks energy in place. Courage allows our energy to flow by restoring movement. We feel the fear and walk through that barrier of fear. Fear is not wrong but it is limiting. Courage is sustaining momentum and moving through this barrier of fear, moving beyond our comfort zone. Fearlessness equals doing, moving forward, keeping momentum.

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Mindfulness and Depression

There is one symptom of the fear of un-lovability and unworthiness and that is sadness and depression. This wound of un-lovability expresses itself in the feeling of depression. The reason sadness arises from the experience of unworthiness is that it is untrue, yet you believe it. Lack of worth, lack of acceptance, lack of lovability is the great fallacy in life. But you hold worthlessness as a belief on some level and as long as that false belief is in place you will feel the symptoms of sadness and depression.


You believe you are unlovable not because you truly are experiencing yourself authentically that way but because you are gauging and judging your worth based upon the conditioning and experiences of parents, teachers, society, friends, family and spiritual beliefs. You have to fit in, excel, look, act, respond and think like they want you to in order for them to love you. And that is an impossible job with an unattainable result. You live in-authentically to be loved and you dis-connect yourself from your essential self, always living in a created self, seeking to be loved.


When you don’t get what you want you react with anger or you hide yourself away. Either way, deep inside you feel a deep and ever-present sadness. You can’t achieve being loved outside and you aren’t experiencing it inside, where it truly exists, because you are dis-connected to your essential self. As this cycle continues sadness turns to depression.

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Mindfulness and Worthiness

Worth is determined by how you value something and Self-worth is determined by the extent to which you deem yourself excellent or lacking and how you value yourself.


How do you see yourself? You are, to some extent, living an in-authentic life. You have created an image, a created self to fit in, to be accepted and to be loved. Everything you think, say and do is caught up in your quest to be valued by others. So your self-worth is being determined by an outside person or group of people who have never been able to see the authentic you.

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Mindfulness, Guilt and Shame

Sometimes we make an intention or a resolution and break it. We feel guilty. We feel bad and angry that we let ourselves or others down, sad we have broken our promise, or fearful we are going down a slippery slope. Maybe we think we have sinned. All this combines to form guilt, a learned and conditioned response to what happens when we violate our sense of integrity. Guilt is self-inflicted. It is not an organic emotion. This dissonant feeling of guilt is telling us we are drifting out of alignment. Guilt is the gap between our behavior and who we want to be. It is an incredible chance to see ourselves clearly and grow.


Guilt impedes our ability to receive everything life has to offer us. Guilt is the foundation for unworthiness and when we feel unworthy, we sabotage life. Guilt locks unworthiness in place. Guilt comes from ourselves, other people, religion, and family. We should place guilt in its proper perspective and realize that we are not the same people we were when that happened, that story is not true, we have learned much since then, and our consciousness has expanded. Recognize the distance between now & then. The Divine doesn’t judge us. On the level of the Divine and Soul, there is only love and acceptance.

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Mindfulness and Anger

When a desire with attachment is thwarted or denied, it turns to anger. Anger arises from dissatisfaction, from not getting what you want or getting what you don’t want, from the expectation unfulfilled. You become more and more attached to your expected outcome and when it doesn’t arrive you get angry. You seek wholeness, completion, and happiness in the fulfillment of desire with attachment and are constantly in dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction is the main form of suffering. Dissatisfaction and anger arise from feeling limited, betrayed, from not speaking up, from being pushed around, by not being seen or heard, by being passive and feeling futility. It starts as resentment. Resentment turns into frustration. Frustration turns into anger and becomes rage when not addressed. 


Anger can take on many faces. Some you see as anger and some are more subtle. You think; That person rubs me the wrong way, You roll your eyes, make a sharp remark, you think he’s a thorn in my side, you have a tantrum, feel bitterness, suspicion, hatred, envy, resentment, criticism, annoyance, animosity, sullenness, gruffness, rage, grudges, and you have arguments.


However much you think we are provoked, your anger is always your own creation.

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Raking Leaves: Connection

In autumn here in Massachusetts, I often preempt the landscapers hired by our landlord and rake the leaves in our yard myself. In doing so, I not only avoid the gas fumes and deafening noise of their leaf-blowers, I also step into a kind of spiritual practice. Raking leaves, in the quiet of a crisp fall day, is sweetness for the soul. The slow movements back and forth are deeply meditative. My body moves gently and unhurriedly with the natural rhythm of the seasons. I listen to the sounds of blue jays and chickadees calling and pause silently to watch when a butterfly or bumblebee alights on the periwinkle ageratum flowers. Gratitude fills my heart. I feel intensely the beauty of nature all around me. The sun on my face and hands, the slightly cool breeze, the smell of fallen leaves and the earth itself. At times like these, I am fully present, fully connected to the spirit within me and everywhere around me.
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Mindfulness and Worry

Worry is born from a lack of trust. You have tried to control life, especially when you feel insecure and vulnerable. When you feel your life is unstable you begin to project into the future and worry. You lose trust when you lose stability, when you lose connection to a strong foundation inside. You imagine all the negative possibilities; poverty, homelessness, being alone. You stoke fear-based energies. These arise when you feel disconnected internally and fear arises.

 

You have such a strong attachment to certain outcomes. When these outcomes appear to be crumbling in front of you, fear strengthens, unworthiness increases and you worry as you see control slipping away, as you see possibilities narrow.

 

You also identify as your accomplishments, your possessions, your thoughts and your fears. Your self-worth is attached to outcomes and circumstances. So when your attachments and identifications come under assault, when they crumble, you move into worry. You are not your mind, your body, your possessions or your stories. You are limitless love, peace and abundance. When you can move into this authentic identification, you open up to the possibility of peace.

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Are You Looking for the Presence?

The Holidays are coming! It is getting cooler outside, and we begin the time of year where we share gifts with those that we love … whether the gift be a present, or our presence, the Holidays are a time that we truly focus on love and joy. The Spirit world also likes to join in on the celebration by giving us gifts. They bring us so many gifts throughout the year that oftentimes we mistake them as coincidence, or we simply ignore them. For example, have you ever wondered if there is any spiritual symbolic significance to always finding ‘dimes’ or ‘pennies’ everywhere?


Finding change around … any kind of change, quarters, dimes, whatever … is a sign from the Spirit world. It is their way of letting us know that they are around. Just a simple “hello” or “I am with you”. Once you come to realize this, you will feel and know their presence more often in your daily lives. Many people have shared with me their stories about finding particular coins over and over again after the transition of a loved one or during a very challenging time in their lives. After recognizing the gift they had received, they felt blessed to know their loved ones were around. Some people have even found piles of change in strange places. Again, a beautiful reminder, a “present” from the Spirit world!

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What are some techniques for finding freedom within ourselves?

I view spiritual practice as the freeing of awareness from identification with anything. That’s a spiritual practice. How that is done is through a wide variety of means. It can be done, for example, in the heart through a devotional practice. In other words, I can bring my mind through to love using some icon, or some being, or some person, and loving it so thoroughly that it frees the mind from all the rest of the stuff. Then I can go into that love so deeply, that I go into the formless love. I go through form into formlessness, and I come to that place of free awareness through love.


For example, I use mala prayer beads. This is a technique for reminding me that you and I are only relatively real. I’m keeping another plane of reality going simultaneously to remind me of the formlessness inherent in the form. In other words, I’m doing a practice while I’m talking to you.


Now the whole idea of a meditative practice is the process of very simply extricating awareness from the identification with thought and sensation.

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Does the Human Mind Need a Fresh Start?

Most people would agree, even without a degree in psychology, that many if not most problems are created by the mind. It’s impossible to be human without the functioning of the higher brain (the cerebral cortex), which is proportionately larger in Homo sapiens, and evolved with unusual swiftness into the state where it can process mathematics, philosophy, art and science. But we are trapped by the mind at the same time, as witness centuries of war on a vast scale down to daily episodes of domestic abuse in the home, or take a clinical view at the countless people suffering from depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental distress.

 

Medicine aims to relieve people of mental distress, with the goal of addressing a mood disorder like depression, for example, and returning the mind to a normal state. But this only highlights our confusion over what “normal” means, because there are plenty of ills created by people who would pass the test for normality. In our own minds was born the atom bomb, toxic chemicals, ecological depredation, authoritarian regimes, religious and racial prejudice, and so on. Normal still leaves the human mind ignorant of how to escape itself, which could be the true mark of Homo sapiens as a unique species.

 
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Jingle Bells – Be Here Now

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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Have You Become a Mindful Snob?

This year, I’ve shared a little bit of my mindful journey with you. I’ve written about how often this journey has been less blissful, more uncomfortable. I’ve shared how the process has felt inauthentic when I’ve slid back into old habits: getting into my head, giving in to melancholy, and hanging on to longing. Those are three things I must hold at arm’s length because they’re not good for me. Today, though, I don’t want to talk about these little bumps in this mindful trek. Instead, I want to talk about how others play a role in our mindfulness.

 

Wait. What? Isn’t mindful living about connecting with oneself and tapping into our own superpower?

 

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Mindfulness and the Joy of Living

Life was created for the expansion of bliss. This may be hard to believe because most of the time this is not your experience. Your nature is joy and it is the expression and expansion of your nature that is the reason you are here. Enjoying life is to be in alignment with your nature and your purpose.


It basically comes down to love or fear. Your nature is love and when you are connected and grounded in your authentic nature you are able to enjoy life. You can flow with the expansion of life. You can accept change as the cause for more evolution. You can allow life to bring you all that uniquely supports your expression. You can connect to others and live authentically. In love there is total acceptance and allowing and trust.

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Mindfulness, Freedom and Limitations

The main limitations for any human being are that you experience the following limited beliefs:


I am my body


I am my thoughts


I am my feelings


I am my concepts and beliefs


I am this separate consciousness


The illusion that this is who you are veils and hides your authentic, essential Self and causes you to live in a limited state of dis-connection from your full intelligence and power. The ego, creates the experience of a separate “I”. Universal I becomes limited, separate I. You see everything as outside of yourself and you create false stories, you see things as separate from yourself and judge everything as good and bad. This separation cause you to feel fear, lack and limitation.

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Mindfulness and a Busy Mind

What have you put into your mind? What have you fed your mind for years? What vibrations have you filled your mind with? You can feel them now reflected in the state of your mind; at peace or at war, calm or agitated, a clear, calm lake or a monkey mind. It is what it is and so you must look at how to shift it into a mind that functions naturally, in a way that is always supporting your fullest expression and expanded state.


You have filled yourself with so many impressions, many that are vibrationally unsupportive and dense. The first step is to find a way to change your energy so that higher vibrational frequencies, more peaceful and aligned frequencies reflect within your mind.


You spend much of your life at war with life. You are in the habit of always wanting life to change, to be different from what it is and you spend so much time fixing it. You separate yourself from others through judgment and criticism and not allowing others to authentically be themselves. And you live an in-authentic life that requires that your mind work overtime being something that is not who you really are in order to win approval, acceptance and love.

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Our Nature is Simplicity Itself

If we went beyond thinking, feeling, and sensing right now, what would remain?


I invite you to try this exercise for a moment. Close the eyes, relax, and see if you notice the still, silent center within you.


Notice the balance and equipoise.


Notice the stillness.

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Paradise Right Now—Really?!

Is it unrealistic or irresponsible to talk about paradise when sexual abuse, mass shootings, massive fires, and monster storms are occurring somewhere in the world on almost a daily basis? Does the existence of violence and hatred make peace on earth a lost cause? I don’t think so. Maybe this is exactly the time to look at the possibility of global harmony and balance. After all, paradise is not really external-world perfection as we have come to think of it. It arises instead from our own hearts, our own perceptions. In this week’s video blog, I talk about how paradise, and perfection, live within us at all times….


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Creative Mysticism

I’m offering you an invitation. It’s simple but defies simple explanation. It’s both a journey and a singular destination. It is immediate and timeless. It’s now and forever.  It’s science and spirit, energy and matter, particle and wave. It’s a resounding symphony and a faint whisper. It’s a dive and an ascension.  Creative Mysticism is an approach to living rooted in wholeness, where intellect, intuition and imagination coexist in service to something greater than the individual.  This is the launch of a blog that meets at the intersection of contemplation and creation. It will explore how we can grow through challenging times by learning to see wholeness through the fractures, and create lives of meaning and beauty regardless of circumstance. 

Let’s begin by pretending. Like we did when we were kids. When imagination was as much a part of us as breath. When questions were doorways instead of walls. Let’s imagine that we’re here to remember who we really are.  Let’s exhale with wordless wonder or the giddy excitement of noticing the steady stream of miracles in our midst – the flight of a butterfly, the way rain splats into a puddle, how the puddle reflects the skyline, and the way the skyline pulls our gaze beyond the clouds and into the incomprehensible vastness of the cosmos.  Let’s pretend we’re all waking up from a collective game of amnesia and are beginning to remember who we truly are.

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Mindfulness and Health

In essence, supporting your health is an act of gratitude and worship. You have been given this vehicle to express in the world and you must address the body’s requirements in a balanced fashion. Since you must eat, eat with mindfulness, eat with balance and eat what supports health. Since you must move, move and exercise with balance and grace. Since you may get sick and someday will die, do not become too attached to the body. The body allows you to be here, to evolve and know the essential self. You must kill to survive so always express gratitude and connect to what you eat mindfully. Allow the body to serve its purpose and support it in that.


Health also includes a healthy mind. Realize that every thought you think affects you and your state, including your body. You are ingesting what you take in through all of your senses and filling yourself up with whatever that is; beneficial or harmful. The beneficial will calm the mind and expand consciousness. The harmful will agitate you and create narrow vision.

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Embodied Spirit: Mindfulness of the Body

The Buddha taught that mindfulness of the body is a direct path to the realization of truth, to peace and freedom. This talk explores how we leave a present-centered awareness of our body, and the pathways of homecoming – a favorite from the 2010 archives.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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