Excitement In Life

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by DCH Park

Many people have heard the old maxim to “have balance in all things.” Many have said it, some seriously, some in jest. Some have used it as an excuse to embrace a little bit of everything so that they aren’t expected to really go into anything (“Jack of all trades, master of none.”). They profess believing that they can’t really know what the Universe holds (“God works in mysterious ways,”), so it’s best to hold with a little bit of everything.

I hear this as a way to ensure that you’re a little bit right all the time. I also hear it as a way to ensure that you’re a little bit wrong all the time. Beyond this, I hear it as a way to make sure that you stay small. Those who believe that the saying is true often say that being a little bit wrong is a price we have to pay for being a little bit right. However, I find that there are folks who are (or have been in their times) very excited and there are those who are not. This holds true whether you look at the arts, the sciences, spirituality, or anything else

In fact, it holds true no matter what human endeavor you consider. Every human activity is marked by those who veritably glow with excitement and those who don’t. Maybe the non-glowers are the ones who pursue a given profession only for the money. Perhaps they embrace a field because they see themselves as respectable individuals. Perhaps they are seeking that excitement and hope so that the lightning will strike them, too.

Perhaps there is some other reason, but those who are not excited (or exciting) only make incremental improvements, if they make improvements at all. Really radical, innovative changes that define how people think about their relations to the subject and define how they see each other and themselves happen only to those who are excited.

This can be seen in every field of endeavor. Whether you consider the arts, the sciences, engineering, the crafts, or something else, you find that it is always true that the field is moved forward by those who make original contributions from their souls and get excited about those things. Rarely, if ever, is it true that those who live by the idea of “a little bit of everything” make significant contributions to the field.

This is nowhere more true than in spirituality. You can find an acceptance that “a little bit of everything” is the best we can do and of the notion that if I think it is so, it must not be true (whatever the crowd thinks is the way I must go) in many traditions. These ideas can be found in Abrahamic religions, shamanic traditions, African and Indian religions, Taoism, and so on.

In every case that I have looked at, it seems to be true that someone (sometimes several people at various times) had a personal sense of the truth and felt genuine excitement about a field. However, in each case, that person was followed by one or more people (often many individuals) who had less of an idea (or no idea), and no experience with getting in touch with that original sense of truth.

The truth and beauty that flowed through the original person was lost in subsequent generations. All that was left was dry, intellectual interpolation. There was no connection, no truth, no beauty. The only way that those who followed had to reach for that original beauty was through intellectual interpolation. Thus, the field became dry and intellectual rather than bold and exciting.

What part of your experience is bold and what part is dry? The dry parts are probably intellectual. One of the amazing things is that the bold, exciting parts don’t have to be divorced from truth. In fact, to the extent that they are true, they are more exciting!

One way that the truth can be bold and exciting is when it says something that shouldn’t be said. When we discover a taboo that exists (at least in part) in order to control us – to make us pay, eat, dress, etc. in a certain (arbitrary) way – pointing out that such a taboo is in place is often enough to make that utterance exciting. You don’t even have to break the taboo. Pointing out its existence is often enough.

But how can we tell when we are being honest with ourselves and each other and not just fooling ourselves? A good clue may be found in the difference between feeling and emotion.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Healing In Huna

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by DCH Park

There are several interrelated ideas in Huna that keep coming back over and over again. They have counterparts in other traditions, but they don’t tend to be articulated in the same way or with the same implications that you find in Huna.

One idea is that there are three components to the whole self. There is a tripartite self and in order to understand the self, one must understand it from the perspective that there are three selves. This idea is heard echoed in various psychologies, including various forms of western psychology, but typically with different emphases.

In Huna, it takes a slightly different form. The three members of the tripartite self are the High Self, the Middle Self, and the Low Self. The High Self is primarily associated with the spirit. The Middle Self is associated with the conscious, talking self, and the Low Self is associated with the body.

The High Self, being mostly focused on matters of the spirit, engages in a form of mentation that seems miraculous to the logical Middle Self. It appears to be more a kin to recognition than to the kind of ratiocination that the Middle Self is used to. Indeed, such logical process is (according to Huna) exactly the sort of mentation that the Middle Self excels at. The Low Self is associated primarily with the body and maintains the memory.

The word-image of a web is used within Huna to describe how the memory is organized by the body. This is the second image from traditional Huna that connects to healing. The abilities to fix the web and to decide how various components fit into the web in the final analysis make maintenance of the web critical for healing.

In a similar fashion, the Low Self is responsible for maintaining a web of connections between the self (or Low Self) and every other person, thing, and place that it has encountered. Thus, the Low Self is also charged with keeping the web alive in the world, just as it does internally.

A fourth idea comes from an extended version of Huna that was originally made available through Morrnah Simeona. One variation of Ho’oponopono is that repeating the lines, “I love you,” “I am sorry,” “Please forgive me,” and “Thank you,” over and over somehow puts you in touch with the creative forces of creation.

Combining these ideas makes it clear that in the interconnectedness of all things, the connection of the body (on one end) with all of creation, and of the spirit (on the other) with everything that is, makes the web of memories nothing other than a model for one way in which all that we know is created and maintained.

By extension, it is true not only that everything that exists does so within a web of our making, but also that the manner in which it exists (within our experience) is determined by who we are. We can change the world with nothing more than a change to ourselves. This is not only made possible through an understanding of Huna, but is made necessary by that understanding!

What do you choose the world to be? How do you shape the world? It is sufficient (and enough) to ask how would you be yourself?

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Difference Between Power and Force

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by DCH Park

I am still a bit fuzzy after the second stroke. For this reason alone, it is a good idea to remain open. But I have been open for comments and criticism for longer than I have been publishing this newsletter. I have always been open to them. I only ask that you be as open to questions and comments back. That way, we can have a true dialog,

Nonetheless, the fuzziness continues. Part of this may be due to a lack of clarity, which might lead to erroneous conclusions. Part of it might be due to a lack of clarity between what is real (and therefore larger than life) and what is illusory (and therefore part of life or death). It might be due in part to something of which I am totally unaware.

These are the reasons for the openness. It is also true that I continue to find that it is through openness to other people that I become aware of what I have always known, yet never really articulated. In the articulation, I find truth. Do you?

I don’t believe that I am articulating anything new or different – we all have access to articulate similar or the same truths. Different people have different perspectives that might lead to different conclusions. By combining them, we can learn from each other, which is the reason I have always embraced hearing folks out. But truly hearing them implies also that we both be ready to abandon our own perspectives and/or create new ones, as the need arises.

I have a friend who says that we do create new things. Whether or not you believe that every utterance is new (in a new language or said in a new way), the idea that sometimes new things can be said is awe inspiring. She says that the universe (and therefore God) grows with such new utterances. So that, by saying new things and growing the universe – all of existence – we grow God. Nice.

I don’t know if I accept (yet!) the idea that we grow God, but this recognition of the possibility of new things falls in line with a recent vision I had. The vision was that in order to come into being, as God, one has to manifest with an answer to a question. In order for such questions to exist, we must first exist. Therefore, in order for God to exist as God, it is necessary to first ask the question. Of course, there is more to the vision, but that will come later.

Such hearing is not really different from what I have called on readers to do since before day one. It is, in part, a recognition that we may each carry a different piece of the divine puzzle, and that by combining them and/or articulating them more clearly, we may come to view the whole together. That by learning to recognize the difference between hearing that call and heading what feels safe, we learn the difference between our own divinity and exalting divinity in others. We learn to distinguish between divine truth and inspiration, on one hand, and fear, on the other.

It is with an eye to all of this and more that I make the statement that the main difference between power and force is the same as the difference between doing and being. It is thus, very concerned with the difference between what is because that reflects a deeper truth, and what exists merely to accomplish some end.

We do things in order to accomplish an end. We are things because that’s who we truly are.

From within life, that seems fairly straightforward. The things that we do seem to have a sense of force or striving to them. There is a deliberateness which has more to do with consciousness, with making things be one way or another than anything else. There is nothing more than an act or imposition of will which makes things flow this way instead of that way.

Being, on the other hand seems to flow effortlessly from what you are on the deepest levels. Sure, things go this way instead of that way whenever you’re around and/or people seem to operate better when you’re there, but none of this takes place as a deliberate choice that you undertake.

This flies directly in the face of some “new age” spirituality and “success teaching,” which is exactly why you won’t find such points of view espoused here. At their cores, I have found many such “philosophies” to really be about layering on of new ideas and/or destroying old ideas in favor of new ones.

To be sure, many of the old ideas destroyed have little or nothing to do with heeding your own divinity. Many of the new ideas have more than a little truth in them. As such, they can be quite healthy. However, they tend also to be coupled with ideas focused on making one or more people extra-special, in everyone else’s estimation.

This can lead to trusting another over oneself and even to explicit deification of one person over another. This can take on different personas – espousing “exactly what was said (that was successful)” over going “from your gut,” is one such deal, focus on “exactly” what was said in the original is another. There are many variations, but it all comes down to supplanting your own understanding.

The key here is that it is getting you to police yourself – by far the most effective means of perpetuating and exploiting a falsehood – that you don’t have direct access to the truth when actually, you do.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Root of Fear

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by DCH Park

The root chakra is associated with safety and security. The dark or shadow face of the root chakra is fear. Lack of security is experienced in the body as fear. Accordingly, it has been said that fear is rooted in a sense of insecurity or threat in the world – that the world is an unsafe place.

This is a very basic emotion. It is hard to do or focus on anything else when I am in fear for my life, health, or well-being or that of those whom I love. In fact, this is exactly why so much political and economic advertising appeals to fear. Since it is so basic, it is simultaneously easily evoked and once evoked, very powerful. The first thing that any rational person whose life is threatened would do is eliminate the threat, or at least, that’s the expectation of fear-mongering advertisers.

There is a lovely poem by David Budbill that captures the essence of fear and vulnerability in the world. It is called “Into The Winter Woods.” (From Happy Life © Copper Canyon Press, 2011. Reprinted with permission.)

Long-johns top and bottom, heavy socks, flannel shirt, overalls,
steel-toed work boots, sweater, canvas coat, toque, mittens: on.

Out past grape arbor and garden shed, into the woods.
Sun just coming through the trees. There really is such a thing

as Homer’s rosy-fingered dawn. And here it is, this morning.
Down hill, across brook, up hill, and into the stand of white pine

and red maple where I’m cutting firewood. Open up workbox,
take out chain saw, gas, bar oil, kneel down, gas up saw, add

bar oil to the reservoir, stand up, mittens off, strap on and buckle
chaps from waist to toe, hard hat helmet: on. Ear protectors: down,

face screen: down, push in compression release, pull out choke,
pull on starter cord, once, twice, go. Stall. Pull out choke, pull on

starter cord, once, twice, go. Push in choke. Mittens: back on.
Cloud of two-cycle exhaust smoke wafting into the morning air

and I, looking like a medieval Japanese warrior, wade through
blue smoke, knee-deep snow, revving the chain saw as I go,

headed for that doomed, unknowing maple tree.

For many people, the world seems as capricious and threatening as it is for the unknowing maple. Not only is the world dangerous, but it is not known ahead of time when or how it is dangerous. It is this sense of vulnerability to pain or death, especially that there might be a way in which I am vulnerable of which I am unaware, that is frightening.

In essence, the fear turns on the belief that something or someone in the world may decide to intrude upon my life – even to take my life – for its own reasons. These reasons may have nothing at all to do with me personally, so there is very little I could do to mollify the threat even if I knew what it was.

This is another reason that the fear card has been used so often. It provides an easy way to manipulate people into doing, buying, or destroying something they would probably otherwise have no opinion about. All that is necessary is to evoke fear, give it a focus – in other words, identify a threat, and provide a solution.

Politicians and advertisers have become quite adept at feeding public mindsets that reinforce fear and inflate it to frenzied proportions. In this orchestrated firestorm of fear, the “rational” person naturally applies the offered solution to eliminate the proffered threat.

But does such behavior, whether manipulated by someone else or not, really produce any security? What is security? Would $10 Million in the bank provide security? How about filtered air and water to prevent disease? Even if I could prevent all contact with germs and viri, there are still many autoimmune and other diseases that aren’t caused by infectious agents. And none of this will provide protection from public embarrassment, a broken heart, or a shattered dream.

Life is, it would seem, full of potential threats. Adopting a stance of resisting threats in order to feel secure and free from fear actually limits my options and removes me from life. Rather than freeing myself from fear, I make myself its prisoner.

If shielding myself from threats or actively resisting them merely plays into fear, what can be done to eliminate fear/increase security? Notice that trying to increase security by directly eliminating or shielding myself from threats does not work. This approach is a variation of the ego-drama of fighting to utterly crush my nemesis. Since it draws me into the depths of the drama and invites me to lose myself in it, it seduces me into enlarging the drama and with it, the nemesis.

How did I overcome fears in the past? How does any child learn to overcome fears? She meets them directly. She embraces them. A fear is best met directly, whether it is of the dark, heights, or jelly beans. In boldly and consciously embracing fear, we are able to witness ourselves having the fearful experience and through witness consciousness, transcend it.

By letting go of the debilitating “big picture” focus on how things could be, should be, were in the past, or might be in the future, I can free myself to be fully present in the moment. In the moment, whatever else may be true, it is undeniable that I am still alive. The thing that I fear has not changed that fact.

Practicing witness consciousness not only makes letting go of “big picture” focus easier, it makes realization of the fact that I am surviving my fear in the moment more immediate. As moment after moment passes, it gradually becomes clear that I am not going to die any time soon, in spite of embracing my fear head-on. My experience of the fear shifts.

The threat hasn’t changed, but I have. I have begun to experience that I am stronger and have more resources than I supposed I had. The fear recedes because I experience myself more deeply and clearly. In this clarity I see that I have more options than I thought I had. With this realization of choice, comes an exhilarating sense of expanded freedom.

This is how, even under conditions of extreme privation, as endured by concentration camp internees, for example, after having been stripped of all of the worldly accoutrements usually associated with security, it is possible to have an unassailable sense of equanimity, grace, and joy. The source of these qualities lies outside the reach of any worldly intrusion, so no loss or curtailment of worldly conditions can intrude upon my sense of personal power, beauty, or freedom. (It is also outside of the reach of any spiritual intrusion, but that is a topic for a different discussion.)

As fear diminishes, increased security and safety are felt, but they are not the focus. They are characteristic of the deepest self, but provide a backdrop, setting the stage for freedom and choice to take center stage. Excitement over the possibilities rushes in and a feeling of aliveness informs life.

At one time, this was the natural state for everyone, before the child “grows up” and lets fear block the feeling of aliveness. Releasing fear opens the way to re-embody that aliveness. Holding on to fear or kowtowing to it diminishes aliveness, whether it is fear of death, fear of being misunderstood or hated, fear of loss, or fear of jelly beans.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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by DCH Park

Imagination is usually dismissed in this culture as being inherently unreal and disconnected from the objective, physical world. It is relegated to the provinces of small children, dreamers, artists, the aged, and others who are mentally and emotionally immature or infirm and not able to handle the real world.

It is mocked in popular culture, where it is characterized as something that only the very young and very foolish could take seriously. Here is a clip from Spongebob Squarepants (whom many consider himself to be the intolerable epitome of childlike exuberance) that shows Spongebob’s take on imagination (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4sUPvDZfog&feature=related).

I find this clip memorable because it captures not only the child’s fascination with imagination, but also the magic and possibilities for a different and better world.

Self-styled “realists” and “pragmatists” often embrace what they see as the realities of war, suffering, and privation in the world and operate from the belief that these are the only realities. They see them as inevitably invading and crippling any happiness unless great effort is expended to keep them at bay.

As an alternative to this view, consider that there is no real separation between thoughts, deeds, and words. This is another expression of the deep wisdom that there is no separation between body, mind, and spirit. Anything and everything that we experience on one level is reflected in the others. In similar fashion, consider that what we commonly call “imagination” is a link to our deeper wisdom through which our deeper truth may be expressed.

For example, the noted Biblical scholar, Ellen Davis, has observed that a word in the Bible that has often been translated as “heart” is actually mistranslated. The original meaning is better captured by “imagination.” Biblical passages have a wholly different connotation given this understanding. Consider the following in this light:
Galations 4:6-7 “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”
Psalm 27:8 “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.’”

By the same token, the appearance of separation between abstractions/theories and reality/truth is illusory. This is no less true for mathematicians and engineers than it is for poets and painters. Imagination is no more separate from the world or our experience of it or of ourselves than any other part. In other words, it is not separate at all. The appearance of separation is an illusion. In some wisdom traditions (including Christianity according to Dr. Davis), imagination is considered a way to truth – a kind of sense that connects us to unseen things, just as sight and hearing connect us to distant things.

This resonates very strongly with modern shamanism, where it is taught that in addition to the five classical senses, we also have seven non-classical senses, for a total of twelve. The non-classical senses are very useful in perceiving and working with non-ordinary realities and imagination is one of the most important of these. If in choosing to offer energy healing, work with spirits, or connect with God, you imagine a particular form, color, or environment, perhaps automatically dismissing what you have imagined as unreal and of no importance, as we have been trained to do, would be premature.

Why did you imagine red instead of blue? Why an open field instead of a busy open market? If nothing else, the things you imagine are present in your imagination because they resonate with or represent something significant to you. They are gateways to deeper truths that may still lie beyond your conscious awareness. By noticing and working with the elements that present themselves in your imagination, you can bring the light of your awareness to these as-yet unrealized truths.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Passing On the Gift

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by DCH Park

Recently, a mother posted a query to our metaphysics group asking for advice about schooling for her one year old daughter. She was concerned about making sure that her daughter was challenged but also focused on giving her daughter opportunities to learn a spiritual wisdom tradition. Her concern was that public schools might not provide all of the opportunities to learn that her daughter could benefit from.

The following essay is drawn in part from my response to her.

First of all, please let me respond to your concern about waiting until she’s “too old” to teach her about or expose her to a wisdom tradition. Is there really such a thing as “too old?” Certainly, some people come to a realization of the value of their consciousness and how to use it earlier in life than others, but each person comes to things when he or she is ready. I have met several young people who seem to have a much deeper working knowledge of mental hygiene and success principles than I remember having when I was younger, yet many of them tend, in my experience, to have a relatively narrow focus. Their insight, abilities, and levels of success and happiness are indeed advanced, but their abilities to understand and make meaningful connections across disparate traditions and to find value in even common and difficult circumstances seem to be limited, generally speaking.

I am beginning to suspect that perhaps the times of late childhood, teen, and early adulthood are times when a young person goes through a period of personal turmoil and self-definition perhaps reflective of the transitional states of neurological development and restructuring in the brain that occur throughout those years.

During this time of life, the brain grows and develops radically and rapidly. As connections proliferate and then are pruned in the brain, certain things may from time to time literally fail to connect. It has been observed that functionally, this bears a striking resemblance to brain damage. Of course, it is actually a natural part of growth and development, nonetheless, it might be the case that some degree of turmoil is inevitable during those ages, regardless of the type of training received in childhood.

I’m inclined to believe that a young person raised to practice self awareness will tend to have less difficulty in an absolute sense than someone who hasn’t, however, I suspect that the personal experience from the young person’s perspective might tend to misery. In other words, although my child may do well compared to me when I was his age or compared to his peers, perhaps his experience of his life is full of things that he felt were hard.

On the other hand, I imagine that there are cases in which family, school, community, and religion align perfectly so that a growing child’s life is happy and turmoil-free from birth through say the third or fourth decade of life, however, I wonder how flexible and robust such a person’s worldview and attitudes are likely to be. It’s commonly accepted that the way to raise a spoiled child is to make sure that she gets whatever she wants. I once read in a parental discipline book that the role of a parent is to frustrate the child whenever his demands become unreasonable or inconsiderate. Would raising a child in a completely turmoil-free manner create a monster?

Perhaps there is a link between the degree of difficulty that a person experiences and her ability to transcend difficulty and distractions in life. Gautama didn’t begin his journey to become the Buddha until after he realized that suffering exists and he didn’t transcend suffering as the Buddha until after he understood suffering from personal experience. If he had stayed in his father’s palace, enjoying his family and wealth, he would have not become the Buddha, even if he knew about suffering as an abstraction.

As an aside, it is interesting to recall that Gautama was foretold to be destined to either become a great spiritual master and teacher or to become a great military leader and conqueror. If he had stayed within the palace grounds and embraced his wife and son as part of a life that was defined by the world, he might have been impelled by his awareness of suffering to try to wipe it out. This might easily have translated into mounting war to bring the benefits of abundance to as many people as he could and thereby to ease or eliminate their suffering.

The wisest, richest, happiest, and most serene people I know have grown that way not because of their early childhood training, but because of what they discovered in themselves as they met and transcended the demons of pain, fear, suffering, and distraction in their lives, just as the Buddha did. In meeting and transcending these demons, we learn from first hand discovery not only that we are capable of transcending them and healing our wounds, but also what such demons are and where they come from. We grow in power and wisdom and eventually discover from personal experience the source and nature of wisdom and power.

Perhaps these are things that cannot be taught. Perhaps in trying to raise a child in traditions that we have found useful, we simply invite him or her to become brittle and deaf to the wisdom in a tradition different from the one we were raised in (and grew to be deaf and brittle to). One person may easily feel inspired by Judaism or Christianity and convert into that faith at the same time that someone else may go in the opposite direction for the same reasons.

In the end, intuition tells me that observing my own practices and sharing the benefits of my practice through my accepting presence and love is the most important factor. By being open with my child about what I understand as well as what I am as yet unclear about (but am sitting with) about the world and myself, I set an example and offer insights into a living process of growth and opening to wisdom. The child can follow it or not, use it as a launching point for creation/discovery of his own practices or not, as he chooses.

In this way, we can provide living examples of the tools in use and how the wisdom they lead to is recognized and received. This may be the most important and powerful lesson that we can offer our children.

In my case, I consciously realized that I would not always be able to protect my son and that he would want to be recognized and honored for his decisions, just as I wanted to be honored as I was growing up. I started by acknowledging that he made good decisions to the extent that he was able to make decisions – which, of course, has grown as he has grown – and let him know that I had confidence in his decisions. This provided a foundation and a forum within which we could (and can and do) discuss decisions. As he has grown, our discussions have grown from explaining things and decisions that I have made to probing his thinking, expectations, and decision process and possibly offering suggestions or challenges (or possible consequences) for him to consider but always with the understanding that he is naturally expected to follow his own sense of what is right with my support.

Of course, this also means that he takes responsibility for his decisions with my support. I have “taken him to task” and reminded him of his responsibilities and opportunities for change more than once in this vein. Sometimes he realizes that he hasn’t been fully aware of how his decisions have affected others or himself and sometimes he has made decisions knowing their possible ramifications. In either case, he has ultimately always taken responsibility for himself and his choices.

Spiritual enlightenment is essentially being aware. As I grow more aware of the myriad ways in which I have fallen into habitual shortcuts in how I perceive, receive, and act in the world, I find that with greater awareness comes greater choice and freedom. As I am aware of how I behave, I can choose to exercise a different way of being. In the same fashion, recognizing and accepting responsibility opens the possibility of exercising choice, even to the extent of changing a decision I have made in the past. Without awareness and responsibility, such choice and change are not possible. Perhaps this is why suffering and transcending suffering is linked with enlightenment.

Parents have by far the greatest impact in a child’s life. Although it would probably be better if school and culture (including TV, music, video games, etc.) were all in alignment with you, even if none of them were, your daughter will learn the deepest lessons from you. The manner in which you live your life and in which you treat yourself, her, and other people in your lives together will be the most important factor. When we live well, life is good. What better lesson could we hope to pass on?

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Doing and Being – II

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by DCH Park

What does it mean to “flow from being?”

As stated last time, there is a difference between flowing from being and going from doing, in my experience, although in the language, the differences between these two things is not immediately clear. In the language, as it is used by many folks these days, “doing” refers to things that you do automatically from what you are and also other things that you do. Commonly, the distinction between what you do and who you are is lost.

In fact, in many conversations, it is blurred, at best, any distinction between who you are and what you do us lost. Many schools teach that it is only possible or that the truest sense of who you are can only be gained from what you do. Some teach that it doesn’t matter who you think you are. The only thing that matters is what you do. It is thus a question of inference, of going backward from what you do.

Many such schools of thought even say that it is impossible to “know” who you are. You can only know with certainty what you do. What goes unspoken in many such schools of thought is that you are unable to know anything. You rely on the group or the crowd to tell you what to believe. – If the crowd says that a certain thing is true, it must be, even if your intuition tells you differently.

This is partly true – repeatability is part of predictability, and predictability is what science is all about. However, an accommodation must be found between repeatability and hearing your own voice as it whispers the truth. The fact is that all of the great scientists and artists have listened to their own senses of what has been true. They have done so long before they could “prove” anything to the crowd. In fact none of what we (in the crowd) view as predictability would have been possible in the first place if they hadn’t listened to their own senses of truth, first.

I believe that what is true is true will be true tomorrow. It is repeatable because it is true, not that it is true because it is repeatable (which is what the crowd insists on). Knowing what is true always leads to what is repeatable. If it is not, then the understanding of truth that led to a given inference is somehow flawed.

Repeatability and predictability are useful in catching such flaws, but they do not create them. Flaws usually come from a sense of having gone over or enunciated something that hasn’t, in fact, been fully articulated or in believing that I have said something other than what I have actually said. Repeatability demonstrates how what I have said differs from what I get, when it does differ. Knowing how it differs opens the opportunity to change what I say, so that it reveals (or reflects) more of the truth.

I experience the truth by going within myself – which is a great mystery as long as we continue to hold with the illusion that there is a difference between myself and the world. I note that by going within myself, I learn more about the world. I observe that predictability in what we agree is the “real world” can grow in so far as my understanding of myself is true. It can grow no more than my understanding of myself grows. Thus, my understanding of myself and my understanding of truth are the same thing, as long as I don’t fool myself about either who I am or what the truth is (which is one area where predictability can come into play).

Herein lies one rub – that it is possible to confuse doing with being. I find that it is common to forget what you do and identify it as who you are. Thus, carpentry is probably a sum of many things you do (check for warps, measure wood, see corners, cut wood, etc.). It is not a reflection of who you are. There are probably some who are carpenters, but many who are, don’t and many who do, aren’t. What you do does not necessarily align with who you are.

In many cases, we forget the difference between who we are and what we do. All we remember is what we do and that becomes who we see ourselves to be. I cease to do carpentry. I am a carpenter. We may try our whole lives to be the person whom we believe ourselves to be, only to find frustration and struggle.

One of the things I have learned is that we remember more of our spirits and of who we are when we are very young. As we grow older, we learn. Part of that learning (currently) seems to involve learning to forget the things we knew were true when we were children. This is one of the ways that children are holier than adults. They remember more of what it is to be spirit (before life and death). They are closer to that spirit and haven’t learned as much about life, yet. They haven’t forgotten as much.

I am reminded of the saying that posits being wise as a state in which we return to childhood but with the awareness of life of the adult. For me, flowing from being can be like being a child. A child does not second guess itself. It does not doubt that everyone in the room is completely devoted to it or that its experience of the world is completely joyful. It doesn’t doubt that everyone there is ready to interact with her, to smile at her. They are.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Doing and Being

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by DCH Park

It is very common to view life as a series of events that flow from one to another, passing momentum from one instant to the next, like water spilling from one pot to fill and tip another, then another, and another. Each pot represents a single moment or occurrence and if at any point, a pot is not filled enough to tip and spill its contents into the next pot, the whole sequence might be delayed or stopped altogether.

In this view, it is obviously very important to maintain and even to increase the flow of momentum from one event to the next. In this way, as thousands of moments stack up to add their contributions together, a huge volume of momentum can be built up to stream forward, ideally carrying you forward with it. Of course, it is very difficult to stem or stop such a rushing torrent, so there is always the possibility that the torrent may end up sweeping you off balance and out of control rather than launching you forward with its swell. In surfing terms, you might wipe out.

This common view of life is characterized by a perspective of events and achievements as occurrences in time. It is vitally important in this view to establish your direction and to direct your efforts to maintain and increase momentum over time. It is also obviously very important to focus your efforts so that everything that you do reinforces the direction and magnitude of your momentum. It can also be seen that discipline is helpful since through discipline, you minimize or eliminate “wasting” effort on unrelated directions. All of your energy can therefore be directed toward achieving your goal.

This view certainly resonates with what many people teach about how to achieve success. Many of these same teachers recommend specifying a clear and definite timeframe within which the desired success will be realized in addition to specifying the exact form, shape, flavor, and color of the desired outcome.

From a perspective of success as a sequence of events in time, setting a target date makes sense since doing so may help to sharpen focus and create a sense of urgency which can help you to focus more tightly and magnify the frenzied energy with which you attack any problems. This is not unlike firing the boiler on a ship. In order to turn the propeller and make the ship go, it is necessary to first build up a fair amount of steam pressure. Higher pressure can make the prop turn faster and provide more momentum. However, running the engine at elevated pressure can damage the boiler. Pressures that are too high can actually rupture the steam tank and scuttle the engine.

The perspective of success as a series of events in time implies that it is necessary to do a lot of things to maintain momentum. It also carries with it a sense that there is no set course and the sequence of events can (and usually does) go off-target at any time. This sense of infinite possibilities (many of which probably lead to unsuccessful outcomes) demands ever greater diligence and effort to maintain heading as well as momentum. Of course, as momentum builds, heading becomes even more important and harder to adjust.

In this view, life is a constant struggle to do more of the right things. Even when sufficient momentum is built up in the right direction to carry you to success, the success achieved can be so much a product of the momentum flow that you feel disconnected from it. It never seems like it’s enough because it never seems quite real. People who experience great success very early in life and/or very suddenly often comment that their success doesn’t seem real and they ultimately become self-destructive.

Fortunately, there is another approach and perspective. Rather than focusing on doing, focus on being. Rather than seeing events as discrete occurrences in time, recognize events as intersections between what is (truth) and your experience.

Imagine the stream of events that you experience in your life in terms of an ant crawling across a face on Mt. Rushmore. As the ant, you can’t see the whole face. You can only experience it one little bit at a time. In one moment, you may crawl over the tip of the nose. Some time later, you may be on the right eye or the ear. Eventually, you may experience the whole face or enough of it to recognize it for what it is, but the larger truth will only become clear as you consider the entirety of your meanderings across the face.

If you return to the right eye again and again and never visit the left, that does not mean that the left eye does not exist. Nor does it mean that the right eye ceases to exist when you leave it for the nose or the mouth. The entirety of the face exists, with each part co-existing with all of the others at the same time. The ant experiences the face as a sequence in time because of the limited scope of its perception. It only perceives a tiny bit at a time, so it is only aware of the vast face as a series of discrete experiences in time.

In similar fashion, consider that rather than a series of events strung together in time, the entirety of your life is like the ant’s path across the stone face. The stone face is analogous to the foundational truth of your being as an expression and experience of divinity. As such, this foundational truth is as eternal, complete, and unchanging as the stone face is compared to the ant’s life.

Just as the ant exercises choice regarding whether to crawl to the nose or the cheek, you exercise choice in your life that determines the shape of your meandering through the breadth and depth of your divine truth. You always have choice as to what part of your truth you want to experience next and the twists and turns that these choices take you on define the shape of your life. Furthermore, just as the ant might wander off the face altogether, you are free to lose awareness of your inner truth.

However, as long as you choose to hold with your truth, your path through life must provide more experience with and opportunities to understand that truth ever more deeply, just as the ant’s meandering must carry it across the face as long as it doesn’t wander off the face.

Another ant wandering across a different face on the mountain has a different nose, eye, forehead, and cheek to explore – just as one person’s essential truth is different from another’s – even though they are doing the same things. Each person’s essential truth is a unique expression of a single, universal, foundational, divine truth, just as each face on Mt. Rushmore is carved from the stone of a single mountain.

Eventually, it becomes clear that the form and substance of your as-yet unrealized success is an essential part of your greater truth. Imagine that the ant is somehow lifted off the face so that it can see the whole face in a glance. It might see that the sequence of nose, right eye, forehead, cheek, chin, lips, and nose that encompasses its entire life are not in fact a sequence of events in time. They only seemed that way because that is how the ant experienced them.

In the same fashion, you may see the events in your life as a path toward, away from, and through the truth of your being that took on the appearance of events in time only because of the way you experienced them as you created your path in life. Where you were (what you experienced) last week or last decade co-exists along with where you will be (what you will experience) next week or next year as contiguous parts of a greater whole. Your future success is also part of this greater whole. It lies at the heart of the divine wisdom of your being.

Thus, it becomes clear that there is no reason to strive or expend effort to struggle toward your desired goals. Your perfect outcome is an integral part of your being. It exists already, although you may have yet to experience it in your life. As your awareness of your deepest truth grows and you speak and act from this awareness more and more immediately, it is inevitable that your experience will intersect with your divine, perfect outcome. This is one way to understand how experience and expression are the same thing.

The prescription to hold and create your desired outcome from the vantage point of experiencing it as an accomplished fact takes on a whole new flavor when seen in this light. Rather than something that seems disingenuous and vaguely discomfiting – one more thing to struggle to maintain from the perspective of striving to build momentum in the changing currents of time – it becomes a simple statement of fact and being, like observing that water is wet and ice is cold.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Known and Unknown

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by DCH Park

In a recent essay, I considered the nature of each person’s connection to divine wisdom, love, and healing. I pointed out that we realize and solidify our connections with divine wisdom through practicing openness without expectation or attachments. This same openness leads to creation of new knowledge (as opposed to “book learning”), as the source of all knowledge is the unknown. Without an open attitude to the unknown, resistance, attachments, expectations, and desires can occlude the experience and block recognition of new knowledge. Although seemingly shocking and strange at first, this realization is tautological. Where else could new knowledge come from than experience with the unknown?

However, recognizing this truth does not necessarily illuminate the process of acquiring or creating new knowledge and provides only limited guidance toward robust knowledge creation. One very common pitfall is to assume that knowledge creation is a function of intelligent extrapolation from established facts. In fact, many schools teach an erroneous view of knowledge acquisition predicated on exactly this premise.

Consider that intelligent people often fall into the trap of limiting themselves.  The more intelligent they are, the easier it is for them to trap themselves because the intellect specializes in constructing models and analogies and forming expectations by projecting past experience onto the unknown. They have learned that their intelligence is facile enough to figure out how to be economically or socially successful so they naturally turn to figuring things out when they encounter something they don’t understand, even something completely new.  Herein lies the trap.

Applying only intelligence to figure things out never leads to understanding.  Intelligence is useful in applying what is known, but it cannot help in creating new knowledge.  The source of all knowledge is the unknown.  In grasping the truly unknown, no intelligence, no analysis, no model or metaphor is of any help.  One cannot model what one doesn’t know.

If we try, we end up torturing already existing frameworks to capture new things only poorly.  What’s worse, the familiar, old ways of seeing things can invisibly induce us to drop into familiar ways of thinking and we can miss essential elements and connections that uniquely characterize the new unknown.  We can end up with a view of things that seems to be complete and rational but in fact is no more useful in understanding the nature of things than the Ptolemaic model of planetary motion was in understanding celestial mechanics.  And just as with the Ptolemaic model, the new “understanding” usually reflects more of the extant philosophical, religious, economic, political, or moral systems than it does any new knowledge.

New knowledge and true understanding require that we let go of intellect – the rational, modeling, analytical, talking mind – and relax into the unknown without expectation or preconception in order to genuinely receive the unknown.  It is through first hand experience with the unknown – living and breathing the unknown, feeling it pulse through your body and being and appreciating how it shifts your experience of yourself – that you make the unknown known.

In truth, this is how we experience anything – by noticing how it shifts our experience of ourselves. Consider any one of the classic five senses for example. In each case, interaction with a stimulus produces an electrochemical change that cascades into a nerve impulse which is processed by the central nervous system. The sensations that we refer to as sight, smell, etc. are actually perceptions of changes in our bodies. We never experience the stimulus directly. If the chain is broken at any point, sensation is lost, even though all of the nervous and electrochemical cascades peripheral to the break (not to mention the stimulus itself) are intact. The loss of sensation is tied to a loss of the ability to perceive changes within the body.

In freshman physics, students are taught that the way to measure and map an electric field is to take a point charge of known magnitude and valence and move it around inside the field. By measuring the force experienced by the charge at various points, we gather information about the field being investigated.

In both of these cases, the same basic strategy is used to sense the outside world. Interaction with the external world produces a change internal to the body or the sensor apparatus and it is this internal change that is perceived. To wit, interaction with the environment produces an internal shift which can then be experienced directly.

Self reflection and focused attention to the nuances of perception make clear that this same principle is useful in describing human experience in general. We do not see or sense anything so much as perceive how different experiences shift our experiences of ourselves. In perceiving this shift, we gain information about the original stimulus. It is not so much clarity of external perception that makes one insightful as clarity of internal experience.

Thus, efforts to sharpen the intellect (which is outwardly directed) alone will in general be of only limited use in gaining wisdom or creating new knowledge. Similarly, attempts to model insight and intuition in computationally intensive ways, such as measuring heart and respiratory rates, frequency of eye blinks, pupil dilation, etc., are likely to ultimately prove to be barren, producing results that are devoid of human warmth and context and providing no more insight than a statistical analysis, if they produce results at all.

Such dry, robotic calculations are very different from your internal experience of yourself. We each have an exquisitely sensitive facility to perceive the richness and subtlety of the world through our bodies and spirits. We perceive far more through these faculties than most of us are ever aware of or open ourselves to. We get in our own ways with our expectations, desires, attachments, and stories. The more we can get out of our own ways, the more clearly we can perceive the world because we experience ourselves more clearly and powerfully.

In addition, as we clarify our experiences, we come to know ourselves more clearly. We move toward an intimate knowledge of ourselves that is not dependent on any observation of emotions or behavior and is free of any feedback, comment, or criticism from others. We come to know ourselves more clearly due to direct experience with ourselves.

Thus, we become more able to immediately recognize emotions, actions, expectations, etc. that are not in concert with our essential beings. In technical terms, we become familiar with our baseline selves and thus are able to more easily distinguish a deviation from that baseline. Just as when using a bathroom scale it helps to have the scale properly zeroed, when noticing shifts in your experience of yourself, it helps to know yourself in your pristine, unshifted state.

Thus, the path to improving insight and intuition is the same as the path toward greater connection, wisdom, and healing – cultivation of clarity and openness in your experience of yourself. Practice experiencing everything that comes up (or comes in) for you, whatever that may be. This can seem daunting, especially if it is a new practice. However there are tried and proven practices and techniques that are simple to learn and very powerful in supporting this process – opening to experience whatever comes up so that it can be healed and released. Invariably, as preconceptions, judgments, and classifications drop away, the way is cleared to deeper and more profound experience of yourself and more powerful, effortless, and joyful living in the world.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Restitution and Responsibility – III

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by DCH Park

Many people have heard about Ho’oponopono and applied it with varying degrees of success. Most people have heard about it from Dr. Hew Len, a Hawaiian psychiatrist who has used it treating patients, including violent, criminally insane offenders. In my experience, those who have only had poor or inconsistent results from using Ho’oponopono have learned about it online or from friends and at best have only an incomplete understanding of the technique or its underlying philosophy or history.

The technique that most people know as Ho’oponopono is an updated and streamlined version which was taught to Dr. Hew Len by Morrnah Simeona. Madam Simeona was a respected kahuna who introduced an earlier version of Ho’oponopono to the Huna community in 1980. The older version is no less effective and has the added benefit of laying out a framework that can be comprehended and easily followed even if you have very limited understanding of Huna philosophy.

In the traditional form of Ho’oponopono, the wounded person or persons ideally have an open, loving dialog with the transgressor. This dialog has several distinct stages and is followed up with action. Without going into procedural details (which can be found elsewhere), descriptions of vital steps follow.

The first step in the dialog is an open affirmation by each member of the discussion of their intentions for the highest and best good and healing for everyone involved. The healing intention is for the transgressor as well as for the wounded.

The next step focuses on a group discussion of exactly what happened and how it affected those present. Each person speaks in turn while everyone else listens. Blame and emotionally charged accusations are not helpful in this context and are best left out of the discussion. The goal of this stage is for everyone to feel heard and be heard and for the group to come to a clear and mutual understanding of what was done and how it affected those present.

Once agreement is reached over the details of events, actions, and consequences, the third step can proceed. The third step focuses on restitution. It is not sufficient to acknowledge that someone has been hurt nor even to apologize for the commission. Beyond apology and blame, restitution requires that the transgressor take responsibility for his or her actions and that the wounded person(s) take responsibility for their wounds. Only then can the transgressor atone and thus release the burden of having injured another and heal. Only then can the wounded party release the injury and finally heal.

Given full realization and acceptance on both sides of personal responsibility, they can then proceed to determine the form of restitution that is appropriate. Both the transgressor and the principle wounded party must agree that the form of restitution is appropriate, fair, meaningful, and practicable. Beyond this, they are free to agree on any means or action for the precise form of the restitution.

Once the form of restitution is agreed upon, the group may celebrate their loving achievement and healing. The celebration might include a formal thanksgiving, a prayer, or open acknowledgement. It might also include feasting, music, dance, hugs, etc.

Traditional Ho’oponopono has been recognized by various psychologists, social workers, and experts in conflict resolution as being one of the very best formats for resolution and healing available. It bears a striking resemblance to Nonviolent Communication, which has a well-known track record in resolving conflicts even of international scope.

Ho’oponopono is remarkable in the way that each step builds on previous steps to create a loving momentum leading to mutual understanding and personal responsibility all within the context of stated desires for the healing of everyone. A vital part of this process is the restitution. Restitution is conspicuously absent from Hollywood depictions of justice. This is understandable since most Hollywood presentations are self-consciously dramatic ones and the momentum and power of Ho’oponopono is toward piercing the drama. When we transcend our drama, we are free to heal.

Ho’oponopono provides an excellent model for healing injuries to relationships, ourselves, and others precipitated by transgressions, both inadvertent and deliberate. However, conducting a dialog with someone who is not available still seems to present a challenge. In the third part of this series, we will touch on some ways to heal injuries that stem from interactions that may have occurred long ago with people who are no longer available.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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