A Special Spot

by Ingrid Dean

wolves-58998_1280Worried parents reported that their sixteen-year-old son was missing. They thought he had run away, but they had no idea where. When I arrived at their home, something didn’t feel right. I asked the parents more questions than usual. I asked if the boy got good grades in school and if he had any troubles he was dealing with. They said his grades had gone down recently and that he was on anti-depressants.

When the parents mentioned anti-depressants, I got a very clear thought: This is not a runaway complaint. I don’t know why the word anti-depressant triggered this thought, because usually it doesn’t mean anything to me. I know that anti-depressants are often very helpful to people, even children.

I looked in the boy’s bedroom and saw two unopened packs of cigarettes by his bed. I thought, What sixteen-year-old boy leaves two packs of cigarettes behind? Most teenagers carry their cigarettes with them, especially if their parents allow them to smoke. This was the second hint that the incident was not what it appeared to be.

I didn’t want to ask, but I did: “Do you have any weapons in the house?” The father said yes and that he had already looked. All of the cases were present. I asked if he had opened the cases, and he said no. I told him to go check. When he returned, he reported that a rifle, a Ruegar .280, was missing. I suddenly knew their son was probably dead, but I didn’t say anything. Not yet. It was the third clear thought that came through my mind.

I got the urge to take a look outside. Sure enough, I found footwear impressions in the snow that appeared to be the boy’s— and they seemed to lead into the woods.

The snow was patchy this time of year, so I called Dispatch for canine assistance. While I waited for the dog and handler to arrive, I telephoned the boy’s best friend. I asked if there were any special spots where the boy might have walked. I knew most teenagers have one. Because the snow was minimal, I knew that even with a dog, it might be difficult to track the boy unless I had an idea where to head. Sure enough, the boy had a special spot.

When the canine officer arrived, the dog picked up a scent. It was an overcast winter day. The canine handler, the dog, and I followed the boy’s scent toward his special spot. I was glad I had called the boy’s best friend for directions so that I knew we were on the right track. As we walked I realized how breathtaking this area is. The near-pristine woodlands, hilly terrain, and sand dunes of Leelanau County, Michigan, are absolutely gorgeous. The smell of the pines was pungent and pure. What a pity this young man has taken his own life, when there is so much to love about this land and life. I already knew we’d find him dead.

We continued to follow the boy’s scent. The trees opened up into a small open area in the woods. This was his special spot. We saw him. He had shot his head off with the missing rifle. I was so thankful I had trusted my intuition and hadn’t allowed the boy’s parents to come with us. The bloody scene was too gory for any parent ever to see.

Although it was hard and their grief unbearable, the boy’s parents were relieved I had found their son.

I thought about this case several times afterward. If I had treated this situation like a routine runaway complaint, the boy’s body might never have been found. Corpses are often eaten by animals—sometimes without a trace left—especially in this area of Northern Michigan known for its vultures, eagles, and coyotes. I am sure many of my fellow comrades also rely on intuitive thoughts. Most of us seldom, if ever, talk about it, of course. Policemen are expected to rely on logic and “just the facts.”

More like this and some of Ingrid’s other work can be found at www.spiritofthebadge.com.

Flattr this!

Being and Doing – II

Creative Commons License
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 is 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.

Creative Commons License
”Being and Doing – II” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Passing On the Gift

Creative Commons License
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.

Creative Commons License
”Passing On the Gift” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Doing and Being – II

Creative Commons License
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.

Creative Commons License
”Doing and Being – II” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Known and Unknown

Creative Commons License
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.

Creative Commons License
”Known and Unknown” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Easy Discipline

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

What is discipline? Very simply, it can be characterized as exercise of will. In this regard, it seems to be clearly related to choice and personal power. However, in most popular notions of discipline, there is also an element of overcoming or obliterating opposition, particularly resistance or opposition arising from personal desires.

Thus, exercising discipline in following a diet or doing work, for example, is commonly seen as a struggle between what you “know” to be true or best and what you might prefer to do in the moment. Discipline in this perspective is a matter of denying yourself “for your own good.”

Two things become immediately obvious in this respect. One is that such discipline rarely works. It can feel like locking yourself into a straightjacket to slavishly follow whatever routine or course you have accepted as the right thing to do. No wonder that diets usually fail. The part of yourself that you deny only grows stronger and more insistent with continued denial.

Ultimately it can (and usually does) completely overwhelm the discipline, at which point the relief of getting out of the metaphorical straightjacket combines with the relishment of indulging in foods or activities that have been denied to make the sense of exuberant relief and freedom at least momentarily intoxicating.

In contrast, if discipline is not overwhelmed, opposition to the adopted routine is ultimately crushed. Along with the opposition, of course, the spirit of that opposition is crushed or disowned as well. This doesn’t sound like it is a problem until you recall that the opposition or resistance that you crush is coming from you. It is the part of the self that you deny in exercising discipline. In crushing that spirit, you are crushing a part of yourself. This can lead to a pervasive feeling of hopelessness and despair that drains the sparkle and savor out of life.

Between these two extremes, there lies constant struggle. As long as this struggle goes on, the march toward ultimate loss of soul continues and the prospects for orgiastic surrender to rampant desires amidst the ruins of your aspirations or joyless victory in the sterile landscape of discipline loom larger and larger.

By setting yourself in opposition to yourself, you set yourself up for defeat one way or another. Either your discipline succeeds and you decimate your intuition and flow in the name of crushing uncontrolled impulses or your discipline fails and you lose your intention in the avalanche of pent-up desires. It’s an interesting game in which, like all of the games of ego and illusion, the only winning move is not to play. By deigning to play at all you accept that the principle part of the illusion – that there is separation, for example between what you do and what you are – is real and important.

It is in your acceptance of this illusion as fact that you accept the notion that you cannot trust yourself and thus lose yourself. Instead, consider that your passions are valuable instead of annoying distractions. Trust yourself. If you feel drawn toward a certain food or activity, trust that there is good reason for that. Either it is an expression of your deepest being or it is an expression of something that blocks your deepest being.

If it is the latter, then as soon as you gain clarity about what it is and why you have put it in your way, you can recognize and exercise the freedom to release it and heal the wound it is connected to. In healing the wound, you increase the level of freedom you have to express and enjoy your deepest truth.

Of course, distinguishing between pure expressions of your being and expressions of blockages can be tricky. However, in both cases, the expression itself is an important key to unlocking the truth and your connection to it. To be sure, tools and support are available to assist anyone who sincerely wants to become free and clear and many of the most useful begin with honest expression and exploration of whatever is present.

As blocks are recognized and expressed, a remarkable thing begins to emerge. It slowly becomes clear that the things your deepest being calls you to do and enjoy are the things that are best for you. In other words, as you clean up yourself, the conflict between what you “ought to do” and what you want to do disappears. It becomes apparent that you are drawn to eat certain foods, engage in certain activities, and associate with certain people (for example) and not others and that the things you are drawn to are good for you.

Discipline is no longer an issue at this point because doing what is good for you is the easiest thing to do. Things that are not good for you are not attractive, even though they might have seemed alluring in the past. Even contemplating doing them is difficult because to do them, you would have to actively ignore the awareness that you don’t want to do them and that you are not having fun.

A path to this happy state lies through awareness. Notice what you are feeling and what those feelings remind you of. Let go of expectations, attachments, and judgments. As you bring greater levels of pure awareness to whatever is present in each moment, your ability to distinguish between your truth and your blocks will grow. As your discernment grows sharper, your ability to choose grows with it. Eventually, you come to recognize that doing the right thing is the easiest thing you can do.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

Creative Commons License
”Easy Discipline” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Get Out of Your Mind

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

As it is commonly used, the term “out of your mind” is generally taken as a bad thing. The unvoiced assumption or belief about how things are holds that there are only two possibilities. Either you are firmly in control of your faculties or you are not.

In this view, being in control is not unlike being in the driver’s seat of a car or truck. The power and speed of the vehicle are either inert or dangerous unless a skilled and alert driver is in control. Without the driver, the vehicle will either sit parked and inert or careen dangerously into a tree or off a bridge or into a crowd.

Unfortunately this is also how many people conceptualize their relationships with themselves and their bodies. They believe that they must be in control – in “their right minds” – in order for the vehicles of their bodies or even their intellects and imaginations to be used safely and constructively.

In this view, the only alternative to not being in their “right minds” is to be insane to some degree. In fact, the term “out of your mind” is synonymous in colloquial usage with “insane.”

However, this is not necessarily a complete picture. As an illustration, once after attending a weekend workshop, I drove with fellow workshop attendees to get some dinner at a local restaurant before our departing flights left. After the meal, I proceeded to calculate the tip and divide it by three.

I am not a mathematician, but I have been doing simple math like this for many years. So I was puzzled by the looks of confusion on my friends’ faces when I told them what I’d calculated. I did it again and a third time and got the same answer each time.

Finally. they did their own math and announced a different figure, which I acquiesced to. We paid and left, the mystery rolling around in my awareness.

It wasn’t until a day or two later that I realized how my math was incorrect. I had temporarily lost the ability to do simple mental math because I had gone out of my mind. The workshop had emphasized being open to and aware of connections, energy, and even wisdom as a felt experience in the body. I had gone so far into body centered (what some might called heart-centered) connection, that I had begun to operate without going through my intellect.

This was a major shift for me. As many who grew up in this culture, I had focused on sharpening and using my intellect for much of my life. I had the attitude that I led through my head first. Even in matters of heart or what I understood at the time as intuition, I insisted on working out a logical rationale in my head first and following with my heart and gut after.

Of course, this was an illusion of my ego. The intellect is one of the greatest tools of the ego. It is a supremely supple and facile problem solving device. As with all such tools of the ego, it tends to cast whatever it is turned to in terms it is well suited to handle. The intellect sees everything as a problem to be solved. By the same token, a war machine might be expected to cast everything as an enemy to be vanquished and a sales organization would view everything in terms of prices and exchange (“everyone has a price”).

However, as much as the mind might object, experience and understanding precede logical explanation. The mind is a marvelous problem-solving tool, but life is not a problem. Any attempt to force it into a problem-shaped mold will unavoidably distort things and leave other things out altogether.

One of the most powerful things that the mind tends to leave out or try to explain away is intuition. This is not the sole province of women, as the cliché suggests. It is not magical or mysterious. It is available to everyone and forms the basis for creative insights and breakthroughs in every major field of endeavor. Inspiration moves the artist to create a new masterpiece just as it illuminates the scientist’s quest for understanding. It characterizes the champion athlete as well as the loving parent.

Dare to go out of your mind. Put logic and the problem-solving perspective aside for a time. Simply be present to whatever you have inside you and be patient with yourself and whatever you are thinking or feeling. Be aware of and honor the wisdom and insight that intuition and inspiration bring. Notice how intuition is always there, waiting to come into the stillness. It waits only to be welcomed with an open heart and a quiet mind.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

Creative Commons License
“Get Out of Your Mind” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Honoring Your Body’s Wisdom

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

Our bodies are marvelous instruments that combine subtlety with precision to allow us to move through and interact with the physical universe. When you go into a room, notice your sense of what the room is like. Do you get a sense for what is happening in the room – even before you really see or hear anything happening? Is it energized and excited or focused? Is it tired or stressed? Is it tense or at ease?

All of these qualities are sensed through your body, which is exquisitely tuned to transmit and pickup remarkably minute signals about stress and energy levels, states of excitement, etc.

Outside of the brain, the largest and most complex nerve center is in the heart and the third most complex nexus in the body is the stomach. It is no coincidence that folk wisdom recognizes these two areas as seats of wisdom. Nor is it an accident that metaphysical philosophies from all over the world recognize the heart and the stomach area as important.

Not only do these nexuses express their own intelligence, they generate unique electrical and magnetic fields and they respond to electrical and magnetic fields in characteristic and subtle ways.

What does this mean in everyday life and in an everyday practice? You don’t need complex electronic equipment to tune in to these signals. You already have sophisticated sensing equipment built into your body. All you have to do is be aware of what it tells you. Practice trusting your intuition. With trust and practice, it will grow stronger and more available, just as any natural ability will.

Be ready to step sideways, outside of your logical, problem-solving “mind-that-talks,” and instead to be open and receptive to felt experience in your body. The body communicates with such felt experiences and with images, not words. Words come only later, once the mind steps in to interpret or paper-over the wisdom felt through the body.

Interestingly, as you practice noticing and honoring the signals your body sends you, your relationship with your body will shift. You may notice that pain or stress is a signal to stop what you are doing and rest or do something else and that when you do this, your overall performance and results improve. You may notice that pain and suffering are separate things that do not necessarily lead to each other.

Recently we had a house guest who asked for some OTC pain reliever because she was suffering from a headache that seemed to be mounting. It wasn’t until she asked that I realized that we didn’t have any pain killers in our medicine cabinet. I don’t even recall the last time that I bought analgesics for chronic stress or tension related pain.

This wasn’t always the case. As many Americans do, I used to stock pain relievers along with adhesive bandages and antiseptic. However, now I rarely take such drugs even for acute pain. When I had kidney stone problems last year, I took some Advil for the first day that the pain appeared, but discontinued using pain relievers after that. My urologist was astonished that I wasn’t in pain because he regularly sees patients who have much smaller stones in agonizing pain.

When our guest asked for the pain killers I realized suddenly that I had gone through a big shift in perspective. The stresses and tensions that can lead to pain are recognized and dealt with before they can fester into body pain. Hence, the analgesics are unnecessary. Even acute pain can be experienced without suffering and even released without dulling the senses with analgesics.

What else may be possible through honoring the body’s wisdom? Each person’s experience is different, just as each person’s voice is unique. Dare to discover for yourself what is possible. At its heart, this is a process of being completely present with the body and body experiences, whatever they may be, with no expectations, scripts, judgment, or resistance.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

Creative Commons License
“Honoring Your Body’s Wisdom” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

SITE NITE – 5 Years of Connecting People: An interview with Regina Rivers, Kathy Evans-Palmisano, and Chi Chi Rivera

Creative Commons License

Chi Chi Rivera, Regina Rivers, and Kathy Evans-PalmisanoSITE NITE just celebrated its 5th anniversary. It has become a destination for many people who are trying to find an approach to life that embraces many points of view.

RR: Over these five years, we’ve always believed that the right people are called to attend. The right people show up at the right time. Some who come use it as a springboard and go off and do their own thing when it’s time for them to do that.

KEP: And sometimes people come back, too. They springboard off and take a divergent path and then their path may meander back and meet up with ours again.

DCHP: Chi Chi, you’ve been with the group for most of it’s life, not the whole life though, right?

CCR: I think three years. Maybe two?

RR: I think three years. It feels like forever. (all laugh)

KEP: She was there from the start. She just wasn’t physically present.

CCR: (laughing) My body hadn’t shown up, yet.

It was 2010 and it was January. That was the first meeting I attended.

DCHP: And you’re indispensable now.(all laugh) In terms of what you do and…

RR: Yes.

KEP: Strongly affirmative.

CCR: You know, we work very coherently as a team.

KEP: Yeah, we do!

CCR: There are many heads to this snake. (all laugh)

RR: What is it? Medusa? SITE NITE’s Medusa.

KEP: More like a Hydra – ya cut one off and two more appear. (laughter redoubles)

DCHP: So how long has SITE NITE been going, now?

RR: Our first meeting was March 23, 2009.

DCHP: You just had your fifth anniversary.

RR: Yeah, and this year, we are hoping to attract more men because we want to be balanced energetically.

This year, in 2014, we made it a purpose to engage more men as presenters and quite a few have accepted.

DCHP: So do you think it’s a presentation thing or maybe it’s more that women are more ready and able to say, “You know what? I don’t know.” and “Let’s find out.”

CCR: Women are receptive to this teaching. We’re naturally good teachers. So, the energy consists of a lot of feminine presentation. That’s why we have to try to keep it balanced. Why we have to ask men to come, to participate and be part of the structure of what we’re building.

RR: And, we’re not just seeking diversity of gender identity but also ethnicity. We want individuals from as many cultural backgrounds as possible to feel welcome to come and work with us. This is beginning to occur now as well.

DCHP: You raise an interesting point about ethnicity. I’m just curious if you’ve noticed whether there’s a particular ethnic slant to the people who show up at the meetings.

RR: Sadly, I think most of us are white, you know?

KEP: Although socioeconomically I think there’s a wide range. We want to have a bouquet. (all laugh) And the age range is fairly wide. We certainly attract [many ages]. We have children there with their parents but we also have the twenty and thirty somethings there. Up to the seventies. I don’t think there’s anybody older than that.

RR: We get the “Younger Tribe members,” as we call the teens and twenties and mid-thirty year olds. And some of the younger tribe members have brought their parents and some have brought their children.

DCHP: I’m wondering if to some extent the ethnic slant you’re noticing might be a reflection of the general population.

RR: Oh, I think that’s true. I don’t think it has anything to do with our receptivity at all. I think it’s who finds us and who has the ability to come because some people just don’t have cars and it’s hard for them to come via bus.

Though a lot of the younger tribe members come by bus…

DCHP: I was just going to say that just yesterday I was talking to a young person. They are in the habit of going all over the place with buses. They think nothing of sitting on a bus for over an hour to get to something that’s worthwhile.

RR: It would be nice for Peaceburgh to have more public transportation available.

DCHP: OK. So I’m curious. How do you get information?

KEP: When I’m alone, when I’m not bombarded with daily intrusions, daily living…in the shower, or just when I’m settling into sleep. Information will pop into my head and… I have a notebook beside my bed and I have to jot down notes, or I’ll ask my husband to transcribe when I’m in the shower. When I’m silent information can download more easily.

And also… when I’m working with people, because when I’m working with people, that’s when I’m open and receptive and so I just hear information in my head that just comes through. Long ago I allowed myself to just say it without editing it.

DCHP: You’re nodding your head, Chi Chi. Did you have a similar experience?

CCR: Um, not really. I love hearing how you receive information mostly because I hear commonality in lots of people’s stories. – They get things when they’re alone and when they get into private space, whatever the case may be.

For me, I get it when I’m alone and not necessarily quiet like that. I’m normally in the car. I get great ideas when I’m in the car because it’s like, you know, I’m not actively working on solutions. When I’m in the car, I’m just paying attention to driving.

RR: I have to say that when the idea for SITE NITE came, I was by myself, though I wasn’t in the shower as I often am when inspiration comes! I was sitting at my desk after having gone to a spiritualist church that night.

I wanted to open up to all kinds of realms and to learn all kinds of information. And, then it was like this information downloaded in me saying, “well just start sharing what you know with those you know.”

I said, “Wow, now that’s a good idea!” Almost right away the name “SITE NITE” came and I wrote it down. I was thinking, “Okay, I want the experience to be spiritual. I want people to be able to use their intuition…”

From there I thought, “S.I.T.E.” and the rest of the words spelling it out came – telepathic and how we want to expand our consciousness. So, that process came pretty fast. I mean it was like, “Zzzzzt! Here ya go, girl!” SITE stands for Spiritual, Intuitive and Telepathic Expansion.

I didn’t keep these thoughts to myself long at all. I’m not sure if it was that night or the next when I sent the information to my friends and said, “Okay, what do you think of this?”

The inspiration came… I think it was March 10th and so we decided that we were going to get together for the first time on March 23rd. That was in 2009.

DCHP: It [SITE NITE] is well attended from what I’ve seen so far. That’s really amazing.

RR: I think so, too. Starting with 6 and now we’re in our sixties. The [attendance] numbers are in the sixties. (all laugh)

DCHP: So if someone had just heard about SITE NITE and wanted to attend or were interested in attending, what would that person experience?

KEP: One of the things that I hear repetitively is that they have found a community and that they are grateful for having a community of like thinkers. – People who are open to new ideas. People who are in touch with their spiritual side or wanting to become more in touch with their spiritual side and open to greater gifts or understanding their own gifts better.

DCHP: Do you have a rule about presenters’ geographic location?

RR: We do want to focus on being from Peaceburgh because this is about the gifts in Peaceburgh but we certainly don’t limit it in terms of location. Presenters come from Ohio, Virginia, and West virginia, and as far away as Oregon.

KEP: Yeah. We’re about raising the consciousness. So anybody who’s got information that’ll help Peaceburgh in any way to raise our consciousness, then [we say,] “Please, come. Share what you know.”

DCHP: This is the third or fourth time I’ve heard the term “Peaceburgh.” Are you using “Peaceburgh” as a name for the city or in terms of Peaceburgh.com?

KEP: “Peaceburgh” is the nickname of Pittsburgh. That’s how we’re using it.

RR: I could be wrong but I believe that Peaceburgh, the website, derived from the fact that we began calling the city Peaceburgh.

And, actually, Pittsburgh was first nicknamed Peaceburgh back in the Vietnam era (all make exclamations).

Yes, it was first used back then during protest rallies and so this is a resurgence of the nickname. But we are using it in a different way. Our job, again, is to raise the consciousness of this city and in doing that, we’re bringing peace to this area.

CCR: We’re bringing peace to this ‘Burgh. (all laugh)

RR: And how do you create peace? You create peace by generating an understanding that we are: (a) all one so that unity consciousness is manifest; and the other piece is (b) by generating tolerance and acceptance. So, in terms of SITE NITE’s Core Values and how we establish the vision for SITE NITE, creating peace is essential. Treating others respectfully, using loving-kindness, even when there’s disagreement, is extremely important. It is also important to listen to each other with open hearts and open minds.

KEP: I feel that so much of the culture’s code comes from the scarcity mentality. You know, there’re only so many people to buy this product so you have to get all of them. There’re only so many people to come to SITE NITE so they can’t go anywhere [else].

It’s that mentality that there isn’t enough to go around and that’s just not true. We have an absolute abundance and so there is more than enough for everybody to have everything they need, including a market for their product and people to support their cause and people to come to their presentation and I think that’s huge.

DCHP: I agree. Personally, from what I’ve seen, it’s even funnier than that because not only is it not true that there’s a scarcity but we actually are richer when we share.

RR: And again, that’s the reason for SITE NITE. That’s our reason for sharing information.

DCHP: That’s saying a lot. That’s very powerful.

RR: I think that’s because it was SITE NITE’s time.

For me, if anything I’m doing becomes a struggle, then whatever that struggle is, is not meant to happen. So far, everything that’s happened with SITE NITE has flowed very easily, very gently. When things are flowing, we go with it. When things are not flowing, we set it aside because it’s not ours to do…at least at that particular time.

DCHP: So where do you see SITE NITE going? I know that you would like to build a healing center. What else do you have in mind?

RR: We are hoping to create SITE NITE satellites around the country. Our plan is to create a packet that we can hand over to other communities from which they can begin their own SITE NITE satellite groups. Our SITE NITE CORE Member Team is doing the heavy legwork and we will pass it forward. Why not share this outside Peaceburgh?

I do want to say that we’re in the process of incorporating. We’re becoming SITE Center and SITE NITE will then be one of the subcategories under SITE Center.

We will have many different aspects eventually under SITE Center that are under wraps right now. In the meantime, we’re proceeding with the paperwork so that we can be recognized as a 501c3 non-profit organization.

DCHP: Anything else you want to say?

CCR: I’m just along for the ride.

 

Creative Commons License
”SITE NITE – 5 Years of Connecting People: An interview with Regina Rivers, Kathy Evans-Palmisano, and Chi Chi Rivera” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!