Enlightenment

Galaxy2

An incorrigibly humorous friend
asked me recently & publicly
to speak about enlightenment.

Embarrassing.

I do know a few enlightened people
& they said I could write about
how they live as long as I
keep their identities private.

Enlightened people don’t drive automobiles.
But if they did it would be hybrids.

Enlightened people are totally vegan.

Enlightened people never say nasty words.
Enlightened people are always super nice.

Enlightened people stay away from FaceBook.

They can do that.

Enlightened people
don’t take photographs on their cellphones
& they don’t save for their retirement
because they live in the moment.

Enlightened people don’t fantasize.

Enlightened people don’t have children
because it is impossible.

Enlightened people don’t watch television.
But if they happen to be around when
you are trying to do it they are really annoying
because they keep asking what is happening.

If you want to figure how many lives
it will take for you to become enlightened
just count the number of cigarettes
you have smoked in this life,
and add the number of times
you have been mean.

You can subtract the number of days
you have spent clean & sober.

(The darker chocolate counts against you.)

Enlightened people don’t pay taxes
because they have this deal –
The government pays them.

Enlightened people don’t ever get cancer.

Enlightened people don’t get their hearts broken.

Enlightened people have blank minds
like those little comic bubbles
coming out of their heads,
but with nothing in them.

Enlightened people are actually rather boring.
(That one is going to cost me a few lifetimes.)

I am only kidding.

The enlightened people
told me to say that they
are hoping we will get over
our obsession with enlightenment
& just try to make wiser choices
(wiser means more helpful)
& also try to take kinder actions
(kinder means less hurtful).

Starting with ourselves.

Galaxy1

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City of Peace

Theater

At the end of a good work week
I take myself on a solo date.

I drive my car into downtown Ventura,
park on the fifth floor of the structure,
& I am immersed in the energy of the City.

The street singer fills the building
with his hoarse, sweet, true voice.
He & I share knowing what it’s like
to try to come back from loss.

The kid holding the artistic sign reports
“I’m still staying with my program.”

The Veteran holding a “Vietnam” cap
doesn’t mind if I don’t have change
as long as we can talk a bit.

I am a sucker for any young couple
with rural accents, a dog & a guitar.

Cal

The reserved lady who owns the used bookstore
& I share a fondness for esoteric literature.
There is a magical section hidden in the corner.

The Chinese waitress at the Thai restaurant
gently teases me because I’m dining alone.

I make my way by the courthouse –
the sculpted monks watching –
& climb the trail to the view point
of the botanical gardens.

I sit on the bench over my City,
& I think about those I serve:

Friends who create spaces open for all paths.
Friends who help lift all beings they meet.
Friends who take risks to heal others.
Friends who bring light to the world.

Friends who strive to keep their children safe
through the dangerous tangles of modernity.

Friends who strive to care for their beloveds
through the anguished journey of illness & injury.

Friends who strive to stay free
from the grasp of panic & despair
through the blessed gift of service.

Friends with a yearning for beauty
along with the courage to share.

Vta

For me each loving friendship
is a sign of the coming of God.

What the Buddhist calls the Pure Land.
What the Christian calls the Kingdom.

The forever emerging City of Peace.

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WESAK FESTIVAL

Awake!

The ancient Wesak Festival
is the Mid-Spring Full Moon.

This is a holy day marking
the anniversary of
the Buddha’s awakening
as well as the days of
his birth & his death.

The legend of Wesak asserts
that the Buddha appears
every year at this next Full Moon
over a sacred Valley in the Himalayas.

Valley's End

 

He does this in order to transmit blessings
for the awakening of humanity. 

The legend also suggests that
the Masters of Wisdom,
great saints and sages,
along with
initiates and disciples
gather together
in that sacred valley
on this holy day
to help bring through
the blessing energies
for the healing of the world.

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The Wesak Ritual is celebrated globally
by entering into receptive meditation
for the exact moment of the Full Moon –

FULL MOON WESAK FESTIVAL

Bring flowers to offer
for the blessing of All Beings.

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ENDURING FRIENDSHIP

Brock3

At this point in my journey
I choose to believe that
love is undying.

This gives me peace.

 I know that marriages are not deathless.
I know that romances are not deathless.

Bereft of friendship,
projects and programs,
companies and families,
all come to an end.

But I have learned that friendship
can endure across partings,
and even across the veil
of dying and birth.

We cross paths,
come to care,
come to trust.
Perhaps forever.

I know that not everyone does that.
And I have not always done it.

But I have learned that I can…
Stay a course and keep a faith,
even unto death if need be.

I know that this isn’t stylish.
But it is the one thing
I like most about myself.

It gives me peace
to love in this way.

The Shambhala Tradition has a saying –

The Masters of Wisdom
abide for 10,000 years,
and
never forsake one another.

A noble, gracious, friendship
is holy and sacred,
and is also perhaps
the only human choice
that endures forever.

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SPIRITUAL COMMUNICATION

PathWay

Visualize a golden chalice
filled with diamond elixir.

Our friendship is the chalice.
The elixir is wisdom.

I am using the term Spiritual Communication
to mean a depth of conscious communion.

Spiritual communication is
not merely horizontal –
with words crossing over
between the different persons.

Spiritual Communication is
actually vertical –
with ideas springing forth
from a shared center.

If people gather together in trust and care,
then the group forms a human vortex that
tends to give rise to what they need to know.

The authentic conversation is Noumenal.

A noumen is an opening
between Nature and Spirit.

It could be a glade or a grotto,
a flame, a spring, a tree, a hill.

It could also be a center of
ritual, prayer, dialogue or meditation.

It is well known that sacred sites
possess this special property.

What is not so well known is
that every circle of human beings
has the potential for noumenality.

The seminar or workshop,
the counseling session,
the family meeting,
the company retreat –
each of these can serve to
bring one vision
through many voices.

It is the degree to which
we can be, at once, both
utterly truthful
and
totally loving
that brings wisdom
through friendship.

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SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

SunPine

If you are reading this blog, then chances are good that
you are an intuitive, empathic, creative person.

Occasionally, you just know what you need to know.
Occasionally, you just feel what others are feeling.
You may or may not be an artist of some kind,
but you tend to find your own way of doing things.

Intuitive, Empathic, Creative.
This is an emerging typology.

You are very likely sensing a vision
of the part you might play
in the creation of a better future.

You are very likely sensing a calling
to be of greater service in the world.

And you have a deep longing
for your work and your love
to be ever-more real.

As if your doings could be
true to your very being.

You tend to be ecologically conscious –
with the capacity to consider
impacts on other living systems.

Your are also holistically conscious –
with the capacity to consider
spirituality as universal.

This profile is unusual
but not unique.
Perhaps about 10%
of contemporary humanity.

It is still a fairly rare type.

That is the reason we are
vulnerable to doubts and fears
about our worthiness,
or may wonder if we are
alien to our own birth cultures.

This is the reason we struggle with
being what we are meant to be,
and doing what we are meant to do.

This why it takes such courage
for us to stand forth,
and why we must find friends
who care for us, that we can trust.

It is important to remember
that the spiritual leaders
of our species’ journey
are not the ones on top,
but the ones in front.

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Ecology

Butterfly

Ecology is another of the two New Era emerging paradigms.
It is based upon the spiritual principle of Unanimity –

All beings are of One Soul.

Ecology is not only about preserving environments,
but about the connectivity of living systems.

David Bohm has shown that cosmic systems
are ordered by union with a greater whole.

Apparently separate entities share common depths.

We are not merely connected by physicality.
We are interconnected via consciousness.

As I wander through a field of wild grasses,
or travel through a city of diverse people,
I am interacting with other beings
sentiently as well as mechanically.

Both the pond and the plaza will flourish or perish
depending upon the mutuality of contact
between each living being involved in its life.

The applied practice of Ecology is inclusion.

The interests and concerns of every being impacted
should be a part of any processes of communication.

Contemporary emancipatory revolutions
are driven partly by this principle.

The Ecological Paradigm
has profound implications
for conscious communities.

This is a core idea for agents of change.

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Holism

Chief's Peak

 Holism is one of two emerging paradigms for the New Era.

It is based upon the spiritual principle of Divinity.

All beings are essentially divine.

Holism is not just about eating wholesomely,
but about the dimensionality of living creatures.

Ken Wilber has shown that the human psyche dwells along
a continuum between universality and individuality.

We are body, heart, mind, Soul and Spirit.
All of us have great levels of depth –

Unitive Consciousness – Divine
Witness Consciousness – Transcendent 
Body-Mind Consciousness – Existential

My interactions with other beings require awareness
not only of their physical materiality,
but also of their consciousness and spirituality.

We do not only want human bodies in the seats,
we also want each of their hearts and minds in the work.

The applied practice of Holism is Participation.

The intentions and sensibilities of every being impacted
should be a part of any process of governance.

Contemporary emancipatory revolutions are
driven largely by this principle.

The Holistic Paradigm
has profound implications
for spiritual leadership.

This is a core idea for agents of change.

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Reinforcement

Bloom4 

Reinforcement/Appreciation is the fifth
of the seven Transforming Practices.

Reinforcement is the behavioral aspect
of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Reinforcement is changing patterns of action
by rewarding some and ignoring others.

Whatever actions are rewarded
will tend to grow stronger.

Whatever actions go unrewarded
will tend to fade away.

This phenomenon has been used
by bureaucracies and corporations
to manipulate human beings.
But reinforcement can be spiritualized.

Appreciation, if it is
authentic, genuine, sincere,
is a powerful reinforcement.

Appreciation can be of
greater value than remuneration.

 Human beings will make sacrifices,
and will even face punishment,
in order to gain honor and respect.

Human beings will perform heroically
for the simplest of rewards.

Ex. “I want to thank you for your service.”

 Reinforcement/Appreciation
is a core skill for change agents
in every human field of service.

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Restructuring

Bloom11

Restructuring/Affirmation is the fourth
of the seven Transforming Practices.

Restructuring is the cognitive aspect
of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy –
one of the most successful
methods of modern Psychology.

Restructuring is changing
the patterns of thinking
that drive our actions.

If we change our thoughts,
then our feelings change,
our actions change,
and our lives change.

One must be licensed to practice CBT.
But there is a powerful application
of the principle of restructuring
which can be used by any of us
wishing to bring about changes
in our lives and in our world.

Affirmation is the spiritualization
of the practice of restructuring.

It is especially powerful
at the level of identity.

Whatever phrases or images
we associate with the words

I am…

will serve to reframe
our thoughts about ourselves,
our feelings about our lives,
and our actions in the world.

If we can help shift notions of self
from negative (ex. “I am abnormal.”)
to positive (ex. “I am intuitive.”)
then we can help bring about real changes.

 Restructuring/Affirmation
is a core skill for change agents
in every human field of service.

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