if we as teachers think of ourselves as somehow more important than our students, we have missed the pearl concealed within the shell of our relationship with them.
the student and the teacher are as perfectly equal as halves of an oyster shell. it is within the safe encapsulation of the relationship that grains of sand in the form of adversity and difficulty provide the stimulation for creating pearls of wisdom and awareness for both to experience.
the words we ingest, the images, the touch and smell of a world alive in full splendor, the abundance of information in experience and observation which flows into our mind, is it not like the breath we collect in our lungs? it fills, feeds and stimulates the yearning for more within the self as an ever unfolding symphony of living.
our knowing exhales in sharing and caring. in bitter spite or loving kindness, the breath of the mind leaves us altered by our use. just as our lungs change air to provide for the trees, so does our mind change information to provide for other minds. and thus we change the world, in small and large ways, with our influencing of information as it processes through the self of our own design.
a loving heart surely would beg to ask "do i nourish or harm with what i pass on?"
give each thought shared like a cookie wrapped in a napkin of love, for love is the nourishment which makes information food for the soul. be ever mindful of loving each moment and your changing of the world will be in enhancing ways...
i've recently been pondering a phrase that has grown quite popular in modern culture. it is a phrase i wrote back in the early 90's. i spontaneously shared it with a friend back then, using it as an expression of the love with which it was originally created. some years later, his adult daughter used it toward him on a social media post. i was warmed that he had passed it on with love of his own, and warmed even more by her sincerity in sharing it. the phrase has since become one of those slogans used on thousands (maybe millions) of memes and wall art pieces, many of which are offered for sale on countless websites. as i pondered it's inception and subsequent popularity, i said aloud "if i had a nickel for every time that phrase was used...".
i had to laugh, this sort of thing has happened more than a few times throughout my life. years ago, when i would recognize my art from afar, i would anguish with thoughts of "why am i not making money from that?!!". i've since come to accept the beauty that is contagious ideas and the joy i've been blessed with in birthing some of them. i enjoy the flowing of art, in so many forms, as an ever emerging gift i am fortunate to be immersed in. the following prose came from a personal awakening on this...
to lash out at one who has taken your words, to label him plagiarist and thief, is to suffer as a fool who would take credit for the color of his own eyes and believe the sight they provide to be a separate, singular truth.
blind is the artist who does not see her hand as but a link in the chain of the creativity of humanity, and each piece created an expression of life's desire to flourish.
we do not own the product of our love but are merely charged with the task of its dispersal.
so love what you do with all your heart. give your love away as if you had an unlimited supply, because you do. accept praise and payment as not separate from but a mirrored reflection of the same one love.
“hey god, how much love can i bring to this situation right now?”
“all of it.”
“what do you mean ‘all of it’?”
”you know, all of it. all the love”
“so like, all the love there is in the universe?”
”yes, all the love there is in the universe is yours to give away, anytime you want.”
“you're welcome. did you need something else?”
“no, i think that'll do it for now.”
i recently wrote a letter to my 32 year old self. it occurred to me i had quite a bit of anxiety about so many things at that time and i wanted to share some of what i'd learned since then.
dear 32 year old devo,
pretty much everything you're anxious or nervous about isn't really a problem. most of them never actually happen and the few problems that come up are handled easily or simply pass by on their own. also, they tend to strengthen you and guide you in fruitful directions.
you stumble upon a liberating process at age 42, but i thought letting you know now might help you to experience it a bit sooner.
sometimes your emotions, like sadness, might get clogged up, held in or lost inside of you. let them flow through you, let them play all the way out. they are a natural process and have a purposeful effect on your being. sadness expressed is a transformation of the self. it's a method for releasing attachments to things like people, situations, perceptions & projections. notice each of your fears and sit with them until it becomes obvious you made them all up. then, shift your noticing to each tiny thing that is here in this moment, keep noticing until all you know is love. this actually happens for you so be earnest and honest with practicing it.
i want to tell you "don't be afraid" but go ahead, feel afraid. really feel it and notice everything you can about feeling it. going through fear is a natural and healthy process. feeling afraid then stifling it is a common mistake. going all the way through a fear filled state is a way of discovering power beyond your body self, wisdom beyond your thinking and love without edges...
oh yeah, and you can give your love freely as if you had an unlimited supply, because you do...
i love you,
the term change agent has been around since the mid 1800's...
to ...its popular use is generally in reference to an individual who creates bold changes in larger organizations.
but change is happening constantly, everywhere, with everything, and every change has been caused by some sort of catalyst or change agent. it's sometimes big, but much of the time, it's quite subtle.
everything is something else's change agent. even a rock sitting in the middle of a stream influences the water to go around it.
we are all exchanging influence to some degree with everything around us. we are all change agents to the world, all the time.
a question i pose to myself is: what sort of change agent are you?
what sort of changes do you induce?
are you a rock that the world is forced to flow around?
...or do the changes you affect mesh with a weave of collaboration?
are your threads of change imbuing love into the fabric of life?
are you drawing compassionate change agents into your own life fabric?
when we say
"i wish things were normal again"
we're also saying
"i wish i could go back to my old habits".
maybe we could wish a little more thoughtfully.
perhaps our wishing could be empowered with hope for new adventure,
rather than weighed down by the wanting of familiarity.
someone asked recently "how are you doing?"
i asked "do you really want to know?"
he said "yes"
i'm doing pretty fantastic.
i haven't watched the news for years and as such, my "world" tends to appear less imbued with the conflicts they're selling and i don't feel the same air of craziness so many people i speak with lately seem to.
a few months ago i decided to stop complaining in conversation, which lead to noticing more closely what i say, even more than years of awareness practice had developed.
i noticed i had drifted into a seemingly common human trap of automatically believing much of what is said to me enough to repeat it in subsequent conversations. this realization in turn inspired me further to decide to not say anything i had not personally confirmed to be true.
the cascading effect of just one decision, to stop complaining, has assisted me greatly in speaking less, listening much better (to myself as well others) and becoming more impeccable with my word, both internally and externally.
there is energy that reaches out to bring things that come to us.
there is energy that reaches out to bring us to things.
there is energy that motivates us to move, fast and slow, strong and delicate, in perfect measure.
there is energy that is our knowing, our awareness, and our attention.
there is energy that is our essence of being alive.
are these different, separate energies, working in synchrony?
or is this actually the same energy, expressing itself in multiple ways?
i don't know.
i don't know what it is, or how or why it all exists.
i do know that it all exists,
with you, with me...
in you, in me...
between you and me ...and everything.
what else do i need to know?
there's a beautiful sweet spot, it's probably always here (i don't know for sure because i don't always feel i'm "here").
it's here, not in the future, where our thoughts are pulled.
it's here, not in the past, where our emotions try to hold us.
for me, it's in creating and making, smoothing and refining things artistically, bringing them to life, being right here with them as they come to be.
it's here, wanting just a little bit, then letting the want go for a while and not wanting at all.
it's here, embracing a difficulty, then growing stronger after it passes.
it's here, listening to the words of the wise, to the sounds of beauty in its many forms, then hearing only silence.
there's a sweet spot right here, between the agony and the ecstasy, that makes them both worth the experience.
it's here now.
it's a trick our mind plays on us sometimes. we feel frustrated or depressed and we sort of sit in a holding pattern, feeling stuck in it. we may even think of reasons why we'll be this way forever "i might have early onset dementia" or "i'm just not smart enough or talented enough to get out of this" even "i'll never change". my mind can come up with some pretty depressing scenarios when i'm really feeling down. how about you? maybe even right now, eh?
well don't be silly, of course you can change. you are not stuck, only temporarily stalled. think about all the other times throughout your life you've felt this way, then it passed and you've experienced many great days since those frustrating ones.
you just need to start moving.
"nothing happens until something moves" -albert einstein
something else to consider...
"the world is a dynamic mess of jiggling things" - richard feinman
the rest of the world is already moving, you're free to jump in any time.
and if you're hanging on to something that's holding you back, give it up to whatever power you think relieves us of these things. let it go. if you're moving when you let go of it, you'll be well separated from it in no time.
negative character traits are really a matter of personal geometry; jealousy, envy, distrust, anger, dishonesty, dereliction, violence, prejudice... all have to do with where you place yourself in relation to everyone and everything.
many (probably most) of us place ourselves in these perspectives in reference to past experiences. where we place ourselves in relation to everyone and everything in the present is so often not a conscious choice, but rather a default, fear learned perspective based on past events that are not real now.
awareness of this in the present moment allows us a better chance at seeing people, places and things without the distortion of old lenses.
fomo: fear of missing out.
how many things throughout your day do you impulsively chase, click on, read, watch or listen to that have little appeal beyond your momentary compulsion to chase after them? maybe ten little things in a day? that's three hundred in a month. of the hundreds of things you've impulsively chased in the past few months, how many were memorable enough for you to recall right now?
if you've ever wondered "where does the time go?", unfortunately, far too much of it is lost mindlessly chasing impulses to follow things that are so insignificant you can't even remember them for more than a moment. it's important to note that when you're chasing something, you're missing out on the landscape you're chasing it through. make sure it's worth it.
how? follow your passion, not your impulse. how do you tell the difference? impulse is like a spark from an empty lighter. it flickers for a moment, then it's gone. passion is a flame you can't extinguish. you can cover it up, push it aside & walk away, them come back later, lift the lid and it's still burning.
allow space throughout your day to notice the difference. impulse is an incompetent guide for directing your life. follow instead the glowing flame you can't put out. you'll remember the time you spend doing it.
that's something to not miss out on.
it’s amazing to me sometimes how often i hear people complaining about the state of things in our culture. it seems to me the lion’s share of it is leveled at our government. perhaps you’ve even done a fair amount of complaining about our political leadership yourself.
what do you want from our government? what is it you’d like them to do about our society’s problems? are you looking to them to improve the quality of education? bolster the economy? help the homeless? make our neighborhoods safer? think for a moment, exactly what is it you would like to happen? at their most basic level, each of these perceived problems has to do with people, each is a situation or recurring problem that has to do with individual people.
and what or better yet who is the government you’re asking to do these things? our government isn’t some mystical wizard who waves a magic wand and things magically happen. our government is people, just like you and me. whatever solution you want will ultimately be administered by individual people, perhaps someone in a government uniform or wearing an id badge clipped to their shirt. whoever it is, people helping people is what’s going to change these societal woes. when substantial change occurs in a society, it happens one person at a time.
consider this, you’re a person. why not cut out the middleman and handle it directly. yes, you. stop passing the buck. it’s the complainer’s cop-out to say “i pay my taxes, the government should handle it”.
here’s some pretty obvious information for you. whether they should or shouldn’t repair our societal woes to your satisfaction isn’t the issue. the fact is they can’t, if they could, they would have by now. they’re not fixing it because they are incapable. they’re inept, corrupt and incompetent. so it’s up to us; me and you.
do you want children to be better educated? take an interest in one kid and personally educate him or her. i don’t mean pay someone to tutor them, i mean YOU teach them what you know.
do you want to see the economy improve? start a small business. do it on the internet, do it out of your garage but do it.
do you want to help the homeless? you help them. start a dialogue with one homeless person and convince him or her that they could live better and then you help them directly figure out a way to do it.
do you want a better, safer neighborhood? go out and get in touch with your neighborhood. the best and safest neighborhoods are the ones where everyone knows each other and they take an interest in one another’s wellbeing. the government can’t do that, but you personally could start your neighborhood heading in a better direction today by getting together with your neighbors.
it’s easy to make a difference. the chain reaction of compassion is contagious and easy to start. you can be the one to start it. yes, you. someone’s going to have to do it, why not you? why not now? stop complaining and get moving. you don’t have to change the world, just change one person’s world, which just might change your whole world.
i guarantee you will do something about society's problems today, you’re either going to complain some more or you’re going to actually do something. which is it going to be?
not long ago,
a student came by to give me a gift,
he is a professional athlete of world renown.
as such, he is sponsored by a giant of a company that makes, among other things, shoes.
sport shoes in particular, of which they give him many free pairs.
this fellow came by with a generous selection of new sport shoes in a bag.
he said "here, take a pair, or two if you like".
my friend is a young man who is wise beyond his years,
perhaps even beyond his own awareness as such.
you see, he was practicing a great truth of human living:
when you receive a gift, one of the finest things you can do with it is share it.
he also reminds me that we can give our love away as if we had an unlimited supply,
because we do...
in our living language, the word ‘master’ has multiple meanings but its origins are in ancient carpentry, more specifically; shipbuilding.
back when the first sailing ships were built, they were made of wood. and while there were a lot of carpenters at that time, only the finest practitioners built ships. which makes sense. if a house falls apart in a storm, it’s inconvenient. if a ship falls apart, it's a little more than inconvenient.
the best of the best of these craftsmen were tasked with the most critical part of building a wooden ship, the cutting and placing of the ship’s masts. they were (and still are) referred to as ‘masters’ and their craft is ‘mastery’.
today, the term "master", as applied to craftsmanship, has come to refer to those who have developed the highest level of proficiency of their field.
all masters have three things in common: awareness of what their doing in the moment, a love for their craft and lot’s of practice. you can apply these principles to your daily living and become a true master of your own life, or any part of it. it may not be particularly easy at first but it is remarkably simple.
first, practice being aware of the moment you’re in. notice what you’re doing in each moment and notice what you’re thinking and feeling as you do it. each moment is full of life and you are a part of that fullness. give it your full attention.
next, any moment, anywhere, can be made better by you if you simply bring your love to that moment. even the most mundane task can become substantial and impactful, because of your involvement with it, simply by imbuing it with your love. give your love away as if you had an unlimited supply, because you do. so give a little bit of your unlimited supply of love to the task at hand in the moment you’re in.
from there, you simply practice, practice, practice, bringing your awareness and love to every moment, every day. that is true life mastery.
we often lose ourselves in the pettiness of rewarding or reprimanding the actions or attitudes of our fellows. without really noticing it, so many of us have created a self-appointed position at the center of our universe where we habitually practice holding neighbors, friends and family accountable to the standard of our imaginary concepts of right and wrong and good and bad. in tandem with this perception, we often imagine everyone in our world is holding us to the same strict standard, causing an inflated concern for our reputation and social standing.
if we surrender the rules by which we judge and reject people, we can step away from the internal shackles of our imagined code of conduct. we can be free to love others unconditionally.
practicing awareness will reveal love's magical qualities already present in our lives. when we express love and compassion for the torch carrying mob and the neighbor offering a covered dish with equal reverence, we'll notice the influence of rejection and accolades from these same people diminish as we become more aware that no one’s opinion can affect our inseparable unity of life.
live by only this standard and yours will be a role of catalyst and leader in the evolution of life expressing itself through us all. it is our celebration of oneness, regardless of circumstance, that provides the truest vision of our collective reality.
sometimes, when it seems like we're surrounded by a whirlwind of chaos, the hardest thing to do is let our attention settle on one thing. our minds get caught up in the flurry and it seems the whole world is in a frenzy.
i've found a way to step off the spinning merry-go-round with a simple exercise.
try to notice, at any given moment, how many things around you are not in chaos, how many things in the world seem to flow perfectly with one another. the birds in the trees outside your house aren't aware of the things you see as problems. the trees themselves just flow in the breeze, oblivious to the world we sometimes see as chaotic. their world is peaceful and flowing along effortlessly.
it's important to note, no whirling dervish of chaos is infinite, it has an end. at the edge the calamity, no matter how disruptive, it is surrounded by peaceful silence. lend your attention to that edge of peace. just as every hurricane has an eye of calm air in it's center, there are peaceful, tranquil elements right in the middle of moments we perceive as insane. gently letting your awareness land on these tranquil elements, it might occur to you that during your frenzied moments, the chaos you're experiencing is actually in your thoughts and not the world.
take a moment to change your thoughts and you'll change your world.
as a regular practice, take a moment or two during the day to put your attention on how much of what is all around you is calm, tranquil and outside the chaos you may perceive. making this a habit will develop a usable skill for when things get hectic.
when i worked in aerospace engineering, my colleagues (some of whom were absolutely brilliant people) and i would often collaborate to develop plausible theories as to why a particular problem was occurring. we jokingly referred to any theory we came up with as a ‘swag’ (a scientific wild as guess).
there are many scientific facts based on quantitative analysis but beyond provable facts, science relies on theory. a scientific theory is not a fact. there are thousands of scientific theories, all based on facts but none of them are actually facts. they're damn fine guesses based on exhaustive testing but they are not absolute facts.
ask any scientist, from any course of study, why a particular thing does what it does and he or she will answer based on collected scientific data. follow this up with the question “why does that happen?” continue to repeat this chain of questioning long enough, in a particular direction, and the scientist will eventually be left with only one true answer: “i don’t know”. every scientific discipline, no matter how thoroughly studied, no matter how exhaustively tested, ultimately culminates in a theory, an educated 'swag' surrounded by the unknown.
in your contemplative moments, use this as your starting point. engage in quiet practice of noticing how much is occurring within you and all around you. in this lush field of awareness, notice how so very much of it you know is happening but you truly don’t know how or why, only that it is indeed happening. gently bring your attention to rest on this “don’t know” awareness. the experience of don’t know mind is a portal through which we directly access what some call a higher power, universal intelligence or the infinite living essence of “I”.
gently keep this 'don’t know' mind as you do what you do each day. as you listen, see, taste, touch and smell each thing in each moment, embrace it with awareness, allowing your don’t know mind to fully accept what is happening without need for further explanation. tread lightly, touch gently, breathe deeply, see effortlessly, hear the silence. know this is your primary existence, upon which your human experience is built.
it is here we are at home anywhere.
it is with this we feel never alone.
it is through this we perform our greatest feats in “the zone”.
it is the source of wisdom with which we intuitively handle situations that otherwise baffle us.
it is the living energy that directs our very nature to adapt and assimilate to our world just as water flows around, through and is absorbed by all it encounters.
this is the process of awareness we use to step over the misconceived boundary of “us” to encounter the all inclusive truth of “I”. practice ‘don’t know’ mind and the inaccurate sense of separation will dissolve as the reality of the entanglement of all things, that has always been, will become delightfully obvious.
using our imagination to analyze past events is an example convergent thinking. to look at what currently is and actively not want it is like building a fence around our imagination. to habitually think about the current circumstances we don’t want is a real, actual force. it’s a way we mentally sequester ourselves to a tiny, frustrating box of ineffective, repetitive action. convergent thinking directs us to continue to recreate ideas that resemble current or past scenarios. this is the method by which pessimists attempt to create a sense of security they seem to never attain.
imagining possibilities without regard for how they could possibly come to happen is an example of divergent thinking. it’s the tool adaptive, optimistic people utilize to release the magic of true innovation. when we put forth the tiniest effort of thinking about what we really want to experience without trying to think of how it might happen, we begin to utilize our divergent imagination.
so use it! gently engage in creative, divergent thinking. as you go through your day, allow your imagination to take a test drive with any circumstance you’d like to experience. do this with awareness that you are an integral part of what is here now as well as an integral part of what is coming. in this awareness, place your don’t know mind in the space between them. you don’t need to know how it’s possible, only that it’s possible. simply knowing that something is possible transcends the gap of not knowing how it might come to be.
let this knowing and unknown collaborate within and all around you. let it guide your work and play as well as your quiet moments. imagine your busy workday is suspended in the silence that surrounds all activity. allow your still moments to contain the ceaseless movement of our limitless universe and it’s amazing power to create.
this is the workshop at our disposal in which we can create a truly innovative future. it’s the same process of real magic used by some of the greatest creative minds throughout history. it’s free, it’s easy and available to you right now.
butch cassidy - “someone say 1, 2, 3 go!”
sundance kid - “1, 2, 3 go!”
it's been said "the way you do anything is the way you do everything". when many of us begin trying to meditate, we do so in the manner in which we do most everything. that is, we imagine the result we want, then do something we believe or hope will achieve that result,
what a lot of us hope to achieve in meditation is some sort of spiritual awakening or enlightenment. the barrier that arises with this approach is hidden in plain sight. the solution is simple yet so elusive that enlightenment is widely considered to be impossible for all but a few gifted masters throughout history.
the power of enlightenment is not a thing that may be attained because it is already part of our being. it is accessed through non-effort. this indescribable spiritual awakening is simply what is revealed when the endless train of thoughts flowing thorough our minds ceases, the myriad of concepts and perceptions we have naturally developed momentarily disappear and we are consciously aware without thinking any thoughts. what we are aware of in these enlightened moments cannot be explained by a mental concept quite simply because it is the absence of mental concept.
if you've tried different forms of meditation but have attained nothing more than a relaxed feeling (not a bad thing) or a level of frustration, perhaps you're trying too hard. in fact, if you're "trying" at all, you are trying too hard.
meditation is simple, gentle and most of all, effortless. that can be very difficult for us humans as we're pretty much hardwired with ambition and desire to be doers. the following has bode well for many people i've worked with over the years:
sit quietly and apply any relaxation technique(s) you have utilized successfully to relax your body. after a few moments, as you begin to feel relaxed, gently bring your awareness to whatever thoughts are flowing through your mind. as you gently notice your thoughts, allow them to be in your awareness without trying to change, coerce or direct them in any way. simply practice this this noticing. notice you can apply awareness without doing anything.
notice you are the awareness and the thoughts that you are allowing to flow are unnecessary for the awareness to continue.
if your attention begins to wander, allow it to as you effortlessly notice that is simply the thought your awareness is noticing. allow yourself the luxury of not knowing what is going to happen.
there is no goal so there is nothing to do, just gently notice. awareness of the stream of thoughts will allow it to slow and eventually stop. it will do this in it's own time if you simply allow it to by noticing without interfering. be patient and kind with allowing yourself the gift of effortless non-thinking and non-doing regularly, perhaps daily. at the moment it is revealed, you will know why you desire this awakening.
gently applying awareness throughout the day can also be quite revealing. part of the gift of being alive is effort, thinking and doing. so by all means, put forth effort. think and do! simply allow your awareness to notice what you're doing at any given moment and notice what you're thinking and feeling while you're doing it.
my friend addiction came over to my house a bunch of times and i'd eagerly let him in.
we hung out, had fun & it was cool.
after a while, my friend would come over & knock on the door. "hey devo, it's me, can i come in?".
i'd open the door, a bit weary from all the hanging out we'd done but we'd hang out some more.
one day, my friend addiction came over & knocked on the door. "hey devo, it's me can i come in?".
i opened the door & he punched me right in the face, it was a good one too! i slammed the door & put some ice on my nose.
the very next day, my friend came over & knocked on the door, "hey devo, it's me, can i come in?". i said "no way, you punched me in the face". he said "i'm sorry, you know we're friends and i love you, please let me in & i'll make it up to you". i opened the door & he punched me right in the face again. i slammed the door & put some ice on my nose.
the following day, my friend addiction came over & knocked on the door, "hey devo, i'm sorry about the punch yesterday, i love you, please let me in". i said "no way, you're going to punch me in the face again". he said "no i won't, i promise". i opened the door & he punched me right in the face ...again.
it took me a while, but i stopped letting him in, he wasn't a good friend.
he kept coming over everyday for a some time but i didn't open the door. i made new friends & hung out with them. they didn't punch me in the face.
my ex-friend addiction eventually got a clue & stopped coming over. he sends me a letter every now & then, apologizing & asking to get together. i throw it in the trash & hang out with good, loving friends exclusively now.
when you live your life from the perspective that outside events, items and people come to you with a predetermined status of "good" or "bad", you are at the mercy of the world to determine if your present moment is good or bad. you are living your life by default. this is the perspective that allows us to create the concept of being a victim.
when you understand it is you who determines whether an experience, thing or person is "good" or "bad" by way of your automatic, conditioned thinking, you begin to see the world differently. through a gentle change in your perspective, you gain the power to make any experience educating, fulfilling and enriching.
we all experience discomfort so it obviously serves a purpose for us.
the experience of discomfort creates an impetus for self care and improvement.
coaches and athletes know that physical damage from training is the stimulus for cellular enhancement of the body (it's why we grow stronger from exercise).
our intellect and emotions respond in similar ways, challenges which do not kill us make us stronger,
body mind and spirit.
when we experience physical or emotional discomfort, our personal enhancement systems are functioning in the perfection in which they were designed. discomfort is not an indicator of imperfection,
quite the opposite. it's a call to action, and an indicator of progress.
being a person with a brain and body is a lot like owning a company with 1,000 employees who all love you but each of whom feels completely autonomous. Think of each part of you; mind, body and spirit, as enjoying a true sense of autocratic pride in their position within you, all knowing they work for you and everything they do being focused on that.
Most of the functioning of your mind and body cannot be directly commanded. The majority of bodily functions and even thoughts are fully automatic. Each of your body’s components acts and interacts instinctively on your behalf. But, like a group of loyal employees, they can be led to operate in a healthy synchronicity when you maintain an attitude of collaborative leadership within.
Thinking of yourself as a benevolent leader to your body’s group of dedicated constituents can create a more powerful, cohesive collaboration of operation of all that is you.