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 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 next 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.
after a while, i stopped letting him in, he wasn't a good friend.
he kept coming over everyday for a while but i didn't open the door. i made new friends & hung out with them. they didn't punch me in the face.
after a while, my ex-friend addiction 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."
-devo a brown
"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".
-devo a brown
"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".
-devo a brown
"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".
-devo a brown
"a great dichotomy of living that rises above our ever present self-preservation instinct, relegating it to use as an emotional tool, is the cultivating of knowing we are safe without knowing specifically how.
to accept the world as dangerous but friendly is to transcend our automatic and persistent expectation of peril and experience each moment with a feeling of adventure.
learn to distrust your sense of impending doom. notice you're still here, alive and awash with blessings. embrace them one by one that you might reveal fear as an incompetent manager of your life and emotions".
-devo a brown
"the odds of winning millions of dollars by purchasing a lottery ticket are really offset, astronomically so, millions to one. the "practical" among us would say the odds are against winning, the probability so low as to be non-existent in a "realistic" perspective.
i call that pessimism of the highest order, self-sabotage fueled by lack of imagination and condoned by years of social conditioning.
for whatever reason, as a result of the instinctual desire for the safety of familiarity or other unknown human drives, we so often focus on what is currently within our perception and argue for it's absolute constancy.
it's like sitting in a pitch dark room and there's suddenly a crack where a sliver of light enters and you turn your back to look further into the darkness. it's bleak but it's familiar, you've grown accustomed to it. you don't even bother trying to imagine a real possibility of doing something else, something different, ANYTHING different!
inside the apartment that is your mind, there is a button on the wall marked "imagination" and all too often it goes untouched. we just mill about the drab furnishings of probability based on our perception of current reality.
when it comes to a million to one chance at amazing, we focus our attention on the million and ignore the one. we choose to pre-accept the million grey, drab boxes of the same old blah of 'not really what i want to be, do or have' & completely disregard the shiny, beautiful package of 'exactly what i really, really want' as it sits right there smiling, saying "i'm actually here, i do exist in reality and i'm going home with someone".
if you were actually incarcerated in a pitch dark room and there was a crack in the wall where a sliver of light came in, you'd look at the lighted part, wouldn't you? my god i hope you would. i hope you would press your face against the wall, put your eye right up to the crack and try to get a glimpse of the world outside, try to get a glimpse of freedom, then imagine yourself out there in it, imagine yourself out there on that street, walking free! arms swinging, taking long smooth strides, breathing deeply all the free fresh air you want.
focus on the light. focus on the sliver of light. buy that lotto ticket then reach up and hit that button on the wall marked "imagination" and go to work. let go and let it flow! create the image in your mind of exactly what you really want to experience and it will be instantly real for you in your mind. it will actually exist for you. on so many levels, your physiology can't distinguish the difference between an experience you're imagining and an actual, physical experience. in both cases, your neurons are responding, reacting, firing off exactly the same way. it's real for you!
now here comes the hard part all the safety sitters don't want to hear (i call them safety sitters -them being the majority of everyone on the planet- because they'd rather sit immobile in their perceived safety than get up off the couch of their mundane existence) here it is; imagination is power, not just thought power but indeed actual power. there is real, quantifiable, scientifically redundant evidence that thoughts become things! studies have been going on for years about the actual productive power of thought, of imagination. i'm not talking about 'woo-woo' crackpots out in the mojave desert with aluminum foil on their heads collecting E.T.'s aura juice from a giant funnel in their yard, i'm talking about educated, clear headed science people (my apologies if you live near mojave, it's actually a very beautiful place).
focus on the sliver of light. it's there & it's very real. in a million to one chance, the one is real. it's sitting right there. it's not made up, it's actual. i'd rather experience one actual 'what i really want' than a million 'not what i wants'. you could offer me a hundred million of what i don't really want and i'd turn it all down for just one of what i really want. whatever you can conceive of is possible. a tiny little sliver of possibility means it's really possible.
science tells us that we really do draw to us what we think, that mind energy is a real entity; a real, entangled, interactive dynamic force in our world. use it! focus on the sliver of light. look at it long and hard. it's real and so are you. turn on that imagining software in your mind and get down to business. mentally create what you want to occur. allow yourself to want what you really want and create a definite picture of it in your mind so specific that you can feel it in the here and now. disregard thoughts of what you don't want, focus on the very real sliver of possibility. allow for the universe to collaborate with you to bring this experience into your physical reality".
-devo a brown
"with humble gratitude, i take inventory of my life and see i live in abundance,
though there is nothing missing, my spirit is restless,
though there is nothing missing, my friend ambition urges me forward,
though there is nothing missing, i rise from my perfect place,
stepping forth, i embark upon a mission filled with gratitude,
i help the universe expand it's amazing & unlimited love,
i do what i am compelled by my loving heart to do,
and though there is nothing missing, it fits right in".
-devo a brown