Saturday, April 24, 2010


Day One: Awaring our Life
We are alive. Miracle. Gift. Burden. Curse. Blessing.
Call it anything you want, and still this is the fundamental of being who we are: we are alive.
This is a book of 108 ways to feel more alive, to connect to joy and skill and learning and ease and pleasure and happiness in our lives.
Today we’ll start with the basic: see how often and how enjoyably you can waken out of your ongoing set of activities and remember: this is me, this is my life, I am alive.
In this moment, I am alive. In this moment you are alive.
Feel what it feels like in this moment (yes, this one, while you are reading this page, or listening to this page.).
Both kinds of feeling: the emotional feeling, how do you feel.
The sensory feeling: what can you sense in your breathing, or torso, or arms or legs or spine or eyes or smile or toes or fingers about how it is to be you right now.
This is the game of today: wake up to the now of being alive. Sense and notice and feel what it is like, how the experience of you being you is going.
Notice yourself as a living being.
As much as you can, remember yourself. Do this in pausing to come back to awareness. Do this as an undercurrent of awaring while you are going about your daily life.

This is a wonderful start, and it could carry us all the way to an amazing new life, or an amazing deepening of all the wonder and joy in our present life.
Day Two: Breathing, Feet & Eyes
To be alive is to be in an amazing world. A world very different from the world of the womb, where there was no gravity, no light, we didn’t breathe air.

And so this is today’s game: to sense our feet. If we are walking or standing, we can feel our feet pressing into the ground, the floor, the Earth. If we are sitting, we can have our feet on the floor and sense them pressing even a little into the ground. If lying, or all comfortable in some laid back position, we can still sense our feet.
What does sensing mean? To feel the physical sensations of a certain part of ourselves, the bones and the muscles and the blood and fluids, and even the nerves if we can. The skin, and what’s inside the skin and what the skin is touching.
Sensing is the basis of movement and all the learning that was so crucial in our transition from more or less helpless baby, to walking and talking and functioning child. Sensing is why we like a warm bath, or a sunny day, or love making.
Sensing helps us make sense of our lives.
Sensing brings us back to the non-verbal experience of ourselves in the present.
So part one of today’s game: sense our feet.

Second part, we can feel and notice and enjoy our breathing. Try this right now, feet being sensed and breathing noticed and sensed. It’s a lot, and boy does it bring us to now.

Third part, add on the light coming in the eyes. What are we seeing, not as words about what we are seeing, but as pure sensation now.

This is a lot, these three are a miracle. Enjoy the miracle. Give it a sweet go and be nice to yourself when you forget, and very happy when you remember.
Day Three: Look at a Tree
Nature is out there, waiting for us to take a walk and enjoy her.
Or, nature is with us every moment, since each breath we take in brings the good old familiar to the point of being forgotten AIR into our lungs. Air is the environment, we breathe the environment, we breathe the air.
We are nature, our bodies are part of nature, and out there, outside, we can see a tree.
We can look at a tree.
We can enjoy this.
If we slow down and just look at the tree, we very often find a calm and sweet place in ourselves.
Because we are nature and looking at a tree reminds us of the life that we are gifted with.
Because a tree might slow us down and remind us that we are rooted in the Earth and rise to the Heavens.
Because we don’t have any expectations of a tree, we can love it easier. What does that mean? We don’t want it to love us more, or respect us more, or lose ten pounds, or “be there for us.” We are pretty clear that it just is what it is.
So we can love it.

Today’s game: look at some trees and feel, sense, realize how letting the tree “be what it is” makes loving it so easy.
Do this a little.
Do this a lot.
Enjoy the trees in your world, and if it’s winter and you are in some place with no trees, find anything else living, and see it as “just what it is,” and see if the love rises in your easily.

Day Four: Lying on the Floor
Gravity is a constant in our lives, until we do into outer space, or maybe when we have lucid dreams and can fly.
And on two feet gravity is amazingly complex and we have amazingly figured it out, and most of us have no idea of how amazing that is.
And if we sit down, gravity is a little easier to negotiate.
And if we lie down, say on our backs, it is as if our whole back is our feet. It’s easy. We can’t fall. We are safe. Our brains are free to pay attention more easily and clearly.

What are brains for?
The perception of differences.
Creating order out of disorder.
Creating pathways of action that can enable us to fulfill our intentions.
Brains are amazing, perhaps the most amazing thing in the Universe.
So today’s game: notice little differences in your life, differences that you might otherwise have missed.

Start this way: lie on your back. Raise your left foot, so that the foot is “standing” near your right knee, but over to the side a bit. Left foot on the floor or ground, left knee toward the ceiling.
Begin to rotate the left side of your pelvis to the right, keeping the right side on the floor. Do this three ways: starting this movement in your pelvis. Starting by push your left foot into the ground. Starting somehow from your lower back.
Push your lower back and stomach forward (toward the sky) as you do this movement many times.
Go slow. Notice differences in your spine and ribs and breathing as you go through the movement. Rest after a number of times and notice the difference in your two sides. Notice the difference in your sensing of the floor. All day, notice differences.
Day Five: Five Lines, Fully Alive
Double day, amazing day, dig in, learn, thrive, fail or not fail, learn. Love the learning. Thrive.
Here’s one half of the game: feel your life. Feel being alive. Contemplate and see if you can sense at a deep and non-verbal level what it feels like in you, in the present, to be Fully Alive.
How does this feel in your breathing, and your eyes and your brain and your legs and your spine and your arms. How does this feel in your heart? Soul?
I’m pretty sure fully alive doesn’t mean being good, but it could well mean feeling of good cheer, even underneath almost anything else.
Check it out for yourself.

And two, let your love of now, and love of life expand to sensing your five lines. Which are?
Think of yourself as a children’s drawing of a person: stick line for the spine, nice round head at top, with smiling face, two lines out for the arms, two lines out for the legs.
This is your five lines: two arms, two legs, spine plus head.
That’s the double yummy for today of being fully alive: add to this feeling and exploration of this feeling, an ongoing sensing of both legs, both arms and your spine and head.
Sensing your arms can start at the shoulders and come all the way to each finger tip.
Sensing your legs can start in your hip joints (one leg at a time is the best way to fill in this awaring), and sense all the way out to each toe. We often forget our wonderful and amazing toes.
Hip joint to toes, knees, bones, two in bottom leg, one in top. All that stuff. Sense and enjoy.
Paying real attention to yourself, enjoy. This is you being deeply kind to yourself. You are worth it. Enjoy the learning and the peace and power this might bring.
Day Six: Pick up Sticks
Sit in a chair.
Sit up more or less straight. Feel your pelvis at the chair or bench or rock or log below you.
Breathe and feel what that’s like and how that involves or doesn’t involve your ribs.
Lean over and move toward touching the floor. Easy, go a few times, breathe, explore.
Sit up again and rest.

Now, put your right forearm on your left knee, and prop yourself a bit, and from this lower your head and right arm toward the floor. And then come back up, and slowly lower your right hand to the floor, letting your head hang free. (If you are confined to a bed, bring your knees toward the ceiling from lying on your back, and gently move your right hand down your left thigh and then calf.). Take your right hand down your left calf, caressing this and letting your head and eyes look to the left and right , while your neck hangs freely.
Go up and down, and then after twelve or so times, come upright and rest.
Imagine doing this on the other side.
Now do this on the other side.
Now: take your left knee in your left hand and put your right hand behind your head. Gently, gently bring your knee up toward your head. Gently, gently bring your elbow toward your knee. Take turns, elbow down, knee up, both together. Sometime take the hand from behind your head and press on your sternum so it goes down and you lean forward and lower your head and bring your knee up.
Rest. Imagine doing this on the other side.
Put both elbows on both thighs and alternate pushing your belly out and arching your back a bit, and pulling your belly in and letting your sternum go down, and rounding your back as if the look between your legs. Easily. Rest.
Reach down as in the beginning and play with spine and eye awaring all day.
Day Seven: The Kingdom of Heaven
Jesus says, the Kingdom of Heaven is within.
Thich Nhat Hhan says the Kingdom of Heaven is either now or never.
You are alive.
You are here, and each moment of your life is now.
What is being present like for you?
Can you almost as if taste the difference when you are present and when you aren’t?
Is that difference as if you are entering the Kingdom of Heaven, and forgetting it?

Is it for you as if the Kingdom of Heaven, and our true self is always there, waiting for us to return home to it, when we return to the present.

Search this out today, which might require more slowing down and being quiet and going a little or a lot out of the “normal” routine.

See what kind of day a Kingdom of Heaven is found through the door of now day could be.

Eight: Undoing Hate
Sometimes we hate things, or don’t like them, or get angry, or wish fiercely that someone would get the …. out of our life, or at least out of our “space.”
Oh, well. That’s human, if we aren’t perfect yet, and let’s grant ourselves the great joy of non-perfection.
So we hate/ dislike / are annoyed with someone.


Byron Katie, a gal who had a wake up experience from her life as alchoholic, chain smoking, overweight, depressed screaming mother, has developed something called the work of Byron Katie.
The first step is not to be good. To actually get into the judging of others. Get into it and write it down.
Judge your neighbor.
Write it down.
Ask four questions.
Turn it around.

Hmmm. This apparently is not about pretending we are “above” making judgments, since we are asked to judge and write it on down on some paper.
And how do we know we are judging?
When we feel stressed or unhappy.
So, anytime you are stressed or unhappy, write down a should or a shouldn’t about someone else. Forget that you “shouldn’t” have judgments. Just write it down.
And then read it. Slowly. Look at those words.
Are they true, or are they just an opinion.
Begin to play this game today, the write down any judging thoughts and asking: IS IT TRUE? And, hey, why not: sense your five lines today, too. Good.
Day Nine: What to Leave Behind
The house is on fire. You have five seconds to grab two things and get out. What do you take?
The ship is sinking. You jump off. What do you take?
You are leaving this life. You have an hour to look back: what is it you love and are thankful for and cherish as you depart this sweet world?
What are we when our stuff is gone?
Who are we without the words and stories we tell about ourselves?
What is good and sweet and easy and always there for us, with friends, without friends, with money, without money? Who are we?

Who are you?
What is the essence of your life, your You-ness in each and every moment of your life?

This is all today. This is everything today, and any day: who are we, deep and wonderful and miraculously at our core?

Clear and present and sweet inside.
Who are you?

Ponder and sense and breathe into this question today. If the answer comes in words, see if you can find the answer even deeper than words.

Go slowly, even in the midst of all else.
Go slowly, and feel with your being: when you’ve left all the other stuff behind, who are you? Who are we?
Day Ten: 4 questions and a turn around
So we’ve started this game, the Byron Katie what to do about suffering and stress game.
It starts like this: Judge Your Neighbor, Write it Down, Ask 4 Questions, Turn it Around.
The game goes deep, though it lacks the usual complexity of most systems that bring you to freedom (except the BE PRESENT system, the ultimate in simplicity). The Katie game though, goes on like this, with 4 Questions about the thought/ story/ belief/ opinion that is always there behind and tied up with stress and suffering. Take this thought/ story/ belief/ opinion and ask 4 ways:

That’s it for the questions. The turn around is grand, and that’s for another day.

For today play with setting out to be happy and stress free and honest and present all day. From the present and honesty, notice when you aren’t happy, or are in stress. In those moments write down your complaint about reality, preferably in a should or shouldn’t sentence. Write the thought, a sentence, short.
Look at the sentence. See how believing it and being miserable are part of the same package.
Then ask the first two questions: Is it true? And, Can I absolutely know that this thought is true?
So and so shouldn’t have died? Can I absolutely know this is true? I shouldn’t have made that “mistake.” Can I absolutely know this is true? Ask all day, for any and every thought hooked into any and all suffering. Good.
Day Eleven: Back to Heaven
What if heaven is loving What Is?
What would that mean?
Who knows? You will know if you stay in the present and do the work of Byron Katie when we get out of loving the Now.
So let’s learn on forward, like this:
Stay happy and present if you can. And when you can’t, notice the stress and notice the suffering and WRITE IT DOWN.
Look at the sentence you’ve written. Feel and sense your suffering. Begin to get very clear how the two are married.
And today’s game: WRITE IT DOWN each time suffering comes along. Write down the thought/ concept/ idea/ belief/ story. Make sure the sentence is in some way a clear opposition to What Is. A should or shouldn’t in the sentence make this most clear.
And ask the first three questions: Is it true? Can I absolutely know that this is true? And three: HOW DO I REACT WHEN I ATTACH TO THIS THOUGHT?
The reaction is good to write down, writing down a laundry list of all the “benefits” to this thought.
Like this: “So and so should appreciate/ love/ respect/ accept me more.” And the first two questions, True? Absolutely true? Then, the third, when I believe this, I feel….. How? Bad, sad, mad, depressed? What ? And my body gets this way…. And I avoid this person, or snap at that person, and what? And do or don’t do what in my life?
Have the thought written down. Write the list of all the effects of believing in that thought. This is quite the liberating bit of inner knowledge. Here’s what so and so does. Here’s my belief about what so and so did. Here’s my list of suffering from believing that so and so should have been different in that instance.

Start to enjoy how good we are at making ourselves suffer when we attach to certain thoughts.
Day Twelve: Trying out Freedom.
Judge your neighbor. Write it down. Ask 4 questions. Turn it around.
Question 4: Who or what would I be without the story?
Question 4: Who or what would I be without attaching to the thought?
Do it today.
Not “let go” instantly, but do the write down, do the first 3 questions and then go to number 4: test out in imagination how your life would be without the thought, or if the thought is there, without believing in it.

Someone treats you poorly.
Write it down: “So and so shouldn’t have treated me poorly.”
First two questions: Is this True? Can I absolutely know this is true?
3rd Question: when I believe this, what goes on in me and my life.
4th Question: When I don’t believe this, even though “so and so” is still “treating me poorly,” who am I? What am I? What happens inside? How do I feel? What can I see and understand that I couldn’t when attached to the thought?
What openings happen physically when I don’t attach to the thought.

And check this out: there is no rule, as in: “get rid of the thought.”

It’s more like this: notice the difference: You have the story about the world.
One way to go, question 3, believe the thought and….. happens
Another way to go, question 4, don’t believe the thought and …… happens.

Compare the two.
All day: notice, write, ask and compare: Who am I with the story believed? And, Who am I when I don’t believe the story.
Enjoy, learn, thrive.
Day Thirteen: Turn Around One Way
Sit it a chair, on the forward edge of the chair, so that your back is upright and not leaning into anything.
Breathe and feel your feet on the floor and your bottom/ pelvis on the chair and your spine holding you upright.
Now turn to look to the left and to the right, a few times, easily, and slowly, comparing the two directions.
Now rest. Then turn your head just to the left a few times and notice how far you turn by noting what you see at the end of your turning. Go slowly. Don’t strain. Then rest, and turn to the right and see how far you go that way.
Rest again.
Now put your hands on the opposite shoulder, so the right hand is on the left shoulder and the left hand on the right shoulder. In this position, turn your head just left and back to the middle , but allow your chest to turn as if it wants to look to the left, too. Do this a number of times, slowly and without effort.
Rest. Lean back in your chair if you want to in the rests.
Now, come to the front of your chair and put the back of your right hand on your left cheek, and your left hand on the chair behind you. In this position, turn to the left and back to center a number of slow, gentle times. Feel the spine and ribs helping your turn to the left. Rest with hand down and eyes closed and feel yourself in the present.
Now, come to the front again, put your hands as above, and turn to the left and stay there. Begin to turn your eyes left and right a number of times as you stay slightly twisted to the left. Rest.
Now, come to the front and shift your weight from the right side of your pelvis to the left a number of times. Rest.
Now come to the front and put the back of each hand on the opposite cheek, and turn slowly to the left and back to the center a number of times. Then stay to the left with your hands and ribs, but rotate your head a little to kiss first the back of your right hand, then the back of your left hand. Rest.
Now turn both ways and compare the ease and distance to the beginning.
Day Fourteen: Another turn around
Judge your neighbor, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around.
Take any judgment and write it down in a should or shouldn’t form. So and so should be nicer. So and so shouldn’t lie to me.
Do the four questions.
Learn today and play with the turn around.

Like this:
So and so should be nicer to me.
One turn around: I should be nicer to so and so.
Another: I should be nicer to myself.

So and so shouldn’t lie to me.
One: I shouldn’t lie to so and so.
Two: I shouldn’t life to myself.

And for everything:
So and so should love me more.
I should love so and so more. (And you don’t have to live with a person, or even invite them to dinner just because you love them.)
Two: I should love me more.

And this:
So and so should be more present.
I should be more present.

Love and live and learn this.
Have fun, laugh at how human we all are, and come on back to the present, if that feels right and beautiful to you.

Day Fifteen: Turn around again
Sit in a chair and turn easily right and left. Rest. Now just turn to the right and see how easy that is, and how far you turn.
Now, lie down on the floor, ground or a firm bed. Turn your head easily to the right here, and see how easy it is and what is your range. Rest.
Raise your left foot so that the left sole is pressing into the floor, and the left knee toward the ceiling. Push your left foot into the ground and rotate your pelvis to the right and turn your head to the right at the same time. And come back to the middle with both pelvis and head. A number of times, very slowly and very gently.
Rest, which means bring your leg down next to the other one. Feel what is going on inside you.
Now stand the left foot again, and make the same movement, but this time move your head to the left each time your pelvis rotates to the right. And bring them both in synchronous timing, back to the middle and repeat a number of times. Each time try to learn a little more about yourself, and feel and little more ease and pleasure. After many times, rest.
Again stand your left foot, and put your arms toward the sky or ceiling, what we call forward, because if you are standing, this would be forward. Touch palm to palm and keep the arms straight. Now push again the left foot and rotate your pelvis to the right, pushing out your belly as you do this. After a few times with the arms simply pointed forward/ skyward, begin to take your arms three times to the right as your pelvis goes to the right, and three times to the left each time your pelvis goes to the right. Feel the differences.
Go slowly. Don’t push. Feel each time as different. Do many times, and rest.
Now: left foot standing, arms forward as above, and do all this: pelvis to the right with belly pushed out, arms to the left, and head to the right, then slowly bring everything back to the center. Many times. Easy. Joyous. Learning.
And now come to sitting again and turn your head right and left and see if awaring your pelvis and ribs and eyes make this different than before.
Sixteen: Turn Around Again
Someone loves you.
You love them.
Times get tricky and they begin to act in ways that bother and disturb you.
Write down a big list of all the things they are doing wrong.
Read t his list four ways: one, with big seriousness and annoyance at how “bad” and “inferior” they are.
Two: with delight at how human and imperfect they are.
Three: with curiosity about the pain in their lives, or the patterns they are stuck in.
Four: with clarity about how stuck and limited we all are when we act from our patterns rather than the present.

Then do the Work of Byron Katie on each and every flaw of theirs and re-write the list in turn around mode:

So and so is selfish, careless, passive aggressive and sneaky becomes: sometimes at least, I am selfish, careless, passive aggressive and sneaky.

They are you.
You are them.
The trick: to wake up to now, and change ourselves in the moment and have enough humor and wisdom and honesty to ask them in ways they can hear to consider changing. Admitting we do the same nonsense will probably make it a lot easier for the other person to hear.

Love is slowing down.

Learning is slowing down.

Spiritual wisdom often comes from slowing down.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home