Monday, September 13, 2010

Chapter One: Beginning to Become the Real us


Christianity, Buddhism, Being Now, Nature, Love

This is a book, that you will read, or not read, or listen to or not listen to. I’d love for you to read it or listen to it, and I’d love even more if you could go slowly enough in your reading, to be aware of yourself as a breathing, standing/ sitting/ lying down person on the Earth in the field of gravity as you read.

I’d love you to read this so slowly, that each page brought a smile to your face, not necessarily because I said/ wrote anything so grand and brilliant or funny, but because you were excited and pleased to be present while you were reading/ listening.

Hey, I’m tired of saying reading/ listening, and I’m just going to say listening to this book, because I want this book to be a gift to your life, and I want the pleasure you receive from these words to be the pleasure we all receive as human beings when we give ourselves the pleasure of listening, really listening to another human being.

Or ourselves.

Ah, to listen to ourselves could be the listening to a lot of complaining and worrying inside our heads. That wouldn’t make us very happy, would it.
So how can listening be a happy making opportunity.

First: listen to the life in you. What does that mean? Notice that you are breathing.

Second: notice and remember that you are alive.

Three: see if part of you can be aware that you have this amazing human ability: awareness.

Four: get curious: what are you are of now. Okay, maybe we need to go deeper than just these words, so please stop the book for a bit and look around, and spread your ears around, and feel your spine in gravity, and ask again: what are you aware of now?

Five: five rhymes with alive. What is happiest in you right now, about being alive?

Ah, so.

That’s a good start to a new life.

Read that list again, and imagine the various steps as something you could do several times a day.

Consider the possibility: my life could be sweeter and more amazing and more awake every day.

And a day is big. How about right now, these five ten minutes and can you stand to “waste” a little bit of “time” just hanging out in the moment with awaring onto what is happening right now? Sounds crazy doesn’t it, paying attention to where our attention is. And yet, and yet, and yet: this is what makes as, as humans, capable of many of the amazing things we do as humans.

Is that true?

I don’t know, and I suspect it’s so, and it doesn’t matter. This book is a gift to part of you that wants a sweetness that you know is or could be or should be at the center of your life.

And, the sub-title way at the top said something about Christianity, Buddhism, Being Now, Nature, Love. What does that all have to do with what we’ve listen to so far?

I don’t know, yet, I haven’t written it yet. I haven't listened to myself, to find out. And I will. I will.

You don’t know yet, you haven’t heard.

And, still, in your deepest self you do know, and so, before the book continues: enjoy imagining you have some idea, a sweet and vague, or a clear and bold, or any way you do it/ cut it, you have a hint or a clarity on how being present and Christianity, Buddhism, Being Now, Nature, Love all have something to say about each other.

Go ahead. Breathe easy. Take a walk. Let some answers percolate in you before we continue on.

Okay: did you come back? On the same day? Isn’t it easy to get distracted, and isn’t it hard to allow ourselves the luxury of going inside, or discovery, of self-nourishment each day?

And today: here we go again, I’ve written these words in my subtitle for today’s chapter, and let’s see what we can discover:
Christianity, Buddhism, Being Now, Nature, Love


Today is a foggy day on an island in the far northwestern part of the continental US, an island called Orcas Island, in what could be called the Puget Sound, or perhaps more accurately, the Salish Sea, anyway salt water between Seattle and Canada’s Vancouver Island. The fog comes and goes and it is over two thousand years since the man called Jesus Christ was alive on the planet Earth. Some people’s lives have been radically improved by knowing Jesus, or believing in Jesus, or walking the path they or their church or group imagine that Jesus walked. Some people have been burned at the stake, scorned, spat upon, ostracized, told they were going to hell, made to feel small bad dirty and evil by so called “Christians.”

You won’t have to guess hard to realize that this is going to be a book encouraging the non scolding, non judging part of Christianity, and yet, to many people “outside the fold,” this is an aspect they long for and don’t find in the “Christians” they meet: to be totally loved and accepted for who they are, right now, believe or not believing, behaving or not behaving.

Oh, well.

This theme will come up over and over in the book, and the meta concept and saving virtue for getting clear, free and awakened about all this is the last word in our bold faced list: love.

Jesus either said, or is said to have said (to my mind, this makes no difference): “Love your neighbor.” He went even farther: “Love your enemy.”

That’s it.

Love your neighbor.
Let’s put it in bold: Love your neighbor.
And, love your enemy. Love your enemy.

That could be it for all we really need to say about Christianity: if you can love your neighbor and love your enemy, then you are a “Christian,” and if you can’t, you aren’t.

And does that mean you are bad, stupid, sinful, lost or otherwise messed up if you can’t no?

It means you have something to learn.

And you aren’t alone.

Most people have only to try this: go through your phone directory, your personal one, and see if there are any names you cringe at, or get annoyed at, on want to pass over. Or “simply” think of everyone you know, and if you don’t feel happy to think of them, what do you feel.

To the extent we have grudges, and angers and annoyances and resentments and righteous little huffs (“if just they would shape up like this…..”) and on and on stories (“They did this and this to me and I didn’t deserve it or it wasn’t fair or kind or nice or human or ….), all that is very human, and the food of most of what passes as human conversation, but it is also exactly what stands between us and the idea and practice of “loving our neighbor” and “loving our enemy.”

Am I joking to seem to be implying that we could forgive and love everyone in our lives?


And for now, just to entertain this as a possibility is plenty: we could love our neighbors, even the rotten bad noisy evil ones and we could love our enemies even the bad mean selfish arrogant spiteful badrotten bad ones of them


Next on our really big show: Buddhism.

Has something td do with Buddha, or meditation, or “loving kindness,” or being present or realize truths like: everything is impermanent, or our thinking really isn’t us. Good.

Good. These are possibilities for an amazing life.

Let’s just take that thought one: have a thought and then write it down, and then consider that this thought is just a thought and that you don’t “have to” believe it.

And that it is not you.

What are you? Who are we?

Wee: remember the five questions way back. Return to them, read and listen to them, play with what they suggest, discover if you find something closer to “who you really are” when you hang out with asking and discovering in the world of inquiry.

Who are we really?

This is an important question in serious Buddhist practice.

Serious Christianity practice, too.

And without any “religion:”

Who are you?

Being Now.


These are the last two words on the list, and I think this chapter is long enough.

Mull over, with your eyes closed and following your breathing all the ideas you remember. Follow your breathing. Be curious about who you really are. Imagine a world where you don’t have any grudges or resentments or regret.

Would that be a world of Being Now?

How could connecting to and being in Nature help you return to both Love and the being Who You Really Are?

And the answer is a spring opening inside you, to water the soil or your soul. That is all.

That is a lot.

Go slowly. Go inside. Find something like a nourishing spring, near the heart or the breathing belly and imagine feeling that it is feeding and nourishing the Real You.

And what is the Real You?

Don’t worry, just ease into breathing and awaring in the moment with the thought idea question in the background: who is the real me?

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