Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The King's Son ( and the Queen's Daughter);;;; journey of the soul

Once, in a country where all people were like kings and queens, there lived a family, who were in every way content, and whose surroundings were such that the human tongue cannot describe them in terms of anything that is known today.

This country of Sharq seemed satisfactory to the young prince Dhat and his sister princess Fatima.  Until one day, their parents told them: “Dearest children of ours, it is the necessary custom of our land, that each prince and princess go forth on a trial. This is to fit yourselves to be the king and queen you are meant to be.
This trial will enable you to achieve—by watchfulness and effort—an inner and outer strength impossible without it.
Thus it has been ordained in the beginning and thus it will always be. “

The Prince and Princess were prepared for the journey.
They were given a special food that would nourish them, which was of small compass but illimitable quantity.
They were given certain resources, which it is not possible to mention, to guard them, if properly used.

They had to travel to a certain country, Misr, and they had to go in disguise. They left behind their royal clothes, and took those of the new land. They were given guides for the journey and a sacred task: to bring back a certain jewels, guarded by a fearsome monster.

Their guides took them to the new land, to Misr, and left them there. They had been instructed to part, so they did, soon finding others who were on the same mission as companions.

But, because of the air and food of the country, all forgot their mission, and went into an ongoing sleep. This lasted many years, as Dhat and Fatima went about humble vocations, unaware of what had happened to them.

By means familiar to them but unknown to other people, the inhabitants of Sharq felt the situation of Dhat and Fatima, and sent them messages by a strange means, the inner content of which was:
“Awake. You are the daughter and son of kings and queens. You have a mission. It is time to stop your sleep.”

The message awoke the pair, who found each other at the monster’s lair, and by means of special sounds, they put the monster to sleep and retrieved the Jewels.

The Sounds now guided them back to Sharq, and almost at once they were again in their royal attire, and at one with their real home.

This time, though, through their experiences, they were able to see that what they had taken for granted was of far greater splendor than they could have imagined, and that it was the place commemorated vaguely by the people of Misr as Salamat, which the people of Misr took to be the word for Submission, but which Dhat and Fatima now realized, meant …. peace.

My rendition of the last teaching story, usually called the King’s Son,  in The Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah, from a dervish’s transcription of a recital supposed given by Amir Sultan, Sheik of Bokhara, who taught in Istanbul and died in 1429.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Movement #6: More Chair Fun. Left and Right, plus...

Sit in in a chair>
Notice your relationship to gravity
Mull over how long it has been since you've been aware that you are in gravity all day
Breathe smile
Feel what feels good
Feel what doesn't feel so good

Lean down between your legs and reach for the floor
Don't strain
Go as far as easily

Lean to the left with your head
Come back to the middle
Do this many times
Let your weight come onto the left side of your pelvis
Your left "sit bone" ( Sitz bone as it were, but we'll just call it
the left side of your pelvis)

rest a bit
feel your body and breathing and
relationship to gravity

Lean to the left again
each time you do, take your left hand
down the left side of the chair towards the floor
Come up, slowly, enjoying
the touch on the chair
Do this many times, easily


Now test how leaning down toward the floor
between your legs feels
more pleasurable

how could you make it more pleasurable?

lean to the left
and lower your left arm along the chair towards the floor,
and leave it as near as it goes,
don't push it,
and let it come forward and backward
moving your head back and forth as it to follow the arm

Put your left hand over your head and hold your right ear with your left hand
In this configuration
a) Rock to the right side of your pelvis
b) Let your ribs go to the right
c) Gently pull your head to the left

So this time you are leaning left
but with a shift to the right side
of your pelvis

Do this many times, gently,
feeling the curve in your spine
enjoying it


Try our reaching for the floor again

As in five,
but now
when you get all the way to the left with your head
do the "cat and cow" we've done in earlier lessons,
that is
( all while curved left and sitting on the right "sitz bone"
have your
belly go out
roll forward on this right side of your pelvis
arch your back and bring
your head back a bit

roll back on the right side of your pelvis
pull your belly in
bring your tilting head a little forward

go back and forth like this

test for the floor reaching
rest more

get up and walk around
notice differences side to side

If you want,
do this sequence on the other side

Movement #5: Waking up our back, in a chair

One: Sit comfortably in a chair
Notice what you notice about what it is like to sit in the chair
Your spine
Your ribs
Your head
Your breathing

Lean forward as if to reach the floor between your legs
Don't strain
Notice as you lean, how far you can easily go.
Do this twice

Which means simply sit and breathe and look around
the room or yard or beach
Find a thought of something you are grateful for


Put your hands, one over the other on your chest
Let the hands sink as your ribs and sternum go down toward the floor
Then come back to upright, feeling the sternum move
Do this a number of times, paying kind and easy attention to your ribs

Now, to help the hands and sternum go lower
Let your belly come in and
Roll back on your pelvis

Do this combined belly, sternum pelvis motion
a number of times,
Down and back to upright

Make each time easy and interesting
and see if you can notice just a
little bit more than the last movement


Now,  reach down toward the floor as in the beginning
Notice any difference in range AND in ease


Hands on sternum again
Begin to lift the sternum with your hands
and come back to neutral
Do this a number of times

Now, to help the lifting,
Roll your pelvis forward in your chair
and let your belly soften and come forward


All three as you rise in your sternum and come
back to neutral


Think of a gratitude
Lean down for the floor again,
Looking for ease, range and awareness


Put your hands under the opposite armpit
Combine both up and down with the ribs,
This time allowing the head to raise and lower
You'll know which way

So ribs down
Stomach in and back
Pelvis rolling back

and then up
and then

Ribs up
Stomach soft and forward
Pelvis rolling forward

Breathe easy
Do a number of enjoyable times

Think of another gratitude

Reach for the floor again
Notice pleasure
parts of your back and neck and ribs and pelvis
that participate in this


Stand up and walk around, feeling any ease in your movement
and increase in height in your standing


Sunday, December 29, 2013

rules of play.... my modification of a one taste creation


- Play can include all, but not all are willing to play
- Everything is of consequence
- If no one is awake:  the game plays all, and the lowest common denominator sets the level
- If someone is awake, the game is for freedom

- One day we will all be dead
- Altruism seems to lose at first, then wins
- He or she with the least rules will win in the end
- Love is a game without a game
- A game of liberation needs to be played from volition.

- Don’t hurt the game
- Question the game. With humor. And emptiness.
- Be happy
- The highest game includes all

- The highest play is waking up / surrender / love

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Our man Thomas Jefferson,
born, like me, on April 13
wrote some good shit.

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"

Which sounds like happiness is
down the road
and we have the right (? duty?) to chase along
after it

and I just discovered this:
pursuit in his day,
was like the pursuit of bird watching
the pursuit of reading
the pursuit of brisk walking

close to the way we use the word
a practice of meditation
which is his mode
could be played out as
the pursuit of meditation

that's a nice way to do
what life really wants us
to do:

make a practice of happiness

Freedom #6: waking up, freedom and happiness

"My life has had a lot of trouble,
most of which never happened."
Mark Twain

You know it and I do, too,
we can worry about the future
and ruin this moment

or we can experience this moment
and feel our life as we are in it

feel our life
and know
in our bones and nerves and breath
and eyes and ears:

this is me

and if we leave the now
a certain conditioned agitation
begins to take over

the restless feeling that now isn't quite
but later,
the next thing will make it all right

or, getting the next thing "done"
will ease this agitation

or, the next thing is "what we really want
to be doing"

and yet,
when we get to that next thing,
we are stretching out ahead,
to the next next thing

all along
missing the breath
the inner sensations
the feelings
the sights
the sounds
the smells
the opportunities ( a person over there, to go meet,
a flower to go observe and smell, a body posture to shift,
right now,
to one slightly ((or a lot)) more

Right now:
what little shift in your body shape could create a certain

right now:
what colors out there
are a turn on
to look at and enjoy?

right now:
what crime would befall
what disaster
if you just stopped,
closed your eyes
and followed a few breaths?

there are plenty more
ways to be present
not just reading this hooey
but in whatever you do
when you look up from the computer
and go about
being present
in the moments of your life

which is to say,
being present to your life
good< br />

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Freedom #5: the alchemy of happiness, in sad times

sad feels heavy
like you are walking through mud
like you are breathing thru mud

like what you want is far off
or never going to come
or has been taken away from you

you are wanting
you aren't present

feels like shit

and sometimes
we get lucky
we realize that we can wake up
inside this unhappiness

we can come back to

the reality of
our body

our body is having sensation,
often it's
 a feeling in our chest,

as if the heart weighs a hundred pounds

a big heart
has a big break

that's the spoiler alert

we all have to do this work
in our downs

we all have to go in
and sense the sensation

and breathe

and be aware 
of gravity
and light
and sound

and breathe

and we still might feel


that heaviness
is part of us

or better:
it's visiting us

it's not us

and who is us

who are we

ah, damn
more spoiler alerts:

discovering who we are
very good news indeed


and only a hint
(but a big one,,,
and I've forgotten this, too,
so sweet to remember to remember)

who is it that is noticing all the heaviness
gravity in arms and legs and spine
light coming into our eyes
air coming in and out of our nose and inards
sound coming in our ears

and we 
can even notice the
that is trying to take us over

and we can write it
and do the work of Byron Katie

or we can shortcut
and ask,
"Is it true?"

or we
can say: Hi, story,
I've got better things to do,
come back
to sensing our down,
but not necessarily believing in it

and what is there to believe in?

This moment,

That's all I know you can 
count on

What about you?

Where can you put your attention
that will always be useful
and liberating?

I guess that's the life game,
isn't it?

Trying a bunch of worthless places
to put
our attention

and then coming back
to the bright
I am alive


(And since Christmas is


that might be why it
such a

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Relationship #5:I need your love/ you should love me/ is that true?

So and so should love me.
Not really.


I feel shitty, sad, angry, cheated. the  usual victim package



I should love so and so.
Especially I should love so and so's non interest in loving me.
I preach, letme practice.

I should love me more.
Sure;  if I can't, why should so and so.

So and so shouldn't love me.
So I can learn to love everything, especially this "hard" one.
The harder the loving is to do, the stronger our heart gets.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Move as If Your Life Depended on It: Movement #4, toward the floor

This is too hard for you
But it's to show off something for certain people
Don't worry
The lesson below "just" gets your back twice as easy and your brain three times as smart and adds at least half an inch to your height and has you feeling five or ten years younger

That's all

Movement is life

Lean down toward the floor

Just reach for the floor
Let your knees bend
This isn't yoga, you aren't trying to be good, this is just reaching down for something on the goddamn floor

It's fun

Try NOT to reach the floor
Just down


Put your hands on your knees
Bend your knees
Have your arms straight

Do the cat and cow,
the most intelligent "pose" in yoga,
since it's not a pose
it's a movement

Goes like this:

Arch your back ( belly forward)
As you tilt your asshole toward the ceiling
As you bring your eyes toward the sky

As if your head were going toward your butt
and your ribs and pushing the other way: forward

That's the cow:

It's also the lion:

3. Alternate that with the cat
Hiss hiss

Ribs up and back
Middle back toward the sky
Belly in
Head down
Nose toward your crotch
Crotch toward your nose:
Pelvis rotating under

4. Back and forth

Do it a couple of times
Simple feeling the pelvis and lower backs'
participation in this

Do it a couple more
noticing the ribs going up
and the ribs going forward

Oh, wait:
Notice and enjoy

Oh, wait
Notice and enjoy and

Oh, wait:
Go slower
slower than you want to go

And then a couple of times
The neck and your head
Do all the "oh, Wait's" with that

And now the whole back:
Enjoy it
It's you
In motion

Then stand up straight

Feel how you feel

6. Reach down for the floor again
Notice the difference

Enjoy the difference

7 , Put both hands up in the arm
above your head

Rotate them in a circle

Feel this in your heels
Watch with your eyes
allowing your head to move as it follows
your hands

Feel this in your pelvis
Which goes backward when your hands go forward in the cirlce
the other
way around

Do all the "oh, wait's"
And reverse the circle

Hands down
How do you feel

9 Touch the floor again,
No wait,
Reach down toward the floor


10. Stand up and skip around the room or lawn or park or riverside

You are moving
You are using your brain
You are enjoying having more attention


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Relationship #4: Loving the Leaver

Loving what is seems like the hardest thing
in the world

and then,
it's just....

So... someone leaves you

It was great love
It was great and troubled love
It was troubled and great love
It had great promise
You fell more deeply in love than they did
They found someone else
You were a jerk and drove them crazy
They weren't willing to work it through
You weren't willing to work it through
One or both of you didn't know what to do when it got messy
You had a power struggle that was too much for the other person

There are many scenarios,
and all hurt,
usually when the other person leaves

It can even be petty stuff:
You wanted to end it and didn't have the courage
to pull the plug
and they did before you could

Oh, well.

They are gone
Empty bed
Empty dream

Lots of possibilities in reaction, too:

Poor me
Substance use to numb out
Getting busy

And here's a way that's pretty amazing:


Think about, feel about what loving them exactly
as they are
would be.

They want to be somewhere else.

Loving them means wanting them to have what they want.

Damn, the logic just rolls along,
but it's the heart really that can't do this:

Loving them means loving them being gone
because that's what they want

You can think it's a wrong decision
You can think they should care more about your pain
You can think until you're blue in the face
and they are still gone

They, for good or bad, for smart of idiotic, for whatever reasons
of the heart and head
and their own life path,
have decided what they want is Not You

So, that what love is:
Loving their having what they want,
the big fat empty Not You

and hey,
guess what

just like when someone dies
... they can't hug you anymore
and you can still keep loving them

you can feel the love
write it to them
whatever you want

and wanting them to have what they want,
loving what is

sounds hard

I just did it
It's heaven

It really is

Friday, December 13, 2013

Freedom #4: Not anxiety, lots of gratitude

In the letters of Paul,
a passage recommended by my friend Dick Staub,
Philippians 4: 6
this goes down:

"Never be anxious, but in every prayer
And each entreaty,
add your thanks to God."


Don't ask for anything unless it's riding
soft sweet and easy on a current of praise
on a magic carpet of gratitude.

Never be anxious.
Not, kind of chill out on the anxiety.
Not, only be a little anxious when you can't help it,
and besides, your friends like it when you're down.
Not, it's the way it is, get worried, it's a messy world.

But, "Never be anxious."

Fear is what?
Real when a tiger is about to eat you,
but usually is
just about something this simple:
things not going our way.

Anxiety is the loss of control because we
have a picture that Reality should be a certain
and Reality just goes along
being what it is.

We can want to control.
And smile.

We can want to control
and feel anxious.

We can love what is.
And what do we feel like doing when we love what is?

Give thanks.

How bout this song, by Alanis Morissette,
titled, by golly : Thank U

"Thank U"

how bout getting off all these antibiotics
how bout stopping eating when I'm full up
how bout them transparent dangling carrots
how bout that ever elusive kudo

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

how bout me not blaming you for everything
how bout me enjoying the moment for once
how bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
how bout grieving it all one at a time

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

the moment I let go of it was the moment
I got more than I could handle
the moment I jumped off of it
was the moment I touched down

how bout no longer being masochistic
how bout remembering your divinity
how bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
how bout not equating death with stopping

thank you india
thank you providence
thank you disillusionment
thank you nothingness
thank you clarity

thank you thank you silence

Never be anxious,
give thanks to India, to sickness, to disillusionment to clarity to shit to crap
to what we think shouldn't be

thanks to Reality

it's the winning hand,
why not roll around in heaven all day
with the winner

and never be anxious that we
made the wrong choice

how bout that?

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Relationship #3,people leave, God replaces, abundance is the Way

This Place of Abundance

we know nothing until we know everything

I have no object to defend
for all is of equal
to me

I cannot lose anything in this
place of abundance
that I have found

If something my heart cherishes
is taken away

I just say, "Lord,
what happened?"

And a hundred more

.....End of Poem

So life. It's good, right?
People come into our life.
If we are lucky we love them.

If we are lucky they love us back.

If we are lucky they stay with us until one of us dies.
If we are lucky they don't
or we don't.

There's a funny idea out there: if something
that means it was wrong.

we get in relationships.
We screw up.
They screw up.
Someone can't take it anymore and

And check this out:
often, almost always actually, what the one who leaves can't stand
is their reactions to the other person.
They can't stand the manifestations
that are stirring up in them

so they split.
that means they are bad, right?

it means that they are wounded

and when we hurt another in
the relationships that ended:
we were wounded

and that means we can keep doing it, right?


it means we can wake up to when
we are awake in a relationship
and in those moments
be the person we want us
to be
and be the person we
want them to be

and if we can't do that
bless us

let's just keep trying

and back to the poem:
if someone leaves us,

ah well,
they are wounded 
and so are we 
the abundance is here
that's the way God wants it,
a hundred more will pop

and it's our job
to be kinder to that hundred
because of what we learned the last time around

ain't that a lot of relationship building to chew

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

FREEDOM, 3-----POEM, Denise Levertov, Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.

Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions

jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; caps and bells.

                                                    And then

once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, 

the throng's clamor
recedes:  the mystery

that there is anything, anything at all,

let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,

rather than void: and that, 0 Lord,

Creator, Hallowed one, 
You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

-- Denise Levertov

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Movement #3, in bed and easy on your back, great in your brain

Lie in bed on your left side, with your right leg on top of your left leg.

Have your arms extended straight out, forward, which is the direction your nose is facing. Your right hand rests palm down, on your left hand which is palm up.

1. Slowly, slowly, move your right hand forward, feeling the vertebrae of the spine join in one by one from the top down your back. Then bring the hand back and feel the spine moving the other way.

How far does the movement in the back extend?

Go back and forth many times, each time seeing if you can do it slower, easier and with more enjoyment and awareness.

Do this maybe ten or twelve times.

2. Rest on your back.
Breathe easily and notice any difference side to side.

Take a while to just be present to being in a body, in your body, in your body now, with each breath.

3. Slowly, slowly, slowly, move your right knee "forward" as if it were peeking over the edge of the left knee.

Feel this movement moving UP in your back.

4. Rest
Make all the rests an active, awareness enhancing, pleasure increasing feast for yourself.

5. Play with this,
and go very very slowly:

Bring both your right hand and your right knee forward, as
if they were a 
Forward and then back.
Feeling how the ribs roll, how there
is less movement in the spine, feeling
what is happening in your neck and hips.

Really enjoy this.
Breathe easily as you do it.

6. Rest

7. Now, get fancy and go slowest of all
Move the hip and knee forward as
the hand and shoulder move back,
and move your hip and right knee back, 
your right hand moves forward.

Stop if you get confused.

Do less.

Rest between "tries."

When you get it, feel how the vertebrae at the top
of your back
are moving in the opposite direction as the vertebrae on the
of your back.

Really indulge in noticing and enjoying this.

8. Rest on your back.
Notice the differences side to side
Take a little nap.
Come to sitting (roll up, do not yank up through the middle) and stand and
walk around.
How do you feel?
What do you notice?

Go slowly in your life for another five or ten minutes.

Tis the season to SLOW DOWN.