Friday, October 27, 2017

First 50 pages, October 27, Love Lust and Enlightenment

Heartbreak / Turnaround/ Freedom
We were supposedly in love, and the main thing we did was argue and fight.
We’ll call her Sally Ann, and I’d met her seven years earlier, when I was building a fence in her landlord’s backyard. We met in Berkeley, fell in love, visualized a paradise cottage in the country, and found one on the outskirts of Sonoma the town, in Sonoma the country, in California the state.
Heaven for awhile.
We made our own paradise garden. We ate outside almost every meal we were together. 
We raised tomatoes and herbs to sell at the farmer’s market.

We fought.
And we fought. And we fought.
Here’s a simple couples metric:  if F, as in fighting, is more often than F, as in lovemaking, you are in trouble. 

We were in trouble. And then Sally Ann solved that. She ran off with Joe. With whom F vs F was just wonderful, thank you.

And how did I take this?
Did I find refuge in the present? No.
Did I soar on the wings of liberation and non-attachment? No.
I did the usual.
Feeling the victim, betrayed, sad, depressed, worried, angry at Joe and Sally Ann.
And angry at myself.
The obvious evidence: my side of the arguing had been not so wonderful.
And so….

Poor me.
Hating the “bad” other person.
Hating the “bad/ failure” me.
Hating life.
All that.

You’ve felt it, sometime?
You are feeling it still now? If so, I’m sorry. 
Suffering sucks.
And a lot of divorces and breakups are swamped in these shitty feelings, and a lot of people still carry them around.
Not pretty.
Not happy.

Which sucks. If a relationship done right can be one of the most wonderful, blissful and quickest paths toward spiritual advancement, the opposite is something most of us have suffered: a relationship gone wrong can be the depths of hell on Earth.

And there are ways out of it. I’ll offer one way, starting right now, with the breakthrough I discovered way back in 1999.
The discovery was to do the “turn around.”

The Turn Around, the turn around, the turn around.

This “turn around” is a subset of something called “the work of Byron Katie.” 
Who is Byron Katie? Very short version: She’s a woman who came to enlightenment via the path of alcoholism, obesity, chain smoking, yelling at her family and deep depression. She wasn’t trying for enlightenment. She was hating her life and hating her suffering and wanted it to end.
And it did. Her suffering ended. Not her life, A brand new amazingly real and useful life began.
She “woke up” one day, in 1986, in a halfway house in the dusty backwater desert town of Barstow, California. She was laying on the floor because she felt unworthy of a bed. A cockroach walked across her leg. All her suffering vanished when she “woke up” to the world just as it was, the world without ANY of her judgments about the world. No judgments meant no suffering.

She was free.
Life was mainly laughter and delight.
Occasionally an old thought would cause her delight to tumble, which hurt. And, when she looked out at normal humanity, she saw everyone outside of her continuing to suffering from their own thoughts beliefs and judgments.
So, she invented a method to “undo” the thoughts / beliefs/ judgments that are at the root of almost all suffering.
Which is to say, Byron Katie discovered a path out of all emotional suffering. Big claim. It is. One of my offerings beyond this talk is a three hour intensive to release all the resentments and unforgiven places in your life.
It’s expensive.
It’s a money back guarantee.
It’s entirely of the “work” of Byron Katie, which is work, but the kind of “work” where three hours can equal a couple of years of therapy. And you can do it for free, on your own at
And right now, you don’t need the website or any intensive because I’m going to show you how I got out of the hell of heartbreak and blame and victimhood and Sally Ann hatred and myself hatred.

So, there I was, with Sally Ann off having a great F to F ratio with Joe, and poor bitter me all alone.
Time to do the work. The work of Byron Katie.
I’d met Byron Katie a number of times in Marin, an easy drive from Sonoma, and had been suffering so deeply, I was all in to try her method. You know those periods: you are finally so fed up with suffering that you are actually ready to do something besides the same old stuff that hasn’t worked before.
So… I dove into the work of Byron Katie. Every day. More than one time a day.
One part of her method, her “work,” had a spectacular liberation for me in the suffering I was creating inside myself and blaming on Sally Ann and her running off with Joe.

This is the “turn around” part of the Byron Katie work.

It’s bizarrely simple:
You take your judgment, and you write it down:

“You are mean.”
And you reverse it. “I am mean.”
“You are inconsiderate.”
Turn around… “I am inconsiderate.”
Maybe not full time, but the one we feel is the enemy isn’t full time bad either.

The other way the turn around works is in “should” judgments we love to hound the world with.
Like this…
“So and so should listen to be more.”
And you reverse the sentence: “I should listen to so and so more.”

“So and so should appreciate me more.”
Turns around…. “I should appreciate so and so more.”

Beliefs that we have been torturing ourselves with for years are highly fertile fields for the turn around:
“My father shouldn’t have criticized me so much.”
And even if he started it, even if he was “worse,” the turn around has tons of wisdom, “I shouldn’t have criticized my father so much for criticizing me.” More on this later, as a way out of years and years of feeling bad about my wonderful and imperfect dad.

Now, though, I’m going to show you how I rescued myself from my suffering with Sally Ann, and then show you how you can begin to transform your own life with this “turn around.”

With Sally Ann, I had one of the great breakthroughs of my life.
And this breakthrough came by turning around this belief, that when I believed it was wracking my heart and soul apart. The belief was one of those should ones:
 “Sally Ann should love me more.”
The turn around seemed true enough at an intellectual level:  “I should love Sally Ann more.”

I kind of nodded my head, yes, yes,
And then, for some reason I let this sink down, and a heart-rooted lightening bolt went off.

I had loved Sally Ann. A lot.
Part of me still did.
And when I went to that part, the whole world opened.

Loving her meant being happy she was with Joe.
She wanted to be with Joe.
Joe made her happy.
Loving her more meant waking up to this reality: I loved that she was happy.

Loving her meant being happy that she was living the life she wanted to live.
Loving her meant being honestly and heart fully happy for her that she was free of our fighting.
Loving her meant: loving her.

This set me free.
This opened my heart.
This allowed me to beam with happiness when I thought about her and Joe. I could be happy for her even when I saw her and Joe happily wandering the small town together.

This was freedom.
This was love.
This was, in a strange way, enlightenment.

And….. could you sweet audience, use something like this to transform your life?
And will I show you a way to do this?

Life on Earth can be at its most painful when love goes awry.
Life on Earth can be at its most heavenly when love returns to being real love. This I want for you: More heaven. Less hell. 
What else do I want for you?

Some of the reasons I’m writing this book. 
Less pain.
More sizzle, sex and delight.
Saving the world.
Awakened friends.

Here are three reasons I’m writing this book, to spare, to share, to save.

Well, maybe there’s four. Because it can be lonely being in the world of now, and everyone else is running in their predetermined loops. And people who are present can show up as authentic and creative. And fun.

And I could maybe go to five. Let’s not.
Let’s have four reasons. Like this.

  1. Reason one for this book: SPARE. I’d love to spare you some of the suffering I’ve made for myself. As I mentioned earlier, love gone awry is the central cause of “hell on Earth.” Even though I aced this lesson with Sally Ann, I’ve still got a ways to go. Alas!!! Unfortunately, I’ve been discovering with Carol, that the “love” part of Love, Lust and Enlightenment is the hardest. This is fair, in a way, since when we had our Magical Meeting an hour and a half that expanded to twelve hours, we shared with each other, amongst many things, our favorite bible verses.
Hers was: “Be still and know I’m God.” This got me very excited about a woman who wanted to to find the peace and awareness at the center of life, when we shut down all the words.
Mine was: “Love your enemies.” Sounds great. I sort of pulled it off in the Sally Ann case. And over and over and over, love requires the turn around, and even more work than that.
The more I can give you work to go to when love gets messy, the more you might be able to spare yourself love’s pains.

  1. Reason Two for the book. SHARE. I’m thrilled to share with you some of the delights that I’ve been blessed with, and give you some pathways to those delights for yourself .
a. Sex one, two, three times a day (The upside down of figuring the Love part of Love Lust and Enlightenment was “handled,” has been the discovery that a couple of supposedly “old” farts, of 72 and 68 (in 2017) can be having the best sex of their lives. )
b. A way of forgiveness that is more fun than duty (that old old adage from the Bible: “Love your enemies.”  Hard, and you’ve had a hint of it with the turn around. There’s more. It’s work, and it’s wonderful work. I want you to have this, if you wish.
c. A “meditation” that can be full time, and makes life much more alive (From Caltech and Stanford to mindfulness carpenter. What prompted this delightful shift?)
d. A clarity on what “learning” is that can change ANY stuck point (Look around you. How many two legged chairs do you see?)
e. A clarity on happiness that can set you free to be what you want to be…. come on, admit it…. happy full time (which can mean being happy while you are angry, or sad, for awhile, until the happiness wins because…. you wake up to the miracle) ((Still working on this, even with sex three times a day. Even with the glory of now when  I remember to be now. Happiness is who we are until we forget. I’d love you to at least get better at happiness. And better. And better.)
f. A clarity on the central miracle of life…. You are alive. Right now. This fucking moment.

  1. Reason Three for writing this book. AWAKEN. To make a difference in the world. To help 10,000 couples awaken in love, awaken in lust, awaken in enlightenment

With the sub-reason, selfish in the best way: to have a bunch of partners in living in the now, in seeing the world freshly every day, every moment. A batch of people who understand the vast difference between a life in the now, and the usual life of playing out our programming.

  1. Reason Four for writing this book. SAVE THE WORLD, with the help of 10,000 couples who are almost full time happy, having sex almost every day, awake to the present, and are loving revolutionaries.

To help with these I’ll be offering Love Challenges, and Lust Challenges and Enlightenment Challenges. Take them or not. If you do, bless you, your life may transform in the wonderful ways that your heart really wants.

As Einstein said: “Show me someone who has never made a mistake and I will show you someone who has never learned anything.”
So, now it’s time for the First Challenge of the book.
The First LOVE Challenge: Awakened Love as the Turn Around
Here’s your love challenge. Your chance to learn from my mistake. We’ll take what I did the liberate myself from the pain I was causing myself via Sally Ann’s departure. And expand it to create a chance for your love to heal, deepen and expand.

It’s a little brutal, but it works. And after the initial annoyance of realizing the mess of our own hearts, it can bring a great sense of humor.
And relief.
And freedom.

Here’s the exercise….

Write down a “should” or “shouldn’t” statement about your mate. No mate? Write one about your ex-mate, or a parent.
Make it short.
“So and so should love me more.”
“So and so shouldn’t interrupt.”
“So and so should listen better.”
“So and so shouldn’t be so angry.”

Look at the judgment.
Feel the burn.
Feel how “wronged” you are.
Now, stand up, wiggle a bit and then sit down and write the turn around.
Three times.
Let’s take a “should” we all love and I’ll model it with Carol, the “should” of “You should listen to me more.” We can always fall into demanding that our loved ones listen better.

Step one: I write it down.
“Carol should listen to me better.”

Okay you…..
Write a should or a shouldn’t.

One : First turn around.
Just switch the people.
“Carol should listen to me better.”
Switching the people: 
“I should listen to Carol better.”
Ah. Let me ponder that. Let me realize the truth of that. Lots and lots of truth there. I can come up with many examples of the truth of that.

Your turn.
Switch the medicine around. Write the sentence with you as the one who needs to change. Or COULD change.
Here…. write it..

And ponder, and even write about the truth of what happens when you switch the people around.
Stand up.
Take a deep breath.
Sit again, and now to the second part of turning around the “should.”

Two: Second turn around.
Point the finger at your inner self as a turn around.
Like this. “Carol should listen to me better.”
Turning it around to the inner me. “I should listen to me better.”
I can ponder the wisdom of that.
Your turn:
You should appreciate me more >>>>> I should appreciate me more.  
You should respect me more >>>>> I should respect me more)

Ponder that a bit. When you’ve seen the truth of that, wiggle a bit, and then….

Three: And now the third turn around. The seeing the BIG picture turn around.
This is even “harder.”
Oh, well.
This is a book for those who want transformation.
Is that you?
If so, read and do the work.

In the third one, “should" becomes “shouldn’t” and vice-versa.
Like this.
“Carol should listen to me better.”
“Carol shouldn’t listen to me better.”
Why? Because in this turn around I’m looking for all the examples of how I’m full of shit with my complaining.
I am looking for all the ways that she DOES LISTEN TO ME, ALREADY.
Your turn:

Even if you can only find a little, this little bit will be hugely useful in helping to break the chains of righteousness.

Why three different turns arounds?
One, because each one is invaluable.
Two, because it’s the version I’ve seen most lately with Byron Katie helping people transform.
Three, because it fits with this old adage: One finger pointing out means three pointing back.
I was practicing presenting this with a friend I’ve only met over the phone. She’d been in the Israeli army. As part of getting along with the everyone who has to be in the Army, they give training in the old adage: “If you have one finger pointing out in accusation, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”

Do this now.
Point one finger out, with the usual hand shape. Notice the three fingers pointing back.


This is the beginning of love that can heal with truth and humor. You start to see that all their “sins” are your sin, too.

As someone humorous and wise said: 
“I’m imperfect and you’re imperfect and that’s perfect.”
“I’m imperfect and you’re imperfect and that’s perfect.”

A brief review of the Sally Ann mistake with all three turn arounds:

“Sally Ann should love me more.”

One: “Sally Ann should love me more.”
Turns around to….“I should love Sally Ann more.” 
I’ve already shared how this changed and liberated my life.

Two: “I should love Sally Ann more.”
Turn around to: “I should love myself more.”
Ah, cut out the middleman and stop whining for love from her. How can I love myself more?

Three: “Sally Ann should love me more.”
“Sally Ann shouldn’t love me more.” She already loved me. Just because she went off with Joe didn’t mean she didn’t love me. It meant she didn’t want to live and fight with me anymore.
In fact, she set us both free of our fighting.
She set herself free to be happy.
She set me free to learn what real love was. Real love vs clinging and complaining and “it’s all about me” love.
Which…. isn’t love.

And, it turned out, as it almost always does, she set me free to find someone better. For me.

And in this new finding, the next wonderful girlfriend of my life, we have an example of the turn around in it’s “the flaw is in me as well as you form.”
The love challenge as turn around, part two:
Take only one word that is “wrong” with the other. 
And then find three ways that that finger points back to you.

Try it:


Then, the brutal/ humorous part to it:
Find three ways that YOU TOO are selfish. 
Or mean.
Or moody.

Go ahead. Write the word down. Three times. Each time, follow it with an arrow that says, ME, TOO. And jot a note on where and how the “me, too,” is (dang) true.
And after you do that…. a story.
A friendly story about “Selfish.”
Before Carol and I struck gold in 2015, and after I was free of the pain and slavery and heartbreak of hating Sally Ann for running off with Joe, I found a wonderful woman, Celeste, we’ll call her. A beautiful yoga teacher and deeply spiritual being with whom I was not destined to spend the rest of my life.
And we had a great eight years. 
In Sonoma.
Including five months during which we knew and publicly proclaimed that we were non-aggressively parting ways.
Which is a pathway I recommend to all: part in love and friendship if you are not meant to be together forever. We weren’t in conflict as much as needing and recognizing the need in ourselves and each other for different paths for our lives.
But that’s for later. For now, listen to the learning I had when I did the turn around about “selfish”……

And at the beginning of our the relationship between Celeste and me, Celeste’s feisty teenage daughter, Lara, got very angry with her mother for choosing to start living with me. She moved out in a snit and went to live with her father.
She was short and nasty with her mother on the phone. A teenage girl. A pain in the ass. Which is to say, normal.
And I didn’t take it as normal. I was Mr. Righteous. I knew what was wrong with her. She was “selfish.”

I huffed and puffed and complained and felt righteous and angry and bad about this and then….
And then the good old turn around kicked me in the butt and brought to me a sense of humor. And friendship, it turned out.

I realized that my major beef with her “selfish” behavior, was that it shook up Celeste and made her less delightful to be with. So it was my selfishness that wanted Lara to be different and less difficult. So her mother would be more fun for ME!
It wasn’t about Lara, it was about me. The “selfish” daughter “should” calm down, so I, in MY selfishness, could have a better time with Celeste.
When I realized this, it wasn’t a light bulb of love going off, the way it had with Sally Ann, but a light bulb of honesty and the blessed relief of humor. 
The freedom of real realization. Realization about myself, not Lara realization: She’s selfish. I’m selfish. We’re the same.
One day she was visiting her Mom and I, and I told her this, how I’d realized my big beef about her being selfish was really about my being selfish.
She seemed to love this honesty from an adult.
And when I left to go somewhere, she said to me, in great good humor, “Good-bye, selfish Chris.”
And we had become friends, which we were for quite awhile, both when her Mom and I were together and a bit after Celeste and I amicably parted ways.

So, this is the second half of your first love challenge.
Write down some single word “flaw” of your mate.



And simply follow that with three fingers pointing back.
Find three ways that you are selfish. Or grumpy. Or mean. Or negligent. OR WHATEVER ELSE YOUR WORD IS.

It’s always true.
It’s annoying and then can lead to the freedom of “I’m imperfect and you’re imperfect and that’s perfect.” 

Be honest.
Be aware.
Be honest.
Have a sense of humor. You might even chuckle or laugh at yourself.
Welcome to the human race.

Be happy to see that “I’m imperfect and you’re imperfect and that’s perfect.”
Be happy to be in the same mess that the judged one is in.
Feel the liberation of all this.
Feel how this opens your heart and mind back to being able to love.

That’s your first love challenge. Two parts:
Turn around a should phrase three ways:
Change to people.
Bring it back to you.
See the possibilities of it isn’t even true.

Take one word and turn it around to see three ways you are the same selfish or mean or inconsiderate person that you are ranting/ complaining/ twisted about.

My promise in the first 50 pages of this book:
A Love Challenge in two parts
A Lust Challenge in two parts
an Enlightenment Challenge in two parts
Two core life questions.
A concrete and immediate definition of “Learning”

This is a book for me to share and spare and save, as I’ve said.

I promise you these seven offerings in the first fifty (50) pages. Take one. Take them all. You will change, if you are open for that.

3 (three) life shifting Challenges, sometimes in two parts, like the Love Challenge. Alongside the Love Challenge will be a Lust Challenge and an Enlightenment Challenge.

2 (two) ass-kicking, transformational Questions.

1 (one) ass-kicking, transformational Definition.

Let’s set up the first ass-kicking, life changing question with one of the wittiest quotes of one of the wittiest people who ever lived: Oscar Wilde.

The Wall Paper Stays…… Question #1

What were Oscar Wilde’s last words?
“Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”

This is fun. This is brilliant and…
This is an ass kicker.

What are your last words going to be?
Oh, fuck, he’s not really asking that, is he?
Yes I am:
What are your last words going to be?
This is one of life’s most important questions:

You do know there will be a last breath, don’t you?
This is not information that we like to have in our awareness. And life on this Earth ends. Sooner or later. For us all. 

Who wants to think about that? Anyone who wants a deeply meaningful life?
Do you want a deeply meaningful life?
Wait. Stand. Go to a window. Look out at the sky or clouds or nature. Take a deep breath. Feel your toes. Feel your heart. See nature.
Now come back to the book. Stay standing or not: And, now, four ways, we are going to ask Question #1: 
What do you want your last words to be?

First, the head.
Ask your thinking mind: 
HEAD: what do you want your last words to be?
Don’t rush.
Wait for an answer to come.
What is it?
You can do this many, many times, and this, your first stab has a certain answer, or flavor of an answer, or hint of an answer.
When you ask your head, what do you want your last words to be, what is your answer?
Write, scribble, doodle something.

Next layer, the heart. Time to shift into the present. Stand or sit. Feel yourself alive and your heart beating as a deep and absolutely necessary part of this being alive.

Go more deeply into noticing that you are breathing.
Sense your heart in the middle of the chest, in the middle of your breathing.
Breathe a little more deeply, into your chest and your belly. Let your ribs expand and contract as you breathe.
Feel your heart beating in the middle of this. 
Feel your emotional layer. Feel the you that feels into life, at a slower and deeper, and perhaps older layer than thinking.
Ask your heart:
HEART: What do you want your last words to be?
Write, scribble, doodle something…

Smile a bit.
Stand up, if you aren’t already standing, and wiggle around.
Walk a bit, if even in small circles.
Breathe a little more fully, as if into your whole body. Feel as sensation what it’s like to be aware of all your toes and all your fingers. Wiggle and play with them a bit.
Breathe as if into your entire arms and entire legs.

Dance just a bit.
Raise up your arms over your head and do something fun and rhythmical. Breathe as you dance around.
If you can move either outside, or to a place where you can see outside, this will be even better, so you can feel your body and your living self for what it is: a part, a real and living and vital and amazing part, of nature.

And, now, feeling as sensation, the you that is living, right now, in your body: ask your body: 
BODY: What do you want your last words to be?

And now, walk a bit more and wiggle some more, and if you are outside, maybe go to another area, or if inside, to to another area.

If you have an idea of what your “Soul” is, this is what we are going to be asking next.
Maybe, the idea of your “Real Self” makes more sense.
And how you get in touch with this is the work of a life devoted to discovering what is most meaningful in life.
So, go as far as you can toward this “Soul” or toward this “Real Self.”  Don’t demand any intellectual clarity on what this means. Just wing it.
And ask, hey, Real Self, Soul…
SOUL/ REAL SELF: “What do you want your last words to be?”
Listen from a quiet place. Listen as if to a whisper from the unknown and invisible world.
What do you hear, or feel, or guess?
Think, mull, scribble, doodle, take a walk and investigate this. Don’t continue to the next part of the book until tomorrow.

Enlightenment Challenge:
Come into the present moment as breathing.
Coming into the present as breathing plus ……”Gurdjieff” meditation

Layer One:
Follow your breathing.
You are alive, right?
No breathing = not alive.
This will happen to us all, sooner or later, no breathing in the earthly body.
Hence the Oscar Wilde inspired question: What do you want your last words to be?

In the meantime, it seems fairly amazing to remember the miracle: YOU ARE ALIVE, RIGHT NOW.

Look around you. The chairs, the walls, the floor, the houses, the streets, the cars. 
Not alive.
Look around you: the trees, the air, the soil, the plants, the birds: alive.

Let it even be a little deeper.
Into your ribs, filling them out in the front and back and two sides.
Feel the air coming out.

And breathe even more a little deeper.
Feel the air coming down into your belly, as you may notice your diaphragm expanding and contracting.
Don’t get into the anatomy too much unless you like that hooey. And DO NOTICE the here and now sensation of air filling out your belly and coming down into your lungs, and your belly coming in to help the air expel from your lungs.

Enjoy this.

Layer Two of Enlightenment:
For many years I was in a renegade system of spiritual development known as the Gurdjieff work. You can still find this around, and sometimes it’s quite vital and often it has stagnated into some very high class rules.
That doesn’t matter.
The essence is this is to make everyday life, the more common and full of physical movement (like being a butcher, a baker, a candle stick maker, a weaver, a carpenter, a gardener, a laborer, an auto mechanic) the better. (This is only according to me, and I was only in this work for fifteen years, so don’t believe me necessarily, but SHARE THE FRUITS OF THIS AMAZING SYSTEM OF PAYING ATTENTION IN REAL LIFE.)

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff was born somewhere around January 1866 in a region that mingled Greece and Turkey and Armenia. And died in Paris on October 29, 1949.
His discovery, from going off on his own to search out the meaning of life from about 14 years old on (we’ll see this again in Moshe Feldenkrais leaving Poland at 14 to walk to Palestine on his own), was that human beings were basically “asleep.”
Asleep to the moment.
Asleep to the miracle of their lives.
Asleep to their being caught in something like a robot like maze of conditioning.
Asleep to being able to see that they were asleep.

In this sleep, people go about terrified of disapproval and slaves to wanting outside validation. Why? There is no real person to live from.

Blah, blah.
You discover this for yourself.
Set out to be present most of the time. See when you succeed and when you fail. 
Here’s the real bitch: look around you and see how almost everyone is asleep most of the time.

And what was my 15 years in the “Gurdjieff work” like?
A hoot.
After about four years in a “goody goody” spiritual group” in Berkeley, that had lots of wonderful aspects, but was heavily biased toward solving all problems with more and more meditation, and solving all interpersonal problems by slotting others into an amazing, and semi useful and deeply addictive personality system called the Enneagram, I was set free, along with about 40 others, to do the Gurdjieff meditation.
This was to sense your arms and legs.
All day.
And notice the light coming into your eyes.
All day.
And to notice the sound coming into your ears.
All day.

So a Gurdjieff “meditation” as a group, meant the 40 people coming together on a Sunday for 4 hours of non-talk real work: building decks, sanding floors, building sheds, put on a roof, shingling a house, painting a house, putting in a garden.
And paying attention to.
Arms and legs.
Fingers and toes.
Light coming in your eyes.
Sound coming in your ears.

I loved it.
I’d gone to Caltech (the leaving of which was one of my first realizations of the importance of breaking out of the box society/ family wanted you to live in) and Stanford. ( A step down for my family, and the place where I first began to fall in love with the “now.” That story later.)
And had never build decks, or had the thrill and clarity of doing real work in the real world.
Berkeley at the time was chock a block full of therapists and pseudo therapists and people busy letting everyone know what their inner motivations (projection, Dad, Mom, etc, etc).
To be around carpenters, where we knew if the door worked, or the window fit, or the deck was level, was a relief and a delight.
I build that deck.
We build that addition.

And that was my life for fifteen years. Getting up. Sensing my arms and legs. Adding on sound.
Adding on light.
Going about real work in the day, and all sorts of other things (women were interesting as were studying and movies and dance, and leading my own “Gurdjieff” group.)

So this is your layer two:
Start with breathing.
And on
Sensing both arms and all the fingers you have.
Sensing both legs and all the toes that you have.
Realizing that you are, right now, bringing light into your eyes and seeing ….
Noticing that you are, right now, taking in sound into your ears and brain and hearing…..

Why do that?
To answer the second of life’s really really important questions>>>>>

Life’s Really Really Important Questions, #2

This is short. Life is short.
Life is precious.
Most of us live, most of the time, in a trance. Expecting to wake up sometime later when “real life” will begin.
This is not a rehearsal.
This is it.
Why live in a trance when this very moment we will never ever get back?

This is a trance busting question, and it’s extremely practical:
What shifts for you when you “wake up” from not being present and become present?

That’s it.

Study this more and more.
You’ll be stunned.
What shifts when you “wake up” out of the everyday “normal” trance and come back into the present.
The First Lust Challenge
We are mammals
Let’s touch

Life is happening each day, and no matter how many hours we spend in a car, or on a computer, we are mammals. Our skin needs to touch the skin of other mammals.
Even shaking hands is a start.
If we are European, we might reach forward and touch people as we talk, especially women talking to women.
If we are normal kids we are always getting in trouble, or having fun, bumping into our friends.

And when we have a mate, there is sex.
Sex is much, much more than PIV.
I stands for “in.”
I learned this a couple of years ago, when I was the second oldest person in a group devoted to sexual awakening via putting attention and value on female orgasm.
Do you want to hear about that?

The goal was to have a form of sexual connection that wasn’t “sex” per se. The goal was meditation, in being present in each moment. And not striving for the over lauded climax.
The goal was connection in the moment at the point of greatest pleasure in the human body.
The head of the female clitoris. 8000 pleasure receptors in that little bee bee/ pea/ grain. They very in size.
They are always packed with pleasure receptors.

In this group, somewhat of a cult, but deeply dedicated to moving men out of stalemate and stalking and porn and masturbation, and committed even more to the stance that women needed a time and place to simply and deeply receive pleasure and attention and being present without having to “put out” or plan the reward later for her partner.

This is the secret of a great sex life.

Do I have a great sex life? At 72? With a 68 year old wife? Who until we met never really had the thrill of great sex. And me, pretty sure, that sex would be a pleasant memory after 65 or so?
We have a great sex life.
Several times a day.
Always some non-reciprocal sex. Sometimes PIV once or twice or three times a day. But always some juicy meditation in the pleasure of life when connecting, in the moment, to the pleasure spots.

And the goal: to connect. To allow the other to receive. To be present and not “try” for results. To be thrilled with the pleasure of the moment.

And what is your lust challenge?
Sex once a day.
Start the finger with coconut oil gently stroking the clitoris for 15 minutes as a meditation?

Not yet.
A ten minute naked make out will be the second lust challenge. But for now, I want to give something you could do with a friend. It would have to be a pretty good friend, but still, touch is touch and everyone needs it.
Being present is life.
Everyone needs that.
Touching and being present is what great sex is about. Let’s start from the  bottom up.
Your feet.
Being touched by your friends hands.
In turns.
As a meditation on giving. 
And receiving.
And being present.

Practice giving attention and pleasure in five minute chunks.
Practice creating “learning” as part of this pleasure.
Practice noticing and talking about the present while you practice this taking turns touching.

Alright, alright, what is the simple level Lust Challenge?

Simple Level Lust Challenge,
Spend 20 minutes.

In the first ten minutes, take five minute turns rubbing and caressing each others’ bare feet.
Spend time making sure to play with the toes one at a time.
If you can move the toes with a slight, gently loving pull that allows you to feel all the way up to their hip (or even their neck, but only by SLOW and GENTLE and PLAYFUL pulling), so much the better.

Five minutes each way.
Get used to giving as a meditation, be present to your touch and what you are feeling.
Get used to getting as a meditation, be present to your partner’s touch and what is happening in all parts of your body as a result of this.
Especially sense your breathing.
Especially sense everything from the waist down.

Ten more minutes.
Take turns again. 
And add on speaking your awareness. Each say four or five sensations (not emotions, not thought) you are feeling in the moment. The giver will share their present moment sensations for four or five times. The receiver with share their present moment sensations for four or five times.
Then trade and go five minutes the other way, again, bouncing back and forth in your verbal sharing of the sensations.

No sex afterwards for at least an hour.

Is sex good for you?

If you treat sex as a chance to :
Slow down
To be present
To get out of your head
To create pleasure for your partner
To discover connection
To deepen connection
To invigorate your body
To calm your nervous system, while upgrading it at the same time

Then sex is a grand chance for you to be happier and more connected and present.
Did I say happier?

And will rubbing feet lead to this?
Find out

A Simple Definition that can make a difference, right away

When I went off and did all this fun carpentry and landscaping, all this delightful work in the outdoors and the real world, all this meditation and action, there were times I wasn’t as slow and present as I wished to be. Like cutting a hole in the side of a house forty feet up on a ladder.
Back going out.
Shoulder issues.
Neck issues.

This was the bay area, and it was easy, for someone with my seemingly endless good luck on finding pathways of great potential, to run across the Feldenkrais Method.® This was small and slow and attentive movements, usually laying on the floor in a  group of ten people or so, with lots of rests, and lots of delightful variations.
And the result: pain almost always disappeared.

And so I’d go to classes here, classes there and always recommend Feldenkrais® to anyone in pain.
Then I met Celeste. And was semi-retired and creating a large public garden for education and delight and food (permaculture, another of the amazing systems I found), and usually out of pain, and feeling “pretty good” for my mid-fifties. And somehow, a friend of hers got a postcard invite to a weekend exploration of this method, and couldn’t go. I’d been yakking to Celeste about how great this was, so we decided to give it a try.
I’d expected a nice weekend.
I hadn’t expected to come out feeling like I was 12 again.
That’s what happened.
This seemed the anti-aging miracle.
The weekend was also a “sneak preview” for a 4 year, 8 weeks a year training program. I had inherited a small amount of money. This seemed the way to spend the end of my life.
Sign me up.
And then, sign us up, once I realized that this changed so many things I didn’t want to have to come home and explain to Celeste, who was vastly flexible already, but who could experience even in the first weekend, shifts in her brain.

And what were these shifts?
Real learning, of a style very much like how we learned to roll over and crawl and sit up and walk as babies. 
By experiment.
By trying this and trying that.

And that’s not learning. You need variation to learn, but you need an awake brain.
But the awareness can be very small and this small awareness is what sets up new neurological pathways.

Don’t believe this.
Try it.
Take a deep breath and sit as comfortably as you can right now.
Raise one shoulder just slightly and then raise the other.
Pick one shoulder to improve. If one is in severe pain, don’t pick it. Slight pain, fine.
Start with a closer noticing: one at a time raise both shoulders and note the starting feel in effort and in range.
Now go to the picked shoulder.
Just raise and lower it.

Notice this difference: the difference between your shoulder blade, going up and down, and your ribs, which stay behind.
Go very slowly. Feel this with your other hand.
And your brain. 
This is a huge part of human ability.

Rest a bit.
Now, hunch over and pull in your stomach and raise and lower this same shoulder.
Feel how this is different. Again slow and gentle.

Rest again, and push your belly forward and arch your back.
Now raise and lower your shoulder a few gentle slow times.
Feel the difference.

Rest and sit straight-isa and look to the left.
Raise and lower slowly and gently and feel the difference.

Rest and look to the right.
Raise and lower slowly and gently and feel the difference.

Then, one last time, with no arch or rounding of your back, nor looking right or left, and yes, noticing even more clearly the difference between your shoulder blade and your back raise and lower your shoulder.

Feel the difference in the two shoulders.


Three Meditations
Awareness (of Awareness)
Attention (arms, legs, eyes, ears)
Connection (one fingertip, coconut oil & the Clitoris)

Meditation #1: Awareness as Who you Really are
Is that true?
Find out.

This is a closed eye meditation at first.
If you want to increase love, do this looking at your partner.
Sit somewhere more or less upright.
Commit to some increment of five minutes, 5, 10, 15 and so on.
Start with your breathing.
Become aware of your breathing.
Then become aware of the awareness that is aware of your breathing.

Then stay somewhat quiet inside and see where your attention goes.
If you have “thoughts,” notice that you notice them with your awareness.
Become aware of the awareness that is aware of thinking.

If you go to emotional feelings, notice that you can notice them with your awareness.
Notice that your awareness is NOT words. It has no opinion or judgment about your emotions. Those judgments and opinions are more thoughts. Become aware of the thoughts and realize that the awareness that is aware of thought has no opinion or judgment about thoughts.

One way to see this is that being in the “now” is to live in a world without words. Words are always pulled in from out of the now. So an awareness of thoughts, or feeling, or physical sensations, is just that, in the present, an awareness.
No commentary.
No opinion.
No demand that it shift.

Just awareness.

Keep hanging out in awareness and see if you can find where it lives.
See if you can find out anything else that has always been with you.
See if you can find out anything else that is more fundamentally you.

And enjoy.

This awareness, free of commentary and words and opinions and judgments, is a great vacation.

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