Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Emptiness of Busyness

From An Awakened Life--Christopher Titmuss
Stress is a publicly acceptable word for living imprisoned by desire and fear. Stress is the desire to get things done, and the fear of not getting them done.
"Technology makes us more and more efficient and sophisticated in the way we move from one place to another and in the way we communicate. Yet we have no time for any real communication, person to person, face to face." I remember the old days when socializing happened by dropping in on my friends without any advance notice. It was an acceptable aspect of the sub-culture I lived in. I can probably count on one hand the number of friends I'm willing to do that to now. People are busy with their lives, doing important things, and it just seems rude. I fear that many people would be annoyed if I just popped in on them unannounced. But when someone drops in on me unexpected, it's usually a pleasant surprise that warms my heart.

Living with a jammed up, crammed up schedule, with promises to self and loved ones that we will relax and de-stress and kick back and enjoy life, taking the time to connect with others once we get our to-do list completed, once we have achieved and produced just a little more, is self defeating and deceitful.
As soon as I finish this job I'm going to have some breathing space. I'm going to take it easy. There's going to be some sanity in my life.
We will never get it done. I repeat. We will never get it done. Never. There is always something more to be done. Always has been, always will be. We will die with it unfinished. It's the way of the physical world. Once one task is completed there are six more to take its place. Goals are fine, but stressing ourselves out trying to complete them will never make us happy.
Are you willing to explore your potential for a stress-free and genuinely contended existence while going about your daily tasks?...are you going to start today with one basis change? If so, what is it going to be?

Posted by Adrienne

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Awakened Life

A gift I received today:

The Awakened Life--Uncommon Wisdom from Everyday Experience by Christopher Titmuss who entered a Buddhist monastery and became a monk for six years.

May all beings live in peace
May all beings live in harmony
May all beings be fully enlightened

One way to conceptualize awakening is to understand that it occurs at two levels, the relative and the ultimate. Relative awakening is when our insights turn our consciousness in a particular direction. One of the problems of relative awakening is that the insights get suffocated by the thoughts of our daily life. As we develop an appreciation of awakening, an energy of commitment is created that gives us passion to follow through with the the core message of our insights.

Ultimate awakening (no problem with follow through) is what happened to the Buddha under than Bodhi tree when he realized the core issues of human existence. This is were The Four Noble Truths come from.

1. There is suffering in the world
2. Suffering arises due to conditions. Desire is a primary condition.
3. There is liberation from the rounds of suffering.
4. There is a way to end suffering through a noble way of life, namely the Eightfold Path.

"In an awakened life our heart is open, steady and purposeful." We can experience an awakened state but then it is difficult to stay awaken while carrying on with our daily lives. Some of the ways to help ourselves stay awake are: contact with conscious people; mindful living; meditation; inquiry; taking risks; and contemplative reading.

May all beings live with wisdom
May all beings be awakened
May all beings live an enlightened life

posted by Adrienne

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Andrew Cohen

In my opinion Andrew Cohen is an intelligent and very spiritually evolved person. I love reading his stuff. Check out his website here. Check out his blog here. Check out his What Is Enlightenment? magazine here.

This biography is from his website:

"Andrew Cohen is an American spiritual teacher and visionary thinker widely recognized for his original contribution to the emerging field of evolutionary spirituality. Through his talks, retreats, publications, and ongoing dialogues with the leading philosophers, mystics, and activists of our time, he is becoming a defining voice in an international alliance of individuals and organizations who are committed to the transformation of human consciousness and culture.

Cohen's original spiritual teaching for life in the twenty-first century, Evolutionary Enlightenment, places the traditional realization of enlightenment in the context of fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution. As a vocal critic of the extreme individualism that characterizes much of contemporary spirituality, Cohen is awakening in people around the world a purpose for living that far transcends egoism: namely, a moral obligation to wholeheartedly participate in the evolution of consciousness itself. He travels extensively each year, lecturing and leading retreats on Evolutionary Enlightenment throughout the United States, Europe, India, Israel, and Australia. In his pursuit of a contemporary redefinition of the spiritual life, Cohen has sought out religious leaders and spiritual teachers around the world to inquire into many of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. He was a featured speaker on the future of religion at the 2004 Parliament of the World's Religions, has given talks on authentic leadership to major corporations, and is also a founding member of philosopher Ken Wilber's Integral Institute...

The founder and editor in chief of the international, award-winning magazine What Is Enlightenment?, Cohen is dedicated to creating "nothing less than a revolution in consciousness and culture." Since 1991, Cohen and his small team of editors have met with mystics and materialists, physicists and philosophers, activists and athletes in an effort to create a popular forum for dialogue and inquiry regarding the meaning of human life in the postmodern era. Converting to a more mainstream, quarterly magazine format with its twenty-fourth issue, WIE has grown beyond the limits of its printed pages, spawning an international speakers series called Voices from the Edge, an online multimedia forum known as WIE Unbound, and a partnership with the Connecticut-based Graduate Institute (TGI) to offer an accredited master's program in Conscious Evolution. Recent contributors to WIE include H.H. the Dalai Lama, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Carlos Santana, Ken Wilber, Don Beck, Ray Kurzweil, Howard Bloom, Thomas de Zengotita, Elisabet Sahtouris, Robert Wright, Duane Elgin, Dadi Janki, and Andrei Codrescu, among many others.

Cohen was born in New York City in 1955. Raised as an atheist, his life was irrevocably changed by a spontaneous revelation of "cosmic consciousness" at the age of sixteen. Haunted by the experience, Cohen eventually abandoned his dream of becoming a jazz drummer and, at the age of twenty-two, began seeking spiritual enlightenment. Moving from the study of martial arts to Kriya Yoga to Buddhism, Cohen's search finally came to an end in 1986 when he met the Indian master of Advaita Vedanta H.W.L. Poonja. Shortly after this life-transforming encounter, and with the encouragement of his guru (with whom he later parted ways philosophically), Cohen began to teach.

Spiritual mentor to hundreds of students worldwide, Cohen founded EnlightenNext in 1988, a nonprofit educational and spiritual organization dedicated to pushing the edge of progressive culture. In addition to an expanding network of individuals and groups around the world, EnlightenNext has public centers in New York, Boston, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, and Rishikesh, India. The main center for EnlightenNext is a 220-acre retreat venue in western Massachusetts, where Cohen and his largest body of students currently reside."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My First

Our May 1-4 Enlightenment Intensive was awesome with 10 participants and 5 staff. Our chief/senior monitor arrived in Chico the night before. I picked him up at the bus station and we all went out for Thai Food. Later that night we visited and talked about our plans for the Intensive while I baked the last of the chocolate chip cookies I was bringing for the Saturday afternoon snack. Getting out of town on Thursday to head up to the awesome Rambln Rose Ranch that sits on 165 acres at the bottom of a beautiful canyon on Big Chico Creek was a chore. I thought we were organized and that all the last minute packing and pick-ups would be simple but we worked and ran around town from 7:00 am until almost 3:00 pm. Jerry had already run up and down the hill a couple of times, meeting the guy who delivered the porta potty, putting up signs to help guide participants to the Intensive, dropping off loads of supplies, putting up tents etc.

We finally arrived around 3:30 and got straight to the business of getting everything set up for the participants who were arriving between 6:00 and 7:00. That was a lot of work! We were far from completing that task but the space was lovely, it was what it was, and I was happy in my exhaustion. Patrick didn't arrive until 6:30 pulling his travel trailer which was full of the second half of our supplies. He had been running around all day packing and getting things together for the Intensive also. Jerry arrived around 7:00 with our cook and more last minute supplies we had forgotten.

We had moved most of the furniture out of the room we had picked as our dyad space and I was struggling trying to arrange the chairs and cushions for the dyads. I tried every which way and was feeling pretty stuck. I loved the room but it had all these pillars spread out in the middle of it that were interfering with the dyad rows. Finally I got Patrick in there to help me and within a minute he found the angle that made it all work perfectly. No wonder the man is an architect. Those skills come in handy.

By 8:00 we had tea and a snack out with everyone pretty much settled in with their sleeping arrangements and by 8:30 we all gathered for the opening talk. What a nice group with seven newcomers! We were thrilled to have so many fresh folks who didn't have to work for their beginners mind and also thankful and comforted by the veterans. By 10:00 pm we sent everyone off into their silent retreat contemplating their questions, to get a good night's sleep (some headed off for the hot tub). By the time my mind and body hit the air mattress in my tent sometime after midnight I was ready for rest...I thought. But I was too cold to fall asleep. Then I noticed I was dehydrated and needed water but had none close to the bed and I was too cold to get up and get it. Then I had to pee but again, I was too cold to get up from under the covers. Finally I braved the cold to pee and find water but after returning to bed I still couldn't sleep...all night I lay awake until the light and birds chirping at 5:30 am pulled me out of my bed. Incredibly enough, I felt rested and soon Rick was ringing the bell to wake the participants with Good morning, this is the first day of the Enlightenment Intensive. You have 15 minutes until the morning talk.

What a day. What can I say? The technique is powerful and I loved watching everyone's process unfold. I felt like a mother hen with all her little chicks. By afternoon rest time I still couldn't sleep so we laid and read poetry.

It took our cook awhile to get settled into the kitchen, organizing everything and getting the menu down but she accomplished that task with an open heart and incredible artistic ability with her culinary skills. She's a very gentle person and her presence at the Intensive added a shining sweetness. Although the timing of the meals wasn't perfect, we never had too much of a wait and all in all, we were extremely well fed and cared for in that department. I feel very blessed and gifted with her hard work and enthusiastic attitude. She offered us a lot of love. It had meant a lot to us, to offer exceptional food at this Intensive and that task was accomplished.

Walking contemplations were awesome with the creek and wildlife, surrounded by all of nature and the magnificent canyon walls. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather--warm and sunny days, clear starry nights--and then a mini thunderstorm rolled in Sunday evening during a dyad, the skies darkened, the wind rose, a few raindrops were shed and then it cleared again to sunny skies for our dinner eating contemplation.

We had the sweet joyful puppy, Molly, who loved all the activity going on and would raid our tents, eating toothbrushes, soap and various other items. Molly is so smart that she could actually unzip the tents. We also contended with her cohort the cat, who loved being in the dyad room with us. She would push the latched door open and then prance through the middle of the dyads distracting the participants. She loved being loved on and was pretty sweet throughout until she scratched one of the participants on the leg, breaking the skin. Bad kitty. All in all I think the dog and cat proved to be only minor distractions and just added to all the love.

Rick was an incredible chief/senior monitor and his ability to jump in wherever needed and hold things together amazes me. He does his job exceptionally well, it's truly a service of his heart. Jerry was our de-odder/silent monitor, and all around go-fer, (a de-odder is an extra person who sits in on the dyads whenever he may be needed to make it an even number) and he helped us an incredible amount too. Patrick and I worked well together and it all seemed to flow very smoothly with us sharing the role of Enlightenment Intensive Master.

We read lots of poems and inspiring stories. We did what's done at Enlightenment Intensives, the basic foundation being Dyad Communication, using the tried and true technique that Charles Berner (aka Yogeswar Muni) taught us. The participants contemplated their questions, Who Am I?, What Am I?, What Is Love?, What Is Life?, What Is Another?, intending to directly experience the truth and communicating whatever arises as a result of that contemplation. We did our best to help refine the technique as the dyads and days went by. Some of the new participants seemed extremely attached to personalizing the communication, continuing to say you in their communication, rather than using the term Another. One strange little kink was the Thank You, at the end of the dyad which morphed into Thank you for sharing, for several of the new participants, to the chagrin of the old-timers. We tried to guide them in the best way possible to facilitate their process and the process of others. What to be strict about and what to let slide was tricky at times. People make their choices and we wanted to respect that, while at the same time, maintaining the integrity of the tried and true method. We had 32 dyads total over the course of the 3 days. We had the full spectrum of pleasure and pain, stuckness, tears, laughter, phenomena, and Enlightenment Experiences. Patrick and I shared the last dyad of the Intensive together, gazing into one another's eyes and crying while one woman's angelic voice serenaded us into bliss as she narrated her breakthrough simultaneously as it occurred.

I am so blessed and feel so honored to have been graced with the presence of all our wonderful participants and staff and especially two of my Enlightenment Master's Training buddies who came and supported me in my first endeavor to master an Intensive. And to Another who flew all the way from Georgia! I feel so much gratitude to my fellow seeker of truth, who first introduced me to the Enlightenment Intensives, my good friend and playmate, my anam cara, and co-master Patrick. Thank you sweetheart. And to Jerry, my sweetheart, husband, lover, and best friend who supports me in all I do, be, have. I could go on and on...

I will go on and on...

In truth and love.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Elizabeth Gilbert's Breakthrough Into Enlightenment

Quoted from Elizabeth Gilbert's #1 New York Times Bestseller-- Eat, Pray, Love. Japa Mala 67

"So now I have found out. And I don't want to say that what I
experienced that Thursday afternoon in India was indescribable, even though it
was. I'll try to explain anyway. Simply put, I got pulled through
the worm-hole of the Absolute, and in that rush I suddenly understood the
workings of the universe completely. I left my body, I left the room, I
left the planet, I stepped through time and I entered the void. I was
inside the void, but I also was the void and I was looking at the void, all at
the same time. The void was a place of limitless peace and wisdom.
The void was conscious and it was intelligent. The void was God, which
means that I was inside God. But not in a gross, physical way--not like I
was Liz Gilbert stuck inside a chunk of God's thigh muscle. I just was
part of God. In addition to being God. I was both a tiny piece of
the universe and exactly the same size as the universe. ("All know that
the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the
drop," wrote the sage Kabir--and I can personally attest now that this is

It wasn't hallucinogenic, what I was feeling. It was the most basic
of events. It was heaven, yes. It was the deepest love I'd ever
experienced, beyond anything I could have previously imagined, but it wasn't
euphoric. It wasn't exciting. There wasn't enough ego or passion
left in me to create euphoria and excitement. It was just obvious.
Like when you've been looking at an optical illusion for a long time, straining
your eyes to decode the trick, and suddenly your cognizance shifts and
there--now you can clearly see it!--the two vases are actually two faces.
And once you've seen through the optical illusion, you can never not see it

"So this is God," I thought. "Congratulations to meet you."

The place in which I was standing can't be described like an earthly
location. It was neither dark nor light, neither big nor small. Nor
was it a place, nor was I technically standing there, nor was I exactly "I"
anymore. I still had my thoughts, but they were so modest, quiet and
observatory. Not only did I feel unhesitating compassion and unity with
everything and everybody, it was vaguely and amusingly strange for me to wonder
how anybody could every feel anything but that. I also felt mildly charmed
by all my old ideas about who I am and what I'm like. I'm a woman, I
come from America, I'm talkative, I'm a writer
--all this felt so cute and
obsolete. Imagine cramming yourself into such a puny box of identity when
you could experience you infinitude instead.

I wondered, "Why have I been chasing happiness my whole life when bliss was
here the entire time?"

I don't know how long I hovered in this magnificent ether of union before I
had a sudden urgent thought: "I want to hold on to this experience
forever!" And that's when I started to tumble out of it. Just those
two little words--I want!---and I began to slide back to earth.
Then my mind started to really protest--No! I don't want to leave
--and I slid further still.

I want!
I don't want!
I want!
I don't want!

With each repetition of those desperate thoughts, I could feel myself
falling through layer after layer of illusion, like an action-comedy hero
crashing through a dozen canvas awnings during his fall from a building.
This return of useless longing was bringing me back again into my own small
borders, my own mortal confines, my limited comic-strip world. I watched
my ego return the way you watch a Polaroid photo develop, instant-by-instant
getting clearer--there's the face, there are the lines around the mouth, there
are the eyebrows--yes, now it is finished: there is a picture of regular
old me. I felt a tremor of panic, mildly heartbroken to have lost this
divine experience. But exactly parallel to that panic I could also sense
a witness, a wiser and older me, who just shook her head and smiled, knowing
this: If I believed that this state of bliss was something that could be
taken away from me, then I obviously didn't understand it yet. And
therefore, I was not yet ready to inhabit it completely. I would have to
practice more. At that moment of realization, that's when God let me go,
let me slide through His fingers with this last compassionate, unspoken

You may return here once you have fully come to understand that you are
always here.

Kundalini And Enlightenment

If one has had his kundalini awakened and risen, does that mean he is

This is quoted from Yoah (aka Jack Wexler) regarding enlightenment and kundalini.

"Good Question.

First of all, one can mistake a kundalini awakening with pranic activity in the body. The Life Force or shakti in the body is called prana. Intense pranic activity or pranatana is often mistaken as kundalini. It is not. When the prana is in the central energy channel, called shusumna, it is called Kundalini.

A kundalini awakening may or may not be an enlightenment experience. Energetically, enlightenment could be described as when the Kundalilne energy pierces through all the grunti's or knots (the lower, middle and upper triads of chakras) and into the sahasrara or thousand petaled lotus flower of the crown. DIRECT CONSCIOUS UNION or SELF REALIZATION OF TRUTH is enlightenment. One's kundalini may energetically pierce into the saharara and one may NOT REALIZE the Truth due to their attention being distracted by the phenomena associated with kundalini. They are caught up in the phenomena that occurs right before or right after the enlightened state. They are caught up in the bodymind's reactions to kundalini..... the heat, the joy, the tears, the laughter, the intensity of mental, physical and psycho sexual phenomena. So they miss it. It is still there. It always is. One needs to just notice the obvious.

Having that awakened kundalini and self realization does not mean one MAINTAINS that awakened state of consciousness. Just as you awake in the morning from a long night of sleep and then go back to sleep again in the evening..... so to does one awakened state of being go back to sleep due to the forces of nature, the levels of impurity in bodymind and what one is committed to.... sleeping or awakening.

As well, the egoistic false pride of awakening may 'hitch a ride' onthe enlightened state and claim ownership for sake of fame and fortune. As a friend of mine likes to say, the mountain top of enlightenment is a slippery slope and one quite easily slides back down."

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Messy Business of Being Human

I was a participant in the eight annual Mt. Baldy Enlightenment Intensive last week. Lovely Cynthia picked Patrick, Jerry and I up at the Ontario airport and drove us up the mountain to the Zen Center. We settled into our cabins and then relaxed in the sun. They fed us Thursday night dinner which was an unexpected treat and eventually we gathered for the opening talk, taking in the other participants and anticipating the wild ride we knew we were all in for. Then it was off to bed with our contemplations. I was working on What Am I?

I froze half the night and couldn't fall asleep. I was in a cabin with 3 other women and everyone else seemed quiet and comfortable, but of course, we never know what's really going on for another unless we are sitting in dyad with them. I finally pulled myself up out of bed and cranked up the heat. Ah, sleep finally arrived although I continued to wake on and off throughout the rest of the night. The 5:55 bell came with the announcement, "Good morning, this is the first day of the Enlightenment Intensive, you have 20 minutes until the morning talk."

It was a powerful Intensive for me. Lots of stuff kept coming up about living in the moment and acceptance. What else is there to do? I exist in the moment and if I'm intending to experience the truth of myself directly, the moment is probably the best set up for that experience.

I started looking for the obvious in what I am. I exist. I intend. I desire. I make choices. I notice. I have set up my whole life around connecting with others. This seems to be my foremost path, what I desire and yearn for. I kept recalling my most recent experiences with ego--various opportunities for connection with another and ego getting in my way. It has an agenda other than my own. Ego is always busy with its "to do" list. It always has something important to give to another, or to get from another, some information or this or that or another thing. Sometimes it's busy working to impress another. Always one thing or another, things that don't interest me, that I have no investment in. I get so bored, so weary with ego's running around. I find myself functioning on automatic, ego in control. I'll be there, engaging without really engaging and then I wake up and find myself doing ego's bidding. "Hey, wait a minute" I say to ego, "this is my show, my life, my agenda here, so back off", and then I go about my business of connecting, being present, being available to another. Ego's pattern is insidious and difficult to change.

I know ego is doing it's best to take care of me and frankly, it does a fairly decent job most of the time. But it's too uppity and a control freak. It's nervous about it's survival, anxious and impatient. I've been too lenient with it, extended its leash too long and given it free run over my affairs. It's time to reign it in. Sorry ego, you gotta back off now, you've been stealing the show for too long and this is my debut. I'm the star in this drama.

Erik and Edrid were co-mastering this Intensive and the perfect masters they were. At one point, Eric was talking about the messiness of life. He used the analogy that we are all made of clay and poop and how we just sling pieces of ourselves, clay and poop all over each other. I got a picture of a potter at work, sitting at her wheel forming a beautiful bowl which to me, symbolized the building of relationship. Pieces of clay where splattering all over. Relating with another and creating intimacy is a messy business. We humans are messy, with another we lose ourselves and find ourselves and make a big splattering mess in the process. We do our work. We witness another's work. This is love. This is the dyad process.

At the Enlightenment Intensive it's not about working on a specific relationship with another but rather about intending to directly experience the truth of the moment and opening ourselves to receive that truth. It's also about opening ourselves to another, being nakedly open to receiving whatever they have to offer. Opening ourselves to another's splattering messiness and accepting it without opinion or judgment. And the amazing with this is that we don't get dirty. The poop flies, the clay flies, and we are so open, so totally non-resistant to this stuff, it just dissipates into it's native nothingness. All we do is get it and let it go. We give the gift of understanding. Another's messiness does not sully us.

Eric also offered the analogy of taking out the trash...that's a lot of what is going on when the active partner is contemplating and communicating. So much of what we are holding on to and identifying with is just simply garbage and it needs to be released, kind of like a big stinky fart or belch. We are helping another take our their trash and we don't even have to wash our hands in the process. At other times what comes out of another are these incredibly beautiful sparkling gems of truth. And as we sit there openly receiving, the light of these truth gems strike us with their brilliance and open us more, filling us with the truth of our own selves. We accept it all with understanding and compassion and the process works it's magic on us.

At one point I was experiencing being stuck. I had all these ideas, perhaps correct ones, about what I am but correct ideas are not direct experiences. Edrid told me that maybe I needed to take the leap. I said I would if I had any clue what to leap into. I also told him about the moments when I "show up" and he encouraged me that that's the time to delve deep into my question. What is my experience of Self when I show up? I'll continue to be working on that. One thing I've noticed is that I feel very warm and transparent. I'm also in love. And happy.

As the Intensive drew on I came to understand the leap I need to take. It is of course leaping more into my life. Taking the plunge into a deeper truth. I've put my toes in the water and that's a start. I'm inspecting the truth fabric of my daily life and patching up the areas that have worn thin. I've been letting ego get away with some indulgences and some threads could break if I'm not careful, leaving a hole for me to fall through. And that landing would stir up too much mud in the pond.

Posted by Adrienne