Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT ANSWER IN ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS"

HOW TO GET THE ANSWER TO YOUR BURNING QUESTION?


Don't assume you know the right question to ask. Like this cow. She's asking, "Will you take that annoying green thing off my ear? " I don't know how to do that. But if she is asking, "Will you take my picture?" She's asking the right guy the right question. That I can do.

Too often we don't ask the right question and as a result become frustrated because the answer we're seeking isn't forthcoming.

But, according to the most reliable universe sources, the answer you want will appear when you ask the right question. The most effective question you will ever ask, according to A Course in Miracles is, "What's the question?"



Now the question you're probably asking at this point is "Why is that the question?" That's close enough. Let's start with that.



Simply stated, from ACIM point of view…the answer that you seek already IS, because you are not separate from it, or anything else, for that matter. The answer is just waiting for you to ask the "right" question…the question that will release the best answer to your current level of awareness and for your best use.



The universe is very obliging with its answers. Like the answer to the question, "How do you stay together as a unity and not just fly off into the universal smithereens…answer: Gravity & Suns (as in Smith & Sons)

EXAMPLES OF RIGHT AND WRONG QUESTIONS TO ASK:

I took a series of science courses at San Francisco City College "for the fun of it',just to learn the subjects…Physics, Genetics, Geology, Physiology, etc. and I was planning on taking a course in what most likely would be way over my head, Organic Chemistry.

So I decided to bone up on some algebra…I got an algebra book and started working problems. After I finished one problem, I went to the back of the book to find the answer and compare it with the answer I came up with. The book's answer was different than mine. My gut reaction question, "What did I do wrong?" As it turns out…that was the wrong question. When I compared my answer with the "correct" answer, I realized I hadn't done anything wrong. I simply had not taken the answer the next couple steps needed to be the definitive and irreducible answer. All my steps were correct. I just hadn't taken the problem far enough.



Could it be that some of our answers may not be wrong, just incomplete? We just don't take them far enough…all the way out, or in, as the case may be, to the ultimate answer. For ultimately, the answer to life exists in…the Ultimate.



So, back to the question, "Why is 'What's the question?' the question?" If your head is spinning, keep in mind that everything is spinning…you're right on track.



When confronted by some of life's more resistive conundrums…we might start asking our conditioned default questions like: "What should I do?" "How long will this take?" "Will it hurt?" "When will it stop hurting? "What will this cost?" "Can we afford this?" "Will we be late?" or one of our most popular questions, "What's the matter with me/him/her or it?"

Or the unspoken questions…next layer down:



"Will he like me?" "Am I doing this right?" "Will they see how embarrassed I am?" "Will this lie I'm telling keep the pain away?" "Why can't they see the rightness of my point of view?" "When will he/she stop talking?" "Will I hurt their feelings?" "What if they say no…will I be crushed…like I was all those other times?" etc. etc…all the many expressed and un-expressed questions that surge to the forefront of our minds when confronted by dilemma, contradiction or puzzlement.

My spouse, Rochelle, was trying to watch a video on my computer. She was having trouble seeing the picture on the screen because it appeared too dark. The question she asked was, "Why is the picture so dark?" Wrong question. As it turns out the screen appeared dark because she was sitting at an angle below the screen which made it look dark. All she had to do was either tilt the screen or sit higher. Which is why "Why is the screen so dark?" not the right question. It wasn't dark. Right question… "What position do I need assume to be in relationship with the screen so that I can see it correctly?"

What's a questioner to do?

How do we get from wrong question to right question? Again, don't assume you know the right question. Instead, take a minute to notice the series of assumptions that have led you to what is, if not the "wrong" question, then the question that won't actually give you the answer you requested.

See if you can apply this example to areas of your life that may look like a dark screen and lead you to assume that they are dark, when in fact, it may be a matter of changing your relationship to the screen through which you see life—changing your perspective.
Another example. It was 1973, I was performing my first one-man theatrical show and I was presenting it at a church in Burlingame, CA. just south of San Francisco where I was living at the time. The directions I was given were to take Hwy. 101 to Broadway, take a right, go over to Camino Real, and go South to the church in Burlingame.
After the performance I was on my way back going North on Camino Real looking for Broadway to get me to 101 and then up to the city. I went up and down Camino Real but could not find Broadway. Finally, after enough frustration, I pulled into a gas station to ask the attendant, "Where is Broadway?" He didn't know. Hmm...wrong question. So then I asked, "How do I get back to San Fransicso?" at which point he said, "Oh, just take a right at the corner. That street will take you to the highway. You'll see the on ramp North 101, just take it."


In this case I was looking for the "means" to the end, rather than focusing on what I truly wanted and asking, if not the "right" question, then perhaps the "best" question. "How do I get to San Francisco?" That lesson has served me well.



So what becomes apparent is that our knee-jerk-reaction questions are conditioned by our perspectives and assumptions. In order to change your perspective so that you can tee up the best possible question, it's helpful to realize that the perspective that launched the question in the first place thought seemingly correct, is, in fact, only a perspective, and will eventually give way to, what is hopefuyly, a broader and deeper point of view..



Well, you may justifiably ask, "In order to function, don't we need to operate from certain assumptions?" Of course, as long as we continue to challenge and refine those assumptions…just as I needed to refine my "answer' in the algebra problem, my question to the gas station attendant, and Rochelle's question to the computer.

So operating on assumptions and habitual perspectives to guide us in our choices are certainly, though relatively, useful…Newtonian Mechanics helps us solve certain problem, but we kind of have to leave those principles behind as we get closer to the speed of light, and even more so, to the speed of LOVE, which probably transcends the concept of speed and any and all time space questions…and just IS... but that's another essay.
So from a Benevolent Universe perspective, are we not already plugged into the answer?…which is why the it is always available to us and why we need to pose the "correct" question in order to gain access to that timid answer.
Then again, maybe the right question was articulated by my mother-in-law, Esther, several years ago when my spouse and I were visiting her in Brooklyn and we went for a ride with her in her car. At one point she pulled into a service station and asked the guy (yeah, this is when they still had 'the guy" who came over to your car) "Would you look under the hood…and see what's doing?"


What if we looked under the "hood" of human perceptions and asked, "What's doing?" We might be surprised to discover deep in the entrails of all those assumptioins, the right question, and even more astonished to discover just underneath that…the best answer.

"It's your carburetor, lady. And no, I don't know how to get that damn blue thing off the cow's ear?"

Think on't.

Check out our radio show live Sunday Nights 7 PM PT
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Errol Strider
(415) 459-4512
http://striderinnertainment.com/
estrider@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

RELAXING THE WANT/SHOULD SPASM, Part 2

LEARNING TO TRUST!

In order to relax, you have to believe that the ground that supports you will continue to support you…no matter how creative a step you may take.


And why would you trust that? Well, you trust it all the time. Every time you take a step, you're actually falling and meeting the ground which predictably and even comfortably breaks your fall and gives you the impulse to take the next step.


And you know how you discovered that incredible level of trust…well, here we have to take you back to when you were a little younger…when you were just learning to walk. Remember that? ("Expletive of your own choosing"), it was probably one of, if not, the most important things that you will ever consciously learn, and you don't even remember learning it? What's with that!
Think about what you must have done to learn that "trust." After all, you didn't just learn how to walk, you learned how to trust.


My dance teacher in college, Harriett Ann Grey, would often say, "All dance is just falling and recovering."

And how did you learn to walk? Guess what? You fell down a bunch…a whole big bunch of times…and you got up…you recovered.

It was your destiny.


So, if learning to trust/walk required hundreds, if not thousands, of times of falling down and getting back up again, how many times will you have to practice the trust walk of faith before you can walk through life assured…certain that your every step will be met by the firm grasp of…not only material gravity, but spiritual gravity which also provides the spring in your step to keep you moving.


Yes, indeed, now The Cosmic Choreographer wants to teach you that you can not only trust the steps of your life to the "Ground of Being," but you can trust the dance of your life to your always dependable inner dance partner, who will lift you up and gracefully bring you back down so that you can ever rise again.

It's your destiny.

Think on't.


Errol Strider
(415) 459-4512
http://striderinnertainment.com/
estrider@gmail.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Caught between "Want to" and "Should do??

Escaping from the Want/Should jail cell of your own making…your "Get Out of Jail Free Card, Part I

Many of us spend a great deal of our life caught in the want/should jail. It's a simple cell…on one side beckoning to you is what you want to do. Your expectation: you'll feel relieved or happy or pleasured.

On the other side of your cell there's what you think you should do, or even more demanding and hateful, is what you believe you have to do. "If I don't do that, then I will experience the opposite of being relieved, happy or pleasured. I will be visited by pain or loss…and quite possibly…piss someone off. (That angry some one or some thing will likely let you know it in a way that won't be fun, to remind you that you can't just do what you want. You may even take on the role of that pissed off someone…it's called "guilt.")


Examples: the things you don't want to do to make money, to survive, to not get caught. The things you do for others that you don't want to do to mollify them, keep the peace, hurt them, avoid rejection, etc.


You may spend much of our life trying to negotiate this antagonism…Sometimes you do what you want and pay the consequences, Ow!...while other times you do what you believe you're supposed to do to avoid the pain and loss and hopefully achieve at least some degree of relief, pleasure, or comfort while paying the price of the pain of self-betrayal. Ouch!


Inevitably life demands some of this negotiation, but too often it reaches a point where your Will feels imprisoned. You have just entered the want/should jail cell...or your own making. This being pulled from one side of your cell to another can escalate to such a speed that it upgrades to…spasm. (Indeed…why Thomas Merton calls the ego a "spasm.) So there you are, caught somewhere in between, madly screaming inside yourself, "Is there a way out? "Who am I in this mess?! "Am I this spasm?!"


You feel compelled to resist the spasm. "This is awful! What can I do? How do I get relief?" So you may either seek respite through escaping addictions, which never work, or you will try to resist the spasm, which just adds to the pain of the spasm. Ow! Ouch!

If you've reached the point that living in your want/should cell is intolerable and are looking to get out of this jail, here's a get-out-of-jail strategy.


Step one…Give yourself permission to relax…

Now, if something is in spasm, what does it need? Certainly not to pursue the futility of escape or to be resisted. You need to find a way to relax.

Of course, it's one thing to give yourself the message, "It's okay to relax," but it's quite several other things to get your spasmodic self to stop long enough to even hear the message, let alone practice it…and it will take practice.

A simple place to start: Take three of the deepest and longest breaths possible for you to take. (Not to worry…they're still free…but hurry)

Or if that is even too aggressive a treatment, next time you take any kind of a break… go to the bathroom, go from one place to another, lie down, sit down, wait at a stop light, etc.…take these three deep vital breaths. That will stop you long enough to go to step two of this process:

Imagine yourself picking up the message that someone just put in your cell in an envelope with your name on it…Open it and read these lines… "It's okay to relax…at least for..." (and then you pick an amount of time that you're willing to give yourself permission to relax. Two seconds, maybe four...if you're adventurous, you can try six seconds or more. You do this as often as you can for as long as you can, and that becomes your beginning practice. You keep doing this more and more often and for longer periods of time every day until…you actually…relax. Guess what? You cannot be in spasm and be relaxed at the same time.

People might actually come up to you and ask, to your surprise, "How do you stay so relaxed? When were you released?" And that will even feel better than if they asked you, "How do you stay so thin? Or so young? Or so beautiful?" Imagine!

Think on't.

Next Blog: Part II: Avoiding recidivism. What you need to know to say out of the want/should jail and start having some chronic fun.



--
Errol Strider
(415) 459-4512
http://striderinnertainment.com/
estrider@gmail.com

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"YEAH...BUT..."

Once you start off on a spiritual journey, you will be assigned several companions. One of them is "Yeah, but..." Every time you attempt to step more fully into self-realization and spiritual intent, especially in the early stages, you can pretty well count on "Yeah, but..." to show up at your door.

As expected, "Yeah, but…" came by to see me today. I was attempting to hang out with another companion, "Why Worry? God's got you covered."


Now"Yeah, but..." always brings an entourage. You've heard of "Yes men." Well, "Yeah, but..." brings along a lot of ""Yeah, but... men"--Lobbyists, witnesses and experts to prove its case and justify its position. ("You won't have enough money." "Nobody cares for you." "People are undependable. "Get what you can while you can." "You can't trust men... or women." "Life on this planet is doomed unless we get with the program and we're too far gone in apathy and denial to do that." "God is irrelevant to your daily life" "Life sucks!" etc.)


Now, "Yeah, but…" usually doesn't tell me what action I actually need to take to address these annoying issues. That's not its job. Its job is just to incite worry, assuming that if it stokes up enough anxiety and reinforces it with adequate justifications, proofs and corroborations happily supplied by its "Yeah, but... men," I will forsake "Don't worry, God's got you covered." and "Get real." (One of "Yeah, but's favorite injunctions.)


You see, from "Yeah, but's…" point of view "Don't worry, God's got you covered." is not only preposterous, but actually illegal… according to its laws. Anyone guilty of promoting this point of view deserves punishment and annihilation, even better, crucifixion, if they still allowed it. At the very least, mounted on the rack of ridicule.


When I tried to explain to "Yeah, but..." that the reason I need not worry is that I am realizing that I'm enfolded in the embrace of an all loving, all supportive Presence that has my best interests at heart.


"Oh, that," "Yeah, but..." says disparagingly, insisting that IT has my best interests at heart, while attempting to persuade me that "Don't worry, God's got you covered." is stupid, useless, irresponsible, fucked up, or any other adjective that can describe the utter insanity of allowing this perspective into my mind and why I need to do something about it…before…(and here it resorts to some projected time in the future that "Yeah, but…" predicts, with great conviction and the exhaustive research supplied by its expert witnesses)... calamity occurs…if I don't change my ways, get busy worrying and take control.


Now part of why "Yeah, but…" is so convincing is that it can point to an almost infinite number of instances in which people who don't respond to it's highly trained and credible experts get their asses kicked and lose shit.


"Yeah, but..." can easily demonstrate through history that there is no "god" to cover my ass in troubling circumstances, let alone break my fall or pay my bills..


What "Yeah, but..." fails to mention, by cleverly hiding this reality, is that all this worry doesn't actually prevent life from kicking my ass or taking away my shit.


Nevertheless, I implore "Why worry? God's got you covered," "what do you have to say to that."


"Why worry, God's got you covered," humbly but authoritatively asks, "Do you do anything to beat your heart? Bring your self into existence? Breathe your lungs? Run your metabolism? Send messages throughout your nervous system? Continually feed and cleanse every cell in your body? Keep gravity operating? And does any amount of worry cause those things to happen?"

I turn to "Yeah, but…" who very deftly changes it's first name to "Well" and starts,
"Well, but…"'

"Oh, now you're "Well, but…" are you? "Well…but"…does it?"

"Well…no…"

"So if none of this angst makes the most essential processes of your life happen without you even being conscious of them, let alone worrying about them, then do you think agonizing will help our host solve any of the problems that confront him?

But "Yeah, but..." makes one more attempt to validate its position by bringing in its tag team partner, "No, but…" who trots out its list of very compelling "or else's." ("You better get real about all of this or..."You'll be homeless." "You won't have electricity." "You'll be rejected." "You can't pay your bills." You'll be downsized." "You'll be old, decrepit, alone, homeless and helpless, etc.)

"But doesn't all that worry just sap your energy and keep you from creatively engaging your problems?" "Don't worry. God's got you covered" retorts.
"Yeah, but..."


"So, isn't worry absolutely ridiculous and totally counterproductive…and that's why you, "Yeah, but…" are nothing but a worry wart and all your "or else's" are totally bogus?



"Well…yeah…


but…"

(Think on't...)
Errol Strider
(415) 459-4512
http://striderinnertainment.com/
estrider@gmail.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

IS GOD MOODY, TOO?


"Hmm...what do I feel like doing today?" wonders God.


Let me guess. God is in the mood for…love--to experience life in his/her universe loving through and as us?


Possibly, but, as it turns out, she can only do that consistent with her nature.



That's where you come in.



"But…what is her nature? Isn't it love?" you may ask.



Yes, but it also depends on her mood.



God is very moody.



For instance, if God is what's behind everything, animating existence, infinitized… clearly God can be moody if not out right… fractious...


Between perfect stillness and the Big Bang…well…there's a lot of mood swings going on. Most any mood you could ever be in…not to mention, all that's followed the Big Bang. Talk about moody!



So that brings it back to us. How does God experience his/her universe as us and stay consistent with her nature?



Or more to the point…what are you in the mood for?



When you're in the mood for pancakes…or veal ptarmigan… great sex… a ride on the bay...or for a good movie, a day at the beach, a good conversation… or chocolate even? Is that God wanting to take the wrapper off? Is that God in the mood for those things, too?


When you're in the mood for a little self-indulgence, do you invite God to indulge herself with you? As you?



And what about mood swings? Will you allow God to swing along with you when your mood swings? Does God swing? Does God go both ways. In and out? Back and forth? Yin and yang? Is that fractitious?



Or, is God up for a threesome? Is God, in fact, a happy threesome? Did God, invent the ultimate threesome? Self beholding self emerging new self out of all that beholding?



Could it be that when you're "in the mood" for something, that that is the Prime Desire...desiring…actually triggering that mood.



Could it be that it's God that is in the mood for Frank Sinatra…a game of ping pong, a night at the opera, sitting down with a good book, playing a cross word puzzle or pulling your hat over your eyes?



On the other hand, are you ever "in the mood" for inflicting pain, receiving pain? Is that really a mood swing or is it just a desperate attempt to compensate for mood opportunities missed when you felt abused, abandoned, unseen or defiled? Stuff that may have put you in a...bad mood?


Check it out: Here's where God's nature reveals itself. When you have the luxury of being able to ask, "What am I in the mood for?" Are you not relaxed, available, with the energy, resources and maybe even the opportunity to satisfy that mood?



Could that be God's nature? Not only instigating the mood, but also providing that which will satisfy the mood?


Clever God. The giver and the receiver. And isn't that where we come in? Ever relaxed and ready to "swing". To go both ways…from giver to receiver endlessly…Perched on the pinnacle of eternity, eager to jump off?



Does God really swing both ways…from stillness to colossal undertakings? Is that who you are? A colossal undertaking emerging out of stillness, responding not just to God's mood for a little sensual treat in time and space, but to his whims, his larks…Does God often have a whim for a little unending creativity? My God, is God always in the mood for a lark?


And what about God's whims...If his moods are unpredictable, what about his whims? They must be positively capricious. And when God goes on a lark, how much is that going to cost!?



Hey, does God always give vent to his whims? Were you created on a whim? Or a lark?



"Today, just for a lark…" says God, "I think I'll evolve a new species, I'll give birth to…you, and I'll make you as moody as I am, just on a lark, mind you."



So, if you're following God's nature, I suspect, you're always in the mood for... a good mood... whether it's the sight of a baby, the feel of your lover's fingers gently stoking the inside of your wrist, the intensity of a roller coaster ride or the sound of waves lapping at your boat.



So, go ahead and whistle your mantra… "I'm in the mood for love." And while you're whistling, if you listen closely, you may hear God's infinite overtones—his moods whistling right along with you in perfect harmony.



So, how 'bout it, God...are you in the mood?
"I'm always in the mood." says the Deity. "But what about you?"


"Well, I am in the mood for a little snuggle, but wait, let me put on something more comfortable."


"Good idea," saith the Lady,


So, you put on your relaxed self, ready for action, and ever abiding in the trust, that, no matter what it may feel like, you can be assured that God is always in a Good Mood.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

STARTING DOWN THE TRACKS OF HUMANITY'S RESTITUTION


Since the two impediments to peace and love are fear and ignorance, we can safely say that, "It's the Fear, Stupid."

What we need to recognize to get started on the journey to global recovery.


My friend, James, stopped by the coffee house today (my office away from home-office--Peet's café in San Anselmo, CA) and confirmed what I had suspected are the biggest impediments to a successful and healthy society…


I had shared with him this passage from Bill Bradley's' book, The New American Story where Bill says, "The only things that can stop us are fear, ignorance, self-centeredness, and greed." James' top two picks of the week for the main villains dragging humanity around in the mire of disease, destruction and suffering were fear and ignorance.


So how does one or how do we, as a collective, diffuse the fear and educate the ignorant, especially when the ignorant are too frightened to be educated or to ignorant to know that they are run by fear?


This is not to take anything away from all our best efforts to actually solve the problems that are the result of fear, ignorance, self-centeredness, and greed. But let's face it, until we find ways to reduce the toxicity contained in these human attitudes, (not to mention our addiction to them) we will always be putting out the fires they've initiated.


Now these fires have their upside, to be sure…they keep us on our creative toes, adaptive, and compassionate, but really, how much fear, ignorance, self-interest and greed do we really need to develop these valuable traits that empower us to succesfully engage to life's challenges? I could do with less, couldn't you?


Now, of course it isn't "they" (these attitudes), but "us" (these humans) that are at both cause and effect here, but it is these un-examined impulses operating through us that are wreaking havoc on the human/bio/atmospheric systems. So, if we really want to arrest the forces that are responsible for dis-equality, environmental degradation, war, alienation, obscene deficits, disease, people who are late, insensitive, lazy, irresponsible… "stupid and ignorant", etc. (fill in the blank), then we must find a way to address the raw phenomena of fear and ignorance…and their first cousins, greed and self-centeredness.


Now, the last time we checked, we found humanity hanging on the precipice of some serious global shit. How can we, members of the human race, interface with humanity to "head it off at the 'past"? How can we, the hero, if not save the day, at least save some of the future days so that posterity won't have to deal with the troublesome and smelly legacy of our fear and ignorance.


Let's start by addressing and attending to the fear that drives...well...me…and to become willing to admit, at least as a starting point, that 'I don't know all there is to know," and…whoa!...apparently, I'm on my way (Watch out transformation, here I come…buckle up, Errol). Yes, until each of us recognizes the degree that we operate out of fear and that what we "know" is miniscule in the face of what we don't know, we won't initiate the degree and quality of change the systems requires to "right itself."


For better or worse, it is calamity that drives most of us to that recognition. Do we need to wait for the onslaught of pain and degradation to engage the process or can we roll up our sleeves, divest ourselves of pretentions, and get to work being ruthlessly honest with ourselves and face our ignorance and fear and apply ourselves to their respective diminish-ment?


So how about we begin the journey by dis-ignorant-ing ourselves of the tacit assumption that we are not driven by fear? That fear will drive us into the mistaken notion that something of the finite, which we have made an absolute in our own minds, will save us. (It can be money, or Allah, or Jesus, or winning people's approval or the right lover, the cheapest price, anything really…some "idol" that we were warned should not be put before the All-Oneness of Infinity, some addiction that we perpetuate to hold on to our dear delimited life…so that we can feel safe and alive. We attempt to make something finite fulfill the role of the absolute. Talk about ignorant…no wonder we're so scared.


Indeed, many of us, much of the time, grasp on to some tightly held perspective to ward off the dangers of the unknown (just beyond our self-definition) which is eager to gobble us up and leave no clue of our negligible existence behind. And thus we remain frightened, ignorant and dominated by self-interest and greed.


So there you have it…next blog…what to do? Or more precisely, how can we relate to ourselves and each other in such a way as to liberate and act upon our highest wisdom and deepest levels of compassion so that fear and ignorance don't so effectively dominate our minds, hearts and wills?


"To fear or not to fear"…that seems to be…if not the question… the issue.

Check out the doable response to this quagmire in my next blogs.


Think on't!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

IS GOD TWO-FACED? Part 2 "Let's Face It"

Let's face it, it's nice to share a meal with someone you can relate to.

When I want heartfelt comfort and soul nourishment…it really is immensely satisfying to know that I am in a relationship with a very intimate "Other"…and indeed, the more I surrender (snuggle up) to that Other-ness, the more I recognize that the other enjoys companionship just as much as I do. The meal just tastes better when we're sharing the same grass.


But just to keep the scales balanced (I am a Libra), I love grazing in the open fields of un-endingness and non-distinction…it's relaxing, it's satisfying, there's no resistance and there's more than enough to go around.


So let's face it...it's good to abide in "both/and".. which calls me to be a compassionate "other" when life needs "me-othering" and as permeating presence in the pastures of consciousness when distinction just gets in the way.


So, thanks Jesus and thanks Buddha. Even though you are of the same fertile "Ground of Being," by showing up in different guises, its make sharing the meal more flavorful and standing together... a treat for the infinite be-holder.


Think on't!





Epilogue:

"On a Walk" by Errol Strider

On a walk…or pacing…

when I really want to focus in…to perceive Essence…
I stare down into grass, dirt or concrete,

for in that focus…mesmerized…
the sweet inner gaze of the "Unfathamobile" filters up to me
And I stare…as into nothing…the ground within…
to walk in the experience
of knowing
that I am…accompanied.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

IS GOD TWO-FACED? Part 1

"When you make the person of God your significant other, every other person you meet becomes…… significant." ES


I live in Buddhist Country…there are a lot of Buddhists around here in West Marin, S.F. Bay area. I'm not sure whether Buddhists believe in a personal God…a God that can be known as "Other". I don't think so. After all, how can there actually be an "other" in a non-dualistic universe…and yet…there is obviously personality distinction. I deal with others all the time…and if I forget or deny them their "other-ness," they are quick to remind me just how not them I am.

Is God "Other? Is there just Being (and non-being)? How important is it to even make a distinction? And more importantly, how does one concept or the other affect our lives? ("Who's on first?")

I'm kind of a both/and kind of guy. I like it that at the sub-atomic level…sometimes energy appears as particle and in other circumstances, as a wave (and even more recently as string. What's next? A chord?) I guess it depends on the problem we're trying to solve. (see Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle)

I went to a conference in Boulder on science and spirituality a couple of years ago and heard one speaker say that recognizing each of us as "the sacred other stimulated compassion in him, while a Buddhist scientist found that believing we are all one evoked compassion in him. What I find helpful is to know that the universe is imminently personal…self-aware and volitional. To know that I am both housed and permeated by a Self-aware presence of living love is very comforting. And I need to be comforted…there's a lot of being jostled and irritated by "the others" going on.

Yes , a comforting face is welcome.

Indeed, Jesus referred to the Spirit of Truth (evidently a new and improved spiritual energy that he was able to liberate into the stream of human consciousness by virtue of his life, death and resurrection)…as "The Comforter."

Jesus in fact said, "You have seen me, you have seen the Father." Now, while I can accept the notion that God is much much more than a personality, personality is still one of the faces that God presents to us…along with Infinity of Being, evolution, and even 'non-being…oh… and the face on the cover of "Mad".

And in the faces of people, if you look closely enough, you'll see that while each face is decidedly different...there is another face in there that you recognize as...

your own. ("How did that get there?")

I think I would not appreciate existence quite as much if there weren't such diversity...so many faces on the countenance of the Infinite. You might even stumble into the paradox that, somehow the infinite gets bigger because of all the distinctive faces it makes. (You could even criticize the Infinite for mugging...it makes so many silly faces.)

When these "separate" faces behold each other, something in the unique-ness of each cross- fertilizes with that which is unique to the other and both experience "putting a new face on it."

Each is suddenly expanded by the other and that is how the Infinite (already a face full) gets…bigger. Some (facial) "expression" passes from one to another that neither had in the first "face."

And those moments give birth to "smiling faces."


Think on't.

Next blog, "Is God Two-faced?" Part II, "So let's face it!"

Looking at the faces of Jesus and the Buddha in your mirror.





Sunday, November 15, 2009

WHO IS THE ENEMY?

Who is the Enemy?
(From Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf (c) 1970-1991



(I may not have written it, but I certainly have pondered it)...Love to get your comments. How does this affect you? How can you step up and be and/or follow the Servant Leader. (If you haven't been exposed to Robert Greenleaf's work on "Servant Leadership" well worth checking it out, that is if quality leadership for our society is important to you)


Who is the enemy? Who is holding back more rapid movement to the better society that is reasonable and possible with available resources? Who is responsible for the mediocre performance of so many of our institutions? Who is standing in the way of a larger consensus on the definition of the better society and paths to reaching it?



Not evil people. Not stupid people. Not apathetic people. Not the "system." Not the protesters, the disrupters, the revolutionaries, the reactionaries.



Granting that fewer evil, stupid or apathetic people or a better "system" might make the job easier, their removal would not change matters, not for long.
The better society will come, if it comes, with plenty of evil, stupid, apathetic people around and with an imperfect, ponderous, inertia-charged "system" as the vehicle for change.
Liquidate the offending people, radically alter or destroy the system, and in less than a generation they will all be back.
It is not the nature of things that society can be cleaned up once and for all according to an ideal plan. And even if it were possible, who would want to live in an aseptic world?
Evil, stupidity, apathy, the "system" are not the enemy even though society building forces will be contending with them all the time.
The healthy society, like the healthy body, is not the one that has taken the most medicine. It is the one in which the internal health building forces are in the best shape.



The real enemy is fuzzy thinking on the part of good, intelligent vital people, and their failure to lead, and to follow servants as leaders. (bold, Errol)
Too many settle for being critics and experts. There is too much intellectual wheel spinning, too much retreating into "research," too little preparation for and willingness to undertake the hard and high risk tasks of building better institutions in an imperfect world, too little disposition to see "the problem" as residing in here and not out there.



In short, the enemy is strong natural servants who have the potential to lead but do not lead, or who choose to follow a non-servant. (bold, Errol) They suffer. Society suffers. And so it may be in the future.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"SO, YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD IT ALL FIGURED OUT?"


What do do when, "So you thought you had it all figured out." shows up in your face...like, no matter how much you think you want it, what you want is wagging its thumb at you.'

Like when you bump up against your capacity to control your life and make it feel the way you want it to make you feel...

Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, bozo!"
"The inevitable confrotation," my brother-in-law Phil used to call it.
And when we asked him to translate it, he smacked us a good one... "Pain buoyo, pain." And indeed the pain that he precipated reverberated in my head. "Oh That."
"Yes, that."

As the Buddha pointed out so well to us, "Yeah, there's suffering. Yeah, suffering sucks. But wait! There's an end to suffering Don't let your suffering suck you."

Withdraw your attention from the world of thought and perception as long as you possibly can and as often as possible... and while your there abide in total wonder and unknowing...willing to "not know shit."
In other words, leave everything behind when you step into the NOW...
as a matter of fact, that is
how you step into the Now.

That's pretty much it.
Except...what Jesus added to the picture...

A terrific way to access and harness the Power to drive you into awareness.

So it's like Buddha charts the course and Jesus fuels your passion for the mission.
But you get to take the steering wheel and send your pedal toward the metal...and put whomever you'd like in the seat beside you.
Make friends with your unknowing, you'll find out that it gets more and more fun not to know.

Think on't

go to littletastetreatsfromjesus.come

Errol P. Strider



Thursday, November 5, 2009

WHAT’S WRONG…AT THE VERY CORE OF IT ALL?


AND HOW DO YOU FIX IT?

I asked myself the question…is there a specific, even single impetus for the mass amount of dysfunctionality experienced by humankind?

"Yes," came the reply from the digitized burning bush, "Just type in the following letters in this particular sequence (not case sensitive) and you'll have your answer."


"Okay."


"B-E-T-R-A-W-A-L"



"Well, when you put it like that…" was my almost first response when the "AWAL" at the end of the word jumped out at me. Then the digitized burning bush continued, anticipating my next, inevitable question…


"Here's how it works."


"It is the accumulated experience of life not responding to you the ways you'd like or expect it to, and, depending on the severity or the quantities of the pain, you will tend to respond to these betrayals with one of or a combination of the following five reaction states: ANGER, CYNICISM, DENIAL, SELF-BETRAYAL, PARANOIA, as articulated by James Hillman in his definitive essay on "Betrayal."


"Eventually these attitudes become chronic orientations to life…your default template basic judgment screen, as it were, through which you filter all that life sends your way. (And you're not limited to one…oh, no, they work better in combination, and if they're used effectively, they will deprive you of the primary rights of your existence. (oh, that Pesky ol' existence again)… which colors all your perceptions and in consequence of that, all your decisions…from which your life experience evolves…and which predictably determines your "Next."



"You see, when your "Next" triggers pain and resistance to it, that's what we're calling, "Betrayal." It happens from the git-go…being thrust out of a very pleasant watery environment into one in which you're going to have to work for a living. Whoa!


But wait…there's more…you are thrust out into circumstances that are demanding, confusing, frustrating, etc. (you fill in your word that denotes "expletive-ing) and that you're sure you... did not order.



"Then you go to one of the default responses, or you mix and match as needed.



Question: Your preferred response to betrawal?
A. Anger


B. Cynicism


C. Denial


D. Self-betrayal


E. Paranoia


F. All of the above


G. A unique mixture of all of the above depending on what triggers the memory of the pain of betrayal.




"So… it's kind of like you create this swimming pool and you fill it with one of the above, (anger, denial, cynicism, self-betrayal, paranoia). Basically, you swim around in this stuff, breathing it and looking out at life through the distorted picture that it necessarily gives you. That gooey mixture becomes the interface between you and life.


"As the irritant in the oyster triggers the creation of a pearl, the one of great price perhaps, the irritance of betrawal creates the equivalent of the chaos of cancer cells trying their best to not get with the program.


"Since we swim about in this mental slush (your own patented combo of anger, denial, cynicism, self-betrayal, paranoia du jour) it will ultimately deprive you of innocent point of view and you could very well end up living a soul-less life.


"(While you can't really completely obliterate your soul, you certainly can handicap it, and deprive it of your awareness…not realizing that your awareness of your soul and it's awareness of you provide the equivalent of the ever-spontaneous-power-generating system of Being otherwise called, "Life."


"So, there you have it. What's to be done?


Three R's:



  • Re-cognize: Start by learning to catch yourself in the act

  • Re-frame: Pick out a point of view that you'd like to have even though you cannot justify in any way having that point of view…(go to our web site, ww.betterpointsofview.com aka www.sexmoneygod.com for options)

  • Re-solve: Make a commitment to yourself to live your life as if this "superior" (or at least preferable) point of view IS valid for YOU, and keep choosing/making up your life according to that perspective (practice, perservere, ask for support...from me for instance)

Oh, and by the way…leave your expectations at the door of the next… "Next."


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DO YOU SQUIRM IN THE FACE OF FULL SERVICE LOVE?


Be honest now. Are you hiding from love? How would you know? Why would you do that? What is so threatening about love? Did you even ever consider that you may be hiding out from love? What do we mean by love?



For many of us the closest we get to love is in ecstatic embrace, whether it be with a lover, with the child that can often emerge from that embrace, a beautiful sunset, riding down the rapids of the Colorado River, either catching an impossible-to-catch ball or someone you care about catching it, (or even someone you don't). These phenomena are saturated with love and demand our full attention, which we are usually delighted to give. You might even say... like the commercial, "I'm lovin' it."



That's the love that I am referring to. The take-your-breath-away kind of love. The kind of love that leaves you saying, "If it all ended right now, this would have made my life worth while... (But I'll gladly take seconds.")



The great paradox of humanity is that what we seek the most, we most resist, like two magnets turning this way and that because they can't make up their mind.



Hmmmm... shall I separate or congeal? Shall I push off or cohere? Shall I move out or move in?



Well, if you look closely at the activity of lovemaking, popularly called "fucking," you'll notice,... it's both. You have to go out in order to come in to keep the sensation going, and in that moment all that counts is the sensation. (We'll deal with responsibility, another time.)



The issue is knowing when to do which... come out, go in. You can take a hint from breath. Once you've expelled all your breath, you would naturally have an urge to inhale... you'd think.


It's pretty much the same with sex. When you come out, it's time to go back in, that is, if you're a plunger. And even if you're not a plunger, but a receptor, you're happy to keep it moving.



But it seems that when it comes the interface between the self that you think you are... over here... and that which appears to be over there, like the environment, or something distasteful or incomprehensible, there often can be hesitation, when to move toward... when to move away. For instance, when to try and get as much for yourself with complete disregard for the consequences to others, or when sharing yourself with life in the most efficacious way possible becomes more attractive.



So where did we leave you? Maybe asking yourself, "Am I hiding out from love?"


The answer is easy... because love is all-consuming; it could veritably eat you up and spit you out, or even worse... not spit you out. And there you'd be...


...permanently affixed to love.


Bummer...


No wonder we hesitate to surrender to the complete immersion in the...


... Infinite Allness of Existence.


Talk about all-consuming...


you bet we're squirmin'...



Think on't!


(I'm lovin' it.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

DOES SOMETHING NEED TO CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE?


DOES SOMETHING NEED TO CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE?


WELL, GUESS WHAT? CHANGE MEANS CHANGING HABITS.



Okay, you want to change? Something needs to change? Someone? Our recently elected president came to office on a commitment to change. Any honest observer knows that we need to change. If you're experiencing any kind of frustration, obviously, you want things to be different than they are. That's change.


Options for change…


Change the circumstances


Change your mind/perception/self



While we may desire change and feel we need it, we often overlook the fact that change involves changing a habit. Habits by their very nature resist change. But unless you're willing to recognize that you need to actually change a habit for change to occur, forget it, change ain't going to happen, including the habit of not wanting to change—(after all, if it changes…it just might get worse).


Did you ever notice, you'll get this great urge to change something in your life…in the world…and yet…as much as you think it should happen, it doesn't? You read the right books, you're inspired by them. You take a workshop that seems to actually change you, and yet the change doesn't stick. Whether it's changing your diet, different ways of relating/reacting to others, starting a new exercise program, changing the world…things that you think you should do to make life better for you, for others, for society, and for nature... the call for change is very compelling but often very difficult.


Well, guess what…it's not enough to change your conscious mind. For change to happen, you have to engage your subconscious.. After all, what part of the mind is currently controlling your habits?

Not your conscious mind. No…whether it's as simple as putting food on a fork and guiding it into your mouth, or as complex as re-visioning and reordering society, it necessarily involves working not only with the conscious mind, but also with the subconscious mind.

This requires understanding how the subconscious works, how habits are formed, and how they're broken and how new habits are established. Beyond this understanding, it also requires the tools, training and the support to make it happen.
I envision the conscious mind as like a scout of a wagon train. The scout can get on his horse and gallop off to parts unknown, find game, check out the countryside, even take a look over the crest and see the vista of the sought after destination…but then there's the wagon train…wagons, oxen, feuding families, breakdowns, disease, chaos…much harder to get moving than the unencumbered scout. Well, in some ways, that's what the subconscious is like.


So once your conscious mind has determined to change something about you (we'll deal with needed societal changes later), you will need to re-program your sub-conscious accordingly.


Your sub-conscious, the part of your mind that controls your habits--is doing a very good job of maintaining the habits you've already set up…like going to the refrigerator and eating a pint of chocolate milky sugary frozen goo instead of the 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise your body really needs.


Your sub-conscious is going to require a great deal of persuasion in order to change that habit. Not only is it programmed to go for the frozen milky gooey stuff, but it and you really enjoy that sweet comfort food. It's much more fun than 30 minutes of intense, sweat producing exercise.


This also holds true when you want to change things like your habit of judging yourself for eating the goo and not doing the exercise…and your automatic shame when someone catches you eating the goo.


Now, just imagine how difficult it is to get the people that don't agree with you who are doing bad things to society to change their habits. They are habituated to doing the things that piss you off…that they need to change. What they're doing obviously feels good to them, or, while they might recognize that change is needed, they will inevitably confront the same subconscious resistance to change that you do... and you're motivated.


This is why it's good to practice changing yourself as it allows you to appreciate just how difficult it is going to be to change anyione else. And who knows…maybe when you've changed yourself, the changes "out there" might not even be necessary.

And by the way, in case you hadn't noticed, you probably don't want to actually change, unless you're desperate or in pain. Or, if you're a rare bird, you recognize the positive attributes that will result from the change that you know in your heart need to happen and that will in turn motivate you to go through the necessary focus and effort that the transition of change requires.



So it's good to start with little things just to get you into the "habit" of making change. Here is an outline of the steps for making change...especially change that improves the quality of your life.


1. Determine what change needs to happen.


2. Strengthen the motivation to make that change.


3. Learn the tools and techniques of change


4. Reprogram the subconscious to make the change.


5. Get support, be patient with yourself, and persevere..



We'll get more into the details of the steps once you have persuaded yourself that change really needs to happen and have accessed the motivation. I look forward to hearing from you, and I'm eager to support you in making whatever changes you feel are necessary for your life and that which you care about.