Sunday, February 18, 2018

Spiritual Ascendency (Updated)

Delay will hurt you now more than before, only because you realize it is delay, and that escape from pain is really possible.
(A Course in Miracles)

Some say that when you eat meat, you upset your delicate spiritual system and that is why many religions advocate a vegetarian diet. I think this is entirely possible and I have stuck to this experiment for the last four years. Actually I started on moral grounds to protest against the grotesque meat production industry in the western world. Whether this decision catapulted me on my spiritual path I can’t tell; though, I took notice when my spiritual friend who always mocked me for this decision suddenly turned vegan from one day to the next.

I am not very fond of following some perceived spiritual wisdom; the 'thou shall' and the 'thou shall not' rules that are supposedly good or bad for our spiritual evolution. In my experience, we only need to adjust our behavior when Spirit knocks on our door. In the case of my decision to turn vegetarian it was quite simple, my sister-in-law gave me a book on the US meat production industry as a birthday gift. ‘That’s simply insane”, I thought to myself. Before I read this book I rather follow its sublime message and stop eating meat!

Spiritual ascendency is about increasing vibration. We have become upgraded, and with it, our energy frequency and behaviors change. We can no longer hang out with all the people we used to. Our jobs may change, and we can no longer tolerate some of the stuff that we used to do. Spiritual ascendency is something that is provided by the Grace of God, though our actions certainly influence the timing of this act. When the different energy centers open up, expect many changes. You can look forward to having more energy, a constant feeling of peace and connectedness and you have command of some metaphysical powers that the spiritual books like emphasizing.

Unfortunately there is also stuff that you need to cut out; old psychological baggage that you need to throw overboard before you can set your sails again into a new direction. There is a little back and forth to leave that stuff behind. Old, out-grown energy patterns is the fortress our ego loves defending. Eventually though, we get the message and manage to break free from it. Refusal to comply will lead to a loss in energy that simply feels dreadful. As the Course in Miracles reminds, the Awakening process cannot be turned back, but it can be delayed. You may try a few times, but soon realize that it is just not in your best interest.

What exactly it is that you can do or should not do is something you can find out experimentally. You stick to the activities that empower you and avoid the activities that cut into you power base. It is as simple as that. My hunch is that these experiences are all unique for each spiritual traveler. We all approach our Source from different angles. For some it is not eating meat, for others it is not having sex. There are some who always insist on speaking the truth, etc, etc. Let’s show each other which exception justifies the rule. I would rather hear from your experience than conjecture what the possible Ten Commandments are.

I have written frequently on my blog on addiction, not because I am exactly an expert on this subject but because the journey of breaking free from the ego and the struggle to escape the hungry ghosts of the past can feel quite similar. What both groups have in common is that they essentially no longer have a choice! Everything boils down to an all-or-nothing decision. The alcoholic passes by the liquor store and may be tempted to go for it just because he had a bad day at work, or because he fears being all by himself. He knows that with the first open bottle the floodgates are wide open and a giant downhill spiral will follow.The alcoholic has seen this movie before and knows how it ends. One day he will reach that point where the bottle remains closed forever. Likewise, once you have experienced the energy level, power and peace associated with a spiritual transition, you have little choice but to do what the Awakening process dictates. For me Jesus and Buddha's last temptations were about reaching this final step to break free. In Jesus’ famous “Get Thee behind me Satan” command, he may as well have addressed his ego instead.

I called my first book “The Magnificent Experiment”, and probably hit the gist of our spiritual journey on its head. There is no faith required in the spiritual ascendency process; it is pure energy dynamics. All we have to do is to follow the leads of life’s cues and follow the energy. I am a scientist by training, so I am a big believer that you need to figure things out for yourself. You need to work out what is consistent with your journey and what not. Just be honest, be open to listen to different views, try them and be ready to embrace change because your energy vibrations change all the time and something that may have worked for you yesterday may not work any longer today.

Are there any observations off the beaten spiritual path you like to share?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Embrace and Express Your Emotions

There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid faking their own Soul.
(C.G. Jung)

We fear our emotions.  We don’t like to feel anxious, restless, angry, or lonely. We hate to be depressed, or afraid.  We do all sorts of activities to dispel these feelings.  We get on social media; we go shopping; we hang out with friends; we do our spiritual affirmations, we meditate, or burry our head in work.

The truth is, whatever we do, these emotions will still resurface from time to time.  The harder we try to dispel our feelings, the more forceful they are repressed into the depth of our being. It is like trying to push a basketball under water; it always pops up with a splash.

How about taking another approach instead. How about releasing these emotions as they surface. The key to releasing these emotions is to experience what is happening to us consciously.  Instead of trying to repress them, this time around we just go along with the flow of life and allow them to flow right through us. We allow the discomfort to be there. We accept the pain present in our life. When we take this approach, these emotions flow through us like water is running down a river-bed.

When we welcome and express our emotions, our body becomes a channel and we expresses the energy of the universe. No matter what our mind may think about it, we become non-judgmental. We accept, express and release the energy without getting defined by it. It doesn’t stock to us, and we are harmoniously united with the universe moment by moment!  We feel the lively energy flowing through us!

When we are open up to our emotions, we understand who we truly are. Universe and us are finally one! Enjoy the harmony of life!

My life is a song;
a beautiful song.
Sometimes it is a happy tune,
and sometimes a sad one.
I happily sing along!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Self-Improvement is as Useful as Renovating a Prison

The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see.
(A Course in Miracles)

The ego is an energy field. It is superimposed on us like a virtual headset, distorting our perception of what is. To a greedy person, everything will have a dollar sign attached to it. A power-hungry person only sees worthwhile connections, never mind the folks who waste his time. As we all know so well, the ego comes in many facets and flavors. We can fill in here whatever it is that makes our heart jump.

Can we be free from ego? Sure, once we stand next to the burning bush as Moses once did. In the ‘I AM THAT I AM’ state that energy field leaves us, but until that blessed moment we unfortunately have to accept the fact that we all carry it around. The ego thinks, feels and pretends it is us. Can we experience stages of ego attachment? Sure, spiritual folks will probably see the loveliness the Course in Miracles refers to a bit more often; but then, before we know it the blinders are back on.

We cannot run away from this energy field called ego, and we cannot hide from it. Withdrawing into the mountains of Nepal will not take away our selfishness, greed, or lust. A more inspiring scenery will merely mitigate that stimulus that otherwise would supercharge our ego in life’s challenging ups and downs. Viewed from that perspective, there is no telling what we should do. Plunge into life’s messiness and risk being deluded. Start an idealistic spiritual journey and risk running away from life.

What to do? Life has a habit of telling us what it has in store for us. Sometimes we like the message, and sometimes not. Often we have a love-hate relationship with what comes our way. We wish we were somewhere else and alternate between happiness and misery. Have trust that it will be a journey of self-discovery, and eventually, ego transcendence. God knows what He is doing. God looks out for everyone and eagerly waits for the return of His children. Unfortunately, everyone has to diffuse this energy field in their idiosyncratic fashion.

There is a danger in our spiritual community to feel ‘holier than thou’. That too is an ego trip. So what if you see the loveliness that your brother overlooks. The moment you look down on him, the ego has reclaimed his empire. Perhaps you like this self-created fellow better than the guy who accumulates, who schemes or lusts, but that is only your perspective. You are also not any closer to God than your brother who runs after what is meaningful to him. Your carrot may look more appetizing, but the donkey who runs after his spiritual carrot is the same.

J. Krishnamurti used to say that ‘self-improvement’ is as meaningful as renovating a prison cell. Either we experience the ‘I AM THAT I AM’ state here and now, or we are bound by ego. It is either or. You can get disappointed now and throw your spiritual books into the corner, or you can feel liberated by the insight that we are all in the same boa . No one away from the burning bush has any business criticizing thw brother who runs after the promising looking Fata Morgana.

It is fun to be a spiritual traveler, isn’t it? We see loveliness more often than not, and we have fun traveling the Way. Others are in love with their cravings, we are in love with life itself. The path of mindfulness is insightful; our energy work and meditation makes us serene and confident more often than not. Express your passions in a purposeful way and just see what happens. Continue to follow your path without expectations, without anxiety and without judgement of others and just see what happens.

God is patiently waiting for the moment when the snake is ready to shed its skin. May your path be blessed. I have a hunch that it is!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Suffering, Creativity and Joy

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
(Niebuhr, Serenity Prayer)

What exactly causes our suffering?  A lot of our suffering comes from the fact that we cannot accept what’s happening to us. It is our denial and rejection of the situation we are in that causes the distress.  If you observe what is going on, you can see that you try your best to get rid of undesired situations.  Not that there is anything wrong with it.  We should do our best to improve our life.

Unfortunately, there are always the times when we cannot really change the situation we are in, no matter how hard we work.  Sometimes we just need to accept life as is, and make the best out of it. Sometimes we just need to say ‘yes’ to the situation we are in and trust God that there is a good reason for our handicap.

Life is a creating journey and no one gets a perfect tour.  We all need to use our creativity to contribute something to God’s Kingdom. Sometimes it is exactly the compensation for our pain, and the projection of our wishes, that gets our creative juices flowing. This  creativity makes us a partner of God.  When we use our creativity to make the best of our life, we feel a divine connection and become joyful again.

Life is not about sitting there and crying about what could have been, or should have been. Life  is about appreciating what we have and to make the best out of it! Do you use your creativity today?  Invite the joy back into your life!

By Christian and Su Zhen

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Way of the Artist

"I am devoid of duality, my form is formlessness,
I exist everywhere, pervading all senses,
I am neither attached, neither free nor captive,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva.”
-Adi Shankaracharya

There is an Indian Proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. This house is the temporary seat of our timeless Soul. We have forgotten that we are the eternal Shiva, but we can Awaken to this infinite Consciousness. Here and now on the blue planet, our body has needs and genetic predispositions. Our mind and our emotions are shaped by our upbringing, by life’s countless ups and downs, as well as our karmic nature. The house of Spirit adjusts flexibly to the need of our Soul. Some see Angels, while some others communicate with animals and nature. Some see synchronicity in an otherwise rational world, and some see nothing at all. 

This is your movie, you write the story of life. You own the house that built you, it can be a mansion, a simple flat in a poor neighborhood, a church, or you can drift with a caravan like a rolling stone through the country side. Have fun in the matrix, transcend it, or do both. A life coach can help you build the house of your dreams, and a spiritual coach can help you to find your artistic groove with the mission to leave it all behind. Psalm 23 of the Old Testament, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd ...’ describes the Way of the Artist. We life artists intuitively realize the Guidance of the Spirit in what we see, experience, say or do. In the house of the mind there is understanding, the house of emotions mirrors life itself, and our body reflects Lord Shiva’s dance of life. 

Spirit guides us moment by moment. Along the Way of the Artist there are no expectations, no fear and no judgement. We artists show up with brush and canvas in hand and transcend the house that built us in our creation.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

You are the Holy Mirror

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will treat yourself.
(A Course in Miracles)

How come that I speak of GOD to you? I am also just another person like everyone. It is you who makes me holy. 
You are the one who holds up the mirror for me in which I see myself. In all my imperfections, I do have one insight. I understand something about energy dynamics. I choose the crowd I hang out with. I stay away from conflicted energy unless I spot an honest desire for healing and wholeness. In all my imperfections, I have one strength, I know how to treat myself.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Journey Towards Wholeness

Question: What is your favorite letter in the alphabet?
Answer: W! It is twice U … :)

My son picked that up in first grade, and quizzed me just as I was writing a note on wholeness. I laughed politely, but my thoughts immediately went to my note: sure, W as in Wholeness, it is certainly twice the You! Daniel Pink starts his New York Times Bestseller, ‘A Whole New Mind’ with the premise that we are all on a journey towards wholeness. In a spiritual quest, he says, it is a natural evolution to become androgynous (a balanced combination of male and female attributes). Professionally, he figured, societies and economies will make the transition from left-brained (logical, analytical, objective) to right-brained (intuitive, thoughtful and subjective). That all resonated with me perfectly at that time when I read it. I always felt that I was born an old soul. I was hitting the library searching for spiritual insights during my student days, while my high testosterone friends were hitting on girls instead. And yes, I also have few yin energies running through me, especially after my spiritual path opened up to me.

Later in my professional role as a financial strategist I underwent Daniel Pink’s predicted transition from the highly analytical PhD research to the more intuitive strategy work that can be best described as pattern recognition. Despite all these personal overlaps with his predictions, I still would state his wholeness premise differently: the system we operate in strives for wholeness, we don’t necessarily have to. Instead, express your life story passionately and purposefully, and wholeness will be yours, eventually.

The interplay of yin and yang and the subconscious drive to bring the opposing forces together can be found everywhere. Lao Tzu already understood this law of life 2500 years ago in ancient China and shared his observations in the Tao Te Ching. The interplay of opposing forces can be literally found everywhere. Have a look around, and you will see it too. I discovered the duality of life in my economic profession: prolonged booms set the stage for the next recession; bull markets are followed by bear markets, and hawkish politicians and policy makers will one fine day kick out their more dovish counterparts. Every reaction has a counter-reaction, and we spiritual travelers are called to understand this tension and encouraged to one day transcend it. As it is written in the Tao Te Ching, the Master resides at the center of the circle, watching the world spin.

Observe any group of people and you can see the dance of yin and yang there as well. In my professional life I had the pleasure of working with the most diverse set of people there can be. A group of ten experts covering the globe included story tellers and visionaries, as much as analytical and number oriented minds. We had an equal ratio of male and female, we had Asians, Europeans, Latinos and Americans working together. It was my job to bring their accumulated insights and talents together and that was when I understood that all of them had come together to teach me a thing or two about wholeness, and the tensions of duality.

As spiritual travelers we can see that subconscious drive towards wholeness everywhere. Love, respect and study your parents for one day you will find yourself embarking on a mission that they themselves couldn’t quite finish. Study the lives of your in-laws for some of their struggles will likely make it into your household as well. We are One and we all have signed up for a joint healing mission. Work, home, the interactions with our friends, as well our spiritual journey; the strive to make whole, to complete and, eventually, to let go, can be found in all areas of our lives.

It is a law that the system of people interacting with each other strives for wholeness, but the same does not have to be true for the individual. The mother of 3 boys may accentuate her femininity, subconsciously compensating for the remaining high testosterone household. The system has to be in balance, and the individual has to be made whole by the environment he operates in. Interestingly enough, during my Awakening journey I moved away from my somewhat androgynous starting point. Embedded in a driven, high testosterone-charged working environment, I had to accentuate my assertiveness. Without imposing some some healthy boundaries vis-à-vis my aggressive colleagues, they would have eaten me for lunch a long time ago. In hindsight, it was that tension of finding who I truly am that catapulted me on my spiritual path.

Along a spiritual path we get a clearer understanding of who we truly are beneath the hood. Like a snake that sheds its skin, we let go of the parts that are not us. In some dimensions we become whole, in others, we let others complete us while expressing our idiosyncratic story line. Neale Walsch presented a beautiful theory that describes our Home-coming journey best in ‘A Conversation with God’. In it, God stated that in order to return to the light, we have to make it through all the rainbow colors. Be that passionate red, or embrace the serene blue, just as it feels right. Whatever you do though, go all the way! Express your life story perfectly: the eccentric artist, the passionate lover, the driven spiritual leader, the giving care taker, or the loving and committed mother. Whatever your story is, go and run with it.

GOD has designed this life to bring you Home. Express yourself, and you will naturally attract the support system that completes you. Eventually we all make it through all the rainbow colors, and that’s when the Old Souls become androgynous and seemingly float above all of life’s temptations. We came from wholeness and will one day return to it. Wholeness is your birth-right, claim it