Monthly Archives: November 2012

The invisible bank

Imagine if there were a big invisible bank where you could withdraw everything you need, like love, courage, support, supply, encouragement, joy, contentment. You’d just go to the invisible ATM, stick in your invisible card, and take as much as you wanted.

Well guess what? The Source we all come from is that bank, and we don’t even need to go to the invisible ATM to get all that good stuff—we carry it around with us all the time! And because it’s invisible, nobody can take it away from us. It’s built-in, indestructible, and lasts forever.

How about that?

 

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What’s my motive?

The other day I got caught up in a delusion of grandeur, and believe me it was just as awful as seeing myself as a worthless loser. I imagined myself in a certain role, way above others, and raising them up and enlightening them with my wonderful insights and perceptions. Ha! What a joke! It only took me about a minute to wake up to see how twisted that was. I knew better, because I know that any ideas that have really elevated mankind never came from arrogance and self-righteousness, but from humility and love.

Who am I, anyway? —I thought. What, for that fleeting moment, made me feel that I was so special, so much better than anyone else? Well, I like to think of those thoughts as “nowhere” and “nobody” thoughts, because they certainly didn’t come from the Creator.

I’m a firm believer in the Creator. I know in my gut that we didn’t just spring out of nowhere into existence. There’s no doubt that we exist. We are here. We are conscious of ourselves, so Something or Someone must have created or manifested us, outpictured us. And like snowflakes, there are no two of us alike. I love to think of that—countless snowflakes dancing and swirling, each one doing its own thing in its own unique way.

But you know, there isn’t a single snowflake that’s better than any other snowflake, or more worthy, more interesting, more special. You get the picture. Each one is different, like us, with its own role to play, its own style, and even though some snowflakes might be BIGGER than others, they’re still from the same source. They’re made to enjoy themselves, hang out together, and do the dance of life—just like us.

If I’m full of myself—my attitudes, opinions, and so on—how will I ever be able to see-hear-appreciate what anyone else is doing? It just kind of draws a veil over all the brightness that everyone else is expressing, and I end up missing out.

So let’s imagine that I really do get some great, mind-bending, life-altering idea that I think I should present to other people. Well, first of all, I need to check my motives. Am I honestly doing this to help others, or just to show them how amazing I am and make them like me or worship me? Will it really have the effect I think it will, or will it end up hurting people and making me look like a jerk? This is the time to make sure that my idea came from the Creator, aka in this case, my spiritual intuition. If it did, then, like a snowflake dance, it’ll create harmony and joy, instead of bumping into the other flakes and dragging all of us to the ground.

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Grow up? Why?

I won’t grow up,

I don’t want to go to school.

Just to learn to be a parrot,

And recite a silly rule.

If growing up means

It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,

I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up

Not me!

– From “Peter Pan” (Jule Styne/ Carolyn Leigh/Mark “Moose” Charlap)

Do we really have to grow up? Is it a good thing? What does it actually mean, to “grow up?”

If it means taking responsibility for everything, carrying everything on our shoulders, making sure we discipline ourselves to a schedule every day and “act like an adult” (whatever that means), then I think I’m with Peter.

Once we believe that everything comes down to us—our decisions, our actions, our behavior, etc.—we’ve already put ourselves into a tight little box. Boxes are dark inside, which means that the light can’t get in.

Remember when we were little kids? What did we do? We played. Yep, and it was serious business, too. But not the way we think of serious business as so-called adults. We were curious, eager, filled with wonder, ready to try something new, generally unafraid, and ready to have fun. But as time went by, all of that changed…

“You’re gown up now…it’s time to act your age! What are you going to do with the rest of your life?” If we didn’t have some kind of schedule worked out to the grave, then we were judged as irresponsible, immature, even lazy.

I ask you: Where’s the fun in that?

Recently I’ve had the eye-opening experience of becoming more like a little child, just trusting that my spiritual intuition will lead me rather than my human reasoning, and guess what? Not only am I a lot happier and more relaxed, I’m actually getting a lot more done—and having more fun doing it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ8nPYSNobg

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Doing nothing

Are you one of those people who always has to be doing something? Does the idea of doing nothing make you uneasy? Well, you’re not alone, I’m sure. Even with all the current popularity of meditation, there are still lots and lots of folks who just can’t stop their perpetual motion, not to mention the constant static going on in their minds.

I used to be one of those people, and sometimes I’ll still have a wakeful night in bed when I just can’t seem to turn my “thinker” off. And after a lifelong habit of being convinced I always had to be busy otherwise it meant I was lazy, only recently have I come to the conclusion that rushing around like a waiter covering a dozen tables really wastes time and doesn’t accomplish much of anything.

I read a book awhile back that encouraged doing nothing from time to time. The book was aimed at artists like myself, but I really think it applies to everyone. I know some fellow musicians who practice every single day and transcribe solos from jazz records while they’re riding on the bus or eating lunch, and I guess that’s OK for them, but I’ve found that taking breaks provides openings for your creative intuition to get in, while constant activity tends to shut it out.

There have been periods during my life when I’ve stopped playing music altogether (one time for seven years), and when I came back I was not only fresh and full of new ideas, but I seemed to be playing things I had never played, or even thought of playing before. It was as if all the things that were going on in my life during my absence from music had actually contributed to my store of creative fodder, ready to spring into action when I was ready to go back.

Those of us who were raised with the so-called “Protestant work ethic” or something similar, have been programmed to feel guilty if we’re not always doing something, always producing. Even during vacations or entertainment breaks, we feel that we have to be busy at something every single minute. It took me decades before I was finally able to sit down in a chair and do absolutely nothing for a period of a half hour. No book, no laptop, no iPod, no food, no cell phone, nothing. After getting into this new habit, I discovered that there was a freshness, a newness to my thought, as if I were opening a door into something much broader and deeper than my limited little thought patterns. If you’ve never tried this, I highly recommend that you do. You don’t have to meditate on a mantra or even say a prayer. Just be still. Be quiet. You’ll like the results, I promise.

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Distractions. Really?

I was chatting on Skype with one of my oldest and dearest friends the other day. Stephanie Crawford is a jazz singer living in San Francisco, and even though we’ve often lived great distances apart, we always manage to stay in touch.

We rarely talk about things like other people, what we did today, what was the last movie we saw, what we ate for lunch and so on. No, we always get into the nuts and bolts of our lives—what’s going on with us in the most profound sense, and what things are changing, or not changing in our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Sometimes we talk about the past—about our musical careers (we used to work together when we both lived in New York), where they’re going, and how they’ve transformed over the many years we’ve known each other. During this recent chat, I found myself grumbling about how the many distractions in my life—marriages, kids, having to do various “day jobs” to support the kids, etc. —had kept me from devoting myself more fully to my musical career. Stephanie knows about this, because she has been following my life since 1981, when I first moved to New York and met her. But the distractions had been going on for a lot longer than that.

I went on to say that I admired her because she had never swerved from her dream to be a jazz singer. In the middle of my crabbing, Steph interrupted me and said: “Wait! Wait! I LOVE that you did all that stuff! I LOVE that you got married four times and had kids and did all those things you did. They just made your music RICHER, don’t you get it?” Well, that really shut me up. The word “GRATITUDE” seemed to pop up in front of me in billboard-sized letters.

I knew that Stephanie’s path had been anything but smooth, and that she had lost her way more than once, even though it seemed to me that her focus was so laser-like. But I’d never heard her complain it. She just kept changing herself and moving on. After that chat, I swear never complain again about the way my life has unfolded, you can be sure of that! Thanks, Steph.

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Paperbacks are coming!

Hey everybody! For those of you who don’t do e-readers or don’t like reading a book on your computer, I’m in the process of getting some paperbacks made for you. They should be ready before Christmas, and I’ll keep you all posted here and on Facebook and Twitter.

And for those of you who DO do e-books and have a NOOK, the book is now up on the Barnes and Noble site:

http://tinyurl.com/aosews5

And a reminder: If you’ve read the book already, I’d be so happy if you’d write a review either on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Reviews written on Amazon appear automatically on the iBookstore site. Thanks!

 

 

 

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Finding ourselves by ourselves

I think most of us have had a desire to be part of a group—a bunch of people who make us feel accepted and loved. Maybe we’ve looked for it in our family, or a social club or religious organization. And maybe these groups really did fulfill our need, at least for awhile.

If you’re anything like me, though, sooner or later you discover that you have to leave the group, or that it leaves you—sometimes abruptly, even cruelly. It took me years to realize that this was not a bad thing. If you’ve got the spark inside you nudging you on to your true, spiritual life and self, there’s one thing for sure: the group won’t get you there. You have to go it alone, like it or not.

But this seemingly lonely trek has a happy conclusion that actually ends up including not only your groups, but everyone on the planet. Why is this? Because the truth about our spiritual life and self is divine Love, and this Love is infinitely bigger than any human emotion. It includes everyone and everything, despite often deceiving appearances.

Before you can see the universality of it, though, you have to approach it on your own, through contemplation, meditation, prayer—whatever you like to call it. It’s strictly between you—your individual consciousness—and the universal consciousness called divine Love or infinite Mind.

During this process, groups can’t really help you. In fact, they can actually hold you back, especially if you’re looking to them for validation, support and comfort. That’s not where those things come from. They come from the one Light, and that’s where you need to spend your time—living in that Light, or Love.

But, someone might say, the spiritual-minded help their brother man—they aren’t selfish. Certainly it’s true that there are countless people doing their best to help their fellows, and of course this is a good thing. But seeking the Light is not a selfish pursuit. Once you become aware of its embrace, love naturally pours out of you to others—nothing can stop it. It becomes an expression of grace, and not an exhausting human effort. Then groups, organizations, tribes, collectives, families, and so on, all naturally fall into their proper places.

Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Our oneness with Love comes first.

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