Summer, I love you.

A season is by no means a significant amount of time. Three months, four if you’re lucky (and it’s summer). Give or take a hundred days, not even a third of a year. And at this point in my life, years are beginning to lose their luster for grandiose blocks of time, as they fly off the calendar as fast as months did in middle school. Yet, a season was plenty of time to change my entire life.

This summer was one for the books—and by this I mean quite literally one full of books. It was also a summer of airports, as I flew across country, across countries and into interstellar dimensions. This summer was also one for community, where I was welcomed into the arms of different tribes across the world. This summer was about leaving improvement behind and accepting perfection as it is. This summer was the beginning of my life.

And so was yesterday. And this morning. And probably tomorrow.

If the summer was one thing, it was a realization of lightness. This lightness was not something I carried pre-May.

Before heading into summer my life was one dictated by restriction, practice, guilt and imperfection. Routine and rhythm were things that held me together. I was bound to my practice as much as I was to the surface of the Earth.  I withheld pleasure for piety, in hopes of one day reaching an ultimate goal. I even caught myself feeling guilty shades of superiority over others adopting less “conscious” lives. The one measure of the perceived success of my pre-2012-summer lifestyle was that I felt like I was in control.

Boy was I wrong. This summer started out like the twisted ending of one of those psychological horror movies that somehow convince you (the viewer) that you’re the one killing all the people in the film. Everything I thought I had under control was flipped upside-down. It was shocking at first, but much less difficult than it had been in its previous incarnations (for these realizations have occurred before in lesser degrees of intensity). The main objective was to reset my spiritual ego.

What is a spiritual ego? Well if I had ended my blog post with “This summer was the beginning of my life,” you would have got an extreme does of Yogi Ego. Basically, for me, my egoistic self is searching for one thing: control. It wants to be in charge. Whenever I think I have figured out life, that is when I’ve let my ego take control. This summer was a gentle slap in the face that told me life was much less than I was making it out to be—this being an extremely positive, relieving, and loving thing.

Life is for experience! This summer’s oeuvre was a reassuring mantra that everything is equally as important as everything else. This means that I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing and so is everybody else. This liberating realization was the posture that broke this yogi’s head open. And I surrendered my thoughts, preoccupations and fears to the universe willingly.

We spend so much time trying to be something else that we forget to honor who it is we are. In the complicated maze of desire, we lose sight of achievement. We focus on a future that never comes, preparing, practicing and pondering what might be. We never get there because it is an illusion. There is no where to go.

And for some the illusion is perfect. This article is not to say that one way of life is any better than the other. It is only the recount my own realization. At this point in time my current state of consciousness is perfect as was my state in May, last October and when I was five. All stages, outlooks and understandings are perfect. It is not the shape, context, or content of the state that matters, but the progression through them. Change exacts experience, which adds to the richness of life.

As I find time in between my coursework, I will gladly share with you the specifics of my summer. But until then revel in the awesomely emancipating idea that you are already there. In fact, there is no where else you could possibly be.

Much love.

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The Future that Never Comes

I’ve been on a heavy dose of Alan Watts lately and I think its been rearranging my existence…in a good way, that is.

One of his famous ideas is that the future is not real. And when you think about, it isn’t.

The future is a concept that never comes into fruition. Its very definition is elliptical in the sense that it must always remain just out of reach. It is the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The future is never now. It cannot be by its very explanation as a temporal existence following the current state.

In this sense, the future is about as tangible as a unicorn. It is a magnificent idea, but will never come to my window offering me a magical ride through the night.

Good luck getting there.

If the future isn’t real, then why do we base everything we do around it?

This is a real problem. All of our lives are based in the future. Our very educational system is an achievement of perpetual preparation. We are always in a constant state of perennial planning. The goal of preschool is kindergarten. The goal of kindergarten is grade school. Grade school is for high school. Highschool for College. College, for those who have taken the bait (myself included), is for graduate school. And so on.

Yet it doesn’t end there. The mythical career is nothing more than a preparation for a better career. Increased pay, more responsibility, retirement. By the time we finally stop working, we’ve spent our entire life living in a false dimension (not to mention one is about ready to die by the time they retire these days). What kind of life is this?

When I was younger, I was a troublesome adolescent. I was sent away to a wilderness program where we learned the importance of understanding the present. A rule in this program was the elicit evocation of the “now” represented by two letters: F & I. These two extremely irritating letters stood for future information. Any time anyone asked about anything that had to deal with the future, a polite but annoying “No F.I.” was sounded. Besides making me want to pull my hair out, what this stubborn little tactic did was rather ingenious.

This was the only tape we got to listen to. And it was set on repeat at full blast.

Troubled youth often live in alternate realities. Whether it be the future, one of denial, or seen through an inflated ego, life is rarely lived in the now. These realities are essentially coping methods for dealing with the painful present. In the wilderness program, we were thrust into the ultimate present. We had only one worry: the task at hand.

The “No F.I.” rule helped me and many others situate ourselves in the now. In this reality, we were able to address issues that were troubling us (making us untroubled youth?). By coming back to the only “real” reality, we were able to connect with ourselves, our emotions, each other, and the greater community. This led to actual healing.

Now, what would the “No F.I.” rule do for society? Besides screwing up schedules and birthday parties, I think it would have a profound affect on stress levels. Almost all stress today is stationed in the future. If we were to greatly reduce the amount we lived in the future, we would lower our capacity to take on stress that—in all reality—doesn’t even exist.

If you haven't noticed, I really want some cake.

The future is the enemy. It steals from the present and robs from the blind? Well it does one of those things (or maybe both…). Okay, in all seriousness, living in the future is like planning a wedding that never happens. You can get all excited about it and order all the cake you want, but in the end, you’re never going to celebrate and no one’s getting married. It would be better to just kiss the one your with now and enjoy the moment.

For the moment is all we have.

I’ll end this rare and quirky, very strange post of mine with a quote from Erwin Schrödinger, a Nobel Prize winning Physicist. I seem to have fall in love with it

The present is the only thing with no end.

Wise minds are always smiling

Don’t Save the World, Save Yourself

If it is one thing I hate, and rarely do I hate anything, it is the phrase, “Save the world.”

When I hear these words, it’s as if I’ve stumbled into a thick fog of putrid, self-righteous denial.  Not only is it’s logic is wrong on so many levels, but it manifests gigantic layers of ignorance.  Don’t get me wrong, I am as much of a fan of gas guzzling SUVs, ridiculous food miles, and the high number of coal burning factories as you are. I think the unsustainable practices of man are testament to the young age of our species.  However, I believe more than anything what exemplifies our immaturity as a species is the widespread idea that we need to save the world.

The world does not need saving. In fact, it is probably the being that worries the least about its future. It has been through an untold amount of uncertainties, many of which I am positive were more cataclysmic than the affects of mankind.  Of course, we would love to believe that we were the world’s biggest problem. Much in the same way we thought we were at the center of the universe, as well as the center of our galaxy, we have placed ourselves in the center of the existence of Earth.  Do you see a pattern?

I wonder which center she’s in.

There is a degree of egotism, which stems from the individual, but amasses in the collective.  This form of social egotism is most deadly.  In the group, it is an evolutionary suppressant reminiscent of the comet (or whatever it was) that killed off the dinosaurs.  The only difference is we are aiming to kill ourselves.

I mean, cmon, don’t we owe it to them?

And I don’t mean death by global warming, but by the suppression of our own consciousness.  You can see it in our media, in the public school systems, in our food system and certainly in our political system.  The suicide we are all contemplating isn’t a physical one, but a mental one.  And with sayings like “We need to save the world”, we draw attention away from ourselves—the one area we can control—and project it onto things that are ultimately out of our hands.

I was reading one of my favorite books by Paul Ferrini, Love Without Conditions, and I came across this quote that was talking about the need to not save the world: “Some people think that such advice is selfish and irresponsible.  They believe that they must save the world to find happiness.  That is an error in perception.  Unless they find happiness first, the world is doomed.”  Now, besides being an extremely relevant quote, this passage is effortlessly simple.  It’s logic is stated in such clarity that it is almost impossible to misunderstand.  How can we, as fragmented, discontented, and unhappy individuals expect to heal something as complex as the planet we live on without first conquering our own minds?  It is complete absurdity to think we can save the world without mastering ourselves.  And it is also complete denial.

The scapegoat was one of my favorite terms as child.  I always picture a scruffy billy goat perched atop rock ledge chewing a rusty tin can.  I thought it was hilarious that this little caricature of mine was always getting blamed.  I knew he didn’t do anything wrong.  In fact, that was humor of it.  The poor little goat just wanted to chew his tin, but instead all these angry people were yelling at him. What a horrible life.

It’s all his fault!

Well it turns out the earth doesn’t give a sh%t if you blame her.  She just keeps on spinning.  Maybe she’ll lose some greenery and gain some ice, but in the end she’ll figure it out.  She’s a resilient one.  We on the other hand, are the ones who need to worry.  Between all are yelling and crying, and pointing and blaming, we are missing the forrest for the trees.  We need to wake up and start admitting all the things we avoid.  That means all those little dark secrets you stuff down inside your soul need to come out.  All those wrongs you haven’t righted and all those emotional debts that need to be repaid need to start being fixed.

Even if nothing happens to the world and we live on for thousands of years, wouldn’t it be better if we freed our minds?  I know I have my skeletons, but everyday I figure ways to dance with them, letting them go and moving on.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on the wrong side of a cancan line and other times it feels like a lonely tango, but every time the proverbial music stops, I am a better person, lighter on my feet and ready to take on the next partner.

It doesn’t matter to me how you do it.  You can dance, shout, scream or run around naked wearing only an oversized bow-tie and striped galoshes.  You can do whatever your soul desires, but please, please, please, do not say you’re doing it to save the world.  She doesn’t need our help.