Spiritual Economy

You are used to material dollars and cents, and the continuous worry about having enough. Now consider spiritual wealth and the spirit economy. Tap into a new type of wealth and abundance. The only requirement is belief, which you might not have to begin with. You need only have enough belief to try, and then you will find inner abundance. If you have inner abundance, you won\’t care how much outer abundance you have. You will be free.

What stops you from spiritual abundance is negative beliefs about yourself: self loathing and self denigration. Go under these habitual negative thoughts and find the real essence of your being. Everybody has unconditional life itself. Feel life for a moment. Life will show you into the spirit economy.

Currently, people make it big in the dollars and cents world if they can find an idea which causes others to have a dopamine reward, and then they go to work selling that idea. Today\’s people love dopamine more than people 50 years ago. Maybe our society has developed and leveraged dopamine. Today\’s human brain wants dopamine more than ever and has access to more dopamine rewards than 50 years ago.

Take a look at a graph showing opioid overdose deaths by year, or opioid addiction rates by year and realize: dopamine addiction rates mirror that graph only a quantum leap higher. Everybody in the world is dopamine addicted. Everybody in the world wants to participate in the dopamine economy: getting more and more brain hits. Dopamine feels good.

Is there any way to feel good aside from dopamine?

Yes, in the spiritual economy. Feeling good because you touched the source of life itself which lives inside. Tap into a source which is not in the material dimension of reality. You\’ve heard about meditation? You heard Jesus say to leave this world? Is your church a dopamine producing gaggle fuck with no real meaning?

At some point in your life, you will want to have truth. You will want to know what it all means. You will have to look within. The mother lode is within. True feeling good is sourced from within. You will have to be quiet and look inside.

On another note, ultra monk runs! (sorry about the wobbly video)

Wanting to Live

A strange new thought occurred to me today. A thought which I believe was the result of spiritual work.

I was on my 30 minute meal break at Starbucks. I was walking to my car to sit and eat. This thought passed through my mind, \”I want to relish every minute that I am at Starbucks, not wish that it was over soon.\” Wow, it was a thought easily expanded to my whole attitude and outlook on life and how my view seems to have transformed.

See, for most of my life, I wondered why was I alive. I mean, what good am I? Why would God make me? Sure, I\’m a pretty good person, but there isn\’t anything \”great\” about me. I am above average smart yes. I\’m in extreme good health, unlike most 60 year olds. I did my career. I\’ve been sober for 33 years. But, I really had no purpose for being alive.

And I spent most of my career wishing it was over. I saved money for the purpose of getting away from my career as soon as possible. And well, I guess I\’ve wanted life to be over as soon as possible too. Everything I ever did with my life was a chore and I wanted it to be over, so I could rest.

So today, when I actually felt how much I could be aware and awake and liking working at Starbucks, I….   woke up!

Wait, I want to be alive for every second of my life from now on. I don\’t need a purpose. I just want to experience my life. I don\’t want to just go through the motions, hoping it would be over soon.

I have suddenly dropped the rock of having to have a purpose for my life, or even doing anything good while I am here. I just want to be alive in my own life, to see it, to be awake in it. Not just hope life will quit bothering me soon.

And so I am free.

Hope for US

Many people talk about how bad things are fight now, how divided, how bad Trump is, how the Congress can\’t cooperate or negotiate. How, even biological gender doesn\’t matter (really!); just find a surgeon and some drugs.

Now, I finally read a philosophy which offers hope for our society for the future. Below is a quotation and then a link to the whole article in the NY Times. You have to read the article to see what is meant by first mountain and second mountain. Essentially, the first mountain is the society mountain or the yuppy mountain and I climbed it. I had the career and the safe life and the money. But it was essentially a meaningless existence and served myself. The second mountain is one with meaning and less ego focused. My spiritual life climbs this mountain. I am still climbing, away from the first mountain.

David Brooks offers hope for our nation because he points out that many people are getting off the first mountain and onto the second mountain, where they give back to society and form a very stable moral basis for out culture. By moral, I mean a life governed by love and giving. I don\’t mean rules about behavior. I find this very hopeful. I care about America. I will cling to the idea that many good people are out there and that they are forming an unshakable culture which nurtures a good society.

This quotation comes from the end of the NY Times article and I copied it because it contains the point which causes me to be hopeful (link to the whole article below):

\”Over the past few decades the individual, the self, has been at the center. The second-mountain people are leading us toward a culture that puts relationships at the center. They ask us to measure our lives by the quality of our attachments, to see that life is a qualitative endeavor, not a quantitative one. They ask us to see others at their full depths, and not just as a stereotype, and to have the courage to lead with vulnerability. These second-mountain people are leading us into a new culture. Culture change happens when a small group of people find a better way to live and the rest of us copy them. These second-mountain people have found it.

Their moral revolution points us toward a different goal. On the first mountain we shoot for happiness, but on the second mountain we are rewarded with joy. What’s the difference? Happiness involves a victory for the self. It happens as we move toward our goals. You get a promotion. You have a delicious meal.

Joy involves the transcendence of self. When you’re on the second mountain, you realize we aim too low. We compete to get near a little sunlamp, but if we lived differently, we could feel the glow of real sunshine. On the second mountain you see that happiness is good, but joy is better.\”

David Brooks NY Times

Monday Reflection

Is it Monday? No problem. It is my Saturday.

Weird thing about working at Starbucks, I can hardly wait to go back to it. I don\’t think that ever happened with my career job.

The Easter Bunny was working at Starbucks yesterday:

I never wore bunny ears to my career job. That was for grocery store clerks and other poor low wage under achievers. Ha! I had alot of fun when people noticed that a bunny was taking their order. None of my other partners did bunny ears. I\’m glad I can be silly.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a trail run at Hodge park. These trails are very easy, very runnable. They twist and turn through the trees so you lose a sense of where you are. Meditation occurs because your brain is focused on rocks and roots; not anything of the world. There were no trails like this near my house in Texas. In Kansas City, I have access to several parks with trails, near my house. Super. Next weekend, I am going in a trail half marathon. Should be fun.

I didn\’t pay to much attention to the religious aspect of Easter. It has been a long time since I was involved in religion. I stopped supporting the Catholic Church when Pope Benedict was elected, because, in my opinion, he was the \”priest predator protector in chief.\” I think predator priests belong in jail, and non-celibate priests should go find another denomination which approves of sex and marriage for clergy. I also think that the Catholic Church has rules about celibacy for priests because it wants to own and control both the priests and The Eucharist. No one can own The Eucharist, and no one should own a priest. I decided that Jesus wouldn\’t support that church. I became spiritual not religious.

Last Friday, a couple pastors from a church came into Starbucks. They wanted to buy everybody\’s coffee for an hour, and hand out cards announcing their Easter services. The shift supervisor allowed it. From my point of view, this was a pain in the ass. When someone makes an order, a sticker is printed which goes on their cup, and then the bar knows what to put in that cup. But the church guy didn\’t give me his credit card and tell me to go to town. No, he wanted to pay at the end. So each order took 3 times as long to process because I had to take it to a certain point, save it so the sticker would print, copy it onto a different register, then void it on my register. And, I had to explain to people that a church wanted to buy their coffee and that they should go get a card from that guy over there. I wasn\’t that enthusiastic about making this speech, mainly because I\’m not a proselytizer for any church. I am in favor of nourishing the soul, which Starbucks coffee does.

Most people were happy for a free coffee. Some didn\’t want a church buying their coffee. I don\’t know if any lost souls got a free coffee and went to that church for the first time this weekend. \”He is risen,\” is the cry that went out from all the Christian churches. Anybody who really believes the religious story of Jesus probably already belongs to a church. My own story is that I decided long ago to \”shamelessly follow Jesus.\” That vow takes me to truth, inner truth, the truth of my being. And so, here I am, just me as Source made me.

Source made me good.period.

Satisfaction

Satisfaction with yourself and your life, that is the dilemma of my generation.

We began with Vietnam, women\’s lib, black panthers and peoples park. Then, we became white collar yuppies because money helped a lot. We raised kids in protective custody since those child molesters were out there. We divorced.

I never partook of family life, marriage and parenthood. But I got the money. I joined the running boom and never left it. Now, 3 decades after college, what of my life?

My life has shaped its meaning around a search for God and for self esteem. As I sit here now, I can consciously grasp admiration for myself. I came from an impossibly alcoholic and dysfunctional home. I made the best of college and was employed. I began a spiritual path.  I got sober. I lived four years in a monastery.

The real story is inside. Do I love myself today? Today, right now this morning, I realized that I need to feel satisfaction with and for and as that soul which has adventured through this world in its own way. I look at my life and all its emotional journeys and admire all that I have done and been. The thing about this morning is that I realized that being dis-satisfied with myself has been a lurking secret inside. A secret, a whisper. A tiny grain of self hate always lodged in my energy pattern, always irritating. But as soon as I felt it, it vanished. When I look consciously, there is nothing about me to hate. That soul which I am is fantastic. That soul which I am has had a great life. My life long spiritual life has brought me to this moment: satisfaction with the soul that I am. My own soul is good enough. My soul is loving.

To be satisfied with my own self, has always been an available choice or decision to feel good. The problem has always been that I didn\’t know it was up to me. I looked out at the world and was jealous of seemingly better people. I didn\’t know that I could at any moment, grasp my own inner being and feel love. And maybe this morning was my most conscious ever realization that I was secretly feeling dis-satisfied with myself but could just turn that around in a heart beat. My secret, now not a secret, was killing me. I\’m glad that I don\’t have to go out today and feel dis-satisfied.

I admire the inner me and all my life\’s exterior journeys.

Today, when I stand at the window at Starbucks and hand out wonderful drinks, the smile will also beam its way into the heart of the people I meet. I hope they feel good by osmosis. My smile will be genuine.

Its Green!

Today I went for a run on Line creek trail. 10 miles in chilly sunshine. It was wonderful. It is starting to get green!  Spring is coming!

I\’m still working on my project of re-inventing myself, or Phase III of my life. The writing projects are still moving forward. I have momentum and am finishing little mile-stones I set for myself. Like, I wanted to have a character development piece written in time for this months Writers Group meeting on Monday: done! And a newly written opening scene.

I\’ve also re-started my spiritual writing. I got stuck because I showed one of the paragraphs to a friend and he said, \” Well you shouldn\’t blah blah blah,\” stuff which is main stream. What I realized today was I can\’t stop because of someone\’s opinion. And I should focus on completing the work because my Higher Self has plans for the work; just waiting for me to finish it off.

I have started to contemplate the gift of Starbucks. This little job has taken over a portion of my brain. At my new store, I often spend hours at the drive up window handing out drinks and saying hi to people. I really like it. I am happy. Is Starbucks a distraction from my real mission in life? Or is it part of my re-inventing. I do know that it is changing me; and perhaps keeping me from being depressed.

Other than that, I got a filling replaced this morning. Thanks to Starbucks, I have dental insurance.

I so frequently during each day have time to be appreciative of my life. I\’m so glad I retired early so I could enjoy just being alive. If I accomplish nothing with my writing, that is okay with me. I just appreciate life and being alive and enjoying each day.

Trail Run

This morning, I signed up for a trail half marathon at the end of April. I don\’t \”race\” such an event. It is just a way to go on a marked trail where I otherwise wouldn\’t; and have someone else provide the water refills and cookies. Also, one should know that for any trail running, your total focus is on the trail in front of you; because if you divert your attention for more than a second, down you go! Very meditative: a whole 3 or 4 hours spent not thinking.

Today, I ran on the trail at the Parkville nature sanctuary. Most of it is easy jogging but a couple of spots require big step ups, big step downs or negotiating rocks. I spent two hours and 8 miles clambering around. I only fell once. No damage though there might be a bruise on my hip tomorrow.

Here is a video of the waterfall in that park.

It rained last night and this morning. As I started my jog at 1 pm, it was not raining but still chilly and cloudy. Very few people were in the park. I could jog around and spend most of the time in my head, dreaming of being a trail runner. The park is very quiet, with bird calls being the major sound. I saw a few squirrels and a bunny rabbit.

I spent some time pondering the predicaments of 2 or 3 of my young colleagues at Starbucks. Two are young men who have not finished college, have steady girl friends and have bought houses. So they work nearly 40 hours a week at Starbucks, although the girl friends are steadily employed. The two guys might not be the most sharp tools in the shed, but they have no future, through their own choosing. Really, if you are making 12 or 13 dollars an hour at Starbucks, you shouldn\’t be buying a house with a girl friend who is not a wife. Property taxes alone eat up a significant portion of your earnings.

The third one I thought about is a very good, new, young, assistant manager. She has decided to buy a house in St Joseph and go back to the Starbucks there. I want to scream at her not to take the dead end route by staying in St Joe. She does have a college degree and could really do more than be a Starbucks store manager.

There are more young people working full time at Starbucks who are smart and good workers; but they seem not to know what to do about moving up in the world. Some of the young people are in school and won\’t be at Starbucks forever, but the greater number are stuck at Starbucks. Mind you, Starbucks does offer to pay for a Bachelors Degree for any partner that does not have one. But I haven\’t yet found a partner who is doing that. Some partners are like me, happy with the health insurance and a part time job. Like, I got my teeth cleaned for free last week since I have dental insurance thanks to Starbucks.

Starbucks is a fascinating place to work. I think I get a load of endorphins from being on my feet for 5 or 6 hours. I\’m also getting more durable physically due to the bending and lifting. As a person interested in living well longer, physical durability along with continuing to use my brain are key benefits. Sitting at a desk doing engineering pays a lot, but I was dying. Even working out twice a day was not providing the durability or physical movement needed to stay fit as an elderly person.

Working the drive up window is very fun. I love having little conversations with people and handing out drinks. The doggies are so cute because they know that at Starbucks, maybe their human has ordered them a pup cup (or pupachino). The doggies look at me to see if I hand it out. They know.

The other thing I pondered today was aging. Since I didn\’t see my KC friends for the 8 years I was in Houston, it can be quite a shock to see some of them now. Like my dentist. He is not yet 65. But something has happened to him in the last 8 years. He was a normal looking guy. Now he is tiny, barely able to stand and I suspect his wife, who is also the hygienist, is holding him together. He looks like he may suffer from something like osteoporosis, but he is a man. Why is he still practicing dentistry? I suspect it has to do with health care. They would be among the group paying $1700 or more a month for a high deductible policy. Even a millionaire would balk at shelling out all that cash. My dentist in Houston was in that boat. Its like paying around $27,000 before you ever see a dime from an insurance company, yet you really need to have insurance or a hospital can clean you out in a day.

Rambling. I know it. Ultra Monk out.