Love BEING — Reflection 11.27

            Love is the conscious sense of being in partnership with my own essence. I am a being. Also, I am Being Itself.

            Yes, you should love yourself no matter what, even the ego you. Love the divine consciousness within you and the divine consciousness which created you. Love Being, which is your existence.

            The essence of all people is the joy of being. The essence of all people is life celebrating being alive. What if you tried to feel this inner essence? Just try to feel It, without the condition that It do anything.

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On Love — Reflection 11.21

            Do you know what you think about love now? Has someone told you that Jesus/God loves you, and those words caused a feeling of hate or anger? Has someone told you that they love you, but you didn’t believe them? This is your current love litany. Love is useless to you. And that is fine. Leave aside the Bible and the seemingly fake people and television images.

            What if love was the air you breathe or your heart beating? These are things you have right now. Begin your love mantra with these. Wait for another clue, another something that you are willing to believe is love. As you gather little scraps of love beliefs, you can repeat them to yourself, especially in your most desperate times. It is real to you because it is yours. Let it come. This is your new reality.

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A Reflection 4.2 – Consciousness

            In the book “The Untethered Soul,” the author Michael Singer says, “Consciousness is the highest word you will ever utter” (page 28). Why?

            I turn now to my own self. What do I think about this which comes from within me? What do I contemplate, without going to Mr. Singer’s book and reading the answer? I want to know what my thoughts are because it must be what my consciousness has to say to me.

            Oh, shoot. The first thing that came to mind was from an article on consciousness found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I read there a few months ago on panpsychism: that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality that exists throughout reality. I rather liked the idea that consciousness is, and nothing more needs to be said. In my own words, I would say that consciousness is the fabric of existence.

            Mr. Singer said that consciousness is the highest word. Others would say that the name of Jesus is highest. Why does the height of the word matter to me? What happens to me when I utter the word consciousness or think it? Does how I feel change? Well yes. In my case, thinking the word consciousness is a prayer of calling. That tells me that I think consciousness is more like a being with whom I can communicate. I think that the consciousness feature of the universe is also relational. From that point of view, then those who say Jesus or Spirit, are communicating with the same feature of the universe that I am.

            I think that my consciousness and my soul are the same. I also think that my consciousness was somehow in a non-physical state before I was born. But I can’t prove this and it surely comes partly from the study of other spiritual writers and from my own intuitive thoughts. Consciousness has not yet been measured. We don’t know when it arrives in any physical body or where it goes under anesthesia. Consciousness is not DNA but it probably utilized epigenetics and brain circuitry, and in fact, helps build these from the ground up in a new human apparatus. Some neuroscientists believe that consciousness is just brain circuits arranged in a particular way as a result of experience and predictive simulation. “A mind is something that emerges from a transaction between your brain and your body while they are surrounded by other brain-in-bodies that are immersed in a physical world and constructing a social world” (7½ Lessons About the Brain. Lisa Feldman Barrett, page 100). I think that there is more than just a brain. So I am a philosophical duelist, not a physicalist. Unconscious parts of my brain are still part of my consciousness. The only meaning that human life has is consciousness. There is a difference between consciousness and conscience. My conscience directs me. My consciousness listens to my conscience. But in many ways, my conscience is as mysterious as my consciousness and similar to my consciousness.

            I’m not sure that there is a difference between consciousness and love. And so I will have to stop this reflection. Love is ineffable to me.

On Love

 This morning, I was reading an essay by a philosopher, Bertrand Russell, in his book of essays \”Why I am not a Christian.\” The particular essay is entitled The Good Life.  \”Love is a word which covers a variety of feelings…Love is an emotion…on one side pure contemplation; on the other, pure benevolence.\” 

Suddenly it struck me, as my mind flashed on Jesus\’ saying \”God is love.\”

God is an emotion. My mind expanded into the universe. 

Abraham always says, \”There is great love here for you.\” Abraham is non-physical energy communicating through one woman. But Abraham is also teaching people about how to connect with higher consciousness. When Abraham says that there is great love for us in non-physical consciousness, what do I take that to mean? Abraham has helped me to deliberately and consciously choose how I want to feel at any given moment. Love is a feeling. God is love. There is great love here for me. Non-physical is here. I am a sentient being. What does love feel like? Love is a variety of feelings. Love is non-physical here in the material world too.

Love is a confusing word. Did my parents love me? Coming from a troubled home, I didn\’t have that experience. I don\’t have a husband or children, so I don\’t know what that type of love means. I love dogs.

In 12 Step groups, people often have difficulty with the idea of God. They really don\’t want anything to do with it, and this thinking is the biggest defeat of Alcoholics Anonymous. In step 3 we are to turn our will and our life over to the care of a power greater than ourselves. Elsewhere, the textbook of AA calls that power \”God as we understood Him.\” Religion fouls people up because they are seeking a personality, an entity, or a voice to turn their will and their life over to. In my thinking this morning, I thought, \”Holy shit! God is an emotion. In this word, there are big implications.\” We get out of obsessing for alcohol or drugs by getting out of ourselves, usually by a benevolent act, like helping another. 

Love is a word. God is love. Love is an emotion or a variety of feelings ranging from pure contemplation to pure benevolence. I am a sentient being. Sentient means I am aware of feelings. I can feel. Love is a feeling. My consciousness is mainly made of the translation of feelings. Thoughts come after feelings. That is, I feel and then I have a thought about how that feeling came to exist. Love is a feeling. God is love. Love exists as a feeling. Love is never a thing or an entity. God is never a thing or an entity. 

I can deliberately think and feel my way into love. Contemplate nature or help someone. Feel the feelings.

Geek out on this for crying out loud. It is amazing to have the door open to love and God and the greatness of everything.

A Love Story

 One of the interesting and most cherished things about my sobriety is the people who I\’ve known for 35 years. My life has moved around the country, but I have now settled in the place where I got sober and these people are still here. We are now all old. This story is about one of them.

As a 26 year old female, I entered the halls. I was single, pretty new to the mid-west, having come from California. Angry. Hateful. Shattered.

In the hall, I found people older than me, but much wiser. Every meeting was a discussion of wisdom I didn\’t have. I was new to it all. I admired these wise elders. By elder, I mean people in their thirties and forties seemed much wiser than me.

One of these people was a man named Milt. Milt had about 3 years in the program ahead of me. He was an engineer. About 50. He had a wonderful wife who was also in the program and very wise. Both of them had meaningful things to say. Their marriage and love was a thing I was jealous of, and dissed myself because I didn\’t have such a thing.

Milt had a habit of handing out hugs. He also always said, \”Has anyone told you they loved you today?\” And he, upon my no answer, would say that he loved me. That used to make me mad. I thought he was just saying it and didn\’t mean it. He had real love with his wife. I had nothing. No love for myself or anyone else.

Decades go by. Sometimes I attend that AA hall. Sometimes I\’m living somewhere else.

When I moved back to town 2 years ago, I started attending a meeting where Milt always goes. Now I am 61 and he is 89. His wife passed away several years ago and he is a cancer survivor. He still drives himself around and lives alone. Since the virus lock down, he hasn\’t been out much. Last night was the first time he has been back to that meeting. It is a small meeting and every body there is old. Everybody has decades of sobriety.

Last night, as I came in and sat down, Milt came over. He had an angel coin that he wanted me to have and he said he loved me. The meeting went on. Milt sat there behind his mask, looking around the room. He shared on the Daily Reflections. We closed the meeting and left.

This morning, I noticed the angel coin sitting on my counter. I thought about Milt and this long history of saying he loved me. And I thought about the fact that Milt won\’t be around much longer, and he knows it. I realized that I believe Milt loves me. That Milt loves everyone and all of life. That love is really Love, it is everywhere and true for everyone.

So stick around AA. Keep improving your emotional sobriety. You too will come to know Love.

Letter 5/31/20

The most interesting, poignant, thing happened today. I was running in a small park which is out in the county, surrounded by fields. The park itself is very uncrowded almost all the time, which is why I like using it. Today I was running 2 mile laps and stopping at my car for drinks of water. The run was going very well and I was appreciating it.

During my last lap, I noticed a very very small fawn. It was all by itself and making this pathetic little bleating cry. Very small. No mama deer anywhere in sight. Oh my god. My heart was crushed. This poor little fawn had no mama. About that time, another car came by on the park road. It slowed down looking at the fawn, but also, I was out in the road too. They rolled down their window when they got to me. I asked if they had their phone could they call an animal shelter or something. I pointed out that the fawn had no mama. 
We were not able to call anyone right then, it being Sunday. I said that I would try to call later. As I jogged away, I noticed that the young man had got out of their car and was walking toward the fawn. I assume that they caught it, as it wasn\’t there when I drove by after I finished my lap. 
Such an amazing thing to see human hearts reach out to this tiny living being who would die without help. Oh, yeah. The people who stopped to help the fawn were black. 
I don\’t know much about love,but I think this was it.
In other news, I am just over half way in my virtual run across Tennessee. In the month of May, I jogged or walked 335.7 miles.  The winners of the race finished in 11 or 12 days (621 miles). And many of them are participating in a race back to the start. I know of a 73 year old lady who is planning to walk there and back within the 4 month allowed time frame. Me? Once, I get across Tennessee, I\’m done.
Here is a map of the course and my location. And, the race t-shirt came yesterday.

Suffering

From Viktor Frankl\’s book \”Man\’s Search for Meaning\” page 42:

\”The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of trick learned while mastering the art of living. Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent. To draw an analogy: a man\’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the \”size\” of human suffering is absolutely relative.\”

I find this explanation completely astonishing. Like, wow! It is only recently that I began to find joyful thoughts before I went out in the world. And it was this morning that I decided I could feel my life full of love, even there is no husband/lover to focus on. I could still just tap into an existential love; hence I no longer needed to be pissed off because I don\’t have a lover. Then, this evening, I read this little bit from Dr. Frankl and feel completely filled with the rightness of my current approach to life.

But, I still eat my broccoli.

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.

Just Like I Thought

Howdy Folks!

Hey guess what?

This year, my Christmas stocking is hanging in a Starbucks:

Yeah, thats me. Barista!

For as long as I can remember, I had envisioned retirement as being downsizing and working part time. And that is exactly what has happened. What is a surprise are the writing projects I have going on. Plus the ability to go running on park trails during day light ( spent the 38 years of my career running at 4:30 in the morning).

I have been very happy the past few months since leaving my career. I can\’t explain why I couldn\’t stand my career for even one more day. I can explain why I had to get out of Houston (all health related). My attitude about my career sucked and I couldn\’t go on living like that. So I am glad I changed my venues.

Now, I drive off to work in a snow storm and feel like the luckiest and happiest person on earth. Obviously I feel that way from the inside; not because it is that much fun driving in the snow, or having a job where you take out the trash and make coffee. I just feel better. I feel free. I love my access to trees and wooded pathways.

Besides Starbucks, I also work for H&R Block. I\’ve never worked harder to get a job! You have 60 hours of education plus examinations. And the first year won\’t be such a big deal as far as pay goes. But after the first year, you have clientele and you make commissions. Eventually, this will be my only occupation. At HRB, I find myself in a leading edge electronic environment. It is exciting to be using the latest; stuff like Watson!

I urge anyone: the instant you can live on a small bit of grocery money, you should down size and shift your life so you have time to enjoy yourself and the world around you. Don\’t stay employed just for health insurance. I assure you, there are health care solutions and you don\’t need to be trapped in a corporation. Don\’t wait for social security retirement age; take social security early if you have to. Get a smaller house if you need to. Don\’t stay in your corporate job because of the stock market. Life is for living. Give yourself the gift of life as soon as possible.

Last night, I was in a class with about 25 new tax preparers for this region. I noticed several people just like me: tired of the corporation, tired of being in jail 40 hours a week, but not ready to quit. So we have all crafted out individual lives of freedom, doing what seems fun.

Today I went for an 8 mile run and tomorrow, I hope to have time for 12 miles. Then, a Christmas party in the afternoon. I bought myself some new trail running shoes for Christmas.

I love my life and myself for the first time ever.

Rampage of Love

Early yesterday morning, as I was deciding whether to get out of bed, the word \”love\” popped into my mind. Maybe that word alone was why I got out of bed. In my writing practice, I decided to write on this word and see what came out.

At this time in my life, I am in a dopamine desert. I am not playing the dopamine reward game with anyone; most particularly a work environment. If you have not read so much on neuroscience, maybe you don\’t know that every human brain loves dopamine. We feel good when we have dopamine. Most of us unconsciously go from situation to situation attempting to trigger a dopamine hit. We try to get other people to approve of us, thus triggering the dopamine; or we find an addiction which triggers the dopamine.

The game is to get another person or situation to somehow make you feel good for a little while, like through praise or recognition, approval, reward, honor, etc.

I should mention that the first Christian monks went to the desert to practice contemplation. My dopamine desert is an analogy with those early desert monks. Stop for a moment and imagine yourself in a very silent desert cave, gazing at a star filled sky, and feeling the divine presence. That is how I want to experience my desert.

I came to my dopamine desert. I brought with me a dream. A dream of creating and giving. That is, I would take my monastic education and spiritual studies, write and publish for others. It is a dream of connection without distraction with all that is; and receiving vibrations which I would turn into words and give to others. I would turn vibrations into thoughts and then words, thus making the creative dream a reality.

To have my dream and to live in the dopamine desert, I must believe in myself and in cosmic reality, the forever partnership of us. I have a monastic education, that is, I lived in monastic formation for 3 years. Life as a monk gave me tools for consciously enabling the divine partnership. I also have sources for ongoing spiritual education.

Most of all, I have my own soul. Every soul speaks towards their human in quiet whispers. Every human can tune themselves to their soul.

Everything I do before I die will be to enhance and enjoy the relationship with my soul and the miracle of my human life. There is an unconditional love which doesn\’t depend on the world\’s dopamine rewards and which embraces the human spirit.

Everyone has a path and access to the soul. How conscious are we? I approach the monk\’s life of direct focus on the divine presence more than once in my nearly 6 decades of life.

This little journal post was started with the word love and you can see where it lead me. Implicitly, to know the divine presence is to love unconditionally.