… here is an excerpt from my new book Zen Shredding, available sometime in early march! I trust you will enjoy ~ stay tuned for more exciting suprizes!
Ask your friends or acquaintances a simple question: how do you feel about change? In most cases it will open the door to conversations and stories that can include adventure and drama, joy and suffering and, depending on the emotional level or closure of the experience, many insights around this loaded word. As a teacher for personal growth, I have actively explored, avoided, pursued, cultivated and witnessed the element of change both in my own life and the lives of others for over two decades. In my own personal journey I continue a dance the dichotomy of this love/hate relationship.
While every moment is fresh, new and filled with possibility, more often than not the filtering of our past experience prevents us from seeing every moment with innocence and as a result we loose touch with the possibilities that could occur in that moment. The chemistry of change, whether it be by choice or force, is the movement of one moment to the next. For most of us, change remains an unconscious mix of raw emotions, memories of inspiration, and fears of past and future. At the deepest level of this spectrum lie polarities of core belief that prevent us from navigating changewith grace and ease.
Zen Shredding is a narrative of how a simple choice can open the door to experience, expression and possibility. It’s also a documentation of the many stories that result from consciously choosing an experience that forced me to face my thoughts, feelings, perceptions and concepts that consistently arise. As the adventure of this story continues to unfold for me, it also continues to actively engage me in the confrontation of personal agreements I have made to my own story around change, which at times serves to distract, derail and trap me in the experience of my past.
The wisdom traditions of India have always implied that change is the one constant and illusion that continues to be a source of great suffering for humanity. Tradition suggests that within the midst of the illusion of change there is an unchanging factor ~ you. And while we are constantly tempted to ‘manage’ the infinite ongoing details of change that exist in our day to day circumstances, most of us blindly ignore the ever present stillness or silence within that can act as a source of strength among the storms of change that pervade our life experience. Within the chaos of change we can find stillness and within the stillness, silence. A silence that is pregnant with possibility, a silence that percolates within itself to become the desire of our tendencies for growth, transformation and expansion. Within the stillness there is a latent potential to transform and elevate our experience of change from a place of conflict, pain and struggle to one of creative ease and effortless response. The mystery of who we are consistently provides us with the stepping stones of clues that manifest as our dreams, desires and passions.
When we immerse ourselves in the experience of silence within, we have the ability to cultivate, nurture and elevate the seeds of those passions into an experience of change that occurs more naturally and spontaneously. While the insights, questions and confessions of this work are not enough to change the world directly, I hope they provide the space and preamble for change/transformation to occur at the level of our filters where many of our obstacles reside.
The following seven themes were initially inspired by a chapter on change in Deepak Chopra’s book Peace is the Way. They are also an expression of understanding, knowledge and experience I have received on my spiritual journey. Cultivating a direct experience of these themes allows you to deconstruct old ways of being, creating the space for the birth of new experiences and possibilities.
Find purpose in life:
Wisdom tradition suggests that we were all born with a purpose, a reason why we are here on Earth. The discovery of this purpose has the power to elevate and ennoble your own life and the world around you. As you pay attention to your essence, you have the ability to calibrate it to its creative expression as it manifests in the world of form. Discovering and cultivating your purpose is a powerful way to navigate your life with greater levels of peace and harmony and protects you from being overwhelmed by the many distractions on the journey of life.
Be present, redirect your attention from the past and future into the present:
It’s easy to become distracted by the pain of our past and the potential suffering of our future. Our senses are the easiest way to remain grounded in the present moment. Through touch, taste, smell, seeing and hearing, we have the ability to anchor and connect, digest and metabolize the energy and information ever present within the moment. In all Spiritual traditions there are many thousands of tools that can be used to provide greater levels of accessibility to our being and its experience and expression through our senses.
Cultivate a clear vision or cause:
We are both the creative expression of the universe and its never changing potential. Within the complex diversity of humankind there is the one unity of Spirit. When you cultivate your purpose, you will experience heightened degrees of creativity, energy and passion and you’ll begin to naturally question what you stand for. Your vision or cause will provide you with the inspiration and clarity of how you will be while you are here and to help manifest your purpose and destiny.
Express your excellence:
You were born with gifts and talents. To express those gifts and talents is to naturally express the excellence of your Soul. Take the time to develop your natural potential. Look for mentors and teachers that give you the opportunity to cultivate experience and express your natural potential to elevated levels of expression. How you choose to serve your gifts and talents is your calling. To cultivate your potential as your calling is to align and support you in the successful expression of your cause and purpose. The experiences of your past and the dreams you have for your life can often provide valuable information in clarifying the natural evolution of your calling, cause and purpose.
Take action steps towards your new purpose, cause and calling:
Take the time to discover the continuity leading from your past to the present. Engaging your vision with action steps allows you to create the preamble for change to occur that is in alignment with your heart and the expression of your Soul. If you listen closely to your life experience, you’ll naturally be guided towards the steps that can activate and orchestrate the expression of your calling, cause and purpose. In your intentions and desires you’ll find the seeds of continuity and potential. Your action steps are ways to practice being what you’ve always been.
Rediscover your innocence:
A spiritual life is the continued expression and expansion of your own awareness and consciousness. As you move beyond the polarities of good and bad, right and wrong, high and low, you will gradually become more aware of the innocence that lies at the heart of every dream, every vision and passion. As you begin to trust the nature of your own being you will begin to experience the natural expression of its value in your life. Spiritual practice and study can escort and enhance you on this journey; these tools allow you to touch, taste, smell, see and hear the expression of innocence in your life.
Become Self Referral:
Self-referral is the spontaneous choice to abandon your reliance, addiction and need to survive based on external circumstances and situations. It is a state of awareness that naturally develops over time as a result of spiritual study and practice. When you begin to find out who you are, you’ll realize the mystery within you is a greater source of power and security than the temporary, ephemeral experiences that make up your day-to-day life. Self-referral provides a degree of detachment that gradually increases to the point where you are completely unconcerned with the story of who, what, where, when, why and how of your life will unfold. It’s the embodiment of divine indifference, a natural state of being.