Archive for December, 2008

Soulananda ~ A New Years resolution…
December 31, 2008

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Greetings and blessings for the New Year!

We all live in times of concern, need and potential.  At this time of year many are inspired to seek deeper meaning and purpose within their life experience; we look for a quality of resilience that will allow us to elevate our present life experience to greater levels of possibility and potential. 

 As part of the celebration of the upcoming potential and possibility within the expression of the coming New Year, I’d like to share with you my most recent work:

Soulananda; The Essentials of a Good life. 

 This is a short work that has been developed over many years, much of it based on my own personal journey of awakening.  I share it freely with you with the hope that something said or embraced within these ideas, might inspire you to live your life with more freedom and possibility; to be the change you have been looking for.  It is shared with the hope that you might live your life with greater awareness and presence in the Being of Who and What You Are…

Warmest regards in this present moment now!

michael sean symonds

Jan 1st 2009

 

Here’s the link:  http://www.soulananda.wordpress.com

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ZEN Shredding ~ Insight #28
December 22, 2008

 

For “it” to happen you need to step aside. 

  

 

You are not the doer: you are an instrument, a vehicle, and a vessel.  The more you show up and step aside in the moment, the more you will experience the exhilaration, the passion, the inspiration and joy of simply being. 

 

Extended commentary:

 

“I’ve” “done” a lot of work on “myself” over the last 20 years or so.  I often joke to people that I’ve spent enough money on seminars, workshops and trainings to put a hefty down payment on a condo in Whistler, Canada!

 

 I never was a workshop junky; “I” choose selectively “invest” in myself and the path that unfolded before “me”; in the travels, the workshops, the passions and projects that stoked “me” [and in the process happened to spend a lot of  $ : )]. 

 

I also do not regret any of the choices I made, as each step of the adventure brought greater levels of intimacy, meaning and fulfillment into my life.  “I” will admit there is a small part of “me” that envies somewhat the imagined security that comes with having a healthy bank account and retirement savings plan : ).

 

Of recent my journey has and is, taking me to places of understanding I could never have foreseen.  While I’m still integrating those experiences and understandings; most of which I will never try to articulate, I do want to share with you the relevance of this blog entry and insight from my book ZEN Shredding, that has become “significant” on my journey.

 

As I mentioned “I” studied; I’ve taken enough trainings to have significant degrees of specialty in those areas.  What I am realizing more and more of late, is how insignificant those studies are to the relevance of Who I AM.  In the West, especially; we are indoctrinated into the path of accumulation and gain.  For most, wheather it be money, esteem, knowledge or things, there is an unconscious assumption that more is better, higher, significant and important, than less.  While this may have some truth at the level of conventional living in the world of form and phenomena, it is not true at the level of the Self.

 

My journey is now becoming a journey of “Unlearning”, of letting go of everything I imagined myself to be.  It is recognition that we are who we are, regardless of the garments, bells and whistles that may be conventionally seen as signposts of development or “spiritual” evolution.  I now realize most of it [knowledge and experience] is in fact a lot of nonsense; entertainment and distraction for the “I” mind, that is shrouded in the guise of so called spiritual teachings and experience; that have simply been passed down through the ages, as “enlightenment teachings”.

 

 Simply said, most “spiritual” teachings become another form of indoctrination that in most cases, are only another substitution for previous conditionings.   While many of these teachings may provide the “feeling” of liberation, they in fact only serve to further entrap oneself into yet another box; they provide only, an improved idea of Who You Are, they do not reveal Who You Are.

 

Now more than ever, I realize the greatest obstacle to my own realization of Who I AM, is in fact the self I imagine(d) myself to be.  It is the “not self”, that I have spent a lifetime living and decades of “developing”.  It is the “not self” that I have been trying to improve.  It is the false, “not self”, that I have been trying to fix, change, evolve, heal and transform; most of it based on the false idea of accumulation; the belief that the more I know the more I will be.

 

Much of this approach in living can be subsumed in a famous statement made by the philosopher Rene Descartes:

 

Cogito ergo sum [latin]

                                       

Je pense, donc je suis [French]

 

I think therefor I AM;

 

OR

 

I am thinking, therefore I exist.

 

 

The act of thinking does not qualify my being; equally as much, the idea that I act also, does not qualify or quantify my beingness.  My existence in fact is not based on thinking, acting or being, and my being cannot be qualified or quantified by anything that exists.  My existence cannot be perceived or experienced at the level of the mind, body or so called “Spirit”.  I AM, prior to my I Am-ness, and to imagine that I can discover Who I AM as a result of what I am doing, thinking, knowing or being, is an illusion.

 

The path of unlearning is seldom taken.  We spend most of our lives enriching and accumulating ideas within the mind, with the belief that it somehow allows us to eventually transcend, reaching Who We Are.  This is the trap of knowledge and the trap of understanding; that Who We Are somehow relates to what we know and understand at a knowledge and experience level.

 

Regardless of our perceived “sources” of conditioning, the “yoga” of unlearning, provides the space for us to settle into our real nature or “true Self” by abandoning lifetimes of ideas, thoughts, feelings, notions, beliefs and perceptions; the erroneous concepts that we imagine our self and THAT Self to be.   It is a mystery that in the surrender and annihilation of these concepts that the revelation of our “true Self” or nature spontaneously, begins to appear…

 

 

What would your life look life if you knew that success had nothing to do with planning or rehearsing of the moment?

 

 

 

I would like to take a moment to wish you the best for the upcoming holiday!  While this time of year can often feel overwhelming as we navigate the seduction and distraction this season brings; the New Year also often, can provide a feeling of new possibilities and potentials; If only in the mind there appears an opportunity for greater levels of joy and fulfillment on our quest into the mystery of our journey.

 

I’m in the process of finishing up a small “book” project that I would like to send you via email, a little inspirational “ditty” for the New Year J.

 

Please feel confident that I will not sell your email or my “list” to anyone…

 

my email:

 

divinite[at]telus.net   (spelt!)

 

Warm regards for the season!

 

michael sean symonds

 

    

To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:

 

http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000161942

 

OR

 

Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…

 

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/322380

 

 

(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 

 

ZEN Shredding ~ Insight #27
December 15, 2008

 

Make promises to yourself. 

 

 

Most of us are very good at making commitments to work, to life, and yes, to the relationships we value the most, but how often do you make promises to yourself?  How often do you take the time to examine with clarity what you need to live life with more passion, joy and fulfillment?

 

Extended commentary:

 

What do you need?

What promises have been broken or remain unattended?

What do you want?

What is it that your heart desires most in this present moment now?

What is absent from your life experience, that if present would radically change your perception of this moment?

 

Is it Love?

 

 

 

Freedom?

 

Self confidence?

 

Compassion?

 

Leadership?

 

Passion?

 

Purpose?

 

Meaning?

 

Fulfillment?

 

Intimacy?

 

Ultimately, only one promise needs to be made; a promise that will provide the clarity and vision to all other promises; the promise to discover the Self.  The promise to find this self is not the self, that wants or needs, or a self that grasps and clings, wandering through life, chasing after the buzz and bang of some magic bullet to fix and change.  On the surface there appears to be two selves: the one that pursues life with a vengeance, hunger, passion and need, and a real Self that sits always in delight, watching the antics of our shadow self with complete detachment. 

 

There is nothing wrong with having strategies of finding more meaning and purpose in life, although I’ve always believed it important to first recognize, nurture and become, the part of our Self that has no interest in the pursuit and gains of life, in  what we call “the doings.”. 

 

There is a simple joy, innocence and freedom, that lies in the realization that nothing really needs to be gained or lost at the level of our true Self; that the self we imagine ourselves to be is in fact, the only obstacle we need to relinquish.  We may have many desires throughout our life, but it is the greatest desire and promise, to realize the Self; the one that most often goes unnoticed, that matters. 

 

Until we know our true Self, all other desires will only ever provide a fleeting moment of meaning and fulfillment.  When we find that perfect Self, we realize all previous desires were simply stepping stones to the One and only true desire of becoming Self aware; to know Who and What we are.  To know that it is we ourselves, who are the magic bullet…

 

  

What promises do you need to make to your Self to live life with more passion, joy and fulfillment?  What do you value most?

 

 

 

 

To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:

 

http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000161942

 

OR

 

Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…

 

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/322380

 

 

(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOU…
December 10, 2008

 

It seems to me, that life appears to happen as a series of beginnings and endings.  There also appears to be no consistency and no guarantee that anything will be a particular way, within those experiences.  The only consistency we can find in the ebb and flow of our life, is in fact “YOU”: the experiencer; the one who is having the experience; the “YOU” that is aware of those experiences, but uninvolved, completely detached from the minds agenda or outcome. 

 

This experiencer; this “YOU”, is not the you, that you imagine yourSelf to be, nor is it the you, you have been told is you.  It is the real “YOU”; the “YOU” prior to all labels, judgments and fears. This “YOU” is not the you of your past or future, but the “YOU” that lies in this present moment, now.  It is the “YOU” prior to all conditioning. 

 

Experiences will always come and go; we will label them “good” or “bad”, “important” or “not so important”, but the real “YOU” will always innocently, remain the same.  This real “YOU”, that is independent of your experience be it “good” or “bad”; does not get involved in the petty dramas, that are contained within the story or experience.  The real “YOU” is not affected by the nonsense or thrills, the suffering and the pain, the gain or loss, the joy or sadness that may be part of those experiences.  Success or failure means nothing to the real “YOU”, since it is independent of all value judgments.

 

Most human beings overlook this “YOU”.  Attention is placed on the comings and goings of this and that; every event that occurs in the phenomenal world.  When you find this “YOU”, when you give your attention to this “YOU”, everything changes. 

 

In the finding of this “YOU”, you become the “YOU” that you were always meant to be.  You become the “YOU” that you were before you began seeking, while you were seeking, and after you gave up seeking.  “YOU” are no longer focused on the labels, the self judgments or the fears.  “YOU” are no longer focused on the past or the future; “YOU” sit quietly, anchored to the ONE “part” of your Self that knows no labels, has no judgments, and lives without fear.

 

It takes great courage to be the “YOU”, for it requires the greatest of sacrifices: that you be willing to give up everything you imagined yourself to be.  It requires that you take the risk to abandon all that you have learned about yourself and the world you live in.  It requires you give up all conventional ways of thinking and being, and instead reside in a Self that lies outside the boundaries of understanding that are contained within the conditioned mind.

 

Most of us spend our lives reconditioning a self that in fact never existed.  We strive to fix and change, strengthen and absolve an identity that has a story that includes a past, present and future.  This self or imagined you, does not exist; better said, it “exists” only at the level of body/mind.  When the body/mind is gone, this self will also go; the memories, the pain, the suffering, the joy, the story will end.

 

The real “YOU” is already free; free from identification, free from association, free from the limited beliefs of the “I” mind.  True resilience, lies not in the practice of being “YOU”, but in the one “YOU”, who practices; when you know this “YOU”, you will have died to the false.  You will have given up seeking to instead discover the seeker.  You will have given up something to stumble on everything. 

 

You will become the “YOU” that you always were…    

 

 

 

Dedicated to the ZERO Ceiling Society program graduates of 2008.

 

http://www.zeroceiling.org

 

 

 

 

 

ZEN Shredding ~ Insight #26
December 8, 2008

 

Life is a web of relationships. 

 

 

When you spend time in Nature, it’s easy to recognize the interdependence of all things.  You can see that the trees filter air, which turns into moisture, which nourishes the earth, that cultivates the seed, which once again becomes a tree, a simple example of the infinite number of possibilities woven into the tapestry of our life.  Every experience is intricately connected with a thousand invisible threads that bind and tie, link and nurture us.  Doting on details is redundant, recognizing the relationship is paramount. 

 

 

 

Extended commentary:

 

Our greatest “step” in spiritual evolution is not in learning or mastering new disciplines, nor the tenure of practice, but instead in the letting go of something.  In this letting go of something we will find nothing; and in that nothing we will find the birthplace of everything. 

 

There is great fear and concern in the world today regarding the anticipated content of the next chapter to our collective story.  Will our life and extended environment collapse into the chaos of degradation and destruction, or will we gracefully elevate our life experience from a place of struggle and strife, embracing instead a way of being in which all life will be nurtured to its fullest potential and possibility?

 

The success or failure of the next the chapter of this journey will ultimately be dependent on our ability to change fundamentally the way in which we see and understand reality.  Will we continue to see ourselves as separate, distinct individual entities, living lives based on the conditioned habits of acquisition and accumulation, survival and control, at the expense of all others; or will we instead, re-evaluate our behaviors to consider an approache to life where we nurture the wisdom of interdependence; where all life is seen as an integrated whole?

 

The integrity of our inner wisdom will be based on the foundation to see the world as it is, not as we imagine it to be.  The value of our commitment will be seen in behaviors, thinking and action that mirror our choices to examine, enquire and eliminate any allegiance we may have to discrepancies in the conventional, erroneous, thinking we have bought into; thinking that does not rapport with ultimate reality.

 

This unlearning; is the realization that all things, however unfathomable, are connected in very tangible ways; that inherent within us, lies the truth that all life is not independent, but interdependent.  Conventional reality suggests to us that the world we touch, taste and smell, comes into existence of its own free will.  Ultimate reality suggests that everything is intertwined, that nothing comes into existence by and of itself and of its own volition.

 

Conventional reality is the world as the “I” sees it.  It is a fabrication, a potpourri of indiscriminate beliefs based on personal conditioning and the hypnosis of social reverie.  It is the source of all suffering and conflict in this world, and is caused by the discrepancies and allegiance we have in our perceptions of what is real.  It is an expression of the prevailing tension that is created between our being, thinking and doing. 

 

Ultimate reality, is reality as it is, independent of the premature cognitive commitments as seen by the “I”, “me”, “mine” notion.  It is so sublime; we can only talk about what it is not.

 

As we begin to adjust our thinking; as we begin to realize there is no point from which we can disembark between “my and your world”, we will begin to take on ways of being, thinking and doing that are reflected in the choices of inclusion; that respect, rapport and honor the “illusion of another”.

 

This new way of being; to see the world as a web of relationships where none seek dominion over the other; where none are placed above or below, will be the source of radical transformation; where the personal will be replaced by the impersonal, where “my interests” and “your interests mingle”, where “my existence” and “your existence” meet.   

 

 

 There is only ONE relationship. 

That ONE relationship has a spectrum of many colours…

 

 

 

Does the story of your life define and perpetuate your independence or reveal and inform you of your interdependence?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:

 

http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000161942

 

OR

 

Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…

 

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/322380

 

 

(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

ZEN Shredding ~ Insight #25
December 2, 2008

 

Do more of what you value. 

 

Life does not have to be a complicated affair.  While there are so many different trails you could take sometimes spending more time on the ones you already enjoy is the best route.

 

 

 

Extended commentary:

 

There are many, many strategies for living a more meaningful and successful life.  Getting in touch with your value system has to be one of the most efficient and powerful ways of developing an effective approach to navigating life’s challenges, while also finding ways to elevate and increase the level of inspiration you experience in life. 

 

Values have a subtle, but powerful influence on your motivation and decision making process.  When you have opposing sets of values they often create confusion and frustration in life; if you ever wonder where “self sabotage” comes from take a look at your values [expressed or denied] and you will likely discover some sort of misalignment or unconscious allegiance to an opposing value.  With understanding and awareness, values provide a framework to guide you into making choices that are in alignment with Who You Are, they are the essence to the “you” that you want to become. 

 

When your attention is placed on values that are an inherent expression of your inner being, you will experience life in an informed, meaningful and inspiring way.  Values are important as they inherently guide and motivate you to do what you do; they are the reasons why you do, what you do.  What you most value in life, you will have a desire to increase your experience of, and what you value least in life, you have a desire to diminish or eliminate from your life.

 

When you have a value system that supports your well being, you’ll never have to worry about finding the motivation to do something.  When you cultivate an awareness of your personal value system, it will serve to elevate the experience of happiness on all levels of life. 

 

Values are the keys to unlocking the transformational process, the building blocks for creating meaningful change and enhanced levels of joy.  As you progress through your life phases, your existing value system will often be refined, clarified and developed as a result of your exposure to new or different experiences that take the form of those people, situations and circumstances. 

 

One of the most important aspects in understanding your value system is how they reflect directly your inner and outer worlds; they determine greatly the choices you make or do not make in life; they are an expression of what you do or do not do, in life…

 

Here are a few other important points to remember about values:

 

Take the time to create clarity around your most important values.

 

Identify the relative priority you give them in your life.  There will always be two lists; one will reflect what you “imagine” or would “like” the priority to be”; the second list will reflect the priority as indicated by your “actual behavior in life”.  You will experience more happiness and fewer struggles when both these lists mirror each other, i.e. there will be no contradiction between what you “think” and what you “do”.

 

As you become more familiar with your values, use them to support you in making important decisions relative to the short and long term goals you have in life, and the “purposefulness” with which you may live your life.

 

Look for conflicting values when you face struggle or confusion.

 

Identify your strongest values and understand their ability to elevate the level of successes you experience in life.

 

Identify and elevate the values which motivate and inspire you the most, look for the values that cause you to thrive in your most successful relationships [love, friendship, partnership].

 

Look for ways to enhance the expression of values that can contribute to your inspiration and success.  Cultivating or nurturing specific values you might have overlooked or dismiss, often serve to facilitate the greatest amount of transformation.

 

We can classify values into four categories:

 

Personal, Cultural, Social and Work related areas. 

 

Personal Values:

Personal values are principles that define you as an individual. Personal values, such as honesty, reliability, and trust, determine how you will face the world and relate with people.

other examples include: Caring, Courage, Creativity, Honesty, Spirituality.

 

Cultural Values:

Cultural values, like the practice of your faith and customs, are principles that sustain connections with your cultural roots.

They help you feel connected to a larger community of people with similar backgrounds. 

Other examples include: Ethnic roots, Nationality ties or Spirituality.

 

Social Values:

Social values are principles that indicate how you relate meaningfully to others in social situations, including those involving family, friends, and    co-workers.

Other examples include: Diversity, Eco-consciousness, Equality,       

Family closeness.

 

Work Values:

Work values are principles that guide your behavior in professional contexts.

They define how you work and how you relate to your co-workers, bosses, and clients.

They also reveal your potential for advancement. 

Other examples include: Competitiveness, Dedication, Punctuality,         Financial remuneration, Team player etc.

 

As you change and evolve, it will be clearly illustrated by your shifting value system.  The following process is a simple way to stay in touch with yourself and to understand where your inner world may or may not be taking you!

 

 

Make a list of all the things you value in life (at least 31).

 

To help you define those ideas you can use the four “theme” categories;

 

        Personal, Cultural, Social and Work related areas.

 

Another way to generate a value is to think about what you don’t like.

What do you find fault with? (Someone or something).

 

For example:

 

War or fighting = Peace.

 

Angry or judgmental people = kindness or compassion.

 

 

The Practice

 

 

 

Purchase a deck of recipe cards.

 

On each card write one value. 

 

There will be 31 cards (for the 31 day calendar months). You can also be creative by coloring or illustrating each card. 

 

Each day the practice will be to place your attention on one “Value of the day”.

 

Your role is to simply remain attentive to your daily value throughout the day, notice it when you wake up first thing in the morning or if it spontaneously drifts into your awareness through out the day, or you notice “the deck” during the day.

 

It is NOT necessary to analyze, evaluate or define the value any more than you presently understand it.

 

Before going to bed at night take a moment to remind yourself of what the value of the day was and any connection it might have to your daily experience.

 

Review or think about your daily value just prior to your meditation, and again, as you come out of your meditation.

 

While you may be inspired to engage behaviors that enhance the

realization of these values in your life for this particular practice it is

suggested that you do not  force  any sort of behavior modification to occur around the value!

 

 

 

If by chance something sychronisticaly occurs around the value during the day or some serendipitous opportunity presents itself, then by all means feel free to see where that leads you.

As you progress through the calendar month, day by day, you will turn the page so that everyday you will have a new value to place your attention on.

 

When a new month begins you can start over again at the beginning.

 

For the months where there are only 28/29/30 days you can choose to have two values ( AM ~ PM) so that you can complete the entire deck during that calendar month.

 

The steps are to be effortless ~ the transformation is unbounded…

 

 

ONE FINAL THOUGHT

 

In order for me to stay in integrity with where this blog and “I” am going, I want to emphasize the fact that this particular entry is a strategy for the mind.  All strategies however successful are for, and about the mind. 

 

You, are not the mind. 

 

And while certain strategies may provide insight, understanding, and once in a while, perceived “improvement” in the quality of life, this occurs only at the level of the mind…    

 

 

   

What do you value most?

 

 

To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:

 

http://www.trafford.com/07-2662

 

OR

 

Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…

 

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/322380

 

 

(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 

 

 

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