Archive for March, 2009

Insight #40 ZEN Shredding…
March 31, 2009

blacomb-spring-2008-040

 

 

Find out Who You Are. 

 

Finding out who you are is not a shift in perception, belief or lifestyle.  While these states can be part of your story, finding out who you are is a revelation, a realization of what you aren’t.  Every time you identify your Self you limit your Self.  Any idea you have about your Self is not your Self.  You are not a concept.

 

Extended commentary:

 

When I think about what I have learned over my life, and more so over the last 20 years of my journey pursuing “a spiritual path” I realize more often or not that on one level, it has really has been a process of accumulation.  Reduced to the most simplistic way of seeing it, I have accumulated experiences and information.  While “I” can say that those experiences were “spiritual” experiences and that the knowledge I gained appeared to be “spiritual” knowledge, it was and is still an accumulation; skewed, motivated and driven by a hard wired need to find out Who I Am. 

 

While those experiences and that knowledge have provided a certain amount of understanding, and perhaps a meaningful elevation to my subjective life experience, at the end of the day it’s still for the most part been a journey of accumulation.  Am I closer to finding out Who I Am, or have I really only been entertaining myself with the consumption of concepts that only speculate as to Who I Am?  Do I know Who I Am; or have I been seduced by a multitude of ideas, notions, perceptions, philosophies and intellectual l understandings or knowledge that may enrich the mind, but only ever, imply Who I Am?

 

Over the last five years I have been exposing myself to the wisdom teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and immersing myself in the brilliant work of Stephen Wolinsky, a direct student of Nisargadatta.  While my previous teachings and studies provided valuable direction and understanding to my life at the time, “I” was still in the accumulation mode.  I was still under the seduction and belief that “the more I knew” about “so called spirituality”, the more I would somehow find out Who I was; that, the more so called spiritual “experiences” I had AND could have, the more I would somehow elevate my consciousness to a “higher level”.  While this is all part and parcel of the conventional leanings and teachings of spirituality, I am now realizing that it has nothing to do with Who I Am!  I am now realizing that more knowledge and more experience, is not necessarily better when it comes down to realizing my true nature. 

 

It’s tempting to imagine that just because I memorize some paragraph, quote or chapter from a “spiritual” or “holy” book, that it will somehow allow me to reach a superior level of awareness. Likewise, there is a great seduction in thinking that just because I have been meditating for 20 years or more, I will be able to somehow transcend or detach myself from the sufferings of day to day living.  Just because “I” appear to have this or that, in the form of understandings, certifications, teachings or achievements, and just because I have read these books or those books or attended this workshop or that workshop does not mean I have mastered some “secret law of attraction” or have some ability to create the kind of life that I have always dreamed about.  Just because I lived in an ashram or studied under some guru, does not necessarily mean that I know my true Self. 

 

While all of these pursuits are interesting, seductive, romantic and inspiring, providing great story and improvement on past experiences and behaviors that may have been based on struggle, they are in many cases really just a substitute on previous ways of thinking and being.  They are in themselves not necessarily leading me or anyone else, (albeit intellectually) closer to Who I Am, Who I Was, and Who I will always be.

 

I could say that I am now in the process of unlearning; deconstructing ALL that I ever imagined or conceived my self to be.  It’s my hope that as I do so, a space will appear allowing the real and true me to be revealed; spontaneously, naturally and without any “effort” or conceptual understanding on my part.  What has become very interesting in this process is to witness “my” willingness and the necessity and value in approaching this process with a “no holds barred” attitude; in recognizing how  essential it is to have an “all or nothing approach” while in the examination of that accumulated knowledge and its validity to Who I Am.

 

It’s valuable and important to improve the quality of ones life, to engage the process of our own evolution in awareness.  It’s also good to know and hear, that there many distractions and temptations in the so called spiritual world; pseudo teachings, philosophies, practices and knowledge that offer a sweet redemption to all of life’s needs, but may not necessarily lead you any closer to Who You Are.

 

The task of finding out Who You Are, should not be confused with taking on lifestyles, knowledge, or practices; however beneficial, that only really offer a conceptualized understanding of our true nature; a nature  that can ultimately only be revealed.  The task of finding out Who You Are, should never be confused with accumulation, gain or achievement.  Your ideas of spirituality may in fact have nothing to do with your spirituality.  If anything, it is all about an ability to abandon all that you imagine your self to be, so that the One Self can finally appear.

 

Prior to the story of who you think you are, there is a space.  If you allow your attention to settle on that space; if you take the time to notice that space, you might for the first time see that you are not your story ~  however good or bad it may appear.  You might finally recognize that while you may have spent most of your life identifying yourself too that story, adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing its content, that the real and only “you” lies outside the boundaries of those accumulated, intellectual meanderings, which, to be completely congruent, have to include everything I’ve said in this blog entry…

 

 : )      

 

 

Who are you?

 

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

 

 

AND

 

 

When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:

 

 

Soulananda;

The Essentials of a Good Life…

 

http://www.soulananda.com

 

 

 

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ZEN Shredding ~ an excerpt…
March 27, 2009

 

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DISCOVERING YOUR

 

SELF: YOU ARE MORE

 

THAN YOU KNOW

 

Life is a process of change,

discovery, risk and flow

 

 

One belief I consistently bump up against is the notion that to experience change, transformation or success, there has to be struggle and effort.  Throughout my life journey and my experience of snowboarding I was challenged to examine some of my deepest held beliefs in who I thought I was.  Who I am is much more than my thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories and perceptions, who I am is more than the body/mind I have identified and become all too familiar with.

 

In hindsight it is easy to recognize that the majority of the barriers I experience are presented by my mind alone and that one key to navigating the terrain of change and transformation is to simply get out of the way and allow it to happen. With practice and some kicking and screaming, I realize the process of discovering who I am is about letting go of my imagined ‘me’.  When I do that, it creates enough space for something new and incredible to surface, the experience psychologists call ‘flow’. 

 

At the end of a good day on the slopes I can only have two perceptions of reality: I can imagine that it is some sort of me that determines how successful I may or may not be in getting to the bottom of the hill, or I can do my best at getting out of the way of that imagined me and allow the mystery and magic of my existence to express itself uniquely, naturally and spontaneously…

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

 

 

AND

 

 

When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:

 

 

Soulananda;

The Essentials of a Good Life…

 

http://www.soulananda.com

 

 

Insight #39 ~ ZEN Shredding…
March 25, 2009

spring-023

 

 

Don’t be dependent

on your ‘posse’.

 

 

If we put people on pedestals and then expect them to live up to our standards, this often turns into a dose of disappointment.  To have friends that value and honor you is a good thing.  To imagine that you can rely on someone in all situations and circumstances, indefinitely, is an unrealistic expectation. It’s OK to immerse yourself, but detrimental to enmesh yourself in relationships.

 

Extended commentary:

 

On many levels, I do not think it is healthy to rely on one person for all things.  While there may be a need and desire to want all things from one person, I have found that when you have embraced a level of success taking care of your own needs first, you will be freed to enjoy in a detached way, the opportunity to receive from all “other” relationships.

 

Our conditioning provides us with the erroneous but romantic notion that one person or source will provide us with all that we want and need in life; in most cases this serves only to undermine the possibility for any relationship to flourish in an unconditional way.

 

Building relationships with a variety of people allows multiple levels of your experience and nature, to be nurtured in healthy ways.  When your circle of relationships is diverse and varied, there is a greater likelihood that you will experience deeper levels of fulfillment and meaning in your life as those multiple mirrors reflect back to you the depth of Who You Are and who you can be and the less chance there is of a psychic expectation of neediness being projected; that it “all” come from one particular person.

 

Someone once suggested that our karma is determined more by the people we surround ourselves with than by past experience.  While I no longer believe in the concept of karma itself, from my own experience and witnessing the lives of others I can see why such an observation would be made. 

 

The “Posse” of people we surround our self with by nature, has a corroborating influence on the way we think, feel and act in life; the impulses of who we were, who we are, and who we want to be, can often be stimulated in successful and not so successful ways, by our most prominent peers.  The greatest trap within our most important relationships occurs when we become too attached to a particular relationship, where a healthy interdependence is replaced by dependence.

 

 

 What dependency or attachment do you place on the relationships you value the 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

 

 

AND

 

 

When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:

 

 

Soulananda;

The Essentials of a Good Life…

 

http://www.soulananda.com

 

 

Insight #38 ~ ZEN Shredding…
March 17, 2009

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Find your ‘posse’. 

 

 

Finding and building relationships with a core group of individuals who are big enough to support you with the dreams and desires you have for your life will elevate and accelerate your life experience to new levels of intimacy, freedom, joy and success.

 

Extended commentary:

 

One of the most powerful ways to transform the way in which you live and experience your life is to have an opportunity to meet and build relationships with new and “different” people.  I’m not the only person on the planet who has spent significant amounts of time and money on personal transformation.  Yet, one of the singular most important investments that has influenced and enhanced my own well-being has been the ability to recognize an opportunity and then spend time developing and extending my circle of personal relationships. 

 

With the advent of a new relationship, we have the potential to introduce new and different information which then has the power to facilitate the seeing, understanding and living of our life experience, in powerful new ways.

 

When I think back to the milestones and markers of perceived positive change in my own life that I believe have had the most impact, it was not new, entertaining, experiences that provided the greatest fodder for permanent growth and transformation, but people!  It was in those moments where I was exposed to the influence of a new relationship in my life that it began to change in unexpected and more often or not, more purposeful ways; directions that I could never have foreseen or imagined.

 

I spend a lot of time in contemplation; I value greatly time spent sitting with myself in solace and communion.  While solitude generates significant amounts of restful awareness and rejuvenation on many different levels, it is the balanced interaction of intimate, active personal relationships that allow me to integrate, new ways of thinking and being while in the world.

 

Through conversation, inquiry and the expression of Self in the moment and those relationships, I have the opportunity to witness or observe new skill sets and perceptions that often push the envelope of my own understanding.  Through the expression of shared experience, understanding and story, my own world view is gently rehabilitated from the chains of conceptual thought and emotions that have bound me.

 

While there are many different layers of relationship that serve in ones life, the rarest and most important are those relationships that cause us to be inspired, and, as a result of that inspiration, we grow and we thrive.  When it comes down to the most important aspirations, hopes and dreams that we have for life, what more could one need when one has a few special persons in ones life that role model and mentor to us, their own authenticity; that lend a genuine value, respect and support for us in the pursuit of our most important endeavors?

 

Through the “mirror” of relationship, we can potentially elevate the direction and story of our life to heightened levels of meaning and fulfillment, or indeed, can sink it into the quagmire of despair; a relationship of such dynamics can be likened to a catalyst that awakens dormant DNA, and with that activation, our evolution and understanding of Self, takes a quantum leap into the unknown; an unknown filled with infinite possibilities and unbounded freedom…

        

 

Do you surround yourself with people who nurture and support you in reaching your highest potential?

 

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

 

 

AND

 

 

When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:

 

 

Soulananda;

The Essentials of a Good Life…

 

http://www.soulananda.com

 

 

Insight #37 ~ ZEN Shredding…
March 10, 2009

spring-002 

 

 

Give yourself permission. 

 

 

You cannot progress if you constantly hold back.  While feedback, guidance and inner reflection are some ways to experience more clarity, sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to do life, to show up and see what unfolds as a result of choices you’re making.

 

Extended commentary:

 

The inspiration for this insight came from a personal experience I witnessed many years ago in the “corporate” arena.  The company I worked for had just hired some new senior management personal, a vice president and human resources leader.  Both individuals had very “powerful” personalities and were establishing their “positions” within the company. 

 

In this overheard conversation the vice president [male] asked who had done something in the office ~ I can’t even remember what it was; the human resource person [a female] said “I did”!  The vice president responded with a “who gave you permission to do that?” the HR person simply said, “I gave myself permission…” 

 

To this day, this experience has anchored itself in my own mind as an example of what can be said or done when one chooses to defy convention, to choose not to defer to an outside source, simply because of pressure or position.  It’s so easy to give up ones state of Self referral as a result of convention, politics, peer pressure, cultural obligation, moral conditioning, or the judgment that may occur (internal and external) when one considers a decision or choice that could be made.

 

How often are opportunities in life missed; chances for growth, freedom or joy, because we do not give ourselves permission ~ for whatever reason; because we choose instead to defer to an outside source of power or authority?  I’m not asking you to be an anarchist here, I’m simply drawing your attention to the fact that most people live their own lives in very conventional ways of being as a result of external conditioning and their own self engendered thinking. 

 

Someone once said “the limits of your belief, define the limits of your reality.”  By learning to give yourself permission, you have an opportunity to bump up against some of your own self imposed limits, while also creating the space for something magical to occur; freedom.  Freedom from your thoughts, freedom from beliefs that no longer support the expression of Who You Are, freedom from your emotions, freedom from your memories, freedom from you perceptions, freedom from your associations, freedom from your mind and freedom from your body. 

 

Sounds kind of sweet to me…

 

     

 

 

Do you rely on the opinion of others to govern your own life?

 

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

 

 

AND

 

 

When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:

 

 

Soulananda;

The Essentials of a Good Life…

 

http://www.soulananda.com

 

 

You Are…
March 4, 2009

 

 

You are always there.

 

That which you are is so obvious, it will go unnoticed.

 

That you are, goes unnoticed because your attention is placed on the foreground of your life and personality; Who You Are becomes overshadowed by what you are not.

 

Placed on the foreground of your experience, on your thoughts, your emotions, your perceptions, your associations, your desires, your fears, your memories and insecurities, your attention becomes fixated to the story of what you are not. 

 

You lose yourself in a story of what you have been told; you become a slave to the stories you tell yourself.

 

As long as you are in your story you can never get out of your story. 

 

If you don’t know that you are in your story, how can you get out of your story?

 

Acting out your story you remain oblivious to THAT which you are.

 

That which you are is so simple, so immediate, so direct and so eternal, it remains unseen ~ waiting.

 

 

You are always there.

 

Wherever you go, you will be there.

 

Before you were seeking, you were.

 

While you are seeking, you are.

 

After you stop seeking, you will be.

 

 

You do not have to try to be what you are.

 

Without effort, without gain, without achievement or struggle, you are.

 

 

All is, because you are.

 

All was, because you are.

 

You are not what you imagine yourself to be.

 

 

Prior to words, you are.

 

Prior to thoughts, you are.

 

Prior to understanding, you are.

 

 

 

No crusade, no conviction, no alms are needed for you to be who you are.

 

You are who you are, in the present moment now.

 

Restore the memory that you are.

 

Be THAT which you are.

 

 

Inspired by the wisdom of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and the brilliant work of Stephen Wolinsky PHD.

 

Please visit:

 

http://www.netinetifilms.com/

 

Insight #36 ~ ZEN Shredding
March 3, 2009

picture-004 

Seek inner affirmation of your Being. 

 

Most of us have been conditioned to seek external approval.  True freedom lies in your ability to acknowledge and realize who you are being over what you are doing.  When you are able to recognize the only affirmation you need is the sanction of your own inner being and existence, you’ll be free to unleash your creative capacities in any direction you choose. 

 

Extended commentary:

 

You could unpack a million different reason why the urge to seek approval is so strong within the psychology of mind.  At the deepest level the insecurity within this seduction and addictive cocktail contains the ingredients of an all pervasive feeling of imperfection, the need for love and a nervous system/mind brain that is biologically programmed for survival.

 

Human beings constantly defer to external sources of power for the affirmation of their Being; to survive in bigger and better ways.  We spend most of our life pampering and placating the foreground of our personalities and lives, sometimes in very sociably acceptable ways, to satisfy a deeper sense of disconnect that is perceived from our authentic Self. 

 

While the trappings of success may temporarily mute this deeper need and the call to know thy Self; a few adventurous Souls take a road less travelled, as they attempt to crack the cosmic code of creation.  One could spend an entire lifetime crafting the personality, in very creative and subtle ways and never achieve or gain the satisfaction that comes from knowing that part of the  Self that lies beyond the boundaries of thought, deed and action, that needs no change, no fix, no transformation, no purification!

 

The challenge and only obstacle is to recognize that you cannot get out of a story unless you know that you are in a story; you cannot break free from your story, while you continue to act out your story.  Seeking approval, power and even the love of another, are often the gory details of an unfolding story and seductive trance that often leads to more suffering.

 

While the personality agonizes over petty details of lack and imperfection that can only come with identification to the body/mind, the source of all suffering; an ever present solution awaits within the innocent background of your very own awareness.  It is your very own awakened Being, that waits the arrival of your own attention; your very own Being waits to be captured by your attention and your attention only. 

 

       

 

Whose approval do you seek and why?

 

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

 

 

AND

 

 

When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:

 

 

Soulananda;

The Essentials of a Good Life…

 

http://www.soulananda.com

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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