God Speaks in Your Voice

When the Universe calls – Answer

Symbol of man reaching out for God. God is listening.

Since the dawn of time, humans have sought the divine. Humanity has always had a dual nature – intellectual and spiritual. These twin poles are the magnetic field of the human spirit. Spirit, which is derived from breath, animates life. And it is this nonphysical somethingness that inspires all human ingenuity and spirituality. Perhaps it is symbolic communication that distinguishes us most from other animals. In this way, language can be simultaneously humanity’s most sacred and profane creation. God must have been one of the words created in any language. The ancient etymology of the word God includes the concept of invoking: to call upon with earnestness. How do you know when God answers your sincere entreaties? You will know, because God speaks in your voice.

The title of this post comes from personal experience. Months ago I was talking with my wife about faith, and I told her I did not have to believe because I know. This is the core of my faith which is not organized around any exclusive religious doctrines, but is grounded instead in knowing there is a supreme spirit. Once again, however you label this celestial presence is blessedly up to you to decide. Whatever attracts your spirit is sacred to you. We shouldn’t allow terminology to prevent us from expressing ourselves. I know there is a divine Universe which responds to our fervent prayers, because I have experienced it directly. In movies the voice of God is usually a gravelly, authoritative baritone who intones in lofty ways about the bigness of things. Many famous actors have portrayed the voice of God: Morgan Freeman, Charlton Heston, Graham Chapman. But God speaks not through the ear but through the heart and in your voice. And like billions of people, God first spoke to me in a time of desperate need.

The image is a metaphor for God answering prayers

Years ago, I was laying on the couch, running the day’s events through my head. In our old two bedroom house with a basement, I slept on the couch so that each of my kids could have their own private space. Without warning, my heart began to pound wildly like a fish flopping on a drum-head. The pain was immediate and terrifying. I gasped for air in little sips. My limbs seemed to petrify. I rolled onto my side hoping that would offer some relief.

Deeper pain pierced my upper chest. Lightning exploded behind my eyes. Fragmented images of my life tore through my frightened mind. The white hot iron spear in my chest drove away the memories. Gruesome electric tendrils slithered across my clammy torso. The veins in my neck stiffened. My heart fluttered in random palpitations. The chaotic heartbeats sent my mind reeling away. In growing crimson-tipped terror, I cried out into the darkness. Somehow, I remembered reading one should cough as a sort of crude self-CPR. Mercifully, the coughing spasms triggered a calming reaction. The pounding in my skull fell silent. It was as if it a red-hot iron had been plunged into cool water.

I took a minute before sliding my feet over the edge of the couch and sitting upright. The pain eased. My breathing grew deeper. The iron band around my chest loosened. My heart’s erratic beat slowed and became regular. My eyes burned from tears. Until then I had not realized I had been crying.

Is this how it ends? Is this my fate? How can this be all there is?

In the rush of life returning, countless thought-fragments exploded into being and ricocheted around my quavering mind. In a profound moment of clarity, a single word manifested from out of nothingness – CHANGE.

The image is a swirling gyre which represents the ever-changing nature of the cosmos

The word Change – entered my mind from the Universe beyond consciousness. It was as if the word had lain dormant until touched by a ray of light. The voicelessly uttered word awoke from my heart into my mind. A point of pure light illuminated the latent path ahead. From that moment, I swore to try and find my true course across the untrammeled ever-unfolding landscape ahead.

The next day I bought nicotine patches and ceremoniously tossed my last cigarettes into the garbage. After a couple weeks, my children noticed I was humming to myself more often. My sweet kids applauded my decision to stop smoking. They diplomatically suggested I change my diet too while I was at it. They will always be my greatest blessing. Over the next year, I lost sixty-five pounds. Whenever my coworkers asked how I lost weight, I said simply, “Eat with chopsticks and get moving”. Meaning switch from an all Western diet. But diet alone is not enough, you must change your lifestyle towards healthier alternatives. During this time, I dove deeper into Eastern philosophy, art and meditation, allowing my spiritual nature to blossom.

The image is a flock of seagulls flying low over the beach,. It is a metaphor for letting our spirits fly.

A couple of years later, the Great Recession had begun. I found myself trying to cobble together a way forward after losing my job. I grasped at freelance jobs, and worked at night in a parking lot. The breaking point on that job came when a mentally unstable co-worker hanged himself in the break room. The horrible after-images of scuff marks on the wall and strange drawings troubled my mind for a long time. At the same time, I had to try anything to make ends meet. But they seldom met. It was the most turbulent time in my life. The ten-thousand stresses coalesced into a cruel boulder under which my spirit was slowly being crushed. The full weight of life came crashing down one fateful day.

The image is of a foggy road. It symbolizes the unknown up ahead.

I was cleaning the basement when I experienced my second major coronary catastrophe. My legs buckled. Blackness began to creep along the edges of my vision. After several painful breaths, I was lying supine on the cold cement floor. I called out to what I can only call the divine force. I cast my soul into the timeless Void and was delivered from oblivion. A loving presence enveloped me. In an instant, the hammer blows to my chest stopped. An ethereal hand reached into my chest. Divine energy gently cradled my heart as a warm clarifying flow washed away the suffering. The cataclysm in my spasming heart calmed. A soothing warmth spread throughout my body. It was as if my very soul was cleansed. Once again transcendent words emanated from the center of my consciousness – you will be okay. Thereafter, when faced with adversity, I knew I was not alone.

The image is a heart shaped stone I found on the beach. it symbolizes our love for all people.

From that day to this, I have had faith in what I simply call the Universe. The same omniscient and omnipresent energy flows through all sacred texts under a multitude of names. For millennia, various wise teachers, sacred texts and inspirational artists have illuminated many redeeming paths. Everyone should explore the incredible richness of humanity’s spiritual and intellectual treasure. We must find common ground with one another. We live on a planet with over 7.8 billion people. In these troubling times, we all need to find ways to make our shared home more peaceful. With 7,800,000,000 voices of God calling out with love and compassion, we can change our world. Peace and Love to you all.

Finding Inspiration

The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live. – Auguste Rodin

One weekend when I was in high school, my family visited Chicago’s magnificent Art Institute. The Institute’s collection is superb. I saw so many masters for the first time. But out of all the art I saw in that Beaux-Arts style sanctuary one painting still stands out in my mind over forty years later. It was an ancient Chinese painting. This was my first encounter with the profound power of Asian art. A magical mountain floated atop curving empty space. At first glance, the blank spaces made the painting look strange and unfinished. But upon closer inspection it seemed the emptiness contained a hidden presence. A lone gnarled tree, clinging to the sheer soaring cliffs, reached into the blankness. A single narrow path was barely visible along the precipitous cliff-face. A lone scholar figure, dwarfed by the mountain, stood at the edge of the abyss. His robes billowed slightly, and his long hair flowed down his back. The scholar starred into the void just below the soaring mountain. Perhaps he scanned the skies for signs of an absent love or a path forward. Mentally stepping into the magnificent landscape blazed a path into my mind. I was entranced by the astonishing vertical perspective and bewildering depths of the artistic minds that created such marvelous works.

My family wandered off. A profound calm surrounded me. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as if a slight breeze flowed from the painting. My scalp tingled from the vibrations of metaphysical illumination. The mystifying characters and wondrous red seals cascading down the scene expressed meaning beyond my comprehension. Every element in the painting appeared to be under transformation – man, poem, mountain, wind, the Void… Swaying gently before the altar of art I began a metamorphosis which would take years to comprehend. Small wings began to beat within my soul. Just as it seemed I would take flight; my mom’s gentle touch interrupted my reverie. After the epiphanous moment subsided I began my own journey towards transformation.

In those pre-Internet days, I began looking as best as I could for imagery and articles about Asian culture in general and China specifically. Luckily while browsing a university bookstore I found a well-illustrated book which generally laid out the styles, methods and aesthetics of Chinese painting. Chinese landscape painting is called Shan-Shui-Hua mountain-water-painting. A work of Chinese art has multiple vanishing points to illustrate distances– high, deep, level. The goal of the painting is not to realistically portray a scene. A landscape depicts the spirit of nature while evoking a feeling which is sometimes expressed in poetry.

This artistic introduction led me to geniuses like the poet/artist Su Shi (pronounced Sue Sure). Several times when I was reading about Su Shi I came across the word polymath. A polymath is a person who has great knowledge about several fields. Su Shi was one of the finest examples of a Chinese scholar or literati. He was one of the first Chinese literati began to add elegant poetry to the blank spaces in paintings over a thousand years ago in order to heighten the impact of their creations. A few years ago, my talented Chinese artist friend explained a little about the use of Chinese poetry in art. She said when a viewer reads a powerful Chinese poem the nature of the characters and the skill of the calligraphy summons the vivid imagery of the scene into the mind of the reader. The scenes depicted come to life in a visual display of artistic alchemy in the mind of the viewer.

As a student of Asian art, I would draw or paint the Chinese characters on some of my Asian influenced watercolors. I have studied: Asian arts; eastern civilizations in college; and the intricacies of Taoist thought for over four decades. Along the way there were hints from the Universe that the answers to my deepest questions would lie in the journey ahead. We travel through life along numerous paths tracing and retracing countless tracks in the dust of time. And so it is difficult to identify exactly where one path ends and another begins. But part of the life-path I walk now began the day I first experienced such artistic dynamism.

Many years later, when I was living in China, I was discussing Chinese art with Flora one of my best students. She had studied calligraphy and painting for many years. In one of her lessons her painting teacher said the ultimate goal of the artist is to create a dynamic xiao yuzhou – “small universe” – within their work. When viewed correctly this small universe explodes into the mind of the observer thus altering the individual forever. In this way, my moment of earlier metamorphosis had injected me with an aesthetic lodestone that altered my spirit-compass forever.

On My Monkey-Mind

The only reason why God created man is because he was disappointed with the monkey.

Mark Twain

Dedicated to my great friend Tom

Living overseas away from family and the familiar is difficult. There are stages of difficulty related to culture shock. The stages of culture shock are a general guide to the sequence of emotions people experience. The four basic stages are: honeymoon stage (everything is new and interesting); hostility and irritability (frustration with everyday differences); gradual adjustment (first adapt on the surface and then working on deeper personal issues); acceptance (assimilation, adjustment and integration with new culture). And if you live overseas long enough you get reverse culture shock. One of the odd things that remained a constant source of cultural refreshment for me was the presence of monkeys in Asia. I know it may sound strange, but that was a little thing that brought me back to the so-called honeymoon stage.

There are no monkeys in North America. I don’t fully understand why but I have had a deep affinity for monkeys since I was a little boy. Perhaps it is some far-reaching primate kinship, or just I think they are cool. I’ve always tried to connect with primates I saw in zoos, because I don’t like to see them trapped in such a mind-numbing environment. I saw this sad little orangutan in a Chinese zoo and spent twenty minutes playing with him through the glass. His face was rapturous, as he had gotten used to people banging on the glass trying to upset him. Monkeys and apes seem to naturally gravitate towards me. I don’t like performing monkeys because the owners are often cruel, but I will feed them if I can.

Probably the first monkey I got to know was Curious George. As a little guy, there was a time when I wanted to be the Man with the Yellow Hat, because I liked George’s misadventures. The first monkeys I ever saw in person were spider monkeys owned by a family down the street. To say they were not sophisticated people would be an understatement. I think they had three little monkeys. They would wear tiny diapers, and were given racist names. I remember seeing them climb the tree in front of their house, more nimbly than squirrels. This was also back when pet shops could also sell apes. Okay, let me date myself a little, as a kid I really enjoyed the cartoon Magilla the Gorilla which anthropomorphized gorillas. Because I thought having a gorilla buddy would be fantastic. But thought better of that idea, after I’d watched all the Planet of the Apes movies several times.

I have always loved space exploration. The first primate astronauts were named Albert I – VI were launched atop V-2 rockets. Albert I reached a height of 63 kilometers, not quite outer space. Albert II was the first living being launched into space in June 1949 when he reached an altitude of 83 miles. During the Space Race between American and the USSR, I read about them and wondered, what did the apes and monkeys think as they were launched into space. That was before I learned of the meaning of anesthetized. On January 31, 1961 a chimpanzee named Ham reached 253 kilometers and returned safely. This brave chimp paved the way for Alan Shepard incredible suborbital flight May 5, 1961. After that I was only interested in human space exploration, except for a brief time when my kids would watch Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys.

The first wild monkey I ever saw up close was in Hunan Province at the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It was one of the inspirations for Pandora the Na’vi home-world in Avatar. The natural scenery there is stunning, but what made the trip special for me was getting up close and personal with the native, semi-tame, monkeys. They would hear the tourists rustle cellophane and plastic and rush down to panhandle or outright pilfer food. I laughed when one stood up in a pantomimed threatening gesture so another could sneak in and snatch a bag of oranges from some tourists. Chinese ladies carry umbrellas to protect against the sun and one lady expertly fended off the monkey bandits by opening and closing her umbrella while thrusting it at them. I was in heaven just watching the little buggers run around.

I would later encounter monkeys in many places. For instance, when we visited Angkor Wat, I laughed as a crafty monkey crossed between tour groups on his way across the ancient temple grounds. There is a monkey god shrine guarding a bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam. My last six years in China I lived in my wife’s home province in the tropical south. There were many banana fields nearby. There was a tourist cave nearby that had many local monkeys. As they were often harassed by small children throwing things at them, most would stay in the hills until after the tourists went home. When we visited, I brought some high quality bananas from Thailand. The guard told us where to wait, and after the tourist left, the monkeys came down to raid the trash. The one in the picture looked at me, and I am not kidding, he raised and lowered his eyebrows several times, as if to ask – how about a banana? I gave him one of the Thai bananas and his expression changed to one of delight and he immediately thrust his hand out for another. A nearby monkey must have gotten the scent and reared up as if to charge me, I gave him two bananas to keep him busy and retreated. Their expressions were human-like, we “had a moment”.

I was the managing editor and lead writer for a monthly magazine and weekly newspaper while I lived in China, and as such I got to dive deeper into Chinese culture than most visitors – that and: being married, teaching little kids, chatting with family friends, traveling to far off the beaten track. And so my wife and I were lucky enough to meet Sun WuKong – the Monkey King. The number one superhero of Chinese history. The Monkey King is the protagonist of classic novel The Journey to the West . The television show has been on since 1986, and it is one of every Chinese person’s favorite shows. A well-connected friend of mine paid back several favors by arranging a private tour of Hengdian World Studios – the world’s largest at the time. We got to watch the filming of an episode. The director thought I was a foreign director. After we watched for a few minutes, the famous Monkey King actor said, “Hello, how are you?” We were then told to leave the set. So, in the end I got to meet one of the most famous monkeys of all time. Meeting the Monkey King ended my culture shock altogether. In closing, the Monkey King, and I suppose I do too, personified an expression used in Buddhism, including Zen, Taoism and Asian Literature: Monkey-Mind – restless and whimsical. Our human minds/thoughts/passions are like monkeys. There is more, but my monkey-mind could use a banana and some simian videos.

Recipe for Joy in Life’s Berry Patch

A somewhat satirical extended metaphor

Some of the sweetest berries grow among the sharpest thorns. Gaelic Proverb

Life is like a berry patch

The thick brambles of challenges

Can seem like impenetrable obstacles

Though the passage requires effort

Take mindful steps

Discover the way forward

Prickly sorrowful thorns abound

While wounds of disappointment

And punctures of deceit

Await the tender flesh

Focus the mind

Be self-aware

Reach into the void

Risk brings rewards

Do not blindly plunder the bounty

Tenderly ply the fingers round the yield

Take gentle measure of the firm plumpness

Tease the freshest fruit from its perch

Reach deeply into the dewy treasury

Extract the joy drupelet by drupelet

And deposit the juicy gems

In your banquet bowl

Earnestly wash the fleshy fruit

Mix with sparkling sugar

Puree the tart-sweet elements

Joyously pour them into the jam pot

Watch the alchemist’s crucible

Stir the transforming brew

When liquid has been transmuted to syrupy jelly

Extinguish the fire

Sneak a taste

Chill

Ever so gently transfer the jam

Betwixt pot and jar

The purple ambrosia flows

Relish the licks of sweetness

Spoon by spoon

Smile by smile

Return to the sweet spot

Before Autumn’s winds

And winter’s white blanket

Urge the happy berries to sleep

Traditional Chinese Dumplings

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.Chinese Proverb

traditional Chinese dumplings, jiaozi

Making Chinese Dumplings

Dumplings are one of the most celebrated foods in China, and are a staple food around the world. They go by many names worldwide: Jiaozi -Chinese; Gyoza – Japanese; Mandu – Korean; Momo – India; Pierogi / Kreplach / Tortellini – Europe, and so many more . Whatever they are called dumplings are, without doubt, comfort food. In China they are the traditional New Years food, but are one of the most popular daily dishes as well. Once they are stuffed, they can easily be frozen for a quick meal. There are hundreds of varieties of dumplings, but I’m going to share my favorite – the one’s my wife makes (lucky me 🙂 Please leave a comment if you want to share your recipe.

Recipe for traditional Chinese dumplings - making the wrapper

Making the wrapper: You only need two ingredients to make the skin/wrappers flour and water – you could add a dash of salt if you prefer. The amount of flour you use depends on the number of dumplings. Wash your hands first. Dump flour into a bowl. Sprinkle water on to get started. Mix the water and flour, add water a little at a time until it begins to clump (you don’t want it to get too sticky). Mix thoroughly and shape into a ball. Spread flour on breadboard (or any clean hard surface). Roll out the dough and cut into pieces. Shape each piece into a ball about the size of a cherry tomato. Roll flat. Viola – you have a wrapper/skin. Make sure there is a little flour on each side and stack them up. They can be kept in the refrigerator for later if you make extra.

recipe for traditional Chinese dumplings - making the filling

Filling: The jiaozi filling is the key traditional element that is handed down from generation to generation. This is the little taste of home that warms the heart while satisfies the soul (an stomach of course). My wife’s family uses three simple ingredients. We will star with the two that are easily available anywhere: chopped chives (you can substitute green onion stalks) and minced pork. The third ingredient is where Chinese cooking takes on its other role – food as medicine. In traditional Chinese cooking, the separate ingredients need to be balanced and provide some healthy benefit to the body. One essential item to keep on hand for Chinese cooking is the edible jelly fungus known as: black fungus/ cloud ear/ wood ear… These are bought dry and re-hydrated before cooking. It also adds a pleasant texture to the dumpling. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the fungus is said to benefit people with high blood pressure, heart disease, lowers cholesterol, and aids in cleaning the lungs. It is sweeten and eaten as a dessert in Cantonese cuisine.

Recipe for traditional Chinese dumplings - filling the dumpling

Combine Ingredients and Stuff the Dumpling: Combine the diced ingredients together with a little corn starch. Use chopsticks to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout. Another subtle element of Chinese cuisine is the balancing of fresh flavors and textures. China, as I’ve said before, is a food culture. Food unites people. Food summons up the deepest memories of childhood and shared family experiences. Families show they care with the food they share. The first year I met my wife’s brothers and sister, I made burritos for the final meal of New Years (Lantern Day). They were so happy to share such a dish, and I became part of the family’s holiday tradition. So mix the ingredients gently with love. Take one of the dumpling skins and fill it with about a half teaspoon or so of filling. Do not overfill the jiaozi – that is why my dumpling making attempts failed. I was too greedy 🙂 Every man must learn how to make dumplings though. Dip your finger in water and run your moistened finger around half the skin. Fold over the skin and crimp the edges. There are many ways to do this part too. Shape into a crescent moon shape.

Recipe for traditional Chinese dumplings - cooking the dumplings and making the dipping sauce

Cooking: Traditionally jiaozi are steamed, but they also can be boiled or fried. You can use a steamer basket over a pan or the steamer basket in a rice cooker which is what my wife does. Fill the rice cooker with about a cup or two of water. Line the steamer basket with your delicious jiaozi. Put the cooker on steam and close the lid. Wait – this is the hardest part, once the mouth-watering aromas begin to rise. While you are waiting make the sauce. The dipping sauce is another family tradition passed down from the older generations, or simply a matter of personal taste. My wife’s family uses a combination of vinegar with a dash of a favorite soy sauce. Remove the dumplings when finished and repeat. Place the dumplings on a plate and serve.

Recipe for traditional Chinese dumplings - serving and enjoy together

Finding comfort in the kitchen and around the table. Making jiaozi together is an important element of traditional family life in China, especially around the Lunar New Year. People often work far from their hometowns and do not get to see their extended family members except on holidays. The Lunar New Year holiday is the longest holiday and hundreds of millions of people travel back home to see their family. But dumplings are not just for holidays. Many of the school kids I taught would often have dumplings for breakfast or lunch. When I lived in China, I could set my watch by the grandmothers who walked by my apartment on their way to buy the freshest ingredients for the day. And an hour or so before dinner, the apartment complex would resound with the staccato rhythms of chopping, mincing, dicing. All those noises of preparing meals together, laughing, sizzling, would be balanced by the symphony of smells wafting on the evening breeze. This would be followed by boisterous conversations around the table. Happy memories and family togetherness would be reinforced each day around dishes of jiaozi/dumplings. Call them what you will, just don’t call me late for dinner. If you have a favorite recipe, please leave a comment below.

Following Your Bliss

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. – Joseph Campbell

Billions of people are searching for ways to change their lives. Restlessness is part of human nature. But choices made out of impatient expedience or short-lived wants seldom work out. The world continues to undergo a massive cultural shift. The ravages of the pandemic continue to slash and burn here in America and glow into life globally like life-devouring seeds sewn by demons. The once glittering allure of big cities is being left in the rear-view mirrors as millions pack the car and light out for the hills. But this is not the time for hasty retreats. This is the time for finding and following your bliss, as Joseph Campbell advised. But what is bliss? How does one find it? And how do you follow bliss?

To begin with, bliss and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is based on emotions and because of that eventually those emotions are fleeting. Bliss is a state of mind, and as such it can be ever present. As an analogy: Happiness is like the weather, while Bliss is like the climate. Yes, the climate is changing, but think of changing life towards long-term trends towards bliss, instead of being guided emotionally by whichever way the winds blow. People have to do something to be happy; bliss is simply there. All too often people chase after happiness like stepping stones, all the while ignoring the glorious flow around them. Leaping from one temporary happiness to another will never lead to bliss. Bliss accompanies the spirit on the journey through life. Bliss is stirring in the soul – right now.

Where is my bliss? That sounds odd doesn’t it. To cry out for bliss like it is lost car keys or a new pair of socks – is silly. Like a loyal companion, bliss does come when called upon it, but there must be time allotted and space given to nurture the blossoming of bliss. Finding that groove, being in the flow, peak experiences, with the muse, … all are expressions of bliss. Each individual is unique in how this is discovered. Walking in nature, alone in a room, sitting before an altar, ….But all share the act of removing oneself from the normal routine. Dedicate the time each day. This can be in a private space, eyes closed with headphones, no phone, no news, no interruptions – just the spirit at peace – the heart at rest and bliss will come to guide you towards that track towards a lasting life you ought to be living instead of chasing after momentary happiness. Listen to your intuition.

But how does one follow this bliss? Uncertainty is the key that unlocks one’s bliss. There will be something inside, a magnetic pull, a slight breeze, a feeling of easiness – a feeling of refreshing tranquility and lack of tension. This is where the intuition signals something just feels right. Remember this is not about financial reward, and there are not metrics for measuring bliss. Whenever uncertainty arises – embrace it. To boil it down to a motto – Be Yourself. Have courage to follow your bliss to your authentic self. There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be… – John Lennon

Seek solace in solicitude. It is not selfish to be yourself. Once the light of bliss is shining within, life is revealed as the adventure it truly is. This does not happen overnight. But by connecting to a spiritual center, bliss does arrive and becomes the guide onto the true path. Open the mind to the adventures that await. Put away the blueprint, forget the itinerary – explore the life ahead. Begin today to follow your bliss. You never know where bliss might lead.

One with the Universe

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do. – Goethe

Do not seek outside yourself, what you were born with. Do not chase after future wants and amass past losses. Stand alone, by yourself in peace and quiet. Let everything drop away. Do not force. Do not push. Begin to be an unlabeled being. You have blossomed from one world into this world. By gaining inner wisdom you plant a seed that sprouts in the next world. And so on and so on. But how to regain the authentic self? The mystery resolves upon awakening.

Being born into a family places certain expectations upon the individual. The parent looks into their baby’s eyes and imagine, “what will they become?” They have already become. As the memories of the world before birth fade into a primal sense of disconnection. The individual feels isolated from the other, from the myriad of material objects, and so it goes across the length and breadth of the Universe. People spend a lifetime reconsidering their place in the world. When, in actuality, they have been wandering away from their authentic self all along. The mystery begins.

So many of the worldly ideas that bind the individual self are unquestioned. Willingly oblivious to the obvious truths, people adopt external views of: who they are, what they think, how they feel. All the while, alienating the spirit from its true place in the world. Misguided individuals allow themselves to become subservient to other’s worldviews that place them on the outside looking in at what is missing. They agree to long lists of “should and shouldn’t”. This estrangement of the social identity from the true spirit creates indecision which blocks the way forward. The mystery increases.

As age and time take their toll, the urge to understand, to make sense of it all can become overwhelming. Bitterness builds up and spoils the joy of living. The heart stiffens and grows cold. For some, the wounds of regret become unbearable. The distance between their crushed spirit and understanding seems insurmountable. To these confused souls, approaching end of life in this world feels like a dark wall growing closer and closer. But there is still the opportunity to become what T.S. Elliot called, “…the still point of the turning world.” The soul is still connected to the Universe as it was at birth. But for some, the soul is blinded by the material and unaware of the path into the next world. The mystery remains.

By examining the underlying foundation for this spiritual disaffection, the individual can discover the barriers are self-delusions. Thunderclaps of revelation and exultation signal the tumbling away of life’s illusions. Ten thousand labels covering the heart-mind-spirit evaporate. Awakening to the truth generates the cosmic seed that bears the fruit of eternal life. Begin today to peel off the labels placed on you by others. Take the time to restore your spirit. Resolve the mystery. You are already One with the Universe.

Let Your Light Shine

I guess, I’ve always believed that nothing is withheld from us what we have conceived to do. Most people think the opposite – that all things are withheld from them which they have conceived to do and they end up doing nothing.Russell A. Kirsch (inventor of the pixel passed away August 2020 age 91)

We are children of light. Sparks from the primordial fire that created the Universe continue to glow in the hearts of each and every one of us. From endless murky nothingness, the all and everything came to be. Whether rational or spiritually minded, there was a moment, in the beginning, when everything sparkled to life. That triumphant first light warms life on countless worlds within worlds. Eternal living-light reverberates across time and space to fill our lives with unimaginable delights.

The other day, I brought home a small piece of driftwood to sculpt. As I sat it on my table, I noticed a tiny moving speck. I thought it was a fruit fly or gnat. But when I started to brush it away, it dug in and resisted. Using a magnifier I could see this speck, not much bigger than a period, was a newly hatched crab. I have encountered many recalcitrant crabs in my life, and this itty-bitty speck of life was just as defiant as any full grown crab. In honor of his fiery nature, I returned the minuscule fighter to the ocean. It was amazing that something so tiny already had such powerful survival instincts.

Waves have swept the shores of long-gone oceans and seas billions of years ago. Entire continents have shattered and reformed. Mountains rise and fall, turning into the dust and sand decorating new shores. But the waves keep rolling and tumbling ashore. The primordial seas cycle and recycle endlessly. Ancient saltwater courses through our bodies and melds with the sea and sky. Undulating waves entice us towards the edge of the briny deep of our origins.

The same light that brightens our skies powers the cosmic spiral. Our spirits move with the positive energies of life and light. And it is our soul that turns the wheel of life that defines our destiny. By sincerely seeking illumination, we distill our essence, leaving behind impurities. Just as too much heat can burn a dish, forcing the spirit into an ill-fitting vessel, such as imbalanced techniques, can do much more harm than good. Just as you do not force a sticky lock, do not force your spirit to fit some preconceived notions of what is “proper” methodologies. Let your light shine into the world, and the reflections will guide you towards the right source of illumination for you.

Use the positive light within you to see barriers properly. Examine your preconceptions about limitations placed on you. You are the light of the world. To quote a favorite children’s hymn, This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. Reflect the beauty of your unique self and let your light shine brightly.

Lotus Verses

All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark. – Swami Vivekananda

Our souls are the cosmic seed / Blooming from the muddy night / Wondering where the path will lead / Striving towards the happy light / Innocently we peek out / From the awakening ecstasy / Our joyous minds cast about / As soul-petals open blessedly

Springtime arrives jubilantly / Energetic flesh awakens / Spirits dance exuberantly / Just born without expectations / Seeking our identity / Passionate hearts beat wildly / Blush of love’s serenity / Two hearts embrace tenderly

Summer’s crimson ardor / Creates true devotion / Sharing pathways to wander / Drunk on love’s sweet potion / Threatening storms gather / Inundated by strife / Grow closer together / Build a happier life

Fall’s chill leads to icy winter / Much too soon the days grow shorter / Time’s smallest fractions can splinter / Eternity from disorder / Evening’s chill grows stronger / Memory’s perfume remains / While the shadows grow longer / Peaceful nod to death’s domain

Transform back to cosmic seed / Planted in infinity / Soul from mortal flesh is freed / Embracing serenity

Good Vibes

Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality.Albert Einstein

Want to pick up on some good vibrations? Everything is vibrating from the subatomic scale to the galactic. The human brain hums at various frequencies during the day. Researchers have documented these vibrations on a scale from 0.1 – 100 Hertz. Gamma Waves – 31-100 hertz represent insight, focus, expanded consciousness. Beta Waves – 16-30 hz occur signify concentration and being alert. Alpha Waves 8-15hz manifest during times of creativity and relaxed visualization. Theta Waves 4-7 Hz are generated during meditation. Delta Waves 0.1 – 3Hz are created by deep awareness, healing and sleep. But these are limited, modern mechanical measurements. Ancient thinkers documented far greater good vibes thousands of years ago.

感应 – Ganying – is a primeval concept of ancient Chinese philosophy that echoes across millennia. One direct translation of the term would be stimulus and response. But the term has far ranging philosophical connotations based on the complimentary vibrations of Qi (Chi) across the universe. In Taoism the concept could stated as the universal sympathetic resonance of everything. Confucians would use the concept to represent an ethical vibration between humans and the heavens. Chinese Buddhists would say it was answered prayers, while Chinese folk beliefs relate the concept to righteous revenge. The underlying vibratory concept is used in modern scientific definitions such as dianci ganyingelectromagnetic induction and even the paranormal – chao ganying ESP. All are connected through resonance and vibrations.

One of the most ancient books known to humankind is the “Book of Changes” – the YiJing, westernized as I-Ching. The Book of Changes is based on Sixty-Four hexagrams which have their roots in the distant primordial past. The legend of the hexagrams credits their creation to around 2000 BC by a mythological hero who additionally created humans, writing, farming, and writing. The line descriptions of each hexagram are said to have been first written down during the Zhou Dynasty around 1100 BC. Answers to ten thousand questions can be discovered by studying the book. Through sincere study of the book’s venerable vibrations, glimpses of possible futures can be divined. The core foundation remains – all things are constantly changing. Change is the very nature of the Universe. At the same time, the harmonious vibes of Qi connect the Cosmos in a self-generating flow based on: continuity, wholeness and great dynamic energy. This webpage, your computer, you – are all vibrating with varying degrees of harmonious energy. Close your eyes and feel the vibes.

In the Tao, good vibes flow when things are in sympathetic resonance (ganying). Earth and the Cosmos are energized each by the other and all things flow into being. When wisdom stimulates the hearts and minds of people, the world can find peace. By seeking to understand the source of universal vibration we can know the nature of all beings. This understanding can silence our deepest fears, such as death and annihilation. By understanding all things change, we can find peace in troubled times, and accept that Life/Death are linked within the universal cycle of constant transformation. Fear begins to melt away when we know our spirit/soul transforms and endures – forever and ever.

Find ways for your heart-mind to resonate with the world around you. According to ancient Taoists texts, Things of the same kind summon each other, those with the same vital energy join together. Wander out into nature and hear the symphony of life, feel the vibrant waves echoing across infinity. Focus on your breathing. Mute the dissonance of logical questioning. Sense the ancient resonance ever-present in this sumptuous world floating atop the cosmic ocean. Open your heart. Harmonize your spirit with the natural state of all things. Open your mind to the glorious soul-waves rippling into and from your true being – your undying essence. Never stop transmitting and receiving the good vibrations. Peace and Love.