Tag Archives: awakening

Life As It Is

Neither disappointment or judgement
could ever really frame
the improbable enormity
of the world as it is…
With its iridescent sunsets
and its terrible tsunamis…
It’s hopeless misery,  heartless violence,
radiant glories and trembling first loves.

This life in the world shines forth
through all its various garments,
beyond all of its passing acts
— something quite beyond
their sum combined.

Put together good and evil
love and hate, rich and poor,
violence and compassion
and the fertile mixture
just springs forth with new life
to embrace, in new depth
the expanse of stars
— the miracle and glory of itself.

No more will I insist on
a world without refugees or hunger,
without hate, or divisiveness, pain or suffering.
Those things do not deserve
my judgements or disappointment, thinking
that life has somehow not met my expectations.

I simply open my heart
and let that exact part of the world
that is my part — that is me
fly free and join with the rest,
in this dance of ever-continuing creation.
No more to judge the dance
but simply to dance it.

Absorption in the Current

We have all been conditioned to look at ourselves and each other and notice that we are human beings, separate from other human beings, having been given particular tasks to work on. Our differences have been accentuated. Each of us has different challenges, different strengths, different personalities and a different path to the divine. We see ourselves as unique expressions of the human experience, as unique flows within a greater flow – the one which animates all life. These flows might together be called a “current”, because of its energetic similarity to how electricity flows through our houses, streets and towns, splitting and coming together as it enters our homes to be utilized by all of our personal needs, in all of our individual, unique and personal spaces.

“Current” can be another way of talking about the electric-like energy which animates life – which moves through all of us to lesser or greater degrees depending on how open we are to it. If we are open to it (if our circuits are not blocked with unintegrated material) it can provide us with physical energy, with perspective, information, creative ideas, and with knowing what to do and what to say in the flow of the present moment.

This current flows into our human bodies’ electrical networks through our connectedness with the larger system of which we are a part. Yet through hologram-like structures in our seemingly separate human organisms, we actually are not just connected to the larger system but contain and are the larger system. Defying linear logic, we contain the larger system and the larger system contains us equally.

Neither do we leave our human selves behind in order to connect with the larger energetic system, current or field. Instead we discover access to the larger current through embracing the fullness of being individual humans. As the self-rejection and making-wrong patterns so long embedded in the human psyche let go and the fragmented parts of our humanity begin to be gathered and embraced, then the energy is able to flow through the circuits of the human system as the larger current itself.

Thoughts, actions, words, feelings, sensations appear in our human experience as unique expressions of the larger energy, the current itself. The human is not moving along in a current not his/her own, it is instead what we actually are most deeply. Neither are we surrendering to the current as if to an external force or deity. The experience is one of actually being the current, the animating force of life, as one ventures into the world participating with creative input that blossoms when our personal histories and our unique perspectives join with the greater flow of life.

We then find that we are a unique and irreplaceable part of something quite beyond our small and separate selves. We see that we have a contribution to make that is unlike anyone else’s. We may be one intelligent being together, but as individuals we also each carry a unique and important thread very much needed by life. We are each needed for the strength of the whole and our impact enhances its effectiveness in expressing the new possibilities for humanity’s future now emerging.

Guidelines for Coming Together in Presence

The essay below is something that I am working on as the old year closes and the new one arrives — putting together some basic group guidelines which might be useful to anyone wishing to experiment with this thing I am so interested in at the moment.  That thing could be called a number of different things: collective wisdom, a field of resonance, broadened attention, collective awareness, relational field, collaborative inquiry or we-space.

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Coming Together in Presence: Accessing the Collective Field Beyond Our Separate Selves

Are groups of individuals able to learn to tap into a larger field of awareness beyond their personal mental constructs?  Is such a “field” able to guide those people who are willing towards what is healthy for the whole, and help us solve those intractable problems which modern life presents us with?  These are the sorts of questions that fascinate a number of people today, and those people have begun experimenting meeting with others in order to explore this territory.

Such meetings are easily sidetracked in many ways and it is my own sense that there needs to be clear intentionality about what is appropriate for those gatherings and a willingness for each individual to contribute to the effort of keeping such meetings on track.  In the spirit of helpfulness to our collective endeavor, the points below are suggested as starting points for the meeting guidelines, even as they must stay open for revision and refinement as each group learns and grows together.

1- A curiosity about what is possible is basic – a spirit of mutual exploration and discovery about what is or is not happening.

2- A willingness and ability to drop one’s personal agenda and opinions is needed. A commitment to, as best we can, assume a “beginner’s mind” about why the meeting is occurring and what will happen in it.

3- Deep Listening , involving a willingness to both welcome, allow and listen to the silences in the conversation.  When listening to words, listening for and, if prompted, responding to the deepest thread that can be found.  We listen to others for the places where they speak about all of us as they speak about themselves.

4- A willingness to refrain from lengthy storytelling, and every other exit strategy that one normally employed to avoid the depth of engagement and the avoid what is available in the present moment.

5 – Risk Taking. A willingness to be authentic rather than nice, and to speak ones truth to others in a vulnerable way.  A willingness to speak up authentically even if we are likely to be in error or feel embarrassed. Welcoming both the light and the dark of ourselves and each other to the best of our ability and supporting each other in doing so.

6 – Prioritizing caring for the life force, the depth, the energy in the center of the room, the resonance, the way the group feels, or how it feels to each to be in the group, even at risk of personal loss of face.

7-  To bring, as best we can, a trust in the larger process of our evolving humanity and a personal interest in participation in it that overrides our personal self-interest in being right or in keeping up appearances.

With a group of people coming together around guidelines like the above, the next thing is to set up a space with some care for a meditative quality to it.  Starting with a small number of people can sometimes be helpful for keeping the focus.  It is a broad focus that this kind of group is seeking, as opposed to the narrow focus involved in getting things done or individual problem solving.   A flower, plant, candle, mediation bell or such things can be helpful for holding open this broad kind of focus, or anything else that encourages individuals to drop the focus that allowed them to drive there and be on time and step into a broader awareness. It is also best to have a  specific length of time for the meeting agreed on beforehand, so that the time can become like a container for a specific kind of work/thought/awareness.  Taking it out of that container into daily life is a different kind of movement and will happen differently and separately for each individual.

© 2014 Alice Gardner

Exploring Relational Space

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We spend so much of our time with people, at home, at work, with friends and so on. I am finding it to be an extremely interesting exploration to see what the difference is between the state of consciousness I am in when I conduct my relationships and to compare that to the states available when alone in nature or in meditation.

What I find true for myself historically, is that when I am in the presence of others, my mind is busier and more full of itself, analyzing the other person’s responses to me, forming opinions about them or planning how I might respond to them. So historically I would say that I lose contact with deep truth in relationship generally, entering a social modality where mind gets to define (and limit) the quality of the relationship.

In nature, in meditation, or even just alone in my room however, I have had for quite some time an ability to let mind take a back seat in my consciousness. This allows me to enjoy a blissful sense of life’s perfectness and grace, even in the midst of troubled times. Why it is harder or secondary for me to bring this kind of realization into my everyday human relationships I am not sure, but it seems to be how it has worked.

In the past few years I have been discovering that there are some very amazing relational possibilities that I have not known about before, except maybe in relationships with spiritual teachers, which of course I considered to be in a different category altogether than my relationship with my colleagues at work for instance. My education in this began one evening when a friend and I sat down in her living-room after dinner (intending a social evening) and we both inexplicably dropped into a deeper space together than I had ever experienced on my own. For me it was completely unexpected, to find myself in the deepest meditative space of my life-so-far without having meditated. To have dropped into such an unbelievably rich and nourishing place with another person and to be sitting there talking about it, marveling out loud. Another defining thing about this was that it did not feel personal at all. It wasn’t about us. It was about something far beyond the personal people who had come to it.

We were being shown something new that was possible.

This experience has continued, at first rarely but now more commonly, with new people, new explorations, meeting in person and even over the telephone. It feels as if this “relational field” is teaching us, those of us who will tune in. It also feels like we are developing a new muscle of some sort – an ability to meet each other in this deep place and let go of the reins there. In my experience so far it has been women who seem to have an easier time “dropping in” in this way for whatever reason, though I very much look forward to having these kinds of meetings with men too. I very much look forward to being able to bring this sort of relational space more and more into my daily experience too and I can feel it’s movement in that direction, though I feel to be a complete beginner.

As I get more practice in this, the habit of relating in a shallow or mind-based way to the people at work or to my family or acquaintances, stands out more and more in contrast to it. It is also obvious that there are degrees of this – that how I am relating to others is not black and white. I can feel when, in an ordinary everyday conversation there is a thread of openness to this deeper relational space between us. It does not seem to need me to know the person conventionally either. While familiarity brings trust and the feeling of safety is I’m sure helpful in creating the container for this “relational field”, it seems also able to show up in a word with a passing stranger. It looks like it is probably just my own mind’s ideas about where it is and is not safe or possible that has busily constructed limits to it.

There is a distinct feeling of importance to this, beyond that which drove me to meditate for years, but not so different from it. It seems that this next phase of development is now about who/what we collectively are, and about what we know together from the various perspectives we collectively inhabit. It seems to be all about our ability to enter an active impersonal relational space, from which we can interact with each other in new ways according to what we see happening around us and each of our roles in it.

I would love to hear about it if you are having any experiences that are similar.

Alice

May – The World Awakens

In the high country the frozen snow begins to flow with the warmth of spring!TheHighCountry
Trickles turn to torrents.
Mist rises from the snowfields and the waterfalls, causing even the air to enrich the earth with new life.

In Yosemite (the photo to the right) only the highest places still hold frozen snowfields from winter now.
Their cold stillness has birthed action, and fed the flow of the waterfalls.
Even the waterfalls that aren’t usually there, spring to life, dancing with the joy of movement, of falling, of flow.

In the valleys below, as in the second photo, the frozen places have burst into color and delight with a profusion of flowers – explosions of color turning the formerly grey flood plains along the river into decorations beyond belief, and the hillsides into upliftments of spirit as well as body.

The natural world, each year without fail, gives us this metaphor for our own movement, for our own evolving way of being here in our lives, of letting ourselves come alive. We can get so caught in the little stuff and forget to look to the metaphor of spring, playing out its inspiration in front of our eyes every year.

Even beyond that, the natural world also constantly offers a look behind the changing scenes, the details of our lives, even the flow of change of our living and dying, as we look to what doesn’t change.

Below is a piece from “Finding Our Way Forward“. It is from a longer poem “The Bedrock” (also coming from the grandeur of Yosemite) which is seeing in the rock beneath the flowing water and the ebb and flow of the seasons a larger movement, requiring more quiet to discern, but definite and palpable:

The bedrock lets me know my place
in the larger scheme of things.
My human life is a flash
in a broad interplay of life and time,
insignificant when seen separately
yet held now inseparably
within the greater life
animating the whole.
The bedrock speaks
in a language without words
that feels familiar,
that beckons, no, welcomes me
back to the sanity
of something longer, quieter and more steady
that I had nearly forgotten.
It is an open invitation
to relax into an expanded perspective
that includes me in something grand,
beyond the breadth of galaxies.
Something vibrantly alive, and close,
Something right here,
in the center of this human life.
MercedSouthFork3.29

New Book in June 2012: Finding Our Way Forward: New Perspectives on Our Evolving Human Potential

We stand at a significant evolutionary transition-point!

Can you imagine that the current world situation could be inspiring a significant transformation – a promising leap forward towards a new earth and a new awakening of human nature?

Do you feel that you would like to change the world for the better, help establish world peace, etc., but you don’t know how?

In this book, learn immediate and powerful ways to make a difference during this transitional time. Ways to change the world and bring a new awareness and peace to all that you are involved in. Learn to broaden your perspectives, revealing expanded possibilities for addressing the monumental world issues. This breakthrough information allows you to immediately become a part of the solution!

Awaken to find yourself taking a creative part in this unparalleled breakthrough in human development.

In Finding Our Way Forward, Alice Gardner proposes an inspiring view of transformation coming directly from our troublesome world situation. She then engages the reader in an introspective journey to the core of who we are and back again to all of the world’s intractable issues. We are then led to find the unique part each of us has to play in humanity’s grand maturation process. This is as significant an evolutionary transition-point as was the beginnings of our logical/analytical thinking. Now, again, our old ways of thinking are becoming obsolete, and we need to move forward.

We can and do make a difference, no matter how small a part we play!

This is how we can be a part of leaving behind a world which we are proud to let the children of the future inherit. This is how we can know what peace is; know how our consciousness affects everything, and how love can today begin to direct all the actions we take.

ON AMAZON: http://amzn.to/MFSdQx

ALICE’S FIRST BOOK: http://amzn.to/Mnk8U6

ALICE’S WEBSITE: http://www.wideawakeliving.com  for excerpts and much more.

Spring Opening – A Poem

2orangedaffs.jpg
The month of May
Brings opening
From bud to blossom.

Tightly bound,
Each bud stands
Complete, still and perfect
Being a bud.
Yet there is movement too.
Imperceptibly the bud
Rests in the change,
The movement of opening.
Flourishing.

Still and at peace,
Being the epitome
Of life as it is
Simply as a bud.
Yet also it is
Pure motion personified
As slowly it opens
Into a full-flowered
Version of itself.

In the forest,
We find fiddleheads,
Perfect just as they are
At each moment
Of their unfurling.

Yet they slowly unroll,
Becoming the ferns
They somehow already are
In a vision far beyond
The thought of it.

Even the scent
Of springtime
Penetrates
The virtual world
Of thought,
Bringing us
To the real life
Where stillness
And motion meet,
And life comes
To its flowering
In us and around us.

© 2010 Alice Gardner

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An Evolutionary Movement at Hand

An excerpt from Alice’s upcoming book:fog.jpg

“Although there is a lot of argument about the word evolution regarding the origin of the humanity (evolution versus the other creation stories) we will stand aside from the fray here and look at the subject a bit differently.

“If we consider human evolution in terms other than purely biological (such as in terms of our ability to learn new behaviors in order to survive) it is easy to see the movement of it all around us in our individual experiences. We are developing new thought processes, behaviors, skills and capacities as we go through whatever our lives bring us, both individually and collectively. This is the kind of human evolution that plays an integral part in our daily lives, only it shows up in such small increments that we rarely bring it into focus.

“We are taught in school about ‘natural selection’ and ’survival of the fittest’ in regards to evolution, but giving some focus to the ‘adaptation’ involved is a broader and less biological way to explore the relevance of evolution to our everyday lives. Adaptation is the capability we and other organisms have to adjust ourselves to new conditions when they appear in our environment (in order to be naturally selected or to survive). It is the ability to alter our way of life, our habits and our behaviors when it is necessary to do so for survival or for other things that matter to us. It is about our ability to meet each moment freely and creatively and to let go of old habits of thought or behavior.

“This world situation that we are facing is inviting us to let go of old fear-based thinking habits that have in the past formed our ways of thinking about the world and its problems. Our old ways of thinking have brought us to this point – a point beyond which they are no longer able to help us survive and thrive. Through seeing ourselves and the world from a perspective outside of our old filters and frames, our perceptions are altered and we naturally are freed from old outworn thinking and behaviors that no longer serve us. We are then able to adapt ourselves to the new environment presented by the times we live in, and become creative in our relationship with it.”

© 2010 Alice Gardner from her upcoming book “Making Sense of Tumultuous Times” (working title).

First book: “Life Beyond Belief, Everyday Living as Spiritual Practice” available on Amazon, as a kindle book, other ebook, or at your local bookstore by request.



An Evolutionary Movement At Hand

An excerpt from Alice’s upcoming book:fog.jpg

“Although there is a lot of argument about the word evolution regarding the origin of the humanity (evolution versus the other creation stories) we will stand aside from the fray here and look at the subject a bit differently.

“If we consider human evolution in terms other than purely biological (such as in terms of our ability to learn new behaviors in order to survive) it is easy to see the movement of it all around us in our individual experiences. We are developing new thought processes, behaviors, skills and capacities as we go through whatever our lives bring us, both individually and collectively. This is the kind of human evolution that plays an integral part in our daily lives, only it shows up in such small increments that we rarely bring it into focus.

“We are taught in school about ‘natural selection’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ in regards to evolution, but giving some focus to the ‘adaptation’ involved is a broader and less biological way to explore the relevance of evolution to our everyday lives. Adaptation is the capability we and other organisms have to adjust ourselves to new conditions when they appear in our environment (in order to be naturally selected or to survive). It is the ability to alter our way of life, our habits and our behaviors when it is necessary to do so for survival or for other things that matter to us. It is about our ability to meet each moment freely and creatively and to let go of old habits of thought or behavior.

“This world situation that we are facing is inviting us to let go of old fear-based thinking habits that have in the past formed our ways of thinking about the world and its problems. Our old ways of thinking have brought us to this point – a point beyond which they are no longer able to help us survive and thrive. Through seeing ourselves and the world from a perspective outside of our old filters and frames, our perceptions are altered and we naturally are freed from old outworn thinking and behaviors that no longer serve us. We are then able to adapt ourselves to the new environment presented by the times we live in, and become creative in our relationship with it.”

© 2010 Alice Gardner from her upcoming book “Making Sense of Tumultuous Times” (working title).

First book: “Life Beyond Belief, Everyday Living as Spiritual Practice” available on Amazon, as a kindle book, other ebook, or at your local bookstore by request.

Happy New Year

mckenzieice.jpgAs the old year melts away like an icicle in the sun, the future unfolds moment by moment, simply as whatever is happening next in our ordinary lives. Each moment is a movement from mystery to miracle when we see the world as it really is, without the overlay of our minds telling us that what we are observing is ordinary, irrelevant or uninteresting.

As for myself, I’m not big on partying for New Year’s. I like to take the transitional moment as a time to review, wrap up and clean out from the old year which always entails things like file cleaning and accounting. Then I like to look forward to what the new year may be wanting of me and get a general sense of direction.

This year I was given a Kindle for Christmas which was very fun because I had put a lot of effort into reformatting my book “Life Beyond Belief” into a Kindle edition, but had never even held a Kindle in my hand before. I’m loving my new Kindle and loving the publishing revolution that it and all the other e-book readers will for sure be bringing to us. These e-book reading tools open up the publishing world even further, so that anyone who has something to say that others are interested in can participate in the planetary conversation. Next I’ll be working on making my blog available as a Kindle blog that can be subscribed to on Amazon.

So, to all of you who got Kindles this Christmas along with me: Besides downloading my own book in Kindle format at Amazon, also check out Adya’s latest book, End of Your World here. Adya’s book is a very wonderful guide to what he calls embodiment, which is really what Wide Awake Living is all about: bringing one’s awakening down into the everyday thoughts, actions and interactions that our daily family, community and work lives consist of.

In 2010, the Wide Awake Living website will be seven years old. It all started when a tenant who was also a friend lost her job and couldn’t pay rent so she paid part of it by teaching me how to make a website. I had experienced a major shift in the fall of 02 and was just starting to write about it. The original writing is still up there online, but the site has grown a lot since then and it led to this newsletter.

Lately I’m learning how the internet is a way for all the people who are working with the various aspects of the next evolutionary leap for humankind to connect up and stay connected. It may be that this newsletter and the various things I do on Twitter, Facebook etc can be a support to people who are themselves making this evolutionary leap out of the mind-made self that has hitherto confined us, and into the awesome wonder of what is.

A New Earth

Stand up, wake up!
New possibilities have arrived
For these lives we had thought were our own.

The possible human stands free now
Of its past constraints,
The cage it grew up in, that served it well,
Trembling now with wonder at what it sees.

Old habits of mind fall away like old skin
No longer needed, no longer helpful
Outgrown and abandoned.

A different world, a new earth
Comes into view, fresh and alive
By a change of perception,
A new way of seeing.
We are joined together now
In a new maturity
A new awareness of how it is,
How we are carried on a new wind,
And a new response stirs.

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