Tag Archives: awareness

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.

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.

_____________

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

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.

Flowing with the Way of Things

What we have here
(this whole beautiful mess
of a situation)
Is just what it is.

No thoughts
about how perfect
or how awful it is,
can compete with the
flat fact of its arrival
each time we look again.

This is just the way of things:
This that comes to us
when we awaken each morning
lurch out of bed
and proceed
to whatever is next.

The way things are
slides by our window
on our daily commute,
showing up in all
those activities
our lives consist of.

Flowing with
the way of things
we receive all
that we are given.
we allow life to
be what it is.

Thus we are moved along
un-resistant, without protest,
like the water of a stream
moved by gravity
towards the sea.

Our lives come to us
as we flow along.
Our opportunities like rapids.
Our disappointments like eddies.
The work we have come for,
as a strong, clear
and ever-present current.

Do not be afraid.
We are being carried
by a force
mind cannot encompass.
All we can do is
move with it
willingly or not.

© 2010 Alice Gardner

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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The Art of Being Exactly Where We Are

yos.jpgBeing where we are. We’ve all heard that “being where we are” is where we need to be. But do you see the joke in that? Here we are, trying to get somewhere again!!

Being here fully gets translated by mind into a being something to work towards. Somewhere new to get to at some point in the future after lots of hard work, discipline and time, lots of time! Are you laughing yet? It’s funny, and it makes us feel crazy, but its really just mind doing what minds do. That’s all. Mind is so good at figuring out how to do things, and its just trying to do this too, but it can’t. As soon as we realize it can’t, we are free to just smile at its efforts and relax. All is well. Mind is doing its thing and it doesn’t matter. No need to pay overmuch attention to it.

Meanwhile Here we Are! Here we are in this moment with whatever is going on inwardly and outwardly. There is nowhere else we could ever have possibly been except as we allow ourselves to listen overmuch to the stream of thinking. Our minds may be saying to us right at this moment that “this can’t be it” because this moment is totally mundane, empty, boring, painful or… (fill in the blank for yourself). Mind can always come up with reasons why this particular moment can’t be what is being referred to, because it can’t find anything special there. Nothing. (Are you laughing yet?)

Meanwhile, smiling and relaxing we fall into a reality that mind doesn’t even notice. Its kind of like falling asleep at night–we have to relax for it to happen.

Our thinking minds have everything boxed and labeled and categorized according to past knowledge, and our own structure of understanding whatever is encountered. And those capabilities are so very useful to us for practical things. But what the logical left-brain thought-stream doesn’t even notice is anything that is outside of its structures for understanding the world–and that very definitely includes Reality with a capital R. Not because thought is wrong or bad, but because it is constrained within self-constructed bounds and can’t see beyond that. It is blind to whatever doesn’t fit its own structures (at least not until those structures are broadened enormously). So for now it tries to shrink everything to make it fit its constructs. But in contemplating what is really going on in life, thought has run into something much bigger than its constructs, something that contains mind and everything else within it. It has come to the edge of its ability to be helpful and will, when its good and ready, relax and allow us to fall into this new territory. To fall awake.

When we run into a fabulous sunset or an unusually beautiful flower, our mind’s processes of naming it, talking about it, and so on, can detract from our seeing and appreciating it fully. It is the same with the present moment. Relaxing into being exactly where we are, we begin to notice what is here (including thinking and a LOT else), and that this has been here all along. Its just like a new door of perception has opened. We now see where we were blind before.

We stand in a new territory beyond the previously held paradigm that our mind provided us, telling us how life worked, who was to blame, and so on. We have reconnected with something familiar, something we never really left. Something that we have, over all the years we thought we were separate, never left for a second.

As we look around we begin to see how it all is working. Now everything that is happening, even including our own seemingly idiotic or unenlightened episodes are perfect setups for continued awakening into a fuller and fuller embrace of being this that we truly are. Slowly we relax our incessant argument with life, and trust our circumstances, even our thoughts and feelings, as being perfect as they are, even as they flow and change. We offer ourselves, including our thinking minds and their amazing capabilities in service to this perfect alive presence we now can see and that is also who we are.

Readiness to Awaken, making ourselves fertile ground for new seed…

Has Oprah’s marketing call “get ready to awaken” bothered anyone else? It bothered me, but then it inspired the following words about how we might actually be able to do so:

Oprah has been telling us “prepare to be awakened” and people are signing up by the thousands. For many of us, this awakening thing is of utmost importanceit’s what our lives are all about. Others of us may be signing up with a simple curiosity or perhaps an inclination to argue. In either case, so often our minds want to know—how exactly can people prepare to awaken? How, in this particular ten weeks, can we allow ourselves to really awaken? We ask this whether we are currently in an organized religion or not. It doesn’t matter. If what Eckhart is saying is true, awakening can be possible for us no matter what our cultural or family history or religious beliefs. We have engaged in our belief systems in order to come to this point of stepping beyond them.

As we come to this point (becoming ready) we can lovingly embrace any of our tendencies to argue or to think too much (or whatever our perceived faults might be) with a gentle acceptance of the miracle of having arrived right here, at this exact place where we are now, here at the beginning of this course. This place, this moment, has an inherent openness to the possibility of spiritual awakening built into it. If we are in any way able to notice the noise that our minds are making such as “but tell me how?”, or “I can’t awaken because…” then we are noticing this mental hubbub from a place of a spaciousness in us that is always and already ready to awaken. This open spaciousness in our beings IS our readiness, or more accurately, it is the One that we are who already is awake. Just feel this. Be this one that you are. Stay right HERE. This is readiness to awaken. It is this open, spacious, don’t-know, place in us that gives Eckhart’s words have a place to land in our beings. If we think we know a lot of things about spiritual or other matters, then that openness is hidden under the noise of that. It is still there, but it is not accessible to us, and Eckhart’s words will fall on infertile ground. But with a simple openness we are able to both enjoy Eckhart and Oprah and enjoy ourselves, and decide for ourselves if what is being spoken about is true for us or not. No-one is asking anyone to believe anything. Just be open and see for yourselves what is of value here.

I feel able to advise in this way because Eckhart transformed my life so very dramatically back in 2002, and I’ve had years to wonder about how it was that I happened to be “ready” at that moment.

Blessings,

Alice

 

img_1302.jpg

Here are some handy links for those people who might be having a hard time finding their way around in Oprah’s large website:

A New Earth main events page:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/begin/anewearth_begin_main.jspWork Book:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/workbook/anewearth_workbook_chapter1.jsp

Awakening Exercises:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/exercises/anewearth_exercises_chapters_1.jsp

http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/exercises/anewearth_exercises_main.jsp

Check your time zone:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/install_launch.html

Install software:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/install_launch.html

Windows Install Problems:
http://www2.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/howto_win.jhtml

Mac Install Problems:
http://www2.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/howto_mac.jhtml

Ask Questions:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/questions/anewearth_questions_main.jsp

Talk with others:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/comments/anewearth_comments_main.jsp

Tips for reading A New Earth:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/begin/anewearth_tips.jsp

Readiness to Awaken, making ourselves fertile ground for new seed…

Has Oprah’s marketing call “get ready to awaken” bothered anyone else? It bothered me, but then it inspired the following words about how we might actually be able to do so:

Oprah has been telling us “prepare to be awakened” and people are signing up by the thousands. For many of us, this awakening thing is of utmost importance—it’s what our lives are all about. Others of us may be signing up with a simple curiosity or perhaps an inclination to argue. In either case, so often our minds want to know—how exactly can people prepare to awaken? How, in this particular ten weeks, can we allow ourselves to really awaken? We ask this whether we are currently in an organized religion or not. It doesn’t matter. If what Eckhart is saying is true, awakening can be possible for us no matter what our cultural or family history or religious beliefs. We have engaged in our belief systems in order to come to this point of stepping beyond them.

As we come to this point (becoming ready) we can lovingly embrace any of our tendencies to argue or to think too much (or whatever our perceived faults might be) with a gentle acceptance of the miracle of having arrived right here, at this exact place where we are now, here at the beginning of this course. This place, this moment, has an inherent openness to the possibility of spiritual awakening built into it. If we are in any way able to notice the noise that our minds are making such as “but tell me how?”, or “I can’t awaken because…” then we are noticing this mental hubbub from a place of a spaciousness in us that is always and already ready to awaken. This open spaciousness in our beings IS our readiness, or more accurately, it is the One that we are who already is awake. Just feel this. Be this one that you are. Stay right HERE. This is readiness to awaken. It is this open, spacious, don’t-know, place in us that gives Eckhart’s words have a place to land in our beings. If we think we know a lot of things about spiritual or other matters, then that openness is hidden under the noise of that. It is still there, but it is not accessible to us, and Eckhart’s words will fall on infertile ground. But with a simple openness we are able to both enjoy Eckhart and Oprah and enjoy ourselves, and decide for ourselves if what is being spoken about is true for us or not. No-one is asking anyone to believe anything. Just be open and see for yourselves what is of value here.

I feel able to advise in this way because Eckhart transformed my life so very dramatically back in 2002, and I’ve had years to wonder about how it was that I happened to be “ready” at that moment.

Blessings,

Alice

 

img_1302.jpg

Here are some handy links for those people who might be having a hard time finding their way around in Oprah’s large website:

A New Earth main events page:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/begin/anewearth_begin_main.jspWork Book:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/workbook/anewearth_workbook_chapter1.jsp

Awakening Exercises:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/exercises/anewearth_exercises_chapters_1.jsp

http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/exercises/anewearth_exercises_main.jsp

Check your time zone:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/install_launch.html

Install software:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/install_launch.html

Windows Install Problems:
http://www2.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/howto_win.jhtml

Mac Install Problems:
http://www2.oprah.com/obc_classic/player/howto_mac.jhtml

Ask Questions:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/questions/anewearth_questions_main.jsp

Talk with others:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/comments/anewearth_comments_main.jsp

Tips for reading A New Earth:
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/webcast/begin/anewearth_tips.jsp