Tag Archives: spiritual

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.

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

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

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.

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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Morning

foliage.jpg



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Sunlight touching treetops,
Birds awakening…
Morning rises after night
With a constancy and grace.

While politics swirl
Conflicts rage, economies teeter,
Hurricanes roar,
Morning dawns over all
Without apology or praise
But with simple welcoming
Of all that is lit
By its presence.

What kind of love
Embraces this wild world
With such a welcome?
What love is this, that
Contains such
Darkness and strife
When the world
Refuses to conform
To our demands for
Outer peace,
And then wraps us
In such wonder
And grace?

Fear, war, starvation,
And so much else
Are included in the
Grace of morning light
On a darkened world.

In the light’s first
Touch of a leaf
There is something that
Embraces all of what we are
And includes us
In the full circle
Of life as it is.

We see that we are
Something whole
And seamless,
And perfect.

The heart of each morning
Offers with outstretched hands,
An expansion, a release
Out off our self-made prisons
Into a world ruled by a love
That excludes nothing,
A love we can trust,
A love at peace
With all things.

Even this, and this, and
Especially and
Whole-heartedly
This.

 


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by Alice Gardner © 2008

The Eye of The Hurricane

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Hurricane Season 2008

By what handstormclouds.jpg
Are these winds stirred
To spinning
Around their still center?

What force could give
Such power as this
To crush the structures
Of our lives?

These winds move
With violence
Against our human ideas
Of progress and security
Sweeping away
As impertinent desires
Our wish to have peace
On our own terms.

Have we been dreaming
Of a world peace
That doesn’t include storms?

Can we step outside of
Our ideas about the peace we want
Enough to notice the peace
That already rests in the center
Of this wild world?

A peace that rests gently
While the storm winds
May strip our lives bare,
Leave us homeless, and
Disengaged from our settled lifestyles.

A peace right in the center of
Our questionable survival
In any other moment than this.

This stillness in the center
Emerges with the violent winds.
The two exist as one,
inextricably connected,
Two sides of a coin, inseparable.

Can we accept this invitation
To welcome a peace that includes
What we have labeled as trouble
And strife, and been frightened by?

Can a wild wind
Flattening our landscape
Externally or internally
Be a part of something
Beyond our comprehension
And perfect, just as it is?

We don’t know.

But we notice
In hurricane season,
The power of resting openly
With such unanswerable questions.
And we notice,
(Even while the winds of change
Are blowing violently)
What doesn’t spin—
The peace beyond understanding
In the internal
Eye of the hurricane.

By Alice Gardner © 2008

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.