Category Archives: Spiritual

Loving more than the myth

“See all things, not in process of becoming, but in Being, and see themselves in the other. Each being contains in itself the whole intelligible world. Therefore, All is everywhere. Each is there All, and All is each. Man as he now is has ceased to be the All. But when he ceases to be an individual, he raises himself again and penetrates the whole world.” – Plotinus (Greek Philosopher)
 
Hassidic dancing with the Easter Bunny
Yesterday Julia and I honored the idea of resurrection with a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and two Power Puff Girls cartoons. After that, we finished reading an article  by Ken Wilber on Integral Spirituality.
The article, based on his book Integral Spirituality reminds us that religion and spirituality have the capacity of guiding us to both grow and wake up. Even though a large portion of the world has become stuck in a place of needing their group (religion, nation, race etc.) to be the sole bearers of Truth, there is an increasing awareness that we are all here together on the planet and share more than we are aware of.   The need to believe that each holy book is historically accurate and that the stories within them are to be taken as absolute and literal, has caused us to attack one another instead of recognizing our capacity to be and share profound peace.
IntegralSpirituality
After spending a lovely day with friends we read about a terrorist attack on a Christian gathering.  The sting of it, reinforced the sadness of choosing to remain stuck in a level of needing to take our myths or understanding so literally that we are not able to see one another in ourselves.
As the teacher Mooji points out, my concept of ‘me’ is a myth as well. 
At the end of the article we read that morning, Ken Wilber concludes that, “evolution and love go hand in hand…The more we love, the more we flourish. The more morally sensitive we are…”
Wherever you are today, may you be gently carried by love so you can see how beautiful you and those around you really are.
 

 

Rising above the clamp-down

Lock on to what is most healing to your being.  We are in the time of trials and if we become reactive we will be swept into chaos.  Understand that what is happening is a shift of perspective and if we persist in propagating the ‘me only’ model it will not sustain us.  This is not a time for fear but for love and for greater understanding.  Surrender our reactive “I’m right, you are wrong’ seesaws.  Listen to what prompts our prompts.  Is it for more than us?   Here we get to choose which universe we sail in.  This one is determined by our next choice. 
 
 spiritual-freedom-between-light-and-good
Saturday night Julia and I played a wonderful house concert called Notes From Home.  The audience were very attentive, sang and were open, which opened us up.  We allowed ourselves not to give some of our regular introductions but expanded out. We sang and conveyed our full range of material from secret Lamed Vavniks anonymously keeping the world in balance, to ley lines, Hafiz, clowns, love, the Flamingo Tango, being the particle and the wave, being Barely Contained, Shakespeare, and world peace with more Yiddish!
With a laughing vulnerability, we explored the variance of connection.  After the show a woman who had really enjoyed the performance immensely came up to Julia and insisted on telling her that the connection did have a name, and that was Jesus.
The rock group The Clash used to sing a song called, “Working for the Clamp-Down.”  Not to downplay this woman’s faith, as many have a pure connection through Jesus; but her directive-need to label someone else’s connection for them is part of what I consider to be the clamp-down.
Through eons of parading history, countless beautiful people have augmented our connection with insights, questions, poetry, stories, paintings, music, songs, architecture, healing kindness and a myriad of other ways to connect us to the rivers, tributaries, waterfalls leading into oceans and the expansive vastness of outer and inner-space.  The clamp-down requires us to remain within the confines of a mud-puddle.
Sometimes, if we are good, we get to enjoy an ornate fountain or play in a bathtub instead but once we start prancing around inside the fountain, splashing or bring rubber ducks and ships into the tub, our imagination conjures the oceans and then it’s back to the mud-puddle.
The clamp-down is not assigned to any one religion but is utilized by anyone trying to gain control over another person’s connection to their personal source or stream.
I am a huge fan of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Each faith and practice tends to produce people who are able to do miraculous things within their connection. The wisdom held in the vaults of long standing faiths and traditions holds storehouses of treasures.  These vaults tend to be militarily guarded by those who seek to keep those treasures for themselves or may have forgotten what they are guarding and merely enjoy reaping the petty reward of having a little power.
 
When we go back to our roots and drag our heritage treasures into the light, we can start to see everyone else a little clearer. These stories, songs and rituals can guide us to expanding without and within so that we can leave the confines of strict personal definitions, claim our freedom and start splashing again.
Whatever name you give to your connection, may it honor you.
 

Stream of Light 3-30-15

The purpose of religion, spiritual practice and meditation is to bestow the message that you are the one responsible for bringing your spirit, the way the stream flows though you, into the world.  People will try to thwart you, dominate and crush your spirit. But the way the stream shines through you is not only unique; it is refreshment and benevolence to those around you. 

Stream of Light 9-23-14 / Sweet Can Productions & The Levins World Folk Ensemble present: My Friend Hafiz

There are moments and days in our lives that we recognize as almost perfect.  Beautiful heavenly days.  While you can not hold onto them, you can draw from them and recall the serenity they provide to bring this moment into sharper focus.  Being grateful and recognizing what is sublime in our lives opens the door to more of the same.  There are always things within us that we can be grateful for.  By being in the state of conscious gratitude, not only do we recognize what is around us but we generate things to be grateful for and illuminate them for those around us.
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“In the artistic community, we always talk about the transformative power of theater, music, and art, but I got to witness it first hand on the deepest level this weekend. Last night, a woman rushed down to Kerri Kresinski and me, and said, “That’s it. You did it. I’m going to quit my job. Life is too short to be miserable.” Ira Scott Levin said this show was the most important thing he’d ever done in his life. 
It seems like every show I’m in, becomes a part of the fabric of my being. What a marvelous piece to weave into my soul.” –
Natasha Kaluza
 
We were on the move again yesterday and today I can finally sit and reflect on what occurred this weekend.  We had a full week of rehearsals and only got everyone all in the same room to fully run our production of My Friend Hafiz by Sweet Can Productions with The Levins World Folk Ensemble on Thursday night. On Friday night as we opened, I stood there playing the songs and cried.
Somethings embrace synergy to such a high level that what emerges has always existed and always will.   I talk about time being spherical a lot, but it occurred to me that the reason the songs had come through and that we had recorded the album was for this very performance.  As the weekend progressed, we honed the show and the circle of musicians and the circle of circus performers  overlapped and spiraled up.  The thrust of the standing ovations was not just because the performers were so incredibly talented and that the clowns were so funny and that dances were so perfectly matched to bring the music and poetry forward but I believe the essence of what Hafiz achieved in his being somehow spilled over in a lighthearted pageantry of beauty and “benevolent thought, benevolent sound, benevolent movement around and around!”
Tomorrow is the Jewish New Year -may the circular nature of everything within you and around you be Sweet so that you know you Can shine out in the way you hope to.

 

Stream of Light 7-16-14

For the periods of time when life bears down on us as if an unforgiving force, recognize that we are life itself.  Becoming cognizant of where we are responsible for our own misery can make the difference between loving the process and resigning ourselves to fate.   The sweetness of existence is the recognition of love bestowing love.

Stream of Light 6-30-14

Where there is concentration and faith beyond dogmatic fear, there is the chance to rest within pure capacity.  We fit into destiny’s shoes where our dance augments the love that dares assert itself in the midst of danger and entertains a new thought: “I don’t have to give up my inner peace even with the threat of death’s short stint or in the midst of ignorance and fear’s bluff.”  Contemplate where we meet.  Relief is behind the excuse to hold onto self pity.

Beautiful Place to Be- a lyric by The Levins

Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Krishna picked up Rumi on a slow boat to China-

Searching for Utopia, ended up in India, reading the Tao Te Ching…

In comes the waiter with tiny cups of china and fills them up as he begins to sing:

“All the world is contained in this tiny cup of tea.  There’s room for all, no matter how small and where we agree… it’s a beautiful place to be.”

Gathered at the table, I’m sure we can agree, if we’re willing then we’re able to –

Let each other simply be.

Seeing eye to eye is a mighty feat, put our differences aside

Come on, everybody’s here, let’s eat!

If you are a poet and you find yourself in chains,

make the tyrant laugh, find the sweet refrain.

Everyone has something valuable to say,

Let’s become a choir and sing our separateness away.

“All the world is contained in this tiny cup of tea.  There’s room for all, no matter how small and where we agree… it’s a beautiful place to be.”

 

The Levins are a harmony-driven acoustic duo dedicated to making the world a happier place.

www.thelevinsmusic.com

Stream of Light 6-18-14

Laugh at shortcomings, especially where they are predictable. None of us are so isolated as to suffer or celebrate alone. Possibilities remain myriad but this moment is expanding enough to allow a healing for all. Complete what we can, the stream goes on and on without ever finding full expression; for the potential of living is the promise of love’s consistent unfurling.

Mike Robbins and the Power of Authenticity

A few years ago, The Levins* played at the Unity in Berkeley and the speaker that day was   Mike Robbins, who was giving a talk from his new book, “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.” We really loved what he had to say (The essence of it was, when someone compliments you, say “Thank you” and complete the circuit of gratitude.) Mike has a new book called, “Nothing Changes Until You Do.” and this morning we watched his TED talk about the Power of Authenticity. He says that Authenticity is on the other side of honesty, not just expressing your opinion as fact but being courageous enough to be vulnerable. It is great, you can see how authentic he really is as he talks. At one point he describes an exercise in which you lower the water level on your iceberg to reveal more of your true self by saying: “If you really knew me,” and you say what you are feeling in the moment. As I watched his video, I admit part of me was thinking, “He is so good at this, I could never be this courageous.”

I have been actually going through the daily streams with the intention of publishing them into a book. It scares me because when I think of giving talks, I don’t know that I have the ability to be that resourceful. But that is the point, the stream is always flowing through us. When I think of doing things that have scared me in the past, I realize when I said “Yes” and showed up and was prepared and present, it always has worked out beyond what I could have anticipated.

My favorite moments singing with Julia are not the big “we are here to wow you” moments but our moments of vulnerability when we are being authentic and allowing the people around us to be authentic.

May you be the conduit of your week.

*- The Levins are a harmony-driven acoustic duo dedicated to making the world a happier place.  www.TheLevinsMusic.com