Tag Archives: Mooji

Paradox Parade

Making peace with that which seems to be contrary

“When I am in tatters and about to cave, in elementary matters: be the particle and the wave.”- The Levins 

This weekend, my wife Julia and I gathered within a wonderful community to see Joe Crookston, a master musician, songwriter and beloved cheerleader of humanity. Before the concert, I had a conversation with a friend who has a different political point of view. We agreed on many points but in the end, there was no swaying her from her stance. I had to say that I was grateful that we were willing to converse at all. Our beliefs can become a citadel from which we are unwilling to emerge. Recognizing that I care for someone who does not see or feel as I do, awakens the love from which all things become whole.

Of course, there is a process that takes place before love comes into the picture. There is a gambit of emotions that come into play that must be honored before I can authentically facilitate a greater understanding. Sometimes, however, I can find myself going down the rabbit hole with bad feelings and I have to remind myself that love is an option. That way I can manually shift gears.

We are the awareness that animates everything and yet we seem to be in a separate form from everything around us. What can bring us peace is quietly observing the drama of life as it unfolds without needing to over-identify with it.  Swirling around duality, our consciousness can silently become unified.

For a long time, there was a scientific argument about what light consisted of. There were proponents of the Particle theory who said that light was made of particles. There were proponents of the Wave theory who said light was made of waves. They were like two political parties attacking one another. Each side said they were right and that the other was wrong. Now we know that light is both a particle and a wave. It has both properties and depending on how you look at it, it may change from a particle to a wave. It may do the opposite.  All that time arguing may have been wasted, or it may have provided the breakthrough in understanding. It is a paradox.

Paradox comes from the Greek words para and dokein which mean “to seem contrary.”

We live in a world where there seems to be endless conflict without the hope of us reconciling our differences. Perhaps, if we can use the idea of the particle and the wave, we can learn to embrace the paradox and find a way to live in peace.

Here are some examples of paradox found throughout the world’s wisdom traditions:

In Judaism, a cherished practice started by Rabbi Bunim of P’shiskha, urged people to put these two statements in their front pockets. One on the left and one on the right:

“The world was created for me.” ( from the Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 37B) and

“I am but dust and ashes.” ( from Genesis 18:27)

Saul, a man who killed Christians then became Paul, Christianity’s chief proponent. He said:

“For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”- Romans 11:32

A mystic Sufi was executed for proclaiming, “I am the Truth.”  Paradoxically, some saw this as a man claiming divinity, while others saw it as a humble denial of the ego which allowed divinity to shine through him.

The Taoist Lao Tzu said: “Heaven and Earth are long-lasting. The reason why Heaven and Earth can last long is that they live not for themselves, and thus they are able to endure.”

The psychologist Carl Jung had this to say: “The paradox… reflects a higher level of intellect and, by not forcibly representing the unknowable as known, gives a more faithful picture of the real state of affairs.”

The poet, TS Elliot said: “Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”

Mooji, a teacher of the Hindu Advaita Vedanta (which means “not-two”) says: “Paradoxically, the most powerful force in the universe is doing nothing at all.” And “Without the physical, the spiritual cannot be known or experienced. Go deep. Find and Be the Real!”

As a fitting last float in this Paradox Parade, here are the lyrics to one of Joe Crookston’s songs, which both did and did not revive the Buddhist poet and leader, Thich Nhat Hahn from a coma:

Fall down as Rain

When my life is over

And I have gone away

I’m gonna leave this big ole’ world

And the trouble and the pain

And if I get to heaven

I will not stay

I’ll turn myself around again

And fall down as the rain

Fall Down as the rain

Fall Down as the rain

And when I finally reach the ground

I’ll soak into the sod

I’ll turn myself around again

Come up as goldenrod

Come up as goldenrod

Come up as goldenrod

And then when I turn dry and brown

I’ll lay me down to rest

I’ll turn myself around again

As part of an eagles nest

Part of an eagles nest

Part of an eagles nest

And when that eagle learns to fly

I’ll flutter from that tree

I’ll turn myself around again

As part of the mystery

Part of the mystery

– Joe Crookston

We may never understand one another or ourselves and that in itself is a reason for rejoicing.

 

MLK and “interrelated structure of all reality.”

How MLK stayed connected to love.

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by the Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.- a man who utilized his stream, or what Mooji would call, “the cosmic current of existence,” to help expand our universal understanding.  MLK was a man of action. His actions were blockbuster without having to shoot his way into enemy territory, punch out the bully or watch as the villain plummeted from a great height. Instead he actively connected to love, to the energy and awareness that manifests as all of us, to help us to see, feel and experience this, “Interrelated structure of all reality.”

You could say that MLK was selfless. He was willing to sacrifice even his life to get us to know that our differences are not only skin deep, mere pigmentation, but that our true Self includes everything that we perceive, and can conceive.

Again, I will quote Mooji to show how the actions of MLK stimulated a whole generation to work together towards our greater freedom.

“If you study and learn as a person, you can only function as a person- maybe as a good person, a skilled person- but when you awaken… you start moving as a whole environment. When something arises that needs to be done, that need is recognized, and a movement to fulfill it begins, and other streams join in until it becomes a river. You see how the forces join together.”- Mooji

How did MLK do this?  Martin did not allow himself to be defined and filled in with hatred of injustice but he would daily pray to be used by love, to live in the manner of love. He made sure to perform regular services for others. He strived to stay in good bodily and spiritual health. He meditated on the teachings and actions of his spiritual leader.  Most importantly and the hardest of all, he prayed for the oppressor.

His knew that love was a non-dual reality that transcends our limited clinging to the black and white.

This morning I ran across this Joseph Campbell quote:

“The Indians addressed all of life as a “thou”- the trees, the stones, everything. You can address anything as a “thou”, and if you do it, you can feel the change in your own psychology. The ego that sees a “though” is not the same ego that sees an “it.” And when you go to war with people, the problem of the newspapers is to turn those people into “its.” “ – Joseph Campbell

Matt Khan in talking about surrendering to love says it starts with taking a vacation from concern.  Not denying the things that are wrong or unjust, just taking a vacation from filling ourselves, our mind and body, emotions and cells with what is wrong.  Allowing ourselves to connect or surrender to love allows for solutions to our concerns to come through so when we come back from vacation, we can get back to work refreshed.

We are all a perception away from being able to act as a unified field.  The victory of MLK is not a victory for the church, or for one people but for all of life.

He knew who he was and his most constructive actions came from that knowing that he was, “free at last.”

Today is a chance for reflection and for being aware of the work that needs to still be done.  Still, in the midst of it all, may we be able to connect to love so that our concerns can be faced without anxiety but with the expectation of solutions we will usher in together. 

 

Let’s Be Big!

Smile into this next choice.  We are confronted by an endless series of choices and this one is the most vital. Relativity transfers the universe into the seemingly insignificant.  Ponder how much goes by without our noticing.  We feel incrementally what importance we can place on our own self-worth and subsequently that transfers to those around us.  The dream we hold in our heart is guarded by fear of survival and being drawn into degradation.  Empowering the purity of our deepest connection with this life, we become bold and can make the right choices; that not only safeguards us but encourages those around us. 

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Change has come and complacency will not serve us. We may be afraid to see what will happen next but having courage in the face of fear will see us through.  Tony Robbins says we must divorce ourselves from the story that debilitates us. Mooji says we are not our wounded limited egos but limitless awareness. Each of us had leadership quality. While none of us may fully ready, now is the time for us to begin, as Brene Brown would say, Rising Strong. Playing it small, small minded, petty with blame-throwers in our hands will serve no one.  Embrace that which is endless in yourself and let us keep our hearts on the greater turning of humanity towards true liberty, equality and freedom. 

Let’s reach out to one another and start talking about manifesting our dreams in a way that will not only benefit ourselves but bolster those around us.

Albert Einstein peace quote

Let’s Be Big

“If Al were here, I’m sure he would agree, if you want to move around at light’s velocity 

You’ve got to be big, as infinity. 

So take the afternoon and come along with me. 

Chorus: 

Hey! Let’s be big today. We’ll travel all around chasing troubles away. They’ll never see us coming. They’ll wonder why they’re humming. Come on, what ya say?  Let’s be big today.

Sitting on a moving mountain of gold.  Riding out past everything that I’ve been told.

Internal navigation, blindsided by degrees.  The fear of not succeeding was defining me.

I’d rather think big. So I’m getting out of my way. Out into the open where it’s not so gray. 

Chorus.

Bigger than heart-ache, bigger than strife. Taking the cake, we’re larger than life.

When I am in tatters and about to cave, in elementary matters, 

be the particle and the wave.

When you’re scared and loose your way- be the particle and the wave.

Stand and be brave- be the particle and the wave.

Chorus.

Bigger than heart-ache, bigger than strife. Taking the cake, we’re larger than life.

Hey Let’s be big today. We’ll travel all around chasing troubles away.

Bigger than heart-ache, bigger than strife. Taking the cake, we’re larger than life.

They’ll never see us coming. They’ll wonder why they’re humming.

Come on, what ya say?  Let’s be big today.”                  – The Levins

Particle and wave

Rock the paradox, you are essential!

Goodnight Sweet Gene

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to eye.”

Gene Wilder as the Fox in Antoine de-Saint-Exupery’s The Little PrinceGene as fox

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Gene Wilder.  So often life is a cavalcade and we are riding through with all of our baggage, chores, hopes and dreams jostling us as we try and keep an eye on the terrain. When a celebrity dies, we may feel bad but rarely want to pull over and stoke up the campfire to sit and reflect on what they offered us.

Yesterday I read something by Mooji that said, “The way is not really a way. It is a depth. It is not a distance. It is a deepening into… the bliss of the unknowable.”*  Gene’s work had that depth. You could feel it right from the start when he appeared in Bonnie and Clyde.

The first word that comes right up to the top when I think of Gene is ‘sweet’.   He showed generations what being a sweet human being looked like.  He was able to display the full gambit of being human from our neurotic angst and furious madness to our capacity for playful romance and pure loving kindness.

At the end of Willy Wonka when the chocolatier becomes a monster to test Charlie and Charlie returns the gobstopper that he might have sold for untold wealth, all we see is Gene’s hand slowly close around the candy.  His voice, off screen has made me cry every time. “So shines a good deed, in a weary world.” I feel that Gene’s dedication and the work he gave us personifies this line.  When the camera showed us Gene’s face as he called after Charlie, the love and benevolence beaming out of his eyes seemed to redeem all of humanity.Gene as WIlly

We watched Blazing Saddles the other night and it struck me that his work with Cleavon Little and Richard Pryor, in movies like Silver Streak, was a movement in itself.  The natural ease and delight of these larger than life friendships were heroic. The comedy was perhaps the intention and certainly was the result but there is a lingering bolstered hope imprinted on our hearts after watching these films. While society is still trying to sweat itself up the mountain of equality, Gene and Cleavon and then Gene and Richard, (who helped write Blazing Saddles) were “deepening into the bliss of the unknowable.”

Gene and CleavonGene and Richard

I heard that Gene didn’t want to tell the public that he was struggling with Alzheimer’s, because kids would say, “Look, there’s Willy Wonka!” It gave them such joy; he didn’t want to take that away from them. He couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.

Gene was singing, “Somewhere over the Rainbow” when he was taken from us.

May we all be capable of such sweetness and be remembered as fondly as Jerome Silberman, who, being inspired by Tomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, became our Gene Wilder.

Gene Wilder

Gene as Willy Wonka

 

*- White Fire/Mooji © 2014

Beyond Belief

 

“Don’t belong to anything. Don’t belong to anyone. Just Be. Feel your Being first and foremost, and don’t compare or compete. Just Be your Being.” ~ Mooji

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I have had the good fortune of having an ongoing dialogue with friends throughout the years who cut through whatever I may be espousing in terms of beliefs and are willing to throw down or splash around in the stream to get at what is really going on.

As we get older, it becomes easier to get lodged into a belief system and become stiff. I believe this is because we find a way to deal with what is coming down the pipe and we want that cushion to keep us protected.

My good friend Leyna recently sent me an Uplift article about what it really means to hold space for someone else.  It is a great article that reminds me to give those around me space without wanting them to take up my point of view.   It talks about allowing them to have their own take and feelings on life, without overloading them, judging them or asserting my ego into whatever is going on for them.

Leyna once said that she believed there were 613 commandments in the Torah, not so that we would follow each one to the letter of the law, but to get us to reach higher than we would have.  Sometimes if the bar is raised really high, it inspires us to stretch or jump up.

The article of holding space is not something we may be able or willing to do completely; it is a reminder that we can always open more, be more allowing of what is.

Leyna and I have often discussed the concept of “being positive”.

Leyna: “My process could be seen as “being negative” to say “negative” things – because fears and disappointments can be interpreted that way – but I see it as a positive process because as long as I don’t let fear have a home inside of me, it pushes me to move on and succeed. I did not prevail despite voicing my fears, disappointments, anger and doubts. I prevailed because of voicing them with as much courage and confidence I could to not run away from it, sugarcoat it or try to paint it into something it was not. This has been my way and it has worked for me.”

Surely as the old proverb says, “A sorrow shared is half a sorrow.” Leyna’s method of courageously looking at what is and refusing to run away from it, sugar coat it and most importantly, not be defeated by it, allows her to move continents.

The totality of our being, is the totality of being itself.  For me, that means that trying to adhere to any particular stance or view of ourselves is restrictive.  We choose limits to gain a measure of comfort and peace.  Everything comes and goes but what remains is the life within us.

I have certainly been guilty of overloading my point of view onto others and judging them for theirs.  That is not my defining point. As Leyna suggested, it’s what we let make a home within in us that sticks.  We can be motivated by everything coming through our ‘house’.

May your process be glorious.

holding-space_circle-1

 

Flipping the switch- turning ‘me’ off for freedom

Sri Nisargadatta: “You are not experiencing suffering; you are suffering your experiencing.”
Mooji: “As long as you believe you are the body and your mind is your self, you will remain bound…
…If you hold to the intuition, the sense ‘I am’, and do not allow this to connect with any other concept, if you just let the ‘I am’ incubate in itself, immediately joy and space prevail. Spontaneously, there is the silent and intuitive conviction that confirms, ‘I am timeless, unbound being.’ This is not a teaching; it is a powerful inner experience. Inexplicable.”*-  *from Before I AM/ Mooji
Mooji
This week I have been experimenting with what Mooji is describing above.  That is leaving the identification with my name, status, and endless neurotic traits to actively be inside a happy conscious spaciousness.  The ability to lay down the burden of ‘me’ is wonderful.  As I described last week, I am not able to do this all the time but I’ve been playing with the idea of flipping a switch and turning ‘me’ off and turning on ‘I am’.  It has been especially fun doing it while playing music.  So often as a performer, I have been chained to what the audience thinks of ‘me’ and how I am doing.  We often talk about doing great things when we get ourselves out of the way. This wide-open waking meditative connection with what is here without my body and mind demanding to be center stage, is very satisfying, loving and doesn’t prevent anything from getting done.
The challenge is remembering and being able to flip the switch.  Sometimes it is a light switch, sometimes it is a weighted lever, sometimes my mind convinces me not to want to.
This particular take on connecting to the stream is new to me but of course, it is very ancient.  In being able recognize that our form is just cosmic play- changing, decaying, reforming, we can celebrate our diversity not as tolerance but as the kaleidoscope winking at our ‘eye/I’.
With this in mind, here is a lyrical take on the Gettysburg Address from the play Hair:
Four score and seven years ago
Oh, sock it to em’ baby, your sounding better all the time
Our forefathers, I mean all our forefathers
Brought forth upon this continent a new nation.
Oh, come on and stroke me Stokely*!
Conceived, conceived like we all was, in liberty
And dedicated to the one I love
I mean, Dedicated to the proposition
That aaaaall men….honey, I tell you all men,  are created equal.”
-Abe, Baby
Hair
And women too, of course!
Formless in form, let the play begin!
__________________________________________
*- “There is a higher law than the law of the government. That’s the law of conscience.”
– Stokely Carmichael

Not Fade Away

 

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My friend Angie sent me this link to a talk by Mooji, a master teacher she really connects with.

https://youtu.be/U7bOwDH4XCY

I found a moment to listen while I was sorting socks on my bed. Tuning into what he was saying, I put the socks away and lay on the bed.

“What if for a moment, you cease trying? No effort, but take it seriously. No identity, no reference to past, no intention about the future, no definition about anything. Let’s try it and see. Your mind will say, “I want to “do” nothing.” I’m not talking to him now. You are not waiting, leave everything. Not concentrating, no effort. You’re not in any gear, you don’t touch name, you don’t touch gender. No waiting, no expectation. No imagination, no time is there, no interpretation. Not suppressing, stay as you are. Nothing to manage, nothing to heal, nothing to fix. Be conscious of your consciousness.”

I had a saxophone teacher named Saffron who taught me music theory. She would say, you have to learn all this but when you are playing you can’t think of it, you just have to be there. My recent meditation practice has been so structured, with so many things to think about, this invitation to not think, to not imagine, or hold onto identity clicked into an expansive consciousness that has always been present. It was all around me, I was a part of it and expanded without effort into a heightened state of being. Mooji continued,

“You do not wish to bring in any corrupt state or belief into this. You are determining your reality. You are determining whether a thought is going to distract you so that you forget your Self , so to speak and enter into fluctuating states again. And even if that happens are you able to bring yourself back to your Self again, as it were, In a flash?

…When you identify “I” as a person, you welcome the whole family. “I” will bring the cousins, the uncles, the aunties, and the drunk friends. Thoughts will not have the potency, the virility, the audacity to confront you, they cannot intimidate the pure Self, they can only intimidate the idea you have of who you are, your self- image. The whole thing is spectacularly fantastic.”

What he was saying went deeper than words and it was spectacularly fantastic. It was clear, it was freeing and quite a tremendous rush.

“Can it fade? Is it merely a feeling? If it’s a feeling it will come and go, it’s not really a feeling…

Is it belief? Belief changes us.

Is it something you have to keep up?

Is this true? Ask this not from the outer place but from the inner place.”

The next day I got up and was still in it. I felt I had woke- in. I went to Brooklyn and sang for a preschool and we had the best time. I took the train back and was still in it. My heart was singing and I thought, “This could be it. I may have this now forever.”

By that evening “Mr. Mind” had taken back over and I was so disappointed that my thoughts took the elevator down to the basement.

The next morning while driving to NJ, Julia and I listened to Terry Pratchett and I reveled in the unique liberated fun he offered us. Then I was able to see the snow as we drove along in its intended splendor. I was singing for families that morning. They were so joyous and danced; everything was sweet and rich again. I was aware of how grateful I was for my life.

So, I hadn’t become enlightened but I was still connected and had access. I had just let my thoughts bite me.

“The thoughts will try and bite you but your real self is unbiteable.

There is an idea that in order to live in this world I cannot stay in my heart, and that is not true.

Look not just with your mind but with your fullness. It is closer than intimacy, there is no distance.

Don’t talk about the self, be the self.

Why this loyalty to that which does not serve you?

You are determining your reality. If a thought is going to distract you and enter into fluctuating states again.

You have to be willing to burn this forest down, the forest of misconceptions, false identity. Why this loyalty to that which does not serve you?” – Mooji

May our training allow for a sincere letting go, so that we are able to experience the love that as the song says will, “Not Fade Away!”