The Glorious Rainbow of Being Present

One of the central features of any meditation tradition is “present mindedness,” or the ability to inhabit the present moment without being burdened by preoccupations of the past or future. The usual busyness of everyday makes this a bit of a challenge, but there are techniques we can use to break the one-track-monotony of the day to refresh ourselves and crown each new moment with clarity. Simply developing a habit of pausing from hour to hour to recollect your thoughts with a conscious breath is a very effective and simple way to create a golden moment of being here now as Ram Dass would put it.

The present moment can also take on several distinctly different colors that form a rainbow of perspective through which to view the moments of our lives.

As I am wont to do, I like to play with words and think about how they can have more than one meaning. Those different meanings help me to think about how to embody the state of mind that those words define. Take the English word “present” for instance. Present and its cousin “presence” have varied Latin roots. Depending on the context in which we use them, they may mean being alert to circumstances in this moment as distinguished from the past or future. By using a long “e” sound and placing the accent on the second syllable it means to introduce to the public in a formal way, as in “may I present to you the art and science of meditation.” Finally, a present is a gift that is sometimes given in surprise.

The slightly different “presence” may refer to the manner in which one carries oneself, the aura surrounding a great personage, or having a supernatural influence that can be felt by others.

When we pause in recognition of the present moment, we also instantly become silent and motionless. A quote ascribed to Benjamin Disraeli shines a bright light on the importance of silence. “Silence,” he said, “is the mother of truth.” Chief Luther Standing Bear of the Teton Sioux, reflecting on Disraeli added, “a silent man was ever to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously.”

Practicing present-mindedness immediately opens the door for us to connect with our deepest truth. Nothing dignifies our humanity more than being present in the primordial truths that inspire us to think, speak and behave with integrity.

As we develop our practice of fully making our homes in each present moment we dwell in the integral truths that guide us to transparently “present” (long “e” accent second syllable) who we are to the world without shame or regret. When we see such people we know that we are well-met with those who can earn our trust and help us create the relationships that will make the world flourish in the peace and freedom for which we all so deeply yearn.

This kind of attention to our lives will cause us to shine with the aura of transfiguration that Jesus underwent in Mathew 17:2: “his face shone like the sun and his garments became as white as light.” This is the presence that being present can cultivate within each one of us. In our moments of being utterly present, truth shines from us for others to see. Though the light others see may not be the dazzling physical blaze portrayed by the gospel, each of us will be able to recognize, respect and affirm the god-likeness that resides in each one of us when we are present with our basic innate truth.

Rather than being some pie-in-the-sky, New Age, fairyland idealism, the practice of being present will endow us with the super-normal power to live the lives of which we are capable.  So, let us touch the golden present with the consciously breathing silence that gives birth to integrity, friendliness and a future of unbounded wonder and humane accomplishment.


Recovery 2.0

Greetings All,

For those of you struggling with addiction or those you know who may know who are fighting this battle. The link above is the address for Recovery 2.0, a major online conference for tapping into a wealth of knowledge, help, counseling and mentorship to help you lay your burden of addiction down. My friend, teacher, and colleague Durga Leela, will be one of many participants and speakers sharing a holistic approach to dealing effectively with addiction.



Earth Shamans–Yogi Healers

Though yoga has taken root and flourished outside of its native India, there is little discussion of it ancient beginnings or purpose. From what can be gathered by comparing archaeological evidence to current practices that retain some of their archaic rudiments it seems safe to say that yoga is essentially a shamanic practice developed long before it was codified in the Vedas or by Patanjali around the beginning of the Common Era.

Shamanism as defined by religion historian Mircea Eliade is a technique of religious ecstasy in which the shaman enters the spirit realm and returns with knowledge that can be of benefit to us in the physical world. Archeologists recognize shamanism as the primary universal practice of Paleolithic times that pre-dates organized religion. Thus, the shaman/yogi is one who seeks union with the Universal Force or Mystery. The yogi, through practice then becomes a nexus or connecting point for the unfathomable energies of the universe.

One of the most ancient, and no doubt shamanic yogic practices, is the yajna or fire ceremony which represents the process of creation. According to the Vedas, or early Indian codification of yoga, yajna is a healing ritual. It’s purpose, says yogi David Frawley, is “aimed at restoring to wholeness the divine consciousness that has entered into us and become fragmented through the mind, body and senses. The purpose of the Vedic yajna is to heal or put back together the purusha or cosmic being that has sacrificed itself to become the world. The reintegration of the Creator and creation, or God and the soul, is the foundation of yoga as well.”[1] Yoga, simply translated, means “union.”

Atheists or agnostics may substitute the term energy for the word god.

For me, the idea that the central purpose of being human is to restore the cosmic balance is sobering, joyful and all-encompassing. It calls to us to use our access to the boundless universal energy source to reach our personal potential while we heal a fragmented creation. It calls us to our finest expression of what it is to be human.

This present moment in our collective history presents us with perhaps the most critical and most perfect opportunity to reach our potential and heal creation.

Current trends of great concern are now converging to get our attention. One of these trends is the rapid acidification of the ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) measures our oceans as 30 percent more acidic now than before the Industrial Revolution that began in the 18th century. Oceanic acidification is a result of the ocean absorbing the excess carbon released from fossil fuel combustion. If present trends continue NOAA predicts a 150% increase in ocean acidity by the end of this century.[2] This is a dead ocean that supports no life, including ours.

There is abundant evidence that this is already happening. Depending on which source you quote, Antarctic krill, the foundation of the ocean’s food chain, has decreased by 50-80. On the PacificCoast of the U.S. populations of scallops, oysters, starfish, sardines and sea lion pups are crashing. These same types of population decreases are also occurring globally. The ocean ph or measurement of acidity off the coast of British Columbia has dropped from 8.2 to 7.2. It may not sound like much of a change until you consider this. Normal human blood ph is between 7.35 and 7.45. A .1 variation can produce seizures, heart arrhythmia, or even coma. Shell fish cannot make shells under this acidosis disease condition now prevailing in our oceans.

In the past few years as the realization of our desperate plight has dawned on me, I’ve experienced grief, depression and despair nearly to the point of death. Thankfully, my yoga/meditation practice has healed me so that I am motivated to try to live a life of hope and activism.

As yogis we are called at this great moment to devote ourselves to use every science, art, and creative impulse to heal ourselves and creation. This is our mission. In the very near future, as the consequences of these trends begin to affect our food supply and our ability to survive, there will be a full-scale mobilization of our resources. The very bedrock of this effort will be initiated by the spiritual aspirants, the yogis of all nations, by all those who seek to weave the fabric of the cosmos back together again. As we perfect the knowledge of ourselves and our world through spiritual practice we will simultaneously inhabit the spirit realm and the earth plane and heal the dis-ease we have created. As we master human psychological and emotional technology, we will bend creativity into the arc of healing, equality, respect and love. This is why we are here now. This is our destiny. So, practice yogis and heal creation.

[1] Frawley, David Yoga and Ayurveda: Self Healing and Realization Lotus Press 1999