Warrior Spirit – Guarding the Gateway to your Consciousness

I am sitting here on the sofa with my laptop with a vague desire to write an essay, and not much is coming up, and so I am just writing what comes naturally to me. My dog Frankie is sleeping just to my right, and the rain ins falling in a steady downpour. It’s that heavy tropical rain that causes the pool to overflow. It is unrelenting. I have had quite a journey over the last couple of weeks. It feel surreal that so much has happened while so little has changed.

I have long held faith that it is the expansion of the consciousness that will be able to save the Earth, but really it is not the earth that needs saving, it is we who need saving. The Earth will continue its journey around the Sun for another 4 billion years regardless of whether we blow ourselves up. We may bring about a mass extinction as part of the process of our own demise, but look how many fabulous creatures rushed in to fill the void that the dinosaurs left after their time had passed. The void we leave will not last any longer.

The true battle we are waging right now is a battle of consciousness. There are so many forces that drive us through fear to see each other as separate from ourselves. In my experience, the news is a primary entry point into my mind. I am constantly being thrown off my center by the news. For others maybe it is social media, or maybe television. But for me it’s the news. Will Bolsanaro dispute the election results in Brazil? Did Qatar ban beer sales at the world cup? Is Zelensky going to draw us into World War III? What’s going to happen to our civil rights now that Roe v. Wade is in the trash bin of history? What is Elon Musk doing with Twitter? What is Bitcoin doing today?

Remember back in COVID when the Federal Government printed out checks for $1,900,000,000,000 and mailed them out to people? They did not actually create anything real in the world when they did this. Not so much as a single apple was created when those checks were signed and sent. Suddenly legions of “Bored Apes” had spending money and time on their hands, and so they invested the new money in Crypto and NFT’s and Meme Stocks, and then they lost all of that money when the whole thing turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, and so the money went back into the hands of the Wall Street Fat Cats, which is exactly where it was when the whole thing started. Next thing you know, it’s easy come, easy go, and we have to watch the big Orange loser dominate the News cycle for another two years. Those checks did not create anything, they simply captured our attention for a while.

Our attention shifted from COVID to the war in Ukraine to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. No doubt our attention will shift to the next cycle in short order. It does not really matter so much what the object of our attention is, as long as we feel anxious and divided. It does not really matter so much what we believe, as long as we divide ourselves into two roughly equal camps and hate the other side. We live in a world modeled after the Super Bowl. Think about it. Does Fox Television care whether you like the Patriots or the 49ers? Not so much, as long as you pick one side or the other and care a lot, then they have your attention for the Super Bowl.

There is such a battle going on for the control and occupation of our minds that we often lose touch with the simple truths that make us who we are and that give us our true peace and happiness. When we feel lost in the waves of the world of illusion, we can firm ourselves in the divine eternal presence that surrounds us all the time. We can anchor ourselves in what is real and in what matters. The Earth has been traveling for billions of years with our sister planets as our Sun streaks around the center of our galaxy. The next news cycle is nothing more than the brownian motion of our existence.

We had a beautiful Concentration the other day, and I shared a reading from the Gospel of Padrinho Sebastião in the middle of it. The basic theme of the reading was a reminder to stay centered on what is real in the divine truth and to not get carried away with the dramas and concerns of the world of illusion. “In the Sun, in the Moon, in the Earth, and in the Sea. I sought this truth and I know where it is….” that was the line from the hymn that was quoted in the reading. The divine truth is there for all of us to see, yet we get caught up in the world of illusion and forget our divine nature.

I have long admired how my wife Stephanie starts her day. She goes into her “she cave” and does a series of movements synchronized with prayers, then she draws a spread of tarot cards and writes in her journal and then she meditates for a little while. She starts just about every day with her ritual, and it sets up her frame of reference for the whole day.

I have been working with my coach and trainer to develop a similar practice based on the breath to center myself and restore my connection to what is real and divine in the world. The breath is where our spirit attaches to our material body. Think of this literally. You can manipulate your breathing, but you cannot stop it. Even if you manage to hold your breath long enough to lose consciousness, it will start up again automatically. This is the place where we have a choice, but also have no choice. Just like we are here alive and incorporated in our body. Most of us do not have the ability to decide to disincorporate from out bodies as a voluntary act. We are stuck here in that sense. But we do have a lot of free will about how we will conduct ourselves while we are here.

The same it is with the breath, isn’t it? We don’t have a choice about whether to breathe, but we have a lot free will about how we will breathe. And it is here that I have found a path to regaining my center.

For me the pattern that works the best is to breathe in for eight beats of my heart, hold for four beats, and then breathe out for eight more beats, being sure to expel the last bit of stale air on every exhalation. This comfortable rhythm of about three breaths per minute brings me back to my body and to my center.

And then I let my thoughts go to the Sun and the Moon and the Stars and to the Earth and the Wind and the Sea. I feel connected to the clockwork of the planets… Jupiter has passed its opposition, and the opposition of Mars is upon us. I love looking at the planets in the night sky, and it is Mars that is taking center stage right now. Just go outside in the evening and look to the east. Soon it will be straight over head at midnight.

In this practice of breathing and centering myself with these forces of divine nature, I can feel my parasympathetic nervous system taking over. I feel hope instead of anxiety. I feel that life is long instead of feeling that life is short. I feel that love comes from the divine and radiates through us to everything we gaze upon. And from this point, I can be the gate keeper to my own consciousness.

What are you going to let into your mind today?

Healing Power of Prayer

It all started on November 3rd when I took my wife, Stephanie, for a scheduled visit to the hospital. While I was waiting for her I was reading from the book “The Hidden Life of Jesus” which is a translation of the adventures of a Russian explorer in Tibet who found ancient manuscripts in a Monastery that recorded the travels of Jesus through India and Kashmir and Tibet before he returned to Jerusalem at the age of 30. I read the passage featured above about the imperative of honoring and taking care of the women in our lives. I had no idea that my wife, my mother and my daughter in law would all be in the hospital that week. I actually took the photo in the family waiting area of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine family waiting room.

I am writing this as much for myself as for any other potential reader so that I can remember and hold on to the powerful lessons that I learned last week. These lessons sound so commonplace–love and family are the most important, it is our spiritual integrity upon which we must rely to get us through tough times, faith is the antidote to fear, with prayer we can overcome anything… that sort of thing. They are lessons one might find on the Get Well cards they sell in the hospital gift shop. But when we stand by the side of the people we love while they face critical health emergencies, these basic lessons take on new meaning and relevance.

In telling my story, I want to start with Halloween, which was a carefree and joyous moment. I knew at that time that my wife would be having a minor scheduled out patient surgery in a couple of days, but we were not overly concerned with this. We expected she would have a little bit of pain, and need some rest, so we made arrangements for our dogs to stay with their Auntie, and we cleared our schedule so that we could devote ourselves supporting her rest and recovery. That was Monday, and everything seemed fine. I spent the evening in a goofy costume in our front yard shaking an oversized Maracá made from a small goard and passing out candy to children.

We had friends visiting us that day on their way to Brazil. They were going down to Rio de Janeiro for the 40th anniversary of the Santo Daime Church there known as Céu do Mar. This is the home of my Padrinho Paulo Roberto and Madrinha Nonata, who were the first people to bring the sacramental tea that is the center of the Santo Daime religion from the rain forest. I felt a little torn as our friends prepared for their departure, because the celebration at Céu do Mar was something that I ordinarily would not want to miss. But I had received a very strong feeling of trepidation that I should not go down for the celebration. It felt like danger, but I did not really understand it. Sure, Rio de Janeiro can be dangerous, but I’ve been there many times, and there was not any reason to think it was more dangerous now that it was in the past. Still, I had this strong feeling that we should not go down there to join the festivities.

And having decided that we would not go, we went ahead and scheduled Stepanie’s surgical procedure. We said good bye to our friends and wished them well on their journey. I felt torn about our decision not to go. Lots of people were disappointed, and I felt some regret. I did not have a clear understanding of why I had felt so strongly that we should not go.

That was all on Monday. The next day, I received a call from my son Charlie who was traveling with my grandson and my daughter in law in North Carolina. They were going to visit my son George who recently moved with his girlfriend to Greensboro. Upon arriving in North Carolina after a long drive, George called and let them know he had COVID and that they should not come to stay with them. So they went to Ashville to enjoy some fall colors. Simone had a sharp pain in her stomach, which they thought might be appendicitis.

They went to the hospital and saw she had a kidney stone that was having trouble passing. It was quite large, a full centimeter in diameter, yet the doctors saw that it seemed to be passing on its own. They sent her home with instructions to return to the hospital if her condition deteriorated or if she developed a fever. That night, she did develop a fever, and she returned to the hospital for emergency surgery. They detected bacteria in her blood and admitted her to the hospital and gave her intravenous antibiotics to clear up the infection.

This was a bit of a scare, but everything worked out ok. We were all grateful that the episode occurred at the doorstep of Ashville’s brand new hospital where she received excellent care instead of in the middle of the Amazon rain forest which is where she was born and where her family still lives. If this had happened there, it would have been very grave indeed. I thought to myself, maybe this is why I did not go to Rio. But really, I was not at all essential in helping Simone. I was in Miami while they were in Ashville. I could have done everything I did from Rio just as easily as I did from Miami.

Stephanie had her procedure on Thursday the 3rd day of November. I spent the day in the car shuttling her from home to the Mamography department and then to the hospital and then back home again. Her procedure went very well. We had set aside all day Friday for her to rest and recover.

We had healing work scheduled in our Santo Daime Church for Sunday. There was a conference in Miami about using psychedelics to treat PTSD and other conditions over the weekend of November 4th, and a representative, Glauber, from the Santo Daime in Belo Horizonte, Brazil had been invited to speak. Padrinho Alfredo, who is the leading spiritual authority for our branch of the Santo Daime, personally asked our church to hold a healing work on behalf of Glauber and some of the attendees at the conference.

The Santo Daime Church practice revolves around the communion with the divine through a sacramental tea that we call Daime. The constituent plants used to make the sacrament are the same plants as are used to make Ayahuasca. The experience of communion through the Santo Daime Church is very powerful. However, it is not used as a medicine to cure disease in the way most people think of medicine. Rather the Daime is a sacrament which opens the doors to communion with the divine, and the healing power comes from the prayers and divine connection.

We asked everyone from our local current to do their best to attend, and we invited some visitors to help. This was a big effort for us on the heals of Stephanie’s surgery, but it was also very important to honor the request of Padrinho Alfredo. The work was scheduled to start at 2:00 pm in the afternoon on Sunday the 6th of November. I thought maybe this was the reason I had felt so strongly that I should not go down to Rio. Maybe it was because I was needed to lead the healing work.

Friday night I was exhausted. I was happy that my wife and daughter in law were doing well, but the stress of helping them and preparing for the work, combined with a few nights of less than 5 hours of sleep had really taken their toll. My wife asked me to make chicken soup, Jewish Penicillin as she called it, to help her heal. It was so restorative. I went to sleep right after dinner. I was so tired, I slept for 9 straight hours, and woke up bright and early.

Thank god I thought, that the sleep would help me prepare for the work Sunday. I got up in the morning on Saturday and ran through the healing hymns on my guitar to prepare for the next day, and then I started packing my bag to go to a workout with my personal trainer and coach Katie. Katie had been a little under the weather, so I put a little pyrex bowl of the chicken soup in my bag with an orange and a chocolate bar from our little chocolate company to give to Katie. I was in a good mood and looking forward to my session.

Then my world changed. My phone rang on my way out the door. It was my step father. I was about to get in the car and almost sent the call to voice mail. But I was not in any particular hurry, so I thought I’d see what he was up to. I answered the phone and he told me that he thought my Mom might be having a heart attack. He had called 911 and asked me to come over immediately.

As I pulled out of our community, the ambulance went by with sirens blaring. I knew they were going to my Mom’s house about a mile away. They raced past the little side street short cut staying on the main road, and so I was able to arrive about a minute before they did. I parked my car on the street outside my Mom’s long gravel driveway and waited for the medics to arrive so I could enter the code for the gate to let them in. The drive is long and lots of tree branches hang low, and so they had to walk the stretcher and their gear up the drive. David was waiting at the front door.

The medics took my Mom’s vitals. She was complaining of chest pain, but her heart seemed to be working ok. They said they did not think she was having a heart attack, but it was a good idea to go to the hospital just in case. Thank God, because it turns out that she had a blockage of the main artery feeding the heart and was at the very beginning stage of a major Myocardial Infarction.

They put her in the ambulance and David and I followed in the car. When we got to the hospital they were wheeling her in on the gurney. We got to the room and the ER doctor confirmed that she appeared to be having a heart attack. As they prepared to move her to the Cath Lab, her heart stopped. The dreaded monotone beep and an alarm sounded. The doctor raced back into the room and they revived my mother with the defibrillator paddles and CPR compressions. From that moment everything took on an entirely new level of urgency.

We went to the waiting room while they operated on her. An hour went by. Then two hours. No word yet. I was very concerned. I felt called to go down the hall to see if I could learn anything, and just as I arrived at the security doors the cardiologist came out. He informed me that my Mom had suffered a major heart attack. They had placed a stent in her primary coronary artery to open the main blockage, yet they were not able to open a blockage of secondary branch of the artery which remained blocked.

I was admitted to the room where they were working on her. A doctor was working with an arterial line in her leg. There was blood on the sheet around it. I saw her in her bed with an oxygen mask over her face. Her eyes were open and she was talking to me, but it was very difficult to understand her. Her lungs were filling with fluid, and so they needed to sedate her and intubate her. I held her gaze as she lost consciousness and told her I loved her and to please hold on. I was not sure if I would ever hold her gaze again. They hurried me out of the room so they could intubate her and continue working. After another couple of hours, they moved her into the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

I entered her room. It was full of machines. There was a rack with about 8 different medicines all going into her IV bag. She was heavily sedated, and holding on to life itself. We made arrangements for my sister to fly directly from San Francisco, and thank God we were able to get her on a plane on short notice. I held my Mom’s hand and asked her to hold on for the seven hours it would take for my sister to arrive. Finally, around 11:30 Saturday evening, my sister arrived at the hospital. I was completely exhausted. I went home to sleep and promised to return the next morning at the crack of dawn.

There was an eerie calm in the room Sunday morning. The parking garage at the hospital was totally empty as were the halls and corridors. I made my way upstairs to relieve my sister who had spent the night in the chair by my Mom’s bed. The room was dimly lit and rhythm of the ventilator and the occasional muted alarms of the several machines monitoring her heart created a surreal soundscape. It felt like I had arrived on the command deck of a spaceship.

They told me that my Mother’s condition was very grave. She was in the bottom 10% of patients who make it to the ER, and at 81 years old, this was quite a shock to her system. They wanted to give me hope, but at the same time they did not want to give me unreasonable expectations. The palliative care nurse made her appearance and wanted to know if they should try to revive her if she had another episode. She was very nice, but I had to hold firm and let her know that we were focused on recovery and return to health and not ready to consider palliative care. The staff at the Surgical Critical Care Unit were onboard with this mission. At no time did they ever give up on her. We did not give up either, nor did she.

I called my Padrinho and he told me that it was up to me to do a special prayer. He told me to take some of our sacrament and call upon the healing guides of our doctrine and of Jesus Christ, and to pray. He told me to miniaturize myself in my vision and enter her heart to bring the healing. He said they would hold a healing work for her in Rio de Janeiro.

I stayed by her side until about 1:00 in the afternoon when my sister returned from taking a shower and getting some food. The Church is about a half a mile from South Miami hospital. I had told Glauber the day before about the situation, and I had asked him to lead the work in my absence. Stephanie asked what she could do, and I asked her to be strong and lead the singing for the work. Remember she was also recovering from surgery, and instead of taking care of herself, she was helping to lead a seven hour long Santo Daime Cura. It was her maracá that would set the tempo and hold the work. It was her singing that everyone else would follow. What I was asking her was no small feat. But she firmed herself and held down the work. Her strength and firmness in this situation were nothing less than awesome.

I walked over to the Church at about 1:20 in the afternoon. This was just after talking to the palliative care nurse. My Mom was sedated, and intubated. Her cardiologist had given her a 25% chance of living. She was, however, stable at the moment. I asked if they could remove the breathing tube and let her wake up again, and they said maybe the next day. With this grim news I walked to the Church.

About 30 people had arrived for this work, including visitors from Orlando, Dallas, and the west coast of Florida. Everyone had been informed of the special purpose for the healing work to pray for healing for my Mom. Stephanie had selected and printed several pictures of my Mother and they were arranged on the center table around the double bladed cross that marks the center of the work space.

I oriented Glauber to the sacrament which we had produced at our sacred ceremony which happens at a safe location many hundreds of miles from Miami. I advised him as to how much he should serve. At 1:45 in the afternoon I took a serving of the sacrament myself and walked back to the hospital. The force arrived fast and strong as I was walking. A line from a hymn that my Madrinha Nonata had received came to me very strongly. The line says “cuando eu chegava em sua casa, eu ja estava irradiado.” The hymn recounts a story of her father, Padrinho Sebastião, who established our branch of the Santo Daime in the village of Mapia in the middle of the Amazon. According to the story, he had gone to his brother in law’s house to do a healing there, and the line says “when I arrived at your house, I was already irradiated”. Which means that he was already actively channeling the healing guides.

I felt myself irradiated as well. The hairs were standing up all down my arms and I felt a shiver down my back. The force of the sacrement was growing beyond what I would normally expect from a small serving of sacrament. I went up to the hospital room and relieved my sister who went down to the cafeteria to get something to eat. My Mom was sedated and sleeping. The rhythm of the ventilator set the tone of the room. Occasionally one of the machines would chime a soft alarm… blood pressure, blood oxygen, heart rhythm, temperature. All of these data points seemed to rely on the myriad machines and tubes. A balloon pump in her aorta, that had been threaded through her femoral artery, helped maintain blood pressure.

I entered into concentration and prayer. I prayed for the Daime to bring healing to my Mother. I opened my vision and imagined myself becoming very small and entering her artery and traveling to her heart. I prayed to activate what we call “biophotons” which are pulses of light that are created by our intention, I saw the biophotons appear and they were obliterating dead cells in her heart. This was new to me. I had never thought of obliterating dead cells as a part of a healing process, yet this is what I saw happening. This does not at all reflect any special healing powers or abilities on my part. Instead, I was just channeling and bearing witness to the divine power summoned by all the prayers that were being made for my Mom at the time.

I have learned something about treating an intubated victim of a heart attack. The ventilator machine supplies supplemental oxygen. When my mom was first intubated, the oxygen level she was receiving was 100%. Verious medications also supported her blood pressure and other factors. The strategy is to gradually reduce the medications and the supplemental oxygen. Once supplemental oxygen is reduced to 40% and the medications reduced significantly, then they can remove the breathing tube. When I had left at about 1:00, the doctor had informed us that the earliest this could happen would be the next day. The subtext was “if it is ever possible.”

After I finished my prayer and meditation, I opened my hymn book and softly sang the healing hymns of Padrinho Sebastião. I could feel the energy of the healing work that was going on in the Church just a half a mile away. I could feel the energy of the prayers from Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Céu do Mapia and across the United States. There was such an outpouring of love and support from our brothers and sisters in the Santo Daime.

I remember the exact moment when things shifted. I was singing softly a hymn that says “Jesus Christ, is on the earth, he is a great healer, he heals whoever seeks him, according to their merit”. I felt a wave of emotion come over me and I prayed “oh god, please let my mother and me be deserving of the healing that we are praying for.”

At that exact moment, a nurse tapped my shoulder and asked me to leave the room so they could remove my Mom’s breathing tube. At first I was confused, because the doctor had predicted that it would not be possible to remove it until the next day. But the data points supported this action. The oxygen was at 40% and the medications had been reduced. The conditions for removing the tube had been satisfied, and the best practice is to remove it as soon as this occurs. I went outside texted my step father that they were removing the tube. I sent that text at 3:04 pm on Sunday the 6th of November.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon her condition continued to improve.

My mom and I have a running joke that if I fail to visit her for a glass of iced tea, or if I fail in some other way to perform the obligations of a good and loyal son, that she will report me to the Chinese and my social score will be reduced. So for instance, I might say “Mom, please don’t tell the Chinese, but I can’t come by this afternoon.” That sort of thing. At the end of the afternoon on Sunday I looked at my Mom, who was awake and conversant in her bed, and I asked her “Ok Mom, I’m glad you are better, but tell me, what are we going to tell the Chinese about this?” She laughed. This was at about 7:00 in the evening. I had been there the better part of 13 hours, except for the one hour I had gone to the Church. My sister was planning to stay the night in the recliner chair in the room.

I left the hospital and went over to the Church. As I entered, they were serving the final serving of Sacrament. The singing of the healing hymns had just ended and they were preparing to celebrate by singing the beautiful hymns in the hymnal “Nova Dimensão” (New Dimension) which was received by Padrinho Alfredo. I accepted an ample serving of sacrament and sat in a chair in one of the rows of men. I did not have my uniform, which we call a farda, and so I sat down in my blue T-shirt and jeans. Glauber was in my usual chair at the head of the table and Stephanie was sitting by him. I gave a report on my mom’s condition and everyone cheered they were so elated.

Over the course of the next few days, my Mom’s condition improved very rapidly. On Tuesday the doctors mentioned that by the end of the week she should be able to leave the Surgical Critical Care Unit and move to a regular hospital room. This was such good news. However, when Thursday came, there was simply no reason for her to stay in the hospital at all. She went straight from the SCCU back to her home. Thursday evening she was walking up the stairs, her dogs were jumping in her lap, and she was drinking iced tea. Her recovery was nothing short of a miracle. Truly.

It’s a funny thing when faced with such powerful direct evidence of divine intervention and the power of prayer. I was blessed with a revelation as to how this mechanism works. In this revelation I saw the present moment as a small boat on a vast ocean. Across the vast ocean is the infinite possibility set of everything that could possibly happen in the world from that point forward. When we pray, or set an powerful intention, we do not change the ocean or any of the coast line that contains it. We simply bring the reality we have selected into our conscious experience. All of the other potential realities still exist. Nothing changes when we pray except our path through the multiverse. Every possible version of the future exists in the infinite probability set, and we create our experience through prayer and intention setting.

But many simply cannot see this. A few in my family commented that it was only my Mom’s determination that go her through her ordeal and they credit the presence of family with helping her to maintain her motivation and drive to live. Of course, this is true. My Mom would not have pulled through if she had not held on to the determination that she wanted to live.

There was a moment in the darkest hour, when my sister was on her way, that I could feel my Mom’s spirit in the room. She was unconscious and intubated, and I spoke to her from beside her with my hand on her shoulder, careful not to disturb all of the wires, tubes and catheters that protruded from her bed. “Mom, I said, please hold on until she gets here.” I felt her spirit return to her body. And from that moment she started to heal.

The truth is we all have a choice. We can see God in everything, or we see God in nothing. When we see God everywhere, then the signs of God’s power are obvious and the signs are numerous. When we see him in nothing, well, we simply do not see the signs or any of it. How bleak. For me, standing witness to my Mom’s recovery while people all over the world prayed, was nothing short of a miracle. It has renewed my faith. It has brought me holy peace. And this is what my Mom reported. We asked her if she remembered anything, and she said, as she lost consciousness and held my gaze at the beginning of the ordeal, “I felt peace.”

Everyone is ok now. My daughter in law will be returning next week. Stephanie is fine, and my Mom is watering her orchids. Thank you God and Thank you to all who prayed. Thanks also to those who did not pray, but who showed up anyway and offered support in the material world.

Sweetness and the Fifth Chamber of the Sacred Heart

Recently I have been thinking a lot about some of the teachings that I received recently on a spriitual journey in Sedona, Arizona with Carissa Shumacher. Carissa is a full body channel for the spirit of Yeshua, and she has published a book, The Freedom Transmissions, of the wisdom she has received in her channeling. One of the critical lessons she shares in the Freedom Transmissions talks about the four chambers of the Sacred Heart. They are Simplicity, Stillness, Stability and Surrender. These are the four conditions that we must cultivate in order to enjoy a sense of inner peace, or divine peace, which creates an inner environment for our experience of life. If we have these four aspects in our hearts, then we can more easily stay in a state of inner peace regardless of what is happening outside of us in the horizontal world.

I was thinking of these four different qualities, and it occurred to me that one builds upon the other. I do not remember if this is my own original thought, or whether it is a bit of wisdom that I remember from Carissa’s channeling, but I suppose that does not matter much, because wisdom stands on its own regardless of who received it first. In this concept of the four chambers, the first is simplicity. Simplicity is a state of being that we can actively manage in our activities in the world. We can cultivate simplicity like growing a garden. If our lives are overly noisy and complex, it becomes impossible to maintain the other aspects of the sacred heart. We cannot work very effectively on inner stillness and stability if our complicated lives are constantly throwing us off balance. So simplicity is where we can first engage in the path to inner peace. We can cultivate simplicity in our lives.

Once we start doing this work, we will see that stability is the benefit of cultivating simplicity. By reducing the impacts of external events, we create a stable interior platform. From this stable platform, we can enjoy stillness. If our internal world is constantly in the balance, shifting one way and then the other, without stability, then we cannot stay still. But if we have stability, we can rest in stillness. And from here, we can start to connect to the divine that is within all of us.

That concept of the divine existing within all of us is such a powerful concept, and it is also the concept that sent Yeshua to the cross. If we all have access to the divine within ourselves, then we do not need other people to access the divine presence. Institutions of religions have no purpose if a single individual can access the divine directly. To access this divine presence, we just need to sit in the stillness and silence that we are permitted when we enjoy stability in our interior world, and this stability is built upon a life of simplicity.

And when we start to connect with our interior divinity, we can start to receive impressions that can guide us in the conduct of our lives. And this is the next step–surrender. We still have to listen and follow what we find. We may not like these instructions very much if we have a lot of pet addictions and obsessions in our lives. This examination of the conscience that we can engage in the stillness sometimes brings up aspects of our shadows that we would rather not encounter. It is this discomfort itself that causes us to complicate our lives. The divine instructions are usually very simple and to avoid them, we make our lives very complicated.

So once we cultivate simplicity, we can create stability, and from stability comes stillness, and from stillness comes surrender to the voice of the divine within us.

These practices feel a bit ascetic to me. I imagine John the Baptist and the early Essenes meditating in their caves above the valley of the Dead Sea. So many of our spiritual practices are ascetic, and these practices definitely do help. They are common across so many cultures. The strongest ascetic practice I have ever witnessed is the practice of the Yawanawa people of the Amazon when they go on a sacred “dieta” in communion with the sacred plant “Muka” which is the manifestation of the divine eternal power on earth. To enter communion with this power, one must exist alone in the jungle for several months on a diet that maintains life just above the limits of starvation and dehydration. It is an intense practice to bring a person closer to God, but not one that has ever called to me personally.

We have less extreme versions. And that gets me to the revelation that I have been receiving. Sweetness is the fifth chamber of the sacred heart. It is the essence of the vibration of peace that is the ultimate goal of spiritual practice. Sweetness is kindness to the self, and from here, we can extend kindness in the world around us. Sweetness is what binds compassion to peace. This reminds me of the core teachings of Thich Naht Hanh, who recognizes that the purpose of a meditation practice is to experience happiness and joy in life. So the purpose of the ascetic life is not to cultivate harsh conditions and suffering, it is to create a beautiful interior platform that can support the growth of sweetness within.

I came to this revelation suddenly after several days of conflict. I had been suffering in miscommunication with the people closest to me. Lots of words were exchanged, but the words I said did not seem to penetrate, and the words I received felt harsh and lacking in understanding. It was not until the words stopped and the sweetness came out that the misunderstanding stopped.

I tend to get so trapped inside my head, with lists of reasons, and explanations and misunderstandings. But the body knows so much better. A gentle gesture, a soft touch, a gentle smile can communicate so much better sometimes. All of this work on the path of the Rainbow Warrior. All of this practice and all of this work, it can seem like a lot, and it can feel so harsh. But the remedy for this, the salve, is sweetness. First to ourselves, and then to others. Thus sweetness is the fifth chamber of the sacred heart.

Lessons from Kaua’i – Firming myself in the Peace of Spirit

I have spent the last couple of weeks here in Hawai’i. We started on the Big Island and then came over here to Kaua’i to spend time with our friends from the community here. Here in Hawai’i I feel very removed from my life on the mainland. The six hour time change means it’s already late afternoon at home by the time I finish my coffee, so any work I might do arrives pretty much after everyone there is done for the day. It seems like even the most simple communication has a two day lag time.

I started to feel this as we crossed the 2640 miles of open water between the California coast and the lava crust airstrip at Kona. There is no fuel along the way. The regular aircraft radios do not work. The internet does not work either. There is nothing but the fuel in the tanks, the constant breathe of the engines, the night sky, and 2500 miles of open water. And so upon arriving here and landing where the black lava field falls into the deep blue ocean, it feels like we have landed on another planet or the Moon.

A lot of energy has been moving over the last couple of weeks. We had the new moon in Leo on July 28th, and then we had the full Moon in the Lion’s Gate on August 11th, and a lot was shifting during this time. I had two communications from people that I have had difficult relationships with in the past, and several “crisis” situations in business, the church community, and my family that seemed to require urgent attention. Most of this energy was just drama, but it is easy for me to get caught up in it in the moment.

From so far away, however, there is really only so much that I can do. There are so many demands that pull my attention away from my present experience in Hawai’i. For the first week of being here, I tried hard to keep up with everything on the mainland, but then in the middle of the week, when we packed up and changed islands, I had to let go of the effort to keep in the loop and trust that everything will be fine until I get back. I hear Padrinho in my ear saying “reduce your sense of self importance.” The concept that everyone will be fine without me is a big step in that direction.

I felt a lot of tension in my body from this energetic division. And once I gave up on trying to stay connected on the mainland, I felt myself really finally arrive here in Kaua’i. This island offers such a gentle and loving embrace. I feel so at home with all of my brothers in the community, and it feels good to work hard outside to prepare the grounds for the spiritual works we have done here. Good hard working brothers make good company and help me feel strong and grounded.

As I felt myself arriving and grounding here on these 5,000,000 year old lava flows that created Kaua’i, what came for me was peace of spirit. I felt in my own body and psyche that I am all A Ok. Sure there are a lot of things going on in the mainland. Sure there are people who are upset because they do not know how their needs are going to be met. Sure there are lots of people who might be disappointed that I am not responding at the moment to their urgencies. But what I have deep in my Solar plexus right now is feeling Irie–which is to say that I have a sense of peace of spirit, that everything is ok here and now an in this moment, and that I am very fortunate to love all of my relations.

So here’s to the islands, and here’s to firming ourselves in the Peace of Spirit that we receive when we are truly present with the Sun the Moon and the Stars, the Earth the Wind and the Sea. All of that is here in Hawai’i.

Peace

Two Ways to Look at Love

A friend of mine asked me for the definition of love the other day. I reached into my spiritual tool box and started to try to put into words a description of Universal Love. I have heard it said many times on the spiritual path that we are supposed to love everyone and everything, and I was doing my best to come up with a definition that could be written down on a flash card. Universal love in twenty five words or less. She was not impressed at all.

“No” she said. “That’s not it at all. Love is a special connection between two people. When you say you love someone, you are talking about a bond between two people. It is the glue that holds them together in a relationship.” She went on to point out that all this spiritual talk about love and about how we are supposed to love everything and everyone removes the meaning from the word.

I have been sitting with this for several days. How can I reconcile these two notions of love? I think the only way to do so is to recognize that the word love is used to describe two very different energies.

The first, the Universal love, or spiritual love, is really a way of being. When we talk of spiritual masters like the Buddha or the Christ, we see that these masters have love that comes from the divine and then when they look out upon the world, love is the lens that they look through. In this sense, love is like a set of rose colored sunglasses. We look out on the world through the lens of love, and then we love all of the things that we see in the world.

The second notion of love is very different. When we say “I love you” to someone, most people think this means something significant. This is where I was running afoul with my sloppy language. It is one thing to understand the principle of universal love and to say that I love all beings as I love myself. Actually, that would not even be true in my case, because I have not achieved anything close to that level of spiritual perfection. There are plenty of things in the world that I judge and dislike. But at least I understand that concept, and if I were to develop true spiritual mastery, then I would be able to say I love all beings.

It clarifies my thinking when I consider relationships that have ended with people who I once had a special bond with. When these relationships have come to an end at a few painful crossroads in my life, the first stage of separation is a very painful process. I have still felt a lot of energy between myself and the other, but the feelings are very difficult feelings. It hurts when we suffer a severance of these relationships. It feels like a limb has been amputated.

So imagine people are like birds or fish. There is a flock of parrots flying around my neighborhood right now, and I can see the little green noisy parrots in the palm tree outside my window. All of the birds in the flock are pretty much the same to me. Let’s say I love the parrots. This does not mean that I love any one of them in particular. There are a bunch of these green birds in the flock, and I love them all. Easy enough to understand.

But lets say I start to feed one of these parrots in particular, and that we start to develop a relationship, until one day, this particular parrot bites me really hard. I will have gone through several stages of relationship with the parrot. First, this bird was a member of a flock, and then I felt about it like I did the rest of the flock. Then I made a special relationship with it, and had a friendship, and then this relationship soured when it bit me. I know have special feelings for this one parrot as a result of the relationship we have together.

So now that the relationship is over, it does me no good to carry negative feelings towards this parrot any longer. I should return it, in my mind and heart at least, to the flock. I should seek to restore for myself the feeling of loving all the parrots that are in the flock, and not having any particular feeling toward this one member.

The same happens with people. When we walk down the street, we see people everywhere. They are like birds in a flock. We can have a sort of universal love feeling towards all of the people we see when we walk down the street. Then, when we enter a special relationship with someone, we can call this love, and we feel a special bond with one person in particular, and we walk the road of a love relationship with them. Sometimes this goes on for life and all ends well, but for most relationships, they end sooner than that, and this causes upset right? And so now instead of love, we have these injured feelings. We look at this one person as different from everyone else.

This happens in all kinds of relationships, not just romantic relationships. We can love a new job, love our coworkers, love our boss, but when things don’t go so well, then love quickly turns.

So the first kind of love is a Universal Spiritual Love that says a lot more about us than about a particular relationship that we have. This is about looking upon the world with kindness and forgiveness and tolerance. If we look at the world through this lens, then we will have warm hearts and good feelings. On top of this we have our special relationships, and these we have to nurture and care for.

And so what have I learned? I have learned not to throw the word LOVE around so carelessly. I have been guilty of saying “I love you” to people without being clear about whether I mean something special. When I tell someone that I love them, I want to be clear that I am talking about appreciating the special bond we share. I need to be clear that I am not talking about my spiritual frame of reference, but about my feelings in particular towards a special relationship.

I am very fortunate that I have several close loving relationships in my life. I am also fortunate that I have some understanding of how having a loving frame of reference can make me a happier person. But I’m not going to confuse these concepts anymore, and I think I’m going to be a little slower to reach for that word so I do not reduce the significance of it when I really do mean it.

Warrior Spirit – Knowing What I Want Shields Me From Manipulation

I was recently involved in a conversation with someone who was coming at me with an extremely narcissistic attitude. I felt tension rising in my chest and in my voice and I found myself in an argument with this person and my internal tension was rising fast. I was feeling angry and defensive, and I could feel my heart rate increasing and felt my face a little flush. In the past weeks, I have really focused on being aware of what is going on inside of me when I have emotional reactions, and so I noticed as this was happening. I began to ask myself what I was getting upset about. How did this other person get under my skin when I needed nothing from them in the moment, and when I owed them nothing as well.

I could feel how the narcissistic person was pulling on chords of guilt. “You don’t even want to be around me” is what they were saying. They were accusing me of treating them unfairly and differently from other people. The attack was like that of a woodpecker looking for a rotted bug infested section of a tree. They just kept ticking away at me looking for a weak spot. A place where some part of me agreed with what they were saying. Once they found these little spots, they went at work chipping away at me, with the idea that eventually I would capitulate and give them what they wanted.

Most of the people I meet are actually really good people, and I have been quite fortunate to be able to help a lot of very good people accomplish and achieve very good things. This is something I really enjoy and want to do. It’s the same sense of satisfaction one receives in the garden when we water and fertilize good plants and watch them grow and bear fruit. It gives me great pleasure to give a small amount or help in some way, and then watch the seed thus planted grow. But I feel a tightness in my solar plexus when I am manipulated into supporting something that I do not feel called to support.

This study I have been doing about myself over the last few months really has focused on coming to really know myself and that means knowing and accepting the truth about what I want, and letting this be a part of my guidance that I follow. And so here this person was accusing me of not being supportive and not wanting to spend time with them. Some part of me felt obligated to support this person, and the additional layer of accusation around not wanting to spend time was causing a sense of guilt to rise up in me.

My Padrinho teaches me that I should always listen to my enemies and “follow my guilties,” which is one of his funny English phrases from his native Portuguese. Listen to your enemies he says because they will tell you things that even your best friends will not tell you. Listen to what they say he advises me, and search within your conscience to see if there is some truth there. Sometimes there are nuggets of truth that I can learn from my enemies, and through the examination of the conscience, I can correct and improve myself. The same holds true with the “Guilties.” I follow them through my psyche like a string through a cave. Where does this guilty feeling attach to me? How is this guilty feeling being used as a lever on me. Is there something true about the accusation that produces this guilt? Or is it just activating some old wound?

In this recent case, I was feeling guilty because some part of me agreed with the accusation that I was not wanting to spend time with this person, but in denying the truth of that statement, I was actually not telling the truth, and this made me feel guilty. I saw this as I followed the trail into my emotional body. And that’s where the sense of knowing who I am and what I want was available to help me. Actually I realized, the person was quite right. I really do not enjoy spending time with them, because they never respect my boundaries and they are always trying to manipulate me into giving them things I don’t want to give them. They were accusing me of stinginess and lack of generosity, but I know this is not true, because I know what it feels like when I want to help or support something. I am plenty generous with causes and people that I want to support, and I don’t need to support people or causes that I do not feel aligned with.

By knowing what I want, who I am, and where I stand, I was able to shield myself from these attacks.

The attachment point for most of the attacks that come at me is the basic need that I, and I think most people share, is this need to believe that I am a basically good person. I have an image inside my head of what a good person is, and when someone accuses me of acting in a bad way, this makes me uneasy, because it challenges my core belief that I am a good person. If I believe that good people do not say mean things, then I would feel guilty if I told someone that I don’t want to spend time with them or support their projects. Something inside me does not like telling someone that I don’t enjoy their company. But when I embraced the truth of this and accepted that this did not make me a bad person, I felt suddenly free from manipulation. This confidence put a smooth shield inside where the grappling hooks of guilt could not find any purchase.

Sometimes it scares me a little to acknowledge what I want, because I am afraid that if I go after the things I want I might lose some of the things I have. I subconsciously fear that the people around me might react negatively if they were to know what I really want, and so to protect myself from this, there is a tendency to deny it even to myself. This hiding of the truth of our own nature causes a break in integrity, and this provides an access point for spiritual attack. The antidote is faith that I was created by God as a creature in this material world, and there is nothing inherently bad about my true nature. I do not have to pursue every temptation. I do not have to eat foods that tempt me, but I do have to recognize that I am in fact tempted by that chocolate almond croissant. If I put up a wall and claim “of course I do not want that tasty croissant, only heathens and scum and degenerates would eat that!” Well I might be erecting a barrier to help me avoid the temptation, but I am also creating tremendous force to give in. This is why we so often see people falling from behind white washed personas.

If instead I know and recognize the temptation, I can see what I really want, in general, is to stay as healthy as possible so that I can enjoy my third revolution of Saturn through the Zodiac, which will start in a few short years when I turn 58. If I eat added sugar regularly, I put on weight. If I avoid added sugar, wheat, and diary, I effortlessly maintain my ideal weight. I am not a bad person for wanting the chocolate almond croissant. Of course I have the desire to experience that. But if I eat them all the time, I will not be healthy, and so I do not want to eat them over the long term, even though I want to eat them in the immediate moment that I am buying my morning coffee. With conscious examination of the conscience, I can learn to see all the nuances of desires and temptations that I have, and I can align them with the things I want over the long term of my life, and then I can make choices in the present moment accordingly.

But if I hide the truth from myself, well then I am doomed.

Warrior Spirit – Self Knowledge, Consciously Inhabiting A Flexible Persona, and Emotional Availability

Often when I receive a spiritual insight, it comes in a dream at the end of a sleep. The other day I took an afternoon nap on a rainy afternoon here in Telluride, and I fell soundly asleep and deep into dreaming. I was dreaming that someone was accusing me of being emotional unavailable, and in the dream I was considering this. I suddenly felt an insecurity that I was harboring inside myself that I did not want to look at. In the dream, I saw how I protect myself by hiding my insecurity behind an outward persona that I project to the world.

Someone once told me something about Buddhist philosophy that stuck with me. They said that we all have three personas. First, we have the public persona that we display to the world at large. For most of my life, this was my professional persona. My identity was printed on a business card. I showed up, on time, in a suit, and got the job done. For decades this persona served in most of my daily interactions with people. The second persona is the person we display to those who are close–our friends, family, neighbors and people we trust. The third persona is who we really are, shadow and all, and it is this persona that most of us do not even know ourselves. We deny the truth about ourselves because we are ashamed or afraid or addicted or simply unaware. This is a serious break in integrity that comes from our very root, for how can we be grounded at all if we do not even know and accept ourselves as we truly are?

I naively thought for a few years that one of the ideal purposes of a spiritual life would be to integrate these three persona’s. I thought, naively, that if I could come to truly know myself, then I could integrate these three personas. I would be possessed of deep self knowledge, and then I would present my full authentic self at all times. Of course, this does not at all work in the real world. I have to be able to go into the public world with a persona that enables me to accomplish my day to day routine without any unnecessary conflict or drama.

So over years I realized that instead of unifying these three personas, it is more important to use them consciously. And then it became clear that I actually have many personas that I present to the world from moment to moment. The persona I present to my parents and family at Thanksgiving can be different from the persona I present to my personal friends and different from the persona I present to my spiritual community. Consider politics as an example. I have relationships with people of all kinds of different political persuasions. But it’s usually quite pointless to engage in debates about politics. And so in my persona, I reveal my political feelings in varying degree.

But what I learned in the dream is that there are aspects of myself that even I do not want to look at or admit. I myself turn away from looking at these aspects of myself, and so as a result, I create a persona that I display to my very own conscience so that I do not suffer the pain of self loathing that comes when I examine the parts of myself that I do not love.

In my spiritual tradition, there is frequent reference to the allegory of the iron giant with feet of clay. This is often used to describe the unsustainable society that humankind is building. The same holds for the persona that I build when I do not truly know myself. The iron giant is the image of who I am that I present to myself that I can love and embrace and feel good about. This persona excludes and denies the things I do not love about myself, and therefore, I can look at this self image and believe that I am a good person who deserves to love and be loved. But if I build a persona that I show to myself, that denies my own true nature, then my very identity will have feet of clay underneath.

This causes a tremendous dissonance within me. I hide the part of myself that I do not love, and build an image of myself that I do love, and when evidence of the truth pops up, I avoid it or deny it or pretend that it does not matter, or whatever, and this prevents me from having real integrity. Instead of being rooted firmly in self knowledge and self acceptance, I have the feet of clay that comes from denying who I really am even to myself.

I saw in my dream this prevented me from being emotionally available. True emotional availability is not possible when I protect a self image that hides the things I do not like about myself. Every conversation, every interaction, every relationship, has an aspect of protecting myself from the truth about myself.

So the first key in this work that I am doing right now is to get out the flash light and look at all the parts of myself that I do not love. This does not mean that I need to expose them at all. It only means that I need to know what they are and then reconcile them. The key to reconciliation is the knowledge and faith that I am a child of God, created as God created me, living in this world. I am what I am.

My relationships with other people are very helpful in this process, because we all act as mirrors for each other. It is very easy to see the things I do not like in another person, and when I have strong reactions to other people, it’s usually because they trigger something inside of me. These triggers open the path to self knowledge. I can then replace or heal them with forgiveness, self acceptance and self love. I am a child of God, I inhabit the world material world created by my divine mother, and my purpose here is to love all beings equally as I love myself.

So where does all this self loathing come from? We are taught this from a very young age by our parents, our teachers, our peers. As a young child, I was told by priests on a daily basis that I was born a sinner and that I needed to seek absolution for my sinful nature every minute of every day. That there was only one person who was ever not a sinner, and they killed him on the cross anyway. Have we not all been taught this? That we deserve to be rejected at the gates of heaven if it were not for the salvation meted out to us? This is not the path of spiritual enlightenment at all. This is the path of slavery to human institutions. It is the prison for the mind that makes us all slaves.

So I have been replacing this with the concept that I am fundamentally a good person. I am kind, I am loving, and I am emotionally available. I can trust my natural inclinations to guide me in my daily life.

But this does not at all mean that other people have the same opinions! I do not need to expose myself to the judgments and derision of other people and neither do you. I have an easy example. I have two tattoos, one on each shoulder. There are people that I am in relationship with who have a very antiquated view of tattoos and they think people who have them are deviants. I remember an interaction I had with someone where they were going on about how no self respecting person would get a tattoo, and I remember thinking that they were assuming I did not have one. I declined to show them that I have one. But I also know that I do have one and I accept this about myself.

And that’s where it is possible to have a consciously managed persona. If I can continue on the path of self knowledge and self acceptance, then I can know and love who I truly am. And then I can be truly available emotionally to the world and to other people. At the same time, I can manage my persona to slip easily through life. Instead of a heavy shield that protects me from myself, my persona becomes like an energetic force field that projects out of my consciousness. It is incredibly light and strong. The heart secure behind this protection is available to love. Self knowledge is the first step.

Summer Reset – The tension between self trust and self discipline

In our spiritual tradition, we have a big festival every June that culminates in a night long ceremony on the night of Saint John, where down in the jungle they ignite a bonfire that burns all night long. Before the fire of Saint John, you can have a conversation with someone to make commitments for your relationship, whether in business, romance, or simply as good neighbors. You can throw your addictions into the fire, you can write the name of a person you are in relationship with on a piece of paper and put it in the fire to set them and yourself free from the energetic cords that bind you, or you can send prayers for yourself for transformation, or for the health or well being of other people. The fire of St. John carries these powerful prayers up to the heavens and to the stars where they are heard and then manifested according to our deserving, which comes from how we give the best of ourselves here on the material plane.

So for me I spent a good amount of time in prayer before the fire, and then on the way home in the wee hours of the “madrugada” with the rising of a waning crescent moon in Cancer on the day of Saint John, the five visible planets and the Moon all lined up in the predawn sky. I saw Saturn, dim and up high, and Jupiter, and then Mars and the Moon. From my view Venus and Mercury were not visible yet, but I could feel their presence below the horizon. This seemed to mark a transition from one cycle of the evolutionary spiral to the next. We closed our June festivities on the 30th of June, and then traveled back out to Telluride Colorado, where I am now writing this. We will be here for three weeks of July, which is both a lovely time to be here, and also a very lovely time to not be in Miami, where it is 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity by 9:00 in the morning. And so I planning to take this time to do the journaling that I rarely do, to write, to rest, to read, to hike and to sharpen up on some of my habits that have gotten a little lazy with all the busyness.

In my personal spiritual evolution, I am moving into a time of being more comfortable in my authentic being. For me this is manifesting as “trusting myself to follow my natural inclinations because I am inherently a good person and my natural inclinations will not lead me astray.” This is a very interesting study, because it’s very easy for me to fall into the trap of trying to justify something that tempts me that I know is not in my highest good. In this study of the warrior spirit, which includes the fundamental principle of submission to higher authority, there is a can be a conflict between doing whatever we want and following our divine guidance. This tension, in my case, I see in my relationship to Chocolate Almond Croissants. They tempt me, and they make me feel lousy about an hour after I eat one. The same is true with ice cream, french fries, added sugars, processed carbs of any type, salty or sweet, and even hidden sugars like Coconut water.

I have to exercise some self discipline to free myself from cravings for sweet and processed foods that are not in my highest and best good. If I leave myself to follow my natural inclinations, I can find myself gaining weight and losing energy. So for this three weeks I’m going to stay in self discipline to balance myself. So for me, this means avoiding:

  • foods with added sugars
  • any fruit juices, sweet beverages, or milk
  • French Fries, potato chips, corn chips, or other processed carbs
  • bread, wheat, and any substitute for bread

I will also exercise discipline in taking healthy supplements that have been prescribed to me, by getting plenty of sleep, by limiting my expenditures of “chi”, and by hiking daily here in Telluride. My goal is to recover my ideal physical condition and pull myself into as much integrity as I am capable of achieving.

But discipline itself can become an addiction. At the same time I am doing these practices, it is important for me to remember to be kind to myself and to other people. To enjoy the abundant fresh foods that are available at the farmers markets here, to enjoy the beautiful nature, and to enjoy the warm relationships I have in my life with myself, my wife, my close family and my special friends, and my dog. This is where I am learning right now. I am learning to walk in the balance of self discipline, self knowledge, and self love. In so doing I will develop my connection to my higher self, and learn to trust myself to follow my inclinations. There is a very powerful way of being that feels like it is still covered beneath the surface, and I feel that as I adopt these practices, I can approach it and it will be revealed to me. It feels good. It feels strong. It feels like the manifestation of the true warrior spirit within my own heart and way of being.

Peace.

Key to Warrior Archetype – Submission to a Higher Authority

Aloha — I’ve been receiving a lot of ideas about the path of a warrior, and I’ve felt a little hesitant to speak about it in those terms, because it seems like such a masculine cliché to think of oneself as a warrior. The Marine Corp Commercials (my dad served in the Marines, and I give them my utmost respect) and the old movie Conan the Barbarian often come to mind when one thinks of a warrior. But the spiritual Archetype of the Warrior is the gateway through which a person truly enters the spiritual life. The concept of Archetypes, I think, was first published by Carl Jung. Archtypes are concepts that exist in the collective unconsciousness and they help us define our role in life. They represent the embodiment of many negative and positive polarities that work together.

The notion of the Warrior archetype itself is quite ancient. Almost every ancient religion has a god dedicated to the warrior. Mars should come immediately to mind. But what is it about the Warrior Archetype that is so critical to our spiritual evolution here in our lives? When one thinks of a Warrior, one may think of a violent and brash individual who kills and then takes what he wants by force. We see warriors depicted as violent and ignorant men for whom the ends justify any means, and plunder is an acceptable end. This is the negative polarity of the Warrior, and it is what happens when a the “higher authority” a person surrenders to is a human authority.

But there is a more subtle and important understanding of the Warrior Archetype in the spiritual context. I find my favorite expression of this in the book “The Bowl of Light” by Hank Wesselman. The Bowl of Light is a brilliant book about Hawaiian spirituality, which is amazingly similar to the Taoism. In both of these ancient traditions, the original source of creation first split into masculine and feminine energies, and then after that came the three related aspects of creation: matter, energy and consciousness. The ancient ancestors of Hawaiian spirituality, and the Chinese masters of philosophy that go back 5,000 years to the Yellow Emperor, all landed on the same truths about the nature of the universe and what it means to be human.

The Bowl of Light details conversations the author, Hank Wesselman had with the Hawaiian “Kahuna” Hale Makua before the latter died in 2004 in an automobile accident. In this book, Hale Makua explains the basic six archetypes of human spiritual development. They go from Servant to Artist to Warrior to Scholar to Sage to Priest to King. Each of these stages is worth reading about. But the level of the Warrior is the true initiation into the spiritual life.

We all have, especially in the United States, great love for artists, and many of us think that the artist or scientist represents the highest level of individual development. The Artist creates and indeed is the highest level of self expression. This is the highest level most people will ever reach. But the true spiritual path starts with the Warrior, and as explained in the Bowl of Light:

We have mentioned that the positive polarity of the Warrior is persuasion, and the negative, coercion. The goal of the Warrior is ho’o māhua kala — submission to the higher authority–and his or her mode of operation requires ho’o manawa nui –perseverence.

Bowl of Light, Hank Wesselman 2011, page 116

This is such an important concept. The Warrior lives in service of a mission, and to be of service, the Warrior must submit to a higher authority. In the human world, this can mean submitting to the higher authority of another person, and as many horrific wars and abuses have demonstrated, the negative polarity of this is violence and coercion. We see this played out every day in the brutality of war.

But the spiritual Warrior submits to the higher authority of the divine and dedicates his or her life to fulfilling the divine mission that they have received. Most people in our society, cut off from their divine connection, live their lives in the world of 10,000 things, seeking security and happiness and satisfaction from the pursuit of their material desires. At this level, one can be a great artist. Living that way, people basically avoid pain and seek pleasure, and their guidance comes from “keeping up with the Joneses”, or the modern day equivalent, living on likes and followers in social media. Cut off from any divine connection, the busy mind does not have any system of values to know what it should want, and so it goes about chasing the things it is told that will make it happy. People guided in this fashion spend their lives chasing their tails in a never ending state of Samsara pursuing worthless things that can never make them happy.

When someone starts to sense that there must be more to their life, they might start a spiritual pursuit. How many people are “spiritual but not religious” these days? I think that might be the largest religious identification now. But what does spiritual even mean? Spirit means that we recognize that our true essence is that of a spirit, and that our spirit is incorporated in this material body. This is the basic first step to understanding our true nature. The next step is then to restore the divine connection between our spirit and our source, through the seventh chakra, which has been severed completely in most people.

Once we connect to our divine source, we see that we have a purpose in our life. This purpose is often completely at odds with the material lives we have accumulated. We have jobs, debts, relationships, material possessions, an entire life, that was built by pursuing whatever guidance system we had in place of our divine channel. Our lives thus constructed, for the most part anyway, place value on all of the things that we will not be taking with us when we die. In other words, we have been living in the world of illusion chasing worthless things.

Upon having a “spiritual awakening” one realizes that their true nature is that of a spirit and that following the journey of a meaningful life is the only way to find any satisfaction. It might be very difficult to come to terms with the realization that your whole life was built on the pursuit of worthless things. Your higher self cares not at all for these shiny objects of the world of 10,000 things. Your higher self wants only to see that you have fulfilled your divine purpose in coming to this planet. This is your spiritual mission, and the only way to be happy and fulfilled is to … yes… wait for it… surrender to the higher authority and start taking orders from your divine guidance system.

This might cause a complete upheaval in your life, because you will be replacing your entire set of values. Things in your life that do not serve your divine mission will be stripped from you. The Path of the Spiritual Warrior is to understand that you are a spirit that is having a material experience in this world. That you have a mission to fulfill and that you live your life in service to a higher divine authority. Most people don’t want to wake up to this, so they just keep their heads down and keep running in circles. But there is no happiness or fulfillment to be found there. You might work in an office until you retire to a gated community in Naples, Florida and then spend the last few years of your life on a golf course with a gold watch. But you will never dance in the wind.

So these lessons about being a Warrior really are about how to find your connection to your divine source and then dedicate your life to obedience to your divine guidance.

Aloha