Most lives are spent waiting. Waiting for dreams to manifest, for trouble to end, and for life to be happy. Golden Zen reflects on the brillance of the NOW and the winks we receive from our Source to remind us we possess it all. Golden Zen is practical and mystical, instructive and reflective. You are my invited guest.

Archive for April, 2008

We Are Rolling Out the Red Carpet

Here at Golden Zen, Ginger and I are rolling out the red carpet for some very special friends of ours.  We want to honor those to whom honor is due.

Here is how it all started:

I received a surprise email from someone I had never met but had seen around in the blogosphere.  She informed me that Golden Zen was to be her next “site of the week” and that she would write a post about us, and promote us.

Needless to say, I was surprised.  I went to visit her site, and found that sure enough, the site existed and was featuring Golden Zen.  What do you say to such a kindness?

Instantly my mind kicked into action. (Oh no, look out, wreckage flying!)  If she gave me this favor, what could I do in return?  Blah, blah, blah.  To be honest, it was my ego that went “crazy” because someone was doing me a favor, and I had to be seen in a “good light”.

Don’t’ get me wrong, I am all for etiquette and generosity and respect, but my response came from a head game that gets me into trouble.  I have a knack for wanting to jump into action and begin repaying before I have even enjoyed the gift someone offers.  No stillness there, let me tell you.

So, I stopped and breathed and asked myself, “How do you really want to respond”?
I want to be grateful, to be gracious, and receive.  No drama.  No posturing.  Simply accept.

So I say a big welcome to all of Barbara’s friends at Blogging Without A Blog!  You are more than welcome here.  Please nose around and make yourself feel at home.  You have to meet Ginger.

I will be making my rounds to meet you too.

While I am on the topic of red carpets, I am reminded of the “Butterfly Effect.”  It is a movie yes, but it is a scientific fact, that all things trigger other things and we never know where they will go.
I read some great stuff on the butterfly effect this week at  6 Weeks.   It was picked up by another great blog Wilson’s Words And Pictures  and a great discussion metamorphosized.

And finally, Barbara’s actions have inspired me to think of the “pay it forward” concept.

There is one blog that I would like to pay it forward to on a regular basis.  He is the first person I connected with after I posted Golden Zen.  In fact, I wrote to him and asked him to give me some guidance, which he did without hesitation.  Here was a guy I didn’t know from Adam, who lived in England, and he became an instant friend.  I am grateful.  No wonder his site is called Secret To Life , because Simon certainly a secret to life going for him.

I am grateful for every reader.  Those who leave comments are leaving a path for butterflies to follow. 

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

Photo Credits: Thanks so much to those who offer such a wonderful compliment to words. http://sixuntilme.com/blog-mt2/blog_images/2007July/red_carpet.jpg
Keng: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kengz/245129155/

 

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What if You Lost Your Mind?

When is the last time you walked by a homeless individual and secretly thought to yourself that you were so glad that human being was not you?  Even worse, if they are mumbling long streams of undecipherable words strung together by expletives, perhaps you gave them a wide berth.  They seem to have lost their mind somewhere in the pain, memories, or chemical warfare and they are left undesirable, unpredictable and unpleasant.

We call them mentally unstable.  They seem to search for something they can’t find, and if they do, they instantly begin the search again.

The mentally ill often live a life of turmoil and isolation.  However, I have noticed within myself and countless others, some similarities with our minds that can be disturbing.  Those seen on the streets are sometimes men and women just like you and I who forgot to pull the curtain on their ludicrous thoughts, or just don’t care who “sees” them anymore.  Their minds seem out of control with obsessive thoughts and fears while they remain highly intelligent in various disciplines of science, mathematics or history.

How Well Does Your Mind Serve You?

  • Have you noticed that you mumble to yourself about other people, their behavior, what you think of the rain etc?  Perhaps you don’t verbalize your thoughts.
  • Do you find yourself worrying about the same issues almost daily, if not hourly? 
  • Are you content to be quiet and still or do you need the more sophisticated diversions and stimulation – in your case maybe you have a TV, iPod or laptop?
  • Does your mind always tell you the truth about what others think about you? 
  • Do you wonder at times if people were just talking about you behind your back, or if the driver in the car behind you is talking to her passenger about you? 

The street people are called paranoid, what’s your label?

  • Can you ever find an escape from your thoughts or do you need a drink after work or a joint to set a new mood?  At least you are not sharing a needle, so I it’s a more sane approach, and less risky.

Losing your mind, as presented in this series of articles can be refreshing, revitalizing and healthy, if you lose it by choice. What you find could signal a transformation, a state of contentment, and at times euphoria.

The key is to know how to lose one’s mind by conscious choice; how to empty your thought generator long enough to experience your real self, rather than replacing the pain and anguish for an escape into non-reality.

Your mind, which in fact is best defined as craziness, can mislead you and cause you undue suffering.  The unconscious mind injures relationships and stymies your ability to become all that you want to be.  And the unconscious mind, without the normal control panel set properly, will appear to the world to be insane.

I propose there is a place for losing one’s mind and finding the inner tranquility of a presence more vast, more intelligent, more stable than anything our “right mind” could conceive.  Each Monday, for the next 4 weeks we will address this topic and offer practical ways to lose your mind and find yourself.  You won’t appear mad, or lose your job!  In fact, you will excel and become highly proficient at the things you decide to do, because of the renewed focus and energy. Life begins to reveal new dimensions when you have the awareness to see them.  I invite you to join me for the journey and share your thoughts and experiences along the way.

At the very least, you will see the homeless (not to imply that all that are homeless are insane) or “insane” with a new perspective that could change the way you feel when you walk by them or they sit next to you on the commuter train.

Here are some highlights of the weeks to come:

Help! I Need To Lose My Mind: How to begin a conscious process of seeing life anew.
Help! My Mind Is Back: How to allow a gentle process (or awakening) of consciousness in you.
Five Sure Fire Signs To Be Sure You Lost Your Mind: What does awakening, awareness or consciousness “feel” like?
How Will My Lost Mind Save My Relationships?  : Allowing your new life to penetrate what matters to you most.

Be sure to sign up for my RSS feed and stay tuned.  This may be the spring of a new mind for you!

In The Grace of the Moment,
Harmony

 My sincere thanks to the generousity and talent of the photographers at Flickr. Names and URL’s are listed relative to the placement of the photo in the post.

Orhan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orhantsolak/213849945/

Urline: http://www.flickr.com/photos/urline/1269483272/

snowdog 101:http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowdog101/421054969/

 

 Is this worth a read?  Do you DIGG it?

The H,I,J, and K of Golden Zen

The following I offer as a continuing series based on the ABC’s of Golden Zen.  The purpose is to allow the concepts to be read without much commentary and absorbed by the reader at your level of consciousness.   You are always free to comment or ask questions.


H – Harmony:  In Golden Zen we recognize that the events and people in our lives are part of the harmony ( symphony, accord, concord, concordance, concurrence, consonance, rapport, tune, unity) of the universe.  Every one is connected somehow to the other, and each bringing us tokens from the world we don’t physically see and yet where we all belong.

I – Intelligence: You may remember from your science studies that the human body, plant life, and undersea mysteries are intricately woven in an intelligent complexity that baffles even the brilliant scientific mind. Can you even imagine the intelligence of entire Universe?  This is, if for no other reason, a powerful reason to learn how to be still and silent and visit the “void.”  The intricacies that exist, all in simplistic intention, can center you, and make the complex seem simple.

J- Jubilee: Golden Zen celebrates freedom.  In the biblical days, the Jewish people were commanded to celebrate a yearlong period of freedom, where people must quit working, slaves were to be set free, and if you had lost your land to anyone for any reason it was to be restored.  For us it is a celebration of imperfection.  Everyone gets a fresh new start – not from working for it or striving or conniving, but as a gift of grace, a restoration, a new day!

K -Kindness: This heart of kindness begins with oneself, finding the generous heart within to show kindness to your “form” without.  Many moral standards and religious ideals talk about kindness, to go so far as to put ourselves last and others first as a way of being kind and spiritual.  Of course, there are times for sacrifice, and we don’t diminish that expression.  Kindness to others however, can become strained when offered by a worn out heart and body.  Begin with yourself, with words and actions that honor the creation that you are, and allow kindness to become your nature.

 In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

Thank you to the fine photograpers at flickr: Adrian Warren http://www.flickr.com/people/adrianw/

 

That is MY Seat!

“Wait just a minute, that is MY seat,” the commuter demanded as she maneuvered around several younger people to take her seat of choice on the bus.  Momentarily stunned, the small group moved themselves and their belongings aside so this 40-something year old woman could have her “reserved” seat.  Although she got her bum on a cushion, there was nothing soft about her ride.  The energy around her seemed to simmer as the shock wore off and fellow passengers sat rife with animosity.

Over the years I have discovered the easiest way to familiarize myself with the “awakening” concept is to look for practical applications in everyday life.  If you have the chance to be with a crowd of people, your lessons are close at hand.

I live in a quiet oceanside community in British Columbia.  I teach business development downtown in Vancouver and commute to the office by bus.  The commute is quite pleasurable for me and I enjoy driving, but I made a decision that about 75% of the time I would ride the friendly transit system and give Mother Nature a break.

If you don’t use public transportation you may not be aware of the “positioning” that often precedes the ride.  Most people don’t want to have to stand for the hour-long commute, so they maneuver ahead of time, before they ever leave their home, to have a fighting chance for a soft seat on the bus.

People can experience intense anxiety, in advance of ever arriving at a bus stop or train station, wondering if and what seat they will occupy for their journey.

Can you imagine- actually raising your blood pressure, releasing toxic chemicals in your cells, and depleting your daily dose of energy so that you can worry in advance that you may not  have a seat?
Present moment awareness means you are awake in the moment you are in – right now.  Thirty minutes before the bus or train arrives, you notice that you are good, and life is good.  While catching a ride with someone to the station, you notice, that again, this moment is quite pleasurable.  The sun is shining, or there is a gentle rain.  Even the windstorm is okay, because in this moment, you are safely nestled in the shelter of the car.

It is a “practice.”  You simply choose to pay attention to this moment.

Today, I arrived cheerful at the park and ride only to find an extended line of close to 35 waiting passengers.  My anxious travel partner said,” You see, I told you we should have parked along the bus route and caught the bus ahead of these people.  We will never get a seat!”

I am smiling of course.  You see, in the years I have traveled the bus or train to and from work, I have NEVER ONCE not had a seat, unless I chose to give it away.  In fact, I am writing this post from my cozy aisle seat. 

How can you guarantee you will always have a seat?  Quit caring one way or another.  Loosen your tight grip on the future outcome, and embrace the seconds you are in, now.

If this moment finds you balancing yourself on a crowded train and holding the handrails for dear life, notice the strength of your body and your innate ability to remain solid while being tossed to and fro.  Discover within yourself how the experience changes if you let go of the frustration, and the way you wish it was, and how you deserve a seat.  Once you entertain a different perspective, you may be very surprised at what the moment has in store for you. 

Sit down and cozy up, your moment waits.

In the Grace of the Moment,
Harmony

 

 

 

Photo Credit (1) Jodi Warren http://www.flickr.com/photos/jodi/9074793/
Photo Credit (2) Jon Rawlinson
http://www.flickr.com/photos/london/391917499/

 

The Moment And Money

I am living in the moment and waiting for a cheque to arrive in the mail.

It sounds so magical and mystical to live in the moment.  No wonder the monks and disciples can do it – they aren’t waiting for a client to pay them, or vacation pay to be added to a paycheck.  Heck, they don’t even have to look for job! Praying is their gig.  (smile)
 
For some of the rest of us who have electric bills to pay and kids runners to buy, the idea of being present to the moment may not seem practical.  The Guru’s live in seclusion; we have mortgages or rent to pay.  The wise healers live in the woods or some small town; we live in cities where it costs us to park our car and pick up milk for the baby or visit granny at the old folk’s home.

Our whole lives seem to scream for money.  If the bill isn’t due today, we “worry” about when it is due and will we have the necessary funds to pay.  In the moment, we may not owe anyone, but every moment we live, it costs us anyway.

 

So how do we reconcile the necessity for money with the peace that is possible in the now?

Jesus taught; “Look at the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin, yet not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned as fine as they are.”  King Solomon was known as the wealthiest king of biblical history, and his money could not buy the freedom and confidence of the humble, fleeting lily, which yielded to Source.

I need money.  There are bills to pay.  But as I write this post, in this moment, I have a great seat on a commuter bus taking me home from a day of teaching.  The sun is shining, cherry blossoms and apple blossoms line the streets and create a cascade of colorful ruffles waving hello to the passengers as pass by.

A moment has passed.  I am still doing well.

I have yet to find a moment in my life, that if I really focused on only that little bubble of time, I wasn’t happy and my needs met.

The present doesn’t create the anxiety.  Our reactions to the present create the anxiety.
Our resistance to “what is” perpetuates situations where we are not happy. If you can breathe and stop and notice the moment, the sight, the smell, the texture, and sounds, then ask yourself: Without remembering the past or forecasting into the future, is there any reason I am not happy in the moment?

Maybe the answer is yes.  You are not happy because they are towing your car away, or your lights won’t turn on anymore, or your broker just told you that you lost 200k.  The moment is difficult because you connect it with past conditioning.  The last time you lost even two thousand, your spouse hit the roof.  You can only imagine what losing 200k will fester.  Or, the last time you didn’t have enough money to pay the electric company it took days for them to turn the power back on and you had to pay an additional deposit.  So, we use our past to forecast the future outcome.  The “now” or the present moment is in the middle, and being completely ignored.

It is possible to detach from the projections and simply be in the moment.  Watch the car as it is hoisted up on the back of the tow truck.  Understand that this moment is uncomfortable, but you are okay.  You are not happy if you have your car or if you don’t.  You are happy because of the Presence you live in, moment by moment.

Think of each moment as though you just turned the page of a book and it is blank.

Each moment is poised for something unpredictable and uncertain.  You could immediately become fearful, OR you can embrace the blank paper as possibility.  Every moment is a container for life.  Most of us are squander our lifetime away moment by moment, always rehearsing the events of the past, or worried about a future we have no certainty will ever exist

I can remember many a time I thought we wouldn’t make it.  Money was scarce and I felt doomed.  There have been nights I slept in the car, with nowhere to go.  Those nights changed my life because I realized when I awoke in the morning, that despite the circumstance, inside myself, I felt content, even joyful.

Every moment contains all you will ever need to be happy.

I made the call to my client after I got home.  His first words were offering sincere apologies.  I’ll have the cheque tomorrow he says.  But for now, I am enjoying the taste of cool vanilla ice cream.

Living in the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

Photo Credit: www.alexisleon.com/figs/cherry.jpg, http://photo.net/philip-greenspun/photos/digiphotos/200206-yellowstone-2/kyle-needs-help-2.jpg

 

Coffee Lovers and Meditation Unite

I am a coffee nut.  I admit it.  First thing in the morning, there is nothing finer than the smell of a great coffee bean grounded and finally dripping into my coffee cup.  I drink it strong, dark and black, so I don’t need much.

But by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, I am ready to escape the noise of my business life and find another moment to myself. 

Coffee helps me escape from my surroundings, and unless I am in meeting sharing conversation with someone else, I use my “coffee time” for a midday meditation time.

People often have a difficult time finding time for meditation so I offer a few techniques I have used over the years to get the most out of my java.  (Can be performed with tea or hot chocolate too I suppose, but the question begs to be asked, “Why”?  Smile)

How to Meditate and Drink Coffee at the Same Time

1. Go it alone.  This seems obvious but to some it may be difficult.  This is not the time to chat, or to call a friend to meet you.  It’s all ready too crowded with me, myself, and I.  That is why we meditate, to still some of the chatter going on inside in our own head.
2. Go it with gratitude.  Before you leave your car, or your office, or your bedroom, begin to say “thank you”.  Imagine the coffee, the time alone and the opportunity to enjoy silence and start the “gratitude attitude” mindset in motion.
3. Go for an empty table.  It doesn’t matter how busy it is, how many people are in line, who is talking about what on their cell phone, and how many babies are screaming.  You can do this.  It is about you and your coffee, that is all there is.
4. Go for the feel of it.  Put your hand around the cup and feel the heat come through.  What does it feel like as the heat enters your hand and begins to warm your entire body?  Bring your attention to the sensation and notice.  You may find yourself feeling comfort, welcomed, nurtured or just plain sweaty.  Don’t worry about what the feeling; just pay enough attention to your hands and the cup to feel something.
5. Go for the smell.  Smell the coffee and breathe in your silence. Use the aroma as a point of reference.  Nothing else matters.  No conversation is important.  You are entering your own world of sensation and peace.  Relax with it and don’t force your feeling.  Simply notice what you do feel.

Time outYou may feel irritated, distracted, busy, hurried, bothered, or nothing at all.  All of those and more is perfectly okay.  If you practice this meditation for 2 weeks on a daily basis, either at home or at your favorite coffee hang out (or at a new one you choose for this experiment), you will soon experience much more presence and much less distractions.

6. Go for the taste.  Stop and notice the feel of the heat on your lips, your tongue, and your entire mouth.  Notice the taste you often take for granted.  Be present to the feeling you have as you sip your java.  Have you escaped for a few moments from pressure?  This is your time after all to quiet yourself.
7. Go for a few long breaths.  Notice yourself having a sip, swallowing and then sitting back with a large, slow inhalation and slow, thoughtless exhalation.  Repeat this 3 or 4 times before enjoying your next sip.
8. Go for silence.  It may take you a few attempts to be able to disconnect from the noise around you, but it will take much longer to disconnect from noise inside you.  That constant barrage of words, thoughts, “should of”, scolds, checklists, fantasies etc… is a drain on your internal resources.  It is time for a 10-second break from it all.  So let your mind drift into space. 

Here is a trick I use to help me disconnect:

Focus your eyes on an object in the room or outside the room.  Stare but don’t follow any action.  Simply stare.  After about 3 or 4 seconds, your eyeballs will relax. 
(Usually, this type of focus is accompanied by a breath that is more “releasing” than normal.  You don’t need to force this breath, it just arrives on time by its’ own initiative.)
If you stay with it, everything but your focus will go slightly blurred.  And then stay, and breathe.  Make it a conscious choice to remain.  Your entire body will relax into the focus.
You don’t need to stay all day, but 30 seconds will make a remarkable impact on your state of being.

9. Go repeat numbers 4-8.  Do it as many time as you are comfortable with and finish your coffee (or not).

10. Go with gratitude.  Don’t judge the effectiveness, or how it should have been any other way.  Thank Life for what you just felt, and leave it alone, until the next time.

FINAL WORD OF CAUTION:  If you drink high caffeine laden coffee, and you drink several cups a day, try this meditation early in the day, before your entire nervous system is whacked! (smile)

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

PS The photo is taken from an article I feel is only appropriate to recommend to my readers who enjoy coffee, with or without meditation.  Visit Carson Valley Vitality for an interesting medical observation of coffee. 

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Words: Mine Ran Away

I had such an unusual experience today with words.

I was visiting a site I like a lot for their content on writing: Men With Pens.  James asked us to share why we write, after he posted quite a brilliant piece on why he does.  I read the comments below and felt inspired to add a post.

I wrote about 3 paragraphs, edited, and was ready to push publish, when I had the strongest compulsion to really edit.  Don’t ask me how, but I knew that many of the words just didn’t want to be there.

Before I knew it I had crossed out a lot of words!

Then it appeared to me that I could use some design with the words I had left.  But even half of those words jumped off the page, never to return.

What I was left with is a poem, I think. (smile) 

I wasn’t trying to be poetic or dramatic.  I followed the words into silence and most of them wanted to leave.

All that was left is seen below.  Writing is like painting for me, it lets me let go, and then watch creation form itself.

Feel free to express your relationship with writing.  Why do you write, and can you catch your runaway words? (smile)  Be sure to check out James’ article highlighted above.

***********************************************

Words

 

Contain my essence

often fail,

I persist.

 

Words

 

Describe wonders;

occupy space,

I retreat.

 

Hug silence.

no thoughts,

I am no form.

 

Stumble back

search again

for my friend,

 

Words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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