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Distractions in Meditation: The Ground and the Dance

You sit down to meditate. Within a few minutes your stomach starts grumbling for some food. A moment later an iPhone alarm goes off in another room. There are a few moments of calm before the dogs take up barking at a rabbit in the back yard. A police siren screams down the street.

The natural, habitual reaction to all this is to label these things distractions to the peace and focus of your meditation. I believe the first step, however, toward really making meditation meaningful is just the simple observation that the dance of life is happening. Meditation is nothing more than resting in consciousness. It is identifying with with the formless, still base-point, or ground, upon which all of life springs forth. But what is consciousness without light/form/life, and vice versa?

There is the Ground and there is the Dance.
There is the Masculine and there is the Feminine.
There is the Source and there is the Expression.

Take it a step further and there is not even the polarity of opposites. Ultimately, even duality folds into one, singular non-dual reality.

These exterior sensations that come up while we are identifying with consciousness are not distractions; they are the very life that consciousness witnesses. They are that which dances while we remain still. So relax, and observe without judgement. It is only because life dances that we know any stillness at all.

By Trevor, The Edge of Spirit

 

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I (May) Have an Anxiety Disorder

For the majority of my adult life, the underlying feeling I have held in my body is: “Life is a pain in the ass.” 

It doesn’t always manifest outward and most people I know wouldn’t say that my countenance is reflective of that, but internally it’s a different story. 

There is Always Shit to Do...

The cat threw up on and in the shag carpet. I have to remember to pay my yearly insurance umbrella coverage. The kid needs dropped off at a rehearsal. I haven’t meditated in days. Hell, I haven’t worked out in days either. I gotta remember to call Sheila. If I don’t start checking off some projects, I’m never going to sell this fucking house.

It seems as though the weight of the world has always swung like a giant nutsack from the front of my neck… dragging my head downward and causing me to ejaculate toxicity on those who love and know me best. 

In a rare breakthrough this week it occurred to me, though, that it's not the “things to be done” that is the problem. Every responsible adult has shit to do. Instead I have begun to pinpoint it as an overwhelmed, panicky, buzzing anxiety that makes these very ordinary tasks into “problems.” 

See, after reflection and research I think it’s time to admit: I (may) have an anxiety disorder.

The question is, what does one do with that? Up until the point where I was able to “name my demon,” I did nothing. I would simply ride out the heaviness and let time soothe any severe flare-ups. But this did not improve anything over the long term and certainly offered no solutions in the midst of severe turmoil.

Now with a consistent eye on my physiology, I have started to make some changes and - beautifully - in just a few days I have felt a significant shift in my being. I share here today a couple of practical tips that have helped me in the hopes that you might implement and find some relief as well.

Anxiety Management Tips

1.) BREATHE: Nothing has been proven to reduce cortisol levels more directly and quickly than diaphragmatic breathing: Breathe in through your nose (from your belly) for 5 seconds, hold for 4, release for 7. Pause everything and do this several times at any time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Or cut your anxiety off at the pass and practice doing this when you’re feeling fine - say, at a stoplight or briefly before starting your work. For fuck’s sake, stop reading and do it right now. I’ll wait.

2.) MEDITATE: I pride myself on being a meditator but in all honesty, I’ve not been making time for it. Why? Because I don't value it enough. If your day or to-do list has priority levels, what would happen if you made some form of meditation as essential and necessary as your most pressing tasks?

3.) CARDIO: I’ve always done strength training but spend almost no time really grinding it out and getting my heart rate up. Regular, ass-kicking, sweaty cardio is beneficial for all, but is nearly crucial for those with anxiety issues. 

4.) NATURAL CALM: I am not one to advocate magic-bullet supplements, but holy shit, this stuff works. Go read the Amazon reviews; see what it’s done for so many others. I stand with them in saying that I don’t know any product that has affected me more radically than this. It’s certainly worth your consideration.

The long and short of all of this is: Are you overwhelmed? Stressed? Constantly anxious? This may come as a surprise if (like me) your identity is wrapped up in your internal turmoil, but… you don’t HAVE to live that way. You can still be a go-getter, a to-do-er, a productive member of society… and have an internal calm, an interior peace, a more relaxed orientation.

Unless you look forward to a bright future as a self-soothing substance addict or don’t care about spewing toxicity on your family and friends, consider taking daily, PROACTIVE steps in combating that sneaky modern demon that’s eating away at your health and happiness.

By Trevor, The Edge of Spirit

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Don’t Fear the Future (MOVIE REFLECTIONS on “Lucy”)

Sometimes I fear for the future. Not necessarily because I am concerned about some pending apocalypse or am worried about the moral decay of our younger generations. I think it is mainly a fear of the vast, dark unknown. 

See, I have two young children. At the exponential growth rate of life-changing technologies, what will life be like for them in 20 years? 40 years? Suffice to say there is almost no way of knowing. This year virtual reality has finally gone mainstream with consumer models projected for the fourth quarter. Internet headlines warn of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. Google is working on the cure for aging. 

Will our humanity dry up as we become more technologically advanced, as we become more… god-like? Will we destroy ourselves before that happens with weapons of mass destruction, society-crushing EMPs or SkyNet android wars? Or is this the inevitable evolution cycle from Unity to fractured matter to crude biology to non-corporeal consciousness and back to Unity?

This weekend, my wife and I got around to watching “Lucy (2014),” wherein a young woman (through a series of unfortunate events) increases the usage of her brain from 10% to 100%.  All of the science fiction and action sequences aside, this is a profoundly deep film that deals with the nature of human potential, time, evolution and consciousness. And though it is a fictional account, it actually helped alleviate some of my anxieties on these matters.

Two things, in particular, stood out. (POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD)

First, I noticed that the more Lucy came into her fullness, the more her “humanity” - as we know it - seemed to dissipate. Human life and survival wasn’t as desperately CLUNG TO as it was previously. Interestingly, that manifested as a lack of empathy toward other humans, an indifference to pain and a nonchalance about death. 

Pierre Del Rio: [During the high-speed car ride through Paris with Lucy driving] I'd rather be late than dead.

Lucy: We never really die.

Perhaps with a fully realized “cosmic consciousness” we understand that our individualized ego and body aren’t as real as we imagined, that the whole of the universe is connected and that there’s no point in clinging to our earthly life. Sound familiar? Ya, like every damn spiritual teacher since the dawn of civilization.

Secondly, there was this:

Lucy: Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.

Here we directly tackle my fears for the future. The more we uncover, the further we evolve, the more conscious we become, the less we actually have to be afraid of. Evolution is scary because it’s unfamiliar but that doesn’t mean that - for instance - I should be concerned about what my children’s lives will be like when they’re 50 years old.

Will it be unlike anything I can possibly imagine? You bet. Should I be concerned? Maybe… but at least for the moment, I’m going to trust that knowledge isn’t the harbinger of chaos and destruction - but rather unity, power, connectedness, and a more complete understanding of who we are and what we’re doing here.

With this in mind, I’m going to begin to be a little more optimistic about where we're headed and how we're evolving. There will certainly be hiccups along the way and this is not to say that all technological progress is positive or useful. But this is the direction we're headed no matter HOW we think of it - and it has the potential to not only be arbitrarily positive, but an intelligent consciousness' intentional culmination of billions of years of evolution.

By Trevor, The Edge of Spirit

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An Experiment: Let Go

Perhaps you're someone who likes to "control your own destiny" and "create your own reality." Cool. Me too. But what about trying something different today?


Today, fully surrender. See if you can stop attempting to manipulate and manage the world. Feel yourself as one small piece of a large universe, which too, is yourself. After all, this universe carries on with or without your influence. 

From this place, nothing that happens during your day is wrong. There will still be highs and lows, energy and exhaustion, pleasure and pain, but they are not a problem. They are just the dance of life that is being experienced in unfettered, unattached, joyful awareness. 

All urgencies, emergencies and distractions that come up will not be seen as a derailment of your intentions; there is only what arises. Some of it needs pushed through to "accomplish things." But frustration is not necessary or useful; it is simply a sign that you are chained to the human drama and mad that you're not getting your (ego's) way. If everyone dies, if the bank is drained, if they take your house, if all security is removed — as long as there is conscious awareness, there is still life and there is no problem. That is and will always be the case.

Let go. Be free. Say "fuck it." See what happens.  

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You're Going to Die, Your Accomplishments Mean Nothing... and That's OK

You are going to die. Your name and your life story will be forgotten. Everything you’ve built, worked for and accomplished will dry up and vanish like condensation on a summer afternoon. 

Think of the billions of people who have come and gone from this planet since the dawn of history. A small handful are recorded in history books but the life and legacy of the vast majority are erased like an old hard drive. 

Does that scare you? It scares me a little. But it also changes my perspective on things like career, goals and dreams

LETTING YOU OFF THE HOOK

Nothing ultimately matters. The book you’re writing, the dreams you’re chasing, the house you’re building… it all will disappear. I find that if I really look into it, most of our pursuit of accomplishments, career, success and notoriety are simply the ego’s search for survival and relevance. We want our art to outlive us and keep our name alive. We want fame to persuade others to reflect that our existence matters. 

But we still die and are forgotten in just a couple generations. How often do you dwell on your grandfather’s career or your great-grandmother’s accomplishments? (Do you even know their names or what they did for a living?) Additionally, our worth as a human being is no more important than literally anyone else. The street sweeper working for pocket change in Saudi Arabia is exactly no more or less important and will live no more or less longer than the top realtor, the recognizable Hollywood celeb or the millionaire entrepreneur. 

SO, WHAT THEN, IS THE POINT?

The point of our few years here is not to get a great job or accomplish your dreams or build a successful business. It’s great to contribute to society and the betterment of those around you if you can, but it’s certainly not the end-game. The point is to be the eyes of “God” experiencing a 3D (or multi-dimensional) world through your particular set of genetics and circumstances. To say it another way: the point of life is to experience life. As far as I understand it, that’s it.

For about 70-80 earth years (give or take) the universe is witnessing itself through a portal called “you.” Right now, “God” is playing the role of “you” reading this on a computer or mobile device. The things you’ve done today, the life you’ve built, your particular body composition and health and psychology - is simply ONE lens in an ocean of billions and trillions of lenses in which the universe diversely experiences itself. 

EVERYONE PLAY YOUR PART

Maybe your trip is that you’re the frustrated, underaccomplished striver that never quite “gets there.” Maybe you’re the successful business manager. Maybe you’re the angry victim who was crushed on the corporate ladder. In a sea of endless diversity, each of those characters has to exist too.

All that to say - and I’m speaking to myself here - “chill the fuck out.” If you die a beggar, a pool boy, a food runner, a postal worker, an engineer, a custodian or a rock star, it matters not. Your ego seeks worth and survival from these things but in a short amount of time you’re going to be worm food anyway.

Instead of always planning and dreaming about a future goal, be present now. Leave work at work so you can experience and love the ones in your immediate sphere. Put down your to-do list at lunch and fully enjoy and taste that peach

Whoever you are and whatever game you’re playing - why not just be grateful? Soon you will be NOTHING. At this moment, though, you’re very much a SOMETHING. So look around you and be appreciative of all that you are and have. Maybe you need to take a less demanding job so you can enjoy your evenings and weekends. Or go ahead and build your tech start-up or get your doctorate degree if you must. But if you forget to hug your kids, neglect to take vacations or frantically strive so hard for money that you IGNORE YOUR *LIFE*, it’s not too late to reconsider. 

By Trevor, The Edge of Spirit

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