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Living V. Reliving


Your shelves and coffee tables are littered with books. Your newsreader is overflowing with blog posts. Your Twitter is alive with the sound of verbal diarrhea. Words, words, words. We think we're learning, but we are only reliving. All of these stories, all of these insights are simply "fingers pointing at the moon." But they sure as shit aren't the moon. 

Have you substituted direct experience for fairy tales? Do the insights of pastors, authors and poets get you off just enough to help you sleep at night? Think you grok some deep, fundamental truth because you read some swami's autobiography?

Fuck that shit. 

  • If you desire to feel a deep unity with the Ground of Being, don't read a book about it - sit your ass on a cushion for 30 minutes a day.
  • If you want to know the "peace that passes all understanding," don't replay an audio sermon about it - regularly schedule time to shut everything down and be with yourself.
  • If you want to learn how to be more loving and less selfless, then set a goal to write one handwritten note of encouragement per day.

Experiment with life. Treat it as a laboratory. Push this and watch that pop out. See for yourself. Get your damn hands dirty. 

Wisdom and insight are fine; after all, I realize the irony that I am writing words on a blog. But words are simply signposts that allow us to witness and enjoy others' experiences and to learn routes for our own journey. 

"If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him."  No teacher, no book, no ritual, no prophet, no second-hand story will ever allow you to access spiritual truth until you carve the time to experience it firsthand. If the desire of your heart is to see Paris - you can read the Wikipedia page - or you can get on a fuckin' plane and marinate in the sounds and smells of the city.

Trevor, The Edge of Spiri



I Sold My Soul For This?

"Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?

Most nights, I don't know anymore..."
["Some Nights" by Fun.]

When was the last time you looked yourself in the mirror and asked why you're alive? Jesus fuck, people. Are we living on purpose or are we simply reacting to a neverending barrage of urgencies?  No one is stopping us from living an unconscious life, playing victim to all the demands and requirements of a needy world. Sleepwalk if you want to, just don't expect to ever have a deep rooted peace. And be prepared to check out at the end of your life as a Grade-A pussy who was ground into a nub and lost the game of life. 

We must ask ourselves the hard questions. We need to find time to center, to turn in, to inquire. If we do not, our actions will only stem from what Zen teacher Cheri Huber calls "egocentric, karmic conditioning." Our habitual, reactive responses will make our decisions for us and we will be driven and compelled solely by base-level urges and whims. One day we wake up and realize that the life we're living is built upon two things: fear and what other people have expected from us.

"So this is it? I sold my soul for this?
Washed my hands of that for this?
I miss my mom and dad for this?"

Jesus of Nazareth is said to have asked, "What benefit is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" Good question, Jesus. The thing is - a life that ends with one's soul intact doesn't happen naturally. There's too much "egocentric, karmic conditioning" circulating for that. It takes intention. And no one can do that work for us; it's something we have to do individually and on purpose.

This week make it a point to find time to sit quietly. Hell, start right now. Begin to ask who you are, what you stand for, what drives you, what the purpose of your life is. Then shut the fuck up, stop talking and just listen. These answers don't come easily; even though they may arise instantaneously, they most often take years.

When you make the effort to know who you are and what you stand for, you then can begin making decisions based on your deepest truth. You can go to bed at night with peace - knowing that you rocked the shit out of your day. And as you draw nearer to the big GAME OVER, even if you gained nothing in the worldly sense, you know with confidence that your "soul" was intact.

"What do I stand for? What do I stand for?" Only you can know for sure.



I Don't Have Time for this Shit


You wake up, you go through your morning routine. Commute to work. Sit and do a job. You're working for money; you're dying inside. Days roll into days, into weeks and months. At night is dinner and trash, pay some bills and shower your kids. Then maybe a little TV or wine or weed - whatever you need to unplug from the monotony of what happens between 6am and 7pm. You're surviving but if you're honest you're barely showing up.

When was the last time you did something for yourself? Remember how you used to play guitar and make up recipes? Remember how you wanted to learn how to paint? See all those barely-opened books right over there?

What the fuck are you waiting for? The kids will never be less demanding of your time. Your significant other could always use more of your attention. There are always bills to pay and checklists to do (mine currently has about 23 line items on it).

"I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about." [Joseph Campbell]

See, you can drown in a sea of tasks that will get you to tomorrow, but will get you no closer to "the experience of being alive." And you know that you're postponing and making excuses for following your deepest truth - those things that make you glad to be alive. 

Take a moment and think about things that you would love to do, or experience, or be. Maybe it's something expressive or creative; a sport; some form of meditation or yoga; playful sexytime with your significant other; a new business idea. Commit to just ONE WEEK of spending at least 30 minutes a day on one of your passions. Schedule it and just see what you feel at the end of the week. If you feel like going back to merely surviving, then by all means. (Also, don't bother coming back to this website; you'll find nothing of use here.) 

Here I am writing a post to help encourage you on a night where my heart and attention are scattered. I don't have time for this shit. I have a wife and a child and at least 23 things on a to-do list. And I'm tired. But goddamnit, I love to write and to encourage and to connect deeper with a creative force that's bigger than myself. So that's what I'm doing. And for a moment - this moment - it is bliss.

What possible excuse do you have not to do the same thing? Get to it, friends.