business and life are not mutually exclusive
I think truth is something that resonates with you only if you're ready to experience it. This is the main reason we have discord in the world. So many different perceptions of, and perspectives on, truth. Some people are completely unaware of it – some don’t want to know it - some are in the space of 'I don't understand it' - some struggle with the apparent subjectivity of it - and still others are aware of truth and yet choose to deny it and thus operate from a place of hypocrisy. What I find interesting is that we all occupy these various orientations to truth simultaneously – albeit in relation to different objects and stories.
Here is a beautiful video clip on YouTube that deals with one person’s experience of (ultimate) truth. If you're having trouble viewing the embedded video below, you can go here on YouTube to view it: http://youtu.be/L4PZL7wg_g4
I have tried as best as I’m able - to experience and thus discern the real truths of this world. I think this is vitally important in this time that’s so rife with mass manipulation, media distraction, ultra-sophisticated marketing, consumerist programming, complicated subjectivity, and institutionalized deception. Truth isn’t always readily obvious – you have to dig a little deeper - sometimes a lot deeper. And how do you know something is true versus that which isn’t? Is it only a point of perception, of perspective? Is there an ultimate truth? These are bigger questions to ponder (Advaita Vedanta), but what I feel is possible in our day-to-day lives is to experience our own truth and closely align it with greater-and-greater truths (that resonate with us) until one day there is only the one truth. For me, this means diligently challenging the status quo and my own ideas, perspectives, resolute positions, and fears – to find as Baba Ram Dass once said, the perspective of “no place to stand.” That’s the place of truth, of true freedom.
I was honored to have some of my recent writing featured on The Shaman’s Well. In this particular article I continue the “download” from La Selva, La Medicina, La Madre and my experiences in Peru with Curandero Vegetalista Orlando Chujandama at Mushuk Pakarina. The article is entitled, “The Maha Integrative Technologies of Amazonian Plant Medicine and Orlando Chujandama” and I sincerely hope it contains a grain of truth as I have experienced it – so that it may resonate with you as well.
March 9, 2011 - The day the Mayan Ninth Wave of Unity Consciousness began - it is the start of the shift into the 9th wave of the Mayan calendar. It lasts 260 days. From now on we’re going to experience life at 18X speed. Each timeframe takes only 20 days instead of 360 as were used to since 1999. As the evolution of consciousness accelerates, we will experience the shift differently, depending on our perceptions, intentions and conditioning. One thing seems clear: what will happen is up to us. So it’s important to take some time to purify the mind, open our hearts, and align with the soul and higher truth and connect with others who are consciously making this journey in service to all beings.
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It is a time of great dissolution for me - perhaps it is for all of us.
It's interesting that this dissolution comes during the end of 2010 and the dawning of 2011 - during some significant astrological events - all mirroring what's going on in my life (the outer / the "out there" / the macrocosm) and in my internal landscape (the inner / the mind-body-spirit / the "in here" / the microcosm).
I remember doing some very deep work a little over a year ago now - 'La Medicina' - and facing what appeared to be absolute destruction. I vividly remember begging for mercy - and I am NOT one to beg. I think that anyone who knows me well, knows this to be the case. I now think I was being brought to the precipice for a purpose; to experience the utter helplessness and to fight-back with all I had. Not to simply win purchase, temporary or otherwise, or to win a perceived victory to further establish my worthiness or superiority (ego) in that sacred space and context, but to understand the effort it takes to both consciously stay here and to consciously leave here. It was the ultimate lesson in letting go. At once the most difficult and at once the easiest thing to do in my life. Ultimate duality is brought into a single moment - into a single, final, monumental lesson. A Herculean effort. I suppose that it's probably the same effort that it takes to come here in the first place...
The great masters have all gone to that same precipice. Terence and a few other intrepid, valiant, brave explorers have gone there too. And I believe that they all went beyond it - that they all had the courage to just "let go" into the void or Logos - into whatever was just on the other side - and then come back. It's "The Hero's Journey" by Joseph Campbell as expressed in its purest form.
I wasn't ready for that kind of journey - for that particular lesson and experience. At that time, I couldn't muster the courage necessary. And of course, I'm no great master and I'm no Terence McKenna, or Myron Stolaroff, or Ram Dass, or Alan Watts, or Dr. Leo Zeff, etc. These are / were great men of character, integrity, compassion, courage, and conviction. Heavy hitters one-and-all. While I aspire to follow in their prodigious footsteps and to begin to simply grasp what they were able to comprehend and bring back, I am not able to as eloquently or articulately share it with the rest of us as they have. These are great teachers. I am not.
One thing I do know is that we spend our lives building castles in the sand. Investing everything of ourselves in just so many houses made of cards - of dominoes. And of course we do - this is what we're taught, how we're conditioned, what has been designed for us. How else can we possibly be in this world if not for contributing our part to the Great Maya? It is the way of things. And for 364 days I honor that contribution and I honor that Great Illusion. But today, this one day, this New Years' Eve, I honor the dissolution - the ending - the transition - the goodbye.
I have segmented and silo'd my life into various slices and areas in an 'infographic' or 'pie chart' in my mind. It's representative of my 'day job' life as a data analyst. Each slice or area is represented by a classification. One is intimate relationships / lovers, one is family, one is friends, one is work / career / calling - and in the center - the very hub - is a circle or core that is this person, this mind-body-ego-personality, this barry fleming, and in the center of THAT is my spiritual practice / my Sadhana / my teachers / my gurus / my 'carencia' (Jack Kornfield speaks eloquently about the 'carencia' in one of his talks on DharmaSeed) - and the 'I AM'.
I have watched each one of those quadrants - each one of those 'slices of my life' - darken over time. It's just representative of my Karma - the way things worked-out. And when I say 'darken', I mean that the relative safety and stability afforded by each of those quadrants has waxed-and-waned at different times over the years. Today, I have noted that the whole chart, the entirety of the circle, has dimmed. All areas save one - the 'carencia' - or my personal place of safety. That is the very center of the circle - the inner core - my Sadhana - and the Witness - the I AM.
This is the lesson. The 'carencia' can sometimes be found - and many times we ascribe it to different places and at different times as we grow and evolve. This is often referred to as co-dependence! But when the 'carencia' cannot be found - when we have exhausted ourselves in the searching - all we can do - just like the proverbial dying bull in the ring, burdened by so many barbs and swords plunged into its shoulders - is to succumb - to simply let go. The fight is over.
If we always know that our individual place of safety (our 'carencia') is always with us - always available - then I suppose that even the letting go - the terrifying letting go - can become a simple transition - a right of passage for which we're probably unconsciously waiting and unconsciously looking forward to.
"The old skin has to shed before the new one can come. If we fix on the old, we get stuck. When we hang onto any form, we are in danger of putrefaction. Hell is life drying up. The Hoarder, the one in us that wants to keep, to hold on, must be killed. If we are hanging onto the form now, we're not going to have the form next."
Joseph Campbell understood that we must practice dying and to accept that death is as much a part of life as living. This is both in the literal and figurative sense of the words. Never overlook the metaphors...
So take this time of great transition to lay down your burdens - to honor your struggles - your suffering - to relinquish the control you thought you had - and to let go into the great unknown. It is just there - very close-by to us all - a hairbreadth away - and we must honor it just as we honor all the known or manifest teachers and lessons in our lives.
gate gate pāragate pārasamgate bodhi svāhā
gone, gone, gone beyond
gone altogether beyond
so be it
All my love to my brothers and sisters who like me, are stumbling as best they can along the path.
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