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Zen and Clarity
Be Present –12 Ideas

Synopsis: The Other 6 Ideas on Being Present –more on being present– 6 additional ways to tune in to a more elegant life

Of Wayne’s many books, the one closest to today’s topic is: This Endless Moment

Just a reminder, I’m just a few weeks away from releasing the 2nd edition of This Endless Moment, my most popular book. The rewrite adds, 60 + pages! If you’d like to be kept informed, sign up for info at http://www.phoenixcentrepress.com/, then “like” my Phoenix Centre Press page!

Last week I presented the first 6 ideas on being more present in 2017. Here’s the last 6!

6. Demystifying Sex

moody

If you’ve read my book, This Endless Moment, you’ll know I take a non-serious tack with matters sexual and sensual. I wrote:

The reason sex continues to be considered some kind of marker in relationships is sexual embarrassment and immaturity. Sex is given great meaning because we are afraid to take it casually.
It’s a hard thing to admit out loud to being sexual.” p 70 

Quantum physics teaches us that the universe is energy and potential – in other words, stuff is simply in flow and flux, and then is observed and comes into being. This is the state of the entirety of existence. For example, the old Zen-ish question,

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there, does it make a sound?”

The answer is simple: It depends.

There is a burst of energy that is created by the fall –- a flowing outward of energy. It only becomes a “sound,” however, if there is an “ear” to hear it, AND a mind to interpret it.

So, yes, a falling tree makes a something, and if there’s an ear (ore recording device) to hear, it’s a sound.

Same with any sound. When Sally talks to you, her vocal chords vibrate and create energy waves (wrongly called sound waves.) The energy waves become “something other” when they hit an eardrum (not sound but transmitted vibration.) They only become something “real” when the sound is interpreted by the brain of the hearer.

This explains all conflict; why you understand what you said one way, and the person hearing the same words interprets it another way.

Everything is dependent upon the interpretation of the observer.

So, what does this have to do with sex? Well…sex becomes a fascinating and passionate learning energy when we interpret it that way. That’s the “take” of Tantra and Kundalini work. Sexual energy (which is “just energy,”) can be directed, turning it into a powerful force for our own awakening. Or, it can be made special, dragged out only occasionally, and treated with embarrassment.

In 2017, find someone to explore your sexual energy with. Learn how to “make it work for you.” Dedicate yourself to breaking open the blocks in your body. After all, you’re in your body for a reason!

5. Changing Your Story

being present

Back when I was seeing clients, I’d listen to a lot of stories about why “(s)he’s stuck”. Strangely enough, with each client, there was really only a single story, not stories–all that changed was the name of the person or situation the client was contending with. 

Same story, different cast of characters. Or location. So I’d ask, “And how is endlessly repeating a story you hate helping you to change how you are in the world?”

I still spend a lot of time asking that question – I ask others, and I ask myself.

I have a couple of stories I tell myself about being unappreciated that I’ve been hauling out and flogging myself with since, well, forever. I’ve have reached the place where I now laugh at myself and give myself a shake. I certainly do not enact this story anymore.

Why? Because the stories don’t work!

People argue with me on this one. “But…but… how can I just change my story? My story is right! I’m so hard done by! I need to get everyone on the planet to admit how badly they are treating me! How can I heal myself when I know I’m powerless?”

Well, yikes. Nothing means anything until you give it meaning. You don’t like the way your life is going, change your story.

In 2017, nothing will move you further along the path than this simple truth – your life is exactly and precisely the story you are telling yourself.
Get this, and then do something about it! (also, see # 2, below.)

Being a Blessing

A photo by Darbella

This is kind of a follow-on to the previous item. Being a blessing–being useful–is something that is always required, and never more so than in 2017. It follows the above item because once you change your story from one long, pathetic whine, you’re able to get on with making a difference in the world.

Taken from John Lennon’s Xmas song, “So This is Christmas,” the key is in the remainder of the verse, “…and what have you done? Another year over, and new one just begun.”

As I get older, time seems much more compressed. Six months flashes by in an instant. Darbella and I have been together 33 plus years. Where did the days, the weeks, the months, the years, go?

What have I accomplished? I ask myself that question with compassion and with grace.

Have I been a blessing?

I was reading a blog post from Brad Warner, one of my favourite Zen guys, and a wonderful writer to boot. He was writing about his Zen centre, and how it is open to anyone, no matter what their beliefs. He made a clear point: if you are just sitting and staring at a wall, your beliefs do not matter.

Here’s a quote:

Everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, documented status and political affiliation, is welcome to sit at Angel City Zen Center. The only walls here are the ones we stare at.” 

What does matter openness to being with those we disagree with, in order to keep dialogue going. Shutting people out (angrily and with sanctimoniousness) gets us nowhere.

He did note that,

After the sitting we have a group discussion. If someone tried to espouse Nazi ideas during that discussion they would encounter a lot of resistance, from me for one. Though I do have to confess that I would be quite interested in finding out why someone with such views would choose to sit with us. 

Being a blessing means being open. Being willing to stand up and be heard, but also realizing that to do this, we have to be available, clear, and non-judgemental.

Brad wrote:

A lot of folks argue that now is the time we must stand with our brothers and sisters who are minorities and resist oppression. I agree. It’s always that time. I just disagree that we can accomplish that by creating new categories of human beings, and then marginalizing and excluding those people instead. If we truly believe in diversity and inclusiveness, then we can’t be half-assed about it. We can’t insist on diversity in terms of things like race, gender, and sexual orientation while discouraging diversity in terms of opinion, politics, and even worldview. 

In 2017, being a blessing means making a difference. Not by shutting down or shutting out, but be expressing clearly who you are. It means being clear. And it means returning hate with clarity.

3. Honing your Loving

hug

Loving (an action, as opposed to “love,” which doesn’t exist) requires keenness and sharpness and accuracy, just like a knife does.

Sometimes love is a gentle nudge. Never is loving about doing things that fly in the face of who you are. Loving is only possible when you are present, connected, self-responsible, and curious.

  • Presence means I am here, in this moment, and nowhere else. Not wool-gathering, planning my next speech, distracted.
  • Connected is an emotional sense of resonance. It’s all energy anyway, so connection is allowing myself to open enough to actually feel the presence of another.
  • Self-responsible people do not blame others, situations, or themselves. They are “simply present,” and from their place of presence respond from their core to the situations they meet. Self-responsibility is all about working from one’s centre outward, with a clear heart and focused mind.
  • Curiosity is not manipulative. It’s an acknowledgement that whatever is going on in your world is yours, and it, by definition, has to be different from my understandings. Because value you, I want to know more about you. And because I value you, I want to know how well your perspective is working.
Be more loving in 2017. Open yourself , so you can be caring and compassionate, with no need to fix anyone or anything. From this place of non-fixing, live elegantly, leave a mark, and be a blessing!

2. Getting on with it

winning

Many people are into “self-exploring,” and that can be a non-helpful thing. It’s non-helpful when all that happens is that the person keeps coming up with more and more aspects of “his” self that he doesn’t like or doesn’t understand. It’s being caught in an endless process of identifying aspects of his self, as opposed to accepting himself.

This is a universal affliction. People pick at the self-created scabs of themselves, and irritate themselves, and the exploration, such as it is, never leads anywhere except to more things to not like. The joke is, the stuff they are digging up is just a story they are telling themselves. It’s not “true,” it’s not, “who they are.” Who they are is, “all of it, plus all the other stuff.”

And self-exploration doesn’t matter anyway. Because this kind of self-exploration leads only inward. Here’s the issue: No authentic spiritual path actually leads inward. Take meditation. Seems internal, all that breathing and emptying the mind. 

But to what end? Presence! And presence only happens out here, in the world.

When I stop talking to myself and judging myself and coming up with yet another label, I can simply be, and in that being, respond to life, to self, and to others, and thus to accomplish something elegant.
Because in order to leave a mark, you have to actually do something different!
(Are you noticing how all of this fits together? Good!)

1. Living in the Present, for a Change

A photo by Darbella

Change only happens in the present moment. You can’t change what’s happened, but you can change “from now on!”

In 2017, dedicate yourself to discovering the actual moment you are living in, and stay there. If it ain’t working, don’t do it. Do more of what does work. Open yourself to the present that presence presents. 

Wayne Allen 

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web’s Simple Zen Guy.
Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013.
Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever.
See: The Phoenix Centre Press 

Zen and Clarity
Be Present –12 Ideas
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