30 March 2010

Everyday Beauty

I have a fun exercise for anyone who reads my blog. Don’t worry you won’t be embarrassed or anything. Here is a nice poem I wrote to help get us into the mood.

Everyday things, what are you?
The cell phone that rings,
The jeans that you wear?
The pullover sweater,
Or the pen in your hand?
Is it the water bottle you drink from?
The notebook you write in?
Perhaps the humming computer, whirring away.
The plate that holds your food
And the spoon that you use?
Or the table that holds your life together?
A stone on the sidewalk you see passing?
The streetlight or freeway you drive?
Everyday things, everyday places
All around us, all are unnoticed.

Take a moment to really notice what is around you. Here is the exercise you can perform to ground yourself to the here and now. Pick up or find any object you have near you, a pen, pencil, piece of paper, book, cell phone, mouse, anything near you.

Take the object and look at it as if seeing it for the first time, and having no idea what it is or what it is for. What does it look like? How does it feel? Touch the object. Is it rough, smooth, sticky? Does it have any particular fragrance? Spend some time touching, feeling, experiencing what you hold.

Now, try going outside in nature, your back yard, a nearby park, etc, and do the same thing with something natural, a tree, flower, grass, a stone, a brook, or dirt. Anything. Experience what it is, don’t judge it, don’t hold any thoughts but the present moment of nature that surrounds you.

What do you call this? Stopping to smell the roses would work but that’s a tired cliché. Whenever your stressed try this out, when you feel like you need a moment away from the “real” world, experience nature. If your a writer this exercise is invaluable, for you can experience the everyday ordinary as something extraordinary and let your creative mind roam free.

Nature be with you!

PS If you know me, you may have heard me tell you to do this before. :)

18 March 2010


Have any of you read books about spirituality or listened to anyone talk about it? A lot of talk about the subject leads to head-ism: thinking with the head. This mode of thought shadows the true experience of the divine and wonder all around us. Wait, what? Follow me for a moment, and I hope I can help you see differently.

We’re all physical creatures, since I don’t see any floating heads. We have arms, legs, hands, and feet. We’re not just heads, and a lot of the spiritual information out there deals with problems of the body and how thoughts can make them go away. Prayers are also used to deal with body issues such as disease. But we are going it around the wrong way.

Newsflash! Your body is your mind. Every inch of your body is part of your mind. Your left toe is part of your mind. Yes, that means we think with our pussies and dicks, because they are part of us and all our body is part of our mind. Mental detachment from the body is not a good thing. This may sound ridiculous and ‘out there,’ but think for a moment. How do you experience life but through the body? Sure the brain is important, but no more important than any other part of you. Disease of the mind affects the body, and disease of the body affects the mind.

There is also a connection between the mind and spirituality/religion. Many think that to experience the spiritual and divine, you must deny the body, the impure. Using one’s mind, one could achieve the ultimate experience of divine.

Let’s take a look at Christian Ascetics. The teaching of many ascetics (including other faiths) expound upon the values of self-denial in favor of becoming spiritual. This includes fasting, restraining from activities that one takes pleasure in, and leaving society. But what does this do to the body? Deny the body and you deny your mind, and thus denying the body/mind you deny the spiritual nature we are.

Open your eyes to the world around you. Touch nature, and you touch the divine. No matter your personal beliefs, it is so easy to appreciate nature. Nature is now being scientifically studied on its effects on people. Nature is divine, and it can heal. Religion’s task is to bring us to the divine, but the divine is all around us. Our bodies are divine, plants, rocks, dead leaves: everything is divine. Look at Native American beliefs, and you see this word-view as well. Rocks don’t have spirits, you say. Rocks are spirits. Now think: we don’t have souls, we are souls. Bringing us back to the body/mind, we just add soul. We are body/mind/soul all in one, not separate at all.

Reading recently about psychic talents, I came to a stumble upon my idea. While some of the exercises stated make sense, there is the tendency to ignore the body in favor of the brain/mind. I call bullshit. Chakra meditation has lead me to understand that my brain is the most overactive part of me, leading me to neglect my body as a whole. I know that after I’ve begun working on balance, I’ve noticed I’ve been healthier. I’ve noticed the world around me is more magical and wonderful without my brain over-thinking. Meditation certainly brings everything back into perspective for me.

We are all physical beings, not brains, not soul waiting to move on. Think about the miracle it is to walk, breathe, run, laugh, talk. We do most of those naturally (talking being less natural) using our body that is our mind. I know I don’t think “Left leg, move.” It just moves when I want it to. I don’t have to consciously think about it. That is how life should be, easy, flowing and beautiful.

So how does this relate to spirituality? Whenever you do anything spiritual, whether it is with God, Allah, Shiva, etc, it isn’t about your head, its about everything. For to look at the world around you, the natural beauty of life, you begin to see that divinity not in our heads, it’s everywhere around us, including our left toes.