4

Zorba the Buddha: The New Human

zorba the buddha

We humans have this weird tendency to repress parts of ourselves…

Depending on what beliefs or identity labels we cling to, we judge and repress all that doesn’t fit in with our chosen facade.

Many people repress their spiritual self, or even their emotional self. Then you have the spiritual escapists who neglect their physical self. Those are some general categories, but we all do this in different ways and to different extents.

Any paradigm that ignores or neglects aspects of self is NOT a helpful model of reality. They create all sorts of insidious problems and stifle our true potential.

Why limit yourself when the whole is available?

This is where the concept of “Zorba the Buddha” comes into play…

Ever since I first heard the term Zorba the Buddha, it resonated deeply with me.

This term was coined by Osho, who encouraged people to embrace the godliness of Buddha, without neglecting the worldliness of Zorba the Greek.

Zorba is a character in the book Zorba the Greek who epitomizes the Earthly romantic. He travels, plays music, drinks wine, embraces sexuality…etc.

Here’s what Osho has to say about this concept:

“Zorba is the foundation and Buddha is the palace. Buddha is the peak, but the foundation stones are laid by Zorba. It will be foolish to choose to be a Buddha without having the foundation stones.

I am absolutely mathematical about it: Zorba should be there and the stronger a Zorba is there, the better a Buddha is possible. So I can become Buddha any moment, Zorba is absolutely needed as the basic energy out of which the Buddha is going to be carved. Zorba is the marble rock out of which the Buddha statue has to be carved. I choose the rock…and Buddha is easy. It is just a question of opening your eyes. I don’t bother about Buddha; I am worried about people who are not Zorbas. How will they become Buddhas? They don’t have the basic material out of which a Buddha is made.

And this poverty has been given to people by our religious leaders. They have been told not to be materialists. They have been told to be celibate. They have been told to live in poverty. They have been told that life is out of sin. All these things have destroyed their Zorbas. Otherwise, every man is a born Zorba the Greek.

And if everything goes according to me, every man will die as Zorba the Buddha. Between the Greek and the Buddha there is not much distance, but first you must be the Greek.”

zorba the buddha

The head-in-the-clouds escapist mentality of some New Age people never felt right to me. Neither did the materialist philosophy that is all too prevalent in our society today. I’ve always felt like it’s best to embrace both at once, embrace all aspects of self, and embrace Wholeness.

Neglect the spirit and you become cynical and lifeless. Neglect the body and you’re prone to delusional flightiness and insanity.

As the Zen saying goes, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Spirituality is not about escapism. It’s about bringing the divine intensely into the physical reality and injecting it into each moment.

This schism comes from our dualistic mentality. We THINK the body and mind are separate. We THINK heaven and Earth are separate. Here’s the truth: There is no separation at all! Only the act of thinking itself causes the separation.

Love and Wholeness

Love is the unifying force. Love is connection between people. Love is connection with nature. Love is connection with everything. Love is the fabric of Oneness.

Fear is what severs that connection. So rejecting aspects of self is done out of some version of fear.

Be fully engaged in the present moment and let love be your North Star. With love as your guide, how could you go wrong?

Bases and Peaks

You can’t have the peak without the base of the mountain. Physicality is the base and spirituality is the peak. A base without a peak is incomplete, not fulfilling its potential. A peak without a base is a mirage, a delusion.

Materialism is like only placing lego blocks on the floor and never building upwards. Spiritual escapism is like trying to build a tower without a foundation.

Look at a pyramid. Most of the effort and materials go into the base. If a base is well-constructed, the capstone basically takes care of itself. The same goes for us. If we nurture and harmonize our mind/body, the spirit naturally comes through.

When you eat healthy, exercise, rest, laugh, meditate, dance, sing and spend time in nature, you naturally feel better! You feel more creative, more connected, more blissful and more inspired, right? That’s tapping into the Buddha within!

Catalysts Of Change

The core message of almost all spiritual and self-help books is PRESENCE, or being fully immersed in the moment.

Eckhart Tolle suggests that our primary spiritual purpose is to be fully engaged in the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh recommends walking meditations, a practice that helps with truly EXPERIENCING LIFE.

See the common theme? The key is EMBODYING divinity here and now, not trying to escape it. Again…

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Sometimes I get the urge to live in the woods as a hermit. But I’ve come to realize that this is a complete disservice to both myself and the world at large.

If I were to isolate myself, I wouldn’t be able to inspire people or spread love through human connection. I would also be denying myself of physical experience. That’s a disservice.

If we want to change the world, we must do it from the inside out. First it starts within, and then within communities. This is why I love people who are bringing conscious practices to communities and places that need it the most (urban gardening, meditation in schools, yoga, alternative/clean energy…etc.).

Running off into the woods is not the solution. We must face our collective dysfunction head on, just as we must face our internal dysfunction head on. As above, so below.

Choosing to be either spiritual OR physical is an illusion! The yin is within the yang and the yang is within the yin. And all of it is within the circle, the whole. You don’t have to choose one or the other. They’re facets of the same whole. Accept your Wholeness.

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.” ― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Source, God, or whatever you want to call divinity – is All That Is. It’s everything, all possibility. Therefore, to neglect any aspect of self is to limit your own divinity.

Embrace Wholeness. Embody Love.

– Stevie P!
 

Join our Newsletter (Free Gift Inside)

 

1

Alan Watts on Music and Life

music life

Have you ever said this to yourself before?

“I’ll be happy when [this] happens.”

“I’ll be happy once I find the right girl/guy.”

“I’ll be fulfilled when ________.”

We’ve all done this. But here’s the thing: We’ve been programmed to do so.

We’re conditioned to think that salvation lies at the end of the rainbow. It’s a malicious deception that has us chasing that “something” our whole lives, yet never finding it. We believe that happiness awaits us tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. So most people spend their whole lives waiting for their lives to start.

Even when we get what we wanted, we don’t fully appreciate it, because our minds have been conditioned to constantly search for happiness somewhere in the future.

Here’s the secret: What we’re searching for is hidden in plain sight, in the here and now. This isn’t some woo-woo metaphorical rhetoric. It’s true and applicable RIGHT NOW. There’s a reason why the core teachings of almost every spiritual or self-help book is presence and mindfulness. It’s something that is absolutely crucial to understand and PRACTICE.

Take just a few moments to be fully present. Tune into the present moment, experience all of your senses (come to your senses), hold gratitude for where you’re at right now, and you’ll realize that this is what you’ve been searching for all along.

That’s the paradox. The happiness we think happens somewhere in the future when this or that happens has actually been with us all along, in the present moment.

You don’t listen to music just to hear the last note. You don’t eat a meal just for the last bite. You don’t just read the last page of a novel. You don’t just watch the climax of a movie. The process – the ups, downs, challenges and triumphs – is what makes everything beautiful, worthwhile and fun. The same goes for life.

Alan Watts brilliantly explains this concept in a lecture called “Music and Life.” The way he expresses this concept will shift your entire paradigm on life. Here’s the transcript:

Alan Watts

In music one doesn’t make the end of a composition the point of the composition. If that were so the best conductors would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concerts just to hear one crashing chord; because that’s the end!

But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our every day conduct. We’ve got a system of schooling that gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded. And what we do is we put the child into the corridor of this grade system with a kind of “come on kitty kitty kitty”, and now you go to kindergarten. And that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade, and then come on; first grade leads to second grade and so on, and then you get out of grade school. Now you’re going to go to high school, and it’s revving up – the thing is coming. Then you’ve got to go to college, and by Jove then you get into graduate school and when you’re through with graduate school you go out and join the World!

And then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make, and you’re gonna make that. And all the time that thing is coming. It’s coming, it’s coming! That great thing, the success you’re working for. Then when you wake up one day at about 40 years old you say “My God! I’ve arrived! I’m there”. And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.

And there’s a slight let down because you feel there’s a hoax. And there was a hoax. A dreadful hoax. They made you miss everything. We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end. Success or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and we were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.

Alan Watts – Music and Life

 

Join our Newsletter (Free Gift Inside)

 

How Stories Shape Our Culture

story book

What stories shape your life?

Take a moment to think about that.

We all live based upon stories. Collective stories are the basis of culture and personal stories are the basis of how we view ourselves as individuals.

Stories are the underpinnings of human reality. Humanity is built upon stories. Stories shape our culture, our lives and the way we perceive the world.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true or false, if a story is believed, it becomes a blueprint of reality.

Cultural Stories

Every culture has stories that act as the very basis for how people live their lives.

In ancient times, mythology shaped the way people viewed reality, the world around them, society and themselves.

Any religious culture is dominated by the stories of that religion. People’s whole lives, down to the finest detail, are dictated by those stories.

Our modern western culture is based on a combination of science, religion and history (his-story). Science is constantly updated, disproving older theories, while failing to explain the “why” questions of our reality. Most organized religions are distortions of spiritual truths for purposes of control. And his-story is merely the story told by the winners of wars.

These cultural belief systems are attempts at explaining truth, at best. And at their worst, they’re attempts at control and manipulation. I’m not saying that all of these are false; I’m saying that regardless of being true or false, these stories shape our experience of reality and every aspect of how we live our lives.

Let’s take the scientific paradigm as an example. According to this story (again, I’m not saying it’s necessarily true or false):

  • We are our bodies, or more specifically our brains.
  • We live on Planet Earth, which revolves around the sun, in an incomprehensibly large universe.
  • This universe started with the Big Bang (the Big Bang THEORY).
  • On Earth, we evolved from apes, growing smarter and more and more sophisticated, until we’ve dominated nature and now live in the wonderful culmination of all of that evolution and “progress.”
  • You see, this is a STORY, or the background program that we run our lives by. And that’s not even getting into the stories of history, money, work, relationships, purpose, pleasure and everything else that makes up our belief systems. These things determine how we perceive and interact with reality.

    Where does this story get us? Well, take a look at the world around you. Check out the “news.” If it seems a little disharmonious (which anyone with eyes can see), we have to start reevaluating the stories we’re living by.

    grand central station

    Your Story

    What stories are you telling yourself? What is your identity based on? What labels do you identify with?

    In the midst of the trend of collective stories, we have the personal stories we tell ourselves. These are our individual stories that shape the way we view and interact with the world.

    Let’s use a man named Henry as an example, whose personal story might look like this:
    I’m Henry.
    I’m a white man.
    I’m an American.
    I’m a Christian.
    I’m not good at math (because my third grade teacher told me that and I’ve believed her ever since).
    I’m good at fixing things (because my dad said I was when I fixed his truck).
    I’m an introvert so I don’t have many friends.
    My favorite color is blue.
    My favorite food is steak.
    I’m a car mechanic, so I’m not good with computers.
    I’m a lower middle class guy.
    I go to work every day, then come home, drink a beer and turn on the tv to relax at night.
    I don’t have time to eat healthy or work out.
    I’m a fan of the Tennessee Titans.
    I wear boots and flannels because I’m manly.

    Ok, you get the point. This is all a STORY. Almost all of those things could be dropped and changed instantaneously. Our friend Henry could literally have a completely new life tomorrow, if he chose to.

    Programming and patterns are incredibly hard to break for us humans. But simple awareness of the stories we tell ourselves puts us in the position to consciously choose what our stories are.

    So what stories are you telling yourself? What identities are you carrying with you day in and day out? What patterns do you have? What are you building momentum towards?

    Gain some awareness of the stories you’re telling yourself. Only then can you choose to change your life for the better.

    individual

    Creating New Stories

    We can create new stories in each moment.

    It is a choice. But you have to first be aware to even know that you have a choice.

    We can tell new tales and shape reality in our own way.

    What do you want out of life? What is your purpose? What’s on your bucket list? Who do you want to be?

    Be open and willing to change.

    Find your vision and start working towards that. Only tell yourself stories which help to create that vision of yourself.

    The Power of Fiction

    The importance of stories is why I love fiction so much. Whether reading or writing, fiction helps to reshape our world.

    Truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth. Paradigm-shifting truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry.

    Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

    This is why I read and write a lot of fiction. If we change the stories we tell, we change how our world is shaped.

    Want to get your hands on an example of a paradigm-shifting story?

    I just published a new book, Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth.

    It’s a story written from the perspective of a dog, told in a journal-like format.

    And the twist is that dogs aren’t just dogs. They’re actually multi-dimensional superbeings checking out Earth and humanity.

    This story will stretch your mind, provide you with insights, entertain you, make you laugh and a lot more. It’s available for both paperback and Kindle.

    Get your paws on it here: Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth

    Let’s reshape our world.

    – Stevie P
     

    Join our Newsletter (Free Gift Inside)

     

    Hero Worship and The Shadow Self

    hero batman shadow

    Are you afraid of your own shadow?

    I’m not talking about the silhouette of yours on the ground; I’m talking about the psychological shadow.

    In Jungian psychology, the shadow is the collection of aspects of yourself that you deem unwanted or undesirable and hide deep in the caverns of your subconscious mind.

    What we classify as unwanted or undesirable is largely determined by our cultural conditioning. The classic example is the business man whose true passion is art, yet he suppresses this gift because of what his parents and society labeled as favorable or unfavorable.

    This happens with all aspects of self we refuse to accept (which can happen consciously or subconsciously).

    While the shadow self is often thought of as the “bad” qualities that we refuse to acknowledge within ourselves, the most suppressed qualities are often the best ones. This is what I call the golden shadow.

    The Golden Shadow

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
    – Marianne Williamson

    Hero worship is an extension of the golden shadow. We suppress our inner greatness and subconsciously project our collective golden shadow onto heroes.

    Heroes of all kinds – superheroes, celebrities, athletes, gurus – are thought of as amazing and perfect, while we view ourselves as a lesser “poor little me.”

    We put all of our hopes and dreams not in ourselves, but in our favorite athlete, or the president, or a superhero we saw in a movie. All of the beauty we’ve refused to accept within ourselves is projected onto models and the “beautiful faces” we see on TV. This is all externally projecting our suppressed greatness because somewhere along the line we’ve deemed ourselves unworthy of embodying.

    Here’s the truth. We all have greatness within. Yours may not look like Michael Jordan’s (who supposedly isn’t the nicest human being by the way – a testament to the grand deception of celebrity worship). Your greatness may not look like mine either. But I can guarantee that you have some kind of unique greatness. It’s been there all along, you’ve just refused to acknowledge it.

    The Darker the Shadow, The Stronger the Super Powers

    Mythological figures like superheroes and omnipotent gods are the projection of a society that feels weak and helpless. This collective projection comes from a huge “elephant in the room” shadow that we refuse to acknowledge. Our hero myths are created to fill the yearning for the brilliant potential that we’re systematically denying ourselves.

    Can we fly and lift giant boulders? Who really knows? But super powers are more metaphorical. We’ve denied our inner gems so vehemently that we subconsciously create external, all-powerful saviors to fill that void and balance the scales.

    We’re so afraid to step into our own power that we project it outward instead of owning it.

    We cowardly choose work unfulfilling jobs, sit on the couch and watch TV instead of coming to grips with the immense power that lies within. You don’t have to be rich and famous to do this. It all simply comes down to your focus. What are you focusing on? What are you giving energy to?

    Accepting your power within could be as simple as having a clear purpose in life, choosing a career you truly love, meditating, being fully present, feeling gratitude, honoring compassion, creating art or anything else where your focus is on cultivating your own gifts instead of focusing on something external.

    Once we start doing this, who knows what possibilities will emerge? We know next nothing about the nature of reality, so the (assumed) laws we think we’re subject to might change and/or dissolve as we let go of self-imposed limitations. Anything is possible, but we’re so quick to stubbornly argue FOR our limitations. We live in prisons that are locked from the inside.

    The God Within

    As humans, we have a tendency to project our best qualities onto external Gods, creating an external savior complex.

    If you view those qualities as something out there, then they become a mere intellectual concept and you relegate yourself to “poor little me.” But if you view those qualities as archetypes WITHIN YOU, the whole game changes.

    When you view Buddha or Jesus Christ as men to be worshipped who are more special than you, you’re missing the whole point. Buddha and Christ are archetypal examples of the “higher” consciousness that exists within all of us. Yet because we’ve been so conditioned to cast our greatness to the shadows, most people cannot even fathom this concept and argue for their own diminutiveness.

    “The kingdom of God is not in the clouds, in some designated point of space; it is right behind the darkness that you perceive with closed eyes.”
    – Paramahansa Yogananda

    The Heroic Chasm

    I’m not saying to never admire anyone else or be an egocentric narcissist. Not at all. When you shine light on your shadow and cultivate love within, only then can you truly love others.

    It’s useful to learn from others, but the difference comes in whether or not you choose to embody those qualities you admire.

    “It’s cool to imitate, just grow into your own
    Don’t let the green grass across the picket fence
    Turn you into Mr. Smith without a purpose or a home
    Underneath he is a Jedi, on the surface he’s a Clone”

    – Jay Electronica

    You see, most people admire others, but think “I could never be like that” or something similar that implies inferiority. That’s self-sabotaging victim logic.

    A 5’3” man probably won’t become a professional basketball player, but he most certainly has the potential for greatness in other ways. Well that’s not entirely true either. Look at someone like Mugsy Bogues, who actually was a 5’3” professional basketball player. So it is possible, if you choose to believe in yourself. Sometimes we need to redefine what possible is. “Impossible” is an opinion; a mere imaginary fence created by self-defeating, “poor-me” victims.

    If you hear about a successful business person’s morning routine, do you think “I don’t have the discipline for that” and flip to the next channel to distract yourself? Or do you take notes and start applying it towards your own mission in life?

    We must bridge the heroic chasm. On one side, you have the idolized hero, and on the other the average person who refuses to acknowledge their own greatness. The chasm is bridged by learning from “heroes” then EMBODYING those qualities which the heroes represent. If those qualities are not examined, learned and embodied, you just become another passive, “poor little me” for the rest of your life.

    The successful athlete continuously embodies and applies the qualities of the people they look up to. The wise person continuously embodies and applies the wisdom of others. The enlightened person continuously embodies an applies the God-like qualities.

    How are you going to bridge the heroic gap? Or will you choose to deny your greatness and cowardly feed your shadow with hero worship?

    Life to too precious to fritter away by denying your own greatness.

    Learn from others then cultivate that greatness within. It’s there within all of us.

    Be your own superhero.

    – Stevie P!
     

    Join our Newsletter (Free Gift Inside)

     

    On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience

    Civil Disobedience

    “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

    Obedience is the connective tissue of oppression.

    In other words, any form of control on a collective level can only be carried out through obedience. A dictator can’t arrest or kill an entire population himself; he needs mindless minions to do the dirty work. This principle applies across all forms and degrees of systematic control, even the most subtle.

    The desires of any wannabe controller can only come to fruition through the compliance of others. And that’s been the case throughout recorded history (his-story). The desire for control becomes a virus, driven by fear and infecting more and more people, until there are enough drones to oppress an entire population.

    This phenomenon isn’t just the case with large-scale atrocities; it applies to anything which is an impediment to freedom or love; be it a person, group, system or idea.

    Everything is held up by belief. Laws are merely words written on paper, only legitimized by collective acquiescence. Laws need people to enforce them. And if laws are unjust (as most are), those who carry them out must unquestioningly submit to authority and go against their own inner knowing.

    The only way control or oppression works on any scale is through compliance. Too many people do the work of ‘the man’ for ‘the man.’ That’s the problem. The solution lies in civil disobedience.

    Freedom Cannot Be Granted

    “Freedom cannot be granted. It must be taken.”
    ― Max Stirner

    Asking for freedom is oxy-moronic. If you have to ask for freedom, you’re already a slave.

    How is freedom taken? The simple decision to be the master of your own body and mind.

    It really is as simple as that, though difficult to apply. It’s easy to blame problems on others, it’s easy to neglect our health and think “the doctor can fix me.” We’ve been conditioned to externalize our power since childhood. We’ve been taught to not trust ourselves. We’ve been taught to submit to authority without question.

    This is a recipe for a control system to stealthily and slowly permeate society (the totalitarian tiptoe).

    When you attain a degree of self-mastery, you do not acquiesce to the will of destructive people or disharmonious institutions. Which leads to the next point…

    Fear-Based Programming

    “The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service.”
    ― Albert Einstein

    The covert means by which oppression takes over is through fear-based programming.

    If you have people in fear, you can easily control them. Fear activates the part of the brain known as the amygdala (the center for emotional behavior/motivation) and inhibits neocortex function (our “thinking brain”). This means that rationality and intellect are thrown out the window, the perfect storm for brainwashing. There’s even a term for this fear response; amygdala hijack.

    The media is one big amygdala hijack, perpetually programming the population with which boogeyman to fear next. This is a massive ritual of fear-based programming that insidiously shifts entire populations into thinking and acting irrationally out of fear. Television is called programming for a reason.

    Remember the whole weapons of mass destruction fiasco with Iraq in 2003? US military action in Iraq and massive destabilization of the middle east (which continues to this day) was predicated on that lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction. But lingering fear from 9/11 resulted in a string of irrational behavior and many people blindly believing the hype.

    The holocaust took place because German soldiers were thoroughly conditioned to carry out orders. They didn’t carry out orders because they liked doing it, but because they feared the wrath of their higher ranking officers, or even because they were conditioned to fear jewish people. These abominations only occur when fear is the driving force.

    Fear is hard to pin down. It’s slippery, and ultimately illusory (False Evidence Appearing Real). Yet it’s the undercurrent of all “negative” emotions. Fear is what stops us from saying no to evil. Fear might actually distort our perceptions to support evil. That’s why it’s so dangerous.

    When you cultivate self-mastery, you’re able to break the cycle. The spread of fear stops before you and is transmuted by the omnipotent force of unyielding love.

    Love Over Fear

    “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
    ― John Lennon

    Strive to choose love over fear in every situation. You can never go wrong if you act from a place of compassion. This is the fulcrum of change, and it starts within you.

    The change we all yearn to see in the world will only happen in the wake of a fundamental change in consciousness. Everything we see in this world starts in the realms of imagination before coming into manifestation.

    The change begins within and ripples outward. Embodying the change is the first step, the prerequisite. Without inner transformation, humanity will be stuck on the same merry-go-round of madness.

    When a critical mass of people create positive inner changes, it will open up doors we never could’ve imagined before and will provide possibilities far beyond our current limited perspective. Solutions will spontaneously emerge.

    Go within and stop the momentum of fear. Learn to listen to and trust your intuition. Have the courage to follow your heart instead of cowardly bowing to fear.

    “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.'”
    ― Brene Brown

    Compliance with destruction, hatred, oppression, violence and fear is cowardice, while noncompliance is courageous. In the depths of your being, in your heart of hearts, you know what is right.

    Choose love over fear.

    Have the courage of heart and freedom of mind to disobey oppressive forces.

    Be the change.

    – Stevie P
     

    Join our Newsletter (Free Gift Inside)

     

    The Simple Secret to a Fully Fulfilling Life

    mindfulness

    We’ve all had those truly special moments in life: being on top of a mountain looking out at an amazing landscape, at a party singing with a group of our best friends, a wedding day, getting off of the plane in a new country…etc.

    Those are all beautiful moments in which we forget about our fears, leave our problems behind and bask in the blissful infinity of the present moment. We all chase this feeling throughout our lives. We fall into the trap of thinking “I’ll be so happy when [insert desire] happens.” Some of us even squander our present well-being for the mere potential of “that feeling” in the future.

    What if I told you that this feeling is available to you in every moment?

    I’m all for those cliché amazing moments listed above, but why can’t every moment be amazing in its own way?

    Well, every moment is. Each moment is brimming with bliss, peace, joy, love and happiness. We just never stop to see it. The secret portal is right under our noses and it exists within one simple word: Mindfulness

    Most people are so lost in thought that they hardly ever actually experience the present moment in its full brilliance.

    When we live with mindfulness, even the simplest moments are infused with that feeling of blissful presence that most people only experience a handful of times in their lives. It’s like living life in high definition, a much richer experience than just going through the motions while neurotically thinking about everything other than what we’re doing right now.

    Mindfulness is like a happy drug. It’s a happy drug that comes from within us, is inexhaustible, always available and has no adverse side effects. Who wouldn’t want that?

    The great irony of humanity’s plight is that we search everywhere except for within ourselves for that sense of fulfillment. The truth is that what we’ve been searching for has been within us all along.

    Happiness, joy, bliss, peace and love are not waiting at the end of some illusory rainbow. Those feelings we deeply crave don’t reside in the future when this or that will happen. They’re always with us in every moment, if only we’d pause, dip into the present moment and look within.

    That feeling we’ve been searching for is right here, within us. It always has been. It always will be. All we have to do is be fully present.

    mind full or mindful

    6 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness

    1. Meditation – Engage in some kind of meditation practice on a daily basis. If you’re a beginner, try my 7 Day Meditation Challenge. Meditation naturally begets mindfulness. The benefits of meditation are seemingly endless and well-documented, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to have some kind of regular meditation practice.

    2. Practice Mindful Eating – When you eat, just eat. Don’t watch tv, don’t look at your phone, don’t walk, don’t drive. Just eat. Focus on the taste of the food, the subtle textures and smells. When you do this, you’ll enjoy food like you never have before.

    Also, mindful eating builds awareness regarding what you eat, helps you listen to your body and helps in overcoming unhealthy eating habits. You can even create a practice of blessing your food before you eat to create more mindfulness around eating.

    3. Try Phone Fasting – Smartphones can be weapons of mass distraction. Everyone knows that the constant notifications, social media scrolling and email checking makes focus almost impossible and sucks you right out of the present moment.

    Here’s a solution: Make a practice of taking some time to not use your phone. I personally don’t look at my phone for an hour before I go to sleep and an hour after I wake up every day. At night, this creates time to unwind, undistracted. In the morning, this creates time for me to engage in a morning routine and start the day off peaceful and centered, instead of instantly leaping into the fray of distraction. Another strategy is to not use your phone for a day (you can take a day off once a month or even once a week). Both of these practices are surprisingly freeing and cultivate focus, empowerment and mindfulness.

    Phone fasting creates a pattern interrupt. It allows you to become more aware of your phone usage and helps you transcend the habit of mindlessly looking at your phone.

    4. Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Situations – Practice being completely present in conversations, while walking outside, while listening to music, while drinking coffee or during any other day-to-day activities. So many of us live life on auto-pilot. A bit of mindfulness makes life more vibrant and exciting, as if you were a kid again.

    5. Practice the Five Sense Walking Meditation

    6. Read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    Try out all of these and make mindfulness a part of your daily life. Like everything, mindfulness is a muscle. The more consistently you practice it, the stronger it becomes.

    Meet each moment with blissful totality.

    – Stevie P
     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    The Power of Fiction

    Ralph Waldo Emerson Fiction quote

    Bold statement: Fiction can be a more effective teacher than nonfiction.

    The epics, the classic myths, the primordial fables, the transcendent archetypes and the phenomenon of story have all been omnipresent undertones of human culture since time immemorial.

    Fiction has the unique ability in which one can use words as arrows of intention to penetrate the infinite dimensions of abstraction. In other words, truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth.

    The deepest truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry. If they were to be written in a strictly analytical fashion, it would be confined to a sliver of interpreted reality. But with fiction, the words conform to the unique consciousness of the reader. They act as a range of possibility to be decoded subjectively, not a rigid pillar of force-fed predeterminacy.

    Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

    Along with being a vehicle for consciousness expansion, fiction comes with a whole host of other benefits as well…

    The Benefits of Reading Fiction

  • Improves brain connectivity
  • Increases empathy (and better relationships as a direct result)
  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances memory
  • Increases imagination
  • Expands vocabulary
  • Enhances creativity
  • Increases happiness
  • Enhances focus
  • Helps you be yourself (instead of conforming because the weight of social pressure is released when reading fiction)
  • Helps with approaching and overcoming obstacles (the influence of the hero’s journey)
  • Sources:
    The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction
    7 Benefits Of Reading Literary Fiction You May Not Know

    Stephen King Fiction quote

    How You Can Help Support Fiction

    Speaking of fiction, I recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for my new novel Sozwik. CLICK HERE to view the campaign and provide your support.

    Expand your mind with the wisdom of fiction, embrace the power of story and dare to dream.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.





     

    Are You A Positive Person? You’re Probably in Denial

    wolf

    When I started Feelin’ Good Feelin’ Great, I was in denial…

    I believed that positivity consisted on only focusing on “positive” things and ignoring everything “negative.”

    So that’s how I lived my life. I dodged my shadows and avoided my own darkness, then wondered why I felt confined and limited. In doing this, even though I thought that my life was all sunshine and rainbows (because that was the only territory I let myself explore), I was governed by the fear of fear itself (which is a self-created illusion). This phase lasted 2-3 years, until the Seeker archetype within me grew to the point where curiosity, backed by a deep sense of courage/faith/trust, could no longer be confined by fear.

    Positivity can be immensely useful, but when it becomes your identity or a way of avoiding the uncomfortable, you ironically slip into a life governed by fear and delusion.

    This is the trap of what I call delusional positivity; disregarding anything negative and pretending that it doesn’t exist. This is a dangerous way to live because what is suppressed will inevitably manifest in other ways. Although this naïve optimism seems all loving and pleasant, it’s based in fear; the fear of your own darkness (as well as the external reflection of it in the world).

    And what is positive anyway? Essentially, positive and negative are just labels which we place upon things that the ego either likes (positive) or dislikes (negative). When you draw your perspective back and look at the big picture, what you might deem positive and negative will often flip flop. For example, being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning when I was 19 seemed like a “negative” experience at the time, yet it was the greatest catalyst for my journey of self-discovery.

    There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
    – William Shakespeare

     
    This concept is hard to swallow from the limited perspective of the ego, especially with the extremes of war and suffering going on this planet. But we cannot truly understand love and freedom until we experience the extreme opposite. I’m not in any way saying to enable these atrocities though. Part of our process is to overcome them collectively (which begins within each individual). However, the woes of the world serve the purpose of being a harsh reference point of what we don’t want and the ultimate difficult learning experience.

    If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.
    – Viktor Frankl

     
    Contrast is necessary for holistic understanding. We need negativity to appreciate positivity. We need darkness to appreciate light. From a higher perspective, challenges are viewed as an opportunity to grow, hurdles are viewed as opportunities to leap and pain is viewed as a means of truly understanding joy.

    Love is the innermost craving of humans. Why? Because it is our essence. We experience fear, pain, suffering and the like because through experiencing contrast, we’re able to truly understand and appreciate love.

    Love is a unifying force, while fear is divisive. This applies both internally and externally. Fear divides people and fear divides aspects of yourself. And whenever things are divided, they come into conflict with one another. But love unifies and creates wholeness. So it’s only common sense that the totality of everything is love. Love is the fabric of Oneness. Love is the defining element of Source.

    owl

    The owl’s vision pierces through the darkness and sees through all illusions.

    Big Picture Positivity (Positivity 2.0)

    This is a call to let go of short-sighted, delusional positivity and courageously embrace Big Picture Positivity.

    Big picture positivity is the ability to love everything. It is being able to acknowledge and show compassion towards both polarities of duality (light and dark, good and evil, bad and good, negative and positive…etc.).

    Big picture positivity is the application of unconditional love. Big picture positivity is unwavering compassion. Big picture positivity is a total acceptance of what is, without judgment or resistance.

    Can you acknowledge your inner demons and meet them with a compassionate hug? If not, then you’re governed by fear.

    Can you acknowledge “negative” emotions without trying to avoid or change them? If not, then you’re creating resistance, self-judgment and denial.

    Can you acknowledge your darkness and shine light on it? Or are you too afraid? If you’re afraid of something within you, then you’re fragmented yourself. This self-fragmentation will subtly pull on you, pleading to be acknowledged, and will fester until it becomes something that you’re forced to deal with (like a disease).

    Can you acknowledge the evil of the world and meet it with empathy, compassion and love? Or do you react with fear, anger or judgment?

    Crime and the criminal justice system is actually a macrocosm of the practice of big picture positivity, or meeting everything with love. Ignoring crime obviously doesn’t work. But judging and punishing crime isn’t the best solution either (look at the massive failure/disharmony of the US criminal justice system). What does work, however, is acknowledging crime and healing the individual who committed the crime. It is addressing an aspect of the whole that is crying out for help and meeting it with love. People who feel love do not harm themselves or others; it’s as simple as that. So wouldn’t love be the obvious solution?

    The same principle applies to shadow aspects of ourselves. Acknowledge your shadows and meet them with compassion. Heal with unyielding love.

    There’s nothing to be afraid of. It all just is. All of that fear simply comes from resistance to what is.

    Love it all.

    – Stevie P!

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

    Here’s Why You Don’t Understand Zen Poetry

    zen painting

    Much of Zen Buddhism is purposely paradoxical and riddled with absurdities.

    Its purpose is not to get you to think, but to get you to NOT THINK. The ludicrous language that often characterizes Zen poetry is designed to shatter your egoic, conceited notions of knowing, well, anything. This leaves you in a state of what Zen Master Seung Sahn calls “don’t know mind,” or a mind that is still, clear and free of preconceived ideas.

    Just as you cannot see your eyes or bite your teeth, you cannot use your mind to examine your mind. Many Zen teachings are crafted (often in hilarious ways) to bring your perspective beyond your mind, so it’s not meant to be understood in the rigid, logical sense.

    Seung Sahn, whose teachings are featured in the phenomenal book Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, has some of my favorite Zen poetry. Here’s a taste…

    Zen Poetry

    What is Buddha?
    “Three pounds of flax”
    “Dry shit on a stick”
    I don’t understand these words
    The infant is sucking on his toes

     

    I traced the steps of the cow that has been long forgotten
    Having caught the harness
    I hope you will ride on the cow
    Playing the flute with no holes
    And enter your home village
    Where flowers bloom in the spring

     

    Good and evil have no self nature
    Holy and unholy are empty names
    In front of the door is the land of stillness and quiet
    Spring comes, grass grows by itself

     
    And here’s some of my own zen-style poetry (from my book Primordial Reflections)…
     

    An autumn day
    A walk outside
    Smile, golden retriever

     

    A zippery tandem
    A tippery zife
    Yeah that was random
    But so is life


     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


     

    Language is the Envelope of Your Reality

    child bubble universe reality

    How are you going to really wrap your head around something that you can’t put into words?

    Well, you inherently can’t.

    Those mysterious inklings that you subtly feel, but can’t quite express, are vague phantasms floating right outside of your realm of possibility.

    The envelope of your reality, the outer bubble of your realm of possibility, is limited by the lexicon and lineaments of language you have in your inner library.

    Along with being the raw material for formulating thought, language is also a vehicle for your intentions. With a wider variety of vocabulary and languages at your disposal, there is larger conglomeration of vehicles available to carry your intentions. If you have an extensive vocabulary, multiple languages in your mental rolodex, or use a language which is phonetically and/or alphabetically expansive, you can more readily transmit specifically desired intentions.

    Symbols are also language, with the vehicle of communication being the symbols themselves instead of words. Remember, reality is much more malleable than we’ve been taught. In this co-created reality, we’re simultaneously decoding it and projecting into it with our intentions at all times. The words and symbols we use are the mediums through which our intentions are expressed.

    Alphabet and Vocabulary

    The alphabet is the foundation of vocabulary, as letters make up words. (Although in some languages, the symbols are actually words instead of letters.)

    The bigger the alphabet of a language, the greater the potential realm of possibility, as there are more building blocks to work with (though there are other factors, like phonetics, that can determine the actual “reality reach” of the language). The English alphabet consists of 26 letters. To give you an idea of how English compares to other languages: Sanskrit has 46 letters in its alphabet, Arabic has 28 letters in its alphabet, Hebrew has 22 letters in its alphabet, Greek has 26 letters in its alphabet and Russian has 33 letters in its alphabet.

    Vocabulary is a crucial aspect of language because words are arrows of intention crafted to match objects, qualities, abstract concepts, emotions, feelings…etc. Words are like sign posts to describe the things you perceive, imagine or experience. The more adept with sign posts you are, the more accurately you can navigate and describe reality.

    Here’s a good example of perception-expanding vocabulary. The word “vibe” didn’t exist in the English language before the hippie movement. The word “vibration” existed, but it’s more general and doesn’t specifically describe the phenomenon of feeling people’s energy. People of course would feel the “vibe” of others before, but it was a mysterious phenomenon outside of the realm of Western possibility beforehand. But after there was a word to describe that specific feeling, it was in the collective realm of possibility and could be readily expressed between people. It’s like the use of that word became a gateway, which opened up that new dimension of possibility to people.

    Another example, one that English hasn’t found a perfect match for, is the Sanskrit word “maya.” When translated into English, the connotation is something like “a magic show, an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem.” It’s often used to describe this physical, three-dimensional reality we’re in. For someone who is fluent in Sanskrit, that one word is all they need to conceptualize the meaning. But for an English speaker, you would need to watch the movie The Matrix and study quantum physics to even glimpse the tip of the iceberg.

    Phonetics

    Phonetics is defined as “a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign.” (Wikipedia)

    Phonetics is another aspect of a languages realm of possibility, just in terms of sounds. Sounds are vibrations or frequency waves. And remember what Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

    The range of sounds you can make is another parameter influencing your range of possibility.

    Different sounds stimulate different parts of the body, which can activate or heal when used with positive intentionality. Chanting demonstrates this. If you’ve ever done a form of chanting, you know that there is an experience or tangible feeling associated with it (and it differs depending on the chant).

    Spelling = Casting Spells

    The word “spell” is an intriguing hint at the power of language. The word can be used in terms of “spelling words” or in terms of “casting spells.” But essentially, both meanings are one in the same. We literally cast spells with words. Our intentions, through the vehicle of language, are projections into the quantum soup of reality.

    It’s no coincidence that the first of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements is to be impeccable with your word.

    Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
    ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

     
    Language is the array of tools you have to build the house of your reality. Think of using words like wielding a hammer, are you using it to build something beautiful or hitting yourself over the head with it?

    word cloud

    The Ultimate Paradox

    Beyond all bubbles and boundaries of perceived reality, the totality of existence is stillness. So although expanding your language capacity undoubtedly broadens the horizons of your human experience, the essence of everything is the divine tranquility of all possibility.

    It is infinite potential, that which everything comes out of, the omnipotent silence which begets all sound.

    These quotes are beautiful hints at this paradoxical truth…

    Be still, and know that I am God.
    ~ Psalm 46:10

     

    The Tao that can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao.
    The name that can be defined in words is not the name that never changes.
    Non-existence is what we call the source of heaven and earth.
    Existence is the mother of all things.
    From eternal non-existence, therefore, we observe the beginning of the existence of the many hidden qualities of the universe.
    From eternal existence, therefore, we clearly observe the overt qualities of the universe.
    These two, the hidden and the overt, are originally the same at source, and become different where they manifest themselves.

    ~ Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Translated by Chou-Wing Chohan, Abe Bellenteen and Rosemary Brant)

     
    How to Expand Your Envelope of Reality

    Read more – especially books that come from a different paradigm from which you’re in. For example, if you grew up in the US, read the Tao Te Ching, which provides great wisdom through ancient Eastern philosophy.

    Increase your vocabulary – Reading more will naturally increase your vocabulary. While reading, look up words you come across that you’re not familiar with.

    Like Uncle Bun once said, “Go read a book you illiterate son of a bitch and step up your vocab.”

    Here’s another technique that has helped expand my vocabulary: Whenever you’re writing, use Thesaurus.com to incorporate the most fitting and flowing words in every sentence. In doing this, you can and learn new vocabulary while doing any kind of writing.

    Learn more languages – Learning another language will greatly expand your perceptions. It will literally open up a new world of possibility for you. Use something like Rosetta Stone, the Pimsleur learning system or take the plunge and learn by immersing yourself in a new culture and actually speaking another language (which is the best way).

    Be mindful of the words you use – Be mindful of the “spells” you’re casting. Is your internal dialogue negative and/or limiting? Is your external dialogue negative and/or limiting? If so, your experienced reality will be a reflection of that. Be aware of the language you’re using. From this place of awareness, use language that serves your highest good (and the highest good of others as well). As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

    Engage in reality expanding experiences – Partake in travel, meditation, plant medicine (in clinical or sacred settings), listen to lyricless music and get in tune with what you feel…etc. Put yourself in situations that leave you awe-struck and at a loss for words. When you’re in a state of awe or when you have your mind blown, you’re experiencing something that is shattering your previous boundary of reality. This sets the space for you to enter new territory.

    Reality is strange, huh?

    Cast “spells” that serve the highest good of yourself and others, and have fun expanding your possibilities.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

     

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

     

    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.