Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ask For What You REALLY Want



I want to tell you two stories.

The first is taken from the childhood of the yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, who came to the USA and formed the Self Realization Fellowship in California, which has helped many spiritual seekers, including the Beatles, myself and many others.

Yogananda was trained in the Kriya Yoga lineage of Indian enlightened masters like Mahavatar Babaji, Shri Yukteswar Giri and Lahiri Mahasaya.

In this story from his childhood, Yogananda recalled that his family had moved to Lahore in the Punjab. 
He acquired a picture of the Divine Mother, in the form of the Goddess Kali, and often reflected about how much the Divine Mother loved us all unconditionally, and wished to give us EVERYTHING.

Standing one day on the balcony of their house with Uma, his sister, Yogananda saw two kites flying over the roofs of the buildings on the opposite side of the very narrow lane. 

"Why are you so quiet?" Uma asked playfully.

"I am just thinking about how wonderful it is that the Divine Mother gives me whatever I ask." Yogananda said.

"I suppose She would give you those two kites!" Uma laughed derisively.

"Why not?" said Yogananda and began silent prayers for the possession of the kites. 

Kids in India play games of combat, with kites whose strings are covered with glue and shards of glass. 
Each player attempts to sever the string of his opponent and to release the kite. 
A freed kite sails over the rooftops, and the neighborhood kids have great fun trying to catch it. 

Because Yogananda and Uma stood on a recessed balcony, it seemed impossible that any loosed kite would come into their hands; the string would naturally dangle over the roofs instead. 

The players across the lane began their contest. 
One string was cut, and immediately the kite floated in Yogananda's direction. 

It was stationary for a moment, and in that moment, the breeze abated, which was enough to entangle the string with a cactus plant on top of the opposite house. 
A perfect loop was formed and Yogananda reached out and handed the prized kite to Uma. 

"It was just an extraordinary accident, and not an answer to your prayer. If the other kite comes to you, then I shall believe." 
Uma's dark eyes conveyed more amazement than her words. 

Yogananda continued his prayers with a crescendo in intensity. 

A forcible tug by the other player resulted in the abrupt loss of his kite. It headed toward Yogananda, dancing in the wind. 

The helpful assistant, the cactus plant, again secured the kite string with the necessary loop by which Yogananda could grasp it, and he presented his second trophy to Uma. 

"Indeed, Divine Mother listens to you! 
This is all too uncanny for me!," said Uma, and bolted away like a frightened fawn. 

The second story is a story that happened to me just a few weeks ago, while we were still in our house in New Zealand.

In our rural part of NZ, we do not have trash collection.
We have to bring the trash over to the local refuse center, and pay for its disposal by the bag.

Each week we collect the garbage from our kitchen, all the toilet rooms, our office and from my art studio, and we drive to the refuse center to dispose of it.

I was in the back garden weeding some dry, thorny thistle when I remembered that it was Thursday, and the refuse center would be open that day.

Thistle can grow to over six feet tall, and it has leafy thorns that are as sharp as knives.
The plant seeds itself a bit like a dandelion, which becomes a puffball full of seeds that floats in the breeze.

I took a break and sat on the lounge chair on our patio.
I was thinking about the story of Yogananda and the kites, when I saw a thistle seed glide towards me in the breeze.

A thought came to my mind that I should make sure to catch it and dispose of it, so it would not seed itself in the front garden.

I started asking for it to come to me.
I did not do it as a form of test, to see IF the Divine Mother loves me as much as She loves Yogananda, but from an inner assurance that I KNOW that She does, and that She wants me to have everything I wish for.

I even extended my hand with my palm up, asking for it to land on my hand.

The thistle seed stopped midair as if hesitating and unsure of how to proceed....

It continued its flight towards me and then stopped, bounced backwards, changed its direction, and flew a few yards sideways, and then to my utter amazement, it descended in a sharp vertical line straight into the large bag of trash that I had left open by the door.

A feeling of awe and delight came over me.
"Aha... This is what I had REALLY wanted..." I thought to myself.
It did not have to land on my hand so I would crumple it and then deposit if in the trash, instead it did what I had really wanted but did not ask for... Which was for it to be in the trash....period.

That night, I reflected on a workshop that I once took about manifesting what we REALLY want.

So many people ask for money, unaware of what it is they REALLY want and need.

In that workshop, we were asked to write on a piece of paper anonymously, what it was we wanted to manifest in our lives.

One of the requests was for a BMW convertible.

The facilitator told us to ask ourselves, what it is that we REALLY want, when we ask for a BMW.

We want to be reminded daily as we enter our vehicle that we deserve luxury, aesthetics and comfort.
We want to be admired by others for having good taste and enough money, and to state to the Universe that we enjoy having nice things.

We want not to worry about our old car breaking down all the time, and we want to feel inner satisfaction, for manifesting abundance in our lives.

All this we hoped to get from a BMW.... But we are putting the wrong details BEFORE this goal.

Wouldn't a new Mercedes do all this?
Wouldn't a new Audi do all this?
Wouldn't a new Range Rover do all this?
Wouldn't a new Jaguar do all this?
Wouldn't a new Porsche do all this?
Wouldn't a new Lamborghini do all this?
Wouldn't a new Alfa Romeo do all this?
Wouldn't a new Lexus or an Infinity do all this?
And why NEW? The list of antique luxury cars is also endless.

We were told that instead of insisting on a specific form to manifest,
we must focus on the FEELINGS of what it was we wanted to have in our lives.

The facilitator suggested that we treat our old car as IF IT WERE a real luxury car.
He suggested that we give it a name, shine and clean it, service it regularly and treat it with a lot of respect.

If you ever saw how badly poor people treat their cars, you would know what I mean.
They slam the rusty doors, curse the car for being a piece of junk and blame it for its ugliness.
No wonder it breaks down so often!

At that time, I had no money for a luxury car.
I drove a used Pontiac Sunbird convertible.
I had bought it for just $5000, but after the workshop, I started cleaning it until its red color shone like candy.
I polished the interiors until they glowed, and I replaced the worn-out convertible roof with a shiny new ragtop.

The car looked and felt like a beautiful, classic car.
Whenever I drove it to the beach in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, wearing nothing but sunglasses and my bikini, the whole road, including the policemen, hooted and whistled: "You Go, Girl!" 

Later in life, I did have my share of owning many brands of luxury cars, until finally, I outgrew this desire completely.

Nowadays I drive an old but perfectly running jeep that I service regularly, and that drives wonderfully for us in all sorts of weather.

In our part of rural Colorado, nobody but real estate agents drive luxury cars.
Even the wealthiest among us drive one form or another of high suspension vehicles, mostly pickups or SUVs.

With muddy, gravel roads, the question is: 
"Do you want to pay a high price and high insurance rates and constantly wait for your mud-caked Mercedes to be washed, or do you want to pay less money, less for insurance, worry less about daily washing, and not feel shitty every time gravel stones chip away at your car's new paint?..."

My hairdresser in Colorado (Veronica), also cuts the hair of some of the pilots who fly the private jets of some of Aspen's wealthiest people.

These pilots complained that their clients rarely flew to Paris or Italy to fancy hotels for lavish vacations, that instead they were always ferrying the most wealthy to camp in rural Patagonia, to hike Mount Everest or to some other rural and rustic parts of the earth.

When Veronica's sister got married, she flew to the beaches of Puerto Rico with all her family.
While sipping cocktails at the beach, enjoying seeing her kids playing by the ocean, she thought to herself: "I could get used to this millionaire's lifestyle."

Then she quickly reminded herself that the multimillionaires she know, did not bake at the seaside, sipping cocktails, but are more likely sweating on top of a mountain trail, or sleeping in rural huts in inaccessible parts of the earth... 
And to do all this, you really need very little money.

We do not ask for what we truly want.
We ask for money to buy a new mattress when what we REALLY want is a GOOD night's sleep.

We ask for medicine when what we really want is to be perfectly healthy and to understand how not to be vulnerable to every new disease.

We ask for safety when what we really want is to celebrate and to fully experience life.

We ask for earthly comfort when what we really want is Self Awareness and realization of our true nature, and to know the Divine Comforter within...

The Divine Comforter within, is the inner guide that was assigned especially for us, to help us become fully realized enlightened Beings in this lifetime. 

I often think about the mechanics of HOW the spiritual  Masters were able to manifest delicious food already on plates, directly from the Universal, and about HOW Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves of bread directly from the Universal?....

They did not pray, asking for money, and then proceed to the bakery to buy bread, perhaps even wake up the baker and beg that he would sell them bread, and then bring the bread back to share it with the masses.

They asked for what they really wanted, and they got it.

In the same way, we must not ask for the means to the means to the end.

Like the masters, we must ask for what it is we TRULLY want, the essence behind what it is we want in our lives.

So many people in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China, leave the green countryside in order to work in dingy and soul crushing factories, just to have enough money to educate their kids and to support their families.

They think that a "secure job" will provide them with all this.

What ends up happening is that they work in dark and dingy factories, spend their days sewing sneakers or shoes, and never have time to enjoy or even raise their children, who grow up feeling empty, lost and afraid to become factory ants like their parents.

They need to ask for a fulfilling and abundant life right in the countryside.

They need to ask for a wholesome life surrounded by Nature, to enjoy the fresh air and clean water, to live a simple but happy life with their children and community, growing their own vegetables and fruit, selling cooked food like noodles or dumplings or their garden produce at the local markets, where they can meet their neighbors, sing, fall in love, share stories and care for each other's children and respect the elderly.

Instead, they buy field crickets in tiny bamboo cages to hang in the corners of their tiny dingy factory rooms, while they work in "secure jobs" that suck the joy out of their divine lives.

We often ask for one thing, when what we really want has nothing to do with what we have asked for.
We ask for boats when what we want are days full of fun and pleasure.

We pray for a "miracle drug" for an assortment of terminal illnesses, when what we REALLY want is to understand how to create good health, to be perfectly healthy again.

We ask for money to buy dentures when what we REALLY want is for a new and healthy set of teeth to grow in our mouths.

We ask for gadgets to help the blind, when what we should be asking for is for their eyesight to be restored.

We ask for new technology to help amputees function better, when what they REALLY want is for their own legs to grow back.

Paraplegic people ask for money for a gadget equipped van and a driver so they can move around, when what they REALLY want is to be able to walk again.

As a divine child of Life, YOU ARE ENTITLED to miracles!

A miracle is a change in perception to correct the errors in your mind, from a belief system based on fear, to a belief system based on LOVE.

For most of your life, you thought that you were a body, a physical body that is subject to many dangers, like accidents, loss of limbs, terminal illnesses, the passing of time, aging, death, loss of strength, bad teeth and the many monetary and psychological dangers that a singular, isolated body might encounter during life on earth.

By believing that you are a body, you are actually saying that you believe that you are separated from Nature by an armor made of bones, blood and skin, that operates somehow individually and separately from LIFE ITSELF.

This mistaken belief in our separation from Life has given birth to an ego identity that is composed of your body, your mind, your identity, your thoughts, your beliefs, your past memories, your hopes, your dreams and everything else that you believed to be yourself.

The totality of this ego identity has instilled in our minds a belief system and a way of seeing and experiencing the world that is based on fear.

If you are your body, you MUST be vulnerable, fragile and in need of constant protection. 

If you are a body, you must be subject to the cruel hand of time that will no doubt age you, deplete your bones, weaken your mind, and hasten you quickly towards the grave.

If you are a body, there is nothing you can do that will make you truly happy and safe on this earth.

A car can hit you as you cross the street, a plane can crash or an earthquake can claim your life, your lover can leave you and even skiing down a mountain in an upscale ski resort can end up deadly, if you ski into a tree.

Luckily, you are NOT A BODY.

Your body is a thin veil of illusions, of separation that your ego has woven around a GLORIOUS, LUMINOUS, divine Being of LIGHT, LOVE and supreme intelligence, who is one with the very essence of LIFE that permeates every nook and cranny of this glorious Universe.

You can NEVER be separated from LIFE!

The mistaken belief in 'sin,'
The belief in cause and effect, 
The belief that every action MUST have consequences, 
IS THE EXACT reason that we do not regrow a withered arm, 
Regrow a new set of healthy straight teeth 
or regain our perfect eyesight.

We believe we have "damaged" the body by our actions, and thus we do not believe that we "deserve" renewal and a fresh start.

In effect, what we say is:
"If this person did not eat SO much, she wouldn't be fat!"
Or:
"If she did not eat so much sugar, pretzels, bread and pasta, she wouldn't have developed diabetes."

We hold ourselves and others prisoners to our beliefs in the "laws of nutrition," the "laws of medicine," the "law of cause and effect."

You are under NO LAWS BUT GOD'S LAW!

Of course you want to respect and obey the laws of the country in which you live, and to respect all other human laws, but what I am saying is that you are NOT under the 'laws of nutrition,' the 'laws of medicine,' the 'laws of economics'.....

There is a higher law of LOVE, of LIGHT, of possibilities, of potential that is full of compassion that you cannot change by your earthly actions.

You are a beloved child of Life!

You are Spirit, eternal, unchanging, perfect and complete, and you deserve to be here!

Even in this world, you must look at yourself with compassion and ask with love and compassion in your heart:

Does a beloved child of life "deserve" diabetes, because she felt lonely and unhappy and wanted some sweetness in her life, so she ate too much ice cream?

Does a beloved child of Life "deserve" AIDS, because he wanted some excitement and sex with others?

Does a beloved child of Life "deserve" bankruptcy or financial collapse, because she wanted to live in a nice house, and she stretched a little farther than she later found she could afford?

What kind of God would punish His children for wanting a bit of abundance, a nice house, some sex or love, some comfort, some luxury, some financial security and a little bit of richness in their lives?

Surely not the God of Love, but only a god of vengeance, insanity and hatred who is so stern and unloving....

This god is NOT REAL.
It is the god of your own imagination who was created by your own fears, and this god lives only in your OWN nightmares.

It is the god of anger who holds children prisoners to the belief in sin, in cause and effect and in action and reaction.

Give up believing in this imaginary god!

There is a loving, kind, God of LIFE Who holds the planets and the stars in orbit, and who lovingly pumps the blood of even the worst 'sinner' among us.

It is the God of endless compassion Who loves His children, and She is never judging, never condemning, never even seeing you through the eyes of illusions.

Let the Divine Mother renew your body and allow miracles into your own life....
You deserve it!

You cannot really sin except in your own imagination.

The mistakes you make, do not have to crash you to the floor...

Mistakes do not have to have terrible consequences, and accidents do not have to be painful nor deadly.
Mistakes can be made and then quickly recognized, can drop away to make room for compassion and love.

REAL Life is so forgiving and so kind.....
It is only in your unforgiving mind that the Universe is a harsh place.

Do you understand how ingenious the human design truly is?.....
It was conceived in SPIRIT, with great intentions in mind.  

We believe that the physical body is breakable, and that our senses are very limited. 

Our senses are actually very sophisticated tools which were designed to allow us to sense, rejoice, experience and delight in this magnificent universe. 

Do you know that it is possible for you to heal ALL the broken down systems in your body?

Do you know that it is possible for you to hear thousands of sounds usually inaudible to the human ear, like the song of the hummingbird, the sounds made by a newly-hatched robin, the hidden notes of a field cricket that can sing at fifteen thousand vibrations a second, and many other musical sounds far above the range of the common human ear?....

Do you know that it is within your capacity to feel, control, and send out inaudible sounds that are capable of producing emotional feelings such as love, peace, harmony, and perfection that can benefit the whole world?.....

Do you know that it is within your capacity to feel vibrations and feelings of abundance and great joy, that can be amplified and sent out to surround and interpenetrate all of humanity to such an extent,  that if accepted, each person in the human family may have them?....

As it is, even without your conscious awareness, you are already amplifying and sending out vibrations into the world.

It is possible to refine your emanations, to think thoughts of love, light and clarity, which humanity is so much in need of.

It is possible to focus your good intentions into a crystallized form that will vibrate inside and around you.
People's vibrations will be elevated as you walk among them, and their desire for healing and wholeness will be accomplished as well. 

The vast sea of Life is a creative, unlimited, ever moving space that is full of vibrating, emanating energy.

This emanating energy is known as "Aqueous Substance" or "Cosmic Substance," in which all elements in existence are in soluble form, suspended in harmonious relation, ready to respond to the call of the vibratory rate that will allow them to coalesce into form.

As a Co-Creator and Divine Child of Life, you pull from this Aqueous Substance what you wish to manifest in your life.
It is awaiting your intentions and command, to coalesce into form.

This is how Jesus manifested food from the infinite and how one day you too, will see miracles happening - first inside you, and later on, all around you....



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We carefully chose our parents before we were born

My sister Dary Rees (on the right) and myself (on the left)

My parents, Sara and Gidaliyahu (raised by God) Reiss 

My parents Sara and Gidaliyahu Reiss 

We carefully chose our parents before we were born

Everyone believes that we choose our friends but that family, is the deck of cards that destiny handed down, often as a cruel joke that saddled us with plenty of disadvantages, and sometimes with a few advantages as well.
I would like to challenge this commonly held belief, and to present you with the idea that you actually chose your parents in order to provide yourself with a road map, with qualities that you need to emulate or to change, in order to progress toward higher realizations.
Even for people who are completely devoted to the spiritual path, the concept that we chose our family prior to incarnating on earth, is a hard one to swallow.
I once heard a lecture by Dr Brian Weiss about reincarnation and about how before we come to each life, we make a careful selection of our parents, to make sure that we have the best opportunity for progress in each life, progressing not towards earthly riches and success, but towards enlightenment.
Brian Weiss, M.D., graduated Columbia University and Yale Medical School, and is the former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami.
Dr. Weiss did some amazing hypnotherapy work with patients riddled with anxieties who very unexpectedly recalled their past lives and from that point of recall, proceeded to heal.
In his bestselling books, "Many Lives, Many Masters" and "Life After Life," Dr. Weiss wrote about his cases and his amazing realization that death is not the end of life, nor is birth the beginning of life.
Life is eternal, and we move from one life-story to another, usually with the same friends and family members, coworkers, neighbors and lovers that we encountered in this life.
We mend broken relationships and progress toward the realization of our oneness and our Divine God Nature.
All of his patients remembered the circumstances of their deaths, and recognized their siblings, lovers, parents and friends as people who had played major roles in their lives tens of thousands of years ago, in their previous lives.
There is a saying in spiritual circles, "Each relationship in our life, is an assignment."
That means that each person in our lives is there for a specific reason and that this reason is usually to help us along the way toward softening our hard edges, so we can move toward becoming fully realized beings.
In Dr. Weiss' lecture, an elderly Jewish woman from the audience turned to her daughter and said: "You see? You are always complaining about me, but you CHOSE me to be your mother."
"Well..." said the daughter unconvinced, "I must have been in a hurry and needed to make a quick selection....."
I can tell you with all my heart that I now understand that EVERYTHING that ever happened in my life was designed for my highest good.
I do believe that every friend, every lover, my family members, neighbors and all of my acquaintances, my one night stands and every situation in my life have occurred in order to help me to get to the realizations and convictions that I hold today.
There was a time, when I was a kid, when I believed that life was random and that I was born to the very worst family in the world.
As a child, I ran away from home as often as I could.
My parents fought often and were unhappy with each other and my sister and I were very traumatized.
I grew up full of fears, experiencing night sweats and many times, nightmares.
My grades in school dropped, because I never wanted to be home to do my homework.
I wanted my parents to finally get divorced so the fighting would end, but I also wanted them to love one another and to get along.
It did not work.
They divorced, and a few years after, my dad developed a brain tumor and passed on.
If you told me back in those days that I had chosen my parents BEFORE birth for a GOOD reason, I would have laughed it off and dismissed you as a crazy person.
Years later when I heard of this concept, I thought that I must have chose my mother so I can have a near-by reminder of how NOT to behave.
But many years have passed since then, and with new eyes and spiritual clarity, I can see that without any doubt I chose my parents for GOOD reasons.
With practicing forgiveness when my mind was finally free to make new and more enlightened connections, I realized that my parents were in my life for GOOD reasons, in order to imbue my path in life with strength and with spiritual truths.
I chose my mother for her creative nature and artistic tendencies.
She loves creating and has been skilled in making art and crafts all her life.
She also loved sewing and was very capable at it, which demonstrated to me both creativity and self reliance.
She showed me that one does not need to depend on the taste of Dior or Chanel in order to wear stylish clothing, or hand over huge amounts of money in order to wear any designer brand.
She also instilled in me great love and respect for nature.
She loved going out on nature hikes, taking my sister and me bathing in rivers and lakes in Israel, pointing out the colorful birds, the flowers I needed to smell and all the beautiful trees that I must not miss.
In her garden she grew fragrant roses and fruit trees, and created a very impressive cactus rock garden with night blooming cacti and tall palm trees.
She took us camping on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in Tiberius along with her childhood girlfriend and her three boys, and we played all day long, ate good food and had a fabulous, memorable time.
My mother was always very attracted to the metaphysical.
In her youth, she participated in many self improvement workshops, studied and practiced meditation, and developed her psychic insights.
My mother also taught me that the human body is natural and beautiful and that we need not be ashamed of it nor of our nakedness.
She taught me that the tradition in Judaism which urges the women to cover up their hair and bodies, was laughable and if anything, we should see nothing but beauty in the naked human form.
Later in my life, my mother also suggested to me that we attend together an American Indian Sweat Lodge which turned out to be extremely beneficial for me, but I will write about it at another time.
My father was a strong man with a powerful spirit, but with little awareness of his true spiritual nature.
He was badly wounded in Israel's Six Day War, suffering severe injuries.
He underwent dozens of serious operations, some of which had never been performed before on a human being.
For example, his leg was so badly injured above the ankle, that they cut off his foot and removed a few inches of the his badly wounded ankle bone, and then reconnected his foot to the leg.
It was an experimental procedure which was successful, and he was able to walk with no cane and almost no limp, despite the fact that one of his legs was much shorter than the other.
He was proud to tell me that if he were fully dressed, new people he met had no idea that he had ever been wounded.
Without clothes, his body was full of scars.
But he healed himself, or I should say that he stepped out of the way and allowed the intelligence inherited within his body to restore itself to balance, by his determination to be whole again.
He regained his eyesight even after one of his eyes completely fell out of its socket when he was injured.
My father embodied the absolute concepts of persistence and perseverance for me.
He was determined to overcome all the difficulties in his life.
When the war started, he was a university student studying mathematics, with the intention of becoming a math teacher or an accountant.
He was drafted into the army, but he was able to make an arrangement with the university so that he could study the textbooks by himself, and attend only for the exams.
At nights in his army tent, when most soldiers sang and talked and tried to cheer up their fearful spirits, he studied his books to the dim light of his torch.
He passed all of his tests and received his degree.
Being a great chess player, he also demonstrated to me the power and potential of the human mind.
He was able to visualize in his mind's eye endless possible game scenarios that his opponents might play.
I remember accompanying him to some of his chess matches.
Often he would play against five people at the same time, winning all the games.
He would move from board to board, giving each board a quick glance, while his brilliant mind quickly presented him with all the possible moves that led to different game outcomes.
He would make his move, click the timer and move on, giving each chess player only a few moments of his time.
His opponents would often sit and think for a very long time before making their next moves, but regardless of how much they thought, my dad always won.
Because I knew him so well, I could see the satisfaction that he felt after winning so fast, and I sensed that his joy was mixed with a little arrogance, but he never showed it to the other players.
If they asked, he kindly offered his advice and explained what they could have done differently.
He seemed truly happy to mentor some of the young players who admired him.
Both of my parents loved traveling and always prioritized money for it.
They seemed to be truly enriched by their travels which taught me very early in life, that the world is full of interesting places and people, from which I could learn, grow and expand my horizons.
They also loved people and were very social.
They truly loved spending time with others.
No human being is without human faults.
Every one of us make loads of mistakes and have many character faults that we need to examine and to correct.
When I think of my parents, I realize that despite the errors that they made in their youth, I must see the many, many blessings that they bestowed upon me.
They have bestowed on me MANY more blessings than I have recounted here in this short post.
The qualities that both my mother and father helped instill in me were the positive building blocks on which I built my foundations for life.
All my own pain, the tears I shed and the fears that I carried from my youth, were garbage that I needed to examine and to overcome in this life.
Otherwise, I would have needed to carry it over from one life to the next, shedding a little bit of my misperceptions and delusions at a time, in each lifetime.
It was my own inner work that I needed to attend to in this life, in order to progress towards Self Realization and Soul Liberation.
I wish I could tell all this to the little frightened girl that I once was.
And then I think to myself, why not?
Why not go back to visit her across time and space, and reassure her?...
In my mind's eye, I go back to visit that little girl that I used to be many years ago, and I reassure her that all her tears would one day be completely forgotten.... Gone... And that she will see a new dawn of possibilities on the horizon, full of Light and untold beauty....spiritual beauty... Heavenly Light....
I reassure her that her life will be glorious.... She will ski down white mountains, dive in deep blue oceans, hike in ancient forests to meditation retreats in sacred mountains....
I whisper to her that she will meet amazing people and eat fabulous food.... Visit remote parts of the earth....She will know deep love and one day she will find the love of her life.... She will be so happy, so joyful,..... Enjoy so much health..... Be rich... and that her mind will one day become her best friend, full of light-filled thoughts that she could have never dreamt existed....
I reassured her that she had chosen her lovely parents for MANY GOOD reasons....
That even the fact that they believed in no religion and prayed to no God in hard times, and were against all creed and dogma, was all good for her.... She would one day learn to examine EVERYTHING before she believes in ANYTHING....
That those parents whom she saw cry and fight one another were actually her angels, teaching her qualities that she would take forward into her life, so she could create an amazing life...... A life in which one does not fight to defend her opinions, but understands that her husband is her dearest ally and that opinions tend to change as we grow and see things differently....
I reassure her that she will live a beautiful and brilliant life....the life that I am living today.....a blessed life....
I love my life now and I would not change it for any other life.
I feel enormously grateful and tremendously blessed right now...
I will end with a poem by Sharon Olds.
I have only included the last half of this beautiful poem, in which she sees her parents before they got married, before their fighting began and before all the pain that they inflicted on their children and on one another.
It is called,
"I Go Back to May, 1937"
"....I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
Under the ochre sandstone arch,
The red tiles glinting like bent plates of blood behind his head
I see my mother with a few light books at her hip
Standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,
The wrought-iron gate still open behind her,
Its sword-tips aglow in the May air.
They are about to graduate,
They are about to get married,
They are kids,
They are dumb,
All they know is they are innocent,
They would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say- Stop!
Don’t do it!
She’s the wrong woman,
He’s the wrong man.
You are going to do things
You cannot imagine you would ever do,
You are going to do bad things to children,
You are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
You are going to want to die.
I want to go up to them
There in the late May sunlight and say it,
Her hungry pretty face turning to me,
Her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
His arrogant handsome face turning to me,
His pitiful beautiful untouched body.
But I don’t do it.
I want to LIVE.
I take them up like the male and female paper dolls
And bang them together at the hips,
Like chips of flint,
As if to strike sparks from them,
I say:
Do what you are going to do,
And I will tell about it...."
(Poem BY SHARON OLDS)
Before I wish you a great week, I urge you to look to your own life and try, just try to imagine why you chose your own parents before you were born and what lessons and blessings you have laid out for yourself to receive in this lifetime.
With love,
Tali

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Skiing in Colorado, buying gear, thoughts about our potential and reminiscing about my father


Before our flight from New Zealand to the USA, we spent a few nights in Auckland.

We walked the length of the city, about fifteen kilometers daily, practicing for our upcoming pilgrimage by foot.

We ate delicious Malaysian food at 'Selera' in Newmarket (try their best ever vegetable Laksa and the King Prawns encrusted with dry oats).

We enjoyed Gujarati delicacies on K road in a newly opened vegetarian restaurant, drank fresh juices at 'Tank,' and had delicious Japanese food at 'Genta' on Commerce Street in Britomart.

We went to a matinée at the Rialto Cinema in Newmarket.
In the movie, "The Big Short," about the fraudulent subprime loans that led to the 2008 housing market crash, an aerial camera hovered over the landscape of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado before it centered on and descended into Boulder.

I felt choked with emotions..... The tall snowy mountains.... The sharp jagged peaks... The open vistas... The rivers shimmering in greens and blues curving through the landscape...... Herds of running deer, Buffaloes, horses.... soaring Eagles.....home.....my home....

It has been five months since we've been at our home in Colorado, and it feels like forever....it feels like we are returning as different people.....changed by all the experiences that we have had in the past five months....

My emotions surprised me...after all, I love the Hokianga in NZ, feel very much at home there, and hope to keep on living there, so what was this all about?....
Flying during wintertime often involves long delays and missed flight connections.
We were delayed in Auckland, but they were able to book us on a later flight from San Francisco to Denver.

The flight from San Francisco to Denver was also delayed, but we made it to Denver by dinnertime.

We spent a few days in Boulder and Denver.
We decided to stay over before driving up into the mountains, because we wanted to look for gear that we might need for our long upcoming foot pilgrimage in Japan.

We made a list of things that we might need for the trip.
Denver and Boulder are both outdoor 'Meccas' for adventure seekers, with so many gear shops and so many knowledgable people.

Ahaa.... this is why Colorado feels so much like home to me.
It is not about my beautiful house, not about walls, nor is it about the glorious mountains; it is about the people.
People who believe in themselves to such an extent, that they are powerful in bodies, minds and spirit.
People that inspire me, leave me in awe, and often uplift my spirit.

While many people we have met so far have said that we were crazy to walk for months in search of enlightenment, in Boulder and Denver people encouragingly said:
"Oh so cool!  My buddy did this three years ago." 
Or: 
"My mom just returned from walking a similar trail, it was incredibly tough but amazingly rewarding." 
Or: 
"My sister did something like this, but she did it as a 'speed ascent', meaning that she ran most of the trail instead of walking it."

The strength and determination of people in this region is so admirable as to border on  the totally unbelievable.

I once heard about a guy who was an award winning cyclist from Vermont who moved to Vail.
He said that it was so humbling to discover that he wasn't even in the top thirty of the legions of strong cyclists in the Vail area.

In Vail this week, there was a lecture by a young woman named Jessica Martin who became, between July and October of 2015, the first woman to summit and descend all of the 14ers in Colorado with a mountain bike. 

That means 14 ascents of mountains of 14,000 feet or more!!!! with a mountain bike on her back, and 14 trips down. 

Climbing to the summits of these tall Rocky Mountains is a major achievement by itself, yet she did it with a mountain bike strapped to her back, and, for at least half of the climbs, by herself with no company.

I am adding a link at the end of this post to her amazing story, with a few photos of her with the bike on her back.

Our bodies and minds are capable of so much more than the little that we ask of them.

What most people consider to be a 'normal' level of activity is just the tip of the iceberg of the level of energy and vitality that are available to us.

Most people are happy if their bodies can carry them through the hours of each day with enough energy to do their work and chores, without feeling fatigued.

Other people are happy if their bodies do not break down or get sick frequently, or give them too many pains.

The truth is that the body will comply with whatever level of expectations you hold in your mind.

If you treat it kindly and with love, if you do not criticize it too harshly when you face yourself in the mirror, and if you encourage yourself and expect your body to be energetic and strong, it will do all that for you.

Spiritual masters remind us that: 
"You are NOT really capable of feeling tired, but you are VERY capable of making yourself weary all the time."

How do you make yourself weary and fatigued?
By the misuse of your holy mind.

By your judgements, 
By your thoughts about your mortality, 
By your fears and beliefs in sickness, in limitations and in death,
By believing that you are separate from the very Spirit of LIFE that is within you.

The strain of constant judgment is very wearying and fatiguing.

Your moods, your anger, cynicism  and all the shapes that fear can take, drain you emotionally and deplete your energy levels.
When we calm our emotions and allow our minds to be quiet, we can listen to the Divine Wisdom WITHIN.

If you view your mind and body as frail and fragile, it will become so for you.
Your mind is holy and divine. 
It is not separated from the Universal mind.
The Universal mind is all knowing, all powerful and it is everywhere.

Access to this enormous library of all wisdom, past present and future, is never restricted to you.
You have full access to it and you are entitled to so much more than you claim from life.
In other words, you do NOT ask for too much of life, but far too little.

As long as your mind dwells in lower vibrational frequencies, obsessing about goals that will never really give you what you truly want, you will not become aware of this Oceanic Mind and your connection to it.

Most people use only a slight portion of their minds in daily life, dumbing themselves down by negative messages and low expectations.

I have a childhood memory of my Dad, who was a very good chess player.
He used to read chess books with such joy, I often saw him laughing and mumbling commentaries to himself.

I remember once asking him what he was laughing about, and he said that it was obvious to him from the third move, that the player in white had made a fatal rookie mistake that would soon cause him to lose the game. 
I peeked over his shoulder into the book and saw nothing but numbers and letters in what seemed to me to be an incomprehensible code.

I looked at my dad, marveling at how could he produce so much inner joy and happiness from simply looking at some letters and numbers like: e5 d7 a3, or bishop to ac4.

I remember that he used to train before important chess matches.
Beside reading books about famous games and memorizing endless moves, he used to "read" the yellow pages and the white pages.

I once asked him what he was doing.
He said he was exercising his mind.

I must have looked skeptical, because he said that he would demonstrate it to me.

He studied the white pages some more, and after about ten minutes, he handed me the thick book and said: 
"Choose any family name from page one to page thirty and tell me the name you chose, and I will give you their phone number from memory."

I chose a random family name, and to my amazement, he gave me their correct phone number.
Full of admiration, I had him demonstrate the capacity of his mind again and again and he was correct nearly all the time. 

I am not suggesting that we must learn to 'exercise our minds' the way my father did, but that we allow our human intelligence to be transmuted into Divine Intelligence.

It is within our birthrights to tap into the Universal, the all knowing mind.

Eternal Bliss and a realm of pure Love, Light and endless potentiality, is right WITHIN YOU. 

All the mistaken ideas of sin, discord, sickness, old age, and death exist only in the minds of mortal man, who thinks he is a body and who is lost in the mist of illusions.

In Denver and Boulder we ate fantastic, healthy food at a fraction of the price that it cost in NZ, and we enjoyed the alternative culture.
Instead of t-shirts saying: "Please Help Keep Denver Clean!" I saw people wearing t-shirts saying: "Please Help Keep Boulder Weird!"

In the 'True Foods' restaurant, which is owned by Dr. Andrew Weil, I started a conversation with a couple who each wore the Barefoot Vibram Five Finger Trail Running shoes that I wanted to buy for the pilgrimage.

As if I were their long time friend, I joined their table uninvited and asked them for details about the shoes they were wearing, and if they liked hiking in them.

I asked them how they felt when they wore the shoes all day long, and whether they thought that I could do the pilgrimage wearing those barefoot five finger Vibrams.

They were more than happy to indulge me, and suggested that I build up my leg muscles slowly and alternate between the barefoot Vibrams and a lightweight trail running shoe.
They also recommended the best kind of sock to go with the shoe.

We visited the Apple Store in Boulder, and bought two mini iPads for the trip.
Carrying full size iPads in our small backpacks was out of the question.

We also compared and tried on many different backpacks.
We wanted a really light and airy backpack with very good back support and a waist band, which we could carry on our backs all day long for three months.

After a few days of comparative shopping, we felt that we had singlehandedly boosted the US economy enough to reverse the downtrend in the stock market, and we finally drove into the mountains to our house.

When we stopped at the Whole Foods supermarket in Frisco, I expected to be cold.
The Breckenridge area is at very high altitude and is normally very cold, but I felt nothing but warmth.

The sun was so bright and the sky was so blue, the snow looked blindingly white and the quiet of the mountains runs so deep in my veins....
Could I ever give this place up to live anywhere else in the USA?....I do not think so.....

Despite our need to adjust to the difference in timezones, we headed to the slopes to ski after just a few days of unpacking and cleaning our house.

We spent two days skiing in Vail, stopping often to take in the marvelous vistas, and to breathe in the clean mountain air.

Skiing down white steep slopes.... Who ever came up wth this brilliant idea? It feels like flying...... Free, joyful, liberating....my spirit soars so high....

My mind became quiet except for the occasional reminder that I must not strain but glide... Glide like a bird on the air currents, instead of using too much leg muscle. 

For me, skiing is about putting aside all body conscious fears and letting my body align with my spirit spontaneously... When this happens, I have full coordination between balance and movement...like a liberated spirit that is finally free to dance... 

Jules turned to me and smiled:
"Not a bad place to live, hey?.... And not such a bad way to spend your days....skiing down beautiful mountains...."

I thought about my brothers and sisters in Syria, and about my brothers and sisters in Flint, Michigan who have not had clean drinking water since the day the city switched to using a polluted river.... And I remembered this old prayer:  

"When man has finally learned that he is NOT A BODY WITH A MIND 
Which is ruled either from within or without, 
But that both mind and body can be made obedient servants 
To his real SPIRITUAL SELF, 
Then she can finally tap into that God-given, 
All powerful dominion 
With which she was originally endowed.

You were designed in perfect Spirit,
In the spirit of the ideal that you'll be ever Young, 
Ever vibrant, 
Enjoying perennial youth 
And with hope and endeavor to achieve everything that serves your highest good.

The soul of man stands on the threshold of a new era, 
More glorious than any other that has ever brightened the sky since Creation's dawn."

Keep hope in your heart always
Do not let obstacles paralyze you, but jump over them like a graceful runner.....
Strive to achieve self-mastery in all aspects of your life...
And KNOW that you are blessed beyond measure....
Tali 

A link to the story of Jessica Martin, who mountain biked all of the Colorado's 14ers: 
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http://www.vaildaily.com/news/20221132-113/vail-symposium-presents-biking-in-the-backcountry-a