27 Jun 2011

The Cosmology of DOG

6 Comments Relationships, Self Development and Transformation

In my experience, most things on this planet come with an ending.

I find that there is often some resistance within myself to prevent natural completions, terminations or transitions even though I am conscious that everything and everyone has an end, at least in this physical manifestation.

Sometimes it is holding on to a job simply because I don’t want to accept it is over or deal with the fact that I’m no longer stimulated or challenged by it.

Sometimes it is gripping hard to a relationship that has long served its purpose and only exists because I, or we, keep pumping life into it in fear of the alternatives or in laziness based on what is comfortable and familiar.

Then, there is the obvious and biggest example of this. Death. Yes, death. The big one. The end of ends. The Grand Farewell.

In my work and in my own experience, I find that our anxiety with regard to our own physical termination has a great deal to do with many of our often times silly obsessions, patterns and hang-ups. What is most notable, however, is that our anxiety about death tends to be largely unconscious as most of us simply do not wish to think about it let alone discuss it with others, lest we make it ever more real.

So, what are we so worried about? There are of course the obvious questions such as will it hurt… will we be scared when the plug is pulled… will our loved ones miss us…will we be judged for things we messed up while alive?

For some, adherence to particular spiritual or religious doctrines helps place death within the specific context of our belief system. Our cosmology, the map we create and nest in that explains our universe and extrapolates for us beyond the flat line, seems easier for those who believe in a clearly defined religion as most theologies inherently answer the matter of life and death as one of the foundational purposes.

Which brings me to my dog.

Chaco is now 15 ½ years old. He wobbles and hobbles, pees and poops wherever it moves him, eats when he feels like it and only that which appeals to him at the moment. We have to hide his incontinence pills in balls of Wonder Bread and cream cheese, otherwise, no go.

He stares at himself in the mirror for long periods of time as if lost in the picture of who he has become. He spends several hours in a day standing at my side, staring into my eyes, panting.

He is, by all intents and purposes, nearing the end of his dog life.

Some folks would have “put him down” by now, claiming it is just “humane.” Others discuss the notion of “quality of life,” asking questions about his ability to run and play, making assertions that a dog that can not catch a Frisbee any longer may not be in possession of a good enough quality of life.

However, Chaco lives.

I’m not sure if he enjoys a particular cosmology, if he is conscious of a life after death or if he believes he will just “STOP” when the ride ends.

I do know, that he melts when we pet him. I know that he loves some good wet food and tuna fish makes his heart sing. I know that there is still a gentle skip in his gait when we get to the dog park, even though he stumbles around and makes his mark by sometimes lifting the wrong leg. I know that my best friend for over 15 years, though mostly deaf, always knows when I am leaving for work and makes his way to the front door to peer his sweet head around and wish me a good day.

I know that Chaco is not finished with this life. I am basing this belief on the sense that he will let me know when it is no longer worth it. I am basing this on 15 years of history together that has proven that my dog communicates his needs pretty darn well.

And, I suppose, I’m basing this on my own cosmology. The way I perceive life and death is the way I move through my existence, making decisions and choosing paths along the journey. I believe that Chaco contracted with me long ago to walk this walk together, to enjoy the journey for as long as we decided it was working for us both. It’s a relationship, after all.

And relationships are a two way street.

14 Jun 2011

Who Is Your Co-Pilot?

9 Comments Humor, Relationships, Self Development and Transformation

Tell me how this God of yours works?

Seems like a great number of folks believe that if they believe in a “Saviour” God, then God will save them from bad decisions, taxes, and overeating. Others believe in one of those “Redeemer” Gods who will liberate them from bad relationships, bad governments and inclement weather. “Destroyer” Gods are less popular today although remain extremely central in certain social and religious circles.

What strikes me as odd is the segment of our society who define themselves as “non-religious” yet continue to foster a relationship with “Spirit,” “Source” or “A Higher Power” who will still somehow do everything for us. This has been popularized by the Law of Attraction and various programs of manifestation that become so oversimplified as to promote a similar projection of responsibility as the great religious traditions who suggest that if we place our faith in their God, then things will just work out.

While I am a firm believer in the notion that thoughts become things, I have not relinquished my relationship with my rational mind, personal experience and twelfth grade physics.

I believe in God. I do not, however, believe that God will do things for me that I do not want to do for myself! God is not my “Four Hour Work Week.” God is not my winning lottery ticket. God is not choosing the right candidate in an election.

God is my PARTNER.

We co-create. We manifest stuff together. We negotiate contracts, discover relationships and find parking spots together. God is literally my co-pilot.

I believe in personal responsibility. I know that when I make a decision rooted in a low frequency of my SELF that it will likely lead to low frequency outcomes. God, my understanding of God at least, doesn’t appreciate being a part of low frequency business deals, relationships and various other life contracts. God will reluctantly go along with some of these decisions because God loves me and wants to be supportive, but God will not use the vastness of God’s abilities to turn water into wine and make a lemon turn into a Ferrari just because I am a good person.

On the other hand, having God in my court is a huge plus. When I realize I have made a decision that is counterproductive; when it becomes clear that I’m not living at my highest frequency, it is really nice to have God around to consult with and recalculate the plan. God is always there for me when I need support. That feels really good.

While I don’t align myself with the billions of atheists on the planet who believe that God is an escapist fantasy, I do understand how it must seem to them when so many millions of people resort to their faith in God to fix what needs fixing in their lives.

To me, faith is a wonderful supplement to some good old fashioned common sense, hard work and smart choices.

01 May 2011

The Bright Week Offensive

3 Comments Self Development and Transformation

“Religion is [can be] a defense against the experience of God.” C. G. Jung

A dear friend invited me this week-end to participate in a special brunch to celebrate Bright Week. Bright Week, or “Renewal Week,” is a tradition observed by many Eastern Orthodox Christians to commemorate the seven days following the resurrection of Christ. The entire week is considered to be one really long day, with each day being labeled “Bright,” such as Bright Monday, Bright Tuesday, etc.

I like the concept of bright days.

Brunch was initiated with several prayers, chants and even a didgeridoo performance. Attention was offered to intention, not dogma or liturgical correctness. It was beautiful and I felt honored to be included.

As I sat and enjoyed the mindful discussion and dialogue that guests engaged in throughout the afternoon, one thought persistently pierced my awareness:

At what point does religion serve as a springboard for a person to plunge into their own unique experience of the Transcendent and likewise, where is the point at which religion serves as a distraction from that personal encounter?

As a former practitioner of an orthodox religion I know for myself the experience of maintaining the dogma, rituals and rules was a very important practice. For one thing, I learned a great deal about myself and how I resist rules! However, I also learned how much easier life can be once one consciously follows a set of rules and the magical space it can create for spontaneous spiritual experiences to occur at the interface between the unconscious and transcendent realms.

I found that adhering to specific, organized, physical parameters seemed to create a greater platform for metaphysical moments.

That’s a bright thought in my good book.

10 Nov 2010

The Dirty Business of Staying Sacred

No Comments Uncategorized

Advertise Here?

Really? I can’t tell you how many times I have unzipped in front of a standing urinal to find an advertisement staring back at me. In Santa Fe, NM there was a company that seemed to have infiltrated every restroom in town, actually installing fancy cases above urinals where the marketing could change with the season or the event. Who decided that my time in the bathroom was an untapped opportunity to sell me something?

I remember one of the most striking scenes in Jerry Maguire involved Cuba Gooding and Tom Cruise hanging out in the bathroom, screaming and shouting, making business happen for real. There is a mortgage broker in my current office building who can be seen almost daily walking into the restroom with his cordless phone tucked under his shoulder as he reaches to lock the door behind him. Don’t you hear him negotiating his own deal on the other end?

In this day and age of smart phones and tablets, aren’t we already hooked up pretty securely? What makes this matter so concerning for me is that there really is no end in sight to this trend. Selling you is my democratic right, and we reward the guy or gal who is creative enough to nail you where you least expect it and then hit you with their YouTube capture of the coup a few million times. The guy who bought AdWord space for a CEO he wanted to impress when he Googled himself is considered creative and brilliant (he even got a job out of it) yet not invasive or impertinent.

It is easy to jump to the question, “Is nothing sacred?”

However, I believe the more important, yet related, question is:

Where does the sacred fit in this new world order we are creating?

It can be so easy to let my sense of something beyond my personal daily story fade away in the midst of endless tweets and texts. Finding the miracles tucked away in supermarkets, on dog walks, and in simple interpersonal interactions has always been such an important part of what has kept me sane in an oftentimes wacky world. Acknowledging the presence of God/Spirit/The Universe/Higher Power/Gaia/ETC. can be just the right thing for me when the Internet goes down, the bars disappear on my IPhone or I lose that blog I was writing on WordPress. So, I suppose the choice is mine. Do I allow the sacred into my technological mishmash or move farther away from the tiny miracles that have the power of making technology another vessel, not another deity…

19 Oct 2010

God Wants You To Buy More Frozen Peas…

No Comments Uncategorized

It doesn’t take the sudden death of a three week old goldfish to prompt stirrings of the meaning of life for a five year old child. Issues of life and death bombarded me from birth and likely will unto death, from the chicks hatching inside the nursery school incubator to the disintegration of multi-colored Pac Men. We won’t even get into the relationship of said Pac Men with floating bright red cherries as they are swallowed by supposed greater beings.  It is virtually impossible to avoid the matter of life and death, but for a small child it is inevitable that the matter be conjoined with the question of God.

And isn’t it one of THE questions for a young one? Adults are often so strong and matter of fact in their beliefs and emotions with regard to God, yet no one truly explains the matter in enough detail and with enough seeming precision as to settle the issue completely. So, we little one’s improvise. 

All knowing, all seeing, all powerful. These are the Super-human qualities that seem to get bandied about quite readily when it comes to discussing this God entity. Already a committed Superman adherent at three, common descriptions of God very closely challenged my associations with the Prince of Krypton, a hero who always impressed, astounded and fulfilled my expectations. I depended on Superman a great deal as a boy. Not even simply as a boy. I still admire the Man of Steel…

Transcendent. Able to appear and disappear at will. Dissolving and coagulating. These abilities bumped God above Superman as I had never seen him perform such feats. Another devoutly revered superhero, Batman, was able to appear and disappear, dropping in and leaping out of situations at will, however when measured by the suggested definition of transcendent, the Dark Knight didn’t come close either. Transcendent was suggested by a teacher as something akin to rain falling from the sky on a summer afternoon and the ensuing absorption of said water by the ground, the bugs and each blade of grass. Transcendent.

In fact, as more and more of God’s qualifications were recorded, it became increasingly challenging to find anyone that resembled him or her in my personal experience. I include “her” for my love for Batgirl was already warm and sublime at a young age and I would have welcomed her into the God running.

So many adults, when queried, are adamant that they enjoy personal relationships with God, that He is a fixture in their lives and that He personally saves them from all sorts of villains and evils. However, there was no God comic book, no Saturday morning cartoon, no Underoos. Whomever this God character was, he clearly needed better P.R. The closest I could find was a quirky, low budget animation program on Sunday mornings called “Davey and Goliath.” The consistently low-key “boy and dog” show seemed to address the sorts of questions I was also concerned with, but in the end, they were just as puzzling in their determinations.

In the end, the question of God remained a puzzle. The greatest approximation I found within myself was a hybrid crossing Mr. Clean with the Jolly Green Giant. This was the figure that seemed to seep into my dreams, speaking with a commanding voice, acting in a controlling, all-knowing sort of way. I had visions of waves of grain and green pea pods behind him as he encouraged me to be nicer to my little brother, tie my shoes faster and eat more of the frozen peas on my plate at dinner.

In fact, this early childhood version of God didn’t come with a cape or “underwear that was fun to wear;” she didn’t fly, didn’t drive a cool car or fight evil. Indeed, the manifestation of this transcendent being in my dream life and increasingly, my waking, conscious awareness, supported the rather confusing case of God.

If anything, I emerged from childhood with a unique association with God that approached a patriarchal, agricultural and extremely sanitary giant. This perhaps explains my subconscious preference for frozen vegetables and shiny floors and helps me better understand the radical right.