A Day in a Life: On Becoming Glorious

We all have the potential to be solitary and strong...

We were driving down the highway last weekend when I glanced out the car window. In the blink of an eye I saw a most beautiful tree standing alone in a field. Now that’s a metaphor for life, I thought, maturity and wholeness achieved by standing alone and detached, made gloriously strong by having taken full responsibility for self.

The image stayed with me. I just could not get that stunning tree out of my mind. It stood there so regally, its branches fully extended, its symmetry unique, its solitude firmly established. It needed nothing except the earth to plant itself in, the sun to nurture it, the seasons and weather patterns to test it and provide it with all that it needed in order to grow. It did not hold back because there was nothing around it holding it back. Its own spirit was fully in charge.

Wow, that’s how we should all be, I thought. I contemplated my children and all the children in the world, struggling to become independent, to shed themselves of their fears and make their way into the world. I knew then that our greatest gift to our children, and to anyone else in our lives, is to indeed let them live the life they choose, to let them go.

As we continued on our drive down the highway, I noticed other trees crammed together along the roadside, clearly cramped, held back, unable to fully mature because of circumstances that did not allow for their branches to fully extend like the branches of the solitary tree in the middle of the field. Growing too close, I saw that they would never reach their full potential. They were so crammed together they could not access enough sunlight and so they lacked the splendor of the tree in the field. Perhaps their root systems were intertwined, entangled; perhaps they struggled to find enough water to keep them healthy. Again, I felt the significance of the lone tree in the field. Left alone, the sturdy tree was offered every opportunity to grow to full maturity unencumbered by others, only the forces of nature to do battle with.

As human beings, we too are offered the opportunity to grow to full maturity, to become regal beings unencumbered by the obstacles of energetic attachment and grasping, if we so choose. In fact, unlike a tree, which is firmly planted, we have legs. We have mind. We can make personal decisions and we can get ourselves up out of dire and unhealthy situations. We can move ourselves. Even though we may have entanglements and roots that appear to keep us attached, in actuality, we always have the opportunity to move into new and better circumstances. Rather than settling for unfulfilled lives, we can choose to change, if we dare.

As human beings, we can elect to live as our spirits desire. We can choose to move away from the crowd, from the restrictions placed on us by the world we grew up in and the world we continue to attach to, to need or think we need. We can choose to do deep inner work, finding our true spirit’s desires waiting deeply within us. Like the roots of the tree seeking nurturance and the branches reaching toward the sun, our spirits always strive to grow and mature. We can learn what it means to detach from that which is not healthy and, by redirecting our intent, achieve wholeness. We can choose to view ourselves in a new way, as standing as strong and solitary, as spiritually whole and fulfilled as that tree I saw in the field.

As we go through life we have so many opportunities to provide ourselves with everything we need, yet we often turn to others to provide us with what we seek. We often stay connected to people and situations that no longer offer what we truly desire for ourselves. We stay attached to old ideas of ourselves, to old fears, and old theories of the meaning of our lives. We often remain like the trees alongside the highway. Crammed in by circumstances, our energy depleted by those around us, our opportunities for fulfillment stifled, we settle for where we are rather than dare uproot ourselves and seek new life.

The solitary, strong tree, its branches fully extended in all directions looked so happy. It looked free. It had energy! Even though it’s winter now and it was cold and windy on that day that we passed by, that lone tree looked so glowingly alive. That tree looked so contented.

Who knows what our greatest potential might be?

Now that is what we all need, I thought. That is what our spirits truly seek. That is what we must all strive for as we live our lives, and we must let others strive for the same. We must find our way to fulfillment and completeness by constantly seeking our fullest potential, without attachment, without fear of being alone. For I saw that in aloneness that tree had everything it needed, as a solitary unit it was complete, it was enough.

In that solitary tree I saw what I always knew, that aloneness did not mean being alone. It meant being totally free. It meant being strong and open, accepting and ready for anything. It meant having the energy to accept all energy from outside without damage to self, without attachment because it was not necessary. That tree did not need anything and yet its energy was totally open and giving. By its very beingness, by having achieved wholeness it was vitally alive, part of the greater whole.

We must all find our true selves by not holding back because of fear of this or that. If that tree had fear of aloneness, or fear of wind, or fear of the seasons, it would not have achieved its glory. So is it with us, we must not be afraid to seek our highest potential and achieve our most glorious selves.


Readers of Infinity: Life Is A Hall of Mirrors

What's the point of it all?

Dear Jeanne: Why must we suffer?

The other day someone asked me a rhetorical question: What’s the point of life if all we do is die and come back to suffer again? What’s the point?

We pondered the question from many angles, from the Shamanic perspective, from the Buddhist perspective, from what we’ve personally experienced and learned, but kept coming to the greater question, that being: What’s the point of anything?

What I’ve gained—in doing deep inner work around my own life lived, in doing recapitulation, and in having had experiences beyond the mundane—is a greater awareness of everything as quite the opposite of pointless and instead full of meaning and purpose. Today, I ask, can you clarify for us: What is the point of all our suffering?

Jeanne answers:

The most straightforward answer I can provide is this: Suffering leads to growth.

I follow that up by asking you, My Dear Ones, a rhetorical question in return: How would you even know you were suffering if you did not have something good to compare it to? How would you know that suffering was happening if you did not also know when experiences of the sublime were occurring? In this dichotomy I present the two facets of the meaning of life, for there is indeed great meaning in life. The point is to evolve beyond suffering. But it is only through suffering that the pointlessness of suffering will be revealed and it is only through suffering that the sublime will be revealed as well.

Fathom infinity as endlessness though not as nothingness. In suffering, one may remain endlessly caught in feelings of purposelessness, on the endless wheel of suffering. It is only in having experiences beyond suffering, outside of the wheel of suffering, that one will understand that there is more to life than suffering alone. Suffering is relegated to that realm, to life on earth. There are many other levels of existence. In your spiritual endeavors and in your experiences of life itself you have glimpses of these advanced realms of life; fleeting as they may be, accepted or rejected, they nonetheless occur many times in a lifetime. Life is not subject to life in human form alone, but exists independent of the human form as well.

Perhaps it is best explained this way: the spirit inside every human being knows that life has meaning, that there is a point to all life, to suffering and bliss alike. It is revealed in ways that do not overwhelm. It is revealed in experiences that each one of you can handle, even though you may think otherwise.

I interrupt Jeanne with a thought. Yesterday, Jeanne, I had the clear perception, perhaps clearer than ever, that the recapitulation process is very much like the dying process, that is, as we recapitulate we shed an old self, much the way we shed our human form and leave our body in death. Would you agree?

Yes, I would agree, Jeanne replies.

I go on to state: I agree with you Jeanne that in recapitulating we invariably allow ourselves the opportunity to understand life on a deeper level. In my own process, I began to understand both the Shaman’s perspective and the Buddhist concepts of life and afterlife at a much deeper level of understanding. I could not have fully embraced these new ideas had I not had many experiences during my recapitulation. In fact, recapitulation became my greatest teacher.

Jeanne goes on to say:

Remember, it was your own spirit that urged recapitulation upon you and this is what I speak of when I say that your spirits know how to guide you through life. Your spirits know what you personally must encounter in order to evolve. Your spirits know the challenges that will present you with the means of going beyond suffering as you go through your personal struggles. And yes, you must suffer until you no longer need to.

It is only then that you will understand the point of life—yours personally—including the point of suffering and the point of spiritual evolution. Until then it will all remain a confusing concept, a great mystery; as it should.

If you find yourself caught in the endless cycle of thought regarding life—constantly asking what’s the point or why must I suffer?—you will not evolve. The question itself will keep you attached to the queries of the mind, attached to the idea of suffering and the endlessness of pointless life. Why stay there when you don’t have to? In fact, the first point of life is to fully understand life through your own experiences, and then, through your own experiences, to expand the mind to fully understand mindlessness; the concept of mind without attachment, without grasping, to fully experience open mind without fear.

The job of suffering is to aid you in ridding yourselves of fears so that your dying process—in the many forms of dying that happen everyday, in the death of old ideas and concepts of self and others, for instance—may lead you to greater awareness. Life is not relegated to life on earth alone. That is what your spirit strives to teach you every day. Even your suffering is not really of earthly experiences, but far exceeds your present moment, your present self, and your present situation. Your suffering takes you on journeys far beyond self and the mundane world.

Is not most of your suffering inside you? Where is your suffering really in the world around you? You will find that the world does not deliver your suffering, but merely reflects your inner process, long ago planted inside you. Your inner fears are mirrored all around you. Life is a hall of mirrors. So where is reality? Once you discover that reality is inside you and that you have total control over it, the point of everything else will be revealed.

Work on freeing the self from the hall of mirrors. Face the fear that sends you looking for escape from the endless hall of mirrors. Look at it closely. Realize it is buried inside you, presented in this life but even more deeply embedded from past lives. You will indeed discover that the fears you carry have been carried much longer than you suspect. You carry your life lessons always within. Until you resolve them they will continue to haunt you, reflected in life.

So, what’s the point of suffering? What’s the point of life? The real point is to answer those questions for yourself. What do you think the point is? And believe me, there is indeed a point that will be revealed and the sooner you find out the better you will feel about it, about life, about the self, and about your role in infinity, because that is the ultimate point: you all have a role in infinity, in far greater life than you can now envision. But I can’t really tell you more than that. It’s your journey to figure out, to experience every day that you live upon that earth as you experience that wheel of suffering.

Keep learning about the self. Trust your life’s unfolding and your spirit to guide you on your journey, they know where you must go and why. Solve the riddle of self first, then other riddles will naturally be resolved.

Seek openness, freedom, and fearlessness by facing all the challenges of the self in a deep inner process of not only shedding old life but in seeking new life, a new life full of energy and curiosity. In letting go, in learning what it means to let go of suffering by suffering, you will eventually get the point of it all.

May patience, compassion, and fearlessness be with you.

Chuck’s Place: Thoughts about Shame

The gift of the movie Shame is the clear and brutal exposition of a path deeply hidden yet commonly taken, the path of sexual addiction.

At its heart, sexual addiction shares with all addictions the expropriation of an instinct, in this case the sexual instinct. Other addictions, such as food and chemical dependency, are more associated with the hunger instinct. Addiction numbs, soothes and keeps at bay the underlying challenges of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, integration, and true intimacy.

The sexual instinct, fully wrestled with and realized in maturity, brings in its wake bonding, union, love and new life. In addiction the sexual instinct is choked into compulsive release, offering little more than deepening alienation under the ever-present shadow of death.

Choked in shame!

The storyline of the movie gives us little history, but enough to know that life lived must be kept at bay, frozen and unprocessed. Human contact—seemingly at its most intimate in the sexual act—must be completely devoid of connection and feeling. Sex is completely severed from even a hint of love. The slightest hint of feeling renders the phallus flaccid, plunged into yet deeper shame.

And with shame comes the opportunity to be with the pain, to find the tearful circuits to emotional release, to begin to melt the frozen islands of fragmented self. But, as with all paths, sometimes the shock and pain of knowing the truth, and feeling it fully, sends us back into addictive behaviors and release, the wheel of groundhog days. Though this repetitive cycle appears to offer little resolution, in actuality, it allows us to engage in a truly instinctual/spiritual process, as we return to accrue more energy in the form of frustration and discontent, energy that one day will help us awaken and realize that we no longer need to stay on that wheel. We are fully prepared then to step beyond the path of shame into deeper connection and fulfillment.

The movie leaves us hanging, in an unresolved land with some painful truths revealed and many still deeply hidden. It leaves us uncomfortable, confronted with accepting the fact that we all face addiction of some sort in our lives, as well as some sort of shame.

Though addiction comes in many guises, at its core it nonetheless asks us to face the same things within ourselves as the protagonist in Shame is asked to face within himself: the uncomfortable truth.

Can we enter that land of truth? What do we stay addicted to that keeps us from not only facing our deepest pain but from going deeper into where it is instinctually guiding us? Can we allow ourselves to accept that in facing our truths we really will step onto a path of change? Can we bear the tension of that journey of change that seeks to lead us to true union?

Jan: Self-portrait at age 18—still asked by spirit to face truths in the light of day

Lift the veil of shame and see what’s beneath it. The ultimate realization is that we’re all on the same path; we’re all beings on our way to dying. Choosing addictions equals choosing attachments. How long do we really need to hold onto them? How long do we need to keep at bay the real truths of who we are, the truths of our lives lived and the truth of our lives yet to be lived? Can we stay open to our fullest potential—fulfillment in a life we can’t hold onto anyway? Because we do have to die.

The real question is: How do we want to live?

And the real crux of sex and love is: Can we allow ourselves to fully open to love in a life that will one day end? Can we join the spirit of love and fully merge with another human being? Can we love someone who may leave us and someone who surely is going to die? If love is spirit and sex is matter—which is transitory—can we allow ourselves to drop all addictions and attachments, and all our shame too, and truly merge the two?

Full union of spirit and matter is letting love in. There is no shame in that.

Chuck, with love and thanks for some expert editing by Jan.

A Day in a Life: Beware The Trickster

The Trickster comes in many forms...

The Trickster is everywhere, waiting to draw us in. Even in moments of deep contemplation and worthy endeavor the Trickster may appear, throwing a mighty chink in the works of our deepest inner process. Today, I write one more story related to the day my aunt died, as it seems relevant to the message channeled from infinity on Monday: Show me Something.

As I have written of in several blogs over the past few weeks, my aunt’s dying was a process that spanned years. Together we had spoken of her death, read numerous books about the dying process together, and in her last few weeks spent many hours talking until she could do little more than utter a few words at a time. Finally, in full awareness, she set her intent. She was done with this life. She was ready. She asked me to be with her, to see her through the dying process.

I set out early in the morning to sit with her. On the drive to the hospital, I threw out a plea to the universe: “Please give me a sign,” I pleaded, “just one sign to show me what to do. I’ve never done this before. I’m nervous about being all that she needs me to be on this most important day.”

At the first stoplight I came to, I noticed a red and black bumper sticker on the car ahead of me. I inched closer, trying to read the small print. Here is what I read: Gandalf Murphy’s S……… Circus of Dreams. I couldn’t make out the word beginning with the letter S, but I was struck. Circus of Dreams! That must be meaningful, I thought.

At the next stoplight, I inched even closer, still trying to read the word beginning with the letter S. It’s then that I noticed the picture on the bumper sticker, a magician in a top hat, a big leer beneath a large curling mustache. A Trickster! Now I was wary, but I was still drawn to try and read the word beginning with the letter S. Could it be Sensational? Stupendous? What does all this mean? It must be significant or why else would I be so drawn to it?

There were no stoplights for a long stretch. “Focus on the road ahead,” I heard a voice say, “don’t get distracted.” Okay, but I still wondered what that word was that I couldn’t read clearly.

I came into Rhinebeck and stopped behind the same car at the light. Something told me, very firmly, not to look at the bumper sticker anymore. It wasn’t important. I turned my gaze to the left and then I got it. I spotted the Tibetan store and I knew that, indeed, I must not get distracted from the mission at hand.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, and the writings of Tulku Thondup are instrumental in my own evolutionary process and were major players in my aunt’s process of dying. We had been waiting for this day for a long time. Now I understood what the message of the bumper sticker was: Don’t let anything distract you from the mission of the day. Your aunt’s intent is all that matters. You will be fine. That bumper sticker is nothing compared to how much preparation you have already done for this moment in your life. Stay focused on the mission.

The mission at hand...

From that moment on I never glanced at the bumper sticker again. My eyes were focused on the road ahead of me, which turned into a tunnel without further distraction, leading me to whatever dream would unfold as the day progressed. I let myself become part of the transformational process that was already in progress without attachment to fear or self-consciousness. I arrived at my destination having fully detached from all that was going on in the world outside me. All that mattered was the intent of the day. I shrugged off everything except what my aunt asked of me: to become what she needed; an energetic presence guiding and guarding her own energy as she took her final breath and swam into the light.

In being open to the process of asking for guidance, in asking infinity to “Show me something!” as Monday’s message guides us to do, I was also confronted with correctly interpreting the message I received that day. Had I gotten caught in my endeavor to look too closely at the bumper sticker, any number of outcomes could have resulted. But as soon as I turned away, listening to another voice telling me to let it go, I clearly understood that nothing else mattered but the mission at hand.

The Trickster pulls us constantly away from the real mission at hand: to evolve, to rid ourselves of our attachments, our agendas, our angers and selfishness, to be fully open and present for others, so that their journeys may be smoothed by our true and selfless presence in their lives. This is what I strove for on that day when I drove to the hospital to be with my aunt. The mission was not only her smooth dying process, but also my own letting go to the process. And that is what happened, we both let go, she of this life in her body and me of my self-consciousness and fear.

As I went with the flow, aligning with her needs and intent, I became—without thought really—energetically available. That is what I believe we are all prompted to do every day, to learn how to flow through our lives, making choices that matter, dismissing what in not in alignment with our greater mission. That is what the message on Monday asked us to consider when it said: Challenge infinity and dare yourself to experience something that will lead you to greater understanding.

It takes baby steps. Oh, and learning to identify the Trickster and then reject its intent to usurp our energy. And remember: the Trickster is not human, but energy that wants what it wants for its own selfish purposes. Watch out how it comes into your life. Just as the good signs of guidance come in many forms, so does the Trickster. It can be very tricky just trying to figure out the message we are supposed to learn.

I never did read that last word on that bumper sticker that day. I let it go, until I thought about writing this blog. Through a little Internet research, I discovered that the bumper sticker referred to a band: Gandalf Murphy’s Slambovian Circus of Dreams. In knowing that, I see that it’s relevance to the mission of that day was exactly what I needed.

It let me know, in one sense, that I was about to enter my own dream world and to not get caught up in someone else’s. It let me know that nothing was as uniquely and magically attractive as the mission at hand. I was being asked to stay attuned, aligned with what I was being asked to do: to guide another human being through her last hours on earth, to see her through to new life. Isn’t that what we’re all here to do: see ourselves through to new life?

Thanks for reading. Here’s hoping my experiences of the Trickster help in the unfolding of everyday life, tricky or otherwise.


Readers of Infinity: Show Me Something!

A message from Infinity:

Seek not retribution but resolution.

Seek not compromise but clarity.

Seek not pain but heartfelt knowing of that which is right, honest, truthful and, above all, good for the self, the world, and all who reside upon the earth.

Remember always the interconnectedness of all things and the deeper truth that you are not alone.

Remember that relief will come, for you have had glimpses of what that means. Focus on the light of release and letting go, offering each one of you the ultimate answer to your problems. And keep in mind, at all times, that you are there upon that earth for a multitude of reasons, one of them being self-growth through solving the riddle of self.

Why are you You? The answer: because you must be you in order to evolve. You must solve the questions you ask of others, and find the answers within that lead you to release of old issues from past days and years, as well as past lives and relationships.

You are enough!

Remember always: you are enough. The whole world resides in you; you are the whole world. Everything about you is in symbiotic relationship with all else. Be aware of complications and do not get caught in old places that have run their course. Seek new meaning now—for self, for life—in alignment with infinity. That is the way to shift into a new stage of release and growth.

Confrontation with self leads to inner release, which leads to spontaneous growth. That is the process to follow, but it must be done with kindness, compassion, and patience for self and others. All must go through this process of self-confrontation and deep contemplation to truly evolve.

It may take a long time. The process may be difficult, but there is no doubt that each one of you is fully capable of self-confrontation, deep contemplation, and growth. After all, you set it up that way a long time ago. You see, you yourself were part of the planning of the life you now live.

Go deeper into the self now to find out why—for you alone. Let everyone else off the hook, for this life you lead is about you and your evolutionary potential. Put your attention where it matters.

Don’t ask why anymore, but ask for clarity now. Ask for the truth of the self to be further revealed so that the glimpses of new life you’ve already experienced may become sharper, more noticeable and acceptable. Ask for deeper knowing of self as a multifaceted, interconnected being and the question of why will resolve itself. Ask this of infinity: Show me something!

Challenge infinity and dare yourself to experience something that will lead you to greater understanding. Be aware of how infinity works. It can be a little tricky. It can be subtle or blazingly direct, but it will always be truthful. Without self-pity or self-aggrandizement but with humble heart, send out your intent and then calmly await your answer.

Show me something!