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How green is your grass?

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The way to living an authentic life begins very simply. It has to.  there is a lot of BS you have to sort through.  But start, you must.

Authenticity is not about fear.  fear, even the smallest niggling fear of how the neighbors might interpret your intense love of plaid as being WEIRD, so you hesitate buying plaid wall paper because you think other people think you are crazy to want or like that.  This is not authentic. A big part of being authentic is not being fearful or letting your reflecting on what other people think get in the way of what you do, how you feel, who you are, and what you ultimately become.

But it’s also not about rebelling and taking a giant machete to your surroundings.  You don’t hack off arms and the limbs of those hanging out in your plaid-less jungle.  No.  You change. If those who were there before the change do not like it, they will move on. It could be a very peaceful transition.  Most often, it isn’t.  People want to hurt you or say things to hurt you because they are simply so dysfunctionaly cast into their memes that they can’t honor that it’s not plaid-ville (or whatever it is that you need to do to change your life for the better, for the more authentic).

Second, don’t expect the authentic life to be some granite edifice to your unwavering greatness.  Your authentic life will change.  Perhaps

Image © Stafford Artglass, Parker Stafford

Image © Stafford Artglass, Parker Stafford

day-to-day.  Week to week. Maybe it changes once and NEVER changes (okay, you are an unusual dinosaur bird and welcome to the 21st century, we want to study you….from a distance!)  Give yourself the flexibility to do whatever changes you need to do.  Allow yourself to be wrong.  Allow yourself to be right.  Don’t pretend to know everything that is in this enchilada because that, too, will change.  All of it.  Tomorrow we might be eating kabob or something.  Lamb.  Quail.  Cactus fruit.  Tangerine and coconut.

Authenticity lies in you.  I can tell you all sorts of things but unless you find it, you haven’t found it.  You are always seeking it if you are indeed seeking it.  Otherwise, maybe not so much.  What I am saying is that this is a constant state of becoming, so be ready for that. Be ready for what that means.  It means not taking yourself so seriously.  Besides, it makes you look stiff and that kind of brittleness does not look good on you (holds up a different colored suit and dress to compare and ushers you into the dressing room quietly to try on the new pair of clothes).

Be ready for people not liking you and not seeing what you are doing as anything worthy.  However, those that matter will see that what you are and who you are as being authentic is a good thing not because you are somehow different but simply because you are being you.  For you.  And the people who are attracted to that kind of person for that kind of reason are a rare breed of animal, different from the vast masses of followers and pretenders.  Lost children.  Angry.  Frustrated.  The people who like you for you….who do not feel any need to change you but to see you be all the more you are more of the same.  Authentic.  Not everyone is ready for the awesomeness of this.  Don’t let it trouble you. I have people who wont speak to me because of this.  Too bad, but really, if I spent my time pacing the halls and weeping, where would that get me?  Nowhere.

Life is not a popularity contest.  Any great artist who was ahead of his or her time will tell you this, each of them from the grave.  Its not about being recognized for your greatness, its just being YOU as the greatness that you are. So maybe that means plaid wallpaper and maybe it doesn’t.  I am hoping maybe it doesn’t, but then, that shouldn’t matter to you, right?  Your greatness will not be because of any other reason than you are THAT.  Don’t go looking for recognition because you have already recognized it in the only way that really matters.  the world, what does it know?  When does the world know cool when it sees it, or awesome, or marvelous, or beautiful or handsome? As soon as the world has caught on, its like disco was in the 70’s.  It was so yesterday.  If we worry about a trend or catching on, we wont every really authentically live in the moment.  Most recognition, then, comes at the very tail end of an era just as those who were there in plaid (or whatever else they were being authentic about) was getting ready to change.  That’s why you really can’t go chasing things.  No chase.  BE.  Butterfly come to you, not you chase butterfly. Wax on, wax off.

If you follow this and not worry about outcomes, you are going to find yourself and really that is all that matters.  When you can find yourself, you will find others who have also found themselves.  You do not find the found amongst the lost.  Are you lost?  You aren’t going to find those who have found themselves in the sea of lost swimmers.  Their time will come when it occurs to them to give up whatever it is they are doing that is keeping them from authentically swimming or living in this vast sea of everything.  I know; it is simple: just be yourself.  Be ready to watch as vast skeins of yarn comes unraveling off of you.  It has to.  It no longer fits….and now must be rewound or chucked completely. So much stuff that you thought was you….sitting like the old objects in your attic that you could never bring yourself to get rid of.  And yet, in chucking them, they are never missed.  Really, why were you carrying all that baggage anyway?

Oh, and I almost forgot; this authenticity thing, it is also a path toward self-love.  Not selfish love, not narcissism, but rather honoring the self you are in the very best way it deserves.  Okay, you can now take off the plaid and try on this new suit to see if it suits you….

The goal of most people who seek is to find those things that are missing in their life that will bring them to a new place of fulfillment spiritually.  As a seeker, I did not always know exactly what this thing was I was seeking except that I had this very instinctual sense that it was somehow up ahead and I was still trying to find it. I considered, too, that all of life may be like this; a constant state of becoming and seeking. Something pulled me forward in a very specific way.  My search was a very private affair since it took me into areas I realized most people didn’t either seem to go or talk about.  People didn’t seem like they were very well oriented to this other world of experience.

I know now that my seeking was stilled one I awakened. It didn’t happen all at once, but it happened, and it was a shift that was about thirty five years in the making.  The tension pulling me forward to know, to discover, had changed in a pretty significant way.  What I sought in an outward way resolved back into my own journey. What I found was a much simpler thing than what I thought I might have been looking for, even if I really had not preformed idea what it was I was looking for, only that I knew that whatever it was I needed was not going to be found in the usual way.

I have come to realize that my past has been a kind of presage for knowing how to be in the world and that I had accumulated the tools necessary for the unfolding of all of this.  Perhaps it just provides me with a perspective that is good for me.  For whatever it is worth, I have been provided with some things that I think we are missing.  Like how to be alive.

Most of what has held me back from embracing awakening in the beginning, and even some today, is fear.  Fear serves to keep me from fully embracing life, and I think it does this for all of us. The curious thing about fear is that it is often not recognized but is part of our tendency to project it outward onto the world in such a way that it becomes more like a feature IN the world than IN us.  This way we can tell ourselves that the world is a dangerous place and pull back from it rather than taking full responsibility for that fear and all it represents. Carl Jung was all over this, and it is something I see in people, including myself, as I go through life.

Contrary to conventional thinking, our reincarnational lives are not as entirely linear as we might think.  That is, our lives are not just a progression from one lesson to another as we move from point A to point B.  I think we have trained ourselves to think this way because of how the left brain works and how our rational processes work that fill that mind and inform how it processes information. This is more a belief than anything based in real fact.  Some lives can be lived that bring up very hard karma and in so doing, can often overcome a person and with free choice, we can lead a diminished life, while in a previous life we may have lived a life that was relatively free from these karmic tendencies due to the choices we made.  I have had the unique opportunity in my life to have known someone as a small child who people in my life knew well who died and returned many years later as a new person. I wont go into how or why I know this simply due to brevities sake, but only know that it is not just a guess but something that has been confirmed through a variety of sources. What is interesting is how similar this person’s karma has been from that previous life into the one today.  What is also curious, too, is how differently that person has chosen to respond to that karma this time around. In many ways, this person has taken something that did not affect him as much in a previous life and is now living a life where the same unresolved karma is affecting his life in a much bigger, harder, and more obvious way.  The choices were different, the challenges this time are perhaps more intense, the people involved are a little different, too, but the energy is all the same because the karma is all the same.  In one life the karmic flames was relatively understated while today the flames grow into huge drama. I have also observed similar differences in my own life experience.

When I was 18 years old I had a past life memory that fell into my lap.  It came entirely out of left field and was in actuality more a warp in time than just a replay of some past event.  It is something I write about in my book Waking the Infinite.  I mention this partly because it helps to underscore how it is that we can actually move through time to affect change in our lives.  I have actually used this principle to good effect in dreaming to go back into my earlier life to bring change in the dream life of myself when I was younger.  We may not have figured out how to take mass through time, but we are simply not limited when it comes to energy, and consciousness is energy.  Consciousness, then, is not bound by time, only by awareness or belief. This memory was from a time when the Native cultures were encountering the whites for the first time and the big change was swiftly coming upon the New World as the Europeans called it. As you know, even before contact with Whites the lives of Native Americans were changing with the spread of chicken pox and mumps which often served to wipe out entire groups of Native People.  What didn’t get them through disease, was done by the near incompatibility of the two world views of White and Red. The memories I had were in series and would help me to piece together something in my present life today that would help me with my work and is something I write about. It goes to the nature of who we are and what we are.  Part of it came through an unusual vision about the Thunder Beings.

What has helped me the most about having had this contact with this past life is just how incredibly alive these people were. The idea of living in fear was like being sick in that culture; you did everything you could do to cure yourself of it.  My people were called by other clans or tribes “the killers” and “grizzlies.” What I know, though, is that when we do not understand something, we can mislabel it, adding in our own unresolved fears.  Whites called most Indians savages, but they refused to realize that this seemingly savage behavior was part culture clash and part self preservation.  The Whites were there to take land and a way of life.

I can remember feeling fear when I recalled the looks in the eyes of some of the people I knew. Something about their eyes was startling.  I knew in an instant that this look comes about as a result of someone who is incredibly present and alive.  These people had been living as individual sovereign beings with no one ruling over them.  Native society, at least in my experience, was one where leadership was not about agendas in the usual way we encounter in politics. There was less fragmentation between spiritual belief and physical life.  The way of living so close to the earth also meant that a person was awake and aware of everything around them since this toolkit was important for survival. Tom Brown who is the author of a number of books about his experiences with a Native American man who was a tracker and who taught him his skills describes how it seemed he and his teacher seemed to live in two different worlds at first.  His teacher, Stalking Wolf, was aware of an entirely different set of sensory inputs than he as he struggled at first to “tune in” the world that his teacher was seeking to show him.  These were not merely states of awareness that were put on conveniently, but were part of life, part of a much more engaged form of sensory awareness.

There has been and continues to be an intense fascination with Native culture on the part of Whites.  This is so, I feel, because of an intuitive sense that these cultures had what we have been missing and that we all crave something deep down inside of us, which is essentially about living a fuller and more richer kind of life. One of the things I think that the old way can offer is how to learn to live a life that is more whole, more integrated and thus potentially more vibrant and alive.

The advantages to living in this way were many.  One is that by living so close to the earth the body was in finely tuned shape. The senses were sharp and the mind was in the moment. Moment by moment one lived in a state of being that was free of a lot of the fears and taboos normally associated with life.  Since everyone was encouraged to seek the truth from the Source through dream work, observation in nature, or the vision quest, there was a tendency for people to honor the bit of insight each person dug up. Each path was lived based on these kinds of promptings, and I think that as a result, on balance, it helped to support a greater level of individual authenticity.

Fear is what divides us, keeping us from embracing life more fully. Fear keeps minds shut down and fear serves a world of purposes that are not terribly freeing. Freedom, on the other hand opens up the mind and the heart and love can only thrive most powerfully when we remain free.  There is less struggle, fewer issues that come up that are impediments to love.  We are less neurotic, we hold fewer distortive beliefs about how the world works and we are able to see what is instead of what we are. Being able to have the courage to just be yourself is the most freeing thing a person can experience in life.  So often, because of our fear, we hold back, we conform, we worry about what others think of us or might say.  When you can be authentic and just be yourself, you send a signal that you are ready for those things that will match that level of authenticity.  Quite naturally, the world conspires to assist you in this as your own world changes.  The matrix or canvas that you are creating moment by moment then can change because of the change in you.  You are free to create differently.  Now some have called this matrix an illusion, and I think that is fine if you want to think that it is not real, but I prefer to think of it as a creation, which is a fundamental feature of our being and part of our individuality and freewill.  If life is a creation, then you are free to create differently, right?  It isn’t that what we see isn’t real, but that it is responding moment by moment to how we are and if we change what we are, the world around us also changes.  The tree outside will still remain, but will have something that it did not have the day before.  Layer by layer, life can change in subtle and then in more overt and obvious ways.  Getting started and sticking to your guns is I think the only way that you will ever really know if what I am telling you is on the mark or not.

As for myself, living life without fear has been the core of my work over the last six years, and being able to remove that backlog of material in order to see a clearer version of what is possible for me seems to me to be the one way that I am focused in my day to day life.

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