Heart Opening Moments

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I Took the Road Less Traveled

Most of you are probably familiar with Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and this is a poem I wrote to capture what I felt with his words during my hike last weekend in Kings Canyon National Park. Hope you will enjoy.

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I Took the Road Less Traveled
Flo Li
(hiking with the spirit of Robert Frost)

crisp cold air, frozen earth, green grass covered in frost,
my finger tips are numb underneath the worn gloves;
seeking slivers of warm sunshine between dense branches above.

last night, curling in the homely blanket,
scent of grandma’s rich chocolate chip cookies still in my pocket,
sharing toasty hot cocoa next to that bright dancing sizzling fire…
the old cabin often creaked in the winter wind,
but we never cared,
inside
we always feel safe snuggled next to one another
charmed the joyful air between our laughters.

alone,
hiking through hard, rocky, uneven terrain,
growing cold, weak, tired, and wanting to give up…
l patiently took each step knowing I shall never return;
yellow leafed trees reached out their arms toward the road,
I smile knowing I shall never return as the same.

the road less traveled I have chosen,
“bon courage” they said, nodded, and walked away;
“not for the faint of heart” they said, applauded, and traveled another way;
gallantry is not found in rehearsing my pompous acts
but my abidance in the inmost tip of one simple fact.
I shall choose this road over and over again,
how this way leads on to ways
to sights no imagination ventured
as the masses only care to pretend.

I have no luxurious garnish to show when the masses are clothed in twinkling aurora,
even my shoes are covered in dust.
yet, with each step, I have found something robust.
A solid allegiance,
timeless, formless, priceless verdict to trust.

indebted to these arduous steps,
my pilgrimage guided me here;
hidden in the crack of old wounds and deserted sorrows,
lies my durable spirit – shinning so brightly
only momentarily covered in rust.

October 27, 2019 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

Waking Up in LovE

Soaking in LovE – no explanations, no judgement, no fixes needed, no alteration necessary, nothing to add, nothing to change, nothing to involve, nothing to worry, nothing to grab hold, nothing to let go, nothing needed, yet ALL is vibrant and alive.

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Feels like I’m SEEing for the first time… In awe with all forms yet there are no parts only expressions within the all encompassing. The trees are no different than my arms, the leaves and twigs are no different than my toes and toe nails, all is alive inside me as a part of ME. How can I describe this sweetness? How do I put this undifferentiated LovE into words? How do I hold back tears of joy? How do I even call this me?

This is bigger than Aikido, bigger than Yoga, bigger than Zen, bigger than anything form tries to illustrate. An illustration can never fulfill the completeness of the whole. Yet all illustrations and all forms are contained within the all encompassing. This vastness I feel that is all of ME has no edges, has no end, has no limit, has no parts, has no names. I AM limitless beyond freedom, beyond planet, beyond time, beyond ordinary senses… How could this be missed – it was here all along.

It takes so much effort to differentiate the things I see. It takes too much work keeping up with what I’ve learned. I cannot keep up the pretense – it is too heavy of a load to carry. Truthfully I AM the effortless BEING. I have no needs, I have no desires, I have no name, I have no preferences, I have no form, I have nothing at all. ALL of this is ME – from pieces of nuts and bolts to blades of grass, from the waves in an ocean to the not so distant moon, from the heart of a child to the lingering love of the deceased. All of this is ME. How can I differentiate the 5 elements when I see no difference in the sea and the sky? I see no difference in the soil and air. I see no difference in me and you. How could I even call you YOU when I KNOW this is all just ME – manifesting in forms.

Oh GOD how clever are you? The I AM before all of creation was forgotten in order to live this dream life. To believe in the details of manmade stories wholeheartedly. To not suspect that I AM the author to all of creation. That I AM that before all of creation. To humbly say that I am the I AM and You GOD has never been apart from the me as I believed to be. If fact, I AM only dreaming to be not of You. Yet how silly it all was when all of creation and pre-creation only exist in You. How do I not burst from this LOVE that tumbles within, waiting to be released! How do I not burst into pieces knowing I’ve lived here all along…

Oh God, how the mind is relentlessly trying to draw my awareness away from You and into the fairy tale make believe of the day. How I ran off into the wild illusory world to fight dragons and search for love. How long I have doubted if you ever loved me. The fear, the anger, the sadness, the pain, the self-improvement, the need to be better, the desire to be loved were all just a dream. Such drama lifetime after lifetime, form after form, breath after breath… All the battles lost because I have forgotten I am You. So humbly You.

The efforts I conjured to keep up my individual persona. The tears I cried to work hard to be someone. The sweat I exerted to push myself beyond my make belief limits. Oh all that was just the working of Maya. All that was just a forgotten Self. All that was never needed yet epically played. But today I am too tired… Too tired to keep up the false beliefs of millions of past lives. Too tired to be someone when indeed I am no one, I am no thing, and most improtantly I have never been separate from You.

How did I live in delusion for so long and how have I even encouraged others in their delusions to be a better individual when in fact there is no separation and there has never been! Oh how the conditioned mind insists on boundaries to perpetuate “you and me”. But I am too tired to keep up the charade. I can no longer say what is not. I am so tired. Too tired of being the individual me when all along I am the I AM. I am so tired. So tired to try any longer… Slowly the world was let go, all judgements melt away, and all forms are no longer substantial.  I am too tired to add meaning into emptiness. I am too tired to make up more beliefs.

Today, Now, I Rest in Peace. As the only, undifferentiated I AM.

This is the space of the PURE, the space of the uncreated, the space of emptiness, the space of nothing, the space of complete peace. I am too tired to come to any individual you, but if you like, come and find me here – in the I AM.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

Be A Living Shrine

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“The Divine does not like to be shut up in a building. The Divine likes to be out in the open. It is right here in this very body. Each one of us is a miniature universe, a living shrine.” – Morihei Ueshiba

When I started learning aikido, I read extensively about the founder of aikido and his philosophy. At that time I did not understand the true spiritual essence of aikido but I did feel the profound truth in his teachings that surpassed my intellect.  During that time, I would often experience a vivid reoccurring dream.

In my dream, O sensei would appear, floating in front of me, his white beard flowing freely in the wind; he would then smile, point to me, and tell me to build a shrine.

For many years I took the dream literally. When I inherited a dojo with exquisite traditional Japanese design, I worked tirelessly to keep our training space serene and pristine. We had a bamboo garden outside the dojo space, and a shrine inside. I would spend a whole day almost every week vacuuming all reachable corners and repainting walls. I would always light an incense everyday before class and send a prayer to O-sensei to thank him for his guidance. We eventually got a Torii (red gate shrine) installed at the entrance of the dojo.

Yet the reoccurring dream never stopped. Sometimes O-Sensei would laugh while touching his flowing white beard and tell me to build a shrine. And he never stopped pointing to me each time.

About a year ago that dojo closed and the desire to search for a new space for a dojo or build a shrine kept occurring in my thoughts. Yet something deeper inside me advised against it. I couldn’t logically understand what was happening but the dream just got more and more urgent. Something in O-Sensei was pointing toward me, not a space or a location but deeply inside ME.

Every morning I take a walk with my dog on the trails. During my walks I developed the tendency to listen to Mooji’s spiritual teaching pointing to the “I AM.” During this daily redirected awareness, the “I AM” prevails and the world drops away. The external world is no longer the source of my focus, and this body is no longer who I am, instead, I AM. I am “ALL” – a homogenous existence of undivided awareness, everything is me being experienced as a part of “ME”, things and events appear spontaneously as I – the watcher is observing all the happenings – untouched, untainted, and pure. When this is the state of “I”, all things are harmonious, it is the nature of all things, as no assistance from the little personal “I” is needed. When this is the state of “I”, no matter where my body takes me, peace is experienced, and peace is extended beyond this body.

Last night in my dream O -Sensei smiled and nodded his head.

Today, I’m sitting under the trees next to a fountain working in an outdoor coffee shop. I am witnessing the natural harmony that is occurring in my surroundings. This body is the shrine, not a thing out there. And to share this Art of Peace is by BEING the Art of Peace.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

Aikido Life

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Typical training day to explore freestyle movements at the Dojo of the Four Winds in Encinitas

It was raining, traffic was light, and the lights by the on-ramp of the freeway had been turned off after the heavy morning commute. I was driving behind a fancy sports car heading down the on-ramp and suddenly the car stops right by the traffic light in front of me leaving me no time to break. Trying to break yet sliding on fresh rain, unable to stop in time, I swerved to the right lane and quickly passed by. No red traffic light, yet the car decided to stop. Somehow my base model CRV got out of the way effortlessly, and to my surprise I was completely calm.

My training partner always shared with me that aikido should translate into all aspects of our lives, and I agree. At the time he and I had been training for several months getting ready for our 3rd degree black belt test. We trained extensively in freestyle with three attackers, and were learning that part of being effective is the concept of evasion. I was getting better at sliding by an attacker without an active confrontation. In our training this allowed time to face the next attacker and the one after that. I never thought much of it during training. Most of the time training was training and I was just trying to survive. Only in hindsight was I able to see that my training in aikido saved me from countless near accidents on the road.

Several years ago I spent five and a half weeks in Japan visiting family and training in aikido. After a whole day of training, I would ride my bike back to the apartment late at night feeling completely exhausted and unable to think straight. The side streets merging onto the main road were small and dim. The last night during my stay, friends took me out to celebrate with traditional sushi and lots of beer. As I got on my bike to head back, it was already past midnight. There was almost no traffic on the road and I was riding along the main road submerged in my own thinking. Suddenly a dark transport truck came out of the perpendicular dark alley cutting directly in front of my path. My eyes glazed and my body moved on its own. The next thing I knew I took a quick right angle turn and was traveling parallel side-by-side right next to the truck – my body touching its dusty driver side door. I told sensei what happened the next day and he laughed, “YES! That is aikido! Good Pivot!”

In the first instance the evasion training in freestyle helped me to escape a collision in the fresh rain. In the second instance the pivoting technique we use often helped me to avoid getting hit by a truck. And this natural harmony was happening more and more in my life where conflicts used to occur. I thought perhaps I was just lucky, but on later reflection I was able to see how aikido training of the body/mind/energy has made me more effective in navigating in life without “collisions”. Most other martial arts I’ve experienced or seen embraced “collisions” as a way to win or dominate in any given situation. Instead, aikido asks practitioners to re-wire our thinking from fight-or-flight to harmonious interactions in any confrontation. With so many of our teen students getting ready to drive, I can’t help but smile to myself that aikido training is producing better drivers on the road. In a small way perhaps we are making a difference.

 

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , | Leave a comment

All Pieces of ME

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Who is your True Love flower?
Is it the rain that kisses you so tenderly?
Is it the wind who softly holds your body for a swift dance?
Or is it the ground who bears with your depth and supports your growth?
Or the sun with her sometimes warm other times intense gaze?
Or perhaps it has always been…
That fulfilling Emptiness…

The Space – that is the original birthplace for All that Is.

(This poem has been inspired by my Isha Yoga Bhuta Shuddhi practice – according to Sadhguru, every yogic practice finds its roots in Bhuta Shuddhi – the cleansing of the 5 elements. “Cleansing the body periodically is an essential part of making it available for greater possibilities. It’s always best to detox your body naturally, and this can start right at home. Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru, gives us simple methods to cleanse the five elements of the system and looks at how to detox your body naturally.”)

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Self Realization | 3 Comments

Sinking into the Present Moment

Recently I’ve been increasingly busy with hosting aikido seminars, entertaining out-of-town guests, moving dojos, etc. I’m always on the go – from one activity to another – from one moment to another. For me, I have lived a life based on planning, on moving busily, on getting things done – and I’ve thrived in this place where I find life to be of value in the doing. On the one hand it is very useful as I can be highly effective, but it is a double-edged sword. When I’ve lived in this tendency for too long, it becomes a routine, and I become increasingly unable to relax into the present moment. Last night I realized it is my goals, my wanting, my expecting the next steps in life – that are not allowing me to be fully and completely resting in this very moment. Children at play are wonderful at being present, they move spontaneously without the slightest self-consciousness. We as adults have lost that spontaneity. Because we are so responsible, we always plan, we react, we estimate a few steps ahead of what is happening in order to make the most responsible decisions. This is a double-edged sword which when used too often can mask one’s natural awareness. When we live in the modality of always aiming forward into the future, we have already taken ourselves out of the present moment. Anxiety, tension, and stress live here when our body cannot fully relax into this particular moment. We are always fleeing, chasing after an imagined future, or running away from the now – without ever establishing a firm ground. These tendencies make us forever dissatisfied with the present moment of what is as we are chasing after what could be.

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In the Jacques Payet Shihan SoCal seminar, we learned a relaxed and a balanced state grounded in Emptiness is more powerful than any forceful confortations.

In aikido, as beginners we are told to balance our weight 60-40 and to put most of our focus forward. This is a wonderful tool as we human beings naturally lean back and hesitate moving into the unknown. I can see in my beginner students as they learn the principal of 60/40, they become more and more balanced. In their bodies they might be feeling “I’m putting 60% on my front foot and 40% on my back foot”, but in observation the body is actually closer to 50/50. For advanced students, the body becomes more and more aware that 60/40 is out of balance, so 50/50 becomes the natural preference as the energy expands in the direction of the partner. With our body we are balanced 50/50, our mind is projected forward into the direction of the partner, and the energy naturally expands into the direction of the connection made with the partner. This is when the body is 50/50, but the body/mind/energy can be approximated to 60/40 – feeling as if we are moving forward or leaning forward, yet it is just the awareness that is just slightly ahead of the body.

In our awareness training, I would ask students to sink into this moment – even when we are faced with the most challenging, the most unsolvable circumstances. This is the moment a greater power can be most easily accessible. One particular exercise we do is the side-strike exercise when the attacker comes to strike to the side of the head. Our natural instinct is to block an oncoming attack for self-preservation. Aikido teaches the best angle to unbalance the oncoming attack is to move into the direction of the attack and re-direct the attack before it builds power. In my days as a bioengineer, we studied bodies in motion and various vector analyses to change a trajectory of a committed movement. The mind can easily analyze the force and trajectory needed to redirect the incoming vector, however, there is a delay in response. The time it takes your logical mind to analyze the incoming force and trajectory and find a powerful enough redirecting force and trajectory to not only unbalance the incoming attack but the actual attacker… Now the math gets more complicated…

Our first attempt to analyze with vector analysis failed. Now, let’s try to move our body and get there to block the attack before the strike can build up power. This is exactly how we teach beginners. We go through reps and reps of trial and error as the attacker tries to bring forth the same force and trajectory each time. And somehow every once in a while we can succeed and find an opening that is good enough to reflect, redirect, or even unbalance the attacker. But we realize the attacker will never attack the same way twice. The timing, angle, speed, and intention will always be different. Then how do you learn to always, unfailingly stay ahead of the attacker? Just practice. Or find a deeper insight.

Now, let’s try something even more difficult to describe. First, relax. Be completely ok with this moment. Sink into this moment, and know that you are already completely in sync with this moment. The more relaxed your upper body is, the more you can sense your synchronicity with the external world. Now scan the body to let go unneeded tension. The body naturally drops the awareness lower into the center, hips, legs, and feet. No effort. Just acknowledgement. In this state of no effort, your awareness expands, your aperture is more open than your normal modality, and you can move your body easily. And somehow your timing is always just right – without trying, without efforting, without calculating. Even when your timing is off – usually late, because of your heaviness of being, if your center is lower and more grounded than the attacker’s, you can still breathe and expand to become energetically bigger, and somehow the attacker is unbalanced.

To me O-sensei’s words “I cannot be defeated” have the quality of the latter. When the awareness is completely in sync with the present moment, we “see” the happening before it actually takes place in our own intuitive field of awareness. Unfailingly as we are one with the Ground-of-Being, we move without being hurried, and we move with the perfect precision.

In your daily mindfulness play, see how you find yourself always fleeing this moment or leaping into the next moment. Don’t condemn it. Just notice it. The awareness of it can bring a sense of instant balance. Then just pay a little attention to your center – your hara, and your lower back. The attention then naturally flows back into the Self. Now, just breathe. As we are truly sinking into this moment, we tend to relax, we let go, we are softer, more gentle, more aware, more open, more alive, and more ourselves. This is the moment that holds great power, not in the doing, but in the being. The “being” is no longer a verb, but a state, or a location, or even a singularity, where all time/space/individuality collapses into the Emptiness of the individual and expands into the pure Awareness of Being.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Self Realization | 1 Comment

Finding Beauty In Rare Places

Beauty comes in many different forms in this life – inner peace, wisdom, music, dance, painting, photography, color, aliveness, laughter, smile, touch…

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Yosemite Valley with Yosemite Falls in the backdrop – Nov 2017, FloLiPhotography.com

Often times the propaganda of society makes us feel the need to seek external beauty and external validation in order to find inner peace or true beauty. I can purchase the newest liquid eye liner to achieve deep glowing mysterious eyes when someone gazes into my soul. I can mesmerize someone with my plump kissable lips. I can even have my perfect glossy flowing hair that projects a sense of carefreeness and effortless beauty.  Beauty magazines everywhere are paid to advertise to us to consume more and more products in order to feel adequate. In my teens, I never felt adequate. And I always thought of myself as the ugly duckling growing up and that feeling only intensified into my twenties. I didn’t have the effortless beauty others projected in the magazines and I didn’t have the soft flowing blonde hair and blue eyes I thought as standards of beauty. I too once believed that the girls in the magazines were the true measures of beauty where I always fell short of the norm.

In my late twenties and early thirties I had to endure many hardships. With scars on my face and a fractured body from a cycling crash, with stiffness in my neck after a serious whiplash, being romantically rejected by a man I thought was my soulmate only added to my sense of inadequacy and worthlessness. During my hardest hours no one could understand my pain and eventaully nothing I did externally offered me comfort and relief. I had nowhere to turn but to go within. It was only when I turned inward that I found what I really am and that knowing is now always the true solace nothing external can ever offer me.

Nowadays beyond the place of solace and comfort, I’ve found beauty in some rare places I have forgotten to look – such as a momentary bloom of a flower so vibrant and filled with life, or a gentle smile of a child who is at peace, or the individual notes so artfully formed into an alluring symphony.  We are all filled with so much beauty inside each and everyone of us – some parts are shown and others are waiting to be discovered. As I have discovered the most beautiful thing about the hardships I’ve endured or you are currently enduring is they hold the potential to cut you open so deeply that you are exposed to the very core of what you really are – when there is nothing else left to cover up the true you, naturally more light and more beauty will shine through.

Be thankful my friends. No matter what you are going through. Like a diamond in the making, the heat and pressure is there to make you stronger and brighter. Use the discomfort and hardship to shine even more beautifully. After a while, you too will discover beauty is never something out there, it is inside – sometimes getting expressed externally. The beauty you discover inside has always been there in the most rare places and somehow you will see that beauty has always been with you throughout the entire eternity.

December 3, 2017 Posted by | Self Realization | 2 Comments

The Place of “NO NEED”

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“What can I support you with?” she asked.

“Nothing. There’s nothing I need.” I answered.

When you rest in the place where all is provided, nothing is lacking, there’s nothing outside of yourself that you need – that’s where you will find me.

It took me a very long time searching outside of myself looking for a place that feels like “home” – that place where I have finally “arrived”. In the past, even though I was brought up to be as independent as possible as the only child, I didn’t have the emotional resilience to truly find the balance within. I’ve always looked elsewhere for a place where I can feel more grounded, where I can find comfort. I’ve placed extreme importance in love relationships secretly hoping a knight in shining armor will save me and take me where I need to be. No man was ever able to be THE ONE for me. Not even possible soulmates. No one can always be available when I am in a crisis.

Then it happened. One crisis after another. I couldn’t stop them from coming. And no one could ease the pain I felt physically and emotionally when I was in the hospital bed unable to speak. Then he came, brought me a single odd looking orange flower that looked like a giant spider. He didn’t speak. He placed the flower vase on a table near me, sat next to me and held my right hand…

This is not a love story. At least not the type of love story you are familiar with. His name is Jonathan, and he was one of the triathlon coaches. I remember distinctively when I transitioned from cycling in a peloton to riding on my own. I disliked the silence I had to endure on my own. He rode up behind me and we started chatting. Also a scientist at the time, we quickly fell into an intellectual friendship. After riding beside me for a while, I thanked him for being there supporting me and how important it was for me to have a sense of kinship. He quickly turned toward me, with an intense look, he said “you have to learn how to be comfortable alone.” I watched him as he rode away in front of me. Shocked, I didn’t know what to say.

It was very fitting when he came to visit me in the hospital, in silence, with a gentle smile. He just sat there with my hand in his hands – completely open, accepting, without a purpose, without a need.

Last night, a dear friend brought me a small bouquet of flowers. In the center of the bouquet is that rare orange flower I saw many years ago. The orange pin-chusion protea, Leucospermum, it had somehow brought me a flood of memories of who I was. Eleven years later, I am in gratitude of Jonathan’s simple gestures that significantly altered the direction of my life.

Sitting in the garden, listening to the wind chimes, watching the birds generously helping themselves to the wild bird food as the pink and purple flowers dance in the wind, I have finally arrived – into the heart of who I am.

 

 

 

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Emotional Freedom, Enlightenment, Inner Growth, Self Realization | 1 Comment

I am Not Here to Comfort You

Shocking! Good! I love you – but I am here NOT to comfort you – I am here to awaken you.

You can call me a mean person, you can call me insensitive, you can tell me that I hurt your feelings, but I refuse to give solace to your ego, your persona, and your self-imposed limitations. I stand for the larger you.

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Birth of Veracity – Showed in Generic Gallery San Diego Exhibition Titled “Microscopic Expressions” and Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts China Exhibition Titled “Harmony in Duality”

Several years ago the name for one of my internationally showcased fractal art pieces arose in me, which I called “The Birth of Veracity”. The name came during a philosophy class. We had just studied the time when Jesus developed an inability to express any lies in his life – that’s when I found myself tearing up, knowing that this was the direction my soul was pulling me. That night, I brought the “Birth of Veracity” into the world.

Veracity: (from Old French veracitie; from Medieval Latin vērācitās  – “truthfulness”; from Latin vērāx – “truthful, speaking truth”; from vērus – “true, real”.)

Today, I am just beginning to understand the truth behind “Veracity”.

In the past, I’ve been the nice girl, the sweetheart, the loyal friend. Then after my series of awakening experiences, I became more and more unable to be that “good friend”, the patient listener, the tireless helper. I acted in such a manner that was no longer consistent with my conditioned programmed persona – the old ways my mask lead my life was no longer true. My mask was deteriorating. And neither I, nor my parents and friends, was familiar with the new me. From my earlier blogs, you probably remember that I would  get physically ill when I even told white lies. So I followed the energy of the truth meter.

Needless to say, the new me behaved in ways that created discomfort to those in my presence. I stopped being a life coach, because giving solace to individuals who were clearly on the verge of uncomfortable transformative growth, was clearly a disservice. I knew from personal experience that turmoil and pain were the building blocks that gave fire to my death and arising. Sometimes to truly help someone is to trigger them so they can finally look into the true source of their pain. Of course that does not make me the most popular – I’ve been unfriended on Facebook and in life, I’ve been called all sorts of names, but every once in a while, there are a few who decide to stay around.

A high school friend came to spend the weekend with me. She came from a long Indian tradition of spiritual teachers called gurus. I was not gentle with her. I gave her a warm bed and comforting soups, but the way I spoke to her did not give her comfort. Weeks later, she sent me a payment for our casual weekend together she called guru puja. She included a note – “Guru means the one that dispels your darkness not because one desires to be your spiritual teacher, one dispels the ignorant darkness because one has the necessary light within. Thank you for being that light for me through your extraordinary circumstance and the learning you received, I must follow that light to the truth no matter how uncomfortable it gets for me. I hope you will receive this puja offering as a token of my love.”

If you are looking for a “friend” who will comfort you, agree with you, do what you want, listen to your insecurities, and tell you that you are right, I am not that “friend”. If you are looking for an energy expressed within any person that will challenge you, hurt your feelings, bring up your insecurities, threaten your limitations, and destroy the way you are today – so you can become the way the creator intended you to be – then I am forever tirelessly, selflessly in your service. I am not your “friend”, I am your servant of truth – I will light a candle in you so you can find your own veracity.

About Art by Flo please visit the interview with WebMetropolis.org 

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

Finding Inner Balance

Inner peace comes from inner and outer balance, a state of being natural, open, with no judgement, and without attachment. One of the reasons I study aikido is to be able to spot my own “errors” as well as help others spot the same.

What I call an “error” is when our own perception becomes clouded by the needs of our ego. Events and external happenings are neutral until our ego places a value-judgement on them. We get fearful, we get angry, we get sad, we get aggressive as we tell ourselves a story we made up about what is actually happening – AND we want to get even! The ego becomes obsessed on fixing the external world while completely ignoring the self – hence we give up our own physical/emotional/psychological/spiritual wellbeing by giving up our inner peace. The ego believes we must FIGHT for what we believe in, we must DO something to make a difference, we must STRIVE to be noticed. And that someone else must be “BLAMED” for the circumstances, and we must “PUSH” to make things happen.

The study of aikido along with my Isha Yoga meditation has allowed me to be sensitive enough and honest enough to notice my own “errors” before my ego leads me astray. The words – “FIGHT”, “DO”, “STRIVE”, “BLAME”, “PUSH” can give you a sense of the feelings they illicit in your body. Do they have a balancing effect or unbalancing effect? We can be the scientist and try the different feelings on for effect – do they bring peace in our bodies OR do they make us top heavy so we can be tipped over easily? Now the real question comes next, “can I truly trust my own perception and actions when I’m off balance?” and “can I trust another person and his/her decisions at the time when he/she is off balance?”

Small children are naturally very perceptive. Whenever I am off balance internally while trying hard to keep my body balanced, they know, and they act out. They don’t listen, and they become loud and disruptive. However when I am naturally open, happy, and balanced, they all work together naturally in a loving and caring manner.

The real work begins after a spiritual awakening. This is when we can actually be non-judgementally honest with ourselves. My daily Zen practice is to watch whenever I am unenlightening myself. Enlightenment is not a haphazard deal, it is up to us to notice when we give up our own inner balance hence giving up Enlightenment. Personally, I have to be vigilant to keep an eye on my actions and micro-decisions so my ego doesn’t run the show. I have no control over other people and external events – but I do have a choice of what I align myself with. It is up to each of us to choose to either 1. bring emotional pollution to the world that can create war, or 2. bring a scent of sweetness and love to the world that can heal all wounds. The choice is ours.

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April 11, 2017 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment