Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Website!

Hi everyone!
Breathing Kairos is moving!
Please check out my new site:

A new space for illuminated thinking and spiritual curiosity.

Hope to see you there!


~something said~

"Change is the law of life. And those who look 
only to the past or present 
are certain to miss the future".

- John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Life Lessons through Self Reflection: Racism, Change and Jeremy Lin

Our history is full of examples of how we are slow to accept change. From new ideas or ways of being to enigmatic and bold political and public figures - most people are resistant to the change that they represent. The recent racist headlines, referring to basketball player Jeremy Lin, points to people’s intolerance and inflexibility to change. A quick recap can be read here (...)

The collective consciousness, ruled by the ego, remains intact because of the unwritten rule that we unconsciously ascribe to: that we must follow what has always been. The ego is threatened when someone breaks out of his or her imposed box.  Fear fuels the outward expressions of insult, racism or cruelty. The fear is: What if they succeed? What if they succeed at being more authentically themselves than me? Most people fear other people’s success because they believe that there is not enough for everyone.

Living with a limiting view of yourself or the world lends to unjustified negative reactions. And these negative reactions are often aimed at the person who pushes beyond the boundaries of the expected.

This story had me reflect on my own life and evaluate the times that I’ve resisted change by falling prey to short expectations. When I was a young boy, I was a swimmer with a swim club. The typical build of a swimmer is lean and strong. One girl, who was about 5’9’’ and close to 200 pounds, did not fit the stereotype. In my own limiting beliefs, I did not think that she would be able to swim competitively. That misperception kept me from being open to possibilities and the power that change brings. This young girl not only proved to be a great swimmer – when she entered the water she became a fish: quick, agile and strong. But she became our team leader and great friend. Because of her courage to break the mold of what has always been, she helped change my belief in what is possible. 

Jeremy Lin’s success demonstrates again that we need to let go of expectations. What we think a person can or cannot do or be is limiting and a judgment. Harsh criticisms are a reflection of the judger and not the judged. They point to someone’s limited perspective and resistance to change. For me, Jeremy Lin represents new talent, new energy and a welcome change.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finding Meaning in Life: Call to Service

There is an undeniable pull to live a greater life than the one we are currently living.  People are finding themselves unsatisfied with the path that their life is on. Even with seemingly wealth and many material possessions, the quality of our life is not as we expected. As we learn to dis-identify with form and see the world as the reflection of an ego gone mad, the focus is moving away from material and into the spiritual. The move is a result of our dissatisfaction with finding pleasure in static things (forms) to being fulfilled from ways of being. 

We are human beings, after all and like everything in the universe, we are meant to be in action.  To “be in action” is a significant statement. It implies that we must both be still and observe while putting into action that being-ness. Our fulfillment is found in acting out what is found in the stillness of life. In the stillness is God. It is where our divinity meets the Divine.

People are asking more important questions from life. A common one is: what is my life’s purpose? If you are brave enough to ask this question, be sure that the Universe will respond.  Keep in mind that the answer to the question may have nothing to do with a job. It may have nothing to do with becoming wealthy or famous. It will, however, bring you to greater joy and a higher sense of purpose - one that you are destined for. The purpose of every soul, as I see it, is to be in service to another. The type of service can vary greatly, but ultimately we are all here to support each other. Remember, we are all one. When you support another, you are supporting yourself. We all benefit from the generosity of service. The question is: how will you use your life as a platform to serve others?

Observable Acts of Service – observable acts of service are probably what first comes to mind when we think of service. They are the outward expressions that we do for another. They can be done through our work (social worker, teacher, nurse, waiter). Observable acts of service are also found by the kind gestures we do for another, like preparing a meal for friends, volunteering for a charity or helping a friend move. It is important to pay attention to our intention when engaging in observable acts of service because the ego may want some kind of recognition or praise for the act.

Invisible Acts of Service - A more challenging act of service, with regards to the ego, are the invisible ones because they may be done without acknowledgment or gratitude from the recipient. I would include smiling at a stranger, holding the door for someone or refusing to engage in gossip as invisible but impactful. These actions may go unnoticed by those around you but the Divine takes note of them. They are rich in quality because these acts assert that you hold Life in high regard. They are statements of appreciation for another and reflect your own feelings of self worth. We can only do for another something that we hold in esteem in ourselves. 

Being as Acts of Service – A third type of service is the subtlest. It is displayed by your very being. Acts of being expressed as a service are an expression of your stillness. When we are present, we are better equipped to demonstrate our most authentic self. These acts of service include listening intently while another speaks, sending someone grace or love, being supportive or bringing calming energy into a chaotic room. They are demonstrated when we act in ways that are patient, nurturing, or encouraging to one another. Expressions of being influence our relationships and lives on subtle levels.  They may only be perceived by the soul but the ripple effect stretches far enough to be felt at the physical. Have you ever spent time with someone who had a calming effect on you? Or maybe the subtle encouragement from a grade school teacher stuck with you throughout your adult years?  Their being-ness served your soul and the ripple effect of its influence transcended time by continuing to affect you today.

Acts of service inspire us because our higher self recognizes the truth in the action. It sees that the service to another is really a service to itself. These acts of service support our real purpose in life and that is to support the evolution and consciousness of another. There is no greater purpose in life than serving another by raising our consciousness to be ever closer to the Infinite. In communion with God, we can finally know our own divinity.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Eckhart Tolle at Google Headquarters: Meaning, Purpose and Wisdom in the Digital Age

Eckhart Tolle gave an interesting talk at Google Headquarters titled: Meaning, purpose and wisdom in the Digital Age.

Bradley Horowitz guides the conversation around the topic of information, technology and awareness. Eckhart speaks of the opportunity and danger of technology and its ability to contribute to our awakening or assist in losing our connection to self. Some highlights from the conversation include:

  • Present moment and consciousness are one in the same.
  • Life can be summarized as - sense perception, thoughts, emotions and awareness. It is the awareness that creates the space for the perceptions, thoughts and emotions.
  • First practice stillness when your not challenged or disturbed by bringing attention to awareness through sense perception (with alertness).
  • All masters have achieved looking without thinking.
  • Align yourself to what is going wrong by first accepting it, then you can give it space to approach the “problem” with consciousness.
  • Distractions and stimulus’ are poor substitutes for aliveness. Their appeal is rooted in a belief that there is missing something in your life.
  • Overcoming strong emotions: see the connection between the thoughts and emotions you feel. Anxiety, for example, is often created by thought patterns in the mind.  Experience the falsehood of the thought through awareness.
Questions for contemplation:
Will technology and information have a negative or positive impact on global consciousness?  

Can too much information inhibit the progress of the individual’s spiritual journey?

Does information equal wisdom? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts - please share your comments!

grace & gratitude,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quiet Time: Meditation in School

I’ve come across this interesting article about Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco where both students and faculty sit in quiet meditation for fifteen minutes at the beginning and end of each day. Everyone is encouraged to meditate or simply clear his or her mind. At the very least, everyone is asked to be still and quiet, even if that means falling asleep. 

The results are impressive. Students are reporting that they have more energy throughout the day, less anxiety and higher levels of concentration. Attendance has improved and overall grades are higher. Some are even continuing their meditative practices at home.

There is something of great value to be learned by these young students. Dedicating small amounts of time to stillness and reflection connect us to our spirit. When we connect to our true nature, that is where we can access an infinite amount of energy, peace and creativity. An inward focus improves the quality of our outward expressions. I would love to see more schools and businesses participating in similar programs. 

These students inspired me and I hope they’ve inspired you.  I think that I will follow in their footsteps and spend a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day meditating. I've always wanted to commit to a meditative practice and now is the right time. I invite you to try it as well, even for just one week.  I’d love to hear if 7 days of meditation can create a change in your way of being in this world.

grace & gratitude,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

~something said~

"Thinkers, listen, tell me what you know of that is not inside the soul
Take a pitcher full of water and set it down on the water
Now it has water inside and water outside.
We mustn't give it name,
Lest silly people start talking again about the body and the soul."

- Kabir, mystic poet

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big Dream, Big Reward

What are your dreams? In the quiet of night, when no one is around, what do you wish your life to be? I’ve spent the majority of my life in a perpetual state of dreaming. In my imagination, anything is possible. Wayne Dyer speaks of imagination and the power it has to shape the course of our lives.  If we are allowed to cultivate an active dream life, we can blur the boundaries of our reality and of what is possible.  Wayne Dyer advises to never let the opinion of anyone determine what is possible for you in your life.  Your dreams are your choosing – let no one’s limiting ideas about Life shape what you know to be true about yours.

If you can think it, you can be it. Your life reflects your belief system. What do you believe in? I encourage you to let your imagination run free. Dream as big as possibly can.  Let that sense of wonder and awe permeate down to your day-to-day life. Let go of the expected and anticipate something new.  To dream is to be hopeful and hope helps to calm the mind and soothe our system. With a relaxed mind and body, we are better equipped to follow our inner guidance. In mindfulness, dreams really can come true.

grace & gratitude,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life Lessons from Self Reflection: The Death of Whitney Houston

With the sudden passing of Whitney Houston and the subsequent media coverage of her life and death – a spotlight has been shone on celebrity, stress and how people cope with intense, unresolved emotions. Whitney, no doubt, possessed a rare and magnificent talent – her voice.  And with such a gift must have come unimaginable burdens. Her life points to an impressive lesson about the ill effects of masking emotional pain. It has made me reflect on the ways in which I undoubtedly do the same – when certain feelings of pain, anxiety and shame are too much to bear.

Drug and alcohol abuse are obvious examples of escapism. They are potent aids in achieving an altered state of being that allow for a reprieve from emotional awareness. But they are certainly not the only ones. Food, sex, obsessive exercising and shopping are all great examples of how we can detach ourselves from spirit.

My favorite is food. Food for me is a welcome distraction from painful emotions. When enjoying a dark chocolate brownie or half a pint of cookie dough ice cream, stresses all seem to magically disappear. The joy I feel when eating comfort food, although fleeting, is very real. It allows me to detach from thoughts of inadequacy or feelings of insecurity for at least a moment.  For many of us, this is enough time to get distracted with other things in life – taking care of the kids, cleaning house or running errands. These distractions do not serve us because we miss the golden opportunity to bring consciousness to our painful emotions by truly feeling them. It is only by accepting the emotion exists and truly feeling it with non-judgmental awareness that we can diffuse the negative charge and limit the impact it has on our being.

Painful feelings that go unexpressed and ignored do not simply vanish. They reside in our mental and physical bodies. Their negative energy houses itself in our minds and fuels our next emotional outburst. Or the unresolved feeling seeps into the cells of our bodies, causing disruptions, inflammations and imbalances that negatively impact our health.

Whitney Houston was a gift to us all. Not only because of the music but the way she lived her life. Her life reflected the choices she made and I can see her choice to escape and avoid pain. It serves as a reminder to me to live life fully by facing my feelings of insecurity and shame. Painful emotions are opportunities to bring consciousness to areas of my life that are dark. Where there is light, there can only be love. I wish for Whitney nothing but love and light.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kairos: Living In Between Time

Kairos is an ancient Greek word for opportune time. In fact, the Greeks had two words for time: chronos and kairos. The first described chronological or sequential time, whereas kairos is described as the moments between time when something extraordinary occurs. For me, life is all about timing and kairos. Being in tune with the flow of life is to know when to will something into being or when to just let it happen.

Finding the balance between the two is a way to live in this world but not of it. This delicate timing is the intangible ingredient when making decisions. Often times we want to make a decision right away, in order to satisfy the ego’s feeling of accomplishment. When we are in the midst of feeling uncertain about what to do, I would suggest that this might not be the right time to make the decision. It may not be the best time to will something into your life, but rather to let it manifest on its own.

Each day, we are faced with a gamut of decisions to make. From the very small and routine, most times the choice is near automatic– like waking up on time for work or choosing to exercise that day. Some decisions carry more weight, meaning that we give them more significance, like deciding whether to accept a job offer, how to spend your annual vacation or considering a move out of the country.  It is important to note that we give meaning to everything in our lives. A million people can perceive the exact same event, person or thing in just as many different ways.  If we take a moment to consider the weight in which we give a decision, we can begin to understand why we are giving it such importance or any significance at all.

Indecisiveness can be crippling in that it keeps us from moving forward in our lives. It is displayed as an inability to choose because we are afraid to. When even the smallest of decisions cannot be made and the result is no action at all, life does not flow. Can you think of a time that you found yourself stuck in making what would usually be a routine decision?  Why do we get stuck and how can we overcome this inertia in our lives?

Getting stuck is often a reflection of our own perceived lack of self worth. Often times, it is our feelings of unworthiness that prevent us from choosing freely.  When we are concerned about how we will be perceived and judged by others for the decision that we make, we question what to do. The emotion that fuels the perception of unworthiness is fear. We are afraid of choosing the “wrong” thing. The ego not only justifies the fear, it feeds it by rationalizing it. The ego reminds us of other decisions we have made that resulted in less than desired results. Do not be fooled by the mind.

The ego does not understand that all choices lead to consciousness. Imagine all of the choices you have made up to this point. Perhaps some decisions have brought about some suffering but ultimately all your suffering has brought you to this moment. In this moment, you are present. You have grown in consciousness because of the choices you have made. Be grateful for them.

Right choice or the choice that leads to no suffering does not happen through thinking. Only in present moment awareness do we connect to our higher self and through that connection we will know what to do. It has been described as a ready-made realization. A simple knowing of what to do will be revealed to you. In the stillness, where no fear resides, your true nature exists and it will guide you to the optimal choice. In fact, no choice really needs to be made. It is the mind that likes to evaluate and compare in an attempt to decide. The soul needs no such analysis. When the time is right and if you are present, the realization blooms and makes itself known. The realization may come as a feeling of knowing or it may come to you as a synchronistic event or sudden opportunity that was not previously known.

To stir the stagnated energy of indecisiveness, I propose that you step more fully into the present moment. Allow yourself a chance to be still. With a quieted mind, our soul has the opportunity to rise up to our awareness and make its intentions known. A good question to ask is: If I were not afraid, what would I choose? Ask this question with a purity of intention and expect a response.  Let your higher self guide you in the times that your egoic mind has failed you. As you become familiar with the inner guidance of your soul, you will find that Life has a beautiful flow to it. Find that flow in your everyday by connecting to the divinity within you and enjoy life…not through ordinary time but one rooted in kairos.