steve

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About steve

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  1. Haiku Chain

    Walk on the planes Shaving seconds off of life Curling inward on
  2. Devotion

    Very beautiful! I have an interesting relationship with devotion. Too often, there is a subtle questioning there - not so much a doubt but self-judgement. Disappointing to say I'm still good at that. Swimming in muck, forgetting it's perfect. And in the right space, as you say, devotion is inevitable. It's both a fuel and an expression. It is simply what I am - uncanny how consistent the experience. The space opens and is filled with it, overflowing. I appreciate you sharing so freely.
  3. Lineages- old and new

    My initial experience of awakening was completely unexpected, completely unlike anything I'd ever read or could have anticipated, and yet I somehow knew precisely what had transpired. I felt it deep in my bones, no room whatsoever for questions or doubt. On the other hand it was also disorienting, particularly in trying to carry on with my family and professional life. The lack of conceptual context created sort of a cognitive dissonance between the discursive "me" and the abiding nature. Reconciling and integrating the self-awareness with mundane responsibility and obligations became challenging at times. Priorities changed but I wasn't ready or willing to give up my family and professional obligations. I knew there was room and validity for both the relative and absolute. Years later I encountered a teacher who was able to help me with that integration. The beauty is that it happened almost completely non-verbally and non-conceptually. I came to him looking for help contextualizing and integrating my experience. He told me almost nothing in words but his manner, his openness, his warmth and genuine caring caused something in me to click in a very profound way, bridging the relative and absolute through openness of the heart.
  4. Please leave ego aside to read this

    I would suggest that it's more a testament to manitou, her fearlessness, and compassion for our members.
  5. The Complete System

    Different people need different things at different times in their lives. I acknowledge and respect everyone's experience and opinion on systems and teachers. I don't so much appreciate all the bitterness and name calling. My own experience with systems has been extremely favorable, both in martial arts and meditation. I've never encountered a system that did not encourage freedom of application and the student's personal responsibility to put in the time and energy to have direct, personal experience and use that towards independent growth. Perhaps it's just been my good fortune to connect with the right systems and teachers. I suspect that most of it is what we bring to the table ourselves. The word system to me is not a bad word. It connotes some degree of organization and consistency, something that removes a bit of the unnecessary trial and error. Life is too short for each of us not to share in the successes and mistakes of others for guidance. On the other hand, no question that we need to take personal responsibility and not be overly dependent or limited by teachers and systems. I've had profound experiences and seen remarkable improvements in my life and personal growth through my association with my martial arts and meditation teachers and lineages. I feel deep gratitude, devotion, and trust; and consider myself blessed to have had the good karma to come into contact with them. I don't know where my life would be otherwise, although I am certain it would not be as rich and satisfying as it is now. Just thought it was worth a few minutes to give an opposing point of view for anyone practicing with or interested in connecting with established systems and teachers. You need to use caution and common sense but there is real value out there.
  6. The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my experience with meditation is coming to terms with myself. As we open more deeply to ourselves, all of our baggage and dysfunctional patterns come to light. It’s not all pretty and can be difficult to handle. Any propensities towards mental illness can likewise be unmasked. People who have weak sense of self or poor self esteem are particularly vulnerable. This is where a good teacher and support system are invaluable.
  7. Reaching Deep Relaxation

    I wonder if we can know what others need? The things that have been the most relaxing for me have been spending time in nature and meditation. Physical exercise is very important for relaxation as is adequate and restful sleep. The other thing I'll mention is the value of helping others. There is no better feeling. This is something that could lead to some big and positive changes in how you feel about yourself and the world. Consider spending some of that free time helping others who are in need. There are lots of volunteer opportunities out there. If I was in your position, I would plan to spend a lot of time in nature and would find a teacher and begin a regular meditation practice. What a blessing to have a lot of free time and youth on your side. Most of all... enjoy! PS - do some research in your area regarding local teachers, you may be pleasantly surprised. If you can't find anyone, there are good options for online instruction. Feel free to PM me and I can make some recommendations
  8. I’m curious what led you to conclude that it is impossible to cultivate concentrated awareness without positive emotion. In my training, such a state is achieved through zhiné, not through any sort of cultivation of emotion or positive feelings. Perhaps there are traditions that emphasize the emotional component, I’m interested to hear about them. Both positive and negative states of mind arise on and off the cushion while cultivating samadhi and both are treated similarly - we notice them and allow them to arise, remain, and depart as they will without interference. Samadhi leads to the ability to abide without influence or disturbance by transient states of mind. Once achieved one does experience a much deeper, more stable source of positive qualities like the four immeasurables. I do know cultivating positive states of mind is a path in that direction. I think what you are asking about is wonderful but not necessarily the path to samadhi, at least not in the teachings I’ve been exposed to. One thing I do to cultivate positivity is to open my heart, make eye contact, and smile at everyone I encounter. Good luck on your path.
  9. Please leave ego aside to read this

    So wonderful of you to share this beautiful realization and I'm so happy that you've had this experience! It's such a blessing.
  10. Taoist meditation

    I’m pleased that you are satisfied with your path. Peace
  11. Taoist meditation

    And what does that do for you? Laozi and Zhuangzi also didn't need the intellect. Misunderstanding is not a threat when the intellect is not engaged. Yes, I do feel comfortable with my approach. The difference is that I've engaged in Daoism, and other forms of spirituality, with both tools - the intellectual and the experiential. I've studied Daodejing, Zhuangzi, Liezi, and Neiye. I've also practiced Daoist meditation, qigong, and internal martial arts for an extended period of time. That doesn't make me anything special but I do have a broader perspective from working with both. You've only had the experience of one - the intellect. I have the frame of reference I need to judge the relative value of each for myself. You withhold that from yourself. In the end, you may be right and the experiential path may hold little value for you. Until you explore it with some degree of commitment, you will never know. That's my point. I don't mean to be overly critical, just trying to help you see there is more than intellectual study in Daoism. It is interesting that you started this thread to explore the value of experiential, non-intellectual practices, but then simply defend your position that there is no need for anything beyond the intellect. If that is your position, why even start the thread? We can only grow through being open. If we hold on to our opinions, there is no chance to learn anything new.
  12. Heaven : Illusions : Rapid Advancement

    I think what you are describing, and what is being alluded to in the Kabbalah, is what is being recommended in the Mahayana tradition - the cultivation of bodhicitta. A slightly different perspective is that it is important that we first liberate ourselves before we can effectively help others. Otherwise, our own pain and confusion interferes with our ability to understand and provide what others need. Another good source on this topic is Anthony Demello. He offers some cautionary advice on generosity. It is easy to think too highly of ourselves for our charitable acts. Demello divides them into 3 categories and points out that nearly all charitable acts are fundamentally selfish. 1. Giving ourselves the pleasure of pleasing ourselves - mundane selfishness 2. Giving ourselves the pleasure of pleasing others - a bit more sophisticated but selfish nonetheless 3. Helping others to avoid a negative feeling about ourselves - the worst motivation in Demello's opinion I'm with you on the reading. There isn't much out there that captures my interest in terms of spiritual reading. There are a few exceptions - the books by my personal teacher, books by Demello, and spiritual poetry.
  13. Taoist meditation

    And what exactly does that get you? Is this the only point Laozi is making? What about the other 1400 texts that make up the Daozang? I disagree. Technology was not as well developed but thought and analysis were arguable more effective as there was no technology to rely upon. The achievements of the early Daoists, not to mention Buddhists and other cultures, in the absence of such technological support was profound. Human intellect was every bit as well developed then. The reason they weren't emphasized (appreciated is the wrong word) is because the true lessons of Daoism transcend the intellect. If you choose not to see that, it is your loss. It is nice to feel comfortable.
  14. Thanks - I tend to skim or even skip over many posts here. I didn't see that earlier. Yuck
  15. Please elaborate, where do you see that acceptance here?