The Power of Radical Acceptance

A lot of us are feeling powerless right now, like everything is outside our control. We can’t control when the government decides when we can go back to work. We can’t control who gets Coronavirus. We can’t even control what’s in stock at the grocery store!

So how do we navigate a space when we feel like we have no power and can’t control life outside of us?

The key is to recognize the huge difference between surrendering and giving up

We have to surrender to what we have no power over, what we can’t control. That doesn’t mean we say, “Oh yeah, what’s happening now is totally fine.” Or that we say, “Fine, I give up.” It doesn’t mean that we’re in denial about it either, like, “Oh, everything will be back to normal by Friday.” That’s not what I’m talking about!

What I’m talking about is the need to accept what’s going on outside of us in our current and immediate environment, and recognizing that there are certain things in our life that we have absolutely no power or control over. 

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Language, Prayer, and Grace

Language is no more than the impressions
left by birds nesting in snow.

Prayer is the path opened
by a leopard leaping through the brush.

And grace is how the water parts for a fish
letting it break surface.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a recent experience you’ve had with grace and try to convey its appearance and feeling in words without using the word grace.

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I Have Given Everything All the Meaning It Has for Me

I have just bought a Buddha wood carving, I’m told from a temple in Thailand. I am thrilled with the depth he brings to the room. I love the faint color of pink on him, rubbing off with years. It’s funny. When I see this picture through my mother’s eyes it looks like a beat up worn wooden board with an image, not really attractive, of someone else’s God. Like ours wasn’t good enough? “  Why on earth would you hang that in your living room?  Wouldn’t you like a landscape?” says my mother in my head.
 
I can’t help but think of A Course in Miracles quote:  “I give everything all the meaning it has for me.” My mother is right. This is old wood that would burn well in a fire.  I am right, too, the compassion and presence I feel emanating from this carving is palpable. For me, this image represents freedom and compassion in the face of all circumstances. Everything has the meaning I give it.
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The Eagle And Condor Prophecy And The Virus

The Prophecy of the Eagle and Condor probably began more than two thousand years ago. It says: “Back in the mists of history, human societies took two routes. The Eagle peoples flew the path of the mind, of science, technology, and industry. The Condor peoples flew the path of the heart, of passion, intuition, and spiritual connections with nature.” It goes on to explain that for centuries they would never meet. Then in the Fourth Pachacuti (in Quichua, the language of the Andes, a five hundred– year interval), which began in about 1500 AD on our calendar, their paths would cross; the Eagle would nearly drive the Condor into extinction. But not quite. The prophecy says that five hundred years later, at the beginning of the Fifth Pachacuti—now—the opportunity arises for the Eagle and the Condor to fly together, to mate, and to produce a new offspring, higher consciousness

History confirms the first prophecy. Columbus, 1492. The Eagle swept into Condor territory and almost wiped out the Indigenous peoples. But not quite. 

Now, five hundred years later the prophecy is being fulfilled again. The Eagle and Condor are coming together to create higher consciousness. It is happening! Indigenous teachers have invited us to learn their ways. There is a deep interest in traditional nature-based wisdom and shamanism among industrialized people around the world.

– Touching the Jaguar, John Perkins, p.99
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Living Peace, Allowing Grief

Yesterday just before sunrise I was overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, grief, and mourning. Tears streamed down my face. The unfathomable loss of life around the world from the coronavirus hit me like an avalanche. The number of cases is continuing to rise here in Florida and throughout the U.S. My thoughts turned to Boston friends who had died of cancer in the last year and the trip home to Massachusetts in May that Anne and I had to cancel. My own and the world’s sorrow and pain rushed through my body in waves as I wept. Gradually, after a time, it subsided, tear by tear, and I sat quietly in the half-darkness, breathing in the silence. The sky began to lighten. Then, as if in answer to my heart’s call for comfort, a mockingbird began to sing its morning song, a medley of every possible birdcall it had ever heard. My heart lifted, as it always does when I hear a mockingbird.
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Sheltering In Love (Part 1)

During this time of pandemic, we need, more than ever, to feel our connectedness—true belonging with our own being, each other and all life.

These talks explore the bodhisattva path – practices of an awakening being dedicated to living from love. The invitation is to let this season of close-in and global suffering deepen our collective commitment to creating a more compassionate world.

Listen to the final meditation in the talk: Meditation: Embracing Life with an Open Heart (11:54 min.)

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Soulful Space

Knowing that “There is only One thing happening here and it is Good” is not about by-passing reality by any means. Being and operating from the heart space, from a soulful space, and looking out through that lens is the surest way to hold this transcendent perspective.

From a survivor perspective, we can name countless reasons to believe that it is NOT all good. With gun violence, injustice, abuse, poverty – you name it – we can certainly build a case that it doesn’t look so good. And here is where we can take a “time out” in our thinking and remember that we are more than just flesh and bone. We are more than just surviving, instinct-based individuals. We are creative-source energy in a body. We are God-source energy in a body. While that is a lofty statement, it happens to be the truth.

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The Virus Can Give Your Life More Meaning

One way to respond in a crisis is to reduce its threat. The other way is to add to the threat. The coronavirus COVID-19 might be the first collective crisis that many people have faced, and it poses an uncertain future in every country that confronts it. But this doesn’t change the two choices just mentioned. Know that your individual actions will have an impact on countless other people.

 

No matter how the COVID-19 pandemic resolves itself—something no one can predict—you can personally choose right now to reduce its threat. If you consciously make that choice, three positive things will happen. You will feel more in control; you will be on the side of healing; and you will add to the meaning of your life.

 

How to be more in control:

This begins by acting responsibly, following what the experts in disease control advise. By now everyone is aware of the need to stay at home, self-quarantine if you show any symptoms, keep 6 to 10 ft. away from other people in public, don’t take long plane flights, and wash your hands frequently (the medical school routine for scrubbing up applies here: Wash your hands vigorously while singing “Happy birthday to you” twice—and don’t forget your thumbs and between your fingers). The active ingredient in effective hand sanitizers is isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, which you can also use by itself in at least a 60% solution with water.

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Got Soul?

Through the ages, scholars as well as all religious and spiritual traditions have contemplated the definition, significance, and nature of the soul. Some people believe that soul simply suggests another word for spirit, and that they’re really one of the same, or that it implies a religious or even a spiritual quality.

You may often hear the word soul used in today’s modern culture referring to a sense of pride in areas such as religion, social customs, food, music, or even dance. I have even heard the word used when expressing a deep-felt emotion: “He put all his heart and soul into that performance.”

I’ve been amazed by the number of definitions, meanings, and references there are for one single word, which itself can mean so many different things to so many different people.

Soul is consciousness. It is my belief that the soul is the true essence of a person. When you look into a mirror and see your reflection, you notice your body, your hair, your eyes, your smile, or even your frown! The reflection looking back at you, the image you see is just your external shell; it’s not who you really are.

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If You Aren’t You, Then Who Are You?

Whether you call it your spiritual life, your inner journey, or a search for a higher power, there is a necessary process, known as waking up. It consists of no longer being unaware. By growing more conscious, you give up many things you once took for granted. You recognize that they were illusions, unproven assumptions, and second-hand opinions.
 

You can take a major step toward waking up right this minute. All you need to do is answer one questions: Who are you? This question is about your identity, which everyone takes for granted –so much so, in fact, that we lose ourselves in an illusion without ever realizing it.

Let’s start without any assumptions. Drop your assumption that you already know who you are, because what people really know is not who they really are but their story. Your story consists of everything you have amassed in the past through experience, belief, successes and failures, likes and dislikes. When you identify with these things, you mistake a dead relic of the past for who you really are. Your story might be good or bad, something to be proud of or not, filled with experiences you want to hold on to and others you would rather forget. None of this really matters when you want to know who you really are. You are more than your story.

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Hide-and-Seek with God

“I Am Loving Awareness”
—Ram Dass

Over the past decade, I have experienced divine connection in a variety of ways—in Nature, in solitary or group meditation, and with spiritual teachers who helped facilitate that falling away of form into formlessness. In spite of any longing on my part to hold onto it permanently, however, my experience of God came and went, arose and then receded. Repeatedly, I vacillated between the appearance and disappearance, almost as if I were playing hide-and-seek with God. Then Ram Dass died.

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Open Heart, Open Soul

If your heart opens completely, everything else within you also opens. Your heart becomes an expressway to your soul. And your soul is the designated navigator for this lifetime. Not your mind or your physical body. Before you were born, your soul was downloaded with the customized codes for this particular life journey. God’s cosmic plan is miniaturized within your cells. As soon as you open your heart completely, those soul codes light up and go into super-connectivity mode. Everything starts to flow seamlessly within your conscious awareness, within your physical form, and thus within your life.

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Manifest Your Feelings

Most of us have experienced moments, maybe even life times of attempting to control the future.  This might happen when we want something so badly, we view it as the only acceptable outcome.  The irony of this is, when we only allow one option, we close the door to possible better options. Often times fear creeps in and our brain will begin to tell us why we may or may not, achieve our perceived only option.  At this point the focus becomes on why it might not happen, versus  why it will happen.

Is it possible to just relax and really let the future unfold? Yes;  but there are several important pieces to consider when allowing your life to open up magically.  If you have specific goals; ask yourself why this and not something different? Make sure they are your dreams, not someone else’s.  The next piece to consider is, how will you feel when you achieve your goal?

Feelings are the most important piece in creating our future and enjoying the now.  Imagine and connect to the feelings you love.  Make them a part of your everyday life.  Let each breath hold a connection to your favorite feelings and dreams.  Each time you experience a feeling it can build and continue to grow until it fully becomes who you are.

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Embodied Presence (Part 1) – Planting our Roots in the Universe

In describing our human predicament and dis-ease, D.H. Lawrence says we are like a great tree with our roots in the air. We need to replant ourselves—in our bodies, hearts and spirit. These two talks are guides to replanting ourselves. In Part 1, we explore how we are so often dissociated from the life of our body, and the pathways home. Part 2 looks at the challenges of pain, fear and trauma, and how we can gradually and skillfully reconnect with a wholeness of being.

One of the realizations I keep coming back to is that the portal to presence is through awareness of this living body. ~ Tara

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Stewards of Light

The more a comet
burns away, the
brighter it gets.


As it enters the
atmosphere, more
and more of it flakes
off and burns up.


Until there is only light.


This is our journey
as a spirit in a body
over a lifetime.


As the years wear us
down and burn us up,
we grow brighter.


Until at death,
we are all light.


A Question to Walk With: Describe an aspect of who you are that has brightened over the years.
This excerpt is from my book of poems in progress, A Thirst for Simple Light.

Where is God When Disaster Strikes?

This is such a great question. If our faith is ever going to waiver, it will be when we see or experience, painfully scary and seemingly unnecessary events. Today we have plenty of examples to choose from. My answer; God is always with you and within you.

Without spending too much time on the concept of going within to connect with God; that is where you will find eternal peace.  Practice meditation and prayer.  Spend time in silence.  You will begin to experience the world differently, kinder.  You will begin to identify miracles of the smallest nature that lead you to experiencing life in a kinder and more simple world.  Simple because you become the great observer, and recognize everything as both miraculous and anticipated.

Our external world matches our internal world.  When we experience inner peace; we see glimpses of God in everything we pause to study.

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A Conscious Reset

There are times in life when you may feel as if you’re running backward down a dark alley that has no outlet. Kind of like a bad dream. When you finally realize you’re backing yourself into a dead end, there’s nothing to do but stop, take a deep breath, and look honestly at where you are. In fact, you are being given a precious opportunity to fully awaken and live with greater awareness. It’s what I call a conscious reset. And it’s what I’m experiencing right now.

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The Three Wishes of Every Spiritual Aspirant

Principal to all that we study is an immutable, interior law: As goes my attention, so comes my experience. What I give myself to, I get. If I give myself to something low, I get low. If I give myself to something beautiful, I get beauty. If I give myself to the Divine, I get the Divine. This law is what we must keep in mind as we gradually look at the idea of what it is that we really want from life. Not: What do I want when I get up and I see the news and I get all stirred up, or what do I want when I look at the markets and I get all worried about that, or what do I want because something has stimulated me… but what do I want when I see that all that has stimulated me has left me with nothing?" That’s a significant difference. 

What is it that I really want? A big part of a person's work --for probably many years -- is just the gradual realization of how (like the Prodigal Son) they have wandered off and squandered their resources -- meaning their time and their attention -- which is all that we really have of our own. Then it starts to get a lot simpler to give voice to a truth seeker’s three real wishes.

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Trusting Who We Are (retreat talk)

When we are suffering, we are believing something untrue – usually a limiting story about who we are. This talk explores the roots of our self-doubts, and the teachings and practices that remind us of our basic goodness – the loving awareness that is our source (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat – 2019-11-06).

Carlos Castaneda – the Don Juan books – puts this way. He says, “You talk to yourself too much. You’re not unique in that every one of us does. We maintain our world with our inner dialogue. A man or woman of knowledge is aware that the world will change completely as soon as they stop talking to themselves.”

Sri Nisargadatta says, “Love tells me I’m everything. Wisdom tells me I’m nothing. Between the two my life flows.”

I really invite you to experiment and find the way of remembering love that warms your heart because it’ll help you trust your heart and we deep down really want to trust the goodness of our hearts.

May we trust who we are.

~ Tara

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Everything Depends on What You Want from Life

Our lives are living opportunities to explore the celestial stuff of consciousness from which we are created. We can either choose to substantiate this relationship with reality through the "process" of paying attention to its invitation, or we can refuse it.

 

The first (and highly recommended) action places us upon the guest list of God’s life. 

The latter choice, our failure to be awake and attend to the moment at hand, leads to nothing but more involvement with nothing. So the right choice is always to choose in favor of Real Life! That's what our studies together are all about: learning to discern Truth when it knocks at our door. And practicing what we know strengthens our relationship with Truth. For instance, much as in the same way we must learn to give our attention to these impulses of consciousness appearing in the stream of our self, so we must learn to be awake to the garbage that bubbles up from the bottom of this stream that also calls for our attention. When a depressive state begins to press in, we can work to wake up and remember that a depressing thought embraced crushes the one who embraces it. We learn this lesson by loving something Higher.

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Weekday Personal Support

Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.

Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM.  Access early to hear Panache's monologue -  around 8:30 AM. 

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