Monthly Archives: November 2007

Energy vampires

I was reading an article where the author speaks of ‘energy vampires’ – friends who drain away your energy. I immediately thought of the one friend I’ve been blogging about. I had hopes of being a positive influence, booking him into a meditation course on Saturday. Unfortunately, he chose to be out drinking on Friday night and skip the meditation, even though he had previously confirmed his attendance. That caused me to be quite disturbed the whole way through the course, as it became like a test to confirm whether I should spend any more time with him. I finally decided that I would let him know that I am setting aside the remainder of the month to my spiritual journey. We did catch up later in the day, but the following day when he called to see if I wanted to catch up, I confirmed my decision that we not catch up.

My imagination had played all sorts of scenarios as to his reaction. I was quite anxious, simply based upon my ego-mind attachment and identity. I have made him a problem, and labeled him with all manner of meaning, based upon the delusions that he continually speaks. At this point in time, my growth and healing can only come about through not dealing with these problems on a regular basis. So I am relieved to have reached this position. However, I am sure that he will be in touch to attempt an early reconnection. That I cannot allow.

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It’s time for Praxis

It’s midnight on Sunday 25th November. History has just been written in Australia, where John Howard has been defeated in his campaign to continue as Prime Minister of Australia. The reigns are now handed over to Kevin Rudd, leader of the Australian Labour Party. Howard had 11 years in the job; Rudd has only been leader for a year and became the man to turn the tide. It will be very interesting to see how this all pans out…..

As for what I came here to write, it’s time to pull the curtains on the idea for the group which will begin in my home. I’d like to call it Praxis, which refers to turning knowledge into action. I’d like us to work on the whole premise of cultivating modern spirituality in a plural context. What this means in simple terms is that, as modern people, we live in a multicultural society that gives us exposure to every religious expression under the sun. What has been discovered is that there is commonality between every one. Unfortunately, many dominant religious expressions exist which seek to show that they are supreme, and one must convert to their way to be acceptable to God. Our call is to show that while we can maintain a healthy relationship with our own individual faith expression, we can remain engaged with and connected to other unique expressions. Not only that, at the core our unique expression should give rise to a modern spirituality based upon values of compassion and justice, so that we might be agents of healing to a broken world.

Taking inspiration from the Buddhist meditation groups I’ve been attending, I’d like to have a small group at home start with some form of meditation and prayer, and then focus on a variety of values that are common to the best of spiritual expressions, although the Bible having the most prominent place simply due to my own faith and history. The intention is really to have the group associated to, but not exclusive to, Christianity. The aim is for core radical change through spiritual exercises that can be performed on a daily basis throughout the following week.

I hesitate to use the words spiritual growth or discipleship, or even Bible study as indicative of what the group is about. It’s really for those who find themselves a bit on the outer of other types of activities that tend to be exclusive, who want to effect radical change in themselves and the world, yet feel somewhat powerless to act alone. It’s to support a modern mysticism, encouragement for the radicals that increasingly find themselves distant from denominational forms. I would hope it would also be the kernel of the cafe idea previously posted.

Let’s see how we go……


The Cafe Idea

For quite some time I have had the thought of creating a cafe as a kind of multi-purpose project. I spoke of it at length with my ex, particularly as one of my favourite pastimes is to sit in a cafe with a latte and a good book. My intentions have been for it to be a sacred space, a place that is open for spiritual workshops, meditation and the like, but rather than just limit it to those with spiritual leanings, I would prefer something that was comfortable for all.

I am quite a fan of the layout of Starbucks. The chain seems to have become a place where people can stay for as little as long as they please, without feeling any pressure to leave or order anything. It has become almost a defacto meeting place for millions of people, with its comfortable chairs and open plan. Too bad it has really bad coffee to go along with that! I want my cafe to have that kind of atmosphere, but offering a superb menu of organic food and drink options, also honouring Fair Trade and optimally healthy nutrition.

Ultimately, it would be a centre for integration and consciousness; a place where all are welcome, all are part of the community, all can feel invited into something significant and broader than simply a place to meet and eat. There is a sense of love and grace in the atmosphere, which begins with the design and ends with the staff and customers interacting with joy.

Of course, that sounds more Utopian than reality, an in a way it is; however I have seen this possibility in glimpses to know that it is worth striving for. I’d like to get my ideas in the blog, then build some kind of online community that can work towards the ultimate physical fulfillment. I think I will have to follow an inclination I’ve had for a little while and actually work as a waiter and barista in a local cafe. Let’s see how I go on that one.

As an update to the above, I forgot to mention that I plan to let it evolve out of my living room. That’s a particularly important point. A space of hospitality and mystical exploration is what I hope will provide some kind of impetus to further the drive to seeing the cafe become reality.

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Non-reactivity

After seeing Eckhart Tolle on DVD on Friday night, Saturday was spent in a relative daze, wandering around attempting to watch my thoughts. I tend to wander when I have no planned activities, and I had decided not to catch up with my friend, who finally called later in the afternoon. I wondered if this was like how Tolle was on the park bench for two years. I just wanted to be in the moment. My little journey at one point landed me in the library, where I headed to the religious section and ended up with a bag full of books. Ah, back to my good-old hobby of exploring Christian themes on the boundary of orthodoxy. I got excited about one of the books, The Direct Path, for it goes into the undercurrent of all traditions, which is my favorite topic right now. Then I ended the day with Reign Over Me, the most emotionally heavy movie I’ve seen in a long time – it was surprising to see Adam Sandler so terribly depressed. The movie an impact that was going to be more revealed the following day.

I’d planned to go to church on Sunday morning to see a group doing it emerging-style. It was pouring rain and I had another option: an open day at an alternative health centre near home. So I found out about their Feldenkrais and Naturopathy services, had lunch, and my friend decided to see if I wanted to catch up. I welcomed the idea and invited him to join me at the cafe where I was reading a book. Now, I had been at peace, and decided to just let him be and not try to react. The whole thing unfolded so wonderfully, and funnily enough he was seeking massage therapy, and the health centre happened to have that available, so we gave it a shot. Then I found out about another of their services, a blend of dance, martial arts, and yoga. All in all, it was a great decision to go there instead of church.

Meeting up with my friend this time was peaceful with no hint of reactivity. I could only credit that with all the time leading up to those moments, where I had been practicing meditation throughout my daily activities. Obviously, I do need to mix with others, but it is just brilliant to know that I can enjoy his company without the problems I have experienced in the past.

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Ah, what kindness!

There is just so much kindness in this world. I got to enjoy a pleasant cup of coffee as I strolled to the beautiful botanical gardens. There I gazed upon the gloriously maintained surroundings, and listened to the birds chirping away as I left the noise of the city behind. I enjoyed the blessing of having one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle, describe to me the concepts of ego role-playing. Along the way back home I stopped in the local library, where thousands of books are meticulously stored for our enjoyment. I browsed the shelves and found many titles of interest, all from kind people who decided to share their broad knowledge of the world. This knowledge will only add to and broaden my understanding of the nature of life and spirit, deepening my personal awareness of, and connection with, the divine. I am allowed to take these books home at no charge for a period of 4 weeks, which is such a lovely blessing.

Right now I am very hungry, and due to the kindness of those before me, I can access some healthy food in close proximity to my place. I am so very blessed, for such options are not available to all. In light of such kindness, what room is there for complaint?


The Friend Attachment a week on

Today I am feeling the desire to spend time with someone/people, and I usually fulfill that through my aforementioned friend. Today however, I have chosen to have a very simple day that involves none other than myself, doing whatever I feel is appropriate in the moment. I wish to create a sacred practice of presence for this entire day, watching my thoughts and bringing myself fully into the moment. As such, I am not seeking the typical weekend external entertainments, other than a fair bit of reading and enjoying the weather.

In my previous entry I mentioned having alternative social activities as opposed to the time I spend with this friend. That is an option I will put forward to another day. I am loving this simple day of nothingness, free from burdens and distractions. May it be a wonderful day of meditation and contemplation, with the breath of God flowing through. May it cultivate within me an attitude of stillness and presence.


The Friend Saga

I suffer when I lower my standards. I have just spent some time with my friend, and found it a mostly unpleasant experience. The entire time I felt resistance and aggravation to just about everything he had to say. And now, I hear his voice in my head. I think in terms of his idioms. I’m finding him taking the spiritual insights that I receive and share, and turning them around for his own gain in a little mind-game. Yet, I was drawn again to respond to his phone call and catch up for coffee and our ongoing discussions.

As mentioned earlier, my friend is full of lewd sexual talk. He has no concern with moral standards. I am not yet at the place where I can simply deflect or allow his words to pass through me like water without causing some harm. In light of this, the time has come for a degree of separation.

The best way to implement this is simply by constructing alternatives. Since my friend does not organize activities ahead of time, but acts in the spur of the moment, my best option is to busy myself at the times he makes himself available. Not in self-reflective activities, but rather social activities. There really are plenty of options, I just have to open my eyes.

I need a variety of friends as I mentioned previously. It is unhealthy for the both of us to be spending so much time together. I simply must open myself up to the opportunities without resistance.