Archive for August, 2010

The presence of evolution

August 24, 2010

I know now that I am . . . like . . . totally connected. Here’s the scoop (and it is kind of a long one so you may want to bring along a snack):

While reading the part of about our 4 billion year evolution on Ted’s blog a few weeks ago, I started wondering: where was I all that time? Was a I rock? Solar energy? I am eternal so I must have been somewhere. We all were/are.

The Universal Consciousness must have heard me because this past week, it guided my attention to an article about evolution in an old issue of EnlightenNext and now I know where I have been: I was a predecessor. Me and a whole bunch of you got together as some kind of precursor to our current human existence and, by agreement, we united and made it happen.

The article is an interview with Dr. Beatrice Bruteau. It was done back in 2002 (so you can see that even while I am connected, sometimes it takes a while for the connection to catch up to me). Here is an excerpt from that article:

“ . . . in order to appreciate and feel the force of what the present human vocation is, we need to zero in on how the elements of any particular level of cosmic organization actually perform the uniting by which they come to constitute a new kind of wholeness in the world. There is not some outside force that causes this to occur. The capacity for it is inherent in the uniting elements, and they themselves do it by their own characteristic power. Every level of cosmic being has its own power of communication, the power to unite with others of its level to make something yet grander. This is the pattern that repeats in the course of evolution.”

In other words, all that exists has the ability to come together and create something new. We evolve. We become more than we were before.

Dr. Bruteau goes on further saying, “So a molecule is a kind of community. A cell is a kind of community. Molecules are communities of atoms, cells are communities of molecules, and so on. Now, we’re following this same pattern that evolution seems to have followed, which is unite in order to create. The new human community will be some kind of an entity, some kind of a Being. Just as the organism is a collective of molecules and the molecule is a collective of atoms. So if you can get human beings to share their characteristic human energy—which is agape, knowledge, concern, creativity, inventiveness, and all the other kinds of strictly human energies that we have—all that interchange of energies binds us together into a community. And when the whole community experiences and practices this kind of love, the crisscrossing energies form a net, and the net is the New Being that can do what the individuals that it is composed of could not do.”

Oh, my . . . a New Being. I am not sure if Dr. Bruteau means a new human being or a new way of being, and it really does not matter. I imagine that children conceived and born into such a community would be much like the children being born into our computer age society: they come hard wired and using a computer is as natural as breathing. Children born into a community based on certain qualities would find those ways of being inherent to their existence. They would be the New Being.

Key to this ability, however, is the part where Dr. Bruteau says “. . . if you can get human beings to share their characteristic human energy . . ..” How many people does it take to form a community? To create this New Being?

According to Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth, we don’t need everyone. We just need critical mass – just enough to give energy to that way of being. Given our capacity to understand and change, I also don’t know that being a New Being would be reserved only to the newly conceived. I am so very different now than I was even five years ago. In making changes to myself, growing, and evolving, I often ask my atoms, molecules, and neurons to come together in a new agreement, a new way of thinking, and a new way of behaving. I could not have accomplished what I have in my life had I relied on my old community of cell wiring.

A large part of my own evolution was by conscious agreement. We all do this. When learning a new skill, we all require that some part of us gets rewired and creates a new set of connections that can do what we are learning. This new unified collection creates each one of us as a New Being who can do what could not be done before had those atoms and molecules not come together.

Each of us has a “characteristic power” – it is our individuality that can unite with other individualities and create a New Being. What is even better is that, just like molecules and atoms, we remain our individuality. We are not absorbed into some collective (shades of the Borg!), but by our own agreement we belong and support a way of living that some of us are only beginning to imagine.

Keep imagining. Each of us was at one time a precursor set of molecules that eventually got together to make us the humans we are today. Today, we are still a precursor set of molecules to the next iteration of our existence.

I wonder what we will make.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of absence

August 21, 2010

The limits of being human are never quite so obvious as when our loved ones die. Their absence is so pervasive to the point of being its own entity.

A few days back, I sent my beloved kitty into the great beyond and still cry about it. My perspective remains intact: this was a very old cat who had stopped eating and lost the ability to drink water. She was not going to recover and could have lingered for weeks, yowling over her water dish managing only to take a lick or two. I was clinging to her life more than she was, and I still doubt whether I made the right decision to assist her on her way. I would much have preferred that she die of her own accord and, eventually, she would have, but after how much suffering, I don’t know.

Her absence is still very much in residence. Her ghost is here. I glimpse her image out of the corner of my eye as I pass a corner where she slept and on the stairs she would run down to greet me when I came home each day (yes, not your typical aloof cat). These empty spaces are full of her absence. They used to be full of her presence.

If our loving were so strong, I imagine that our connection would supersede death. But, the actual physical connection is severed. My connection with those in my life who have died is in the memories and recreating the feelings in those memories in a bittersweet dance. It is the irretrievable presence that most consumes my misery. It is one thing to be separated while knowing that the other still physically exists. We can retrieve another’s presence in our lives. It is another thing when death is the separator.

Those who have physically died have entered an energy state our human senses cannot always detect. Why this is so, I don’t know. But I believe there must be a life-sustaining reason for it. One of the laws of physics says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed – it only changes form. We don’t know that energy cannot be created. We only know that as humans we cannot create energy. It is the law of our human existence, not necessarily of our energy existence.

In the presence of absence, there are lessons to be learned. Absence itself is an energy that is teaching me to be present in each moment and be mindful of the memory that I am currently creating.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of spiritual atheists

August 18, 2010

My cloistered Roman Catholic childhood still blisters my world awareness and often makes me blind to all that exists. While I can often see the wide panorama that is our universe, I sometimes miss the details that paint that picture.

I’ve been reading the book How God Changes Your Brain. The researchers who wrote the book surveyed atheists and found a number of them to be highly spiritual. While it sounds like a spiritual atheist would be a living oxymoron, a clear view of their beliefs makes me realize I am not so far removed from them.

An atheist is a person who does not believe that God (or any deity) exists. This is not to say that an atheist does not believe in a higher or greater power in the universe; they just do not believe in beings external to the universe who created and control everything. Because they do not believe in worshiping a being outside of ourselves, religious worship has no value for them. It is not that they don’t believe in religion. Religions exist. A spiritual atheist simply has no need of a traditional religion. However, a spiritual atheist is very open to transcendent experiences.

I ventured on to the Web site for the Center for Spiritual Atheism. And there they are advertising the slogan “We are all ONE” and connecting with other spiritual atheists on a Ning network. I wandered around and found phrases like “thoughts, words, and actions that are in harmony with the idea that the entire universe is, in some way, connected” and “that as they [spiritual atheists] go about their lives striving to be personally healthy and happy, they should also be striving to help the world around them be healthy and happy.”

Interestingly, an atheist is defined by another person’s definition of God. One spiritual atheist was quoted as saying “If ‘others’ accidentally mistake ‘God’, the mythical representation of the universe itself, for something that exists outside of the universe (the external creator and ruler of the universe), I have no ethical choice but to declare myself to be an ‘atheist’.”

I consider myself to be in a process of self-definition. I go about the world identifying with some labeled groups, yet not belonging to any single one of them. I do not want to be labeled. My beliefs are very similar to those of spiritual atheists, but I don’t know that I would use the term to label and define myself. I definitely want to transcend any categorization that is defined and determined by other people’s beliefs.

If we are all ONE, then we are all some of everything. And that can never be labeled.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of Magic

August 17, 2010

The Magic Cat
She has always been a creature of comfort. Her soul loves feeling good to the point that never mattered who might be inconvenienced in her search for warmth, a complete body rub, and dinner off my plate.

Yesterday, we said our temporary goodbye. She could no longer eat or drink water even though it was clear she wanted to. Sitting at her water dish, her meow was mournful and painful for me to hear. I made the decision to allow death to claim her body, and set her soul free. I needed to put her out of my misery. I feel only a little bit better that she is no longer physically suffering.

There is no doubt in my heart that she will be present for me when I make my transition home.

She represents more to me than a 7-pound feline with an attitude. We have a 17-year history and there are a hundred thousand memories associated with her presence. When she first arrived in our lives, Bethany was a young girl and Magic was her birthday present. Magic was supposed to be her cat, not mine. But I was working from home back then and she found my lap beneath the keyboard while I typed away. She snuggled up against me late at night searching for warmth and the familiar sound of another heartbeat. She taught me how to throw her cat toy and she would fetch it and bring it back to me to throw again. When we had visitors, people said she followed me around like a dog. I told them she was very much a cat: always on the wrong side of every door.

I dragged her 2,000 miles across the United States from Texas to Maryland and changed residences six times in 15 years. One time, she even put up with living with male cats for 3 years. She was always well-behaved and polite. These past four weeks were the only time she was sick or caused me any concern at all.

I carry the question of whether euthanasia and depriving her of suffering was the “right” thing to do. I take some comfort from the idea that if she trusted me with her life, then she also trusted me with her death.

I have a lifetime of stories to tell about her, but right now they all make me cry.

I miss her presence.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of Ted

August 15, 2010

I was reading Ted Howard’s blog on Understanding being human part 2” and am convinced that Ted is wired to the Universal Consciousness in a very special way. We all are connected in our own unique way, but Ted goes beyond unique. He goes where few brain cells can dare to venture.

As near as I can tell, the bottom line is that, as humans, our egos have evolved beyond our capacity to understand our entirety. We think we know everything, when in fact, the more we know, the more we find out we don’t know. We don’t even know the half of what we don’t know.

If you want to find out where you came from, check out “What is a human?” . You also will get a world-class view of where we are now and our capacity to go further.

Some time ago, Ted discovered that some of the cells in his body had changed their programming and become cancerous. He is meeting the challenge of healing his body which has somehow gotten the message to work against itself. Curing oneself of a metastasized cancer is not for wimps (however, if you are wimpy, taking on cancer is one sure-fire way to discover how strong you really are). One has to destroy or remove those cells who are beyond redemption while at the same time, convincing the cells who are on their way to becoming cancerous to change their minds. And then you have to talk to your immune system and ask it to beef up production while it continues its regular 24-hour job of protecting your body from all the other microbes who might seek to take up habitat in your tissues. Currently, the metastasized cancer cells are retreating and some apparently have given up the fight.

If anyone knows just how cells become cancerous and how they function, it would be Ted. In fact, he seems to know and understand a little too much to be an outsider. Ted must be an insider. Ted was probably one of the original designers of the solar system and this big round thing we call earth. Now, he is living the reality of his design eons later and discovering what works well and what doesn’t. And there is proof: curing cancer is definitely an inside job.

I can’t wait to see what he does next.

But I’m willing to wait another full lifetime to find out.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

the power button

August 11, 2010

I let what other people do and say take me outside of myself. It is the largest of my buttons and evidently so ginormously attractive that some people simply cannot resist taking a big swipe at it. In their eyes, I imagine that this particular button is shiny bright red and pulsing with the words “Poke Me Here!” And I seem to have an innate talent for attracting that kind of behavior from even the nicest people.

What I don’t understand is why, after they insist on poking the button, they act surprised and hurt when they get the reactive typical knee-jerk (well, in my case, it is more of a verbal rocket of words as loud and as obnoxious as I can make them) response. The part that I dislike the most is that I don’t feel good responding that way and would rather select a different response that keeps me feeling good about me.

I am of the growing and affirming belief that I came here to become more of who I truly am in my total existence, not just my current human existence. I came here with issues to resolve that get in the way of my becoming. Working through this button and finding a response that supports me better would probably inactivate the button. There is that nanosecond of awareness that someone’s finger is pushing my reactive button. Within that breathless space is my chance to make the decision to stay within myself and my chosen behavior.

I just need to be a little bit quicker to recognize it. I know the advice is that when I feel this button activate, I am supposed to stop, take a few breaths, and take a step away from what I might be thinking and feeling so that I can observe myself with some detachment. I heard some advice on the radio the other day. When someone pushes a button, and we are getting all geared up to hand them their heads, before we launch the assault, we need to pause and ask the simple question: “so what?”

What really are the consequences of the other person’s behavior? Especially, what are the consequences to me?

Lots of times, they are inconsequential. For example, in tennis if someone makes a bad line call and I lose a point, I can get extremely hostile. The reality is: so what? I lost a tennis point. I might lose the game. I might even lose the entire match, but so what? I don’t lose anything material. I don’t lose money. I still get to come back and play again anytime I want. My only purpose for being there is to enjoy my playing tennis. MY playing tennis. Letting someone else determine whether or not I enjoy my playing tennis is giving up my power.

Giving up my power has far harsher consequences than losing a tennis point. And I think that is really the lesson the button is trying to teach me: own my power.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Undefeated

August 8, 2010

For the past two weeks, I have been a little distracted and neglected my writing of Eternal Presence. My excuse is that I have been living large in a place where not many people get to play.

I belong to this women’s tennis team and we are currently undefeated. Our record is 14-0. We are a very unlikely collection of winning players. None of us are Wimbledon material. Individually, our records of wins and losses are the same as any other player. Many of us get on the court with various braces and wraps to support our aching joints. We swallow Advil by the dozens and ice packs are a staple in our freezers.

But somehow, we managed to put together winning combinations of players that have simply outplayed the other teams. I am learning so much about bringing my best to every point in the game no matter how much better the other team might be in terms of talent and consistency. Even when it is clear that the other team can and is in the process of beating us, I am learning to be in the experience point by point. Several times, we have come from behind to capture the match.

To keep up my momentum and capitalize upon this experience, I have been playing tennis every chance I get in the evenings and weekends. It is said that to maintain a skill, you need to perform it at least twice a week. To improve a skill, you need to perform it at least three times a week. I am seeking to imprint the feel of winning strokes and volleys into my physical rhythm. At the same time, I want to integrate this incredible sense of solidity and confidence in bringing the best tennis player I can be to each point that I play. The mental and emotional game of tennis can compensate for any lack there might be in physical ability and defeat opponents with twice the skill level.

Translating this lesson into the everyday moments of my life might be more of a challenge because there are more distractions off the court than on the court. Being totally present on the tennis court for each stroke of the ball is a requisite of playing well. I cannot be thinking of anything else in that moment except where that tennis ball is, where the other players are, and how I am going to hit this shot right now. I can only move on to the next moment after I see that tennis ball leave the strings of my racquet. If I start thinking about the next point or what’s for dinner, I lose contact with the moment and am likely to lose contact with the ball as well.

“Be here now” is possibly the best advice I have ever heard. This is the only moment that counts. This moment sets up the next moment.

It is the only way to stay in the game.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

my love life

August 7, 2010

The lesson for August 5, 2010, in Science of Mind, says that if we love life, life will love us back. That life requires I love it before it will love me back sounds like a trade-off. I know there are times when I don’t love the life I have at all. And it is clear life is not loving me back at all. I am angry and dissatisfied with it. I might love the people who are important to me. I might love certain things I get to do. I might love the sights, smells, and sounds of the earth. I might love some of the events that happen in my life. But I don’t know for sure that I love life itself no matter what.

You see, I have convinced myself that the external trappings are my life. But that is a lie. Life is not just my physical living and my interconnection with other manifestations of life. Life is not always defined by the people, objects, and events outside of my physical body. Life is the existence within. It is my pure existence that I need to love. That I or anything at all exists is a miracle.

And I realize that I don’t have a working definition of life. In order for me to love life, do I need to define what it is? How do I find it? Recognize its attributes? Weigh its faults? Is it possible for love or life to have faults?

I know I am programmed with the instinct to survive and live as long as possible. Is the love of life inherent in that programming? Is it the programming? Was I born with the ability to love life or is it something I have to learn? Are we instinctively born loving life, already know how, but during the murky travels of our growth, some of us lose touch with it?

Life is my existence. Physical and nonphysical. Do I love my existence? Once I let go of everything physical, do I love the energy that remains? Can I love life totally naked without the luxurious trappings of friends, lovers, bountiful food, comfortable shelter, and superb health? Do I love being with my own energy in this moment no matter what is going on outside of me? I may not love all that is going on outside of me, but I need to love the existence going on inside of me.

When I am in touch with the true presence that I am, life is eternal and perfect. My true presence knows more than I do, has been tested and honed with experiences that I can only sense, not remember. But this part of me remembers and knows.

And still loves.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of resistance

August 3, 2010

Resistance is a powerful tool. It can stop any process or force. It can create its own force and defeat the efforts of nature, interrogation, desire, and microbes (note: with microbes your body mounts a defense and sends raiders to kill the invading microbe, so technically not resistance because a carefully designed counterattack is taking place; however, this is my blog and because that action takes place totally outside of our decision-making process, I am calling it resistance).

Resistance can be our friend – just ask any recovering alcoholic or ex-smoker.

I am strongly resistant. I conquered addiction to nicotine. I have resisted temptation hundreds of thousands of times in my life. For example, if someone cuts me off when I am driving, I resist the temptation to run them off the road and verbally* teach them a lesson in polite driving. The only lesson they might learn from that is to sell their car and buy a Behemothmobile. At those times, my resistance is connected to my inner wisdom. If someone is willing to risk hurting me and themselves just to get a space in traffic, what’s to stop them from hurting me as I prevent them from reaching their destination?

*screaming incoherently

Other times, my resistance gets in my way.

I am even resistant to writing about resistance. Resistance appears as a physical stiffness in my breastbone and a total lack of coherent sentences in my brain. I find myself immersed in distraction rather than production. I make a decision to surrender to my reluctance. I could make the decision to meet my resistance and negotiate. Like this morning. I would rather go read other people’s blogs but I am working a deal with my resistance to write about it.

I am resistant to writing about anything. I start a little interrogation with myself about what to write about, what I think about the subject, how do I feel, and then I check with my creativity to get some advice as to how I want to say it, and up pops my resistance. Behind that resistance are some whopper stories. I type in some words and immediately think to myself “But that’s not brilliant!” I want to see the mastery in each sentence before I proceed to the next. It does not matter that I know writing is rewriting, that I have the option of coming back to revise and craft the sentences until they reflect exactly what I want to say.

Sometimes the writing flows even through resistance, like water finding invisible cracks in a concrete dam. Here’s a revelation: even when my writing is flowing, not every sentence I write is brilliant. In fact, some of them . . . okay, MOST of them are downright remedial.

I consider all of my writing as works in progress. At some point, I will revisit this post and play with it some more. I am in hot pursuit of being a qualified writer who says things that other people find useful at some level.

I resist giving up.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

walking the talk of presence

August 1, 2010

On my computer, my background has the question: How will I bring my presence to life today?

Any day there is electricity, I read that each morning and each night (which, despite the tornado-imposed blackout of last week is just about every single day). My life pattern, though, my programming, my habitual way of responding to myself and others is my default position, and it takes effort to remember and connect with my true presence throughout all of my interactions.

Some days I feel I am only my true presence when I am reading me on paper. I talk a good walk, too. In fact, some days I talk the most marvelous walk of life. I am magnificent in my ideas, my way of being, my presentation of wisdom.

And then, I often forget these pearls of enlightenment as my daily business sweeps me away into the land of pretend. I have to stop and ask myself: Is this really me responding to life? Or, am I still being the fabrication of survival mechanics?

I need to integrate who I am in this reality of virtual paper with the reality of who I am walking through my life. I need to walk the talk.

So, the second question is: How will I bring my words to life?

I view the ideas that these words manifest as a bridge, a link, a place to comingle the internal living presence with my external manifestation. Within me, I need to live the words I write. I need to carry them, nurture them, talk with them, become them. It is the first of the Four Agreements: be impeccable with my word.

This agreement does not just apply to using my word with others. It also applies to using my word with myself. It is another habit for me to treat others better than I would treat myself. As a child, convincing me that this was the way I was supposed to be made life very convenient for my parents. Then, I figured out something. If everyone was good to themselves, they wouldn’t need other people making them feel good. That little idea landed me in the soup of selfishness. But then, I realized that the people expecting others to sacrifice themselves so that they would be happier was even more selfish. I kept that little secret to myself until I was no longer dependent upon other adults.

Truly living the talk, bringing my words to life, requires that I apply them to all equally, including myself.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass