How Long Has It Been?

819. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]

Bali Journal Excerpt #9
The beach at Tulamben is course black lava stone. It is from another world. Lora sat at a distance as I said my prayer and made my offering as Jero had instructed. I invited my soul to come home. I asked it (me) to be happy. I made an offering in my own way – also as Jero had instructed. It felt right. When I was complete, I joined Lora and we watched the sun rise. After a moment she said, “Sometimes you have to slow way down before you can see the clouds move, before you can see the shapes in the clouds. How long has it been since you watched the clouds?” She showed me a mermaid and a spaceship. I saw a swordfish and a lion. The clouds moved into one shape and then another and another still, appearing and disappearing and then reappearing in yet another form. It was just like the message of the Wayan Kulit, the shadow puppets. The forms of this life are transitory, they appear and disappear, ever moving.

The ocean accepted my offering and I sometimes remind myself to slow down and look at the clouds that always remind me of how transitory is this life. I have a habit when I awake each morning of saying to myself, “This is the only day of life I will ever have….”

Become The Ocean

818. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]

Bali Journal Excerpt #8
I was not surprised when my dive instructor told me that we would dour our final dives together in Tulamben. It would be an overnight stay. “Tulamben,” he said, “is the place where the sun first touches Bali each morning.” I would do my ritual in Tulamben. I would invite my soul to come into my body and be happy. The Bali gods were taking care of me. Terry, my instructor, and I were sitting on a boat having just completed two open water dives. They were current dives. My lesson of the morning was about giving myself over to the current, getting completely neutral, and letting myself go. “Don’t swim against the current,” he’d instructed, “give in to it. Become the ocean. Experience what it feels like to let the division between you and the ocean disappear.”

Listen To The Symphony

817. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]

Bali Journal Excerpt #7
Letting go is happening in degrees: a moment of tai chi in the pavilion with Stewart, a comment from Budhi, conversations with people in the market, allowing myself to ‘not know,’ laughter with Lora – this are opening me to be present, opening me to direct experience without judgment. It is allowing me to celebrate the symphony of serendipity playing all the time in my life. Engaging with people who are supportive and not fearful or needing to stake claims is teaching me to relax. It is teaching me to let go of my need to stake claims. When I first entered the temple I was wary of imposing in the people and their right to worship. I didn’t want to trespass. The Balinese people welcome me over and over again (not just me but all of us) with not thought of trespass. I had to allow myself to be welcome. I had to let go of my assumptions of imposition.

There are two phrases I adore in this excerpt: 1) A symphony of serendipity. I am in one of those vibrant phases in which the symphony of serendipity is playing loud and with great mischief. Serendipity is a’poppin’. 2) Allow myself to be welcome. The older I get the more I recognize that the vast majority of my limitations are self-imposed.

Do You Know M.A.N?

816. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14, 15]

Bali Journal Excerpt #6
At the Preventing Child Sex Tourism in Denpasar, I sat to lunch with a man named Rai. He was very educated and had a passion for the worlds religions. He was familiar with the holy writings of most major religions. He asked me about my religion. I answered that I had no religion. I told him that I had a spiritual life but had no particular attachment to a system of belief. He smiled and nodded.

We talked of tourism and its impact on Balinese culture, both positive and negative. He told me that in his village of Kuta that the people believed that the many changes in Kuta over the past few years was the result of Black Magic. He also told me that this event was predicted. He used a word for the era in which we are living but I can’t recall it – but said the English equivalent was something like ‘apocalypse.’ “In this time,” he explained, “people forget Atma.”

“What is Atma?” I asked.

He responded, “Do you Know M.A.N?” I didn’t. “M stand for Maya. All that is transitory is Maya: money, friends, status, power, and the body are all Maya. When people focus on things that are Maya, things that are transitory, they can only be unhappy. This is what is happening in Kuta. ‘A’ stands for Atma. Atma is your soul, your god-nature. You are god.” he said, touching his heart chakra. “When your mind is Atma, you are happy. Atma is eternal. Do you know Mahatma,” he asked? “Like Mahatma Gandhi? Mahatma means Atma,” he laughed. “Mahatma is the one with gleaming thoughts. When you are Atma your mind is not attached to the transitory. Detachment from all things leads to Moksa. Moksa and Nirvana are the same thing. ‘N’ is for Nirvana. Moksa is a state of being. When you are attached to nothing, living as Atma, you are said to have Moksa. M.A.N.”

Invite The Soul

815. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13, 14]

Bali Journal Excerpt #5
Madeleine asked me if I would go with her to see the Balian. She wanted me to scribe for her – to take notes of her session with Jero Manchu. I’d written off my previous experience at Jero Manchu’s compound. I didn’t listen to the inner voice. I ignored the imperative to, “Ask the Balian what was missing.” Now, I sat with Madeleine before the Balian. The Balian sang, breathed incense, and was quiet for a moment or two. Then, she turned and began speaking to me. I’d not asked a question. I was there in support of Madeleine.

Jero said (through a translator): “The one in you wants to be purified at the beach. One is pulling you there; one is pulling you in another direction. This is why you feel at a crossroads. I suggest you pray to the one not committed to you. Pray at the beach before the sun is rising. Invite the soul – he is still in the water – invite him into your body. Ask him to be happy in you.”

I was stunned.

It seems, thirteen years later, my work in the world is to invite the soul. I did my ritual on the beach (it is a journal entry coming soon) and my soul eventually came out of the water and into my body. He is very happy and getting happier each year.

The lesson or action is universal to people, organizations, communities,…the internal tug of war reveals the split gate, the investment in being right. It reveals the place where we divide and pull in opposite directions. Power over or control are usually the drivers of the split. There is nothing worse than having two experts come to dinner. There’s nothing better than having two masters come to share a meal.

Heal the split by stepping into the space between. This is to invite the soul into the body. Heal the split by shifting the focus from the points to the vectors, from the fixed to the fluid, from the staid to the movement, from the particle to the wave. Invite the soul. Ask him or her to be happy in you, as you.

Count To Three

814. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 12, 13]

Bali Journal Excerpt #4
There is an important number in Bali. Three. I come from a culture built upon the number two. Everything in my culture is a duality. Until coming to Bali I was not aware of the degree to which I saw the world in terms of opposites: black/white, success/failure, good/bad, /left/right, religious/secular. Between two points there can only be a line, a distinction. Judgments are the result of two – guilty/innocent. Lady Justice stands blindfolded holding her scale aloft. Which way will the scale tip? Democrats or Republicans? Make a choice! Are you for us or against us? Pro-choice or pro-life? In school I was taught that a good play, a good story, is driven by conflict, the place where two opposing forces collide. Will the major character win or lose? Will I be a winner or a loser?

These many years later re-reading this entry I marvel at how little I see the world now in terms of two. If there is a two there is also a space between and that space is dynamic. It is vibrant and alive. I see shades of gray. I see the middle way. I’ve worked hard to break my pattern of two-seeing. Budhi told me this space between was god. It is energy. One-ness. Why would I live in a universe built upon the number two if it precludes the space between?

I am sitting in an airport right now and it is just after midnight. I’m going on a trip of transformation. I am journeying to touch a heart that is precious to me. I am not popular for making this journey. Today, the people in my story are seeing pairs of opposites. They want me to see in terms of two and I am consciously reaching into the space between. They are invested in my choice. One or the other? They want me to “do what is right” yet right looks like left to half of the people who are invested with the choice they think that I am making. They cannot see the choice that I am making because their number stops at two.

Heart lives in the number 3. Heart is found, not in the noun, but in the verbs, in the action, in the space between.

Walk Between The Hands

813. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

[continued from 811, 812]

Bali Journal Excerpt #3
Budhi told us that the split gate is like two hands praying. We stood before an ancient split gate and Gunung Kawi. He said, “One side of the gate might represent good while the other side represented evil. Or, perhaps one side was male and the other side female.” It’s a duality, I thought, assuming that I knew where Budhi was going with his description. We walked between the two gates into a courtyard. Once inside, he stopped and turned again to look at the gate. “Which side is good and which side is evil?” he asked. None of us ventured a guess. “It all depends upon your point of view,” Budhi offered. “Maybe on the outside evil is on the left and good is on the right. On this side, which gate is right? Which is left? Both sides represent each aspect. It all depends upon where you stand.” Budhi moved to the gate and pointed to the opposing faces of the gate. “Look,” he said, “these sides are smooth, like two palms praying.” He wanted us to understand that, not only was there no duality, but there was also a third aspect, the space between. This space between represented one-ness. “When you pass through the gates,” Budhi explained, “your mind should also become focused on the one-ness, on the space between. This is god.”