Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Feeling Good All The Time

I completely understand the longing and desire to feel good all the time. After all, we are wired to pursue feeling good and avoid feeling bad as a mechanism of survival. Of course we will choose comfort, safety and feeling good over discomfort, unsafety and feeling bad. It's the only reason why we are still around - because instead of choosing to stay in the freezing cold, we chose to seek temperatures that allow us to remain alive. Instead of choosing foods that taste awful and are poisonous, we chose to eat nourishing foods that taste delicious. Instead of choosing... well, we all get the point.

Fast forward a couple thousand of years and here we are. In a world were all of our past choices as a species led to the present times. A time when our desires and drives have remained the same, just that are completely different in content. Now, it's not a choice between staying in the freezing winter that will kill us due to hypothermia, now it's a choice of whether we want it to be 70 or 74 degrees according to our heating unit or air conditioner. Which will it be? Now it's not a choice of whether to go for that suspicious looking berry and that tried-and-true apple. Now it's whether we want a chocolate chip cookie or a slice of tiramisu. Our choices have changed a ton, wouldn't you say?

The answer is an obvious yes, and the irony is that studies have shown that the more choices we have, the more overwhelmed our brains get and the more stress we experience. Things were definitely simpler and easier when our choices were two and one was the obvious right one and one was the obvious wrong one. When we have hundreds of choices, our brain panics a bit and freezes a little. "What should I choose?" "What do you think?" "Which one is the best?" Questions we have all been asked by friends. 

But, shouldn't we be experts at choosing? Shouldn't we just KNOW what we want? Especially now that we have all this generational and collective practice? Seems like not. And THIS is EXACTLY WHY I love the ancient tradition of Zen. Because it brings me back to the beginning of time, where no phrase is wiser than something as simple as "Chop wood, carry water."

A very different message from the promises of spiritual enlightenment that I imagined as a tween that was just beginning to dive into spirituality. Back then, if someone tried to sell me Zen, I would have rejected it as quickly as I would have rejected anything that made any sense back when I was in my twenties. "Screw anything logical, rational, reasonable and true," covertly said the resistant and self-centered voice in my head. Why have Zen when I can have infinite bliss and happiness?

And here's the answer: because there is no such thing as feeling good all the time. Because that simplistic and reductionist view of what is possible in life is nothing more than a pipe dream and an utter fantasy. And although I can completely understand the innocent belief in its possibility, I can completely see that it's just not true or possible.

Now, spirituality is not about seeking to feel good all the time. Now, spirituality for me is about acceptance of the reality of life. Now, spirituality is about paying attention to everything and believing nothing. Now, spirituality is about allowing life to be what it is and has always been. Now, spirituality is about embracing and being intimate with. Now, spirituality is about letting life speak to me and dictate to me rather than the other way around. Now, spirituality is about surrender and not about control. Now, spirituality is about taking responsibility and not about dreaming and hoping that magic will save me. Now, spirituality is about saying saying thank you for all blessings rather than asking for more. Now, spirituality is about receiving my life openly rather than resisting and fighting the love that I am.

Gassho.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Being Alone

It's funny how often, when I write, I have this silly illusion that I am possibly writing for somebody else. It's never true, yet I often fall for it. Why? Probably because I want to believe that someone out there will keep me company as I write. I imagine myself and the reader, both together, happily ever after.

What's actually happening, however is that I'm leaving breadcrumbs for my lost soul to follow. And I feel a good little trail about to make itself on the way to the screen.

Being lonely and being alone are two completely different things. Being lonely is another way of saying being empty of awareness of one's majesty. Being alone is another way of saying being completely whole and at peace within oneself. Being alone is like being all one. Yes, all one in the sense that there is no referencing a supposed second or third within one's being. There's no looking for a reflection of one's image, there's no attachment to being accepted, loved, embraced or any of that. There's no ATTACHMENT to it. Read that slowly, my imaginary reader. There's no ATTACHMENT to being accepted, loved, embraced or any of that. Again, read that slowly, my imaginary second.

Human life has its way, its game, its rules, its modus operandi. And regardless of what those parameters are, freedom lies in not being ATTACHED to any of it. Yes, I know this may get annoying and even worse completely incomprehensible, but perhaps you can sense what I mean. It's the relinquishing of ATTACHMENT that solves the mystery of human suffering. And when we relinquish ATTACHMENT, we discover what being alone means. We discover what being all one means.

I know how annoying reading something, connecting deeply with it, sensing it and even deeply understanding it, can be. But it's only annoying when we feel so close and yet so far from what our deepest essence registered. That so close but yet so far can be a tiny split, but it's enough of a split to cause one to go insane. Yes, especially when we try to push and force, like this guy that's writing this karmically tends to do. It must be all the zeal.

Luckily the thirties have arrived. There's less naivete, less immature energy and less confusion. And that can be a saving grace.

Maybe aging is all about coming to terms with our inherent aloneness. Maybe aging is all about making peace with a truth that we're conditioned to not see, even though it's blatantly obvious. Maybe aging is all about growing into sensing the great alone that we are. And maybe that doesn't mean that we have to be lonely and maybe that doesn't mean that we have to be alone. Maybe that just means that we relinquish our ATTACHMENT to not wanting to be alone and to wanting to be alone. Maybe this is a great part of the letting go that humans have to go through in order to arrive at peace. Letting go of ATTACHMENT.

And what is attachment anyway? The obvious answer is fear. Fear of loss, fear of life, fear of death, fear of fear. Fear of not having control. And what is fear? Confusion. And what is confusion? A lack of insight. And what is insight? Seeing what is. And what is? You're it.

Funny, I'm alone while I write this and you're alone while you read it. And even though there's someone a few feet away from me, that still holds true. And even though there may be a bunch of co-workers or whoever around you, you're still alone. How do you react to that? It's a good question because it's a good measure for how at peace with yourself you are. How being alone makes you feel is probably the way you really feel most of the time - except for those moments when you trick yourself into believing you're not alone. Because the fact is that you are alone. You are alone with your thoughts, emotions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, opinions, notions and all the rest. And this is why those of us who do not enjoy our inherent aloneness become ATTACHED to any of these - because if we don't, we'll discover the truth that we irrationally fear so much. It's just the way we've trained ourselves for whatever reason - and so what? It's not a problem if we're not ATTACHED to it. Right?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

I feel so much gratitude, it is literally killing my ego and triggering tears of healing.

THANK YOU:

To God and all celestial benevolent beings, who have been keeping me safe and sound. I feel you every instant because I believe in you.

To my beautiful self, Gabriel Weiner, for being infinitely curious, inquisitive, sincere, honest and consistent in his love of truth.

To my strong and beautiful mother and father, Angela Jáquez and Paul Weiner, for having brought me into the world and for not letting me die (and for not killing me) when I was under their care.

To my siblings, Fannette Guillen, Benjamin Weiner, Aaron Weiner and Andres Weiner, for having made my childhood and beyond so rich and interesting. For being such great teachers in my life.

To all my teachers and professors, for tackling such an incredibly challenging and underrated task and for giving me more than any store ever has.

To my great, great timeless friend Susana Dominguez, for being an incredible partner on the journey.

To my amazing voice teacher, Mark Baxter for being an unbelievable possibility model.

To my wonderful exes, Lindsay Majewski, Phil Bonnachi, Anabel Valdez, Marcelo Dotel & Sandro Morales for having been such amazing teachers and companions along the way.

To my extremely clear main spiritual guides, Adyashanti, Cheri Huber and Mukti. I always come back to you for a reason.

To my amazing fiancé Dariusz Kulesza for being loyal, humble, dependable, reliable, loving and strong... not to mention, cute and sexy. I love you.

To Daniel Sullivan, Moises Dominguez, Ana Dominguez, Vivian Sullivan and Isabelle Dominguez for making my Saturday nights so special.

To Rossanna, Leylanie and Baby Paul for being amazing additions to the family.

To all of my students, for trusting me and giving me more than I could ever give them.

To all my friends.

To Boaz Givon, Mor Givon, Emma Givon, Romy Givon for making my Tuesdays and Thursdays so joyful.

Thank you and I love you all from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for giving me so much. Thank you.

Gassho.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Way of The Ego

Think of egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate as a pernicious program that has been installed in the head of every human being. It operates much like a virus on a computer.

Now, when your computer slows down due to a virus, do you say "Darn it! This computer has a virus that is slowing it down" or do you say "Darn it! This computer is so slow!"?

If you're like most people, you probably say it the second way. But language really matters.

If you say  "this computer is slow," there's really not much you could do. Yet if you say "this computer is being slowed down by a virus," you have the option of installing an anti-virus and making your computer run efficiently again.

Does that make sense?

Now, if you had a really clever and highly effective virus in your computer - this virus would be installed and operating in a way where it literally blends in and gets concealed extremely well into the essence of your computer. This way, you really wouldn't stand a chance of seeing that the problem isn't really with your computer.

And that's exactly how egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate is.

Let me give you a example of something that just happened for me, so you can get a sense of what I'm talking about...

Normally I work by myself, but today I had someone working really close to me making phone calls and doing some work on the computer.

It didn't take long before I started to feel annoyed and frustrated that this person was here and I started thinking of this person as an "annoying weirdo who needs to calm down and learn how to behave like a normal human being."

By grace (and thanks to a lot of spiritual practice) I was able to see almost immediately after having that thought, that this thought was put into my system by the ego. And rather than going along with ego and thinking that it was actually me that thought that, I said to myself "Oh! There's ego doing what it's done for most of my childhood, teenage and adult life. There it is trying to ruin my experience of life again. There it is doing all it can to confuse me."

Then I thought, "Wow, it's amazing how the ego wants me to be alone and un-triggered and unchallenged for all of my life, so that it can be alone with me acting like it's the supreme ruler of my life." And then I wondered "Is there ANYTHING that isn't wrong for the ego?" Answer: No. For ego EVERYTHING is a little TOO much this or TOO little that. Everything and everyone SHOULD this or SHOULD that. (Hint: when you hear TOO or SHOULD in your head, become very, very alert and notice ego is judging and trying to control your life!)

To ego there is something wrong with EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY. Nobody or nothing is 100% adequate and exactly as it should be. To ego EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY should be different, even if just a little. To ego I need to change, my fiancé needs to change, my parents need to change, my siblings need to change, my friends need to change, my boss needs to change, my life needs to change, the government needs to change, the world needs to change. And of course, according to ego, if I stop thinking like this, I am in SERIOUS trouble. If I don't want things to change, I am dead, I won't make progress, I won't succeed in life and I won't get ANYWHERE.

To ego, there is a SOMEWHERE to get to and that somewhere certainly is NOT here!

Of course, once the ego reads something this and immediately says "So you think there is something wrong with change?" Answer: nope, but not everything needs to! Ego also says: "So you think there's something wrong with having goals and going somewhere?" Answer: nope, but it's not something that needs to go on neurotic, insane, auto-pilot, gotta-have-it, hyper anxious mode.

The point is that to ego this, right here, right now is always lacking. And the only time when this, right here, right now is okay is when the ego says so. And ego only says so if it has me completely to itself. When it has me indulging in some deadening behavior that leads to numbness and what the ego calls "relaxation" ego is quiet. When it has me indulged in some form of entertainment and short-lived pleasure ego is quiet. Ego only shuts up and when it being 100% fed by my system. Ego always has a problem when things aren't being done its way. Ego only likes the people who line up with its world. Ego cares about itself. And worst of all, ego has found a way to tell us, that ego is who we are!

What a travesty! UNTIL you install the anti-virus of spiritual practice. Only with it, do we stand a chance at reclaiming our lives from this nasty tyrant that drains us of most of our life force.

The incredible power and cleverness of ego is really not to be underestimated. I'll share another little bit to illustrate what I mean by its power:

In previous stages of my life, ego had me convinced there was something wrong with me and that I was worthless and useless. When I started doing spiritual practice in earnest, I slowly took away the ability of ego to convince me that any of that was true. I woke up out of that amazingly tricky and compelling evil trick of ego and freed myself from believing any awful thing about myself. But EGO CAME BACK! Because ego is just like the bad guy in Terminator. When you think you've defeated it, it doesn't take long before it pieces itself back together and comes back a completely new form to fool you. How it came back for me? It came back telling me that I was wonderful, better than everyone else, special and amazingly indispensable and talented! What it lead to: arrogance, wanting people to give me credit and appreciate the gift that I am, anger when someone else was complimented and I wasn't (jealousy), competitiveness, center-of-the-universe thinking and a sense of being the only one on the planet who knew what I knew. And yes, initially this inflated sense of self felt way better than all those years of deflation and depression, but honestly, it wasn't really long before I started to suffer just as much for believing I was better than for believing I was worse. They're both lies of ego. And what I've found is that ALL EGO LIES HURT AND CREATE SUFFERING FOR MYSELF AND FOR OTHERS.

Gassho.




Friday, October 23, 2015

Relationships As Spiritual Practice - Part 1

I still want the same exact things I wanted when I was a kid, I want to be loved exactly as I am and I want to be loved well. I want attention, affection, appreciation and respect. I want to be seen as perfect and incapable of doing anything wrong. I want to be treated with kindness, warmth and admiration. I want to be seen as a miracle and as a gift. I want to be seen as a genius, I want to be treated like a king. That's sort of how it went for me as a kid. Perhaps when I was younger it was as simple as when I started the paragraph, and as things went on, things escalated a bit. I don't know.

Today I'm in a beautiful relationship with a lovely person who, like all my previous partners, challenges me in ways that really bring me to the edge of my relational capabilities. So for this and many other reasons, I consider relationships, one of my main forms of spiritual practice. A spiritual practice, that I must say has afforded me with the greatest opportunities for growth and healing to date.

For whatever reason, I find myself in a deeply committed relationship with a person who drives the mightily spiritual and righteous ego that started to control me a very long time ago. And according to such spiritual ego, the reason why my sweetheart drives me nuts is because spirituality and self-development aren't at the top of his list of priorities. So when he is eating a bunch of cookies, watching "reality" TV shows for hours, drinking his third beer and saying that it would be really nice if he had a cigarette, spiritual ego tells me that it's time to go nuts. Because all of this is certainly a sign that there is something terribly wrong with him and with our relationship. Of course.

If only he were like ME, the spiritual, sensitive and enlightened master that I am, I would have no problems and our relationship would be perfect. Of course it would.

Now, in case it's not blatantly clear, I am being sarcastic. Not towards you, but towards this ginormous spiritual ego that has run the show for the better part of my 31 years of life in this particular incarnation. It's a tragedy really, what this clever mastermind ego has done.

If you're like most people, after reading the small vignette I have shared about my sweetheart, you would think that he's a monster. And the truth is, he is not a monster at all. Like him, I have my vices and ridiculous habits too (marijuana, video games, computer, chips and so on... also did I mention I was a smoker?). Thing is, of course the spiritual ego doesn't point those out to me. All the ego tells me is that I'm pretty much flawless or at least in the process and on track to being that way and my sweetie is not. And best of all, the spiritual ego "knows" that for a fact.

See why relationships are great spiritual practice? When you're really, really paying close attention, and when you're being really, really honest, you can start to see the painful problem. If spirituality becomes at all about being righteous, we have completely missed the point. And that's why a close, intimate, committed relationship can be so good for a serious spiritual person.

You get to see things like just how much the ego exaggerates and demonizes people's traits. Especially the people you are closest to and love the most (my sweetie is not a heavy smoker, drinker or lazy fat person). You get to see how ego works full time to take all the beautiful things away from you. You get to see how to ego there is something wrong with EVERYTHING. You get to see how ego throws projections on the screen of your awareness that are designed to make you suffer and that couldn't be farther from the truth. You start to get to see how ego is doing all it can to bamboozle you. You start to see how black or white ego thinking really is. You start to see how an empowered spiritual ego is the most evil force on the planet. And I mean that for real.

Righteously judging your partner hurts and creates serious suffering, righteously judging your partner is a very cruel and seriously damaging practice. One that can only be stopped once we see it for what it really is. And here's what I found...

I didn't get what I wanted when I was a kid. I didn't get it at all. I wasn't treated well, I wasn't unconditionally loved and I wasn't embraced and seen as a beautiful gem. And I am pissed about it. Because I am so pissed, I refuse to give it to my love and I refuse to give it to anyone else. Fuck them. If no one loved me, why should I love anyone? If I was righteously judged for wanting more toys, loving video games, eating junk food and sneaking out of the house to see soap operas - why the fuck should I give my fiancé a pass? Fuck him and fuck everyone, if I suffered for being who and how I am, so should he and everybody else in this world. If there is something wrong with me, there is also something wrong with everybody. My job is to pass on my pain, to pass on my hurt, to get even, to seek revenge and to hate the world. That's what I need to do. That's my function as an ego, that's my mission as a spiritual ego... but of course I'll call it "tough love," of course I'll say my intention is "good." Of course I'll claim I'm doing it to protect you. Of course I will. I'll do that so I can go on. I'll do that so that with my "good" intentions I can continue on building my road to hell and seeking retribution. I'm the spiritual ego, that's just what I do.

So psychotic and so illuminating. Wouldn't you say?

The point is that I want to get, and I don't want to give. I want my love to listen to me, accept me as I am and praise my every effort. But I don't want to do that for him at all. I want him to give me what I wanted as a child, but I don't want to give him any of that. He should go first, and MAYBE I'll go second... if he's lucky and knows how to ask in the perfect way.

Ego is a lunatic. Enlightened ego is even worse.

I feel so blessed to be able to see it for what it is and not indulge it. I feel so blessed to be able to recognize what my partner wants. What he wants is what I wanted and still want. To be loved and accepted exactly as I am. To be trusted. To be heard, to be seen and to be cherished and valued. And that's where the edge of my practice lies right now.

Gassho.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Not trading being human for being spiritual

I have no way of proving much of what I say, truth be told I'm too lazy to prove anything. I go more by gut feeling, I follow a feeling or a sense I get inside, I ride a wave to the best of my ability and sometimes I screw up royally.

And here's what I wanted to write. The spiritual path has a sort of progression. And I don't know if any of this is true, but here's my sense. You're human, you either suffer or come up with a deep and great question somehow and then you become spiritual. When you become spiritual, you get lost and forget you're human. Time plays a huge part in all of this, even though not many people seem to be talking about it. It's not convenient and people don't like to hear it I guess. But this stuff takes yeeeears. Then you get feel weird being spiritual and something doesn't ring as true. Something itches and bothers you. And then you want to be human again but you feel guilty and you feel like you're going backwards. You're afraid you're going to go back and be the same dude you were when you first started. Bullshit. You won't. But somehow your brain shuts down and doesn't let you or something.

Then you have no clue what's going to happen. And even though that was always the case, you never saw it so clearly and it never bothered you as much as it does now. Growth starts to feel weird and counter-intuitive and definitely not fun. You become human again.

Don't trade being human for being spiritual... even though it might be an inevitable step, keep going until you're human again.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Not special in my supposed lack of specialness.

Funny how as I grow, I see more and more how not alone I am in the things I used to be embarrassed about. I used to hate the fact that I had become hardened, arrogant and pretentious. I used to hate how egocentric, narcissistic and stubborn I had become. But the more I open my eyes, the more I see that it's just part of the socialization part for many of us.

I love the enneagram system. It's really helped me see how I am just a type of human with certain propensities somewhat unique to my type, yet there are millions like me. From what I understand I am a type 4 with a 3 wing - and I've been able to identify, spot and recognize many like me. But that's just one language. Human expression is INFINITE but conditioning is finite - and let's face it, we're all conditioned! Along similar lines, because we have a limited set of narratives and a limited set of conditioned archetypes.

As I see it, freedom is sensing the unconditioned and understanding the coexistence of the conditioned with the unconditioned.

Even all this writing is a set of conditioning, a language and a way of framing that is limited to my understanding, experience and knowledge. And while those things are infinite our ability to express them is finite at any given moment. I am always amazed that someone could read this and get very close to exactly what I mean, it's amazing!

Unconditioned to unconditioned and conditioned to conditioned.

Heart to heart, mind to mind.

Beatiful.

Gassho.