Saturday, January 14, 2012

Calling a Spade, a Spade

I've heard people who are being "spiritual," as the phrase would have it, say that the world is perfect, that all is "unfolding as it should," or "as it is meant to be." They explain that things don't look perfect because our perceptions and assessments are faulty, rather than with how reality is.

I disagree. 

I think that pain is painful.

I think humanity has made a lot of significant mistakes.

We're suffering as a result, and the other life forms are suffering too. In fact, we are in the midst of unprecedented species extinction... one of the greatest, if not the greatest, mass extinctions in the history of our planet. The cause of all this death is none other than—us! How human society currently organizes itself, and how we relate to one another and to the other life forms, is basically causing what is termed a mass extinction event.

I spent years during my twenties asking myself what the meaning of suffering could possibly be.

One day I realized I was missing the boat with that question... I started off with the premise that suffering must have some kind of inherent meaning. But now I think that suffering doesn't have an inherent meaning, rather it is a signal pointing to a greater meaning. Suffering is what we experience when we are in a situation that could be unfolding much more pleasurably than it is. Suffering is a call to action.

Not just any action though. This is where our humility needs to come into play. My view is that any action we take to transform suffering into pleasure must be informed by natural/physical/biological intelligence—or it will basically fail.

We already have more than enough failure occurring on Planet Earth.  

When you spend time observing a tree, a wild animal, a dog, a river, a mountain, an ocean, your own body and feelings, what do you learn about transforming suffering into pleasure?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Feminine Wing, Finale

Have you ever thought about all the ways in which you perhaps daily impose your will on natural/physical/biological intelligence?

When you eat, do you pay attention to whether the food gives your body pleasure, vitality, vigor? Or do you just expect your body to digest whatever you choose?

Is your home arranged in a way that your body finds comforting, nourishing, supportive?

Do you rest when you're tired, or do you drink a Red Bull?

Do you ever give yourself time to feel what you're feeling? Or do you think that some of your feelings are wrong, bad, childish, or irrelevant, and so you ignore them?

When you look in the mirror, do you appreciate your body, or do you criticize it?

Do you think that your body is what holds you back from being a good person? Do you follow spiritual disciplines aimed at making yourself good?

Do you put toxic chemicals on your body with the idea of making it "smell good?" 

Do you put toxic chemicals on your lawn so that it will "look good?" Do you think grass is the most useful thing to grow on your land? If yes, why? If no, why?

Here's the point I'm trying to make, courtesy of an ad agency. Ad agencies, in my experience, tend to be very big on the idea of humans imposing their will on natural/physical/biological intelligence.

This video is available on youtube at

Human will is your birthright and I'm not suggesting that you give it up.

I'm suggesting that you become aware of how you impose your will on natural/physical/biological intelligence. 

When you become aware, you are in a position to start thinking about how you can use your will to begin co-operating with natural/physical/biological intelligence. It wants to co-operate with you. When the co-operation begins, your life moves away from suffering, and towards pleasure.

What would topiary collaboratively created with natural/physical/biological intelligence look like?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Feminine Wing, Continued... What Disgusts You?

We humans have created a lot of suffering for ourselves, by rejecting large swathes of our insight, intuition, wisdom, and feeling. Also by rejecting large swathes of the activity of natural/physical/biological intelligence. Whether we like what natural/physical/biological intelligence is doing or not, it always has something to teach us.


It is the capacity of the feminine to embrace. That capacity can be used to expand our knowledge and our awareness. Here's an exercise I sometimes do in my collaboration with Nature classes.

1. Think about all the landscapes, skies, creatures, and plants you know... also all the various situations you've been in that involved mainly other nature beings, not other humans. Where does your memory draw you into disgust, into repulsion, into revulsion, perhaps even into terror or rage?

2. Remember the plant or creature or situation vividly. Let yourself feel those feelings of revulsion, repulsion, disgust, or intense fear or anger. Those feelings represent your survival instincts in action and I respect them for that work. However, they do not tell the whole truth about natural/physical/biological intelligence. Natural/physical/biological intelligence has its own perceptions of itself, and adding those to your internal mix gets you closer to the whole truth. 

3. Take a few breaths, noticing your breath, until you notice how pleasurable it is to breathe. As you notice the pleasure of breathing, your mind will begin becoming less verbal. That is the state you want. Then say, "Natural/physical/biological intelligence, I give you 100 percent permission to show me, vividly and clearly, your perspective on [name whatever it is that you have identified as especially repulsive, terrifying, or angering].

4. Sit quietly, and notice any new thoughts, images, or sensations that come to you. If you have focused your intention sincerely, those thoughts, images, or sensations will be communications from natural/physical/biological intelligence.

5. When you feel that the "transmission" is complete (whether or not you understand it), thank natural/physical/biological intelligence. Whether or not you feel you understand what came to you, if you stay alert over the next few days,  you'll gain more insights into the communication you received. 


6. Those insights will change your relationship with your world, and they will move you away from suffering and towards pleasure.

(For more information on the "nuts and bolts" of dialogue with natural/physical/biological intelligence, please see the series of posts starting here: