Meditation

The God You Don’t Believe in Doesn’t Exist

I don’t “believe” in God. What I mean by stating to Atheists or those that question the existence of God is that the super hero, long white bearded judgmental God sitting up in heaven doesn’t exist.

God  is far beyond any form we humans have tried to put on him (she or it) The word God has been terribly misunderstood from the beginning of time, in fact the sheer magnitude of the universal divine force defies comprehension of the human mind.


Many religious fundamentalists who claim to be following God’s teachings are simply spewing dogma as a means of controlling people.

God is life itself, beyond all form and ideology, available to all, manifesting as pure love.


I am a spiritual seeker, have been for most of my life. That being said, I have some of the most compelling spiritual conversations with friends who profess to be atheist. Recently I had lunch with one of my atheist friends. He is retired doctor who shared with me that he couldn’t believe in a God that allowed so much of the horrible suffering in children he treated as a pediatrician in his early career. We do however agree that there is a “force” that is greater than we are that just may have created and now sustains the universe.


My true essence could only start to be realized by becoming a spiritual rebel. I had to question the rules of my Jewish heritage in order to come to know a power greater than my small ego. This Self or Soul is the guiding light of my life. It has been the healing force of my life in recovery.


Everyone of us has this “Higher Self” within us that can be experienced typically in moments of deep silence. We each have a unique path home to our soul. Mediation, prayer, quiet time in nature, music and art are some of the ways.

What has been taught by the saints, sages and prophets of all the true religious traditions is that God is Love, simple pure Love that is accessible to each and every one of us.

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Living and Rebelling Communally/ Part 2 California

The summer of 1976 was a turbulent and somewhat confusing time at the Pond. There was a move towards Evangelical Christianity and those of us that were happy as yogis rebelled and some left. I had been dividing my time between working as a cab driver in Manhattan and the country life on the land at the pond. I was ready for a change and decided to hitchhike out west that August. I spent several weeks in the San Francisco Bay Area where my sister Deborah was living at the time and then headed south to visit a friend in Santa Barbara where the mountains meet the ocean, one of the most beautuful places on the planet.

That first night at my friend Nick's house, I closed my eyes while relaxing in his living room and my inner voice said very clearly " you are home". The next day we had lunch in a little natural food cafe called the The Farmer and the Fisherman. It was run by Sunburst Farms, a spiritual community in the mountains above town. I met Dennis, the manager of the cafe, still a friend of mine, who shared a bit about the commune and invited me to visit. This began an amazing journey of the next four years living on three different ranches Sunburst owned in the beautiful mountains of the Los Padres National Forest outside of Santa Barbara.

At first I worked on the land at Lemuria Ranch in the back country learning about agriculture, horticulture and caring for the animals we raised.  Later on I worked in the natural foods markets we ran in town eventually becoming the manager of the Isla Vista store near the UCSB campus.

Far more significantly than what I did on the commune were the deep spiritual connections and comraderie I had with people I still consider brothers and sisters to this day. We shared what we had, meditated, worked, sang and played together every day.

Nearly 38 years ago many of us left that beautiful ranch along the California coast because we had lost confidence in the leadership. A core group of us settled in Santa Barbara where I stayed for several more years. Friends Mehosh, Chris & Michael, Kate, Jack, Bob & Xenia, Michael & Kathy  and Miguel among many others are still near and dear to my heart. Reflecting on those wonderful years, I have no regrets and feel a profound sense of gratitude that I had that awesome experience that has been a guiding light on the spiritual path I continue to walk on daily.

Living an Intentional Balanced Life is Rebellious

Americans pride  themselves on their hard work ethic often to the detriment of their health, relationships and family lives. How often do we hear, "I'm always working", or "I'm available 24/7?" I work in the commercial real estate industry and am constantly told by many of my colleagues and friends that all they do is work when they're not eating or sleeping. Is it  supposed to be a badge of honor to be a workaholic? I don't think so, in fact I see burnout to be a very serious health and wellness crisis in this country. I am troubled when I hear how an associate doesn't have time to workout, go to their kid's games or performances, or just take some good quality personal time to recharge for fear of missing that big deal.  Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not be a tyrannical master that demands we answer every call, text, e-mail or tweet.

Recently I have read many articles by "human potential experts" that  discourage  multi tasking and constantly checking our phones and e-mail. It actually makes us much less productive.

I am reminded of an old story about two fire wood cutters who were working side by side. One chopped non stop without taking a break all day. The other, took a 15 minute break every hour. At the end of the day the guy who took the breaks had chopped three times as much  wood as his partner did, who couldn't understand how that was possible. Extremely annoyed, he asked "what do you do on all those breaks you take?" His answer......" I sharpen my axe."

This  rebel made a decision many years ago that I would do my best to live a balanced life while working in a business that often discourages that. I  meditate & pray, exercise & play regularly, eat a pretty healthy diet and spend quality fun time with my loved ones and friends.  I call this my rebellion against burnout and ill-health.  Sometimes I fall short but I  have learned where the off buttons are on my phone and computer and turn them off frequently in order to tune in to all the beauty around and within me.

 

 

 

 

 

How meditation can be your ultimate rebellion against a compulsive mind

I’ve been a “meditator’ on and off since I was first introduced to yoga and  meditation at a yoga retreat in 1972 at the age of 18. For the last five years , I’ve been meditating relatively consistently on a daily basis. My most recent realization came to me in a morning meditation reflecting on rebellion. What I realized is that mediation is the means by which we rebel against a mighty tyrant that has been running the show for way too long -- our minds.  What do I mean by "our minds?"

Specifically, I am referring to the compulsive ego-driven mind. That voice that constantly chirps away about ourselves. The voice that tells us how we aren’t or don’t have enough, don’t measure up, we’re too fat or thin, don’t have enough money or recognition. We feel unsatisfied, unappreciated and on and on and on

Meditation affords us the break in that non-stop chatter. We can observe our thinking, realize what’s real and what matters.  As we slow down and become quieter,  a calm serenity washes over us. That chatter no longer controls us. We are free to experience a spiritual reality, our higher selves, God within us.

In truth, it is a daily reprieve. The more we sit quietly allowing the peace that surpasses all understanding, the freer we become from the tyranny of the compulsive ego mind.

For this rebel, who  as a young man thought that rebellion meant a life without discipline, I have come to realize that the discipline of sitting quietly for 25-60 minutes a day is a path to ultimate freedom.