A Holy Moment

Working at the Kiloby Center for the 10 months has enabled me to get in touch with what I now call a Holy Moment. When people feel triggered in any way to partake of a certain substance, behavior or other habitual reaction to a feeling they don’t want to feel, more than likely it may already be too late to refrain from reaching for that something. This of course simply prolongs the suffering, something we all know quite well.

But there is a moment, even a tiny sliver of a moment, where we can actually become aware of an alternative to our habitual behavior. That alternative is to simply stop, even for that sliver of a moment. This is a very tiny interruption in the normal course of events that lead to partaking. That moment is what I am now calling a Holy Moment.

Why use the word Holy? As I tune into that moment right now, I feel the infinite space that moment presents. Infinite space, infinite emptiness, all possibility. Yes, even the possibility of just being with the feeling that has so blatantly commanded us to do anything but feel it, the avoidance of which has lead so clearly to our destructive behavior.

The more you can remember to simply pause, even for a second or two, before reaching for that substance, or engaging in that behavior, the more elongated those moments become. Something happens as those moments become longer and longer. The craving can die down, become less intense. You might even have the wherewithal in that moment to actually feel the feeling you have been running from seemingly forever, and ask it, “Where is the command to use?” You might be in for a surprise, in that your craving might have diminished enough to where you might actually refrain from using.

I’m not downplaying the intensity of the cravings that are present when you are in the midst of using drugs, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, etc. Letting your mind list all the reasons those substances are bad for you, well, we know that doesn’t work, as it just activates the craving. We’ve seen much evidence to that effect at the Center. There needs to be a certain level of readiness to finally turn around and face the feelings that have been driving the cravings in the first place. Many clients at the Center have reached that readiness point where they are prepared to look. Taking that moment, even for one second, before using can be a first and giant step toward putting that readiness into play.

Once we have noticed that we can indeed take moments of rest even during a craving, these Holy Moments can become opportunities for feeling what we have always avoided feeling.

The Enneagram has been a very useful tool for our clients, as it can help identify the particular flavor of the patterns we fall into. These patterns are the result of our reaching outside ourselves for comfort, for love, for purpose, for fulfillment, for meaning in our lives, as opposed to looking within. Once identified, we get to watch the parade of patterns in which we have engaged, and it takes some fortitude to do this looking. It can be very sobering, to borrow a phrase, to face how inauthentically we have been behaving. We get to see the many ways we have been employing in order to avoid facing the feelings that are arising in any given moment.

I have been looking at my particular patterns very intently these past several months. My number nine patterns have been made quite evident to me, as well as my powerlessness in trying to behave differently. There is only one way out of this predicament, and that is through; through the overwhelming and oppressive feelings that are with me now. We have a phrase, The Thank You Phrase, that we use at the Center, and it has become a daily part of my life. When I can feel that I am resisting a feeling, I say to the feeling, inwardly or out loud, “Thank you for arising. I love you. Stay as long as you like.” It is a very useful phrase, as it allows us to become completely aware of the feeling itself, and if we are still resisting it, to feel the resistance and be with that. You don’t even have to mean it at first – you might be tempted to say, “Yeah, stay as long as you like, as long as it isn’t more than 5 minutes.” Just keep using it despite your reservations. You might be surprised at its effectiveness.

In this moment, as I write this, every thought that arises seems to intensify this feeling, even those that are totally unrelated to one another. I woke up this morning with this feeling, carried over from yesterday, and the blessing today has been that whatever thoughts might have been velcroed to it are not sticking. I know it’s only about me sitting here and feeling this, even as it feels un-feelable in its intensity. I’ve been asking for this, to be able to move more authentically through this life, and this is what has presented itself.

Holy Moments, Holy Opportunities. Opportunities to discover our unique expressions and creative aliveness, and to live our lives in the infinite space, possibility, and flow of life.

A Blast From the Past

I found an old spiral notebook today, and in the spirit of recycling, perused its contents to see if there was anything in it worth keeping. What I found was a great source of laughter and wonder – a poem I wrote almost seven years ago, before I had delved into the non-dual world.
I mention that non-dual reference because I simply didn’t remember that I was even thinking along those lines at that time. Seven years ago I was still undergoing chelation for mercury poisoning, which was very difficult physically (that’s an understatement), but literally the answer to a prayer on other levels.
This is also one of the few poems I have ever written in which I made a conscious effort to include rhyming into the mix. The rhyming herein is one of the causes of my laughing out loud at what I have written.
Anyway, without further ado, here is what I found in this otherwise very recyclable notebook:

Can you steer me sir, and point the way
in the right direction,
that I might arrive, without fail,
at my final destination.

I’m most anxious, sir, to reach path’s end,
to stop traveling and at last arrive,
and glory in having found
that place where I might thrive.

Tell me, son, if I might ask,
what will you find upon arriving,
that you haven’t found here
where you are now living?

When I arrive at that locale,
after years and lives spent searching –
my dreams come true, my problems solved;
no more will I go yearning.

This pain I feel inside my soul
I’ve long been paving over,
with all manner of distractions;
for that I do seek closure.

When I reach that promised land,
only Beauty will I feel;
Faith and Compassion will be mine,
on Love’s altar will I kneel.

No more pain, no more anger,
woes will return no more;
no fear will ever plague me
when I reach that distant shore.

I long to know the Truth of things,
to see all life converging;
a samadhi in the truest sense –
a view of atoms merging.

A master I long to be,
to see my truth take form;
to teach other to do the same,
to save themselves from harm.

Your eyes tell of having found
Peace and journey’s end;
can you please advise me, sir,
as to when my path will end.

I see a world filled with sorrow,
hate and fear abound;
I long to use my mastery,
to bring these ills to ground.

This world can change, and change it will,
when all of us decide
to use our gifts and turn to Love,
and forever there reside.

There have been times, if truth be told,
I’ve been beaten by despair;
blackness reigns and hope has gone
that I would ever get there.

When these moods strike, I ask aloud,
why continue breathing?
I’ll naught succeed, nor reach my goal;
all’s left is conceding.

But then I find one such as you,
one that does embody
all that seems so right and true,
who in my eyes is worthy.

I’ll tell you what I can, my friend,
though what I say surprises;
this path your on has no end,
from all of my surmises.

All your seeking is doomed to fail,
not ’cause you’re not able;
from words that you have sent to me,
you’ve bought into a fable.

Even if you were to find
an ending true and fair,
you’d be surprised to look around,
and see that you’re not there.

All that which you say you need,
your wants and true desires,
this “I” that you have told me of
can’t find to what it aspires.

This “I” is false, I tell you true,
from lessons painfully earned;
This seeking you’ve embarked upon
will see your ambitions spurned.

The search won’t end, be design,
it never was the plan;
it’s purpose is to keep alive
the seeking if it can.

If there’s something in my eyes you see,
perhaps an inner glow,
it’s the certainty I possess,
that there’s little that I know.

I can say I’ve seen this chase,
this path and all it’s trappings,
is itself a hollow shell –
no present, simply wrappings.

I also know that I laugh aloud
at the best joke ever told;
that anyone needs to be enlightened
before they get too old.

This person that you say is you,
who is he, really?
There’s nothing you lack or truly need;
all this I see so clearly.

We’re acting out a perfect script;
we play our parts quite well;
the seeker is one such role
at which we do excel.

This blast from the past ends right here;
yes, a sudden ending;
I probably came up short of rhymes,
so maybe more are pending.

(We’ll see!)

There’s No Cleaning Up This Mess

Today I realized more fully than I ever have before, that I could do The Living Inquiries, do any number of meditation techniques, live in Babaji’s cave for a month, undergo primal therapy, psychotherapy, music therapy, underwater therapy, physiotherapy, or food therapy, past-life regression, future-life progression, or any other type of therapy for the next zillion years, and never, I repeat, never, be able to clean up this mess that has been called my ego.

I believe it was Ram Dass who said something like, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend time with your family.” Here I am in Westchester County, New York, where I grew up. This particular piece isn’t about all the events that have taken place here, as much as it’s about what I have seen of the absolute mess that is(?) my ego. There is so much disfunction going on in that arena that I could’t even begin to delineate it all, even if I wanted to, which I don’t. Let’s just say it’s hard for me to actually find any authenticity at all in my personality.

This is particularly ironic, given that the title of my website is, “Gateway to Authenticity.”

What I have seen, thanks to The Living Inquiries, is that yes, there are sensations happening; yes, there are emotions; yes, I see images of my memories; and yes, I have seen and heard the harsh words I have been saying about myself. And, I have also seen that all this has been happening to absolutely nobody. That’s what I saw today, that there was no one here who could identify with any of that, all while I was experiencing all of the above, and crying during most of the Inquiry.

So while there isn’t a hope in Heaven of cleaning up the mess of my ego/personality, it is clear that none of that is the truth of who I am. There is really only an emptiness which experiences all of that. Who I am is impossible to find, let alone define. Maybe now I can stop trying to fix the unfixable, unfindable, illusory I.

In closing, here is a short piece by Rupert Spira which seems particularly apt at this point.

First we imagine an ego,
then defend it,
then express it,
then fulfill it,
then try to get rid of it,
then welcome it,
then understand it,
and finally see
that it was non-existent all along.

Maurice Ravel and The Living Inquiries

One of my favorite musical compositions is, “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” by Maurice Ravel. He wrote it not only as a tribute to François Couperin, a French Baroque composer, but also as a tribute to Ravel’s father, as well as some of Ravels’ close friends who died while fighting in World War I. He originally wrote this as a suite for solo piano, in six movements, between the years 1914 – 1917.

Ravel orchestrated four of the suites in 1919, and these are the versions I originally heard and fell in love with. I absolutely loved the themes, the melodies, the ebbs and flows of these suites, and I was so touched by the beauty I felt while listening to this music. Later on, I came across the solo piano versions, and was amazed at the creativity they revealed. Those are a lot of words to describe something I could never accurately describe – let’s just say that this work touched my heart very deeply. It led me on a further exploration of Ravel’s work in particular, and classical music in general, an exploration that has greatly enriched my life.

OK, so what does Maurice Ravel, and in particular, “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” have to do with The Living Inquiries, as created by Scott Kiloby?

The one aspect that I appreciate the most about Ravel’s music is his ability to give the listener the space to feel, as opposed to telling the listener how to feel. This is such a crucial distinction! His music doesn’t dictate, it allows. In this way, Ravel is honoring the listener, and allowing him/her to have whatever experience they are having while listening to his creation.

So too with The Living Inquiries. Each person is allowed their particular flavor of what they might be experiencing, and the facilitators aren’t giving advice or manipulating them in any way (ideally!). All that is happening is that the client is being facilitated in taking an honest look at whatever is happening in their present experience, no matter what words, images or sensations/energies might be present. This not only honors the process, it honors the client, just as Ravel is honoring the listener with the space to feel whatever comes up.

Ravel, being a composer during the French Impressionist period, paid tribute to the Baroque composer Couperin by adopting the Baroque form for these suites. This form is much more structured than what would normally be heard in other music from the Impressionist period (late 19th, early 20th centuries), but within this more structured form, Ravel was able to devise the most intricate, delicate and, well, simply beautiful music. Some of the suites are heartbreakingly beautiful, which is understandable, as each was composed in tribute to a different late friend. Either version, solo piano or orchestrated, is most profoundly affecting.

It is also apparent that The Living inquiries are evolving over time to allow more freedom in the types of questions that can be asked by the facilitators, thereby freeing the creative intuition of each facilitator. When first learned, the Inquiries can seem somewhat formulaic, but as demonstrated recently, these are indeed “Living” Inquiries, expanding and growing as they change to meet the challenges presented by each client. The range of questions that are being asked, and the shifting and evolving of the inquiries, is what gives meaning to the name, “Living Inquiries.”

However, all this takes place within a basic structure, so that we as facilitators don’t lose sight of the purpose of the Inquiries – a sincere looking into present experience. Within this structure, each facilitator can allow their creative, intuitive flow, permitting them to tune in to the client in a unique and responsive way. This is the art of the facilitation. The Living Inquiries are unquestionably an art form, as opposed to a science. I am so enjoying watching how this art form is evolving, with the input of the community that is such an integral part of this process.

In, “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” and many other compositions, Ravel makes extensive use of the dynamics of music, often with dramatic results. He uses the entire range of loudness and softness, struggle and peace, drama and calm, sometimes in surprising and startling ways.

So too, events can unfold in our lives in surprising and startling ways, evoking unexpected emotions,sensations, contractions, words and images. Sometimes these surprises hit us with dramatic force, and we can feel quite overwhelmed. The Inquiries present another opportunity to simply stop, rest, and investigate what is actually happening in our present experience. Much if not all of that overwhelm can be mitigated by having some structure with which to work.

There is something about music that touches me so deeply, and as I’m sure you are aware, cannot be put adequately into words. However, I’ll try a few here. “Le Tombeau de Couperin” seems to unlock that creative impulse that lies deep in the heart of each of us, always present, sometimes dormant, that can fill this One Space which we all are with the most reverent, beautiful and sacred vibration. That is the gift at the heart of music, where the illusory separation between composer and listener vanishes.

The Living Inquiries give us the opportunity to explore our uniqueness in the same way. When the various words, images and sensations/energies are simply seen for what they are, the gifts that have simply been waiting for our discovery of them are unlocked, allowing us to know the truth; that what we have been looking for, seeking for, with all our hearts, has been here all the time.

It is at this point that music, The Living Inquiries, the sound of a rushing stream, the call of the shama thrush, airplanes flying overhead, newspaper headlines, anything you can literally imagine, becomes a conduit for realizing our Oneness with all that is.

[If you would like a major treat, have a listen to the 2nd Movement, Adagio Assai, of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major. Put on the headphones and enjoy!]

A Merry Chase

You’ve led me on a merry chase, you have!
I could never have imagined a more clever foe,
in this ultimate game of hide and seek.
Every possible obstacle, you placed in my path;
Every blind alley, I was compelled to explore;
Your disguises were infinitely creative,
beautifully designed,
to trick me in every conceivable way;
And believe me, they all worked- every one!

Your infinite creativity has had me…
in total despair,
in utter joy;
What emotion has gone unfelt (or unresisted),
by this person called “I?”

Where have I not gone,
seeking after you,
knowing you were right around the corner,
at the end of this book,
at the end of this meditation
in India, in Europe, in Mexico, in Hawaii;
I just knew I could lure you out of hiding,
if I just tried hard enough,
if I found the right path,
if I just meditated long enough,
if I did exactly what the guru/teacher said,
if I was sincere enough,
if I pretended well enough.
But no.
You were nowhere to be found.
I didn’t know how you could have escaped my seeking,
but you did.

And there came a moment in time
when I knew I would never find you.
I gave up seeking.
I gave up.

Now, here you are.
You found the cleverest hiding place of all –
Plain Sight.
You never left home base!
That whole time I was chasing after you,
trying to find you,
seeking for you until I thought I would burst with the longing;
There you were.
Just hanging around home base,
waiting, patiently, lovingly,
allowing me my search,
knowing all the time
that you would never leave me,
could never leave me,
that we had never been, and could never be, apart;
that you were always closer to me,
than my own skin.
Your sense of irony never fails!

Now that I’ve found you,
I sense you everywhere –
in the trees,
in the call of the shama thrush,
in the news of the day,
in all the appearances in my awareness,
in the faces of my friends,
in the eyes of my wife;
In fact,
where are you not?

I can’t not find you now.
The one I can’t find,
peculiarly enough,
is the “me” who was searching!
We are ever one and the same.
The seeker, the sought and the seeking,
All One.

A Five-Star Day

This is definitely a five-star day here on Kauai. We were greeted by sunshine, just a few clouds over the mountains, the birds in full-throated splendor, a perfect day, in other words.

After a wonderful, deep conversation with my wife, I went out for a walk by myself, as Juliet went bike-riding. We both know that change is afoot, and we have put out our intention to take our hands off the tiller and allow room to notice and allow whatever currents come to our awareness.

We’ve been on a long journey, you and I. We’ve been on a seemingly endless search for…… what, exactly? Have you ever spelled it out for yourself? I did that on a post I entitled, “Enlightened Expectations,” which I posted on June 12. (You can access that in the Archives on the left side of the page.) All of those items I listed, when you really take a good look at them, really boil down to one thing: I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable or so-called “bad feelings” anymore. I saw enlightenment as a way to escape having to feel bad. I had images of what it would be like to make that final breakthrough, and achieve total, permanent equanimity in all situations. That I would maintain my blissful state no matter what life presented in my experience. Really, all I was looking for was an escape from feelings I didn’t want to feel.

Isn’t it ironic in the extreme that it is by allowing the feelings, noticing how I had been labeling them with certain words, like fear, shame, embarrassment, anger, frustration, guilt, etc., the freedom I sought was already there. Not in traveling through life so I could go around the feelings, but by actually moving right into them, peeling off the labels and descriptions velcroed to them, and also noticing and allowing any mental pictures that would accompany the feelings and words.
Could it be that these sensations I had been avoiding were simply energies, energies that might hang out for a while, but might also move through our awareness and dissipate, when they were unaccompanied by the words and pictures that we had velcroed to them?
Could it be that simply by allowing our present experience, notice what is actually happening without trying to fix our story, we might find the freedom we have been seeking all along?
How many techniques have we employed in order to find that equanimous state we so dearly desired?
How many books have we read in the hopes of finding that one which would contain the magic key to our awakening?
How many years (lifetimes) have we been searching for what has been here all along, the one place we could never leave – our own perfect presence?

And what is the biggest obstacle to our awakening, to our even taking the first step in our awakening?
Our beliefs.
I could fill up pages upon pages listing everything I believe, all the many places my mind became fixed. Where I dug in my heels, basically declaring, “Here, and no further.”
Well, life had other plans for me, and through a series of very challenging situations, I knew that if I held on to my beliefs, I would suffer, physically and otherwise. So I made the choice not to allow my beliefs to stand in the way of my healing. This lead to openings I can hardly describe, and eventual physical healing as well.
I stand here before you voicing my intent, on this 5-star day, to continue to examine what I believe, knowing that not one belief, yes, not one, is true. No beliefs are true. Not even mine!

If anyone reading this would like to discuss this further with me, you can comment on this blog, send me an email at pgalewitz@mac.com, or comment on Facebook or Google+. I am now a Certified Facilitator of the Living Inquiries, as developed by Scott Kiloby (www.kiloby.com); this work has been so vital to me in my desire to allow my present experience, and to stop avoiding the fears, compulsions and beliefs that were plaguing me on this beautiful dream planet of ours.

I hold no beliefs at present about any past or future lives, but I do know that this dream character I am playing now has only this one go-round. I intend to live the rest of this life as authentically as possible.

An Unexpected Holiday Gift

I went to a “cookie” party Sunday evening, an annual affair at which I would almost certainly have gorged myself on all kinds of wonderful tasting cookies and other sweet snacks. This year, thanks to the Living Inquiries, I not only didn’t have a single cookie, I actually invited a friend to bring over a plate of cookies and eat them in front of me!

When I first walked in, and saw the spread of all my favorite cookies, I felt the contraction in my body. I then continued to stare at the spread, and asked myself, “Where is the command to eat these cookies?” In this case, thanks to the Inquiry sessions I had done, I not only couldn’t find the command, but any attraction I felt for them was gone. I was very hungry, as I hadn’t had dinner, so I ate some of the savory snacks that were available. I kept returning to the cookies and staring at them, and at no time did I feel tempted to eat even one.

The freedom of this is profound. Not only does this feel, well, freeing, but I also feel so much more present and authentic. This addiction to sugar and chocolate has been with me seemingly forever, and now I actually feel that there is less of this person who was addicted here now. The addicted one seems to have receded into the background of my memory. I’m actually having so much fun with this now!

My profound thanks to Scott for bringing these Inquiries into being, as well as working with me months ago on this issue during our Deepening Course. In particular, I’d like to thank Loyd and Grant for the latest rounds of CI that allowed me to get to the truth of what was driving this addiction, and the emptiness of it all.

I can’t think of a better holiday gift. So much appreciation!