– Putting Concepts to Experience –
We Can Wonder
Wonder is the beginning. It is the space from which all things unfold. It gives birth to questions. It is the womb of understanding. It molds from the empty space of awareness all that can be known.
It’s no secret everything changes. Your experience this morning isn’t your experience now. Yet how many of us act like we really understand this? How often do we grasp onto the illusion of things, including our ‘self’?
The Faceless Seer
Who are “you”? The world seems to revolve around the almighty and omniscient “I” – my body, my thoughts, my feelings, my things. Yet what happens when you look for your “self”? Can you find the “I”?
The Divine Connection
You don’t need to search far and wide for the Divine connection. It’s that without beginning or end. See and feel – know directly – the love that both surrounds you and fills you. Know the Love that is you.
Unconscious Habits & Loving Attention
How many of your words and actions are reactive & automatic? How many are reflective and intentional? What would it be like, what would it feel like, to intentionally love yourself, others, and the world?
Awakening Your Heart
What do you think it’d feel like if you committed your time, energy, and awareness to alleviate the suffering all around you? How would it feel to wrap the world in a caring attention?
Breathing Life Into Morality
When was the last time you looked not to your friends or neighbors, not to your scriptures or prophets, not to the laws and regulations of your state, but to your own heart to understand your morality?
Do you know your soft spots, your vulnerabilities and insecurities? Find reverence, compassion, and awe for your fellow beings by getting back in touch with your own humanity.
The Space of Possibility
The Space of Possibility contains every friend, loved one, beast, and critter, every gizmo and gadget, every feeling of love and compassion, every child’s laughter and newborn baby’s cry, every taste of coffee and smell of freshly baked bread, every thought, idea, and expression, every dance, poem, and painting, every hug, every smile, and every other thing that can exist in this extraordinary space of experience.
And though we’ve brought much light and color to this space, an infinite landscape of unexplored terrain lies beyond the Wall of Ignorance—in a place where the unfamiliar, unexplained, and unimagined are cloaked by darkness.
That’s where we’re headed.
The Power of Belief
Beliefs not only build temples, mosques, and synagogues. They build smartphones, spaceships, and self-driving cars. They determine what clothes we wear, what company we keep, and what food we eat. They establish LLCs and run courts of law. They orchestrate symphonies, fuel economies, and spark revolutions. They push mountaineers to the highest peaks and launch astronauts into space. They shape our identities, mold our fears, and carve our dreams. Beliefs frame our experience. They propel our lives.
I don’t want to convert you to any belief system or tell you to live a certain way or anything like that. Rather, I simply wish you the best possible life – whatever that looks like to you. So, it’s merely my wish here to awaken you to the power of beliefs, to the power of whatever conceptual frameworks you have constructed over your bare, ever-changing flow of experience.
How will you engage with and relate to concepts? How will you view and understand your Self? Others? The World? How will you understand your experience?
There’s no right way to build a belief system, to live your life. It’s largely a poetic and artistic pursuit.
But just as an artist must keep an open and honest conversation with her art, so too must you remain open and honest about your creation – your beliefs, your life, your experience. Only then can you hope to better understand yourself, the world, and experience.
So, as we go through these courses, I’ll encourage you to get out your paint and brushes, your bricks and mortar, to build the most important thing you could build – your understanding of all this, whatever It ineffably is.
But, before we do, let’s first learn to see again through the eyes of a child. Let’s learn to meet our bare experience, without concepts stenciled all over it, without judgments and biases clouding its raw data.
First, let’s practice vipassana – a Buddhist meditation that cultivates the state of mind known as mindfulness.