I hope in sharing my thoughts about how to explain my spirituality to a friend in Sarasota, I can help you with practical tips for enjoying now, living the life you want to life, and discussing the spiritual ideas behind that. To build the foundation, I will share my ideas on my spiritual foundation the way I would explain them to a friend in Sarasota. I will then use these ideas to create the practical tips. If you are able to apply at least one thing today to make your life even a little bit better or you can feel good while you are here, I will count that as a big win for all of us. To begin, how would you feel if I share some of the big questions that have nagged at me for most of my adult life and then share my answers for them?
- Who are you?
- What are you?
- Why are you here?
- Where were you before you were born?
- Where will you be after you die?
For most of my life, I was completely frustrated with the answers to these questions.
I was afraid of what would happen after death, identified who I was with what I was doing and had done in the past. Eventually, I grew so confused with who I was I thought it worth more effort to discover a definition of myself that did not change from job to job, relationship to relationship, day to day, and mood to mood. Am I my body? No. Am I my thoughts? No. Am I what I have done? No. Am I what I will do? No. Then who the hell am I? I am that which is aware of my body, my thoughts which include my past, and that which will watch now unfold through the future. I am not my body because I cannot control most of it. My body does things on its own without my knowledge. My body and me are separate. That much is clear. My body can breathe without me being aware of it. My thoughts are the same way. I get all kinds of stupid thoughts and great thoughts from my brain the same way I get notifications of pain and pleasure from my body. Who is aware of those thoughts? Since I am not my body, I must not be creating those thoughts any more than I am creating my heartbeat or created myself at the moment of birth. My thoughts are as independent of me as my body. What I have done before is only seen from the view of my thoughts which can in memories analyzing past before. The problem is with my thoughts and memories is that they differ greatly from other people’s memories. Why is it that my family and friends often remember me doing things one way and I did them the other? Why is it some people get charged with crimes they never committed while others get away with many crimes without getting caught? No one person’s version of the past is exactly the same because no one’s thoughts are the same. If the past is like fingerprints and everyone’s version of the past is different, why would who I am have anything to do with what I did in the past? I often had thoughts that I hated small dogs. Does that mean I have to always hate small dogs? No. At any moment I can decide to think and move my body in any way I want to. Who is it that has that power?
Clearly my brain is not capable of thinking however it wants since it often throws habitual, erratic, and ridiculous thoughts at me. Why when I am happy married would my brain suggest that I should consider being with another woman? Why when I am in a bad mood would my brain suggest I should get a gun and shoot myself? My brain throws all kinds of thoughts out. Who exactly is listening to those thoughts? Who is watching how my body responds to those thoughts and has the ability to modify that as they choose? Am I what I am doing now? Yes. I am. What is it I am doing right now? My body is talking to you. My mind is still throwing stupid thoughts out along with planning on what to say next, analyzing how each of you reacts, and creating a physical response in my body. Still, what is it I am doing? If I know that I am, if I know that I am not my thoughts, my body, or what I have done, I must be the one watching all of these things. I must be that which is aware of everything. This to me would seem to be a spiritual energy that might also be known as a soul or a divine presence.
Given I am not my body, my mind, my past, or my future but I am only that which is here now and that which is watching what is going on now, and that which might be considered a soul or a spiritual or divine being. If that is what I am, what are you? My guess is that you are the same as me. You are not your thoughts, your body, your past, or your future. You are a soul that is a spiritual being filled with divine energy. If you all and I are both these things, then what is the difference between us? What is it that makes my soul, spirit, or divine energy different from yours? Is it our thoughts, body, past, or future? Since that is not in our definition, it cannot be. Is it in the point, space, or time we occupy? We are all in the same time now are we not? Is anyone here in some time different than now? Is any living thing anywhere in the world or the history of the world in a different place or time than now? If we are all occupying the same now moment together, is the only difference between us the exact point of view we see? What is that based on? Is that based on your relative location on a planet, a molecule, or some other fixed point? Why would our soul, spiritual energy, or divine being be so limited as to not be able to cross the street or hop from the moon to earth to the sun? Are you telling me the only thing that makes us different is our exact location? What if we move? What if I am close to you one moment and then far away the next? Are we more or less different then? What if our location does not matter?
If we are all in now together, if our location is just a function of our body and mind, what is the difference among all of us here? If you take away our body, mind, and location, we are all sitting here together now in the same place with no differences. If you had a cup with millions of drops of coffee you were about to drink, what would you call that? I would call that a cup of coffee. I would see no individual difference between any of the drops. They would all taste the same and one individual tiny drop of coffee smaller than the eye could see would be nearly indistinguishable to me from another. Let’s skip to a bigger example. There are billions of galaxies we can see already. Each of those galaxies has individual stars and maybe planets. After we name one, we might name another one. After we name a thousand, we might name a thousand more. What do we do when we find galaxies faster than we can name them? What do we do when we run out of names to give each galaxy that are unique? Do we just assign numbers? Or would they start to remind you of the coffee drops? Would all of them start to run together to the point where you would just call them the universe or the stars or the heavens? This is a long winded way of saying that I think when you remove our bodies, you remove our minds, you remove our relative locations and you look at all of us together living in the same now, it seems to be that we are all one. You are me and I am you. I have talked to you before, I am talking to you now, and I will talk to you again. I will listen to you talk to me, I already have, and I will again. If you like Battlestar galactica, all of this has happened before and all of it will happen again. If you enjoy learning about religions or are a Muslim, “God is One.” The Buddha calls it “The illusion of self.” Jesus says that “All that is, is holy” and “Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up a stone, and you will find me there.” Our true nature and that of all things is that of a divine being. Nearly all faiths and religions at their core are signposts that show us the way to find the one truth inside of us. That truth is that we are all one with each other and all of life together in the now which is all we ever have and is an eternity of serenity and peace or the greatest gift of heaven we could ever ask for.
Right now this moment, you have everything you will ever have.
No winning the lottery, meeting the person of your dreams, raising the loved one from the dead, or anything else that you would wish for can ever give you more than you already have in this moment because every moment of all eternity is now. Nothing you can get from outside can ever change who you are in the inside. This is the reason you can see people you think are perfectly happy and be shocked when they kill themselves. This is also the reason you can see people that look like they should be miserable who you believe are happier than you. Since everything is within, nothing outside of you ever can give you or take anything away from what you already have. In the same way, the salvation you are seeking only can happen now. It can never happen in the past or the future. You can never go to heaven or hell because you are already there. If you see yourself as living in hell now, you are free to leave whenever you choose. If you are having a peaceful day filled with joy in heaven, you can continue doing this as long as you choose. Like the story of the beggar, you and I are sitting on everything we could ever want. All we have do is take a look inside and enjoy it!
What is the main thing that tends to get in the way of now?
The past and the future generated by our minds. I used to drink a lot just to get my mind to shut the fuck up about the past and the future for a few hours. I entered a lower state of consciousness with increasing regularity to try to escape the tyrannical nature of my thoughts which seemed to control my mind, body, and soul. Once I realized I was the one aware of those thoughts and like taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight, those thoughts were simply another sense I could pay attention to or ignore, I was free from the disease of thought that has crippled the human race since the earliest recorded history. The second coming Jesus speaks of is a time where our collective consciousness matches that of what Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi, and nearly all of the great spiritual leaders throughout history have shared. When people are free from believing they are their minds, their bodies, and their deeds, the second coming of humanity will be upon us. We will know we are one with all other life and we will get out of our own way. We will see a life of love, peace, and acceptance instead of death, hate, and violence. We will know we are all the same rather than focusing on gender, race, or wealth. We will respect nature, embrace learning, and no longer fear death. The best part is that you can join this second coming now. Millions of people around the world have already achieved enlightenment. If you are on that path, you probably already follow them. If you are not, you can choose to open your heart and your mind to them at any time.
So far, I have shared a lot with you about spirituality, the big questions in life, and the power of now. Let’s talk now about the practical tips this spirituality leads me to apply to my life that you might be able to apply to yours regardless of how you feel about the spiritual ideas I have suggested.
- I start each day off with gratitude, meditation, and prayer. Every day I have done this I have had a good day.
- In moments of frustration, I try to focus on the now including what I feel in my body, the beauty of life, and pray for help when that is not enough.
- In moments of joy, I am grateful for the experience.
- I focus every single day on successfully managing my biggest single problem and forgive myself and pray for forgiveness for all of the remaining sins.
- For every situation I find myself in, I try to know where the line is between what I can do and what I cannot do. Once I find that, I try to figure out what I can do that is best for everyone.
- Some words and phrases I work hard to entirely eliminate from my vocabulary because of the feelings and thoughts surrounding them. These include words similar to Goddamn it, asshole, bitch, fag, gay, always, never, looking forward to, can’t wait, don’t understand, disagree, wrong, hate, can’t, shouldn’t, fault, deserve, type of person, expert, wish, disgusting, preach, fair, stupid, and owe.
- The first question I ask myself when I find I am not reacting well to something is why am I making this hard on myself?
- Whenever I am asked a question, I keep “I don’t know” available as an answer in place of guessing because I value maintaining my honesty.
- My relationships with my wife, family, friends, clients, and fans are the most important part of my life every single day.
- I take time for most of the following daily. One hour of exercise, one hundred thoughts of gratitude, five hours of work, one hour of fun, one hour of group participation, one hour of eating, seven to eight hours of sleeping, two hours talking to people in my circle of relationships, thirty minutes with my dogs, one hour of watching TV with my wife, and one option to skip one of my regular daily tasks.
- My bedtime most nights is between 10:30 pm and 11:30 pm baring an emergency.
- I will wake up each day with my wife and stay in bed as long as it takes to get up in a good mood regardless of what other commitments I have. The average time this takes is between 30 minutes and two hours which includes prayer, meditation, spending time with my dogs, and sometimes naps.
I hope in talking about my spirituality they way I would to a friend in Sarasota that you have found something you can use for yourself each day!