Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Sermon [The Three Questions]

Hola Everybody,
Story time!
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The Three Question
The following is adapted from a collection of short stories written by Leo (War and Peace) Tolstoy.

Back in the day, there lived an emperor who searched for a philosophy of life. He realized he needed wisdom to guide him and how he ruled. None of the religions and philosophies of the time satisfied him, so he searched for a philosophy that was rooted in the experience of life.

After much thought, he came to the realization that he required answers to only three basic questions. With the answers to those three questions, he concluded, he would have all the guidance he needed. The three questions were as follows:

  • When is the most important time?
  • Who is the most important person?
  • What is the most important thing to do?

His quest led to a long search which takes up most of the original story, but eventually he finds the three answers when he encounters a hermit. What do you think the answers are? Look at the questions again, and pause before you read on…

We all know the answer to the first question, but it’s so obvious that oftentimes we forget it all the time. The most important time is now, of course. It’s the only time we have. Even in love, the only time we have is now. Love in the past is but a memory and love in the future is a mere fantasy. We can only love in the now. Why is this important, or what relevance does this have? Well, for one, if you want to tell a loved one how much you really love them, you should do it now. Not tomorrow. Not in five minutes. Now. Five minutes may be too late. If you need to make amends, don’t start thinking about all the reasons why you shouldn’t, or dwell on self-righteousness, or concoct reasons why you shouldn’t. Just do it now. The opportunity may not come again and you’ll be whining about how you didn’t seize the moment when you had the chance.

The answer to the second question is a little harder and profound. Very few people get this one right. When I first read the answer, it blew me away. The answer rips through the question in a way I never understood or imagined. The answer is that the most important person is the one you’re with.

My work involves listening to people deeply. It entails me being present in a way that’s sometimes exhausting because I’m listening on levels hardly ever utilized. In order for me to be able to listen in this manner, I have to have complete unconditional regard for the person. Listening, believe it or not, is a powerful healing mechanism. Have you ever been with someone who gave you their total attention? Do you remember how that feels?

Communication and love can only be shared with the person you are with, no matter who they are. The person you are with is the most important person in the world. People can feel that kind of attention. They respond.

A common complaint among married couples is that they feel their partner doesn’t really listen to them. In a way, what that means is that they feel that their partner doesn’t make them feel valued anymore. If people actually were present with their loved ones, divorce lawyers would become a dying breed. Also, for a substantial part of your life, you are by yourself. Then, the most important person, the one you are with, is you!

The answer to the emperor’s last question, “What is the most important thing to do?” is care. To care means bringing together being careful and caring. What does it mean to care?

Well, for me to care means compassion. If compassion can be represented by a dove (as it often is), then the wings of the dove are wisdom. Without wisdom compassion cannot soar. I always find it funny that in the Buddhist tradition, they differentiate between compassion and stupid compassion. To illustrate, I’ll share another story I heard at a retreat once. A woman had spent three months a loving-kindness retreat. Metta, a form of loving-kindness mediation intended to opening the heart, is very intense and liberating. Well shortly after leaving the retreat, this woman was attacked by a man in a dark alleyway. Luckily, her screams were heard by passerby who came to her rescue.

The incident really shook her and she wondered about all that loving-kindness practice. She went to her teacher and related the incident to her, hoping to get some guidance. Her teacher asked her, “Weren’t you carrying an umbrella?” (the incident occurred during the monsoon season). The woman responded that yes she was carrying an umbrella. Her teacher smiled and told her, “Then you should’ve taken your umbrella, and with all the compassion in your heart, hit your assailant over the head repeatedly.”

That’s wise compassion and maybe that’s what’s meant by saying that the most import thing to do, right now, this very moment, is to care.

So, to sum up today’s sermon…

  • When is the most important moment? Now
  • Who is the most important person? The person you are with.
  • What is the most important thing to do? To care.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Sermon [The Ego Delusion]

Hola mi gente…
Some heavy shit sits on the horizon… More shall be revealed later in the week.
* * *

I'm going to make a seawall
with my small happiness...

I don't want the sea to know
that pains go through my breast.
-- Julia de Burgos

Let me begin with the following advice, and keep in mind I almost never offer advice, for I find it disabling and condescending. But let me offer this if just this once:

Don’t allow life to harden your heart.

Perhaps you have been hurt many times. I also know that you may despair of ever finding someone who will love and understand you. I’ve been there, I know what that feels like.

And sometimes your broken heart surrenders to anxiety, anger, resentment, and blame. And yes, I know there are sick people out there, Hungry Ghosts, who in their mad grab for an emotional fix will do or say anything. Theirs is a painful hell.

But if you look under your hard-won armor, you will find a softness, a living vulnerability. Cultivate it because that is where your true strength lies.

My sad heart teaches me compassion. So, in a very real way, those who have hurt me taught me to love. In fact, I have come to the realization that no one can truly hurt me, whoever I am. Yes, if I allow it, there are people who can hurt my self-concept and make me doubt my self-esteem, but that’s small. In truth, the divine spark of which I am made -- of which we are all made of -- can never be hurt. My Higher Self encompasses and embraces their madness. The throbbing of my heart is a profound blessing that I can turn into a tool for living my life as an offering. And let’s get real: the only true prayer is to live our life as an offering of our deepest gifts.

Your ego is a thought borne of fear. You see, my dear reader, it goes this way: you are an unstable collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging. There is no center -- no center at all. Everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the ecology, your thoughts depend on whatever conditioned debris floats in from the media, your emotions are mostly from the reptilian end of your DNA. Your intellect is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator. Even your best side is a superficial piece of social conditioning that will fall apart as soon as your significant other abandons you and leaves with the money in the bank account, or the economy fails and you get the sack, or they give you the news about your brain tumor. To name this combination of self-pity, vanity, and despair self is not only the height of conceit, it is also proof that we’re a deluded species. 

The ego is merely a belief system we create to shield ourselves from the pain and hurt of life. It is but a figment of your mind. It is such a small part, that if you would reflect upon the larger whole, it would resemble the smallest sunbeam of a vast Sun, or an almost imperceptible ripple that calls itself The Ocean.

It’s our seawall and we can no sooner hide our pain from the ocean as cover the sky with our hand.

Don’t accept this little, defended, fenced-off aspect as the totality who you are. In fact, the sun and the ocean are nothing compared to your true Higher Self.

The sad thing is that you believe that without the ego all would be lost, while in reality without all this clinging all would be Love.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring (or: If I could... )

Hola Everybody...
Spring has sprung here in The Center of the Known Universe. Fuck wherever it is you live! LOL

* * *

Now [no. 15]

If I could
I would guarantee you
bright sunny days
and soft, dry breezes
for all your Summers.

If I could
I would give you
clear cold days
and clean snow
for the Winters you love.

And if I could
I would give you Autumn,
dressed to the teeth,
at that precious moment
when you most need change.

But if I want you
to remember me
as I will always remember you,
I will send you,

Edward-Yemil Rosario ©

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Love as Remembrance

Hola mi Gente,
It’ s starting once again: that reminder of why I choose to live in this most difficult of cities -- the Center of the Known Universe. Spring is making a late entrance and soon the days will grow longer, The Park (if you need to ask which one, then you’re a hick) will be full of people, young and old, enjoying the most beautiful human-made work of art on the planet. Yes, it’s Spring in New York and there’s nothing like it in the world…

Photograph: The Park
* * *
Love as Remembrance

Yup. You read that right: the Big “L.”

The word many of us are scared to admit to it even when we’re feeling it in the very fiber of our being. Some will go for most of their lives and hardly ever utter the word to those they most love. It’s even scarier in romantic relationships. We worry, panic, and go strategic:

What if I tell her I love her? Will she reject me? Will she use it against me? Will she think me to clingy? Will she say he loves me too? And what if she doesn’t say it?!

Yup. The Big Hairy Nasty Obscene “L” Word.

We’re often afraid to say it. Or if we do say it, we’ll play semantics with it. We’ll draw distinctions, for example, between loving someone and being in love. Apparently, there is a difference. No, I’m not that dense. I realize that when people make that distinction, they’re pointing out the difference between the attraction of the feeling of love and actually committing to it and letting it flower.

Or maybe not. I don’t know. I say fuck that bullshit.

Personally, I’m a complicated man so I have to keep things simple in order to retain what little sanity I can claim. For me love is an action word, a verb, it’s something you do. When I tell you I love you it means I’m going to work at loving you. It means I am committed to loving you by acting – by my behavior. That means that I will attempt to accommodate your feelings, be considerate, protect you, make love to you, compromise with you, do the things I know makes you feel wanted and valued (and yes, probably drive you to distraction, but it’s part of the package). That’s partly what the Big “L” word means to me. When I tell you I love you, it means I’m walking alongside you on this journey called life and all that claim implies.

So, I don’t know if there’s a huge difference there for me between love and being in love. For me it’s like being pregnant: you’re never half pregnant. You’ll never hear a woman say, “I’m pregnant, but not in pregnant.” That’s why I stopped making that distinction. When I love, it’s with my soul, nothing held back, caution thrown to the wind. Believe me, in this very life it’s the only risk worth taking. Of course, it doesn’t mean I ain’t shitting in my pants the whole time because, yeah (duh!) it’s fuckin’ scary opening up like that.

To make matters worse, I become unbearable because sometimes I really want to sabotage the whole thing and in that way not have to do it. I jump, then in midair, I’m screaming like a bitch because I’m thinking: GODDAMIT why do I do this love shit! And yet I still take the risk because when I finally outlast my usefulness and I’m deposited in some decrepit nursing home where the nurses won’t wipe my ass for hours, I don’t want to be laying there in my shit regretting that I didn’t love in that way -- that I didn’t take the risks. In the end, these risks -- these excursions into what I call unreasonable happiness -- are the only things you can take with you. 

I think the core issue with love is that it will enter into any mind that actually wants it. Our task is not to seek love, but instead undo the barriers that we erect against it. I’ve heard it said that, “Love waits on welcome, not on time.” When you want only love, you will see nothing else. If you could agree with me that love is in part a form of sharing, then how can you find it except through itself? I say, offer it and it will come to you because Love is attracted to itself. Offer hostility or contraction and love cannot co-exist under those conditions, for it can only live in an open space committed to freedom. Many people say, “I want love.” I say, take out ego (I) and desire (want) and what are you left with?

I have learned that Love is already in me and that I need only to extend it outward. Going back to my perspective on Love as an action for a moment -- that is the action: extending what is there already inside of me. As M. Scott Peck defines it, love is an act of will for the benefit of another. What a fuckin’ revelation.

Love is the most sacred mantra you can ever chant, for Love is the Divine and you could never know one without the other. Integrated, you could never again be unaware of love and Love would never fail to recognize you. And in this recognition, you will live in grace because grace is the acceptance of Love within a world full of too much hate and fear. In Love you will find gratitude because gratitude is the ring bearer of Love. Where there is one the other must be found.

Love laughs at the childish foolishness of my defenses for that’s what they are -- scripts written generations ago against an imaginary monster. Love demands we lay down all our weapons. Love without trust is impossible. People always ask me about my motivation for writing in this way. I guess my aim is to offer an example of remembrance -- a reminder of who and what we really are -- to emphasize that there is no difference between your essence and Love.

This is so powerful that if all you did today was catch a glimpse of that remembrance you will have advanced on your path in an immeasurable way. Seek the Love in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…


[un]Common Sense