Archive for the Uncategorized Category

New Site, New Posts, New Offerings.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2009 by velocityvortx

Gang all good things should be built upon and improved.  So…. the last couple months we have been working a full overhaul of the the velocity site

This new site is now the location of ALL velocityculture information, including this blog.

While this site and all it’s content will remain.  This is the last new post you will find here.

 

Do we Awaken Possibility?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2009 by velocityvortx

I am intrigued by the fact that Jesus, with consistency and regularity, called forth possibility in people.  In fisherman, tax collectors, prostitutes, blind people and that is just for starters, Jesus called people on to a different way of being and a different sort of life. 

Inherent within Jesus’ possibility posture was his sense that people are made in the image of God.  Contrary to so much wrongheaded emphasis on original sin, Jesus seems clear that the image of God in us is more original it is the starting point.  It was in Genesis and it was with Jesus.  That there is a place from which we can operate where ego can be laid down and our bipolar, binary, splitting, fracturing way of seeing each other and much of life can be released.  This is part of metanoia, the waking up to a wider reality Jesus is inviting.  I have been a fan of Benjamin Zander for some time.  I read his book 7 years ago and it was engergizing and powerful.  This talk is the same.  And while the goal of his talk has nothing to do with Jesus perse I think it does have something to do with Jesus. Enjoy!  And if you don’t have 20 minutes right now wait till you do you need to see the whole thing.

Insight Mediation….Witness Awareness

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 by velocityvortx

One of the great tools in ATTENTION/AWARENESS development (and this is very vertical) is what is called insight meditation or witness awareness.  This is essentially being able to watch yourself and your thoughts arising with nonjudgmental viewing.  Non judgmental because judgment causes us to push stuff we need to be aware of into our shadow egoic selves.  We hide this from our view because we don’t like what we see and when that happens our ability to attend to it ceases. We have not done much in the Christian world to address this issue of shadow.

To use more Pauline biblical language, we have to learn to observe the patterns of the flesh, to step outside of ourselves with enough consistency we can observe the ways we are responding to the world around us.  Formation of this sort starts in our heads…to be transformed by our minds being renewed (Romans 12.1-2).  This IS NOT an injunction by Paul to go read a bunch of bible verses contrary to how this is often preached.  This could not be what Paul had in mind.  The individual believers in Rome didn’t have a pocket or nightstand copy of the bible for individual usage. He had to mean something more like becoming aware of what is going on inside your head space.  

A lack of intention and attention to the stories we are telling ourselves is exactly and precisely how we end up molded by the world (Rom 12.1 again); meaning  we will be pulled toward the greatest sensation of the moment.  THIS IS THE VERY ESSENCE of reaction. 

My action is in response to the greatest stimulus in my environment at the moment.  Again to use Pauline language, to keep pace with the Spirit and to marshal and direct our energies wisely (The Message translation of egkrateia usually translated self control) requires astute and keen awareness.  That is the point of insight meditation….more on how to do that in a couple days.

Intention part Deux

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by velocityvortx

Definition – TRANSFORMATIVE PRACTICE – is any set of activities (internal or external) you engage in  with the intention of fostering long lasting shifts in the way you experience and relate to yourself, others and the rest of the world.

Essential #1 for Effective Practice – INTENTION

INTENTION IS THE CHOICE YOU MAKE ABOUT WHERE TO PLACE YOUR AWARENESS.

Many spiritual directors point out that practice is primarily something you do for it’s own sake.  But aren’t you practicing in order to get some where?  Like happier or healthier?  That of course is how many of us start into a practice, a prayer pattern, a devotional reading pattern.

This is one of the great paradox that many of world’s greatest practitioners site.

•    While you may begin a transformative practice with a goal in a seemingly contradictory way most spiritual directors will tell us that we have to stop striving to get some where or accomplish something for the practice to actually do something

Listen to what one spiritual director says…

•    We practice to practice.   A good deal of our practice is seeing that this is it. This is my life, just like this.  Once we actually realize that, then we begin to take care of this life more carefully.  We being to appreciate this life as it is and not look outside for something else, but actually give some attention to this life as it is.

So this is what we mean when we say we need to bring a strong pure intention to practice.  To mediation, centering prayer.  To letting go practice to focus practice.

We have to have the intention that practice is for practice and the benefits are right there in that phrase.

Do you see how this is very different than how we have often conceived of prayer in the many of our Christian traditions? 

•    Prayer isn’t a posture toward all of life…. Pray without ceasing give thanks in all things… That is not the crazy mantra it is a posture of the heart.  It is an outlook.

INTENTION IS THE CHOICE YOU MAKE ABOUT WHERE TO PLACE YOUR AWARENESS.

Australian Psychiatrist W. Beran Wolfe who lived only to the age of 35 wrote a book that went on to become a national bestseller in 1932…

•    if you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writin a symphony, education his son, growing double dahlias in his garden.  He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a gold button that has tolled under the cupboard.  He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living 24 crowded hours of the day. (P.32)

So intention the first key to practice…

Intention is One of the Great Co-Conspirators

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2009 by velocityvortx

So as I am defining it here practice is for the purpose of vertical development.  Not HORIZONTAL BANDWIDTH ACQUISITION.

Let me review a metaphor we used in the human development series

the move from conventional to postconventional understanding

•    knower and known create the knowing event.
•    understanding of the world IS my world not THE world
•    my understanding of the world is ONE view of the world and by definition is therefore perspectival, incomplete and maybe even inaccurate.
•    Hence the need for multiple perspectives, that are genuinely valuable (I don’t simply act like they are valuable.)

Watching an accident on 4 different street corners// FOUR GOSPELS

Essential #1 for Effective Practice – INTENTION

Have to be intentional, want to change, growth, shift and have to have the motivation to act in a certain way. 

Do you hold the intention to be open to transformation in and through any circumstances at any time?

Opportunities to experience transformation present themselves daily, do we use them or shun them?  Remember deep pain is the first portal to transformation because it jars us out of autopilot.

Studies indicate real transformation, as we are talking about it here is something that last forever, it is integrated into your new, ever expanding matrix and mindset. 

This is vertical development

Holding the intention to be open to transformative moments at any time is part of the imago dei in us calling out for the next step in our evolution into the image of Jesus.

You have to be open to what is calling you on

Another way of saying it is…

INTENTION IS THE CHOICE YOU MAKE ABOUT WHERE TO PLACE YOUR AWARENESS.

Equanamity and Transformation

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2009 by velocityvortx

2. Gardeners also have the capacity for equanimity – an evenness of mind or a state of inner unshakability in the face of all the highs and lows of our various experiences. 

•    Why is this important?  This is what can make pain transformative instead of traumatic and debilitating

QUICK ILLUSTRATION.

PLEASE STAND UP IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER AND STAND ON ONE LEG.  FIND THE BALANCE POINT. DO YOU NOTICE THAT THERE IS A LOT OF MOVEMENT IN YOUR FOOT MUSCELES AND BONES AS YOU ARE TRYING TO BALANCE?  DO YOU ALSO NOTICE THAT WHEN YOU FIND THE BALANCE POINT EVEN IF IT IS ONLY FOR A FEW SECONDS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE A CALM YOU CAN FEEL IN YOUR WHOLE BODY?  THAT CALM IS THE EQUANAMITY WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Equanimity means understanding how we perceive and how our perceptions are colored and swayed by hidden meanings.

Equanimity is a profound quality of mindfulness that cultivates the ability to let go.  Or another way of saying it is an unshakable balance of mind that is rooted in insight.

In the Christian tradition we might look at the fruit of the spirit like self control or gentleness. 

Looking at the world around us, and looking into our own heart, we see clearly how difficult it is to attain and maintain balance of mind.

We have a couple options as life events hit us.
•    Suppression – bottle it up, push it down, manage the exterior,
•    Identification – emotions hit and hijack and we are out of control.  We then justify to ourselves and others why we “can’t help it” or “you would respond just the same”  but identification is the problem.

In between suppression and identification is the balance point.

Looking into life we notice how it continually moves between contrasts: rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain, honour and blame. We feel how our heart responds to all this happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, hope and fear. These waves of emotion carry us up and fling us down; and no sooner do we find rest, than we are in the power of a new wave again.

Happiness and sadness are fleeting right?

We say all the time “sleep on it” “it will look different in the morning”  “this too will pass” 

These are all sayings about nonattachment.  Don’t get too attached because it will feel different and be different later.

I must lose my life to find it Jesus said.

But the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness. It has to be the result of hard, deliberate training, not the casual outcome of a passing mood.

True equanimity, however, should be able to meet all tests and to regenerate its strength from sources within. It will possess this power of resistance and self-renewal only if it is rooted in insight.

Exercise in equanimity.

Come into your body.  Follow your breath.

Identify a person, or situation that in the past has created emotional imbalance for you. Something that in the past would throw you into a reactive postures.

Now picture that situation/person.  Enter into the emotions of it.  Become curious about what is happening in your body.

Notice there are two things going on.  You are experiencing the situation AND you are observing what is happening to you in the situation.

Now fully embrace those feelings.  Terror, fear, anger, frustration.

Now realize you can experience those feeling but also not act on them in any significant way.  You can choose a non reactive path.

Now go and repeat the exact same scenario.  This time realizing that the movie you are currently playing is the same way you will respond this week to the situation.  You are PRACTICING!

When the Student is Ready…The Third Portal

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 by velocityvortx

There is not only
1.    Pain and
2.    Noetic experiences as portals to transformation

But there is almost always a third thing all the great teachers mention happens in deep transformation..

    3. The meeting of a “teacher” that seems tailor made to take you on the
next steps of the journey.

This may come in personal meeting, in book form, from a seminar or conference…but you have this unmistakable sense “THIS IS THE NEXT LEG OF MY JOURNEY!”  THIS IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT”

the Zen Buddhists Say “when the student is ready the teacher will be provided” 

I have had the grace to experience all of these at different times in my life but the bonefishing experience I have shared before was catalytic and introduced me to all three elements within a 30 day window that has forever altered the entire trajectory of my spiritual formation. 

It was in that window of time I was introduced to Anthony De Mello…then the Jesuit Father Frank Stroud from Fordham who had taken over the publishing of De Mello’s work posthumously.  My time at Fordham with Father Stroud is a marker in my life.  My noetic bonefishing experience introduced me to a resources/teacher in the form of books which then led to a relationship with a master teacher and spiritual director in Father Stroud which was followed by a relational pain portal 30 days later.  That all happened 5 years ago last week.

This is one of the great gifts in my life that all three of these experiences came at a time that made a clear shift very obvious, even if painful for me.

So let’s pause….

Pain?
Noetic
Teacher or resource?

Let’s sound off…where do you see or where have you had one of these types of experiences…and if you are willing what age did it happen?