God 101: Don’t Forget to Start and Stop.


girlwater

When you are so quiet you feel like you are deep underwater, deeply removed from the noisy world above, it can’t stay that way. Like a swimmer, you surface.

October, 2011 an awakening to true nature smashed the walls of the self I imagined myself to be, and with tidal wave force turned my reality into a quiet landscape I barely recognized.

Reactive and angsty personality traits I called Lori Ann were smashed to bits. What remained was a serenity that was truly the calm of a post-apocaylptic storm. Nothing could upset “me” but nor could anything “excite me.”

I thought this silence would last forever.

But this silent stillness was not sustainable. As if God itself, could not forever hold its breath….sigh.

Eventually (about two months after a profound empty quiet) sounds began to emerge. They sounded to me like muses, whispering ideas and poems and songs and creations.

These notes sounded like life, singing to itself.

I am sure, God sings. That even as there is the in-breath, there is always the ahhhhh of the outbreath. I am telling you this because I had a dream.

In the dream, a guru came to me. Well, it looked like a man, but he had a halo. I recognized his “awake-ness” and asked, “How long have you been awake?”

He said, “Ten years. But I want you to know this.”

And then he proceeded to draw a picture for me. It looked like an hour-glass, but more angular. Like two upside down triangles meeting in a narrow waistband of a juncture.

He said. “This is how it works. You are vast wakefulness. Then you condense into a point of embodiement. And then you expand again…and so on.”

I woke in my bed, and knew he meant that each awakening to the vast stillness of being, would be followed by a contraction to the busy localized self…and then, woosh, back out again. And I suppose, in again. The breath of life, in and out. Infinite and finite. Vast and condensed.

Life.

So…I am in the midst of vasting out again after condensing in. I feel it daily, in the awe and stillness, the absolute delight in simply being. It took going through a cataclysmic phase of re-identification, to come back home to the still point. But I know this:

God is moving. Still point is simply home base in the game of life. God loves to start as much as She loves to stop.

Let me know. Have you found the joys of both the stop and the start. The empty and the full? The End and the Beginning?

Awareness is here, Learning as She Goes.

Lori Ann

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

My Sex Obsession & My Lust for God


vintage

When self-proclaimed teachers and students of enlightenment say to me,  “Why are you so obsessed with sexuality, you can’t be awake if that is the case,” I think: Really?

I think first off, why is a curious, playful, engaged stance toward sexuality an obsession? And why is it not inclusive of God and the light that we are?

nunsIt’s old school beyond old school (I am thinking Jesuits or radical Islam and female-body obscuring burkahs) to imagine that our intimate humanness,  our lovely genitalia and how they connect in love and lust, is somehow excluded from our Divinity. It’s all included.

Otherwise, separation is here. What we deem as not allowed, that which we judge as wrong, is a symptom of the mind. The truth of our nature, has no such discrimination. Our true nature allows. Our mind disallows.

Sometimes, I wish I had the pithy answer to those righteous and fearful ‘awake ones’ (or teachers of awakening) who want to know why sex is here for me, the Awakened Dreamer. And trust me: No one would bother to question why I do yoga (I do); why I work at a bank (which I don’t) or why I bother to volunteer as my daughter’s soccer team manager (which I do). Money, sports, health would be somehow exempt from scrutiny. Sex. Well. Watch out.

To those who say my professional interest in sexuality is somehow at odds with my lack of suffering (which I called awakening) I want to reply without quoting sexy Osho or some wise juicy sage of sexually liberated self realization.

I know that married and likely sexually active Ganga-gi, my teacher (pre-this-apparent-awakening) had no issues talking about sex and the truth of what we are. I know that many sages and poets through the ages have used sexual imagery to invoke the truth of our union with the beloved now.

bookYet still, I get emails and public Facebook messages that condemn or snidely (yes snide in the realms of enlightened folk commentary) remark that I should not be so into the sex theme, and even one public comment of late: “Observation over many months, you seem to be totally obsessed with sex and your own sexuality as an aging woman… get over yourself.”

But what if I am over myself?

What if in being over myself, I am now blessedly into whatever arises?

(Tip: when you are surrendered, you are co-opted to serve and you don’t always if ever get to choose how and where.)

It’s hard to explain to people that the very thing that is here, is here.

That sexuality is coming to me to write about, and create a magazine about, even as I am not in real life, really all that sexual. Just ask my husband. I am damn well menopausal…and nowhere is the thought that my sex will save me, awaken me, fulfill me or even ruin me. I am just playing in this realm of sexuality, like a curiosity driven alien who wants to know: WTF is with the sex thing?

Let’s investigate it with a smile of unknowing. And above all have fun. This is after all Lila. If you are serious, you just might have missed the Laughing Buddha part of waking up.

Thank you Sheryl for this post. Your comments have been a lovely catalyst.

Lori Ann

(Sort of sexy, kinda old, still here in awareness. Please check out my FB page Rebelle Sex and look for the launch of the magazine this June! )

Posted in Freshly Hatched Stories of Awakened Awareness, Uncategorized | 30 Comments

New Year’s Truth: Feeling What Is, Not Feeling Better


peace

Okay. I am not feeling better. I am just feeling.

A year and two months post an awakening shift of consciousness (in which suffering more or less collapsed into non-existence) I am reporting from the front lines less and less frequently.

Part of my sporadic reportage is there is nothing new to report. I can itemize my life as it unfolds in domestic, professional and creative areas—oh yeah, Huffington Post just added me as a regular blogger columnist, woo hoo or not.

But that is not the same as reporting this experience of abiding equanimity. That gets pretty boring….unless of course, the peace is somehow disturbed and thought-driven turbulence enters stage left.

Lately, the turbulence looks like logistics. Will I be able to pay the for a condo property I bought in pre-development two years ago, due to complete this June. Or will I (with my right now job-seeking husband) be able to secure a mortgage. Or will I be forfeiting my down payment, begging family members for a bridge loan, or just saying, WTF, I think I’ll live in India for awhile. (Okay, yeah, because the sub continent feels like a spiritually romantic way to embrace being poor.)

The thing is, I have been truly surprised to find myself waking up in the middle of the night lately (now and then) with this future concern rampaging through my mind. I watch it, like a rhino in a heated charge, and think: Wow, some part of me is not experiencing equanimity. Then I laugh. The part of me watching the part of me not being at peace, even, is not my real identity.

In the deliver me from the unreal to the real, I realize any concerns about how my mind is fretting or not, is a layer of the unreal. I remember coaching a woman a year ago through a mental angst period in her year-long abiding blissful awaking, reminding her that “Hey, the you that judges the suffering you, is not you.”

As Adyashanti has said, “In order to awaken, we must break out of the paradigm of always seeking to feel better.”

I’d add to that. In order to abide in our awakening, we might remember we are not any of the layers of mind, especially the layer that judges what is. As Krishnamurti is acclaimed to have confessed in his secret to inner peace: “I don’t mind what happens.” (Of course that begs the incessant non-duality question, who is the I that does not mind. Joel Birocco, this one is for you.)

It reminds me of the Russian dolls, nested in each other. Into infinite smallness, we can search for a real me. And finally realize we were far too large to fit in that doll all along because our infinity is spaciously so.

Paradox: It’s cramped in here. It’s vast.

Or something like that.

How are all my readers (whoever you are) doing on/in the Mayan New Year.

Yours, In Awareness

Lori Ann

Posted in Freshly Hatched Stories of Awakened Awareness | Tagged , , , , , , , | 65 Comments

Politically Incorrect Enlightenment: Being a Human Being


Ever since this awakening point of view shift, and attendant blogging about it, I’ve been under the microscope and on the pedestal of other people’s lives. Not a lot, mind you. It’s not like I’m Madonna of the Non-Duality enlightenment crowd.

Yet, in the last while, I’ve gotten interesting comments and emails from readers of my Awakened Dreamer blog, all in a dither about my writings elsewhere on sexuality. For instance, Me Jane, You Tarzan: The Politics of Sexual Polarity now buzzing up the popular charts at Good Men Project online magazine, has prompted chastisements.

One commentator from the enlightenment crowd felt the need to post on my FB page, that I’d “travelled a long way from enlightenment” and that “You could lead people in that general direction. You could stay on the same continent. You could rise above reality T.V. “

Really? Why rise above anything? And since when is sexuality, separate from enlightenment?

I keep marvelling that in the awakening crowd, there is any distinction between what is and is not okay. As if real life and all its nuances, from birth, to death to sex to money to power, are not all a part of the One Big Jigsaw Puzzle of the explicate order, emerging from the implicate. In otherwords, we are both here and not here—we are eternal unborn unchanging, (yadda yadda) and we are mortal, human and full of lovely ordinary life.

So, to those of you out there who imagine enlightenment or states of awakening (abiding or not) mean you are suddenly removed from it all and pointing the way to sainthood, picture this:  Jesus in a police outfit, directing traffic to enlightenment central.

Wake up.

Smell the roses. They are here for a reason. You have a nose.

Lori Ann (here, and there, and aware).

Posted in Freshly Hatched Stories of Awakened Awareness | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Everything Matters, Including Whisky, Fairy Pools and Waterfalls


I’m in Scotland now, trekking with my man through my ancestral homeland, playing with nature spirits and exploring the nuances of scotch whisky (ah, for the love of peat!).

It’s a trip in which an everything matters epiphany arrived while dipping my toes into an icy fresh highland river. But first, the back story.

The last two months I’ve been playing editor at elephant journal’s love section, where finding and cultivating new talent turns out to be as intrinsically rewarding as writing my own pieces. It’s odd to discover something new about my personality all these 50 years later–I am a team player and I love to help other artists succeed. For some reason I always imagined this personality to be a soloist. When you no longer really believe the “I” point of view, it seems (at least here) that personality is entirely mutable–but don’t tell an astrologer or Myers-Briggs psychologist that the constellation of traits we assume ourselves to be can rearrange itself into brand new formations. That would mean we are not who we think we are.

But back to the everything matters insight. I was walking up a gentle hill in Brittle Glen on the island of Skye, heading to the “fairy pools” when a download struck. You know, the sort of ah-ha moment that tries to condense after the fact, into words, just so you can vainly attempt to communicate to others an epiphany. Like this attempt.

So here goes. In the land of nothing matters. where an October awakening deposited me, there is a lush detachment that feels like relief. When clattering mind messages that used to bother with right and wrong—and most of all with me and mine—came to a screeching stop, freedom came rushing in. Freedom is the natural consequence of a worry-free, peace-filled quietude. It’s a soaring kind of beingness, one that takes in a birds-eye, if not spaceship view, of reality.

I called it the vastness. My consciousness had expanded into infinite nothingness and it was sort of like seeing the goings on of the people around me from outer space. All the fretting and upsets and concerns of my friends’ lives, the soap-opera drama of mortal existence, was remote–the way cars look like ants from an airplane, the contours of people’s lives were reduced to dot-sized movements in the vast view of a dispersed consciousness. (No wonder I thought at times I’d experienced a stroke–my brain was clearly operating from a different mix of neurotransmitters than usual).

An astute awakened writer friend of mine, Sam Watts, warned me months ago that after an awakening comes an integration. I would say it’s more like breathing than integrating, a diaphragmatic movement of expansion and contraction. If the alchemical maxim is true, as above so below, then all of life hints there is an ebb for every flow, a particle for every wave, an in for every out.

So, ten months later, the nothing matters has become everything matters. And yet, they are the same truth and lead to the same place. Because when nothing matters, there is no room for comparison and conflict, for right and wrong. The same is true of everything matters. But the qualitative experience is that the peace of nothing matters is a different flavor or texture from the peace of everything matters.

Now, I am immersed deeply and vibrantly in the world. I am not above it all, in spaceship vastness but rather inside it all, from a place of delightful intimate engagement. Here, it’s a warm, wet and sensual experience of beingness rather than the initial cool, dry, disembodied version post-awakening. It could be called transcendent versus immanent. But labels don’t tell the truth of it, and never will.

And while the transcendent and immanent are simply sides of the same coin, before awakening, in mystical experiences of the transcendent, I assumed I was the character that moved from the boundaries of my body to the vast still spaciousness. Or in happenings of profound embodiment, tantric sexual moments for instance, I mistakenly thought I was the person who felt the ecstasy. Back then, the illusion was still in place—it was I who suffered sometimes and was free from suffering at others, who was intermittently troubled or blissful.

Now it’s clear I am not the person, I am the movement—from infinite to finite, from vast to microscopic, from ebb to flow. I probably need a poem to capture this truth, a Rumi-style rant. Let me give an ad-lib try (no dress rehearsal here).

I am the animating
force, the wind
that rustles leaves
blows rain inland,
bends the grass and
churns the sea.

I am the breath
that breathes
You, and Everything
Into existence

I am that which moves
And yet, is eternally still.

Dancing in one place,
turning in all places
spinning out worlds
twirling in emptiness.

I am the still wind.

Awareness is here (sipping on peaty paradox, from the land of fairies and fine scotch).

Lori Ann

Posted in Freshly Hatched Stories of Awakened Awareness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Let the Games Begin: How to Play with God


In the apocalypse of my awakening, there followed a period of such sublime disinterest in the world and its shenanigans, I wondered if I would ever get off the sofa and do anything again.

I likely had an annoying half-smile on my lips and a Kirlian photograph would surely have captured a bliss halo around my head.

Artist and surrealism master Salvador Dali has long struck me as an enlightened madman, a fellow with an inside joke on the nature of reality. The man was on to something. He knew the seen-world was a charade.

His treatise on the sacred mustache is better than a zen koan: “Since I don’t smoke, I decided to grow a mustache – it is better for the health. However, I always carried a jewel-studded cigarette case in which, instead of tobacco, were carefully placed several mustaches, Adolphe Menjou style. I offered them politely to my friends: “Mustache? Mustache? Mustache?” Nobody dared to touch them. This was my test regarding the sacred aspect of mustaches.” 

Another intoxicated with enlightenment soul with a perpetual sacred smirk is Lisa Cairns. Her you-tube “just this” videos, post awakening, capture the super-chillin, all-is-supremely-well bubble of love—a spell of well-being that can last a long, long time.

For me, it was about two months. Then, I suddenly noticed an urge to do more than just sit around, stoned on equanimity. This movement became the muse-driven demiurge to write this blog, to write for elephant journal, to create a new blog, to write all day and night. You’d think my muse was a methamphetamine junkie, loaded with non-stop high-speed inspiration.

Then, unexpectedly, I wrote a blockbuster called A Call to the Sacred Masculine: Ten Daring Invitations from the Divine Feminine. And suddenly I was under fire from angry men and women, a vocal minority who hated the article, and even seemed to hate me for writing it. Mudslinging and vitriolic emails flooded my inbox. Public commentary verged on mean and nasty with the kind of attack energy that needs a restraining order.

And I noticed this: I didn’t care that I was hated. Or that what I create makes some people angry. (Though, if this keeps up, I might need a body-guard down the road—Salmon Rushdie, I get it.)

But I don’t care that my words are applauded by some, and jeered at by others. Because I am just playing. Playing the role of writer. Having fun creating provocative pieces about love, sex, enlightenment and gender. I am not a writer, I am simply writing.

And am pretty well done navel gazing and trying to figure out the meaning of enlightenment. I’ve left the half-dozen FB groups I was added to or joined, open groups like Enlightenment Now, or Awakening as One, or more the closed and secret groups where the heavy-hitters and groupies of the non-dual world like to gather. A lot goes on there, in terms of comparing enlightenment notes and debating non-dual philosophy. Trust me, unless you are a shut-in or inmate, online living gets boring pretty quickly.

Because really, waking up (or what ever you call it) is not about turning a shift in consciousness into a career in FB comments and virtual chat. It’s about this real world where you get to play with God, as god.

It’s just that simple. Even Shakespeare knew that “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women, merely players.” And the Hindus have long known reality is lila, the game or sport of god, a playground of the divine impulse. The Greeks made a point of the Olympian gods being mischievous and high-stakes players, toying with mortals like game pieces.

It all points in the same direction—lighten up. Stop taking life and yourself so damn seriously.

It’s a f*cking game. Are you going to spend your whole life believing you are the pawn on the board of life and whining about the moves your life takes.

Or why not instead just laugh at the whole damn tricky set up, where you are both the game piece and the chess master.  When you remember this, the game stops being a series of defensive manuevers and last-ditch saves and instead becomes a daring escapade with high-flying leaps of love.

Leaps into a new way of living, where nothing, really nothing, bothers you. Even your own  occasional upsets, tears and fears are simply happening squares on the game board. Even losing is just fine.

Be curious.

Could this game called your life be a lot more fun if you were invested less in it? If you were more willing to be played by the gods, and you played your role with abandon.

I leave you in the hands of Hafiz, mystic poet and word maestro.

“TRIPPING OVER JOY

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.”
― Hafiz, I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy

Awareness is here, (laughing and playing the role of writer).

Lori Ann

Posted in Freshly Hatched Stories of Awakened Awareness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Why I Want a Real Man


Photo: Michael Julian Berz

When my mother died under the wheels of truck in 2001, I was 39 and living a scripted life of wife and mother, a life where I never stopped to ask myself—am I happy?

I was expected to be content because I’d married my soulmate, birthed two beautiful children, lived a life of material ease in a waterfront home and my health was excellent. What more could I ask for?

Within a year of my mother’s death, I was on a fast track to demolish a 15 year marriage by instigating a long-distance affair with a man I’d met (how cliche) online. Even as I knew that this man would not be my next-in-line, I dove heart-first into falling in love with a projection of my own yearning for wholeness.

The hole my mother left in her dramatic leaving was a bottomless need inside my fractured psyche for a Big Love. I wanted something or someone to sweep me off my feet and into a place of vulnerability and mutual acceptance. I wanted to feel safe sharing all of me, all of my sadness, anger and despair, with a beloved. And not just any beloved–but a powerful male who would lead me fearlessly from the chaos of my grief.

Ten years and several relationships later, I came to the shattering realization that love was never out there, waiting to be found. This search for the rescue of Big Love that drove me to a divorce and propelled me through seven love affairs, ended all at once on October 25, 2011 when overnight it became irrefutably evident that I am the very thing I sought. That every lover was me, loving myself and not loving myself.

I write this now because a recent article of mine on love at elephant journal went viral. A Call to the Sacred Masculine: Ten Daring Invitations from the Divine Feminine soared to 44,000 views and 12,000 Facebook likes in ten days. The piece also drew praise and condemnation from men, everything from “BEAUTIFUL, INSPIRING, and MOVING!” to a thanks for “spiritual bullshit that you spew all over everyone.” In other words, the response itself was as polarized as North and South.

Yet A Call to the Sacred Masculine has clearly struck a collective nerve, reaching into the imaginations of men and women who yearn for a Bigger Love. But what most people have failed to see is that this article’s real appeal is not romantic and stereotypical but archetypal and alchemical.

The call for a Sacred Masculine to meet a Divine Feminine is not about new rules for relating or a better marriage formula. Rather, it is about the union of opposites, the marriage of King Sol and Queen Luna, of heaven and earth, of the transcendant and the immanent.

The masculine current is not about manhood anymore than the feminine current is about womanhood. Yet fact is, we are embodied extensions of the formless in form. I have a vagina that receives. A man has a penis that penetrates. In a heterosexual union both partners have the capacity to access their penetrative and receptive natures, for the man at times to be soft and the woman to be hard.

But unless a woman is truly masculine at her core, most women truly desire a partner who will play the polarity game with her—yes, a man who will ravish (not rape) her every now and then, a man not afraid to lovingly take charge

By allowing the natural flow of masculine and feminine to tango, free of ideas and judgements of politically correct loving (or what author David Deida would call neutralized polarity) there arises a third element. A polarized union in which each partner allows the other to be fully man, fully woman, generates a current that comes from the dance of opposites.

This current is a fast flowing river that ultimately will wash both partners into the ocean of the Vast Self—a self free from masculine or feminine. A Self that underlies all form, from gender to species. Recognition of that One Self is the gift I receieved in the dance of polarity with a man who rode the river to the sea, with me.

So, on that note, don’t be afraid to play the polarity game—ultimately all games end up at home base.

Awareness is here,

Lori Ann

Posted in Freshly Hatched Stories of Awakened Awareness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments