Ten years ago today I was looking for a spiritual space that would allow me to sit with the experience of September 11 and the violence it had unleashed upon the world.
I walked into a meditation center and chanted for the first time.
I had an experience that changed my life forever.
It would take two more years and my life falling apart for me to come to terms with that experience. But it was definitely my awakening moment.
I did not know it at the time but I had met my teacher.
Without asking for it, having no idea what I was in for, I experienced an ancient and esoteric tantric initiation. It was a moment of radical self-recognition, the touch of a flow of Grace that gave me a sense of total oneness and boundless awareness. It was bliss.
The experience unlocked a process that continues to unfold, and it was in that very moment that my truest Self was unlocked.
It has been a wondrous journey. It has included loss and failure, and it has been vibrant with the creative impulse, it comes with a joy and a love that often seem overwhelming.
The best way I can put it is by saying that “I have become alive.”
It is my intention to continue to celebrate this unfolding, and I will forever cherish that glorious evening of September 11, 2004.
I will continue to worship, to honor, to love and to surrender to this flow of grace which I experience as the bliss of the eternal, the bliss of liberation, and the bliss of the play of consciousness.
I am just now returning from Web of Change, one of the most transformative events I have ever facilitated. Our hearts were blown wide open, and it’s not always easy to come back to our day to day lives after something so big has happened.
Here is the e-mail I just sent to the listserv of participants:
How is this for integration?
I got in late last night and had every intention of waking up, writing and sharing a blog post about the miracle we’ve just experienced together.
I’ve been intensely working on a TEDxBoston talk, one of the biggest “x” events, a huge honor and a big platform. The synthesis of the talk is that:
“Our next evolutionary leap depends on our capacity to love and the currency of trust. We can design and facilitate the spaces that generate these.”
This morning I got news that the talk had been cut. These weren’t “try outs,” I was on the roster and now I’m not. I couldn’t nail the story. And while the curators believe there is something powerful there, the talk will not be ready for prime time by October 2nd.
I have been broadcasting that this event is happening, I have been thrilled by the possibilities the talk could open up, people from my old neighborhood, the place where I grew up, have been bursting with pride and anticipation.
These are tough news to receive. And they couldn’t come at a better moment.
Each one of us knows the power of what we just did together. I just haven’t developed the skill-set to tell the story of what it is that I do. I know that many of you do have that skill-set. I’m writing to crowdsource my problem.
I heard things like “amazing, life changing, beautiful, full of love, poetry, craft, transformative, unlike anything else, more than just facilitation, presence, modeling…” on and on. And yet I don’t know how to tell that into a story that fits this format. They don’t want my conclusions, or my lessons, they want to know what happened.
So what is that just happened among us? How do I tell the story of what I do?
I am blessed by yet another opportunity to be vulnerable among you. And I think it makes perfect sense that a talk about collective awakening and the evolution of the we, be a story that is sourced from that collective.
I am welcoming it all! Bring it!
PS: If you got this far, and you were not at Web of Change, and you have experienced my work - YOUR wisdom is also warmly welcomed.
I had a special moment this morning while I was wearing my Grace Lee Boggs t-shirt.
My son Darshan is three years old. He is biracial, and he is starting to ask questions about race and ethnicity (3 year old questions!). He thinks it’s really cool that I’m only Puerto Rican, his mom is only Chinese, but he is Puerto Rican and Chinese “at the same time!”
Today he noticed the shirt I was wearing and he started asking me who that was. He asked me if she was a really famous person, then he asked if she sings.
I told him who she was, he understood she is Chinese and probably didn’t get anything else. But I have been waiting for the moment to introduce hime to Grace, her work and her ideas.
Helpful insight from the movements convening that I’m facilitating:
When we think of being in solidarity let us make a distinction between intention and execution.
It is good to stand with someone philosophically. That is very different from actually doing something that is in solidarity.
Furthermore, once we agree that we are in solidarity, and that we actually want to do something together, know that there will be no execution without granular planning, including tasks, assignments and lines of accountability.
“If what you are following, however, is your own true adventure, if it is something appropriate to your deep spiritual need or readiness, then magical guides will appear to help you. If you say, ‘Everyone’s going on this trip this year, and I’m going too,’ then no guides will appear. Your adventure has to be coming right out of your own interior. If you are ready for it, then doors will open where there were no doors before, and where there would not be doors for anyone else. And you must have courage. It’s the call to adventure, which means there is no security, no rules.”—
Joseph Campbell, from “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living”
Understanding this fundamental inequality, one that trails each of us from cradle to grave, is one of the first steps to genuine, honest dialogue…
[U]nderstand that race is a weaponized social construct used to divide and deny… The ‘racial’ worldview was invented to assign some groups to perpetual low status, while others were permitted access to privilege, power, and wealth.
“A study of brain activity at the University of Colorado at Boulder showed that subjects register race in about one-tenth of a second, even before they discern gender.” This means that racial registration — and responses to any subconscious bias we may have attached to race — are most likely happening ahead of any deliberative efforts on our part to be egalitarian. [This is HUGELY important to understand]
[W]e must understand that race is not an isolated construct or consideration. Race and class, education and economics, crime and justice, and family and culture all overlap and intersect. We can’t treat the organ as if it is separate from the organism. [emphasis added]
[S]ome immunity must be granted. Assuming that the conversational engagement is honest and earnest, we must be able to hear and say things that some might find offensive as we stumble toward interpersonal empathy and understanding.
I’ve devoted my life to the idea of change, the belief in transformation. I am interested in how change works at both the personal and social levels. I often run change experiments on myself. My diet has been one of the hardest things for me to change. So I’m about to run a new experiment on myself, and I am enrolling you in it.
I’m playing with Stickk.com, an application that works with accountability mechanisms as well as with a strong disincentive.
I am a fan of the Clean Program, it is the best cleanse I get to do. But now I want to integrate the clean way of eating into my life. For the next twenty weeks I am committed to keeping three clean days per week.
If there is any week that I don’t fulfill on this commitment, then the folks at Stickk.com will send $50 to American Cross Roads, the Republican Political Action Committee founded by Karl Rove – my money will go to the total antithesis of my political stance.
This is a powerful experiment, and being public about it is integral to it. I will be reporting back to you every Sunday, for the next 20 weeks.
It is extremely rare for the attention of so many humans around the planet to be placed on the same thing at the same time. Today’s is not just a game, it’s a massive event in consciousness. Watch the game, and once in a while tune in to yourself, go just beneath the surface and you might be able to sense this global web of connection.
Attention at this scald is something that was unimaginable just 100 years ago. Consider the evolutionary implications!
Nurturing the skill to tune into and become aware of the whole is a developmental imperative. Take today to practice.
Be amazed with me! These are the organizations represented at OPEN US. Their membership in the millions. Good humans, such a privilege to facilitate this space!
18 Million Rising
Citizen Engagement Lab
Democracy for America
New Organizing Institute
Organizing for Action
Online Progressive Engagement Network (International)
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Sun of Us