Dear friends, if you like what I've been sharing with you, please do sign up for my FREE NEWSLETTER using this link: bit.ly/2vP7xsJ Sent out every month or so, the newsletter features my new writing on self-acceptance, love, presence and spiritual awakening; also podcasts, videos, interviews and information about my upcoming retreats around the world. I'll always keep your e-mail private and never give it out to anyone! Thank you for your support! <3 ...
I spent the first 23 years of my life wanting to die. And here is what I discovered:
The urge to die is the urge to live in disguise.
The urge to die is the urge to disappear as a separate self, to vanish into the vastness of Being, to rest deeply, as we have never rested before. It is the wave longing to return to the ocean... forgetting that it was never divided from the ocean in the first place. An innocent mistake, easily corrected with a little investigation.
The urge to die is not negative, sick, dark or sinful, but it is deeply, deeply misunderstood, that's for sure! We ignore the urge, push it away, hide it, medicate it, keep it a secret, try to numb ourselves to it or even philosophize it away. But when acknowledged, honoured, listened to, even the suicidal urge, the urge to shed our false skin, contains infinite intelligence. All feelings do!
For secretly, the urge to die is the urge to awaken, to come alive, to stop identifying as a separate body-mind, to remember our original nature, vast and free! It is the urge to shed the false 'me' (ego, self, person) to stop pretending to be something we are not, to let go of all that is second-hand and inauthentic, and to live, to really live, fearless and free, as consciousness itself, full of life and potential and cosmic creativity!
The urge to die is not our enemy - it is not to be annihilated and not to be feared. It contains a profound message of awakening and change. It says, shouts, screams, "You are not limited to what you think you are! You are a child of the Universe, remember, deserving of all its riches! Only the false can die, and you cannot be false!" Can we hear its call? Can we listen, really listen?
The wave cannot return to the ocean, cannot get Home. It was never divided from its Home in the first place! You are already Oceanic, friend, and the true suicide is not the stopping of the body-mind but the remembrance of your original and unblemished nature, here and now, beyond the ravages of time!
Are you wondering why, after all these years, you still haven't healed, awakened, transformed? Why your pain, confusion, doubts, sorrows, your deep longings for home, are "still here"?
"I should have found the answers by now. By now, my sorrow should have disappeared. By now, I should be free from fear. By now, I should be feeling more peaceful, clear, awakened. By now, joy should be consistent, my natural state. By now I should be 'finished'. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?"
Friends, 'by now' is the biggest damn lie of all!
There is no such thing as 'by now'. There cannot be a 'by now'.
There is only Now. Only this moment.
No 'by'. No 'still'. No 'yet'. Healing is not a destination.
If we can drop the expectations and the false hopes around healing, drop the myth of 'by now' and instead bow to what is actually here, honour our present experience, see its sacredness and its intelligence, celebrate THE WAY WE ACTUALLY ARE TODAY, even if we feel sad, even if we experience doubt, or anger, or fear, then we may experience a total paradigm shift...
"Pain, sadness, anger, fear, why are you still here? I hoped that you'd be gone by now!"
"Ohhh! You ARE here! Yes! What an honour to meet you, here! You are life, too; a sacred wave of consciousness! There is no mind-made story that says you shouldn't be here! No demand for you to have disappeared 'by now'! You are not 'still' here, of course; there is no time. You are here, now, in this moment, only! Still here! I am still, here! And in the stillness that I Am, in this oceanic field of Presence, we can truly meet..."
A thought or feeling does not arise to be healed, friend; it arises to be HELD, lightly, in the loving arms of presence.
So that's why you feel like you're 'not there yet'.
You are not there yet! You will never be there!
There is no 'yet'. There is no 'there'. There is no 'by now'!
You are here. You are always here. You will always be here. Here is your home and your sanctuary.
This is true healing: the surrender into Presence. The sense of being held by something infinitely greater than yourself. No time required.
This is the great paradox of healing: You are already healed.
SPECIAL EVENT IN OJAI: THE MAGIC OF BEING FULLY HUMAN OCTOBER 14th & 15th, MEDITATION MOUNT "What would it be like, to finally break free from your prison of fear, shame and self-doubt, and truly feel ALIVE in the present moment?" Come join speakers/authors Jeff Foster and Matt Licata for a day of honest talks, exploratory dialogues and gentle meditations at beautiful Meditation Mount in Ojai! ...
SPECIAL EVENT: THE MAGIC OF BEING FULLY HUMAN: Embodied Spirituality and the Re-Enchantment of the Ordinary A weekend gathering with Jeff Foster & Matt Licata at beautiful Meditation Mount, in Ojai, CA. **Including book signings with Matt & Jeff after the meeting** October 14th & 15th, 2017, 10.30-5...
You can no longer comfort yourself with the old fairy tales, stories of good and evil, positive thinking.
The light of awareness cannot be switched off. You can’t hide from yourself now. There’s nowhere to hide.
You live life in the raw. And you feel more than ever, not less. Your bandwidth is infinite. From the deepest despair to the most ecstatic joy, it all passes through. But the difference is, now, you are not at war with it all. You allow all feelings to surge through. You don’t judge them or try to get rid of them. You are their mother, their sanctuary. You don't blame anyone else anymore.
You no longer have a fixed identity. You don’t know who you are anymore, from the perspective of the mind. And yet, you know who you are more deeply than ever. You are alive. You are life itself, inseparable from the stars, the moon, the flowers and trees.
It is dizzying, sometimes, this freedom. Like being born again in every moment. Like dying every day to the old hopes.
Reality is groundless, you see, dripping with uncertainty. You live at the point of total insecurity, nothing to hold onto, no concept to bring comfort to a weary mind. And yet, you feel the deepest kind of security of all, a security deep within your bones, the security of Being itself. You know that your experience is always trustable, even if it hurts like hell.
You won’t call yourself an ‘awakened person’, you won’t think of yourself as better or worse than anyone, you won’t lie to yourself about having the answers.
You won’t make a big fuss about yourself at all, for the self is the biggest illusion.
It’s simple, being so fully awake, because it is the effortless embrace of the present moment. But it’s not easy at all, because your old reality has shattered into a billion pieces, and the old protection has gone, and you are a vessel for all the joy and the pain of the world, and you can’t kid yourself that you’re in control any longer. It’s not easy, to be so open to life. It’s not easy, to see all the pain of the world. It’s not easy, to sometimes feel like you’re a stranger in a strange land, knowing yourself as Love more clearly than ever, yet seeing others around you forgetting so much.
It’s not easy, no longer fitting into the systems that promised so much happiness and delivered so little.
And yet, this is the price you pay for absolute freedom. One cannot be fully awake without fully dying to the dreams of yesterday. One cannot live without leaving the known.
Those of you who are walking this exhilarating and terrifying path, I bow to your courage.
The age of gurus and disciples is dying. The time of second-hand spiritual revelation is coming to an end. A new age of democratic teacher-student relationship is dawning. Where we are all teachers and we are all students. And we are all expressions of the One. And we all have direct access to the Divine.
And no guru has the final Answer. And we are all free to ask Questions.
I have no guru. I have never had a guru. Or rather, life itself has been my greatest guru. Pain has been my guru. Joy has been my guru. The most profound heartbreak has been my guru. Every relationship has been my guru. Every death has broken my heart open and taught me and saved me. Every moment has transmitted the teaching. Every disappointment has brought me closer to the Ground, closer to the peace that is my own absence.
The guru was not found on an ashram in India. Or in ancient books. It was found Everywhere. In friends, lovers, students, teachers, strangers on the Number 23 bus. My cat. A broken heart, mending. A song on the radio that suddenly took my breath away. A missed opportunity. A promise, kept or unkept. You are all part of this divine play, friends. This heaven in which everyone receives exactly what they need. Not always what they want, but always what they need. And you are all held in the arms of the Beloved, without exception.
Fuck it. Call me a guru, call me a non-guru, call me a fraud. Call me a friend, call me a narcissistic screwed-up mess. Ignore my song completely. I honestly don't mind. I love you, and I love this perfectly broken-open life where our conclusions are continuously exploding like dying stars.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE: The Real News Beyond The Terror by Jeff Foster
Blood flowing on the streets of another European city.
People killing people in the name of gods and ideologies and age-old grudges.
Torture, rape, murder, shocking violations of basic human rights. All over the world.
Just another day on this ancient planet.
So, is now the time to give up?
Is now the time to sing more loudly our songs of bitterness, defeat and rage? Is the world a meaningless mistake, an aberration of consciousness, a waste of everyone's time? Was the philosophy of nihilism correct in the end?
When confronted with news like today's we can feel so powerless, so frightened, so disappointed, so unstable, like we are living in a world that's gone mad, insane, out of control. It all seems like a nightmare, like some evil or dark force must be taking over.
Some start talking about the nearing of the Apocalypse. Certainly it can feel like the end of the fairytale world we once believed in.
In the midst of the devastation we seek answers, causes, someone or something to blame, a scapegoat, a way to diffuse our tension, an outlet for all this anger, grief and confusion, this unprocessed life energy. Why is there such evil in this world? Do we blame the killers? Their parents? Society as a whole? The human brain? The food we ingest? Chemicals? The stars? Our governments? Religions? Do we objectify the killers as sick, twisted, deluded, evil madmen? Do we go to war with them as they have gone to war with us, wishing more death and destruction and evil upon them and their children, their mothers, their lovers, their ancestors? Do we enter into the age-old story of good versus evil, us versus them? Do we further solidify our identification with a mind-made sense of self? Do we deepen the divisions? In the name of world peace, do we become terrorists ourselves?
Do we curse God and the Universe and wish we hadn't been born? Do we try to numb ourselves, distract ourselves from the 'news', with alcohol, drugs, sex, work, shopping, worldly comforts? Do we dismiss the horrors, detach our hearts from the hearts of our brothers and sisters in other regions of the planet, turn our backs on their plight, mumbling to ourselves as we read the newspaper on our morning commute about how "awful" things are, then turning a blind eye and doing nothing to bring about change and healing?
Do we broadcast the problem, yet give up on being part of the solution?
Do we turn to spiritual teachers who comfort us with talk about the illusory nature of life and the unreality of all we witness? Do we regurgitate empty phrases like 'nothing matters', 'it's all just a play upon the screen of Awareness', and 'nobody has any choice anyway'? Do we call what we see 'unreal' or 'illusion', sparing ourselves from the pain of having to confront the messiness and seeming uncontrollability of this relative and impermanent manifestation? Do we pretend that world events have nothing to do with us, that everything is disconnected and we are islands unto ourselves? Do we descend into solipsism? Anarchy? Do we close our hearts even more tightly than they are already closed, build our walls even higher and live in a protected state of fear? Do we reject this world and dream of a perfect afterlife?
Do we use the 'reality' of the news as an excuse to give up, to shut down, to forget who we truly are? Do we let the 'terrorists' win by leaving our path and living in terror ourselves, and terrorising others who we label as 'evil'? Do we add to the problems that we see?
Or do we use the appearance of problems to look deeply at ourselves and the way we live and treat others? Do we see the madness as a call to clarity? The violence as a call to love? The pain as a call to compassion? The terror as a call to remember and express more deeply and with more conviction that infinite intelligence that we are?
Do we condone the killings? Absolutely not. Do we feel the pain of the victims, and the victims' loved ones? Of course, for we are not separate. Would we do everything we could to prevent this kind of thing happening again? Certainly. Do we work for justice? Yes. Do we sit back and simply 'accept'? If acceptance means detachment and passivity and toleration, no. If it means coming into profound alignment with life, knowing that intelligent change and healing always emerges from a fearless plunge into the mystery of the moment, then yes. True acceptance and creative change are lovers.
In the Middle East, a Jew donates a kidney to a sick Palestinian, saving her precious life. In India, a woman feeds and washes those with leprosy, because she sees that we are all expressions of the very same consciousness and it brings her joy to live in this way, despite the names that others call her. In San Francisco, a son holds his elderly father's hand, and suddenly forgiveness happens as if by magic, unexpectedly, the weight and violence and resentment of a lifetime falling away, as if it never happened at all.
What 'news' are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them that they have been born into an essentially scary and bad and sick world, and they should live in fear and hate? Do we teach them that violence is inevitable and 'built into' to their nature? Do we give in to terror and use it as an excuse to abandon our true calling? Or do we teach our children that the murder and torture we see in the news every day stems from a deep forgetting of who we are, a false and misguided belief in separation?
What is the true news of today?
Are we teaching our children to give up on their dreams because there are bad people out there intent on stopping them? Are we teaching them to give up on love, and give up on compassion, and give up on change, and give up on humanity, and give up on joy, because of all the 'news'? Are we teaching them to focus on what is wrong with the world, to cling to the 'negative', to sing songs of defeat and disillusionment? Or are we blinding them to the 'negative' by focussing only on the 'positive'? Are we teaching them to acknowledge the violence of the world, the pain of it, but to see that all this sorrow is part of an infinitely vaster picture, a picture where everything is interconnected and everything makes a difference and everything is in balance and nothing is set in stone?
Don't use the 'news' as an excuse to stop living your truth, even for a moment. Don't believe for a second that there is a force called 'evil' in the world with any power whatsoever to win out over love.
Terror cannot win, for it emerges from a gross misunderstanding of our nature. We are only hurting ourselves, stabbing ourselves, blowing ourselves up, and deep down, we know this and have always known. A wave can never be separated from the ocean, or from any other wave, and beyond our differences in opinion and belief, we are all movements of the One Life, the true Power, beyond the worldly 'power' of guns and meat cleavers dripping with blood and trucks ploughing into crowds of innocents.
Teach your children the realities of the world, yes, but, more importantly, teach them the realities of their hearts and the hearts of those they call 'others'. Let the current play of violence actually serve to deepen your conviction in that timeless and unshakeable gift of Presence that you have always known, and reconfirm your intention to end all violence in yourself, to live as you know you can live. Don't allow the 'news', or at least the stories selectively presented to you as the 'news', to distract you from Truth.
Honour the victims. Walk your path with courage. Speak out. Create. Organize. Switch off your fucking television. Keep your eyes on the prize. ...
It's about unconditional friendliness and infinite kindness with yourself.
It's about making it safe, finally safe for all of those unloved, un-met, unseen waves of the ocean of yourself to crawl out of the depths, out of the darkness, out of the corners and holes and crevices of experience and come into the light, blinking and full of wonder...
It's about giving birth to yourself, so that all thoughts are finally allowed to flood in, all sensations, all feelings, all sounds, all those waves that we used to label ‘dark’, or ‘evil’, or ‘negative’, or ‘dangerous’, or ‘sinful’ – fear, anger, boredom, doubt, confusion, frustration, helplessness – are finally allowed to come to rest, to breathe, to be fully themselves in the space that you are. They are not separate entities or enemies, they are intimate appearances of you, and so they cannot hurt you, even if they hurt, and this is what we forget sometimes in our rush to 'fix' or at least 'normalise' ourselves...
Yes, all of those swirling, pulsating energies of that which we call 'life' are welcome in the unlimited room that you are, the vast Living Room in which all of creation sings and dances and paints itself into the ever-changing picture of this sacred and ordinary moment...
My sweet friends Jane and Gerard wrote this absolute masterpiece of a TV series. I'm so proud of them! I sobbed like a baby many times (with snot and everything). Trauma, healing, love, abandonment, violence, catharsis, redemption, forgiveness, presence, transcendence... this show has it all. <3 ...
Fall in love with the sacred mess of your life - the shattered dreams, the broken promises, the unexpected sorrows and joys, all those hoped-for tomorrows that never arrived, the most beautiful plans that never came to fruition.
Sanctify the inconsistency and the wildness of the Now. Bless this imperfect, unpolished, uncontrollable and spontaneous moment of existence with your loving attention.
Dignify today with gratitude, even if you have to do it through a broken heart.
"I never set out to convert anyone in the Klan. I just set out to get an answer to my question: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”" - Daryl Davis <3 ...
A black man says he has accidentally persuaded around 200 white racists to abandon the Klu Klux Klan simply by befriending them. Blues musician Daryl Davis has travelled the US for around three decades, actively seeking out white supremacists as a hobby. In a new documentary, out this month, the 58-...
I have no form. And that is why I cherish this form so deeply.
I have no body. And so I can inhabit my body so completely.
I have no age. And so I can live these precious years so fully, never knowing when the movie called 'Me' will end, timeless yet in love with time, surrendered to the Moment.
I am unlimited. I have no limits. And so I limit myself in ingenious ways. I play with boundaries and edges, multiplicity and Oneness. I love dancing in the in-betweens, bridging gaps, holding on and letting go, grabbing and releasing. All movements are dear to me. I have no bias. I love the opening and the closing too.
I am perfection, and so I love making mistakes. I have nothing to lose, no image to uphold.
I am divinity and I am a mess. I am God and I am a weird, original, flawed, unfinished painting of a human being.
I am life. I am play. I am the joy of discovery.
I witness through the eyes of a newborn, through the eyes of a dying man, through YOUR eyes.
I am pure paradox, complete mystery, utter wonder.
You will never capture me! And yet I am here, always!