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A SHORT MEDITATION FOR PAIN AND DISCOMFORT

Instead of thinking about your pain or discomfort right now (and how to get rid of it) can you close your eyes and directly experience your pain or discomfort in the body? Can you come out of the narrative of past and future, your stories about what will happen, your search for 'solutions', and attend to what is happening right now, Where You Are?

Is there a tightness in your neck, a tension in your shoulders? Do you notice a pressure in the head, a fluttery, groundless feeling in the stomach? Does the heart area feel contracted, closed, bound? Bring a curious, open, receptive awareness to the sensations that you label 'pain' or 'discomfort'. Without trying to get rid of the sensations, or change them, or even heal them, give them a deep permission to be here now; give them space, room. Do not think about the sensations, just watch, listen, observe, notice, allow. Are the sensations fluttering, shivering, pulsating, throbbing? Do they feel spiky, soft, sharp, achy, raw, jagged, round? Are they moving, fast or slow? Do they have a centre, a boundary, a core, somewhere they end or begin? Are they hot, warm, cold? How deep into the body do the sensations go? Invite your breath now into the sensations; infuse and bless them with oxygen. Breathing into - or through - an area of tenderness, ache, soreness, is a tremendously loving act. Drench the sensations with your gentle breath, in this moment, the only moment there is. Say to the sensations, "You can be here, Now".

Instead of trying to fix or obliterate your pain or discomfort right now, can you bring to it a loving curiosity, a sense of gentle welcoming? Perhaps your pain or discomfort is just a place within you that's been longing for love, empathy, permission, acceptance. Try even dropping the words 'pain' and 'discomfort' because even those are just judgements, ideas, and directly attend to the raw, alive, ever-changing sensations in the living body. Don't expect them to go away; allow them to stay if they want to. Allow them to move, become more intense, or less, or dissipate, or expand. Take away the pressure to control the body, and drench the body with fascination.

Congratulations, you are deep in meditation now, without any effort at all. You are no longer struggling against life, you are no longer searching for a 'fix', because you are attending to raw experience, staying close to life as it flutters, pulsates, intensifies, relaxes. And even if you notice a sense of struggle in yourself, there's no need to struggle against the struggle either. Bless even the struggle, allow even the struggle, for it too is life. Even the part of you that wants to be free, is itself free to be, and beloved to the Heart.

What is worse, your discomfort, or your exhausting struggle against it? Can you receive the moment exactly as it is, instead of going to war? Can you let go of all ideas about how this moment 'should' be? Can you see, the 'should' is the lie?

- Jeff Foster
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1 day ago  ·  

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The secret to having what you want
is to love what you want so much
that you already have it in your heart,
so there is no gap between 'here' and 'there'
and no sense of lack because
time has broken open
and you were never incomplete.

You love where you are so deeply
that you simply rest, here and now.

You love the journey so completely
that reaching the destination
would only be a bonus.

- Jeff Foster
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1 day ago  ·  

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I AM BREAKING UP WITH SHAME

Dear shame,

Thank you.
Thank you for being there when I needed you.
Thank you for making me cover up my messy parts.
For helping me hide the 'bad' bits that other people didn't want.
The fears. The doubts. The sorrows. The pains.
Those strange, disturbing, "uncivilised, abnormal" thoughts.
You got me to suppress them. Distract from them.
Create a persona, a mask.
Be "someone else".

Thank you. You saved me, I think.
You saved me from punishment. From ridicule.
From neglect. From intrusion.
From being bullied, hurt, abandoned.

You saved me from judgement.
From the horror of rejection.
From the terror of losing love.
I needed you back then, yes.
In my innocence. In my inexperience.
Yes, I think you might have saved my life.
You were a great and loyal companion.
Thank you. I bow to your power.

But now, shame, I need you no more.
I am ready to expose my true self to the world.
I cannot live a lie anymore.
I want others to know the real me. To see the 'mess' within.
These inconvenient thoughts. These 'dark' feelings.
These 'shameful' parts...
which might not be 'shameful' after all.

I want to drop the persona now.
Be seen in daylight.
So I can be loved for who I really am.
Undefended. Unprotected. Real.

True, I am terrified!
You have provided wonderful protection, shame!
Without you, I feel so shaky, raw, uncertain.
So vulnerable. But so damn alive, too!

I am moving into the Unknown.

Thank you, shame.
You have done your job well.
You were only ever trying to help, I know.
I just don't need you anymore.

You are welcome to visit whenever you want.
You are welcome to keep advising me.
("Turn back! Hide! Withdraw! Shut up! Fit in! Stay small!")
But I won't be obeying you any longer.
I won't be your slave.
I am taking back my life.

I have found a new lover.
A new guide.
A new best friend:
Myself.

- Jeff Foster
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2 days ago  ·  

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Sometimes people ask me where my words come from. Where do I find my inspiration for writing. What moves through me as I write. Where do I get my "ideas".

It's hard to answer such questions. To be honest, I don't feel that I have ever written anything in my life. I am really not a writer. But sometimes, unexpectedly, the fingers and brain and heart and eyes and ears and gut all work as one, and books and social media posts and talks plop out of the void. I look on, dumbfounded, grateful, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes shaking, often totally still.

But never for one moment believing that I am in control.

Maybe one day the words will stop coming. Maybe today will be the day. Perhaps, in the middle of a sente
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3 days ago  ·  

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Enlightenment
is not an escape from your vulnerable humanity,
but a courageous embrace of it!

Those who claim to be 'beyond' human feelings,
those who boast about being 'untouchable',
are secretly terrified
of this 'being human'.

It takes great courage
to be soft and flexible in a hard world.

The true hero of the story
knows their own human limitations.

True strength lies in the willingness
to embrace difficult energies:
doubt, shame, fear, heartache.
To see them as movements of the Beloved.

So, today, be light, and shine!
Willing to see what you don't want to see.
Willing to soften into the hard places.
Willing to be kind to imperfections.

Willing to hold darkness
like a newborn.

- Jeff Foster
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4 days ago  ·  

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THE BEAUTY OF GUILT

When you say NO,
when you set boundaries,
you may feel guilty.

Wonderful. Feel guilty!
And say NO anyway.
Set boundaries anyway.
Speak your deepest truth anyway.

Feeling guilty is not so bad,
when you drench that experience
with curious awareness.
Hold "the guilty-feeling one" in your arms.
Give her room.
Breathe into the discomfort.
Let her feel "bad" for a while.

And speak your truth anyway.
Say NO anyway.
Set boundaries anyway.

You say YES sometimes to avoid the pain of guilt, don't you?
You ignore your own boundaries to avoid the pain.
But the pain is bearable.
You can survive it.
The guilt will rise like a wave, sometimes.
And subside. And rise again, maybe.
And eventually pass.

But you will stay true to yourself regardless.
On your path. In your integrity.

Guilt as a sweet companion.
Guilt as a fragile child needing your love.
Guilt as an ally on the road.

You are not controlled by guilt anymore,
when you are willing
to feel it.

- Jeff Foster
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5 days ago  ·  

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WHEN NO TEARS WILL COME

Child

When you feel like
you want to cry
but no tears will come

Do not force your tears
They are too precious to force

Allow yourself
to want to cry
Yes
To long to cry

But don’t cry yet

Because you cannot do
what you cannot do
And you cannot be
where you are not

Child
Be where you are

Tears or no tears
Yearning or none
Desire or lack of it

Wet cheeks or dry

Bow to your deepest longing
Lean in to your exact experience
Soften into the chair, the bed
Sink into the ground, the earth

You are perfect
in your imperfection
I swear

You make me cry
when you feel like
you want to cry

But no tears will come

- Jeff Foster
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1 week ago  ·  

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Don’t try to be beautiful.

Just be real,
and that is already
beautiful enough.

- Jeff Foster
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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THE END OF SPIRITUALITY

My yoga mat has disappeared into the ground under my feet.

My ashram has become the coffee counter, a bad joke exchanged with the barista, a friendly smile creeping over a frozen face, and the whole world willing us along.

My temple is the shopping mall, the dentist’s waiting room, the empty meadow in the morning with its soft yellow light and virginal air.
My guru is the incubating roar in the belly, the melancholy of the evening and the hope and despair of raw existence itself.

Nothing needs to be added.

My enlightenment is the ordinary moment, this mundane experience drenched in the sweet nectar of my own attention.
My origin is the breath and the breath is my destination.
My lineage is the hungry cat greeting me on my evening walk, ambling beside me awhile, rubbing her fur against my shin, her fur soft like the cashmere blanket grandma used to wrap around us as the nights came in early, fur becoming skin, and the cat nonchalantly moving on to peruse a discarded sandwich wrapper, and me walking on.

My spirituality is deep in the earth; it is in the mud, the heat, the bowels, the awkward and the inconvenient, the cry for mother and the courage to penetrate unexplored regions of the psyche. It is the yearning for home and the happily exhausted return.
My bliss is nothing the mind could ever grasp, not in a billion years of searching.

My joy is simple, like those who have lived a full life and are ready to die.

I lie down in the meadow, my backpack my pillow, my hands entering into the silky, sticky grass, my entire life reduced to a single thought and memory and momentary vision, and then that is gone too, and I am gone with it all, replaced by the meadow itself, its soft yellow light and its clean invigorating air, its hope and its promise, its fullness and its mercy.

Do not look for me. You will not find me here, or recognise me if you do. I am invisible because I have become all that is seen and all that is known and unknown still.

I do not practise spirituality. I have been destroyed, deconstructed, de-boned and born again, reconstituted as man, formless as form. I have been recreated inseparable from this ordinariness, resurrected with the birds belly laughing on the electric wires at dawn.

⁃ Jeff Foster
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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FIND YOURSELF

It is the most honest and ultimately the kindest thing to say to someone, "I love you, I care very deeply about you, I love spending time with you, but I don't need you. I don’t need you for my happiness and I don’t need you to complete me. I am complete with or without you. For I have always been with The One, that unspeakable divine wholeness inseparable from my very own Presence, closer than my own eyes as I behold these words, closer than my heart as it pumps hot blood around this shattered world. I cannot complete you or make you happy, I do not have that power and I will not deceive you about that. I want you to find the deepest sense of happiness within your own being, my love. I want to be a sacred mirror for you as you learn to see yourself. I love you so much that I would dare to take care of myself, and I love you so much that I would support you in your quest for self-love.

We cannot mend each other but we can hold each other as we break and that is much closer to true love than the disgusting fairytale we were sold.

Find your deepest freedom, fulfilment and peace, my love, with or without me. When I am close and when I am far. Be true to you.

Find yourself. And perhaps we shall find each other, there, as the ground falls...”

- Jeff Foster
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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Sometimes we need to be the space around our body and know, “I am not the body”, and sometimes we need to enter the world of feeling and sensation fully, and know, “I am the body, too”. Sometimes we need to bring spacious Awareness to feelings, wrap our arms ever so lightly around them, be the holding environment for them, and sometimes we just need to feel our feelings more fully, we need them to penetrate us completely, we need to surrender to our broken and fragile and fiery humanity, in awe and in reverence, and weep and scream and shake and sigh and feel as bad or as good as we need to feel in order to feel better again.

Sometimes we need to breathe in, sometimes we need to breathe out.
To slow down. To speed up.
To rise, to fall.
To fail. To get back up.
To not know what the fuck we are doing.
To stop. To begin again.
To smile at our mistakes.
To be here.

Those who say “You are not the body”, are only half-right.
Those who say “You are the body”, are only half-right.

We will never work it out.

We have no choice in the end, anyway.

We must all join the dance.

- Jeff Foster
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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HOW I BECAME A WARRIOR

Once, I ran from fear
so fear controlled me.
Until I learned to hold fear like a newborn.
Listen to it, but not give in.
Honour it, but not worship it.
Fear could not stop me anymore.
I walked with courage into the storm.
I still have fear,
but it does not have me.

Once, I was ashamed of who I was.
I invited shame into my heart.
I let it burn.
It told me, "I am only trying
to protect your vulnerability".
I thanked shame dearly,
and stepped into life anyway,
unashamed, with shame as a lover.

Once, I had great sadness
buried deep inside.
I invited it to come out and play.
I wept oceans. My tear ducts ran dry.
And I found joy right there.
Right at the core of my sorrow.
It was heartbreak that taught me how to love.

Once, I had anxiety.
A mind that wouldn't stop.
Thoughts that wouldn't be silent.
So I stopped trying to silence them.
And I dropped out of the mind,
and into the Earth.
Into the mud.
Where I was held strong
like a tree, unshakeable, safe.

Once, anger burned in the depths.
I called anger into the light of myself.
I felt its shocking power.
I let my heart pound and my blood boil.
Listened to it, finally.
And it screamed, "Respect yourself fiercely now!".
"Speak your truth with passion!".
"Say no when you mean no!".
"Walk your path with courage!".
"Let no one speak for you!"
Anger became an honest friend.
A truthful guide.
A beautiful wild child.

Once, loneliness cut deep.
I tried to distract and numb myself.
Ran to people and places and things.
Even pretended I was "happy".
But soon I could not run anymore.
And I tumbled into the heart of loneliness.
And I died and was reborn
into an exquisite solitude and stillness.
That connected me to all things.
So I was not lonely, but alone with All Life.
My heart One with all other hearts.

Once, I ran from difficult feelings.
Now, they are my advisors, confidants, friends,
and they all have a home in me,
and they all belong and have dignity.
I am sensitive, soft, fragile,
my arms wrapped around all my inner children.
And in my sensitivity, power.
In my fragility, an unshakeable Presence.

In the depths of my wounds,
in what I had named “darkness”,
I found a blazing Light
that guides me now in battle.

I became a warrior
when I turned towards myself.

And started listening.

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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Death is the greatest teacher of all.
Greater than all human philosophies.
Truer than any religion.

Death strips away the lies, the pretence.
Death makes a mockery of our resentment.
It burns our greed, grudges and grievances.

Death invites us to be utterly present.
To let go.
To forgive.
To meet, without history.

Death makes it plain that only love matters.
That only love makes life worth living.
And all else is dust.

Death is a ruthless portal.
Worldly riches are powerless against it.
Hatred cannot survive it.
Only love can pass through.

We return to our True Nature.
The cycle is complete.

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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From, er, one of my books... 😍😍😂 ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago  ·  

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wonderofbeing @wonderofbeing
A SHORT MEDITATION FOR PAIN AND DISCOMFORT Instead of thinking about your pain or discomfort right now (and how to… https://t.co/tf6TyZGwd7
Sometimes people ask me where my words come from. Where do I find my inspiration for writing. What moves through me… https://t.co/SjXgj2z94x
Don’t try to be beautiful. Just be real, and that is already beautiful.
“After dozens of retreats, thousands of dollars spent on self-help books, therapists and meditation classes… I fina… https://t.co/OcDj2fU7gk
The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times. —- I’ll be leading this retreat in… https://t.co/w67OOKqfdO
Come join us in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in September! 😍 https://t.co/MiHDTgL4Av
"What if the perfection and spiritual enlightenment you’ve been seeking is actually contained in your tender human… https://t.co/CbCDgKUQY5
I'm happy to announce that next year Sounds True will publish "You Were Never Broken" ... my first book of poetry! ❤️
Thank you for all your beautiful, touching feedback about my new book. It’s out now in paperback AND Kindle edition… https://t.co/Ai8onbYvvP
Fredrik Swahn made a sweet song out of one of my FB posts. Thanks brother! 👏👏👏 “Please, don't lecture me about 't… https://t.co/tcaRY4kRcr