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ON TELLING THE TRUTH

There is something so healing about simply telling the truth.

To ourselves. To a trusted, non-judgemental friend. To a journal. To the gods, to the mountains, to the wild animals of the forest.
Not the ‘nice’ truth, the stale, regurgitated truth designed to please. Not the conceptual truth of the mind. But the raw, messy, present-moment truth of our wild hearts. Destroying the self-image, the persona (mask) designed to win love, or impress people, or just keep ourselves ‘safe’ and ‘out of trouble’.
Well, sometimes what was once ‘safe’ has become a self-imposed prison. You long to lose control and speak the wild truth. Or whisper it. Or shout it to the heavens.
Not the convenient, socially-acceptable, “nice guy” truth. Not the “spiritual” truth crafted to impress teachers and gurus and friends and gain a million followers.
But the truth you are a little scared to speak. The truth that makes your heart pound. The truth that makes you go a little dizzy when you speak it.
The vulnerable truth. The shaky, sweaty, what-the-fuck-am-I-doing, dry-mouthed truth.
The truth of your immense loneliness. Your raging doubt. Your piercing shame. The truth of your ‘sinful’ longings and desires, cravings, jealousies. The ‘out of control’ joy that you just can’t squash down anymore. The anger that has been suppressed for too long and is making you physically sick. The frustration, the boredom, the hope or the hopelessness, the ‘madness’ you just cannot push down anymore.

What you hold down ends up holding you down. And what you depress ends up depressing you.

It can be so relieving, so liberating, to just tell the truth. To have a breakdown, a healing crisis, and just tell the truth, birth it, mother it into existence. To sing it, to dance it, to put it into a poem. To write it on a piece of paper and burn it. To silently – or very loudly – proclaim it to all the gods and goddesses. You will find your own way. You will find your own unique expression of truth. Or it will find you.

To tell the truth of this moment, and let love in. The truth that shatters old safety but gives new safety. The truth that may upset a few people, shock those who thought they knew you, anger those who wanted to control you, disappoint those who’d hoped you were different. But that’s how real our self-images are. That’s how stable our ‘personality’ really is. It can shatter, break, rebuild itself a billion times.

It’s so exhausting to keep pretending. It gets more exhausting as the lies deepen.
Truth can hurt, and shock, but it can also heal. It can open up old wounds, break up relationships, unravel the status quo, leave you with nothing, except your self-worth and new dignity. It can feel terrifying to speak it, yes, but a life of lies ultimately murders the soul and that is far more terrifying in the long run. The fears we face are far less terrifying than they seem before we face them. The medicine is in the pain, sometimes. The healing is in the telling.

Find a trusted friend. A therapist. A teacher. A partner. An animal, a mountain, a loving family member, alive or dead, who can hold your shame and guilt and fear as you speak. Someone who will believe you. Someone who wants the real you, flaws and fuck-ups, failures and fears and all.

Someone who will stay present as you break.
Who will not try to fix you, or vomit out easy platitudes and stale spiritual teachings.
Who will hold you in your crisis by holding themselves.

Find a fire.
A lake.
A vast night sky.
A stage. A canvas. A dance-floor.
A fucking rock with a face painted on it, if that’s what it takes.

And just tell the damn truth.

- Jeff Foster
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2 days ago  ·  

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THE PLACE OF MANIFESTATION

You have never manifested a single thing in your life.

In other words: You cannot manifest from a place anywhere other than Presence.

When you are disconnected from Presence, your true home, you exist in lack, no matter how ‘perfect’ your life seems to be. From lack, you manifest in order to fill a void - in other words, to run from the void you sense deep down inside of you. Therefore, whatever you apparently manifest, you cannot be satisfied. No ‘thing’ can make you happy.

But in Presence, you are not running from the void. You are one with the void so there is no void. From a place of fullness, satisfaction, completeness, wholeness, you manifest - or rather, you allow manifestation to happen. You create – or rather, you allow creation to move through you - with a spirit of playfulness, ease, lightness, joy. You let go of goals, all ideas of status and success, even the idea of manifestation itself! You are already whole.

You fall into the great paradox of manifestation and you watch, amazed, astonished, grateful, as your beautiful life effortlessly builds itself in front of your eyes... as you follow your deepest truth and inner guidance.

Manifestation through relaxation, creation through surrender, building up through letting go, power through effortlessness. The painting of your life painting itself. Here, Now, is where you live, work, play, rest, sleep and eventually die. In Presence. In Love. In the abundant arms of the Miraculous.

You do not manifest. You are being manifested.

- Jeff Foster
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3 days ago  ·  

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REST IN EVERY STEP

Have patience.
Slow down.

The gap between
'Where I am'
and
'Where I want to be'
is full of possibility.

So don't rush through it.

Take time.
Find the dignity in slowness.

Learn to love the gap.
Grace it with your presence.
It is bursting with life, and creativity,
and it holds unexpected treasures.

Have patience. Slow down.
Life is only Now.

In Presence, there are no gaps.

Find rest in every step.

- Jeff Foster
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5 days ago  ·  

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TAKE OFF YOUR SPIRITUAL MASK!

I am in love with this blessed mess of our humanity, more than ever. I see the Divine shining through the stink and the shit, the Absolute penetrating into every pore and crevice of relative existence. I see nonduality in the hot, sticky, burning mess of duality itself, unspeakable courage and hope at the pit of our despair.

I see the sad old patriarchal spirituality, the toxic masculine cosmology that shamed and devalued the body, its desires and its vulnerability, its passion and its sweat and its tears, its needs and its gloriously awkward and often highly contradictory feelings, slowly dying and being reborn as something more tangible, and honest, and grounded, and integrated, and real.

We are beginning to understand that the teachings of Advaita and Perfectly Pure Present Awareness are beautiful (don’t get me wrong, they contain so much truth!), but so very incomplete when standing on their own. We may be the “Light of Consciousness” itself, but mere intellectual insight cannot begin to heal our deepest trauma, for we are human and wounded as much as we are Divine, no matter how much we try to hide it. Holy light must penetrate the putrefying darkness inside, slowly, lovingly, and the body and its authentic feelings must be drenched with compassion and breath. Nonduality must speak to the healing of trauma, for we are all traumatised, whether we know it or not.

Absolute truth is toxic if it does not walk hand in hand with fierce human truth. Teachers who speak of spiritual awakening as some kind of final state of total invulnerability, some resting place where we become immune to grief and pain, untouched by human suffering or wounding, the ‘illusion’ of human feeling and trauma transcended at last and the ‘separate self’ finally reduced to ashes, are misguided at best, manipulative at worst.

At some point on this path, we are all greatly humbled, brought back down to earth. Our happy dreams of ourselves as enlightened beings, invulnerable to imperfection, incapable of error, floating above all human suffering, stabilized permanently in our true nature, crumble and burn.

Yes, in the end, expert and amateur alike, we are all humbled by life. We all encounter heartbreak, and loss, and unexpected pain, and we are called to grieve our own arrogance, accept that we are not the flawless beings we thought we were, turn towards our deepest wounds - our shame, our terror, our loneliness, our own hubris - and dive in.

Yes, we are Peace and Love and Joy and Beauty and Freedom. But we are also so damn spacious and vulnerable that we contain bottomless Despair and Loneliness so huge that it makes worldly love possible, and infinite Boredom, Boredom so great that it births a thousand universes just to experience itself, and a magnetic Longing, a Longing so powerful and attractive that it can rejoin us with ourselves, even if we have spent a lifetime trying to run.

I am in love, more than ever, with the sensitive, vulnerable, imperfect, awkward, shy and shaky humans that we all are underneath the myriad spiritual masks we wear. I am in love with how damn hard we try to get things right sometimes, and how damn beautiful it is to fail.

I am in love with our vulnerability, the cracks in our armour, our raw edges, the soft fleshy parts that we try so hard to hide.

I declare that nonduality is a tantric love affair with duality, and is one with it, and is its essence and its life, and it binds the feminine and the masculine principles and renders all our ordinary moments sacred.

And when pretending to know gets too exhausting for you, friend, when you tire of being the expert and the world’s teacher and the one with all the clever memorised answers, just let yourself fall, let yourself tumble to the ground and question everything and weep out the old dogmas, and I will be here to hold you.

- Jeff Foster
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1 week ago  ·  

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THE GIFT OF YOUR SENSITIVITY

You are awake.
You are sensitive.
You feel everything.

Sometimes you wish you didn't feel everything.
But you do.

The depths of loneliness.
The heights of joy.
Sometimes it feels like it's too much.
Sometimes you dream of numbing yourself.

It's a lot, living this close to life, this close to death, this close to yourself.

But then, you realise, numbing the pain would also numb the joy.

And you refuse to be numb like the others.

So you walk, your heart exposed all day, every day, every fucking day.
Great sorrows ploughing through.
Bliss cascading like a waterfall.
Unable to switch it off.
Unable to run.
(Where would you run to?
There is only you.)

You, and your raw, broken open heart.
You, and the thrill and dread of being alive for another day.
Another whole day!
Sensitive to the tiniest little flicker or flutter of experience.
To the breeze on your face.
The cracked glass in the old window.
The spider web in the half light.
The contraction and expansion of each sacred breath.

A morning shifting into afternoon.
A secret or promise kept or not.
A plan crumbling into shiny Unknowing.

You will take this intensity, yes.
You will commit to this living, yes.
You will walk this path, of course.
Even though you will doubt it, often.
There is no other path for you.

You feel everything.
You are sensitive.
You are awake.

And our noisy world needs you,
now more then ever.

- Jeff Foster
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1 week ago  ·  

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TO A FRIEND IN CRISIS

Friend, I don’t know how to help you.

I don’t know how to take away your pain.
I don’t know how to remove your heartache, your fear, your sorrow, the longings that burn deep inside.

I have known these visitors.
I have never found a way to annihilate them in myself.
I am as broken and as lost as you are.
My answers have crumbled too.

Yes, I know the yearning and loneliness you speak of.
I ran from my pain for years. I tried every fix, every solution, every addiction.
I tried to drink my loneliness away, sex it away, eat it away, meditate it away.
I tried to surround myself with people to distract myself, became addicted to people and still the loneliness haunted me.
I tried to hypnotise myself with religion, spirituality, dogma, belief and false hope.
There were times I came close to suicide; sometimes that seemed to be the only answer.
I tried to medicate away my loneliness, ignore it, bury myself in work and useless activity.

“Just keep moving”, I begged myself. “Don’t stop”.

Loneliness banged on the door in the middle of the night.
I heard her cries in my daydreams and nightmares.
I ran until my feet were bloody and raw.
I ran until I could not run anymore.

And then, life forced me to stop.
Through illness, through exhaustion, through the sheer pain of running.

It was only when I stopped… that true healing could begin.
I turned towards my loneliness and let it fill me up.
I thought I would die, but at the heart of loneliness I only found love, and more life, and more light.
And a deeper connection to the Divine.
And near-unbearable compassion for my fellow brothers and sisters.

The ‘darkness’ within me had only been a lost child, longing for love.
She was lonely for me.
She had been waiting.

It was a beautiful reunion.

Now, loneliness and I live together, as One.
We breathe together. Walk in the meadows together. Sit under the sky and laugh and weep.

I have found my love in the darkness.

Now, friend, I sit with you.
Still. Present. Here.
I see your fear, your exquisite brokenness, your yearning heart, and I bow to these gifts, these strengths of yours.
I trust your ability to meet yourself.
I have lost all interest in fixing you.
I don’t know how to help you.
But in your “helplessness”, a fire of healing!

I cannot fix you, no.
But I can love you
as much as I love myself,
which is a lot.

- Jeff Foster
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1 week ago  ·  

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THE PARADOX OF LOVING

My love,
you cannot truly “be there” for another
until you learn to “be there” for yourself.

Be there for your breath as it rises and falls.
As it slows, quickens, deepens.
As the belly expands and contracts.

Be there. Be a loving witness
to this extraordinary power that moves through you.

Be there for all your feelings, not just the pleasant ones.
Be there for the grief and the anger, too.
The ease and the frustration.
Be there for the sorrow, the emptiness and the fullness,
the wildness and the calm, the life and the dying.

Be there for all your thoughts.
The ones you love and the ones you hate.
The ones that scare you and the ones you seek.
Be there as they arise and dissolve.
Stay there as they stay and go.

Be there for the broken heart
and be there for the healed one too.
Be there for the answers,
but don’t abandon the questions either.
Be there for the clarity,
but don’t neglect the confusion.

Be there for all of yourself, my love.
Like a mother, there for her children.

And you will be able
to be there for all of me.

Look after me by looking after you.
Find me by finding you.

Let me in by staying near.
This is the paradox of loving.

- Jeff Foster
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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Sweet child, do not fear the darkness, the darkness you see in the world or the darkness you find within yourself; darkness is only a longing for light, a region of the psyche hungry for love, begging for love, yearning for love. Darkness needs you, you see, needs your courage and your light, needs your warmth. It is powerless without you, child, and when you fight it you feed it and when you fear it you feed it but when you illuminate it, when you face it and drench it with understanding, it cannot be darkness any more. Do not run from darkness and seek the light, simply be the light that you are, and the darkness will seek its own end, as surely as dawn follows night.

- Jeff Foster
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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NEVER SINGLE, NEVER ALONE

No, you are not ‘single’.
No, you are not ‘without love’.

Not even for a moment of your life.

Surrounded by people, or when alone, you are one with the stars now, and the mud, and all the lonely creatures of the earth. Your feet are in contact with the sacred ground, and your mind expands into infinity and endless night, and the sunlight warms you, and the sounds of the day tickle your awareness, moment by moment.

And the feelings! The numbness and the ecstasy. The boredom and the gratitude. The joy and the sorrow of existence. All of this moves through you today, if you allow it to.

Feelings of loneliness and connection. Feelings of closeness and separation.

Don’t tell me you are divided from life.
Don’t tell me you are “missing” something.

Look deep inside.
You are so fucking whole
even when you feel separate.
You are so complete,
even in your longing for completeness.

You are partnered with God.
Married to the Universe.

In a relationship, or out of one,
after a break up,
or in the space between heartbreaks,
or heartbeats, be related to the stars,
the moon and the vast mountains,
the breath and the longing.

And you will be with your Beloved.
Held in life’s Womb.
Singular and majestic, original and whole.

Nothing to fear. Nothing to fear.

- Jeff Foster
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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NONDUALITY IS A LIE

Nonduality is the Truth.

But here’s something that’s also true:

Nonduality is a lie the moment it claims to be the truth, the absolute truth, the most important truth, the truest truth, the highest truth.

Nonduality becomes false and dogmatic when it divides itself in any way from duality, when it bypasses or suppresses authentic human feeling, when it shames the feminine, and judges our human vulnerability, fragility and sensitivity to be “less than”.

Nonduality is a lie when it sits on its Absolutist throne, looking down arrogantly at relative existence, deeming it to be an illusion, merely a projection of the separate self, our doubts and pains and broken hearts so many things to be spiritually ashamed of, so many things that need to be transcended.

Nonduality is false, even toxic, when it loses its heart, its humanity, its humour, its fierce and deep compassion for the trauma and emotional wounding that lives on inside all human beings.

Nonduality is the Truth, yes, but please, I beg you, hold that Truth so very lightly...

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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When you reject your sadness,
you become unhappy.

When you are present
with your sadness,
you discover profound joy.

This is love’s paradox.

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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NO, YOU ARE NOT ROTTEN INSIDE

Trauma is not some big dark scary monster inside of us, some mysterious evil force working against us. Trauma is simply undigested life energy. It’s the tears we need to cry but have not yet cried, the screams we wanted to scream but didn’t. It is the shakes left unshaken, the loneliness left unfelt, the feelings repressed and stifled in order to hold up a self-image and stay safe and not fall apart.

It’s not our fault. We simply weren’t taught how to let terror, rage, or grief move through us safely to completion and we were only trying to protect ourselves. We weren’t shown how to feel it all and give it all conscious expression. Some of us as children were shamed or mocked for our thoughts, opinions, beliefs. Some of us were judged or even punished for having or showing certain feelings. Some of us were outright abused and had to squash down our authentic rage, grief, terror, or joy, in order to survive. Some of us were so neglected we wondered if we even existed at all.

That was the past. In the safety of the present we can begin to thaw. To recontact our precious authentic wild selves. To allow ourselves to think our original thoughts, and come to realise that we aren’t going to be struck down by some vengeful god, or punished, or damaged, for having ‘bad’ thoughts. We are free to think up entire universes, to fantasise, to have dark negative thoughts, and sexual thoughts, and ungodly thoughts, and thoughts are just thoughts, and all thoughts are allowed on the movie screen of awareness, and awareness doesn’t judge.

We aren’t going to die if we feel rage, or grief, or let fear move through us. We aren’t going to go mad or lose control. We can begin to discover that all our feelings are safe, and we can actually allow them in our bodies instead of reacting to them and running from them and numbing them out and fleeing into the mind.

In short, we can begin to bring love to the unloved regions of the body-mind, we can illuminate the achy, lonely, painful places inside with the warm, radiant light of our curious attention. We can begin to give ourselves the love and empathy we were starved of as children, begin to thaw the icy places, and breathe into the abandoned children inside.

As all our outdated coping strategies (which is what trauma really is) begin to collapse and deconstruct themselves in the light of love, we can recontact all the repressed energies that originally just wanted to move through us, and discover how damn safe they actually are. Anger is safe to feel, it won’t kill us. Sadness is safe, it won’t take us down. Fear is safe, it’s uncomfortable and intense but safe. Loneliness is safe, it can be hot and sticky and heavy inside but it’s safe.

We come out of our heads and return to our humanity, to our bodies, to our vulnerable hearts, and to the present moment itself.

We don’t have to live inside of our fear and shame any longer.

We can take the risk of letting love in. Of letting ourselves be seen without the mask. Of opening up our deepest truths to other safe human beings, showing them our awkwardness, our mess, our imperfections, revealing our secret thoughts and ‘shameful’ feelings, and let them love us for who we really are.

It is love that heals trauma. Love, and time, and patience, and a willingness to lean into the painful and contracted and lonely places inside.

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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A new video for you... 😍
WHO ARE YOU WITHOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL STORY?

Please, don't talk to me about 'Pure Awareness' or 'Dwelling in the Absolute'.
I want to see how you treat your partner,
your kids, your parents, your precious body.

Please, don't lecture me about 'the illusion of the separate self' or how you achieved permanent bliss in just 7 days.
I want to feel a genuine warmth radiating from your heart.
I want to hear how well you listen,
take in information that doesn't fit your personal philosophy.
I want to see how you deal with people who disagree with you.

Don't tell me how awakened you are, how free you are from ego.
I want to know you beneath the words.
I want to know what you're like when troubles befall you.
If you can fully allow your pain and not pretend to be invulnerable.
If you can feel your anger yet not step into violence.
If you can grant safe passage to your sorrow yet not be its slave.

If you can feel your shame and not shame others:
If you can fuck up, and admit it.
If you can say 'sorry', and really mean it.
If you can be fully human in your glorious divinity.

Don't talk to me about your spirituality, friend.
I'm really not that interested.

I only want to meet YOU.
Know your precious heart.
Know the beautiful human struggling for the light.

Before 'the spiritual one'.
Before all the clever words.

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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READY TO LIVE

Do, or do not. But you will never be ready. Nobody is ever ready. You'll wait forever to be ready.

Readiness is a lie.

You were not ready for birth. Shot out unexpectedly into the maelstrom, you wailed for your life. Terror and overwhelm, breathing, yes, the shock and awe of light, but not ready.

And never ready for your first day of school. The fears, the sick feeling in your stomach, a new world opening up, an old world dying, but never ready.

And the death of your father, perhaps expected, perhaps prepared for, but not ready. Waves of grief, guilt, maybe, joy, maybe, but how the hell could you be ready? You weren't, but you were alive, and you breathed where he could not, and you took it all into your ancient heart.

The cancer diagnosis, the loss of your job, an unexpected piece of news. You weren't ready. But you opened. You kept going.

You stumbled, fell, hurt yourself. Picked yourself up. Lost your way.

But you were never ready. Ready for what? For a life without pain? Without the stumbling? For the answer? A guidebook? An authority?

You always knew, that was no life at all.

You fell in love with the stumbling, with the doubts, the mistakes, with saying the wrong thing, making a mess. You laughed as your dreams crumbled to dust.

Just begin, today, even though you don't know how. Splash the paint everywhere. Cover the canvas with life. Get it all wrong, and feel so right.

You may not be ready, but you are ready to try, to fail, to give yourself to the maelstrom of life.

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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Another reading for you 😍

LOVE SONG TO MYSELF

You are the one I wake with every morning. The one I breathe with, the one whose every heart beat I feel as my own. You are the one I walk with, the one I speak and sing with, the one who stays with me through every waking moment of every sacred day. You are the one I get sick with, the one I cry with, the one whose anger and joy and doubt surges through me like fire. You are the one I will die with, the one whose arms I return to. You are the one I see in every face, shining through every pair of eyes, shimmering through the silences, the trails of dust and the spaces in the canopy. You are my constant companion, my home, my reason, my joy, my life. We cannot be divided, we cannot be two, and even 'One' is too many for us.

I sing this song to myself, disappearing into the song, and I am never alone.

- Jeff Foster
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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