Who is this man?

Men (and women) who wake from the slumber of humanity, progress to a spiritual consciousness of all that is good. They traverse the hero's journey, deal with the dross of their character and personality, formulate a mission to serve their fellow travelers in this realm, and dedicate their lives to spiritual progress. They leave behind the baggage of hate, discontent, judgment, resentment, addiction, anger, depression, and fear. They lessen the hold of ego. They infuse their souls and their lives with love, acceptance, integrity, humility, positive values, and the spiritual virtues. They come to know who they are and why they are here. They awaken!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Everything in moderation.  -- Aristotle
… including moderation!  -- Clark Jones

Have you ever met someone who seemed a “bubble off of level”, a bit kooky, somewhat unbalanced?  How about someone who was way “off”, perhaps scary?  What about someone who was so monotone and boring that you wanted to escape just to get a breath of fresh air? 

To seek balance is an admirable preoccupation, but I believe life is a series of imbalances that allow us to grow as humans.  When we maintain a point of balance, there is no movement.  We stagnate, we cease our growth, and we lose our passion.  I think it is important for us get unsteady and move toward the edges, try new things, challenge ourselves, grow.

One of my favorite precarious experiences involves getting my mind “blown” with a new thought or concept.  Here are some examples:  
1.     The Higg’s Boson
2.     What if we are 90% soul, and just 10% of everything else?
3.     What if the body is not the temple of the spirit, but the spirit is the temple of the body?

I understand how people who have been quite out of balance often long for quietude and centering.  The man who worked all his life in a high-pressure job now finds tranquility tending his orchids day in and day out.  The woman who raised children now finds quite mornings to reflect and write her memoir.  Nevertheless, we must not confuse reflection and solitude with balance.  These provide opportunities for growth and movement as well.

The awakening man looks at balance and sees its two-edged blade.  Get too far unbalanced, and we move into dysfunction and insanity.  Stay at the center, and we become impotent, lifeless.  He understands that moments of terror on the edge of a cliff of life can open new opportunities and passions.  However, he also realizes that he must take time to center himself in meditation and renewal, rebalance his psyche, and revive his spirit.

The awakening man accepts that balance is an individual mandate.  Great balanced people like the Dalai Lama come to mind, as does the rather unbalanced Rumi with his wild visions and utterances.  Both have contributed greatly to our understanding of our humanness and our spirituality.

The awakening man understands there will be times of imbalance in his life, his thoughts, and his passions.  He uses this tremendous energy for learning, serving, completing.  Purposefully then, he returns to the center point of serenity within his being.  The touchstone of his heart brings him into awareness of the equanimity of the universe, the calmness within the chaos, the gold within his shadow.  And then he’s off again in this wild adventure we call life.


What does balance mean to you?  Do you wish for more balance in your life, or do you welcome the shattering of stability that life sometimes throws our way?  How will you seek your center point?  How will you find the fringes?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.
-- Henry David Thoreau

I thought the word complexify was a neologism until I discovered it actually is listed in the unabridged dictionary.  It means, as one might guess, to make complex or to become complex.  It seems to me that human history writhes with increasing complexity.  Examples abound, but my favorite example is the US Tax Code.  The modern tax code debuted in 1913, comprising 400 pages of definitions and instructions.  Now, in 2012, 99 years later, there are 73,608 pages in it.  Indeed, the tax code is so complex that almost any change made by Congress will result in conflicts with some other part of the code.

Most of the tax code is unintelligible to the vast number of Americans, so an industry of tax preparers, programmers, and accountants has grown to meet the need. About 80% of Americans use a tax preparer or software to complete their tax return.  The IRS does not know how many tax preparers are in business nationwide, though estimates range from 600,000 to 900,000.  I’ll bet it is higher. 

The tax preparation industry itself cannot properly follow the code.  Every year, Money Magazine hires a bevy of tax experts to calculate the tax on a relatively complex financial scenario of “Mr. John Q” taxpayer.  Invariably, every preparer’s final number differs from the others, so no one gets it “right”.  Usually there are multiple ways of arriving at the final taxable amount.  Herein is the rub: if we simplified the code so the average-intelligence American could perform the calculation, it would put another million people out of business. 

Tax owed = $5,723...
or maybe you get a refund of $2,891 ?!

In college chemistry, I learned about the universal energy property of entropy, the measure of a system’s heat energy that is unavailable for doing useful work.  In a closed system, like our universe, entropy always increases.  It is not a reversible process. The analogy to an ever-increasing tax code that does not do useful work is obvious.

I find my own life filled with entropic complexity, always increasing, sometimes bringing confusion, and always causing me to wonder about simplifying.  However, that being said, I like to collect, organize, and play with STUFF.  I occasionally wonder about simplifying to the max, like Thoreau or Gandhi, men who were able to distill the cacophony of living to an essence that bespoke wisdom.

The awakening man grows in his awareness of how he complicates his life.  He discards first the dross of dishonesty, denial, and bigotry.  He cleans up his house, trashing all those useless character traits that no longer serve him.  He looks at all the material things he has accumulated and starts to eliminate the useless, the old and tired, the meaningless.  He opens up to letting go of his addictions, his negativity, and his diseases.  He understands that this purging opens up space in his world for positive change, new directions, and more of the values he wants.  Perhaps he simplifies to the extreme, or perhaps he lets go of an old photo that brings painful memories.  Perhaps he follows a simple middle ground.

What would be the most extreme way you might simplify your life?  Would you want that?  What about letting go of your depression, anxiety, or resentment?  What about awakening to the simple code of love?