Monthly Archives: August 2014

Tuning the Spirit is a Developable Skill

A friend wrote me the other day saying, “I need to find a way of dealing with anxiety, depression & stress.” Recently this all to common challenge has taken front page attention, which will fade as this is not really an event. And events are what the news reports.

This is about the process of the human condition. I venture depression is a message which we can fight with Prozac or listen to. I believe it is our totality calling us to itself. However, let me skip the theoretical discussion of the why’s and let’s look to what we can do to affect our state of being: in an instant.

Most people will miss this. It’s too simple. And tuning doesn’t seem as exciting as playing, (at first). But learning to tune one’s spirit, as a musician might tune an instrument, might affect the music of our lives, more than working harder or practicing more hours, in order to play better. Sharpening the saw’ might have a much higher return on investment, than sawing harder, faster or longer.

Hey, I am not talking about two weeks in the Bahamas, or a week long meditation retreat, or even a yoga class for an hour, (plus the drive time changing etc.). I’m talking about this instant, what can you do.

I have collected and developed an array of simple practices, breathing and relaxation exercises and games of attention.  These can be done alone or . . ., anytime, anywhere, for a few seconds or as long as you have or choose to devote at this moment. Here’s the first;


Breathe this one breath, all the way in and all the way out.

Simply pay attention, as you breathe this one breath, all the way in and out.


Whenever you remember the exercise, do it. Do it again. No obligation, do it for your own enjoyment, whenever you want, as often as you want or can remember. (Put a note to remind you on the corner of your computer screen, your phone or on your dashboard.) See if this practice stimulates any ideas for you. And I’ll add a few more over the next while.

Please let me repeat myself.

Most people will miss the incredible power in repeating this simple practice. It’s too simple.

Everyone could enhance the developable ability to, in the words of the founder of Aikido,

“Calm the spirit and return to the source.”

“The art of peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the art of peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow.

You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the art to all that you encounter.”


Listening versus Hearing

Listening implies the ability to focus one’s attention openly. it is the most sophisticated art that a human being will ever accomplish.

Listening, paying attention, the act of giving something of yourself of opening yourself to what’s coming, to what’s being said, to what’s being perceived, is much more then sound striking a human eardrum.

When you’re listening you change. Listening implies changing who you are, opening yourself with the spirit of willingness to be changed.

Listening implies more than a desire to hear it implies a sincere desire to understand the significance of the meaning of the one transmitting and to be affected by that meaning.

This is distinct from ‘listening’ as it’s ‘called’, when what you’re trying to do is find weaknesses in the arguments, so you can oppose them or defend your self from the ideas being presented.

Listening implies a sincere desire to learn, to grow, to understand, which carries with it the mandate to question your own thinking. Listening will continually cause us to disassemble and reassemble our meaning. Continuously re-evaluating reality as we perceive it, should be growing at each moment of life. Without out that re-evaluation we are not really thinking we’re operating on habituated thought.

When people ask me about the difference between listening and hearing. My take on it is, when I was younger my parents told me a lot of things, and I heard them. I just didn’t listen.