A throw back

My husband just airdropped this to me. Turns out in 2012 I used to write posts like this, and share them to subscribers. The reminder makes me wonder why I don’t really write anymore and that makes me sad. So since I’ve no new material, here’s something old and still relevant.

Guest Post~ Meditation: A Discipline of Mind

By Lou DiVirgilio

The idea of meditation and its practice has nested within our cultural confindmints for a number of years.  Generally, it congers up for us visions made popular by T.V. and movies: of priests or monks cloistered in some remote place, either chanting or quietly absorbed in prayer, or a practitioner of one of the marshal  arts preparing for mortal combat or some spaced out “newager” sitting in a crossed legged position trying to experience oneness.  Beyond those images, we have not a cultural niche of real value in which to place the practice of meditation.  

The problem is that we have no tradition, no established conceptual foundation, aside from the Science of Psychology whose study mainly focuses on the functions of the physical brain.  We therefore, need to barrow the cultural traditions of mind established over many ages, from the Orient and from India to help us understand, experience, and establish a true value for meditation. These borrowed traditions of mind are difficult for us to quickly and neatly integrate, adapt, and transpose into our culture.  Yet as remote as these concepts seem from our everyday experiences, we are beginning to realize that the practice of meditation has a relevance to our spiritual, mental, and physical lives. 

The motivation for this releverancy comes from our desperate desire to, in some way, neutralize and manage the stress and anxiety we create in our daily lives. People are desperately seeking any practice, method or technique that may relief their stress and bring some peace of mind.  The problem is that the search is usually confined to the material side, trying to find the right pill, therapy, medical technique  , psychological training, ect.  The more we search for cures from the outside, and the more our attempts fail to satisfy, the greater our stress, anxiety, insecurity, and confusion.  We are trying to satisfy infinite appetites with finite practices; an exercise in futility and ultimate frustration.  Life’s enduring fulfillments lie within us, and the practice of meditation puts us in touch with that infinite world within.  The practice of meditation begins to discipline our mind and gradually begins to abate those 1000 voices in the mind speaking at one time. 

Continue reading here.

Guest Post: the inner characteristics in all things

By Lou DiVirgilio

As I age, and my body morphs into an older characterization of my younger self, my feeling of myself within my mind has not changed.  That is to say, in my mind my identity, my character, the way I use my energy, has remained constant.  And further, this felt quality of myself would remain the same even as I awakened from sleep, even if  I were hit on the head and lost consciousness, even if I awakened from a coma, even if I had amnesia.  This individualized quality of being is experienced, at sometime or another, by every spiritual awakened human being.  Even though there is unrelenting change bombarding our being, there is also a place of constancy within our consciousness, and this constancy gives us our feel of our unique quality.  


All manifest things have a certain predominant quality.  For instance, if an oak tree seed were planted, an oak tree would manifest, not a pine or maple tree.  The oak tree’s DNA has instructions and memory to form an oak tree; of course within the instructions are continuous adjustments of internal relations to external relations.  Therefore, not all oak trees would look 100% identical, but their oak treeness, their quality, their essential characteristics, and their function would predominately remain the same. 


You the reader, have probably noticed the difficulty of confidently understanding some of the meaning of certain ideas put forth in this blog. This difficulty arises first, from your unfamiliarity with the ideas put forth, and the limits of the English language for explanation.  The English language has no equivalent words for some of these ideas.  They are beyond its syntax.  That is the reason Sanskrit and other languages are used.  These other languages have incorporated these ideas into their word syntax.

To continue reading, click here.

Disintegrating Narratives & Global Change

Recently, I noticed I kept trying to figure myself out, figure out who I am, and I couldn’t. This frustrated me. I’ve spent decades figuring myself out, and the truth is all I’ve really figured out is who I am not. I call this work, The Great Untying.  It is inner work, deep self-reflective work that takes courage and conviction. In doing this work, we discover many false narratives about ourselves. In this process, I realize all of who I wasn’t was held together by false narratives AND all of who I am has been trapped within all of that. 

I’ve been corrupted with false narratives from my upbringing, the American culture, specifically being “Minnesota Nice,” and systems and structures created from the false dogma of white and male supremacy.

I’ve been so hard on myself too— saying, Nikki, get your shit together. Why is it taking you so long to find yourself, to know who you are— as if I am flawed, useless and hopeless. Now, I give credit to myself for getting as far as I have in my personal evolution in spite of all the bullshit to get through. 

The Great Untying (of these false narratives), for me, has taken 30+ years. Due to this work, I am in a new place now, but tried to use an old tool. I realize that the analytical tool of figuring myself out is not what this moment calls for. Although it is natural to wonder who I am now, without the false narratives, I understand I will not know who I am through contemplation. Instead, this moment calls for action, while also calling for allowing. I will begin to see my new self arise by doing and by being. I will experience my unfolding as I act and allow. 

This insight shows me how interconnected my personal evolutionary journey is with the global one. I wonder, does anyone else notice the parallels within their own life and that which is playing out globally, specifically in America? 

We are indeed in a global shift. The false narratives are being exposed. The truths are being revealed. The moment calls for new tools and a wider, deeper mindset. The call is for us take action toward truth and justice and to allow our higher, truer selves to emerge as we act and move forward, and upward.

March on. 

the changes that are occurring

Guest Post: the meaning of life

By Lou DiVirgilio

The idea that anyone could know, in a comprehensive manner, the meaning of life, seems to most people an absurd notion.  Life qua life, is such an enormous, interwoven, complicated idea that it appears to defy comprehension, and further there is a general feeling today among Western Culture that a person searching for life’s meaning is wasting scarce energy, scarce time, and being counter productive.  “Monty Python,” a group of English funny men, created a satirical spoof movie called, The Meaning of Life.  Of course their title was meant to be sarcastic and to taunt the viewer with the high concept of “the meaning of life,” then they immediately began to mock it in the most irreverent of ways.  After many comedic skits, that had little to do with the meaning of life, the movie ended with one of the Monty Python crew sitting in a chair saying , “Oh! You really expected to see evidence of the meaning of life?”  Then he reaches over to a small table standing next to him, picks up the book setting there entitle, “The Meaning Of Life,” opens it and begins to read in a flippant manner, “treat every one as you would like to be treated, turn the other cheek, love your neighbor as yourself, blah, blah, blah,” then throws the book to the side on the floor as the movie ends. 


Viktor E. Frankl, a Viennese psychiatrist, wrote a book entitled, “Man’s Search for Meaning.”  His presentation was taken seriously by millions of readers, owning to the facts that he was an immanent psychiatrist, and a survivor of Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Dachau.  On page 154 of his book Frankl encapsulated his perception of the meaning of life, …”Man is not fully condition and determined, but rather determines himself whether he gives into conditions or stands up to them.  In other words, man is ultimately self-determined.  Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment”…  Thus the meaning of life for Frankl, expresses itself from man’s innate capacity for self-determination.  What is not made clear from Frankl’s above perception or perhaps it was implied, is where the capacity for self-determination originates?  The answer is, it originates from our self-awareness. 

Continue reading here.

Guest Post: we and the cosmos

By Lou DiVirgilio

What would you think, if I ask you to explain the workings of the Cosmos in relationship to us earthlings?  Do you believe there is a connection, and if so, how are we connected? Here is the dictionary definition of the cosmos: the universe considered as a harmonious and orderly system; a nebulous definition at best, no help there.

All societies are created out of the minds and ideas of human beings.  That there should not exit a direct causative relationship between the thoughts, conduct, and ideas of human beings, and our society, would be absurd.  Add to the above reason that human beings are, in composition, microcosmic representations of the macrocosm, and that relationship should begin to crystallize with  in you the kind of relationship that exists between you and the Cosmos. The knowledge of the processes and phases that function within human beings can be applied by direct analogy to the processes and phases on a larger scale, namely our human societies, and the Cosmos.

We humans, are primarily operating on a lower, animal level of our capacities, even though, in truth our total composition is capable of operating at an extremely high level. The animals have a certain ingrained instinct for letting other animals be, but because we humans place extraordinary attention on our minds and it’s thoughts, we intital our thoughts to move freely with no control, and thus strangle our higher capacities.  We become satisfied and entrenched within our lower perceptions.  These lower perceptions amalgamate into a certain stable, cliche truth, which in turn brings us a certain amount of reliable stability. We take our reality from our senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch.  Our senses are a part of our material faculties, therefore they are objective, and present a physical reality.  However, our senses receive input on a multi-dimensional field, but consciously interpret only a fractional part.  For example, physics tells us that the total known range of light waves is from far infrared at .3 nanometers. Yet the average range of light waves, visible to our vision, is from 400 to 700 nanometers.  We therefor, see only the smallest fraction of what is going on.  Since our perceptions focus on a very small fraction of the comprehensive whole, our understanding is consequently greatly limited.  Therefore, we should not give our senses much credence.

To Continue reading, click on Lou’s blog.

COVID-19: An Intervention

Guest Post by Louis DiVirgilio

An intervention is an action becoming intentionally involved in a difficult situation, in order to improve it or preventing it from getting worse.  The Universe is moving to set the ground rules for a face to face reconing, with the assistance of the corona-19 virus, for us humans to take a deep look into the manner in which we have been living our lives. The virus is squeezing and tightening our boundaries, condensing our movements and freedom to the point of straggling our ability to move with freedom and ease within our own neighborhoods, while, trauma, fear, anxiety, and stress has unleashed its destabilizing affects upon our mental health.

This virus has opened and exposed the fact we humans are largely inwardly empty; we are relatively empty vessels.  There is no inner fullness from which to give to others, no inner richness of understanding through which we may receive and solve the problems confronting humanity, and thus helping ourselves and others.  Instead of unity and understanding there is opposition, strife, quarreling, and inevitable wretchedness, combined with rampant poverty, and unrelenting pain.

Continue reading here.

A Glimpse Ahead in the Days of COVID-19

In every home I’ve lived I have found a trail.

In my current home, it is a wooded trail— the Mississippi backwaters on one side and a junk yard on another. I’ve worked to ignore the latter. Although I appreciate the trees and the river, this trail is my least favorite of all the ones I’ve walked. And so I found another one that goes mostly through my neighborhood to a dirt road circling an abandoned lot edged with pine trees. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken to sitting under one of the pines, the one that now has a sign that reads: No Trespassing. Also ignored.

But today I needed the backwater trail. It is a short trail, made a bit longer if I take the narrow, tree root, moss filled one along the rivers edge. I took this route. On my way back to the neighborhood I noticed another trail with fresh black dirt and took steps. To my surprise it extended beyond the trail I have known and further, extended not only my walk but my time with the trees. As it ended in a familiar place, I felt grateful for the creation of a path I had wanted since I moved here.

During COVID-19, other than moving from panic to calm, panic to calm, I’ve observed people in my life and the ones I see on my essential runs, and notice how they are responding to this pandemic. My father, for instance, finds hope in the blades of green grass sprouting in a newly dug out hole in the ground. Another laughs loudly with the gas station attendant saying, “Well you know we are all going to get it.” My mother texts daily from her assisted living facility, “Is everyone at home now?” Or today, “Prince Charles has the virus.” Sadly, others have become more self-centered, ego-centric, individualistic and shut down.

As for me—today, on my walk I found a new path that shows me the life road I am currently on. The soil is fresh. It has not been traveled yet. It comes as a surprise, and yet offers what I have been seeking for a very long time. It tells me if I venture to take a new path, even while things are falling apart and feel unstable, I will arrive in a familiar place, feeling grateful and changed.

I wish for all us to be guided and changed for the better, while knowing there is loss and unimaginable grief, known and unknown to us.

We Know

We know ourselves. This has come to me recently in a conscious way.

We all know when something isn’t right within us and amongst us. What we do with this is where we need to place our attention. What do I mean by this? For many of us, when we know something isn’t right— what do we do about this? Do we try to understand what it is? Or do we push it away and put our energy to functioning as if all is well?

We also know when something is right with us. Most of us would like if others noticed this. Again, what we do with this is where we need to focus our attention.

Is it enough that we know this? Is it enough that we truly do know ourselves? Or do we believe we need the other? Do we not trust ourselves to know who we are?

If we did, imagine what that might mean?

Perhaps we do not know because from right out of the womb, even before, when our parents paint our rooms blue or pink, we are told who we are, what we will like. In school we are taught what “they” think we don’t know and need to know, and on and on it goes.

But we know. We know ourselves more than anyone else can know. And this is the key to our unfolding, our conscious knowing of who we truly are and also, who we are not.

Congratulations! What happens when you get on the other side of your shit.

Many years ago, at a retreat, I had an intentional encounter with a horse. I timidly walked toward the horse. Within me was all the anxiety and doubt of my struggling and unprocessed traumas. I stood with the horse for a few moments and then it led me to a pile of shit. I thought: of course. Of course this horse would bring me to a pile of shit. Only me….At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Then, it became one of my more profound lessons: it’s just shit.

Which brings me to now~ A quote that keeps running through my mind:

This is a time of divine fulfillment. The fruits of my labor and purpose of my life now unfold in a clear, harmonious way.

This quote is a favorite of my mothers. I will forever associate these words with her and today they ring true for me. I can’t help but wonder if this was her gift to me, not just the words themselves, but to have the experience of the words. 

To experience is the shift I have made, where the words I have grown up with, surrounded myself with, and those that live within me come alive— and it’s absolutely splendid. 

As I write, on my vision board are these words: The rebirth of Awe. And….

  • Finding real
  • Second wind
  • Instructions for life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. (Mary Oliver)
  • Born to write
  • Join the thousands of people around the world who are opening up, digging deep, and transforming their lives!

It is very possible I have known all along what I am up to. Yet, for many years I had doubt, insecurity and practiced indecisiveness as if it were an appreciated art form. 

The words, so many words, are coming alive right before my eyes!

It is also very possible, that as I earlier said to my father in conversation, that the signs and mystical experience I seek, are all around me and have been with me every step of the way. 

All of this to say, and most importantly, experience the turning of an important corner where the fruits of my labor and purpose of my life now unfold and where I live in the energy of Congratulations!

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash
 

This is where I am. And it does not come without some old guilt-ridden programming. The kind of guilt that needs reminding such as: Nikki, you have worked diligently for 32 years to know and understand yourself. You have opened up to your desire to get through “your shit” sooner rather than later. You have dug deep, so deep to the literal “big mother wound” of neglect and abandonment. You have been twisted and turned through many dark crevices and have come out the other side only to be taken in yet again. You, dear heart, have transformed your life AND you’ve earned every minute of celebration and awe you now experience. 

Own it. Stand in it. Experience it. It’s yours. And if and when you feel ready, share it. 

This is where I find myself today. It is where I have been for the past few weeks and because it was such a new experience, I did not have the words to express what it has been like. But the words come now, through my own voice, but mostly through the voice of others who have come before me. I relish in their generosity. Especially from my dear poet friend, Rumi. This, what Rumi writes, is on the other side of the shit we must all travel through. Bless you dear hearts as you journey through yours. 

 
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

You have fallen in love my dear heart

Congratulations!

You have freed yourself from all attachments

Congratulations!

You have given up both worlds to be on your own

The whole creation praises your solitude

Congratulations!

Your disbelief has turned into belief

Your bitterness, into sweetness

Congratulations!

You have now entered into Love’s fire, my pure heart

Congratulations!

Inside the Sufi’s heart there is always a feast

Dear heart, you are celebrating

Congratulations!

My heart, I have seen how your tears turned into a sea

Now every wave keeps saying

Congratulations!

O silent lover, seeker of the higher planes,

May the Beloved always be with you

Congratulations!

You have struggled hard, may you grow wings and fly

Congratulations!

Keep silent my dear heart, you have done so well

Congratulations!

~Rumi

~The Soul Reporter