Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Butterfly and the Rose

A Butterfly and A Rose
This journal is not about an unpopular election though it starts that way. It's not about who's on
the right or the left. It's actually about the aftermath of an election twelve months ago and the ensuing chaos that resulted. It's a story of what was done to deal with the chaos consuming the external world and what we did to soothe our inner lives for the next 12 months.

A year ago the unthinkable happened. Fed up with politics as usual, a man without qualifications, a man demeaned in the media, a man said to be unelectable, and a man who appealed to the darkest and most unkind parts of our collective nature got elected. On November 7th we woke up to an unrecognizable normal. The world had turned upside down.

Half of the country was ecstatic. The other half was overcome by shock and disbelief. Surely, it was a big mistake. But as the days wore on the second group realized there was no mistake. Soon they were entombed in the five stages of grief beginning with denial. They reasoned, maybe the vile days of the campaign were over and sanity would be restored. When that hope
was rebuffed, they became enraged. Plans were made for massive marches on Washington or on congressional offices.

Some, holding to the spirit of reconciliation, decided to find out who the voters were. They went out to meet them in their homes and listen to what they said. They drove to the heartland and to cities between the two liberal coasts. They attempted a bargain, determined to understand exactly what happened on November 6th. Sadly, most of the understanding they sought evaporated as anger again surfaced.

Then depression arrived. It our household it descended like a vise-grip. Seeking solace the TV was turned off. We spent sad days staring into space. We wondered aloud how we'd survive the next four or maybe eight years. We gave up some friends who thought differently to us. The endless clashes of differing beliefs only served to strengthen the bitterness and divide between us.

Big events are inescapable. They happen outside our control. But personal reaction to them is always a choice, especially when the choice is to stand in the heart. It was clear our depressed
state of being could not continue for the foreseeable future. Sitting on the lanai one morning a butterfly landed on a brilliant pink rose and slowly spread its wings for a few minutes before flying off. The yellow of the butterfly, the hot pink rose, the green grass, and the blue skies came together like a living impressionistic painting. It was a vivid reminder that there was still beauty around us and A Butterfly and A Rose could bring a smile and ease the soul.

Soft feelings of joy welled up from inside. Looking around the trees became intense green and the water on the lake was sparkling. An Osprey glided over the water searching for food. Things weren't so bleak. The natural world, oblivious to election results, proclaimed life goes on. Through that lens of reality one word surfaced slowly. It was Gratitude. No matter what was happening outside, there was always something to be grateful for. There was a choice on how to deal with the chaos around us. That choice was, "stop wallowing and work with the tools we
teach." And in that moment a daily ritual began.

Using Facebook, a photo with an uplifting message asked friends to comment on something that brought them Gratitude. No one responded at first. But every day The Call to Gratitude went out. Soon, one or two replied, then it began to blossom, affecting many who read it. Comments were posted from friends and then friends of friends. No one posted that they won the lottery. Yet most reached down deep and found some small thing they were grateful for. A call from a grandson was the highlight of one day. Waking up without pain one morning was memorable for one. It wasn't the big things in life that called out Gratitude. Instead small day to day events, like finding a perfect paint color for a living room, were posted. The summons opened the door for individuals who only lurked to realize they too had something to say. Soon, the Gratitude posts spawned others to do the same with their own circle of friends.

The last stage of grief is acceptance. Gratitude as it turns out, is much richer and deeper than
the acceptance of the election. When reminded, everyone searched for something to be grateful for. That practice soothed their own stages of grief. Many called it their morning medicine. A year later it's grown from a personal practice to a movement.

This month is the national holiday of Thanksgiving. But the Call to Gratitude practice happens every day. It reminds those who read it to a pause every morning and focus on something to be grateful for. It could be greeting the rising sun, or walking in the rain, or a friendly smile in the grocery store. That daily ritual puts life in perspective and reminds you to paint personal butterflies on roses. Wishing you all endless days of Gratitude for all the small things that bring joy into your life.



                                                                                           Jo Mooy - November 2017  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

FINDING THE FULCRUM

Finding the Fulcrum
I read an article recently where Feng Shui was described as the "art of placement." If you don't
know anything about Feng Shui it's an ancient Chinese system of orienting your space in relation to the flow of energy. Without minimizing the system, furniture, pictures, plants, color and lighting are adjusted or moved around a room (or building) by determining where energy is flowing through the windows or doors. Hard edges are repositioned or softened so balance prevails in the living space.

I wondered if this "art of placement" could be applied to living life in the chaotic years of the 21st Century. Why? Because no matter what the situation is, global or local, monumental or minuscule, vocal or visual, it results in tirades of right versus wrong causing glaring displays of disharmony and unbalance. It's hideously evident in the digital walks on Facebook or Twitter. Or any social media for that matter.

This daily digital prowl connects us with people across the globe that we've never met and probably won't. Yet, at the click of a button we're entangled in discussions with these people
where we judge their views by liking what they say or do, or we hurl insults if we don't. The old town plaza where citizens met to discuss local affairs with a degree of civility, (even if you disagreed,) has erupted into a global free-for-all where most opinions are stridently right or left and few neutral. Those on the left are perplexed at the ignorance or stupidity of those on the right. Those on the right are stunned that the lefties can't see the obvious truths of what's right in front of their eyes.

How do we get through this convoluted maze? How can we stand in balance without shattering our collective sensibilities? The "art of placement" came to mind. The inner room (the being) needed to have it's furniture (beliefs) and pictures (opinions) and even its lighting (spiritual guidance) adjusted so that harmony and balance could be restored. Doing that required an extraordinary act of Finding the Fulcrum.

A fulcrum is the place where an even distribution of weight allows something, or someone, to remain upright and steady without tipping over. Most of the time it's dead center like the
centerpiece that a see-saw balances on. But when things are unbalanced the Fulcrum has to move to right or left. WE have to, with superhuman effort, become the Fulcrum. When the demons of Facebook, Twitter and the News demolish our sense of justice, hold a moment. Recognize the constrictions taking place within the inner room. Where is the barrage of tight energy coming from? Halting your beliefs and opinions, or moving them around in your inner space will allow you to Find the Fulcrum.

Spiritual guidance always determines the balance point. The energetic poisons bombarding the room can be removed or suspended. That simple change in perspective will mitigate the contracting flow by allowing you to detach from the need to be right. Realizing the attack is a fear or a cry for help can unleash compassion. Seeing the bigger picture becomes the biggest re-balancer for this is where the fulcrum is most needed.

When something is squeezed too tightly there must be an equal release. That's the nature of balance. Darkness, or evil, will be met with light. Constriction will be met with wisdom. Criticism
will come up against respect. Despair will be met by hope. By witnessing the energies and moving the fulcrum so that our perspective changes, we do the work that moves human consciousness forward. Ultimately, the right and the left are always in balance though we seldom see it. Yet, when either is constricted it causes the other side of the see-saw to sway and rebalance. That sway is consciousness moving.

The message is one of balance no matter the presentation. Do something! If we see weeds and feel they don't belong there, pull the weeds. If we see petunias, delight in the colorful petunias. Everyone will see something different. Those with the insight to understand that will continue Finding the Fulcrum. They are the true artists in restoring the balance.



                                                                                           Jo Mooy - October 2017  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Spiritual Significance of the Solar Eclipse

A Solar Eclipse occurs across the entire US for the first time since 1918. I've received many inquiries about the Eclipse asking about its spiritual or esoteric significance.
This eclipse is getting lots of publicity.  Each person reading this newsletter can Google the eclipse and come up with their own conclusions.  For those who really want to understand what's happening on deeper levels read on.  What I've written is based on my reflections of why this is such a major event and why we not only need to prepare for it, but determine how each will personally participate in it. 

PLANETARY INFLUENCES
As a background, ancient civilizations used Cosmology, Astronomy and Astrology to teach how planets affect life on earth.  All life including humans evolved from the soup of gases and molecules of the stars.  Hindu teachings say the orbits of stars and planets act as a 'cosmic clock' timing events that affect human life. History records many events affected by comets and eclipses.  That's why we pay attention to those occurring within our field of view, like this Eclipse.

PATH OF THE ECLIPSE - TOTALITY
The moon will pass between the earth and the sun on August 21, 2017. The TOTAL Eclipse will be seen at 9 am in Oregon. It ends in South Carolina at 4 pm.  It will be
visible in SW Florida as a PARTIAL eclipse (74% of it visible) starting at 1:18 pm with MAX viewing at 2:50 pm. It ends at 4 pm.  DO NOT LOOK AT THE ECLIPSE WITHOUT GLASSES.

CONSIDER - The path of the Eclipse - light and darkness - starts in the liberal state of Oregon and ends in the conservative state of South Carolina.  Both locations begin with sunlight, then pause for 2 minutes and 40 seconds of darkness, before the sun's light returns.  I believe we are not immune to planetary cycles and are in fact reflective of them.  Eclipses don't happen in a vacuum but build up in energy to the actual event.  My symbolic interpretation relative to the Eclipse is that the recent events in Charlottesville brought hatred and darkness clearly onto the national stage even as others held a vigil of light  against it.

NUMEROLOGY OF THE ECLIPSE
Albert Einstein developed the Theory of Relativity, but in order to prove it, he needed an Eclipse.  The 1919 Eclipse proved his point that "Space and time are interwoven into a single continuum."  Most numerologists would take the number 
1919 and total it to 20 which is the number for Duality. It would be more accurate, but I "saw" a different number.  I took 19 by itself and "saw" the 1 as the beginning and 9 as the end.  Then seeing it occur twice doubled the numerological message of alpha and omega - beginning and end.  It impressed that "two sides" must come together as one or it will be the end.

This Eclipse occurs in 2017 - another 1 year or new beginning.  The date is 08/21. Added together it's an 11 year.  11 has spiritual significance.  It is the number of Revelation & Inspiration from a Higher Plane.  It is "Brotherly Love" on a grander stage.  11 is the Spiritual Messenger.  So my interpretation is this Eclipse has great magnetism associated with it.

SOLAR - LUNAR ENERGIES
The Sun and Moon radiate different energies.  The Sun affects the Masculine Right side and is extroverted or outgoing.  The Moon affects the Feminine Left side and is
Introverted and receptive.  These energies will interact suddenly, starting and stopping in a shortened period of time.  Because of that, noticeable changes will be felt.  The influx of Solar masculine energy will be halted as the Lunar feminine energy holds sway.  Silence and stillness will result for those few minutes like a holding of the breath.  This will be like Cosmic Pranayama.

This section is the most esoteric of the teachings on the Eclipse.  12th Century Mystic Ibn Arabi said "the Moon is under the governance of Venus - the planetary symbol of Love." He said "The moon is a vehicle for spiritual revelation and it relates to the transformation of Primordial Sound.  The 28 sacred sounds that begin with HU control the Lunar Cycles."  This is a study by itself.  Retreaters should dig out their books on HU to understand its deeper meaning.  But there's an inherent message that the Moon is under the governance of Venus, the planet of Love.

As a Solar Eclipse pulls consciousness inward our personal spiritual practices are magnified.  It's an auspicious time to reflect on changes we wish to bring into our work and make a commitment to them.  There's an enhanced awareness of alternate
dimensions of time and space.  
Suffice to say, preparation for the darkness requires planning.  Will it be a time of reflection or simply "watching the eclipse."  What happens when the sun goes dark?  How will you respond?  As the sun goes dark, there will never be a more powerful opportunity to "seed an intention."  That intention will return even greater benefit as the sun's light accepts it.  

As Ibn Irabi said about sound and the lunar cycle, you might consider chants.  Sound will change atmosphere and environment.  So consider a meditation like the Medicine Buddha.  If the weather is overcast and you're unable to be outside, the effects are still upon you.  You can also do your work while NASA streams it live.

OUR ROLES
We are not scheduling any beach or ceremonial event associated with this Eclipse. Instead, we're doing our own spiritual practices in a silent Retreat.  In silence, in the dark Moon, within the containment of sound, great things can be seeded and will unfold. We look forward to hearing about yours.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Coming Home

Coming Home
The words "spiritual teacher" in the brochure caught my attention. He was the guest speaker at

a metaphysical center I attended in the late 1970's. When he walked into the conference room, I saw a gentle man with a round face and wavy shoulder length yellow hair. He'd come to talk about his book, "Coming Home - The Experience of Enlightenment in Spiritual Traditions." The title was scholarly, shedding light on his PhD background in Comparative Religion. His name was Lex Hixon.

At the end of his presentation, the audience rushed to meet him carrying their copies of the book "Coming Home" for him to sign. I watched from my seat as one after another shook hands with him, or engaged in brief conversation. As the swell of people diminished I got up to leave. But something stopped me. Turning around I went back towards him wondering, "Why are you doing this and what do you plan to say to him?" In fact, I had nothing to say, but when I stood in front of him, the words, "You are a friend of my soul" came tumbling out of my mouth. As I heard the strange words I thought to myself, "What are you saying to this stranger?"

He took my hand in his and looked into my eyes. The words I'd just said felt like they were taking form. He said, "I know those words. You too are a friend of my soul." Then he asked, "Would you come to my home in NYC tomorrow?" and I, without knowing this stranger, or what I was agreeing to said, "Yes." He gave me his home address in Riverdale overlooking the Hudson and told me to come at 9 a.m.

Continuing this strange meeting, and completely out of character, I told no one where I was going that Saturday morning. On the drive into NYC I kept asking myself, "Are you crazy - No one knows where you're going - You could be meeting an axe-murderer." Yet I kept going arriving at his high rise apartment off the Henry Hudson Parkway exactly at nine. He greeted me at the door in a Buddhist robe, asked me to remove my shoes, then ushered me into a very sparsely decorated Zen home. He then asked me if I knew why I was there. I said no, but was compelled to come. He asked me if I knew how to meditate. I said yes.

Next, he asked if I knew who Kali was. I didn't at the time. So he took me into another room where a large bronze Kali was sitting on a small table with incense, a candle and an altar cloth. There were no furnishings in that room other than a cushion in front of Kali. He asked me if I had a meditation shawl. I said no. He left the room, returning with a long white shawl with maroon borders. He placed it over my shoulders, lit the candle and incense, and told me to sit with Kali and come out when I felt ready. Then he left.

I sat with Kali for almost two hours. I studied her ferocious face and many arms. I meditated. I
thought about the surreal day I was spending. I meditated some more. Eventually the candle and incense burned down and my legs had grown numb so I got up and came out of the "Kali room." He was nowhere around. So I went into an adjoining room I concluded was his library as it was filled with books on every religious topic. He came in to find me holding a large book, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He said, "Ah, you've found Sri Ramakrishna. You need that book and the Works of Vivekananda." He added, "You should also study The Way of Zen."

We talked a while into mid-afternoon. Then by some unspoken agreement it was time for me to go. I removed the shawl still around my shoulders, folded it, and handed it back to him. He said, "No, that shawl is now yours. I received it from a sage in India and now I give it to you. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna is also yours to keep." He walked me to the door, bowed to me and we said goodbye.

Though my time with him was only several hours long, he turned out to be one of the greatest catalysts on my journey on the esoteric path. Though when we met I had no idea who he was or how he would later influence me. You see, Lex Hixon was a mystic who immersed himself in the major religions of the world which he called "parallel sacred worlds." He was a disciple of Swami Nikhilananda of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center in NYC, a well known and respected Sufi master. As host of New York City's WBAI In The Spirit, he regularly interviewed the leading spiritual and religious teachers of the 20th century. This gentle unassuming man was also an artist, musician, scholar, and spiritual author.

His last words to me on that Saturday in New Jersey were, "Wherever you are, be at home!" Little did I know that I'd never see him again for Lex died at age 53. I still have the shawl he gave me, along with The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and The Works of Vivekananda. I read The Way of Zen many times. Each time I fondly remembered that Saturday with Lex Hixon. 

Though I never saw him again, I knew our connection was real when, 35 years later, on a spiritual retreat, my teacher wanted me to memorize The Heart Sutra. He handed me three different translations and told me to choose one. When I got to page two of the translation I'd chosen tears welled up. It had been translated by none other than Lex Hixon. Lex was right when he told me, "Wherever you are, be at home!" In the briefest moment in time, he was the guide who directed me on the path of Coming Home!



                                                                                           Jo Mooy - August 2017  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Log

The Log
In the pantheon of US holidays, fourth of July was always my favorite. It was special because I spent twenty five summers in Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod. The holiday required no gifts, no family dynamics, no emotional drama. It was so simple. You watched a parade, went to the beach, had a BBQ with friends, then enjoyed the fireworks in the evening. It was a holiday that represented summer, sun, and fond friendships that for me lasted over thirty years.

The Log was an old wooden beam about twelve feet long that washed up in Provincetown bay. It landed on the beach in front of the Crown & Anchor hotel where it remained for years. It was well-known as a landmark. To our group, The Log represented stability, continuity, and our personally marked territory on July 4th. Because everyone on Cape Cod wanted to come to Provincetown to see the fireworks, The Log was deemed our gathering place on July 4th.


To secure it, we had to claim The Log and that section of beach by 7 a.m. the morning of the holiday. We took umbrellas, beach chairs, blankets and all the paraphernalia we would need during the celebration to mark this blackened beam as ours. One person was chosen to remain and hold The Log until we all arrived with coolers later in the day. It wasn't hard duty because the Crown & Anchor played patriotic music all day long. And the people watching was superb.

Now, thirty years later, things have changed. The country still celebrates July 4th with parades, gatherings and fireworks. Those long ago summer days are sweet but distant memories. Those pals from the Cape got older. Most of us moved away. Like so many quaint places in Provincetown, the "old Crown & Anchor" is now an upscale hotel, too grand to host non-guests on its beach by the bay. You might wonder what happened to The Log? It was dredged up and unceremoniously hauled away when the Crown & Anchor was remodeled.


Every July 4th holiday I think of those friends. I can still smell the beach and the gunpowder from the fireworks. And I always hear Kate Smith belting out God Save America from "The Crown's" speakers. Her voice and that song say July 4th for me. But The Log is the grandest memory of all. For it was our touchstone no matter what was happening in the world.

You see, The Log was our metaphor in time and space. Those summer days on The Log sheltered us when AIDS was rampant and the world's financial markets were in disarray. The Log gatherings allowed us to laugh, remember, forget, sing oldies, and eat lobsters. The Log was where we said goodbye to friends lost to AIDS and where we welcomed new ones into our midst. Each summer when we returned to the Cape The Log was still there on the beach, promising us that all was well in our little world.

The Log is long gone but the message it left behind is easy to recall. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. Spiritual teachings say that everything is in a state of becoming, living, then dying and becoming again. The Log's message is, everything is in transition. It reminds that rituals are necessary in the human experience and celebrations a tonic.  Thirty years later I still love Kate Smith and fireworks and still hold those friends close. But, as things change so did my new favorite holiday which is Thanksgiving. I also know that one day, this too shall pass! That's the real message of The Log. 



                                                                                                  Jo Mooy - July 2017  

Friday, June 2, 2017

WU WEI - The Art of Doing Nothing

The Art of Doing Nothing
"Sitting quietly. Doing nothing. Spring comes. And the grass grows by itself." This Haiku poem
by Matsuo Basho (1600's) floated into my inbox one morning after the US election. Sitting quietly and doing nothing was definitely not part of my game-plan that day. But, I tucked it away thinking if things "settled down" I'd revisit it at a later date.

Things didn't settle down! After the inauguration the country was more divided than ever before. Visible agitation and personal anguish were expressed everywhere. Some felt we were on a runaway train back to the dark ages. Friendships became irretrievably broken. Sadly in other cases, long term marriages or relationships ended because of election results. The very active "group-mind" behind the right and the left were at polar opposites. Neither side could agree on any topic.

After a few months sitting in this symbolically stretched-thin rubber band, I was at a loss on how to move forward. Then I remembered two spiritual teachers and the practices they taught me for when things seemed most bleak. The first was to be consciously aware of what you're doing and the second, reflect on what is actually transpiring behind the obvious appearances. So I took stock of my daily life. Being tied to the computer (which supports our many projects and seminars) was partly to blame. Bombarded by constant news flashes I was swallowed up with
anxiety just like everyone else. I had to do something pro-active. I clicked a few buttons and disabled the News Briefs, Facebook, and Twitter posts. Instantly my knee-jerk reactions to every breaking headline or post stopped. Ease entered the work-day. I focused on creative work instead of the chaotic news cycles with their inane talking-head commentaries.

Then, "Spring came and the grass began to grow by itself." I remembered the Haiku to "sit quietly and do nothing." What an indulgence that seemed. I looked up the concept of sitting quietly and doing nothing and found Wu Wei. It's one of the greatest principles in Taoism known as "action in non-action." That sounds like a contradiction but it's not. It's actually allowing our actions to happen effortlessly and finding that the actions are in fact, part of a greater flowing alignment. So I sat quietly, doing meditation practices, sending healing and blessing to governments around the world. A contented feeling washed over me that "the grass would grow by itself" or in other words, "All is well."

While I wasn't immune to the daily news, the practice of Wu Wei allowed the second spiritual
practice to form. I started looking behind what was actually transpiring and saw a bigger picture emerge. Reasoned individuals who had long been silent were mobilizing in support of their views. People who didn't care what was happening in the outer world, began to care again. They were marching, writing Congress, completing polls, contacting friends, attending Town Hall meetings, and some even taking the dramatic first step of running for public office. They were organizing into waves of action in a flowing alignment.

I'm much older now than the days when I too marched on Washington for various causes. Those marches in the 60's and 70's set in motion civil rights, the US withdrawal from Viet Nam, women's rights, Roe v. Wade and gay rights. The ones marching and lobbying today, along with those content with the status quo, will also see the results of their efforts playing out in the years to come. If actions are in alignment with a common purpose, and intended for the good of all, we'll experience the results of all their efforts.  It's happened before and it will again.  In fact, it's much like experiencing an exquisite cup of tea.

Why tea? Consider what transpires unseen and unknown behind a cup of tea. Things are happening behind the scenes.  It grows in the higher elevations of the earth. Tropical clouds
overhead create the rain that waters the tea bush. Human hands lovingly pick three or four perfect leaves from each stem, drying them for days before the crop goes to market. Auction houses buy the tea then ship it to the various countries to be purchased by brand or type by ordinary consumers.

Each cup of tea you enjoy contains an immense geological, geographical, political and social history. The visible and invisible efforts of the elements of earth, water, air, fire, and human hands create that exquisite cup. That's exactly what's happening in the external world. Our collective consciousness is affected by the activities of everyone who demonstrates for change. Some do it quietly on the internal world, seemingly doing nothing. Some do it fiercely in the outer world by marching, organizing, and lobbying. All put their desires into action, aligning with a purpose.

Wu Wei says there is "action in non-action." Whether we're active or not, the tea still grows. In time a delicious brew awaits us. Or as Julian of Norwich said, "All is well!"



                                                                                                 Jo Mooy - June 2017