The Crisis of Adjustment

Crisis unfolds our lives. Comfort and stasis do not promote growth and it is only through these internal and external tensions that we must overcome by our own efforts that we progress. I have watched as the changes that have come into my life have removed many of the people, places and things that have given me comfort. I do not feel that I was complacent and yet my Soul guides my life, and the removal of these things were obviously necessary to my growth. Their absence makes room for the things that will inevitably replace them in the fabric of my life, and this is true for every one of us.

In my personal experience this has been very painful and now, though I am not immune to pain or the effects of loss, I am detached in a greater way from them. I feel the absence of these things in a different way than before and this is growth. It is not a numbness or immunity but more like an empathy we can feel for a friend in pain. This is the attitude of the observer, focused on the life of the personality from an objective point. This is not outside the self but certainly could be seen as outside of the personality.

I have recently had the experience of a door is opening which was quite frightening as it first began to reveal itself as an opportunity. I went from feeling for years like I was in a holding pattern waiting for the first positive step toward something rather than simply shedding the non-essentials, to wondering how to slow down a runaway train that would have brought me to a new job, and life, in Seattle. It was becoming exciting as I adjusted to the coming changes and I thought this would be an important growth experience for me.

The things I thought I was headed for were refusing to materialize in my life. I thought I would be working from home and buying a small house or cabin in the woods. I wanted a peaceful existence in my “writer’s nook” on a mountainside. I would come into town when needed but have the peace that eluded me in the last few years. Barrier after barrier obstructed my way. My business has struggled. Being self-employed makes it difficult to buy a home, etc. Now out of nowhere an opportunity which represents the complete opposite of those goals had presented itself to me in a way that I could not refuse. Alas, it was not meant to be. Another opportunity has taken it’s place that will keep me here in Colorado and provide the circumstances I was originally looking for. I was ready to do whatever was necessary and that is the key.

Humanity is undergoing a transformation from the Piscean age to that of Aquarius. This is a similar transition from what we want as a group and the mental polarization, focus and training which is our necessary next step. We must progress from the warm fuzzy feeling of comfort in and adolescent (at best) understanding of our relation to deity, to a realization of ourselves as divine. This requires mental orientation and the progress from belief in, to knowledge of, the divine nature and unity of “being.” What we collectively think we want will be superseded by what is really the next step in our awakening as we are collectively guided to a new understanding which we must collectively embrace.

This will not come easily, as the changes in my personal life have not come easily. The old ways, habits, tendencies, and attachments will not be shed without a commensurate amount of struggle and pain. Like an addiction, they will struggle to re-assert themselves in our lives, for these supposedly inanimate things are thought forms imbued with our desires and will be fighting for their “lives.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox said “thoughts are things, endowed with form and wings.”

These thoughts will not “go gentle into that good night.” (Dylan Thomas) What I see today, rather than a smooth transition into a clear understanding brotherhood within the unity of the divine thought, is a raging against that good transition. The forces of desire, emotional devotion and blind belief are tearing the world apart. This may be the only way the transition can be accomplished, just as the attachments in my life had to be ripped from my grasping hands before I was able to assert my will and move into the next stage of my being; something I believe is just beginning. I liked the way things were and thought I was happy. Not all of the time but overall I felt the life I had built was a good one, worth fighting to keep. I needed to fight to keep those things in a way because I not only thought they were of value, I could not let them go without a fight to assert that value. The fight was proof that those things were worthy and worth fighting for.

There is always the specter of what looms ahead as well. Uncertainty is not comfortable for any of us. There is an old saying which asserts “better the devil you know” because you have already made the necessary adaptations and adjustments to cope with the current situation. Change is difficult but it is the nature of everything in the universe to change and evolve. We fight this change at our own peril and cost because it is inevitable, but it seems that this fight is as inevitable as the change it seeks to forestall.

The religious devotees of the world are in the fight for their lives, or so they think. The Christian right wing conservatives in this country are fighting for their very existence against the progress of humanity into a more mature understanding of ourselves which will preclude their notion of the old man on a cloud, which demands worship and exacts vengeance. This is no different than the extremist Muslims who are trying to rule the world through a Caliphate forcing its own version of that self-same old man on a cloud onto the rest of the world at the end of a gun. In both cases I see it as the belief itself fighting for its life like an addiction that cannot find expression in the worlds of human endeavor without the addict’s body to use as a vehicle.

The answer, the teachings tell us, is in the assertion of the will. There comes a time in the life of the disciple where all of the study and accumulation of knowledge must be put to use to create change. Desire as a force for change must evolve and transform into spiritual will; the will to good. The recognition of our unity, like any acquired understanding must be applied in the real world. We often see or hear the term “stand” used in the teachings and in meditation seed thoughts. We must stand in the light. This is an assertion of the will, for it is not enough to see the light. We must stand for something. It is a statement of strength in the face of adversity. In alcoholics anonymous they say that the addict must hit “rock bottom” before he can find the strength of a deep abiding disgust with things as they are. It is because we are so reluctant and fearful of change, but change we must and change we will. If we can accept this without losing all, we may not need to lose it. It is not what we possess that impedes our growth, but what possesses us.

The crisis of adjustment is one recognition, as are all growth experiences. It is a recognition of what is real and permanent. When things are removed from our lives it teaches us what is real, permanent and true. It shows us our identity and the reality of our being.

Crisis as Opportunity – Part 2

The first real crisis in my life came when I was 33, and my brother died. The ramifications of the downward spiral that ensued would carry on for years. He was my partner in crime, so to speak. We were going to be rock stars together and for a time I reverted to a very self-destructive version of myself. He was my big brother and he was supposed to be there for the rest of my life. I did become active again in music but it was in a very negative way at first. This represents a crisis of adjustment.

Over time his loss actually prompted me to learn to play on one of his guitars. This would seem more like a Soul response growing out of the originally personality based reaction. I wrote a song about him that touches people deeply. I have written others about the growth we all achieve in consciousness at our own pace, and the loneliness that can accompany this journey. Taking a deep life altering experience as an opportunity for growth and the sharing of our lives is much different from getting drunk to cover the pain of loss. We find a way through our own experience to help the next guy get past the need to mask that pain by putting him in touch with what is really going on. The Soul not only makes lemonade from the lemons, but shares it with the world. This could be seen as a change in polarization.

The loss of my father 11 years or so ago represented another most definite turning point in my life and I have come to see it as a gift rather than a loss. I rose to new heights of accomplishment and responsibility. It was a feeling of weight at first because one of my allies and protectors was gone. I felt responsibility to him to produce the books from his manuscripts. I completely re-oriented my life to make sure that this happened. I may have always been destined to this life but I had not taken any defined steps in this direction. This was a crisis of re-orientation.

As I move into my mid-fifties I see a growing contact with my Soul and feel its expression through my actions. I have a book to share and it will be published this year. I am still playing music and learning more about it all the time. My body functions better than it did when I was in my thirty’s because I feed it well, and tend to my mental and emotional state with a detached, interested, and observant awareness. I haven’t had a drink in more than 15 years and don’t do any of the self-destructive things that were habits in my past. I stopped eating meat over a decade ago and eat an almost strictly Vegan diet. I feel I am poised for tremendous spiritual growth because I know I am just getting started. The events of my life have been tumultuous but I have stayed steady as I could under conscious exertion of my will. The so called facts as they present in the outer appearance of the circumstances of my life could be considered negative, and even lamentable. Through all of it I feel not only the growth in my patience but the opening of my heart.

The Tibetan Master Djwahl Kuhl said that “if you are not living eventfully, dangerously, or even painfully, then it is up to you to see that something happens in your spiritual life that will enable you to share in the universal crisis.” I can certainly say that my life is eventful, providing ample opportunity for growth. I see no signs of withdrawal and I believe the most interesting part of my journey lies before me. I have had to let go of some things that seemed very important to me and still feel a sense of loss, and simultaneously, acceptance. I know the things I have lost were never really mine. They were never really real. What is real I take with me on my journey. I need much less than I thought I needed. My life is happy and sad, full and somehow empty. There is much work to do and I think that empty space must exist for us to continue to strive. Contentment can be immobilizing. I am striving, not to get back what I have lost, but to move into my next phase of growth and being.

The Breakthrough – No Matter What Happens I’m Safe

So, the breakthrough came last Thursday. My wife was heading home from her trip, the house had not sold, and I was mad. I got angry and started yelling at her and the world. Thirty seconds or so of primal scream therapy. That’s really all it was and I felt a release. This can be seen in two ways, and one of them is not at all positive, but I let go. I just could not care any more about what was going to happen. I didn’t have the strength or at that moment, even the inclination, to care one scrap about where I end up. What has been hurtful in this whole transition always seems to be what I have been hoping I can take with me. That clinging again to stuff that doesn’t matter, because in part of you it still does.

Can I get out of this with a little cash left? Can I keep x y or z? I stopped, at least for a moment, and the release came. I’ll be OK. Whatever comes down the pike, I can handle it. I will have a place to live, and a job, and my family. If I was destitute I would move in with my brother or one of my sisters and rebuild. There has really never been a question in my mind of that but somehow I still could not accept the possibility of losing everything and still being OK. Life is an adventure. This is a chapter in that tale. May you live in interesting times.

I opened it all up to the universe, and my Soul. My personality no longer had a horse in the race and it felt good. It still does. I am not without a little tension and even apprehension, but it is different. I am back to the observer watching with interest as things unfold before me. I do care what happens and at each of the approaching junctures I need to make an informed and intelligent decision. As long as I do that I don’t have to care about where it is leading.

I made this analogy on a hiking trail in one of my videos and it bears repeating here. I can’t always see the peak when I am hiking. Sometimes it is obscured by clouds, or other aspects of the landscape. But I keep it in mind. I may have never seen it, but there is a point of tension called the peak, or whatever that may be on any given Journey. The real task at hand, once the destination or a vision of it has been determined, is to watch your step. That is how you get there. Your view may be obstructed but not your path. Make good decisions and they accrue into a good path forward. The impractical visionary is the one who has his eyes on the prize so to speak, but neglects the every day decisions and sabotages the end result. It may not be the lack of a goal or vision that sets you up for a failure but a lack of the practical application of what you know, or the act of acting. If I keep on keeping on I will be OK, and so will you.

The Sculptor – Standing in the Rubble

The will aspect of the trinity (Will, Love, Active intelligence) is the creative impetus for the entire system. It is seen as synthesizing because it is the source, if there is a source, of the other two. Without will, nothing happens. The Love Aspect provides cohesion and the mind aspect is the organizing force, but Will is the impulse to creation. It is also seen esoterically as the destructive force. Picasso told us “every act of creation is first and act of destruction.” This is a perfect description of the will principal by, among other things, a sculptor.

In order to release the envisioned masterpiece trapped within the stone, we must remove everything that does not reflect that perfection. There is an old elephant joke from when I was a kid. How do you sculpt an elephant statue? Start with a large block of stone… remove everything that doesn’t look like an elephant. Its important to start with the end in mind so that you don’t remove anything that does look like an elephant. The vision has to be clear and held constant, and that can be harder than the act of sculpting away the non-essentials.

There is a point when the sculpor may look around and think, as I am right now, that he has created nothing but a pile of rubble. I am losing faith. A part of me is falling apart. I look at my hands to see if they are shaking because they feel like they are, or should be. They are not. The better part of me knows that this too shall pass, but it is getting harder to keep the vision in mind. I don’t always know what I am working toward. I am trying really hard to keep open to the possibilities and welcome change but the masterpiece is still trapped in the stone. I am getting trapped in survival mode and that will make it impossible to grow.

I have seen unfinished works from the masters where some of the statue looks finished and the stone is essentially polished, right up to a point where it is just raw unshaped stone. It doesn’t seem like how you would make an elephant, but I guess there is a need for even a master sculptor to see a bit of success along the way to perfection. Something to keep the dream alive, so to speak. Something to keep the vision of future beauty real. I could really use one of those moments. I could really use some positive feedback from the system here. I feel like I’m drowning and at times it’s getting tough to justify swimming at all.

I did find a job, and that is great, but the pay cut is killing me. I may have my credit ruined before I sell my house. Its getting close to being a stale listing and I am in peak selling season. I think the fix and flip industry that came alive during the foreclosure epidemic has ruined it for anyone who is selling a house that is not brand new from the ground up. That is just detail and surface circumstance. What I am beginning to wonder on a bigger scale is why the reconstruction of my life requires the absolute destruction of everything I have ever built.

Isn’t there any part of my life that already looks like an elephant? Do I have to be destitute, or at least broke, to accomplish my next task? How can I accomplish anything with nothing? I try hard to do the right thing in every situation and I feel like I am being smacked down. This seems to extend into every area of my life, including the new job. I have been through this before and came out OK. I know on an intellectual level that this will be the case again. I also know I don’t have to understand the “why” right now, but I would sure like to.

Right now I am just standing in the rubble and wondering if I can ever create beauty out of this mess. My heart is broken and the peices are heavy. I need a win. I’m sure many of you know this feeling. I’m hoping you get your win soon. I honestly don’ know what is going to happen to me. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

The Higher Ground Crestone Movie (full length)

OK,

This is the full length video I made on the Crestone trip. Its almost 40 minutes long but I believe you will find it interesting to watch. It has parts of the interviews with Lorraine Fox Davis of Rediscovery Four Corners and World Peace and Prayer Day, Connie and Susan at the Nada Hermitage – A Carmelite Monastery, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who is the 19th Generation holder of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe and a spiritual leader of the tribes that make up the Sioux Nation, and Samiji, the spiritual Master of the Temple of Consciousness Ashram. There is also a piece with Matthew at the Shumei International Temple where he explains a bit about the area geographically as well as how it was created as a meeting ground  for all spiritual disciplines by Hanna Strong. There were other interviews with William and Barbara of Sanctuary House, Ram Loti of the Haidakandi Universal Ashram where we stayed and Dave Davis, a specialist in advanced structural integration. I didn’t get to videotape them but we have audio.

This was in the course of three days. It was all consuming and I have to say everyone we met was wonderful. Opening their temples and in some cases their homes to us. It was amazing. The video is in a chronological order for the trip. We swith Lorraine and ended with Swamiji. It is such a close knit community. I have to tell this little story. We were with Lorraine and she was talking about the elements of wind fire and water and Liz asked a question about the wind. As if to answer her itself the wind kicked up an incredible whirl where it had been silent before. It took us all by surprise.

The next day at the Shumei Institute we brought it up and they had already heard the story. This place is a microcosm of what the world can and (I believe) will be. All of these traditions acknowledge and love each other in one small place. Native American, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Japanese Shumei, and many we did not visit.

They are all getting along and better than that, thriving. It gave me new hope for mankind. You don’t get more devout than living in a Monastery or Ashram. If they can acknowledge the divinity in each others traditions why do we have to question it?

I hope you enjoy seeing this as much as I enjoyed making it.

Doug

 

Links

Liz Sterling Will have audio available with the entire interviws and a montage piece is planned as well.

www.AskLiz.com

Chief Arvol Looking Horse       http://www.rhythmsoftheglobe.com/mind/profiles_ChiefArvolLookingHorse.htm

The Nada Hermitage  http://www.spirituallifeinstitute.org/Nada.html

Haidakhandi Universal Ashram  http://www.babajiashram.org/hua/About_Ashram.html

Sanctuary House  http://www.sanctuaryhouse.org/

Shumei International Institute  http://www.shumeicrestone.org/

The Temple of Consciousness http://www.humanityinunity.org/HIU/Community/CrestoneAshram/index.cfm

An NPR Piece on the drilling  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17984537

More on the drilling  http://www.cozine.com/archive/cc2008/01700391.html

 Me    www.Higher-Ground.com

Crestone Video Short from Higher-Ground.com

Attached please find…

This is a short version of a (long awaited) video I made of a trip I took to Crestone, CO. Liz Sterling, a close friend, was supposed to come out to do some recording in my studio and compile some of her radio interviews. We began planning a side trip to Crestone because of an Ashram there run by a woman named Ramloti whom Liz had met at an event. The Crestone side trip grew until it took over the week Liz spent in Colorado. Between preparation and the studio work involved in editing the interviews when we got home it was the central focus rather than a side event.

We went with it and had a great trip. We stayed at the Ashram and Liz interviewed eight or nine of the spiritual leaders in the area. From Catholic Carmalite Nuns to a Native American Chief we got the same message. We are all the same, and we are all on the same journey. All religions lead to God, and Spirituality doesn’t have to be tied to a religion at all.

The other part of the story is that they are in a fight right now over the proposed drilling of exploratory wells for oil and natural gas on the Baca Wildlife Refuge. They sit on top of one of the largest aquifers in North America and had evidently won a fight over the water only to have it changed to oil drilling. The refuge is the issue but the mineral rights in the area don’t come along with land ownership. I don’t want to get too deep because I am not a reporter. Liz is digging and will have more on AskLiz.com

For this short version I didn’t leave much in the way of interviews. I just tried to let you get a taste of the trip. The other version will be up on Higher-Ground.com as soon as I can figure out how to post a 40 minute video. Youtube limits you to 11 min. 

Enjoy,

 Doug

Crestone and Spirituality

What a week!

Last Tuesday Liz Sterling, a close friend and a radio talk show host in South Florida, arrived in Colorado to do some recording in my studio and take a trip to Crestone to visit some of the 23 spiritual centers there. I had been anticipating the trip but it was way more than I expected. We stayed at the Haidakandi Ashram for three days and Liz did interviews with 9 of the spiritual leaders in the area. I will be posting pix and making a video out of the footage I shot there.

What a place! It is beautiful and there are such great people. We went from one brilliant mind to another over the course of the three days talking about spirituality with a diverse group that ranged from a Catholic Carmelite Monastery to a Japanese Shumei Temple and two Hindu Ashrams. We talked to people from “New Age” and Native American belief systems and they all know and love each other. What is really impressive is that they all had about the same things to say. They talked about unity and love and the fact that we are all headed to the same place no matter what “religious” system we relate to.

At the Ashram I got to play a hand drum during the morning Aarati chanting ceremony and participate in the Fire ceremony at the full moon as well. It was interesting to see how devoted and loving they were in their prayers. It is run by a wonderful woman named Ramloti and you can do the same and visit this Ashram if you like. I’ll get links up on the Higher-Ground site ASAP. They live completely off the grid using photocells to generate electricity and gravity fed stream water. They have a generator for emergencies or if the get a few sunless days in a row but rarely have to start it.

What we didn’t know until just before heading there is that they are in an epic battle to save the land from drilling by a Canadian company. They wanted to tap a huge underground aquifer and lost that fight, so now they are trying to drill for natural gas they don’t even know exists. I think it is a ploy to start work there and then take the water. The whole community is against it, but while they own their land they don’t own the mineral rights. Stay tuned for more on this as we put the information together.

 

Doug

Doug Fisichella Welcomes you to Higher Ground with a message of spiritual awakening from a Mountain top

Doug Fisichella Talks about Spirit, Will, Motivation, and Action using the mountain trail as a metaphor for our Journey of awakening. Wishing for change is not enough

http://www.Higher-Ground.com