Push: Exert force
Pushti: Confirmation

A potted plant can only grow as large as its container. Denied proper opportunities to expand, it will eventually begin to shrivel up and die as its roots are starved of nourishment and the space to flourish. In my kitchen, you can’t open the fridge and the drawer at the same time. In the universe, we’re Vastly Infinite Possibilities, divinely designed with unlimited capacity for biopsychospiritual growth and quantum consciousness. Because of the constructs of Man, big ideas don’t necessarily equate to eudaimonia, the good life, or a big kitchen. HA! You idiot! I came to the happy realization that I’m incapable of ordinary reasoning after asking the wrong question.  Despite my limitations, I think we’re getting somewhere.

Lightening Strikes

This week, while watching a series of YouTube videos for a training (Psychological First Aid; best practices for first responders. There are eight core components of restoring equilibrium in the wake of a disaster. Spoiler alert: Enlightenment isn’t one of them. It’s all about meeting basic needs and gently stabilizing people who are in shock. I can’t help but love the timing of this particular coincidence.), I got a notification that Deepak Chopra was doing a live talk. Apparently he’s doing them everyday. Who knew? Moment of truth because karma: I watched the last ten minutes of his live talk, just long enough to ask a question, which he read and answered. I’ve felt like electricity ever since. I don’t know how else to explain the experience, other than to say, even though his talk was almost over and the chat box was flooded with comments from all over the world, I knew as I typed, he was going to reply.

Can those born into poverty achieve enlightenment or, is the highest human expression reserved for the rich? -me

My question came after months of watching dharma talks and recorded spiritual conferences; the pandemic and civil uprising have me running full speed, through to the center of the earth for answers. I’ve noticed a common theme in all the talks: those speaking or referenced as being ideal examples of the fulfillment of human potential are, more often than not, highly educated men and women from wealthy backgrounds. For instance, Jiddu Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher and Rabindranath Tagore, award winning poet, were both Brahmo: “one of the wealthiest and most anglicised communities of colonial India”. Brah’s are like, living gods brah.

There are exceptions. Brother Phap Dung is a monk who lives at Plum Village, a Buddhist monastery which is also home to Thich Nhat Hahn. Phap Dung immigrated to Los Angeles from Vietnam when he was nine. He speaks often about the cultural, racial, spiritual, relational and financial challenges of his childhood. So, are the only paths to enlightenment great suffering, great sacrifice or great…inheritance? I wanted to ask a sanctified expert and apparently manifested the chance.

 “Enlightenment is the domain of the poor. Blessed are the poor for they are the children of god. And so, poverty here means lack of self importance, to be generous in spirit, and breath. Here, generosity comes from letting go of self-importance and breath has no boundaries, it doesn’t discriminate. In fundamental reality there are no boundaries.”-Deepak Chopra

You can watch the full recording here:

 

For some of us, breath ceases

For some, ceaseless breathing is the sum of all being

A suffocating reality from which 

We wake

For some of us

But who?

~

Hours later, after the tasks of my sustaining obligations were fulfilled, it hit me: I’ve been researching the path to a spiritual summit in hopes of leveraging a Man-made playing field, confusing individual enlightenment with collective transformation; the good life for all. I thought an enlightened society meant the end of intergenerational trauma, ignorance, greed, violence, exploitation and having to silence our moral truth in exchange for rent; the beginning of sharing, as opposed to starving, at the banquet. Why do so many of us go physically, emotionally, experientially hungry when there’s more than enough to go around? The theoretical trinity of actualization, enlightenment and physical proof of meeting (beyond!) our basic needs is holey as opposed to holy or whole. Just watch Downtown Abbey. The morals of the people upstairs were often shared, sometimes corrected by the people living under the stairs but the people upstairs got to have breakfast brought to them in their giant, comfy beds. What kinds of incentives do your eggs come with? Poached trust funds? Good jeans?
I’ve struggled to meet basic needs because I was born into poverty. You have to push to get out. Push yourself out of bed. Push yourself through a third and fourth shift. Push yourself past the discomfort of fitting in or out. Push yourself past the past and build new, unbiased beliefs. I hate fighting and personally don’t believe we need blockbuster struggles to inspire epic growth. That’s Hollywood not humanity. We aren’t designed to take perpetual beatings, stuff ourselves with adaptogens and rise strong. The earth doesn’t stomp, humiliate, oppress, threaten, neglect, abuse or otherwise pummel a Redwood into being. Why do we make the case that humans should accept such inhumane conditions for our growth? The act of mastering life on a pale blue dot in an expanding universe is enough of its own challenge. Our evolution from here to there is Providence. Instead of the joyful pursuit of pushing the boundaries of our potential, most of us are wasting precious time and energy pushing away intrusive thoughts. While love is effortless, systemic oppression is an invisible force, actively working against our tired will. And yet, thankfully, miraculously, we persist, if only to piss off the darkness. Oppression prefers we stay asleep, or at least, mildly sedated by the notion that we’re god’s special children and things will all work out eventually. What do we need to wake up?
Are You Experienced?

Who in your measly little world are you trying to prove that you’re made of solid gold?

 

I interpreted Deepak’s use of the word ‘boundaries’ to mean limits but his definition is the opposite; In fundamental reality there are no limitations. Fundamental reality is out of this world, literally. If we’re all stardust, maybe we have varying definitions of what it means to shine? The clinical definition of boundaries means having clarity about our sphere of limitations and possibilities. I’ve been in codependent recovery for over a decade and still trip over my yeses and no’s. So, you can imagine how confusing it is for some of us to be told we’re worthless and that’s great! but anything’s possible and someday… we’ll inherit the earth? Hey man, I don’t need a whole planet, but how ’bout (insert your basic needs and fundamental rights here)?

Vocabulary and semantics sorted, do we agree with what he said? Breath is free. Spirit is infinite. And, in all our worldly worthlessness, we’re unconditionally loved by god. The end?

Nope. So here’s my next question: What’s the point of inner peace if our outsides are at war?

Oppression is or is not an illusion, depending on our level of hunger, satisfaction, safety and sleep.

As our understanding of love grows, we become increasingly aware of who and what we could be, in a world that prescribes us limiting, external values. Exclusion comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, insults and toxic regimes. Why oh Y don’t enlightenment and equality add up? Anyone thought of manifesting world peace? No? Just sports cars and mansions? Cool secret bro. 
Knowing we’re loved isn’t the same as experiencing love through all of our senses. Being held, hearing affirming words, tasting the sweetness of life, being in places with people doing and seeing things that all reverberate with the regulating echos of love. If my kitchen walls could talk they’d say: I need a fresh coat of paint.
To recap, we’re Vastly Infinite Possibilities in concrete, rented, confines, expanded by the breath of god. In other words, tenets. Be loved.
~
Thanks D. The current live streamed series on The Chopra Well, Anatomy of Experience, is more satisfying than popcorn. If you need a refill, check it out. Maybe Deepak will answer your question.
ps: It’s ridiculous how much I wrestled with this. But mostly, I’m still really excited the whole thing happened. You know, like life. xo
pps: Kyle’s dialysis supplies arrived last week; 52 boxes containing everything we need to keep him alive which are now stacked in our ‘dining room’ which already housed his bikes, tool bench, my vintage dome-top trunk which I refuse to part with, and in the spring, seedlings for the box gardens. Anyway, it’s been real. 

22 thoughts on “Push-ti

  1. Well for some reason I want a cookie but can’t get off the treadmill long enough to eat it. I am not all rich or highly educated or unconditionally loved (except for the LORD, which is all I need, right?) And yet…..well that is all I have to say about that because who in the world would listen to me anyway? 🙂 I use to think I was smart, deserving and could be anything that I wanted to be but the world said sit down, and speak when you are spoken to and be happy with what you get 🙂 I am needed when I am needed, serve a purpose when it is wanted, quietly of course so someone else can get the credit they deserve. The rest of the time I am the weaker vessel, dont worry my pretty little head, don’t hurt myself, what are you doing, and of course, “i’m m sorry, did you say something because I wasn’t listening because I don’t need you right now but when I do I will let you know. You be sure and handle it but don’t bother me until you fix it. It will be our little secret because you know I will take all the credit” 🙂 🙂 Inner Peace? Is that in the stove, the refrigerator, or the washing machine, how about the grocery store…etc…etc…etc.. because those are my expertise 🙂

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    • 😂💔❤️Mags, you manage to make me laugh, cry and feel hopeful at the same time. It seems women are particularly encultured towards quiet service. Should we practice yelling? I tend to cry if I yell but maybe if we hold hands and try? Given what I know of you, I’d harder consider you a weak vessel; vessel of light is more like it. God’s love is a great foundation from which to buy peaceful stove’s for baking endless enlightened cookies which we can offer the world as we…shout?😊

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      • Ahhh my dear friend. I aim to please, it is my pleasure 🙂 lol I am usually yelling if I am crying 🙂 Of course I am allowed to because we are “emotional” “hormonal” “moody” or so I am told 🙂 Free passes for all the wrong things. I would prefer to pass in the turning lane but no one left the rules up to me either. The rules are set like you said by the rich, smart folks, although you stated it much more eloquently 🙂 I tend to lean on the image of being catlike when it comes to the weaker vessel. Just when you think I am weak, I pounce hehe. After I typed that comment to you last night all I could hear was that jingle from some commercial from a few decades back…I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never, ever let you forget you’re a man…cause I’m a woooooman. 🙂 🙂 🤪🤪

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  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts E. Jesus would agree with Deepak. I never felt blessed but I was always glad to know someone thought I was. I was just swimming from buoy to buoy trying to last the week until the next one. But then when I got to take a breath, the why behind those words “blessed are the poor” began to kick in. “Because for you,” I think it means “life is cut down to the basics. You don’t have the distractions. You know what is most important already.” The moments that shone for me in the darkest despair of my life, inside misery were the ones with my children. The love got me through. It was the only thing that did. Blessed are the poor maybe because we know what love is. It feeds and clothes and houses our spirits and, when we can take a minute to breathe we remember it, it’s enough. I never wanted to be rich except when I thought of how many people I could help if I ever won the lottery. I just wanted the people I love to be happy and maybe someday find my way to self-actualization. Much love to you and ongoing healing and good vibes to ☼ Kyle.☼ {{{{E}}}} ♥.

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    • Beautiful reflections Tizz. ❤️I would agree, when we’ve been stripped of all our worldly possessions, cut down to the basics, as you said, as long as we know how to love, we’re blessed. I still kinda wanna be blessed with love and a little more than the basics. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there…Fiji! fluffy pillows! Spanish Moss, Europe, art, music, chocolate ganache, linen, acres of lavender, fields of poppies, oceans, mountains, and soooooo many books…

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      • Oh yes! I know what you mean. Yes the only time I get wistful is from travel pics or universities and learning. I am like Scarecrow, longing for proof I have a brain. Never enough books or time to read! But we shall try. Maybe Heaven is a massive library with every book ever written updated to the second with beautiful sunny windows hung with Spanish moss somewhere in Europe inside fields of poppies and lavender which you can smell from miles away, somewhere in Fiji near the ocean and we’re all dressed in linen and you’re allowed to eat chocolate (another new word) and it doesn’t stain the books because, Heaven. ♥.

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  3. I once listened to a radio show by Deepak Chopra, now many years ago. About twenty. He was late and I remember smirking: yeah, y’all so important, being late isn’t a big deal for you. He proceeded with the talk, saying all the normal things, like brain surgeons ought to earn more than gravediggers and if the radio wasn’t across the room I’d have switched it off right then and there. There certainly wasn’t any indication that he thought brain surgeons had the money and gravediggers have soul/enlightenment. At the end of the show, Chopra and the radio presenter were still in the studio when the next show came on. The DJ mouthed a: ;let’s get on with real life shall we? Although it was radio I could ‘see’ in the drop of his voice and his sentence petering out that Deepak must’ve given him one of those superior energy blasts people like him are good at dishing out, just for the show. So many gurus, so little time.

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    • 😂😂😂what a great story! Love it. I researched some of his critics and they shared similar sentiments. When he answered my question there was definitely a twinge of ‘ugh’ from me. Like ugh, thanks for cross stitch quote. And…it was still something. Gurus: mere mortals I guess. 😁

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  4. I’m not sure if you’re writing entirely in metaphor or if you are really suggesting that rich people feel they’re entitled and poor people know they aren’t and only love is worth living for. Lots of rich people are bastards, so are lots of poor. I started to write about my own circumstances of an impoverished childhood but mine was a poverty of emotional sustenance. I can’t write more details here but I think that emotional deprivation is more difficult to overcome than physical. The worst thing for me is that I have two sons I adore and felt so fortunate to have these two people in my life. But apparently I was not the mother I wanted or intended to be. And that’s something I can barely face. I wish I could start again, but I can’t and I live with regret every day that I can’t make up to my sons. And with worry that I might not live through this Covid crisis – I’m in my 70s. I may never see my younger son again or his two children. We don’t live near. This is different kind of starvation and poverty, and some, maybe even most or all is my fault. I don’t think Deepak Chopra has anything to offer me. But I’m truly glad that Kyle’s dialysis supplies arrived. That is truly life saving. Wishing you love and peace however inadequate my offerings are.
    And I’m crying again, not even sure why.

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    • Aww Sharon. Sorry I didn’t see this sooner. Is it too late to offer you a hug and some tissues?
      Parents do the absolute best they can and kids don’t come with instructions. That’s what grace and forgiveness are for. My mother and I have had long conversations about the fact that at some point our lives become our own and blaming other people (parents, bosses, siblings, ex-partners, even abusers) isn’t going to solve anything. Making amends is important when and where we can offer it but then should we try our best to move forward and hopefully not repeat the past. Yea?
      You’re right about the pain of emotional neglect; the more we understand about the brain, the more proof we have about our need for connection and belonging. The very good news is, as soon as we establish human connections, like friendships and community where we’re seen, valued and loved, we heal! It’s pretty miraculous.
      As for rich and poor and square footage…I agree, entitlement, being a jerk, being wonderful! or generous, happens at both ends of the spectrum. I think I was trying to say that when you’re born into poverty no matter how ‘hard’ you work, the system is set up to work against you. The only stories I know about where people got out from the lowest socioeconomic rungs, are stories of like pageant queens, movie stars, Wall Street traders and Oprah. I have no clue what Wall Street is all about and the modeling path was an option for me but it turned out to be really gross. Look at all the sexual assault victims in Hollywood. That doesn’t seem like freedom to me.
      I just want to afford myself a little breathing room. Ok fine, a lot of breathing room and I want it to be an option for everyone. And, I want to keep my clothes on but still make enough money to pay for all that space. And preferably, I don’t want to work 90 hours a week at 5 jobs to make it happen. I don’t think Deepak can offer anything on that goal either. Guess it’s you and me Sharon.

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