Dear Friends, The other day I was at a playground with Samuel. He was enjoying playing with some children there as I enjoyed doing walking meditation. A woman entered the playground with her three children and they were all obviously in an

agitated state. The mother was yelling at her son who was crying and the two girls seemed to be used to these violent outburst episodes. After a few minutes I pulled out my hackie sack from my bag and when the boy looked over at me I threw the hackie sack to him and gestured with my hand for him to throw it back. We threw the sack around a few times and then his sister came over to join us. We ended up playing a little monkey in the middle and then the other sister asked me if I wanted to race. I informed her it was a ridiculous idea. That I was a grown man and there was no way she could possibly win. But that I would run backwards to give her a handicap. It was a close race (she was faster than I guessed). After some time when the children were all happy and playing joyfully it was time for Samuel and I to head back to the house for some lunch. I tapped the boy on the head, offering him my smile, and as Samu and I exited the park we passed the mother. As our eyes met she offered me a smile and thanked me. I do not know the conditions that they had come to the park from but in those moments I was able to transform the energy and maybe, just maybe, she caught the insight that in each moment there are many conditions of happiness that are available to us if we are available to recognize those conditions. What are we focusing on?

Recently I've been a little busier than I usually like to be. Fortunately I have my practice. I laid down outside for a few moments enjoying the passing clouds and the sounds of the birds and restored my freedom right in that very moment. Recognizing the tendency to get carried away with my business I come back to my breath. Breathing in I am aware that I am breathing in and breathing out I am aware that I am breathing out. Immediately I restored my calmness, my ease, my peace, my stability and my freedom. I began to recognize the many wonders of life that are inside and around me and was filled with the energy of love and the desire to share abundance naturally arose.

Direct enlightenment is available right in this very moment. We can touch our true nature (recognize our mind of awakening). This body walks on the Earth, it lives, and it already has true nature inside of it. Our recognition is always present, there in every feeling, every emotion, every perception we have. When we forget this we begin to identify ourselves with each phenomenon. But the moment we are mindful we see that we are the energy of recognition, and the phenomenon is something that is recognized. You are not the object. The feelings, the emotions and the perceptions are the objects. On the path of awakening we have to cultivate the soil of our mind. Another word for practitioner is cultivator. We must cultivate our own mindfulness. No one else can do it for us. The path of self discovery is something that each one of us has to pursue on our own. Right inside this body that has birth and death, that has coming and going, right amid the chattering of our mind that is always disturbing us, that is always confusing our lives, there is something that is eternal. There is something that is quiet and imperturbable, that is bright, where there is no coming and going and where there is no birth and no death, right in this body and mind that we can rediscover. This teaching exists in every spiritual tradition. There is only one way to go. There is no other way. You cannot throw yourself into an organization, hoping it can do it for you. Any organization can take advantage of you. This special spiritual path is something that you must pursue for yourself. If you take a risk in your spiritual life and get to a certain level of generating the energies of mindfulness, concentration and insight, then you will discover it. You will find it for yourself. You can do it with others, but you yourself will have to discover it on your own through your personal experience.

Raven is a resident of Carlsbad with his wife and two sons and is the spiritual director and founder of the Deep Ecology Institute and the Gaia Mystery School. He enjoys practicing the art of mindful living and sharing mindfulness practices with individuals, groups and businesses.
"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children."

           ~ Sitting Bull, Lakota Sioux, 1877