(Japanese translation found below)

It is January 1, 2014 and I am sitting in a weekly mansion in Kita-Ikebukuro in Tokyo, Japan. Typically, the first day of the year has been a very exciting and hopeful time for me. I love the big transition times in life, signaling the end of one period and the beginning of another. These times tend to bring such power and movement with them. It is a time to let go of old and outdated habits and beliefs and to begin to embrace whole new possibilities and outlooks.

For some reason, on this day I am feeling a bit on the somber side. I still feel like 2014 will be a truly amazing and spectacular year. I still feel like there will be openings and awakenings that will blow minds wide open. Its just that along with all those new openings, I feel that there will also be certain acts that will be asked of each of us that will not be particularly pleasant.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it appears to me that everything is speeding up. Time is speeding up. Significant events, including the creation and destruction of major institutions and modes of thought, are speeding up. Spiritual and cultural evolution is speeding up. So many things on so many levels just appears to be going faster and faster. In my own experience, there just does not seem to be any time to waste. Gone are the days when I could luxuriate in seemingly endless periods of time to do whatever the hell I wanted. There is an urgency that is in my face compelling me to shed unneeded layers, habits and beliefs. Oh, I have moments when I want to just run away from all of it and lose myself in some kind of unconscious condition, but those moments don’t seem to be very sustainable for any significant period of time.

Now, as many of us know, moving and growing in this kind of way is not an easy proposition. It requires a kind of tenacity, courage, persistence and alertness that is not common. More than anything it requires a willingness and an ability to get damn uncomfortable on a regular basis. And, I am not taking just about getting physically uncomfortable. I am talking much more about getting mentally and emotionally uncomfortable in ways that for many, would simply be unbearable.

The primary obstacle to any kind of spiritual opening (or the cultivation of wisdom or any kind of real change for that matter) is the matrix of conditioned patterns of thought that we identify with. In this particular day and age, most of us hold very strong identification with a whole raft of conditioned beliefs, opinions and preferences that gel together to form a kind of “personality” or ego state. We identify so strongly with these particular thought patterns that most of us actually believe that those patterns are us. In this state of identification, it is nearly impossible to see that these particular patterns that we identify with are merely superficial or transitory phenomena. By identifying with these phenomena and by believing that these “ghosts” are us, we keep ourselves in a suspended state of deep inertia where any kind of real spiritual growth or change is highly unlikely.

Generally, our belief is so strong and ingrained that we do not see our beliefs as beliefs. The beliefs that we hold on this level simply appear as immutable reality, never to be questioned or changed. In this way, the beliefs almost always operate quietly and powerfully in the background of our lives and are rarely in danger of being disturbed and unseated in any way. This is the main reason why most of us feel so bound to our habits and beliefs and why many of us feel it is so difficult to enact any kind of real or meaningful change in our lives. As a result, there is a kind of deep resignation and even a kind of nihilistic fog that affects us all. We try to make it appear that we are cheerful and hopeful on the outside, but if many of us were ruthlessly honest with ourselves, we would admit there is a general mood of fear and hopelessness that exists within us.

When we identify with those conditioned patterns of thought, we quite literally create an ego state, in which we experience ourselves as that ego. In that state, a majority of our energy goes towards tending to and protecting that ego state. We participate in mental and emotional habits that build up our ego state and ensure that it is not disturbed in any significant way. Thus, we fight, we argue, we resist, we run from any experience or condition that would reveal any of the underlying dynamics of the ego state. This is why most of us create a very strongly defined “comfort zone” and spend most of our time and our life making sure that we stay well within the boundaries of this zone.

So, in order to begin to make any significant movement in our spiritual lives, we must, with great conviction, resolve to venture out of our own comfort zones. We must resolve to venture out of our comfort zones on a consistent basis with the intent to venture further and further. This means getting damn uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than you have ever been before in your life. This means to consciously cease our incessant defense of ourselves, our beliefs, our opinions and even our preferences. This means learning to be fully present wherever we are without justifying or defending.

I recently watched a video on the martial art that my father practiced called Aikido. The brilliance and the power of the art form is that there is little or no resistance offered in any of the techniques. Aikido practitioners develop a well honed sensitivity to the flow of energy or movement in any particular situation and learn to simply move or flow in the same general direction of the existing flow. By only going in a similar direction of the existing flow of energy or movement they generate or utilize tremendous power. They relinquish the need to control or dominate any person or situation and simply move with the flow as it is. In the same way, when each one of us tries to control or dominate anything in any particular situation, we deny ourselves access to the inherent power or flow of that moment. We also trap ourselves in that static ego state, the state of a permanent personality that most of know all too well. It is a state where reality appears to have a kind of unforgiving and unbending quality to it. It is a state that seems to have a scarcity of creativity, joy and possibility to it. It is a state of reality that many of us are all too familiar with.So, this is why there is a sense of foreboding for me in this new year instead of a sense of hopefulness. I know that there will be incredible breakthroughs this year and I also know that I will be called upon to become more deeply uncomfortable than I have ever been before. As I choose not to defend myself and not to resist situations and emotions, I know I will come face to face with many of the deep and dark emotions and thoughts that I have successfully avoided for so long. Already I am shaking inside with the fear and distaste that comes from facing those emotions, feelings and thoughts that create an unbearable kind of discomfort. I know that in order to be free of the ego state that I have lived with for so long (and that probably been a part of my family’s legacy for generations), I must be willing to become intimate with all the buried guilt, anger, shame, feelings of worthlessness and fear that I have trying to keep

far away from me for my whole life. Happy New Year 2014!


2014年 新年に思うこと



他のひとのことはわかりませんが、私には、すべてが加速しているように見えます。時間が加速しています。 大組織や思考法の創造と破壊といった、大きな出来事が加速して起きています。精神的そして文化的な進化が加速しています。あらゆるものがあらゆるレベルにおいてどんどん加速しているようです。自分自身の経験でいうと、無駄にできる時間などないように思えます。一見すると永遠の時間の中で望んだものを何でも楽しめるような日々は終わったのです。私の目の前には切迫感があり、不要な思考、習慣、思い込みを捨てざるをえません。ええ、何もかもから逃げ出してある種の無意識状態で自分を見失いたくなるような瞬間があるのですが、そういった瞬間はどんな重要な局面においてもあまり適切でないように思います。








ハレ クリシュナ !!